Category Archives: Heaven

Why Jesus Came to Earth (BIBLE LESSON)


Time

25-30 minutes
Description

This lesson teaches about why Jesus came to earth.  It’s a good lesson to do around Christmas time, and it includes a game to keep things light.

 

Scriptures

  • Matthew 5:17, 20:28
  • Luke 4:18, 5:32, 19:10
  • John 3:17, 6:38-40, 6:51, 10:10, 12:46, 18:37
  • 1 John 3:8, 4:9-10

Materials

  • Cups (14 per team – teams will be about 6-10 people each)
  • Future board or cardboard (2 ft x 2 ft per team)
  • Plastic balls (14 per team – a kind that fits into the opening of the cups and that you can write on with a permanent marker)
  • Permanent marker
  • Tape
  • Small candies (at least one per cup)
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Make tape loops with the tape, and use them to stick the cups to the future board or cardboard in a rounded pattern to resemble the world.  (You can stick them in rows using the following pattern: 2, 3, 4, 3, 2.)
  • Use the permanent marker to write the following Scripture summaries on the balls (one per ball):

§  “To destroy the works of the devil – 1 John 3:8”

§  “To give His life as a ransom for many – Matt 20:28”

§  “As a light so that no one who believes in Him should stay in darkness – John 12:46”

§  “To fulfill the Law and the Prophets – Matt 5:17”

§  “So that we might live through Him – 1 John 4:9”

§  “So that we can have abundant life – John 10:10”

§  “As a sacrifice to pay for our sins – 1 John 4:10”

§  “To proclaim good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind and to set the oppressed free – Luke 4:18”

§  “To seek and to save the lost – Luke 19:10”

§  “To do His Father’s will and raise up those the Father gave Him at the last day – John 6:38-40”

§  “To call sinners to repentance – Luke 5:32”

§  “To testify to the truth – John 18:37”

§  “To save the world through Himself – John 3:17”

§  “To give eternal life – John 6:51”

  • Put a candy or multiple candies into each cup.
  • Put the balls into the cups (one per cup).
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “Have any of you ever wondered why Jesus came to the earth?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Why do you think He came?”  (Allow volunteers to share reasons, and expand on each one if needed.  For any reasons that aren’t mentioned, use the notes below to add to what the participants say.  You can use the notes on the balls to help you remember the reasons.

§  To destroy the works of the devil – 1 John 3:8 – The devil had authority over the world until Jesus came, so Jesus came to take that authority away.

§  To give His life as a ransom for many – Matt 20:28 – We were held captive by Satan because of our sin, so Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life, and exchanged His life for ours.

§  As a light so that no one who believes in Him should stay in darkness – John 12:46 – Before Jesus came, the world was a dark place, but Jesus came as the Light of the world and pushed back the darkness.

§  To fulfill the Law and the Prophets – Matt 5:17 – The Law and the Prophets were what we call the Old Testament.  The Old Testament promised the Jews that Jesus was coming, and Jesus was the fulfillment of those promises.

§  So that we might live through Him – 1 John 4:9 – We were dead in our sin, so Jesus came to give us life.

§  So that we can have abundant life – John 10:10 – And Jesus didn’t just come to give us life, He came to give us ABUNDANT life – meaning a life full of joy and love and peace.

§  As a sacrifice to pay for our sins – 1 John 4:10 – The Bible says that the wages of sin is death, which means that death is what we earn as a result of our sin.  We have to pay for our sin with our deaths, but God allowed another way.  Something or someone innocent could take our place.  In the Old Testament times, they used to sacrifice innocent animals for pay for their sins, because no human was innocent.  Everyone deserved death because of their sin.  But Jesus came and lived a perfect and innocent life that allowed Him to die for us and pay our debt.

§  To proclaim good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind and to set the oppressed free – Luke 4:18 – Jesus came to preach the Gospel (the good news), to heal and restore people who were sick, blind, lame or deaf and to set those who were slaves to Satan free.

§  To seek and to save the lost – Luke 19:10 – Jesus came to look for those who were lost in their sin and to save them by inviting them to believe in Him and join Him in heaven.

§  To do His Father’s will and raise up those the Father gave Him at the last day – John 6:38-40 – Jesus said He never did anything that God, the Father, didn’t want Him to do, and He said that His Father’s will was that He save the lost so that He could present them to God the Father as His own on the last day, which is the day of judgment.

§  To call sinners to repentance – Luke 5:32 – Jesus came to invite those who were sinning to turn away from their sin and follow Him.

