What happens after death to those not united to Christ by faith?
They will be cast out from the presence of God, into hell, to be justly punished, forever.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
To help the children understand that those who are not united to Christ by faith will perish eternally.
Outline for lesson
- Open in prayer: Loving God, thank you that your great love caused you to send your precious Son to die on the cross in my place. I praise you that I am united to him and may have joy and confidence in my salvation, and I look forward to eternity in your presence. Amen.
- Review Activity: You will need a whiteboard and two whiteboard makers and a copy of the catechism questions and answers. Divide the children into two teams and line each team up facing the whiteboard. Explain to the children that this is a head-to-head challenge! The children should come to the whiteboard in pairs; the first children from each team, followed by the second children from each team, etc. Read a catechism question out to the children. Tell them that the first to write the number associated with the question on the whiteboard wins a point for their team. Give that child a chance to say the answer. If he gets the answer right, he gets another point for his team. If he can’t remember it, the child from the other team can answer for the point. Play until every child has had a turn going head-to-head to guess the correct number and answer to a question.
- Introduction: You will need some pictures that show common depictions of hell. Show the children several ways that hell has been popularly depicted: The Nether in Minecraft, Hell as depicted in the TV series The Simpsons, A diagram of the circles of hell in Dante’s Inferno Explain to the children that in the world, many people don’t take God or the Bible seriously. Tell the children that, sadly, that means they don’t understand the reality of life separated from God. They get their idea of hell from cartoons rather than from the Bible. Introduce the children to Question 28: “What happens after death to those not united to Christ by faith?” Explain that everyone who is in Christ experiences one thing after death and everyone who is still in Adam because he or she has not believed the gospel experiences something different. Tell the children that this question will help them to consider the fate for those who are not united to Christ by faith.
- Activity: Have a copy of the Q28 Code Buster (RB) worksheet for each child. Ask the children to decode some of the key verses where Jesus speaks about the fate of those who are not united to him. When they have finished, ask three children to read out the three different verses. Answers: “And do not fear those who Idll the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10:28) “While the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 8: 12) “Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 22:13) Explain to the children that instead of looking to the world to find out what life apart from God is like, it is important to look to Jesus and his words in the Bible. Read through each verse and observe that Jesus teaches that there is a place called hell and that is where those who are not united to Christ go.
- Read: 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 John 3: 16—18, 36. Provide Bibles for the children to read along with you. Ask the children to begin by looking at these verses. Have them consider what they teach about God. Draw out the following points for the children: God is loving. God gave his precious Son up to death on the cross because he loved the world. God will give his people eternal life. Ask the children what this passage says will happen to those who do not believe in Jesus—who are not united to Christ by faith. Explain to the children that verse 16 says all who are not united to Christ will perish. Verse 18 says that those who will perish are those who are condemned. They are condemned because of their sin, their rebellion against God, and their rejection of God’s laws. Ihey are people who will be judged by God and face the just punishment of God. Tell the children that in the Bible, perishing does not mean that you cease existing, but that you exist in eternal separation from God. Explain to the children that many people live as if God doesn’t exist. They ignore him and fail to acknowledge the many blessings that he provides to everyone on earth. They are blind to the fact that God’s presence and grace are blessing them and that he is also holding back and restraining evil. Explain to the children that in eternity, people who have lived as if God doesn’t exist will be separated from him forever. The main thing that characterizes hell isn’t flames or devils. It is separation from God. We can’t really imagine what that would be like, but it is the worst thing that could ever happen to someone. Conclude by confirming for the children that hell is a real place! Share that even though people have come up with various pictorial representations of hell, no one can truly comprehend what it is like. Remind the children that God doesn’t want people to perish (2 Pet. 3:9), which is why he sent his Son to save us. (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.)
- Recite: Help children memorize this week’s verse, question and answer.