Tag Archives: sacrifice

God’s Permissive Will (OBJ LESSON)


Time

45 minutes
Audience

Children, Teens, Adults

 

Description

This object lesson teaches about how God’s permissive will works with God’s unchangeable will.  It uses the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and his brothers to illustrate how God allows us to make choices but brings even our bad choices and sin into alignment with his perfect will in the end.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 2:16-17; 37-50
  • Numbers 23:19
  • Deuteronomy 30:15-20
  • Joshua 24:14-15
  • 1 Samuel 15:29
  • Malachi 3:6
  • Romans 8:28
  • Hebrews 6:17
  • James 1:17

 

Materials

  • One red rope – about 15-20 ft long
  • Five ropes (any color other than red) – about 15-20 ft long each
  • Printout of the file, “JJ  – God’s Permissive Will – Choices Cards (OBJ LESSON).” It can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.
  • 70 clothespins
  • Large paper clip or rubber band
  • Bag to hold clothespins, Choice Cards and ropes

 

Preparation

  • Print out “JJ – God’s Permissive Will – Choice Cards.”  (There are 35 pages.)
  • Cut each of the pages in half down the line in the middle to make 70 separate Choice Cards.
  • Put ropes in your bag
  • Put the clothespins in your bag so that you can carry them during your lesson.
  • Put the Choice Cards in numerical order (the numbers are on each card) with #1 on top and all the rest following.
  • Clip or rubber band these cards together, and put them in your bag.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “God’s will is difficult to understand.”
  • “In some parts of the Bible, it says that God’s will never changes.”  (Have volunteer(s) read one or more of the following Scriptures out loud: Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29, Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 6:17, James 1:17.)
  • “But we know from other parts of the Bible that God allows us to have free will – meaning, He lets us make choices.”  (Have a volunteer(s) read one or more of the following Scriptures out loud: Genesis 2:16-17, Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Joshua 24:14-15.)
  • “This is sometimes called ‘God’s permissive will,’ which means that God gives us permission to choose to do something different than His will.”
  • “These Scriptures make me wonder how God’s will can always stay the same even though we do things that are not in His will.”
  • “Why don’t our bad decisions mess up God’s perfect and unchanging will?”
  • “I’m going to show you how this all works.”  (Ask for two volunteers.  Give them each one end of the red rope, and have them stretch it out as far as it will go across the room.)
  • “Let’s say that this is God’s unchanging will.”
  • “It stays the same no matter what.”
  • “On this end, we have ‘Before time began,’ and on the other side, we have ‘Eternity.’”
  • “God’s will is outside of time.  It was here before time began and will continue on after time ends.”
  • “This rope represents our free will.”
  • “There was a time in the Garden of Eden when God’s will and man’s free will were tied together.”  (Tie the two ropes together near the ‘Before time began” end.)
  • “But that didn’t last long, because Adam and Eve chose to do something against God’s will when they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.”
  • “Whenever people step away from God’s will by using their free will to do something wrong, it looks like this.”  (Ask for another volunteer to come up and hold the “free will” rope away from the “God’s Will” rope.  Leave the two ropes tied together, but have the volunteer just hold the rope a few steps away from the “God’s Will” rope.)
  • “That first sin was followed by many more, and I don’t have time to tell you about all of them.”
  • “Instead, I’ll focus just on one family – the family of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.”
  • “I’m picking this family, because they are God’s chosen people, the ones He made a promise to bless.”
  • “The story started with God making a promise to Abraham.  Abraham was old and didn’t have any children, but God promised to make him the father of many nations.  His son Isaac was the child of that promise.”
  • “At this point, Abraham’s free will was lined up with God’s will, so the two ropes are together.”  (Have volunteer who has the “free will” rope come back to the red “God’s will” rope and hold both ropes together.  Pull out Choice Card #1 from your bag.  Show it to the audience. Clip the two ropes together using a clothespin.  Anytime a Choice Card says, ‘GOD’S WILL – BOTH ROPES’ at the bottom, clip the two ropes together.)
  • “Isaac grew up and got married.  His wife Rebekah couldn’t have children, so he prayed for her.  God answered his prayer and gave them two children, Esau and Jacob.”
  • “What do you think?  Was Isaac’s free will still lined up with God’s will at this point?”  (Listen to responses.)
  • “Sure it was!  Isaac wanted what God wanted, and God blessed him with two children.”  (Show Choice Card #2, and use the clothespin to clip the two ropes together.)
  • “Esau and Jacob fought with each other in their mother’s womb, and God told Rebekah that Jacob would one day rule over his brother Esau.”
  • “Do you think it God’s will that the babies fought in the womb?”  (Listen to responses.)
  • “I don’t know for sure if babies know enough to use their free will, but let’s say that it could be possible.”
  • “That means that their free will separated from God’s will.”  (Have ‘free will’ rope volunteer take a step away from the ‘God’s will’ rope so that the two ropes separate.  Make sure he/she doesn’t pull hard on the rope and rip the Choice Cards that are already on it.  Use a clothespin to clip Choice Card #3 to just the ‘free will’ rope. Draw out Choice Card #4, and show audience.)
  • “Jacob’s name in Hebrew means, ‘He deceives,’ and it’s a great name for Jacob.  He was one of the trickiest people in the whole Bible.  The first trick we know about is when he convinced his brother, Esau, to sell him the birthright of the firstborn son in exchange for a bowl of stew!”
  • “The birthright of the firstborn son was a special privilege given to the boy who was born first, and it made him the leader of the family when the father died.  It also gave him twice the inheritance of the other children, so it was pretty important.”
  • “Now we know that God said Jacob would one day rule over Esau, but I’m pretty sure this is not how God planned for it to happen.”
  • “God didn’t need Jacob to trick Esau.  God would have made His will come true without tricks.”
  • “So, this choice that Jacob made was definitely away from God’s will!”  (Clip Choice Card #4 with a clothespin to just the ‘free will’ rope.  If you have lots of participants, you could give the choice card to a volunteer and have him/her clip it and then stand by it to represent that choice.  There will be 70 choices total, so you might have each volunteer represent several choices.  Draw out the remaining Choice Cards in numerical order while telling the story of God’s chosen people.  The cards are listed below for your reference along with important story elements.)
  1. REBEKAH AND JACOB – Tricked Isaac into giving Esau’s blessing to Jacob (It wasn’t enough that Jacob stole the birthright from Esau; he felt he had to steal his blessing, too.  (The blessing was a special gift from the father that helped a child to know what his or her future would be like.)) FREE WILL ROPE
  2. ESAU – Threatened to kill his brother, Jacob (Esau was so mad when he found out, that he promised to kill Jacob as soon as their father died.) FREE WILL ROPE
  3. REBEKAH – Tricked her husband, Isaac, into sending Jacob away to find a wife among her brother’s people (Now we know where Jacob learned to be so tricky.  His mom was a trickster, too!  She saved Jacob’s life by sending him where Esau couldn’t get him.  It’s good that she saved Jacob’s life, but she didn’t trust God to help.  Instead, she told a lie.  That’s away from God’s will.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  4. GOD – Promised land to Jacob in a dream and told him that he would have many descendants (God met Jacob while he was running away and renewed the promise that He had made to Abraham and Isaac.)  BOTH ROPES
  5. JACOB – Fell in love with Rachel as soon as he saw her (When Jacob arrived at the land of his relatives, he saw a girl named Rachel and fell in love with her.  God wants us to fall in love.  This was lined up with God’s will.)  BOTH ROPES
  6. JACOB – Worked for Laban for seven years in order to marry his daughter, Rachel. (It was the custom for these people at this time that a man would pay a woman’s father for the privilege of marrying her.  Jacob didn’t have any money or property, so he worked for seven years as payment.  This was honorable behavior.)  BOTH ROPES
