Week 35 – Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through faith alone, where does this faith come from?

Question

Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through faith alone, where does this faith come from?

Answer

From the Holy Spirit.

Memory Verse:

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior. Titus 3:4-6

Main Idea:

Outline for lesson

  1. Open in prayer: Gracious God, thank you that you call us to become citizens of heaven. Thank you that I can confidently know that my home is in heaven with you and that I have been chosen to be your precious possession, holy and set apart for your glory. Help me to live a fruitful life of gratitude to you. May my life bear great witness to you. Grant understanding to the children who will hear this lesson. May they clearly understand that salvation is by grace through faith and that the right response to you is a thankful heart. In Jesus’s name. Amen.
  2. Introduction: You will need to place the letters. spelling FAITH, in the box and wrap the box in the wrapping Paper. Secure the gift tag to the outside of the box.
    Explain that you have a gift in the box. Invite them to guess what’s in the box! Ask them if they’d like you to open the box. Once the box is opened, pull out the letters in the wrong order, and ask if they can figure out what they spell. Read out the gift tag for the children; it should say “To: New Christian, From: The Holy Spirit.” Explain that faith is a free gift from the Holy Spirit, and it is given to every new Christian. Ask if they noticed anything about the wrapping paper. Tell the children that a new Christian is described as someone who has been born again and the Holy Spirit is the one who gives the gift of faith.

    Introduce the children to Question 35: “Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through faith alone, where does this faith come from?” Explain to the children that this question will help them to understand a little more about the free gift of faith that comes from the Holy Spirit.
  3. Activity: You will need a copy of the Q35 What We Were Word Search (RB)for each child. The children will need to find the following words: astray disobedient envy foolish hated hating malice slaves

    Once the children have found the words in the word search, explain to them that these words are used by Paul in today’s Bible passage to describe all those who are not Christians. Ask them what they think of the words. Ask them whether they think these kinds of people deserve to be saved from God’s judgment, anger, and punishment. Emphasize to the children that no one deserves God’s free gift of faith, and no one can earn God’s free gift of faith. It is given graciously by the Holy Spirit.
  4. Lesson: Begin the teaching time by asking for God’s help. Ask that the lesson would be taught faithfully and that the children might listen well.
    Ask the children to describe one of the best gifts they’ve ever received. Ask them if the gift changed their lives forever.
    Ask the children to think about the occasions when they receive gifts, and ask them if they had to do anything to qualify for the birthday gift or Christmas gift. Gifts are freely given without reason and illustrate the greatest gift a person can ever receive. The gift of faith is the most significant gift ever, and it is life-changing!
    Read Titus 3:1—7. Provide Bibles for the children to read along.
    Explain to the children that Paul is trying to help Titus understand how to care for and teach the Christians in his congregation. In chapter 3, Paul asks Titus to remind the Christians about what they once were, before they were given faith by the Holy Spirit. He is encouraging Titus to help the Christians live joyful, godly, and obedient lives.
    Explain to the children that these verses clearly identify where faith comes from, and they contain a strong reminder that people cannot save themselves. Paul says that salvation comes from God the Savior. God in his great kindness and love reaches out to save those who are undeserving. Invite the children to look at verse 5 and ask them if they can identify what the Holy Spirit does.
    The Holy Spirit gives faith through:
    washing
    rebirth
    renewal
    Explain to the children that it is God the Holy Spirit who changes people’s hearts when they become Christians. In verse 7 Paul explains to Titus that Christians are justified by God’s grace; because of Jesus, Christians are declared not guilty by God. At the same time, the Holy Spirit washes away a Christian’s sin and makes him or her new.
    Encourage the children to think back to Question 25 : “Does Christ’s death mean all our sins can be forgiven?” The iodine/bleach illustration demonstrated the washing away of sin. Christians are born again and become members of God’s family. Remind the children of the box in wrapping paper and the fact that when the Holy Spirit gives the gift of faith, a new Christian is born into God’s family. Acknowledge to the children that this is a difficult thing to understand and that they will gain a deeper understanding as they get older. They just need to remember that the gift of faith comes through the Holy Spirit to those who are undeserving but greatly loved by God.
    Conclude the teaching time by helping the children commit Question 35 and the answer to memory.

Recite: Help children memorize this week’s verse, question and answer.

Week 34 – Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through Christ alone, must we still do good works and obey God’s Word?

Question

Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through Christ alone, must we still do good works and obey God’s Word?

Answer

Yes, so that our lives may show love and gratitude to God; and so that by our godly behavior others may be won to Christ.

Memory Verse:

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:11-12

Main Idea:

Christians have been made citizens of heaven, which should affect the way we live in this world.

