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Aim Discuss... Now, imagine…

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1 Aim Discuss... Now, imagine…
To find out about a Christian who was persecuted because of their religious beliefs. Discuss... Think of something that is very important to you – it could be a thing, a person, a place. Why is it important to you? Now, imagine… Somebody comes along & tells you that you cannot have that thing anymore, you cannot talk about it or even see it, in fact you have to say that it does not exist… How would you feel? This may seem ridiculous…but, this situation has happened to religious believers in the past & still happens to some religious believers around the world today.

2 Can you remember...? Last lesson we wrote definitions for…
‘persecution’ ‘persecuted’ Can you remember what we said they meant? As your homework, you had to find out a definition for the word ‘martyr’. What does it mean? (You need to explain it in your own words, making sure that you understand it & that everybody else will understand it).

3 Stephen - The First Christian Martyr
After Jesus was killed, his followers & those who believed in him formed the first Christian churches. Among this group of people was a man named Stephen. He was a good man & other Christians trusted him. He also became well known for performing miracles. So far so good, but… Stephen started getting into trouble, as some of the Jews didn’t like what Stephen was saying about God. They bribed people to tell lies about him & he was arrested & taken to court. He was accused of lying about God. The High Priest was in charge of the trial. He asked Stephen if the accusations against him were true. Stephen told the trial that what they believed about God was wrong & that what he was saying was right. Also, Stephen reminded them how they had treated God’s messengers badly throughout history. The people who were now telling lies about Stephen were the same people who had killed Jesus. As you can imagine, Stephen was now in a lot of trouble…

4 Stephen - The First Christian Martyr
The trouble Stephen was in soon turned nasty… Stephen was dragged out of the court room & people started to throw stones at him. The rocks & stones hit Stephen’s body & he started bleeding. He prayed, ‘Jesus, I’m on my way up to heaven!’ Just before he died he called out his last words, saying, ‘God, don’t hold this against them, forgive them.’ Then he died. Activity 1 Copy these sentences & fill in the gaps Stephen was a C____________. Stephen was well known for performing m_____________. Stephen got into trouble, because some of the J______ did not like what he was saying about G__. Stephen told his trial that what he was saying about God was r_______ & that they were wr_______. Stephen was punished for what he said, he was dragged out of the c____ & people threw st____ at him. Stephen died asking G___ to f________ the people killing him.

5 Christians who are persecuted because of their religious beliefs.
Discuss... Look at this quotation from the Christian writer C.S. Lewis (what books do you know of written by him?): ‘You never know how much you really believe anything until it … becomes a matter of life & death to you.’ From what you have learnt about in today’s lesson… Do you agree with C.S. Lewis? Would Stephen have agreed with C.S. Lewis? Think about… Is there anything that you believe in enough that you would be willing to risk your life or even die for it? From today’s lesson, tell us about: Christians who are persecuted because of their religious beliefs.

6 Do some research… Another man in the early church, called Peter, was also a martyr. He was persecuted & killed for his Christian beliefs. You need to find out how Peter was martyred. Peter is known by some Christians as St. Peter – this might help you find out information about him.

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