Nehemiah: Trickery & Treachery (Neh 6)

Categories: Children's Church

1. HOOK: Rock, Paper, Scissors

  • Any game that involves a bit of trickery — try to trick your opponent — such as rock, paper, scissors
  • Get 2 kids to go up in front to play, or pair kids up to play against each other

 

2. STORY: Trickery & Treachery (Neh 6)

  • We’re following the adventures of Nehemiah as he and the people of Israel work together to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem
  • Two weeks ago, we learned how Nehemiah’s enemies tried to stop the building of the wall. The builders armed themselves and were reminded that God was always with them (If God is for us, who can be against us?)
  • But when the enemies — Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem and the others — heard that Nehemiah had built up the walls of Jerusalem (but haven’t fixed the doors yet), they tried again to hinder its completion through various means.
  • The Enemies’ Attacks:
    (if saying the names — Sanballat, Geshem etc —  is too distracting for teacher/students, just use “the enemies”)
  • i. Distract:
    • The enemies (Sanballat and Geshem) asked Nehemiah to meet them at the villages in the plain of Ono
    • Ono: 1 day’s journey northwest of Jerusalem (enemies’ territory)
    • This would distract Nehemiah from what He should be doing (the rebuilding) and waste time (at least 2 days for travelling to and fro)
    • Nehemiah knew they were trying to harm him.
    • So he sent this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?”
    • They sent him the same message 4 times; each time he gave the same reply
    • Nehemiah was not distracted from the great work that God called him to do.
  • ii. Lie:
    • The enemies (Sanballat) tried another method — to spread lies about Nehemiah (give him a bad name/reputation; say bad things about him)
    • Sanballat sent an open letter, claiming that Nehemiah wanted to become king of Judah and rebel against the Persian king (Nehemiah’s boss). Sanballat threatened to tell the Persian king about it and told Nehemiah, “You better meet up with us now to discuss this matter!”
    • Sanballat tried to put fear into Nehemiah — if the Persian king believed Sanballat, Nehemiah could be put to death for treason/going against the king
      Neh 6:9  They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.”
    • Nehemiah replied, “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.”
    • He also prayed and asked God, “Now strengthen my hands.” He may have been afraid, but instead of dwelling on the threats, Nehemiah decided to depend on God’s strength and boldness.
    • Nehemiah knew that FAITH in God could overcome FEAR
  • iii. Betray:
    • Then Sanballat got a “prophet” called Shemaiah to try to trick Nehemiah — Shemaiah told Nehemiah: “Someone is trying to kill you. Quick … go hide in the temple!”
    • It was a trick to get Nehemiah to the temple, where his enemies would kill him.
    • But Nehemiah realized that Shemaiah was a false prophet — not sent by God — who was hired by Tobiah and Sanballat to trick him. So he did not go to the temple. “Should a man like me run away? Or should someone like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!”
    • Nehemiah was a wise man — he was able to judge a situation and know if something was not right.
  • So despite all the enemies’ efforts, the wall of Jerusalem was completed in a record 52 days!
  • When all the enemies heard about it, and all the nations around saw these things, they knew that this work was done by God (Neh 6:15).
  • “With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.” (Matt 19:26)

 

3. LESSON:

  • Like Nehemiah, Jesus faced much opposition when He was on earth.
    • The religious leaders were always trying to trip Him up by asking all sorts of trick questions (e.g. Should we pay taxes? Who is my neighbor?)
    • Jesus was also wrongly accused many times for going against God and the Roman Emperor
    • Jesus was also betrayed by His own disciple, Judas
    • But like Nehemiah, Jesus remained firm and focused on what God called Him to do.
    • He always knew that His Father hears His prayers and will deliver Him.
    • The completed wall was a picture of Jesus’ finished work on the cross.
  • The devil is our enemy. He comes to steal, kill and destroy. But he is a toothless lion — he has no real power.
    • He can only make us fearful, afraid, scared … just like Sanballat and friends tried to make Nehemiah fearful.
    • What can we do when we are afraid?
      • Remember God and His love for us
        Perfect love cast out all fear. (1 John 4:18)
      • Pray and remember Jesus’ finished work on the cross
      • Know that with God, all things are possible.

 

4. ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS:

  • Memory Verse activity/game
    • Matt 19:26 “With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.” 
  • Close in Prayer

Nehemiah: No more Debt! (Neh 5)

Categories: Children's Church

1. HOOK: IOU

  • Teaching kids about interest (can use any other example you find helpful)
  • Prepare 10-20 of the same objects at the back of the room, e.g. erasers, plastic bottles, crayons etc.
    Basket/Container A: placed at the front of the room, with a sign “Debt” attached, facing away from the kids.
    Basket/Container B: also at front of the room, but less conspicuous, e.g. behind Basket A, with a sign “Interest” attached, facing away from the kids.
  • Choose a volunteer. This volunteer has to run back and forth the class, picking up one of the objects from the back of the class and putting it into Basket A at the front of the class. He/she has to get 10 objects into the Basket A within 60-120 seconds (depending on classroom size).
  • As the volunteer starts running to and fro, putting items into Basket A, you (the teacher/assistant) will take an item from Basket A and put into Basket B at various times. After the 60-120 seconds, the idea is to have only 2-3 items in Basket A (with the rest in Basket B.
  • Turn both baskets around so the kids can see the attached signs. Explain to the class: Basket A represents the volunteer’s debt of 10 items (what he/she owes). Every time the volunteer brought an item to the basket, he was paying his loan. But there’s a high interest on the debt — a fee charged for the loan. So even though the volunteer was running up and down, working very hard to pay off his debt by putting the items into Basket A, most of it went to pay the high interest on that debt (Basket B). So the volunteer is still left with a big debt.