§  To testify to the truth – John 18:37 – Jesus came to be a witness to what is true and to show the difference between truth and the devil’s lies.

§  To save the world through Himself – John 3:17 – Jesus came to save the world by trading His life for everyone else’s.

§  To give eternal life – John 6:51 – Jesus came to die on the cross and pay for our sins so that we can live with him forever in heaven.

  • “Let’s play a game to help us remember all these reasons.” 
  • “This board and these cups represent the world, and each of these balls has a reason written on it for why Jesus came to the earth.”
  • “I’m going to divide you into teams, and you will try to toss the balls into the cups from a few feet away.”
  • “The first team to fill each cup with a ball wins (if you are doing a competition – or you could just say that they are done when each cup has a ball in it.)”  (Divide the participants into groups of about 6-10, and give each team a board with cups and balls on it.  Place the boards on the floor or on a table.  Have the participants grab 2-3 balls each and step about 2-4 feet away (depending upon the age of your group and how difficult you want this to be).  Then, have them line up and take turns tossing one ball at a time and seeing if they can make it into a cup (only one ball per cup).  If they miss, they can grab their ball and return to the end of the line.  When all the cups have a ball in them, they can divide the candy inside among themselves.  You might want to let them keep the balls as a reminder of why Jesus came to the earth.  When everyone is done, have them take a seat.)
  • “I’ve heard a story that gives another reason why Jesus came to the earth.”
  • “A pastor once shared about how he went to visit the pre-school children in his church’s children’s ministry.”
  • “He said that he walked into the room with his biggest smile and greeted all the children.”
  • “But to his surprise, all the children hid from him.
  • “After thinking about why they were afraid of him, he realized that he must look like a giant to them.”
  • “So, he got down on the floor and greeted the children again.”
  • “This time, the children all ran to him and begin jumping on him and climbing all over him.”
  • “He said that the Holy Spirit spoke quietly to his heart in that moment, and he realized that this was precisely one of the reasons why Jesus came to earth.”
  • “It’s hard to have a relationship with someone who’s ‘up there,’ whom you’ve never met before, who seems so unlike you.”
  • “But when Jesus came to earth as a powerless, little baby, He became someone we could relate to.”
  • “By coming to the earth, Jesus got down on our level so that God was no longer an intimidating person we had never met.”
  • “So, there are many reasons why Jesus came to the earth, but the most important reason and the reason that motivated all the others is LOVE.”
  • “God loves us so much that He didn’t want us to die in our sins.”
  • “He sent Jesus so that we could be together in heaven forever.”
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Filed under Christianity, Christmas, Eternity, Game, Games that Teach, God's Plan, Gospel, Heaven, Jesus, light, Light of the world, Repentance, salvation

Facing Your Giants (QUICK DRAMA)


Time
10 minutes

Description
This Quick Drama teaches that we shouldn’t fear the giants in our lives but that we shouldn’t try to take them on alone, either.  (I’ve chosen giants who represent fears children might have, but feel free to change the type of giants to match your audience.)

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
o    Life-size drawings of different giants (4 that are about 2 sheets of foam board-high each)

o    Foam board (10-12 pieces)

o    Different colored paints or markers

o    Paint brushes

o    Utility knife and razor

o    Tape
Preparation
o    Draw and color the giants on foam board, and make them free-standing by taping some “wings” near the bottom and on the back.  These wings should fold out so that they are perpendicular to the bottom of the foam board with the picture on it.
o    Razor the back side of the giants to weaken them, so that they will break apart easily when they are attacked.
o    Arrange the giants in different places around the room.
o    All the giants can be voiced by one or more people offstage.
o    Practice the script.

Script
Narrator:  All of us have mean, ugly giants in our lives…things we are afraid of dealing with.  Just like in King David’s time, God often leaves giants in our paths in order to teach us warfare.  Of course, we won’t ever fight a Goliath, but we will fight against other types of giants.

[Brad enters followed by God.  Brad sees the first giant and tries to run away.  God gently catches him and turns him back toward the giant.]

GOD:    [Whispers to Brad] Remember, you’re not alone.

Brad:     [Tentatively approaches giant] Wh-wh-what do you want?

Giant #1:     I am the giant of Darkness and Monsters!  FEAR ME!

Brad:     I-I-I-I-I…

GOD:    Remember, you’re not alone.

Brad:     [Turning to God] Can you help-help me, God?