  7. LABAN – Tricked Jacob into marrying Rachel’s older sister, Leah (Jacob wasn’t the only tricky person.  His uncle Laban wanted to marry his oldest daughter off before Rachel got married, so he tricked Jacob into marrying her. That’s definitely away from God’s will.)  FREE WILL ROPE (have volunteer step away from ‘God’s Will’ rope to hold ‘free will rope’ and show the distance between the two.  You might want to have them step in the other direction from the first time in order to make the best use of space.)
  8. JACOB – Was angry with Laban but agreed to work for Laban for seven more years so that he could marry Rachel, too.  (Jacob loved Rachel very much and still wanted to marry her, so even though he had been tricked, he agreed to work seven more years to pay for her hand in marriage.  That’s pretty romantic, but the problem with it is that God doesn’t want us to marry more than one person.  This is away from God’s will.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  9. LABAN – Tricked Jacob many times in order to make him keep working for him. (Laban wasn’t satisfied with having Jacob work for him for 14 years. Jacob was a talented shepherd, and Laban got rich while Jacob was taking care of his sheep.) FREE WILL ROPE
  10. 14.  GOD – Blessed Jacob by giving him many herds and many children (12 sons and 1 daughter).  (This is the beginning of God fulfilling His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.) BOTH ROPES
  11. 15.  RACHEL and LEAH – Competed with each other to see who could have the most sons for Jacob.  (In their culture, they believed that you were more important if you had more sons.  Leah was able to have six boys, but Jacob didn’t love her.  He loved Rachel, but she couldn’t have children for many years until God finally let her have Joseph and Benjamin towards the end of her life.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  12. JACOB – Ran away from Laban.  Laban chased him, but God warned Laban in a dream not to hurt Jacob.  (I’m not sure if it was God’s will for Jacob to run away or not, but God protected Jacob, so we will say that this was lined up with God’s will.) BOTH ROPES
  13. JACOB – Wrestled with God until God gave Jacob a blessing. (While Jacob was traveling back to the land his family lived in, and angel of the Lord (probably Jesus) came to earth and wrestled Jacob.  Jacob wouldn’t let go until God blessed him.)  BOTH ROPES
  14. 18.  ESAU – Forgave his brother Jacob, because he had been very blessed by God over the years they were apart.  (Jacob was worried about his brother still being mad at him, but he was surprised to find that Esau had totally forgiven him.)  BOTH ROPES
  15. SIMEON AND LEVI – Took revenge on people who hurt their sister, Dinah, by killing all the men in the town.  (When Jacob settled his family in Shechem, a man hurt his daughter, Dinah.  Her brothers took revenge by killing every single man in the town.  Jacob never forgave his sons for what they did.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  16. GOD – Allowed Rachel to die giving birth to Benjamin, Jacob’s youngest child.  (Sometimes God allows bad things to happen, and we don’t understand why.  There are times when we find out later what God was doing, but we won’t know all God’s reasons for what He allows to happen.  We just have to trust Him.)  BOTH ROPES
  17. JACOB – Loved Joseph more than any of his other children.  (Because Joseph was the firstborn child of Rachel, the wife Jacob loved and because some of his other sons had disappointed him, Jacob showed favoritism to Joseph.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  18. 22.  JOSEPH – Told his father about the bad things his brothers had been doing. (Joseph saw his brothers do some pretty bad stuff, and he told his dad about it.  I think it was the right thing to do, but it made his brothers really mad at him.)  BOTH ROPES
  19. 23.  JOSEPH’S BROTHERS – Hated Joseph because their father loved him more.  (It was obvious to his brothers that Joseph was their dad’s favorite, so they hated him.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  20. 24.  JOSEPH – Had two prophetic dreams that showed he would one day rule over his family.  (These dreams were from God, because they eventually came true.)  BOTH ROPES
  21. JOSEPH – Told his brothers about his dreams. (I think this was a mistake.  Joseph might have been showing off to his family, and all it did was make them all angry with him and hate him more.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  22. JOSEPH’S BROTHER – Hated Joseph because of his dreams.  FREE WILL ROPE
  23. 27.  JACOB – Made a special coat of many colors for Joseph, because Joseph was his favorite.  (This was another mistake.  The coat was a special coat like the one rulers would wear.  It was a coat for people who didn’t have to work, and it made Joseph’s brothers hate him even more.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  24. 28.  JACOB – Sent Joseph to check on his brothers and bring him back a report. (And another mistake!  Didn’t he realize how much his sons hated Joseph?  The brothers were working, and Joseph was wearing his fancy, no-working coat.  And Jacob sent Joseph to tattle on his brothers – not good!)  FREE WILL ROPE
  25. 29.  JOSEPH’S BROTHERS – Threw Joseph in a well and then sold him to some slave traders. (Joseph’s brothers were sick and tired of their little brother, and they decided to get rid of him.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  26. 30.  JOSEPH’S BROTHERS – Tore his robe and dipped it in blood.  Then they let their father believe Joseph was killed. (They hid what they did by making Jacob think that Joseph had been eaten by a wild animal.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  27. 31.  MIDIANITES – Sold Joseph as a slave to Potiphar, the Egyptian and captain of the guard for Pharoah. (God is never happy when people are treated as slaves.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  28. 32.  JOSEPH – Served Potiphar faithfully and honored God.  (Suffering can often change your heart, and I think Joseph grew up a lot when he was sold as a slave.  During this time, he learned to trust God and do his best even in a bad situation.)  BOTH ROPES
  29. 33.  GOD – Was with Joseph and gave him success in everything that he did.  (When we are lined up with God’s will, He blesses us and blesses us!)  BOTH ROPES
  30. 34.  POTIPHAR – Put Joseph in charge of everything in his household and trusted him with everything he owned.  (Even people who don’t believe in God can be in line with God’s will sometimes.  Potiphar was so impressed with Joseph that he gave him responsibility for everything.) BOTH ROPES
  31. 35.  POTIPHAR’S WIFE – Tried to get Joseph to kiss her.  (What?!  She was married!  Definitely not in God’s will!)  FREE WILL ROPE
  32. 36.  JOSEPH – Refused to sin against Potiphar and God and avoided Potiphar’s wife whenever possible.  (Good for him!)  BOTH ROPES
  33. 37.  POTIPHAR’S WIFE – Lied about Joseph to her husband and said that Joseph tried to kiss her.  (Oooh….she’s not a good person!) FREE WILL ROPE
  34. 38.  POTIPHAR – Put Joseph in the prison where the king’s prisoners were kept. (It’s interesting that he put Joseph in this special prison for Pharaoh’s prisoners.  That gave Joseph opportunities to meet important people.  Still, Potiphar shouldn’t have put him in prison for something he didn’t do.) FREE WILL ROPE
  35. 39.  JOSEPH – Served the prison warden faithfully and honored God while he was in prison.  (Joseph was put into prison unfairly, but he still chose to trust in God and honor God by working hard.)  BOTH ROPES
  36. 40.  GOD – Was with Joseph and gave him success in everything that he did. (Again, when we line up with God’s will, He blesses us.)  BOTH ROPES
  37. 41.  THE PRISON WARDEN – Put Joseph in charge of everything and everyone in the prison.  (Because Joseph was so trustworthy, the warden trusted him with everything.  God was definitely at work.)  BOTH ROPES
  38. 42.  THE CUPBEARER and THE BAKER – Offended Pharaoh.  (We don’t know what happened, but Pharaoh was mad at two of his top servants.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  39. 43.  PHARAOH – Put the cupbearer and the baker into prison. (It’s hard to know if Pharaoh was being fair or not, but God was going to use it.)  BOTH ROPES
  40. 44.  POTIPHAR – Assigned the cupbearer and the baker to Joseph. (Potiphar was in charge of the prison, and he apparently still had some trust in Joseph.) BOTH ROPES
  41. 45.  THE CUPBEARER and THE BAKER – Both had dreams on the same night, but they were sad because they didn’t know what the dreams meant.  (Sometimes God is the One who gives people dreams.) BOTH ROPES
  42. 46.  JOSEPH – Noticed their sadness, asked to hear their dreams and then interpreted them.  He asked the cupbearer to remember him when he returned to Pharaoh. (Joseph had interpreted his own dreams in the past and knew that God could interpret these dreams through him.  In this case, Joseph told them that the cupbearer’s dream meant that Pharaoh would restore him again in three days and that the baker’s dream meant that Pharaoh would kill him in three days. Joseph asked the cupbearer to remember him and get him out of prison.)  BOTH ROPES
