SEPARATED TO GOD
Scripture: Matthew 13:1–8; Romans 12:1; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 4:11-13, 17–24; Colossians 1:6–7
Memory verse: 2 Corinthians 6:17
"Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord."
Begin this study by playing a guessing game. Explain that you are going to give some clues about a mystery animal. When a student things he knows what the mystery thing is, he must raise his hand. See how many clues you must give before someone guesses the mystery thing.
- My neck is long and my legs are short.
- I make my home on the ground, but I like to live near water.
- I eat fish, insects, and grain.
- My family’s name is Anatidae
- I have an interesting walk.
- I like to be where it is warm in the winter.
- My babies hatch from eggs.
- Some people think I am good to eat.
- I am a good swimmer.
By this time everyone should have guessed you are talking about a duck. Ask how many have seen a newly hatched duck. Let a student describe what it looks like.
Mention that when a baby duck is hatched, it has no feathers. Instead it is covered with down. As it gets older, it begins to grow feathers. Ask the students what would happen if the duck stayed covered with down its whole life. Without feathers, the duck would not be able to fly. It might even die, since it needs to fly to get away from danger.
Now tell the students that Christians are somewhat like ducks. We are born spiritually at salvation, but it takes time before we can “fly” or “soar” in our Christian lives. We need to work at growing our feathers. Encourage the students to listen closely to find out how this is possible.
Hearing God’s Word
Jesus told the disciples a story to explain how Christians can either die or grow spiritually.
The Seeds on Rocky Soil
One day Jesus was talking to a big crowd of people. He told them about a farmer who was planting grain in his fields. Some of the seeds fell on rocky soil where the dirt was not very deep. The grain sprouted and grew in this shallow soil. But soon the hot sun scorched the plants. They withered and died because they had such short, fragile roots.
Later Jesus told His disciples what this meant. He said the shallow, rocky soil is like the man who hears the gospel and is excited about living for Jesus. After a while, when trouble comes, the man loses his joy and quits serving Jesus. His spiritual life is like a plant without roots. It withers and dies.
Sometimes a person will admit he has sinned, believe Jesus is God’s Son who died for sins, and confess his sins and ask Jesus’ forgiveness. Then something sad happens. When things go wrong, this person is such a shallow Christian he cannot trust God to help him. He becomes easily discouraged and quits living for Jesus. His problems defeat him.
However, in Jesus’ story, the farmer also planted some seeds in good soil. These seeds grew and produced a crop. Jesus said this good ground is like the heart of a person who accepts Jesus as Saviour, listens to God’s Word, obeys it, grows more like Jesus, and helps others learn about Him. This person is strong and useful for God.
Living and Growing in Jesus
One day Paul wrote a letter to the Christians in Colossae. (Ask a volunteer to read Colossians 2:6, 7.) Paul encouraged the believers there to grow in Jesus. He wanted them to be strong Christians who lived what they believed.
The Bible teaches us something else about living and growing in Jesus. What is it? (Ask a student to read Colossians 3:9, 10.) The Bible says that as Christians we are living brand-new lives. We should always be learning more of what is right and trying to be more like Jesus, the One who gave us this new life. We should stop doing and thinking wrong things.
Once when Jesus was praying for His disciples, He asked God to “sanctify” them.
Ask: “What does the word sanctify mean?” (Allow responses.)
Jesus wants us to be set apart or free from sin. Then we will be the kind of people He wants us to be.
After we become Christians, we are to obey God. We are not to live the way we lived before. For example, before we asked Jesus into our hearts, we may have told lies or disobeyed our parents. But Jesus changed us when He forgave our sins. He made us new creatures in Him. We are now separated from sin.
Sometimes people who say they are Christians act like Christians only at church. When they are around people who are not Christians, they act like the others do. There is no commitment to Jesus. A sanctified Christian is one who obeys God’s Word and tries to be like Jesus.
(Ask a student to read Ephesians 4:17–20.) God wants us to be real Christians, not imitators who change to fit in with those we are with.
A Christian is to be different from a non-Christian. His goal is to always be growing more and more like Jesus. He is not only separated from the world’s way of living; he is also dedicated to the way Jesus wants us to live. Separation from sin plus dedication to God equals sanctification (holy living).
A Lifelong Process
Ask: “Does a person become perfect the minute he becomes a Christian? Why not?” (Allow responses.)
