River Life: Entering into the Character of Jesus (Teacher Ed.)

By Lee Ann Rubsam

Education & teaching, General non-fiction, Religion & spirituality, Personal growth


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8 mins

Table of Contents

Obedience to the King
Session 1 – You Are Not Your Own
Session 2 – How Much Obedience Is Enough?
Session 3 – Our Obedience Affects Others
Session 4 – The Attitude of Obedience
The Law of Kindness
Session 1 – The Golden Rule
Session 2 – Kindness in our Speech
Session 3 – Kindness in the Family
Session 4 – Kindness in Action
Truthful Living
Session 1 – God’s Unwavering Truth
Session 2 – Truth in Our Hearts and Thoughts
Session 3 – Truth in Our Words
Session 4 – Truth in Our Actions
Unswerving Loyalty
Session 1 – God Is Faithful, I Am Faithful
Session 2 – Loyalty in Our Words
Session 3 – Biblical Examples of Loyalty – Part 1
Session 4 – Biblical Examples of Loyalty – Part 2
The Servant Lifestyle
Session 1 – Friends, But Also Servants
Session 2 – Who Is the Greatest?
Session 3 – Deference – The Heart of Servanthood
The Might of Mercy
Session 1 – Forever Forgiven
Session 2 – God’s Mercy Shining through Me
Session 3 – If God Is Merciful, I Will Be, Too – Part 1
Session 4 – If God Is Merciful, I Will Be, Too – Part 2
Session 5 – God’s Merciful Provision
The Humble Heart
Session 1 – What Is True Humility?
Session 2 – Moses – Portrait of Meekness
Session 3 – Is Your Pride Showing?
Session 4 – Are You Teachable? – Part 1
Session 5 – Are You Teachable? – Part 2

Patience – Mark of Maturity
Session 1 – Patience with People
Session 2 – Patience with God – Part 1
Session 3 – Patience with God – Part 2
Joyful Generosity
Session 1 – Whose Money Is It?
Session 2 – Balanced Giving – Part 1
Session 3 – Balanced Giving – Part 2
Session 4 – Compassionate Giving, Abandoned Giving
Memory Verses

