Monday, December 14, 2015

Lesson - The Fruit Of The Spirit

VERSES:  Galatians 5:22-23

MEMORY VERSE:  Galatians 5:22, 23.  "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:  Mark. Write "Mark" on small slips of paper and encourage the students to memorize the second book of the New Testament at home, so they will be able to recite two books of the New Testament at the next meeting time.

PRAYER:  Pray that we all will develop spiritual fruit of the Spirit as we grow in our life of serving the Lord. May we always let our lights shine, showing that we are godlike.

SPECIAL SONG:   This Little Light Of Mine (see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3 on this blog). Be Patient And Kind (see Be Patient And Kind - April 2014 - Lesson - Joseph Meets His Brothers Who Hated Him on this blog). Click on orange circles to hear the tune of each song. 

VISUAL AID:  White board or chalkboard, writing the "Fruit of the Spirit" at the top of the board and listing the characteristics below the title as the lesson is taught.

  • Note: Even though the fruit of the Spirit covers only two verses in the book of Galatians, there is a whole heap of learning in this short text. This is a subject that can be broken down into many lessons, studying one characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit each week for a series of weeks or for a Vacation Bible School. By studying a Bible story for each characteristic, the students are able to learn how a Bible character or Bible topic can exemplify that particular characteristic. Take a look below to see the characteristic and corresponding Bible story. In case the Bible teacher chooses to teach this lesson as one lesson instead of breaking the fruit of the Spirit down to many lessons, there is one Activity at the bottom of this lesson.
  • INTRODUCTION: There are two ways to live in this world and the Bible tells us that the best way is to live God's Way which is a good, wholesome, cheerful, and Christ-like way. There is a great difference in the way the world lives where people live under their own rules-which may not have rules at all-and the way that God wants His children to live.
    • Living God's Way is always the best way, but some may wonder how do we know how He wants us to live. How can we find out what pleases our heavenly Father? The Bible tells us everything we need to know! (Second Timothy 3:16, 17). All we need to do is to read. We should always do the best we can in school and learn to read well, so we can read the Bible for ourselves and will not need to rely on others to tell us what pleases God.
    • Christians need to know how to behave themselves in this world. We have learned in past lessons that Christians live differently than the world (See Lesson - A Different Life - October 2015 on this blog). Christians live by God's rules, not their own. Let's open our Bibles to book of Galatians, chapter 5, and verses 22 and 23 to see how God wants His children to live. (Read Galatians 5:22 and 23. List the fruit of the Spirit on the board as they are read explaining and defining each quality.)
  • LOVE:  A Christian's life is a life of love and everything they do, say, or think should be filled with love! Christians have a tremendous love for God (First John 4: 8, 16), a love for Christ (John 14:15), a love for the church (Romans 12:10), a love for spiritual things (Matthew 6:33), a love for their family (Ephesians 5:22, 25, 6:1,2), a love for their friends (Proverbs 18:24), and even a love for their enemies (Matthew 5:44). 
    • Christians are known by their love. They show their love to Christ by keeping His commandments. (John 14:15). Why do Christians love God? Because He first loved us (First John 4:19). Christians live a different life than the world because they are motivated by love. (See October 2015 - Lesson - A Different Life on this blog)
  • JOY: A Christian's life should be filled with joy! With so many blessings that the Lord has blessed them with, they should be happy and content. Can we name some of our blessings? (Family, living in peace, protection, enough food, shelter, clothing.) While there are physical blessings such as the ones we just mentioned, Christians also have spiritual blessings. Can we name a few spiritual blessings? (Salvation, prayer, no condemnation, reconciliation.)  
    • We remember the lesson about the prodigal son and, after leaving his family and wasting all of his money, he finally returns home to his father, who has continued to watch for his son, hoping for his return. While his son is still far down the road, his father sees his son and he runs to meet him before he ever even gets to the house! What joy his father feels as his wayward son returns home! This same feeling of joy is what the Christian feels as he or she daily continues serving the Lord and knowing that our Father in heaven is pleased. (See March 2015 - Lesson - The Parable Of The Prodigal Son on this blog).
  • PEACE:  A Christian's life should be filled with peace.  Christians are not anxious of what is to come (Matthew 6:31, 32), knowing that their heavenly Father will take care of their needs. Christians are content with what they have here on this earth (Philippians 4:11), never being envious of their neighbor and what they own. Christians are a peaceful people, unlike the world (2 Timothy 2:22). 
    • There is a great difference in living a stormy, disruptive life and living a life of peace, calm and tranquility. We can see the literal difference of 'peace' and 'no peace' by studying Jesus calming the storm. (See January 2015 - Lesson - Peace, Be Still on this blog.)
  • LONGSUFFERING:  A Christian's life is one that is patient or suffers with others a long time as Christ is longsuffering or shows patience to us (1 Timothy 1:16). Christians are patient to those whom they love and those whom are in the world. They walk through life with patience (Ephesians 4:2). They look to Jesus as their example. When someone asks them for their coat, they also give them their cloak, when they are asked to go one mile, they go two miles (Matthew 5:40-42). Christians do not look to this world for their examples, or even to their friends, family, preachers, or elders in the church. They only look to Jesus as their example, not to man (1 Peter 2:21).
    • Job is a perfect example of patience or longsufferning. What Job suffered! Yet, Job was patient and never blamed God for his suffering. He never asked, "Why me?" Job's patience is showed throughout his suffering. Christians should follow Job's example in patience. (See October 2014 - Lesson - The Patience Of Job on this blog)
  • GENTLENESS:  A Christian is a gentle person, one who listens, who thinks before they speak, and is not easily angered (James 1:19). Christians are to be gentle to all people, those whom they like and those whom they might not care for as much. ALL people means ALL people (2 Timothy 2:24). Christians are kind, calm, tenderhearted, and gentle (Ephesians 4:32).
    • When we think of a gentle person, we may think of Jesus. In fact, when we think of any of these characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit, we may think of Jesus because He truly was our perfect example in all things. Looking at Jesus' gentleness when the small children came to Him, we know that He loved them and cared for them. We, too, need to show our gentle nature to young and old alike just as Jesus did (See March 2015 - Lesson - Jesus Loves The Little Children on this blog).
  • GOODNESS:  A Christian has a good, sincere heart, one who looks for the good in others and finds it, and one who shows their goodness through the way they treat others. Christians show their love of others through doing good works. Helping others should come naturally, choosing to help rather than hinder others. Christians cling to the good and hate the evil (Romans 12:9). 
    • In Acts 9, we find that there was a woman named Dorcas who was full of good works. She sewed coats and different types of clothing and gave them to the poor people. What kind of good deeds do we do? How do we help people?  Christians should always be thinking, "How can I help someone?" and finding out how (See May 2015 - Lesson - Dorcas, The Benevolent Seamstress on this blog).
  • FAITH:  Christians should be full of faith! Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is the substance of things hope for, the evidence of things unseen. Like many strong Bible characters in Hebrews chapter 11, such as Abel, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham, Christians know that without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Christians MUST believe in God and believe that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. 
    • Abraham had so much faith in God that he was willing to offer up his son, Isaac, at God's request because he believed that God could raise Isaac up from the dead (Hebrews 11:29). A Christian's faith should never waver (James 1:6). Christians should believe in God and obey Him with their whole heart. (See March 2014 - Lesson - Abraham Offers Isaac on this blog).
  • MEEKNESS:  Sometimes people think that the two words, "meek" and "weak" mean the same thing, but they do not. To be meek, one is submissive, obedient, and humble; yet can still be strong. Meekness is one of the beatitudes:  "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5). Christians are commanded to walk worthy...with all meekness (Ephesians 4:2). Christians can be meek and strong.
    • Moses was an example of meekness. In fact, at the time Moses lived on the earth, there was not one who was meeker than Moses (Numbers 12:3). Moses' brother and sister, Aaron and Miriam, were disciplined because they spoke against Moses, the servant of God. (See May 2014 - Lesson - Miriam And Aaron Forgot God's Ears on this blog).
  • TEMPERANCE: A good definition of temperance is having control of yourself. Just think if a Christian possessed all the fruit of the Spirit but could not control himself, all would be for nothing. Christians need to control the words that they choose to say, control what they do, where they go, their anger, and all things in their lives. 
    • After Daniel and his three friends were brought to Babylon to serve in the king's palace, Daniel and his friends exercised self-control over what food they ate, so that they would not defile themselves. (See October 2014 - Lesson - Daniel In The Palace on this blog).
"Older Student" Tips:
  • Living God's way is an easier life than living the world's way. We can spare ourselves and our families much grief and sadness if we will only listen to what the Bible says instead of doing what we choose in life. The book of Proverbs is a book filled with warnings and words of caution. It would be a good idea to read a few verses of this book each night, so we could digest its words. God loves us and has sent us words of advice. We only need to read the Bible and listen!
  • Nine little words--love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. There is no law against any of these words. Discuss what "against such there is no law" means.
ACTIVITY:   The Fruit Of The Spirit
Materials:  9" x 12" dark brown construction paper, 6 1/2" x 10" tan construction paper, 9" x 12" purple construction paper, 9" x 12" light purple construction paper, scrap green paper, scrap brown paper, small round dish, scissors, glue, tape, marker.

