TEXT: John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; Acts 1:9-11; Matthew 24:27-31
The students will be able to describe what will take place at the second coming of Jesus, and will realize that we must be ready for this event.
BIBLE LESSON OUTLINE
Introduction: For an opener to your class session, replace the headlines of a current newspaper with a headline announcing the return of Jesus to earth. Ask your group to imagine what the reaction of people would be if they picked up the paper and read this. Some day this will happen!
- Jesus has promised to come again and take us to a place that He has prepared for us.
- Not everyone will go by way of death.
- When Jesus was taken to Heaven, two angels confirmed that He will come again in like manner.
Climax: Someday Jesus will come again to earth, and His coming will be instantaneous.
Conclusion: It is absolutely necessary that we are sure we are ready for the coming of the Lord.
Response: The students will be able to explain that Christ has promised to return again to earth, and they will understand why it is important that we are ready for this event.
One of the most often repeated promises of Scripture is that of the return of Jesus Christ. God had promised the coming of the Messiah and that promise was fulfilled beautifully in every detail. The Christian can also have full confidence in God's Word that His Son will come again.
When one views the antagonism of the world toward the righteous standard of God and His people, the Scripture, "For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20), brings real hope to those who are trusting in God.
In this world there will be injustices, persecutions, disappointments, but Jesus Christ will come back for those who are looking for Him and "shall wipe away all tears from their eyes" (Revelation 21:4).
However, we are repeatedly warned to hold with a very loose hand the things of this world and conduct our lives in a way that proves we are only pilgrims and strangers on this earth and our true citizenship is in Heaven (Hebrews 11:13-16).
Although students of the Bible disagree as to their order and the amount of time that separates these events, each of the following is associated with the second coming of Christ.
- The literal return of Christ from Heaven to earth (Acts 1:9-11).
- The catching away (Rapture) of both the living and dead who are in Christ to be with Him forever (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
- The final destruction of the old Heaven and earth and the beginning of the eternal kingdoms (2 Peter 3:10,13).
- Cut a slit from the top to bottom of a large posterboard, but not through the top and bottom ends. Glue cotton balls on the top third of the poster, including over the slit. At the bottom draw a hill and draw or glue pictures of disciples looking up. Glue a picture of Jesus to a popsicle stick. Hold the posterboard on your lap and tell the story. Put the picture of Jesus through the slit, keeping the popsicle stick on the back side and move Jesus up or down through the clouds as you tell the story.
- Have a puppet come on stage and just stand there looking up. Have another puppet come up to take a look at him and start asking why the first puppet is looking up. The first puppet can answer by saying he is waiting for Jesus to come through the clouds. The second puppet could ask if he could do this too. The first one replies that he can, anyone can, but he needs to be ready. The second asks what this means. The first replies that he learned in Sunday school that he needed to be saved, reading his Bible, and working for Jesus by praying, witnessing, and constantly watching because Jesus may come at any time. Have the first puppet looking up whenever he is not talking. Have the second puppet say, "I would like to go to Sunday school; is it too late to go today?" Have the first puppet say, "No, but we had better go now so you will learn how to be ready." Puppets walk off stage.
- Draw and cut out tiny figures from construction paper. Cut a strip of adhesive-backed magnetic tape into little pieces and attach one piece to the back of about half the figures. (The figures could also be cut from a catalog or magazine.) Place all the figures on a sheet of large construction paper on which a background has been drawn. Use a magnet to pull up some of the people.
- Give each child a copy of the sun visors with the message "Jesus Is Coming" (see Patterns). Let them color and decorate the outlined visor with marking pens. Then cover the visor with clear adhesive paper, and cut it out. Punch the holes as indicated, and thread a length of elastic thread through the holes, tying to fit the child's head.
- Give each child a pair of glasses (see Patterns) with the words "I'm Watching for Jesus' Coming." (Enlarge or reduce to fit.) Make the glasses from colored construction paper. You may wish to reinforce them with clear adhesive paper before cutting out.
- Replace the headlines of a current daily newspaper with a headline announcing the return of Jesus to earth. Use this to open your class session.
- How will we know Jesus when He comes?
- Will everyone see Jesus when He comes? Who will and why?
- How do we know for sure that Jesus will come back for us?
- God will give us spiritual bodies. How will they be different from the bodies we have now?
- What should we do if someone tells us that Jesus is not coming back?
- When is Jesus coming back?
- Who will be with Jesus when He comes back?
- If you are not saved will you go up when Jesus comes back?
- Compare Jesus' coming to the anticipated arrival of a favorite aunt or grandparent. Show some of the things you might use to prepare: dust cloth (dust table), cake on platter (make special food), telephone (tell others you are expecting visitors). We also must prepare for Jesus' return. Show a picture of a child praying and a picture of a clean heart.
- Give each of your children a copy of the picture of Jesus with arms stretched downward (see Patterns). Let them color the picture, and glue cotton on the clouds around His feet.
- Give each child a magic slate. Let them draw happy faces to represent how we will feel when Jesus comes again.
Act out some of the preparations which take place when a family is expecting a special visitor. Some suggestions: Make up a bed, bake a special dish, invite some others over to visit, empty some dresser drawers. Compare this to the preparation we need to make to be ready for Jesus' return.
Darken the room and flash a camera to show how fast Jesus' coming will be. Just prior to the camera flash you might also want to incorporate a tape of a voice reading the memory verse.
Simulate a news broadcast that might take place just after the Lord has come. If you wish, dramatize the reaction of those who are listening to the broadcast.