Family Sunday School Devotion for July 5
“The Sermon on the Mount” from Matthew 5-7
Listen to- “You are the Light of the World” from Steve Green here:
and “The Word of God (Hebrews 4:12)” from Seeds Family Worship here:
and- “Trust and Obey” from Don Moen here:
Supplies Needed- For younger kids: (optional: pieces of fruit or small cereal); ingredients for salt dough- flour, salt, water, (opt.) food coloring, medium-sized bowl; for older kids: supplies for simple craft of your choice; 4 plastic/Styrofoam cups, foam ball/rolled up sock
Summary- Jesus taught people how to live in God’s kingdom.
Introduction Younger Kid Activity- Obey Happily Give children a fun command. Encourage them to respond with “Yes, ma’am” or “Yes, sir” and obey quickly. Reward quick and happy obedience with a smile, word of praise, sticker, or piece of fruit/cereal. Say, “When Jesus lived on earth, the religious leaders thought a person could go to heaven if they did all the right things. In today’s Bible story, Jesus said that why a person does the right thing is just as important as doing the right thing. Doing the right thing is hard, but doing the right thing for the right reason is even harder! Listen to today’s Bible story to hear how Jesus came to earth to do all the right things for us!”
Introduction Older Kid Activity- Follow My Example Lead kids in creating a simple craft (examples- paint, draw, sculpt from play dough, folding a paper airplane). Demonstrate carefully, leading through the steps involved. Say, “What other things have you learned how to do by following others’ examples? In the Bible story we will hear today, Jesus taught His followers how to live. Then He spent His ministry showing them how to live. We’ll find out more about the example Jesus set for His followers.”
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.”
Bible Story- Timeline Say, “In the beginning, God created the whole universe, and everything was perfectly good. Sadly, things didn’t stay good for long. Adam and Eve chose to reject God’s authority, and their disobedience brought sin, sadness, and death into the world. Thankfully, God had a plan to rescue people from sin and undo the damage sin causes. In the last few weeks, we learned about Jesus’ healing of people with all kinds of issues. Jesus healed people who could not walk or could not see; He even raised people who were dead! Although Jesus cared for people’s physical needs, He also wanted people to know God. That’s why He spent time teaching.” Open a Bible to Matthew 5-7. Say, “The Bible is God’s Word, and God’s Word is true. Today’s Bible story comes from the Book of Matthew in the New Testament.” Either tell the story in your own words from this passage or read aloud from the Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook (the Bible storybook your younger child received from Sunday School) page 216.
Christ Connection- Say, “Jesus taught people what it means to follow Him. He taught how people should live, how they should treat one another, and how to love God. People who trust in Jesus live to honor God and show what His kingdom is like. When we have faith in Jesus, we are part of God’s kingdom. That changes everything about us! We begin to look more like Jesus in the way we behave and how we treat others. We love people even when they treat us wrongly, and we care more about God’s glory than our own.”
Key Passage- Open a Bible to John 14:25-26. Read the verses aloud. Say, “Jesus knew that it would be difficult for us to remember all His teachings, much less obey them. Thankfully, He sent the Holy Spirit. When we have faith, the Holy Spirit lives with us to help us remember Jesus’ teachings and obey God.”
Review Questions- Ask the following questions:
- *PreK- Who taught people about God’ kingdom? (Jesus)
- *PreK- Where did Jesus teach His sermon? (on a mountain)
- *PreK- What word did Jesus repeat about people who follow Him? (blessed or happy)
- Why did Jesus say those who mourn are blessed? (Matthew 5:4)
- What did Jesus compare believers to? (Matthew 5:13-16)
- What did Jesus come to do with the law? (Matthew 5:17)
- What are some ways God’s kingdom is different from worldly kingdoms? (Guide kids to give examples about how God’s kingdom is the opposite of what our hearts naturally desire. In God’s kingdom, we love our enemies and consider ourselves blessed even in difficult or sad times. We trust in God instead of ourselves, and we do good to glorify God, not to look good in front of others.)
- Why does God care so much about what’s in our hearts? (Help kids understand that sinful actions always begin as sinful thoughts and desires. Remind them that it is not enough to simply avoid doing bad things. Obedience to God means we do not even think evil thoughts. Help them see that we need Jesus because only He can meet God’ standard of perfection.)
