Key Passage: Revelation 22:12-13 “Look! I am coming quickly…I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

Big Picture Question: What is the church? The church is made up of people who worship Jesus together.

Christ Connection: Jesus wants people in the church to meet together, worship God, and tell others the good news about Jesus.

Dear Parents,
When Paul visited Corinth on his missionary journeys, the city was full of people with various cultural backgrounds. Many of them worshiped Greek gods. Temples and shrines to these gods were scattered throughout the city.

Corinth was a strategic place to plant a church. Paul arrived in Corinth and met Aquila and his wife, Priscilla. Paul stayed with them for a year and a half. On the Sabbath Day, Paul went to the synagogues to teach God’s message to the people. When the Jews refused to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, Paul preached to the Gentiles. Many Corinthians believed and were baptized. (Acts 18:1-18) Finally, Paul returned to Antioch in Syria.

About six years passed. Paul was in Ephesus when he heard a report that the church in Corinth was struggling. The people in the church were arguing and suing each other. In some ways, they lived just like the people in Corinth who were not believers. So Paul wrote a letter—the Book of First Corinthians—to the Corinthian church, not only to instruct them on how to live but to answer questions they had about the faith.

Paul’s said that the Christian life is like a race, and a great reward awaits in heaven. (1 Cor. 9:24-27) Paul explained that the Lord decides what spiritual gifts to give to believers, and not every believer has the same gift. (1 Cor. 12:4-11) Then he reminded them of what is most important: the gospel of Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 15:1-11)

Paul gave practical instructions so that the believers would know how to live in light of their salvation—not as a way to earn God’s favor. Paul spent a significant portion of his ministry meeting with believers and encouraging them to keep the faith. Jesus’ mission for the church is for believers to come together to worship God and to share the gospel.

Family Activity: Give each family member paper and a pencil. Invite everyone to write down what responsibility means. (They may say what the word means while another family member writes). In a family, each member has responsibilities—just like members of a church. Write some responsibilities, such as dusting or taking out the trash, for each member of the family to do during the week.

Key Passage: Isaiah 9:6 “For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us,…He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

Big Picture Question: Where was Jesus born? Jesus was born in Bethlehem as God promised.

Christ Connection: Jesus was born! This was very good news! Jesus was not like other babies. He is God’s Son. God sent Jesus to earth from heaven. Jesus came into the world to save people from their sins. Jesus came to be our King.

Dear Parents,
Merry Christmas! God had promised to send a Messiah to redeem sinners. God had sent angels to announce to Mary and Joseph their special part in His plan. But what about Micah’s prophecy that the Savior would be born in Bethlehem? Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth.

God is in control of all things. Do you think it was just by chance that Caesar Augustus called for a census? God used a pagan emperor to bring about His plan and brought Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem at just the right time, under just the right circumstances. God’s plan was for Jesus to be born in a manger. Jesus was no ordinary baby. He is God’s Son, sent in the most humble of circumstances, “not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).

While Bethlehem slept, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to shepherds nearby. The Bible says the shepherds were terrified! But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David” (Luke 2:10-11).

The people of Israel were well aware of their need for a Savior. They made sacrifices daily to atone for their sin. Finally, a Savior had come who would be the perfect sacrifice for sin, once and for all. Jesus is also Messiah the Lord. The word Messiah means “anointed one,” especially a king. The Deliverer and Redeemer would be King over His people.

The birth of Jesus was good news! Jesus was not an ordinary baby. He is God’s Son, sent to earth from heaven. The purpose of Jesus’ birth was twofold: to bring glory to God and to make peace between God and those who trusted in Jesus’ death and resurrection to provide salvation. Jesus came into the world to save people from their sins and to be our King.

Family Activity: Throw a birthday party or baby shower for Jesus. Decorate with balloons or streamers and serve food just like you would for any other party. Discuss what gifts you would bring for Baby Jesus. Take a moment to explain that Jesus was the real gift God sent to save us from our sins.

Key Passage: Isaiah 9:6 “For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us,…He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

Big Picture Question: What part did Mary and Joseph have in God’s plan? God chose Mary and Joseph to be the earthly parents of Jesus.

