Sin can be a tricky concept for kids to truly understand or wrap their heads around, and sometimes we take forgiveness for granted. But when it comes time to let things go and get along with others, sometimes we are reluctant. This lesson highlights the importance of relying on God to cover our lives with grace, and also emphasizes the need for us to work together and persist in corporate worship. Students will see and discuss examples of forgiveness, and will explore how that relates to our role in the church.
Lesson focus: The death of Jesus covers our lives; because of that we can cooperate with others in and out of church and encourage one another in faith.
Passage: Hebrews 10:11-25
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th Grade (adaptable older or younger)
Materials Needed: Jar or cup, pennies (or other coin), tissues, cotton balls, rubber band, spray bottles, Ziploc bags, mini marshmallows, graham crackers or cereal, chocolate bars or chocolate chips.
How do we get to God? Start off with a couple of object lessons…first, take a clear jar or cup. Explain to students that this represents “God” and closeness with Him. Stretch out a tissue and rubber band it over the top of the cup. Tell students that this represents sin. Place a few pennies on top of the tissue, and tell kids that the pennies are us as people. Sin keeps us from getting to God. How can we fix that? Take a spray bottle and inform students that the spray bottle represents the work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Gently spritz the tissue with water until the pennies drop into the cup. See how that goes? The Holy Spirit did all of the work, and God’s forgiveness broke down the Sin barrier and let “people” come in. It’s impossible for the pennies to jump into the cup on their own (just like we can’t break through to God), but with the Lord we can!
Can you make the mark? Provide another illustration of how hard it is to do things on our own. Use a waste basket or another cup as a target, and provide students with cotton balls or sheets of paper. See if they can make their item into the “target,” set rather impossibly far from reach. Even throwing it is a challenge! Explain that we cannot make the mark of “perfection” without God. Sometimes we want to believe we can make it on our own, but the Bible tells us otherwise…
11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. 15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”
18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary. –Hebrews 10:11-18
Ask students about a time when they have done something wrong at home and been punished. What happens when we get in trouble? What do parents do for consequences?
Explain that the Bible tells us we have all done bad things. The only person who was ever born perfect was Jesus. There is no way we can pay the consequence for our sins because it is just too much! But guess who paid the price already?? Jesus!!! Jesus made it so that we don’t have to pay for our own sins. He took our time out/spanking/fine all on himself. How amazing!
So what do we do now? How do we show appreciation for what God has done, and can we thank Him enough for it??
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. -Hebrews 10:23-25
So God has given us His amazing grace to cover our sins and mistakes. Our job is to accept that and appreciate what He gives us. But that isn’t quite all. We want to pass that mercy and love along by encouraging people. How do we do that?
Brainstorm ways that we might encourage one another. Emphasize especially how Hebrews says not to give up meeting with one another. What does this say about the importance of attending church? It is good for us to study the Bible and meet, but coming to church lets us pass on God’s love to others and build each other up in the body of Christ.
Children will make a little encouragement packet for someone. Have students decorate the card reading “I love you…but God loves you ‘S’more!’” and choose someone to receive it. Then help students add the special “S’More” mix into the Ziploc bag: add graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows along with the note. Remind students to give the treat to someone special who might need a little extra encouragement.
Close with prayer and reminder of God’s work in our lives. Thank God for His grace and ask for help in forgiving and encouraging others. Ask God to help us honor Him in all that we say and do.