Tag Archives: salvation

Unforgiving Servant (QUICK DRAMA)


Matthew 18:21-35

 

Two men enter with a prisoner in chains.  They bring him before a king and throw him down.  The king addresses the prisoner.

 

KING: “My records show that you owe me $3,267,500.  Pay today, or I will sell you, your wife, your children and all you own to pay the debt.”

SERVANT: “Oh, please, your Majesty!  Please have mercy on me!  I can’t pay you today, but I will!  I promise!”

KING: “Hmmmm… On second thought, there’s no way you could every pay off such a large sum.  You seem repentant.  Your debts are completely forgiven.”

SERVANT: “Really?  Completely forgiven?  Oh, THANK YOU, your Majesty!”

The servant leaves, bouncing out of the room while thanking the king.  As soon as he leaves the king’s presence, however, he comes across a man in the hallway and begins yelling at and choking him.

SERVANT: “You lousy rat!  Where’s that lunch money you borrowed from me?  You better pay up!”

MAN (falling on his knees): “Oh, I will!  I will!  I promise you will have all your money back, but I don’t have it on me today!”

SERVANT: “Don’t have it on you, huh?  Guards!  Arrest this man and throw him into prison!  He owes me money!”  (Guards enter and take man to prison.)

Several of the king’s servants observed the unforgiving servant’s behavior, and they quickly reported it to the king.  Enraged, he demands that the unforgiving servant be brought before him.

KING: “I’ve heard how you treated the man who owed you lunch money.  Because you are such an unforgiving servant and couldn’t overlook such a small amount after I had forgiven you of so much, I’m ordering you to be tortured by my guards until you’re ready to forgive that man.”

 

Isn’t it silly that the unforgiving servant couldn’t forgive a few dollars after he had just been forgiven millions of dollars?  God says that ‘s what it’s like when we won’t forgive people for things they’ve done to us.  Compared to how much God had to forgive us for, it’s like the difference between millions of dollars and lunch money.

 

When we won’t forgive others, our relationship with God suffers.  It’s like being in prison.  It won’t keep us from getting into heaven, but it will make life miserable.  But if we will forgive those who intend to harm us, God forgives us and fixes our relationship with Him again.

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Filed under Character, conflict management, Conflict Resolution, drama, forgiveness, Grace, Relationships, unconditional love

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.)

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

New Life (DEVOTION)


As a group, read the following Scriptures.  Then, create a flipchart that compares what you know about the man before and after he met Jesus.

Luke:8:26-34


1.    What changes did you notice?

2.    Why wouldn’t Jesus allow the man to go with Him?

3.    What impact do you think these changes had on the community as the man continued to interact with them in a new way?

4.    Now, look at the story as a metaphor for what happens in a new believer’s life when he/she comes to Christ.  What comparisons can you make?

5.    How should this story influence how we live today?

 

Facilitator’s Notes

Here are some of the comparisons about the before and after conditions of the demon-possessed man you can point out if the group doesn’t notice them.  The middle line represents the man’s encounter with Jesus.

 

BEFORE AFTER
o  Spiritual bondage, demon possessed

o  Naked

o  Social outcast, living in tombs

o  Chained, physical bondage

o  Cursing, shouting, running

o  Hurting himself

o  Freed, delivered

o  Fully clothed

o  Came home

o  Freed

o  Sitting at the feet of Jesus

o  In his right mind

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Filed under Change, demons, Devotion, faith, Jesus, 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.”

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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).)

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Heart Garden (Obj Lesson)


Time
15-20 minutes

Description
This object lesson teaches about our hearts and how God works in them to produce something beautiful.  It’s preferable to do it outside.

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
o    Landscaping edging (I used 20 ft, but that is quite big.)
o    Stakes for the edging (8-10 should do if you create the 20 ft heart.)
o    Hammer
o    Potting soil
o    Spade or some other gardening tool
o    (Optional) Gardening gloves and hat
o    Watering can with water in it
o    Assorted garbage – plastic, peelings, etc.  (Be careful not to put anything in the soil that might cut fingers.)
o    Hard soil to spread over the top of the heart (enough to cover the surface)
o    Rocks – several dozen of assorted sizes to mix in with the soil
o    Manure/fertilizer – actual manure is good for shock value, but fertilizer will make the point.
o    Sprouts – a few small plants just beginning to show above the soil
o    Beautiful flowers or ground cover – enough to cover most or all of the heart
o    Marker
o    Packages of seeds (4 or more)

