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Bridge to Heaven

A typical bridge

Application:

No matter how good we are, we will never measure up to God's standard.   The wages of sin is eternal separation from God, but tooth-picks and Gumdrops show us how we can bridge the River of Sin and find Salvation in Jesus Christ.

Materials You Need:

A bag of Gumdrops or miniature Marshmallows.
A box of round wooden toothpicks.
A number of thick books.
Several chocolate bar prizes.

Preparation:

  1. Stick four toothpicks into four gumdrops to make a square.
  2. Stick another toothpick with a gumdrop on it on top of each gumdrop until you make a cube.
  3. Does this structure feel solid or shaky?
  4. Repeat the exercise poking three toothpicks into three gumdrops to make a triangle.
  5. Stick toothpicks into the top of each gumdrop, bend these toward the centre and finish with one gumdrop at the top to make a three-sided pyramid.
  6. Is this structure solid?
  7. Combine a triangle and a square to make a four-sided pyramid.
  8. Does this structure feel shaky?
  9. Combine squares and triangles to build a bridge similar to the one in the figure.
  10. Does the bridge feel sturdy enough so that it could support some weight?

Types of structures

Effect:

This lesson will teach children much about engineering principles and bridge building.  For a competition, use two piles of books to make a gorge (the River of Sin) and see if the children can span it with their bridge and see which one will support the most weight.  Then let the children have a party and eat their bridges!

Text:

Luke 16:19-31.

 

Lesson:

Jesus told a story of a rich man who lived in a huge house and had every luxury that you could imagine.  At his gate lay a beggar named Lazarus, who was covered with sores.  He longed to eat some scraps from the rich man's table, but the rich man was too stingy and ignored him.  Only the dogs would came and lick his sores until the time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side.

The rich man also died but went to hell where he was in pain and torment all the time.  He looked up from hell and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus at his side.  So he called to him, "Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to me.  He can dip the tip of his finger into water and cool my tongue, because I'm in agony in this fire."

But Abraham replied, "Son, in your lifetime you received all your good things, while Lazarus received bad things.  But now he is comforted here and you are in agony, but besides this, there is a great gap between us and you, so that nobody can cross over it."

The Penalty for Sin:

The story of Lazarus and the rich man shows us that the penalty for sin is eternal separation from God.  Each of us has sinned and deep down in our hearts we all know this.  But, often we don't want to admit this and so we try to cover up our sins.  Romans 6:23 says:

"For the wages of sin is death."

This verse shows us that no matter how good we are, we will never measure up to God's standard.

Shaky Structures:

Many people try to cover up their sins by doing good.  This is like us building a structure with squares (Give the children marshmallows and tooth picks and let them build the four-sided cube structure).   Your cubes look good on the outside, but you can shake them until they eventually collapse.  (Let them shake their cube to bits).

The problem is with the structure and the same problem is with our lives, because if we try to build a life by doing good, we can never please God.  The Bible says that our good works are like filthy rags (Isaiah 6:45).  And so no matter how hard we try, eventually the bad things in our hearts will come out.  Luke 6:45 says:

"The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart,
and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart."

A Permanent Solution!

Trying to please God by doing your best to be good is not going to save you.  God knew before the creation of the world that people would sin and that no one would ever be able to match up to His standard or be able to come into His presence and live.  So, what can we do then?  The Old Testament solution for your sins was to offer a lamb as a sacrifice.   The lamb had to die in your stead to pay the penalty for your sin.  God needed a better solution than that.  He needed one that would work once for all.  Romans 6:23b tells us:

"The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

And so Jesus volunteered and said, "Father, I will go and become one of them, so that I can die in their stead."

A Bridge to Heaven:

Each team must take two books and place them 200 mm apart.  The first book represents where we are standing.  The other book represents God in Heaven.  We cannot cross over to get to God, because in between there's the River of our Sins.  The only way to we can get to Heaven is by asking Jesus to forgive our sins and to come into our hearts as our Saviour.

Each team must build a bridge to represent what Jesus has done of us by dying on the cross and taking the punishment for our sins.  We need to build strong structures for a bridge.  (Let the children form small teams and build 3-sided and 4-side pyramids and test how strong they are).

Building Strong Bridges:

I want you to combine squares and triangles to build a bridge that is sturdy and strong so that it can support a weight.  (Give the children time to build a bridge that will span the 200 mm distance).  You're finished?  Is your structure strong, or is it shaky?  I'm going to test them to see which one will support the most weight.  (You could test them with chocolate bar prizes).

Squares are weak and the four toothpicks tend to collapse by giving way at their joints, which are their weakest points.  But if you make a toothpick triangle, the situation changes.  The only way to change the angles of the triangle is by shortening one of the sides.  To make the triangle collapse you would have to push hard enough to break one of the toothpicks.  For this reason engineers use triangles to build large structures such as bridges.

Jesus our Bridge to Heaven:

If you used the combination of squares and triangles then you will have built a strong bridge, just like Jesus is the only way to Heaven.  It shows us how the Cross of Jesus takes us from sin and death across the gulf, to eternal life and forgiveness in Heaven.

Would you like Jesus to build this bridge in your life?  Are you willing to ask Jesus to forgive all your sins and let Him come into your life as your Saviour?  John 14:6 says:

"I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me."

If you accept Jesus as your Saviour and ask Him to forgive your sins, then His blood will make you clean in God's sight.  And God will grant you eternal life so that you will be able to live in Heaven for ever.

And now you can eat your bridges!

God bless.
 

Copyright © Sharon Children's Ministries

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