Chosen with a Purpose (Ephesians 1:3-14) Sunday School Lesson

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What is my purpose? Young children might not worry too much about a grand plan or purpose for their lives, but it’s still meaningful to communicate to them that God loves them and has chosen them for something important. We might not know much about the future, but we can be confident that God promises us amazing blessings, and that He has a plan for us that was known long before we were even born!

Lesson focus: This lesson focuses on the blessed hope we have in God’s plans. We know that He has made us with a unique plan and purpose, and that He knows and cares about our every step. The passage here also emphasizes how God has chosen and adopted us as His dear children. Because we are part of God’s family, we can rejoice that one day we will be united with Him in Heaven, the greatest inheritance of all!

Passage: Ephesians 1:3-14

Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th grade

Materials Needed: Construction paper, markers, stickers, paper plates, toilet paper rolls, glue, scissors, wax paper, rubber bands, pipe cleaners, household objects, ticket (all optional, depending which activities you choose to use).

More Teaching Ideas:

Lesson Introduction and Game Ideas

Lesson Opening: This lesson discusses plans and purposes given to us by God. It also looks at our place in God’s family and the hope we have of a Heavenly inheritance.  To get started, select from one of the following openers, or select another of your own choosing! 

  • What is the purpose? Provide several ordinary household objects, selecting some that might be a bit more obscure or unique. Have students identify the purpose of the objects, and why they are built for those purposes. Talk about why you wouldn’t want to use a fork for eating soup or use a hair brush for teeth; each item has a point and purpose.
  • Look at an example of a blueprint. Explain that when a builder creates a house, he first develops a plan for what it will be like. In the same way, God has a plan for our lives right from the start.
  • Tickets? Show several tickets that might be needed to gain admission to something or receive something. Explain that belief in Jesus gives us a ticket into God’s kingdom of Heaven!
  • Adoption focus…find some quality children’s stories that focus on adoption. Read them and discuss how special it is to be adopted. If possible, perhaps have someone talk who is part of an adoptive family. Let kids know that all of us are adopted by God!
  • What’s the plan? Invite children to discuss how they usually plan for things on a daily or weekly basis, or how they might plan if they were preparing for a trip or event.

Transition into the Scripture study component by describing for students the beautiful assurance we have that God has a plan and purpose for each one of our lives. He has had these plans even before He made us!

Ask: What do you think of when you hear the term “blessing”? What kinds of things are blessings?

Chosen with a Purpose (Ephesians 1:3-14) Sunday School Lesson

Bible Lesson:

Use whatever translation best suits you and your audience. You might have older students take turns reading portions of the Scripture, or you may wish to read it out loud in and expressive voice. Explain that this part of the Bible is known as an epistle, which means it was originally a letter. The apostle Paul wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus (hence the name “Ephesians”), and it was meant to encourage them and remind them of who they were in Christ. It can do the same for us!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.  -Ephesians 1:3-4

Wow, this is really something, isn’t it? God chose us for special blessing before He even made the world! He considers us “holy and blameless.” That means that God considers us special and set apart. It also tells us that God chose us and wanted to give us blessings, good things.

Ask: What do you think it means that God has chosen us? Do you like the idea of being chosen?

In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.   -Ephesians 1:5-6

What does it mean to be adopted? It means that someone takes as their own a child who was not born to them biologically. It is a meaningful and special thing. God has created all of us, but He has also adopted us. God has loved us from the very start. He has blessed us and made the choice to love us and adopt us.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. -Ephesians 1:7-10

What was God’s plan from the beginning of time?? He knew that He was going to send Jesus. He knew that He was going to use Jesus as the fulfillment of a strange mystery. This is a potentially challenging idea for young children, but we can offer to them the idea of a purpose. Sometimes we have to wait for the right timing on things, and God had timing in giving us Jesus. He also decided to bring us into His family and promise us Heaven:

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.  -Ephesians 1:11-12

Describe what an inheritance means: when a parent of relative passes away, a child is given an inheritance, meaning a portion of what the parent has is given to the children. When we say that we have obtained an inheritance from God, this means He promises us a special helper, as well. We are given purpose by God and we are also guaranteed the presence of the Holy spirit…

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. -Ephesians 1:13-14

Explain this slightly challenging concept to children…having the Holy Spirit means that we always have God’s presence in our lives. The Spirit will help us to understand and carry out God’s will. God’s will is that all would come to know Him and serve Him. We can glorify God by helping others know who He is and how He impacts us!

We know and believe the truth of the Gospel. We trust that God has promised to fulfill His purpose in us by helping us pass His truth on to others!

Pray: Say a prayer of thanksgiving to God for making us part of His family and choosing us for special and blessed purpose. Ask for His help in living out His purposes in our lives.

Craft Suggestions: “Keys of the kingdom” blessing reminders; “re-purposed recycling” (objects made out of what might be trash); “Heir to the Throne” paper plate crown.

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