AGE APPROPRIATE: Elementary age (5-11s)
BIG IDEA: CHRIST PROTECTS OUR HEART
AIM: The ‘Breastplate of Righteousness’ Childrens Lesson (Ephesians 6:14) will help children to understand what righteousness is and why it is a fruit of the Spirit. This lesson is part of the Armor of God teaching series.
- ‘Armor of God’ by Troy and Genie Nilsson
- ‘Armor of God’ by Bear Hug Band
- ‘Full Armor of God’ by KidSpring Music
- ‘Armor of God’ Kickstart Worship
- ‘I Am a Christian’ by Ken Blount
- ‘Soldier in the Army of the Lord’ by Go Fish Guys
- Tough Targets. Leaders where targets on their chest and children are armed with nerf guns and must attempt to shoot the leaders in the chest. The winning child is the child that hits their leader the most. Aim: To show the children that the breastplate is important in protecting our heart.
Cereal box pick up. Pick up the cereal box without being able to touch the floor with anything except your feet. Once you have done it, rip off a layer around the top and try again. For best results use a few players and eliminate the ones that cannot do the challenge after each level.
Best Tarzan Yell. Children beat their chest and do a Tarzan yell. The player with the best Tarzan yell is chosen by the audience by clapping or cheering the loudest for the winner.
BIG VERSE: [stand firm then…] with the breastplate of righteousness in place. Ephesians 6:15.
SET the Scene:
Read Acts 8:5-25. Philip and Simon the Sorcerer. Explain to the children that Simon did not have good reasons for wanting the gifts of healing. His heart was not good in this situation. God wants us to have pure hearts. He wants us to want the right things for the right reasons.
SPOT the Simple Meaning:
1) What is a Breastplate?
Have a breastplate so everyone can see. Pass it around so they can all have a look at it.
The breastplate was a central part of the Roman soldier’s armor—it provided protection for the torso, which contains vital organs like the heart, lungs and so on. Without a breastplate, a soldier would be asking for death, as any attack could instantly become fatal. With a sturdy breastplate, the very same attacks become ineffective and useless, as blows glance off the armor.
The body armour was made from overlapping iron strips. These metal strips were fastened with hooks and laces at the front and hinged at the back. These were held together by vertical leather strips on the inside. This enabled the soldier to be well protected and also to be flexible enough to allow him to bend. The armour was strengthened by front and back plates below the neck. The shoulders were protected by a pair of curved pieces. The most important part that the breastplate protected was the Soldiers heart. If you were attacked in the heart, you were likely to die.
So God says we should have a breastplate to protect our hearts too, but not from physical attack but God’s enemy and even ourselves. Our heart is the most important part of us because it is where Jesus comes to live when we ask Him to be our friend and it’s often what we listen to when we make decisions – does it feel right/good…etc.
2) What is righteousness?
You will need a 2 hearts – one black, one nice and red.
So God wants you to put on the breastplate of Righteousness to protect your heart. Righteousness means being RIGHT with God, being God’s friend. To be right with God means you need to know the Truth about Him and what Jesus did for you, like we said last time, and then He wants you to really believe it in your heart. God needs you to know that you do stuff wrong, that’s sin, and without God you can never be RIGHTEOUS…but WITH God you can be RIGHT with Him. Being right with God means having a clean heart. It means honestly being and saying sorry for everything you have done and will do wrong and then being forgiven by God, forever.
The Black Heart:
Before you are right with God your heart looks like this [show the black heart] because it is full of sin – all the things you have done, said and even thought wrong and do you know what? The devil, God’s enemy wants your heart to stay like this. This is what Simon the Sorcerer’s heart was like before he believed in Jesus. He let the people say that he was great like God, and he loved to show off and take all the glory for himself.
The Red Heart:
But God wants to clean our heart and make it like this red one [show the red heart]. Only God can clean your heart and He can only do it if you say sorry to Him. Do you think Simon in the story was right with God when he asked to have God’s power? No! Of course he wasn’t.
Like Peter and John said – his heart wasn’t right because he thought he could buy God’s power – His Holy Spirit! If only he knew that God gave His Spirit for free and that we could have that power too! Yet Simon’s heart was not right with God because he wanted to show off or use God’s power for himself – to make himself great! Peter and John told him that he must say sorry to God so that he could have a clean heart; like this red one [hold up the red heart].
You can say sorry to God by praying to Him, by saying, ‘God, I know I mess up all the time but I am sorry and I want to be able to do the right thing and I need your help to do that’. That’s what I did when I became a Christian… The Bible says that if you confess (or tell) your sins to God He is faithful and just and will forgive your sins and purify (which means clean) you from all unrighteousness (all the sin in your life now and forever). That means it’s like God comes along and takes away/cleans up all the black paint and it turns out to be red.
Then once your heart is clean you can put on your Breastplate of Righteousness and know that you are right with God. God will now protect your heart from the enemy by helping you to remember Truth that you are now RIGHTEOUS – RIGHT with Him and Friends with God, that He will always love you and will always forgive you for your mistakes. And that’s how you can defeat the enemy. Just remember; we cannot make ourselves righteous by doing things – only God makes us righteous by cleaning our hearts!
SEARCH the Scriptures:
Print out the Righteousness Bible Verses and tape them to a children’s toy breastplate. Encourage the children to stand a few feet away and to throw bean bags or toy arrows at the breastplate. See who can throw the most at the breastplate and hit it. To make this more fun you could use one breastplate per team and see whose team can hit the breastplate most – while their leader is wearing it!
Righteousness Bible Verses:
Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. Proverbs 21:21.
But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 1 Timothy 6:11.
A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart. Proverbs 21:2.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33.
To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. Proverbs 21:3.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8.
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry. Psalm 34:15.
- What does a breastplate do?
- What is righteousness?
- Where does righteousness come from?
SENSE How You Feel:
- Make your own breastplate using card and string as displayed here or make the breastplate using colored paper here.
- Color this BreastPlate of Righteousness coloring page.
- Fill in the Armor of God activity sheet by CraftingtheWordofGod.
There are a number of different ways that we can encourage children to respond to this session. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show you which response is right for your group, or allow Him to show you another kind of response:
- Encourage children to put their hand over their heart as they pray and ask God to help them .
- Ask children to think of one situation where they have to decide what is the right thing to do. Ask them to pray with one another for those situations.
- Help children to respond by asking them to write or draw a problem that they have, that they need God’s guidance in today. Pray over the children altogether.