Category Archives: Money

Feeding the 5000

Text: Matthew 14:15-21

Prop: A loaf of bread or poster of Jesus feeding the 5000.

Summary: Jesus demonstrates he can multiply our resources when we offer them to him in faith.

Look what I brought with me today. Do you know what this is? [a loaf of bread] Yes, it’s a loaf of bread. It has been sliced and is ready to make sandwiches. When it is made, it is one whole piece. It has to be broken into smaller pieces to be used in most instances. Today I want to tell you a story from the Gospel of Matthew about a time when Jesus fed over five thousand people with only five loaves of bread and two fishes.

Jesus had been having a bad day. He was pretty upset when his friends came to tell him that John the Baptist had been killed by King Herod. Jesus needed to have some time alone, so he went to a desert place. The problem Jesus had was that he was very popular because he was known as a great healer. So people followed him wherever he went. It was hard for him to be alone.

It was getting dark, so his disciples came to him and asked him to send the people back home because they didn’t have enough food to feed them if they spent the night. Then Jesus gave the disciples a challenge. He said, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. The disciples were probably laughing to themselves. They told Jesus they only had a little to eat themselves: five loaves of bread and two fishes. Jesus sometimes tells us to do impossible things so that we will rely on Him to help us. (This happened on the same night that Peter walked on the water to meet Jesus when he came walking to the boat on the sea. Peter could not walk on the water without keeping his eyes on Jesus in faith.)

What happened next? Did Jesus tell them to go to the grocery store and buy 1000 loaves of bread and clean out the seafood department? No, he told them to bring what they had to Him so he could ask God to bless it. Jesus always said the blessing before he ate. Do you have a blessing before you eat? That’s the thing we need to understand about saying the blessing. We are not asking God to wave a magic wand and bless the food we are about to eat. The Jewish people have a custom whenever they break bread to say a prayer that is the same for everyone: Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the ground. It was Jesus, the very Bread of Life, who came forth from the tomb on Easter morning. When we thank God before a meal, we are remembering how he is our provider for life itself.

If the disciples had tried on their own, they would have barely fed themselves. Because they gave what they had to Jesus and asked him to help, Jesus took what they gave in faith and multiplied it many times. It was a miracle on a grand scale. He fed about five thousand men, besides women and children. In fact, they had twelve baskets full of leftovers!

©1997 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Eye of a Needle

Text: Mark 10:23-27

Prop: A sewing needle.

Summary: Riches will make it hard for us to be saved if we give them more importance than God.

Look what I brought with me today. What is it? [a needle] Look how small this hole is where you put the thread in! This reminds me of something Jesus said about a rich man that didn’t want to part with his rich things to serve God. (Read Mark 10:23-27]

eye of the needleJesus was saying that it was nearly impossible for a person that trusted in their own riches to be born again spiritually. But with God, all things are possible! Now Jesus wasn’t referring to a sewing needle when he talked about a camel going through the eye of a needle. The “eye of a needle” was referring to a small gate within the larger gate at the entrance to a city. It was common to build an ordinary door in the huge gate so that common folks could go and come in the city without leaving the large gate wide open all the time. But here’s the catch: For a camel to get in, he would have to take off the burden of all he was carrying on his back, and kneel down and crawl through the door. So Jesus was comparing the rich young rulers many possessions as a burden to him. He was giving his treasure more importance than service to God. He had made an idol out of his money. For that reason, he went away very troubled at what Jesus told him. He was unwilling to change his ways and kneel to God.

Whenever we place anything in a more important position than God, we have made it an idol. God wants us to love him more than anyone or anything else, and then to love our neighbor as ourselves. If we love God first, God will bless us. He will give us the ability to love others, even the ones we think we cannot love without God’s help. So God can make all things possible for us. He can help us realize that things aren’t nearly as important as people. He wants us in a right relationship with God and our neighbors.

The disciples were wondering who then can be saved? Jesus responded that it was impossible for men to save themselves. We need God’s help. Jesus is the answer. If we want to be saved, we must look to Jesus for our salvation. That’s what Jesus meant when he said for with God all things are possible. Jesus wants to help us with our burdens in life, the things that are pulling us down and keeping us from being all we can be for God. If we give up trying to do it all by ourselves, and rely on him, he will give us all we need. What are you trying to do all by yourself? Have you given something or someone more importance than God? Let’s look to Jesus and stop putting our money or wealth or anything else in front of God in importance, and God will help us.

