Are you aware that there might be strangers in your church? No, I’m not talking about people you don’t know, because you haven’t met them yet. I’m talking about people who are just pretending to know God, but really don’t know Him. Jeremiah 51:51 says this: “We are confounded, because we have heard reproach: shame hath covered our faces: for strangers are come into the sanctuaries of the LORD's house.” These strangers were not a good thing and they’re not a good thing for our churches today. Here’s a fun Bible object lesson to help your kids learn this important truth.
Here’s what you do:
The object you will use for this lesson will be a shoebox that you will decorate on the outside to look like a church. Be creative. Fill the box with cotton balls. These are supposed to represent the people in the church.
Ask the following questions to help stimulate discussion:
1. What am I holding? (Wait for response.) You’re right. It’s a little church I made out of a shoebox.
2. Do you think this church looks a little like ours? (Wait for response.)
3. This church might not look like ours, but all churches have at least one thing in common. They all have people inside of them. (Open up the box to reveal the cotton balls.) Let’s pretend that all these cotton balls are people in this church. One of the people is a stranger. Can anyone pick out the stranger? (Let the kids look through the cotton balls. Some will think that they’ve found the stranger. Question them why they think that particular cotton ball is different from the others.) If we are all honest, we really can’t figure out which “person” is the stranger. Can we?
4. Ask a child to read Jeremiah 51:51. This verse says that strangers had come into the house of God during Bible times and it was not a good thing.
5. Let’s learn a little more about this Scripture and learn how to apply it to our own lives. Here are 3 important points.
Point 1: Your church is very important to God. It’s where you and your family and friends go to worship Him. Worshipping Jesus and praying to Him and learning His Word – the Bible – is very serious stuff. I’m not saying you can’t have fun while doing these things, but you definitely want to make sure that when you do worship Jesus and pray to Him that your heart really means it and that you’re not just pretending to do those things.
Point 2: You see, our verse talks about strangers being in God’s house. (Back in Bible days, God’s house was a lot like your church today.) You know what a stranger is – someone you don’t know. Do you think God wants you to be a stranger in His house? No! He wants you and Him to be the best of friends.
Point 3: But sometimes people just pretend to be God’s friends when they are really strangers. They don’t really care about Jesus at all. Don’t let this be you. Make sure that going to church is like going to see your best friend. Church is a special place that should be filled with God’s friends.
This 3-Point Bible Object Lesson for Kids was inspired by my reading of C.H. Spurgeon’s devotional on Jeremiah 51:51 from his book Morning and Evening. You too can be inspired by your favorite Christian authors and come up with your own 3-Point Sermon for Kids.
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Kathy Vincent is the director of a performing ministry for children called The Scripture Lady and has been traveling around Southern California for the past 15 years ministering to preschoolers and elementary aged children with the Word of God through musical, thematic presentations.
She is also a regular seminar speaker, author/creator of over 30 products for the Christian children's worker and a veteran homeschooling mom of two.