What did God do for us and why is it important? Why do we need Jesus, anyway? Sometimes we take for granted what it means that we are God’s children and have been redeemed. This lesson emphasizes the importance of a Messiah and reminds us that God used prophets to tell everyone what was coming. It also reminds us that God is our protector and “lifesaver” in all circumstances.
Lesson focus: God has promised from the beginning of time that He will go with us and pay the price for us. He makes us into a new creation and rescues us from danger.
Passage: Isaiah 43:1-7; Romans 6:1-14
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th Grade (adaptable older or younger)
Materials Needed: Lifesavers candies or mints; several pieces of “junk” (empty coffee cans, cardboard boxes, decorative materials, paper scraps, etc.); string/ribbon; cheerios (colored for extra fun).
Lesson Opening: Can it be redeemed? Open the lesson with an illustration of what it means to be redeemed. Depending on group number and age, split up the students (or invite individual work) into teams and explain that they will be rescuing some items from the trash can. Set before them several materials (junk like things, random odds and ends) and ask them to create something new. Allocate a certain amount of time for students to put together something from the materials. For younger students, this could be as simple as paper or paper towel tubes with crayons. Encourage older kids to explore functional inventions or creative art.
After students have put together their treasure, have them describe it. Point out the pride and impressed elements that might characterize how they made the creations. Note that they have taken random trash-like things and turned them into a new treasure. Believe it or not, this is what God does for us when He offers grace and redemption. We can’t earn this blessing but cannot receive it without accepting. When we accept that, we allow God to protect all of our lives.
Explain to students the importance of things having a cost. In our society, we use money to pay for things. What kinds of things do people want to buy, or are able to purchase? What do parents buy? Set up a scenario to emphasize the debt we owe for our lives: what if you accidentally kicked a soccer ball into a brand new car and damaged it? (or similar valuable goods hurt situation) How would you pay for it? What if it was impossible to pay back the debt?
Remind kids that sin does that for our lives. We have done wrong things that separate us from God, and nothing we can do will fix that. No matter how hard we try, we can never overcome the mistakes we make and get close enough to God to fix it. But the good news is we don’t have to! God has already paid the price. He has taken something tarnished (our lives) and redeemed them to make a new creation.
But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze. -Isaiah 43:1-2
God protects us from everything and from all fears we might have. What kinds of things worry or scare us? How can we deal with those things? Here God is saying He will take care of what gets in our way. He also promises to protect us, like a life preserver. Ask students about experiences learning to swim (if they have done so or are working on it). When first practicing, what did they use? Floating water wings, inner tube inflatables, kick boards? Think about parents or instructors who hold people up as they learn and keep them afloat. That is what God does for us. He is our life guard and life saver! God promises that HE alone is what saves:
“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor will there be one after me.
11 I, even I, am the Lord,
and apart from me there is no savior. -Isaiah 43:10-11
We cannot build a tower or pilot a rocket ship that reaches to Heaven. We cannot erase our own sin. But because God loves us and cares for us, we want to give back to Him by doing the right thing. We do not take advantage of His grace by continuing to sin, but we want to do what He asks because we love Him.
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. –Romans 6:11-14
We don’t have to serve sin because we serve God. When we obey our parents, we do it out of love for them. We can’t earn their love, but we show we respect it by doing what they ask. The same is true for God. We give back to Him and appreciate what He has done through obedience!
Jesus is our life saver…make jewelry to think about God our “life preserver.” Using Cheerios, create bracelets or necklaces by stringing onto ribbon and tying to appropriate length. For easy dying, shake Cheerios in a Ziploc bag with some food coloring (this has been done ahead of time). Attach a caption with verse and “life saver” theme.
Close with prayer and reminder of God’s work in our lives. Thank Him for being our savior and protector, and ask for help in following Him closely. Pass out real life savers (fruity or mint) for students to take with them.