©1998 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Treasure in Heaven

One thing, and only one, in this world has eternity stamped upon it. Feelings pass; resolves and thoughts pass; opinions change. What you have done lasts – lasts in you. Through ages, through eternity, what you have done for Christ, that, and only that, you are. – F. W. Robertson

Text: Matthew 6:19-21; Mark 8:36

Prop: a poster of the pyramids

Summary: This sermon explains the difference between treasures that will last and treasures that are temporary.

This is a picture of the pyramids in Egypt. The Pharaoh (or king) was buried inside. He thought he could take his great riches and treasures with him when he died. Later thieves broke in and stole some of the treasures. Today I want to talk to you about treasures or things of great value that will last.

Jesus talked about setting aside or saving up treasures that would last in this passage of scripture. (Read Matthew 6:19-21) If we have a lot of money and televisions and lots of toys, a thief could break in our home and steal them. If we owned an expensive dress, unless we protected it in our closet, a moth could eat holes in it. If we had a fire truck, if it got left in the rain it would probably rust. These are the kinds of treasures that we may see today, but when we get old and die we cannot take them with us.

Jesus told us to send our treasure ahead of us to heaven. But how do we do that? We can do it by doing good deeds to others and by telling others about Jesus. If we are kind to others, God will reward us in heaven. If we tell someone about Jesus and they accept Him as their Savior, that person will go to heaven. These are treasures that last forever. They don’t rust or rot and a thief can’t steal them.

If we try all our life to gain great amounts of money, but forget about God, our soul will be lost and we won’t go to heaven. For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36) There was a poem written that goes like this: ” ‘Tis only one life will soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.” The lasting treasure comes from doing things for Jesus. Let’s start a Savings Account in heaven today! Let’s be kind to others and tell them about Jesus.

Alternate Introduction: Play a game called “Now you see it, now you don’t.” Use a shell game to hide a ball. Get the children to follow which cup the ball is under. Show it to them the first time. On the second time, use the cup to hold the ball and conceal it from them. Ask them where it went. Explain that today you will talk about treasures. Some treasures can be seen for a while, but not forever. Other treasures will last all the way to heaven.

©1999 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

God’s ATM

Text: Mark 12:41-44; Matthew 6:1-4

Summary: The story of the widow’s mite teaches us to give to God humbly, not to be seen by others.

Prop: two pennies

Look what I’m holding in my hand. [two pennies] Is this a lot of money? No. You cannot buy much with only two pennies. Today I want to tell you about giving to the church. Do you ever give money to the church?

The Widow's Mite
The Widow’s Mite by James Christensen is provided courtesy of Christ-Centered Art.

ATMWhen it is time to take an offering in church the ushers come down the aisle with a plate that we place our money in. That money is used to help tell others about Jesus. In Jesus’ day they did not take up a collection in a worship service the way we do today. The temple in Jerusalem had a treasury building nearby. Think of it as a bank where money is stored. When someone gave money to the temple they would walk up to the treasury and toss the money into a large collection bin or basket. Think of it as God’s ATM (automated teller machine).

Sometimes a very rich person would want to show off. If he was about to put a large amount of money in the treasury he might have someone blow a trumpet to attract attention to him. Today this would be like someone donating a large amount and putting his or her picture in the local paper.

(Read Matthew 6:2,3) Jesus said when we give money to the church to do it quietly and humbly. We do not need to attract attention because God knows how much we give. God knows everything. God knows whether the amount we give is given cheerfully and whether it is as much as we should give.

(Read Mark 12:41-44) Jesus told his disciples that even though the poor widow only gave two mites (about five cents in USA currency ), she had sacrificed more that those who put in a lot of money. Those two mites were all she had. She had given everything to God.

Whenever we do something for God let’s put our whole heart into it and do the very best we can. When we give money let’s give because we love God and want others to hear the good news about Jesus.

©1999 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

The Greatest Wish

… as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. – 2 Corinthians 6:10

Text: John 14:12-14; Colossians 3:2

Birthday wishProp: birthday candles

Summary: If you have asked Jesus into your heart, you have all you will ever need.

Today I want to talk about wishes. I brought some birthday candles with me. (Show candles.) By show of hands, how many of you have ever made a wish before blowing out the candles on your birthday cake? [See show of hands.) Let me ask one of you (select a child], what did you wish for? [Listen to answer.) Now I want all of you to pretend for a moment that you found a magic lamp and a genie popped out and is willing to grant you one wish. You can wish for anything at all. What would you wish for? (Listen to answers.)

