Author: Joe Sutton

This Week on Calvary Family Ministry

For you to discuss and engage in the spiritual life of your children here is what we looked at this week at Calvary Family Ministry.

Topic:

Paul’s conversion and baptism (Acts 9)

Synopsis:

Saul was an enemy of Jesus and His followers, but then God changed him. Jesus came to earth to save sinners like Paul. (1 Timothy 1:15). When we trust in Jesus, He changes us from the inside out.

 

Talking Point:

 

Saul was no stranger to religion. He grew up in a religious household. He was a devout Jew who was born in Tarsus (Phil. 3:5) and inherited his Roman citizenship from his father. So when people began talking about this man named Jesus and claiming that He was the promised Messiah, Saul was defensive.

Saul believed strongly in the Jewish faith of his ancestors. He violently persecuted God’s church and tried to destroy it. (Gal. 1:13-14) He dragged believers from their houses and put them in prison. He approved of the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Saul thought he was doing the

right thing by defending Judaism, but God’s purposes could not be stopped.

As Saul was on his way to arrest believers in Damascus, the Lord stopped him in his tracks. Jesus revealed Himself to Saul, and Saul was never the same. He was struck blind and led into Damascus, where a believer named Ananias placed his hands on Saul. Suddenly, Saul could see again. Saul was convinced that Jesus is Lord. Saul later described the experience as being like dying and receiving a new life. (Gal. 2:20; 2 Cor. 5:17)

God had a purpose and a plan for Saul. He had set Saul apart before Saul was even born. (Gal. 1:15) God said, “This man is My chosen instrument to take My name to the Gentiles” (Acts 9:15).

Jesus changed Saul’s life. Conversion happens when a person recognizes his sin, repents, believes in Jesus, and confesses Jesus as Savior and Lord. Jesus changes a person’s heart, and as a result, his life is changed too.

Jesus appeared to Saul and changed him inside and out. Jesus called Saul, who was once an enemy of Christians, to spend the rest of his life telling people the gospel and leading them to trust Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Questions to discuss with your child:

Q: How do people hear about Jesus?

A: God uses Christians to tell others about Jesus.

Discuss: Jesus saved Saul from his sins.

Key Unit Passage:

Acts 1:8

Next Week:

Peter visited Cornelius (Acts 10)

This Week at Calvary Family Ministry

For you to discuss and engage in the spiritual life of your children here is what we looked at this week at Calvary Family Ministry.

Topic:

The Ethiopian Official Believed (Acts 8)

Synopsis:

The Ethiopian official knew what the Old Testament prophets had said, but he did not understand that the prophets spoke about Jesus. The Holy Spirit led Philip to help the official understand the good news about Jesus: Jesus died on the cross for our sins and was raised from the dead, just like the Old Testament prophets said.

 

Talking Point:

 

The believers in the early church faced intense persecution. After Stephen was killed, Jesus’ followers at the church in Jerusalem scattered; however, they did not stop talking about Jesus. They continued to share the good news. One man, Philip, took the gospel to Samaria. The crowds there listened and believed, and they had great joy.

In today’s Bible story, Philip was instructed by an angel of the Lord to go to a certain road in the desert. Philip obeyed. The Spirit led Philip to a chariot, where an Ethiopian official was reading the Scriptures from the prophet Isaiah. The Ethiopian man did not understand what he was reading, so Philip explained it to him.

The man was reading from the prophet Isaiah: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter … In His humiliation justice was denied Him. … For His life is taken from the earth” (Acts 8:32-33). The official wondered if Isaiah was speaking about himself or another person. Philip told the official that Isaiah’s words weren’t about Isaiah; they were about the Messiah—Jesus! The official believed in Jesus and was baptized.

Consider the role of the Holy Spirit in this interaction between Philip and the Ethiopian official. Who was responsible for Philip’s going to the desert? Who helped Philip explain the Scriptures? Who changed the heart of the official so he would believe?

After his interaction with the Ethiopian official, Philip continued sharing the gospel in all the towns on his way to the town of Caesarea.

In our mission of making disciples, believers must be willing instruments to be used in the hands of the Lord. Philip didn’t go into the desert today with a strategy for converting another man; the Holy Spirit led Philip, and he obeyed. As believers, we can be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and willing to follow His lead. He will go with us.

Questions to discuss with your child:

Q: What does the Holy Spirit do?

A: The Holy Spirit helps Christians follow Jesus.

Discuss: The Holy Spirit told Philip to tell the Ethiopian man about Jesus.

Key Unit Passage:

Philippians 2:13

Next Week:

Peter visited Cornelius (Acts 10)

This Week at Calvary Family Ministry

For you to discuss and engage in the spiritual life of your children here is what we looked at this week at Calvary Family Ministry.

Topic:

Stephen’s address (Acts 6)

Synopsis:

Stephen was killed because he was a Christian. Jesus was crucified, and He told His followers that they would be persecuted—hated, hurt, or even killed—for loving Him. Jesus also said that those who suffer for Him would be blessed. (Matthew 5:11) We can face suffering in this life because Jesus suffered first. He died and then rose again, and He is waiting for us in heaven.

 

Talking Point:

 

Stephen was one of the seven men chosen to serve as leaders in the early church at Jerusalem. (See Acts 6:1-7.) God blessed Stephen and gave him power to do wonders and miracles like some of the apostles.

