Kids Talk About God
Chapter 26 cover: Living Before an Audience of One

Living Before an Audience of One

John 5:41-47

41 “I don’t want praise from you or any other human. 42 But I know you—I know that you have no love for God. 43 I have come from my Father and speak for him, but you don’t accept me. But when other people come speaking only for themselves, you accept them. 44 You like to have praise from each other. But you never try to get the praise that comes from the only God. So how can you believe? 45 Don’t think that I will be the one to stand before the Father and accuse you. Moses is the one to accuse you. And he is the one you hoped would save you. 46 If you really believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me. 47 But you don’t believe what he wrote, so you can’t believe what I say.”

Why do people seek praise from people rather than glory from God?

“Taking glory for yourself is stealing the glory from God.” Forrest, 10

People who seek praise from people before seeking God’s glory “want to be famous on earth instead of heaven.” Caelan, 9

“People who do not know God don’t know that when they do a good deed, God is proud and happy for them. Glory from God is harder to feel. You just got to know God is happy with you.” Maggie, 11

“God is forgotten for money, toys and diamonds.” Zack, 10

Jesus said, “I don’t want praise from you or any other human,” (John 5:41).

We live in a media world where it seems normal to seek applause and praise from people. People all over the world watch the Academy Awards to see who is the most popular actor or actress. Star athletes receive millions of dollars to play sports and to promote products on television.

Some older movie stars hide from the public. They don’t want to be seen. They want everyone to remember them as young and beautiful or handsome. They are slaves to people’s approval.

Jesus didn’t try to become popular. He only wanted to do the will of his Father. Jesus knew that people could not add to the glory he already had from his Father. Sometimes when Jesus healed people, he told them not to tell anyone.

Remember what happened when Jesus healed a man with leprosy (Mark 1:40-45)? Jesus told him not to tell anyone that he healed him. The healed man disobeyed Jesus and told everyone. After that, Jesus could no longer enter cities where he wanted to teach and heal. Too many people wanted to see him and perhaps force him to become king.

Jesus didn’t want to become the kind of king most Jews wanted. They wanted a king who would defeat the Romans, who ruled over them. Jesus had a mission and purpose. He came the first time to die on a cross to pay for our sins and to rise again so that we could live with him forever. When Jesus comes again, he will defeat those who reject him. He will set up his kingdom on Earth.

Those who want to be popular can never be happy. Living to be popular is too small. People who live small only think about this life. If you think beyond this lifetime, you will live large. Living your life for God means you understand that what you do today matters forever. If you lead someone to Jesus Christ today, that person will live with God forever. This is living big!

Living large is living as things really are, not as they appear. Today, evil people set up their own little kingdoms. They lie, cheat and steal. That will all change when Jesus returns to set up his kingdom. He will destroy all those who are against him.

Can Jesus trust you with a lot of responsibility when he sets up his worldwide kingdom? What position will you have in that kingdom? Jesus wants your help in his kingdom. It will not be easy to represent Jesus today as his ambassador in this world full of evil people who hate him. Jesus will reward all Christians who serve him faithfully.

Eternal life is a gift to be received by faith alone in Christ alone. Rewards in Jesus kingdom will be given to all Christians who faithfully serve him now.

Popularity does not last. People can easily change their opinion about you.

Everyone wants to be liked. That is normal. But don’t make your popularity an idol. Seeking popularity will make you a slave to people. If you seek God’s will and do it, you will be free. You won’t be worried about what people think when you are living to please God. When you follow the Lord, you will enjoy his peace and happiness. You will live a life that will matter forever!

Jesus said, “But I know you—I know that you have no love for God,” (John 5:42).

God knows our hearts. He knows whether we really love him. If you want to increase your love for God, spend time getting to know him.

“We love because God first loved us,” (I John 4:19).

I like the Easy-to-Read (ERV) version of the Bible, which I use in the Kids Color Me Bible Gospel of John. But I disagree with the ERV translation of I John 4:19. The New Testament was written originally in the Greek language. The ERV translators of I John 4:19 left out the word “him,” which is in the original Greek New Testament. The correct translation should read, “We love him because he first loved us” (I John 4:19, NKJV).

If you want to learn to love God, think how much God loved us long before we loved him. God’s love is strong. Jesus came to us when we didn’t want him and rebelled against him. If you want to increase your love for God, think about how much Jesus suffered on the cross. The more you think about Jesus suffering on the cross, the more your love will grow. You will be grateful to God for all that he has done for you.

Jesus said, “I have come from my Father and speak for him, but you don’t accept me. But when other people come speaking only for themselves, you accept them,” (John 5:43).

Those who reject Jesus as God’s only true messiah open themselves to believing in false messiahs. The word “messiah” is the Hebrew word for “Christ,” which means anointed one. The idea of anointing goes back to when kings received anointing. Remember when the prophet Samuel anointed David to become king of Israel? Samuel poured oil on David’s head. By doing this, Samuel anointed David to become King of Israel (I Samuel 16:1-13). When God anoints someone, it means God wants them to do something special.

Jesus is God’s anointed one. He came to Earth to do all of God’s will, which included dying for our sins on the cross.

