We’re learning about the Sermon on the Mount. It’s Jesus’ most famous sermon! It’s called the Sermon on the Mount because Jesus stood up on a hill—or mountain—to preach. Today we’re learning that Jesus preached about how God wants us to do what we say we're going to do.
SUNDAY SCHOOL WORSHIP
In today’s part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught that God wants us to do what we say. In other words, when we make promises, we keep them! Some promises are really hard to keep, aren't they?
Let’s see what happens when a dog makes a promise that’s hard to keep.
If you were Biscuit, what would you have done to make it easier to keep your promise?
Pedro said breaking promises hurts others. Can you think of an example of how that could happen?
How can you regain someone’s trust if you’ve broken a promise before?
Do you really think Biscuit will keep his new promise? Why or why not?
When we make a promise, even one that's really hard to keep, God wants us to do what we say. He wants our “yes” to mean yes and our “no” to mean no all the time.
Today we’re learning that God wants us to do what we say. Jesus said it’s important not to add qualifiers to our promises. A qualifier is saying something extra like, “I swear on my mother’s grave!” or “I swear on this chocolate bar!” or “I really mean it this time!” Listen to what Jesus said.
Matthew 5:33-36: You have also heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the Lord.’ But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, ‘By heaven!’ because heaven is God’s throne. And do not say, ‘By the earth!’ because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the city of the great King. Do not even say, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black.
In Jesus’ time, people would often make vows, or promises, where they would swear by God, and sometimes they would add other things to swear by. But that’s not how Jesus said to do it. Let’s make some silly promises and add some silly qualifiers.
An activity for families:
Have the oldest person in the family get a piece of paper and a pen. Getting input from everybody, they’ll make a list of 5 words in each of the following categories. They can make a different column for each category.
Okay, ready to make some silly promises? Fill in the blanks using the first word in each column. For example, “I promise to clean my giraffe by midnight. I swear by the tail of an elephant!”
Ready? I promise to...
Families can do or pantomime their silly promises right there.
• What was so silly about our promises?
• Which one would you be least likely to promise to do?
• What difference did it make to add the qualifier? Did it make your promises more believable?
Okay, so these promises weren’t ones we would really make. And we wouldn’t swear by those silly things, either. But in life we sometimes make promises or say we’ll do things, and we add extra words to show we really mean it. Have people raise their hands if they’ve ever said the following or something like it. Raise your hand, too, to show that you’ve done this!
So we wouldn’t actually swear by the tail of an elephant, but it sounds like we do add words to some of our promises to demonstrate how sincere we are.
Jesus had a different idea for how we can show we really mean we’ll keep a promise.
Matthew 5:37: Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.
God wants us to do what we say. If we always do what we say, people can trust our yes and no. We don’t need to add extra words to show we really mean it; our actions show we mean it! By doing what we say, we show we’re faithful to our words. And it’s a reflection of God, who always does what he says. So let’s practice doing what we say.
• When have you said you’d do something and then forgotten about it? God wants us to do what we say. It’s easy for us to tell our parents, friends, or teachers we’ll do something and then get distracted. But when we don’t follow through with what we say we’ll do, we end up needing to add qualifiers to our promises because we’re not trustworthy! Instead let’s ask God to help us work on making sure our yes and no are words people can believe in.
God, we want to say yes to you. We want to say yes to doing what we say we’ll do. Help us be trustworthy so people know we will do what we say. In Jesus’ name, amen.
VALENTINE'S DAY CRAFT
Valentine’s Day Love Arrow Pencil Topper
Around Valentine’s Day, we hear all kinds of things about love. But did you know that God is love? God isn’t just great at loving us. He invented love, and his love for you goes on forever. Let’s make a craft to help us think about that.
Give each child a sharpened pencil and some felt. Have kids use their pencils to draw triangles on the felt with about 2-inch sides. Then have them overlap the felt to cut out two triangles each. Next, have children draw 2- x 1-inch rectangles on the felt, overlap the felt, and cut out two rectangles each. Have children cut several small slits in the rectangles—they’ll be parallel to the long side, but cut from each of the short sides.
Show each child how to glue only two sides of one triangle, then set the other triangle on top of it, matching the edges. This will leave an opening to put the end of the pencil in. Have them put glue along the center of both rectangles, parallel to the short ends. Have them match the rectangles with the eraser-end of the pencil along the glue lines. This will make the feather end of the arrow. Have kids keep the felt about a centimeter away from the end of the pencil so the eraser is still usable.
Read aloud 1 John 4:16: We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.
Now that we’ve made love arrows, let’s shoot some love back to God. Have kids use their love-arrow pencils to write to God. They can thank him for the ways he loves and takes care of them, they can ask him to help them love others, or they can write about why they love him.
Keep your love arrow as a reminder that God loves you so much. And whenever you want, you can shoot some love back to God using your love arrow!
Thanks for joining us for online Sunday School! See you next week!