- Where did Jesus’ authority to teach come from? (Guide kids to think about Jesus’ identity as God the Son. Remind them that He was present at creation and that He is the King of kings. His words are God’s own words. His teaching is perfect.)
- 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, “Jesus taught people how to live in God’s kingdom. We can only enter His kingdom by faith in Jesus. Then God transforms our lives to look like Jesus. We cannot live the way Jesus said to, but Jesus fulfilled the law for us. We are saved by Him alone.”
For Older Kids- Also, ask the following questions:
- How is the kingdom of God different from the world? (Clarify for kids that the kingdom of God is His rule and reign. We enter God’s kingdom when we trust in Jesus and recognize His authority over our lives. God’s kingdom is upside-down in many ways compared to the world. His kingdom reflects His values, such as gentleness and humility. Read Hebrews 12:28)
- How can believers be lights in a dark world? (read Matthew 5:16)
- What blessings come to those who follow Jesus? (read Ephesians 1:3-6, 13)
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- Salt Dough Use the following recipe to make salt dough. As you mix and then play with the dough, talk more about obedience to Jesus and how that shows the world more about who Jesus is (see Matthew 5:13): Mix 2 cups flour and 1 cup salt in a medium-sized bowl. Add ¾ cup water until combined. (You may need a little more water if the dough isn’t coming together. If you wish to add food coloring, do so now.) Knead dough until supple and smooth. Say, “That dough has way too much salt to eat! Jesus taught that those who follow Him are like salt. In the same sermon, He also compared believers to light.”
Closing Older Kid Activity- The Wide and Narrow Goals Use upside-down plastic/Styrofoam cups to make 2 goals: one very wide, the other very narrow. Provide a foam ball (or rolled-up sock) and instruct kids to take turns kicking the ball toward one of the goals. Award 1,000 points to anyone who kids the ball through the narrow goal. Take away points for each kick that rolls through the wide goal. After a few rounds, say, “During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke about 2 gates, one wide and one narrow. Jesus said the wide gate leads to destruction, and the narrow gate leads to life (see Matthew 7:13-14). Jesus was talking about 2 ways to live. It is easy to live for yourself and to only do the things you think you should do, but that way of living does not honor God. It is much harder to live for God’s glory and to put Him first, but that is the way to experience God’s best for us. When we have faith in Jesus, God forgives our sins and gives us new hearts that love Him. The Holy Spirit comes to help us remember Jesus’ words and obey Him.”
Pray- Thank God for His Word and for His teaching that equips us for living in a dark world. Pray that the light of Jesus would shine through kids as they seek to live for Him.
Adult Sunday School Lesson for July 5
“Jesus Teaches about Discipleship” from Matthew 5-7
Listen to- “We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations” from Grace Community Church here:
and- “Trust and Obey” from Don Moen here:
Summary- In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught what it means to live as one of His disciples- someone who has been transformed by faith in Jesus and who lives for Him.
Christ Connection- Just as Jesus came into the world to be light, we too are to live in the world as salt and light for Him.
Point 1. Jesus’ disciples are to be salt and light (read aloud Matthew 5:13-16).
Note- Our worldly culture is rotting: deep partisan rifts result in fruitless shouting matches. People feel alone in the world even though they are more connected than ever. Parents fear for the future of their nation and their children. While some clamor that this brave new world is an improvement upon times past, Christians in this generation, and in every generation, know that something is not right. The Bible tells us that the creation is groaning for the coming of Jesus, the last Adam, to set things right, and believers groan for it too (Romans 8:22-23). Christians can smell the rot of a culture that has turned from the precepts of the Lord. So Christians are called to be the salt of the earth, preserving the world from social and moral decay by proclaiming and living the truth of God’s Word for a people who need it. We are called to be a remnant of faithful disciples who maintain their saltiness and their preserving power, all for the glory of God.
Respond- What are some ways Jesus’ followers can serve as salt in the world?