Some of the Jews accused Stephen of blasphemy and dragged him to the Sanhedrin, a group of Jewish leaders who acted as a legal council. Stephen addressed the group. He drew from the Jewish history, which the leaders in the Sanhedrin would have known well. But Stephen taught from the Old Testament things the Jewish leaders had likely never realized.

As Stephen preached, he showed how the Old Testament pointed to a coming Savior and how that Savior was Jesus. Stephen pointed out that the Jews’ ancestors had rejected God’s prophets. And they were just like their fathers; they rejected the Messiah, the Lord Jesus. Not only did they reject Jesus, they killed Him!

The Jewish leaders rushed at Stephen. Stephen looked into heaven. He saw God’s glory, and Jesus was standing at God’s right hand. The Jews forced Stephen out of the city, and they stoned him.

Remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:22: “You will be hated by everyone because of My name. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered.” Following Jesus will include difficulty and suffering. Jesus gives words of both warning and comfort: “Don’t be afraid” (Matt. 10:26).

Stephen was killed because he was a Christian. Jesus told His followers that they would be persecuted—hated, hurt, or even killed—for loving Him. (Mark 13:9-13; John 16:2) Jesus also said that those who suffer for Him would be blessed. (Matt. 5:11) Stephen was not afraid to die because he saw Jesus waiting for him in heaven. We can face suffering in this life because we know great joy is waiting for us in heaven.

Questions to discuss with your child:

Q: What does the Holy Spirit do?

A: The Holy Spirit helps Christians follow Jesus.

Discuss: Stephen was not afraid to die so that others would hear about Jesus.

Key Unit Passage:

Philippians 2:13

Next Week:

The Ethopian official believes (Acts 8)

This Week at Calvary Family Ministry

For you to discuss and engage in the spiritual life of your children here is what we looked at this week at Calvary Family Ministry.

Topic:

Peter healed a beggar (Acts 3)

Synopsis:

After Jesus returned to heaven, the Holy Spirit gave the disciples power to begin working. With the power of Jesus’ name, Peter healed a man who was lame. Not even the religious leaders could stop Jesus’ followers from sharing the good news about Jesus.

 

Talking Point:

 

With the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Jesus’ disciples were empowered to carry out Jesus’ mission for them—to take the gospel to all the nations. More and more people believed in Jesus. They met together at the temple to praise and worship God, and the first church began.

One afternoon, two of Jesus’ disciples—Peter and John—went to the temple to pray. They encountered at the gate a man who could not walk. Rather than give the man money, Peter gave him something much more valuable: immediate physical healing in Jesus’ name. Keep three things in mind.

First, Peter’s healing the beggar was not magic; it was a miracle. Beginning in Acts 3:12, Peter responded to the people who were amazed at what had happened. “Why are you amazed at this … as though we had made him walk by our own power?” The man wasn’t healed because Peter was a super-believer. Peter explained that it was by Jesus’ power the man was healed.

Second, the man’s healing made him happy and thankful. He entered the temple and rejoiced! Consider the wonderful miracle of salvation. We are dead in our sin, and God makes us alive in Christ! How we should rejoice and give thanks to the Lord!

Finally, Peter and John were bold in their witness. When confronted by the religious leaders, they did not shy away. Peter and John preached about the salvation found in Jesus. In fact, they said they were “unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).

The same power that enabled Peter to heal the man who was lame—the power of the Holy Spirit—enables believers today to live on mission for Jesus.

Questions to discuss with your child:

Q: What does the Holy Spirit do?

A: The Holy Spirit helps Christians follow Jesus.

Discuss: In Jesus’ name, Peter healed a man who could not walk.

Key Unit Passage:

Philippians 2:13

Next Week:

Stephen’s address (Acts 6)

This Week at Calvary Family Ministry

For you to discuss and engage in the spiritual life of your children here is what we looked at this week at Calvary Family Ministry.

Topic:

The Holy Spirit came (Acts 2)

Synopsis:

God kept His promise to send the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit’s help, Jesus’ disciples could begin their work to share the gospel with the entire world. God gives the Holy Spirit to those who trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit gives us power to do God’s work, and He changes us to be more like Jesus.

 

Talking Point:

 

When Jesus ascended to heaven, He instructed the disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come upon them. So the disciples went back to Jerusalem, where they waited and prayed.

The time came for the Jewish festival called Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks. As with the Passover festival, Jews from all over the Roman Empire would be at the temple in Jerusalem.

During this festival, the Holy Spirit came to believers in Jerusalem. They heard a sound like a violent, rushing wind. When the Holy Spirit filled the disciples, they were able to speak in foreign languages. They went out into the city and began to preach, and the Jews from all over the world were amazed. These disciples were from Galilee, but they were speaking in languages the visitors could understand.

The disciples told people about God’s plan. The Holy Spirit helped Peter teach: Jesus is the Messiah; Jesus was killed, but He is alive! (Acts 2:22-36) The Holy Spirit convicted the crowd and they asked, “Brothers, what must we do?” Peter told them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus. (Acts 2:37-38) That day, three thousand people received salvation!

God kept His promise to send the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit’s help, Jesus’ disciples could share the gospel with the entire world.