 

2. STORY: NO MORE DEBT (Nehemiah 5)

  • We’re following the adventures of Nehemiah as he and the people of Israel work together to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem
  • Last week, we learned how the builders were able to defend themselves against their enemies — one hand working, one hand holding a weapon etc. They were reminded that God was always with them(last week’s memory verse: If God is for us, who can be against us?)
  • While the people of Jerusalem were able to fend off their enemies, they also faced problems in their own community.
    • Last week: external enemies: the people were united against them
    • This week: internal problems: divided the people 
  • Problems faced by the Israelites:
    • Famine
      • Big families, but not enough food
      • Had to sell their fields, vineyards and homes to get food
    • High taxes

      • Had to borrow money to pay tax
      • Children sold into slavery
    • High interest:
      • Fellow Jews (nobles and officials) were lending money to the Jews and charging them interest, so they could not pay back their loan
        (just like the volunteer who, despite his efforts, could not fill Basket A)
  • Nehemiah’s response:
    • Very angry — leaders were exploiting the people; those who had money were pressing down those who didn’t have money and making them poorer, instead of helping them
    • He called a large meeting and scolded the nobles and officials: “You are charging your own people interest! What you are doing is not right.”
    • Selling fellow Jews (they were one big family) into slavery to Gentiles (non Jews)
      — Nehemiah had to buy them back from the Gentile masters
    • Taking away the fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses from those who already don’t have food or money
    • Charging interest — 1% of the money, grain, new wine and olive oil that they lend to the poor
  • Nehemiah’s own example:
    • He and his brothers have been lending money and grain to the people, WITHOUT charging any interest.
    • When he was governor of Jerusalem for 12 years, he:
      • didn’t eat the food allotted to the governor (even though he had 150 guests at his dining table with lots of beef, lamb, chicken & wine)
      • did not take any land for himself or extra money from the people (unlike previous governors who took 50 shekels of silver from them, on top of food and wine)
      • did not lord over the people
    • Why? “Out of reverence for God.”
      He knew God’s heart — to help and encourage, not to push down and step on.
    • Instead, he devoted himself to the work on the wall — do what God called him to do.
    • Instructed the nobles/officials to return the fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses to the poor.
  • The nobles/officials’ response:
    • “We will give it back. And we will not demand anything more from them. We will do as you say.”
    • Took an oath to do what they had promised

3. LESSON:

  • Jesus paid our debt for us
    • Just like the poor Israelites, all of us were in debt. Our debt was called “SIN”. We were sold as slaves to sin.
    • We owed a debt we could not pay — no matter what we did or how good we tried to be.
      • So, by dying on the cross, Jesus paid this debt He did not owe and paid the price to buy us back for himself.
      • Colossians 2:13-14 When you were dead in your sins … God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the record of debt, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.

getoutofdebt

    • We can love and care for one another
      • When we know and understand what Jesus has done for us, we can show His love and care to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We can help and lift up those in need, and not push them down or step on them.

 

4. ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS:

  • Memory Verse activity/game
    Romans 8:31   He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the record of debt, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.

Nehemiah: Facing Opposition (Neh 4)

Categories: Children's Church

1. STORY: FACING OPPOSITION (Nehemiah 4)

  • Recap
    • We’re following the adventures of Nehemiah as he and the people of Israel work together to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem
    • Who is Nehemiah? A Jew who was serving as cupbearer in the Persian king’s court
    • What is a cupbearer? A high-ranking officer whose duty is to serve drinks to the king (guarding it against poison).
    • Why did Nehemiah go to Jerusalem? To lead the people to rebuild the broken walls and the burnt gates — a city without walls is in disgrace and without protection from enemies.
    •  When Nehemiah first went to examine the walls, what did he see? Ruins. A mess.
    • What did Nehemiah say to the people to encourage them? The God of heaven will give us success.
    • The people started rebuilding and repairing the gates. Who can name me some of the gates? Sheep, Fish, Old, Valley, Rubbish, Fountain, Water, Horse, East, Miphkad
    • What do all the gates remind us about Jesus? Jesus is the gate of life! (John 10:9-10)

 

  • Facing Opposition:
    • In anything we do, we would face difficulties or opposition — people who go against what we are doing.
    • Obviously Nehemiah and the people of Jerusalem faced their share of challenges.
    • Their enemies did not want Jerusalem’s walls to be built.
    • Sanballat, Tobiah, Arabs, Ammonites, Ashdodites: furious and indignant
    • Mocked (Neh 4:1-3)
      • Attacked their identity: Feeble Jews
      • Attacked their ability: Will they fortify themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they complete in a day? Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish?
      • Whatever they build, if even a fox goes up on it, he will break down their stone wall.
      • Conspired (Neh 4:8)
        • To attack
        • To create confusion
        • To create fear:
          “They will neither know nor see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause the work to cease.”
          “From whatever place you turn, they will be upon us.” à told 10x!

 

  • Nehemiah’s Response:
    • Nehemiah knows God hears his prayers
    • He set men to guard the wall day and night
      Half worked at construction; other half wore armour, held spears, shields and bows;
      One hand worked; other hand held a weapon
    • He rallied the people and reminded them about how BIG their God is:
    • He recognised the Person of God: “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome …” (Neh 4:14)
    • He recognised the Partnership of God:Our God will fight for us” (Neh. 4:20)

 Picture1

  • The result:
    • The enemies retreated!
      15 And it happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had brought their plot to nothing, that all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work. 

