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Holy Living

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RULES FOR HOLY LIVING 

Scripture: Colossians 3:1–20

Memory verse: Colossians 3:17
"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus...."

Lead—In

Bring scissors and two pieces of white cotton cloth to use in an object lesson. Iron the cloth to remove all the wrinkles. Begin the class session by displaying one piece of white cloth. Explain that the cloth represents our hearts when we ask Jesus to be our Saviour.

Ask the students to raise their hands if they know anyone who is perfect. Explain that no one is perfect; we all make mistakes. Then let the students mention various things that tempt them when they try to be perfect. These need not be specific incidents; try to keep the comments general. Explain that when we yield to temptation, something happens to our hearts. As you talk, begin to cut small nicks in the white cloth, make a few jagged tears, fray the edges, and crumple the fabric to make it wrinkled. Then hold up the cloth for everyone to see. Explain that our spiritual hearts can become marred when we do not live the way God wants.

Ask the students what we should do when we make mistakes. Stress that we should be truly sorry and ask Jesus to forgive us. Then we can depend on the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us strength to do what is right. When we have done this, Jesus makes our hearts clean again. Display the second piece of cloth.

Tell the students that today they will learn about some qualities Christians can have in their lives when they let Jesus help them control their actions. When we let Jesus be in control; our hearts will stay pure, not torn and ragged.

Hearing God’s Word

Everything we do in life revolves around rules that must be followed.

Ask: How many of you enjoy playing football? How much fun would it be if each team played by its own set of rules? Or how would it be if motorists made up their own rules for driving rather than obeying the traffic laws? (Allow discussion.)

Rules are Necessary

Life would be chaos without some rules to guide our behaviour. But some people think of rules only as restrictions. They do not see any benefit in obeying them.

False Teachings in Colossae

The work of the Church in Colossae was started by Epaphras (EHP-uh-fras), a native of the city. While Paul was in prison in Rome, he learned some troubling news concerning the Colossians. Colossae was a small town in the Roman Empire. It seemed to attract a variety of cultures and religions. The Christians in Colossae began to believe some of the false doctrines taught by the people around them. These teachings encouraged severe self-denial, angel worship, the observances of certain ceremonies, and refraining from eating certain foods. The false teachers had promised a special way to salvation through seeking angelic powers that would talk to God on their behalf.

Paul Writes to the Colossians

Paul was disturbed by these false teachings, especially that of worshipping angels.

Ask: Who is the only One worthy of worship? (Allow response.)

The false teachings seemed to make Jesus’ death seem unimportant. From prison, Paul wrote a letter to the Colossians giving instructions that are important for us to remember and follow also.

Paul explained in his letter that people do not need to search for truth and satisfaction anywhere but through Jesus. He, the Son of God, rules over all other powers, including angels. He is the only One we need to plead our case before God.

Characteristics of a Holy Life

Paul also instructed the Colossians to set rules for their Christian lives. God expects us to live holy, Christ-like lives. (Ask a student to read Colossians 3:8, 9.)

Ask: As a Christian, what would you include on a list for holy living? What did Paul’s list include? (Ask a student to read 3:12, 13.)

A Christian is expected to be gentle, compassionate, kind, humble, and patient. But what do these words really mean? If we are gentle, we will speak kindly to others. No matter how much a brother or sister irritates you, you can be kind instead of being impatient or hateful toward them.

Compassion will show as we sympathize with others when they are troubled, and search for ways to relieve their suffering or pain. That may mean listening to someone who needs to talk, or finding help for a person in need.

Kindness is seen in a person who is affectionate, loving, and friendly. A kind person tries to help others feel at ease. Greeting visitors at church is a great way to show kindness.

A humble person will be willing to accept people as they are and not pretend to be better or more important than others. A humble person knows God loves all people just the same.

A person is showing patience when he does not complain when things do not go the way he wants. He waits and trusts God to bring the best out of a situation.

Besides being kind, gentle, humble, compassionate, and patient, Paul told the Colossians to be forgiving. Sometimes that is not easy to do.

Ask: Have you ever found it difficult to forgive someone? Why? (Allow time for responses.)