Note- Jesus goes before us as the perfect example of what it means to be the light of the world. Jesus is the light who shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome Him (see John 1:1-5). In Matthew 5, we have both a command and a hope. The command is to shine our set-apart life in front of a dark and dying world so that by our light the true light- Jesus- might be illuminated for those lost in the darkness. The hope is that no matter how dark this world might be, it will not overcome the true light of God. While it may be very easy for a little girl in Sunday School to shout her bold “no” about hiding her light under a bushel, she will eventually grow up to realize that light can illuminate some frightening things. That “little light” might also put a target on her back. Rather than teach His followers to fear the darkness, Jesus- whose confrontation with the darkness would lead to His own crucifixion- calls His disciples to boldness in the face of ridicule, isolation, and persecution. Jesus’ identity as the true light of the world reminds us that no matter the results of our shining for His glory, He will be victorious.
Point 2. Jesus’ disciples are to obey for God’s glory, not their own (read aloud Matthew 6:1-4).
Note- As an example of practicing righteousness with the right priorities, Jesus paints a picture of giving so secret that it could even be secret from one’s own body, that one hand wouldn’t know what good deed the other has done. Using hyperbole, He’s saying that if our other hand knows the good we’ve done, we might be tempted to puff ourselves up and look for the praise of human beings instead of for the praise and reward of God. Our Savior modeled the blinders that He requests of us. Before His sermon on the mountaintop, He lived it for 40 days in the wilderness (see Matthew 4:1-11). At His weakest physical point from fasting, Satan tempted Him to turn stones into bread. Satan was asking Jesus to perform miracles not for His Father’s glory but for self-gratification. Jesus saw right through the enemy’s ploy. In fact, His final words to Satan reveal the heart of what Jesus is telling us to do in Matthew 6: “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve’” (Matthew 4:10).
Respond- How can we combat the temptation to seek the reward of human applause instead of God’s glory and His eternal reward?
Point 3. Jesus’ disciples are to live purposefully (read aloud Matthew 7:19-24).
Note- Jesus’ own disciple Judas would become a chilling illustration of the truth that outward compliance is meaningless. He followed Jesus for the three years of His earthly ministry. He heard the sermons, saw the miracles, and was handpicked by the Messiah. If anyone knew all the right things to say and do to persuade people that he was a Christ-follower in every sense of the word, it was Judas. And yet, with a simple kiss, he revealed his lack of faith in the Lord Jesus (see Matthew 26:47-50). Judas sat at Jesus’ Passover table and proclaimed his innocence on the very night Jesus was arrested, but by the time Judas told Jesus that he would never betray the “Rabbi” (notice, not “Lord”), he had already done it (see Matthew 26:14-16, 20-25). For 30 pieces of silver, Judas showed that his outward compliance during Jesus’ earthly ministry was all for show. While one’s semblance of fruit might fool casual onlookers temporarily, God is not deceived. People may not get caught in their webs of deceit until the day of judgment, but it will catch up with them. Jesus sees through outward compliance. So we would do well to do the will of the Father, to pray to Him for a growing faith in Jesus, and to test ourselves to see if we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Respond- What is the difference between outward compliance to Christ’s commands and inward conformity to Christ’s lordship?
Conclusion- In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus isn’t simply telling His listeners to “do better” or “try harder”- He’s actually reminding them that the only way to do the things that He is asking them to do is to be radically transformed from the inside out by faith. Jesus is not interested in watching us put on a show; He wants to see us walking in an obedience that is more than skin-deep. He wants our light to shine before a dying world not because we’re gritting our teeth and trying to turn on the bulb by our own power but because we are walking in such obedience to Him that others cannot help but see. He wants us to take every step by faith in His grace, not in our own power or in our own perceived righteousness.
Apply- Because we have been saved by Christ and have committed to follow Him, we live purposefully so that others see His glory, investing in eternal treasures rather than earthly ones.
-What step of faith will you take to live purposefully for Jesus’ glory and not your own?
-How might your family need to act or change so your ministry to one another and others brings glory to Jesus and not to your family?
-Who do you know needs to hear Jesus’ warning that outward compliance is meaningless apart from faith in Jesus?
(Give thanks to God that Jesus has rescued you from the dominion of darkness and brought you into the kingdom of light so that you might reflect His light to the world. Ask for help through the indwelling Holy Spirit to obey and bear fruit fitting for His kingdom as you invite fellow sinners to become disciples of Jesus by faith.)