  43. 47.  PHARAOH – Restored the cupbearer and killed the baker, just as Joseph had predicted.  (Exactly as Joseph had interpreted the dreams, the cupbearer went back to work, but the baker was killed.) BOTH ROPES
  44. 48.  THE CUPBEARER – Forgot about Joseph for two years.  (Not cool!  Joseph got him free, and he totally forgot about Joseph.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  45. 49.  PHARAOH – Had two dreams that worried him.  (These dreams were definitely from God.  One was about seven fat cows that got eaten by seven skinny cows, and the other was about seven healthy heads of grain that got eaten by seven sick heads of grain.)  BOTH ROPES
  46. 50.  PHARAOH – Called all his magicians and wise men, but no one could interpret the dreams. (God was saving the interpretation for Joseph.)  BOTH ROPES
  47. 51.  THE CUPBEARER – Remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh about his ability to interpret dreams.  (Finally!) BOTH ROPES
  48. 52.  PHAROAH – Called for Joseph to come to interpret his dreams. (It’s just about to get really good!) BOTH ROPES
  49. 53.  JOSEPH – Interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams and gave him advice about how to prepare for the coming famine.  (Joseph didn’t take any of the credit for his ability.  He gave it all to God, and he helped Pharaoh understand that the dreams meant there would be seven years of plenty of food followed by seven years of starvation.)  BOTH ROPES
  50. 54.  PHARAOH – Put Joseph in charge of all of Egypt, gave him his official ring, robes, chain and chariot and gave him a wife. (Pharaoh realized no one would do a better job than Joseph at saving the country, so he put him in charge of everything!) BOTH ROPES
  51. 55.  GOD – Allowed a famine throughout all of the world.  (A famine is a bad thing, but God allowed it to help many people stop believing in false gods and start believing in Him.)  BOTH ROPES
  52. 56.  JOSEPH – Managed the food in Egypt well so that no one had to starve during the famine. (God gave Joseph excellent management skills, and he saved so much food during the good years that there was plenty of food for everyone during the seven years of famine.) BOTH ROPES
  53. 57.  JACOB – Sent Joseph’s brothers to Egypt to get food for the family.  (It wasn’t just the people in Egypt who couldn’t grow food during the famine.  People all over the world started coming to Egypt, because they were the only ones with food.)  BOTH ROPES
  54. 58.  JOSEPH – Recognized his brothers when they came to buy grain but didn’t reveal his identity.  (Joseph knew that he had to test his brothers to make sure that they had changed.) BOTH ROPES
  55. 59.  JOSEPH – Tested his brothers to see if his younger brother, Benjamin, was still alive.  (First of all, Joseph was worried that his younger brother might have been killed or sold into slavery, so he made his brothers go and get him to bring him to Egypt.)  BOTH ROPES
  56. 60.  JOSEPH’S BROTHERS – Returned home to get Benjamin, but they had to leave Simeon, who was put into prison.  (To make sure that they would come back, Joseph made them leave Simeon behind.)  BOTH ROPES
  57. 61.  JACOB – Didn’t want to let his sons take Benjamin, but he finally gave in when they got too hungry.  (Jacob was afraid that the ruler (actually Joseph) in Egypt might keep Benjamin, so he didn’t want to let him go.  In the end, though, they needed the food for survival.) FREE WILL ROPE
  58. 62.  JOSEPH’S BROTHERS – Returned to Egypt with Benjamin and two times the money needed to pay for food.  (They returned with twice the money, because Joseph had their money put back in their grain sacks before they left the first time.  That shows that he had forgiven them.  He didn’t want their money, and he didn’t want to get even.)  BOTH ROPES
  59. 63.  JOSEPH – Tested his brothers one more time to see if their hearts had changed.  (Now that Joseph saw Benjamin, he was relieved, but he still wondered if his brothers were the same, evil people that they had once been, so he tested them one more time by sending them back with a silver cup hidden in Benjamin’s sack.  After they had left, he sent his official to find out who “stole” his cup.  He wanted to know if they would sacrifice Benjamin for their own safety.)  BOTH ROPES
  60. 64.  JUDAH – Offered to be Joseph’s slave if Joseph would just let Benjamin and the others go. (To Joseph’s surprise and joy, Judah offered to become a slave in order to free Benjamin.  Judah was the brother who led the others to sell Joseph into slavery, but his heart had changed over the years.)  BOTH ROPES
  61. 65.  JOSEPH – Revealed his identity to his brothers and sent them back to get their father and bring him to Egypt. (When he was sure that his brothers had changed, Joseph told them who he was.  They had dinner together, and he told them the whole story.  Then, he sent them back to get the whole family.)  BOTH ROPES
  62. 66.  PHARAOH – Approved for Joseph’s family to live in the best part of Egypt.  (Pharaoh trusted Joseph so much and was so grateful for his wise leadership that he gave Joseph’s family the best land in Egypt to live in.)  BOTH ROPES
  63. 67.  JACOB – Brought his whole family to Egypt.  (70 people in all!)  BOTH ROPES
  64. 68.  JOSEPH – Reunited with his father and family and received his father’s blessing.  (Jacob was so happy to see Joseph alive!  The two had a great reunion.)  BOTH ROPES
  65. 69.  JOSEPH – Forgave his brothers for the terrible things they had done to him. (Joseph really forgave his brothers.  In fact, he told them that he knew they meant to hurt him, but God allowed it to happen so that he could save many lives.) BOTH ROPES
  66. 70.  MOSES – Led the Hebrews out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. (And that wasn’t the end of the story, because Jacob’s family lived in Egypt for 400 years.  During that time, they were protected from the evil religions that were in the country of Canaan, where they had come from, and they were able to grow from 70 people to over 2 million.  When the time was right and the Hebrews were ready, God sent Moses to lead them out of Egypt and back into the Promised Land of Canaan.)  BOTH ROPES
  • CONCLUSION:
  • “Notice how often people in this story did their own free will apart from God’s will.”
  • “But also notice that God always brought events back in line with His will.”
  • “So here’s the answer to how God can allow us to have free will and sin but still accomplish His perfect will in the end…”
  • “No matter what these people did, God would take it and use it for His purposes.”
  • “Even when they sinned, He turned it around and made it work for good.”
  • “In the end, God brings everything in line with His will.”  (Grab the end of the Free Will rope.  Then go to the “eternity” end of the red rope, and pull on the Free Will rope until it straightens out right next to the red rope.  This shows how God brings everything into alignment with His purposes in the end.)
  • “You’ve probably noticed that the ‘God’s Will’ rope is red.  That’s to symbolize the blood of Jesus, that has the power to bring our Free Will into alignment with God’s Will.”
  • “Satan is a bigger trickster than Jacob, Rebekah and Laban put together, and he constantly tries to get us to pull away from God’s Will.”  (Gently pull several of your volunteers back away from the red rope as they hold onto the “Free Will” rope.)
  • “But no matter what he tricks us into doing, God offers to help us line up with His will if we will just trust in the blood of Jesus.”  (Pull the ropes together again.)
  • “When you accept Jesus’ sacrifice of His own life on the cross as payment for your sins, God brings everything in line with His will.”
  • “He will take all the bad and sinful choices you made and use them in a positive way.”
  • “He will take all the terrible things other people did to you and use them in a positive way.”
  • “And even though you can still make choices that take you away from God when you are a believer…”  (Pull one of your volunteers and the “Free Will” rope away from the red rope.)
  • “If you ask God for forgiveness, He will bring those bad choices back into line with His will.”  (Pull the ropes together again.)
  • “Romans 8:28 says that God will use ALL things for the good of those who love Him.”
  • “God is pretty amazing, don’t you think?”  (Acknowledge responses, thank your volunteers and allow them to be seated.)
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Abraham, Abram, Challenges, Choices, Decision making, discipleship, faith, God's Plan, God's Will, Jesus, Joseph, Lesson, Listening to God, Obedience, Object Lesson, Repentance, Satan's tactics, Spiritual Growth, temptation, Transformation, unity

