Object Lessons

Preaching in Prison

Objects: Three spools, two pieces of soft black cord about a yard long, and a piece of red cloth. (Before the lesson, take one of the black cords, fold in the middle, and push through one of the spools. When the fold extends through the spool a short distance, fold the other cord and push the folded tip of the loop through the loop of the first cord about a half inch. Then pull the first cord back into the spool, bringing the second cord with it, concealing the bent tip of the second loop. The cords should be large enough to fit snugly the holes in the spools. Paste a white paper heart on this spool, and cover with a slightly larger black heart, pasted lightly around the edges. Put white hearts on the other spools.)

Here is the Philippian jailer, carrying his black cords with which to bind prisoners. You will notice that he has a black heart, showing that he is not a Christian. These two spools with white hearts remind us of Paul and Silas, who were put in the Philippian jail. We will put these spools on the black cords to remind us of the way Paul and Silas were put in jail. (Place one spool on each side of the first one, and tie a knot at the ends of the black cords.)

At midnight, while Paul and Silas were singing and praising God, a great earthquake took place, opening the prison doors. The jailer was afraid and wanted to know what he had to do to be saved. Paul said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31). (Place the red cloth over the spools. A slit in the cloth will allow the knot to pass through, into view, showing that it is not untied. Remove the black heart under the cloth. Slip the center spool toward one side, allowing the cords to be unlooped, and the spools will fall to the floor. With the hands under the cloth, shift the loops so that you show a complete circle of the two parallel cords.) The cords are neither untied nor cut, and still the spools are free.

This red cloth reminds us of the blood of Christ. Paul could say what he did because Jesus had come to seek and save the lost. Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, the jailer lost his black heart and received a white heart like those of Paul and Silas.

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