9) God offers the free gift of salvation to those who repent and believe
Suggested Verses: Mark 1:15; John 3:16-17; Acts 4:12; Ephesians 2:8-9
Explanation: “Jesus came into the world in order to save sinners from death and hell so that we could go to heaven and live with God forever. The word salvation means “to save” someone. And because of what Jesus did, God now wants to give sinners the free gift of salvation. Salvation is like a wonderful gift – in fact, it’s the best present that you could ever receive! Salvation is a free gift because it’s something you don’t deserve and could never earn or work for. Jesus did all the work for you!
Does that mean that everyone – all people – are saved from death and hell because of what Jesus has done? Does it
mean that as long as you know the story about what Jesus did on the cross, you will be saved? How can you and I get this free gift from God? God has decided that He will give salvation to everyone who repents of their sins and believes in Jesus. When God decides to save a sinner, He brings about a change in his or her heart. What is this change? Repentance and belief. To repent means that you understand that you are a helpless sinner who deserves the punishment of death and hell. And knowing that, you feel terrible about your sin and your disobedience to God. You hate your own sin, your sin nature, and sin of all kinds, and want to turn away from your sin and look to Jesus for forgiveness.
Believing in Jesus means that you believe true things about Him: You believe that He is God’s Son. You believe that He
never sinned. You believe that when He died on the cross, He was punished in your place. You believe that He rose from the dead and is living today. You believe that He alone can save you and bring you to heaven to live with God forever. But believing in Jesus is not just about knowing and agreeing with true things about Jesus. I can believe that someone is a good pilot, but if I’m afraid to get on his plane and fly with him, I’m showing that I don’t really believe in his ability as a pilot.
That is a little like what it means to “believe in Jesus”. It means that you are trusting Him to save your life. You are
depending on Him. You are placing all of your confidence in Him. You believe that He died on the cross for YOU not just for other people. You believe that He will bring YOU to heaven to live forever with God. And, if you are really trusting in Jesus, you will also repent of your sins. Repentance and belief always go together.”
· Egg Activity: Show your children an uncooked egg. Give them a small prize. Then give them a whistle. Tell them “I promise you, if you blow this whistle three times that egg will break. And you will receive that big prize. If you decide to blow this whistle three times and that egg doesn’t break, then I’m going to take away the prize in your hands. What are you going to do? Do you want to keep this prize, or do you trust me that that egg will break when you blow that whistle three times?” (There will be children in the class that will not blow the whistle because they do not take the teachers/parent’s word-not sure that the parent/teacher will follow through with the promise. They are not confident in that promise. But if that child is believing in you and confident & trusting in you, they will blow that whistle three times.) Once the whistle is blown three times the egg WILL break (not by itself-but by the teacher/parent) J
o The Catch: They were thinking that somehow it was the whistle that would break the egg. It’s not the whistle that breaks the egg.
o Points to drive home:
§ It wasn’t you: “Was it you that broke the egg? No. Was it the whistle that broke the egg? No, it was me responding to you blowing the whistle, that the egg broke. That’s a little bit of what it’s like to have faith and to trust in Jesus for your salvation. You are depending on him & confident that he will do what he says he will do.”
§ It’s not just faith: It’s not our faith that saves us. It is the object of our faith-namely, Jesus. Just as that child did not break the egg by the whistle, it was my response to their faith. God says he will save everyone who trusts in Jesus. He responds by giving them the free gift of salvation.
Implication: God tells you to believe in Jesus & repent of your sins and you will receive his free gift of salvation.
Heather’s thoughts: I love this egg activity! Though I think it will mostly work for the upper elementary, I’d like to try it with younger. I’m thinking even 4-5 year olds would follow along and learn too. The points to drive home were real good. What an amazing truth to learn at a young age that “It’s not just faith.” People put their faith in many things sports teams, what people think of them and money. We could even put our faith in good things like husbands, wives and friendships. The only thing is those things will never save us or leave us eternally satisfied. Jesus-the object of our faith-is the only thing worth putting all of our faith into. Once we do that, he responds with the gift of salvation. What a big thing to learn for a little child!
Tomorrow will be the final Essential Gospel truth! So stay tuned for “Those who trust in Jesus will live to please Him and will receive the promise of eternal life — enjoying God forever in heaven.”