God gives the Holy Spirit to those who trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit gives us power to do God’s work, and He changes us to be more like Jesus.

 

Questions to discuss with your child:

Q: What does the Holy Spirit do?

A: The Holy Spirit helps Christians follow Jesus.

Discuss: The Holy Spirit came to the apostles on the Day of Pentecost.

Key Unit Passage:

Philippians 2:13

Next Week:

Peter healed a beggar (Acts 3)

This Week at Calvary Family Ministry

For you to discuss and engage in the spiritual life of your children here is what we looked at this week at Calvary Family Ministry.

Topic:

A song of thanksgiving (Isaiah 12)

Synopsis:

Isaiah looked forward to the day when God’s words would come true—God would bless His people, and they would be thankful and tell everyone about Him. By sending His Son, God kept His promise to save people from sin. Jesus died on the cross and rose again. Those who trust in Him rejoice and are saved.

 

Talking Point:

 

Picture the reality of your salvation: Imagine standing as a defendant in a courtroom. You’ve been justly found guilty of a crime and the penalty is death. But rather than ordering law enforcement to lead you away to be executed, the judge gets up and takes your place. He takes your punishment upon himself, declaring your innocence and allowing you to walk free. How would you respond?

This is essentially what Jesus does for sinners who trust in Him. God is the judge, and rather than sentencing us to death like we deserve, the Father sent His Son to take our place. That is mercy and grace. So how should we respond?

Look at how Moses and the Israelites responded when God rescued them from Egypt and led them across the Red Sea. Exodus 15 describes their song. They praise the Lord and tell what He has done for them. This same attitude of thankfulness—the proper response to the good news of the gospel—is described in the Old Testament by the prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah had a vision of God’s grace toward sinners, and he describes in Isaiah 12 the song we will sing to the Lord. We will praise God for His mercy and compassion (Isa. 12:1-2), thank Him for keeping His promise to save us (vv. 3-4), and tell of His glory and greatness among the nations (vv. 5-6).

Once we experience salvation, we don’t sit back and cruise through the Christian life. Salvation is a call to action. Out of thankfulness for the Lord, we can love others like Jesus (1 John 4:10-12) and share with the world the good news of the gospel (Matt. 28:19-20; John 14:15). Every good gift comes from God (Jas. 1:17), and God’s greatest gift to us is His own Son, Jesus. With hearts of gratitude, praise and worship the Lord together.

 

Questions to discuss with your child:

Q: What is our mission as believers?

A: Our mission as believers is to make disciples of all nations by the power of the Spirit.

Discuss: We are thankful because Jesus died on the cross and rose again to save us from our sins.

Key Unit Passage:

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Next Week:

The Holy Spirit came (Acts 2)

This Week at Calvary Family Ministry

For you to discuss and engage in the spiritual life of your children here is what we looked at this week at Calvary Family Ministry.

Topic:

Jesus ascended to heaven (Acts 1)

Synopsis:

Jesus left earth and returned to heaven, but He did not leave us alone. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be with us and help us do God’s work. One day, Jesus will return to make all things new and to rule as Lord over all.

 

Talking Point:

 

After Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus showed His followers that He is alive. He taught them about Himself and about God’s kingdom. (Luke 24:25-27,44-48) Jesus told them that He would soon return to the Father. (John 20:17)

Jesus directed the Eleven to go a mountain. When they arrived, Jesus appeared. Some of them wondered if Jesus was finally going to overthrow the Roman government and set up His kingdom on earth.

Jesus said, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8).

Jesus told them to remain in Jerusalem until they received the Father’s promise—the Holy Spirit. Those who repented of their sins and trusted in Jesus’ death and resurrection would be baptized by the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:5) The Holy Spirit would give them power to live holy lives and take the gospel to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

After Jesus told the disciples these things, Jesus was taken up into the sky—right in front of their eyes! (Acts 1:9) Suddenly two men stood on the mountain next to the disciples. “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven?” they asked. They said Jesus would return the same way. (Acts 1:11)

Jesus is alive in heaven, waiting to return for His people. Jesus told the disciples He was going to prepare a place for them, and when we die, we will be with the Lord. (John 14:1-3) In the meantime, Jesus has not left us alone. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be with us and help us do God’s work. One day, Jesus will return to make all things new and to rule as Lord over all.

 

Questions to discuss with your child:

Q: What is our mission as believers?

A: Our mission as believers is to make disciples of all nations by the power of the Spirit.

Discuss: Jesus ascended to heaven in a cloud.

Key Unit Passage:

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Next Week:

A song of thanksgiving (Isaiah 12)

This Week at Calvary Family Ministry

For you to discuss and engage in the spiritual life of your children here is what we looked at this week at Calvary Family Ministry.

Topic:

Jesus gives the Great Commission (Matthew 28)

Synopsis:

Jesus told His friends to tell all people in all places about Him. Jesus’ friends could do this because Jesus is in charge of everything, and He promised He would be with them. When we follow Jesus, He promises to always be with us too. Jesus’ mission to His friends is our mission too. We are to tell people about Jesus so they can follow Him.