GOD:     Yes, I can.  Please step aside.  [Cracks knuckles, stretches, then loudly karate chops the giant (e.g., “Hi-ya!”) until he is demolished – really hams it up for the kids.]

Brad:     Hey!  That was SO cool!  Will you teach me how to do that?

GOD:    Sure, Brad.  I see another giant over there.  [Points]

Brad:     Oh, uh, I didn’t mean so soon, but okay.  [Goes up to giant timidly.]

Brad:    What…What do you want?

Giant #2:    I am the giant of No Friends and Being Alone.  FEAR ME!

Brad:     God, what do I do?

GOD:    Are you asking for my help?

Brad:     Yes, please!

GOD:    Okay, watch this!  Hi-ya!  Hu-ya! [Saves a small piece for Brad]

Brad:     [Tentatively] Hi-ya! [Then cowers in case giant attacks.]

GOD:    Excellent!  Now you’re getting it! [Notices another giant] Hey, isn’t that another monster over there?

Brad:     [Confidently] Yeah!  Let’s get him!  [Goes up to giant]  What do you want?

Giant:     I am the giant of People Who Try to Hurt You!  FEAR ME!

Brad:     Oh yeah?  Well, take this!  [Karate chops with no effect]  Hi-ya!  [Tries again with no effect]  Hu-ya!  [Tries several more times with no effect]

Giant:     FEAR ME!

Brad:    [Turns back to God] God!  What happened?  I did everything you showed me!

GOD:    You forgot the most important part.

Brad:    What was that?

GOD:     Me.  You tried to do it all alone.

Brad:     [Sheepishly] God, will you help me with this one?

GOD:    Sure, Brad, and I’ll save a small part for you to do so that you can keep growing.  [God attacks giant but saves a piece for Brad.  Brad destroys it and genuinely enjoys attacking the giant with God.  They high five.]

Brad:    I see one more giant over there.  Let’s do this one together!  [Approaches giant]  Who are you?

Giant:     I am the Giant of Death.  FEAR ME!

Brad:    Death?  How do I fight this one, God?

GOD:    Brad, I have to do this one all by myself.  [Completely destroys giant]  Brad, there was only one way to destroy the Giant of Death.  I had to send my Son, Jesus, to die on the cross.  But when He died, He defeated death and rose back to life three days later.  Now, anyone that believes wht Jesus did and askes Him to be Lord of their life doesn’t have to fear the Giant of Death anymore.  Whenever a Christian dies, He immediately joins Jesus in heaven.

Brad:     Oh, God, I want that!  Will you help me make Jesus Lord of my life?

GOD:     You bet! [Both exit]

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Filed under Belief, Bullying, Challenges, Christianity, courage, David, drama, faith, Fear, Heaven, prayer, salvation, skit, Spiritual Warfare

Heavenly Bodies (OBJ LESSON)


Time

20-30 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about our new, resurrection bodies by using a simple science experiment. You will demonstrate how ultraviolet rays change the color of UV-sensitive beads and how medicine bottles block UV rays. The beads will represent our spirit, and the bottles will represent our earthly bodies (which keep our spirit from showing its full potential).

Materials

  • Color Changing UV Beads (available from www.stevespanglerscience.com for about $7 per 250 beads) – you will want enough so that each child can have at least 8-10 beads.
  • Prescription medicine bottles (the translucent, brown type) – enough so that each child can have one. It’s best if the bottles have lids that aren’t child-proof, since the kids will be opening and closing them on their own. However, if you can only get bottles with child-proof lids, you can still use them if you help the kids open their bottles when it comes time.

Preparation

· Order Color Changing UV Beads

· Obtain prescription medicine bottles. (If you are using bottles that have previously contained medicine, be sure to sterilize them to get rid of all medicine residue. Some pharmacies will be willing to give you unused bottles if you tell them what you are using them for.)

· Put at least 8-10 beads in each of the bottles, and then close the lids.

· Keep one bottle for demonstration, and put the rest to the side. You’ll probably want to wait until the end of the lesson to pass them out, because they can become a noisy distraction if you pass them out too soon.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

· “How many of you know that you will get a new body in heaven?” (Demonstrate that you are looking for a show of hands.)

· “Well, you will! Let’s look at the Scripture that tells us about it.” (Have volunteer read 1 Corinthians 15:42-44.)

· “This Scripture is a little hard to understand, so let me help with it.”

· “The Apostle Paul is talking about our bodies by comparing them to seeds.”

