Pilgrim's Progress – Lesson 1 Chapter 1: Christian in Trouble Part 1: Christian Meets Evangelist and Leaves the City of Destruction

Read pages 11-13. Background Pilgrim's Progress was written by John Bunyan. John Bunyan was born in 1628 in Harrowden, England. He grew up in a very poor family and did not have very much schooling, but he did learn to read. John Bunyan married a woman named Mary, and she had two books about God. John read the books, and he began to feel very sorry about his sins. He started going to church, and the pastor there told him about how to become a Christian. John later became a preacher, and he told many people about God. He was even put in prison for preaching, but he did not stop telling people how to be saved. John Bunyan wrote Pilgrim's Progress to help people understand salvation and Christian life. It became a very famous book. It is the most famous book in the world besides the Bible. Pilgrim's Progress is an allegory. This means that it uses a story to explain ideas. In Pilgrim's Progress, the characters are named according to what they represent. Characters What do these characters' names mean?

Christian: ________________________________________________________________________

Evangelist: _______________________________________________________________________

Vocabulary burden companion undone destruction chiding meditation condemned judgment yonder scolding

Answer the questions below:

1. What was Christian reading that made him sad? _____________________________________

2. What was Christian carrying on his back? __________________________________________

3. What did Christian fear? ________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

4. How did Christian's wife and children respond when he told them how frightened he was?

_____________________________________________________________________________

5. Who did Christian meet? ________________________________________________________

6. Did Christian's wife and children go with him to the gate? _____________________________

Symbolism Christian's burden represents sin. He feels weighed down by the guilt of his sin. The book that he is reading represents the Bible, which contains the law of God. People may not realize that they are doing something wrong until they begin to understand God's laws. For example, a little boy may cheat on his homework and not feel bad about it until he goes to church and hears his Sunday School teacher explain that cheating is wrong. Then he may be very worried and start to think about all the times that he cheated on his homework. The little boy may wonder, “Have I made God very angry? Is God going to punish me for all the bad things I did?” In the story, Christian realizes that he has sinned and wants to be saved from his sin, but he does

not know what to do. He knows that he has done wrong things and that God must be angry with him, but he does not know how to be saved. Fortunately, he meets Evangelist. Evangelist tells him to leave the City of Destruction and go to the gate. This represents the start of a new life for Christian (opening a gate shows that you are going somewhere new). Christian's wife and children do not want him to follow God, but Christian knows that he must do the right thing.

Bible Reading The apostle Paul talks about how understanding God's laws makes us realize how sinful we are. Let's read that Bible passage (Roman 7: 7): What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed, I would not have known was sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” Paul goes on later in the same chapter to describe his own agony about his situation when he realized how much he had sinned (Romans 7:24): What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 'Wretched' means miserable. Paul is saying that he is miserable thinking about how much he breaks God's law because of his sinful nature. He would not have realized how much he sinned except that he read God's rules (like the Ten Commandments) and then he realized how many things he did wrong. He needed someone to deliver him from his miserable and sinful condition. Conclusion In our story, Christian (like the apostle Paul) is horrified by his sin. He needs a Savior.

Who is our Savior? ____________________________________

Evangelist has helped Christian start in the right direction. Tomorrow, we will find out what happens to Christian on the way to the gate.

Remember: When we understand God's law, then we realize that we are sinners and that we need a Savior!

Pilgrim's Progress – Lesson 2 Chapter 1: Christian in Trouble Part 2: Christian is Pursued by Obstinate and Pliable

Read pages 13-16. Remember: Christian was carrying a ______________________ on his back and reading a book. The book

represents the ____________________ . By reading the book, Christian realized that he was a sinner,

and he became afraid of God's judgment. He met ___________________________ who told him to go

to the _________________________.

Characters What do these characters' names mean?