Outline for lesson

  1. Open in prayer: Gracious God, thank you that you call us to become citizens of heaven. Thank you that I can confidently know that my home is in heaven with you and that I have been chosen to be your precious possession, holy and set apart for your glory. Help me to live a fruitful life of gratitude to you. May my life bear great witness to you. Grant understanding to the children who will hear this lesson. May they clearly understand that salvation is by grace through faith and that the right response to you is a thankful heart. In Jesus’s name. Amen.
  2. Introduction:
    You will need some passports representing different countries or Pictures of Passports from different countries. Show the children the passports, and ask them to identify what kind of information passports contain. For example:\
    Nationality
    Country of birth
    Date of birth
    Photo
    Explain that a passport can reveal a lot about a person. It particularly reveals a person’s citizenship. Remind them of lesson 27 when you talked about adoption. If children from another country are adopted by someone, they become a citizen of their adoptive parents’ country. They will receive a new passport, learn the language of their parents, and grow up eating the food that is popular in their new country. Explain that once a person becomes a Christian, he or she becomes a citizen of heaven. We take on the citizenship that belongs to our heavenly Father, and it will change the way we live. Introduce the children to Question 34:
    “Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through Christ alone, must we still do good works and obey God’s Word ” Explain to children that citizens of heaven will glorify God and by their witness show a watching world what God is like.
  3. Activity:
    You will need a sticker or label for each child with the name of a famous person written on it. Pick cartoon characters or celebrities who will be easily recognizable! Place a sticker on each child’s forehead and tell the children that they have to figure out who they are they can ask any questions they like to the other children in the group, but they can receive only yes or no answers!
    For example, the children could ask:
    Am I a man?
    Am I a woman?
    Am I an animal?
    Do I have black hair?
    Am I old?
    Am I young?
    Do I have glasses?
    Once the children have figured out the identity of the character on their stickers, explain to them that the Bible clearly declares who Christians are and what their identity is.
  4. Lesson: Begin the teaching time by asking for God’s help. Ask that the lesson would be taught faithfully and that the children might listen well.
    Read 1 Peter 2:9-12 Provide Bibles for the children to read along.
    Remind the children that a few minutes ago, when they had a label on their head, they needed help figuring out who they were. In this short passage, Peter is trying to help some of his Christian friends understand who they are. Invite them to look at the passage and see if they can find the four different ways that Peter describes Christians.
    Remind them that when someone becomes a Christian, he or she becomes a citizen of heaven. Although Christians live on earth for a time, their real home is with God in heaven—that’s why Peter calls Christians “sojourners.” Peter says that they are members of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a people for God’s own possession. Highlight for the children that Christians are:
    Chosen: God has chosen people to become members of his family, citizens of heaven, and he wants to spend forever with them. Christians are God’s possessions, which he bought with the blood of his precious Son.
    Holy: Christians are set aside by God to be sanctified—to become more like Jesus.
    A royal priesthood: Christians have direct access to God and have been called to serve others for God’s glory.
    God gives his people an identity, and he also gives his people a purpose in life. Tell the children that as citizens of heaven, God wants Christians to live in a new way, the way of their new adoptive Father and heavenly country. He wants the world to know all about him and about Jesus, and his plan has always been to use Christians to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9).
    Explain that when we do good works and obey God’s Word, we are acting like citizens of heaven. We are showing people what our adoptive heavenly Father is like, and we hope that our lives will make them want to join God’s family. Be clear that doing good works and obeying God’s Word won’t make anyone right with God. Instead, Christians will do good works and obey God’s Word as a response to God’s kindness.
    Explain that God clearly teaches through his Word who his people are and what their purpose in life is. They have an identity and a job! Ask them if they think that being a Christian is exciting and a privilege. Help them to understand that becoming a citizen of heaven is the most wonderful thing that could happen to anyone ever and serving God in his world is an immense privilege.
    Finish up by asking the children to consider whether Christians are good witnesses for God in his world. Discuss with the children how they might live for God and bring glory to God in gratitude for his saving grace.
  5. Recite: Help children memorize this week’s verse, question and answer.

Week 33 – Should those who have faith in Christ seek their salvation through their own works, or anywhere else?

Question

Should those who have faith in Christ seek their salvation through their own works, or anywhere else?

Answer

No, they should not, as everything necessary to salvation is found in Christ.

Memory Verse:

Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. (Gal 2:16)

Main Idea:

Salvation is through faith alone in Christ alone.

Outline for lesson

  1. Open in prayer: Gracious God, thank you for the gift of faith. I praise you for revealing to me that faith and trust in Jesus is sufficient for my salvation. Please make me aware of the places in my life that I’m tempted to rely on works rather than grace. Grant understanding to the children who will hear this lesson. May they fully understand that salvation comes by grace alone through faith in Christ alone and be equipped to persevere in the faith. In Jesus’s name. Amen.
  2. Introduction: You will need Q33 Picture of Martin Luther (RD).
    Introduce the children to Martin Luther. Explain that he was an important person in something called the Reformation. The Reformation was significant because many people read the Bible for themselves and rediscovered what true faith is.

