All are Invited! Children’s Message on Peter and the Gentiles
Lesson Objective: This message reminds students that God wants ALL of us to be part of His family, and loves us dearly! The story of Peter and Cornelius is a wonderful picture of how Christ died for all people. The subsequent speech by Peter (featured in this section) assures us that everyone is loved by God and can receive salvation from Christ. This message uses an invitation card to remind students of our Heavenly home. We might have favorite friends or wish that only certain people could be considered “worthy” of earthly parties, but God considers us all His children and wants us to know Him. No matter who we are, everyone is invited to the Heavenly celebration!
Law/Gospel Theme: We might sometimes think that we have to be a certain way or say or do special things in order to be chosen by God. We see in His Word these beautiful promises reminding us that God wants everyone to be His! He chooses all of us, and we can share that wonderful news with others, just as Peter did.
Optional Materials: Invitation (birthday party invitation of some sort)
Children’s Sermon: Acts 10:34-43
Message: Note: As with most messages, the details of how you choose to communicate this are adaptable and should cater to timing as well as to your audience and student needs.
Greet children, and discuss invitations…
Hello, children of God!
Do you know what I have here? This is an invitation. Describe what the invitation might be for. Have you ever given out invitations before, maybe for a party of some sort? Or perhaps you’ve received an invitation card. Now, sometimes it can be tough to try deciding who is on your guest list when you make invitations like this. You have to think about who your closest friends are, or maybe who you think would be the most fun at a party. You might have to narrow down who should belong on your guest list. You can’t just invite everyone, even if you want to. And sometimes getting an invitation is a very special honor. If you know you’re one of the special chosen, it can make you feel pretty good!
What about being in God’s family? Does God have a limited number of invitations that He sends out for Heavenly citizenship? Is He exclusive about who can be saved? No, of course not! The Lord wants all people to know Him, and calls us all to be part of His Heavenly family. See, people used to believe only certain people were specially chosen to be God’s. In the book of Acts, though, a man named Peter received an important vision letting him know that God does not have favorites. Peter was praying one day, out on his roof, when he saw this group of animals coming down, and a voice told him to eat them! This vision repeated itself three times. The interesting thing is that the animals were ones that were known to be “unclean”: things he should not have touched or tasted. But this voice was telling him it was okay to have those things. And by understanding that it was okay to eat those foods, Peter realized it was also okay to have other people hear the Gospel of Jesus. The good news was not just for Jewish people, but for all people. God wanted Peter (and other apostles) to spread the love of Christ throughout the world. And they did! The Gospel “went viral” and more and more people heard about the Messiah.
We can take away some wonderful truths from this story. For one thing, we see how God invites all to be His beloved children. This means us, too! We are all invited into His kingdom, no matter who we are or what we’ve done or what we do. God wants to be our Father. He also wants us to continue telling others about Him. When we invite people to a birthday party, we might select carefully those we like best. When we invite people to church, or tell them about Jesus, we should reach out to any and everyone! It doesn’t always have to be formal, too. Sometimes we can share God’s love just by being kind to others and treating them with love and friendship.
So what are you waiting for? We can rejoice that God invites us to be His children and loves us. And He wants us to love others, too. Let’s embrace that every day! Meanwhile, let’s say a prayer of thanks to our Heavenly Father…
(Have kids repeat each line)
Thank you for inviting us into your family
And calling us to serve others.
Help us share your love with those around us.
Thank you for your love
We love you, God!
In Jesus name, Amen!
Bible Verses/story to Reference:
So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”