Obedinece to the King

Session 1
You Are Not Your Own

I. “Once you have given your life to Jesus, you are not your own anymore. You have been bought with a heavy price, and you now belong to Jesus.”
A. Read 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 – “Or don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”
B. “What do we mean by, ‘You have been bought with a heavy price’?” (Jesus’ death on the cross)
C. “Let’s read about the price that was paid for you.” (Read Mark 15:22-39)
D. “Jesus, the perfect Son of God, went through unimaginable pain and disgrace to save you from eternal torment and death. He paid the price for your sin. You belong to Him.”
II. “Before you became a Christian, you may have thought you were free to do as you pleased, but in reality, you have always been the slave of someone. Before you knew Jesus, you were the slave of sin, death, and the devil. Now you are Jesus’ slave – but serving Jesus brings true freedom.”
A. Read Romans 6:16-22 –
“Don’t you realize that whatever you choose to obey becomes your master? You can choose sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God and receive his approval. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you have obeyed with all your heart the new teaching God has given you. Now you are free from sin, your old master, and you have become slaves to your new master, righteousness. I speak this way, using the illustration of slaves and masters, because it is easy to understand. Before, you let yourselves be slaves of impurity and lawlessness. Now you must choose to be slaves of righteousness so that you will become holy. In those days, when you were slaves of sin, you weren’t concerned with doing what was right. And what was the result? It was not good, since now you are ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.”
B. “This Bible passage is not saying that God loves us because we are good, or that obedient deeds will get us to heaven. We go to heaven because we trust that Jesus died for our sins and has forgiven us. Our relationship with Him ensures our salvation. But, if we love Jesus, our lives will reflect our love through obedience to Him. In John 14:23, 24, Jesus said, ‘All those who love me will do what I say.... Anyone who doesn’t love me will not do what I say....’”
C. “Every day we must choose to be obedient. We are not forced to obey God; it is our choice. The goal is to be holy – because we want to be like Jesus.”
III. “How can we tell if we are obeying God, or not obeying God?” (Allow discussion.)
A. “The most reliable way to know if we are obeying God is to become familiar with the Bible, and to make sure we are living the way the Bible teaches. This takes time. In this course, we will try to help you understand some of the things the Bible says about how to live a life obedient to Jesus.”
B. “The Holy Spirit will also help you to know what pleases God and what doesn’t. He does this through a sense of right and wrong in your conscience. Now that you are a Christian, you will find that your conscience is much more sensitive about sin. When you feel uncomfortable about something you have done, said, or thought, this is the Holy Spirit speaking to you that you need to ask God’s forgiveness. Many times, you will feel uncomfortable about something you are about to do or speak. This is the Holy Spirit warning you that you are on the verge of sin, and not to do it. Listen to His voice inside. He will help you obey.”
C. “Another way you will learn obedience is by modeling your life after godly Christians around you. Observe how they speak and act toward each other. Watch your pastor’s life. Listen to the things he teaches in his sermons or in personal counsel to you.”
IV. “Why is obeying God important?” (Allow discussion.)
A. Because God says so. In John 14:15, Jesus said, “If you love me, obey my commandments.”
B. Because Jesus obeyed the Father. In John 8:29, Jesus said, “And the one who sent me is with me – he has not deserted me. For I always do those things that are pleasing to him.”
C. Obedience is a sign that we belong to Him.
Read 1 John 2:3-5 – “And how can we be sure that we belong to him? By obeying his commandments. If someone says, ‘I belong to God,’ but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and does not live in the truth. But those who obey God’s word really do love him. That is the way to know whether or not we live in him.”
D. Obedience brings blessing, but disobedience brings evil consequences. (Read Deuteronomy 28:1-20 together, if there is time.)
V. “Once we have been born again – have become believers in Jesus – God requires a change in our lives. We cannot go on living in the same way we did before. He will show us where change is needed, but we must not resist Him when He begins to speak to us about changes that He wants to make. We must do what He says. We are not our own masters anymore.”
VI. Allow time for questions and discussion.
VII. Suggested memory verse: 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 – “Or don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”
VIII. Close with prayer such as, “Heavenly Father, thank You for bringing us into Your kingdom. We want to honor and obey You. Please help us to live holy lives, because we belong to You.”

Obedience to the King – Session 2
How Much Obedience Is Enough?

