Romans 3:23 and Genesis 2:4 - 3:24
Main Teaching Point: Everyone is a sinner and needs a savior.
A new year has started and it's a good time to remind ourselves and our children, whether at home or in church, about the basics of our faith - what the Bible teaches about sin, our need for a Savior and God's great provision for our salvation. There is a set of verses throughout the Book of Romans that teach these things. Each verse builds upon the other leading us down the road from sin to salvation. These verses are best know as the Roman Road.
I like using the Roman Road as a teaching tool; it is clear and concise. It tells the story of the consequences of Adam and Eve's separation from God on to Christ's gift of eternal life through his death and Resurrection and concludes with the believer's responsibility to grow and live the life of a follower of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. When I teach using this tool I think that it is important to follow each verse in Romans with another true story or message from God's word. That way the children see that the Bible is one unit, one story, that it ties God's plan together from beginning to end.
I know that I've said this before, but to me showing kids where these truths are in God's word is imperative. They need to hold the Bible, see and read the words and hear the words, because children, as well as some adults, will confuse the message with the messenger. We don't want a child to say, "I believe because my mother or my father or my teacher said that it was true." We want our children to believe because it is in God's word and God's word is awesome, fantastic and original and always true.
Let's start our journey down the Roman Road. Our first destination is Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Why does the Bible say that everyone has sinned? Where did sin come from anyway?
To answer these questions go back to Genesis where everything started. Read Genesis 2:4 - 3:24 to explain about our sin heredity and how it separates us from God and be sure and emphasize God's promise to send a savior in Genesis 3:15. (If the class is older read the whole passage. If they are younger, with shorter attention spans, read a condensed version of Chapter 2: 15 - 23 and 3:1 - 15 and 21 - 24.)
Lesson Activity: Let's Take a Trip
- Start your lesson out with a shortened version of the game I packed my Grandmother's trunk.*
- Sit in a circle.
- Tell the kids that you all are going to go on a trip and ask them to think about what they should pack for the journey.
- Go around the circle and have each child choose an item to pack starting with a different letter of the alphabet. For example the first child would say something starting with the letter A, the next child would use the letter B, the next C and so on. Make it fun. It doesn't have to be something that you would really take on a trip. Sometimes the sillier the better.
- At the end of the game say, "Now I'm going to give you the most important thing to take on our trip.", and pass out a Bible to every child, if you have enough (try to use the same version), or have them share. The important thing is that each child has a Bible to look at. If you have a class of non-readers mark the passages ahead of time with different colored ribbon so that they can open the Bibles to the correct passage and see that you are teaching from God's word.
- For younger groups: Pretend to put on your traveling clothes - hiking boots, coat, hat, etc. This just makes things more fun!
Begin your journey
If you have space, walk to different room or go outside. If space is limited, play follow the leader around your room and end back in the same spot and pretend that it's a new place.
When you reach your destination
- Tell the children that Romans 3:23 is the first destination on your journey along the Roman Road.
- Have everybody read the verse together from their Bibles. If you have non-readers in your class have them find the spot that you marked with the ribbon and them repeat the verse after you as you read it from your Bible.
- Ask questions: What does it mean when it says all have sinned? Does that really mean everybody? What is sin? (Any time that you do things your way instead of God's way that's sin) When did sin start?
- Have the class turn to the verses in Genesis. You can read the story of the first sin and it's consequences out loud and have the class follow along in their Bibles or you can divide up the verses and have each child read some of the story.
- Explain that ever since the first people on earth, Adam and Eve, did things their way instead of God's way every person after that has sin inside of them. So, All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.
Put Romans 3:23 to music and sing as you walk back to class for a snack after your long trip.
Sing to the tune of London Bridges Falling Down
For all have sinned and fall short
For all have sinned and fall short
Of the glory of God.
*I Packed My Grandmother's Trunk is a great travel game. My mother played it with us on trips and also in her Kindergarten class. It is a memory game. The first person starts out by saying, "I packed my grandmother's trunk with ....." and then they say something starting with the letter A. The next person repeats the phrase and has to say what the first person said and then something that starts with the letter B. Each player must say what all of the previous players said plus their word that starts with the next letter of the alphabet.
Image by stock.xchng
Scripture from the New International Version, Zondervan Bible Publishers