CHOOSING TO SERVE GOD
Scripture: Exodus 2:2–15; 3:7, 10; Joshua 24:14–28; Hebrews 11:2–28
Memory verse: Joshua 24:15
"Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve...as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord."
You will need a plastic beverage bottle, a bottle cap, a bowl, and water. Punch a small hole near the bottom on one side of the bottle. Put your finger over the hole as you fill the bottle with dirty water. Close the bottle with the cap and remove your finger. No water should come out of the hole.
In class position the bowl where it will catch water from the bottle. Then discuss choices—ones with small consequences, such as choosing which colour shirt to wear, and ones with big consequences, such as what kind of friends we choose. Point out that the most important choice we can make is to accept Jesus and choose to follow Him.
Point to the bottle and explain that it represents a person who has accepted Jesus. The water inside represents the person's Christian witness. Discuss how bad choices we make hurt our witness for Jesus. Explain that this person was heard gossiping about someone at school. (Remove the cap and let a third of the water run out. Put the cap on it again.)
A few days later someone heard him tell a lie. (Remove the cap again and release another third of the water. Put the cap on it again.) A teacher finds him cheating on an exam. (Remove the cap and let the rest of the water run out.)
As we can see, this person's witness for God has been ruined by his bad choices—choosing to gossip, lie, and cheat. Choosing to serve God means to continually making good choices in our daily lives.
Hearing God's Word
One afternoon Thomas was driving through an intersection when he heard tires screech and was suddenly jolted about in the seat. He had been hit by a pickup truck driven by Andrew. Andrew came over and shouted at Thomas, "You ran a red light. You will sure pay for this!"
Sarah had seen the accident and knew Thomas was not at fault. However, she quickly walked away. "I just do not want to get involved," she said to herself.
As all this was going on, a bystander named Isaac introduced himself to Thomas. "Sir," he whispered, "I did not really see what happened, but I would be glad to testify for you. It will only cost you a little money." Thomas shook his head. "No thanks," he said. "I want only honest witnesses." Then Sarah stepped forward and said, "I saw the whole thing. The man in the truck was speeding and ran a red light. I will be glad to testify to it."
Ask: "What is a witness?" (Allow responses.)
A witness is someone who has seen or experienced something personally. Several witnesses were mentioned in this story. A good witness is convinced of what he saw, and he is not afraid to tell others about it.
Ask: "How many good witnesses were mentioned here?" (Allow responses.)
God has called us to be His witnesses. But before we can witness for Him we must choose whether we will serve God or Satan. Everyone must make that important choice, no matter who he is.
Moses—Raised an Egyptian
People in Bible days had to make that choice too. One of these people was Moses. Moses was born to an Israelite family. The Israelites were living in Egypt where the Egyptians made them work as slaves. Pharaoh, the Egyptian ruler, was so afraid the Israelites would become rebellious one day, that he commanded all the Israelite baby boys be thrown into the river and drowned.
But Moses' mother did not throw Moses into the river. Instead, she made a tiny boat, put Moses inside it, and set it at the edge of the water. When Pharaoh's daughter came to the river, she found Moses. She felt sorry for the baby and adopted him as her own son.
Moses grew up with the best of everything. He had a good education and anything he wanted. But Moses was still an Israelite and he knew his people were being mistreated.
Moses Makes a Choice
One day, Moses had to make a choice. Would he follow God and help the Israelites, or would he forget he was an Israelite and stay in Pharaoh's kingdom? What did Moses do? (Ask a student to read Hebrews 11:24–25.)
Moses took a big risk trying to help the Israelites. He could have ignored what was happening, but he did not. He could have turned against the Israelites and treated them cruelly just as Pharaoh did. But instead Moses took a stand and did what he knew was right. Later God used Moses to take the Israelites out of slavery and escape from Egypt.
Joshua Makes a Choice
Joshua also made an important choice. Joshua was leader of the Israelites after Moses died. Joshua was a good leader. Even though the Israelites sometimes forgot about God, Joshua always tried to guide them and show them the right way to live. With God’s help, Joshua helped the people enter the land God had promised them many years before.