 

Talking Point:

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He appeared to His disciples over a 40-day period. At one point, He appeared to more than 500 people. During that time, Jesus taught about the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3) Some disciples wondered if Jesus was going to restore the kingdom of Israel. (Acts 1:6)

Jesus had a different plan for the disciples. He directed the Eleven to go to a mountain, where He appeared to them again. They worshiped Him, but some still doubted. (Matt. 28:17) On the mountain, Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission. First, Jesus stated that all authority had been given to Him. Before the resurrection, Jesus had authority as God the Son. Through the resurrection, however, the Father gave Jesus far more than even Satan had promised. (Matt. 4:8-9) Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God subjected everything to His beloved Son. (See Heb. 2:5-9.)

Because of Jesus’ authority, He commanded His disciples to go into the world and preach the gospel, the good news about Him. The Great Commission is not just for missionaries far from home. All believers are called to share the gospel with others, teach them to obey God’s commands, and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus finished His commission with a profound promise: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

Because Jesus has authority over all places and all people at all times, we can take the good news about Jesus to all places and all people at all times. God has given us a mission and gives us power through the Holy Spirit to obey this calling.

Questions to discuss with your child:

Q: What is our mission as believers?

A: Our mission as believers is to make disciples of all nations by the power of the Spirit.

Discuss: Jesus gave His disciples a mission.

Key Unit Passage:

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Next Week:

Jesus ascended to heaven (Acts 1)

This Week at Calvary Family Ministry

For you to discuss and engage in the spiritual life of your children here is what we looked at this week at Calvary Family Ministry.

Topic:

Jesus forgives and restores (John 21)

Synopsis:

When Jesus first called the disciples to follow Him, Jesus had promised to make them fishers of men. Instead of catching fish, they would tell people about Jesus. (Luke 5:1-11) The disciples had left Jesus when He was arrested and even denied Him, but Jesus still wanted to use them in God’s plan. Jesus is the Lord who forgives us and makes things right again.

 

Talking Point:

 

After Jesus’ resurrection and His appearance to the disciples, seven of the disciples returned to Galilee, near the sea where Jesus had called four of His disciples to be fishers of men. (See Luke 5:1-11.) The disciples went fishing. Perhaps they felt it reasonable to return to the fishing business since their stint as disciples was apparently over—or so they thought!

In Bible times, nighttime was the preferred time for fishing. Fish caught at night could be sold fresh in the morning at market. But by daybreak, the disciples had caught nothing. Jesus stood at the shore, but the disciples did not know it was Him. He called to them, “Men, you don’t have any fish, do you?” (John 21:5). Then He urged them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. They obeyed, and they were unable to haul in the big catch!

John knew right away who He was. “It is the Lord!” John exclaimed. Peter immediately tied his outer garment around him and jumped into the sea, swimming 300 feet to shore. When the other six disciples arrived in the boat, they found Jesus sitting beside a charcoal fire with fish and bread. “Come and have breakfast,” Jesus said. Jesus ate with His disciples; then He turned to Peter.

John 21:15-19 describes Peter’s restoration. The disciple who told Jesus that he would die for Him (Luke 22:31-34) had denied Jesus three times. (Luke 22:54-62) Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Jesus. Each time Peter responded yes, Jesus told Peter to feed His lambs. Jesus restored Peter to ministry.

Jesus’ plan for the disciples did not end with His death and resurrection. When Jesus first called the disciples to follow Him, Jesus had promised to make them fishers of men. Instead of catching fish, they would tell people about Jesus. (Luke 5:1-11) The disciples had left Jesus when He was arrested, but Jesus still wanted to use them in God’s plan to rescue people from their sin. Jesus is a Lord who forgives us and makes things right again.

 

Questions to discuss with your child:

Q: What is our mission as believers?

A: Our mission as believers is to make disciples of all nations by the power of the Spirit.

Discuss: Jesus forgave Peter and gave him a mission.

Key Unit Passage:

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Next Week:

Jesus gave the Great Commission (Matthew 28)

This Week at Calvary Family Ministery

For you to discuss and engage in the spiritual life of your children here is what we looked at this week at Calvary Family Ministry.

Topic:

Jesus and the doubter (John 20)

Synopsis:

Thomas saw Jesus for himself. He saw that Jesus had been raised from the dead and was alive. He saw Jesus’ scars from the cross, where Jesus died for our sins. We have not seen Jesus, but Jesus said if we believe in Him without seeing Him, we are blessed.

 

Talking Point:

Jesus’ followers had seen Jesus alive! Two disciples met Jesus as they were walking to Emmaus, and then Jesus appeared to a group of His disciples as they met together in a locked room. But one of the disciples, Thomas, had missed out. He wasn’t there when Jesus appeared. He hadn’t seen Jesus for himself.

So despite his friends’ claims that the Lord was risen, Thomas doubted. In fact, he refused to believe. (John 20:25) Witnesses testified that they had seen Jesus, but Thomas wanted physical evidence. He lacked faith and was stubborn in his unbelief.

More than a week passed, and Thomas was with the other disciples in a room. Again, the doors were locked for their safety. Much like before, Jesus appeared before the disciples and said, “Peace be with you.”

This time, Thomas was there. Jesus told Thomas to believe. He urged him not only to look, but to feel Jesus’ wounds for himself. Here, Jesus gave grace to Thomas. He gave Thomas the physical proof he was looking for. Jesus was no ghost; Jesus was alive!