· “He says earlier that the bodies we have now will die one day, but they will be replaced with new bodies.”

· “Someone will bury our old bodies, but our new bodies will rise to be with Jesus in heaven.”

· “This is like when you plant a seed in the ground. The seed is dead, but when you bury it, it comes back to life and grows into a plant of some sort.”

· “And Paul is saying that what grows out of the seed is very different from the seed itself, just like your new, heavenly bodies will be very different from your current earthly bodies.”

· “Your earthly body is ‘perishable,’ which means that it can die. But your new body will be ‘imperishable,’ which means that it cannot die.”

· “Your earthly body is ‘sown in dishonor,’ which means that it was sinful up to the time it will be buried in the ground. But your new body will be ‘raised in glory,’ which means that it will have no sin in it at all.”

· “Your earthly body is ‘sown in weakness,’ which means that even when you try to do good things, you sometimes do bad things. You aren’t strong enough to always do good things. But your new body will be ‘raised in power,’ which means that your spirit and your body will both be free of sin so that you are able to always do good things.”

· “Finally, Paul says that your earthly body is ‘sown a natural body,’ which means that it has to obey the physical laws of the natural world. But your heavenly body will be ‘raised a spiritual body,’ which means that it will be free of the limitations of the natural world. I think it means that we will be able to walk through walls and fly and stuff like that, because Jesus was able to do those things when He came back from the dead.”

· “Still, it’s hard to understand exactly what your new body will be like in heaven.”

· “We have a hard time imagining a body free from sickness, that never gets old and that can do incredible things, but let me give you this word picture – maybe it will help.” (Show a prescription medicine bottle with UV color-changing beads inside.)

· “This medicine bottle represents your body.”

· “Inside the medicine bottle are some white beads, and those represent your spirit.” (Open the bottle, and pour out a few beads to show the class. Then return them to the bottle, and close the top.)

· “Your spirit is different from your earthly body, but it has to stay inside it for now.”

· “Unfortunately, your earthly body is sick with sin. It has been since before you were born, because that’s how all people since Adam and Eve have been.”

· “Your spirit doesn’t like being trapped inside your body, because the Bible says that your body and your spirit are in constant conflict with each other.” (Have volunteer read Galatians 5:17.)

· “Your body wants things that your spirit doesn’t want, and your spirit wants things that your body doesn’t want.”

· “Now, these beads that I have in this bottle are not normal beads. They are color-changing beads that turn different colors when the ultraviolet rays (UV rays) of the sun shine on them.”

· “What’s sad is that they can’t change colors while they are trapped inside these bottles, because medicine bottles are made of a special material that blocks the UV rays of the sun from getting into the bottle.”

· “The beads inside the medicine bottle are like your spirit inside your earthly body.”

· “They want to get free so that they can be beautiful, but they are trapped inside the medicine bottle.”

· “Your spirit wants to get free, but it’s trapped inside your earthly body.”

· “But here’s the good news. If you have asked Jesus to come into your heart, there will come a day when your spirit will be free of your body.”

· “It might be on the day that you die and go to be with Jesus in heaven, or it might be the day that Jesus comes back to rule over the earth, but one day, your spirit will be free.”

· “Jesus is going to give your spirit a new body that isn’t sick with sin.”

· “In your new, sinless body, your spirit will be exposed to the unfiltered Son-light of Jesus Christ, and something incredible will happen.”

· “Your new spirit-body won’t fight against itself anymore, and it will show its true potential.” (Go to a window or outside, and take the beads out of demonstration bottle to show the kids how they change colors in the sun. It will take just a few seconds for them to react – even on a cloudy day.)

· “I can’t tell you exactly how incredible your new body will be, because some of it is still a mystery that God wants to surprise us with later.”

· “But your new spirit-body is going to be something special, just like these beads.”

· “And believe me, the change will be even more dramatic than what you see here!” (Pass out bottles with beads in them to each child, and let them play with them to see the difference between being in the bottle and being out of the bottle.)

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Filed under Christianity, Eternity, Hands-on, Heaven, Object Lesson, Rapture, Resurrection

Mr. Bobby’s Sacrifice


Time

20-25 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross and helps children to recognize that He did it for all of us – even those of us who choose not to accept His gift. (It’s called “Mr. Bobby’s Sacrifice in honor of the big man with a bigger heart who always volunteers for this strenuous activity.)

