Here’s a free youth group lesson on God’s love for us, based on Jeremiah 31:3, Romans 8:38-39, and Romans 2:4.
It kicks off with a fun opening game setting up the big idea of the lesson.
The Big Idea: God’s love for us is unending, ongoing, and everlasting.
Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth
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YOUTH GROUP LESSON ON GOD’S LOVE
Bible: Jeremiah 31:3, Romans 8:38-39, and Romans 2:4.
Big Idea: God’s love for us is unending, ongoing, and everlasting.
- Chewing gum
- 4 Jenga games or equal number of blocks
- Package of gum for the members of the winning team.
OPENING GAME: LASTING CHALLENGE
For this game, four teams will compete in challenges that test some interesting skills!!
Divide the group into four equal teams and explain that there will be four tasks to complete and that teams will be competing against one another.
The team that wins the most challenges will win a gift that will last!! (Well…for a little while it will last)
Task 1: Longest Lasting Bubble
Each team sends one contestant from their team to the front of the room.
Give each contestant a piece of bubble gum then tell them that together they will unwrap, chew, and then ‘bubble’.
The person who has their bubble last the longest will win.
Make sure you explain that they get only one chance to blow their lasting bubble and that all contestants have to do it at the same time.
The person with the longest lasting bubble earns their team one point.
Task 2: Fountain Sculptures
Explain that each team should choose two contestants who will stand together to make a human water fountain.
The two players should each stand on only one foot and hold hands with their partner.
Tell them to strike their pose when you say go, and the team who holds that pose the longest wins a point for their team.
Task 3: Longest Scream
Each team sends one contestant to compete in this task.
Contestants will scream as loud and as long as they can without stopping to take a breath.
The contestant left screaming the longest (while everyone else covers their ears!) wins one point for their team.
Task 4: Jenga Leap
Give each team a Jenga game with the same number of pieces in it and explain:
Each team must build a Jenga tower four tiles wide.
They must use all of the tiles to build their tower.
Now explain that they will choose three people from their team to leap over the tower.
The teams will continue to leap over the towers until only one is left standing (and once any tiles fall….the team is out) or if all of the towers fall on the first leap, then the team with the most tiles still standing wins one point for their team.
The team who has the most points from these ‘lasting challenges’ will earn a package of gum! Here’s to making it last as long as possible!
When we hear the word love, many different things may come to our mind.
- How we view boyfriend/girlfriend relationships.
- How we view our parent’s relationships with each other.
- How the media exploits love and makes it all about imagery and sex.
The main thought that I want to focus on today is that God’s love for us is never ending, ongoing, and everlasting.
Sometimes, we only view love as very contractual and conditional.
But I want to make it clear that God’s love for us is an unconditional covenant.
As we go through this series in the next few weeks, we are going to break what love means to us.
Today for are focusing on the buzzword – LASTING.
It’s very unfortunate that oftentimes our idea of love doesn’t include “lasting.”
This can happen because things have happened to us personally or we have seen love fade and leave devastating results.
It’s very unfortunate that we have seen love as something that one can only grasp at, that it is contractual and sometimes exploited.
First off, I want to let you know that you can experience a real AGAPE LOVE (which means unconditional love that serves regardless of circumstances) that only comes from God, which is not based on how well we perform.
If fact, unconditional love is not based on anything that we do. We cannot earn the right to receive love.
It’s very interesting that the (unsaved) world seems to be on a mission to search and find love.
But the cold hard facts are that there is nothing that this world can offer that can fill the void in our hearts like the love of Jesus can.
There’s an old saying that maybe you have heard before, “I was searching for love in all the wrong places.”
This statement is so true. We can search for love in all the wrong places, and still come up empty.
In the early 60’s there was a famous rock band called the “Rolling Stones” that released a hit song that would catapult this band into their stardom, and the song sounded like a broken record.
The song was called “I can’t get no satisfaction,”… and the song goes on to say “and I tried, and I tried, and I tried, but I can’t get no satisfaction.”
This song is so true, and in many different ways that has some very real application for a person who is in search of something to satisfy them.
I personally can relate.
Life has a way of offering us very temporary satisfying counterfeit types of love.
But the facts are, after trying everything else that doesn’t seem to work, that doesn’t satisfy, we kind of feel ripped off.
Have you ever invested your whole heart and a lot of time into something just to find out that it was the biggest waste of time?
Tell your students a story of a time that you have wasted. Here is an example.
I heard about a guy whose passion is working out, and a while back he had finally saved up enough money to purchase an Olympic bench press with real platted weights, not the generic concrete plastic weights.
He called one of his best friends with such excitement to help them put together this amazing piece of equipment that he had been watching for two months at Sears and had finally purchased.
So, when his best friend came over to help him put it together in his garage step by step, following the directions, getting all the necessary tools, they worked for about two hours full of sweat and excitement.
They were finally going to get ripped and buff.
But something was wrong.
There were a few very important items and screws that were missing from the package.
They could not complete the home gymnasium experience… After calling customer service and going to Sears, they finally got the pieces that it would take to give them total enjoyment, but before that moment they were let down.
How many of you know what it feels to be let down, to see your excitement go out the door literally?
Yeah me too… But here is the good thing, when we place our trust in God, He doesn’t rip us off, or disappoint us.
