Tag Archives: Confession

7 Churches of Revelation (LESSON)


Audience

Youth and adults

Time

45-60 minutes
Description

This lesson uses John’s letter to seven churches in Asia Minor (a.k.a. the book of Revelation) to take a look at the churches of the current day and then to focus on an evaluation of our own church and even our own hearts.  The debrief is intended to lead individuals toward repentance.

 

Scriptures

  • Revelation 2-3

Materials

  • Printed copies of “7 Churches of Revelation – Chart” (can be found on the Lesson and Materials Download page at www.teachingthem.com)
  • Flipchart with paper
  • Markers
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Print copies of “7 Churches of Revelation – Chart” (one per participant).
  • Write the debrief questions and the individual reflection steps on a flipchart, but conceal them until it’s time to do the debrief. (Alternatively, you could put these on a PowerPoint slide and  project it.)
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

o  “In the book of Revelation in the Bible, John writes a message (really a letter) that comes directly from Jesus to seven churches in Asia Minor (current-day Turkey).”

o  “The seven churches are Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”

o  “Chapters 2 and 3 are specifically addressed to each of the seven churches one-by-one.”

o  “In these two chapters, Jesus gives an evaluation to the churches and calls several of them to repentance.”

o  “Bible scholars typically believe that there are three ways of understanding these two chapters.”

o  “The first is historical.  These churches actually existed and had the strengths and weaknesses mentioned in the letter.”

o  “The second is prophetic.  These churches can also represent ages in church history from the beginning of the Church in the book of Acts to the present day.”

o  “The third way to understand the descriptions of these churches is as types of different churches that typically all exist at any given time somewhere around the world.”

o  “This third way of understanding is our focus today.”

o  “We are going to use the descriptions of the seven churches to learn more about what can happen to any church depending on how it treats the claims, commands and the Person of Christ.”

o   “The church at Ephesus had lost its passion.”

o   “The church at Smyrna was under persecution but keeping their faith.”

o   “The church at Pergamum was following worldly ways and false teachers.”

o   “The church at Thyatira was compromising and tolerating false prophets and immorality related to sex, money and power.”

o   “The church of Sardis was spiritually dead.”

o   “The church at Philadelphia was small but spiritually alive.”

o   “The church at Laodicea was so rich that they had stopped depending on God for anything.”

o  “In your table groups, I would like to you to read through Revelation, chapters 2 and 3.  You can do it out loud or individually.”  (Allow time (5-10 min) for reading through the two chapters.  As they do, pass out the handouts of the charts to each table – one per participant.)

o  “I have passed out to you a chart that summarizes the descriptions of each of the churches.”

o  “It tells what their Strengths and Weaknesses are from Jesus’ perspective.”

o  “Then, it tells about Jesus’ Instruction, Warning and Promise to each church.”

o  “Read through this chart individually, and underline or highlight anything you want to remember.”

o  “Then, when everyone at the table is done reading, work through the questions on the flip chart at the front of the room.”  (Reveal the debrief questions.  Allow 15-20 minutes for discussion and individual reflection.  Then do a large group debrief to capture what they learned.)

o  “I want to give you an opportunity now to think about your own church and about your own spiritual condition.”

o  “Take some time in quiet, individual reflect to work through these steps.”  (Show the flipchart with the Individual Reflection steps, and allow 10-15 minutes for personal reflection.  Afterward, give an opportunity for anyone who feels especially led to share something that God put on their heart.)

o  “When a church or an individual has unconfessed sin in their life, it drives a wedge between them and God.”

o  “It doesn’t mean that they lose their ‘lampstand’ or their personal salvation, but it puts distance in the relationship.”

o  “In order to restore the relationship, the individuals in the church or the individual for himself has to confess and repent.”

o  “There is no restoration without repentance.”


Debrief Questions

1.     Do you feel these descriptions match churches that are in existence today?  Why or why not?

2.     Give some examples of churches today or from what you know of past churches or ages within the church.

3.     How do you know that these churches are like the ones described in Revelation?

4.     What do you think needs to be done for these churches (at least the ones that need to repent) to become the types of churches God wants them to be?

5.     What do you think will happen if they don’t repent?

 

Individual Reflection

1.     Which of the seven churches is most like your church?

2.     Why do you think that is?

3.     What needs to be done?

4.     Which of the seven churches is most like your heart?

5.     Why do you think that is?

6.     What needs to be done?

7.     Take some time now to talk to God in prayer.

a.     Confess any sins of your church or in your personal life that the Holy Spirit has brought to your attention.

b.     Repent of these sins, and commit to making changes that will please the Lord.

c.     Write down your commitments and put them someplace you will remember to look at them often.

