God's Eternal Plan - Lesson 11
Background for the Teacher
- The student can relate the story of Jesus final event with the apostles and the ascension which followed.
- The student can describe the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles.
- The student can explain what "speaking in tongues" means and its purpose.
- The student can list the basic reasons Peter gave for believing in Jesus and can recite Acts 2:36, Peter's concluding statement.
- The student can recite Acts 2:38, Peter's response to the question of "What shall we do?"
- The student can tell what the early Christians in Jerusalem did.
- The student can draw three more pictures that show the development of God's Eternal Plan.
- Have ready the Written Review over Lesson 10 and Worksheets for Lesson 11.
- Be ready to use the board to write key words and passages.
- Each student will need a Bible.
- Have paper for students to use to draw additional pictures.
- Be prepared to sing "Up From the Grave He Arose" and "Victory in Jesus."
With the coming of the Holy Spirit on the apostles to guide them into all truth,they now begin to proclaim the message that Jesus was the Christ and call people to obey His command to believe, repent, and be baptized for forgiveness of sins.
Lesson Plan for Teaching the Class
Introduction: (about 8 minutes)
- Introduce visitors.
- Practice some memory verses.
- Recite the titles to the lessons so far.
- Sing "Ring it Out" if you have time.
Learning Experiences: (about 30 minutes)
- Read Acts 1:3, 7_8. Q: What did Jesus do while He was on earth after His resurrection? A: He taught the apostles more about the kingdom. He promised the coming of the Holy Spirit. He gave the apostles the mission of teaching inJerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. Then He ascended.
- The day of Pentecost arrived. The apostles were in one place (probably the temple grounds). Historical records suggest that this was on Sunday, May 27, 30AD. The Bible says it was at 9 a.m. in the morning. Read: Acts 2:1_11. Q: What two things signified that something special had happened to the apostles? A:Tongues of fire. Speaking in tongues. Q: What do we learn about "speaking in tongues" from this passage? A: It was a miracle of speaking for verse for says"they spoke in other tongues." What they spoke were the actual languages of those from places outside of Jerusalem such as Greek, Latin, Arabic, and Persian.Since they were unlearned men from Galilee, they had never studied such languages. The people who heard them were amazed that they could speak in these languages.
- After a time of speaking "the wonders of God" in these languages, Peter got the attention of the large crowd which had gathered and began to preach to them.Read Acts 2:23 from the early part of the message. Q: How does this passage relate to our overall theme of "the mystery?" A: While the Jews had crucifiedJesus by their own choice, the crucifixion played a part in God's overall plan which He had developed long before. Peter is going to explain more steps in the unfolding of God's mystery.
- Scan Acts 2:14_35 and be ready to answer some questions. (Give the class a couple of minutes to do this.) Q: What are some things Peter brings to the crowds' attention? A: That what was happening was the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy. That they knew Jesus had proved Himself by working miracles. ThatJesus had been raised from the dead. That His resurrection was the fulfillment of a prophecy from David. Read Acts 2:36_37? Q: Based on the evidence he had given, what does Peter conclude? A: That Jesus, whom they had crucified, is both Lord and Christ. Q: What does it mean that the people were "cut to the heart?" A: That they believed what Peter had said and that they were deeply moved by the fact that they had taken part in the crucifixion of their long awaited Messiah. Imagine how deeply they must have been struck by this!