  1. Hand out dark brown construction paper.
  2. Fold up 1/2" on all four sides of dark brown paper.
  3. Cut on two folds on both 'long' sides ONLY. Do not cut the folds on the short sides, too. 
  4. Fold corners up and tape each side. This should look like a box when finished. This is the frame.
  5. Set frame aside.
  6. Hand out purple and light purple paper.
  7. With small round dish on purple paper, trace four circles on the paper.
  8. With small round dish on light purple paper, trace five circles on the paper.
  9. Cut all the circles out. These are the fruit of the Spirit.
  10. Hand out tan paper.
  11. Arrange circles on tan paper.
  12. Write "Love" on one circle.
  13. Write "Joy" on one circle.
  14. Write "Peace" on one circle.
  15. Write "Longsuffering" on one circle.
  16. Write "Gentleness" on one circle.
  17. Write "Goodness" on one circle.
  18. Write "Faith" on one circle.
  19. Write "Meekness" on one circle.
  20. Write "Temperance" on one circle.
  21. Glue.
  22. Hand out small rectangle of scrap of brown paper.
  23. Glue to the the widest side of the fruit. This is the stem.
  24. Hand out scraps of green paper.
  25. Cut out two leaves.
  26. Fold each leaf down the middle.
  27. Fold gently from the outside of the leaf to the middle of the leaf. These are the veins of the leaf.
  28. Glue leaves by the stem. If the leaves are not glued down completely, there will be a 3-dimensional look to the picture that is created.
  29. At the top of the tan paper, write "The Fruit of the Spirit" and write "Galatians 5:22, 23" at the bottom of the paper.
  30. Glue the tan paper to the inside of the dark brown frame.
  31. Before leaving class, recite the Fruit of the Spirit together with the students reading their own pictures.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Lesson - The Letter To The Galatians - Chapter One

VERSES: Galatians 1:1-12

MEMORY VERSE:   Galatians 1:8  "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:  Beginning again with the New Testament books, for those who have not learned them, we will strive to memorize all 27 New Testament books. Write "Matthew" on a small slip of paper and hand out to the students at the end of class, instructing them to come back the next week and recite this new book they have learned. In the following weeks, we shall add another New Testament book until the students have, with effort, learned all 27 books.

