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Sunday, July 15 in Elementary KidzTown

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Key Passage: Acts 2:42,47

Big Picture Question: Why was Stephen not afraid to die? Stephen saw Jesus waiting for him in heaven.

Christ Connection: Stephen was killed because he was a Christian. Jesus told His followers that they would be persecuted—hated, hurt, or even killed—for loving Him. Jesus also said that those who suffer for Him would be blessed. (Matthew 5:11) We can face suffering in this life because Jesus suffered first. He died and then rose again, and He is waiting for us in heaven.

 Today’s Bible story is about the first Christian martyr, Stephen. Stephen was one of the seven men chosen to serve as leaders in the early church at Jerusalem. (See Acts 6:1-7.) God blessed Stephen, and God gave him the power to do wonders and miracles like some of the apostles.

Some of the Jews accused Stephen of blasphemy and dragged him to the Sanhedrin, a group of Jewish leaders that acted as a legal counsel. Stephen addressed the group. He drew from the Old Testament, which the leaders in the Sanhedrin would have known well. He reminded them of Abraham’s faith in God and of Joseph’s plight in Egypt. He talked about Moses and the Israelites who rejected God’s plan. But God did not give up on them.

Stephen also showed how the Old Testament pointed to a coming Savior and how that Savior was Jesus. Stephen pointed out that the Jews’ ancestors had rejected God’s prophets. And they were just like their fathers; they rejected the Messiah, the Lord Jesus. Not only did they reject Jesus, they killed Him!

The Jewish leaders rushed at Stephen. The Holy Spirit filled Stephen, and he looked into heaven. He saw God’s glory, and Jesus was standing at God’s right hand. The Jews forced Stephen out of the city, and they stoned him. As he died, Stephen called out, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin!”

Stephen was killed because he was a Christian. Jesus told His followers that they would be persecuted—hated, hurt, or even killed—for loving Him. (Mark 13:9-13; John 16:2) Jesus also said that those who suffer for Him would be blessed. (Matthew 5:11) Stephen was not afraid to die because he saw Jesus waiting for him in heaven. We can face suffering in this life because we know great joy is waiting for us in heaven.

Activity: Open your Bible to Acts 7 and review some of the Bible stories your kids have learned that Stephen mentioned in his address. Stephen reminded the Jews of all that God had done for them, including sending His Son, Jesus, to save people from their sins. Make a list of things God has done for your family. Then pray, thanking God for the items on your list.

Posted by Erin Krotz with

Sunday, June 17 in Elementary KidzTown

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Key Passage: Acts 2:42,47

Big Picture Question: Who can do God’s work? God gives every believer skills for doing His work.

Christ Connection: The apostles believed that everyone in the church had an important job to do to serve God’s people and help spread the gospel. Jesus wants us to serve others so that the message of His death and resurrection can be heard and believed all over the world.

Our journey takes us to Jerusalem where the early church was booming with growth. There were two groups of Jews in the first church: Jews who spoke Greek and Jews who spoke Hebrew. The Greek-speaking Jews were from foreign countries, and the Hebrew-speaking Jews had been born in Israel. Tension existed between the two groups. The Greek-speaking Jews complained that their widows were not being cared for properly.

The Old Testament law was clear that God commanded His people to care for the orphans and widows. (See Ex. 22:22; Deut. 10:18.) The early church continued this Jewish custom, but the Greek-speaking Jews claimed their widows were not getting their share of the daily distributions.

The twelve apostles were quick to address the issue. They gathered all the believers together. The apostles explained that God had called them to preaching and teaching. They were not above handling problems among the people, but they wisely led the church to choose seven leaders to oversee such duties.

The church did not choose just anyone to serve; the men were reputable, full of the Spirit, and wise. The chosen seven were Stephen, Philip, Prochorus (PRAHK uh ruhs), Nicanor (nigh KAY nawr), Timon (TIGH mahn), Parmenas (PAHR mih nuhs), and Nicolaus (nik uh LAY uhs). Now the apostles were free to devote themselves to prayer and preaching, and the widows were properly cared for.

Everyone in the church has a role in God’s work. The apostles believed that everyone in the church had an important job to do to serve God's people and help spread the gospel. The seven men who were chosen used their abilities to take care of others. Jesus wants us to serve others so that the message of His death and resurrection can be heard and believed all over the world.

Activity:  Read Acts 6:1-7. Talk about how seven men were chosen to help take care of widows, women whose husbands had died. Think about an elderly person you know who may have recently lost a spouse or loved one. Talk about skills God has given your family members. Talk about ways they might serve and choose to do one of the suggestions this week.

Posted by Erin Krotz with

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