 

2. LESSON:

  • Know our identity:
    • The devil attacked Jesus’ identity as the Son of God when he tried to tempt him in the desert. The devil always tries to make us doubt our identity and our standing before God — Does God really love me? Will God really help me? Maybe God won’t listen to my prayers because I sinned etc
    • We can also face opposition and challenges by knowing who we are in Christ and what He has done for us!
  • Stand guard:
    • We can stand against the devil by putting on the whole armour of God (Eph 6:10-13) Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
  • Recognise the Person and Partnership of God
    • “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome …”
    • Romans 8:31  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

 

  • What can we do when we face challenges?
    • Get kids to share what sort of challenges they face.

 

3. ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS:

  • Memory Verse activity/game
    • Romans 8:31  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Nehemiah: Gospel in the Gates (Review)

Categories: Children's Church

140810 Nehemiah

1.       STORY: Gospel in the Gates (Nehemiah 3)

  • This is a review lesson. Keep it simple, fun and activity based.
  • Basically, the kids should be able to know: Name of Gate and how it reminds us of what Jesus has done for us. For the older kids, you may want to up the ante by throwing in a memory verse or two.
  • Please end with the Conclusion (important) and an invitation for those who have not received Christ to accept Him as their Lord and Saviour.

 

  • Here are some suggestions for the review that you can use or modify. Just 1-2 activities would be good enough:
    • Find the Gates: Hide cards with pictures representing each gate around the room. Have the kids hunt for the pictures. Then use the pictures to go through each gate and how they point to Jesus.
    • Matching Game: Prepare 2 identical sets of 10 picture cards (each card has a picture representing each gate) and get the kids to match. Can be done in a relay style also, e.g. both sets of cards are mixed up in front (facing upwards); kids line up in 2 lines and take turns to run forward to find a matching pair.
    • Memory Game: Have 10 large cards with pictures to represent each of the gates and another 10 large cards with text on how they point to Jesus. (large cards: so the whole class can see what’s on the cards). Arrange cards face down in a 4×5 grid (either on the floor or stuck on a board). Divide kids into 2 teams. Teams take turns to send a representative forward to open 2 cards and try to find a matching pair (e.g. Sheep Gate picture card with “Jesus is the Lamb of God” text card). If a match is made, the cards are removed, and the team gets a point. If unsuccessful, the cards have to be returned faced down in original position for the next person to try. Team that gets the most number of matches wins.
    • Memory Verse Games: Can be used for the memory verse of the week too (John 10:9-10)
      • Scrambled Verse: Prepare 2 sets of scrambled memory verses, divide kids into 2 groups and get them to unscramble the verse. E.g. Horse gate: cut-out horse shapes, write a word of the verse on each of the horses, get kids to unscramble. Or for Fish gate: write each word of the verse on a paper fish with a paper clip attached; kids have to try to fish out the correct word to complete the verse.
      • Duck, duck goose: Kids sit in circle. Choose a memory verse, and the chosen kid has to walk outside the circle and recite the verse while tapping each kid lightly as he says each word. When he reaches the end of the verse, the last kid has to stand up and chase him round the circle. The one who recited the verse will have to run a round and try to get to the empty spot in the circle before he gets tagged.
    • Create a wall: Divide kids into 10 small groups and assign each group a gate. Have them create a cardboard box (lots of ideas on the Net or you can just get ready-made ones) and decorate the box based on their assigned gate. Then assemble the boxes in a circle on the floor to resemble the walls of Jerusalem. Have the kids stand outside the wall and move from gate to gate as you do the review, beginning with the Sheep gate. At the end, talk about how Jesus is the gate through which we get abundant life (John 10:9-10). And invite the kids to step into the middle of the box circle if they want to accept Jesus as their Gate of Life — their Lord and Saviour. Lead them in prayer inside the circle.

 

gates01

    • Recap

 

  • We’re following the adventures of Nehemiah as he and the people of Israel work together to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem
  • There were 10 gates mentioned in the rebuilding of the walls. We looked at what these gates were used for and how they remind us of Jesus and His finished work on the Cross!
  1. Sheep Gate: Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
    John 1:29 Jesus is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
  2. Fish Gate: Jesus died and resurrected after 3 days (just as Jonah was in the belly of the big fish for 3 days).
    1 Cor 15:55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
  3. Old Gate: Jesus makes us New Creations
    2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
  4. Valley Gate: Jesus is always with us, even in the valleys
    Psalm 23:4 Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
  5. Rubbish Gate: All our good is rubbish compared to knowing Jesus (Jesus + nothing = everything!)
    Phil 3:7-9 All my good are like rubbish compared to knowing Jesus.
  6. Fountain Gate: Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit
    John 4:14 The water Jesus gives me will become a fountain of water that gives me everlasting life.
  7. Water Gate: Jesus washes us clean with His word
    Eph 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word
    or Jesus loved me and washed me clean with His word.
  8. Horse Gate: Jesus has won the victory
    Rom 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
  9. East Gate: Jesus is coming again soon
    Matt 24:27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
    Or John 14:3 ” And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
  10. Miphkad Gate (or Gathering Gate): Jesus gathers us together.
    Matt 18:20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.

 

  • Conclusion:
    • The Bible is a great big love story about how God loved us so much, He came down to die in our place so we can have new life in Him.
    • The Bible points us to Jesus and His finished work on the Cross.
    • Through studying the 10 gates of Jerusalem, we can see Jesus and what He has done for us.
    • Jesus Himself said that He is the gate of life!
    • John 10:9-10 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
    • Just like the sheep go through the gate to safety in the sheep pen, and go through the gate for food and nourishment in the pasture, when we come to Jesus, we have His protection and His provision for us!
    • Invite kids to accept Jesus as their gate of life!