PRAYER:   Pray that all Christians may hold fast to the God's Word and shun the teachings of false teachers. May we read daily from our Bibles, so that we will know what is truly from God and what is from a false teacher.

SPECIAL SONG:  Read, Read Every Day (see February 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #1 on this blog. Click orange circle for the tune of the song.)

VISUAL AID: Bible Map, showing Galatia; Large Activity (see below)

  • As we look at this next book or letter to the church at Galatia, we see that the letter was written by the Apostle Paul. How do we know that? Because he signed the letter in the first verse of the very first chapter! (Read Galatians 1:1). We find that Paul calls himself an apostle of Jesus Christ in that same verse. 
  • Paul was amazed that the church at Galatia had so quickly left the teachings of Christ for false teaching. Many false teachers change the pure and simple words of God to make people sin, sometimes changing only one word. That is what the devil did in Genesis 3. What word did the serpent add to God's Words in Genesis 3? That's right! Only the simple word 'not' in the statement "Ye shall not surely die" (Genesis 3:4). That is exactly what the false teachers were doing in Galatia! They were changing or perverting God's Words by adding their own thoughts or taking away God's Words to come up with something different than what God had intended.
  • What did Paul say about what was going on in the church at Galatia? He said something very important! He said even if the apostles or even if an angel came down from heaven and preached any other gospel than what Paul and his companions had preached to the church already to let him be accursed! This message was SO important that Paul said it twice! Let's read it for ourselves. Let's turn to Galatians 1:8, 9 and see what it says. (Read the verses). When God says something once, it is important, but if He says it twice, it is EXTREMELY important!
  • Paul went on to say that he was not seeking to please men because if he did, he would not be a servant of Christ. He was not a "men-pleaser," but a "Christ-pleaser." In Galatians 1:12, Paul said that men had not told him what to preach and neither had he been taught what to preach, but he had received the teaching by revelation from Jesus. Paul was an apostle and was definitely special. We do not have apostles any longer because we have the Word of God or the Bible to read and when we read, we can believe or not believe it. In the days when Paul was writing his letters to the churches, he was writing the Bible! The people had no Bible then, so the apostles who were inspired or told what to say by God would teach God's Word to the people. Now, there is no need for apostles because we have the Bible to read for ourselves.
"Older Student" Tips:
  • God knows everything. God knew there would be false teachers come and try to persuade Christians to go back to the Old Law which had been taken away with Jesus' death on the cross (Hebrews 9:28; 10:9, 10). He was telling the church at Galatia through Paul that they should not believe any other man's words if he was teaching something different than what Paul and the apostles had already taught the people. If anyone came up with any new thing, they were not to believe them because they were not bringing a message from God! Even if an ANGEL came down from heaven and said something different than what the apostles had taught, they were not to believe the angel either! God says what He means and means what He says. There are always grave consequences for those who do not believe and obey His Word. Everything we need today to be saved is in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). We don't need anything else. There will not be another book, another gospel, another teaching, another prophet, another apostle, anything else sent by God. Only the Bible will judge us in the last day John 12:48). We need to read and obey.
  • There are three warnings written in the Bible, commanding people not to add or take away from God's Words. Read Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:5, 6; Revelation 22:18, 19. God says what He means and means what He says.
Materials needed:  9" x 12" blue construction paper, two 5" x 5" yellow construction papers, crayons, scissors, stapler, staples, pencil.

  1. Hand out blue paper.
  2. Lengthwise, fold blue paper up to 3" from bottom.
  3. Vertically, fold paper in half.
  4. Staple the 3" strip in the middle on the folded line. (A extra long stapler works well, stapling in the middle, but if only a small stapler is available, loosely fold one side of the blue paper, so it will fit into the smaller stapler.)
  5. Staple 3" strip on the outside edges of the paper.
  6. Set blue paper aside.
  7. Hand out yellow papers.
  8. On one yellow paper, draw a "1," using most of the paper. 
  9. On the other yellow paper, draw a "2," using most of the paper.
  10. Cut both numbers out.
  11. On the "1," write "But, though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed" and "Galatians 1:8."
  12. On the "2," write "As we said before, so I say now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed" and "Galatians 1:9."
  13. Set aside the yellow papers.
  14. On the outside of the folded blue paper, write "Galatians 1:8, 9."
  15. Open the booklet.
  16. Above the pocket on the left side, write "If God says something ONE time, it is..."
  17. On the left pocket, write "IMPORTANT." in red.
  18. Above the pocket on the right side, write "But, if God says the same thing twice, then it is..."
  19. On the right pocket, write "VERY IMPORTANT!" in red.
  20. Place the "1" inside the left pocket.
  21. Place the "2" inside the right pocket.
  22. Review by reading the booklets with a friend.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Lesson - The Second Letter To The Corinthians

VERSES:  2 Corinthians 4:1-18; 11:22-33

MEMORY VERSE:   2 Corinthians 4:7  "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels..."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:  Review the New Testament books every week, so that the students may not only be refreshed in their learning, but may also be proud in their diligence of studying and remembering all 27 books.

PRAYER:  Pray that we shine the light of the gospel far and wide, so others may be saved by hearing and obeying God's Word.

