Peter Visited Cornelius

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1 Unit 28 Session 5 Use Week of: Peter Visited Cornelius Acts 10 MAIN POINT: The Holy Spirit told Peter to preach to Cornelius, a Gentile. KEY PASSAGE: Philippians 2:13 BIG PICTURE QUESTION: What does the Holy Spirit do? The Holy Spirit helps Christians follow Jesus. BIBLE PASSAGE: INTRODUCE THE STORY TEACH THE STORY APPLY THE STORY (10 15 MINUTES) (25 30 MINUTES) (25 30 MINUTES) PAGE 74 PAGE 76 PAGE 82 Leader BIBLE STUDY The apostle Peter preached and taught boldly after Pentecost. Jesus had commanded His followers to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Acts 10 shows us how God made clear to Peter that the gospel is for everyone not only the Jews but also the Gentiles. 5 The story begins in Caesarea (SESS uh REE uh), the capital city in the Roman province of Judea. Cornelius, a Roman centurion, lived in Caesarea. Like many of the people in Caesarea, Cornelius was a Gentile; however, he did not worship the Roman gods. Cornelius worshiped the one true God, and one day, God spoke to Cornelius in a vision. In the vision, an angel told Cornelius to send for Peter. 70 Younger Kids Leader Guide Unit 28 Session 5

2 Now Peter was in Joppa (JAHP uh), about 30 miles south of Caesarea. As Cornelius s men approached the city, Peter had a vision too. He was on a rooftop when God showed him a sheet of animals and commanded him to eat. The problem was that some of the animals were considered unclean by Jewish food laws. Three times, God said to Peter, What God has made clean, do not call impure. Peter visited Cornelius and others who had gathered with him. Peter understood that God did not want a Jewish man to call anyone unclean just because he was a foreigner. (See Acts 10:28-29.) Peter preached the gospel to the Gentiles there, and they believed. The Holy Spirit filled them, and they were baptized. The gospel is good news for everyone. As you teach kids, emphasize that God showed Peter that just as there is no clean and unclean food, there are no clean and unclean people. God calls believers to tell everyone the good news about Jesus, no matter who they are or where they come from. Jesus is the Lord of all! 5 Additional resources for each session are available at gospelproject.com. For free training and session-by-session help, visit The God Who Empowers 71

3 The BIBLE STORY Bible Storytelling Tips Use props: Arrange a sheet on the floor with plastic or stuffed animals (camels, rabbits, pigs, eagles, owls, bats, and so forth). Move and tell: Move around the room as you tell about Peter going different places: up on the roof and to Cornelius s house. Peter Visited Cornelius Acts 10 Cornelius was a man who lived in Caesarea (SESS uh REE uh). He was an officer in the Roman army, and he and everyone in his house worshiped God. Cornelius helped other people, and he always prayed to God. One afternoon, Cornelius saw a vision of an angel of God coming to him. The angel said, Cornelius! Cornelius was afraid. He looked at the angel and said, What is it? The angel said, God has heard your prayers, and He has seen how you help others. Then the angel instructed Cornelius to send for a man named Peter, who was in the city of Joppa. When the angel left, Cornelius sent two of his servants and one soldier to Joppa. The next day, as the servants and soldier were nearing the city, Peter went up on the roof of the house to pray. He was hungry, but while he was waiting for the meal, Peter saw a vision. In this vision, Peter saw something like a large sheet coming down from heaven. In the sheet were all kinds of animals, reptiles, and birds. Then a voice said to him, Get up, Peter; kill and eat! No, Lord! Peter said. I have never eaten anything that is not clean or not used for food. Again, a voice said to him, God has made these clean. Do not call them unfit to eat. This happened three times, and then the whole thing was taken up into heaven. Peter tried to understand what the vision meant. Then the men Cornelius had sent arrived at the gate. They explained that Cornelius had seen a vision, and an angel instructed him to send for Peter. So the next day, 72 Younger Kids Leader Guide Unit 28 Session 5