Thomas immediately believed, and Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” (John 20:29). The Bible says that God is pleased when we have faith. (Heb. 11:6)

Faith is “the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Faith is believing without seeing. It is trusting that God is who He says He is, and He will do what He says He will do. (See Num. 23:19.)

 

 

Questions to discuss with your child:

Q: What is our mission as believers?

A: Our mission as believers is to make disciples of all nations by the power of the Spirit.

Discuss: Jesus showed His hands and side to Thomas.

Key Unit Passage:

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Next Week:

Jesus forgives and restores (John 21)

This Week at Calvary Family Ministry

For you to discuss and engage in the spiritual life of your children here is what we looked at this week at Calvary Family Ministry.

Topic:

Jesus appeared to the disciples (Luke 24)

Synopsis:

For 40 days, Jesus presented Himself to at least 500 people and proved that He is alive. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8) Jesus is still alive today. He sends out believers to tell others about Him and gives us power through the Holy Spirit.

 

Talking Point:

 

Only a few days had passed since Jesus was arrested, beaten, and crucified. His followers were undoubtedly afraid and confused. They met together in a house, locking the doors because they were afraid of the Jews. Would the Jews do to them what they had done to Jesus? They had believed that Jesus was the Messiah, but they had abandoned Him and Jesus was killed. How could He save anyone if He was dead?

But now some people were reporting that Jesus was alive! Could it be true? The disciples were talking about these things when Jesus stood among them. They thought they were seeing a ghost.

“Peace to you!” He said. What good news. Imagine how Jesus’ words might have calmed the disciples’ anxious hearts. Their Lord, whom they had deserted, didn’t show up to scold them for their failures or shame them for their lack of faith. He spoke peace to them.

Even though Jesus had foretold His death and resurrection (Matt. 20:17-19), Jesus showed His disciples physical proof that He was alive. He showed them His hands and His side. With His resurrection, Jesus’ mission was accomplished. He paid the debt for sinners, and the transaction cleared. But the disciples’ work was just beginning.

Jesus gave His followers a job to do: “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). This verse contains the Gospel of John’s version of the Great Commission. Jesus, the One sent from the Father, sent the disciples to be His messengers and representatives. Jesus equipped the disciples with the Holy Spirit to proclaim the gospel—the good news of what Jesus has done—to the world.

Jesus is alive today. We haven’t seen Him for ourselves, but we believe this by faith. He sends out all believers to tell others about Him, and He gives us power through the Holy Spirit.

 

 

Questions to discuss with your child:

Q: What is our mission as believers?

A: Our mission as believers is to make disciples of all nations by the power of the Spirit.

Discuss: Jesus appeared to His disciples.

Key Unit Passage:

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Next Week:

Jesus and the doubter (John 20)

This Week at Calvary Family Ministry

For you to discuss and engage in the spiritual life of your children here is what we looked at this week at Calvary Family Ministry.

Topic:

The Emmaus Disciples (Luke 24)

Synopsis:

The whole Bible is about Jesus. When Adam and Eve sinned, God began working out His plan to send Jesus to rescue people from sin. All of the Old Testament points forward to Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection—the time when Jesus would bring God’s promised salvation for sinners.

 

Talking Point:

Jesus’ death and resurrection should not have surprised the disciples. Sometimes Jesus spoke metaphorically about His death and resurrection. (See Matt. 12:39; Mark 14:58; John 2:19; 3:14-15.) Other times, Jesus plainly told the disciples that He would be betrayed, crucified, buried, and resurrected on the third day. (Matt. 17:12; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22) In fact, Jesus had spoken so frequently of His death and resurrection, the chief priests and Pharisees asked Pilate to place guards at the tomb in case the disciples stole Jesus’ body. (See Matt. 27:62-66.)

On resurrection morning, the angel at Jesus’ tomb asked the women, “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5). Even when Peter and John ran to the empty tomb to see it for themselves, Peter was amazed but uncertain (Luke 24:12), while John believed (John 20:8).

That same day, two disciples were walking to Emmaus, arguing about recent events. Jesus began walking next to them, but God prevented them from recognizing Jesus. (Luke 24:16) Jesus simply asked them what they were arguing about. They stopped walking. How could He not have heard about what happened over the last three days?

The two disciples had hoped Jesus was the Redeemer of Israel. Their hopes were crushed when Jesus died. Now Jesus explained to them why the Messiah had to die, starting with Moses and the Prophets. Jesus showed how the Scriptures point to Him. (Luke 24:27; John 5:39)

The Bible is not a collection of unrelated stories. The whole Bible is about Jesus. When Adam and Eve sinned, God began working out His plan to send Jesus to rescue people from sin. (Gen. 3:15) All of the Old Testament points forward to Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection—the time when Jesus would bring God’s promised salvation for sinners.

 

 

 

Questions to discuss with your child:

Q: Why did Jesus die on the cross?

A: Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins and came back to life to show we are forgiven.

Discuss: Jesus taught that all the Scriptures point to Him.

Key Unit Passage:

Ephesians 2:8-9

Next Week:

Jesus appeared to the disciples (Luke 24)

This Week at Calvary Family Ministry

For you to discuss and engage in the spiritual life of your children here is what we looked at this week at Calvary Family Ministry.

Topic:

The Christmas story: The wise men follow a star (Matthew 2)

Synopsis:

Some time after Jesus’ birth, wise men appear looking for Him.