SPECIAL SONG:   This Little Light Of Mine (see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3 on this blog)

VISUAL AID:  Large Activity (see below)

  • We have learned in other lessons that we have studied that the city of Corinth was a very wicked city and that wickedness had slowly crept into the church. The church had listened to false teachers, even questioning the fact that Paul was an apostle. The false teachers who were in the church at Corinth convinced the Christians that Paul was dishonest and insincere. Because of these sinful issues that continued in the church at Corinth, Paul wrote another letter to the Corinthians.
  • He wrote in this second letter to the church at Corinth that, as he and his companions endured the sufferings of Christ, they enjoyed the many comforts of Christ (Second Corinthians 1:5). Christ comforted Paul in his troubles (2 Corinthians 1:4), so he could, in turn, comfort others who were in trouble.
  • Paul, also, wrote that the gospel was inside earthen vessels or in men, written in their hearts, and not written on tables of stone as the Old Law was written (2 Corinthians 3:2, 3). Christians were letters who could be read by all men by the things that they did and said. 
  • Paul explained that he had always spoken boldly against things done in dishonesty and trickery, and against handling the Word of God unjustly (2 Corinthians 4:2). Everything Paul had done was done in the open and not hidden from anyone. He said if the gospel was hidden, then it was hidden to the people who were lost by the devil (2 Corinthians 4:3). The devil hid the gospel from them, so that they would not receive the wonderful light of the gospel of Christ. With Jesus there was light, but with the devil there was darkness. 
  • Paul wrote that he and his companions did not preach about themselves, but about Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:5). Paul went on to say that he was never tired of preaching the gospel of Christ. He had led a humble life, serving Christ. He considered himself the chiefest of sinners (First Timothy 1:15).  He treasured God's Word and he counted himself blessed. Anyone could look at what Paul went through to preach about Jesus and know that he was not simply preaching for money or perhaps to be better than anyone else. He believed what he was preaching and he believed in Christ. Because of his belief and his preaching, Paul suffered many things for Christ as we can read in chapter 11 of Second Corinthians (verses 23-33). There were times when Paul:
    • endured beatings 
    • was in prison
    • was shipwrecked three times
    • was in the sea a night and a day 
    • was in danger on his travels
    • was in danger of robbers 
    • was in danger of his own countrymen 
    • was in danger of the Gentiles 
    • was in danger in the city
    • was in danger in the wilderness 
    • was in danger in the ocean
    • was in danger of false brothers
    • was in toil and pain
    • endured sleepless nights
    • endured in times when he was hungry and thirsty
    • often had no food
    • was cold and had little clothing
    • was concerned and anxious about the congregations.of the Lord's church.
  • We should be like Paul; always striving to please God, showing humility, preaching with boldness, never being ashamed of the gospel of Christ, but willing to tell everyone we know about the salvation that is found in Christ. Christians want to share the good news, so that all might be saved. Let us look to what Paul went through to spread the gospel and determine that will be just as strong and steadfast
"Older Student" Tips:
  • Many ideas are put forth when studying about Paul's "thorn in the flesh" which was something with which Paul suffered, yet is unknown to us today (2 Corinthians 11:7). We know that Paul prayed to God three times, asking that his "thorn in the flesh" be removed, but God said no, that His grace was all that Paul needed (2 Corinthians 11:9). When God answers our prayers, sometimes He says, "no." He knows what is best for us as He did for Paul.
  • Paul also commanded that Christians examine themselves (Second Corinthians 13:5). Christians need to stop now and then and think about what they are doing to make sure they are following Christ and His commands. 
ACTIVITY: Paul Suffered Many Things
Materials needed:  Ten pieces of 4" wide colorful construction paper in different lengths, beginning with 4 inches and graduating 1/2" with each paper, stapler, staples, crayons.

NOTE:  This can be a lengthy lesson. It is advisable for the Bible teacher to cut the papers in advance.
    1. Hand out all ten papers and place them in order by length.
    2. Making sure that each of the ten papers is even at the top, staple two staples to secure. This should look like a book with 1/2" of color showing at the bottom.
    3. With staples at the top, write "Paul Suffered Many Things For Christ" on the top page.
    4. Fold paper up.
    5. On the back of the first page, write "Second Corinthians 11:23-33."
    6. On the top of the second page, write "Paul endured beatings."
    7. Fold paper up.
    8. On the back of the second page, write "Paul was in prison,"
    9. On the top of the third page, write "Paul was shipwrecked 3 times."
    10. Fold paper up.
    11. On the back of the third page, write "Paul was in the sea a night and a day."
    12. On the top of the fourth page, write "Paul was in danger on his travels."
    13. Fold paper up.
    14. On the back of the fourth page, write "Paul was in danger of robbers."
    15. On the top of the fifth page, write "Paul was in danger of his own countrymen."
    16. Fold paper up.
    17. On the back of the fifth page, write "Paul was in danger of the Gentiles."
    18. On the front of the sixth page, write "Paul was in danger in the city."
    19. Fold paper up.
    20. On the back of the sixth page, write "Paul was in danger in the wilderness."
    21. On the front of the seventh page, write "Paul was in danger in the ocean."
    22. Fold paper up.
    23. On the back of the seventh page, write "Paul was in danger of false brethren."
    24. On the front of the eighth page, write "Paul was in toil and pain."
    25. Fold paper up.
    26. On the back of the eighth page, write "Paul endured sleepless nights."
    27. On the front of the ninth page, write "Paul endured times when he was hungry and thirsty."
    28. On the back of the ninth page, write "Paul often had no food."
    29. On the front of the tenth page, write "Paul was cold and had little clothing."
    30. Turn booklet over to the last page.
    31. On the back of the tenth page, write "Paul was concerned and anxious for the congregations of the Lord's church."
    32. When everyone is finished writing, let the students read quietly to their neighbor.
    33. Reverse and let the listening neighbor read to his partner.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Lesson - How Do Christians Worship God?

