Object Lesson 11a: "Nothing Gold Can Stay"

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Only with our acceptance of Jesus as our savior can we eliminate sin.


A yellow solution named "Goldie" is perfect, but once she commits a single sin she turns black and is sentenced to eternal death.  But a savior has come with the power to turn water into wine (clear solution becomes red), to shed his blood for our salvation.  His sacrifice cleaned the world of sin, so now when Goldie (now black with sin) decides to accept Jesus and accept the blood of Christ (red solution) it rinses her sins away and she becomes perfectly clear (black and red solutions combine to become clear).

What is sin?
What happens when we sin?
How did Jesus remove sin from the world?
How do we get to heaven?

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 6:23

“Righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24 

“And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them saying, ‘drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’” Matthew 26:27-28

“Jesus Christ Who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood.” Revelations 1:5 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

5 large clear vases, glasses or plastic cups (1 larger than the other 4)
Heavy duty spray starch
Bottle of iodine – 10% povidone / iodine works fine. 
Sodium Sulfite (available from online chemical suppliers; may be able to substitute with Oxyclean or bleach) - http://www.chemistrystore.com/Chemicals_S_Z-Sodium_Sulfite.html
Phenolphthalein solution (available from online chemical suppliers)
- http://secure.sciencecompany.com/Phenolphthalein-30ml-1-oz-P6364C0.aspx

The experiment used in this object lesson uses iodine, a poison that if ingested in large amounts, especially in children, can be fatal, sodium sulfite, a chemical that can cause skin and eye irritation or worse problems if ingested, as well as phenolphthalein, a known carcinogen (cancer-causing agent).  Extreme care must be taken to prevent skin, eye, and especially ingestion of these chemicals.  It is highly recommended that only adults perform this experiment / object lesson, including all set-up and clean-up.  Under no circumstances shall ‘Mad About Jesus Laboratories’ be liable for any damages or injury that result from the use of, or misuse of, this or any other object lesson or experiment.  The use of this experiment is at your own risk.  For future details please note the legal disclaimer on the website (


In the first vase put vinegar and water at a ratio of 1:4 (e.g. 1 cup vinegar + 3 cups water) and 7-8 drops of iodine per cup to make it yellowish (think golden).  Spray interior of second vase with spray starch for 2-3 seconds to coat the walls and make a small pool of liquid in the bottom (let sit for 5-10 minutes prior to start to reduce any foaming).  Put 4 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of sodium sulfite into the third vase.  Powder should fully dissolve, but it make take some mixing and time.  Put 7-8 drops of phenolphthalein solution into the fourth vase just before the experiment.  Phenolphthalein solution dries out, so it needs to be fresh (15 min or so).  The fifth and largest vase will remain empty.  Label the first vase as “Goldie”, the second vase as “Sin” on one side and add a skull and crossbones symbol on the opposite side away from the audience, the third vase as “Water”, and the fourth vase as “Wine” on one side facing the audience and “Jesus’ Blood” on the other.  Arrange the vases in this order from the audiences’ perspective: Vase 1 (water, vinegar, and iodine – yellow solution – “Goldie”), Vase 2 (spray starch – small pool of clear liquid – “Sin” / Skull and Crossbones symbol), Vase 5 (largest vase - empty), Vase 4 (phenolphthalein solution – “Wine” / “Jesus’ Blood” – appears empty), Vase 3 (water and sodium sulfite – “Water” – clear liquid).

Optional: Print out poem called “Nothing Gold Can Stay” from Robert Frost and attach to poster board for audience to view.  Alternatively, show poem on overhead projector or computer screen.



1. “Hi kids, today I want to start by reading a famous poem by Robert Frost.”
2. “The poem is called ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’” Show poster board with poem printout.

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.”
- Robert Frost

3. “Can anyone tell me what this poem is about?” Wait for a response.
4. “Well, it is all about life and death, isn’t it?”
5. “It says that every living creature, no matter how beautiful, will eventually die.”
6. “Was this always this way?”
7. “No, once people lived in the Garden of Eden where death did not exist.”
8. “But something happened, didn’t it.”
9. “Do you remember what happened?” Wait for a response.
10. “Yes, sin entered the world when Adam and Eve took of the forbidden fruit.”
11. “From that point on people and all living creatures were sentenced to death.”
12. “Now even the first golden blooms of the trees, the prettiest flowers, and all people will eventually turn to dust.”
13. “Nothing gold can stay.”

Introduce Goldie

14. “Today, I want to introduce you to a friend of mine.” 
15. “Her name is Goldie.” Show the yellow iodine containing solution in the first vase labeled ‘Goldie’ to the audience.  Wait for sighs.
16. “Now, Goldie is just like you and me when we were first born.”
17. “She is pure of heart just like gold.”
18. “That’s why I call her ‘Goldie’, because she is so beautiful.” Caress and admire her.
19. “But, nothing gold can stay.”
20. “All it takes is for her to make one little mistake, one little SIN, and her luster of gold disappears.”

What is sin?