Obstinate: _________________________________________________________________________

Pliable: ___________________________________________________________________________

Vocabulary overtook dwell incorruptible undefiled depart persuade inheritance forsake deceived conceive

Answer the questions below:

1. Why do Obstinate and Pliable chase Christian? ______________________________________

2. Did Christian agree to go back with them? __________________________________________

3. What did Christian suggest that they should do? _____________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

4. How did Obstinate and Pliable respond when Christian suggested that they go with him?

_____________________________________________________________________________

5. How did Christian know that the words in the book were true? _________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

6. What does Pliable want Christian to talk about? _____________________________________

Symbolism Christian's neighbors symbolize the reactions that people have when they hear that someone has decided to become a Christian. Some people (like Obstinate) are stubborn and hard-hearted and they just say, “You are crazy to believe God!” Some people, like Pliable, decide to follow God also because it sounds like it will be very nice and have good rewards. Notice that Pliable did not seem to realize that he needed to repent of his sins. He says that he wants to be a Christian because he hopes to have better things. He likes to hear Christian talk about heaven and other pleasant things about following God. We will find out in the next few lessons what happens when Pliable finds out that following God

is not always easy! Bible Reading Jesus told a story about how people respond when they hear the gospel (Matthew 13: 3-9, 18-23). This is what He said: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.” Later, Jesus explained the story to His disciples: “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” In our story, Obstinate is like the seed that was sown along the path. Obstinate heard what Christian said, but he did not understand or accept it. Pliable accepted it quickly and very cheerfully. However, Jesus says that not everyone who accepts the gospel right away will go on to be saved. Sometimes people seem like they want to obey God for a while, but then it becomes difficult, and they don't want to do that anymore. Sometimes other things in life make people forget about God. People who are truly chosen by God will always persevere. 'Persevere' means that they will keep going, even when it is difficult. Conclusion Suppose you tell someone that you believe in God and that person says, “You must be CRAZY!”

This person is like _____________________________ in our story.

Did Jesus know that some people would not accept His Word? ____________________

Remember: Those who are chosen by God will accept His Word and persevere in faith even when life is difficult.

Pilgrim's Progress – Lesson 3 Chapter 1: Christian in Trouble Part 3: The Slough of Despond

Read pages 17-19. Remember: Christian was running toward the _____________________, and two of his neighbors followed him.

Their names were _____________________________ and ____________________________.

Christian told them that they should go with him. ___________________________ refused and

returned home, but __________________________ decided to go with Christian because he liked the

idea of going to ____________________________, and he wanted Christian to tell him all about it.

Characters What does this character's name mean?

Help: _____________________________________________________________________________

Vocabulary slough flounder criticize mend cowardice despond offended mire security slander

Answer the questions below:

1. Why did Christian and Pliable fall into the Slough of Despond? _________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

2. Why did Pliable go back home? __________________________________________________

3. Who pulled Christian out of the Slough of Despond? _________________________________

4. Christian asked Help why the Slough of Despond had not been fixed so that people wouldn't fall in. What did Help tell him?

_____________________________________________________________________________

5. Was there a way around the Slough of Despond? ____________________________________

6. How did the other people back in the City of Destruction react when Pliable returned home?

_____________________________________________________________________________

Symbolism We mentioned last time that Pliable did not really understand his sinful nature and his need of a Savior. He only liked to receive nice things, so he liked the idea of going to heaven. When they fell into the Slough of Despond, Pliable quickly left Christian and went back home. People who are only looking to get something from God usually do not last long in faith. When things become difficult, they decide that being a Christian is too hard. The Slough of Despond symbolizes the fear and sadness that people can fall into when they begin to

