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A Special Challenge

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A SPECIAL CHALLENGE 

Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:10–17; 4:1–8

Memory verse: 2 Timothy 3:14
"Continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from who you learned it."

Lead—In

If possible, make prior arrangements with two or three mature Christian adults to be on a panel during your class this week. Make a list of questions often asked by youth. Supply the panel with a list of questions and some Scripture references that support the answers to them. In class give each student one of the questions. Let the students take turns asking the panel questions. The panel should respond, using the Bible verses as a framework for their answers.

Here are sample questions and references:

Why do some Christians suffer? (Romans 5:3–5)

Why must I obey my parents? (Ephesians 6:1–3, Colossians 3:20)

Why do I have to go to school? (Proverbs 4:5; Daniel 1:1–4, 17–20)

Should I witness to others? (MarK 16:15, James 5:20)

Why do I Have to go to church? (Hebrews 10:25)

Can I be a witness without people making fun of me? (Matthew 5:11, 12; Luke 21:14, 15; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 4:14)

Why do I feel guilty when I disobey? (Isaiah 59:2, John 3:18, Romans 2:13, 8:1)

Is it wrong to like native music? (Philippians 4:8)

Do I have to read the Bible if I do not understand what it says? (Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 2:15)

When the question/answer session is over, stress that the answers to all the questions in life can be found in the Bible, God’s Word.

Hearing God’s Word

As we live the Christian life, questions and problems cause us to reach for our instruction Book.

Ask: What Book is our instruction Book? (Allow responses.) Without the Bible, we would not know how to please God.

Paul’s Letter to Timothy

Most of us do not realise how fortunate we are to have our own Bibles to read and study. When Paul wrote his final letter to Timothy, he reminded Timothy of the importance of the Scriptures. (Instruct a student to read 2 Timothy 3: 14, 15.) Timothy, like many others was raised in church and had memorized many Bible verses.

Ask: What do these verses in 2 Timothy say knowing Scripture can do? (Allow discussion.)

Knowing the Bible helps us understand and accept salvation by faith. Accepting salvation through Jesus’ blood is the most important decision we will ever make, so knowing Scripture is very necessary to being a Christian.  (Review the memory verse several times.)

When Paul wrote to Timothy, Christians were living in a difficult time. The government opposed Christianity. Paul was suffering in prison, awaiting certain death. Timothy knew his friend and teacher was going to die and that the Church was being fiercely attacked. False teachers in the Church, other religious leaders and government officials outside the Church were determined to destroy true Christians. Perhaps Timothy was fearful and lonely, unsure what the future would bring.

Paul encouraged Timothy and strengthened his faith by reminding him of something that could never be destroyed—the truth of the Bible. He reminded Timothy that the Bible is the actual Word of God, written by men as the Holy Spirit directed them. (Instruct the students to read 2 Timothy 3:16.) No matter what the Roman government took away from Timothy, the power of God’s Word would supply the strength he needed.

The Bible Guides Us

Ask: Have you ever wanted to do something special for someone but you were not sure what they liked? (Allow a few minutes for examples.)

You may face that at New Year’s time when you buy gifts for your parents or friends. Without God’s Word we would not know how to please God, but thankfully, He has given us instructions so we do not have to guess. If we are faithful to study God’s Word, it will show us the right way to live and act.

(Divide the students into three groups and give one copy of the following situations to each group. Allow a few moments for them to find three Scripture verses that would give guidance in each situation. Be sure all have Bibles and concordances.)

Your neighbour just hired you to work in his field this summer. You usually give a coin in the Sunday school offering, but you are not sure what the Bible actually says about giving. Find three verses that tell you what to do.

You are telling a friend about Jesus. He challenges you to show him three places in the Bible that say Jesus died for their sins and rose from the dead.

Your best friends disobeys their parents. They say God doesn’t care what children do as long as they go to church. Find three Scripture passages that prove they are wrong.