 

2. ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS:

  • Memory Verse activity
    John 10:9-10 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

IMG_20141026_101328

  • Close in Prayer

Nehemiah: The Gospel in the Gates – Miphkad Gate (Neh 3j)

Categories: Children's Church

1. HOOK:

  • Song: The more we get together
    The more we get together, together, together    <hold hands in circle and swing>
    The more we get together, the happier we’ll be
    For Jesus is my friend                                                      <point at ownself>
    And Jesus is your friend                                                  <point at another person>
    The more we get together, the happier we’ll be
     

2. STORY: Gospel in the Gates – Gathering Gate (Miphkad Gate) (Nehemiah 3:31)

  • Recap
    • We’re following the adventures of Nehemiah as he and the people of Israel work together to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem
    • There were 10 gates mentioned in the rebuilding of the walls. We looked at what these gates were used for and how they remind us of Jesus and His finished work on the Cross!
    • So far, we’ve covered the: <refer kids to slides or the posters on the wall during review>
      • Sheep Gate: Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
      • Fish Gate: Jesus died and resurrected after 3 days (just as Jonah was in the belly of the big fish for 3 days).
      • Old Gate: Jesus makes us New Creations
      • Valley Gate: Jesus is always with us, even in the valleys
      • Rubbish Gate: All our good is rubbish compared to knowing Jesus (Jesus + nothing = everything!)
      • Fountain Gate: Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit
      • Water Gate: Jesus washes us clean with His word
      • Horse Gate: Jesus has won the victory
      • East Gate: Jesus is coming again soon
  • Today, we are looking at the 10th and final gate in this series — the Gathering Gate/Miphkad Gate
  • Nehemiah 3:31 31 After him Malchijah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs as far as the house of the Nethinim and of the merchants, in front of the Miphkad Gate
  • “Miphkad” has several meanings: gathering (mustering) appointment, designated spot, numbering                                                            
  • The Miphkad Gate led into the Temple courtyard, where people come together to worship God 
  • <older kids> The word “Miphkad” is used in 3 places in the Bible:
    • King David counting his fighting men (census) (2 Sam 24:9, 1 Chron 21:5)
    • Appointment of people into positions by King Hezekiah (2 Chron 31:13)
    • A designated area of the temple for the burning of the sin offering (Eze 43:21)

 

3. LESSON:

What does the Miphkad Gate remind us of? Jesus brings us together.

<for older kids>

  • Miphkad: designated area:
    • At the designated area of the temple, an innocent lamb was sacrificed for the people of Israel’s sins
    • At the Cross, Jesus, the Lamb of God was sacrificed for the sins of the world
    • Because Jesus paid for our sins and made us holy, we can come to God and God’s Spirit can live in us (we become His temple)

 

  • Miphkad: gathering: 
    • God also calls us to be a body — not a lone ranger Christian.
    • Because of Jesus, we are one big family — different shapes and sizes, yet all One in Jesus.
    • While God’s Spirit lives in us, when we gather together, we can show each other the Jesus in us — we can encourage each other; when one falls down, the other can pull him up; when one is happy, they others can celebrate with him; when one is sad, the others can share their sorrow.
    • Jesus said, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matt 18:20)
    • It’s like a family gathering together at the dinner table (e.g. Daddy/Mummy ringing a bell or calling everyone to come to eat), instead of each person eating by themselves in their room.
    • That’s why we can come together as a big family every Sunday to celebrate Jesus … not just with mummy and daddy, but also with other aunties, uncles, grandparents and friends. That’s why we should come together as often as we can to hear about Jesus and what He has done for us.
    • And one day, when Jesus comes again, He will gather ALL of us together in front of His throne. What a wonderful family gathering that will be!
    • Rev 7:9  After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.
    • We are one family … all because of Jesus
  • The Miphkad Gate reminds us that Jesus gathers us together.
  • Memory Verse: Matt 18:20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.

 

<for younger kids>

  • Story of Jesus and the children
    • Let me tell you a story about some children who lived a long time ago.
    • It was a normal day for the children in the village. They would be at home spending time with their family or playing together with their friends.
    • That day, their mother came rushing into the house. “Hurry children, hurry! Jesus is here! I want Jesus to touch you and bless you. He has done many amazing things for other people, especially those who are sick.”
    • The children jumped to their feet when they heard this. They had heard people talking about Jesus. He sounded like a very special and important person.
      The children rushed out the door. They saw many other children with their mothers rushing in the same direction. As they turned the corner, they saw Jesus!
    • Many people were around Him. The children started to make their way up to Jesus.
    • Then some men around Jesus started to turn people away. “Go away, Jesus is too busy to see the children. Go away!”
    • The children were disappointed and a little afraid. They started to turn back.
    • Suddenly, Jesus looked at those men and said, “Let the little children come to me and DO NOT stop them!”
    • Then as if a door had been opened, all the children made their way to Jesus. He wrapped His arms around them and prayed for them. It was a very exciting day for the children. They were able to see how much Jesus loved them. They got to see that Jesus wanted to spend time with them.
    • Jesus loves you boys and girls too. He loves you so much that He died and came back to life so that you could spend forever with Him. He really wants to be able to spend time with us when we are alone. And He also loves it when we gather together to sing praise to Him and learn more about Him through the Bible, just like today.
    • Miphkad means gathering together
    • We can gather together because Jesus brings us together.

