Sunday School Lessons

Dear Parents,

Over the next five weeks, the 4yo - 5th graders will be learning five parables that Jesus taught about God’s kingdom.  The religious leaders who listened to and watched Jesus had some problems with the things He said and did. He taught about a righteousness that comes by faith rather than works, and He was friends with tax collectors and sinners. So Jesus told parables to make clear that entering God’s kingdom was not a matter of merit but of grace.

We pray you have great conversations with your kids during the week and that you work with them on memorizing the Key Passage!

Key Passage:  To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 13:11

February 5 - Parable of the Vineyard Workers

The parable of the vineyard workers is about a landowner who hired workers to work in his vineyard. The first group agreed to work for a denarius, a fair wage for a day’s work. Throughout the day, the landowner hired more groups of workers. At the end of the day, the landowner paid every worker one denarius. The workers who had put in 12 hours did not think it was fair that those who worked just 1 hour were paid the same.

In Jesus’ parable, the second, third, fourth, and fifth groups of workers represent people who are not a part of the nation of Israel. The Israelites had been following God for generations. They faced trials, paralleling the men who worked through the heat of the day. God promised blessings to Abraham’s family, Israel. (See Gen. 12:2-3.) God kept His promise, yet He also poured out blessings on tax collectors, sinners, Gentiles.

Like the landowner and his wealth, God is free to share His grace as He desires. Jesus gave salvation to the criminal who was crucified next to Him and to Saul, who persecuted believers. Does God act fairly in saving people who have not followed Him their entire lives? The reward—eternal life—is God’s grace to those who believe, whether they believe at the first or at the last.

God does not owe us anything, yet He pours out blessings on us. He makes salvation possible for us, regardless of our abilities or efforts. The last will be first, and the first last. Jesus’ parable teaches about God’s grace. God is generous, and He loves us. We deserve to die for our sins, but God gives us what we don’t deserve—salvation through His Son, Jesus.

February 12 - Parable of the Wedding Feast

This week in The Gospel Project® for Kids, kids will learn about the parable of the wedding feast. Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast is more than a simple story about a king’s rude guests. The parable reveals the King (God the Father) who seeks to honor His Son (Jesus) with a banquet. Though many people are invited to the kingdom of heaven, few will choose to come.

When Jesus told this parable, He had been teaching for three years. Many people who heard Jesus opposed Him, including the religious leaders. It was to this audience that Jesus told such a shocking story in which the attitudes and actions of the people who rejected the king’s invitation clearly paralleled the religious leaders.

In the parable, the religious leaders are represented by the guests who refused to come to the wedding banquet. They had been invited, but when the king’s servants told them the feast was ready, they did not want to come. Instead, they went about their lives—to their farms and businesses. Some of them even killed the king’s messengers!

What an insult to the king! These people had turned down an invitation to the most wonderful and joyous event they could imagine. The king would have given His best to honor his son, and the king reacted justly. He punished those who rejected him and invited others instead—those not in the city, both the good and the bad.

Likewise, God invites Gentiles into His kingdom. No one is refused based on his or her economic or social standing. The King Himself provides the required attire—robes of righteousness, like those given to Joshua the high priest. (See Zech. 3:3-4.) The King rejects those who try to come by their own merit—in their own clothes—as the man without wedding clothes did.

Salvation is a free gift. We can’t earn our way into heaven. Jesus did all the work when He died for our sins on the cross. This story reminds us that we need to be clothed in Christ's righteousness. Jesus invites us to join Him in heaven—the great wedding feast. When we receive His invitation, Jesus gets us ready by clothing us in His righteousness.

February 19 - Parable of the Faithful Servant

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. In today’s Bible story, Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives when His disciples came to Him with a question. The disciples had been puzzled when Jesus told them that the temple would be destroyed. (Matt. 24:2) They asked, “What is the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matt. 24:3).

Matthew 24 records Jesus’ response. He told of persecution and tribulation. The chapter ends with a parable about faithful service to Jesus. The parable of the faithful servant serves as a warning to believers, urging them to be prepared for Jesus’ return.

Jesus described what the day will be like when He returns. He begins with a question: “Who then is a faithful and sensible slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give them food at the proper time?” (Matt. 24:45). Jesus told about a faithful servant whose master finds him working hard when he returns. The faithful servant will be put in charge of the master’s possessions. But if the servant is wicked—assuming he can do as he wants while his master is away—he will be punished when the master returns.