VERSES:  1 Corinthians 16:1, 2;  1 Corinthians 11:20-29;   1 Thessalonians 5:17;    2 Timothy 4:2-4;  Ephesians 5:19; Acts 20:7

MEMORY VERSE:   John 4:24  "God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   Review all 27 books of the New Testament. Keep them fresh in the students' minds.

PRAYER:   Pray that we will always worship the Lord His way and not our way. Pray that we will always study the Bible, so we will know what the Lord wants us to do.

SPECIAL SONG:   How Do Christians Worship God? (See May 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #5 on this blog. Click on orange circle to hear tune.)

VISUAL AID:   Large Activity (see below under Activity) 

BULLETIN BOARD:  As a reinforcement to this lesson, here is an easy bulletin board for your consideration:

  • We have studied in the past how God wanted to be worshiped in the Old Testament. He was very specific in his commands to Aaron and the priests.  If anyone did not follow God's plan in worshiping Him, there were grave consequences (see Lesson - Nadab And Abihu - May 2014 on this blog). Nadab and his brother, Abihu, who were Aaron's sons and also priests, did not follow God's instructions and were killed for doing what they thought God wanted. They should have known better and were not excused with a simple scolding for doing the wrong thing. They died for their presumptuous attitude or thinking they knew better than God or perhaps thinking that it did not matter to God. Worship mattered and still matters to God. 
  • Not one time, not two times, but three times in Leviticus chapter 1 (verses 9, 13, and 17), we can read that a burnt offering made by fire was a sweet smelling offering to God. That meant that God was pleased. We have recently studied in the book of Romans and found that, under the New Testament Law, God is now pleased when His children (Christians) are living sacrifices. The lives that Christians live here on earth are living sacrifices to God (see Lesson - A Different Life - October 2015 on this blog). God has always known how He wanted to be worshiped and He knows today as well. God has always had a plan for creation, for the family, and also for worshiping Him. We need to read His Word to find out how to please Him.
  • WHEN TO WORSHIP: In times past, we have read in Acts 20:7 what day the Lord wants to be worshiped and that is on the first day of the week. Do we know when the first day of week is? On Sunday! How many "first" days are there in a week? Only one. We know the first day of the week is Sunday. Do we know what the Christians did on that first day of the week in Acts 20:7? (Read verse.) In this verse we have book, chapter, and verse for how the church met on the first day of the week, for breaking bread or partaking in the Lord's Supper, and for preaching God's Word since that was what Paul was doing; in fact, Paul continued to preach until midnight! All acts of worship are equally important. One act of worship is not any less or more important than the other.
  • GIVE TO THE LORD: We find in 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2 that Paul addresses the collection of the saints or the Christians. He specifically identifies the day when Christians are to "lay by in store" or put money aside for the purpose of giving it to the Lord. When we look at 1 Corinthians 16:2, can we find what day? The first day of the week. Sunday. As God prospers Christians, they are to give back a portion of what the Lord gave them back to the Lord. They give in a proportionate manner. Christians are not to give because they must give out of duty or grudgingly; they are to give with a cheerful heart! God loves a cheerful giver!
  • PRAY TO THE LORD: Christians are a prayerful people. They have prayerful attitudes (1 Thessalonians 5:17). They thank God for the good things that He gives them (James 1:17) and  for His blessings (Philippians 4:6). They pray when they are happy (James 5:13). They pray for one another, especially when they are sick, knowing that God listens to a fervent prayer of a righteous Christian (James 5:16).
  • SING TO THE LORD: We are told what kind of music that God wants to hear and in Ephesians 5:19 it tells Christians to sing! They are to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. They sing with the spirit and with the understanding (1 Corinthians 14:15), knowing it is important  to understand what they are singing (Colossians 3:16).  Colossians 3:16 also tells Christians to make melody in their hearts to the Lord. Nowhere in the New Testament are there instructions for the Christian to play an instrument to praise God. This is not what the world believes, but it is what the Truth-seeking Christian finds in these verses. What were Paul and Silas doing while the were in prison in Philippi in Acts 16:25? They were praying and singing. There are many 'singing' verses in the New Testament.
  • PARTAKE OF THE LORD'S SUPPER:   Christians follow Christ's instructions concerning the Lord's Supper (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19, 20). The unleavened bread represents Christ's body as He died on the cross and the fruit of the vine symbolizes the blood He shed. As Christians partake in this supper or communion, they think back and remember Jesus death (1 Corinthians 11:24-26). They realize that partaking of the Lord's Supper is a very serious matter; each Christian examining his or her own self (1 Corinthians 11:27, 28), so they will not eat and drink in an unworthy manner. The instructions for partaking of the Lord's Supper is very clear. It is not a great meal where any food can be eaten. No, Paul says twice that Christians have homes in which to eat their meals (1 Corinthians 11:21, 22), saying if Christians are hungry, they should eat at home (1 Corinthians 11:34). Unleavened bread (bread that has no leavening like eggs, baking soda, baking powder, or yeast) and the fruit of the vine (grape juice) are what Christians partake of when eating and drinking of the Lord's Supper.
  • PREACH THE TRUTH:  We have already mentioned that Paul preached on the first day of the week in Acts 20:7. Christians should always hunger and thirst after righteousness and want to hear God's Word spoken (Matthew 5:6). Turning to 2 Timothy 4:1-4, we can read what Paul told Timothy to preach to the people. He was to preach the Word when the people wanted to hear it and when they did not want to hear His Word. He said Timothy should reprove (scold), rebuke (warn), and to exhort (build up) the people with patience and doctrine. Paul said that there would be a time coming when the people would not endure sound doctrine or they would not treasure God's Word. They would would look for people who only wanted to preach something nice and pleasant to them. He said they would in time turn their ears away from God's Word and listen to fairy tales or fables. Preachers preach God's Word to the people in order to please God.
ACTIVITY:  Acts Of Worship
Materials needed:  12" x 12" yellow construction paper, crayons, Bible sticker.
  1. Hand out yellow paper.
  2. Place yellow paper in a diamond shape (with a corner at the top) on the table.
  3. Fold two corners together.
  4. Fold other two corners together.
  5. Keeping paper folded, write 1, 2, 3, and 4 on the corners.
  6. Open all folds.
  7. Trace lines with a black crayon.
  8. Write "PREACH" on one open corner.
  9. Write "2 Timothy 4:1-4" on the "PREACH" corner.
  10. Draw a Bible on the "PREACH" corner.
  11. On another open corner, write "SING".
  12. Write "Ephesians 5:19" on the "SING" corner.
  13. Draw a musical note on the "SING" corner.
  14. On another open corner, write "PRAY."
  15. Write "1 Thessalonians 5:17" on the "PRAY" corner.
  16. Draw praying hands on the "PRAY" corner.
  17. On another open corner, write "GIVE."
  18. Write "1 Corinthians 16:1, 2" on the "GIVE" corner.
  19. In the middle of the blank square, write a "5".
  20. Write "THE LORD'S SUPPER" in the middle of the square.
  21. Write "1 Corinthians 11:20-29" in "THE LORD'S SUPPER" square.
  22. Draw a cup of grape juice and unleavened bread in the middle of the square.
  23. Turn paper over and write, "HOW DO CHRISTIANS WORSHIP GOD?" in the middle of the square.
  24. Turn paper over one more time, fold all corners together.
  25. Where the four corner meet, place a Bible sticker.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Lesson - The First Letter To The Corinthians - Love