- Read Acts 2:38. Q: What does each phrase of this verse mean? (Teacher: adjust your study here according to your time available.) A: (1) "Repent." This term means that they are to change their minds in a way that will change their lives.They must change their view of Jesus. They must be willing to change anything in their lives that is not in harmony with God's way to live. They must make a commitment that their lives will be different. (2) "Be baptized." The Jews were acquainted with immersion for spiritual cleansing. The Law of Moses required immersion for spiritual purification for certain situations. John the Baptist had immersed "for forgiveness of sins" as a prelude to the coming of the Messiah.Here Peter calls on them to be baptized "in the name of Jesus Christ," that is, to accept His authority and to do what He commands. (3) "For forgiveness of sins."What a joy this must have brought to those on Pentecost who had taken part in the killing of Jesus! They can be forgiven. Likewise, people today can be forgiven of sins and can make a fresh start by submitting to be baptized. Clearly,Peter makes baptism a condition for receiving forgiveness in the name of Jesus.(Also see Acts 22:16 and Galatians 3:27.) (4) "That you may receive the gift of theHoly Spirit." The apostles had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit (See Acts10:44_48 and Acts 11:15_16.) This was a special event that is said to have occurred only twice-once on the apostles and once on the household of Cornelius, once on Jews and once on Gentiles. What Peter promises upon baptism is the "gift of the Holy Spirit," not the "baptism of the Spirit" but a reference to "the indwelling of the Holy Spirit" which comes to all those who are baptized. See Ephesians 3:16_20). By sending His Spirit into our hearts, we are strengthened because we believe that God is always close to us and this strong awareness of aHis presence in our lives gives us comfort and boldness, and the Spirit helps us with our prayers (Romans 8:26).
- Read Acts 2:41_46. The response to Peter's message was overwhelming with3,000 being baptized that very day. God's plan is finally being announced and people are responding to the announcement. The "mystery" which God formed in His mind before the world began and developed through the centuries is now being proclaimed. Q: After they were baptized, how did the people act and what did they do? A: They continued steadfastly in the apostle's teaching, in fellowship, and in worshipping together. They also took care of each other.Some had responded to Peter's message who had come to Jerusalem to observePentecost and had not come prepared to stay longer but now, in the new fellowship with other believers in Jesus, they did not want to leave. And there were also the poor in Jerusalem who had responded to Peter's message. So those who had houses or land sold it and gave it to the apostles so these could be cared for. (See also Acts 4:32_36.)
- Read Acts 2:47. Q: How are those described who have obeyed what Peter taught and what does this mean? Q: They were "the saved" and all of those continuing to be saved were all together in unity.
- Study together the words to "Victory in Jesus" and then sing the song as time allows.
- We can now add three more pictures to our list. Draw those on the board and let everyone else draw them on their papers. God sent Jesus into the world so He could die on the cross for our sins and He accomplished everything God sent Him to do. But we are still creatures of choice and God will not force us to acceptJesus as our Savior. So, as this pictures shows, we must chooseJesus. John 3:16 states it this way: "Whoever believes on him shall have eternal life." To understand all about what God asks of us to receive His grace, we must look at other passages besides John 3:16. It tells some of whatGod asks but there are others passages that speak to this same question. We have already seen that on Pentecost, in addition to believing, Peter told the crowd to "repent and be baptized for forgiveness of sins." And in Acts 22:16, a believing and repentingSaul of Tarsus was told to "be baptized to wash your sins away."James 2:24 says that "a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone." So, since God asks believers to obey Him with repentance and baptism before they receive forgiveness by His grace,we have placed an "O" after "F" to suggest both "Faith plusObedience." This picture returns us to the first one when God and humans were in fellowship, before they were separated by sin. This picture showsGod and humans back together with sin crossed out. Thus, God and humans are back in fellowship. As with the last picture, see Acts2:38: those obeying Peter's instruction to "repent and be baptized"have their sins forgiven. And Acts 22:16-"be baptized and wash away your sins." Also see Romans 6:4 where Paul reminds theChristians in Rome they were "baptized into Christ," then raised to walk a new life. The new life in Christ where the forgiven are,follows baptism.The next chapter will give us the last picture in this sequence but to this point we have come from God and humans in fellowship, to God and humans being separated by sin, to God and humans being back in fellowship again. Now we know why the story in this mystery is called "the gospel," which means "good news."
- How can we do more to spread the message of Jesus?
- How can we get more excited about it?
- How can we be more like the Jerusalem church in fellowship and in caring foreach other?
Evaluation and Assignment:
- Use the worksheet to prepare for the next written review.
- Think about what you can do to spread the message announced on Pentecost.
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