This lesson continues the process of teaching older elementary students how to study God’s Word for themselves. The challenge for all people who hear and learn facts from God’s Word is to take what they know and do something about it that transforms their life. There are those who will hear and receive facts and do nothing resulting in an unchanged life. Those who hear and obey will live a transformed life that reflects the Lord Jesus. As students learn to study God’s Word for themselves it is vital that they don’t allow what they learn to remain in their head but transforms their heart.
This lesson was adapted and prepared for older elementary students and can be used as a guide to help you as you prepare for your students. Click here to see the first lesson in this series or or browse all our lessons from the Book of Jonah.
Bible Story: Do Something! Jonah 1 – 2
Scripture: Jonah, chapters 1 & 2
Target Age Group: Age 9 – 11 (U.S. 3rd – 5th Grade)
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 60 minutes
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Supply List: Paper, observation sheets (Copies of Jonah 1-2), pencils, crayons, markers,
Learning Goal: Students will learn how to be doers of the word and not only hearers by discovering how to apply what they are learning from Jonah 1-2.
Learning Activity #1: While waiting for others to arrive students can make a mural (using a large sheet of paper) of scenes from Jonah 1-2.
Learning Activity #2: Students who have not completed their worksheets from previous lessons can have an opportunity to work on them while they wait for students to arrive.
Take Home Learning Activity: Give the students a worksheet with application questions from this lesson that they can ask themselves in their personal quiet time during the week.
Memory Verse: James 1:22- ”Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
(James 1:22-25) ”Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.” (NIV)
“ But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth].23 For if anyone only listens to the Word without obeying it and being a doer of it, he is like a man who looks carefully at his [own] natural face in a mirror;24 For he thoughtfully observes himself, and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like.25 But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience). (AMP)
Teaching the Memory Verse: Object lesson-if you or I had poison ivy we would be given ointment to apply to the affected areas to relieve the discomfort of the poison ivy. If all you do is read the instructions on the ointment and marvel at the facts/ingredients etc. you are only being a ‘hearer’. Being a ‘listener’ in will not give you relief from the discomfort you are having. You have to read the instructions and put the ointment on the affected areas to find relief. When you apply it you are being a ‘listener’ and a ‘doer’
Bible Lesson: Do Something With It (Jonah 1-2)
Begin with prayer asking God to help us as we study His Word.
Review methods of study we have used to study Jonah 1-2 (Overview-we read both passages and looked at the Big Picture. Then we took a closer look and marked key words and phrases. Next we thought about what we learned about the key words and phrases we marked.)
Have on the board key truths that were discovered from thinking about the key words or phrases.
God-Speaks, controls His creation, hears prayers……..
Jonah-God’s prophet, son of Amittai, Hebrew, ran from the presence of the Lord, swallowed by a great fish…..
Sailors-worshipped false gods, prayed to false gods got no answer, prayed to One True God and He heard and answered, feared God.
Have student read James 1:22-25. Our memory verse for this lesson is verse 22. Let’s recite it together. Have students reword this verse in their own words. What does this mean? It means that when we read God’s Word we can’t just take in facts and fill up our head with knowledge. Do you remember a few weeks ago we talked about different things that God’s Word is? We learned that God’s Word is food for believers. With that word picture let’s imagine we all sat down to eat lunch. To be a hearer of God’s Word only would be like taking that food and putting it in your mouth and tasting the flavors and spitting it back out without letting it go down into your digestive system to feed your physical body. It’s the same with God’s Word. If we just read it and do nothing about what we learned we will not grow in our faith and will not look like our Lord Jesus.
Our next step or method to help us study God’s word for ourselves is called application. Applying what we learned is doing something with the knowledge God gave us from His Word. (If time permits share this object lesson-if you or I had poison ivy we would be given ointment to apply to the affected areas to relieve the discomfort of the poison ivy. To be a hearer only in this situation would be to read the instructions on the ointment and marvel at the facts/ingredients etc. If that’s all you do you will not receive relief from the discomfort you are having. You have to read the instructions and put the ointment on the affected areas to find relief. When you apply it you are being a hearer and a doer.) Doing nothing is not going to help you grow in your faith. Doing something helps us to live a life that pleases God and will reflect His Son to others around us.
- Flees from the presence of the Lord (Jonah 1:3,10). One word to describe this phrase is Disobedience. The fact we learn about Jonah is he disobeyed God. If we want to be only hearers of God’s word that’s as far as we go with that information. If we want to do what God’s word says we need to go deeper than that fact. A wayto that is to ask ourselves a question.
- Has God ever told me to do something and I disobeyed?
- Others suffer because of Jonah’s disobedience (Jonah 1:4-10). The sailors’ lives were in danger because of the storm God sent. Cargo was thrown overboard to lighten the ship. What is cargo? (Things that are being shipped to be sold in another place) Suppose the cargo was wheat that a farmer was sendingto Tarshish to sell to the people living there. How did the loss of that cargo affect the farmer and the people living in Tarshish who may have been waiting for the shipment? What do we do with the fact that Jonah’s sin of disobedience affected other?
- How has my sin hurt others around me?
- Jonah repents and turns back to God. (Jonah 2:4,7) Jonah was in the stomach of a fish as a result of his disobedience. He chose to turn back to God and pray. What do we do with that to make a difference in our walk with Jesus?
- Am I in a difficult situation as a result of disobeying God? If so, will I turn back to God, confess my sin and turn away from it and return to following Jesus?
- The sailors pray to their gods and they do not stop the storm. When the sailors pray to the One True God He answers them. (Jonah 1:5,14-15) Do something about this fact. (Allow students to ask a question that applies to themselves from this fact.
- Do I pray?
- Who do I pray to?
- God spoke to Jonah and gave him a message for the people of Nineveh. (Jonah 1:1-2,10) What do we do with this fact? Keep in our head as information or do something about it?
- How does God speak to me?
- What message does God want me to share with others? (Discuss this more in detail in Gospel Connection)
- God heard the sailors’ and Jonah’s prayer (Jonah 1:15, 2:10) What questions can we ask ourselves to cause us to do something about this fact?
- When have I seen God answer my prayer?
- Do others know from my life that I believe that God hears my prayers?
This lesson gave us an opportunity of how to do something with what we are learning from God’s Word. This week as you take time to get alone with God and answer these questions honestly and change the things God showed you through His Word, you will begin to look and act more like Jesus.
As we talked about God giving a message to Jonah we asked what is the message God want me to share with others? As followers of Jesus we all have been commanded to share the Good News about the Lord Jesus. (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8)
In Jonah 1 there are two groups of people. First group: Jonah who believes in the One True God. Second group: Sailors, people living in Nineveh who do not believe in the One True God.
Believers have a message of Good News for all unbelievers. Jesus died on the cross to pay the punishment for sins. He was buried and rose again the third day. All who believe in Jesus will be forgiven of their sins and will spend eternity with God. Believers who will you share this message with this week? Unbelievers how will you respond to this truth from God’s Word? In order to have your sins forgiven you have to do something about this information.
Let’s close in prayer.