This children’s message imparts the hope of our relationship with Jesus. Earthly friendships may fail and disappoint us, but the love of Christ will always be there. It might be hard to grasp since we do not see the Lord physically, but His presence guards and guides us. Jesus calls us friends and laid down His life for us. The message uses a “disappointing” object to remind children that God does not disappoint.
Law/Gospel Theme: Jesus has given us the greatest demonstration of love and friendship: His life! We can rest assured that He will continue to love us and provide for us, and that His friendship never fails. The good news reminds us of the fulfillment of hope that we have in Christ.
Optional Materials: Small or “off-brand” products, larger or “real” item of similar theme, cross or Bible.
Bible Passage: John 15:9-17
More Teaching Ideas:
- Watch the video demonstration of this children’s sermon or the related Bible craft ideas
- Compare our full Sunday School lesson John 15:9-17
Note: Select how you’d like to convey your “real thing” concept in this message: you might use a donut hole and a larger donut, a box that holds something other than what was advertised, an off-brand product that doesn’t do the job the same way…use whatever you have and will earn a reaction from students. For this specific example, packages of cookies were used.
Children’s Sermon from John 15:9-17
Greet the children, with the “off-brand” elements of your choice…
Hello, children of God!
I have a treat for you today! I would like to share something I brought for the group, would you like that? (Hold up box of candy or cookie treats.) I just love these, and there should be plenty to pass around. Let’s see… (Open box, and find something disappointingly different inside, perhaps an unmarked bag) Wait a minute…. This isn’t what I thought I was getting at all! This is an off-brand fake! It’s not the real thing. It’s not really even close. I’m SO disappointed? I can’t even share this with all of you… what a let-down.
Have you ever been disappointed by something? Maybe you got a new toy and it wasn’t what you had expected. Or maybe you were trying something from the “clearance section”, and quickly learned why it was cheaper. Or maybe something you wanted to do got changed or canceled. There are a lot of things in life that can be disappointing. In fact, even our relationships with other people can be disappointing! It’s great to have friendships, and we of course do our best to be kind to others and demonstrate love. But we’re only human. Eventually, friendships can make us sad or let us down.
But there is one important relationship we have that promises to never ever let us down…that’s our friendship with Jesus! It might seem strange to think of Him as a friend. After all, we don’t see Him in person or talk to Him on the phone. But Jesus calls us His friends. He told the disciples that they were not servants, but friends, and that they should abide in His love and love one another. Well, we are His disciples now, and Jesus wants us to share His love and rest in His friendship. Jesus said that the best love someone can have is to give up his life for friends. That might sound a bit extreme…but it’s exactly what Jesus did for us! We can be confident in His love for us because we know He died for us. Sometimes, sadly, our earthly relationships might disappoint us or not work out the way we hope. People might move away or change. But Jesus will never leave us. He is the real thing! He is the very best kind of relationship we can have. And even though we don’t see Him face to face, we can pray, and read our Bibles, and talk with others who know Him.
You know what else? Jesus wants us to love one another. Our human attempts at being kind and caring might fail, but we can trust Him to work in us to show love. Jesus said that if we love Him, we’ll demonstrate that by staying connected to Him and by sharing His love with those around us. We can show kindness and courtesy, listen to others, and help others. We can let the light of Jesus shine in our lives. We show that we are connected to Him by reaching out and caring for our earthly relationships. And we remember that He is the greatest friend of all. He’s the very best example of friendship. Jesus is the real thing!
Why don’t we thank God for that right now with a prayer?
(Have kids repeat each line)
Thank you for sending Jesus
He is the greatest friend we could have
Help us remember your presence
And share your love with those around us
Thank you for your love
We love you, God!
In Jesus’s name, Amen!
Bible Verses/story to Reference:
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another. -John 15:9-17