4 Peter went with the men to Caesarea. When Peter got to Cornelius s house, he began to speak. Peter explained that God does not consider some people to be better than others. God had sent good news to the Israelites Jesus is Lord of all. Everyone who believes in Jesus will have their sins forgiven, Peter said. While Peter said this, the Holy Spirit came down on those who heard the message not just the Jewish people, but the Gentiles, or non-jews, too. The Jewish believers were amazed. Cornelius, his friends, and his relatives were baptized in the name of Jesus, and Peter stayed with them for a few days. Christ Connection: God showed Peter that just as there is no clean and unclean food, there are no clean and unclean people. God calls believers to tell everyone the good news about Jesus, no matter who they are or where they come from. Jesus is the Lord of all. WANT TO DISCOVER GOD S WORD? GET ADVENTURE! Invite kids to check out this week s devotionals to discover how God s Word can help them grow in the gospel. Order in bulk, subscribe quarterly, or purchase individually. For more information, check out devotionals. The God Who Empowers 73

5 Introduce the STORY SESSION TITLE: Peter Visited Cornelius BIBLE PASSAGE: Acts 10 MAIN POINT: The Holy Spirit told Peter to preach to Cornelius, a Gentile. KEY PASSAGE: Philippians 2:13 BIG PICTURE QUESTION: What does the Holy Spirit do? The Holy Spirit helps Christians follow Jesus. Welcome time Greet each kid as he or she arrives. Use this time to collect the offering, fill out attendance sheets, and help new kids connect to your group. As kids arrive, ask them about a time they got really dirty. Were they working in a garden? Did they play in a mud puddle? Did they help change the oil in a car? SAY In the Old Testament, God said certain things were unclean. But in this case, unclean did not mean dirty, it meant the people were supposed to avoid it. We will talk more about what it meant for something to be unclean as we talk about our story today. Clean or Unclean? activity page, 1 per kid pencils or markers Activity page (5 minutes) Invite kids to complete the Clean or Unclean? activity page. Kids should circle the animals they think were clean and cross out animals they think God s Law would have called unclean. SAY The Bible used the term unclean to describe animals the Jews were not supposed to eat. Some Jewish people considered Gentiles unclean. What do you think God thought about that? We ll find out soon! 74 Younger Kids Leader Guide Unit 28 Session 5

6 Session starter (10 minutes) OPTION 1: Sand play Fill a few large bins with a shallow layer of sand. Let the kids take turns playing in the sand. Discuss what the sand feels like in their hands and how hard it is to remove completely. SAY When the Bible said something was unclean, it didn t mean it was dirty. It meant the Jews were supposed to avoid it. Jews could not eat unclean foods or spend time with unclean people. But Jesus died for all people, Jews and Gentiles. Today we will hear a story in which God began to change the way Jewish followers of Jesus thought about non-jews who needed to hear about Jesus too. OPTION 2: Sheet fling Inflate the beach ball and place it on a large sheet. Instruct the kids to stand around the sheet and grab the edge. Show them how to use the sheet to fling the beach ball into the air and catch it again. SAY In our story today, we will learn that Peter had a vision of a sheet being lowered to the earth. There wasn t a beach ball in the sheet though; there were lots of animals. Some were animals that the Jews considered unclean. We will learn what the vision meant soon. large bins sand water, towels, and a broom for clean-up large sheet or parachute beach ball LOW PREP Transition to teach the story The God Who Empowers 75

7 Teach the STORY SESSION TITLE: Peter Visited Cornelius BIBLE PASSAGE: Acts 10 MAIN POINT: The Holy Spirit told Peter to preach to Cornelius, a Gentile. KEY PASSAGE: Philippians 2:13 BIG PICTURE QUESTION: What does the Holy Spirit do? The Holy Spirit helps Christians follow Jesus. countdown video Countdown Show the countdown video as your kids arrive, and set it to end as the session begins. leader attire paper lunch sack small book Introduce the session (3 minutes) [Leader enters dressed in black and carrying a small handbook. He or she is flipping through it.] LEADER Hey! I just learned a great new illusion. Have you ever seen the one with the invisible fruit? Here, let me show it to you! Hold the paper bag in one hand between your thumb and other fingers. Pretend to toss something high into the air, watching it as it goes up. Watch the invisible fruit come back down, and rub your thumb and fingers together so that the bag rustles as your eyes follow the fruit into the bag s opening. LEADER I ll never pack my lunch the same way again! The only problem with imaginary fruit is that it also provides imaginary nutrition. I d better stick to real foods if I want to stay healthy. Of course, that wasn t really some kind of special power. I was just using neat tricks to make it seem 76 Younger Kids Leader Guide Unit 28 Session 5

