|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.
I'm going to tell the story, and while I'm telling it, I'm going to choose some of you to act it out. Don't raise your hands yet. I'll pick you out as we go.
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. [Pick a Jeremiah, have him stand in front of the group, and tell him, "Jeremiah, you are special. You will tell the people God's message."] Jeremiah didn't know what to say, but God told him, "I will put my words in your mouth." [Tell Jeremiah that.] God told Jeremiah not to be afraid of the people, and tell them everything God said, and God would protect him. [Tell Jeremiah that stuff.]
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 [Pick out two or three kids to be the people, and have them stand in front of the group. Have Jeremiah face the people. Have him tell them, "You've been faithless to God. You should worship only God."]. Do you think they liked hearing that? Would you like being called faithless? [Ask the people if they like being called faithless.]
Another time, he had to tell the people of Judah and Jerusalem that because they had disobeyed God, God was going to bring disaster on them, and they couldn't stop it. [Pick out kids to be people of Judah and Jerusalem. Have them stand in front of the group, and have Jeremiah face them and say, "God is going to bring disaster on you, and you can't stop it!"] Do you think they were happy to hear this message? No, and they blamed Jeremiah and plotted against him. [Give the people of Judah and Jerusalem lines to say, e.g., "It's all his fault", "We have to stop him", etc.] But God kept his word to Jeremiah and always protected him.
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. [Pick out a Nebuchadezzar and a couple of Babylonian soldiers. Have them stand facing the Judah and Jerusalem people, a little ways off. Have Jeremiah tell the people, "You can't 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. [Have Jeremiah say, "God says, surrender to the king of Babylon, or you'll 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 [show visual] – and the only way out was through a hole in the ceiling. [Open the baptistry door. Pick out two of the Jerusalem people, and assist them in escourting Jeremiah around the steps and into the baptistry. Have Jermiah stay there and the others come back to the group. Tell the kids to pretend that the "cistern" is down in the ground, and muddy.] 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. [Pick an Ebed-Melech. Have him stand in front of the group and say, "I feel bad for Jeremiah."] He was worried that Jeremiah would starve to death. [Have Ebed-Melech call down to Jeremiah and ask if he's getting hungry down there.] Ebed-Melech got permission from the king of Judea. [Pick a king Zedekiah. Have him stand in front of the group. Have Ebed-Melech ask King Zedekiah for permission to take Jeremiah out of the cistern. Have Zedekiah say "Ok".]
Ebed-Melech took thirty men. [Pick everyone who is left to go with Ebed-Melech]. They lowered ropes down to Jeremiah, and some rags to put under his arms to pad the ropes, and they pulled him out. [Have Jeremiah come out.] We don't know how long he was down there, but God protected him.
[Have all the actors go sit down.]
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 he 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.