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Sunday, July 22 in Elementary KidzTown

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Key Passage: Revelation 22:12-13

Big Picture Question: When will Jesus return to earth? No one knows when Jesus will return except God Himself.

Christ Connection: No one but God knows when Jesus will return, but Christians should be ready for Him. When Jesus returns, unbelievers will be punished for their sin and those who trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior will be saved.

This week our journey takes us to the church that Paul planted in Thessalonica. The Bible says that the Day of the Lord will be a time of judgment for evildoers (Mal. 4:1) and a time of salvation and deliverance for believers (Rom. 11:26). The Day of the Lord will come quickly (Zeph. 1:14). So imagine getting word that the Day of the Lord had already come. This is what happened to the church at Thessalonica. Some were convinced that they had missed Jesus’ second coming, and they stopped working. 

Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church to address this misunderstanding and to encourage the believers in their faith. Paul reminded the believers that no one knows when Jesus will return. Only God Himself knows. Believers must continue to work hard—doing God’s work and providing for themselves—until the moment Jesus comes. Paul even commanded the believers to stay away from people who lived irresponsibly.

Like many early Christians, the believers at Thessalonica faced persecution for their faith. Paul encouraged them not to fall away. He told them to stand strong in what they believed about Jesus. He encouraged them to “not grow weary in doing good” (2 Thess. 3:13). Life was probably difficult for the new believers, and Paul assured them that God would reward those who are faithful to Him and punish those who are against Him. (2 Thess. 1:5-7)

Paul prayed that the gospel would spread quickly, and he asked the church to pray as well. He prayed that in the midst of confusion and persecution, the Lord would give them peace. No one knows when Jesus will return except God Himself. Believers can stand firm through persecution and live in peace because on the great and glorious Day of the Lord, unbelievers will be punished for their sin and those who trust in Jesus will be saved.

Activity: Invite your spouse or an older child to step out of the room. Before they go, whisper to them when you want them to return (in 60 seconds, for example). Invite the others to write down when they think he or she will return. Did they guess correctly? Read Matthew 24:36. How should Christians live if we don’t know when Jesus will return?

Posted by Erin Krotz with

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

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