Editor’s note: Today’s children’s Ministry Message comes from CTA’s new lineup of evangelism resources. Now you can tell the Gospel story with emojis and simple shapes. These resources are the perfect giveaway for mission trips and vacation Bible school!
Make a large poster to depict all four shapes or symbols for the John 3:16 Gospel story. Or place each shape on its own smaller poster. As a guideline, use the JPEGs in CTA’s Resource & Idea Center.
Let’s play a game called “Name That Story.” I will give you a line from the story and you give me the story’s name. Ready?
- “Rapunzel! Rapunzel! Let down your hair!” Yes, that’s from the fairy tale “Rapunzel.”
- “Little pig, little pig, let me come in!” (Let volunteers name the story: “The Three Little Pigs.”)
- “This bed is too hard. This bed is too soft. This bed is just right!” (Let volunteers name the story:“Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”)
- “My, what big eyes you have, Grandma!” (Let volunteers name the story: “Red Riding Hood.”)
You are good at this game!
How about this one: “God so loved the world.” Yes, those are the first words of John 3:16 (KJV). That one verse tells the whole story of God’s love and what God did for us because of that love.
One of the best parts of this story is that it is true! Rapunzel never really lived in a tower or used her hair as a ladder. Goldilocks never visited the three bears. But God really and truly does love the world!
Let’s hear the rest of that story and learn a simple way to tell it.
(Point to the heart or show the heart mini poster.) The story - the true story - starts with God’s love. “God so loved the world” the Bible says. In love, God made the world as a perfect home for his perfect children. But those children did not stay perfect. They disobeyed their loving Father. Still today, you and I disobey him.
But even when we disobeyed, God went on loving us. The Bible tells us, “God is love” (1 John 4:8 KJV). But God is also holy and just. He can’t just overlook disobedience. He can’t just ignore sin! He must punish it. But he didn’t want to punish us. He didn’t want to send us away from himself forever! So . . .
(Point to the manger or show the manger mini poster.) The Bible says God “loved us, and sent his Son” (1 John 4:10 KJV). John 3:16 puts it this way, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.” The manger here reminds us of the very first Christmas. That’s when God sent his Son to be our Savior. Jesus was the Baby, who came to save the world!
(Point to the cross or show the cross mini poster.) The Baby that lay in Bethlehem’s manger grew up to be the Savior. The cross reminds us of how Jesus saved us - by dying for us on the cross. Jesus was punished, not for his own sins - he never did anything wrong. Jesus was punished for our sins - yours and mine. God the Holy Spirit gives us faith to believe that because of Jesus, our guilt is gone: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him” . . .
(Point to the sun or show the sun mini poster.) . . . “should not perish, but have everlasting life.” When does “everlasting life” start? By faith in Jesus, it is yours right now. Here on earth, troubles and temptations come our way day by day. But none of them will last for long. Because of Jesus, we have everlasting life. It is a life that never, ever, ever, ever ends! Our troubles will end. But everlasting life never ends. Someday, all of us who believe in Jesus will live with him in his perfect home. Right this minute, he is getting that home ready for us!
It’s quite a story, isn’t it? Quite a wonderful story! Will you repeat the story with me?
(Have the group recite John 3:16 as you point, in turn, to each picture on your chart or hold up each mini poster.)
Let’s pray: Dear Lord, you are so mighty, so loving, so wonderful! The story of your love is true, and your love will never, ever end. Thanks for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thanks for forgiving all our sins and for giving us the gift of faith. Help us tell the story of your love again and again and again to everyone who will listen. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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