God's People and Me! Story One

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

Lesson Outline:

They believed the Apostolic Preaching:
  1. God gathered a great crowd at the feast of Pentacost
  2. God poured out His Spirit upon the Church
  3. Peter preached on the death, resurrection and ascended Lordship of Jesus
  4. A great multiltude believed what He proclaimed and responded in repentance and faith.

    They believed the Apostolic Teaching:

  5. The believers were gathered into churches where they learned more about Jesus and grew in their faith.
  6. The new churches obeyed what they were taught about living for Jesus.

  1. A large crowd of faces, of different nationalities.
  2. The Apostles with the tongues of fire of the Spirit over them.
  3. A split picture showing the crucifixion and the empty tomb and the ascension of Jesus.
  4. A circle of believers gathered for worship around an open Bible.
  5. A split picture of believers witnessing, praying, sharing bread.
Stick figures:

Story One: The day 3,000 people joined the church

Introduction: a lot of people! How many is Three Thousand? (Use Some kind of object lesson to help the children visualize such a large number.)

Picture 1 - the gathering of people from all over the world for Pentacost - lots of different languages - customs - but they all needed to hear about Jesus who had died on the cross and rised from the dead.

It was 50 days after Jesus had been crucified. Since then Jesus had risen from the dead and met with his 11 amazed disciples. Jesus had commanded them to preach and teach the Good News of Salvation and everything he had commanded them to do to the whole world. (From now on these disciples would be called the Apostles.) He had promised to send His Spirit to help them. Then He had left them, forty days after the resurrection on Easter, ascending into the clouds to heaven. The little group had waited for the Spirit to come, often gathering together to pray.

God had a special reason for making them wait for the day of Pentacost. He planned on having 3,000 people join the church on just that one day!

On the day of Pentacost a great feast was taking place, and Jewish people would come to it from all over the world. They came from (you may want to show a map here) Parthia, Media, Elam (Mesopotamia - today Iran and Iraq), Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Eygpt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; even from Rome!

Explain the feast of Pentacost - emphasize the crowded city and temple full of pilgrims. This was the busiest feast of the year.

Picture 2 - God sends his Spirit. The story of the outpouring of the Spirit. A great sound. Tongues of fire over each of the Apostles. They began to speak in other languages. A great crowd gathered, utterly amazed. What was happening? How can they speak our languages? What are they saying? Wonderful things about God.

But some people laughed saying: "They are just drunk" Hold up Peter Stick puppet - Peter stood up and spoke to the crowd. "Silly people, it's too early in the morning for people to be drunk! What you are seeing happening is a fulfilment of prophecy. God prophecied through his prophet Joel that He would send his Spirit and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!

Picture 3 & Peter Stick puppet: Then he began to tell them about Jesus.

Using the picture summarize briefly the Sermon - emphasizing the crucifiction and the resurrection. (Point out to the children that we celebrate these events on Good Friday and Easter.) God has made Jesus Lord and Christ.

(add Kneeling figures stick puppet): As he spoke, more and more of the crowd realized that Jesus had died for their sins and and that God had raised him from the dead and made him Lord. Realizing that Jesus had been crucified because of their sins, people began to call out to Peter, asking what they should do.

Then highlight his answer to the crowd to "Repent and be baptized." Make sure your children understand what these terms mean, using the picture and puppets. They had to believe what Peter preached to them.

Replace Picture 1 and hold up the Peter stick puppet: It must have been exciting day for Peter. Three thousand people that day from all overthe world had turned from their sins and believed in Jesus. But then Peter started to wonder what the Apostles would have to do with all these new Christians?? They had so much to learn about Jesus and how to be Christians. But how could they all be gathered together every day for Peter to teach. Soon they would be going back to their homes around the world. And when they got home how would they continue to worship and tell about Jesus? Who would teach them? How would they stay strong when temptation or persecution might come?

Picture 4 - God's Spirit helped him remember what Jesus had taught them and made it clear what would have to be done. They were organized into smaller groups called churches. They had a lot to learn about Jesus - both from the Old testament Scriptures and from the preaching and teaching of the Apostles who had been with Jesus and had witnessed what had happened. And the Apostles would need to write down the things Jesus had taught his disciples before making them his Apostles, so they could learn these things as well. Jesus had promised his Spirit would help them remember these things.

One very important reason we gather in church is to hear the Word of God taught to us. We hear about Jesus and his death and resurrection. As the pastor preaches, or in our Sunday School class we hear the things that Jesus did and taught to his Apostles, which have been written for us in His Word. The Bible tells us that the new Christians devoted themselves to the teaching of the Apostles.

Point out the significance of the word "devote". Going to church or sunday school was not something they did half-heartedly, or because they had to, nor casually, just when they felt like it, and didn't have anything else to do. They were committed to hearing and believing, they loved to get together and learn about Jesus.

Picture 5 - They learned about what God wanted them to do. Comment on the rest of Acts 2:42. "to the fellowship and breaking of bread and prayer." They learned about how important it was to worship together and work together in sharing Jesus. About sharing what they had with one another. About praying together.

Picture 1 - There still are many more people of all the nations of the world who need to hear and believe the Word of God. God has sent missionaries from his churches to tell them. They need to hear God's word taught and become part of churches where they can learn more about Jesus. From those 3,000 believers churches were started all over the world. Every day there were more and more believers, joining the churches.

Are you in this picture too?

Hold up Picture 3 Do you believe Jesus died for your sins and rose from the grace. Have your turned from your sins and believed in him.

Hold up Picture 4 Do you love to learn about Jesus and hear his Word preached and taught to you?

© 1990, Hypertext Version © 1996 Barry McWilliams
This Curriculum may be downloaded, copied and used with permission of the author
by any Church or Christian Organization - Donations accepted.
For Permission and other information contact Barry McWilliams at eldrbarry@eldrbarry.net

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