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Doing What is Good

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DOING WHAT IS GOOD 

Scripture: Matthew 5:16, Titus 3:1–11

Memory verse: Matthew 5:16
"Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

Lead—In

Bring to class a variety of items that reflect light, such as a mirror, a piece of aluminium, and a chrome or silver object. Also bring a candle. (Do not use a smokeless candle.)

Hold up the shiny objects for everyone to see. Let several volunteers look at their reflections in the objects. Discuss which object reflects their image best. Of the objects displayed, the mirror should give the best reflection. Tell the students that if they allow Jesus to control their lives, they will be like the mirror. They will reflect Jesus’ love so others can see Him in them.

Light the candle and let the smoke from its wick cloud and darken the mirror. Tell the students to look into the mirror now. They will not be able to see themselves as well. Stress that when we allow quarrelling, jealousy, or anger to enter our lives, we will be like the mirror. Our witness will be clouded and we will not be as useful to Jesus.

Tell the students they will learn in this week’s study more about the importance of their actions.

Hearing God’s Word

What would you think if someone who stole things, cheated on tests, and was mean to small children told you he had just become a Christian? You would be happy, of course, but you would probably expect to see some changes in his life. If after several months he still acted as he always had, you would probably wonder if he had told the truth about being a Christian.

Ask: Why would you feel that way? (Allow discussion and lead the students to the conclusion that we expect a change in a person’s behaviour after he accepts Jesus as Saviour.)

The Cretans Have a Bad witness

The people from the island of Crete (KREET) behaved much like the person in our example. They claimed to be saved, but their lifestyles did not prove this to be true. Paul knew the church in Crete would soon fall apart with this kind of witness. They needed a strong Christian leader who would guide them and help them understand how Christians should act. So Paul asked his good friend Titus to stay in Crete.

After Titus had been in Crete for a while, Paul wrote him a letter of encouragement. In it is a description of how we should act after we have accepted Jesus.

Ask: Why does God save us? Does it have anything to do with how good we are? (Instruct a student to read Titus 3:4–7; allow responses.)

We are saved because God is merciful. After we are washed and renewed by having our sins forgiven, we have a fresh start. We still have a choice after that. With the Holy Spirit’s help, we can keep our lives clean, or we can forget our salvation experience and drift back into sin.

Salvation and Good Works

Salvation is the first and most important step in being a Christian. Our good works will not save us; only Jesus can do that. However, our works can please Jesus and show the people around us that we have new lives. God loves us no matter what our actions are. But our actions tell others how important our salvation is to us. If we really love God, we will want to do the things He taught us in His Word. These things include showing His love to others through good works.

What are some examples of good works? Paul told about some in Titus 3:1, 2. (Let a volunteer read these verses. List the items on the chalkboard as they are mentioned.) Does anything on this list match the characteristics of Christians you know?

Christians Live What They Say

The greatest of all good works is leading others to Christ. Before we can do that, we must know what we believe. Apparently the people at Crete did not have a good idea of what they believed because they were not doing a good job of living godly lives. The Cretans were known for their rough lifestyles. In fact, the Greeks used a slang term meaning “to Crete-ize” when they spoke of someone who lied a lot. This lying, hotheaded attitude found its way into the church. The people claimed to be Christians, but they behaved no differently than the other people in Crete.

Paul wanted Titus to teach the Cretan Christians that they were different and they should act like it. He reminded the people of what the Bible teaches and its effect on their lives. The Book of Titus states many fundamentals or truths of Christianity. In Titus 3:5, 7 four of these truths are listed: salvation because of God’s mercy, renewal by the Holy Spirit, justification through God’s grace, and the inheritance of eternal life.

Know What You Believe

The Book of Titus is sometimes referred to as a “creedal book,” that is, a book containing a set of fundamental beliefs. Paul wrote many truths about God to Titus so he could explain them to the Cretans. “I want you to stress these things,” Paul wrote in Titus 3:8. If the Cretans knew what they believed, they would better understand how to live out their Christianity. As they studied and obeyed these truths, they would see the necessity of good works after being saved. The good works would not only please God, but through their kindness and helpfulness to others, the Cretans would be able to lead others to Jesus.

Ask: Do you know what you believe? Could you explain your beliefs to someone if they asked you? (Allow responses.)

People Watch Christians

People noticed how the Cretan Christians lived. Their witness suffered because of their actions. Whether you know it or not, other people also watch your behaviour. No matter how much you tell people about Jesus, your actions are what helps them decide if being a Christian changes someone and makes them a better person.

Think of Mary’s story for instance. Mary was an 11-year-old girl who was rather shy but kind and helpful to everyone at school and at home. As she prayed one night, she asked God to forgive her for not talking more about Jesus to her schoolmates. They probably did not even know that I am a Christian, she thought regretfully.

The next morning there was a note on her desk from Sarah, the girl who sat two rows to her right. The note read, “Thank you for sitting outside with me at recess all last week when I was so upset about my parents’ divorce. My mom said I can come to church with you next week. She wishes I had more Christian friends like you.”

Mary smiled at Sarah. I never told her I was a Christian, she thought with surprise.

When Mary got home, Mother asked her to go across the street to clean the house for great-aunt Elizabeth. Before she went over, Mary picked some flowers and put them in a vase for Aunt Elizabeth to enjoy.

When Mary was finished cleaning, Aunt Elizabeth asked if she would read to her from the Bible. Mary could hear her friends playing football outside, and she really felt more like running than sitting and reading. But she loved her aunt and read several Bible passages for her before playing football with her friends.

Ask: How did the people around Mary know she was a Christian? What if she had told Aunt Elizabeth she did not have time to read to her? What if she had ignored Sarah on the playground? Would she have been a good witness then? (Allow responses.)

(Encourage the students to discuss how different actions on Mary’s part would have given people a different view of her. Repeat the memory verse several times and relate it to this story.)

Our actions and words must agree with one another. We cannot say we are Christians unless we are willing to back it up by what we do and say. Jesus will help us reflect His image if we will take time to learn about Him and put what we have learned into practice. By reflecting Jesus’ love, we can win others for Him.

Accepting God’s Word

Emphasize that only people who have given their lives to Jesus can glorify Him. We are all sinners, separated from God. But if we confess our sins and believe on Jesus as our Saviour, we will become God’s children. Pray with those who indicate a desire to accept Jesus as Saviour.

Present the information about the Jumjum tribe in Sudan given below.

Meet the Jumjum

The Jumjum live in the Fung region of the Blue Nile Province in eastern Sudan. They are farmers and shepherds.

Some Jumjum are able to attend regional schools. English is taught at the higher levels, and Arabic is taught at the lower levels.

Most Jumjum are animists, meaning that they believe non-human objects have spirits. The Jumjum worship the supreme god Dyong. There are few Christian resources available to the Jumjum. The people need Christian materials translated into their language.

REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for the Jumjum tribe in Sudan

1. Claim Revelation 15:4 for the Jumjum,
2. The Jumjum to see that God wants them to be in heaven with Him,
3. Every tribe located on the Tenth Parallel to be represented before the throne of God and to bow before Him in worship.

Prayer Promise

"For you (God) alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you" (Revelation 15:4).

MORE INFORMATION: www.joshuaproject.net

Remember: DOING WHAT IS GOOD

Memory verse: Matthew 5:16
"Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

1. My actions and words must agree with one another.
2. May others see my good works and want to know more about Jesus.
3. When people look at me, I want them to see a clear picture of Jesus.

Pray for the Jumjum tribe in Sudan.

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Study 16 | Give to God / Paul Writes | africaatts.org/go-teach

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