21. “Now, do you remember what a sin is?” Wait for a response.
22. “Yes, it is any wrong deed.”
23. “But what is so bad about sin?” Wait for a response.
24. “Well, I have a container of sin right here.” Show the second vase containing the spray starch with the skull and crossbones turned away from the audience. 
25. “It looks innocent enough.”
26. “In fact, it looks just like water.”
27. “But be warned.” Turn the vase around to show the skull and crossbones.
28. “See the skull and crossbones?”
29. “Skull and crossbones are a symbol of death.”
30. “The bible even says in Romans 6:23 that ‘the wages of sin is death …’”
31. “That means that sins are like poison.”
32. “That means sins can kill you.”
33. “Now, does that mean that our physical bodies will die?”
34. “No.”
35. “The bible says in Romans 3:24 that ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’”
36. “So, it simply means that we are no longer perfect.”
37. “There is no way to get to heaven, because God can only live with perfect creatures.”
38. “We are separated from GOD.”
39. “Our hope of eternal life with God is dead!” 

Goldie does not stay

40. “Now, what do you think is going to happen to ‘Goldie’ when she commits a sin?”
41. “Well, let’s see.” Slowly pour out the contents of flask 1 into vase 2.
42. “Oh no, Goldie does not look very good anymore.” 
43. “She is now filled with sin.”
44. “She is now unclean.”
45. “She has lost her connection with God and cannot fix it by herself.”
46. “Her hope of eternal life is gone.”

Good news

47. “But, I have good news!”
48. “A savior has come.”
49. “His name is Jesus.”
50. “He is God’s son.”
51. “He is a part of God.”
52. “And why do we know he is God?”
53. “Well, one way we know is that he performed miracles, didn’t he?”

Water to wine

54. “Can someone tell me a miracle that Jesus performed?” Wait for a response.
55. “Yes, he walked on water, fed the 5000 people with a boy’s lunch, could control the weather, and even heal the sick.”
56. “But, there are two miracles that I did not mention.”
57. “Does anyone remember Jesus’ first miracle?"
58. “Ok, I will just tell you.”
59. “Jesus was at a party and they ran out of wine.”
60. “The servants brought a jug of water to Jesus.” Show the third vase of water to the audience.
61. “And Jesus turned the water into wine!” Slowly pour the contents of the third vase into the fourth vase.

Blood of Christ

62. “This was Jesus’ first miracle.” 
63. “But it was not his best miracle.”
64. “You see, during the life of Jesus he did many things for people he saw everyday.”
65. “But there was one miracle, one gift that he gave for all people, in the past, present, and future.”
66. “That gift was his life.”
67. “But before sacrificing himself, he met with his disciples.”
68. “In Matthew 26:27-28 we read that (Jesus) ‘took a cup (of wine), and when he had given thanks he gave it to them saying, ‘drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’’”
69. “So, we know that Jesus used wine to represent his blood.” Turn vase four around and show “Jesus’ blood.
70. “When we take communion, we remember Jesus’ sacrifice and that he gave these symbols to his disciples that night.”

Blood washes away sin

71. “So, would you like to see the power of Jesus’ blood?”
72. “Ok, in my right hand I have all the sin in the world.” Pick up and show the audience the second vase (containing Goldie now blackened with sin).
73. “This is all the sin you have done or ever will do.”
74. “It is also all the sins that your sister or brother has done, that your neighbor has done, that your parents have done, and that your future kids will do.”
75. “It is all the sin that ever was or ever will be done by everyone on Earth.”
76. “For ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’” Romans 3:24 
77. “This sin is all that is in the way of people being with God in heaven.”
78. “Once sin goes away, we can be with God.”
79. “In my right hand is the blood of Jesus.” Pick up and show the audience the fourth vase labeled ‘Jesus’ Blood’.
80. “The blood that he gave us on Calvary.”
81. “The blood that when combined with sin . . . Slowly start to pour the contents of the second vase into the contents of the fourth vase so they mix in mid-air then fall into the fifth vase in the center of the table . . . washes it clean as snow.”
82. State strongly: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 6:23


83. “Pretty incredible, isn’t it.”
84. “Just like a perfect flower will eventually wither away, a beautiful golden sunset turns to dusk, and my friend Goldie would die because of sin, all it took for ‘Goldie to get clean was to accept Jesus as her savior.”
85. “Jesus shed his blood for everyone.”
86. “For Jesus Christ . . . loves us and . . . freed us from our sins by His blood.” Revelations 1:5 
87. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16
88. “We only need to accept him.”


89. “Well, I better get back to the lab.”
90. “I have lots to do to prepare for my next experiment.”
91. “You see, I think I discovered a way to walk on water.”
92. “I just need to work the kinks out.”
93. “I will see you again soon.”
94. “Bye.”


1. Adapted from the story “The Story of Hank” from Mick Palmer Ministries. http://www.kidology.org/zones/zone_post.asp?post_id=1039
2. A video showing part of the experiment (The Story of Hank: starch and iodine reaction) is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaGizFDOdYc
3. A video showing part of the experiment (water to wine only) is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-_X6iqmHEE


Please send comments, suggestions, and questions to Daniel at madaboutjesuslaboratories@yahoo.com


A diagram of the procedure is available at http://madaboutjesus.net/nothinggoldcanstayphotos.html


A video of the mad scientist performing this object lesson is available here.

Mad About Jesus Laboratories


An alternative version of this lesson is available.  It was written for a large audience (congregational presentation). Click here.


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