This activity works best with a larger group of kids. However, if you have a small group, try having each child make several trips up to put their rocks in the bucket. Only on the last trip can they get the incentive.

Materials

  • Two buckets with strong handles
  • A place where children can pick up at least two rocks each
  • Some type of incentive for the children (I’ve used individually wrapped packages of fruit snacks and candy before.) If you can get something that most of the kids will like but that a few will not, you will have more success with the activity. (In this case, be sure to have another incentive hidden that these children can choose at the end of the activity.)
  • Two signs that say, “SIN.”
  • Tape

Preparation

· Find a strong volunteer, and explain the object lesson to him.

· Put your incentives in a place where they will be easily seen by the children and where they have easy access to them.

· Put tape of your “SIN” signs, and lay them close to the teaching area

· Ask the children to each grab at least two rocks for a special activity in class. They can grab more than two rocks if they want, but they must have at least two. Rocks can be the size of a small egg or larger.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

· “Hey, everyone! Did each of you grab at least two rocks before you came in here?” (Have the children hold them up so that you can see them.)

· “Fantastic! Hey, I’ve got great news! Mr. (supply the name of your volunteer) wants to buy everyone some (supply the name of your incentive)!”

· “How many of you want some (incentive)?”

· “Okay, Mr. (volunteer) is going to earn those for you by showing us how strong he is.”

· “Everyone who wants (incentive) has to line up with your rocks right here.”

· “When I tell you to, you will trade your rocks for the (incentive) by putting at least one in each of Mr. (volunteer’s) buckets.”

· “He will earn the incentive for you by carrying your rocks.”

· “Isn’t Mr. (volunteer) great!” (Encourage enthusiastic responses.)

· (Have Mr. (volunteer) stand at the front of the room with a bucket in each hand. As well as he is able, he should stretch his arms wide like Jesus on the cross. It’s important for the kids to be able to tell that this is challenging and painful to the volunteer. Have the children line up with their rocks.)

· (Ask the first child.) “Do you want a (incentive)? Okay, then divide all your rocks between the two buckets.”

· (After the child puts his/her rocks into the two buckets, allow him/her to get the incentive and then return to his/her seat. Keep working your way through the children, occasionally pointing out your volunteer’s straining or facial expressions.)

· (If a child says, “no” to the incentive, he or she should lay his or her rocks down on the floor and return to his/her seat. Your volunteer should then set down the buckets, pick up the rocks and divide them between the two buckets. Then, he should resume his former position. This typically doesn’t happen until later in the object lesson, and it usually requires some prodding to get the first child to lay down his/her rocks.)

· “Did you notice that he still picked up the rocks? You see, Mr. (volunteer) already agreed to pay for everyone. Even if you don’t want your (incentive), he will still pay for it for you.”

· (Continue having children put their rocks in and take their incentives. If you get three-fourths of the way through the children without one of them laying down his or her rocks, you will need to do some prodding using the following script.)

o “Wow! Mr. (volunteer) is really sweating! It looks like a real struggle holding up those buckets?”

o “How do you feel about that?”

o “Mr. (volunteer), how are you feeling?” (Have him be honest about the pain and struggle.)

o “If it’s that difficult, why are you doing it?” (Have him share about his love for the children.)

o (Back to the children) “Is it okay with you that he is having to work so hard for you to you’re your (incentive)?”

o “Do you think it is fair that he is having to go through so much pain?”

o “Are you sure, you want to put your rocks into his buckets”

· (After all have made (or not made) the trade, allow your volunteer to put the buckets down.)

· “Kids we did this activity to give you a picture of how much Jesus loves you. Just like Mr. (volunteer) loves you enough to pay for your (incentive), Jesus loves you enough to pay for you to join Him in heaven.”

· “The rocks you brought today represent your sin, the bad things you’ve done.” (Label both buckets with the “Sin” signs.)

· “You may have noticed that some of you brought small “sins,” and some of you brought big “sins.” Some of you brought just two “sins,” and some of you brought several handfuls!”

· “When we go before God, some of us will just have a few sins compared to the others. And our sins might not seem that bad compared to theirs, but to God, sin is sin – no matter how small and no matter how few.”

· “The Bible says that the payment, the punishment for sin is death. It’s what we owe to pay for our sins.” (Romans 6:23)

· “Unfortunately, none of us can pay for our sins. We owe too much.”

· “The only One who could pay was someone who didn’t owe anything of his own.”

· “And the only Person who has ever lived and not sinned is Jesus. He’s the only One who could pay what we owed for our sin.”

