These last nine months I've had the opportunity to have some interesting conversations with my students. I wish I could write them all down and never forget a moment or a word! Here is a glimpse into my 4th and 5th grade classroom!
~~~~ The Empty Sacrifice ~~~~
Student #1- "Mrs. Stephanie, if someone didn't know Jesus, but they did a really amazing thing by saving someone else's life, and dying themselves instead, would they get to go to heaven?"
Student #2- "Well, what does 1 Corinthians 13 say?" (We just finished memorizing this chapter as a class)
Student #1- "So yes, they would go to heaven because they were showing love to the other person by dying for them."
Me- "But what does the Bible say about getting to Heaven? Can we get to Heaven by the good things we do?"
Student #1- "If we are showing love, yes."
Me- "If we could go to Heaven by only doing good things and loving others, why would Jesus have needed to come and die for us?"
Student #2- "Ahh! 'And though I give my body to be burned…' that's what that verse means…"(And this teacher's heart is overflowing with pride because yes, they are hiding His word in their hearts! It's coming to mind in uncertain situations!)
Me- "Exactly!" You can do amazing works and good deeds and love people like no one else, but without Jesus as your savior you cannot go to Heaven. It is only by His death and resurrection that we get to go to Heaven."
Student #1- "But 1 Corinthians 13 says the greatest of these is love."
Me-"Yes, and it's talking about God's love. We cannot have God's love if we do not have God in our lives."
Student #1- "That's really, really sad."
Me- "Yes, it is very sad. There are a lot of really great people in this world who spend their lives doing selfless things for others but do not know and follow God and will not be able to spend eternity with Him. This is very sad."
The reality of Hell is no joke. Even 4th and 5th graders can feel the weight of it.
~~~~ Who are they Worshiping? ~~~~
While reading about Hudson Taylor (missionary to China), we found him before a temple, overwhelmed as he watched devoted Buddhists worship deceased ancestors and images of stone. Hudson was astonished at the sincerity with which they worshiped.
Me-"What does it mean to worship deceased ancestors?"
Student #1- "It means worshiping your dead relatives that have become angles."
Me- "Really… so do you think when we die, we all become angels?"
Student #1- "Yes. We wear white robes and have wings."
Me-"Hmmm, I wonder why people think that. Let's think about Genesis and when God created the earth. Did Satan already exist, or did God create him when he created Adam and Eve?"
Student #2- "I think he already existed."
Me- "I think you're right. And what is Satan? What was he before he rebelled against God and was cast out of Heaven?"
Student #3- "He was a beautiful angel!"
Me- "Yes, he was! And he became very proud and wanted to be like God. The Bible says that when Satan rebelled against God, many, many angels decided to follow Satan instead of God. What do we call those angels now?"
Student #4- "Demons?"
Me- "Yes. They are demons. Satan and the demons sinned against God didn't they. Do you think Satan and the demons can get saved and follow God again?"
Student #2- "No..."
Me- "I think you're right. I don't think they can either. You see, God sent Jesus to die for our sins, but not for the sins of angels. This shows us that we are a different creation than the angels are. Angels cannot be saved like we can, can they? Do you think angels are mighty and powerful?"
Students- "Maybe…" (Now they're starting to doubt what they know to be true.)
Me- "Yes, they are very mighty and powerful. Every time we see an angel appear to someone in the Bible, that person becomes very afraid! I think angels must be amazing creatures! One angel even binds Satan for a thousand years during the reign of Christ." (The students begin talking about their many eyes, wings, and different faces.) "These angels are amazing creations of God, but for some reason God didn't send His Son to die for them. They cannot get saved. God sent His Son to die for us. He must love us so much! It seems like He chose us over even the powerful angels! And He sends His angels to minister to us and sent them to minister to Jesus. So, what happens when we die now that we know we don't become angels?"
Students- "We either go to Heaven or Hell."
Me- "That's right. So when Hudson Taylor saw these people worshiping their ancestors. Who do you think they were really worshiping? Can we worship and talk to people who have died?"
Students- "No because they're not here. Maybe they are worshiping no one."
Me- "That's right. Or maybe they are worshiping demons. When people talk to dead spirits, they are definitely not talking to people that used to live on this earth. Remember, evil is real. Satan is real. The demons are real. But God created them and He is more powerful than they are. They cannot do anything without His permission. We should not be afraid of them, but we should always remember that they are real and they are not on our side. And never forget that God loves you more than even the most powerful angel!"
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