Editor’s note: CTA’s Gospel Story by Colors theme has been a customer favorite for many years. The outreach items in the theme are perfect for summer mission trips or even outreach events at your home church. Today’s devotion will help you introduce the colors to your children and remind them of God’s plan of salvation through our Savior, Jesus.
The story of Jesus is a story of very, very good news. Still, that story always starts out with some very bad news.
Let’s pretend! Let’s pretend that this morning you put on your favorite shirt or your best dress to wear for church. After breakfast, you notice no one else is quite ready yet. So, you decide to finish the picture you started painting last night. You reach over to pick up the paint pot, and . . . Oh, no! Oh, no! The paint somehow splashes all over your clothes! Oh, no! This is the kind of paint that won’t come out of clothing! What a mess! Your shirt or dress is ruined! Has something like that ever happened to you?
The Bible tells us that sin ruins human beings, just like paint stains ruin clothing. We sin any time we do something God has forbidden. We also sin when we see something kind or helpful we know God would want us to do, but we decide not to do it. Sometimes sin seems really terrible, like stealing or killing. But sometimes sin doesn’t seem so bad, like selfishly taking the front seat when we know our sister wants it. (Let the children suggest specific examples of sin.)
Anytime we act or speak or think in a way different than our Lord Jesus would act, speak, or think, we sin. All of us sin. The Bible says, “All have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23 NLT). We hurt ourselves when we sin, and by our sin we earn God’s punishment. The swirled paint pot reminds me of the stain of my sin.
Have any of you ever visited a cave, deep in the earth? Sometimes when you tour a cave like that, the tour guide shuts off the lights. The darkness in an underground cave can be very frightening, almost suffocating! Suppose you visited a cave like that, and the tour guide sneaked away, leaving you alone and lost in the dark?
That’s almost too scary to imagine! I know something even scarier! God could have left us alone in the darkness of our sin! But the next color on the cross reminds us that he did not do that. He loves us too much. The Bible says, “[God] has rescued us from the one who rules in the kingdom of darkness, and he has brought us into the Kingdom of his dear Son [Jesus]” (Colossians 1:13 NLT). You may know another verse that tells about that—John 3:16 (NLT). (If the children have memorized this verse, have them recite it in unison with you; otherwise, read it to them:) “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
Jesus bled and then died on the cross so we can live forever in heaven with God. The red strip reminds me of what Jesus did.
Even though we are sinners, God loves us! This is a mystery no one can fully understand. He loves us so much he had Jesus die on a cross and take the punishment for our sin. This, too, is a mystery no one can fully understand. And faith is another mystery. God gives us faith to believe that he saved us through Christ’s death on the cross and his resurrection.
The Bible tells us “we become right with God, not by doing what the law commands, but by faith in Jesus Christ” (Galatians 2:16 NLT). The blue strip reminds me of God’s gift to me—faith in Jesus.
Ask, “Have you ever gotten really, really dirty? How dirty were you?” (Let one or two volunteers tell about making mud pies, sliding into third base after a thunderstorm, and so on.) You probably needed a lot of soap to get clean again. I’m glad we have soap that cleans us and kills the bacteria that could make us sick.
But no soap on earth can wash away our sins. King David knew this. In Psalm 51 he prays this to God: “Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7 NLT). The white color reminds me that because of Jesus and his cross, my sins are washed away and I am clean before God.
Do you like spring? Many people look forward to the start of baseball season, to picnics, and to warmer weather. When we see the first blades of green grass, we know that spring and summer will soon follow. Spring is a time of new life and growth.
The green strip reminds me that because of Christ’s cross, I can grow, too—at any and every time of year. God has planted the seed of his Word in my heart, and he will water it and fertilize it. The Bible urges us to “grow in the special favor and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18 NLT).
This last strip, the yellow one, reminds me that life on this earth is not all there is. Someday, all believers will live with Jesus forever in heaven. Jesus has promised us, “I am going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am” (John 14:2–3 NLT). Because of Jesus, we belong to God’s family forever! Not even death can stop God’s love and care for us!
This promise makes me very happy—and yellow reminds me of that happiness! We’ve heard many promises from God today, but this just may be the best promise of all!
You can use these colors to remind you what God has done for you in our Savior, Jesus! You can also use the colors to help you share this good news with other people. Whom will you tell?
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