Jesus tells us to love God and others if we want to follow God’s commandments. Includes a teaching guide, class activity, craft, and optional service project.
Needed: white board or large paper to write on, drawing paper and crayons or colored pencils
Intro Activity: Top Ten
As a class, have students think of their Top Ten favorite things in a particular category. As students call out answers, write them down on the board. Not everyone will agree on every answer, which is part of the fun.
Categories could include Top Ten Movies, Video Games, Animals, Foods, Places, etc.
Make two or three Top Ten lists. Then, transition into the lesson by saying that God also gave us His Top Ten by giving us the Ten Commandments.
Ask students, Does anyone remember why God gives us rules? (God gives us rules because He loves us. The rules He gives us are meant to protect us and others.)
Does anyone remember what some of God’s top ten 10 big rules are?
1 and 2. We can only have one God, the real God. We can’t have any idols or things that are more important to us than God.
3. We have to use His name respectfully. We can’t use God’s name unless we’re talking to Him or about Him.
4. We have to keep the Sabbath. We need to have one day a week that is special to us for worshiping and learning about God. It’s also important for us to rest on that day.
5. We have to honor and respect our parents and grandparents.
6. We can’t kill or hurt any other person.
7. When we get married, our husband or our wife has to be the most important person to us, and we can’t have any other boyfriends or girlfriends.
8. We can’t steal. We have to work for or ask for what we want.
9. We can’t tell lies about other people.
10. We have to be happy and content with the things that we have instead of always wanting what other people have.
That’s a lot of rules for us to follow, isn’t it?
What if we could just follow two rules instead? Would that make it easier?
Let’s look up those two rules.
(Have a student read Deuteronomy 6:5 , quoted here in the NIV.)
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
What is this rule telling us to do? (To love God with all our heart and our soul and our strength. In other words, to love God with everything that we have.)
If we love God with all of our heart and all of our soul and all of our strength, will we have any other gods that we worship? (No.)
Will we use God’s name in the wrong way if we really love Him? (No, we will only use God’s name respectfully.)
If we love God with everything that we have, will we want to take time to worship and learn about Him on the Sabbath? (Yes.)
So this rule, “Love God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength” is a good summary of the first four rules. If we love God, we will automatically keep the first four rules.
Let’s look at the second rule.
(Have another student read Leviticus 19:18 , NIV.)
“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”
What is this rule telling us to do? (Love other people as we love ourselves.)
So, firs is to love God. Second is to love other people. If we love our parents, for example, will we honor and respect them or will we be disrespectful to them? (We will honor and respect them.)
And if we love other people, will we kill or hurt them? (No.)
If we love our husband or our wife when we get married, will we hurt their feelings by having other boyfriends and girlfriends? (No. We will only love our husband or wife in that way.)
If we love other people, will we steal from them or get jealous of them if they have something we don’t? (No. We will love them and be happy for them that they have nice things.)
If we love other people, will we tell lies about them? (No. That would hurt their feelings.)
So, this second rule, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” is a good way to remember the other six big rules God has for us. Because if we love other people the way God wants us to, we won’t do anything bad to them.
So remember, “Love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you can do that – loving God and loving other people – you will be following God’s other rules automatically.
Craft: Loving God
Give students drawing supplies and instruct them to draw three pictures on one sheet of paper. The first picture will be of them loving God with all their heart. The second, with all their soul. The third, with all their strength. Have students write the Bible verse somewhere on their picture.
Service Project: Loving Others
Lead students in a short service project. It could be serving a snack to an adult class, cleaning or organizing something around the church, preparing the sanctuary for worship, doing a task for the church office, picking up trash or raking leaves outside, etc. Explain that when you help other people, you’re showing them love.
Father God, thank You for the good rules You gave us. Help us to love You and to love other people like You want us to so that we’re always following Your rules. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
This lesson is included in my book, The Lord’s Top Ten: Children’s Sunday School Lessons on the Ten Commandments.