Letters to the Churches Bible Object Lesson

Letters to the Churches Object Lesson

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Jesus was no longer on earth. The Holy Spirit swept through Jerusalem causing ordinary disciples to begin turning the world upside down. Now what? Use everyday mail in this Letters to the Churches Object Lesson to teach children about the purpose of the Epistles.

Scripture Focus: Romans 1:7; Philippians 1:1-2; James 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; Revelation 1: 4a

Materials: A Stack of Mail (junk mail, bills, and at least one special letter or card from a friend or family member)

Geography: Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, Rome

Background: The Holy Spirit came as a mighty rushing wind and The Old Testament, the Old Covenant, is over. Jesus began a New Covenant. The church age had begun and people were becoming believers  by the hundreds and thousands.

Letters to the Churches Object Lesson

Letter to the Romans

{Hold up the stack of mail and ask:}

  • Do you like to go to the mailbox and get the mail? [Allow for answers]
  • What types of things come in the mail? [letters, ads, newspapers, packages, etc.]

{As you go through the types of mail, be dramatic as you describe each one.}

I enjoy receiving mail! It’s always so fun to see what you get!

{Hold up the ads or junk mail.}

These business ads are colorful and at times they can give me interesting information, but these businesses don’t love me. They just want me to come into their store, or go to their event. In fact, these ads are sent to EVERYONE in the town, not just to me. They don’t really care about me as a person.

  • Where do most of these ads end up? [In the trash can]

{Hold up the bills.}

These envelopes hold monthly bills. These are businesses to which I owe money. Each month I have to pay for power, water, the mortgage, and more.

  • Do these businesses care whether or not I pay them? [Yes!]

Yes, they care if I pay them for their services. In fact, if I don’t pay them, they can charge me a fee OR even turn off whatever the service is.

  • Do these businesses care about me as a person? or do they want my money? [They want money for the service they give.]

I’m not the only person who pays for water, or electricity. They send these bills out to thousands of people. I’m just one of the many. There is nothing special about these bill envelopes.

Letters to the Churches Bible Object Lesson

{Hold up the personal letter or card.}

But THIS envelope! This is a special letter that I received from ____________________. She wrote it in her own hand – no computer. In fact, what she wrote in the letter was encouraging to me and I keep it to read when I need to be encouraged.

  • Do you like getting letters, or emails, from friends? [Yes]
  • How do you feel when you get a letter? [Allow for answers; loved, thought of, special, etc.]

The person who wrote this card didn’t have to. But she thought of me, and my family, when we weren’t even around. She took time out of her busy schedule to sit down and write these words. She thought about what she wrote and was motivated to do something nice for me. All of that makes this one letter extremely special.

After Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, many of the apostles wrote letters to new believers.

Letters to the Churches Bible Lesson:

As Peter, the apostles, and Paul preached, more and more people became a part of The Way. Some leaders stayed in Jerusalem, while others traveled to Judea, Samaria and out to other nations.

Those, like Paul, who traveled to other cities and nations usually went to the Jewish synagogues to preach to the Jews first. Some believed, but most did not. Israel had hardened it’s heart toward the Lord. Therefore, these first missionaries began to preach to the Gentiles. God had now begun blessing every family in the world as the gospel of salvation spread.

The Leaders and Teachers could not be at every church they started. Paul would stay a little while and then move on to the next place because of the prompting of the Lord. He wanted to be sure that the churches were growing in Christ, and to encourage the church leaders, therefore, Paul wrote many letters.

Peter and John, the apostles, also wrote letters. God spoke through these men to the people. By reading the letters, the new Christians would gain understanding about God, be encouraged, and would receive instructions for how to live a righteous life pleasing unto the Lord. God wants us to allow Him to change our hearts to be more like Jesus and glorify Himself.

{Read the introduction scripture verses.}

  • What types of words do you hear in these greetings? [Grace and peace to you; bondservant; Jesus; to the saints; beloved of God]
  • Are these personal words? [Yes]
  • What does that tell you about the men who wrote these letters. [They loved the people to whom they were writing. They cared about what happened to them.]

All of the letters, or epistles, that are written in the New Testament are there for a reason. All of them teach us more about Who God is, Who Jesus is, and how people should respond to them. Some of the letters give instructions, or How To’s. Other letters are meant to encourage believers during persecution. Some of the letters were to individuals asking them to do something specific.

One apostle, John, had something very special happen to him. John had been banished to the Island of Patmos because he taught about Jesus. While there, the Lord appeared to John and gave him a vision for the future.

John wrote down the vision in the Book of Revelation. In this book there are seven letters to seven churches. These letters help us know what pleases God and what does not. We learn more about Jesus’ glory and how He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We also learn about the return of Jesus and about the saints.

Letters to the Churches Bible Object Lesson

Letters to the Churches Life Application:

{Hold up the personal letter.}

This letter is special. I read it more than once. I don’t throw it away. It has a purpose.

Just like the early church members, we should be reading the letters written by the apostles and learning how to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord.

In a letter that Paul wrote to a man named Timothy, Paul tells Timothy that all scripture is good for teaching, rebuking, correction, and training in righteousness. So reading these letters, and all of the Bible, helps us to know what is right (Jesus), know what we are doing wrong (Sin) , and how to correct our lives so we can be righteous through Jesus (Repentance).

How are we going to know what God expects from us if we don’t read what He has told us?

One of the things John saw in his vision was a book called the Book of Life. Only Jesus is able to open that book. In that book is the name of every person who has accepted Jesus Christ as his or her Savior.

Is your name written in the book?

What is God saying in the Letters to the Churches? God is a personal God and He wants a relationship with each person He created. While we were still sinners, Jesus died for us. If we, in faith, believe in Jesus, then we cannot help but desire to do all we can to tell others about Him and live a life worthy of our Holy God.

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