realize how sinful they are. Perhaps they do not yet fully understand that God will forgive them, and so they are afraid and depressed. God does not want people to feel that way, and He provides a lot of truth and good teaching in the Bible so that people will know that they do not have to be afraid. Like Help said, He tries to 'fix the swamp' so that people will not fall into it, but people often do anyway because they are not careful and they do not pay enough attention to the Bible's teaching about God's grace and forgiveness. These people who don't understand the Bible very well yet are easily confused. They worry a lot for nothing! The end of the story about Pliable explains how people react when someone stops following God. These other neighbors were not following God either, but you notice that many of them still laughed at Pliable for coming back. They knew that he only came back because he was a coward and got scared by difficulties. But then they all said bad things about Christian also. Why do you think they did that? Probably they did that because they knew they should follow God also. Many times, when people see someone else doing the right thing and they don't want to do it, they try to make it look bad. For example, if one girl gets a good grade on the exam and the rest of the class gets bad grades, sometimes the other students make fun of her. Why do they make fun of her? They make fun of her because they know they should do better and they are jealous, so they pretend that getting a good grade is stupid, so then they don't feel so bad for getting bad grades. Have you ever seen this happen? You should remember this if people sometimes laugh at you for doing what God says. Just because people laugh doesn't mean that you are wrong. Sometimes it just means that they know they should obey God also, but they don't want to obey Him. Bible Reading Jesus talked about people who (like Pliable) are not sure about whether they want to obey God. He said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” A plow is a farming machine that turns up the soul and makes it soft so that the farmer can plant the seeds. In the old days before tractors and other machines, a farmer had to walk behind the horse or ox that pulled the plow. He had to keep his hands on the plow to hold it steady, and he had to do that all day, hour after hour, until the field was plowed and ready for planting. It was a lot of work. Jesus is saying that we must be like those farmers and keep going and keep steady. We cannot keep changing our minds. Like we said in the last lesson, we must persevere, even when we are discouraged. Conclusion If someone becomes a Christian, but then changes their mind the next day and decides not to follow

God after all, this person is like ________________________________ . Remember: God does not want us to be discouraged, but rather we should understand that He has provided salvation for us. But even if we do become discouraged, we should never give up!

Pilgrim's Progress – Lesson 4 Chapter 1: Christian in Trouble Part 4: Worldly Wiseman

Read pages 19-22. Remember: Christian and Pliable were not careful, and so they fell into the ___________________ ________

___________________________________. Pliable went back ___________________________.

Christian was pulled out by __________________, who told him that there were __________________

to help people get through without falling in, but that many people fell anyway. __________________

was laughed at for returning home, but then everyone talked bad about _________________________.

Characters What does this character's name mean?

Worldly Wiseman:____________________________________________________________________ Vocabulary wither sorrow peril morality civility counsel weary legality reputation vacant

Answer the questions below:

1. Who did Christian meet that asked him about his burden? _____________________________

2. Did Worldly Wiseman think Evangelist gave Christian good advice? _____________________

3. Where did Worldly Wiseman suggest that Christian should go? _________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________ 4. What did Worldly Wiseman suggest that Legality could do for Christian?

_____________________________________________________________________________

5. Did Christian take Worldly Wiseman's suggestion? ___________________________________

6. Where did the new road lead? ____________________________________________________

Symbolism Legality has to do with trying to follow rules instead of trusting Christ for salvation. Wordly Wiseman represents those people who say, “I don't have to be a Christian! I can be a good person all on my own!” They think that they can just be nice people by themselves and live good lives without asking God to help them. It sounds like a good idea and people think, “This will mean that I don't have to feel bad about my sins anymore!” But it doesn't work out well. We cannot be good by ourselves because we have a sin nature. When we try to be good, we realize more and more that we are sinners. Mount Sinai is the mountain in the Bible where God gave the Law to Moses. This shows again that trying to just follow the Law without Jesus is hopeless and only makes us more lost and afraid. We realize more and more that we need Jesus as our Redeemer. Bible Reading

Do you remember how we read what Paul wrote about how the Law of God makes people realize that they are sinning? Well, what if someone thinks, “I can just stop sinning”? Can they just stop? Paul talks about that also in the same chapter (Romans 7:18-25). Let's read it: I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! Paul says that even though he realizes what he should be doing and wants to do it, he cannot. Like all of us, Paul had a sin nature. He loved God's law, but his sin nature kept fighting against obeying God's law. He kept doing things that he knew he should not do. We are all like this. Sometimes we are mean or selfish, even though we want to be good and kind. We need God to help us. Paul ends this by saying thanks to God for rescuing us from our sin through Jesus Christ. Conclusion If someone tells you that you can be good and happy without God, are they telling the truth?

___________________________________________________________________________________

What is it that we have that prevents us from being good, even when we want to be good?

___________________________________________________________________________________

Was the 'Worldly Wiseman' really wise? _________________________________________________

Remember: We cannot save ourselves from sin. We need Jesus.

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