October 16, 2022 – Acts 7
Lesson Date: October 16, 2022
Focal Scripture Passage: Acts 7:1-60
AIM: To lead students to discover that Israel repeatedly rejected God’s servants and messengers who foreshadowed or told them about Jesus, and to examine themselves to see if they are rejecting Jesus.
Before class: Read the notes on Acts 7 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Tell the following “parable” to the class:
There once was a man who was trapped in his house by rising flood waters. He remembered that in the Bible God promised, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5), and “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13), so the man prayed, asking God to save him from the flood.
As the man waited on his front porch, confident that God would save him, a jacked-up four-wheel drive truck drove up to his house. The driver told the man to wade over to the truck so he could drive him to safety. The man refused, calmly saying, “God will save me from the flood.”
As the waters grew higher, the man climbed up on his roof. Soon a motorboat pulled up next to his roof. The driver of the boat told the man to climb in the boat so he could take him to safety. The man refused, calmly saying, “God will save me from the flood.”
When the waters had almost covered the man’s roof, a helicopter swooped in. The rescuer in the door of the helicopter lowered a harness and told the man to climb in so they could fly him to safety. The man refused, calmly saying, “God will save me from the flood.”
Finally, the flood waters swept the man away and he drowned. When he got to heaven he asked God, “Lord, I believed your promises; why didn’t you save me from the flood?” The Lord replied, “Son, I sent a truck, a boat, and helicopter to save you, but you rejected every one of them.”
Tell the students that fictional story illustrates the fact that many people reject God’s offer of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, trying instead to follow their own plans. The title of today’s lesson is Rejecting Jesus.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Remind the class that we are studying the New Testament book of Acts.
- Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (God’s plan for ministry).
- Remind the class that Stephen, one of the seven men chosen by the church to minister to the Grecian widows, was arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin, the very group that had sentenced Jesus to death and repeatedly threatened and beaten the apostles.
- Ask a volunteer to read Acts 6:13-14.
- Ask: “What did the false witnesses accuse Stephen of doing?” (speaking blasphemous words against the Temple and the Law, and saying that Jesus would destroy the Temple and change the Jewish traditions).
- Explain that chapter 7 tells what Stephen said to the Sanhedrin.
- Read Acts 7:1-8.
- Tell the students that God chose Abraham and established a special covenant with him.
- Israel Rejected Joseph.
- Ask a volunteer to read Acts 7:9-10.
- Ask: “What did Joseph’s brother do to him?” (they sold him into slavery in Egypt).
- Tell the class that Israel, personified by Joseph’s brothers, rejected Joseph.
- Ask: “What did God do for Joseph?” (made him governor over all Egypt).
- Read Acts 7:11-16.
- Ask: “How did God use Joseph in the lives of his brothers, who had rejected him?” (God used him to save their lives and provide them a home in a foreign land).
- Explain that Joseph was a type of Christ, in that he was rejected by his own, but God used him to be the savior of their lives.
- Summarize: Israel rejected Joseph, whom God would use to save them from famine and death.
- Israel Rejected Moses.
- Tell the class that Acts 7:17-22 tell the familiar story about Moses being saved from death in the river by Pharaoh’s daughter, who raised him as her own child.
- Read Acts 7:23-28.
- Ask: “What happened when Moses saw an Egyptian mistreating an Israelite?” (he killed the Egyptian).
- Ask: “According to verse 25, what did Moses think the Israelites would understand?” (that God would use him to deliver them).
- Ask: “What happened the next day?” (Moses tried to stop a fight between two Jews, but they rejected him).
- Explain the following:
- Israel, personified by these Israelite men, rejected Moses.
- Moses fled from Egypt and settled in Midian.
- God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, telling him to go back to Egypt and lead the Israelites to freedom.
- Ask a volunteer to read Acts 7:35-36.
- Ask: “What did God do through Moses, whom Israel had rejected?” (brought Israel out of Egypt and led them for forty years).
- Explain that Moses was another type of Christ, in that he was rejected by his own, but used by God to be their deliverer.
- Summarize: Israel rejected Moses, whom God would use to deliver them from bondage and give them His Law.
