New Believers

Our hope is for our kids to know that: The message of the gospel is effective to save and change sinful hearts  

17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
(2 Corinthians 5:17)

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Acts 2:42 – 47) The disciples were now filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. Christ had told them to make disciples of all nations after they received the gift of the Holy Spirit, so now that time has come. Jesus told the disciples that they would do greater things than Him, and we witness this at the day of Pentecost. We see that 3000 people responded to Peter’s message and were saved. Peter was filled with the spirit and we see the awesome results. This response to the gospel message began the local church. We see that they all began to fellowship together and share everything they had with each other so that no one was in need. People began to see this and join them daily.

The Jesus Connection:
The behavior of the very first converts in the book of Acts shows us the fruit of the gospel through the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. These people were transformed from being mockers of Christ. In fact, some of them were probably in the crowd who had demanded that Jesus be crucified. Yet now, we see them selling their possessions to share with other Christians who had need. Peter, affected by this first dramatic gospel transformation, went on to exhort all new believers to reject their sinful past and live holy, upright lives (see 1 Peter 1:14–15).
The gospel takes someone’s worldly self-focus and turns their heart heavenward. The first converts went from hating Jesus to loving him. They served others and worshiped God through Christ. Only the Spirit of God can change hearts this way. The gospel continued to transform lives as more new converts were added each day.

Pentecost

Our hope is for our kids to know that: The promised Holy Spirit is poured out  

I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Mark 1:8

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Acts 1:15 – 2:12) Jesus told the disciples that they need to wait in Jerusalem for a gift. After receiving this gift, they were supposed to spread the news of Christ and make disciples all over the world. In this passage we see that the gift Jesus was referring to was the Holy Spirit. As they were gathered together tongues of fire settled upon each of them, and a violent wind shook the entire place. They each began to speak in other tongues (languages) because they were filled with the Holy Spirit. People from all nations were there, and they each heard the disciples speaking in their own language. They wondered how this could be? This was God plan in showing that the gospel was for every nation, every tongue, and every person.

The Jesus Connection:
In the Old Testament, the feast of Pentecost was called the Feast of Harvest or day of the first fruits (Exodus 23:16; Numbers 28:26–30). On this day, bulls, lambs, and a goat were sacrificed, in addition to the regular offering, to make atonement.
Now that Jesus has been sacrificed upon the cross and salvation has come to the people of Israel, there is no longer need to kill the goat of atonement. In addition, the promised blessing to Abraham has been fulfilled. With the arrival of the Spirit of God, the disciples were free to begin the advance of the gospel to people of every tribe, language, and nation.

The Ascension

Our hope is for kids to know that: Jesus left the Earth, but He will come again

21 Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.
Acts 3:21

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Acts 1:1-14) Jesus had accomplished his mission that He set out to do on Earth. He conquered death, sin, and the devil. The disciples wanted to know if He was going to restore the kingdom of Israel. However, Jesus had different plans that were bigger than that. Jesus told them to wait for the gift that He had promised them (the Holy Spirit) and then they were to spread the gospel to all nations. This is what God told Abraham years ago, that they were to spread the word to the entire world. After this Jesus ascended into heaven with the disciples staring up in the sky at him. While they were staring, two men in white told him that Jesus would be back again, even though it is not for us to know the day or the time. We are to pray for His return.

The Jesus Connection:
The Great Commission of Matthew 28:16–20 is not found in the other Gospels, but has a companion passage in Luke. Jesus had earlier commissioned the disciples to spread the message of his death and resurrection (Luke 24:47). Both passages tell us that the gospel is to be preached to all nations. The salvation of Jesus Christ is not limited to the Jews, but is to go to all nations and all peoples. Matthew records that those who receive the message are to be baptized. That baptism, Paul later explains, is an identification with the death and resurrection of Jesus in the life of the individual believer (Romans 6:3–4).

The Great Commission

Our hope is for our kids to know that: The Gospel Fulfills God’s Promise to Abraham  

21 Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.
Acts 3:21

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Matthew 28:16-20) Jesus was finished with his work on Earth as a man. He had fulfilled his purpose. He lived among us as a man, he died, and he rose again. Now it was His time to ascend into heaven, so he told his disciples to go out and spread his word. To go out and make more disciples, not just in the town they were in, but in all the world. This message was just not for the Jews, but it was for the gentiles as well! The message of Christ was spread because the disciples were excited to share the gospel. We should be just as excited today! Let’s go out and make disciples and continue to spread the gospel!

