The Bible says that a Christian must do more then just go to church and hear the Word of God; he must apply it to his life, act on it and obey it. It is important to teach this principle to children in Sunday school so that when they grow old they will not depart from it. If kids learn to obey God at a young age it could make the world a better place to live.
Make a visual aid of the verse on a chalkboard, whiteboard or PowerPoint. Make take-home paper slips of the verse to hand out at the end of class.
Read the verse to the class. James 1:22: "But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." Have the class repeat the verse with you a couple of times.
Have a class discussion. What do you think is more important, hearing what is right or doing what is right? Why? Have any of you heard the expression that actions speak louder then words? What do you think that means? If a man says he is an honest man but steals from people, is he honest or a thief? If a man say he is honest but he lies to people, is he honest or is he a liar? That's what "actions speak louder then words" means; you are is defined by your actions, not what you say about yourself. That's why God's Word says to be doers of the word; to obey what you are taught or read in your Bible. Anyone can hear about doing the right thing; a Christian should DO the right thing.
Read the verse together a few more times. Sing the song "Trust and Obey."
Play a game of "Jesus says." It is just like Simon says. After the game, talk about how the children had to DO the things they heard Jesus say and that those that followed the best stayed in the game the longest. Tell the kids that God says those who act according to what the Bible teaches will be rewarded.
Do an object lesson. Call a child to come forward. Hand him the mirror and tell him to look very closely into it; ask him what he sees. After he answers, take the mirror away. Ask him to tell everyone what he looks like -- color of hair, eyes, shape of nose and so on. Have the child sit down. Ask the class if anyone looked in a mirror this morning and if they remember exactly what they looked like. The Bible says a person can look into a mirror then not know who he is. It also say that if he learns and obeys what the Bible says, he will not be confused about who he is -- and will be blessed.
Open Bibles to the first chapter of James. Read verses 22-25. "22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do."
Close with a statement. "If you think it's OK to say you are a Christian but don't live like one, you are a liar deceiving yourself. Satan wants you to believe the lies, that it's OK to do wrong things as long as you go to church and that Christians can disobey God without consequence. Remember "actions speak louder then words." Do your actions say you are a Christian? You may need to become one.
Have an invitation. Have children bow their heads. Have quiet music playing. The Bible says that because we are sinners and disobey God, we deserve to go to hell. God made a way for us to escape hell by sending Jesus to save us. If you would like to know how to be sure you will go to heaven when you die, raise your hand. Have Sunday School workers go to the children who raised their hands. Take them to a different place in the room and lead them in salvation.
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Nick Johnson has been writing professionally since 2000. His creative works have been published in collaborative books, as well as various online publications such as Kids Ministry Resources, a children's ministry website.