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Call to Repentance

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CALL TO REPENTANCE

Scripture: Amos 5:1–27

Memory verse: Amos 5:14
"Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you."

Lead—In

Use the following object lesson to illustrate the importance of repentance and the impact it can make on a person’s life.

You will need a piece of wood that can be easily scratched, sandpaper, a marker, and a nail. Hold up a piece of wood. Explain that the wood is like a new-born baby. It is not marred or scratched in any way. However, as time goes by, the wood is used more and more. As it is used through the years, it becomes scratched, soiled, and dented. Use a marker to write on the wood, and make some scratches with a nail. Ask how the piece of wood is like a person now. Allow the students to respond. Tell the students the scratches and marks on the wood are like sins in a person’s life. They leave scratches and scars in a life and take away its beauty.

Ask the students how scratches and marks can be taken out of wood. Mention that paint might cover them up, but the marks would still be there. The best remedy would be sandpaper. Give a student a piece of coarse sandpaper and let him rub the marred places in the wood (rub with the grain of the wood). Comment on how the scratches are being removed.

Tell the students it is the same with our lives. We can try to cover up our sins, but they are still there. We might be able to fool others, but we cannot fool God. What we really need is the sandpaper of repentance. Hold up a sheet of sandpaper on which you have written “repentance.” Explain that when we repent, we ask forgiveness for our sins and turn away from them. God then takes away the scratches and marks in our lives and makes us unblemished once again.

Explain that the prophet Amos preached about repentance. Encourage the students to listen and learn more about his message.

Hearing God’s Word

Earlier this quarter we studied the Major Prophets and one Minor Prophet. Today we will be learning about the message of repentance from another Minor Prophet. Let us review what we know about the prophets. (Read each statement below and instruct the students to hold up their right hands if it is true, their left hands if it is false.)

  1. The Major Prophets are more important than the Minor Prophets. (False. They all are important.)
  2. Generally speaking, the Minor Prophets’ writings are shorter than those of the Major Prophets. That is why they are called Minor Prophets. (True.)
  3. The Major Prophets all lived and wrote before the Minor Prophets. (False. They often ministered at the same time.)
  4. A prophet is a spokesman for God and gives His messages. (True.)

The Prophet Amos

This week we will look at the life and message of the prophet Amos, a Minor Prophet. Amos was a shepherd from Tekoa, which was located about six miles from Bethlehem. It was in the southern kingdom of Judah.

It seems Amos was a farmer as well as a shepherd. At certain times each year he would go to another place in Judah to help care for sycamore trees. These trees produced a fruit that was somewhat like figs. However, this fruit was much cheaper than figs so poor people could afford it.

Apparently Amos was not from a wealthy, well-known family. He probably did not have the chance to get a formal education. However, he loved God and seemed to know about the Law of Moses. God saw Amos’ heart and called him to preach His messages. Amos had no real training in preaching or being a prophet. After all, he spent most of his time in the fields, not in the cities. But Amos did not argue or refuse to do what God wanted. He willingly left his sheep and sycamore trees and headed for wherever God led him.

At the time God called Amos to be a prophet, Israel was divided into two kingdoms—the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom. The northern kingdom was called Israel. The southern kingdom was called Judah. Both kingdoms had their own kings and separate governments. Amos was from the southern kingdom of Judah. But God told him to go preach to the northern kingdom of Israel. This seemed a little unusual, but Amos was obedient and went to Bethel.

Amos’ Message

What king of message did God tell Amos to preach to Israel? (Let volunteers read Amos 5:4, 10–17, 26, 27. Assign three teams to listen for specific information contained in the reading. Team One should listen for sins Israel had committed; Team Two, the consequences of their sins; Team Three, what could be done to prevent these consequences.) God told Amos to prophesy against the things the Israelites had done.

Ask: “What had Israel done that displeased God?” (Allow Listening Team One to respond.)

Israel had turned away from God. God had done many wonderful things for His people, but they had turned their backs on Him. They chose to serve idols rather than worship the true and living God.

What are some specific sins they committed? (Instruct a student to reread Amos 5:10–12, 26 then name the sins mentioned.) They hated to be corrected by the truth; they took advantage of the poor; they took bribes in court; and they worshiped idols. They had taken grain and food from the poor and deprived them of justice. Their deeds caused them to become rich and be able to build fancy houses. But God said their money wouldn’t do them any good because they got it through sin. God had punished the other nations for similar sins. Israel would be punished also.

