As we celebrate Valentine’s Day children are sure to be focused on Love. This holiday brings a perfect opportunity to talk to children about the love that God has for us. What does God love? We know that God loves His people and the His world. This list attempts to help children understand how God loves us and how we can show our love back to God. This list is definitely not exhaustive, but is meant to get children thinking about God’s love and just how deeply He loves us.
Lesson Title: What does God Love?
Bible Reference: Mark 10:45; Mark 12:29-31; Acts 4:20; Acts 1:12-14; Luke 6:27-28; John 3:16; John 3:30; John 16:24; Acts 11:21
Target Age Group: Middle School / Older Elementary
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: One Hour
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Memory Verse: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30
Learning Aim: Children will be introduced to God’s love and will gain a small understanding of what God loves.
Basic Supply List:
- Dry erase board/chalk board or poster board
- Construction paper
- Aluminum Foil
- Crayons/colored pencils/markers
- Valentine’s Day Conversation Hearts
- Snack for the class to share
Note: In the teaching plan below the words in italics are meant to be read aloud. The regular text is simply directions for the teacher.
> > > > Basic Teaching Plan < < < <
Conversations With God: Begin the lesson by giving each child a hand full of Valentine’s Day Conversation Hearts. Allow them to eat the hearts while you begin today’s conversation. Say, The hearts that you are enjoying right now are meant to be shared. They are meant to show love to others that you love. They are called Conversation hearts because they are meant to start conversations. Today we are going to be talking about a different kind of love than the our love for other people. We are going to be talking about the love that God has for us. Ask, How does God love us? How should we respond to God’s love? Allow the children to respond with their ideas about God’s love.
Biblical Evidence: Say, Let’s take a look at a few Bible passages to see if we can figure out what God loves. Have the Bible passages posted somewhere in the classroom for easy reference. Write them on a chalk board/dry erase board before class if possible. If not, write them on a poster board. Depending on the age of your students it may be beneficial to have them look up the verses in their own Bibles.
Turn to John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” You have probably all heard this verse before. It is very popular because it is true. God loves us. He loves us so much that he sent His son to die on the cross for us. Throughout the Bible God makes it clear that He loves us and that the children of God are very precious to Him.
Next turn to John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” God loves when we understand that He is in control of our lives and when we give our lives fully to Him. Just like John, God wants us to understand that our lives are better with him in charge and He loves it when we are willing to give up what we want so that He can take over and make our lives what He wants them to be. God loves when we give our lives to Him.
Turn to Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” God loves a cheerful servant. God wants us serve other. He doesn’t want us to be selfish. God loves it when we love others and serve them, even if it means putting them before ourselves.
Turn to Acts 4:20, “for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” God loves when His people are obedient and do what He calls them to do. In the book of Acts, many people didn’t like the Apostles and looked down on them because they were didn’t understand that Jesus was real. But the Apostles were obedient anyway and spoke about what they saw and what they heard anyway. They had seen Jesus after He rose from the grave and obediently shared the good news with everyone that they met. God wants us to be obedient as well. Think about something that God has done in your life. Have you been obedient in sharing this with the people in your life? God loves it when his children are obedient.
Turn to Acts 1:12-14, “Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” Here we see the Apostles devoting themselves to prayer. They did this because they understood that God was listening to their prayers and that He wants us to pray for what we need. Prayer is like talking to God. The apostles saw many great miracles happen through prayer. God loves it when we are also devoted to prayer. God loves it when we pray to Him.
Turn to John 16:24, “Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” As this verse says, when we ask for things in the name of Jesus, He delights in giving us what we need. God wants us to be filled with Joy. We become filled with joy when we give our lives to Him and do the work that He has given us to do. God loves to give us joy when we are following Him and doing what He wants us to do.
Turn to Acts 11:21, “And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.” God loves it when we share our faith with others and because we share our faith, other come to know who He is and trust in Him. God loves it when we focus on Him and tell others about Jesus. When we do this God with will be with us and people will be saved. God loves it when we tell others about Jesus.
Turn to Luke 6:27-28, “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” God loves those who love their enemies. It is really hard to love people who are not nice to you. But we have to love our enemies because God loves them. Think about someone who is not nice to you. How can you show love to them this week? God loves it when we love our enemies.
Turn to Mark 12:30-31, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” God loves it when we loves others more than we love ourselves. How can you show that you love others before yourself? This means that we are not selfish. It can be very hard to love others before yourself, but God loves it when we do.
Look at Mark 12:30-31 one more time, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” When we look at Mark 12:30-31 we see that there are two parts to this verse. God wants us to love others before ourselves, and he wants us to love Him above everything else. God is more precious than anything else that this world has to offer. He wants us to live our lives like He is the most precious thing in the world. How can we do this? We do this by giving our lives to Him and obeying his commands. God loves it when we are faithful and when we show that we love Him more than anything else in the world by giving our lives to Him.
Serving Others: One of the things that we discovered that God loves is when we serve others. How can you serve others this week? Today? Explain to the students that they can serve others by putting others before themselves. If you have snack during your lesson time have the students take turns serving each other. Instruct them not to eat until everyone has been served. Ask them how it felt to serve others. They may have been hungry and wanted to eat, but it was good for them to wait because God wants us to be servants. Challenge them to keep a record of their service to others for the following week.
Who does God love craft: To help children to remember that God loves them, have them make Valentine’s cards from construction paper. On the front of the card write, Who Does God Love? On the inside of the card glue a piece of aluminum foil. When they open the card they will see themselves. Give them time to decorate the front and back cover however they choose. Have them keep the card as a reminder that God loves them.
Review: Ask the students to share some of the things that they learned that God loves today. Ask them how they can show love to their enemies this week. Ask how they can be obedient to God this week and how they can share their faith with others. Ask how they can be filled with joy this week. Allow adequate time for students to discuss answers with the class.
Closing: In closing remind the students that God loves them and wants them to gives their lives to Him. Close with the following prayer, Dear Lord, We thank you so much for loving us and sending your son to die for us. Please help us to show love to other this week and always. Help us to give our lives to you and to be obedient to your will. Amen.