    Explain that Martin Luther made a huge personal discovery during his life. Martin Luther originally thought that he had to work his way to peace with God and that eternal life was earned by doing good things. Share with the children that one day he was reading his Bible, and he read Romans 1:17: ” For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.”

    When Luther read, “The righteous shall live by faith,” he realized that he had it all wrong! He didn’t have to do anything to earn his salvation or work his way into God’s favor, but he had to accept God’s free gift of salvation.

    Introduce them to Question 33: “Should those who have faith in Christ seek their salvation through their own works, or anywhere else?” Explain that this question will help them to understand why Martin Luther was right: salvation is by grace alone through faith! It is not necessary or even possible to seek salvation through works.
  3. Lesson: Introduce the teaching time by telling the children that many people believe that they will get to heaven by living a good life and doing good things. Ask them how they would respond to someone who said that.

    Explain that some people who believe in Jesus still think that to get to heaven they need to do good things! Explain that Galatians 2: 15—21 will help them understand that Jesus’s work on the cross is enough.

    Read Galatians 2:15—21. Provide Bibles for the children to read along.

    Tell the children that we are going to look again at Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Highlight that this letter is all about helping the Galatians to understand how important it is to believe that Jesus’s work on the cross is enough. Faith does not need to be supplemented by good living or law keeping. In fact, if we trust in those things, we are not trusting in Christ.

    Ask them to look at verse 16 and investigate whether Paul says a person can be justified by keeping the law. Paul says a person is not justified by keeping the law!

    Ask them to identify how Christians are justified. By faith in Jesus Christ!

    Explain that it’s sometimes difficult to believe that salvation is God’s free gift because it is uncommon to get free gifts in life. Most things in life have to be worked for. Ask them if they can name some things that come as a result of hard work.

    Emphasize again that Paul says the only way to be justified is to believe in Jesus Christ. Explain that those who believe that good works are essential in order to have a relationship with God actually have a very low view of what Jesus achieved on the cross (and a high view of their own capabilities)!

    The belief that we must add to what Christ has done says that Jesus’s death on the cross is not enough. Ask whether they think that kind of thinking might be offensive to God. It is deeply insulting to God to give the impression that Jesus’s sacrificial atoning death is not enough.

    Also highlight that humans frequently fail to live in a way that pleases God. Believing that living good lives will make them right with God is trusting in abilities that have proven to be untrustworthy. No one is able to fully keep the law of God and thus please God—except Jesus.

    Explain that the only way to know salvation is through Christ. Paul says in verse 20 that those who are in Christ have died to law-keeping. That means that Christians should fully trust in Jesus’s death and resurrection and resist believing that there are other ways to seek salvation.
  4. Activity: You will need pieces of paper and markers for every child.

    Help the children to make signs that say “Jesus + Anything = NOTHING.” Give the children paper and markers and invite them to creatively decorate their signs. As the children are drawing, remind them that the only way to salvation is through Jesus. To add anything to Jesus makes the gospel useless.
  5. Recite: Help children memorize this week’s verse, question and answer.

Week 32 – What do justification and sanctification mean?

Question

What do justification and sanctification mean?

Answer

Justification means our declared righteousness before God. Sanctification means our gradual, growing righteousness.

Memory Verse:

To those who are elect exiles . . . according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. (1 Peter 1:1-2)

Main Idea:

God justifies those whom He has chosen and sanctifies His chosen people.

Outline for lesson

  1. Open in prayer: Loving God, thank you that you have justified me. I praise you that you are sanctifying me through the power of the Holy Spirit. Please help me long to be more like Jesus and be obedient to you for your glory. Grant understanding to the children who will hear this lesson. May they understand the significance of justification and long for the work of sanctification in their individual lives. In Jesus’s name. Amen.
  2. Introduction: You will need two boxes and gift wrap. Print the word justification on one sheet of Paper and sanctification on another, and place one in each box. Wrap the boxes up and stick a number one on one box and a number two on the other. Place the two boxes at the front of the room and ask if they’re excited to see what’s inside.

    Explain that the boxes contain words that describe two of God’s great gifts to humans. Tell them the boxes must be opened in a certain order, though! Invite a child to open box number one and pull out the word justification.

    Tell them that justification is God’s declaration that someone is righteous before him. Only God can justify, and the only reason he can justify is because Jesus died on the cross to take the punishment that was due to guilty sinners. Justification is an amazing gift from God!

