Family Sunday School Devotion for July 12
“The Cost of Following Jesus” from Luke 9; 14
Listen to- “This Little Light of Mine” from Listener Kids here:
and “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” here:
Later, for older kids- “How to Make Cross in Paper” from Backlight Christian Media here:
Supplies Needed- For younger kids: play money (can write numbers on small rectangular and circular pieces of paper), toys/household items; for older kids: grocery items, list of prices for items, pencil and paper per child; 1 piece colored paper per child
Summary- Jesus taught that following Him is not easy.
Introduction Younger Kid Activity- Teach Cost Provide play money and allow children to “shop” for toys and other household things. Assign a basic cost to each item as a child brings it to you, such as “That book will cost you five bills” or “Those cars will cost you ten coins”. As you finish, say of the last item, “That will cost everything you have! Is that worth it to you?” Say, “A cost is how much you have to give up, like money, to get something you want or need. Was it hard when you had to give up all of your money to get something you wanted? That’s a harder choice to make! Today we will hear about something Jesus said would cost everything but would be worth it. He wanted people to think about the cost and choose carefully. Listen to the Bible story to find out what Jesus taught.”
Introduction Older Kid Activity- Guess the Price Place various grocery items around the room at different stations. Make sure you have a list of all their prices (approximate is just fine). Provide each child with a sheet of paper and pencil. Invite the kids to go from station to station and write down what they think the price of each might be. Then, have them total up the cost of all the items. Say, “When we go to the grocery store, it is important to count up the cost of the items we want to take home. Today we will learn that following Jesus is worth any cost.”
Big Picture Question- Say, “Our Big Picture Question asks: What did Jesus teach when He was on earth? The answer to our question is: Jesus taught about God and His kingdom. He taught that all Scripture is about Him. Every story points to Jesus. Jesus came to earth to live the life we could not live and die the death we deserved to die. When we have faith in Him, we are adopted into God’s family and become a part of His kingdom. It’s important that we know what it means to be in God’s kingdom and how we ought to live so that we honor our King, Jesus.”
Bible Story- Timeline Say, “Jesus was about 30 years old when He began His ministry on earth. He traveled between the regions of Judea and Galilee, performing miracles and teaching people. Last time, we learned about Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Jesus taught people how to live in God’s kingdom. Today’s Bible story is called The Cost of Following Jesus. We’ll see what Jesus taught about following Him. Open a Bible to Luke 9:23-25 and 14:25-35. Say, “Jesus always spoke God’s words, so we know His teaching is true. I’m really glad people wrote down God’s true words in the Bible! Today we are hearing a story from the Bible book of Luke. All the stories of the Bible fit together to tell an even bigger story. The Bible tells us the big story of how God rescues sinners through His Son Jesus.” Read or tell the story in your own words from these passages (this story is not included in the Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook).
Christ Connection- Say, “Jesus taught that following Him is not easy. It requires commitment and sacrifice. When we trust in Jesus, we give Him complete control of our lives. True life is found in Jesus, who gave up His life to rescue us from sin and death. He is worth it.”
Key Passage- Open a Bible to John 14:25-26. Read the verses aloud. Say, “It would be impossible for us to remember all of Jesus’ teachings and obey them perfectly. Thankfully, God sent the Holy Spirit to help us. As you go about your week, ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of the things you know are true about God. Ask for His help trusting that Jesus is worth any sacrifice.”
Review Questions- Ask the following questions:
- *PreK- Did many people want to follow Jesus? (yes)
- *PreK- Did Jesus teach that following Him is easy? (No, Jesus taught that following Him is not easy.)
- *PreK- Why would Jesus teach that following Him is not easy? (He wanted people to think and choose carefully.)
- *PreK- Is following Jesus worth it? (yes, always)
- What did Jesus say about a king going to war? (he must consider whether his army can win, Luke 14:31)
- What are some ways you might suffer for Jesus’ sake? (Discuss what can happen if kids stand up for what’s right against friends. Discuss missionaries who move away from home. Talk about places where Christians are not allowed to worship God and might be arrested or even killed for their faith.)
- What do we gain by following Jesus? (Help kids think about the rewards we have through Jesus, both in this life and the next. Remind them that Jesus gives us peace, love, joy, and wisdom. Help them see that no matter what hard situations we face now, someday we will rule with Jesus when He returns.)