VERSES:   1 Corinthians 13:1-13

MEMORY VERSE:   1 Corinthians 13:13  "And now abideth faith, hope and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   Review all 27 books of the New Testament.

PRAYER:   Pray for all those whom we love and love them God's way.

SPECIAL SONG:  Love Songs on this blog: Jesus Loves Me (see February 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #2); Jesus Loves The Little Children (see February 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #2); The Family In God's Plan (see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #4); Children, Obey Your Parents (see March 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #4); Be Patient And Kind (see April 2014 - Lesson - Joseph Meets His Brothers Who Hated Him). Click on orange circles on each lesson to hear each tune.

VISUAL AID:  White board or chalkboard, writing characteristics of love on board while teaching. Large Activity (see below under Activity).

Note: This lesson is designed for older students. There are many points in this lesson which could be divided into separate lessons, resulting in a theme for an entire quarter. Or, perhaps, the Bible teacher would prefer to address a smaller amount of characteristics for a set number of weeks as opposed to teaching all fifteen attributes in one week. This study on love could be a wonderful review of a number of Character studies as well. Also, this study could prove beneficial in selecting a theme for a Vacation Bible SchoolThere are many possibilities with such a wonderful lesson as Love.

Listed below are the characteristics of love and I have attempted to match a character in the Bible with that attribute of love. You could do the same! Choose characters with those whom you are familiar or select different characters than I have chosen to teach your students how to love God's way. Remember negative examples also teach. All references to lessons are found on this blog; using the "search box" may  also be helpful in selecting lessons to demonstrate love's attributes.
  • It is always good to see who wrote the particular letter in which you are studying and to know to whom it was written. The Apostle Paul wrote two letters (First and Second Corinthians) to the Christians who lived and worshiped in the city of Corinth. We know that both letters were written by Paul because Paul had a style of writing his name at the beginning of the letters just like he did in the letter to the Romans (1 Corinthians 1:1 and 2 Corinthians 1:1).  Paul's first letter to the Corinthians was filled with instructions to those Christians who lived in that extremely wicked city. The Christians were definitely not behaving as God wanted them to behave, so Paul reprimanded or scolded them on many issues. Finally, Paul told them what true love should be and how it should behave itself.
  • First, Paul explained to the Christians through his inspired letter that even if he 
    • could speak in many different languages, 
    • had many gifts of prophecy, 
    • had great understanding and knowledge, 
    • had so much faith that he could move mountains, 
    • gave all of his material goods to feed the poor, 
    • and even if he gave his body to be burned
            that he would be nothing if he did not have one thing--love.
  • Then, in this first letter to the Christians at Corinth, Paul continued telling them that there were fifteen different attributes or characteristics of love. By looking to Bible examples of these characteristics, we can learn much.
    • Love is patient. Besides our loving Father, perhaps Job is the best example of patience. Job's patience endured, even after losing all ten of his children, his riches, and his good health all in a short amount of time. (See October 2014 - Lesson - The Patience Of Job) Like Job, who never wavered in his love and trust in God, we should feel that same amount of patience towards those whom we love, thinking first before we speak or act.
    • Love is kind. Kindness is an action that is shown from the heart. We can look in the Old Testament and find one of the kindest women in the Bible. We do not know her name, but her kindness towards Elijah lives on through the pages of the Bible. When the woman from the city of Zarepheth was asked for a small piece of bread, we remember that she said that she was gathering sticks so she could build a fire to cook the last of her oil and meal for her and her son to eat, then they were going to die. It was all the food she had. Yet, when Elijah asked her to make a cake or bread for him first, she did not hesitate in kindly doing as he asked. By doing so, she not only saved herself, but her child, too. (See September 2014 - Lesson -  Elijah Raises A Boy To Life) Like the widow of Zarepheth, we must show the ultimate kindness to the ones whom we love even in times of great sacrifice to ourselves. What kindness and good things have we recently done for our loved ones?
    • Love is not envious or jealous. We can learn how not to be envious in our love to others by looking at the bad example of the Jews and how they were so jealous of Jesus that they killed Him. Jealousy and envy led mature men to kill. (See April 2015 - Lesson - Jesus Before Pilate). We need to look to Jesus as our example of perfect love. He was never full of envy of jealousy. His love for us was and still is pure and sincere and serves as the greatest example of the way our love should be to those we love. We should never be jealous or envious of those we love because jealousy and envy lead to many other sins and heartache. We need to keep our love pure.
    • Love is humble and does not brag. Being humble does not mean that a person is weak. We remember how David was humble as a young boy. After killing Goliath, the Philistine giant, he did not brag or boast about what he had done. David gave all of the the glory to God. David's love for God was respectful, submissive and full of humility. (See July 2014 - Lesson - David And Goliath) As David showed his humility and love to God, so we should show our loved ones a humble kind of love. Many in the world do not know this kind of love, but we know that perfect love is not showy and boastful.
    • Love is not arrogant. To be arrogant means to be full of pride. God never tolerated a prideful people. We can look to Boaz, who was a man of honor and great wealth, yet definitely was not arrogant. He was kind, helpful, protective and loving to Ruth, and eventually married her. (See July 2014 - Lesson - Ruth Gleans In Boaz' Field.) We can imitate Boaz' loving characteristics towards Ruth, knowing that this is an excellent example of how we should love and treat our families.
    • Love does not act unbecomingly. There will be times in our lives when we are wronged and we are innocent. How will we handle those times? Do you remember how Jacob treated Leah when he was tricked into marrying her instead of his beloved Rachel? He was not dramatic or had bad behavior, he simply went back to his father-in-law and worked out a contract to marry Rachel. While having two wives in the Old Testament was sometimes overlooked by God (Acts 17:30), it was never recommended and always caused a lot of trouble. However, we can still see how Jacob loved, provided for, and considered Leah throughout their lives (See April 2014 - Lesson - Jacob And Rachel). In Genesis 31, Jacob had the perfect opportunity to leave Leah behind at Laban's house, but Jacob included everyone in his family, including Leah. We, too, should behave considerately towards our family members. Our behavior towards others makes memories that people remember always. As we can sing in the song, Be Patient And Kind, (see above),  "Words live on after we are gone." Let us not act out in an unloving, ungodly way towards our loved ones.
