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TEXT: Romans 13:1-14
Key Verse: Romans 13:11
And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. (NIV)
In today’s culture, it is easy for teens to think the marks of success are money and fame. These worldly ideals are promoted in everything from celebrity magazines to TV talent competition, but these are hollow achievements. Whether they realize it or not, what most people hunger for is significance. We want to know that for all our toiling and striving, we’re somehow making a difference.
Thankfully, Christians have every opportunity to live a life of significance. We are Jesus’ messengers and ambassadors, called to represent Him and take His life-changing gospel to the world. By doing so, we can impact countless other lives for eternity. Perhaps you sometimes wonder whether you’re making a difference in the lives of your teens. Just remember God promises to fulfill His purposes when His Word is taught (Isa 55:10-11).
As you prepare for this study, pray that God will open your eyes to the work He is doing in your students’ lives. Also ask Him to make you aware of additional opportunities to communicate to them His love and truth so they can also discover their own lives of significance in Christ.
>>The Basic Message: Explain to students…
God intends for you to have a strong, positive impact in your world.
Our culture needs Christians to be consistent in their faith, both through their words and their actions, to discover what it means to follow Christ.
Put your commitment to Christ on display through your respect for authority, your love for others, and your commitment to live with eternity in view.
>>Activity Option: LEAVE YOUR MARK
Distribute to students lumps of modelling clay. Encourage them to create something without letting anyone else see it. After a few minutes, collect the sculptures in a paper sack. Then show each one to the class and have them guess who made it. Explain that God wants us to make an impression for is kingdom. By living for Christ and standing up for what’s right, we can help shape our world and leave a unique mark for Jesus. Our lives should reflect our Creator in every way.
>>Study Overview: Explain that today’s study considers..
• Why Christians should respect authority.
• What true Christian love is all about.
• Why it is important to look forward to and prepare for Christ’s return.
>>Inform and Discuss
a). Respect Authority
Christians should be obedient to God. But yielding to His will also means submitting to the human authority He has placed over us.
1. Read or have a volunteer read Rom 13:1-2. What does it mean that all authority figures have been established by God?
2. Does that mean all authority figures are godly? Explain.
>>Guide: Explain that God has allowed these people ascend to positions of influence. That doesn’t mean everyone who has authority is a godly person, nor does it mean their actions are always sanctioned by God. They will ultimately answer to Him for how they exercise their power. But we will have to answer to God for our attitudes towards those in authority. All the same, there are rare instances in which we should not obey an authority figure e.g., when someone tells us to do something that is clearly in violation of God’s Word.
3. Read or have a volunteer read Rom 13:3-7. How can submitting to authority bring peace of mind and a better life? [Hint: When we break the rules – whether God’s commands, our parents’ instructions, or government laws – our wrong choices will eventually catch up with us and we will have to suffer for the consequences. By choosing to live a life of obedience we can save ourselves a lot of worry and trouble.]
4. Ask students to list some possible consequences of rebellion. [Hint: Answers include: grounding, loss of privileges, school detention, fines, or even jail term. Of course, the most serious consequence of persistent rebellion is separation from God.]
b). Love the People around You
1. Read or have a volunteer read Rom 13:8-10. According to these verses, what’s the best way to keep God’s commandments? [Guide: Explain that sin could be avoided if we loved perfectly. Sin arises out of selfishness and rebellion. When we are guided by principles of love God and others, doing no harm to our neighbours, we have no trouble keeping God’s commands- Matt 22:37-40; Mark 12:30-31.]
2. When is it difficult to love? [Hint: It’s easy to love those who love us and are kind to us – Luke 6:23. But it can be tough to love those who don’t seem to care about us at all. It’s harder still to love those who dislike us, criticize us, and seek our harm. And yet Jesus says in Matthew 5:44 we should love even our enemies. He goes on to say in John 13:35 that love is what sets us apart from the world.]
3. How is it possible to express love to people who don’t love us? [Hint: This doesn’t come naturally. We need the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives to help us see people the way God sees them. We should ask God to change our hearts so we can love others as He would have us love them.]
>>Guide: Explain that, unlike what is obtainable in today’s culture, Christian love has nothing to do with romance; and it doesn’t happen by chance. It takes a deliberate effort on our part, even as God works in us, to express Christ to a world desperately needing to know His love.
c). Look for Christ’s Return
1. Read or have a volunteer read Rom 13:11-12. What do you think it means to wake up from slumber? [Hint: When we don’t maintain our relationship with God through prayer, Bible reading, and right choices, we’re in danger of “falling asleep” spiritually. In such state, we’re not alert to Satan’s schemes, the needs of others, or our own spiritual condition.]
2. Why is it important that we do this right away? [Hint: there is an urgency in this passage as we are warned that a new day is about to begin. This is referring to the return of Christ. Paul believed this event could happen at any moment. We too must maintain that hope and belief. Otherwise, we could be caught spiritually asleep and unprepared.]
3. What are “deeds of darkness”? [Hint: These are behaviours and thought patterns associated with the old, sinful way of life. As we say “no” to sin and compromise and allow God’s Spirit to transform our hearts and minds, we will live as Christ, instead of following the pattern of those who do not know Him.]
>>Guide: Read or have a volunteer read Rom 13:13-14. Explain that when we view this life as temporary and fleeting in the light of eternity, we won’t be consumed with pursuing worldly pleasures and indulging sinful desires. Instead, we will be spiritually alert so that we don’t miss the most important event of all: the return of our Lord.
Distribute paper and pens or pencils. Have students write a letter to someone in authority over them, such as a parent or pastor. Encourage them to thank that person for their guidance and leadership, commit to pray for them, and express willingness to submit to their authority. Challenge them to deliver the letter this week and follow through on their commitment. Also encourage them to submit their lives to the authority of Jesus.
>>Inspire Them: Remind students “The Basic Message” of this study (pg. 94), explain WHAT the Big Idea behind the study is; WHY it matters; and HOW we can live the lesson captured in the study.
>>Invitation Option: GET READY
Remind students of Jesus’ warning that some will be unprepared for the Rapture. Offer to pray with anyone who does not have a relationship with Christ or is unsure of their spiritual readiness for His return. Also pray, asking God to help both you and your students to live each day with eternity in view.
>>Teacher Hint: Ask Yourself…
1. Do students know that God wants them to submit to authority?
2. Can they explain what it means to love others in a biblical sense?
3. Do they understand the urgency of preparing for Jesus’ imminent return?
>>Daily Dew Drops
Mon: Honour Authority Figures – Romans 13:1-7
Tue: Pray for those in Authority – 1 Timothy 2:1-3
Wed: Submit for Christ’s Sake – 1 Peter 2:13-14
Thu: They Keep Watch Over You – Hebrews 13:17
Fri: Shun Irresponsibility – Proverbs 15:5
Sat: Please the Lord – Col 3:20

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Open Heavens Daily Devotional guide was written by Pastor E.A. Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, one of the largest evangelical church in the world and also the President of Christ the Redeemer’s Ministries. The Open Heavens devotional application is available across all mobile platforms and operating systems: iOS, Android, Blackberry, Nokia, Windows Mobile and PC.

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