Knowing the promises of Jesus, we can face any situation without becoming discouraged. Use this lesson plan to teach children the important lessons from 2 Corinthians 4:13-18. The key passage is from 2 Corinthians 4:16:
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. (NASB)
This lesson follows our hassle-free format. The basic version makes it easy to teach with very little preparation or outside materials. We’ve also suggested more activities so you can expand the lesson to best fit your ministry setting.
This is part 4 of a 4-part series titled The Hardship and Glory of Service to Christ. Use these links to find the other lessons in this series.
- Glory of the New Covenant (2 Cor 3:7-18)
- Treasure in Jars of Clay” 2 Corinthians 4:1-7
- Persecuted Not Abandoned” 2 Corinthians 4:8-12 –
- You are here – “We Do Not Lose Heart” 2 Corinthians 4:13-18
Lesson Title: We Do Not Lose Heart
Bible Reference: 2 Corinthians 4:13-18
Target Age Group: 5th – 6th grade
Learning Context: Sunday School or Kids Church
Target Time Frame: 30 minutes
Main Idea: We can endure our suffering with joy and hope through the power of the resurrection of Christ, knowing that this life is just a moment compared to eternity.
Memory Verse: 2 Corinthians 4:16, “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. (NASB)
Gospel Connection: Because Christ came, died, and rose again, as believers we have confidence of our future resurrection with Him in glory. This confidence allows us not to lose heart in the midst of suffering, to focus on the eternal rather than the temporal, and to encourage each other as we journey together in our lives here on earth.
Learning Aim: Students will understand that there will be pain and suffering in their lives here on earth, but they can persevere through believing in Christ and having confidence in the promise of the resurrection, eternity with Christ. Look for the Learning Outcome Test section in our Basic Teaching Plan below.
Basic Supply List:
- Marker board (or poster sheet) with the memory verse written out.
- Duct tape, rulers, pens or pencils for Eternity Activity
- Paper, crayons, markers, colored pencils, or paint for creating a picture of heaven based on Revelation
- Paint smocks or old, big t-shirts for students if you decide to paint.
Other Notes: 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 < < < <
Introduce the Scripture Passage:
Ask for volunteers to read 2 Corinthians 4:13-18
Have your students tape a line from one end of the room to the other. Then have them take a ruler and mark one centimeter (starting point to ending point). Each student can mark a centimeter anywhere on the line. SAY: This tape represents eternity. One centimeter represents your life. Like one tiny centimeter on this long strip of tape, so is your life in comparison to eternity. It is short and brief!
But your life is full of worth, for what you live for now determines how you will spend eternity. And eternity goes a lot farther than we can ever fathom in our minds! This strip of tape across the room does not even come close to showing us how long forever is. Forever is forever! It is never-ending, lasting…it is eternity! Paul knew that the suffering he was experiencing on earth, though it was horrible beyond what we can imagine, was temporary and brief in comparison to spending eternity with God with no pain, no tears, no suffering-only joy everlasting!
Seen versus the Unseen
ASK: What do you see around you? (Describe things in the room.) What is all around us every day that we do not see? (Oxygen, wind, cells, molecules, gravity, etc.) Just as we believe these things to be real, though we do not see them, so we have to believe that heaven is real and we will experience it one day and forevermore. We trust that God’s Word is true. God does not lie. While Paul is suffering for Christ here on earth, he is confident that when he dies, he will be glorified with Christ and will experience His glory, a glory that is better and greater and worth all of the suffering he is going through now. Let’s read together Revelation 21:1-4, 9-11, 22-27.
SAY: This is true! This is real! And it is your future if you are a believer!
Pass out paper and crayons, markers, colored pencils, or paint. Ask your students to draw what they heard. Tell them to take their pictures home and put them somewhere where they can see it every day. SAY: Each day, when you see this drawing, remind yourself that the suffering here on earth is only temporary. You have eternity in glory to look forward to if you have trusted in Christ for your salvation (this leads into the Gospel application).
SAY: Paul has this confidence because he believes! Look at verse 13. He and the others suffering with him believe-they believe that God raised Christ from the dead and will also one day raise them with Him. They are able to endure and persevere because they truly believe! Before we can even hope to make it through the suffering that will occur in our lives, we have to believe the truth of the Gospel. Christ came to earth, lived a perfect life, became the perfect sacrifice for our sins, was crucified, buried, and three days later, rose from the grave. He is our Redeemer. When we believe and trust in Him alone for our salvation, we have confidence that we will one day spend eternity with Christ in glory.
Learning Outcome Test
ASK: What makes suffering so difficult? Why does it feel like it will never end? (Our lives seem long to us. The thought of suffering for any length of time seems like forever to us. It is hard to believe in eternity with God with no pain because it is something we cannot yet see. What we see now is people murdered, people dying, disease, suffering, bombs, terrorists, war, famine, earthquakes, fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes…it is very real and all around us. What we do not see is something that cannot even be fully conceived in our minds, even though we can read about it in Scripture).
ASK: So how can you say with Paul, “Therefore, I do not lose heart?” What gives you the strength to say this? (Utter belief in Christ and the promise of eternity with Him. Clinging to this promise when all else seems to be falling apart around us.)
SAY: When times are hard, focus on the eternal. Remember that you will not suffer forever; the end of life on earth is the beginning of eternity in joy with our great God. We have to tell ourselves each day that what we see with our eyes now is temporary. It will end. What we do not see, it is eternal. Our suffering will end, our joy will last forever. Be encouraged by this magnificent truth, and encourage those around you.
> > > > Optional Activities < < < < <
Memory Verse: Ask for a volunteer to read the memory verse aloud from the marker board. Work on memorizing it together. Use any of our creative methods for memorizing Scripture.
Perspective of Suffering: Print off pictures of a view of earth from space. Go outside and look up at the sky. SAY: The sky looks huge to us! It seems to go on for forever! There is nothing bigger than the sky here on earth! (Then show the pictures of earth you printed.) But look at these pictures. Earth is tiny! (Ask them to describe what they think of the pictures.)This is how we see suffering. It looks huge to us now. But when we compare it to eternity with God, it is a tiny amount of time!
Compare Temporal Suffering with Eternal Glory: Find the adjectives that describe suffering or affliction. Compare them to the adjectives that describe eternity. Make a table on a marker board and have different volunteers write down the adjectives they find in each column.
- Momentary (short), light, temporal, seen.
- Eternal, glory beyond compare, not seen.
The contrasts that Paul sets up are very clear and intentional, all geared around showing just how awesome the resurrection will be. Draw out these contrasts through discussion as they are doing this activity.
Outward Versus Inward: Put a banana in your refrigerator for a few days. On the outside, it will get black very quickly, but on the inside, it will stay fresh. Show the banana to your students (do not peel yet!). Read the memory verse once more.
SAY: Outwardly Paul’s body was wasting away, decaying. He was battered and bruised, worn out, older, just like this banana. We all grow old! Each second of your life you are growing older! And when we experience suffering, our bodies may begin to feel weak, tired, and worn. But inwardly we are renewed by Christ! (Peel the banana.) His truth strengthens us, gives us courage to face any suffering that comes our way during our lives here on earth. Just like this banana stays fresh on the inside, our belief and confidence in Christ and eternity keeps our hearts renewed day by day!
> > > > Supporting Materials < < < <
2 Corinthians 4:13-18 from the New American Standard Bible
13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE,” we also believe, therefore we also speak, 14 knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesuswill raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man isbeing renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.