Focus Passage: Galatians 1: 1-12
Memory Verse: “I didn’t receive the gospel from people; it came from a revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Items for Preparation
-Gather photos or mementos of gospel-bearers, people in your church who have taught others to believe in Jesus, and led others to faith. Good examples are parents, grandparents, a music leader, the pastor, the children’s Sunday school teacher, a deacon, a VBS leader, a missionary, a nursery teacher.
Read the adult lesson in the print edition of Nurturing Faith and additional material online. As Paul would write, we are saved by grace through faith alone, and we come to that faith through the power of God’s Spirit, this gospel being borne to us by people. Even though people teach and show us who Jesus is, we learn and understand and are moved to be disciples by that lovely Spirit of Christ. Therefore we give the credit and the glory to God. The teachers who tell us the gospel are God’s servants, and we are grateful that they have given us the Word.
[Display your photos of the gospel bearers in your church.]
Say: I’m showing you some pictures of people we love who have done a very important job in our church family. When you see all their faces, can you tell me what one job they all do? [Allow for answers.]
Say: All these people are gospel-bearers. They have been the people who have told us who Jesus is. They have taught us what we know about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and how we can be good Jesus-followers. Do you see someone in a picture who has been a gospel-bearer to you? [Allow for answers.]
Say: I wonder, can you name another person you know who has helped you learn who God is, or who has told you about Jesus being your savior? [Allow for answers.]
Say: The Apostle Paul was a good letter-writer, and he traveled across the oceans, visiting different people and telling them about Jesus. When he got back home he would write letters to them to explain more about following Jesus. He was a gospel-bearer to many people. He was one of the very first gospel-bearers in the whole world. But he said something curious in his letter to Galatia: he said that, even though these people who are gospel-bearers are important, it is not the people, but the Holy Spirit, that helps us know who God is and who Jesus is. Isn’t that a funny thing for him to say? I mean, he is like the biggest gospel-bearer in the history of the world! And he, Paul himself, is saying in his letter, “Naw, y’all, it’s not about me! If you have a feeling that God loves you, and if you know you want to be a Jesus-follower, it’s not because of people like me! No way! It’s because of the Holy Spirit speaking inside you. So, don’t give me the credit. Give the credit to God!”
Say: I bet that each of the people in our pictures today would say the same thing. Though we love them for telling us the gospel story, and for leading us to have faith in God and to be Jesus-followers, they would say what Paul said: It’s not about us. It’s about Jesus.
Say: Now I wonder: are you a gospel-bearer for other people? Do people learn who God is, and how Jesus loves them, from you? I wonder.
Prayer: Say these words after I say them.
O loving God,
We thank you for the love
In the hearts of many people
Who have been gospel-bearers for us.
Bless and keep them in your care.
Let us be good Jesus-followers
And let us be gospel-bearers
Through the power of your Holy Spirit
In Jesus’ name, Amen.