God's People and Me! Lesson One

A Vacation Bible School Curriculum by Barry McWilliams
An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America

Daily Theme: God's people believe the good news.


The day 3,000 people joined the church - a story from: Acts 2:1-47

Object Lesson: The importance of learning and trusting God's Word as it is proclaimed to us.

Teaching method: Pictures in Sequence

This lesson should stress how important it is to believe the teaching of the Apostles. The church is where we are taught about Jesus and his gift of salvation to men of all nations. We need to give attention to what God's word teaches us. We are also taught here how we become a part of God's people. (Repentence and Faith)

Review the events from Easter until Pentacost in Luke 24 and Acts 1.

Since the Feast of Pentacost takes place 50 days after Passover, how long was it between the Ascension and Pentacost? (Acts 1:3) What was the activity of the Apostles ("Apostle" means "sent one") following the ascension. (1:14) Why do you think they had to wait for the Spirit to come, rather than having it sent to them immediately?

Pentacost: A Jewish feast.

There were three annual feasts that Jewish believers were expected to attend, however because Passover and Tabernacles occurred during times of the year when travel was more difficult, Pentacost was the feast best attended by Jewish believers of the dispersion, who had been scattered far to the east into Mesopotamia; down into Eygpt and Northern Africa; North into Asia Minor, and west into Greece and Italy (Rome).

The day of Pentacost was the beginning of the feast of weeks, so called because it takes place 7 weeks after the waving of the barley sheaf at Passover. It was the the feast of the harvest or of the "first fruits". See Deut 16:9-12 and Lev 23:11. It was a feast of joy and thanksgiving. As such it is highly appropriate that God chose this feast for the first gathering in of the New Testament Church.

Try to locate on a map where the pilgrims came from who attended the feast.

Visualize the events of the Holy Spirit's coming at Pentacost. Can you narrate them with excitement?

Read Peter's Sermon in Acts 2:17-39:

What are His three main points? Briefly summarize his message in a brief paragraph.

Notice how Peter makes use of the Old Testament Scriptures? The church preaches the Word of God. We are called to believe what God has revealed through His word. The events which the Apostles had witnessed in recent weeks were all clearly prophesied in the Bible. Peter wants to make it clear that the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus are a part of God's plan of Salvation. And now, ascended into heaven, He is the Lord who now calls all men to be forgiven!

Striking is Peter's call to repentance. Vss 38-41. Repentance has two aspects: a turning away, with sorrow, from our sins; and a turning to God with a desire to for new obedience,

Peter calls them to be baptized. Baptism is the means by which they (and Christians since) profess their faith in Jesus Christ and the saving work of his death and resurrection in their place. Jesus commanded it as a part of the mission of the church, not as a means of salvation, but as the proper expression of saving faith in Him. Matt 28:19.

What is the significance of vs 40? What do we need to be warned about in our corrupt generation?

It is suggested that Peter's sermon produced 8 distinct results on the part of those who heard it: conviction, curiosity, obedience, perseverance, fear, unselfishness, worship and growth. (John Gerstner in The Biblical Expositor, Carl Henry, Ed.)

Review your study of our memory passage in Acts 2:42-47.

What are some practical reasons why these believers would have been be formed into churches? Some Spiritual reasons?

We must not forget that these many new believers represented a great variety of cultural and linguistic groups. God would use them to be the foundation of churches across the known world. Acts does not record the development of so many of these churches, but then it also tells us next to nothing about the ministries of most of the 12 Apostles neither. Nor do we know how long these out of town believers remained in Jerusalem, but considering the distances they traveled and the time and difficulties that were involved in such pilgrimages, it makes sense that they remain in Jerusalem for a significant period of time. So we have to assume that these new believers were organized into smaller groups where they were taught and discipled, and that these people as them returned home would be the foundation for churches.

Devoted to the Apostles' Teaching, Fellowship (oneness of faith, , worship, purpose, goods, etc), Breaking of Bread (the observance of the Lord's Supper) and prayer. These aspects of the Church's body life are universal - not limited to specific cultural groups. Whether a group of believers worship under a tree in Africa or a Cathedral in Europe or a little white church in Iowa, they all should have these 4 elements as a part of their churches' programs.

The New Testament makes clear that there should be growth in a new Christian's life. These early Christians "devoted" themselves to that which produces growth - the Apostolic teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread (worship and communion?), and prayer. Where there is a commitment to these things, there will be maturing in a believer's life. Without any one of them there will be weakness. How important the role of the church in a believer's life!

© 1990, Hypertext Version © 1996 Barry McWilliams
This Curriculum may be downloaded, copied and used with permission of the author
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For Permission and other information contact Barry McWilliams at eldrbarry@eldrbarry.net

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