 

Talking Point:

Up to two years after Jesus’ birth, some wise men came to Israel looking for Him.  They had followed a sign of some kind, which they called His ‘star’, and since they were seeking a king, they went first to the place in which you would logically find one – Herod’s palace in Jerusalem.

Here we have men who had some knowledge already of the coming Messiah.  They expected Him and they looked for Him, and when they found the sign indicating that He had come, they went to find Him.  The wise men did not receive a special angel messenger as the shepherds did.   They did not have to be told to come and find Jesus as the shepherds were.  These men instead were actively searching for their Saviour, and upon finding evidence of Him, came actively searching for a personal relationship.  These men were not just getting on with their jobs, but were making time to look for the Lord.

Jesus came to save everyone: not just the wanted, but also the unwanted; not just the Jew but the Gentile also.  There may not always be a dazzling angel to show us the way, there are many different ways in which we can be pointed to Jesus.  But whatever the sign, God wants us to take time to learn about Him, about who He is, so that we can find Him and know Him personally.

 

Questions to discuss with your child:

Q: Why did Jesus come?

A: Jesus came to save us from our sins.

Discuss: Jesus wants us to spend time learning about Him.

Key Unit Passage:

Matthew 1:21

Next Week:

The Christmas story: The wise men find Jesus (Matthew 2)

This Week at Calvary Family Ministry

For you to discuss and engage in the spiritual life of your children here is what we looked at this week at Calvary Family Ministry.

Topic:

The Christmas story: The shepherds visit Jesus (Luke 2)

Synopsis:

After the appearance of the angels, the shepherds go to find Jesus in Bethlehem.

 

Talking Point:

When the angels appeared to the shepherds to announce the good news of the gospel, it wasn’t just an announcement or a nice story.  They included in their message the directions on how to find and know Jesus.  The shepherds likewise did not just receive it as an interesting factoid, or something meant for other people, but took the opportunity to find and know their Saviour.

From the very beginning of Jesus’ mission on earth, He was available for people to know.  The story of His birth isn’t just a cute story about a cute baby, but a revelation of God’s plan to save people from sin through an intimate relationship with His Son.

God’s message of salvation first came to the unwanted, and His plan of salvation began with sending people to find and know Jesus personally.  God desires an intimate relationship with all of us.  Not only do we need to know about Him, we should also know Him personally.  God’s people and His word, the Bible, tell us how to find Him.

 

 

Questions to discuss with your child:

Q: Why did Jesus come?

A: Jesus came to save us from our sins.

Discuss: Jesus wants us to find and know Him.

Key Unit Passage:

Matthew 1:21

Next Week:

The Christmas story: The wise men follow a star (Matthew 2)

This Week at Calvary Family Ministry

For you to discuss and engage in the spiritual life of your children here is what we looked at this week at Calvary Family Ministry.

Topic:

The Christmas story: Angels appear to shepherds (Luke 2)

Synopsis:

Angels appeared to shepherds working in a field.  They gave them the good news that Jesus, the one who would bring their salvation, was born.

 

Talking Point:

In the midst of the upheaval of the national census, some shepherds were keeping guard of their sheep in a field near Bethlehem.  To them, it was a normal night.  Perhaps they had already been counted in the census and they were now getting back to the usual routine of life under Roman rule.

In those days, shepherds were reviled in the nation of Israel, an attitude which stemmed from Egyptians’ hatred of sheep and goats, and those who looked after them.  During the 400 years that Israel had spent in Egypt this hatred had become a strong social construct amongst the Jews which still persisted about 1,500 years later.

God chose this group of hated people, these men on the fringes of society who were not allowed to hold judicial positions or act as witnesses, these men who were considered untrustworthy and untouchable, to be the first to receive the news of salvation.

God’s special messenger angel, and the host of heaven with him, appeared first in the darkness of an unimportant field, to an outcast people.  There the angels declared to the shepherds that their Saviour – and the Saviour of the world – had been born, and pointed the way to Him.

 

God still offers salvation to the outcasts of the world, He is not out of the reach of any of us, and His word and His messengers still point the way today.

 

Questions to discuss with your child:

Q: Why did Jesus come?

A: Jesus came to save us from our sins.

Discuss: Jesus came to the unwanted first.

Key Unit Passage:

Matthew 1:21

Next Week:

The Christmas story: The shepherds visit Jesus (Luke 2)

This Week at Calvary Family Ministry

For you to discuss and engage in the spiritual life of your children here is what we looked at this week at Calvary Family Ministry.

Topic:

Jesus’ resurrection (Matthew 27)

Synopsis:

Jesus died on the cross for our sins, but He didn’t stay dead. God was pleased with Jesus’ sacrifice and raised Jesus from the dead to reign as King over all creation. Jesus provides salvation from sin and the promise of eternal life.

 

Talking Point:

The time between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning must have been dark hours for Jesus’ disciples. Fear, doubt, and confusion certainly overwhelmed their thoughts. Jesus, their Lord, was dead. He had been unjustly arrested, falsely accused, and severely beaten. Even worse, He had been killed in a horrible manner: by crucifixion.

