Persecution means being treated badly by others because of your belief in Jesus. Persecution takes many different forms, from mild to extreme. Throughout history, God has worked through the persecution of His followers to spread the gospel and bring glory to Himself.
Teaching Time: 20 minutes
Materials: ball, weights or heavy objects
Scatter and Spread:
Gather together in a circle. Have one family member stand outside the circle holding the ball. The ball is like a ticking time bomb. When it enters the circle, scatter in different directions before it goes off. Now, toss the ball into the circle. Persecution makes believers scatter. After Jesus ascended into heaven, his followers stayed in Jerusalem. Then, Stephen, a respected leader in the church, was killed because of his belief in Jesus. A great persecution against the church broke out and believers scattered. Acts 8:4 says, “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” As they scattered, the believers took their faith in Jesus with them. The word of God spread.
Have each child take turns lifting the weights or heavy objects a few times. How do your muscles feel after exercising? What would happen if you kept lifting weights every day? Right, your muscles would get stronger. God uses persecution to help believers develop spiritual muscles. All persecution hurts, whether it’s a verbal or physical attack. But if believers endure it, persecution makes them stronger – stronger in relying on God, stronger in prayer, stronger in knowing what the Bible says, stronger in boldness to share Jesus with others.
- Read 2 Timothy 3:12 and John 15:20. Is persecution a surprise to God?
- Read Malachi 1:11. How does God use persecution to accomplish His global plans?
Pray that those who are persecuted would be strengthened in their faith and continue to share about Jesus wherever they go.