 

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Filed under Church, Evaluation, John the Beloved, Lesson, Revelation

Repentance (DEVOTION)


The Bible has a lot to say about repentance.  In your groups, read through the following Scriptures, and then discuss the questions below.

o  Psalm 51:1-17 (Create in me a pure heart)

o  Proverbs 1:23 (Wisdom’s rebuke)

o  Jeremiah 15:19 (If you repent, I will restore you)

o  Jeremiah 17:7-8 (If that nation repents, I will relent)

o  Ezekiel 18:30-32 (Repent and live!)

o  2 Corinthians 7:8-11 (Godly sorry brings repentance)

o  Revelation 2:4-5 (You have forsaken your first love)

1.    How would you define repentance?

2.    In what ways do you think repentance before you know Christ compares to repentance after you know Christ?  (How are they the same; how are they different?)

3.    What are the benefits of repentance?

4.    What are the consequences of not repenting?  (Read Psalm 32 if you need some help.)

5.    How often should we repent?

 

After your discussion, take a few moments individually to sit quietly and ask the Holy Spirit to show you any areas in which you need to repent.  Take this opportunity to confess and repent in those areas as you pray.

 

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Filed under Confession, Devotion, Repentance

Covered vs. Covered Up (Obj Lesson)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This object lesson teaches that we should not try to cover up our sin but instead recognize that it has been covered by the blood of Jesus.

Scriptures

  • Psalm 32:1-5; 103:12
  • 1 John 1:7

Materials

  • Foot air pump (like you use to pump up a bicycle tire)
  • Two large balloons (the same color)
  • Permanent marker with a wide tip
  • Piece of red felt or other fabric (at least 12”x12”)
  • Piece of dark blue felt or other fabric (at least 12”x12”)
  • Table
  • Tablecloth
  • Tape (duct tape is preferable)
  • Straight pin or push pin
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Set up the table at the front of the teaching area.  Try to elevate it so that it will be above the eye level of your participants.
  • Place the tablecloth over the table so that it hangs down to the floor and prevents participants from seeing what is happening behind it.
  • Write the word, “SIN,” on one of the balloons (while deflated) in bold letters so that participants will be able to read it when you hold it up.
  • Put the other balloon on the nozzle of the air pump.  You may want to tape it on to make sure that it doesn’t fly off when it gets some air in it.
  • Hide the air pump on the floor behind the table so that it cannot be seen.
  • Tuck the balloon that is attached to the nozzle underneath the tablecloth.  If you can get it to stay in the middle of the table, that’s great.  If not, you may need to tape the hose to the table.  Make sure that participants won’t be able to see the bulge caused by the air pump nozzle and balloon.
  • Lay the pieces of fabric and the 2nd balloon close by for use during the lesson.
  • Practice the lesson so that you are sure the participants won’t be able to see what you are doing behind the table.  (NOTE: if your air pump makes noise when you pump it, you might need to pump more slowly or oil the parts.)

