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Kids Lesson: The Jerusalem Council (Acts 15)

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The Jerusalem Council (Acts 15)

Paul wrote letters to leaders in the church. He helped them know how to lead God’s people. Church leaders help believers know what is true, and they serve the church. Jesus served us by dying on the cross for our sins.


Salvation in No One Else

The Gospel is for Everyone

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Key Passage

There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.” - Acts 4:12

Bible Story - The Jerusalem Council

Bible Story Video

Bible Story

Paul and Barnabas had been teaching people—Jews and Gentiles, or non-Jews,—about Jesus. Many people believed, and God’s church was growing. But some of the people in the church began saying that Gentiles could only be saved if they first followed the same rules as the Jews. Paul and Barnabas knew this was wrong. They had a meeting with other church leaders to talk about what was true. Peter stood up and told the leaders about the Gentiles, the non-Jews, who had believed the good news about Jesus. God had given them the Holy Spirit! Peter said that Jews could not obey God’s law perfectly, so why should they tell non-Jews to obey perfectly? Jews and Gentiles are saved in the same
way: by God’s grace. Everyone listened as Paul and Barnabas talked about how they had seen God save Jews and Gentiles too. Then James showed how the words of the prophets showed that God wanted to save both Jews and Gentiles. This was God’s plan all along. So the church leaders decided to write a letter to the Gentile believers. The letter told the believers what they should not do now that they were believers. Paul and Barnabas delivered the letter with Judas and Silas, and the believers were encouraged.

Bible Story Summary

  • Some people in the church said Gentiles could only be saved if they followed the same rules as the Jews.

  • Church leaders met together and agreed the good news about Jesus is for everyone.

  • Jews and Gentiles are saved in the same way: by God’s grace.

Discussion Starters

  • Can a person be saved from sin by following the rules? Why not?

  • Who is the only One that can save people from sin?

  • Who is the good news about Jesus for?

Family Activity

  • Invite a new believer in Jesus to spend time with your family. Encourage and support him in his newfound faith.

Additional Resources

Coloring/Activity Pages

Download PDF (Lessons for May 9-30)

Preschool Activity


  • Write names of places in your room (door, window, chairs, puzzle table) on strips of paper. Place the papers in a gift bag or basket. Write ways to move (jump, skip, walk backward, wave your hands) on another set of paper strips. Place those strips in another gift bag. Invite preschoolers to take turns pulling a paper out of each bag. Guide them to “follow the rules” and move to that place and back in the way described.

  • Say: You followed the rules for our game. In today’s Bible story, some of the Jewish believers thought the Gentile believers should follow Jewish rules. They even said Gentile believers needed to obey those rules to be saved from sin! Do you think they were right?

Elementary Discussion Questions

Help your kids find Acts 15. Ask the following questions:

  • Who gathered to decide if new believers had to fully obey the Old Testament law? (the apostles and elders, Acts 15:6)

  • Who explained that Gentiles received the Holy Spirit? (Peter, Acts 15:8)

  • How are people saved from sin? (by grace through faith, Acts 15:9-11)

  • Why can’t we be saved by obedience to the Law? Guide the kids to discuss the ways our hearts are dead in sin. We cannot obey God perfectly because our hearts lead us astray. We needed Jesus to come and obey on our behalf, die in our place, and rise again to defeat death.

  • Why is it important to obey God if obedience doesn’t save us? Remind kids that obedience is a sign of our love for God. Help them see that God saves us so that we are able to obey, not so that we can continue to disobey. When we have faith, the Holy Spirit changes us so that we want to obey God.

  • How can we learn more about God and how to obey Him? Guide the kids to discuss the Bible’s role as our perfect source of truth. Help them understand that it teaches us what is true about God and about ourselves. Talk to them about ways to study Scripture and the importance of reading the Bible daily.

  • Close with this: Salvation comes only through faith in Jesus. The early church had some members who were a bit unsure about this, so the leaders met together to discuss. Peter, James, Paul, and Barnabas all helped everyone see that faith is all we need to be saved. After we are saved, the Holy Spirit helps us obey.