The Bible tells us about something better than wishes. It is called prayer. The Lord Jesus told his followers (disciples) that after he went back to heaven he would do anything they asked for in his name. Let us read about it.

(Read John 14:12-14.)  Jesus told his followers that they would do greater works than he had done. Remember that Jesus had done miraculous and marvelous works: healed the sick, made the lame walk, gave sight to the blind, cured diseases, raised the dead, and much more! He told them whatever they asked for in his name that he would do it. And he did not tell them they could only ask one time. The reason Jesus wants us to ask in his name is because God the Father receives glory every time we ask through his Son, Jesus. When you hear a Christian pray and ask God for something, you almost always will hear words such as this: “I ask it in the name of Jesus.” This prayer gives respect (honor) to the Lord Jesus as God’s only Son.

Rather than asking for riches and gold, or great power or fame, the Bible tells us we ought to set our minds on the things of God.

(Read Colossians 3:2.) If we owned everything on earth, it would not be worth anything compared to eternal life with God. Something better than the greatest wish in the world is to ask Jesus to be your Savior. That means to be truly sorry for all the bad things you ever did or ever will do and to trust Jesus to forgive you. If you have asked Jesus into your heart, you have all you will ever need. That is worth more than all the money in the whole wide world!

Let us pray. Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for these children. Help us to realize that all we ever need is you. Amen.

©2003 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Super Bowl

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22,23

Text: 2 Kings 4:1-7

Prop: a jar or bowl

Summary: The story of Elisha and the widow shows how God provides for our needs abundantly.

Today let’s talk about the Super Bowl. Do you know what I mean? I’m not talking about the football game to be played in February. I’m talking about a story in the Bible about a bowl of oil. Oil was used as fuel to burn in lamps. It was very valuable.There was a woman whose husband had served God under the great prophet Elisha. When he died, the poor widow owed someone money, but she did not have the money to pay him. Her two sons were going to be taken as slaves to work until the debt was paid. She was desperate. She went to the prophet Elisha and begged for him to help her.

And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil. – 2 Kings 4:2

Elisha told her what to do. This is what happened. She went home and borrowed jars from all her neighbors, as many as she could find. Then she and her sons went inside and closed the doors to the house. She took her bowl of oil, and she began pouring. She poured from that little bowl until the first jar was full. He brought jar after jar, until they filled every jar they had borrowed. She told her son to bring her another jar, but there were not any more left. Then the oil stopped flowing.

She was so excited with all the oil that God had provided that she ran to tell the good news to Elisha. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest. (2 Kings 4:7) She trusted God to help her. God took the little bit that she had with her faith and made more. Now she had enough to sell so she could pay all the money she owed and still have plenty to live on with her sons. She obeyed God and showed her faith when she did what the prophet Elisha told her to do. God blessed her with a mighty miracle for her faith.

This little bowl of oil was truly a “super bowl.” God provided all she needed. The oil is like the Holy Spirit. When a person believes in Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to fill us. The Holy Spirit provides all we need in life. It is like a bowl of oil that overflows, giving us all we need to let our light shine for God.

©1997 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Jesus and the IRS

Text: Matthew 17:24-27; 22:17-22

TaxesProp: A penny

Summary: Jesus paid his taxes and gives us an example of obeying laws. We can trust Jesus to provide for our needs.

Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. – Matthew 22:21

(Read Matthew 17:24-27)

Peter was approached by the tax collectors and asked whether Jesus was going to pay his taxes or not. This must have really worried Peter. Jesus and the disciples were always helping so many other people I imagine that Peter probably didn’t have much money. Now his taxes were due. He must have wondered how he was going to come up with the money needed to pay the tax.

When he got back to the house where they were staying, Jesus already knew what Peter was going to ask. So Jesus asked Peter whether the kings made their own children pay taxes or if they took the tax from others. Peter Fishknew the answer: from others. Jesus did not tell Peter to cheat on his taxes or to not pay them at all. Instead, he told him that God would provide the tax. He told Peter they would pay the tax so they didn’t offend those who expected that they pay it.

What Jesus told Peter next must have surprised him. Peter was so worried, Jesus told him to take the day off and go fishing! Remember, Peter had given up his love of fishing to follow Jesus. Now Jesus was telling him to go do what he loved to do, to relax and take it easy. Go fishing! It was truly an act of faith when Peter did as Jesus told him and when he caught the first fish, he looked in the mouth, and there was a coin! It was just the right amount to pay the tax for Peter and Jesus. God performed a mighty miracle!

As told by Rev. Lewis Shaffer, Son Shine Ministries International Inc. Used by permission.