 

  • The Miphkad Gate reminds us that Jesus gathers us together
  • Memory Verse: Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them.”
  • Song suggestion: Jesus loves the little children

 4. ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS:

  • Poster: The Miphkad Gate

IMG_20140817_102527

Nehemiah: The Gospel in the Gates – East Gate (Neh 3i)

Categories: Children's Church

1. HOOK:

LOTR

  •  The Lord of the Rings (optional)
    How many of you have read or watched the Lord of the Rings? What is it about? <get answers>
    A group (Fellowship of the Ring) whose mission is to destroy a powerful ring, and the evil one who made it.
    In the story, there is also a man who is heir to the throne of the kingdom of Gondor; his name is Aragorn. After their last king died, the human population in Middle Earth waned and were nearly forgotten and extinct. At the end of the third book/movie, which was titled “The return of the King”, Aragorn defeated the evil one’s enemy and claimed his right to the throne. He returned as the King of Gondor and Arnor, reuniting and preserving the people of his kingdom.
    Just as the people looked forward to the return of their king, we also can look forward to the return of the King of kings! His name is … Jesus!

 

2. STORY: Gospel in the Gates – East Gate (Nehemiah 3:29)

  • Recap
    • We’re following the adventures of Nehemiah as he and the people of Israel work together to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem
    • There were 10 gates mentioned in the rebuilding of the walls. We looked at what these gates were used for and how they remind us of Jesus and His finished work on the Cross!
    • So far, we’ve covered the: <refer kids to slides or the posters on the wall during review>
      • Sheep Gate: Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
      • Fish Gate: Jesus died and resurrected after 3 days (just as Jonah was in the belly of the big fish for 3 days).
      • Old Gate: Jesus makes us New Creations
      • Valley Gate: Jesus is always with us, even in the valleys
      • Rubbish Gate: All our good is rubbish compared to knowing Jesus (Jesus + nothing = everything!)
      • Fountain Gate: Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit
      • Water Gate: Jesus washes us clean with His word
      • Horse Gate: Jesus has won the victory
  • Today, we are looking at the 9th gate — the East Gate
  • Nehemiah 3:29 Next to him, Shemaiah son of Shekaniah, the guard at the East Gate, made repairs. 
  • The East Gate is located opposite of the Mount of Olives.
  • When Jesus was on earth, the week before He was going to die on the cross, He entered Jerusalem through the East Gate, riding on a donkey.
  • After Jesus died on the cross, He was buried and then rose again. He appeared to His disciples and many others and told them to tell others about Him. While He was talking to them, He started to go up into the sky! The people watched Him go up into the clouds and disappear! While they were still staring into the sky, an angel appeared and said, “Why are you looking up into the sky? This same Jesus will come back in the same way you have seen him go up into heaven.”

 

3. LESSON

What does the East Gate remind us of? Jesus is coming again.

  • East = the direction from which the sun rises
  • East = the direction from which the SON of Man (Jesus) will come again
    • Matt 24:27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
  • <for older kids>
    According to prophecy, when Jesus returns again, His feet will touch first the Mount of Olives, causing a great earthquake, and splitting the Mount of Olives in two. Then He will enter Jerusalem through the East Gate (Zech 14:4). Many years later, in 1530AD, the Arabs (Ottoman Turks) sealed up the East Gate. They believe that the Jews expected their Messiah to come through this gate, so they sealed it up to prevent His return. They even planted a cemetery in front of it, thinking that a Jewish Messiah will not set foot into a cemetery because it was not “holy”. But the Arabs didn’t know that a sealed gate will not prevent the return of the King. And by sealing the gate, they are actually fulfilling a prophecy by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 44:1-3) who has said that the East Gate will be shut.
  • <for younger kids>
    How many of you go to kindergarten? Who sends you to school? Mummy? Daddy?
    When your parents drop you off at school, will they also pick you back after school?
    Yes! They won’t leave you behind. They will say, “See you later, alligator!” and they’ll promise to come back for you. And when school is over, mummy and daddy are there, just as they promised!
    After Jesus died and rose again, He went back to heaven. But do you know that He promised to come back for us? And He will. Every time we see the sun rise in the east, we remember Jesus’ promise and know that He will come again soon!

 

  • What does this mean for us?
    • When Jesus comes back, He will bring us back to be with the Father forever!
    • Have you ever had someone special come to your house for a visit like a grandparent or cousins, or good friends? Sometimes we make plans for people to come and visit. What kinds of things do you have to do to get ready for company? (Clean your room, get some snacks, help clean the house, etc.) I get really excited when someone is going to come and visit. As their visit gets closer, I start counting the days until they come.
    • Do you know that Jesus is busy preparing His home for our arrival? Jesus is in heaven now.  Before He died, Jesus told His disciples, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for youAnd if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  (John 14:1-3)
    • Jesus is preparing His place for us, and He is coming back to bring us with Him!
  • How will we know when Jesus has come back again?
    • Because we will all see it (Matt 24:27; Rev 1:7 “… every eye will see Him”)
    • When Jesus first came as a little baby, not many people knew about it. There wasn’t a big fanfare, no newspapers or radio or Internet to announce His arrival. Only a bright star in the sky, and shepherds and wisemen who came to greet Him.
    • But when He comes again, it’ll be as bright and noticeable as the sun, or a lightning flashing through the sky. We don’t need to read about it on Facebook. We will all see it together.

 

  • When will Jesus come again?
    • Jesus promised to come again. We can look forward to it just as people two thousand years ago looked forward the coming Messiah.
    • Jesus’ coming again = Satan’s time is up! He will be completely destroyed!
      Satan is scared that his time is up, so he tries to do as much damage as he can.
      The signs of the times — wars, famines, diseases etc — tell us that the time is near. So when we read of all these disasters, we shouldn’t be fearful. We just declare that Jesus is coming again soon!
    • We don’t know exactly when He will come; it isn’t marked on the calendar. But every day when we see the sun rising from the east, we remember that the SON of Man — Jesus — is coming again soon.
    • East Gate reminds us that Jesus is coming again!