- What did Jesus teach when He was on earth? (Jesus taught about God and His kingdom. He taught that all Scripture is about Him.)
Say, “Following Jesus is not easy, but He is worth it. Some people hate Christians and think we are foolish and wrong. Even though they are enemies, we love them and trust Jesus through hard times. No situation is so difficult that God cannot use it for His glory and your good. He is worthy.”
For Older Kids- Also, ask the following questions:
- What do you think Jesus meant when He said that anyone who is unwilling to suffer cannot be His disciple? (Explain to kids that Jesus later told His disciples that because the world had persecuted Him, they would be persecuted. Believers should expect to suffer in a fallen world. We can endure suffering, fixing our eyes on Jesus and looking forward to eternity with Him. Read John 15:18-20)
- Why is it important to understand the cost of following Jesus? (Help kids recognize that following Jesus without understanding the cost may make it difficult to persevere in trials. Emphasize that though Jesus does not offer us an easy life, He offers us Himself. He is better than anything the world offers. Read 1 Peter 4:12-13)
- How can we encourage others who aren’t sure if following Jesus is worth it? (Prompt kids to consider the importance of praying for others. The Holy Spirit gives us strength to follow Jesus. Kids can also point others to Jesus, remembering that suffering is temporary and one day Jesus will make all things right. Read Hebrews 12:1-3)
Reflection- Ask older children to answer one of the following questions:
- What does this story teach me about God or the Gospel?
- What does the story teach me about myself?
- Whom can I tell about this story?
Closing Younger Kid Activity- Mirror, Mirror Designate a “leader”. All others are “mirrors”. Explain that the “leader” will lead a physical movement of some sort and the “mirrors” will copy the movements. Say, “Was it easy or hard to copy the leader’s movements when you were the mirror? People who follow Jesus look and act more like Jesus the longer they follow Him, but Jesus taught that following Him is not easy. Trusting Jesus means giving Him complete control of our lives. Jesus gave up His own life to rescue people from sin and give us life with God. Following Jesus is not easy, but He is worth it.”
Closing Older Kid Activity- Cross Reminders Watch the Youtube video of making a paper cross. After completing the craft, say, “Jesus told His disciples, ‘If anyone wants to follow after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.’ Jesus taught that following Him is not easy. It requires commitment and sacrifice. When we trust in Jesus, we give Him complete control of our lives. True life is found in Jesus, who gave up His life to rescue us from sin and death. He is worth it.” Pray- Ask God to draw us to Himself and give us strength to faithfully follow Jesus- no matter the cost. Pray that we would always remember that following Jesus is worth it.
Adult Sunday School Devotion for July 12
“Jesus Teaches about the Cost of Discipleship” from Luke 9; 14
Listen to- “Is He Worthy?” by Andrew Peterson here:
and- “Take the World, but Give Me Jesus” by Fanny Crosby here:
Summary- Jesus shared that discipleship involves a clear, total, and costly commitment to following Him.
Christ Connection- Jesus taught that being His disciple comes at a cost. To be His disciple requires a clear and total commitment and will involve sacrifice. When we commit our entire lives to Jesus as His disciples, we emulate the One who laid down His life on our behalf for our salvation.
Point 1. Being Jesus’ disciple requires a clear commitment (read aloud Luke 9:57-62).
Note- Each time someone came to Jesus and pledged to follow Him, Jesus tested their commitment by communicating to them exactly what they were signing up for. Instead of wooing these men with the promise of earthly benefits and cost-effective glory, He pressed them to walk away unless they were truly committed to following Him. Jesus is not in the business of sugar-coating His expectations of His disciples. He wants to be abundantly clear: following Him will be the hardest thing they will ever have to do. It will make them face fears they never imagined, it will press them into spaces they never envisioned, and it will require of them things that they never thought they’d have to give. He wants to make sure that those who are clinging to Him aren’t in it just for the cool miracles or abundance of loaves and fishes but rather that they realize that the crown they are signing up for is not earthly renown. Jesus wants to remind His disciples that following Him isn’t just something they can say; it includes things they must do.
Respond- What were some of your expectations of Christian discipleship when you became a believer?