Do Clothes Really Make the Man? (OBJ LESSON)


Time

30 minutes
Description

This object lesson looks at the different clothing Joseph wore and asks the question, “do clothes really make the man?”  The old adage means that how you dress says a lot about you, but in Joseph’s case, he was the same person in any costume.  However, no matter how good Joseph was, he couldn’t be good enough to impress God just through his good works.  God isn’t interested in what we DO until He changes WHO we are, and that only happens when we accept Jesus as our Savior.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50
  • Isaiah 64:5-6
  • Isaiah 61:10

 

Materials

  • Several smocks (Loose-fitting fabrics that simply have a hole in the middle to fit over the head (for quick changing during the lesson) and a belt to tie them off.  You can do more elaborate costumes if you want, but these simple outfits will work.)
    • One plain white smock (to start the story)
    • One “coat of many colors”
    • Two dingy-colored or burlap smocks (for slavery before being sold and for prison)
    • One nicer white smock (for serving Potiphar)
    • Two even nicer smocks (for when Potiphar put Joseph in charge of his entire estate and for when Joseph comes up from prison)
    • One even nicer, nicer smock (for when Joseph was put in charge of Egypt – “robes of fine linen”)
    • One “filthy rags” smock (to represent our “righteousness”)
    • One “golden” smock (to represent the righteousness of Christ)
    • Gold chains costume jewelry
    • Ring costume jewelry

 

Preparation

  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “There is famous saying that ‘Clothes make the man.’”
  • “It means that what you wear says a lot about you and that people will judge you based on the clothes that you wear.”
  • “I think we ought to be careful about judging people based on the clothes that they wear.”
  • “They could be a great person inside of terrible clothes.”
  • “For example, Joseph wore many clothes in his lifetime, but for most of his life, Joseph was the same person underneath those clothes.”  (Ask for volunteer to come to the front, and put the plain, white smock on him or her.)
  • “Here’s Joseph, a young man of 17 years.”
  • “Look closely at him.  I want you to tell me if he changes when he gets his new clothes.”
  • “Joseph had 11 brothers, ten older than him.”
  • “In Hebrew culture, the oldest son was supposed to get the best treatment, but Joseph’s father loved him more than all the others, because he was the firstborn son of Rachel, Jacob’s favorite wife.)
  • “To show his love for Joseph, Jacob gave him a fancy coat to wear.”  (Put coat of many colors on volunteer.)
  • “Look closely; is it the same person or a different person underneath?” (Acknowledge responses.  Hopefully, the participants will agree that Joseph was the same person no matter what he was wearing.)
  • “This made Joseph’s brothers really jealous and angry with him, and they got even angrier when Joseph started having dreams about ruling over his brothers.”
  • “The next time the brothers were out shepherding their sheep, Joseph’s father sent him to check on them.”
  • “He made the mistake of wearing his fancy robe to go and find them.”
  • “The brothers were all wearing the clothes of smelly, dirty shepherds, and here came Joseph, wearing the clothes of someone who didn’t have to work because he was so special.”
  • “When they saw Joseph with his fancy coat, they were furious with him and talked about killing him.”
  • “In the end, they decided to sell him to a passing group of slave traders.”  (Put the dingy-colored smock on the volunteer.)
  • “What do you think now?  Is it the same Joseph, or did the clothes change him?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “The slave traders took Joseph to Egypt and sold him to an Egyptian, named Potiphar.  There, he was given the clothes of a servant.”  (Put nicer white smock on volunteer.)
  • “Same Joseph or different?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Joseph served Potiphar so well that Potiphar soon promoted him and put him in charge of everything in his household.”  (Put even nicer white smock on volunteer.)
  • “Is he different yet, or is he the same Joseph he was when we started the story?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “But then a terrible and unfair thing happened!  Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph of doing something he didn’t do, and Potiphar was so angry that he threw Joseph into prison.”  (Put second dingy smock on volunteer.)
  • “Do these clothes make him someone different?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Joseph was in prison for years, but he served the prison warden so well that the warden put him in charge of everything in the prison.”
  • “There came a day when Pharaoh (the king of Egypt) had a few dreams that bothered him.”
  • “No one could interpret the dreams for him, but he learned from one of his servants that Joseph had the power to interpret dreams.”
  • “Pharaoh called Joseph up from prison, and they dressed him in nicer clothes to prepare him to meet Pharaoh.”  (Put second even nicer white smock on volunteer.)
  • “Has he changed?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams for him, and Pharaoh was so impressed that he promoted Joseph to the 2nd highest level within Egypt.  Only Pharaoh was more powerful than Joseph.”
  • “Pharaoh had Joseph dressed in robes of fine linen and put gold chains around his neck and an important ring on his finger.”  (Put even nicer, nicer smock, gold chains and ring on volunteer.)
  • “Even in this really nice set of clothes, isn’t Joseph still the same person underneath?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “In this new role, Joseph did even better than he did in all his other roles.”
  • “He helped the Egyptians to save some food during the good years when there was lots of food, and when the famine came, there was plenty of food for everyone in Egypt and in the surrounding nations.”
  • “So, here we have Joseph with his eight different sets of clothes.”  (Show all eight smocks.)
  • “But the Joseph underneath is the same Joseph no matter what he is wearing.”
  • “Joseph always did his best and served those in authority faithfully, and in the end, he was recognized as a great and wise leader by Pharaoh.”
  • “Joseph was a pretty impressive guy!”
  • “When we read about him, most of us think it would be pretty cool to be like Joseph.”
  • “But you know what?  No matter how impressive Joseph is to us, he doesn’t impress God just because he was a good person.”
  • “The Bible tells us in Isaiah 64:5-6, ‘How then can we be saved? All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.’”
  • “What that means is that even the ‘best’ person in the world – the one who does the most good things – looks like he is dressed in filthy rags to God.”  (Put filthy rags smock on volunteer.)
  • “We can’t save ourselves from Hell just by being good – not even if we are as a good as Joseph was.”
  • “You see, God doesn’t care what you DO until you change WHO you are, and there is only one way to change WHO you are in God’s eyes…you have to accept Jesus (God’s Son) as your Savior.”
  • “Two thousand years ago, Jesus died on a cross to save us from our sins.”
  • “He had to do that because we sin.”
  • “You sin, I sin…everyone who has ever lived sins.”
  • “The Bible says that the penalty for sin is death.  That means separation from God.”
  • “But God loved us so much that he didn’t want us to be separate from Him.”
  • “So He sent His Son, Jesus, to take the penalty of our sin for us.”
  • “Jesus died on a cross to pay for our sins.  Then He rose from the dead to give us new life!”
  • “But you have to accept what Jesus did for you.  It’s a gift, and He won’t make you take it.”
  • “If you want to, you can still pay the penalty for your own sins, but that would be a terrible waste of the gift Jesus bought for you when He died on the cross.”
  • “But here’s what’s cool about accepting Jesus’ gift!”  (Have someone read Isaiah 61:10)
  • “This Scripture is talking about two of the things Jesus did for us by dying on the cross.”
  • “The first is that He clothed us with salvation.  In other words, we get to go to heaven.”
  • “The second is that He dressed us up in a robe of righteousness.  In other words, He covered our unrighteousness (our filthy rags) with His righteousness.”  (Put golden smock on volunteer.)
  • “Now THIS impresses God!”
  • “When we accept Jesus as our Savior, He covers our sinfulness with His perfection.”
  • “Then, whenever God, the Father, looks at us, He sees the righteousness of His Son, Jesus.”
  • “This is the only set of clothes that will ever change WHO you are, because it makes you a child of God.”
  • “It has nothing to do with what you DO, because it’s a gift from Jesus.”
  • “You can’t earn it.  You can only accept it.”
  • “So in a sense, clothes really do make the man, but in God’s eyes, there are only two types of clothes that say anything about WHO you are.”
  • “Are you wearing the filthy rags of sinfulness? (Show the filthy rag smock.) ….or the righteous robe of a child of God?”  (Show the golden smock.)
  • “I hope you will accept the wonderful gift Jesus bought for you.  He really wants you to have it!”  (Thank and dismiss volunteer.  At this point (depending on your tradition), you might want to make an invitation for the audience to accept the gift of salvation and the robe of righteousness that Jesus has purchased for each of us.)