 

4. ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS:

  • Poster: The East Gate

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Nehemiah: The Gospel in the Gates – Horse Gate (Neh 3h)

Categories: Children's Church

1. HOOK:

  • Pin the tail on the horse: Instead of donkey, have a picture of a horse. Blindfold kids and have them pin/stick the tail on the horse. The one who pins the tail closest to the correct spot wins.
  • Arm wrestling match: Choose a representative from each group and get them to arm wrestle in front of the class. Idea is to show “victory”.
  • Joke: The preacher and his horse
    • A preacher trained his horse to go when he said, “Praise the Lord,” and to stop when he said, “Amen.” The preacher mounted the horse, said, “Praise the Lord” and went for a ride. When he wanted to stop for lunch, he said, “Amen.” After lunch, he took off again, saying, “Praise the Lord.” The horse started trotting again. Clip, clop, clip, clop. Then there was a sudden loud noise! The loud noise startled the horse, setting it galloping off in a different direction — straight toward the edge of a cliff. As the cliff got closer and closer, the preacher got so scared that he forgot his key words. So he prayed out loud, “Lord Jesus, please make my horse stop! Amen!” When the horse heard the “Amen”, it stopped immediately, right at the edge of the cliff! The preacher was so relieved and grateful. He breathed deeply, looked up to heaven and shouted loudly, “Praise the Lord!”

 

2. STORY: Gospel in the Gates – Horse Gate (Nehemiah 3:28)

  • Recap
    • We’re following the adventures of Nehemiah as he and the people of Israel work together to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem
    • There were 10 gates mentioned in the rebuilding of the walls. We looked at what these gates were used for and how they remind us of Jesus and His finished work on the Cross!
    • So far, we’ve covered the: <refer kids to slides or the posters on the wall during review>
      • Sheep Gate: Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
      • Fish Gate: Jesus died and resurrected after 3 days (just as Jonah was in the belly of the big fish for 3 days).
      • Old Gate: Jesus makes us New Creations
      • Valley Gate: Jesus is always with us, even in the valleys
      • Rubbish Gate: All our good is rubbish compared to knowing Jesus (Jesus + nothing = everything!)
      • Fountain Gate: Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit
      • Water Gate: Jesus washes us clean with His word
  • Today, we are looking at the 8th gate — the Horse Gate
  • Nehemiah 3:28 28 Beyond the Horse Gate the priests made repairs, each in front of his own house.
  • The Horse Gate was close to the King’s stables. The men of Jerusalem would ride their horses out of this gate to war, and after the war, the king’s chariots will pass through the gates on its way back into the city in triumphant procession.

 

3. LESSON:

What does the Horse Gate remind us of? Jesus has won the victory.

  • In Revelations 19:11-12, Jesus is seen on a white horse and all the armies of heaven on white horses were behind him. He wears many crowns on His head to show that He has won the victory.
  • What victory has Jesus won?
    • On the cross, Jesus defeated sin: His perfect life was sacrificed to pay the full punishment of sin. So sin — and its consequences (fear, worry, sadness etc) — no longer has any demand or hold over us anymore.
    • By His resurrection, Jesus defeated death: By raising from the dead, Jesus showed that even death could not hold Him anymore. He had defeated death!
    • Jesus = WINS! SIN = Lost! DEATH = Lost!
  • When someone wins a competition, usually they win a prize. What did Jesus win?
    • Jesus won our righteousness and holiness — Because Jesus defeated sin, we can be right and good and clean — we can become God’s children and experience His blessings
    • Jesus won our eternal life — Because Jesus defeated death, we can always have His life in us. We don’t have to be afraid of death because we know we can be with Jesus forever.
  • Horse Gate reminds us that Jesus has won the victory for us!
  • Do you notice something? Jesus is the one who won the victory. Why is it we get all the prizes and blessings? That’s right! Jesus took all the bad we deserved (punishment and death) so that we can have all the good things that He deserved (blessings and favour). He won the victory so that we can enjoy the relationship with God and all the good things He has in store for us.
  • That’s what the Bible means when it says we are “more than conquerors”.
  • Rom 8:37  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
    • Story of the boxer (optional): There was a very famous boxer. He trained very hard, day and night. He took part in a very prestigious boxing competition. He beat many opponents, round after round, until finally, he won the final round and got the championship medal! He also received the prize money of a few thousand dollars. He was the champion, the conqueror!  Everybody cheered for him. But when he went home, the boxer greeted his wife and handed her his prize money so that she could go and buy herself something with it. The boxer was the conqueror; but his wife was “more than a conqueror” because she received the benefits of the prize money!

 

 4. ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS:

  • Memory Verse: Rom 8:37  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
  • Poster:  The Horse Gate

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Nehemiah: The Gospel in the Gates – Water Gate (Neh 3g)

Categories: Children's Church

1. HOOK:

  • What do you do when you wake up in the morning?
  • Song (younger class):
    This is the way we wash our face, wash our face, wash our face,
    This is the way we wash our face,
    So early in the morning.

    This is the way we clean our hands, clean our hands, clean our hands,
    This is the way we clean our hands,
    So early in the morning.

    This is the way we brush our teeth, brush our teeth, brush our teeth,
    This is the way we brush our teeth
    So early in the morning.

    This is the way we comb our hair, comb our hair, comb our hair,
    This is the way we comb our hair,
    So early in the morning.