Listen to this verse on how much the Lord loves us and how His love is lasting.
The Lord appeared to us in the past,saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”
This is what this verse is initially saying to us.
God is telling us that He is showcasing His everlasting love for you and me.
God is pursuing us, and His love is unfailing and kind towards us.
I want you to know that I totally get why most people don’t know real love, and it’s because we have seen love modeled to us in the wrong way.
We build up walls and barriers, and we are essentially saying by our actions “I have trust issues.”
And to be completely honest, having trust issues is perfectly normal when we have been hurt by people who have told us that we can trust them, that we can rely on them, and then they fail us.
I can’t tell you the many times that I have been hurt, and it has taken me a good while to trust people again.
I want to tell you the facts today, that you can be and eventually will be let down by people.
Yes, it hurts when that happens.
However, I can tell you this: once I placed my trust in Jesus, I learned that God would never let me down and that I could trust God.
So, what happens if you have been hurt by people who have not loved the way God loves?
Well, I would suggest two things.
We must release people who have failed us.
We must understand that the love God has for us is unconditional.
Before we get into the next scripture, I want to give you some back story on the person who wrote what we are about to read.
The author of Romans is a man named Paul, who in his own words was “the chief of sinners, the worst of the worst.”
For many of you who know anything about Paul, he persecuted the church by arresting Christians and even putting many to death. If there was one person searching for love that was not only forgiving but lasting, it was Paul.
We also understand that Paul, after his conversion, was one of the most radical followers of Christ, who would eventually be a church planter, missionary, and an apostle and who would eventually write the majority of the New Testament.
So, as we read this scripture, we must remember why Paul had the assurance of Christ’s love.
Listen to how Paul starts this conversation.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Why do you think Paul was so convinced of this love?
Maybe it was because Paul had experienced the love that came from God, regardless of what type of person Paul was.
If there is one thing that we can learn from what Paul wrote, it is this.
Paul knew what it was like to be the most undeserving person of such love, that God’s love ruined him in the best way possible.
If we are to be honest today, it is easy for us to say that we have been the worst sinners.
We have done many things against God.
Yet this is also undeniable: there is an unfathomable feeling that we receive knowing that even though we have missed the mark, that Jesus still pursues us with unfailing kindness and unconditional love that will LAST forever!
That should put a smile on your face because that shows us what grace really is.
Grace is receiving something that we didn’t deserve, a love that we didn’t earn or even deserve.
For many of you who have brothers or sisters, you were raised to be nice and to share, but something deep within you said, “I won’t share what he or she doesn’t deserve.”
Come on, you know I’m telling the truth. Well, that’s the complete opposite of what Jesus did for us.
He shared His love with us while we were least deserving, and He still freely gives us His lasting love.
So, let’s recap a few points so that we can apply what we just learned.
We learned that:
- People will fail us due to their un-effectiveness in operating in AGAPE love.
- We must forgive others who have wronged us by hurting us.
- We must get over our trust issues to receive the greatest love ever known.
- There’s nothing that will fill our hearts like God’s lasting love.
- There’s nothing that can separate us from God’s love. No matter what.
I want to challenge you to think of how awesome God’s love is for you and to be careful not to jump on the “treadmill of performance.”
The treadmill of performance will emotionally and spiritually exhaust you.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that because you have done X, Y, and Z that God’s love has to be earned back.
Hear me out, there is nothing that we can do that will make Him take away His everlasting love.
Should we be concerned about the things that we do that are unpleasing to the Lord?
Should we want to be set apart to be challenged to not live in the same lifestyle and choices that we have made since following Jesus? YES!….
I want to close with this scripture for those of you who may have trouble grasping how Lasting God’s love is, and maybe you will see His love in a different light.
This is another verse that is written by Paul, who wrestled with doing things that didn’t pleased God (Romans 7:15-20), yet he found mercy and grace through the LASTING love that came through Jesus himself.
Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
What does this mean?
It’s the kindness of God’s LASTING love that continues to lead us to repentance. I know for me personally, that something happens to my heart knowing how much Jesus loves me.
His love for me makes me not satisfied with sin.
However, His LASTING love tells me that it covers my sinful nature.
I hope that as we go through this series on what LOVE is, you can truly grasp how BIG God’s love is for us all!
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- Think about the words in Jeremiah 31:3 that we mentioned in our text earlier. What do you get out of what this scripture is telling you?
- In what ways do we find that people have failed us in what love truly is?
- What emotions do you think Paul was feeling when he wrote Romans 8:38-39?
- What comes to your mind when you hear the words “Treadmill of performance” in regards to viewing God’s LASTING love for us.
- Why do you think we have a hard time receiving God’s love?
- In what ways has Romans 8:38-39 helped you understand God’s Lasting love for you?
- Let’s have a time of reflection about others who may have let you down because of how that have misused love. If you personally have been hurt and you haven’t forgiven the person(s), why not ask God to help you release the person and the hurt that they have caused right now?
- What do you think about Romans 2:4, and how can we relate it to God’s kindness drawing us to repentance?
- In what ways has this lesson helped you understand God’s Lasting love?
- Homework- Take a moment and think about a friend or a family member who needs to understand God’s lasting love. Now that you have that person in mind, sometime this week make it your mission to share God’s Lasting Love with that person.
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