    • Love does not seek its own or is selfish. We have an example of a couple, Anaias and Sapphira, who were more interested in their own welfare than the Lord's. They were selfish and deceitful. They lied to Peter about selling a piece of their land and they died because of that lie. (See May 2015 - Lesson - Ananias And Sapphira Lied And Died). True love thinks of others and their needs before themselves. Do we think of our loved ones before we think of ourselves? Let's not be like Ananias and Sapphira, but let our love for our family and friends exceed our love for ourselves. We seek their happiness above our own, always being honest.
    • Love is not easily provoked. Through trickery and deceit, Jacob received the blessing and the birthright of his brother, Esau. There was much contention and Esau bore a grudge towards his brother, Jacob, for many years. However, in later years, Esau forgave Jacob for what had been done to him, and instead of killing Jacob as he once entertained the thought, Esau fell on Jacob's neck and kissed him when he saw him, forgiving him of all that had past.  Esau 's anger was not stirred up at that time. (See April 2014 - Lesson - Jacob Goes Home). True love is not looking for a fight and is not easily angered. When people truly love each other, they are looking for the best in each other.
    • Love thinks no evil or is not suspicious. Many in the world think on evil continually and are suspicious of those who speak truth. An example of a sincerely brotherly love is that of David and King Saul's son, Jonathan. (See July 2014 - Lesson - Jonathan Says Good-bye To His Friend, David). Even though King Saul was jealous of David and had thrown javelins at his one-time friend, speaking unkindly of him, Jonathan, loved David unconditionally. He helped David in times of trial and trouble. Jonathan completely trusted his friend, David, and David trusted his friend, Jonathan. That is how a sincere love is--trusting. We should always have a trusting heart to those we love.
    • Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth. It would seem that everyone would know this fact about love, but not everyone does. Love is never happy when evil things happen to anyone, especially to their loved ones. We remember the story about Paul and Silas being put in prison, not for doing criminal things, but simply because they were preaching about Jesus and doing miracles in His name. (See June 2015 - Lesson - Paul And Silas In Prison). Paul and Silas were not dwelling on the beatings they received and harboring evil thoughts against their captors. No, they were praying and singing praises to God at midnight in prison! By applying Paul and Silas' behavior in a bad situation to our own misfortunes or trials, we, too can rejoice in truth, not meditating on the evil.
    • Love bears all things. The best example of love bearing all things is looking to out Savior, Jesus. All of the heartache, pain, and suffering that Jesus endured on the cross is the ultimate example of forbearance. Jesus bore the burdens of our sins--sins that were not even His own, so that all mankind might have the hope of eternal life in heaven if they obeyed and loved the Lord. (See April 2015 - Lesson - Jesus Is Crucified.) Do we bear all things? Difficult situations will arise and we need to be prepared to persevere in our love for our loved ones. Love does not give up on the one they love as Christ did not give up on us while we were yet sinners. Love continues.
    • Love believes all things. True and sincere love believes what is told to them by the ones that they love. Having no reason to doubt, love believes all things. Looking to story of how King Ahazuerus believed Queen Esther over his supposedly-trusted right-hand man, Haman. The king believed and trusted all that the queen had to say about her people and those who were trying to kill them (see October 2015 - Lesson - Haman Reaped What He Sowed). We should believe our loved ones when they talk to us as they should, also, believe us.
    •  Love hopes all things.  Love is a very optimistic characteristic. Love is full of hope! We remember the lesson about the Prodigal son (see March 2015 -  Lesson - The Parable Of The Prodigal Son) and how his father was full of hope, eagerly awaiting his son who had taken his inheritance and went off into the world. The father continued to watch down the road every day anxious to see if his son was coming home that hope. When his father's hopes came true, he was overcome with joy! His love for his son hoped all things. We, too, should have a love that hopes all things. Truly, love is hopeful!
    • Love endures all things. A tremendous story about a man's love for God is that of the Apostle Paul. Many things he suffered for the cause of Christ. As we turn our Bibles to 2 Corinthians 11:23-33, let us read of what Paul endured. Can we say that we have endured what Paul had? Of course not! But Paul had the determination to prevail through his trials. That is exactly what we need to do with our loved ones. If we love, we will endure. 
    • Love never fails or never ends.  We can see through most any lesson that we have studied that our Heavenly Father has never failed or given up on any who have turned to Him with a sincere and repentant heart. The lesson about the twelve spies going into the land of Canaan and coming back with ten of the spies reporting that the people of that land were as large as giants and they as grasshoppers resulted in the people believing the ten spies instead of Joshua and Caleb who had said that with God's help they could take the land. (See May 2014 - Lesson - The Spies and May 2014 - Lesson - The Minority Was Right). Even though the children of Israel continued to turn away from God so many times, God's love for them continued as His love for us continues is we are obedient to Him. His love never fails if we serve Him with our whole heart. When we sin (1 John 1:7-10), God's love will always be there if we are repentant and ask for forgiveness. He waits for us to turn to Him again (1 Peter 3:12). Let us always have that pure love, always ready to forgive our loved ones, and to always be there to love them God's way. God's way is always the best way!
"Older Student" Tips:
  • Corinth was a very wicked city. See July 2015 - Lesson - Aquila, Priscilla, and Paul - Three Tentmakers on this blog for  more background information on the city of Corinth.
  • We hear a lot about love these days, but it is usually not the way that God was speaking about in First Corinthians 13. Let us always apply those things which we learn. What have we learned in this lesson? Are we loving? Do we think the best of others or the worst? Do we endure all things or are we ready to give up? We know that when God speaks of marriage, it is a love that endures and bears all things. Once Christians choose a mate, it is for a lifetime. Before we say, "I do," apply these characteristics to your loved one and yourself. Are they patient? Are you patient? Are they kind? Are you kind? Go down the list to see if it is true love, God's kind of love. Choose well. Love well...for a lifetime. Home should always be a refuge from the world, a place where we are loved and that we love.