The story doesn’t end there. Jesus’ body was laid in a tomb. The tomb was sealed and guards watched over it. The Jews remembered Jesus’ claim that He would rise from the dead (John 2:19-21), and they made sure no one could steal His body and insist He had risen. Imagine their surprise when Jesus did rise from the dead!

John and Peter saw the empty tomb. Jesus appeared to Mary. The disciples believed Jesus had risen from the dead. Even though the guards at the tomb were bribed to lie about what happened (they said the disciples stole Jesus’ body), the truth spread. The disciples wouldn’t have dedicated their lives and died for something they knew was a lie.

If Christ had remained dead, His death would have meant nothing more than yours or mine. Humanity would still be dead in sin. But God gives us victory over sin and death through His Son, Jesus. The resurrection gives us hope that we too will one day be raised and changed. (See Rom. 6:5; 8:11.)

Paul addressed in 1 Corinthians 15:7 just how essential Jesus’ resurrection is to the gospel: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.” The resurrection is proof that God was satisfied with Jesus’ sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins and that God’s new covenant had begun.

Jesus is alive! We believe this by faith. Today, Jesus is seated at the right hand of God and reigns as King over all of creation. (Phil. 2:9-10)

 

 

Questions to discuss with your child:

Q: Why did Jesus die on the cross?

A: Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins and came back to life to show we are forgiven.

Discuss: Jesus was resurrected on the third day.

Key Unit Passage:

Ephesians 2:8-9

Next Week:

The Christmas story: Angels appear to shepherds (Luke 2)

This Week at Calvary Family Ministry

For you to discuss and engage in the spiritual life of your children here is what we looked at this week at Calvary Family Ministry.

Topic:

Jesus’ crucifixion (Matthew 27)

Synopsis:

We deserve to die because of our sin, but God loves us and kept His promise to send a Savior. Jesus never sinned, but He died in our place. He was the blood sacrifice made once and for all for the forgiveness of sin. Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, and those who trust in Him have forgiveness and eternal life.

 

Talking Point:

 

 

Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection are the center of the gospel. Jesus accomplished the plan God had been working out throughout the Old Testament to bring salvation to sinners, and it happened in such an unlikely way.

In the Book of Acts, Peter testified to the Israelites about Jesus’ death: “Though He was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail Him to a cross and kill Him” (Acts 2:23). Crucifixion was a horrific way to die.  Two primary reasons for Jesus doing this stand out: God is loving, and God is just.

First, God is loving. He sent His Son to be the Savior of the world because He loves us. (See John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; 1 John 4:10.) Jesus submitted to the Father’s will; He humbled Himself and came to earth as a man, and He laid down His life because He loves us. (Eph. 5:2)

Jesus lived the perfect life we failed to live and died the guilty death we don’t want to die. Those who trust in Him receive forgiveness and eternal life.

Second, God is just. God’s law for the people was plain. (See Deuteronomy 6:5.) But God’s people, and all people, broke the law. We have loved other things more than we love God. That is sin. So why did Jesus have to die? Why couldn’t He just say, “You are forgiven”? Because God is just, He requires due payment for sin. To simply forgive sin without requiring a payment would be unjust.

Jesus was our substitute, taking our place on the cross and absorbing God’s wrath on our behalf so we can be forgiven and declared righteous. (See Rom. 3:25-26; Col. 2:13-15.) Jesus died to release sinners from slavery to sin, and when we trust in Him, we are free indeed.

 

Questions to discuss with your child:

Q: Why did Jesus die on the cross?

A: Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins and came back to life to show we are forgiven.

Discuss: Jesus was crucified on the cross.

Key Unit Passage:

Ephesians 2:8-9

Next Week:

Jesus’ resurrection (Matthew 28)

This Week at Calvary Family Ministry

For you to discuss and engage in the spiritual life of your children here is what we looked at this week at Calvary Family Ministry.

Topic:

Jesus was arrested (Matthew 26)

Synopsis:

Jesus knew that His death was God’s plan to save people from sin. Jesus’ friends turned against Him and He was arrested and put on trial, but Jesus followed His Father’s plan in order to bring salvation to the world.

 

Talking Point:

 

The Pharisees and other Jews in Jerusalem did not like Jesus. He didn’t play by their rules (Matt. 12:1-14), He claimed to be God (John 8:58-59; 10:22-33), and He extended salvation beyond the Jewish people (Luke 4:29). So they plotted several times how they might kill Him.

The events leading up to His death did not surprise Jesus. Each step was part of God’s established plan. (See Is. 53:10; Acts 2:23.) But knowing God’s plan didn’t lessen Jesus’ suffering as He was betrayed by His friends, arrested, falsely accused, and beaten.

First, Jesus wanted to do God’s plan. Jesus came to earth to rescue people from sin. He was committed to doing the Father’s will. (Matt. 26:39,42) When Judas showed up with a crowd, Jesus didn’t run. He didn’t even allow Peter to stand in His defense. (Matt. 26:52) Jesus willingly gave Himself up for us because He loves us. (Eph. 5:2)

Second, Jesus was betrayed and arrested even though He did nothing wrong. The Jews tried to find a legitimate reason to kill Jesus, but they couldn’t find one. (Matt. 26:59-60) Jesus did what we failed to do; He perfectly obeyed the law. His arrest was not just. The trial was not fair. But this had to happen. Only a sinless, perfect sacrifice could take away sin. (Heb. 9:11-14)

Finally, Jesus is who He says He is. After Jesus’ arrest, the high priest asked Jesus if He was the Son of God. Jesus affirmed that He is. (Matt. 26:64) The high priest accused Him of blasphemy (speaking against God), but Jesus always told the truth.

