There are three segments to our Legacy Lesson:
2. Legacy Lesson–Bible point: Be humble or be humbled by God
3. Wrap-up: Apply the message to our own lives; work on memory verse
Last week, we talked about the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. Can you remember the difference between the two? The Pharisee was focused on rules and the sins of others. The tax collector recognized and confessed his sins. The Pharisee had a prideful heart; the tax collector had a humble heart.
This was our focus verse last week
➤Tell me about a time you made the wrong decision and had to face the consequences.
We’ve all been there before! Before your kiddos begin talking, I suggest you go first. Hearing about parents’ mistakes is something our kids need to hear. By sharing about our own mistakes, our family can connect to us more.
Point: Sooner or later, we’ll have to face the consequences of our mistakes.
In our focus story today, we will be looking at a man named Paul. God had to get his attention in a unique way to show him his mistakes. God can do the same thing to you through something called a “Humbling.” A “Humbling” is an incident that God either causes or allows to get our attention about our behavior. He leads us to make a decision: to repent and change our behavior or continue the behavior and face the consequences.
2. Transition over to Legacy Lesson:
Feel free to modify for your sphere of influence. Add, revise, or delete sections that would help keep attention for 30 minutes or less. For younger audiences, I would aim for 10-15 minutes!
For younger kids:
You don’t have to cover all the background information over Paul. Mention a few key details about him and move on to the video.
👉 Paul was a Pharisee.
👉 Paul was passionate about keeping God’s laws and commands.
👉 Paul did not agree with Jesus about love and forgiveness; he hurt and arrested Jesus’ followers.
Background information about Paul the Pharisee:
👉 Paul would have memorized Deuteronomy 6: 4-9, “The Shema”, by the time he was in preschool:
4 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. 7 Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol[b] on your forehead[c] 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
👉 By the time he was 5 years old, he would have begun reading and memorizing Scripture, Psalms 113-118.
👉 By the time he was 6, he would have been under a rabbi’s instruction in Tarsus.
👉 By 10 years old, he was in a classroom of oral law.
👉 By 13 years old, he had come of age and was responsible for knowing and living the 613 commandments derived from reading the Hebrew Bible.
👉 By 15 years old, he was training to become a rabbi.
What on this list sounds impressive?
Compare your religious training with Paul’s near your current age. What did he accomplish by your age?
As you can see, Paul was totally committed to being a Pharisee. Following God’s commands in Moses’ teachings were of utmost importance for a Pharisee.
Let’s learn a few more facts about Paul:
•He was super passionate for God and God’s laws in the Old Testament, yet he hated Jesus, his teachings, and his disciples. Remember, Pharisees were about rules; Jesus was about recognizing our sins, receiving his love and forgiveness.
•Christians taught that Jesus was the priest (shocking words to the Pharisees) and there was no more need for temple rules/rituals.
•Because more and more people were converting to Christianity, Paul started going door-to-door hunting for Christians. He would capture them, bring them to trial, and execute them. To the Christians, Paul was a terrorist.
Throughout this month, we have been focusing on pride. For our lesson today, God uses what I call a “Humbling” to change Paul’s life. A “Humbling” is an incident that God either causes or allows to get our attention about our behavior. He leads us to make a decision: to repent and change our behavior or continue the behavior and face the consequences.
For older kids, here are 3 ways you can teach this lesson:
1. Show the video and discuss the key parts afterwards. (See video link below.) *If you choose to do this, Mama, read the parts below to help talk about the key parts afterwards.
2. Show the video (pause for discussion). Pushing “pause” after each of the 4 key sections below will help in your discussions.
3. Read the key passages below then watch the video.
Lesson in 3 parts:
•Paul before the Humbling
•Paul after the Humbling
Saul and Paul were the same person. Prior to Acts 13:9, Paul was called Saul. This was a common practice called “duel names.” After Acts 13:9, Saul was called Paul. You will see this difference in our Bible passages. I used to think that God changed Saul’s name to Paul after he was saved, but that isn’t the case.
•Saul before the “Humbling”:
When our story picks up, Saul is hunting down more Christians. Read Acts 9: 1-2:
(I have a page at the end of this lesson with the 4 different verse sections I will use in this lesson. You can print this page off and have each of your people read a short section.)
What did Saul ask the high priest to do? He asked the high priest to write letters to the local synagogues about giving Saul authority to hunt down Christians and arrest them for trial.
Then, something happens on that road to Damascus. Saul was proudly going on a mission to persecute Christians. His pride made him blind to the truth about Jesus, his grace, and his love. Sometimes in life, Jesus has to get our attention in such a dramatic way, we will never forget that encounter. He does it in such a loving way, we will be forever changed, and this is exactly what happened to Saul.
