The Sermon on the Mount contains several significant ideas at the heart of Christianity. It introduces the concepts of "turn the other cheek" and "judge not lest you will be judged." The sermon contains references to the Ten Commandments with Jesus giving his take on them. Teaching young children the ideas of the sermon can be difficult since it contains so many concepts. When broken in to sections, the concepts become much easier to understand.
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The Beatitudes open the Sermon on the Mount in chapter 5 of the Gospel of Matthew. They are a famous list of Jesus' ideas, including such quotes as "Blessed are the meek for they inherit the earth." An easy way to teach these phrases to young children is to have them memorise them. You can give them study guides and quizzes where each line in the Beatitude is broken in to a question. For example, ask "Who will inherit the earth?" Children can work through the text of the Gospel to find answer. The correct answer will be "the meek."
The Golden Rule
The Sermon on the Mount includes the introduction of the Golden Rule, or "Treat others they way you want to be treated." This is an easy concept to teach children since they are in the times in their lives when their behaviour is frequently monitored and corrected. Ask a series of questions of students on how they like to be treated. Ask them to give examples of how they can treat other people in the exact same way that they just expressed. Teaching the Golden Rule also gives you an opportunity to have children role play and act out situations about how people treat each other.
Lilies of the Field
The Lilies of the Field section of the sermon compares humans to birds searching for food. The point of Jesus' story is that all will be provided when trust is placed in God. The concept may be too high minded for children, but within the story is a concept that children respond well to: that God is everywhere with them. Teach the story as a way to learn the concept of God loving everyone, every child, and seeing and knowing all things. This section also offers an opportunity to teach children that respect of nature, the Lilies of the Field, is part of biblical thought and teaching.
The concept of "judge not, that you be not judged" is contained in a story in the sermon. The story illustrates that a man with something in his eye should not stop to help someone else with something in his eye until he has cleared his own eye. This story gives you an opportunity to dramatise the incident with your students to bring about the realisation that you must take care of your own business and not spend time putting yourself into other people's business.
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