    Invite another child to open the second box, and remind them that the boxes had to be opened in a special order. Pull out the word sanctification.

    Explain that sanctification only happens after justification. When people are justified by God and saved from the punishment they deserve, the Holy Spirit comes to live in them. As he lives in them, the Holy Spirit makes them more and more like Jesus. Sanctification is the process of becoming more like Jesus.

    Introduce Question 32: “What do justification and sanctification mean?” Tell them this lesson will help them understand the act of justification and process of sanctification further.
  1. Lesson: Begin the teaching time by asking for God’s help. Ask that the lesson would be taught faithfully and that the children might listen well.

    Ask why the gift-wrapped boxes needed to be opened in a certain order. Remind them that only after a person is justified by God, through Christ, does the Holy Spirit comes and live in him or her and begins the process of sanctification. Trying to simply live a good life or become more like Jesus without being justified will never make anyone right with God. The process of sanctification begins after God has justified.

    Ask if they often get asked what they want to be when they grow up. Explain that there are lots of wonderful things to do and become in God’s world, but the greatest desire Christians can have is to glorify God as they become more like Jesus.

    Ask how they think adults might respond if they answered the “what to do you want to be when you grow up” question with “more like Jesus”? Read 1 Peter 1:1—2. Provide Bibles for the children to read along with you. Explain that the apostle Peter is writing a special letter to Christians who are scattered abroad in different places and who are being persecuted because they love Jesus. Explain that Peter is trying to encourage them by reminding them that they are very special to God. He refers to three works of God in the salvation of each believer:
    a. Election
    b. Justification
    c. Sanctification

    Invite them to look at the two verses to see if they can identify what God the Father does, what God the Son does, and what God the Holy Spirit does.
    a. Election: God the Father
    b. Justification: God the Son
    c. Sanctification: God the Holy Spirit

    Remind the children of Question 27 and the fact that God chose which people he would justify and sanctify. is what Peter is referring to when he addresses the exiled Christians as the “elect.” They are the ones that God chose to be his holy people. Peter is comforting the Christians who are being rejected for their faith by reminding them that they have been elected—chosen—by God!

    In verse 2, Peter highlights the fact that the exiled Christians have been justified by God through the blood of Jesus. (Romans 5:9 may be a useful verse to refer to at this point in the lesson.) Christians are those who have been declared righteous once and for all. Their sin is fully dealt with. Help them to imagine a court scene in which a criminal is standing before a judge in fear and trepidation, but the judge declares the criminal “not guilty.” Remind them that’s exactly what happens to a Christian. Jesus the Redeemer pays the price for sin, and God declares the repentant sinner not guilty. The righteousness of Christ is given to the repentant sinner in exchange for his or her sin.

    Peter also tells the exiled Christians that they are being sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Ask if they can remember what sanctification is. Sanctification means our gradual, growing righteousness. Ask who does the work of sanctification in the lives of Christians. It is the Holy Spirit who works in the hearts of Christians to make them more like Jesus.

    Explain that sanctification is a lifelong process! They won’t suddenly wake up one morning and be fully like Jesus. The Holy Spirit will be at work in the heart of Christians until the day they go to be with Jesus.

    Ask if they can think of why it might be a bad thing to mix up the order of justification and sanctification. Help them to see that if sanctification comes before justification, then they will be trying to work their way into heaven rather than relying on the righteousness of Christ.

    The exiled Christians would have received much comfort from this reminder from Peter, and that’s exactly what he intended! He concludes verse 2 by saying “may grace and peace be multiplied to you,” reminding them that being a Christian and the recipient of God’s election, justification, and sanctification brings continued grace and peace.

    Conclude the teaching time by helping them commit Question 32 and the answer to memory. (These notes are just for guidance. Please expand or amend them to suit your own children and context. Write out your talk in your own words and include illustrations and applications that you know will connect with your children.)
  2. Activity: You will need a large sheet of paper, such as wallpaper or butcher paper. You’ll also need plenty of markers.

    Write “Becoming more like Jesus” across the top of a large sheet of paper.

    Remind the children that sanctification is the process of being set apart to become more like Jesus and that it begins after people have been justified.

    Ask them to write or draw things on the sheet of paper that signify what Jesus is like. Encourage them to portray Jesus’s qualities that we can also have (for example, “loving” rather than “all-knowing.”) After a short period of time invite them to discuss some of the things they’ve written or drawn on the paper. Explain that Jesus is fully righteous and the process of sanctification is all about becoming righteous.

    Remind them that for all Christians, the purpose of life is to glorify God as we become more like Jesus. Now is a great time to pray so they can ask God to help them to become more like Jesus through the work of the Holy Spirit.
  1. Recite: Help children memorize this week’s verse, question and answer.