One day Joshua called a meeting. He reminded the people of many things God had done for them. Then he asked the Israelites to make a choice. What was it? (Ask a student to read Joshua 24:15.)
Joshua was determined to serve God no matter what the rest of the people did. Sometimes it is hard to choose what is right, especially when you are the only one making that decision.
Ask: “Have there been times in your life when you felt all alone in doing what was right?” (Let volunteers share examples.)
There comes a time when all of us must choose what we are going to do with our lives. Our memory verse was spoken by Joshua when he gave this choice to the Israelites. He said, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve….But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15 NIV). Joshua made a wise choice (Repeat the verse together.)
We Must Make a Choice
It was true for Joshua, and it is true for us today. We must decide whom we will serve—God or Satan. Some people try to serve both. They want to be partial Christians—doing what they please during the week, yet trying to be good Christians on Sunday. Matthew 6:24 tells us no man can serve two masters. (Ask a student to read this verse.)
Only Two Paths
What path are you following? There are only two choices–God’s way that leads to heaven, or Satan’s way that leads to eternal punishment. We are on one road or the other. Making no choice about what road to travel is the same as staying on the wrong road. But there is good news! If we are on the wrong road, God has made a way for us to get our lives on the right path.
How do we go about changing roads? First, we must realise we are on the wrong road–that we are sinners. Then we must believe that Jesus chose to give us a way to change roads by dying on the cross to pay for our sins. Next we must ask God to forgive our sins and believe that He will do it. Choosing to do these things and putting God first in our lives will make us members of God’s family. It puts us on the right road.
It would be simple if, once on the right road, we would never have another temptation. But life is not that way. Every day we must make the choice to live for God.
Christians sometimes make some wrong choices. But just because we make a mistake, we aren’t automatically on the wrong road–as long as we truly repent and ask forgiveness. Making wrong choices without turning to God for help can be dangerous. One wrong choice can lead to another and another until it is easy to stop being truly sorry for our mistakes. That’s when we get back on the wrong road again.
A Matter Of Choice
No one just happens to be a Christian; everyone must choose that road. Maybe you have never chosen the right road. Maybe you thought your parents’ choice to be Christians was for you too. This is a good time to make the right choice. It will be the best choice you can ever make.
Accepting God’s Word
This week’s lesson focuses on choices. Explain that the most important choice we can make is to accept Jesus as our Saviour. When we have done this, we must then choose each day to serve and obey Jesus.
Ask if any of the students would like to get on the right path by receiving salvation.
Pray individually with each who responds. Then instruct them in the basics of Christian living and encourage them to share about their decision for Jesus with someone this week.
Kieru, Eritrea, came into view, a welcomed sight at the end of a long, hot, dusty trip. It was Beja territory, and I was excited about meeting my first Beja. Stepping out of the four-wheel drive Toyota Land Cruiser marked the beginning of a six-hour encounter with the Beja that opened my eyes to the need of Africa’s Unreached Peoples.
The government official welcomed our group and agreed to give us a brief introduction to the life and culture of his people. He presented us to 10 village chiefs who had come to discuss Beja issues with him. Then he gave us a tour of a “men’s only” market where we were invited to drink coffee and take pictures of young men in full Beja attire.
The final stop was a Beja village where the women were gathered at the home of a woman who had just given birth. The festive occasion gave us a glimpse into the social structure of the society.
My heart was touched by the absence of any gospel witness among them: no churches, no schools, no clinics and no Christian relief program. In my 30 years of missionary work in various parts of Africa, I had never seen a major peoples group so isolated from the good news of the gospel.
REMEMBER TO PRAY
Pray for Beja to be Introduced to Jesus
1. Meet a born-again believer within whom Jesus is living,
2. Jesus to be revealed through reading the Bible,
3. The Bible to be accepted as God's Word to all people today.
"He (Jesus) opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures" (Luke 24:45).
Study 2 | Jesus is Worthy/Witnessing | africaatts.org/go-teach