  • Why do we do that? To make ourselves clean.
  • What is one important thing we need to clean ourselves up? Water!
  • Water is very important. It cleans us up inside (drinking) and outside (washing/bathing).
  • Today we’re going to look at the Water Gate and what it reminds us about Jesus.

  

2. STORY: Gospel in the Gates – Water Gate (Nehemiah 3:15)

  • Recap
    • We’re following the adventures of Nehemiah as he and the people of Israel work together to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem
    • There were 10 gates mentioned in the rebuilding of the walls. We looked at what these gates were used for and how they remind us of Jesus and His finished work on the Cross!
    • So far, we’ve covered the: <refer kids to slides or the posters on the wall during review>
      • Sheep Gate: Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
      • Fish Gate: Jesus died and resurrected after 3 days (just as Jonah was in the belly of the big fish for 3 days).
      • Old Gate: Jesus makes us New Creations
      • Valley Gate: Jesus is always with us, even in the valleys
      • Rubbish Gate: All our good is rubbish compared to knowing Jesus (Jesus + nothing = everything!)
      • Fountain Gate: Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit
  • Today, we are looking at the 7th gate — the Water Gate
  • Nehemiah 3:26 26 Moreover the Nethinim who dwelt in Ophel made repairs as far as the place in front of the Water Gate toward the east
  • Like the Fountain Gate, the Water Gate was close to the source of the city’s water supply (Gibeon spring).
  • It opened up to where Solomon’s Temple was.
  • The Water Gate was also where the Law of Moses was read by Ezra to the Israelites after the wall had been completed. (Neh 8:1)
    • Neh 8:1  Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Israel.

 

3. LESSON:

What does the Water Gate remind us of? Jesus washes us clean with His word.

  • Just as we use water to clean ourselves up physically, Jesus cleans us with His word.

bride

 

  • Imagine: Boys, one day you will grow up and get married. What happens if your bride turns up in the church looking very dirty and messy, as if she came out of a pig sty? That would be quite horrible, right? Girls, would you like to look like this on your wedding day?
  • Well when Jesus came to look for us, He found us looking very dirty and grubby and smelly.
  • Still He loved us soooo much that He gave His own life for us and rescued us from the dump that we were in.
  • But Jesus didn’t rescue us and leave us in the same dirty, grubby and smelly condition.
  • No. He took us, washed us, cleaned us up, dressed us in the finest garments, presenting us as a beautiful, perfect bride.
  • Eph 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
  • The Bible tells us about Jesus and what He has done for us — He was the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world; He died and rose again after 3 days; He made us New Creations; He is always with us; He is all we need; He gave us the Holy Spirit; and He washes us clean … <help kids associate with the different gates>
  • The more we listen to the word about Christ and His finished work on the cross, we are being washed clean — our faith grows (Romans 10:17), our minds are renewed and our lives are transformed (Romans 12:2).
  • Water gate reminds us that Jesus washed us clean — we are changed from dirty, smelly and grubby to become beautiful and perfect!

 

4. ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS:

  • Memory Verse: Eph 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word …
    <optional for additional challenge> and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
    (younger kids: “Jesus loved me and washed me clean with His word.”)
  • Poster: The Water Gate

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Water painting for toddlers using crayon/wax

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Nehemiah: The Gospel in the Gates – Fountain Gate (Neh 3f)

Categories: Children's Church

1. HOOK:

  • Song: Deep and wide

    • Teach actions; omit words at each round and go faster and faster and faster!
    • Can work for all ages
  • Simple fountain-themed “experiment” (optional)  

fountain

 

2. STORY: GOSPEL IN THE GATES – FOUNTAIN GATE (Nehemiah 3:15)

  • Recap
    • We’re following the adventures of Nehemiah as he and the people of Israel work together to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem
    • There were 10 gates mentioned in the rebuilding of the walls. We looked at what these gates were used for and how they remind us of Jesus and His finished work on the Cross!
    • So far, we’ve covered the: <refer kids to slides or the posters on the wall during review>
      • Sheep Gate: reminds us that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
      • Fish Gate: reminds us that Jesus died and resurrected after 3 days (just as Jonah was in the belly of the big fish for 3 days).
      • Old Gate: reminds us that Jesus makes us New Creations
      • Valley Gate: reminds us that Jesus is always with us, even in the valleys
      • Rubbish Gate: reminds us that all our good is rubbish compared to knowing Jesus (Jesus + nothing = everything!)
    • Today, we are looking at the 6th gate — the Fountain Gate
      • Nehemiah 3:15 The Fountain Gate was repaired by Shallun son of Kol-Hozeh, ruler of the district of Mizpah. He rebuilt it, roofing it over and putting its doors and bolts and bars in place. He also repaired the wall of the Pool of Siloam, by the King’s Garden, as far as the steps going down from the City of David.
      • The Fountain Gate was the one most in ruins when Nehemiah first examined the wall.
      • It is located near the pool of Siloam (where Jesus later healed a blind man).
      • The Gate was named “Fountain Gate” as it was the primary access to the fountain, the Gihon Spring, from which the city of Jerusalem received its supply of fresh, clean water.

 

3. LESSON:

What does the Fountain Gate remind us of?