People who reject the truth of Jesus being God’s anointed one will open themselves to believing a lie. Jesus is God’s only true messiah. There are many false messiahs who have come and gone throughout history. By believing in Jesus, you will not be fooled by people who falsely claim to be God’s messiah.

Think of people as water bottles, which can hold refreshing, spring water or dirty water full of bad bacteria and poisons. If we have faith in Jesus and set our minds on the Word of God, we will be filled with God’s truth. Jesus spoke of himself as living water in John 4. Only Jesus can satisfy our spiritual thirst for relationship with the living God.

When people reject Jesus as the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6), they open themselves to believing lies. They become like water bottles filled with dirty water and poisons. There are millions of people around the world who worship idols. If you ever travel to India, you will see many people worshipping idols made from stone, wood or metal. They even worship animals.

Here is what the Apostle Paul wrote about this: “They traded the truth of God for a lie. They bowed down and worshiped the things God made instead of worshiping the God who made those things. He is the one who should be praised forever. Amen,” (Romans 1:25).

Jesus said: “How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44).

When people have a high opinion about themselves, they will usually do not value Jesus Christ. Why would you need a savior if you think that you are so great? It takes humility to see yourself as you really are in the sight of God. We cannot earn our way to heaven. We need God’s grace found in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for our sins. We need a savior. Thank God that he has provided a savior in his only son.

If you value the praise of people more than praise from God, you will have a very difficult time finding God. We live in a time where many people live for approval from their friends. Entertainers often make an idol of popularity. People who only seek to be popular usually don’t care for God. They have made being popular their god.

Honor from God lasts forever. Honor from people will not last. To live a big life, you must think beyond your lifetime. Think of how God will honor you forever, if you honor him now.

“Only fools think there is no God. People like that are evil and do terrible things. They never do what is right,” (Psalm 14:1).

Jesus said: “Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (John 5:45-47).

The Jews of Jesus’ time and many people who are not Jewish today trust in their ability to keep the 10 commandments given by God to Moses. If you ever meet people who say they keep the 10 commandments for their salvation, ask them to name them. Most people cannot name them. If they cannot name them, how can they keep them? Except for Jesus, no one has ever obeyed all 10 commandments all the time.

When Jesus came to Earth the first time, he did not come to judge people. Jesus said, “God sent his Son into the world. He did not send him to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17). Jesus came to offer himself as a sacrifice for our sins so he could save us to live with him forever.

Jesus told the Jews that Moses would judge them. This had to surprise them because they trusted in the law of Moses for their salvation. The law of Moses included much more than the 10 commandments.

Every nation needs laws for it to function and prosper. God gave Moses laws for the Jewish people so that they could function as a nation. God wanted them to be a people set aside to glorify him to all nations. For 400 years, the Jews served as slaves in Egypt. When God brought them out of Egypt, they did not know how to live as a nation. God’s laws gave them definite guidelines to know how to relate to each other, to other nations and to God.

The Jews of Jesus’ day trusted in Moses, but Jesus said that Moses wrote about him. They trusted in Moses instead of the one that Moses wrote about. Moses was only God’s messenger. Jesus was God’s savior and messiah.

God did not give the 10 commandments to be a way where people could work their way into his kingdom. The 10 commandments show us that God is holy and righteous. Because everyone has broken the 10 commandments, people need Jesus as their savior.

How did Moses write about Jesus?

Animal sacrifices were part of the laws that God gave to Moses. To whom did the animal sacrifices point? Why did lambs that were sacrificed have to be without any spots or blemishes?

When Moses told the Jews to offer a lamb as a sacrifice for the Passover meal, he said, “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year” (Exodus 12:5, NKJV).

Do you remember what John the Baptist said about Jesus?

“Look, the Lamb of God. He takes away the sins of the world!” (John 1:29).

Jesus is God’s perfect lamb who sacrificed himself one time for all our sins. All the animal sacrifices offered in Israel’s temple pointed to the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

“Jesus Christ did the things God wanted him to do. And because of that, we are made holy through the sacrifice of Christ’s body. Christ made that sacrifice one time—enough for all time,” (Hebrews 10:10).

In addition to pointing to Jesus Christ as God’s perfect lamb, Moses wrote about a great prophet that God would send to the Jewish people (Deut. 18:15-19). That great prophet was Jesus. About the prophet Jesus, God said to Moses: “I will tell him what he must say, and he will tell the people everything I command” (Deut. 18:18).

Think about this: Jesus came as God’s prophet. He spoke for God. Jesus came as God’s priest. He sacrificed himself for our sins. He now prays for us as our great high priest. Jesus will return as King of kings and Lord of lords to bring his kingdom to earth.

Memorize this truth: “Jesus Christ did the things God wanted him to do. And because of that, we are made holy through the sacrifice of Christ’s body. Christ made that sacrifice one time—enough for all time,” (Hebrews 10:10).

Ask this question: What is more important to you, being popular with your friends or being approved by God for your service to him?

Draw something to go with the headline.
Chapter 26 Bible coloring page: Living Before an Audience of One