8 like I tossed invisible fruit into my empty bag. That s what illusionists do. The Holy Spirit isn t an illusionist. The Holy Spirit has real power, and He uses it to help the church. Big picture question (1 minute) LEADER In fact, that s what our big picture question has been for the last few weeks. Can anyone remember it? [Take responses.] That s just right! What does the Holy Spirit do? The Holy Spirit helps Christians follow Jesus. Giant timeline (1 minute) Show the giant timeline or big story circle. LEADER Let s make sure we remember all we have learned so far. I ll say a story title, and you remind me what the main point said. Ready? The Holy Spirit Came : The Holy Spirit came to the apostles on the Day of Pentecost. Peter Healed a Beggar : In Jesus name, Peter healed a man who could not walk. Stephen s Address : Stephen was not afraid to die so that others would hear about Jesus. The Ethiopian Official Believed : The Holy Spirit told Philip to tell the Ethiopian man about Jesus. LEADER Great job with that review. Today our story is called Peter Visited Cornelius. Tell the Bible story (10 minutes) Open your Bible to Acts 10. Use the Bible storytelling tips on the Bible story page to help you tell the story, or show the Bible story video Peter Visited Cornelius. Giant Timeline or Big Story Circle Bibles Peter Visited Cornelius video Big Picture Question Poster Bible Story Picture Poster The God Who Empowers 77

9 Note: You may use this opportunity to use Scripture and the guide provided to explain how to become a Christian. Make sure kids know when and where they can ask questions. LEADER Wow! What a story. Remember, Peter was Christian, but he was also Jewish. That means Peter would have spent most of his life trying to obey the Old Testament law God gave Israel. Part of God s law included special instructions about what God s people could and could not eat. Animals they could not eat were called unclean animals. That s why Peter was so shocked when the voice from heaven told him to kill and eat unclean animals. Peter wanted to obey God, but it probably felt like God was giving him two different messages. However, we know that God is perfect. The voice clarified God s stance when it told Peter What God has made clean, do not call unclean. God was giving Peter permission to kill and eat these unclean animals. But more than that, God was helping Peter see that there are no clean or unclean people. Everyone needs Jesus, and without Jesus, everyone is dead in sin. The Holy Spirit told Peter to preach to Cornelius, a Gentile. A Gentile is anyone who is not Jewish. It was common for Jews to avoid Gentiles because Gentiles did not obey God s Law. God was clarifying that the gospel of Jesus is for all people, both Jews and Gentiles. Christ connection LEADER God showed Peter that just as there is no clean and unclean food, there are no clean and unclean people. God calls believers to tell everyone the good news about Jesus, no matter who they are or where they come from. Jesus is the Lord of all. 78 Younger Kids Leader Guide Unit 28 Session 5

10 Key passage (5 minutes) Show the key passage poster. Lead the boys and girls to read together Philippians 2:13. LEADER We learned that Paul, an apostle, wrote Philippians as a letter to the people living in Philippi. Paul wanted them to know that as believers, their good deeds were powered by God! God works through His people so they do the right things and want the right things. That means that when the Holy Spirit helps us obey Jesus, He is truly God working through us. Lead boys and girls in singing His Good Purpose. Key Passage Poster His Good Purpose song Discussion starter video (4 minutes) LEADER Can you imagine what it would be like if we had to meet lots of specific or silly requirements before becoming a person s friend? Watch this video as you think about that. Show the Unit 28, Session 5 discussion starter video. Discuss with kids how it would feel to be rejected for some of the silly reasons Jacob gave in the video. Ask them why God doesn t have a list of requirements for people to meet before they are saved. Who is the gospel for? LEADER God s love is for the whole world. That s why God doesn t want us to think of some people as clean and other people as unclean. The gospel isn t for a specific group of people, it s for all people. We are all sinners and without Jesus, we are all stuck that way. We cannot earn God s love, but He gives it to us freely. As a result, we can love others freely by spreading the good news. Unit 28, Session 5 discussion starter video The God Who Empowers 79