A Tool in Witnessing

In 2 Timothy 4:1, 2, Paul directs Timothy to preach the Word when it is convenient and when it is not. He must correct and rebuke people when they need it, encourage them to do right and patiently teach them God’s Word. We usually think of pastors when we hear words like preaching, correcting, and encouraging. Since you are too young to pastor a church, you may think these verses have no meaning to you. But you are not too young to apply the Bible to your life or to share it with others who need help. You do have a part in spreading God’s Word.

Help for All Problems

The Bible can give us help for any problem. We can find encouragement when we are sad, strength if we feel helpless, and answers for our problems. David’s psalms express sadness, loneliness, and fear as well as joy, happiness, and adoration. He felt the same feelings we do. The Old Testament is full of adventures revealing God’s power to deliver and transform people. The New Testament tells of Jesus’ exciting miracles, compassion, and power. It tells how the apostles show courage, faith and belief in solid doctrine. No matter what we need from God, the answer is in the Bible.

Reading the Bible brings us closer to God because the more we read about Him, the better we know Him, The better we know Him, the greater our desire is to love and please Him.

Paul loved God’s Word. His greatest desire was to do what the Bible says and encourage others to obey it. (Instruct the students to read 2 Timothy 4:6–8.) Paul knew that all people who study, obey, and believe the Bible would be rewarded.

Reading and Doing

Ask: Have you ever started to build something, or to play a game, without reading the instructions? (Allow responses.)

You probably quickly reached a problem you could not figure out without the instructions. We can try to be Christians without reading or obeying the Bible. But we soon realise God’s instruction Book, the Bible, must be followed for our lives to be happy.

God is pleased when we read His Word, but He is even happier when we do as it says. Knowing Bible verses, such as “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15) and not stealing must work together. The Bible was written for us to follow. As we obey His Word, God can use us in mighty ways.

Accepting God’s Word

Point out that some people mistakenly think that knowing what the Bible says will save them. This is not true. Bible reading is important, but it has to be accompanied by action. Review the plan of salvation. Remind them that to learn to apply God’s Word to their lives, they must read it every day and pray that the Holy Spirit will help them to understand and obey what it says.

Present the information about the Harari tribe in Ethiopia given below.

Meet the Harari

The Harari are the small remnants of a unique, pre-industrial urban culture that has existed since the 1500's. Until 1974, the Harari, lived exclusively inside the stone walls of Harar, an ancient Muslim city, where they specialized in trade.

Over the centuries, Harar, which is located on a highland ridge between the Red Sea and the Ethiopian highlands, has been the dominant centre of Islam for northeast Africa. Although recent political and economic changes have dispersed the Harari, they have continued trading in the region. 

The Harari are virtually all Sunni Muslims. Despite pressures to change, the Islamic religion is still strong among the Harari. The city of Harar is well known as a centre of Islamic learning. The twin-towered Jami mosque is the focus of the community, although nearly every neighbourhood has its own small mosque.

The people attend the mosques regularly. Because Harar has over 150 shrines of Muslim saints, it is referred to as the "city of saints." Almost all of the adults in Harar fast during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic year. Very few people drink alcoholic beverages. There has been no apparent response to the Gospel among the Harari.

REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for the Harari tribe in Ethiopia

1. The Harari to be concerned about life after death,
2. The Harari to hear and believe that the only way to heaven is through believing in Jesus,
3. A great representation of Harari to stand one day as redeemed believers before the throne of God.

Prayer Promise

"After this I (Apostle John) looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb" (Revelation 7:9).

MORE INFORMATION: www.joshuaproject.net

Remember: A SPECIAL CHALLENGE

Memory verse: 2 Timothy 3:14
"Continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from who you learned it."

1. The Bible is my instruction book for daily living.
2. The Bible can give me help for any problem that confronts me.
3. Reading and obeying the Bible will keep me close to God.

Pray for the Harari tribe in Ethiopia.

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Study 15 | Give to God / Paul Writes | africaatts.org/go-teach

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