On your own, you might not be able to forgive a person who has hurt you deeply. Only God can put this kind of love in your heart. He gave His Son to die for us even though we did not deserve it. As Jesus hung on the cross, He forgave those who had treated Him cruelly. As we yield our lives to the Holy Spirit, He will help us follow Jesus’ example and forgive others.

God Gave Us Help

Do you think these rules seem hard to live up to? It is impossible to do these things in our own strength. We need help. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to help us. He is the One who give us power to live holy lives.

In Colossians 3:14–17 Paul explains how we can be holy. (Let students read these verses.) He instructs the Christians of Colossae, and all other readers of the letter, to let Jesus’ peace rule in their hearts, to be thankful and to let the word of God become a part of their lives. He also encouraged the Christians to worship God in all they do. Our memory verse tells us, “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).” This is a good verse to practice. (Repeat the verse with the students two or three times.)

Obedience to Parents

Ask: Have you ever found it easy to follow these rules at church, but difficult to practice them at home? (Allow responses.)

Suppose your mother says, “No, you may not go to your friend’s house. You have to clean your room!” Could you show these characteristics then?

Paul gives some directions on this problem. (Let a volunteer read Colossians 3:20.) One of the rules of holy living is to obey your parents. Do you ever get tired of hearing that? Obedience is not always a fun thing to do; the Bible does not say it is. But obedience is the only way God will be pleased with our behaviour. Following our parents’ instructions will also spare us from some unpleasant problems. Satan will try to get you to believe otherwise. Remember, he is a liar!

More Than a List of Rules

Some people think being a Christian is following a list of do-nots —do not do this, do not go there, do not watch that. It is true that Christians do not go to places that hurt their witness or feed their minds on sinful things that cause them to be tempted. But being a Christian is much more than keeping a list of do-nots. It is letting the Holy Spirit guide us and help us become like Jesus. It is concentrating on the things we should do, rather than the things we should not do. If we centre our thoughts and actions on Jesus, letting the Holy Spirit guide us, Satan will not be able to get us to do things we should not do.

God wants to bless His children. However, He expects us to do our part and live holy lives. When this seems difficult, remember that Jesus died to cleanse us from all sin. He sent the Holy Spirit to give us strength to do right and live the holy lives God wants us to.

Accepting God’s Word

The Bible makes it clear that no one is able to live a holy life on their own. Tell your students that the only way their actions can glorify God is if they have made Jesus the Lord of their lives. Ask if any student would like to ask Jesus to be his Saviour at this time. Pray with those who respond.

Present the information about the Adamawa tribe in Cameroon given below.

Meet the Adamawa

Many centuries ago, the Fulani tribes migrated from northern Africa and the Middle East into Central and West Africa. Most of them are still nomadic shepherds who travel with their flocks, in search of better grazing land. They are located in an almost horizontal strip across West Africa. Over the years, some of the Adamawa Fulani have advanced from being exclusively shepherds to being scholarly, influential leaders in their communities. 

The Fulani have an unusual way of initiating boys into manhood. The young boys must beat each other across the chest with walking sticks while showing no signs of pain. Throughout the rest of their lives, these scars are proudly shown as signs of courage. 

The Adamawa Fulani are mostly Muslim; however, like many other Fulani tribes, their Islamic practices are a bit lax. Many still follow the traditional beliefs and practices of their ancestors. More than two million Adamawa Fulani live in Cameroon, and very few have converted to Christianity.

REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for the Adamawa tribe in Cameroon

1. The Adamawa have access to the gospel,
2. Barriers to be removed that prevent gospel messengers from preaching,
3. Adamawa recognize their right and privilege to enjoy a personal relationship with Jesus.

Prayer Promise

"Is it not written: 'My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations (tribes)' " (Mark 11:17).

MORE INFORMATION: www.joshuaproject.net

Remember: RULES FOR HOLY LIVING

Memory verse: Colossians 3:17
"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus...."

1. Good rules produce good Christians.
2. I want to obey and do what pleases the Lord.
3. If I make a mistake, I will ask Jesus for forgiveness, and then move on to do by best for Him.

Pray for the Adamawa tribe in Cameroon.

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Study 10 | Give to God / Paul Writes | africaatts.org/go-teach

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