11 The Story song Sing (4 minutes) LEADER Let s praise God for all the wonderful ways He shows His love for us. Sing together The Story. Pray (2 minutes) Invite kids to pray before dismissing to apply the story. LEADER Father, thank You for sending Jesus to save sinners. Thank You that we don t have to be Jewish to trust in His death and resurrection for our salvation. Holy Spirit, come fill us and help us understand the wonderful things You want us to learn about God today. Amen. Dismiss to apply the story 80 Younger Kids Leader Guide Unit 28 Session 5

12 The Gospel: God s Plan for Me Ask kids if they have ever heard the word gospel. Clarify that the word gospel means good news. It is the message about Christ, the kingdom of God, and salvation. Use the following guide to share the gospel with kids. God rules. Explain to kids that the Bible tells us God created everything, and He is in charge of everything. Invite a volunteer to read Genesis 1:1 from the Bible. Read Revelation 4:11 or Colossians 1:16-17 aloud and explain what these verses mean. We sinned. Tell kids that since the time of Adam and Eve, everyone has chosen to disobey God. (Romans 3:23) The Bible calls this sin. Because God is holy, God cannot be around sin. Sin separates us from God and deserves God s punishment of death. (Romans 6:23) God provided. Choose a child to read John 3:16 aloud. Say that God sent His Son, Jesus, the perfect solution to our sin problem, to rescue us from the punishment we deserve. It s something we, as sinners, could never earn on our own. Jesus alone saves us. Read and explain Ephesians 2:8-9. Jesus gives. Share with kids that Jesus lived a perfect life, died on the cross for our sins, and rose again. Because Jesus gave up His life for us, we can be welcomed into God s family for eternity. This is the best gift ever! Read Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21; or 1 Peter 3:18. We respond. Tell kids that they can respond to Jesus. Read Romans 10:9-10,13. Review these aspects of our response: Believe in your heart that Jesus alone saves you through what He s already done on the cross. Repent, turning from self and sin to Jesus. Tell God and others that your faith is in Jesus. Offer to talk with any child who is interested in responding to Jesus. Provide I m a Christian Now for new Christians to take home and complete with their families. The God Who Empowers 81

13 Apply the STORY SESSION TITLE: Peter Visited Cornelius BIBLE PASSAGE: Acts 10 MAIN POINT: The Holy Spirit told Peter to preach to Cornelius, a Gentile. KEY PASSAGE: Philippians 2:13 BIG PICTURE QUESTION: What does the Holy Spirit do? The Holy Spirit helps Christians follow Jesus. Key Passage Poster sticky notes Bibles, 1 per kid Main Point Poster large sheet of paper markers Key passage activity (5 minutes) Cover the key passage poster in sticky notes. Take volunteers to say the key passage from memory. If no one is able to recite the passage, remove a few sticky notes to allow the kids a bit of help. Continue removing sticky notes until the kids can say the verse without further help. Then begin adding sticky notes back to the poster until the passage is covered again. SAY Our key passage is from Paul s letter to the Philippians, the believers who living in a city called Philippi. Paul wrote this to remind them that God works through believers to accomplish His plans. When we obey God, it is through the power of the Holy Spirit. Bible story review & Bible skills (10 minutes) Distribute a Bible to each kid. Help her find Acts 10 and then read through the chapter together. You may choose to briefly retell the story using the bold text of the Bible story script. Provide a large sheet of paper and markers for your group. Encourage the kids to draw scenes from the story to 82 Younger Kids Leader Guide Unit 28 Session 5

