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Good Works Bible Lesson

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In A Nutshell

In the parable of the sheep and the goats, Jesus explains how good works are what set the two apart as the shepherd sorted them. While good works are important, the underlying message is that we don’t get into heaven by good works alone. If we are saved, we will love others and want to do good works.

Ages

School Age, Tweens and Teens

Estimated Time

20 minutes

Scripture

Matthew 25:31-46

What You Will Need

  • Pictures of sheep and goats, about 5 of each.
  • Bibles

Preparation

  • Print pictures of several sheep and goats off the internet. You should have at least five of each.
  • Mark Bibles for the following verses: Matthew 25:31-46, John 1:12; Acts 15:11; Romans 3:22-24; Romans 4:4-8; Romans 7:24-25; Romans 8:12; Galatians 3:6-9; and Ephesians 2:8-10.

Bible Lesson

One day Jesus was telling a story about the time when he would be coming back to earth to set up his kingdom. When he comes, all the people will get to see him. All the people will come before him, and he will sort them like a shepherd sorts the sheep from the goats.

Activity For Younger Children: Let’s do some sorting. I have pictures of sheep and goats. When I show a picture, you tell me if it is a sheep or a goat. (Show photos one at a time and have the children help you sort them. Put the sheep in a stack on your right and the goats in a stack on your left. You can also do this with a computer by having numbered pieces of paper. When you show the first picture and they pick sheep or coat, put the #1 paper on your right or left).

Jesus said the sheep on his right hand were blessed by God and would be given a reward. The goats on his left were cursed and would be punished. Jesus said that all people will one day be sorted like the sheep and the goats.

  • In what ways are sheep and goats alike? (4 legs, hooves, eat grass, etc.)
  • In what ways are people alike? (two legs, talk, two arms, etc.)
  • What is the difference between a sheep and a goat? (sheep are fuzzier and have more hair, make different sounds, goats can be milked, tails are different, goats come in more colors, etc.).
  • In what ways are people different? (tall, short, boys, girls, good, bad).
  • What do you think Jesus will look for when he sorts us? Read verses 35-36)

See if you can finish these statements about the good people: * I was hungry and you ... (gave me something to eat) * I was thirsty and you ... (gave me something to drink) * I was a stranger and you ... (invited me in) * I needed clothes and you ... (clothed me) * I was sick and you ... (looked after me) * I was in prison and you ... (came to visit me)

And the good people were confused. They asked Jesus, when did we see see you hungry and feed you? When did we see you thirsty and give you a drink? When did these things happen? We don’t remember? And Jesus told them, anything you did for other people you did for me.

So, what Jesus was saying was that if (insert the name of a child) was cold and I gave him/her my coat to help warm him/her, it was like helping Jesus. If I shared my lunch with (insert the name of a child) because he/she had none and was hungry, it was like sharing my lunch with Jesus.

And what did Jesus say about the bad people?

  • I was hungry and you ... (gave me nothing to eat)
  • I was thirsty and you ... (gave me nothing to drink)
  • I was a stranger and you ... (you did not invite me in)
  • I needed clothes and you ... (did not clothe me)
  • I was sick and you ... (did not look after me)
  • I was in prison and you ... (did not come to visit me)

And the bad people were confused. They asked Jesus, when did we see see you hungry and not feed you? When did we see you thirsty and not give you a drink? When did these things happen? We don’t remember? And Jesus told them, what you did not do for other people you did not do for me.

So, what Jesus was saying was that if (insert the name of a child) was thirsty and I didn’t give him/her a drink, it was like not helping Jesus. If (insert the name of a child) was sick and I didn’t help him/her, it was like not helping Jesus.

So what do you think the reward is for the good people? (Heaven and eternity with God). What is the punishment for the bad people? (Hell and eternity without God). Will doing good deeds ensure that you get into heaven? Let’s read God’s word before you answer.

Have different children read the following verses. John 1:12; Acts 15:11; Romans 3:22-24; Romans 4:4-8; Romans 7:24-25; Romans 8:12; Galatians 3:6-9; and Ephesians 2:8-10.

So let me ask the questions again. Will doing good deeds ensure that you get into heaven? (No). Salvation is by faith through the grace of God and not by our good works. If you do good works to get paid or to be recognized, are those the good deeds Jesus is talking about? Jesus is talking about the good works done for the glory of God. Good works don’t result in salvation, but because we are saved, we are filled with God’s love and we will want to do good works.

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,
Fill us with your love and let that love overflow to others. Let us help them as we would help you if you were in need.

Extras:

Use this lesson as a great way to kick of a Christian Kids At Work project. (See Related Activities).

About Jeff and Becky


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