Fourth of July Idea Starter: The Importance of Freedom; Our Freedom in Christ
Applying Biblical truths to the independence we celebrate on Fourth of July can be a bit challenging for some. Many teachers think with ease of the correlation between America’s freedom and Christians’ freedom in Christ. But ideas for teaching this are not bursting like fireworks.
Oftentimes this is because our hearts may question how Christianity is actually so “freeing.” Maybe we were raised in churches where there were a lot of rules, a lot of focus placed on what negative things can happen if we break those rules.
Maybe today we’re overwhelmed with what we’re supposed to be teaching children not to do in these high-stress times: Don’t lie, cheat, steal, bully, gossip, smoke, take drugs, fornicate, be selfish”¦on and on.
As well, there’s the mystery of our freedom that is challenging to understand, let alone teach. Jesus has set us free from sin, and yet we obviously still sin. So, what is freedom in Christ, and how do we actually teach it?
First, freedom from sin means freedom from the consequences of being in the wrong “place” more than the wrong “set of actions.”
Sin is not so much about actions; it is about a state of being. Freedom from sin means becoming something new; our new identity is most important, whereas our actions are secondary.
Here are some concepts that help kids understand freedom in Christ as something that can’t be earned by actions:
– Playing games like jail break (where angels are helping captives break free) can give kids “a sense of placement” to their salvation. It’s “jail” or “freedom” instead of “a sense of actions” that earned their freedom.
– Crafts that work with the concept of “being in Jesus’ family” can also give that sense of placement.
– Crafts and games that help kids think of Jesus as having a clubhouse and themselves as club members will give a sense of identity.
– Games that have kids freed from an orphanage and being taken into a family can help them understand the concepts of “before Christ enters your heart” and “with Christ in your heart.”
These ideas may not all relate directly to the theme of freedom. However, kids will feel their freedom in Christ more completely when they can see themselves as having an identity, that perfect sense of placement in the body of Christ, that is sealed with love and cannot be undone.
Tie this message in with Fourth of July using the following themes:
Free to Be in God’s Family
Star Spangled Me: I’m a Captive Set Free
Join the Jesus Club; It’s Freeing & Free!
I’ve Got Fireworks in My Heart Since Jesus Set Me Free
Another way to show Fourth of July’s spiritual relevance is to focus on some of the symbols which have wonderful significance to the Christian faith as well:
Red, White and Blue: The colors red, white and blue have similar significance in both American Patriotism and Christianity.
Secretary of the Continental Congress reported on the Seal and the American flag, saying that white signifies purity and innocence; red signifies hardiness & valor; and blue is the color of the Chief, also signifying vigilance, perseverance & justice.”
In Christianity, white also signifies purity; red signifies the valor of Jesus whose blood was shed for us; blue signifies justice and mercy coming from the Throne of Heaven.
As many Sunday school classes will be making flags, you can use cutout arrows or writings in the margins of flag pages to show the patriotic significance of each color on the left and the Christian significance on the right.
Stars and Stripes: Our American flag consists of 13 stripes, seven red and six white. The stripes represent the original 13 colonies; the stars represent the 50 states of the Union.
The stars on the flag represent our current home, the United States. When Christians look up at the stars, we think of heaven, our future home. The stars on our flag can help us to understand how real our future home also is.
The stripes signify beginnings in both cases. The stripes on the flag signify the 13 colonies, which were the beginning of America. In Christianity, “stripes” often refer to the spilling of Christ’s blood (by his stripes, we are healed: Isaiah 53:5).
That was the beginning of our salvation.
Fireworks: Fireworks actually symbolize the sounds of battle, though they have come to symbolize the freedom and celebration to many Americans. The battle for American freedom is a lot like our walk with the Lord here on earth.
Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross daily and follow me.” Many sacrificed their lives to free America. We should be willing to sacrifice our old lives so that Jesus can give us a new and better one.
Here are some scriptures about freedom and liberty that can be used in activities:
Galatians 5:1– For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
John 8:32– Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
John 8:36– So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Acts 15:10– Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear?
Romans 8:15– For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, Abba, Father.
Psalm 118:5– In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and He answered by setting me free.
Hebrews 2:14-15– Since the children are flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy Him who holds the power of death”“ that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
2 Samuel 22:47-49– The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior! He is the God who avenges me. . . who sets me free from my enemies.
Hebrews 9:15– For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance”“ now that He has died as a ransom to set them free”¦
2 Peter 2:9– The Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials.
Psalm 3:2-3, 8– Many are saying of me, God will not deliver him. But you are a shield around me, O LORD”¦From the LORD comes deliverance.
Isaiah 46:4– Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
Romans 6:17-18– But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
Psalm 50:15– Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.
Psalm 34:4– I sought the LORD, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.
Malachi 4:2– But for you who revere My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.
Will you be implemeting these Fourth of July Idea Starters into your Sunday school lesson plan? Do you have other Fourth of July ideas you would like to share? Feel free to comment below! And don’t forget to Become a Fan on Facebook, and Follow Me on Twitter, where you can discuss these and other great Fourth of July ideas with other teachers, parents and fans!