· “Just like Mr. (volunteer) spread his arms to pay for your (incentive), Jesus spread His arms on the cross to pay for your sins and mine.”

· “But do you remember that not everyone wanted their (incentive), but Mr. (volunteer) paid for them anyway?”

· “You see, Jesus paid for everyone’s sins – even those of us who don’t want to believe in Him.”

· “And isn’t that a shame? To leave something that is already paid for on the table?”

· “Shouldn’t we enjoy it if Jesus went to so much trouble to get it for us?”

· “Jesus paid for it! He didn’t just die for a few. He died for ALL of us!”

· “But Jesus loves us so much that He won’t force us to take what He bought for us. He still lets us choose.”

· “You have to want it and accept it, but you don’t have to do anything to earn it.”

· “If you want what Jesus has bought for you on the cross… if you want life with Him forever in heaven, all you have to do is tell him in your prayers.”

· “Tell Him that you want what He bought. Tell Him you want to follow Him and to go to heaven.”

· “And then, tell all of us so that we can celebrate with you!”

· “I know that some of you who didn’t take your (incentive) did it out of your love for Mr. (volunteer).”

· “If you are one of those people, Mr. (volunteer) wants to see you after we finish.” (Have your volunteer tell these children how much he appreciates the sacrifice they made for him and that they really helped with the lesson. Then, he can give them the choice of taking the incentive – no rocks this time.)

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Filed under Agape Love, Christianity, Eternity, Heaven, Hell, Love, Object Lesson, salvation

Jesus Unlocked the Door (OBJ LESSON)


Time

30 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about trusting in Jesus as your Savior by using a Prisoner-of-War (POW) metaphor to describe our condition before salvation. The Bible teaches that before we became believers, we were spiritual POWs who were held captive by the devil, the god of this world (see 2 Timothy 2:26). Jesus came to free us. He can unlock the door, but we must walk through it. This lesson encourages children to let Him set them free.

Materials

  • An area in the room that represents a prison cell. It needs to have a door and a way to “lock” it. The lock doesn’t have to actually work, but it should be something visible so that the children can see it both before and after the prison door is unlocked.
  • Two pieces of fruit (apples are recommended).

Preparation

· Arrange for several adults or older children to get in the jail cell (when you give the cue).

· Tell them which of them you want to walk out of the jail cell (when you give the cue) and which you want to stay.