Christ Connection: Before God created the world, He planned to send Jesus. God’s plans are always perfect. God chose Mary to be Jesus’ mother; she would bring Him into the world. Jesus came to do God’s plan, to rescue people from sin.

Dear Parents,

This week in The Gospel Project® for Kids, our journey takes us to the town of Nazareth in Galilee. People had been waiting a long time for Jesus. Last week, kids learned the prophets told of Jesus’ coming hundreds of years before His birth. God was working out His plan to reconcile people to Himself.

In the Bible, God often used angels to communicate His message to people. Now Mary and Joseph, the earthly parents of Jesus, each received a special visit from an angel to announce the birth of God’s promised Messiah. The angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary surprised her. God chose Mary to be the mother of His child. The angel’s message revealed much about this promised child.

The news that Jesus was coming into the world was good news because of why He was coming. An angel revealed Jesus’ purpose to Joseph in Matthew 1:21, “He will save His people from their sins.” The gospel is the good news of what God has done for us through Christ.

The announcement of Jesus’ birth is not the beginning of the gospel; God had been planning for this moment since before the beginning of time. (See Eph. 1:3-10.) The baby Jesus fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy, as well as other prophecies of the coming Savior throughout the Old Testament. Through His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus fulfilled God’s plan of redemption that God planned from the beginning of time.

Family Activity: Write each family member’s name on a small piece of paper. Mix up the pieces, put them in a small cup or bag, the encourage each person to draw a name to be his or her “secret pal.” Explain that each day of the week, each family member must write an encouraging message for his or her secret pal. Kids who may not be able to write yet can draw pictures. Talk about the message received by Mary and Joseph from the angel. How did the messages from the angel encourage Mary and Joseph?

Key Passage: Isaiah 9:6 “For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us,…He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

Big Picture Question: How did people know Jesus was coming? God’s prophets told people about Jesus long before He was born.

Christ Connection: God had a great plan to rescue people from sin. God’s plan was not a secret plan. The prophets told people about God’s plan. They said God would send a Messiah: Jesus! Jesus would be born into the world as a baby. Jesus would live a perfect life and die on the cross to rescue people from sin.

Dear Parents,
Jesus’ birth is God’s solution to our sin problem. When Adam and Eve introduced sin into the world, all of creation fell under a curse. (See Gen. 3:17-19.) We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We’ve inherited the curse of death from Adam. (See Rom. 3:23; 5:12.)

Throughout the Old Testament, the consequences of sin are obvious. God’s people were separated from Him; they did not enjoy the intimate relationship with their Creator they were created to have. God’s people were affected by sickness and pain. The situation seemed hopeless, yet God did not leave His people without hope. Hundreds of messages came through the prophets concerning a coming Messiah—One who would rescue people from their sins. But when would this Promised One come? How would He come? Would the people recognize Him?

The prophets Isaiah and Micah—who both lived hundreds of years before Jesus was born—spoke specifically of the Messiah’s birth. Isaiah told King Ahaz what the Lord would do. “The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14). He described the birth of a Prince of Peace—a Son of David who will reign forever. (Isa. 9:6-7) Isaiah said that He would be a King! (Isa. 11:1-5) The prophet Micah named the specific town—Bethlehem—in which Jesus would be born. (Mic. 5:2)

God’s plan to save people from sin and death was not a secret plan. God used the prophets to give hope to His people. They said God would send a Messiah—born into the world as a baby to live the perfect life people fail to live and die the guilty death we deserve. Though death came through Adam, life comes through Christ. (1 Cor. 15:22) Through His death on the cross, Jesus finished the work for our salvation. In Him lies our hope of forgiveness and eternal life.

Family Activity: Take a coin and invite a family member to guess whether it will land on heads or tails as you flip it into the air. If the family member guesses correctly, allow him to guess again. His turn ends when he guesses incorrectly. After each family member’s turn, see who guessed correctly the most times. Talk about how we can only guess about what is going to happen in the future, but God never has to guess. Everything God told His prophets about Jesus’ birth happened.