Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids that they will ultimately be held accountable to God, not to other people.
Needed: Bibles, a couple of Mad Libs stories, items for an obstacle course, soft balls or paper wads
Game: Mad Libs
Have the kids come up with the missing words for a story and, then, read it aloud to them. You can make up your own story or use one of the free printables from Mad Libs.
Fill in and read at least two stories so that kids get the idea of the activity.
Ask students, What are some things that people are afraid of?
Is anyone afraid of bad people hurting them?
Is anyone afraid of God?
Jesus told His disciples to go tell other people about Him. Why did Jesus want His disciples to tell other people about Him?
Jesus wanted His disciples to go tell other people about Him so that other people could believe in Him and go to Heaven when they die.
But it was dangerous talking about Jesus back then. It was against the law, and you could get arrested or even killed because of it.
(Read Matthew 10:16-18.)
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On My account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.”
Jesus said that His disciples would be arrested and beaten if they go try to tell people about Jesus. That’s because most people didn’t want to believe Jesus. They simply wanted to keep believing in God the wrong way, or they wanted to believe in fake gods instead.
But Jesus told the disciples that when they get arrested, and people start asking them questions, they shouldn’t worry about it.
(Read Matthew 10:19-20.)
“But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
Why shouldn’t the disciples worry about what to say? (Because the Holy Spirit would give them the words to say.)
Just like we filled in the words for our Mad Libs stories, the Holy Spirit will give us works to say. The difference is that the Holy Spirit knows the right words to say whereas we were simply being silly with the words we chose.
When we’re talking to someone about Jesus, or someone is asking questions about what we believe, we don’t have to worry about what we’re going to say. We can trust God to give us good ideas about what to say.
Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will make us think of the right things.
(Read Matthew 10:21.)
“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.”
Jesus told the disciples that sometimes, their family members wouldn’t believe in Jesus and would get them in trouble because they did believe in Jesus. It’s like that with us too. Maybe someone in your family, like your parents or grandparents, don’t believe in Jesus or come to church. But if your parents don’t believe in Jesus, does that mean you can’t believe in Jesus? (No.)
Jesus says that you should believe in God even if the other people in your family don’t believe in Him.
(Read Matthew 10:22-23.)
“You will be hated by everyone because of Me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”
Jesus told His disciples that if the people in one town don’t want to hear about Jesus, they should go to another town. It’s the same way with us. If we try to tell someone about Jesus and they don’t want to hear about Him, does that mean we can’t tell anyone else about Jesus? (No.)
If we try to tell someone about Jesus, and they don’t want to believe in Him, then we simply have to try to tell someone else, and maybe that person will believe in Jesus.
But even though Jesus said that the disciples would get in trouble for telling people about Him, He also told them not to be afraid of people hurting or killing them.
(Read Matthew 10:28.)
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Jesus says that we shouldn’t be afraid of people who can kill us or hurt us, but who should we afraid of? (God.)
If we believe in God and someone kills us, that would be sad, but it’s okay because we know we’ll go to Heaven.
But if we don’t believe in God and we die, what will happen? (We’ll go to Hell.)
So, Jesus says to be more afraid of God than people because people can only kill us, but God can send us to Hell if we don’t believe in Him. If we do believe in Him, then He won’t send us to Hell.
And remember, if someone in your family doesn’t believe in Jesus, you can still believe in Jesus. And if you’re telling someone about Jesus, trust God to help you know what to say. Be brave when you talk to people, and the Holy Spirit will help you.
Activity: Acting It Out
Divide students into groups of two or three. Have each group decide on and act out a scene in which someone tries to make another stop believing in Jesus. They could say that believing in Jesus is silly, or that another religion is right, or that being a Christian and following the rules is no fun, etc. The Christian then must resist the pressure the other puts on them.
Game: Despite All Obstacles
Set up an obstacle course with two mirror paths. Divide the students into two teams. One student from each team runs the obstacle course at a time while the other team members line up along the length of the obstacle course. When they’re not running, the members of the opposite team throw soft balls or paper wads at the runner from the sidelines.
If a student makes it through the obstacle course without being hit, they score a point for their team and return to the sidelines. If they are hit, they go to the sidelines to throw but not run again. After each pair runs the course, gather the balls or paper wads again for the next two to run.
The game ends when all the students have run the course. The team with the most points wins.
Afterward, explain that we have to do the right things in life even when it seems difficult. There might be things that get in the way of us doing the right thing. There might be people who try to keep us from believing in Jesus, but we have to keep doing what we know is right, no matter what.
Father, we pray that You’ll make us brave so that we can believe in You no matter what other people say. Help us to remember that You’re the only one who has the power to decide whether we go to Hell or go to Heaven. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, The Parables and Teachings of Jesus Vol. 1.