Discipleship: Discipleship is a process that takes place both formally and informally to effect spiritual maturity as people follow Jesus. Informal discipleship, as passages like Deuteronomy 6:4-9 suggest, happens everywhere, in every arena of life. Growing in our faith and deepening our walk with Christ is something that requires our whole life, not just the mind. Formal discipleship refers to periods of instruction. We make disciples through our words and actions, providing verbal instruction from God’s Word and non-verbal examples through our lives (see Acts 20:17-24).
Point 2. Being Jesus’ disciple requires a total commitment (read aloud Luke 14:25-27).
Note- The Fifth Commandment- the first that comes with a promise (see Ephesians 6:2)- is about the very first earthly relationship we will ever have: honor your father and mother (Exodus 20:12). Jesus reinforced this commandment often during His earthly ministry. In Matthew 15:3-9, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and scribes for commanding that people give money to the temple instead of caring for their parents with those funds. In Matthew 19:16-19, Jesus told a questioner that honoring father and mother is one of the commandments necessary to obey for eternal life. In John 19:26-27, Jesus cared for His own mother and secured provision for her even as He was dying on the cross. What Jesus is doing in this passage of Luke is reminding us of the priority of God (and His Son) in our lives.
Respond- What are some ways a total commitment to Jesus may be displayed?
Note- By nature, we are preservers of self. We generally avoid and even run from pain and harm. Jesus’ words in this passage, however, fly in the face of self-protection. He has already told us that our love for Him must surpass our love for other people- a radical calling for His disciples. Now He calls His disciples to be willing to die- even by death on a cross! Jesus’ call to “hate” our own lives and bear our own crosses does not equate to a hatred of self, as if we were trash. Rather, true discipleship is the ultimate in self-preservation. It is playing the long-game, as it were. If we make it our aim to preserve our lives in the here and now, then we will lose them in hell. But if we take up our cross in willingness to die with and for Jesus Christ, then we will find them for eternity in heaven with the Lord (see Matthew 16:224-27).
Point 3. Jesus’ disciple requires a costly commitment (read aloud Luke 14:28-35).
Note- Through His illustrations about building a tower and going to war, Jesus is telling His listeners that following Him isn’t something we should wake up one day and decide to do without first stopping to count the cost. It isn’t something we can do halfheartedly. Like building a tower, discipleship isn’t something we can abandon halfway through; it is a commitment we need to see through to the end. And, like going to war, discipleship has consequences; either we are willing to fight to the death or surrender to the superior power. To take up our cross and follow Jesus is a lifelong endeavor with eternal significance. Jesus concluded these two illustrations with a tangible cost: renouncing all possessions for the sake of discipleship. In other words, when we become disciples of Jesus, we hand over all of our possessions to Him and commit to being stewards of what is now His to use as He sees fit. So, count the cost.
Respond- What are some ways we may experience the cost of discipleship to Jesus Christ?
Conclusion- Halfhearted and uncommitted discipleship is of no good to this world nor to our own souls, just like salt that has lost its taste and effectiveness has no more benefit and must be thrown out. “Disciples” who hold onto the stuff and sin of this world are showing that their true allegiance is to this world, not to Jesus. They are “disciples” in name only. True disciples, however, will hear Jesus’ words and be convicted of their complacency, which we all have to one degree or another. Who among us can live up to Jesus’ perfect standard of discipleship, after all? Thankfully, Jesus has accomplished that perfect standard for us. So we can come to Him again and again, having counted the cost and finding forgiveness and strength to live as His faithful disciples.
Apply- Because Jesus sacrificed His life on our behalf to provide our salvation, we seek to commit our time, resources, and energy for the work of sharing Christ with others so they too might be saved.
-In what areas of your life do you need to make a total commitment to Jesus, and how will you do so?
-How might your family need to support one another when the cost of discipleship hits home?
-When sharing the Gospel message, how will you faithfully communicate and live the cost of discipleship? (Praise the Lord Jesus for being worthy of all honor, worship, and devotion. Thank Him for giving up His life on the cross so that we might experience life in Him, when all we were really owed was His judgment. Ask for help in walking in the Spirit as you glorify the Father by following Jesus, giving of yourself for the sake of others in the privileged task of not only being a disciple but also making disciples.)