Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids about the coming judgment and how they can help bring others to Jesus.
Intro Game: Finding the Difference
Name three items that you can see. Two of them should be the same in a certain way (color, shape, material, etc.) and one should be different in that same way. The first student who calls out the difference gets to name the next three objects.
Play as long as time permits.
When you’re finished, explain that the third item was special because it was different. God sees as being special because we believe in Him when other people don’t.
Tell students, I want you to close your eyes and imagine this story. A farmer went out and worked hard all day, planting seeds in his field. But then, while he was sleeping that night, his enemy came and secretly planted weed seeds in the farmer’s field.
When the plants started to grow, the farmer saw that some of the plants were from the good seeds he had planted, and some of them were weeds!
The farmer’s workers asked the farmer, “Do you want us to go pull up all the weeds in the field?” “No,” the farmer said, “because while you’re pulling up the weeds, you might accidentally pull up some of the good plants too. We’ll let the good plants and the weeds grow together until it’s time to cut the good plants down and put them in the barn. Then, we’ll pick the weeds out and burn them.”
Okay. You can open your eyes. How did the farmer get weeds in his field? (An enemy planted them.)
The farmer is Jesus in this story, and He plants good seeds. His farm field is the whole world, and the seeds He plants are people who believe in God and do the right things that God wants them to do. So, the good plants are good people who believe in God.
Who do you think Jesus’ enemy is? (The devil.)
The weeds the devil plants are bad people who do the wrong things that God doesn’t want them to do. What does Jesus say will happen to the weeds in the end? (They will be burned up.)
And the Bible tells us that when people are bad and don’t believe in God, then they will go to Hell when they die. That’s sad because God doesn’t want anyone to go to Hell, but some people will.
We just have to make sure we believe in God and tell as many other people as we can to believe in God so that they can believe in God, too, and not go to Hell when they die.
What will happen to the good plants in the end? (They will be put in the barn.)
That’s like Jesus taking all of the good people who believe in God and putting them in Heaven or letting them live on the New Earth He will create. Jesus will keep us safe with Him because we’re the good plants. We’re the people who believe in Him.
Now that we understand the story, listen to it again the way Jesus told it.
(Read Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43.)
“Jesus told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
“’The owner’s servants came to him and said, “Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?”’
“‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
“Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.’
“He answered, ‘The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will weed out of His kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
So, we’re the good plants that Jesus planted. We believe in Him and will go to Heaven and, eventually, the New Earth with Him. The bad plants are people whom the devil tries to keep from believing in Jesus. Everyone who doesn’t believe in Jesus will go to Hell when they die. And if Jesus comes back before they die, then He will send them to Hell Himself because they didn’t believe in Him.
That’s why we have to do our best to tell other people about Jesus and give them a chance to believe in Him. The devil is trying to get them not to believe in Jesus, so we have to try to convince them to believe in Jesus.
Game: Thumb Wrestling Tournament
Have students find a partner. When you say, “Go!” each pair of students will thumb wrestle. The winners of each match pair up with another winner. The losers pair up with another loser. If someone loses twice, they’re out. The winners keep playing until one student wins the tournament.
Play again if time allows. Then, say, We’re kind of in a thumb wrestling tournament against the devil. He’s fighting us to keep people from believing in God, and we’re fighting him to help people believe in God. The difference is that we have God and angels on our side to help us, so as long we keep doing what God wants us to do, the devil can’t beat us.
Game: Resisting Temptation
Divide students into two teams for a slightly modified game of Red Rover. The teams line up facing each other on either side of your play area. They link hands with the students next to them.
You’ll call the name of one of the students on Team A. That student must then break away from his or her team and try to break through the linked hands of two members of Team B. If that student breaks through, they get a point for their team. If Team B resists the charging student, Team B gets a point.
Next, call a student from Team B to try to break through Team A’s line.
Play as long as time permits, alternating which team is charging and which is defending.
At the end, explain to students that a member of the opposite team is like a temptation trying to get into our hearts. The devil sends temptations toward us all the time because he wants us to do something wrong. But we have to be strong and resist those temptations. We can’t let them break through.
Jesus, we pray that You’ll help us to tell other people about You so that they can believe in You and go to Heaven and the New Earth that You’re going to make. Help us to resist the devil’s temptations and to fight against him to bring people to You. Amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, The Parables and Teachings of Jesus Vol. 1.