As we serve in Rome, one of my favorite jobs is working on Children’s Ministry curriculum. This year our Children’s Ministry team will be taking our kids through a survey of God’s Word, tracing His Scarlet Thread of Redemption from Genesis through Revelation. I thought it would be fun to share a little of it, so you can be praying for us as we write the lessons, as well as for the translation, for the teachers and for the kids who will be learning. When everything is finished… lessons, crafts, games, color sheets, puzzles, etc., we will be putting this curriculum online to be available for other Italian Children’s Ministries. For now, here’s a sample of the teacher notes from a couple of the lessons…
Lesson 1: And God Saw That It Was Good
NOTES FOR THE TEACHER *The “Notes for the Teacher” section is intended for the teacher and assistant’s advance preparation of the lesson. It is not written for children or expressed in language they would understand.
This curriculum is designed to teach our children that the Bible is more than a bunch of unrelated, disconnected stories. As you read through God’s Word it becomes obvious that the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation is one message with one central theme: the story of God’s amazing plan to rescue mankind and bring us into His family. Our goal in each lesson will be to trace this scarlet thread of redemption that is woven into the tapestry of various characters and settings to create one beautiful compelling picture of God’s sacrificial, redeeming love for us!
Jesus is clearly the central character of God’s story and it is only through Him that this picture makes sense. Jesus and His scarlet thread of redemption ties the entire Bible together so we can see its message: the Messiah had to suffer and die in our place in order to redeem us from the penalty of our sin.
Jesus completes the picture that is sketched out in the Old Testament. He said in Matthew 5:17,“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
During His ministry, Jesus told the religious leaders that the scriptures were all about Him. “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.” (John 5:39)
After His resurrection, Jesus clarified the message of God’s Word while walking along the road to Emmaus, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.“ (Luke 24:27)
God, the Creator of the Universe, the author of the Bible and the Master Weaver of this picture had a bigger purpose than merely giving us a list of rules or a bunch of heroic stories to teach us good morals. His primary purpose was to show us the mess that we are in, how we got in this mess and how He planned to rescue us through the sacrificial life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ!
God’s story of redemption begins with His creation. The main point we want to make in this lesson is the fact that in the beginning God created everything and His creation was perfect. Each day of creation we read this repeated statement, “and God saw that it was good”. This should make everyone wonder what changed to take us from the perfection of God’s original creation, to the pain and suffering that we see in the world today. This lesson sets the stage for the chain of events that are set in motion when sin enters the world.
Read Genesis 1 asking the Lord to teach you as you prepare to teach our students.
Lesson 3: Paradise Broken
NOTES FOR THE TEACHER
Read Genesis 3 and pray for God’s leading as you prepare to teach His children.
All our lessons about the Scarlet Thread of Redemption will hinge on this lesson, because without an understanding of how everything changed when sin entered the world, we would have no comprehension of our great need for a Savior.
In chapter three of Genesis we are confronted with the biggest problem known to man – SIN. This chapter shows us that sin is a much bigger problem than just “making mistakes” or “breaking a rule”. At its core it is an issue of wanting to make our own rules, independent of God (in essence, to be our own god – the lord of our own life). This prideful desire for the position that belongs only to God is the origin of all sin. We also see the devastating consequences of sin, resulting in the fallen world we live in today.
The devil is often presented as God’s counterpart, equal to, but the opposite of God. Nothing could be further from the truth! Satan is merely a created being who is subject to God’s authority. Lucifer was created to be the most beautiful worship leader in heaven, but like us, he was created with free will. He chose to use his freedom to rebel against God’s authority. He was jealous of God’s position and wanted to be like God. Satan is powerful only because that’s how God made him, but in no way as powerful as God! When he chose to rebel against God, he was sentenced to separation from God and a final destination of eternal punishment in the lake of fire. He knows his destiny and to spite his creator and judge, he is determined to take as many of us down with him as possible. He wants us to be jealous of God’s authority, just as he is, so he tries to convince us that God is holding out on us. He whispers to us that we can decide what’s best for ourselves and that we don’t need God’s guidance. In the Garden, Satan tempted Eve by saying, “Did God really say…?” That is still one of his main strategies. He wants us to question God’s word, God’s authority and God’s love for us. “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44
In this lesson, we see that God gave Adam and Eve one rule in the garden. They were not to eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil because if they did, they would die. So, why didn’t Adam and Eve die immediately when they ate the forbidden fruit? Adam and Eve died spiritually when they disobeyed God. Their disobedience also started the process of physical death for every living thing on earth. Yet, the biggest problem was that their relationship with God was severed, causing immediate Spiritual death. This condition would be passed on to every member of the human race like a lethal virus. When they chose to turn from God and disobey Him, they made the choice to follow the path of Satan (as well as his judgment – eternal separation from God and punishment in hell).
Immediately, their innocence was shattered and the shame of their new sin nature took hold. They tried to cover their guilt by sewing fig leaves together and hiding from God. This is a crucial point in this lesson. There is nothing that we can do about our sin problem, only God can. To show that mankind cannot do anything to make itself acceptable to Him, God rejected their attempt to cover their own nakedness and instead, He provided animal skins as a covering. That meant that an innocent animal had to die! From the very beginning, God wanted them (and us) to understand that sin has severe consequences. He wants us to have a clear picture of His justice, mercy and grace, because all three of these important concepts will come together in His plan for our redemption. God also wanted them to understand the idea of sacrifice. This realization, that their sin had caused the suffering and death of an innocent life, would have left quite an impression on Adam and Eve. Especially since this was their very first experience with death.
Thankfully, in this chapter, we also see our first glimmer of hope in the scarlet thread of God’s redemptive plan when God hints (in Genesis 3:15) that an offspring of woman will come to our rescue and God announced this judgment to Satan, “he shall crush your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”