Ask: “What would be the consequences of these sins if the people would not repent and change their ways?” (Note Amos 5:16, 17, 27. Allow Listening Team Two to respond.)

They would be taken away from their homes and forced to live in a strange land. All their wealth and fancy houses would be taken away from them. They would find their strength alone was not enough to rescue them from their enemies. God would no longer fight for His people because they had refused to listen to Him.

Ask: “Could anything be done to prevent these terrible things from happening to Israel?” (Allow Listening Team Three to respond.)

Look at Amos 5:4, 14, 15. There was hope for Israel. Our memory verse this week tells what they needed to do to avoid this sorrow. What was it? (Repeat the memory verse several times.)

God told the people to repent. What does repent mean? Repent means “to turn from sin.” When a person truly repents, he is feeling sorry for the wrong he has done, asking God for forgiveness, and determining not to do the wrong again. If the Israelites would repent and begin obeying God, they would be saved from the punishment of their sins. But if they refused to repent and continued to sin, God could not help them. They would have to suffer for the evil things they had done. The choice was up to them. What would they do?

Israel’s Choice

Did they repent? No, they did not even want to hear what Amos had to say. (Ask a student to read Amos 7:12, 13.) The people sent Amos away. They did not want God’s help—they would not repent. What happened to the people of Israel because of this? (Ask a student to read 2 Kings 17:6.) The armies of Assyria overran Israel, carrying thousands of them into captivity. God’s message through Amos had come true.

A Promise Of Hope

The Book of Amos is one of warning against sin. The people sought evil rather than good. But God gave Amos a promise too. (Choose students to read Amos 9:11, 15.) This promise refers to a time that is yet to come. Someday Jesus will come and set up His kingdom. No power can conquer Him. He will bring peace to the earth at last. But Israel had to suffer much heartache because the people chose to follow their own way rather than God’s way.

The Choice is ours

You might think, Those Israelites were really dumb. But I do not know what this book has to do with me. God has given us the Bible to show us how to live as He wants us to—the best way. We can learn a lot by hearing about the mistakes of others. Actually, we are no different from the Israelites. God says in His Word that every one of us has sinned. But Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. If we repent of our sins, ask Jesus to forgive us, and accept Him as our Saviour, we do not have to suffer the punishment our sins deserve. Those who do not truly repent and accept God’s offer of forgiveness will eventually suffer the consequences for their wrongdoing. Like the Israelites, we must choose.

(Ask a student to read Galatians 6:7.) The kind of seeds you plant determines what your crop will be. If you plant corn, you will reap corn. If you plant a life of sin, you will reap sorrow in this life as well as in eternity. But if you listen to God, turn from sin, and do what is right, you will reap God’s blessings and life in heaven. What will your choice be?

Accepting God’s Word

Remind the students that no one enjoys being punished. God does not want us to be punished. However, sin always brings punishment. Explain salvation—God’s provision for us to escape from punishment. If they have not asked forgiveness for their sins, they can do so today. Pray personally with each who desires to repent of his sins and receive Jesus as Saviour.

A Chief's Influence

The chief took us to see the mayor. He was absent so the assistant mayor welcomed us. The staff of about six sat down with us and we identified ourselves. They introduced themselves and extended a gracious welcome. Our interest was expressed, but we made it clear that at this time our visit was only exploratory.

We asked permission to pray with them for God's direction concerning our assistance to their village. We all extended our hands in the Muslim prayer fashion, and one of the team members prayed in Bambara, the national language. A bond was established with the village. Perhaps this was the group of people to whom we could offer a helping hand and thereby have the opportunity to share the gospel with them.

We stepped outside and I took a picture of all the staff in front of their newly painted sign. It couldn't have been a better visit. We got back in our vehicle and thanked God for preparing the way to make contact with the Soninke.

REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Soninke Youth

1. Followers of Jesus to take an interest in Soninke youth at their school.
2. Football and other sports used to establish a relationship through which Jesus' salvation can be presented.
3. Church youth groups to form an evangelism team for a special outreach to Soninke youth.

 Prayer Promise

"He will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples"  (Isaiah 25:7).

Remember: CALL TO REPENTANCE

Memory verse: Amos 5:14
"Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you."

1. Repent means “to turn from sin.”
2. Sin produces suffering, but repentance brings God's blessing.
3. Each person must make a choice—repent or continue in sin.

Pray for Soninke Youth.

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Study 8 | All Peoples/The Prophets | africaatts.org/go-teach

 

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