The Early Church Object Lesson

The Early Church Object Lesson

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The tabernacle in the Old Testament was a picture of God dwelling with His people. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit came to dwell within God’s people. Use this Early Church lesson to teach children how the tabernacle was temporary, but that the human temple is the home of the Holy Spirit.

Scripture Focus: Acts 2: 1-7, 12-24, 37-39

Materials:

  • Small tent (If you don’t have a tent, use chairs, a large sheet, and clothes pins to make one.)

Geography: Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, surrounding nations

Background: Jesus rose from the grave and appeared to many people. Then He ascended into heaven.

If you know the facts of the gospel, then you will be able to tell someone the gospel when God places you in a situation to tell about Jesus. Choose to be knowledgeable:
1) We are sinners and deserve God’s wrath because He is perfect and holy.
2) Jesus was born and lived on earth.
3) Jesus died on the cross.
4) Jesus became our sin and took God’s wrath for us, separating Himself from His Father.
5) Jesus was buried in a tomb.
6) Jesus was resurrected from the dead.
7) If we have faith in Jesus then we can have eternal life.

The Early Church Object Lesson:

{Set up the tent. If you have a small number of children, have everyone enter the tent for the lesson. If you have a large number, place the tent so you can sit in the opening and have the children around you.}

{Ask:}

  • Have you ever been camping? [Allow for answers]
  • What did you like most about camping? [Allow for answers]
  • What did you like least about camping? [Allow for answers]
  • Have you ever traveled a long distance and camped along the way? [Allow for answers]
  • What did you miss most about your house when you finally came home? [Allow for answers]
  • What does dwelling mean? [Allow for answers; dwelling means to live, or to be with]

Traveling in a tent can be fun for a while, but eventually you begin to miss having a home. If you live for a long time in a tent it will rain, or dirt will get into the tent, or insects…maybe even other critters try to get your food. A tent is not meant to be a permanent home. It’s temporary.

We can dwell in a tent for a short while, but it sure is nice to have a permanent dwelling. One that doesn’t blow away in the wind and rain.

The Early Church Bible Lesson:

Earlier during His ministry days, Jesus had changed Peter’s name from Simon to Peter, which means “Rock.” Jesus told Peter, “Upon this rock I will build my church.”

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, Jesus and Peter had a deep conversation. Peter, who had denied Jesus three times, would be asked if he loved Jesus. Three times Peter answered, “You know Lord that I love you!” Jesus asked Peter to feed His sheep.

{Read Acts 2: 1-7, 12-24, 37-39.}

After Jesus’ ascension, the disciples were huddled together in a room. Jesus told them to go to Jerusalem and wait. He would send a Helper. One day, they heard the sound of rushing wind and it filled the whole house. Then something like tongues of fire formed on top of the heads of each person in the room. All of the disciples began to speak in other languages that were not their native language.

The people in the street heard them and wondered how they heard their own language being spoken. Some of the people going past claimed that the men and women were drunk.

Peter, the man who had denied Jesus, stood up and began to preach the gospel. The people were “pierced to the heart” and asked what they needed to do. Peter told them to repent and be baptized. About 3,000 souls were added to the small group of believers.

{Ask:}

  • In Peter’s speech, what did he say would pour out? [God’s Spirit on all flesh]
  • What happens to those who call on the name of the Lord? [They shall be saved.]
  • Why do you think the disciples spoke in other languages? [It was the Passover. Many Jews from different countries were present. Speaking in the tongues of those Jews allowed them to hear the gospel in their own language.]
  • Why do you think God would allow these disciples to speak in different languages? [Giving the disciples the power to speak other languages at this point in time allowed the gospel to be shared, acted upon, and then spread to those other countries.]

Let’s consider what God did in the Old Testament and what Jesus did in the Gospels:

In the beginning, God came down and spoke.

God dwelt among His people in the tabernacle. This was temporary.

Jesus was born and spoke for Himself as the Son of God.

Jesus walked and dwelt among men. This was temporary.

The Holy Spirit came down and now teaches all things.

The Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts if we believe and confess Jesus as our Lord. This is eternal!

The Old Testament, or Old Covenant, is over.

Jesus began a New Covenant.

All throughout the Old Testament we read about God desiring to dwell with His people. He gave them directions to build the tabernacle and He gave them the Law. But Israel sinned. They could not follow the Law perfectly. They built a temple, a more permanent building, but the people still could not keep God’s Law.

When Jesus walked on the earth, Israel failed again. They failed to see Jesus as the Messiah. But God still does what He has to do to save His people from themselves and from sin. And with this plan, the Holy Spirit now guides us and dwells with us in our hearts.

Old Testament Covenant God to Abraham “I will make of you a great nation.” How God would bring salvation to the cross.
New Testament Covenant Jesus to Peter “Upon you I will build my church.” How God would bring salvation to the Gentiles.

The Early Church Life Application:

The people who heard the gospel from the disciples were “cut to the quick,” or their “hearts were pierced”. When your spirit begins to be touched and changed by the Holy Spirit, then you realize how sinful you are. You feel sorrow and horror that you have disobeyed God.

{Ask:}

  • How did the people respond to the gospel? [They asked, “What shall we do?”]
  • What did Peter tell them? [Repent and be baptized]
  • What does repent mean? [To regret doing sinful things against God]
  • What does verse 41 say happened? [There were people who gladly received Peter’s words. They repented and were baptized. 3,000 people joined the church in one day.]

Have you ever had an experience like those 3,000 people? Have you told God you have repented? Have you ever desired to never sin again? If you aren’t sure, talk to God right now. You need to be sure. And if you know that you have never repented, then I encourage you to do so.

If you have believed in Jesus, then the same Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead lives inside of you! We will still sin and fall into temptation, however the Holy Spirit wants to guide you and teach you how to please God. He wants you to read the Bible and memorize scripture so He can help you in times of need.

Going to church, learning the Bible, memorizing scripture is not a waste of time. The Holy Spirit will use whatever He can to help mold you into the image of Jesus.

What can we learn from the Early Church? When we are presented with Truth and we recognize that we have sinned, then we should be sorry and agonize over that sin. We must understand that we need a Savior from that sin. We need Jesus. When we place our faith in Jesus and surrender our lives to Him, then the Holy Spirit will dwell inside of us. This is good news!

The Early Church Object Lesson

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