A Kerosene Lamp 

A Lesson on Sin |By Mary Goemaat

"Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father" Matthew 5:16 (NLT).

While cleaning my old fashioned kerosene lamp, I thought of a children's object lesson on sin. I brought the lamp to church, all shiny and clean, replaced the glass globe, and lit the wick. I talked about how this light represented the light of Jesus in our hearts for all to see. I slowly turned up the wick so the glass became sooty and black.

The soot, I explained, represents the sin that creeps into our lives such as bad language, stealing, lying, not spending time with God, teasing and things that hurt others. We may try to wipe it away from the outside by promising to do better, but the dirt remains deep in our hearts. Now our light is so dull, it is barely visible for others to see that we are Christians; we can't shine for Jesus. The only way to clean this sin away is to ask Jesus to forgive us, and to ask others to forgive us too. 

God then cleans the inside of our hearts (remove the globe, allowing it to cool for a moment while you talk, then clean the inside with a cloth). As it becomes clean, talk about how only God can forgive our sins and cleanse our hearts. Jesus was perfect. He chose to take our sin for us and pay our penalty with HIS death on the cross. The Bible says, "if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing" 1 John 1:9 (GNT).

(Replace the globe) 

See how our light is bright and clear again. This reminds us of how we should ask for forgiveness often and not let our light become so dull. We are to be examples for God. Other people will watch us to see if we mean what we say. We need to keep our lives clean, so others will be drawn to God by our example and love for Him. We must tell others about God's love so they can have the light of Christ in their lives too!

Copyright 2000 Mary Goemaat
Faith Reformed Church

Editor's note: Mary's excellent illustration coordinates well when teaching the 3rd Commandment, "Don't misuse God's name or take God's name in vain." This commandment is not only about using God's name disrespectfully. It also has to do with God's children behaving in ways that bring dishonor to God. 

Learn more about God's Top Ten and how to teach the commandments to children.
Ten Commandments Bible Lesson Plans

Return to the Children's Sermons & Object Talks page

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