The Jesus Connection:
The Great Commission of Matthew 28:16–20 is not found in the other Gospels, but has a companion passage in Luke. Jesus had earlier commissioned the disciples to spread the message of his death and resurrection (Luke 24:47). Both passages tell us that the gospel is to be preached to all nations. The salvation of Jesus Christ is not limited to the Jews, but is to go to all nations and all peoples. Matthew records that those who receive the message are to be baptized. That baptism, Paul later explains, is an identification with the death and resurrection of Jesus in the life of the individual believer (Romans 6:3–4).

Doubting Thomas

Our hope is for our kids to know that: Jesus calls to faith all who are His

31 But these (miracles) are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John 20:31

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child John 20:19-31) Jesus had left the tomb, so when they went to check on Him it was empty. The Jewish leaders probably assumed the disciples had stolen the body, and a search had likely begun. As the disciples hid, Jesus appeared among them. Thomas however was not present at this time, so when he was told the Jesus was alive, he wouldn’t believe them, unless he “saw the nail marks and placed his finger where the nails were”. Well when Jesus appeared to Thomas, he told him to do just that. Jesus told Thomas he was blessed because he saw and believed, however Jesus said we are blessed when we believe and have not seen his hands. Jesus gave Thomas the evidence he asked for, how much more will Christ give us evidence that He is the Son of God.

The Jesus Connection:
After his resurrection, Jesus opened the minds of his disciples to understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:45). Jesus explained that he himself was the central theme of Scripture. Yet, Thomas, who was absent, did not believe. He was in need of gospel truth. Jesus knew what Thomas needed and reappearing in his presence, showed him his nail-scarred hands. Jesus called Thomas to faith and opened his mind. Thomas immediately responded by addressing Jesus as God. Thomas doubted, but when confronted with the risen Lord who was slain for his sins, Thomas believed. For us, although we have not seen, we have heard the Word and when God opens our minds, we too can believe.

The Triumphal Entry  

Our hope is for our kids to know that: The people celebrate their King, while others plot His death

13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!”
John 12:13

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Luke 17:11-19) The word spread about all the miracles that Jesus has done, so when ten lepers heard that Jesus was teaching in their village, they went out to meet him. When Jesus saw the lepers he immediately told them to go see the priest to examine them. Now the priest were the ones that verify the healing of a leper, so the ten had enough faith to do as Jesus said. Along the way they were healed, showing that when we walk in faith Jesus will take care of us. After they were examined and verified they were healed, only one leper came back to Jesus to thank him, a Samaritan. The Samaritan not only reminds us that salvation is for all, but it also reminds us to seek Christ in the good times, not just the bad.

The Jesus Connection:
Even as Jesus was riding into Jerusalem, the very people who were celebrating his arrival would put him to death in a few days, Jesus would soon die for the sins of men by suffering on the cross. It is true that Jesus came to earth to be king. But he came as a heavenly king for a spiritual kingdom. That is why he said that if the people did not praise him, the very stones would cry out. The cross did not come as a surprise to Jesus (John 12:27); it was the very reason he had come to earth. Jesus even predicted how he would die (John 12:32–33). Many of those who hailed Jesus as king in his triumphal entry would soon cry out with the religious rulers, “Crucify him!”

Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers  

Our hope is for our kids to know that: The forgiveness of our sin is the greatest healing we can receive  

34 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:34

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Luke 17:11-19) The word spread about all the miracles that Jesus has done, so when ten lepers heard that Jesus was teaching in their village, they went out to meet him. When Jesus saw the lepers he immediately told them to go see the priest to examine them. Now the priest were the ones that verify the healing of a leper, so the ten had enough faith to do as Jesus said. Along the way they were healed, showing that when we walk in faith Jesus will take care of us. After they were examined and verified they were healed, only one leper came back to Jesus to thank him, a Samaritan. The Samaritan not only reminds us that salvation is for all, but it also reminds us to seek Christ in the good times, not just the bad.

The Jesus Connection:
Though many Jews believed, the Jewish nation as a whole would reject Jesus as the Messiah. Many Gentiles, however, would gladly receive the gospel. Here we see a Samaritan throwing himself at the feet of Jesus. Clearly this man had been healed not only physically but also spiritually. The other lepers found healing; this man found Jesus. By healing the man’s illness, Jesus saved his earthly life. But Jesus pointed to a greater healing when he told the man that his faith had made him well. That commendation indicated that God recognized his trust in Jesus and he would be saved. We are also sick with sin and condemned to death. By dying on the cross, Jesus saved us and gave us a greater healing, the forgiveness of our sins.