· Get an adult to play Jesus and an adult to play Satan, and tell them that they will follow your cues.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “When God originally created the earth and Adam and Eve, this is how He intended for us to live.” (Gesture to all the people in the room.) “…Free and happy in the garden He created for them.”
  • “He only gave Adam and Eve one rule – ‘Don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.’”
  • “It was a good rule, intended to protect us from the knowledge of the terrible things done by Satan and his armies, but Adam and Eve couldn’t resist breaking it.”
  • “As soon as they ate from the tree (Give apples or some other type of fruit to a girl and a boy in the room, and have them each take a bite.), they knew what evil was.”
  • “They were surprised to find that one of the first evils they came in contact with was their own sin in disobeying God, so they hid from the Lord.”
  • “The rest of the story you probably already know. God came walking in the cool of the day and found Adam and Eve hiding from Him.”
  • “When asked why they were hiding, each blamed someone else for the sin. God cursed Adam, Eve and the serpent (Satan) and banished them from the garden.”
  • “But what I want to show you today is what happened spiritually at that moment.”
  • “In the invisible, spiritual realm, Satan was rejoicing. He had scored a monumental victory during the moment he convinced Eve to eat from the tree and entice Adam to do the same.”
  • “When Adam and Eve sinned, they became Prisoners Of War (POW’s) in Satan’s battle against God.”
  • “They broke the rules, and they had to pay the penalty. Satan knew that God was so holy that He couldn’t have rule-breakers on His side.”
  • “So, Satan took his new POW’s (Prisoners of War) and locked up their souls in prison.” (Have the children you gave the fruit to get up and go into the prison cell. Have the person playing Satan dramatically lock the door behind them.)
  • “Because they were his prisoners, even children born to them would be born as POW’s.” (Ask for volunteers, and load up the jail cell with the adults you talked to before the lesson and a few children. Again, have Satan dramatically lock the door behind them.)
  • “The only hope the POW’s had of getting out of prison was by living a perfect, sinless life. Satan wasn’t worried, though. He knew it was impossible. Some prisoners tried, but they all failed.”
  • “But God had a different plan altogether. He knew that someone had to pay the penalty for the rule-breakers, but He also knew that it didn’t have to be the rule-breakers themselves. After all, they could spend all their lives in prison and still never pay the full penalty.”
  • “So, God began to show us through stories, images and prophecy in the Old Testament how a perfect, sinless Savior could pay the penalty for us.”
  • “Some of the people believed what God was telling them, and they were saved. They had to wait for the Savior to come, but they knew that Satan’s prison could no longer hold them.”
  • “When the time was right, God sent the Savior, and His name is Jesus.”
  • “He lived 33 years as a man and never sinned. Then, He was killed on a cross.” (As you are talking, have the adult playing Jesus stand, raise his arms as if being crucified and then close his eyes and bow his head as if dying.)
  • When He died, He paid the entire penalty for every sin that had ever been committed from the time of Adam and Eve.”
  • “He also paid the penalty for every sin that would ever happen in the future – sins that I’ve done and sins that you’ve done. Sins that we haven’t even thought of but that we will do some day.”
  • “God knows everything, and He knows all the sins that we will ever commit.”
  • “Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead. Through His death, He had broken the padlock off the prison door forever.” (As you are talking, have the adult playing Jesus forcibly break the padlock off the door and swing the door wide. He should then encourage all the POW’s to come out and “Follow Me.” Some should follow Him; others should stay. Allow all the children that want to leave to come out, but keep some of the adults in prison.)
  • “Jesus bought our freedom. He paid the price to rescue us from Satan. Some believed in Him and followed Him out of prison to eternal life, but others chose not to believe.” (Have the adult playing Satan come and close the door. However, this time, he can’t lock it.)
  • “Satan has tricked those people into thinking that they still have to stay in prison. Some of the people actually like prison better than freedom, because it’s the only thing they have ever known. Whatever the reason, they don’t follow Jesus. They act as if the padlock is still on the door to the prison.”
  • “Jesus paid the penalty for us, but He won’t drag us out of prison. He won’t make us walk through the door. He wants us to choose to love Him and follow Him.”
  • “So, He doesn’t take the freed prisoners to heaven right away. He leaves them here on earth and instructs them to keep going back to the prison to convince the prisoners that the door is unlocked.” (Have all the freed prisoners go back to the jail cell and try through various methods to convince the prisoners to come free – some can reach through the jail bars, some can enter the cell and try to lead individuals out, some can demonstrate that the door is unlocked, some can simply kneel and pray outside the jail cell. A few of those still inside should come out, causing the celebration of the freed prisoners and Jesus.)
  • “Some still refuse to leave, but we keep praying for them. As long as they are alive, we who have been freed will continue to do everything we can to help them get free.”
  • “So the question you should be asking yourself is this: ‘Am I inside or outside the prison?’”
  • “If you are outside the prison, look around in your life and find someone God has put you near that is still inside. Pray for them and do everything you can to help them get out.”
  • “If you think you might still be inside the prison, it’s because you haven’t asked Jesus to be your Lord and agreed to follow Him.”
  • “That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are many people around you that have asked Jesus to be their Lord and agreed to follow Him. Chances are, God has put them in your life so that they could come back to get you out of prison.”
  • “They want to help you get out. All you have to do is ask someone who is already a Christian to help you to know Jesus.”
  • “If you’re not sure if you are in or out of prison, talk to someone who you know for sure is outside with Jesus. They can help you figure it out.”

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Filed under Belief, Christianity, Eternity, Evangelism, faith, Heaven, Hell, Obedience, Object Lesson, salvation, Spiritual Warfare

For God So Loved


Time
10 minutes

Description
This object lesson helps children (and adults) understand that Jesus died on the cross for each of us. It is intended to help them make a personal connection to John 3:16.

Materials
Slides or a whiteboard/flipchart made up with the three sets of text described below.

Preparation
Create the following three slides or write these words on a whiteboard or flipchart.

1. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
2. For God so loved (person’s name) that He gave His one and only Son, that if (person’s name) believes in Him, (person’s name) shall not perish but have eternal life.
3. For God so loved me that He gave His one and only Son, that if I believe in Him, I shall not perish but have eternal life.

Use a different color for the underlined words so that they stand out. Organize these three slides/pages so that you can reveal them one at a time.

