This lesson is the second lesson in the study of Ephesians with an emphasis of the importance of a believer’s daily quiet time with God. The focus of the lesson is the transformation of who we are before Christ and who we are after we put our faith in Christ. The lesson was prepared for older students and can be adapted for needs of your ministry.
Learning Goal: Students will learn that believers have an amazing before and after story (who they were before they believed in Christ and all that they possess after faith in Jesus).
Bible Passage: Ephesians 2
Bible Story Title: Before and After
Target Age Group: Ages 9-11 (3rd-5th Grade U.S.A.)
Target Time Frame: 60 Minutes
Original Teaching Context: Sunday School
Supply List: Bibles, paper, pencils/markers/crayons,
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Learning Activity #1: When students arrive have them create their own before and after photo. Have them create a picture of something that has an amazing transformation.
Memory Verse: Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Bible Lesson: Before and After (Ephesians 2)
Introduction: How many of you have seen commercials or advertisements that say ‘Before and after’? The ads usually have a picture of someone or something before and then a picture after. Sometimes the change is very dramatic. Each of you had an opportunity to create a before/after picture.
(Allow students to share the pictures the created of before and after items with the class.)
The last time we met we began our study in Ephesians 1. We are continuing our lessons on the importance of a daily quiet time with God. (Review the gifts that every believer receives when they put their faith in Jesus (Blessed with every spiritual blessing, chosen, redemption, sealed)).
Let’s read Ephesians 2. (Have each student read a verse until the entire chapter is read)
This chapter describes perfectly an incredible ‘before and after’ story. Paul is telling the Ephesians and all believers who they were before they were saved and who they are after they are saved.
Have a chart on the board or a large piece of paper that has the headings Before/After.
Before-Dead in trespasses and sins /After-Alive in Christ
Read Ephesians 2:1. What does it mean to be dead in trespasses and sins?
What was the one rule God gave to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? (They could not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If they ate from that tree they would die. This death was physical (meaning they would die and be buried) and it was spiritual (they would no longer have access to God. Their disobedience would put the relationship with God to death…they would be separated from Him).
We all know that Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Just as our current parents pass on their DNA to us, ever since Adam and Eve sinned every person inherited the defect of sin.
When we are born into this world we are alive physically but spiritually we are dead. We can do nothing to please God and our sins separate us from Him. That’s what it means to be dead in our sins.
Alive in Christ-When a person is introduced to the Good News about Jesus Christ they are being invited to have life spiritually. Remind me what the Good News is? (Jesus, who never sinned, died on the cross for my sins. He was buried and rose again the third day. Whoever puts their faith in Jesus and His Work done on the cross receives forgiveness of sins and eternal life with God.) 1 Peter 3:18 “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.” Hebrews 9:27-28 “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” 1 Corinthians 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.”
(On the Before/After chart have a student draw a person symbolizing a person dead in sins and a person alive in Christ.)
Controlled by Satan’s power/Created for good works
Read Ephesians 2:2. Who is the prince of the power of the air? This title refers to God’s enemy Satan. He was the one who lied to Eve and made her question God’s commandment to her. (Genesis 3:4-5)
When Satan was kicked out of heaven a portion of angels left with him. They are fallen angels or demons.
From verse 2 who is controlled by Satan? (Sons of disobedience/unbelievers)
In Ephesians 2:3 how do people behave who are controlled by Satan? (Fulfilling the desires of our flesh and of the mind..doing whatever makes them happy)
In the last part of verse 3 we see the destiny of people who are dead in their sins who are under Satan’s control. Let’s look at the phrase children of wrath.
God is perfectly holy. Because He is perfect, sin has to be punished. God is also merciful and extends kindness by being patient allowing people to repent and turn from their wickedness and believe in the Lord Jesus. John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
(On the chart have a student write in the before column “A child of wrath controlled by Satan”)
After a person believes in the Lord Jesus they receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14) and when we allow Him to control our lives we are able to overcome our sinful desires. We have already discussed how when we become followers of Christ we have two natures, a sinful nature and a spirit-filled nature. When we are not spending time with Jesus each day by reading His Word and prayer it is more difficult to allow the Holy Spirit to control us. We will do what comes easier for us..to live in our sinful nature.
Let’s read Eph. 2:10 (Allow students to share what their version says if different from what is written on the board). This is also our memory verse. Let’s ask the’ who, what, why, when’ questions. Who is the ‘we’ referring to? (Believers) What are we? (God’s workmanship) Why were we created in Christ Jesus? (For good works) When did God prepare the good works we would do? (In advance)
When you put your faith in Jesus and He made you alive you are no longer a child of wrath. Romans 5:9 “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”
We have become God’s children and are a part of the Body of Christ (Eph. 2:19-22). God has given each of His children work to do for His kingdom. When we walk closely with Jesus every day we will fulfill the work that God has prepared for us to do because we are studying His Word and praying for His wisdom and guidance.
(On the chart have student write in the After column Created for good works)
There are more before and after illustrations in Ephesians 2. We are going to close by looking at one more. Let’s read Eph. 2:12-13. Without Christ means a person has no hope, no peace and being far from God. Today you may only have a ‘before’ part to your story. You don’t have an ‘after’ part of your story because you have never been saved. Today you can admit that you are a sinner, believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and confess to others that He is Lord. If you choose to be saved through faith in Jesus you can have peace with God, come near to Him and be a part of His family (Eph. 2:14-15, 18, 19).
If you have been saved are you walking closely daily with Jesus so that you can walk in the good works that God has prepared for you? How much time do you spend having a personal quiet time with God each day?
Close in prayer.