|Story Passages:||Jeremiah 1:7-10, Jeremiah 38|
|Other Passages:||2nd Timothy 2:3-4, 2nd Chronicles 36:11-20, 2nd Kings 24:18 – 25:26, Matthew 28:18-20, 1st Corinthians 15:1-4, Romans 10:5-13, 2nd Corinthians 5:1|
|Objective:||Children should learn that they should endure the world's contempt when living their faith and when sharing their faith.|
|Memory Verse:||Romans 1:16, |
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Introduction: Good News
How many of you know where you're going when you die? Where are you going? (Accept answers.) Okay, if you're going to heaven, how many of you know how to get to go to heaven? Good, that's good news. How many know someone who might not be able to go to heaven when they die? Who do you know? Should we go tell these people? Why don't we tell them sometimes? (Accept answers.) There's a man in the Bible named Jeremiah, and there were some reasons why he might not want to tell people what God said he should tell them – but he did anyway.
God called Jeremiah to be a prophet. What's a prophet? Someone who tells the people what God says to tell them. Sometimes God told a prophet what was going to happen, and the prophet would tell the people, and then later it would happen. Other times, God told a prophet what he wanted people to do, and the prophet had to tell the people. They didn't always want to hear it. God told Jeremiah that he had been made special, from before he was born, to tell the people what God wanted them to hear. Jeremiah didn't know what to say, but God told him,
I have put my words in your mouth.God told Jeremiah not to be afraid of the people, and to tell them everything God said, and God would protect him. One time, when the people had been worshipping idols (false gods), Jeremiah had to tell them that they'd been faithless to God, and should return to worshiping him only. Do you think they liked hearing that? Would you like being called faithless? Another time, he had to tell the people of Judah and Jerusalem that because they had disobeyed God, he was going to bring disaster on them, and they couldn't stop it. Do you think they were happy to hear this message? No, and they blamed Jeremiah and plotted against him, but God kept his word to Jeremiah and always protected him.
But God's protection didn't always mean that nothing would happen to Jeremiah. Sometimes things weren't so pleasant. One time, when the city of Jerusalem was about to be taken by the cruel king of Babylon, Jeremiah had to tell the people that they could not save the city. He told them that God said they should go surrender to the king of Babylon, so they could live, because if they stayed to defend the city they would die. But the people didn't want to hear it, and some of them blamed Jeremiah. They put him in a dark room that was dug out of the ground to hold water – a cistern – and the only way out was through a hole in the ceiling. This pit didn't have water in it right now, but it was still muddy, and Jeremiah sank into the mud when they put him down there. He didn't have any food or water, and it was dark.
Do you think God rescued him? He did, but it took a while. Ebed-Melech, an official in the royal palace of Judea, felt bad for Jeremiah. He was worried that Jeremiah would starve to death. Ebed-Melech got permission from the king of Judea, and he took thirty men and they lowered ropes down to Jeremiah, and some rags to put under his arms to pad the ropes, and they pulled him out. We don't know how long he was down there, but God protected him. Jeremiah went on telling people what God had him say. Even though it wasn't fun to be in the pit, Jeremiah knew he had to obey God, and the people needed to hear the message, even if it wasn't a fun message.
Application: Telling Others
We need to obey God too, and God tells us to tell others about Jesus. Now I know that you know people who need to know that Jesus died for their sins, and that was buried and raised to life three days later, and that he will forgive their sins if they believe, so that they can live forever in heaven with him. So should we be telling them? (Yes, we should.) What if they might not want to hear? What if other people don't want us to tell them? What if people make it hard for us? What if someone teases you? Should you still tell people about Jesus then? (Yes.) What if someone might not be your friend any more? Don't stop telling people that Jesus loves them and that he died for their sins.
Invite any children who are serious about sharing the good news with their friends to stand and acknowledge that they will do that. Invite anyone who want to accept Jesus to stay after the lesson and discuss it further.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.