Read Acts 9: 3-9:
Wow—now that is one BIG intervention! What did Jesus do to get Saul’s attention? While Saul was on his way to Damascus, Jesus appeared in a bright light asking Saul, “Why are you hurting me?” (Saul was hurting Jesus’ people…but by doing this, he hurt Jesus.)
Did the officers with Saul see Jesus or a bright light? No, they saw nothing. They heard nothing. Saul was blind so they took him to Damascus and left him there.
Saul had to face the consequences of his own prideful sin. Jesus will, at some point, allow us to face consequences as well. His hope is that we will turn to him in these humble moments and repent from making the same mistakes.
While Saul stayed in Damascus, the Lord spoke to one of his people in Damascus named Ananias. Ananias was a passionate follower of Jesus and knew of Saul’s persecution. He did not like Saul or want anything to do with him, yet Jesus had this ultimate request of humility: Go to Saul, pray for him and baptize him as a Christian.
How would you feel if you were Ananias? I wouldn’t be happy! The very man who has hunted down my friends, imprisoned them, and killed them is the same man I am going to pray for? What?!? This was definitely a humbling moment for Ananias…as well as a powerful reminder of how Jesus can change even the most hated of people into passionate Christ followers.
Despite his hesitations, Ananias obeyed and did as Jesus asked. Read the rest of the story in Acts 9: 17-19:
•After the “Humbling”: “Humblings” are meant to humble us. When we act with pride, we lift ourselves up. The act of humbling us is to bring us down low to grab our attention so that we can look up and reach out to God for help.
Read Acts 9: 26-31to see how Saul was changed after the “Humbling”:
What did Saul do after the “Humbling”? He joined Jesus’ followers (they were reluctant at first), preaching in the name of Jesus.
Because Saul would talk and argue with Jews about his faith, what did they want to do to him as a result? They were trying to kill him! The followers of Jesus, his “brothers,” saved him from such attacks.
What happened to this group of followers? Jesus’ followers became stronger and stronger, larger and larger due to the power of the Holy Spirit working in them and among them.
From this point on, Saul gave his life to following Jesus and preaching for him. He wrote several books in the New Testament. Sadly, he was eventually killed for his faith.
3. Wrapping-Up: Applying it to our lives
Everyone will, at some point, receive a “humbling.” God doesn’t do this to be mean or unfair; in fact, He loves us more than we can ever comprehend!! Because He loves us, He intervenes in our lives to change our behavior. Just like a parent, God loves us enough to discipline us. Imagine Him saying this to us:
“I love you so much, child, I need to show you boundaries to your behavior. I will show you what’s right and what’s wrong. Sometimes, I save you from the consequences of your sin; this is called grace. Sometimes, especially when you don’t listen to me, I let you experience the consequences of your sin; this is called love. I love you enough to intervene in your life in such a way, it causes you to turn to me, repent, and seek my help to avoid such behavior in the future. Sometimes, I have to bring you down low so that you will look up to Me. It’s hard to look to me when you lift yourself up high in pride; this will never lead to good places, only pain and consequences. Humble yourself, and I will honor you.”
Pride is a sin, a very serious sin. Isaiah 59:2 says that our sins can separate us from a holy God.
We can be saved, yet have broken off our close relationship with God through unconfessed sin. That is why it’s important we confess our moments of pride. 1 John 1:9 has a beautiful promise for us when we confess our sins:
“But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins. We can trust God. He does what is right. He will make us clean from all the wrongs we have done.” (ICB) 1 John 1:9
What if we don’t confess our moments of pride? According to our verse above in Isaiah, our unconfessed sins add up, creating a barrier between us and God, like a wall. When that wall gets high enough, cracks will form, causing it to come crashing down (aka: the “humbling”). We are suddenly faced with the ugliness of our own sin and its consequences.
We are going to create our own “wall” by writing our unconfessed sins on pieces of paper. What do we confess? Anything we do, say, or think that God wouldn’t be pleased with. If you’re in doubt, write it down! (When everyone is done, arrange all their pieces of paper together to create a “wall” look.) Now, we are going to pray and confess these sins with a heart that means it. When we do, those bricks come down and we have access to God.
When we don’t confess with a heart that means it, those bricks stay put. If we choose to not bow down before a holy God to confess our sins, sometimes He will force us to bow down through “Humblings.” That’s what happened to Paul and that is what can happen to us.
So, 1 Peter 5:6 will be our focus verse this week:
God will use “humblings” in our lives to get us back on His path; if we are quick to confess our sin and humble ourselves, he promises to “lift us up.” Saul was brought down low to recognize his sinful actions. He repented and was “lifted up” as one of the greatest missionaries EVER. It was never easy for Saul, but he was passionate that others wouldn’t make the same mistakes he made.
The bottom line: We can either be humble or be humbled by God—we get to choose!
Cut out this scripture and have your people read it; follow up the scripture with the discussion questions!
Copyright © 2021 by Amber Spencer @lionesslegacymama. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org.