Thursday, June 26, 2014

John the Baptist Sunday School Lesson - John the Baptist Prepares the Way!

Use this John the Baptist Sunday School lesson to teach children about John the Baptist's message.

Lesson: (Note: Always give students enough time to think about and answer the questions before clarifying the teaching.)

Ask students, Does anyone remember how John the Baptist was born? His father, Zechariah, was a priest and his mother, Elizabeth, couldn’t have kids. But one day an angel came and talked to Zechariah and told him that he was going to have a son named John. And that’s what happened. God did a miracle and made it so that Elizabeth could have a baby.   

And does anyone remember what God said John’s job was supposed to be when he grew up? John was supposed to be a prophet, or a preacher.

So today we’re going to learn about what happened when John grew up and became a preacher.

(Summarize Matthew 3:1-2, asking questions as you read.)

“John the Baptist began preaching in the desert of Judea. He said, ‘Repent, because the Kingdom of Heaven has come close to us.’

What do you think John meant when he said, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven has come close to us’? He meant that Jesus has been born. Jesus came from Heaven and He is the King. For the Kingdom of Heaven to come close means that Jesus has come close.

And it says that John also told people to repent. What do you think it means to repent?

(Have students stand up and run in place. After a moment, yell out “turn”, and have everyone turn around and jog in place in the opposite direction. Call “turn” a couple of more times and then tell the students that instead of yelling “turn”, you’re going to yell “repent”, but that they should do the same thing they would do if you had called “turn”. Call “repent” a couple of times and then have the children sit back down.)

What does “repent” mean? Turn!

To repent means that you turn. You turn away from sin and you turn toward God. You change. You change how you’ve been living. You stop doing the wrong things that you do and you start doing the right things. You start living the way God wants you to live. So John told people to repent, to change.

“John was the one who the prophet Isaiah said would come and get things ready for Jesus. John wore clothes made out of camel’s hair and all he ate were bugs and honey that he pulled out of beehives.”

How would you like to wear camel hair for your clothes and eat bugs for your food?

Why do you think John wore those kind of clothes and ate bugs like that? John didn’t care about having nice clothes or eating good food. All John cared about was preaching and telling people about God. It’s okay for us to look nice and have nice things, but we have to make sure that the most important thing to us is God and doing what God wants us to do.

People from all over the country came to hear John preach and to be baptized by him in the Jordan River. But when John saw some Pharisees coming to see what he was doing, he said to them, “You bunch of snakes! What are you doing here? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance if you want to be saved. And don’t think you can be saved just because you’re descendants of Abraham. God can turn rocks into descendants for Abraham. The axe is ready to chop and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and burned up in the fire. I baptize you with water to show that you have repented, but one is coming after me who is more powerful than I am. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He will bring the good plants into his barn and burn up the bad crop in the fire.”

John told people to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” and he said that “every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and burned up in the fire”. What do you think it means to produce good fruit for God? To produce good fruit means to do the good things that God wants you to do. It’s like we’re a tree and if we’ve repented, if we’ve changed from bad to good, then the things that we do, our fruit, will be good. Producing good fruit means doing good things for God.

But what if we haven’t repented? What if we’re still doing wrong things all the time? Then what will God do to us? John says that every tree – that means every person – who does not produce good fruit – who does not do the right things – will be cut down – or killed – and thrown into the fire. That means Hell.

So we have to make sure that we’re living the right way like God wants us to so we can produce good fruit for Him and not go to Hell.

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