Key Passage: Romans 1:16 “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation.”
Big Picture Question: What happened when Saul heard Jesus? Saul loved Jesus and told others about Him.
Christ Connection: Saul had hated Jesus and His followers, but then he met Jesus. Jesus came to earth to save sinners. (1 Timothy 1:15). Jesus changed Saul’s life! Saul, also known as Paul, spent the rest of his life telling people the good news about Jesus.
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Over the next six weeks, kids will learn about Paul’s life-changing encounter with Jesus. Saul was a devout Jew who was born in Tarsus (Phil. 3:5) and inherited his Roman citizenship from his father. (His Roman name was Paul; his Hebrew name was Saul.) So when people began talking about this man named Jesus and claiming that He was the promised Messiah, Saul took notice.
Saul believed strongly in the Jewish faith of his ancestors. He violently persecuted God’s church and tried to destroy it. (Gal. 1:13-14) He dragged believers from their houses and put them in prison. He approved of the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Saul thought he was doing the right thing by defending Judaism, but God’s purposes could not be stopped.
As Saul was on his way to arrest believers in Damascus, the Lord stopped him in his tracks. Jesus revealed Himself to Saul, and Saul was never the same. Saul was convinced that Jesus is Lord. Saul later described the experience as being like dying and receiving a new life. (Gal. 2:20; 2 Cor. 5:17) God had a purpose and a plan for Saul. He had set Saul apart before Saul was even born. (Gal. 1:15) God said, “This man is My chosen instrument to take My name to the Gentiles” (Acts 9:15).
Salvation, sometimes called conversion, happens when a person recognizes his sin, repents, believes in Jesus, and confesses Jesus as Savior and Lord. Jesus changes a person’s heart, and as a result, his or her life is changed too. Jesus appeared to Saul and changed him inside and out. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. (1 Tim. 1:15) Jesus called Saul, who was once an enemy of Christians, to spend the rest of his life telling people the gospel and leading them to trust Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Family Activity: Pop some popcorn and talk about how the heat source causes the popcorn kernels to change. Eat the popcorn together as you open your Bible to Acts 9 and briefly review Paul’s conversion. Talk about how Paul’s life was very different. Talk about how God changes Christians from the inside out to be more like His Son, Jesus.