Illustration: Metamorphosis of a Butterfly (use pictures/props to illustrate; for younger kids, can use Dr Seuss’ “My, O My, A Butterfly” or “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” books) This morning I have brought a butterfly. Just look at my butterfly! Isn’t it beautiful? I think the butterfly is one of the most beautiful things that God has ever created, but it wasn’t always so beautiful. As you probably know, the butterfly started out as a fuzzy little caterpillar. Now some people may think caterpillars are cute, some may think that they are funny, but probably no one would say that they are beautiful. A caterpillar is a worm — and worms are not beautiful! Then, one day the caterpillar spins a cocoon about himself and stays there for several weeks. When it comes out, it is no longer a caterpillar, it has been miraculously changed into a beautiful butterfly — a brand new creation!
2. STORY: The Gospel in the Gates (Nehemiah 3:6)
We’re following the adventures of Nehemiah as he and the people of Israel work together to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem
There were 10 gates mentioned in the rebuilding of the walls. We looked at what these gates were used for and how they remind us of Jesus and His finished work on the Cross!
So far, we’ve covered the:
Sheep gate: reminds us that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Fish Gate: reminds us that Jesus died and resurrected after 3 days (just as Jonah was in the belly of the big fish for 3 days).
Today, we are looking at the 3rd gate — the Old Gate (some versions use “Jeshanah”, which means “old”; easier for kids to use “Old Gate”)
Nehemiah 3:6The Old City Gate was repaired by Joiada son of Paseah and Meshullam son of Besodeiah. They laid the beams, set up its doors, and installed its bolts and bars.
The Old gate was where the elders of the city would meet to discuss community matters and settle disputes (Joshua 20:4, Ruth 4:11, Proverbs 31:23).
3. LESSON: The Old Gate
What does the Old Gate remind us of?
Jesus fulfilled the OLD Covenant and began the NEW Covenant
The Old Covenant that God made with Moses and the Israelites demanded perfect obedience to God’s perfect law — obey fully and be blessed; disobey just 1 of the laws and be cursed.
The people of Israel could never fulfill the Old Covenant. They kept trying and failing and faced judgement/punishment of death.
Jesus was the only man who could obey the Old Covenant Law fully, and He did so on our behalf. He also took the judgement and punishment of our disobedience/failures when He died for us on the Cross.
His death began the New Covenant — all who believed in Him will not die (what we deserved) and will experience God’s abundant blessings (that Jesus deserved).
Our OLD sinful self has gone; we are a New Creation
When we believe in Jesus, we become a New Creation in Christ! We are no longer the old, dirty, sinful person we used to be … we are brand new in Jesus!
2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Just like the butterfly — God didn’t just take a caterpillar and stick some wings on him and paint the wings all different colors. When the cocoon opens and the butterfly crawls out, it is a new creation. The caterpillar is gone! It has now become a butterfly. When we invite Jesus to come into our heart, we become a new creation. God doesn’t just clean us up and slap on a little paint, he makes us into a new person. Would you rather be, a worm or a butterfly? Jesus will make you into a new creation if you will invite him into your heart. Dear Lord, we thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross so that we, like the butterfly, can become a new creation. We ask you to change us and to make us beautiful. Amen. (source: Sermons4kids)
4. ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS:
Memory Verse activity: 2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.