Procedure
• Before you reveal any of the slides, ask the class if anyone can recite John 3:16. (Allow several to recite the verse.)
• Show the first slide, and have the class recite it together.
• Say, “That may be the most well-known verse in the world, and it’s so important. It tells us that God loved us enough to send His Son to die a terrible death on a cross, and it tells us that if we believe in Him, we can be with Him in heaven forever.”
• Say, “I would like us to recite this verse again, but this time, I want us to recite it as a blessing to each other.” (Show second slide.)
• Divide group into pairs. If you have an odd number of participants, you can stand in to make the last pair.
• Say, “This time when you say the verse, I want you to substitute the name of your partner for some of the words.”
• Demonstrate to the group using a name from the group or a made-up name.
• Have the group recite the verse as a blessing for each of their partners.
• Then, have the other person in each pair recite the verse as a blessing for his or her partner.
• Say, “That was great! Now I think we are starting to see that Jesus died for each one of us. Even if your partner was the only one in the world, Jesus would have died for him or her.”
• Say, “Now I want to recite the verse again, and this time, you are going to substitute yourself for some of the words.”
• Show the third slide and demonstrate how to recite the verse.
• Have each person recite the verse out loud simultaneously, substituting “I” and “me” in the appropriate places.
• Say, “How does that make you feel?”
• Have the group recite the verse again from the third slide.
• Say, “Do you see? Jesus died for you! He loved you so much that He was willing to take your punishment for sin. Jesus died for everyone, and He died for anyone….anyone who would accept the gift of His death on the cross. I hope you will accept His gift.”

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Filed under Christianity, Eternity, Heaven, Object Lesson

The Dot and the Line


Time

10 minutes


Description

This object lesson teaches about the importance of living for eternity rather than just for today.

Materials

None

Preparation

Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “We’re going to do an activity to show the difference between our life on earth and our life in heaven.” (Have kids line up, single-file in a spiral. Put the last kid at door to the room. The kid in the center (beginning of the line) is “The Dot,” and the rest of the kids are “The Line.”)
  • “This person is the ‘The Dot.’ S/He represents our lifetime here on earth.”
  • “Everyone else is ‘The Line.’ You represent our life in heaven, in etermity.”
  • “Most of us think life on earth is more like The Line, but God says it isn’t.”
  • “Life on earth is short – maybe 80-90 years – maybe less.”
  • “Then it ends, and The Dot is over, and The Line starts.”
  • “The Line goes and goes and goes.”
  • “You see (child’s name) is at the door – that’s to show that the line never stops.”
  • “Imagine a line of kids out that door that goes on forever! That’s eternity!”
  • “Now, this doesn’t mean that The Dot isn’t important – it’s hugely important!”
  • “The Dot is a test and a tool.”
  • “Say it with me, ‘a test and a tool.’”
  • “What do I mean by that?”
  • “It’s a test, because your life will be full of tests, and these tests reveal the quality of your heart. Will you cheat on the test like your friend? Will you tell untrue stories about other kids? Will you lie to your mom and dad about where your friends are going? Will you take more than your fair share?”
  • “Test, test, test, test, test”
  • “Each time, your decision reveals the quality of your heart.”
  • “If you fail a test, God will give it to you again.”
  • “If you continue to fail it, God will let you follow the evil desires of your heart.”
  • “And trust me, that leads nowhere good.”
  • “If you follow the evil desires of your heart for too long, all you get is unhappiness and pain.”
  • “But if you pass the test, God will be pleased. He will keep testing you, but it might be in other areas for a while.”
  • “So, that’s why The Dot is a test. Why is The Dot a tool?”
  • “Because God uses our lives on earth to shape us to be more like him. He cuts away the bad stuff until we look more like him.”
  • “How silly would it be for us to focus all our attention on The Dot?”
  • “Compared to The Line, it’s nothing right?”
  • “So anything we do in The Dot should be focused on improving The Line.”
  • “You could have a really fancy Dot (dress up the kid who is “The Dot” with some fake jewelry or clothes) with lots of riches and fame and toys, but if the way you got those things was through dishonesty or greed or jealousy, you’re going to have a really crummy Line.” (Have kids in The Line fall to floor in domino pattern).
  • “But if you use your Dot to honor God (give child salt and light or a cross or picture of Jesus), your Line will ROCK!” (Have kids in The Line jump up!)
  • “So, do you want to live for The Dot (have kids in The Line crumple) or for The Line?” (Have kids in The Line jump up!)
  • “Me, too!”

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Filed under Christianity, Eternity, God's Will, Heaven, Hell, Object Lesson