Laws are important. They give us order to our society. They protect the weak. They create structure in families, workplaces and schools. God’s law gives us specific ways we can please Him. Yet for as important as we know laws are, none of us keeps them perfectly. When we compare our lives to what we know the law demands, we know we fall short of God’s perfect standard (Romans 3:23). Jesus even said it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle that for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God (Mark 10:25). So what are we to do?
Righteousness: Being declared right in God’s sight; no matter who you are or what you’ve done
MEMORY VERSE: “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” Romans 4:5 (ESV)
This Week’s Finish Line: Making it by the Law is Flawed
In Mark 10:17-31, Jesus encountered a rich young ruler who was living a really good life. He knew the law and followed it. He had knowledge and wealth and power. On the outside it looked like he had it all together. In response to his question about eternal life, Jesus gave him one task that revealed the man’s heart. The man loved his wealth more than God and was unwilling to give it up to follow Jesus. Romans 3:20-24 shows us that following the law can never make us righteous no matter how hard we try. The law can only show us how imperfect we are and how much we need a Savior. We are made right only through our faith in Christ who died in our place on the cross!
- How would you describe the man that came to Jesus? What was he missing?
- Why do you think it was so hard for the man to give up his wealth? What does this tell you about the man’s heart?
- Why can’t following the law make you righteous? Why should we still want to obey God?
- What is so amazing about what Jesus says in Mark 10:27? How does it make you feel knowing God can do the impossible?
Bring It Home: 3 Activities
1. Clean Inside and Out
Set your table with glasses that are clean on the outside but obviously dirty on the inside. When your kids complain tell them the outside is clean. Isn’t that good enough? Talk to them about Matthew 23:25. The Pharisees were careful to follow every part of the law so looked good on the outside but inside their hearts didn’t love God. God wants your inside to be clean and love Him. The way to be clean on the inside is to tell God about your sin and ask Him for forgiveness. Then He can make you clean on the inside and the outside!
2. Ruler of the Law
Have your kids go outside and each bring back the straightest stick they can find. Hold out a ruler (which is completely straight) and have your kids compare their sticks to the ruler. Ask if any of the sticks are perfectly straight. The ruler is like God’s law. When we compare our good lives to it, like we compared our sticks, we see that we can never be perfect. We can never be righteous on our own. However, when we come to God and confess our sins and our inability to follow the law perfectly, He loves us so much that He forgives us and give us the righteousness we could never earn on our own.
3. Memory Verse Collage
For this activity you’ll need magazines, scissors, glue and blank paper. Have your kids cut out words and letters from magazines or newspapers in order to create the memory verse, Romans 4:5. They can also cut out pictures that represent some of the words. Glue these words and pictures onto a blank sheet of paper. Hang the collage in a place they’ll see it daily and use it to practice the memory verse this month.
"Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27 (ESV)
Thank God that He can do the impossible. Thank Him for His love and forgiveness and willingness to give us righteousness when we ask Him in faith. Ask Him to fix your heart so that you would love Him and trust Him instead of relying on your own works.
Next week we will look at the life of Apostle Paul. He had every reason to boast in his good works but until he met Jesus, he was just pretending to love God. No matter how hard we work to look like a “good Christian,” God looks at our hearts.
Let us know how you talk with your kids about what they learned on Sundays. What questions do you ask? How do you remind them of it in the middle of the week?