Monday, June 2, 2014

Jesus Wants Us to Be Faithful by Martin Wiles

(All material is original to the author with the exception of songs and activities which have been borrowed from various sources. All studies are free for public use.)

Jesus Wants Us to Be Faithful
Scripture Reference: Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)
Related Scripture References: 1 Samuel 19-20; John 3:16; Luke 19:26
(Compiled and written by Martin W. Wiles)

Objectives: To teach children that Jesus wants them to be faithful to their family, their friends, and their teachers. Also to remind them or teach them how God has been faithful to us (This objective allows the teacher to present God’s plan of salvation using the ABC method—Admit, Believe, Confess.). 

Say: This month we will continue to study about fruit that doesn’t grow on trees but the kind that others should be able to see in our actions. Today we are going to study about the fruit of faithfulness. 

Say: Let’s say our memory verses together. Galatians 5:22-23 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (NLT)

Ask: (Spend 5 to 10 minutes on this section. Children need to think about concrete ways they can show faithfulness to others.) 

What does it mean to be faithful? 
What are some ways you can be faithful to others?
What are some ways other people have been faithful to you? Talk about parents, teachers, friends, pets, and people at church. 

Teacher should think of some examples of faithfulness prior to class so they can guide children to think of examples they might not otherwise consider. Explain to the children the difference between the last fruits—kindness and goodness, and the fruit of faithfulness. Kindness and goodness refer to things we do. Faithfulness includes things we do, but it is more than that. It is being loyal to someone. Like Moms and Dads are to each other in the marriage and like they are to their children by taking care of them. (Share some examples of faithfulness in these two relationships with the children.) Kindness may only be one action, but faithfulness would be a series of kind acts over a long period of time. Teacher might ask how many of the students have pets and how they show faithfulness to their pets.

Let the children know God wants them to be faithful to other people. This includes their parents, brothers and sisters, friends, teachers at school, and teachers at church. Help children understand that when we are faithful it reflects that we love God who has been and is faithful to us. 

Plan of Salvation
Children at this age should have a good understanding of the concept of sin, but this hinges on what environment they have been affiliated with. Explain that sin is anything we do or say that God tells us not to in the Bible. Write the word God on the top of a piece of paper and their name at the bottom. Then write sin in large letters between the two. Explain that sin is what separates us from God but that he loved us so much that he sent his Son Jesus to pay for our sins so we wouldn’t have to. When we believe that and accept Jesus into our life, God forgives our sins and will take us to heaven when we die. Scratch out the word sin and draw a cross in its place. Read John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (NKJV) 

Explain the following:
Admit Romans 3:23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. (NLT)
Believe Romans 10:9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (NLT)
Confess 1 John 1:9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (NLT)

Talk With Students about How They Could Show Faithfulness in the Following “If” Scenarios:
If Mom or Dad asks them to help with chores around the house (name some). 
If one of their friends needs a ride home from school.
If one of their classmates doesn’t understand what the teacher taught in class.
If a new kid at church doesn’t know which Sunday School class to go into.
If one of their friend’s parents is sick.
If one of their friends is sick.
If their teacher at school or church is in the hospital.
If they are riding in the car with their parents and see someone with a broke down car on the side of the road.
If one of their friends forgets their lunch.

Activity Break:
Give children a blank sheet of paper and let them draw a picture that they think shows Faithfulness. Then let them discuss what the picture is showing. 

Reinforcement Segment: 
Be prepared to tell the children the story of David and Jonathan in I Samuel chapters 19 and 20. (If needed, more can be added to what is below.)
David was a shepherd boy, and Jonathan was the son of Israel’s king. Nevertheless, they were best friends. When David got older, he would play his harp for the king when the king got upset. Later, he would serve in the king’s army. 

But King Saul was jealous of David. The people liked him more than they did Saul. He was also a great military fighter. He had even killed Goliath, the giant. Saul thought David was going to try and take the throne away from him, so he made plans to kill him. Jonathan just couldn’t believe his father would do such a thing even though David kept telling him it was true. 

So Jonathan made an agreement with David. He was going to a party his father was having, and he promised David he would question his father about whether he wanted to kill him. Sure enough, Saul became angry with his son for being friends with David and told him if he didn’t stop being friends with him that David would be the next king instead of him. Then he told Jonathan to go get David so he could kill him. Jonathan couldn’t believe his ears. What David had told him was true. His father wanted to kill his best friend. 

Jonathan wasn’t going to let this happen. He had to warn David. He and David decided they would meet in a field. David would hide while Jonathan shot arrows for practice. They developed a secret code so David would know by what Jonathan said whether or not King Saul was trying to kill him. Sure enough, Jonathan said the words he didn’t want to hear. Now he would have to run for his life. He would miss his good friend who had been so faithful to him. 

Ask: What does this story teach you about faithfulness?  

Wrap Up: Read Luke 19:26 (NLT) “Yes” the king replied, “and to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.” (This is the story Jesus told about a man going away on a journey and leaving money for some of his servants to invest while he was away. The ones who obeyed were praised for their faithfulness. The teacher can elaborate on this story for a filler if needed.)

Take Away Questions:
What is one thing you can do this week to show faithfulness to someone?
What can you do when you are faithful to others but they aren’t faithful to you in return?

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