I. Review
“We’ve been studying the importance of obedience. What did we learn in our last session?” (Allow time for discussion; talk about the high points of Lesson 1.)
II. “How much obedience is enough? Is God interested in the details of obedience, or is it all right with Him if we do things a little differently than the way He tells us, as long as we get the main job done? In today’s session, we are going to look at the lives of two people in the Bible to find out how God thinks about this.”
III. “Turn to 1 Samuel 15.”
A. Give some background to this chapter: Saul was the first king of Israel – the king before David. God had reluctantly given in to the people’s desire for a king like all the heathen nations around them had. Although having a king rule over Israel was not God’s perfect plan for them, God Himself had chosen Saul to be the king.
B. Read the chapter aloud together.
IV. Discussion
A. “What did God want Saul to do?” (completely destroy all the Amalekites and their livestock)
B. “What did Saul do?” (destroyed the people, but kept their king alive, kept the best of the livestock)
C. “Did he obey exactly what God had said?” (no) “Did he obey some of what God said?” (yes)
D. “Was God pleased with Saul’s partial obedience?” (no) “Why not?”
E. “When God tells us to do something, He wants us to do it just the way He says to do it. If we decide to do it our own way, instead of God’s way, it is rebellion.”
F. “What reasons did Saul give for his disobedience?” (He was going to use the animals to sacrifice to God – v. 21; he feared the people, so he obeyed them – v. 24.)
G. “Did Samuel think God would be impressed with keeping the animals for sacrifice?” (no) “What did he tell Saul about this?” (Obedience is better than sacrifice – v. 22.)
H. “Saul fell into a common trap. Obeying exactly what God had said did not appeal to him. He liked the looks of those animals and the wealth they represented. So he made up a spiritual-sounding excuse for not obeying. He planned on appeasing God for his disobedience by sacrificing to God.
I. Many Christians have tried to make up to God for resisting Him in some area that God is speaking to them about, by giving more money in the offering basket, or by doing more Christian service. They keep trying to please God with these supposed spiritual efforts, but it never quite works. Deep inside, there is a nagging lack of peace, because they are not obeying God, and they know it.”
J. “Saul also excused himself by saying he feared the people, so he obeyed them.”
1. “People pressure is a very real threat to all of us. We want to be approved by men. We want life to go smoothly, without conflict.”
2. “But true lovers of God put His wishes before the wishes of their earthly friends.”
3. “John 12:42, 43 gives a sad commentary on those who rejected Jesus because of their love for people’s approval: ‘Many people, including some of the Jewish leaders, believed in him [Jesus]. But they wouldn’t admit it to anyone because of their fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.’”
K. “What might have been other reasons for Saul’s disobedience?” (Samuel said he had become proud [v. 17] and rebellious [v. 23]. His heart was cold toward God.)
L. “What did Samuel say rebellion was as bad as?” (witchcraft – v. 23)
M. “Did Saul realize he was doing wrong?” (yes – v. 21) “Would he admit that he had done wrong?” (No, he tried to blame the rest of the people – v. 21.)
N. “What should we do if we have disobeyed?” (repent – admit we have done wrong and ask forgiveness)
O. “Did Saul truly repent? Was he truly sorry?” (No, he was only concerned about being embarrassed in front of the people – v. 30.)
P. “What was the result of Saul’s disobedience?” (God took the kingdom away from him – vs. 23 and 28.)
V. “Now let’s look at a Bible character who obeyed God completely in a difficult circumstance. Turn in your Bible to Genesis 22:1-18.” (Read.)
A. “Why would God make such an awful demand of Abraham?” (He was testing Abraham’s faith in God’s goodness. He was teaching Abraham to trust Him.)
B. “What was Abraham’s response to God’s command?” (He obeyed.)
C. “Did he obey God’s exact instructions, or did he attempt to substitute another sacrifice instead of Isaac?” (He obeyed exactly.)
D. “It would have been easy to try to rationalize away what God had said, in a situation like this, wouldn’t it? Abraham might have been tempted to think, ‘Surely God couldn’t really mean that! I’ll just do what I think He must mean. Maybe He wasn’t listening very carefully to what He just said. He must have meant a lamb – yes, that’s it! A lamb! Not Isaac!’”
E. “Notice that Abraham didn’t argue with God. Nor did he delay action. He was certain he had heard God correctly, and he quickly carried out God’s instruction. There are times when we may not be entirely sure if what we are hearing is from God, and God gives us time to be sure we have clearly heard Him speak. But once we have a certainty of what He wants, we’d better act on it promptly. Delayed obedience is a form of disobedience.”
F. “Did Abraham’s obedience to God bring devastation to his life?” (No, God was on time to provide deliverance from the terrible situation.)
G. “What did God do for Abraham, in response to his obedience?” (He blessed him, promised him many descendants, promised that all nations of the earth would be blessed through Abraham – v. 18.)
H. “When we obey God, He always blesses us. Obedience to God does not bring devastation. Things may look shaky and feel uncomfortable while the obedience is in the process of being walked out, but God will always come through for the person who obeys Him. He is faithful.”
VI. Allow time for questions and discussion.
VII. Suggested memory verse: 1 Samuel 15:22 – “... What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to him is much better than offering the fat of rams.”
VIII. Close with prayer such as, “Heavenly Father, put Your Word in our hearts. Help us to put obedience to You above our own desires and convenience. In Jesus’ Name we pray for grace to obey You, because we love You.”



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