ACTIVITY:  Puzzle Heart
Materials needed:  Red, yellow, and blue 12" x 18" construction paper, 2" x 6" blue construction paper, 1/2" x 5 1/2" yellow construction paper, marker, glue, ribbon or yarn (cut in 20"and 7"), hole punch.

  1. Hand out red and yellow construction paper.
  2. Fold both paper in half.
  3. Beginning on folded edge, draw a large heart on red paper.
  4. Place yellow paper inside red paper.
  5. Cut both hearts at the same time.
  6. Set yellow heart aside.
  7. Place red heart on folded edge of blue paper.
  8. Trace red heart on blue paper.
  9. Set red heart aside.
  10. Cut a blue heart one-half inch larger than the marked line. This will create a border when other hearts are glued inside.
  11. Glue yellow heart in the middle of the blue heart.
  12. Set yellow/blue heart aside.
  13. Cut red heart into 15 pieces.
  14. Place red cutouts on yellow heart, tracing each cutout.
  15. Write the fifteen characteristics of love (see above in lesson) onto red pieces.
  16. Do not glue red pieces, yet.
  17. Set red pieces aside.
  18. With hole punch, punch a hole at the bottom of the heart.
  19. At the top of the heart, punch one hole on each side of the heart.
  20. Set hearts aside.
  21. Hand out blue and yellow small pieces of construction paper.
  22. Glue yellow paper in the middle of the blue paper. This is the label.
  23. Write "1 Corinthians 13" on the yellow paper.
  24. Punch a hole in the top middle of the label.
  25. Hand out 7" ribbon or yarn.
  26. Tie ribbon in the hole on the label.
  27. Tie the other end of the ribbon to the bottom of the heart.
  28. Hand out 20" ribbon.
  29. Tie each end of ribbon to each hole at the top of the heart. 
  30. After the Bible teacher has decided how many lessons this will be, each week the student glues the studied characteristic in the proper place on their heart. For example, if this lesson will be one studied in only one week, then the student will glue all of the characteristics on the heart; however, if this class is only studying one characteristic a week for fifteen weeks, only one characteristic will be glued on the heart each week. Whatever is studied that week, will be glued on the heart.  Note:  Store the unused cutouts in a small plastic bag with that student's name written on the bag for easy access the next week.
  31. At the end of the lessons, the student takes home their completed heart.