PREPARATIONS: Make a solution by crushing a laxative pill (with phenolphthalein) with a spoon. Add one cup of rubbing alcohol. Put the mixture into a bottle and label it so it won’t be confused with anything else. (This simple solution turns bases red. For fun try it on Ivory Snow mixed with water.)
DEMONSTRATION SET UP BEFORE CHILDREN ARRIVE: Fill a clear pitcher with water and add about a tablespoon of ammonia. (The children will assume this is just water.) Place four clear glasses on the table. Put about 5 drops of the phenolphthalein solution in each of the first three glasses. In the fourth glass put about ¼ cup of vinegar. Set a small white place card in front of each glass. Write a comment or name on each card. For example the first card should describe a person with obvious sins such as has gone to jail for murder. The second should read something like nice person but cusses sometimes when mad. The third card should describe an innocent sounding person such as prays daily, goes to church weekly, reads Bible, nice to others, etc. On the card that sits in front of the fourth glass with the vinegar, write JESUS. (This card should hide that the glass has anything inside of it.) Keep the blank side of the cards facing the children until each one is discussed.
LESSON: Talk about how each glass represents a person and how they may or may not look “good” or without sin. Discuss each person one at a time. Give them names. Turn the cards around as you discuss each person. Discuss whether or not each one is "good enough" to go to heaven. Ask the children if they think the person has ever sinned.
Explain that God sees our heart. He sees what’s on the inside of us and He knows everything we do and why we do it. Ask the children if they would like to see the first person as God sees him/her. Then, pour some of the liquid from the pitcher into the glass and it will turn a shade of red. Explain that the red represents sin. The children will plainly see that this “person” has sin in his/her life. (They won't really be surprised that the first two have sin, but many will be shocked that the one who goes to church has sin.)
Point to the sign that says "HEAVEN" and ASK:
“Is there any sin in heaven?” (No. God is holy. There is no sin there.)
“Can this person go to heaven?” (No. Even if he has only sinned once, no sin can enter heaven.)
Act concerned for each person who cannot go to heaven. Move on to the next two “people” with the hope that maybe they are better and will not have “sin”. The children will be amazed because these “people” look good but God sees the truth.
Ask desperately as if you’re about to give up: “Is there any one that has lived in the world that has no sin at all??”
Someone may think of Jesus, either way present the last “person”. Turn the name card around to reveal that the last glass represents Jesus. Ask the children what they think will happen when God looks at Jesus. Will Jesus have any sin?? Since He had no sin, the liquid will remain clear when you pour it into the fourth glass!
Hold the glass up and discuss how Jesus was the only one who ever lived on earth that was perfect and had no sin. Where is He living now?
ASK: "Do you think these “people” would like to go to heaven with Jesus and live forever with God?” (Obviously yes.)
“But how can they go to heaven when they have sin?” (Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.)
Explain to the children how to pray to God and follow the ABC’S (Admit you are a sinner, Believe Jesus died on the cross and is the only way to Heaven, Confess your sins and Commit your life to Christ) of becoming a Christian. Remind the children that Jesus loves each of us, but becoming a Christian is not automatic. We must personally choose Jesus as our “boss” -- the Savior and Lord of our life.
Take each of the first three glasses and have them “pray” for forgiveness and to accept Christ. Allow the children to help you with what to pray. Then, pour some of the liquid from the “Jesus” glass into each glass only as it individually prays. The liquid inside will turn clear!! Now they are cleansed from sin. God truly no longer sees our sin! Awesome!
Be sure to give the children an opportunity to respond -- whether it’s to go to another room with a volunteer or to fill out a card to be visited at a later date. THERE WILL BE RESPONSE!