Leave a comment

Filed under acceptance, Agape Love, Belief, Character, Christianity, Eternity, faith, Jesus, Joseph, Object Lesson, Performance, salvation, sanctification, Transformation

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.”

3 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Christmas, Eternity, Game, Games that Teach, God's Plan, Gospel, Heaven, Jesus, light, Light of the world, Repentance, salvation

Abraham’s Tests (Lesson)


Time

30-35 minutes
Description

This lesson teaches about how God tested Abraham when He asked him to sacrifice Isaac.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1-6; 17:19-20; 22:1-19
  • Hebrews 11:17-19

Materials

  • Whiteboard, chalkboard or flipchart
  • Marker
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “Raise your hand if your parents have ever tracked how tall you are growing by putting a mark on a wall right above your head.”  (Acknowledge raised hands.)
  • “My mom used to do that, too.”
  • “I want to see how quickly we can do it today up at this board (or flipchart).”
  • “Everyone line up over here, and then come up and let me mark your height on the board.”  (As each participant comes up, make a mark above their heads and put his/her name beside it.  Try to keep everyone’s marks clustered in the center, because you are going to draw a large heart around them.  You might even want to use the two tallest participants as the top of the heart and then taper the marks toward the bottom.  Don’t draw the heart shape yet, though. )
  • “Wow, we’ve got a lot of different heights in this room!”
  • “So, this is how your parents’ might have tracked your height.”
  • “God does something similar, but He’s not tracking your height; He tracking your heart.” (Draw a heart shape around all the measurements.)
  • “God is much less interested in your height than He is in your heart, so every once in a while, He measures your heart to see how spiritually mature it is.”
  • “You could say that if God measured you, and you were down here (put your hand near the bottom of the heart) that you are not very mature spiritually.”
  • “But if you were way up here (put your hand near the top of the heart), you would be very spiritually mature.”
  • “Does anyone know how God measures the spiritual maturity of our hearts?”  (Listen for responses.  What you want to hear is that He tests us.)
  • “Right!  God tests us to measure the spiritual maturity of our hearts!”
  • “The story I’m going to tell you about today is about a person who was VERY spiritually mature.”
  • “He was very old, and he had followed the Lord for a very long time.”
  • “His name was Abram, but you might know him better as Abraham.”
  • “Have any of you heard of him?”  (Look for a show of hands.)
  • “Great! Well, there is a lot to tell about the story of Abraham, but we are going to focus on one of the times in his life when God was giving him a test to measure the spiritual maturity of his heart.”
  • “This part of his story started when he was 75 years old.”
  • “God made him a very special but very surprising promise.”  (Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 12:1-3.)
  • “God promised to make Abraham (at this point, his name was just Abram) into a great nation.”
  • “This had to be surprising to Abraham, because he didn’t have any children at the age of 75.”
  • “His name, Abram, meant ‘exalted father,’ and it must have felt like a joke to him and may have even been a very painful reminder that he didn’t have anyone to carry on his name.”
  • “But Abraham believed God, and it’s a good thing he did, because this was one of God’s tests.” (Mark a line on the heart about one-third up from the bottom, and write “Abram” or “Abraham” beside it.)
  • “Abraham left his family and went to a place that God showed him.”
  • “Years later, Abraham still didn’t have any children when God appeared to him in a vision.”  (Have a volunteer read Genesis 15:1-6.)
  • “You see, it’s okay to tell God exactly how you feel.”
  • “Abraham complained to God that God had made a promise but nothing had changed.”
  • “So, God made His promise a little more clear and told him that he would definitely have a child..and not just one, but many, many, many…as many as the starts in the sky.”
  • “And Abraham believed him, and it was a good thing he did, because this was another one of God’s tests.” (Mark a line on the heart about halfway up from the bottom, and write “Abram” or “Abraham” beside it.)
  • “Years later, Abraham was 99 years old and had a son.”
  • “Abraham thought this boy, Ishmael, was God’s promise to him.”
  • “Unfortunately, it wasn’t the son that God had promised but a son that came from a mistake Abraham had made when he thought God needed his help making God’s promise come true.”
  • “So, God appeared to Abraham again to help him understand.”  (Have a volunteer read Genesis 17:19-20.)
  • “God got very specific this time and even told Abraham the name of the promised child.”
  • “This was actually the time that God gave Abram his new name, Abraham, which means ‘father of many nations.’”
  • “Abraham laughed at the promise at first (since he was 99, and his wife was 90 – pretty old to be having children), but then he believed God.”
  • “And it’s a good thing he did, because this was one of God’s tests.” (Mark a line on the heart about one-third down from the top, and write “Abraham” beside it.)
  • “One year later, Abraham and Sarah (his wife) had a baby boy, and they loved him very, very much!”
  • “Years passed, and Isaac grew strong and tall.”
  • “Probably about the time that he was a teenager, Abraham was tested by God again.”
  • “And since Abraham was spiritually mature, this test was a really tough one!”
  • “God wanted to know who was more important in Abraham’s heart – Isaac or God?”  (Have volunteer read Genesis 22:1-2.)
  • “This sounds like a terrible test!”
  • “How could God ask Abraham to sacrifice his promised son?”
  • “But Abraham trusted God and knew that even if Isaac died, God could raise him back to life.”
  • “We know that was what Abraham was thinking, because the Bible tells us so.”  (Have volunteer read Hebrews 11:17-19.)
  • “So Abraham obeyed God, and it’s a good thing he did, because this was one of God’s tests.” (Mark a line on the heart a little higher than the last one and write “Abraham” beside it.  Then have a volunteer read Genesis 22:3-5.)
  • “I know this had to be tearing Abraham up in side.  Three days walking with your son, knowing that you were going to offer him as a sacrifice!”
  • “But Abraham kept trusting God every step of the way.”  (Mark a line on the heart a little higher than the last one and write “Abraham” beside it.  Then, have a volunteer read Genesis 22:6-8.)
  • “Do you hear Abraham’s faith? ‘God Himself will provide the lamb…’” (Mark a line a little higher.  Then have a volunteer read Genesis 22:9-12.)
  • “Wow!  That was close!  But you have to understand that God never intended for Abraham to actually sacrifice Isaac.”
  • “God says in another part of Scripture that He must NOT be worshiped by human sacrifice.”  (Deuteronomy 12:31)
  • “God had his angel standing on the ready the entire time, but the test wasn’t complete until Abraham showed that he was actually willing to sacrifice his son.”
  • “Abraham proved that he loved God more than he loved Isaac and that he believed God could bring Isaac back from the dead.”  (Make a mark at the top of the heart, and write “Abraham” next to it.  Then have a volunteer read Genesis 22:13-19.)
  • “When Abraham passed God’s test, God provided a another way that Abraham hadn’t even imagined.”
  • “God provided a substitute for Isaac.”
  • “Instead of Isaac dying, the ram would die.”
  • “And because Abraham passed this test, he got to be part of a very special story – the story about Jesus.”
  • “This story of Abraham and Isaac is a lot like the story of Jesus, and there are clue all the way through.  Can anyone tell me something from this story that is like the story of Jesus?”  (Listen for responses.  Here are some possible answers that you might want to bring it if they aren’t mentioned:

o   Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son just like God was willing to sacrifice His Son, Jesus.

o   Isaac was going to be an offering for sin, just like Jesus.

o   The journey took three days, which reminds us that Jesus was buried for three days.

o   Isaac carried the wood that he was going to be sacrificed on, just like Jesus carried His cross.

o   Isaac asked where they would get the lamb for the sacrifice, and Abraham told him that God would provide the lamb.  God did provide Jesus as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.

o   Isaac apparently was willing to die, just like Jesus, because there is no mention of a struggle (a struggle Isaac surely would have won, since his father was over 100 years old, and he would have been a teenager).

o   The ram was caught in the thickets, a thorny bush, which reminds us that Jesus wore a crown of thorns.

o   An angel was present at both this event and the resurrection of Jesus.  You could say that Isaac also had a type of resurrection, since he was meant to die on the altar.)

  • “You see, this story points us to Jesus.”
  • “Some people call it a type or a shadow of the story of Jesus.  I prefer ‘shadow,’ because a shadow lets you know ahead of time if someone is coming around a corner.  And this type of story tells us ahead of time that Jesus is coming.”
  • “Jesus died for us so that we don’t have to.”
  • “The Bible says that the wages (or payment) for sin is death, and Jesus paid that payment for us on the cross.”
  • “He was our substitute, like the ram in the thicket.”
  • “And because Jesus paid for our sins, we get to live for eternity, forever and ever with Jesus in heaven.”
  • “What I want you to remember from today’s lesson are these few things:

o   God will test the spiritual maturity of your heart many times during your life as a Christian.

o   This test is not really for God to know your maturity; he already knows.  They are for you to recognize how mature you have become.

o   The more mature you get, the bigger the tests God will give you.

o   When you pass a test, God blesses you and uses you to bless others.”

 

1 Comment

Filed under Abraham, Abram, Belief, faith, God's Plan, God's Will, Obedience, Priorities, Trust

Covered vs. Covered Up (Obj Lesson)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This object lesson teaches that we should not try to cover up our sin but instead recognize that it has been covered by the blood of Jesus.

Scriptures

  • Psalm 32:1-5; 103:12
  • 1 John 1:7

Materials

  • Foot air pump (like you use to pump up a bicycle tire)
  • Two large balloons (the same color)
  • Permanent marker with a wide tip
  • Piece of red felt or other fabric (at least 12”x12”)
  • Piece of dark blue felt or other fabric (at least 12”x12”)
  • Table
  • Tablecloth
  • Tape (duct tape is preferable)
  • Straight pin or push pin
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Set up the table at the front of the teaching area.  Try to elevate it so that it will be above the eye level of your participants.
  • Place the tablecloth over the table so that it hangs down to the floor and prevents participants from seeing what is happening behind it.
  • Write the word, “SIN,” on one of the balloons (while deflated) in bold letters so that participants will be able to read it when you hold it up.
  • Put the other balloon on the nozzle of the air pump.  You may want to tape it on to make sure that it doesn’t fly off when it gets some air in it.
  • Hide the air pump on the floor behind the table so that it cannot be seen.
  • Tuck the balloon that is attached to the nozzle underneath the tablecloth.  If you can get it to stay in the middle of the table, that’s great.  If not, you may need to tape the hose to the table.  Make sure that participants won’t be able to see the bulge caused by the air pump nozzle and balloon.
  • Lay the pieces of fabric and the 2nd balloon close by for use during the lesson.
  • Practice the lesson so that you are sure the participants won’t be able to see what you are doing behind the table.  (NOTE: if your air pump makes noise when you pump it, you might need to pump more slowly or oil the parts.)

