Theme:God's greatest gift to us is His love, shown in the gift of His only Son, Jesus. He sent Jesus to die on the cross and rise again so that we might have forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven. When we hear the good news of such great love, we are commanded to share that love with others. We are a representation of God when His love is reflected through us. Missionaries around the world share the good news of God's love every day. We can support them in prayer as well as being missionaries in our own neighborhoods.
Bible Text: 1 John 4:11-12
Message: How many of you can remember what you got for Christmas? That was _____ month(s) ago -- it might be hard to remember. (Listen to answers.) How many of you got just exactly what you wanted for Christmas? Well, I got just exactly what I most wanted, and I'm so excited about it that I just had to bring it this morning and show it to you. It's in this box right here. Can any of you guess what it might be? (Listen and respond to guesses. After a few guesses allow a child to open it up and tell the other children what it is - a Bible.) Now why would I be so excited about a Bible? Are any of you excited about my Bible? The reason I wanted this Bible so much is because it tells me about the best gift that all of us got at Christmas. Does anyone know what that might be? (Allow for answers.) That's right - the Bible tells us about God's love. It tells us that God loves us so much He sent His Son Jesus at Christmas to grow up just like us and then die on the cross to forgive our sins.
Now, what do you do if you get the best gift you could ever want? That's right, you tell everybody about it! That is what God tells us in the Bible. We are supposed to share His gift of love with other people -- especially those who have never heard. (Hold up the sign with 1 John 4:11-12 and read it or have an older child read it.) "Dear friends, since God so loved us, we ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us." How do other people know that we love God. How can they see God? They see God when we share God's love with them.
Does anybody have an idea for how we can share God's love? (Listen to and comment on ideas.) How about praying? (hold up prayer sign) We can pray for people who don't know and believe in Jesus and for the missionaries who tell people about Him. How about praise? (hold up praise sign) We can praise God in church and Sunday School. Can you think of any other place where we can praise God? How about telling? (hold up telling sign) We can tell people about God and how much He loves them, and we can tell other people about all the great things God does for us every day.
I brought something with me this morning to help us remember to share God's love. I'm going to need three very responsible people. (Give one child a bag that says "God loves me," one child a bag that says "God loves the people at my school," and one child a bag that says "God loves people all over the world." Fill the "God loves me" bag up with candy. Now we are going to pretend that this candy is like God's love. I filled ______'s bag full of candy just like God fills us up with His love. But He doesn't want us to keep His love all to ourselves - He wants us to share it. So, ______, give at least half of your candy to _______ (the one whose bag says "God loves people at my school.") Now look, your bag is half empty. (Fill it up again) As we share God's love with others, He keeps our hearts filled up. (Repeat this until all three bags are filled up.) Now, how do the rest of you feel? Yes, it seems unfair that these three people get to have all the candy and you don't get any. That's how people feel who never get told how much Jesus loves them. They do not know that He loves them so much He died on the cross, just for them. That's why it is so important for missionaries to go all over the world telling people how much God loves them and that He died for them too. It's also our job today and everyday to share the good news of Jesus' love with other people. (Hand out individual bags of candy.) I have a little bag of candy for each of you. What I want you to do is to think of some people who you would like to tell about God's love. I want you to give them a piece of candy and when you give it to them say "Jesus loves you!" Let's practice by saying that to the adults now. Everyone turn to face the adults and let's all tell them "Jesus loves you!" nice and loud so they can hear you. Thank you. You may go back to your seats.