Jesus felt the pain of betrayal and the agony of His imminent suffering and death. He came to do His Father’s plan no matter what in order to bring salvation to the world.

 

 

Questions to discuss with your child:

Q: Why do believers share the Lord’s Supper?

A: Believers share the Lord’s Supper to remember Jesus’ life and death and to proclaim Him until He returns.

Discuss: Jesus was betrayed and arrested.

Key Unit Passage:

Luke 4:18

Next Week:

Jesus’ crucifixion (Matthew 27)

This Week at Calvary Family Ministry

For you to discuss and engage in the spiritual life of your children here is what we looked at this week at Calvary Family Ministry.

Topic:

The last supper (Matthew 26)

Synopsis:

At the Passover, Jesus shared His last meal with the disciples before His death and resurrection. Jesus said that His death would establish a new covenant. God’s people had broken the old covenant, and God promised to make a new covenant to forgive sins. God forgives the sins of those who trust in His Son, Jesus.

 

Talking Point:

Jesus knew it was time for Him to die. He sat down with His disciples for the Passover meal and did something very unusual. Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. This humble act was usually reserved for a servant. The footwashing symbolized a spiritual cleansing. The disciples were already positionally “clean” before God (see John 13:10) but even redeemed people still sin and need daily cleansing. (See 1 John 1:9.) In this, Jesus also set forth an example of love and humility for His disciples to mirror in their own actions toward one another. (John 13:15)

As they ate the Passover meal, Jesus broke bread and gave it to His disciples. He shared the cup with them too, explaining that the bread and cup represented His body and blood. Jesus established a new covenant.

In the Old Testament, God made a covenant, or promise, with His people. He gave them commandments to follow so they could live in right relationship with Him. But God’s people broke the covenant. They didn’t obey God, and they didn’t love Him.  By dying on the cross, Jesus brought forgiveness and made the way for people to know and love God again.

Jesus and the disciples ate the first Lord’s Supper at Passover, a time when God’s people remembered how God had rescued His people from the Egyptians—passing over the houses marked with the blood of a lamb. Jesus instituted a new memorial, to Himself—the Lamb of God whose blood would bring salvation to the world.

Believers take the Lord’s Supper to remember what Jesus did for us in His death and resurrection. We remember God’s faithfulness, and we look forward to the day He will return.

 

 

Questions to discuss with your child:

Q: Why do believers share the Lord’s Supper?

A: Believers share the Lord’s Supper to remember Jesus’ life and death and to proclaim Him until He returns.

Discuss: Jesus and the disciples ate the first Lord’s Supper at Passover.

Key Unit Passage:

Luke 4:18

Next Week:

Jesus was arrested (Matthew 26)

This Week at Calvary Family Ministry

For you to discuss and engage in the spiritual life of your children here is what we looked at this week at Calvary Family Ministry.

Topic:

Jesus was anointed (Matthew 26)

Synopsis:

When Jesus cleared the dishonest people from the temple, He showed His commitment to honoring God. The temple was supposed to be a place where people could pray and worship God. Jesus was going to die on the cross to take away people’s sins so anyone who trusted in Him could come to God.

 

Talking Point:

In preparation for the Passover feast, Jesus made His triumphal entry to Jerusalem. Jesus went to the temple there. Herod the Great completely rebuilt the temple in 20–18 B.C. as part of his architectural projects. The temple was surrounded by walls and gates, with specific places for Gentiles, women, and men to worship God and offer sacrifices. The temple was a symbol of God’s presence among His people.

When Jesus entered the Court of the Gentiles, He was furious to see people buying and selling in the temple. Animal sacrifices were required for participation in the temple. For many worshipers traveling from all over the Roman Empire to take part in Passover, it was easier to purchase unblemished animals for sacrificing in the Court of the Gentiles. There, they also exchanged foreign currency for the temple taxes and offerings. So why was Jesus angry at the people?

The merchants buying and selling in the temple were treating the temple as a market or bazaar, not like the house of prayer for all nations that God had intended for it to be. (See Isa. 56:7.) The money changers’ prices were so exorbitant, they were practically robbing the people. (Mark 11:17) On top of that, people were using the temple courts as a shortcut to get to their businesses. The Gentiles who wished to worship God in peace were surrounded by greed and extortion.

Jesus threw out the merchants and money changers. He was committed to honoring God and did not believe the temple should be used as a marketplace. The chief priests and the scribes saw what happened, and they wanted to destroy Jesus. (Luke 19:47)

These events led up to Jesus’ death and resurrection, and now we do not need to go to a temple to meet with God. Jesus came as God’s presence among us (John 1:14) and to be the final sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. We gather with the church to worship Him together.

 

Questions to discuss with your child:

Q: Why do believers share the Lord’s Supper?

A: Believers share the Lord’s Supper to remember Jesus’ life and death and to proclaim Him until He returns.

Discuss: Jesus drove out the people who were misusing the temple.

Key Unit Passage:

Luke 4:18

Next Week:

The Last Supper (Matthew 26)

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