Supplies: Two balloons, string, and a party size tank of helium.
Invite one student to help you by blowing up one balloon. After he/she has blown up their balloon, tie off the balloon and attach a long string to it. Then use the helium tank to blow up the second balloon, tie it off and attach a long string to it as well.
On the count of three, ask the student to throw the first balloon up in the air while you throw the second balloon in the air as well. As you do, the one with hot air will fall to the ground, while the one with helium will rise to the sky (that is why it is important to tie a string to it).
Ask the students why the two balloons, which appear on the outside to be the same, reacted so differently when tossed into the air.
Read Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourself, it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Explain that salvation is like these two balloons. If we want to rise to Heaven (Helium balloon) rather than fall into the depths of Hell, we need something special on the inside. If we try to save ourselves, (example: the balloon with the hot air) we will fail and spend eternity separated from God. However, if we accept the free gift of salvation through faith in Christ, (example: the balloon with helium – special air) we will spend an eternity with Christ in Heaven.