OBJECTIVE: To teach the children that God’s promises can be trusted.
MAIN IDEA: Peter witnessed some special promises coming true. We learn from Peter’s life that God always keeps his promises.
TARGET AGES: 9 – 13 Older Elementary. You may need to simplify this lesson when working with younger children.
CURRICULUM UNIT: This lesson is part of the Who was …. ? series on major Bible characters.
SCRIPTURE PASSAGES: Matthew 16:13-19, Acts 1:15-22, Acts 2:40-41, John 15:26, Acts 2:1-4 & 14-21
MATERIAL(S): blank sheets of paper, pencils, markers, two bed sheets, two bibles, four recreation cones
Introduction (15 minutes)
OPENING PRAYER: “God, thank you for giving us promises. Help us share the message of your son, Jesus, and the promise of salvation. Amen.”
ICEBREAKER ACTIVITY: “Promise Thank You Letters”
Remind the children about the previous lesson by saying, “We’ve been talking a lot about how God keeps his promises. And, God kept one of the greatest promises by sending Jesus to die for our sins! Today we are going to thank God for keeping his promises.” Pass out the paper, pencils, and markers and encourage the children to write a private letter to God to express their thankfulness for his dependability and trustworthiness. They may also draw a picture or create a poem to express their gratitude. Lastly, encourage the children to keep their letters either in their bibles or in a special place at home to remind them that God loves them and keeps his promises.
Lesson (15 minutes)
- Start the lesson by reviewing with the class that Jesus had twelve disciples whom he personally taught during his life on earth. Explain that Jesus made a special promise to one of the disciples and read Matthew 16:13-19. Ask, “Who answered Jesus’ question correctly (Simon Peter)? What did his answer reveal (that God had spoken to Peter)? What promises did Jesus make to Peter (he would be the “rock” on which the church would be built, the church will not be overcome, Peter would be given the keys to the kingdom of heaven along with the authority to preach the gospel)?” Then read Acts 1:15-22. Talk about Peter’s leadership in the early church from the beginning – even when it came to choosing a disciple to replace Judas. Next, read Acts 2:40-41. Ask, “How many people became believers after hearing Peter’s words (3,000)? What does this prove about God’s promises (that they will come true)?” Encourage the children and tell them that God certainly makes promises to all believers (such as always being with us), but he also makes specific promises to individual believers as a part of his glorious plan. We should never think that God doesn’t want to use our lives!
- Next, read John 15:26 and Acts 2:1-4. Ask, “What promise did Jesus make (to send the Holy Spirit)? What happened at the day of Pentecost (the Holy Spirit came)?” Explain to the children that it is the Holy Spirit who speaks to our hearts through the conviction of sin and guides us to obey God. In addition, the Holy Spirit testifies in our hearts that Jesus is Lord and leads us to belief. Say, “Peter had a special role when the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost. Let’s read Acts 2:14-21.” Talk about how Peter identified God’s answered promise through the gift of the Holy Spirit, and again showed his leadership of the church by preaching the word of God. Comment, “Peter had received some special promises, and through the fulfillment of those promises we can trust that all of God’s promises will come true!”
“Bible Relay” Game (15 minutes)
Say, “Peter was trusted with spreading the good news of Jesus and telling others how to be saved. A way to think about it is he ‘carried’ the gospel to those who needed to hear about Jesus. In the same way, we can ‘carry’ our faith to those who haven’t believed.” Explain that the bibles represent our faith, so we will ‘carry’ our faith like Peter. Set up the game by placing two cones approximately ten feet apart (to create starting spots). Then set the other two cones approximately 25 feet away to mark the “turn around” spots. Split the children into two groups and explain that two people from each team will work together to carry the bible in a sheet from the starting cone, around the “turn around” cone, and back to the starting cone. Whichever team’s members can complete the task the fastest will win! Consider rewarding all the children for ‘carrying’ their faith by giving them a simple snack. While enjoying the treat, discuss real ways we carry our faith, such as praying for our family, visiting sick friends, and standing up for what is right.
Conclusion (5 minutes)
RECAP: Jesus promised his disciples that he would send the Holy Spirit. He also promised that Peter would be a leader of the early church. And Peter witnessed both of these promises coming true! We can trust the Lord’s promises.
CLOSING PRAYER: “Lord, show us your unique plan for each of our lives. Help us live by your promises and not by doubt or fear. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for our sins. Amen.”
Who was …. A Study on Bible Characters
This lesson is part of a 14 unit curriculum for older children (age 9 – 13) that introduces major characters in the Bible.