It is true that a person’s past sins are forgiven the minute he asks Jesus to be his Saviour. Jesus gives us a new heart—new desires. We are sanctified, or set apart, for Him. But growing in Jesus and keeping sin out of our lives takes daily work. If we do not do these things, we remain spiritual “babies,” unable to “soar” over our problems. That is like being a duck without feathers.
Ask: “What will happen if a baby duck tries to make friends with his enemies?” (Allow responses.)
It is quite likely it will be killed or severely hurt. Did you know the same is true for us? Even though we are Christians, if we constantly try to do what non-Christians do, we will be like the baby duck and get hurt—spiritually. We can never fight off Satan in our own strength.
Dedication to God
So how can we become strong spiritually? Through sanctification. God asks you to give every part of your life to Him in dedication as a holy, sacred offering. (Ask a student to read Romans 12:1.) Other verses also tell us to lead a holy or sanctified life. Our memory verse is one of those (Let the students quote the memory verse in unison.)
How can you live a life that is separated from the world and dedicated to God? Be faithful to read God’s Word and talk to God in prayer every day. Also, do not let Satan try to trick you into doing things you know are not right.
Ask: “What are some things Satan might try to get us to do?” (Allow responses.)
Obedience to God is very important. Attending church will help you learn more about God and how to live for Him. That will help in your spiritual growth.
(Lay two sheets of white paper side by side on a table. One should have nothing under it, the other, a coin with the head facing up.) These sheets of paper look exactly the same. Let us call the first one Christian number one. He pretends to be a Christian on Sundays, but he never reads his Bible or prays. When he is with his non-Christian friends, he tries to act just like they do. Even though he remembers being saved once, he has let his spiritual life wither and die. When troubles come in his life (begin rubbing the side of a pencil against the first paper), all the ugliness inside of him starts to show through. (Show the students the white paper now smeared with scribbles.)
Christian number two is trying to live a life that is set apart for Jesus. He is not perfect, but he is learning to be the person God wants him to be. As his non-Christian friends watch his life and the right choices he makes, they begin to see that there is something more to him. (Hold the second paper still and begin rubbing the side of the pencil over the coin. The image if the coin should begin appearing.) When bad things happen in his life, he remembers his commitment to God and allows Him to shine through his life.
People watch us. When things come that rub us the wrong way, what is inside of us will be obvious. We will either show the ugliness that is inside without Jesus or we will show attitudes that please God. If we dedicate our lives to Jesus each day, He will help us grow in our Christian lives. We will be sanctified and holy before God.
Accepting God’s Word
Explain that as we grow in God, becoming more like Jesus, we are happier with ourselves. Because Jesus is perfect, He is the best Person to know and imitate. Jesus loves us so much He died for our sins. Explain the plan of salvation. Ask if any of your students would like to accept Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Pray individually with each one who responds.
Our research team left St. Louis, Senegal, a city of more than 150,000 located at the mouth of the Senegal River. Driving east along a road running parallel to the river, we soon passed Roso, a junction leading to a border crossing into neighbouring Mauritania. We were entering the Tukulor homeland, a region stretching from Richard Toll to Semme.
The Tukulor area is divided by the Senegal River, with 242,000 living on the Mauritania side and 939,000 in Senegal. The paved road, running from 10 to 20 kilometres south of the river, was in good condition, except for sections with deep potholes. During the seven-hour journey we passed through a town or village about every 15 kilometres. We counted more than 50 communities, some on the river road and others along the river itself that were large enough to merit a place on the map.
REMEMBER TO PRAY
Pray for Tukulor Communities
1. Messengers to visit each of the communities proclaiming the good news of the gospel.
2. The need of the Tukulor to be made known to believers in other Senegal tribes.
3. Men lead the way in accepting Jesus as their Saviour.
"You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it" (John 14:14).
Remember: SEPARATED TO GOD
Memory verse: 2 Corinthians 6:17
"Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord."
1. Sanctify means to “set apart to a sacred purpose or to religious use.”
2. The believer's goal is to be more like Jesus.
3. Carefully considering the teachings of Jesus as taught in the Bible helps us to live like Jesus.
Pray for Tukulor Communities.
Study 12 | Jesus Says Go/We Believe | africaatts.org/go-teach