This is a children’s sermon on John John 15:26-16:15, which includes the Gospel reading for Pentecost in Year B of the lectionary (John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15). In 2020 I did a children’s sermon on Acts 2:1-12, the most important Pentecost text.
(If you want to see my grown-ups meditation on this text, here’s a link.)
For this Gospel text I’m using my usual strategy for non-narrative passages, which is to say I’m focusing on just one important point from the passage, and trying to present it in a way that kids can connect with, and leaving them with some wondering questions at the end.
The point I’m making related to an aspect of the worship service, so at the end of my children’s sermon on John 15:26-16:15 I talk about the “prayer for illumination.” (Of course if your church isn’t in the Reformed Tradition, this point about worship may not apply.)
I think this is an important thing to include in children’s sermons, either as a series to teach about worship, or (probably better) as a semi-regular feature of the children’s sermons.
It’s important to help kids learn about the service. Alas, kids are generally sort of left out of worship. Some churches make the leave the room during the service. Some churches keep the whole the service over their heads, leaving them bored and surely disheartened.
If a church chooses either of those strategies, they should not register surprise when the kids bag the church entirely when they are old enough to do so. They’ve spent a lifetime pushed away from worship.
But think about it: it is far more likely that kids (or anyone) will “catch” faith by the experience of appropriate and engaging worship than they will by studying about it in a classroom.
A Children’s Sermon on John 15:26-16:15
Good morning kids! I am so glad you are here today. Thanks for coming up for the children’s sermon.
Today is a very special day in the life of the church. We call this day “Pentecost.”
On Pentecost we celebrate that Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit to be with us forever and for always.
One of the passages of the Bible we read this morning was from the night before Jesus went to die on the Cross.
Jesus was sharing his Last Supper with his very best friends.
Jesus knew that soon he would leave, and his friends would be very sad.
But Jesus also knew that once he went to heaven, he would send the Holy Spirit to be with them. And Jesus wanted his friends to know that having the Holy Spirit living in them and with them was a very, very good thing.
In fact Jesus tried to convince his friends that they would be better off having him gone, because the Holy Spirit would only come after he left.
(I kind of doubt they believed him. I think they wanted to have Jesus with them forever and for always.)
But Jesus told his friends something very important about the Holy Spirit that you can see in the way we worship every single time.
Why Jesus Sent the Spirit
I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.
Jesus had taught his friends so many things. But he hadn’t taught them everything they would ever need.
- Jesus knew that the disciples would have lots of questions. Everybody does.
- He knew they would face lots of problems. Everybody does.
He knew they would write down all they could remember of all the things he had taught them. That’s how we got the Bible.
He must have known that his friends, and their friends, would study his words when they had questions and problems. That’s what we do, when we read the scriptures in worship.
But he knew the answers weren’t always plan and simple. That’s why he sent the Holy Spirit.
When we have questions and problems we ask the Holy Spirit to help us. We ask the Spirit to lead us into the truth, just like Jesus said he would.
When we study Jesus’ words in the Bible, we also ask the Holy Spirit to lead us into the truth. We need the Holy Spirit to help us hear what God is really saying to us today.
That is why, in churches like ours, we pray a special prayer called the “prayer for illumination.”
Before we read the Bible in worship, we ask God’s Holy Spirit to shine like a light. We need God to lead us into the truth, so we can see what God is trying to show us.
We need help with our questions and our problems.
The good news is Jesus didn’t leave us on our own. He sent us the Holy Spirit to lead us into all the truth.
- I wonder if you’ve ever had big questions and asked God for answers.
- I wonder if you’ve ever had big problems and asked God to be with you and help you.
- I wonder if the Holy Spirit came to lead you to the truth — even if you didn’t notice at the time.
You are, of course, free to use this children’s sermon, or adapt it as you find most useful. But, if you use it, please do one (or more!) of the following.
- You can let me know that you are using it, either in the comments below, or using the contact form above.
- You can put a little notice in your church bulletin that your children’s sermon is adapted from one published on GaryNealHansen.com.
- You can support my work over on Patreon. (Just $1 per month brings my children’s sermons straight to your inbox about two minutes after they go live. And every little bit keeps me going…)