14 create a mural that tells the story. Then ask the following review questions: 1. Who told Cornelius to send men to find Peter? (an angel of the Lord, Acts 10:3-5) 2. What did Peter see in his vision? (a large sheet being lowered to the ground with all kinds of animals, including unclean animals; Acts 10:11-12) 3. When Peter refused to eat the animals, what did the voice say? (What God has made clean, do not call impure; Acts 10:15) 4. What did Peter learn from his vision? (No people should be considered impure or unclean, Acts 10:28) 5. What does the Holy Spirit do? The Holy Spirit helps Christians follow Jesus. SAY The Holy Spirit told Peter to preach to Cornelius, a Gentile. In those days, it was common for Jewish people to avoid Gentiles, because the Jews considered non-jews to be unclean or impure. But God loves everyone. Everyone has sin that makes us unclean before God, but Jesus death and resurrection make the way for us to be washed clean of our sin so we can be with God forever. God doesn t hold back salvation from anyone who believes in Jesus, no matter who they are or where they come from. In our lives, it is often very easy to treat people who look or sound different from us as if they are less important to us or to God, but that is foolish thinking. Every person was made by God in His image, and He loves all of us. God wants everyone to be saved. That s why God sends the church on mission to tell the world about Jesus. He gives us the Holy Spirit to live with us and guide us. What The God Who Empowers 83

15 does the Holy Spirit do? The Holy Spirit helps Christians follow Jesus. LOW PREP Tip: Clear an area of obstacles to reduce the chances of kids bumping into objects. paper crayons Activity choice (10 minutes) OPTION 1: Jews and Gentiles Form two groups of kids. Tell one group they will be the Jews and the other group they will be the Gentiles. In the first round of play, the Gentiles will close their eyes and call out unclean! The Jews must respond clean! The kids in the Gentile group will try to tag kids from the Jewish group without opening their eyes. Once all the kids in the Jewish group are tagged, stop play. The Jewish group is now believers and the Gentile group is unbelievers. In this round of play, believers will close their eyes and call out believer and the unbelievers will respond with unbeliever. Believers will try to tag unbelievers. SAY At first, many Jews tried to avoid spending any time with Gentiles because they saw them as unclean. God, however, loved both Jews and Gentiles and sent Jesus to die for all people. The Holy Spirit told Peter to preach to Cornelius, a Gentile. God wanted His people to know that no one is unclean except for sin, and that Jesus death and resurrection is enough to save anyone. As believers, we should not avoid unbelievers but seek them out to tell them about Jesus. OPTION 2: Show and tell Provide paper and crayons to kids. Ask them to draw a picture of their favorite toy or most prized possession. Then go around the room asking each kid to share what he drew and why it is his favorite. 84 Younger Kids Leader Guide Unit 28 Session 5

16 SAY It s normal to have a favorite toy or a special treasure that you value a lot. However, the Bible tells us that we are not to show that kind of favoritism to people. The Holy Spirit told Peter to preach to Cornelius, a Gentile, even though it was common in those days for Jews to look down on Gentiles. God made everyone, and we all carry His image. We are to love all people because Jesus loved all people. A great way to love everyone is to share the gospel with them. God wants everyone to believe in Jesus, and He doesn t want us to think of anyone as unclean or unworthy of His love. No one can earn salvation, but God offers it freely to everyone who believes in Jesus. Journal and prayer (5 minutes) Distribute each child s journal. Ask the kids to write about or draw a picture to answer the following questions: What does this story teach me about God or about the gospel? What does this story teach me about myself? Whom can I tell about this story? Make sure each child secures this week s sheet in the journal, and then collect them. Keep the journals in the classroom so they will be available every week or as often as you wish to use them. If time remains, take prayer requests or allow kids to complete the Bible story coloring page provided with this session. Pray for your group. pencils and crayons Journal Page Bible Story Coloring Page, 1 per kid Tip: Give parents this week s Big Picture Cards for Families to allow families to interact with the biblical content at home. The God Who Empowers 85

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