  • Jesus gave me the Holy Spirit
    • In John 4, Jesus met a Samaritan woman at a well and asked for some water to drink. Jesus then told her about “living water” that only comes from God.
      But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14)
    • The physical water we drink quenches us, refreshes us and cleanses our body’s system … but only temporarily. After a while, we will feel thirsty and dehydrated again and need to drink some more.
    • What is this living water Jesus speaks about and promised that we will not be thirsty again? What is it that will become a fountain of water?
    • This is the Holy Spirit.
    • When Jesus was on earth, He was in a man’s body. He could only be in one place at one time. After Jesus died and rose again, He went back to heaven. But He promised to send us the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and guide.
    • Because Jesus made us clean, today, this Holy Spirit can come and stay in us forever! All of us can have this Holy Spirit in our hearts always … wherever we are.
    • Like a glass of water, the Holy Spirit gives us life — God’s eternal life! Like a glass of water, the Holy Spirit satisfies us, refreshes us and cleanses us from all the dirt that we have.
    • Just like the Gihon Spring provides water (and life) to the whole city of Jerusalem, this Holy Spirit life springs up in us like a fountain, blessing all those around us.
    • Thank you Jesus for giving us your Holy Spirit!
  • Memory Verse: John 4:14
    But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
    (younger kids: “The water Jesus gives me will become a fountain of water that gives me everlasting life.”)

 

4. ACTIVITY SUGGESTION:

  • Poster: The Fountain Gate

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Nehemiah: The Gospel in the Gates – Rubbish Gate (Neh 3e)

Categories: Children's Church

1. HOOK:

  • My Achievements: (Materials: paper, pen/pencil, 2 waste paper baskets)
    Get kids to write down their greatest achievement on a piece of paper. Choose a few kids to share what they wrote down to the rest. Then get the kids to make aeroplanes out of their piece of paper. Divide them into 2 groups; 1 rep from each group to hold a wastepaper basket. The rest line up in their groups and try to fly their paper aeroplanes into their group’s wastepaper basket. The group with the most aeroplanes in their wastepaper basket wins.

 

2. STORY: The Gospel in the Gates (Nehemiah 3:14)

  • Recap
    • We’re following the adventures of Nehemiah as he and the people of Israel work together to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem
    • There were 10 gates mentioned in the rebuilding of the walls. We looked at what these gates were used for and how they remind us of Jesus and His finished work on the Cross!
    • So far, we’ve covered the: <refer kids to the posters on the wall during review>
      • Sheep Gate: reminds us that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
      • Fish Gate: reminds us that Jesus died and resurrected after 3 days (just as Jonah was in the belly of the big fish for 3 days).
      • Old Gate: reminds us that Jesus makes us New Creations
      • Valley Gate: reminds us that Jesus is always with us, even in the valleys
  • Today, we are looking at the 5th gate — the Refuse/Rubbish Gate (also known as the Dung Gate)
    • Nehemiah 3:14  Malchijah the son of Rechab, leader of the district of Beth Haccerem, repaired the Refuse Gate; he built it and hung its doors with its bolts and bars.
    • When Nehemiah first went to examine the walls of Jerusalem, he went out through the Valley Gate until the Refuse Gate (Neh 2:13), where he saw the broken walls and burnt gates.
    • The gate was named “Refuse” or “Rubbish” probably because it was where the garbage and ash from the temple was removed from the city in to the Valley of Hinnom, where they were burned.

     

3. LESSON:

  • What does the Rubbish Gate remind us of?
  • All our GOOD is like rubbish
    • Let me tell you about a man named Saul. Saul was a high achiever, no, an overachiever! Whatever he did, he had to be the best! And Saul wanted to be the best Jew — he wanted to live up to God’s high standard — dot all the “i”s, cross all the “t”s, check all the boxes. (Phil 3:4-6)
      • Saul was circumcised on the eighth day, like all good Jewish babies were.
      • He was a true blue Jew, from the tribe of Benjamin.
      • He was a Pharisee — a religious leader who prided themselves in keeping strictly to God’s laws; as far as the religious laws were concerned, he considered himself faultless. He thought by keeping the laws, he can be right before God — he can earn his place in heaven.
      • He was zealous for God — he persecuted the Christians and dragged them off to prisons because he considered them a threat to Judaism — how can Jesus claim to be God?!
    • (Acts 9) But one day, when Saul was on his way to Damascus to hunt down some Christians and take them as prisoners, suddenly, a bright light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
      • “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
      • “I am Jesus,” the voice said. Jesus told Saul to go to Damascus. When Saul got up from the ground, he realized he was blind! He had to be led by hand into Damascus. He didn’t eat or drink for 3 days.
      • Then God asked a believer, Ananias, to go see Saul and pray for him. Even though Ananias was afraid (he knew Saul came to hunt down Christians), he went and placed his hand on Saul. Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes and he could see again.
      • Saul later changed his name to Paul — he became the champion of the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the Gentiles (people who are not Jews).
    • Through all these, Paul realized that all his good, all his law-keeping, would not get him to heaven. Instead, only Jesus could make him really good. That’s why he wrote in Phil 3: But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
    • All his merits, all his accomplishments, all the good things he did, all the laws he kept — Paul said he now considered them “rubbish”!
    • Just like how we wrote down our biggest accomplishments and threw them into the wastepaper basket/dustbin … Paul threw all his accomplishments into the dustbin too.
    • Jesus + nothing = everything!
    • This was because he realized that all he needed was Jesus. He could not become righteous on his own efforts. Only through faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross could he be right before God.
    • Compared with knowing Jesus, all his other accomplishments were rubbish/dung! Jesus + nothing = everything!
  • The Rubbish Gate reminds us that all our good is rubbish! Jesus + nothing = Everything!

 

4. ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS:

  • Memory Verse activity: Phil 3:7-9 “But whatever were gains to me … I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ.
    (younger kids: “All my good are like rubbish compared to knowing Jesus.”)
  • Poster: The Rubbish Gate

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