Use this free Bible object lesson to teach kids about repentance and God’s promise to make our hearts clean from Psalm 51. Watch the video demonstration below, gather your object lesson props, and share this inspiring message with your kids church or children’s ministry. You can also download a complete 18-page Sunday School lesson from Psalm 51 at the Sunday School Store.
Main Objective: Psalm 51 reminds us that sin messes things up, and only God is capable of cleansing us. We all fall short and are unclean, and when we realize that we should come humbly before the Lord for salvation. When we do, He promises to thoroughly wash us and make us white as snow! This message illustrates the concept of how much our misdeeds get messy, using a literal dirty situation that becomes clean to demonstrate how we can’t fix ourselves and need Christ’s blood to clean us on the inside.
Law/Gospel Theme: We are all born sinful and unclean. Only God can cleanse us from the inside out and make our hearts new. There’s nothing we can do to free or save ourselves, but we recognize that the blood of Christ washes our guilt away. Psalm 51 was written before the birth of Jesus, but emphasizes how God knows us and has mercy on us. For us today, we celebrate that God can and does remove our sins, and that through His Son He makes us a new and beloved creation.
Optional Materials: (Optional) Something to get messy; soap and water (or washcloths); alternate option: dirty penny, glass, vinegar and salt
Bible Passage: Psalm 51:1-10
Message: Note: As with most messages, the details of how you choose to communicate this are adaptable and should cater to timing as well as to your audience and student needs.
Children’s Sermon Psalm 51: Clean Heart Repentance Object Lesson for Kids
Greet children, with hands very messy from something. You could use paint, mud, food, sticky substances…anything that needs assistance to wash off. You might even have students get dirty, too, and help them clean up!
*Alternate idea: if you do not have access to water or something that can clean hands, consider discussing this same passage and idea with a “cleansed penny” trick: place a dirty penny in a glass with some vinegar and a pinch of salt, which will clean up the coin.
Hello, Children of God!
So I have a bit of a problem here…I was trying to work on something (adjust details according to your mode of mess), but I got a little messy. Actually, I got a lot messy! Look at this…how am I going to get all of this off my hands? Maybe I can use a napkin or tissue (Attempt to wipe off the mess with a tissue or napkin, which likely will not do much to help, and in the case of a sticky mess will only make things worse). Well, that isn’t working. I need help! What else might I need to get rid of this big mess?
Hmm…I can’t get this off by myself. I’m not even sure if water will be enough. I might need some soap, too! Let’s see what I can do here… If possible, wash in a sink or bowl of water, with soap to help. Or perhaps use a towel or washcloth with soap and water. Phew! That’s better. Now I’m nice and clean. It’s a lot easier to do things with my hands when they’re not dirty! Sometimes we need the help of soap and water to get completely clean. But how do we get clean on the inside? How can we clean our hearts??
That might seem like a strange question. Well, the simple answer is that we cannot clean our hearts—not by ourselves anyway. See, we are all born sinful. That means that we naturally do bad things that we really know we shouldn’t. If we try to somehow free ourselves from that sin and get clean on our own power, it doesn’t work. It really just winds up making us into an even bigger mess! We can’t become clean by anything that we do. However, we know Someone who can make us clean.
In the book of Psalms, there’s a beautiful Psalm by King David, reminding us of God’s great love and of His power to make our hearts clean and new. David had done something very wrong, and realized he needed to come to God in repentance. He recognized that God would hear his genuine cry and would forgive him for his wrongdoing. God would cleanse him from sin, purify him, and give him fresh new chances at life. This is called mercy. We deserve punishment for our sins, but God gives us love and hope instead. He takes away our sins and makes us white as snow. This is because Jesus took on our sin and death, gave His life, and covers us with His blood. He makes us clean and new, better than any soap! Jesus had not yet come to Earth when David was king (in fact, David was an ancestor of Jesus), but David knew that God cleans our hearts and offers forgiveness. In the same way, we know that God sent Jesus to take away our sins and grant us grace. We are incapable of doing it on our own, but with God all things are possible! We can go to God in prayer, repent of things done wrong, and be made clean and fresh! (Or shiny and new, if using the penny trick.) Thanks be to God!
Let’s say a prayer now to thank God for cleaning our hearts.
Children’s Prayer Moment
(Have kids repeat each line)
Thank you for washing away our sins
And making us clean and new
Keep us mindful of your presence
Thank you for your love
We love you, God!
In Jesus name, Amen!
Bible Verses/story to Reference: Psalm 51
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit. -Psalm 51:1-12