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Text: Dan 2:1-30; 3:1-29; Matt 23:1-4; Acts 23:1-5; Rom 12:1-2; 13:1-7
Key Verse: Romans 13:1
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. (NIV)
Kids instinctively look to adults for answers to questions they don’t understand, but problems begin to crop up during adolescence. During this time, students increasingly understand their world and how it operates. This gives them a sense of empowerment. Rather than looking to adults for guidance, they may begin to question those in authority.
Some of your students may challenge what you say. Rather than becoming annoyed, view challenges by your students as opportunities to point to the Word of God as the ultimate authority. If you happen to make a mistake while teaching, admit it and move on. As you prepare for this study, pray that God will help your students to strike a balance between standing up for what they believe and honouring their teachers.
>>The Basic Message: Explain to students…
God expects us to respect those in authority, even when we disagree with them.
God has established authorities, not only as a means of guidance, but also to test and develop our character.
Honour your teachers; seek forgiveness from any you’ve disrespected, and submit graciously to them as you strengthen your Christian witness.
>>Activity Option: YOU’RE NOT MY BOSS!
Distribute paper and pens or pencil and have students list those in authority over them. Then discuss the following questions:
• How do you generally feel about authority figures? Which ones are easier to follow? Which ones are more difficult to follow?
• At what point in life do we no longer have to deal with people being in authority over us? Explain. [Hint: Regardless of our position, we’ll always have to deal with people in authority over us.]
>>Guide: Explain that God placed authority figures in our lives. Because of their positions, we’re to honour, respect, and obey them-both the ones we really like and even the ones we’re convinced shouldn’t have come across our path.
>>Study Overview: Explain that today’s study considers.
• How Christians should treat those in authority.
• How to deal with difficult assignments with the right attitude.
• How believers should react when someone in authority directs them to do something they know is wrong.
>>Inform and Discuss
a). Giving Teachers What They Deserve
When God establishes authorities, He intends them to lead as servants. When teachers act the way God intends, only those students who have done wrong have reason to fear them.
1. Read or ask a volunteer to read Rom 13:1-7. Why do you think God requires us to honour and respect those in authority? What benefits come from that respect? What consequences are there if we lack respect? [Hint: How we treat authority reflects our attitude toward God- our trust in Him- as well as our own character. Showing proper respect sets good example and allows things to work better. If we lack respect we’ll often bring trouble on ourselves and give others a bad impression of God.]
2. Why does God expect us to respect authorities, even when they don’t follow Him or have our best interest in mind? [Hint: It allows us to demonstrate trust in God. It can also help develop character and it prepares us to better handle leadership roles God might give us. It’s an opportunity to influence ungodly leader in a positive way.]
>>Guide: Ask volunteers to read Acts 23:1-5; Deut 17:21. Explain that we don’t have the right to insult our teachers when we disagree with them. Disrespect and disobedience make situations worse and create a second problem – sin. While we may be tempted to berate or ridicule leaders, God wants His people to seta different standard.
3. Read or ask a volunteer to read Matt 23:1-4. Why did Jesus tell people to obey the teachings of those teachers of the Law, but not to follow their examples? [Hint: To the degree that their teaching stuck to God, it was worthy of obedience. But the religious leaders weren’t setting good example of godliness. In fact, they were making it harder for the people to serve God.]
>>Note: We should be grateful for teachers who fulfilled their God-given purpose because of the profound influence they can have on us.
b). When Teaching Gets Tough
Read or ask volunteers to read Dan 2:1-30. (If time is limited, read it at home, then give the summary to the class and highlight key verses.)
• How should Christians respond to unrealistic expectations from teachers or coaches? [Hint: Like Daniel, we should respond calmly and reasonably, trying to understand the request. Prayer is always an appropriate response. God cares about our school work and can even use it to bring us closer to him. He will answer our prayer for help.]
c). When Authorities Pushes for Compromise
1. Read or ask volunteers to read Dan 3:8-20. Have you ever been pushed by a teacher or another student to compromise your belief or standards? How did you respond? What did you learn?
>>Guide: Explain that when students refuse to compromise their faith, people will notice. Those people may try to push the issue by pointingit out. But our response in such cases can set a positive or negative example. It is important that we be gracious and respectful in our response, even while refusing to compromise our faith. We must avoid doing the right thing the wrong way.]
>>Note: It can be difficult to resist someone in a position of power and authority. Sometimes, our stand may lead us into a furnace of unpopularity or controversy. But if others want us to defy God, we must resist regardless of their persistence or the consequences.
2. Read or ask volunteers to read Dan 3:21-29. What can we learn from the outcome of this situation? [Guide: Explain that when we take a bold stand for God, we won’t always be spared from trouble, and not everyone will respond positively. But when we stand for God, we will never stand alone. He will be with us.]
>>Note: God always knows when we are in trouble. There are times He allows us to go through a situation, but He never makes us to go through it alone. He never leaves or forsakes us.
>>Involve Them: Discuss some ways to build better relationships with teachers. (Possibilities include being honest but respectful during class discussions; picking your words carefully when asking about information the teacher has presented that you think may be incorrect; admitting and apologizing for past mistakes is also good. Depending on your relationship with the teacher, it may be best to ask questions about the accuracy of his or her information privately.
>>Inspire Them: Remind students THE BASIC MESSAGE of this study (pg 31), explaining WHAT the Big Idea behind the study is; WHY it matters; and HOW we can live the lesson captured in this study.
>>Ministry Activity: WRITE IT
Distribute note card and pens or pencils. Have each student list on a card the names of at least three of their teachers, counselors, or coaches. Encourage them to particularly list those with whom they are having more difficulty. Close the session by giving students time to pray for these leaders, that God would guide them and help them serve to the best of their ability. Invite one or two students to close in prayer for school authorities and students’ relationships with these leaders. Encourage students to keep their lists as reminder to pray daily for their teachers.
>>Teacher Hint: Ask Yourself…
1. Do students understand that God wants them to honour and respect those in authority?
2. Do they understand that they can respectfully refuse to compromise their beliefs even when challenged by someone in authority?
3. Were students encouraged to consider how their actions and attitudes toward those in authority can serve as witnessing tools?
Mon: Be Respectful – Rom 13:1-7
Tue: Pray for Authority Figures – 1 Tim 2:1-4
Wed: Honour Christ – 1 Peter 3:15
Thu: They Keep watch Over You – Heb 13:17
Fri: Honour the Elderly – Lev 19:32
Sat: Don’t Mingle with the Rebels – Prov 24:21-22

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