MEETING AIM: To explore what the armour of God looks like for us.
BIBLE PASSAGE: Ephesians 6:10-20
BACKGROUND: Paul first visited Ephesus on his second big trip. Later on, Paul writes to the church there. A big theme of the letter is unity between those Jesus followers who were Jewish and those who weren’t. At the end of the letter, Paul reminds the Ephesians that spiritual evil is a reality and he uses the metaphor of armour to help them
understand how they can stand firm against it to remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness.
As you begin the session, invite the children to sit together in a circle and pass round a simple object. If a child doesn’t want to say anything they can just pass on the object. Ask the children to share what things they can’t leave the house without.
You will need: pens and paper
Divide into smaller groups and give each group a scenario, such as a day at the beach or a school day. Ask them to come up with a complete list of things they would need for their given situation.
Once the groups have finished, share the lists with one another.
You will need: large long johns; a water- proof jacket; wellies; a hat; a mobile phone Explain that Paul wrote to his friends in one of the cities where he’d planted a church. His letter helped them understand what it meant to follow Jesus. At the end, Paul talked
to them a little bit about the fact that evil exists and they should stand firm against it. He used the idea of ‘spiritual’ armour they could wear to protect themselves and be well equipped to follow Jesus. People saw Roman soldiers all the time, so they would know what Paul was talking about. We don’t see many soldiers and they don’t wear what the Romans did; you’ll use some more everyday items. As you talk, dress a child in each item. Ask the group to imagine they need to be equipped for a day’s adventure in the country, then tell this story:
Paul talks about the belt of truth; a Roman soldier’s belt was very important because all of his other armour fitted onto it. We might think about it like wearing good underwear, maybe thermals. Dress your volunteer in a big pair of long johns. Paul links this to truth – truth of knowing who God is and who we can be because of that. That provides a basis for everything else.
Next, the breastplate of righteousness. A breastplate protects all your vital organs – heart, lungs etc. In our everyday lives we don’t need an armoured breastplate, but we do need protection from the elements. Give your volunteer a waterproof jacket to put on. Paul was reminding the Ephesians that following Jesus kept them right with God.
Then Paul talks about wearing shoes of peace. Roman soldiers marched long distances, so it was important to have good footwear. It’s important that we wear the right sort of shoes. Give your volunteer some wellies. Paul was saying that if we tread well in each situation then we’ll be able to show people what Jesus is like.
After that, it’s the shield of faith. Roman shields were important to protect individuals and used together to keep a group safe. We don’t need to carry anything like a shield but having someone alongside us in our walk with Jesus is really important. Find a friend for your volunteer. Being with someone on the journey helps to remind you where you are going and how you might get there. It’s great to have someone to encourage you when things seem tough.
Roman soldiers wore helmets and Paul says this is like the idea of salvation. When we follow Jesus we know that we are kept safe for ever but sometimes we might doubt that and wonder if it’s really true. Give your volunteer a hat. You lose a lot of heat through your head so it’s important to wear a hat to keep the heat in. We need to be putting good stuff into our minds to remind us that Jesus keeps us safe for ever.
Finally, Paul mentions the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. A Roman soldier needed his sword to attack and fight back when he was being attacked. The sword kept him alive. If we were going out in the hills for a day, we might take a mobile phone as a lifeline – it can tell us where we are and enable us to call for help. Give your volunteer a phone. When Paul, talks about the word of God, he’s referring to the scriptures – for us, that’s the Bible. When we read the Bible, we discover what God is like and how we can be his friend.
Ask the children these questions, encouraging everyone to take turns to contribute:
- What are the most important truths that you know about God?
- How does following Jesus give us life?
- Who is walking alongside each of us in our journey with Jesus?
- What are the doubts we sometimes have?
- How can we make sure we are staying in touch with Jesus?
You will need: felt in different colours; scissors; string; mini pegs
Let the children cut out some clothing shapes that remind them of the different clothes you talked about in the teaching time. They can cut a length of string for a washing line and peg the clothes shapes onto it so that it can be put up somewhere at home of a reminder of the things that protect and equip us. Chat together about what each piece of clothing symbolises.
You will need: the song ‘Be strong and put on (the armour of God)’ (Massive, New Wine Kids) and the means to play it
Teach the song to the group and make up some actions together. Sing the song to each other as a way of praying for their friends.
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