Procedure

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

  • “All of us sin sometimes, right?”  (Look for agreement.  If you don’t get agreement, you can have a volunteer read Romans 3:23.)
  • “God is not surprised when we sin.  He wants us to quickly admit it and start obeying Him again.”
  • “Unfortunately, what a lot of us do is we hide our sin from the people we love and even from God sometimes.”
  • “King David in the Old Testament was very close to God most of his life, but even he tried to hide his sin sometimes.”  (Ask volunteer to read Psalm 32:1-5.)
  • “David had done something very bad.  He had stolen something from a friend and then had his friend killed to hide what he had done.”
  • “For a long time after he did this terrible thing, he tried to hide it.”
  • “But then, a good friend of David’s – the prophet Nathan – came to David and told him that he knew AND GOD KNEW what David had done.”
  • “When David heard this from his good friend, He confessed his sin and asked for forgiveness.  Then he wrote this Psalm.”
  • “Notice that he says, ‘When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night, your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.’”
  • “David was saying that he was miserable the entire time he tried to hide his sin.”
  • “He was being eaten up on the inside even though he tried to pretend that everything was okay on the outside.”
  • “You see, many times when we sin, we are so afraid of what will happen if people find out that we try to hide it.”
  • “Sometimes we say that we hide the bad things we do and that it is like trying to ‘sweep them under a rug.’”
  • “Have you heard this expression before?”  (Look for responses.  If they haven’t heard it, explain that sweeping sins under the rug means that we try to hide them where people can’t see them – like sweeping dirt under a rug instead of really cleaning it up.)
  • “Let’s say that this balloon (show the balloon that isn’t attached to the foot pump) represents our sin.”
  • “When we are afraid of the punishment or consequences of our sin, we might try to ‘sweep them under the rug’ so that no one will be able to see our dirt, our filth.”  (Lay the balloon on the table at about the same spot where the hidden balloon is.  Then cover it with your ‘rug,’ which will be your dark blue piece of fabric.)
  • “But you know what happens when we try to hide our sins, to sweep them under the rug?”  (Listen for responses.)
  • “They GROW!”  (As you say this, begin to secretly pump air into the hidden balloon, letting it get bigger and bigger.)
  • “Sins are like mushrooms.  They grow best in the dark.”
  • “When we hide our sins, Satan will tempt us to sin more.”
  • “He will try to get us to lie about our sins and to do even bigger sins to hide what we’ve already done – like when David killed his friend just so that he wouldn’t have to admit that he stole something from him.”  (Keep pumping until the balloon is an impressive size under the dark fabric.)
  • “In darkness, our sins get bigger and bigger until they are impossible to hide.”
  • “Then, they start to show even though we’ve done our best to cover them up.”  (Pump balloon a few more times, until it lifts the cover so high that the balloon is clearly visible to everyone in the room.)
  • “But you know what?  God doesn’t want us to hide our sins.  He wants us to confess them.”
  • “In our Bibles, God tells us that he doesn’t want our sins covered up – He wants them covered!”
  • “You see, Adam and Eve tried to cover up their sin by wearing fig leaves, and the ancient Hebrews tried to cover up their sin by sprinkling animal blood over the box (the Arc of the Covenant) that held God’s law.”
  • “But neither of these were good ways to cover sin.”
  • “Fig leaves are itchy, and animal blood only covered up the Hebrews’ sin for a short time.”
  • “So, God provided a better way to cover our sins.  He sent His son Jesus.”
  • “When Jesus died on the cross, His perfect blood (perfect because Jesus never sinned) covered our sins for ever!”  (Cover the dark blue fabric with the red fabric.)
  • “In fact, the blood of Jesus does more than just cover our sins; it cleans them.”  (Have volunteer read 1 John 1:7.)
  • “So, it’s much better than just covering our sins.” (Have volunteer read Psalm 103:12.)
  • “How far do you think the east is from the west?”  (Listen to responses.)
  • “It’s pretty far, since the east and the west will never meet.”
  • “The blood of Jesus first covers our sins, and then Jesus removes them completely.”  (Use the pin to pop the balloon through the fabric.)
  • “Now we can understand what David says in his psalm.”  (Have a volunteer read Psalm 32:1-2.)
  • “We are blessed when our sins are covered by the blood of Christ.”
  • “So don’t try to cover up your sins; if you believe that Jesus is your Savior, then He has already covered them with His blood, removed them as far as the east is from the west and forgiven them so that they won’t count against you.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity, Confession, David, forgiveness, Jesus, Object Lesson

The Roman Road (LESSON)


Scriptures:
Romans 3:23
Romans 6:23
Romans 5:8
Romans 10:9
Romans 10:13

Description: Within the book of Romans, the author has given us a path toward salvation.  Some call it the Roman Road.  This lesson helps participants to memorize the Scriptures of the Roman Road so that they can share it with their friends.

Time: 45 minutes

Materials:

  • Printouts of the Roman Road pictures (You can find these on the Lesson Materials and Downloads page on www.teachingthem.com.  The file is called, “Roman Road – Cards.ppt.”  You will want one enough flash-card size sets for every person to have one.  To get this size, go to File, then Print on the Menu Bar of PowerPoint.  Then, under “Print What:,” choose Handouts (6 slides per page).  Change the slides that you want to print to “From: 2” and “to: 19.”  This will give each person three sets of the six pictures (one with just the chapter and verse, one with just the Scripture words and one with neither).  If you don’t want each person to have all three sets, choose just the ones you want.
  • Scissor or a cutting board to cut out the flash cards
  • Rubber bands or envelopes (one per person in your group)
  • Cut out the flash cards, and put them in rubber bands or in envelopes to make them easy to distribute.
  • Practice the lesson.

o  LCD projector, computer and screen to project the slides (if you don’t have these, you can print out full-sized versions of the slides to use as displays.)
o  Bible

Preparation:
o  Print all the sets of the flash cards
o Cut out the flash cards, and put them in rubber bands or in envelopes to make them easy to distribute.
o Practice the lesson.

Procedure:
Use the following script or modify to suit your needs:

  • “The author of the book of Romans gave very clear instructions about how we can be saved and go to heaven.”
  • “Several Scriptures in the book link together to give us the plan of salvation.”
  • “These Scriptures are often called “The Roman Road.”  (Show title slide.)
  • “There are two reasons for this.  The first is that the Scriptures are in the book of Romans, and they describe the path (or road) to salvation.”
  • “The other reason is called a play on words, or a clever way of using a familiar term in a new way.”
  • “The roads built by the Romans a few thousand years ago were famous around the world during the early church period, because they were all straight, paved roads that led back to Rome.”
  • “The Roman Road in Scripture won’t lead you to Rome, Italy, but it will help you to walk the straight path to Jesus Christ.”
  • “So calling it a ‘Roman Road’ is just a way to make it easier to remember.”
  • “I’m going to take you down the Roman Road, and we are going to memorize the Scriptures together.”
  • “That way, you will be able to share it with your friends if God provides you an opportunity to share your faith with them.”  (Show Romans 3:23 slide, and ask for a volunteer to read it out loud from his or her Bible.)
  • “This means that there isn’t anyone who has ever lived with the except of Jesus Christ who has lived without sinning.”
  • “Our sin makes us fall short of God’s glory, but God is perfect and without sin.”
  • “In the game of ice hockey, if a player breaks a rule, he gets sent to the penalty box, also known as the ‘Sin Bin.’”
  • “In the same way, when we break one of God’s rules, we have to pay a penalty in the ‘sin bin.’”
  • “We put ourselves into spiritual prison, and Satan is the prison warden.”
  • “He can keep us locked up, because we broke the rules.  God has given him that authority over sinners, because God is too holy to allow sinners into His presence.”  (Show Romans 6:23a slide, and ask volunteer to read just the first part of the Scripture from his or her Bible.)
  • “Wages are what you get paid for work you do.”
  • “This Scripture is saying that our payment for the work of sin that we have done is death.”  (RIP on the tombstones in the picture stands for “Rest In Peace,” which used to be a common sentiment when someone died.)
  • “We have earned death because of our sin, and there are two kinds of death that this Scripture is talking about.”
  • “First, there is spiritual death in our relationship with God.”
  • “Sin separates us from God.  It creates a giant chasm between us, and none of us can leap over that chasm to get back to God.”
  • “The second kind of death is the one we are more familiar with – death of our bodies.”
  • “Before Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, they were going to live forever, but because of sin, they ruined their physical bodies.”
  • “What that physical body wears out of gets too sick or suffers a mortal injury, it dies.”
  • “So far, the death rate for human beings is just about 1 to 1 – one death for every life.”  (Exceptions might be Enoch and Elijah.  Show Romans 6:23b slide and have volunteer read it out loud.)
  • “This is a GREAT Scripture!”
  • “We earned death because of our sin BUT God has given us a gift – the gift of living forever with Jesus!”
  • “But notice that it’s a gift.”
  • “A gift is FREE!  There is nothing that you can do to earn it.”
  • “It comes from the generosity of the giver.”
  • “That means that we can’t earn our way into heaven; we can only receive it as a free gift from God.”
  • “Also, a gift is free, but you don’t have to accept it.”
  • “Millions and probably billions of people will live their lives here on earth and never accept the gift that Jesus bought for them.”
  • “Sometimes they don’t accept it, because they don’t know that it exists.  That’s why you have to tell everyone about the incredible gift Jesus bought for them.”
  • “Even more often, though, people don’t accept the gift, because they don’t trust the Gift Giver.”
  • “They think the gift is a trick or too good to be true or not worth having, so they don’t take it, and that’s a terrible shame, because Jesus was thinking about them when He bought it.”  (Show Romans 5:8 slide, and have volunteer read it out loud.)
  • “I said the gift was free, but that’s not totally true.”
  • “Someone had to pay for it.”
  • “It’s free to us, but it cost Jesus dearly.”
  • “Remember that I said that the wages of sin is death – the payment for our sin is that we have to die?”
  • “And remember that we are in the Sin Bin because we broke the rules and that Satan keeps the keys to our prison cell?”
  • “Well there is a way to pay the payment for our sin without us having to personally die.”
  • “In the Old Testament, the Hebrew/Israelites would kill animals to pay for their sins.”
  • “Animals could pay the debt we owed for our sin, because they were innocent and hadn’t sinned.”
  • “The problem with this arrangement, though, was that the death of the animal (really the blood of the animal) couldn’t clear our debt.”
  • “Animals are innocent, but that’s because they couldn’t sin if they wanted to – they don’t have the ability to choose to sin or to not sin.”
  • “So using their blood to pay for their debt was kind of like cheating.”
  • “It wouldn’t really pay for it.  It would just cover their debt for a year, but then the Israelite priests had to kill another animal to cover their sin again.”
  • “This had to happen every year, and they never really got out of Satan’s prison.  We just got to walk around the prison yard some. (joke – not meant to represent anything in doctrine)”
  • “In the end, Satan still owned us.  The Bible says we were his slaves.”
  • “We needed a better solution.”
  • “This is why Jesus came to live as a man on the earth.”
  • “He had to become like one of us and live a life completely free of sin.”
  • “That way, He qualified to pay our debt, because when He died, He didn’t have any debt of His own.”
  • “He took our punishment of death.  He paid our debt for us.”
  • “And the incredible thing is, He came and died for us ‘while we were still sinning.’”
  • “Who does something like that?”
  • “Do you give your friend money when he hasn’t paid you back the money you already gave him?”
  • “Do you buy your enemy a gift while he is cursing your name?”
  • “Nobody does that but God!”
  • “God loves us soooooooooo much that He overlooks our sin, our pride, our selfishness, our betrayal, and He pays the prison warden to get us out of prison!”
  • “That is an awesome God!”  (Show Romans 10:9 slide and have volunteer read it out loud.)
  • “I told you that what Jesus did was a gift and that you don’t have to take it.”
  • “But if you want to take it, this is the way to do it: confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead.”
  • “That’s how you accept the gift.  That’s how you walk out of Satan’s prison.”
  • “You see, when Jesus died for us, He broke the lock off of the prison door.”
  • “Unfortunately, many people are staying in prison, because (like I mentioned before) they either don’t know the lock is broken, or they don’t trust the One who broke it off for them.”
  • “All they have to do is accept the gift Jesus bought, and they can walk straight out of that prison cell, but many choose to stay.  It’s very sad.”
  • “One way of summarizing what you have to do to be saved from the punishment for sin is A-B-C.”
  • “A is for Accept the gift that Jesus bought for you.”
  • “B is for Believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead.”
  • “C is for Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord!”  (Review A-B-C, Accept-Believe-Confess several times so that they remember it.  Then show the Romans 10:13 slide, and have a volunteer read is out loud.)
  • “This Scripture says that ‘Only God’s favorite people will be saved, right?’”  (They should respond with a loud, “NO!”)
  • “Only those who lead a good life will be saved?”  (Get them to respond with a loud, “NO!”)
  • “Only those who go to church every Sunday?”  (Allow responses.)
  • “Only those who give to the poor?”  (Allow responses.)
  • “Only those who help little, old ladies across the street?”  (Allow responses.)
  • “What does it say?  ‘EVERYONE who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!’”
  • “Halleluja!  That’s the best news you will ever hear in your life!”
  • “God doesn’t want to leave ANYONE behind!”
  • “EVERYONE who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!”
  • “You don’t have to be good looking or strong or smart or even good – God bought this gift for EVERYONE!  You just have to accept it!”
  • “On the cross, Jesus paid our entire debt!”
  • “Our bill is cancelled!”
  • “Satan has nothing against us!  He has no power to keep us in prison any longer!”
  • “That’s called the ‘Gospel!’  ‘Gospel’ means ‘good news,’ and this definitely qualifies!”
  • “That’s news so good you just HAVE to share it with somebody!”
  • “So I’m going to help you memorize this so that you can share it whenever God leads you to tell a friend or someone you meet.”  (Go through the next six slides slowly, allowing everyone to say the Scriptures out loud a few times before advancing to the next slide.  After the six slides that show the Scriptures, there are six slides with blank spaces where the Scripture or verse reference use to be.  See if anyone is brave enough to stand up and say it from memory.)
  • “Fantastic, but we need more practice, so I’ve made up some flash cards for each of you.”  (Hand out flash cards to each person.)
  • “I want you to find a partner and go through these flash cards to help each other memorize each step of the Roman Road.”
  • “You will notice that you have three sets of the six pictures.”
  • “One set shows the actual words of the Scripture.”
  • “One set shows just the chapter and verse reference, and the third set is blank – just the picture.”
  • “You can use whatever set you think you are ready to use.”
  • “If you don’t have anything memorized yet, use the one with the words.”
  • “If you kinda have the words, you might want to use the one with just the chapter and verse reference.”
  • “If you think you have it all memorized, use the blank flash cards.”
  • “Tell your partner which ones you want to use, and have him or her hold them up for you until you can say the Scripture.”
  • “Then trade, and you hold up the flash cards for your partner.”  (Ask for questions.  After you have answered them, have them start helping each other.  Allow ten minutes or so depending on time available.  Then give opportunities for individuals to come up front and recite all six Scriptures (if you count Romans 6:23a and b as two Scriptures).)

3 Comments

Filed under Belief, Christianity, Evangelism, forgiveness, God's Plan, Great Commission, Jesus, memory, salvation, sanctification, Transformation, unconditional love, Witness

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]

Leave a comment

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