Focus Passage: Galatians 5: 1-25
Memory Verse: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
Items for Preparation:
-Have some different kinds of fruit that are easy to get now: peaches, berries, bananas, grapes, etc. Wash them and put them on a platter or in a bowl so that they look delectable. You can eat some, slowly, as you move through your sermon. You aren’t going to hand this out for kids to eat. Just need a little. Variety is helpful.
Background: Read the adult lesson in Nurturing Faith and additional material online. Paul lists the fruits of the spirit in a couple of places, so we’re going with the list he writes here. There’s a great kids’ camp song about the Fruit of the Spirit. You begin with the tune for “Someone’s in the Kitchen with Dinah.” You sing about three stanzas. “The Fruit of the Spirit’s not a banana.” In the next stanza, it’s not a coconut. It’s not a mango either. Know that one? Yea! Just teach kids that song. Just learning the different things Paul lists is a helpful start as their faith is growing, on which they can build. Kids memorize like crazy, especially to music. The song is the way to go!
If you don’t know the song, maybe somebody near you knows it. If not, then it’s a good thing you’re reading our children’s sermon page right now, you poor, kids’ camp-deprived, song-less person. Alas. We’ll save you.
[Display your fruit. You can start eating a banana, or some grapes, or the blueberries which I would go for, slowly, as you talk. But don’t explain why you have it or what it’s for. Not yet.]
Say: Paul wrote a curious thing in his letter to friends in Galatia. He was trying to help them understand how people are different when they decide to be Jesus-followers. We’ve been talking all this month about how being a Jesus-follower changes us. Say, can any of you name a way a person is different when they are a Jesus-follower, from people who are not Jesus-followers? [Allow for answers. Maybe they will surprise you and know nothing. But probably they’ve been listening this month.]
Say: For example, if a person had been pretty selfish, and always wanted to be first in line, and get the biggest cookie, and sit in the best seat, and then he became a Jesus-follower in his church, he wouldn’t be the same, would he? He’d be different. Something in him would change. He would start letting other people go first. He would offer the best cookie to someone beside him, and take the smallest one. He would let the little old ladies have the best seat, and he would stand up instead. What do you call a person who does that? [Allow for answers. Offer the answer “generous” or “patient” or “self-controlled” if they don’t.]
Say: And what about a person who is just sad all the time? Grumpy? Fussy? Cries or yells when she doesn’t get her way? Complaining about everything? Never happy no matter what? If that person decides to become a Jesus-follower, she would change, wouldn’t she? She might actually smile at you in the morning! She might be humming as she walks along the hallway. She might say some good things instead of complaining. What would we call that kind of person? [Allow for answers. Maybe they’ll offer “joyful” or “peaceful” or “gentle.”
Say: And how about somebody who is just scared to be a friend to anyone? Maybe you know a person who just stays quiet, and doesn’t want to talk to you. He has eyebrows that furrow. He looks down, and doesn’t sit near anybody if he can sit a little bit apart. If he decided to be a Jesus-follower, he would change, and he might smile and sit near you. He might say hello, or ask you to tell your favorite joke, and he might seem easier to be with, and more friendly, and might even share his M&Ms with you. What would we call him then? [Allow for answers, such as “loving,” “kind,” “generous.”]
Say: Now, I am eating some delicious fruit. I want you to remember the fruit I’m eating. Because when Paul wrote his letter, he talked about how people change and have these wonderful ways about them, because they decide to be Jesus-followers. Paul talked about these things in people: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Those things. When you hear about those things, you can think of people right away who have those things in them, can’t you?
Say: Paul called these special things Fruits of the Spirit. Not like the fruit I am eating, but a different kind of fruit. Ways you know Jesus is inside somebody. If they have those things we listed above – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – then that is a clue that they are Jesus-followers. What fruits of the Spirit do you have? How about your friends? Maybe there are some fruits you think you don’t have yet. It would be good to grow them!
Prayer: Say these words after I say them.
O Spirit of Life,
Let us become Jesus-followers
In all the ways our brother Paul wrote about,
So that the Fruits of the Spirit
Will grow in us,
In Jesus’ name, Amen.