In the parable, the master is Jesus. He gave His disciples the specific task of teaching and preaching, of feeding His sheep. (See Matt. 28:18-20; John 21:17.) Jesus’ parable implores the faithfulness of everyone so that when the chief Shepherd appears, they “will receive the unfading crown of glory” (1 Pet. 5:4). The parable also serves as a warning to those—like the scribes and Pharisees—who take advantage of their position for their own gain.

Jesus gives believers the responsibility of caring for His world and sharing the gospel. No one knows the exact time Jesus will return to earth. We must always be ready. When Jesus returns, those who faithfully work for Him will be rewarded, but those who do not will be punished.

February 26 - Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. In Luke 16, Jesus taught His disciples about money. The Pharisees listened, and they did not like what they heard. The Pharisees loved money. (See Luke 16:14.) Then Jesus told them a parable about two men. The first man was rich, wearing expensive clothes and feasting daily. The second man, whose name was Lazarus, was poor and sick. He sat outside the rich man’s gate. Lazarus suffered greatly, and he died. Then the rich man died too.

Nothing the rich man had on earth helped him in eternity. The parable reveals that the rich man went to Hades. Hades is a Greek word that translates to “hell,” the place of the dead. Luke says that the rich man was in torment there. (Luke 16:23) He looked up and saw Abraham, the father of the Jewish faith. At Abraham’s side was the poor man, Lazarus.

Lazarus was comforted in heaven while the rich man suffered in hell. There is a great chasm between heaven and hell, and no one can cross it. No one can change his mind and trust in Jesus after he has died. Lazarus was saved by faith, but the rich man was consumed by his wealth. He devoted his life to living in luxury, and he did not love God or other people. In his suffering, he asked Abraham to warn his brothers.

Abraham refused. Sending Lazarus would not help. The rich man’s brothers had access to God’s Word, and Scripture is clear about salvation. Even a miracle would not convince the brothers, as Jesus raised His friend Lazarus from the dead and the religious leaders still plotted to kill Him. (See John 11:43-53.)

Those who receive salvation from Jesus have changed hearts; they treasure Jesus above any earthly treasure. Getting into heaven has nothing to do with who you know, what you wear, or what you do. Entering into heaven requires faith in Jesus, the Son of God.

March 5 - Parable of the Talents

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Matthew and Luke both record parables from Jesus. In Matthew 25, Matthew writes about the parable of the talents. Luke 19 accounts for the parable of the minas. Though these parables are similar, they are not identical. Both parables are about a master who gives money to his servants and then goes on a trip. When the master returns, he judges the servants for their faithfulness—in their stewardship over what they possessed.

This week, we will focus on the parable of the talents. Jesus was teaching His disciples at the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. The disciples asked Jesus to tell them about the end of time. (See Matt. 24:3.) He told them parables to help them understand what it will be like when the kingdom of heaven comes.

Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven will be like a man going on a journey. In this parable, the man is Jesus. Jesus was going to leave earth and return to His Father in heaven. Before the man left, he entrusted certain amounts of money to his servants. The relationship between a master and his servants would have meant that the master still owned the money they were given, and the master would own any interest they made on the money. The first two servants were faithful with the gifts, investing the talents and gaining more—not for their own profit, but for the profit of their master.

The third servant, however, knew that if he lost any of the money, the master would punish him. And if he gained any money, he wouldn’t get to keep it anyway. So he took no risk and buried the money in the ground. When the master returned, he was pleased with the actions of the first two servants, but he punished the servant who did nothing.

“Well done, good and faithful servant!” Every believer, as a servant of Christ, has the task of serving God with his or her life. We do not sit idly by, afraid of failure, but we serve joyfully for Jesus’ sake. We eagerly wait for the day we can share in the joy of our Master. Heaven is the joy of knowing, worshiping, and enjoying Jesus forever.

A Note about 2 and 3 year old's Curriculum

We use a curriculum called DiscipleLand for our 2 & 3 year olds.  This curriculum is very clearly Christ-centered, like Gospel Project, but focuses on teaching our littlest ones foundational stories about Jesus.  The added benefit of this curriculum is the age appropriate words, actions and helpers - namely Chip, a puppy dog puppet, who helps introduce the story each week.

Please be sure you take home the Family Card.  This will give you an opportunity to continue teaching your little ones and reinforce the lesson all week long!

They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor.

Isaiah 61:3b