A Clean Heart

Primary Pals for Teachers
Unit 01 - The Plan of Salvation

TEXT: John 3:1-7


The students will understand that they must have a clean heart (be born again) to be ready for Heaven. They will be able to explain what it means to be born again and how this new birth occurs.


Introduction: Use a marker board and felt pen drawing of a sinful heart. Wipe it clean with a red cloth, as you review that Jesus' Blood must cleanse our heart.

Progression of Events:

  1. Nicodemus came to Jesus with many questions.
  2. Jesus told him he must be born again.
  3. Nicodemus questioned how this could be possible.
  4. Jesus explained the difference between being born of the flesh and of the Spirit.

Climax: When we are born again our hearts are washed clean. Use white page of Wordless Book. Talk about the good feeling (clean feeling) we have when we have asked Jesus to take away our sins.

Conclusion: We must have the sin taken out of our hearts in order to be ready for Heaven.

Response: Your students will be able to explain what it means to be born again and how this new birth occurs.


Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin—the ruling body in Israel. His meeting with Jesus evidently had a profound effect on his life. In John 7:50, his was the lone voice raised in behalf of Jesus when the Sanhedrin was seeking to be rid of Him. And after Christ's death he assisted Joseph of Arimathaea in embalming the body of Jesus (John 19:39). The fact that he brought 100 pounds of spices for the embalming indicates he was somewhat wealthy.

We all were born as sons of Adam and therefore under sin. In John 3:3 Jesus says we need to be "born again" and thus become a son of God, and therefore separate from sin.


  • Use the two circles with 8 pie-shaped wedges (see Patterns). The memory verse is written in one circle and a question in the other. Cut out and attach the two circles in the center with a metal brad. The circle with the questions should be on top. Cut through the lines of the top circle almost to the center. Situate the circle so that question number 1 is on top of the first word of the memory verse, question number 2 is on top of the second word of the memory verse, etc. Starting with number one, ask the question on that wedge. When the right answer is given tear off that section to reveal the first word of the memory verse. Continue doing this until all the questions have been answered and the whole verse is revealed.
  • Bring a glass of clear water, food coloring (green or blue works best), and a small jar of household chlorine bleach. The glass of clear water represents our heart. As we do sinful things our heart is no longer clean but becomes stained by sin. (Add a few drops of food coloring.) That is like our heart when we sin even just a "little sin." Jesus is sad, but He is willing to make us as clean and pure as we were before. There is only one way for us to once again have that clean heart: that is to repent—to be sorry and ask Jesus to forgive us for all the wrong we have done and to clean our hearts. (Pour the bleach into the water and stir a little.) The stained water will become clean again just like. Our hearts will be when Jesus' Blood washes the sins away and makes us ready for Heaven. (It is a good idea to practice this at home.)
  • Make a poster board or do a chalktalk showing the steps to salvation:
  1. Sinful heart: All of us are born with a sinful heart.
  2. Picture of a cross: We know Jesus died on the cross for our sins.
  3. Picture of someone praying: We pray and tell Jesus we're sorry.
  4. Picture of a white heart with a picture of Jesus: We ask Him to come into our hearts and He washes us white as snow.

This is a good time to review the last lesson, for it takes the Blood of Jesus to make a heart clean.

  • Using a marker board and pens, draw a heart. Ask your students what things might cause sin spots or stains in the heart, and as they name these, write them down. Then use a red cloth to wipe the marks away, comparing it to the Blood of Jesus which removes sin from our hearts. This could also be used as a review idea, utilizing a transparency and overhead projector.

Special Unit Instructions:

The white page of the Wordless Book should help you explain the child's part—his need to receive the Lord Jesus into his heart, and have his heart changed and made white as snow.

Tell your children that this page reminds you that we can be made clean from sin. Jesus died for everyone, but everyone will not go to Heaven because some do not believe that Jesus died for them. These people have not asked Him to clean their heart from all its sin.

When we are really sorry for the sin in our heart, we can ask Jesus to make our heart clean. When we ask Him to do this, and believe He hears and answers, He saves us. He gives us a warm, clean feeling in our heart that lets us know for sure all our sins are gone. Then we must pray and ask Him to help us not to sin anymore, and to live every day to please Him.


  1. Why do we need a clean heart?
  2. What do we do to make our hearts clean?
  3. How can we make sure our hearts stay clean?
  4. What are the steps to being born again?
  5. How can we keep the love of God in our hearts?


  • Use hearts picture (see Patterns). Circle the heart that is different. It is sad and has sin spots. Color the hearts.
  • Do a chalktalk or prepare a series of flashcards of simple stick figures which would show the steps to salvation.
  • Make stick puppets for each of your students, using a happy heart on one side, and a spotted, sad heart on the other side. During your class time, describe situations appropriate for preschoolers, showing either good or bad behavior. (For example: sharing, obeying, lying, disobeying, being kind, etc.) If the child in the story is good (has a clean heart) have them hold high their puppets with the happy faces out. If the child is bad (spotted heart) have them hold up the puppets with the sad faces out.


Make large circles in each of the colors of the Wordless Book, printing just the word "ALL" on each of them. Put them up on a flannel board or bulletin board in the proper order, using them in conjunction with the verses below, and stressing the word "all" as it appears in the verse. The green page of the Wordless Book isn't covered until next week. Stress the importance of coming next Sunday to learn that God's work in you doesn't stop when you are born again. Gold: 1 Corinthians 15:51; Black: Romans 3:23; Red: 1 John 1:7; White: Acts 13:39; Green: Romans 8:28.

Bring a number of objects that illustrate clean and unclean. For example, show a clean hand and a dirty hand, a clean handkerchief and a soiled handkerchief, a clean piece of paper and a dirty piece of paper. Cut an apple in half, and make one half dirty and leave the other clean. Lay halves face down and talk about how each half looks the same face down, but when the inside is revealed they are very different. God sees inside our hearts, and He wants them to be clean.


  • "Jesus and the Stranger" — Arch Book, Concordia
  • "Nicodemus Learns the Way" — Arch Book, Concordia