This is the second lesson created for the study of Jonah. This particular lesson deals with dying to self and living for Christ. The lesson may be more appropriate for students who have been believers and are maturing in their faith. The lesson clearly presents the Gospel so students who are unsaved can be exposed to the salvation message. The lesson can be simplified for younger students by focusing on the truth to say no to sin and yes to Jesus. This lesson also could be used for Children’s Church. Additional resources for teaching Jonah follow the lesson. We also have a Jonah children’s church lesson and children sermon about Jonah.
Bible Story: Jonah’s Undersea Accommodations
Scripture: Jonah 1:17 and other selected Scriptures from the New Testament
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: Corn seeds, pictures of the different stages of that seed growing (if using learning activity #1), Paper, markers, crayons (if using learning activity #2), For closing activity print a sheet with questions to prompt students to apply what they learned from the lesson and to pray about what their needs are.
Learning Goal: Students will learn that to follow Christ one must die to sin and live for righteousness.
Learning Indicator: Students will have opportunities to identify the sin in their life that needs to be put to death so they can live a life that pleases God.
Learning Activity #1: Seed object lesson: (John 12:24-25) Talk about the corn seed. If we want more corn what do we need to do? (Place it in the ground and cover it with soil) If we never plant it, this seed in our hands is all we will have. Jesus used symbolism to teach God’s truth to His disciples. He was preparing them for what God was going to do with His life. Jesus came to save us from our sins. After Jesus’ death on the cross His body was placed in a sealed tomb. Thinking about the seed, Jesus was like this kernel of corn being placed in the ground. Jesus died, was buried and God raised Him from the dead and now all who believe in Him become a part of His family. If Jesus would not have died for our sins He could not save men, women, boys and girls from their sins. Just like a kernel of corn going into the ground it appears to have died but when it sprouts (use pictures), it grows and brings forth more corn. Jesus’ death has brought forth many who have placed their trust in Him. Jesus’ death brings life to all who believe.
Learning Activity #2: Buried with Him in Baptism: (Romans 6:3-4) Have students draw scenes for baptism (person going under water, person rising from the water). Allow students to discuss what the symbolism of going under the water means. (Dying to our old sin nature) On a sheet of paper have students list sins that believers need to ‘die’ to (Ephesians 4:20-32, Galatians 5:19-21). Place that sheet of paper under the picture of ‘Being buried with Him in baptism’. Next discuss the symbolism of rising up out of the water means. (Our new life in Jesus) On a piece of paper have students list characteristics of a new life in Christ. (Ephesians 4:20-32, Galatians 5:22-26)
Test: Closing Activity will help students to identify areas in their lives they need to change so they can live the life God wants them to live.
Memory Verse: Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave His life for me.”
Bible Lesson: Jonah’s Undersea Accommodations
The following is a guide to teach this lesson. As you plan and prepare God will impress on your heart what truths to teach your students. Having lessons with additional Scriptures allows students to become more confident in locating them and as they hear them read God will speak to their individual needs.
Sin always leads to death. God told Adam and Eve if they ate fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they would surely die. (Genesis 2:17) They chose to disobey and brought death into the world. Their sin separated them from God and their bodies would eventually die. Every person who has been born after Adam and Eve was born with sin already living in his/her heart.
God provided a way to rescue all people from their sins by sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross. He was buried and was raised to life on the third day. When Jesus was raised to life He conquered sin and death and all who put their faith in Him no longer have to live a sinful life that leads to death and destruction.
Last week we read about how Jonah ran from God because he didn’t want to go to Nineveh and preach to the people about their wickedness. Jonah’s rebellion against God was sin. To continue our study of Jonah’s life let’s open our Bibles to Jonah 1:17. (Choose a volunteer to read this verse.) What do you think you would feel like if you were Jonah inside the fish’s belly for 3 days and 3 nights?
Jonah may have felt that he was going to die. He was inside a fish at the bottom of the ocean and surrounded by darkness. Without God’s help there was no way Jonah could make it out of this situation alive.
This verse is symbolic of what Jonah needed to do and what all followers of Jesus need to do if we want to experience the life God has planned for us. (Draw on the board a picture of Jonah inside the fish’s belly. In the space inside the belly write the word sin/death. On the outside above the fish write the words Life.)
Jonah needed to die to his selfishness and sin and let God live in and through his life. Jonah could never experience the life God had for him until he died to his sin. From the standpoint of being inside the belly of the fish Jonah was dead to his own plans. He could no longer move about as he pleased. He couldn’t run from God anymore. Next week we are going to learn about how Jonah called upon God and turned back to Him. For now we are going to look at the truth that as believers we must die to our sin and live for Jesus. We can’t live the life God has for us if we continue to live sinful lives.
(Turn the students attention to the memory verse written out on the board.)
If you are a believer you are not your own boss anymore. When you believed in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins He became your boss. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
Discuss the memory verse allowing students to rephrase it in their own words. What does this verse say to you?
This verse says, “I no longer live”. How can believers not live and still be alive in this world? (By allowing Christ to live through me)
When you became a believer did you stop sinning? (No) When Jesus saved you the Holy Spirit came into your heart and gave you a new life. He made you into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). As a new creation you are not comfortable with sin in your life. Until we go to heaven we will battle sin in our life. That should not discourage us because Jesus gives us power to say no to sin.
The only way we can live a life that God wants for us is to die every day to our sinful ways. God’s Word tells us how to do this. (Let students volunteer to look up these passages: Matthew 16:24, Romans 8:5-17) As a believer the Holy Spirit’s power living inside of your heart will help you to overcome any sin that you struggle with.
We are going to close with this verse: John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (NKJV) As believers we can live a life that pleases God when we allow Christ’s life to control ours. This kind of life brings peace and joy instead of death and sadness from sin.
Close in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of the students so they can make the changes in their lives so they can live for Him.
We are going to take some time to allow you to pray and talk to God about what He spoke to you about in this lesson. As a guide to help you with this quiet time with Him you will have a sheet of paper with questions that will prompt you how you need to pray for your situation.
Ideas for how to prompt students to pray:
Have you been saved from your sins by believing in Jesus who died, was buried and rose again?
If not, what keeps you from making the decision to believe and be saved?
The following questions are for believers and if you are not a believer stay seated and remain quiet while others finish their time praying to God.
What sin do you need to put to death so Christ’s power can live through you?
Write out a prayer to God asking Him to help you with this sin.
What changes do you want to make in your life this week so you can live for Jesus?
Write a prayer asking God to help you make those changes.
- DLTK Jonah Lesson Ideas
- MSS Crafts Lesson Ideas for Jonah