This Bible lesson plan about freedom in Christ follows our new hassle-free format. The basic version makes it easy to teach with very little preparation or outside materials. We’ve also suggested more activities so you can expand the lesson to best fit your ministry setting.
Lesson Title: Following Jesus & Freedom from Sin
Bible Reference: John 8:31-32
Target Age Group: Age 4 – 12
Learning Context: Sunday School or Kids Church
Target Time Frame: 30 minutes
Memory Verse: Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31a-32 NIV
Gospel Connection: Jesus first spoke these words to Jewish leaders who claimed to believe him, but did not continue believing what Jesus has said & walking in obedience to him. The surrounding verses clarify that Christ is talking about freedom from the guilt and enslaving power of sinful patterns of behavior. Without Jesus, we are unable to escape from the power of sin over our lives. Through faith in him and following his teaching, we can have true freedom. This practical freedom from sin is one aspect of the Good News. Be sure to emphasize that only Jesus’ power can set us free from these habits.
Learning Aim: After this lesson, children will identify specific habits (from a list) that trap them in sinful patterns. Look for the Learning Outcome Test section in our Basic Teaching Plan below.
Target Age: Our no-hassle lesson plans are broadly graded and easy to adapt for a variety of children’s ministry settings. Look for specific adaptations within the Basic Teaching Plan below.
Basic Supply List:
- A marker board or poster board to display the memory verse. You should write it out in advance in the translation of your preference. Underline the phrases similar to what I’ve done above. This will be used in the activity Another Way to Say.
- One large black trash bag cut into about 5 long strips. These will be used as pretend ties that represent the bondage of sinful habits in our life. This is used in the activity called Bondage of Sin below.
- One pair of safety scissors for the children to cut the plastic strips off the volunteer. This is used in the activity Set You Free below.
- A marker board (or single sheets of paper) to display the following words. Lies / Stealing / Mean Talk / Anger / Prayer / Helping Others / Forgiveness / Sharing. This will be used in the Learning Outcome Test below.
- The optional activities at the end of this lesson may require additional supplies. Carefully read the directions while preparing your lesson.
Other Notes: In the teaching plan below the words in italics are meant to be read aloud. The regular text is simply directions for the teacher.
This lesson plan touches on several central themes of the Gospel message. We have a whole section of our website to help you be more effective in sharing Jesus with children. You might want to review those articles if you are new to children’s ministry.
Many American readers will use this Bible lesson as their Fourth of July Sunday School lesson. We have kept more to the biblical concepts of freedom from sin. If you want a more patriotic connection browse our links related to the 4th of July.
> > > > Basic Teaching Plan < < < <
Introduce the Memory Verse: Ask for a volunteer to read the memory verse aloud from the display. Say, “Today we are going to learn about freedom from sin. Let’s practice this verse a few times before we start the lesson.” Lead the group to repeat the verse aloud about three times. See the Optional Activities section from more ways to practice the verse.
Bondage of Sin: Ask for one volunteer to come to the front of the class and sit in a chair. Explain to the children that you are going to show that sinful habits can become traps in their lives.
Ask the children if they can explain what habits? Say, “A habit is something you do over-and-over and it becomes hard to stop. It’s an action or thought you repeat many times and it becomes a pattern. Some habits are good and some are bad.”
Show them the black trash bag strips and say that each one will represent those type of habits. Offer the following examples and carefully use the plastic to tie up the volunteer’s feet and hands. Use caution to not hurt the child. If safety is a concern, you can substitute an adult volunteer for this demonstration.
- Making mean jokes about other children at school
- Telling made up stories so other kids will like you better
- Keeping secrets from your parents
Say, “These are not just bad things. They are habits that get easier each time you do them. Soon they become traps and you find it hard to not do those things. This is how sin becomes more powerful and takes charge of your life. The Bible says this is like becoming a slave with sin as your master.”
Allow the children to suggest other habits that do the same thing. For each add another tie to the volunteer in the chair. Listen carefully to their ideas and affirm their efforts by saying, “That’s a good suggestion, who else wants to try…” Use these extra examples if they are confused:
- Arguing or yelling at your parents / Daydreaming in church / Stealing from a friend’s house / Eating more food than you need / Doing lazy work for chores or school / Playing video games without a time limit / etc
Set You Free: Explain to the class that you need their help to set this person free. Ask for volunteers who can repeat the memory verse (or read from the display). Allow each child to say the verse and cut off one strip of the black plastic tie. If you have younger or timid children, you could have the group say the verse as they cut the tie.
- Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31a-32
Another Way to Say: Direct the children to the phrases you underlined in the Bible verse display. Ask them to think of other words that could get across the same meaning as those phrases. This exercise is about clarifying vocabulary more than precise definitions. Here are some examples:
- hold to my teaching = do what I say = obey
- disciples = followers = learners = friends
- know the truth = understand = learn =
- set you free = break you out = untie you = off the chain
Learning Outcome Test: Display the following phrases on your marker board (or single sheets of paper). Explain that some of these are good habits that follow Jesus teaching and some are sinful patterns than will lead trap them. Ask for volunteers to come up and point to the habits that will bring bondage to sin. After they point, allow them to erase (or crumple that piece of paper) as they recite the memory verse. Leave the good habits on display.
- Lies / Stealing / Mean Talk / Anger / Prayer / Helping Others / Forgiveness / Sharing
After a child removes these signs lead the group to repeat, “Jesus can set us free from _____ ” for each habit they’ve removed.
Gospel Application: Ask the children to listen carefully because you want to tell them a secret. Say in a whisper voice, “I have done each of those bad habits and sometimes still have to fight them now. Even the good habits are hard sometimes. I am not strong enough to set myself free I need Jesus to save me everyday. When he died on the cross, he defeated sin forever and lives to set me free.”
Close this part of the lesson in prayer . . .
We need your help! All the Bible materials on our website are open for improvement. Often our best ideas come from readers just like you. Simply leave a comment below with any corrections to this lesson or more suggestions that will help other readers.
> > > > Optional Activities < < < < <
The following suggestions will help you expand and customize our basic lessons. We always value your opinion, so leave a comment and help make this resource better for other readers.
More Freedom Ideas: We’ve listed a variety of lesson plans & crafts about freedom. You can browse them on our website if you want to expand this basic lesson. You might consider using the Wordless Book to further teach the Gospel with this lesson.
4th of July Craft & Snack Idea with Christian Flag
Pray for Leaders: If you are using this lesson on the 4th of July in America, you might enjoy our coloring pages with the theme pray for your leaders.
Resist Temptation Activity Sheet: This simple maze illustration could help spark discussion about what habits and behaviors lead us away from Christ.
Prayer Coloring Page: You could have the children write a prayer of response asking Jesus to help them overcome sin and giving thanks for his sacrifice.
Habits Object Lesson: Watch this video demonstration and recreate the same basketball object lesson for your kids. It’s based on the concept of practicing sin or practicing righteousness.
Suggested Bible Stories: You could read the story of the Exodus or Jesus Overcoming Temptation. Either of these could easily be related back this lesson plan’s theme.
Bible Memory: Use any of our creative methods to help the children memorize the Bible verse from this lesson plan.
Prodigal Son Video: Watch this short video clip that tells the story of the prodigal son. Discuss how sinful habits could have led the boy away from home.
More Bible Verses: Devotional Christian has a longer list of freedom Bible verses. For an older group of children, you could have groups look up those verses and report back how they relate to this lesson plan.