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “All of us sin sometimes, right?”  (Look for agreement.  If you don’t get agreement, you can have a volunteer read Romans 3:23.)
  • “God is not surprised when we sin.  He wants us to quickly admit it and start obeying Him again.”
  • “Unfortunately, what a lot of us do is we hide our sin from the people we love and even from God sometimes.”
  • “King David in the Old Testament was very close to God most of his life, but even he tried to hide his sin sometimes.”  (Ask volunteer to read Psalm 32:1-5.)
  • “David had done something very bad.  He had stolen something from a friend and then had his friend killed to hide what he had done.”
  • “For a long time after he did this terrible thing, he tried to hide it.”
  • “But then, a good friend of David’s – the prophet Nathan – came to David and told him that he knew AND GOD KNEW what David had done.”
  • “When David heard this from his good friend, He confessed his sin and asked for forgiveness.  Then he wrote this Psalm.”
  • “Notice that he says, ‘When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night, your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.’”
  • “David was saying that he was miserable the entire time he tried to hide his sin.”
  • “He was being eaten up on the inside even though he tried to pretend that everything was okay on the outside.”
  • “You see, many times when we sin, we are so afraid of what will happen if people find out that we try to hide it.”
  • “Sometimes we say that we hide the bad things we do and that it is like trying to ‘sweep them under a rug.’”
  • “Have you heard this expression before?”  (Look for responses.  If they haven’t heard it, explain that sweeping sins under the rug means that we try to hide them where people can’t see them – like sweeping dirt under a rug instead of really cleaning it up.)
  • “Let’s say that this balloon (show the balloon that isn’t attached to the foot pump) represents our sin.”
  • “When we are afraid of the punishment or consequences of our sin, we might try to ‘sweep them under the rug’ so that no one will be able to see our dirt, our filth.”  (Lay the balloon on the table at about the same spot where the hidden balloon is.  Then cover it with your ‘rug,’ which will be your dark blue piece of fabric.)
  • “But you know what happens when we try to hide our sins, to sweep them under the rug?”  (Listen for responses.)
  • “They GROW!”  (As you say this, begin to secretly pump air into the hidden balloon, letting it get bigger and bigger.)
  • “Sins are like mushrooms.  They grow best in the dark.”
  • “When we hide our sins, Satan will tempt us to sin more.”
  • “He will try to get us to lie about our sins and to do even bigger sins to hide what we’ve already done – like when David killed his friend just so that he wouldn’t have to admit that he stole something from him.”  (Keep pumping until the balloon is an impressive size under the dark fabric.)
  • “In darkness, our sins get bigger and bigger until they are impossible to hide.”
  • “Then, they start to show even though we’ve done our best to cover them up.”  (Pump balloon a few more times, until it lifts the cover so high that the balloon is clearly visible to everyone in the room.)
  • “But you know what?  God doesn’t want us to hide our sins.  He wants us to confess them.”
  • “In our Bibles, God tells us that he doesn’t want our sins covered up – He wants them covered!”
  • “You see, Adam and Eve tried to cover up their sin by wearing fig leaves, and the ancient Hebrews tried to cover up their sin by sprinkling animal blood over the box (the Arc of the Covenant) that held God’s law.”
  • “But neither of these were good ways to cover sin.”
  • “Fig leaves are itchy, and animal blood only covered up the Hebrews’ sin for a short time.”
  • “So, God provided a better way to cover our sins.  He sent His son Jesus.”
  • “When Jesus died on the cross, His perfect blood (perfect because Jesus never sinned) covered our sins for ever!”  (Cover the dark blue fabric with the red fabric.)
  • “In fact, the blood of Jesus does more than just cover our sins; it cleans them.”  (Have volunteer read 1 John 1:7.)
  • “So, it’s much better than just covering our sins.” (Have volunteer read Psalm 103:12.)
  • “How far do you think the east is from the west?”  (Listen to responses.)
  • “It’s pretty far, since the east and the west will never meet.”
  • “The blood of Jesus first covers our sins, and then Jesus removes them completely.”  (Use the pin to pop the balloon through the fabric.)
  • “Now we can understand what David says in his psalm.”  (Have a volunteer read Psalm 32:1-2.)
  • “We are blessed when our sins are covered by the blood of Christ.”
  • “So don’t try to cover up your sins; if you believe that Jesus is your Savior, then He has already covered them with His blood, removed them as far as the east is from the west and forgiven them so that they won’t count against you.”

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Filed under Christianity, Confession, David, forgiveness, Jesus, Object Lesson

ACTS Prayers for Kids


Time

15-20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches the ACTS model for praying (Adoration – Confession – Thanksgiving – Supplication), but since kids won’t likely recognize these terms, this lesson uses more familiar language.

Materials

  • Printed PowerPoint slides (in download file, “ACTS Prayers for Kids – PowerPoint” on the Lesson and Material Downloads page) or your own signs that say, “I Love You!” “I’m Sorry!” “Thank You!” “Please!”

Preparation

· Print or make signs (the bigger you can get them, the better)

· Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “You may know this already, but there are many, many ways to pray. There are long prayers and short prayers, prayers for things and prayers for people, prayers of praise and prayers of thanks.”
  • “If you’ve got a way of praying that works well for you, keeping using it. God just wants you to talk to Him, and prayer of any kind is the way we do it.”
  • “For those of you who might be struggling to know how to talk to God, I want to share four simple things that you can say to Him every day.”
  • “I’m going to need four volunteers to help me.” (Select four volunteers, and give each one of them a different sign.)
  • “These four signs represent four things that it’s good to say to God every time you pray.” (As you introduce each type of prayer, put your hand over the head of the child with the appropriate sign. Ask that child to hold up the sign.)
  • “I love you!”
  • “I’m sorry!”
  • “Thank you!”
  • “Please!”
  • “Everyone, say these with me.” (Go through them several times.)
  • “First, let’s talk about ‘I Love You!’” (Point to child holding this sign.)
  • “God loves for us to tell Him that we love Him. That’s why He created us.”
  • “I understand how He feels, because I love to hear my kids tell me that they love me.”
  • “Sometimes, if they haven’t said it in awhile, I’ll say it just to see if they will respond.”
  • “They could say, ‘Dad, I told you last week that I loved you. If anything changes, I’ll let you know,” but that wouldn’t make me feel very good.”
  • “Of course I know they love me, but I want to hear it!…..a lot! They can’t say it too many times for me!”
  • “That’s how God feels. He knows what’s in your heart, but He wants to hear it, and He wants to hear it a lot!”
  • “There are lots of ways to tell God you love Him. Can anyone help me with a few?” (Listen for “sing worship songs,” “tell God how great He is,” “just say ‘I love you, Lord.’ and other ideas.)
  • “Those are all terrific, and if you want to REALLY let God know how much you love Him, you should tell Him WHY you love Him.”
  • “For example, I tell God sometimes, ‘I love you, God, because You gave me my wonderful wife and because You helped me get out of a tough situation last week and because You helped me get well when I was sick.’” (Supply your own examples.)
  • “But don’t just tell Him you love Him because of what He DOES…tell Him you love Him because of WHO He is!”
  • “Can anyone give me an example of WHO God is?” (Listen for the use of the names of God, ex. Creator, the Great Physician, Jehovah, Jehovah-Jireh, Jesus, Lamb of God…)
  • “Great! That’s exactly what I mean! Telling God who He is to you is a great way to tell Him that you love Him.”
  • “I always try to say, ‘I love you!’ to God in my prayers. Sometimes I do it with His names. Sometimes I do it with the things He does for me, and sometimes I do it by singing a song to Him. But I always try to tell Him I love Him, because I know He wants to hear it from me.”
  • “Another part of my prayers is, ‘I’m Sorry!’” (Point to child holding this sign.)
  • “All of us mess up at some time. I mess up almost every day in some way.”
  • “When I do, it’s important for me to tell God that I’m sorry.”
  • “Now, I want to be clear about something.”
  • “When Jesus died on the cross, He forgave us for all the sins that we will ever do.”
  • “That’s a crazy thought, but He knew way back then that I was going to be irritable with my kids next week. He knew that I was going to forget to spend time with Him for several days next month. (Supply your own examples.) He knew about all our sins, and He forgave us forever.”
  • “But, if we sin, and we don’t tell God we are sorry, it starts to make our spirit sick.”
  • “We start to grow farther and farther away from God.”
  • “It’s like if you got into a fight with your best friend, and you knew you were wrong. If you didn’t tell your friend that you were sorry, what you did would start to hurt your friendship with him or her.”
  • “So, tell God you’re sorry every time you do something you know you’re not supposed to do.”
  • “He loves to hear it, and He will fix your relationship with Him right away.”
  • “The third part of my prayers is, ‘Thank You!’” (Point to child holding this sign.)
  • “Have you ever done something nice for someone, and they didn’t even say thank you?”
  • “How did that make you feel?” (Take responses.)
  • “Right, it’s frustrating, isn’t it?”
  • “Well, God does great things for us all the time, and many times, we forget to even tell Him thank you.”
  • “If you’re praying, and you can’t think of anything to be thankful for, remember that He allowed you to take that breath that you just took. He gave you an incredible brain to think with. He gave you friends to hang out with and clothes to wear. There is always something to be thankful for.”
  • “The last part of my prayers is, ‘Please!’” (Point to child holding this sign.)
  • “Sometimes, I ask God ‘please’ for me, and sometimes I ask God ‘please’ for someone else.”
  • “He says to us in the Bible, pray for whatever your heart wants. If it will be good for you, I’ll give it to you.”
  • “How many of you know that God doesn’t give us everything we ask for?”
  • “Can anyone think of why God might sometimes say, ‘no,’ to us?” (Take responses.)
  • “God wants the best for us, so He always gives us what we need and He often even gives us what we want, but sometimes He says, ‘no,’ to protect us from some of the silly things we ask for.”
  • “So, there you have it! Four little prayers that you can pray every day!”
  • “Let’s do something!”
  • “When I put my hand over the head of one of these volunteers, I want you to say the prayer that he/she is holding out loud.”
  • “Ready?” (Hold you hand above the volunteers’ heads in succession. Go down the line several times. The kids enjoy participating in this type of activity.)
  • “Some days, my prayers are a little different.” (Hold you hand above the volunteers’ heads again in succession, but when you get to ‘Please!’ keep putting your hand over that volunteer’s head. It should sound like this: “I love you! I’m sorry! Thank you! Please! Please! Please! Please!….)
  • “And some days, my prayers are like this: (Go down the line again, but linger on ‘Thank You!’ this time.)
  • “And some days, they are like this: (Go down the line and linger on ‘I’m Sorry!’)
  • “We all have days like that, right?” (Go through a few more time, playing with the sequence and the repetition. This is an excellent reinforcer for your lesson content, and it’s high energy for the kids, too.)
  • “Excellent! You guys are terrific!” (Thank and dismiss your volunteers.)
  • “I’m wondering if there is anyone who would like to practice one of these prayers by praying for us as a group.” (Encourage someone to volunteer. They can pray any one of the four prayers out loud. Then encourage someone else to do one. They can choose the same type of prayer or a different one. It’s possible that the children may not want to do an ‘I’m Sorry!’ prayer in a public setting.)

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Filed under Adoration, Christianity, Confession, Intercession, Object Lesson, Praise, prayer, Repentance, spiritual disciplines, Supplication, Thanksgiving