- Israel Rejected the Law.
- Ask a volunteer to read Acts 7:37.
- Ask: “What did Moses prophesy?” (that God would raise up a great prophet – the Messiah – whom they were to follow and obey; see Deut. 18:15-19 and Acts 3:22).
- Read Acts 7:38-41.
- Tell the class that verse 38 says Moses received the living Word of God at Mount Sinai.
- Ask: “How did the Israelites respond to God’s Law?” (they rejected it and chose to follow idols instead).
- Tell the students what Stephen told the Sanhedrin in verses 42-50:
- In spite of Israel’s continual rebellion and idolatry, God eventually settled them in the Promised Land, driving out the wicked Canaanites before them (v. 42-45).
- God raised up King David, who wanted to build God a Temple (v. 46).
- King Solomon eventually built the Temple (v. 48).
- God doesn’t actually live in a building made by man (v. 49-50).
- Explain that the Old Testament Law told Israel that God would one day send a Savior, but Israel repeatedly rejected God’s Law and followed dead idols.
- Summarize: Israel rejected God’s Law, which promised and foreshadowed the coming Savior.
- Israel Rejected the Prophets and Jesus.
- Tell the class that God sent Israel many prophets who warned them about their sin and urged them to come back to the Lord.
- Ask a volunteer to read Acts 7:51-53.
- Ask: “How did Israel respond to God’s prophets?” (they killed them).
- Ask: “According to the last half of verse 52, what were those prophets telling Israel about?” (the coming of “the Just One” – Jesus Christ).
- Ask: “According to the last phrase of verse 52, what did the Jews do to Jesus?” (betrayed Him and murdered Him).
- Summarize: Israel rejected God’s prophets, who prophesied the coming of Jesus our Savior.
- Israel Rejected Stephen.
- Tell the class that Stephen very clearly proclaimed Jesus as the promised Messiah; he used the Old Testament, which the learned members of the Sanhedrin knew very well, to show that Israel continually rejected God’s messengers, and finally rejected His Son.
- Ask a volunteer to read Acts 7:54-60.
- Ask: “What did the distinguished members of the Sanhedrin do?” (raged at Stephen like wild animals, then took him outside the city and stoned him to death).
- Summarize: Israel rejected Stephen, who told them about their Savior.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Review the lesson by reminding the students of the following:
- Israel rejected Joseph, who would later save their lives.
- Israel rejected Moses, who would later deliver them from captivity.
- Israel rejected God’s Law, which promised that a Savior was coming.
- Israel rejected the prophets, who told more about the coming Savior.
- Israel rejected Stephen, who preached to them about the Savior.
Tell the students that ultimately and most importantly, Israel rejected Jesus, who came to be their Savior (John 1:11).
Ask: “Here’s the most important question for you today: have YOU rejected Jesus?”
Tell the students that we might think of rejecting Jesus as doing like the First Century Jews did: violently betraying Him and killing Him; but many people reject Jesus by merely ignoring Him. They don’t necessarily want to destroy Jesus; they just don’t have time for Him.
Ask: “What is the ultimate fate of those who reject Jesus and refuse to accept Him as their Savior?” (hell). Tell the students if any of them have rejected Jesus as their Savior, you hope they will accept Him today.
Ask: “Is it possible for a Christian to reject Jesus?” Explain that unlike a lost person, a Christian cannot reject Jesus and go to hell; but a Christian can reject Jesus’ authority and live In disobedience, not yielding to His Lordship.
Summarize by telling the students they can reject Jesus as Savior and go to hell, or as a believer they can reject Jesus’ rule and Lordship in their life and bring misery upon themselves.
Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Ask them to examine themselves to see if they are rejecting Jesus as their Savior, or if they are rejecting His Lordship. If they are not saved, they need to repent and place their faith in Jesus now. If they are already saved, they need to humbly submit every area of life to Jesus’ control. Voice a closing prayer.
CONCLUSION: Offer to speak to any students after class about how they can receive Christ or fully submit themselves to Him. Encourage them all to try to live under Jesus’ Lordship every day this week.
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