Sometimes on a Sunday morning, we need to go where the Spirit leads rather than where we planned. Last Sunday was one of those days. We had a great time upstairs in children’s church learning about the day of Pentecost, but down in the sanctuary the sermon took a bit of a different turn. I love seeing how God can work when His people choose to listen to His guidance and sometimes altogether redirection! So, this week, rather than moving on to the next passage in our study of the book of Acts, we went deeper into the subject of the Holy Spirit. Last week we talked about how the Holy Spirit manifests himself today (because we certainly don’t see tongues of fire floating over the heads of believers on a daily basis!), so this week we are talking about the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives. There is certainly plenty of ground to cover on such a topic, but as you read this lesson you will see that I chose a route that gives the opportunity to share the Gospel with the kids.
Goal: Today we will learn about the Holy Spirit’s ability to come into our hearts and clean out the sin that clutters it.
Key Scripture: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8, NIV
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- Items to clutter the room (empty recyclables, paper, plastic bags, etc.)
- Permanent marker
- Puppets & puppet stage (if you plan to use these)
- Curtains (2 panels)
- 15 copies of Salvation Coloring Page
- 10 copies of the Matthew 27:27 – 28:10 activity page from New Testament Coloring and Activity Book: Pre-K – K (Warner Press)
- 7 copies of pages 111 from The Complete Book of Bible Activities: Grades 2-4 (American Education Publishing)
- 7 copies of page 231 from The Complete Book of Bible Activities: Grades 2-4 (American Education Publishing)
- Legos with the words of the key verse taped to them
Introduction: Gather a variety of items that you could use to clutter the room. Use the marker to write a different sin on each (anger, jealousy, disobeying parents, etc.), then just toss them anywhere you’d like on the floor :)
The goal is to make the space look like a complete mess. The kids were wigging out as they walked in. “Oh. My. Goodness. WHO MESSED UP OUR ROOM??” It was great.
When you enter with the children, act flustered and explain that you must have forgotten that it was Sunday and that the room needed to be cleaned. Show some embarrassment and mention that you feel like hiding all the clutter so the kids wouldn’t see it. Have the kids help you to straighten the room and bring all the clutter into a pile at a designated area. Tell them that we will talk about the clutter in a few minutes.
Lesson: Tell the children that the mess in this room reminds you of a story. Then, present the skit entitled “The Holy Spirit Gives Us a Clean House” (using puppets or people, whichever is easiest). The script can be found here.
Look through the pile of clutter that the kids collected from around the room. Read some of sins that are listed on the clutter aloud. Talk about how our hearts are a home that can become cluttered with plenty of junk (sin). Reiterate the point from the skit that when the Holy Spirit comes to live inside our hearts, He helps us to clean things up.
Explain that things were not always like this. In the Old Testament, God lived in the temple, in the Holy of Holies. He was behind a thick, heavy veil (like a curtain) and only the high priest was allowed to enter, but even the high priest could only enter the Holy of Holies once a year to make a sacrifice to God. The people also had to sacrifice animals in order to be forgiven. If possible, have a curtain hanging somewhere in the room. I had this two-paneled curtain among our resources, so I hung it from the ceiling.
Tell the children that when Jesus came to earth, He was coming a step closer to us. People could actually see Him and talk with him, which was very different from having God in the temple. God had always loved His people and many loved him too, but having Jesus as a human brought things to a whole new level.
Tell the children that when Jesus died on the cross the thick, heavy veil that surrounded the Holy of Holies in the temple was torn in two (Separate the curtain). It was God’s way of telling us that we no longer had to sacrifice animals to be forgiven, because Jesus, a perfect, sinless man, died on the cross for us. He was the ultimate sacrifice.
Remind the children that Jesus was resurrected and of the stories earlier in the series of how He appeared to many people for forty days after his resurrection. Ask the children why they think Jesus needed to return to heaven (Allow for a few responses).
Explain that Jesus had to return to heaven so He could send the Holy Spirit. Tell the children that God had come a step closer to us by sending Jesus as a human, then took another step even closer to us by sending the Holy Spirit. Now God can live in our hearts through the Holy Spirit! He does not have to live in the temple any longer.
Pray with the children and thank God that we no longer have to sacrifice animals because of the incredible gift of Jesus, our perfect sacrifice. Thank Him also for the gift of the Holy Spirit who can come to live in our hearts and clean out our sin.
Before moving on to the stations, tell the children that Jesus can come and live in our hearts the Holy Spirit, but only if we as Him. Explain that He is a gentleman. He waits at the door of our heart, knocking, and waits for us to answer. Explain that when we open the door of our heart, we are asking Jesus to forgive us for the wrong things we have done and giving Him permission to clean out our “house.” We are telling Him that we want to make Him the most important in our lives and that we trust Him.
Ask the children to bow their heads and fold their hands. Tell them that if they have never asked Jesus to come live in their hearts through the Holy Spirit they can invite Him in today. Lead them in a prayer and, before everyone opens their eyes again, ask that if any of the children prayed that prayer for the first time that they would look up at you. Let the children know when they can all open their eyes.
Conclusion: Have the following activities prepared in case extra time remains.
Activity Pages: I pulled several different activity pages from some different resources I had available. Check out the links in the materials section if you’d like copies of your own.
Lego Bible Verse Building: Tape the words of the Bible verse to Legos and have the children build the Bible verse as written on the chalkboard. This is one of our kids’ favorite ways to practice their Bible verses!