Preparation
o    Create a heart shape with the landscaping edging, and stake it down.  (Cut the edging in half to make this easier.)
o    Fill the shape almost to the top with potting soil.
o    Mix some garbage and rocks into the soil.
o    Cover the soil and the garbage with hard soil clods that you’ve dug up from somewhere else
o    Label the seed packages using the marker so that they say, “Answered Prayer,” “Truth,”  “Kindness and Love,” and “Hope.”  If you have more than four packages, you can label them with other “seeds from God” that you can think of.
o    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “I’m going to give you a picture of what our hearts are like.”
•    “Think of your heart like a garden.”
•    “Before we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the soil in our heart is hard and dead.  Nothing will grow there except weeds.”  (Show hard soil in heart.)
•    “But God wants to make our hearts beautiful, so the first thing He does is to break up all that hard soil.”  (Ask a volunteer to come break up the soil with a spade or some other tool.  Hand them the gloves and the gardening hat if you have them.)
•    “This isn’t very fun for us.  Our hard hearts are difficult to break up, and the tools that God uses are sometimes very sharp.”
•    “He might allow us to go through some difficult experiences or lose something we love, but He only does this to break up the hard soil and start planting good seeds on the inside.”
•    “Thankfully, God will also pour in some Living Water to help break up the soil.”  (Have volunteer pour in some water.)
•    “Living Water is the Word of God.  It’s the Bible.  The Scriptures are like water to a thirsty soul, and we need to drink deeply of them every day to stay spiritually healthy.”
•    “Sometimes breaking up the hard soil takes a very long time.  The harder the soil in our hearts, the longer it will take God to make it usable for His purposes.”
•    “Once the hard soil is broken up, God will remove the parts that are unusable.”  (Have volunteer pull our chunks that don’t break down into the soil.)
•    “By breaking up the hard soil, God can give you a new heart.”
•    “If you are willing to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, your heart will be made new.”  (Make sure audience can see the potting soil.)
•    “The Scriptures say that God will remove our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 11:19)
•    “Now, when a gardener is preparing soil, he mixes in some nasty stuff like this manure.”  (Give manure/fertilizer to volunteer, and have him/her mix it into the soil.)
•    “It stinks, it’s gross, you really don’t want to deal with it, but it’s the best way to make the soil rich and ready to grow healthy plants and flowers.”
•    “Romans 8:28 tells us that when you give your heart to God, He will use even the bad stuff in your past to enrich your heart ‘soil.’”
•    “In other words, He will use the times you’ve been hurt, the times bad things happened to you and the bad decisions you made to bless you.”
•    “That’s great news!!!!”
•    “God then plants some seeds in your heart.”  (Have volunteer sprinkle in some seeds and work them in with the spade.)
•    “Actually, God plants seeds even before you become a Christian, when your heart is hard, but many of them don’t make it into the soil.”
•    “When Jesus taught about this, He said that the birds of the air will steal the seeds before they have a chance to take root in the hard soil.”
•    “He told his disciples that the birds of the air represent our enemy, Satan, who doesn’t want God’s truth to get into your heart.”
•    “God’s seeds can represent times when He answered prayers for you or times when He spoke some truth into your life through a friend or teacher or parent or event a stranger.”  (Have volunteer show the labels on these packages of seeds.)
•    “Sometime an act of kindness or love can plant a seed.”  (Have volunteer show the label on this package and pour in some seeds.)
•    “And sometimes God gives you hope in difficult situation.”  (Have volunteer show label on this package and pour in some seeds.)
•    “When God plants His seeds, He is faithful to continue to water the seeds with His Living Word and shine the light of His Son on them.”  (Have volunteer water the seeds.)
•    “Eventually, some of those seeds will start to grow in our hearts.”  (Have volunteer plant a few spouts in the soil.)
•    “God will continue to water and care for these while He plants even more seeds.”  (Have volunteer water soil and plant a few more seeds.)
•    “But just because we got new hearts doesn’t mean that our hearts are completely pure.”  (Have volunteer sift through soil until he/she finds trash or rocks.)
•    “We probably still have trash that we allowed into our hearts before we became Christians, and it’s likely that we still have some hard places in our hearts.”
•    “The trash represents sinfulness that we haven’t dealt with yet, and the rocks represent emotional hard places – hurts, pains, disappointments, hatreds, fears… that we haven’t allowed God into.”
•    “God can plant beautiful things in the parts of our hearts that we give to Him, but He can’t do anything with the areas we won’t trust Him with.”
•    “The trash and the hard places will stay in our hearts until we allow God to help us get rid of them.”
•    “While other parts of our heart are showing new life and the evidence of God’s work, these places are in danger of hardening back up if we don’t turn them over to God.”
•    “The more we trust God, the more beautiful our hearts will become.”  (Have the volunteer replace the sprouts with some beautiful flowers.)
•    “And when our hearts are beautiful, God will use them to bring joy and happiness to other people who see them.”
•    “That’s beautiful, isn’t it?”  (Thank and dismiss volunteer.)
•    “So, are we done?  Can we just let it alone and enjoy it?”  (Listen for responses.)
•    “No.  If we leave it alone, what will happen?”  (Listen for responses.)
•    “Right!  It will die.  These flowers need watering and sunshine every day.”
•    “In the same way, you need to meet with God every day – to enjoy His Son and to get the Living Water that comes from the Bible.”
•    “And even if we do that everyday, is that enough to keep our heart garden healthy?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “No, because we have an enemy, and his name is Satan.”
•    “Satan plants seeds, too, but they grow into weeds that will choke out the beauty from our garden.”
•    “Satan’s seeds are bad thoughts, worries, fears, resentments and other things that keep us from loving God, loving our neighbor and loving ourselves.”
•    “Whenever you notice a weed in your heart garden, what should you do?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “Right, pull it out!  Don’t let those bad thoughts or worries or fears stay.  Yank them out!”
•    “Okay, let’s practice the Rhyme Time for this lesson to help us remember it:”

My heart is the garden
Where God plants His seeds.
We tend it together
And pull all the weeds!

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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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