STUDY 1: GOD: THE ONE AND ONLY
- 1 OUR MISSION
- 2 OUR VISION
TEXT: Exodus 20:1-17; Isaiah 44:12-19
KEY VERSE: Exodus 20:3
You shall have no other god before me. (NIV)
The problem most people have with the Ten Commandments has a little to do with the content of the laws, or even the fact that they are associated with a “religion.” Instead, the problem most people have, whether they realize it or not, is with the SOURCE of the commands. Due to satanic influence on society, God Himself has become a topic of contention.
The devil knows that if he can undermine God’s authority in people’s minds, they’ll willingly disregard His laws and expectations.
It is no coincidence that God’s commands regarding our relationship with Him are at the top of His list. He alone is God; we must look to no other. Anything that displaces Him in our lives is unacceptable.
As you prepare to challenge students with this foundational truth, examine your own life to expose hidden “idols” – i.e., things that detract from your relationship with God.
Re-evaluate your respect for God and regard for His powerful name. Then pray that God will help you to graciously convey His primary commands to students for whom He wants only the best.
The Basic Message: Explain to students…
• WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
God expects us to have first place in our lives.
• WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Obeying the first commandment is the foundation for obeying all God’s other laws.
• HOW DO I LIVE IT?
Re-evaluate and remove things from your life that could be “idols” or “false gods; “and allow God to reclaim top priority.
>>Study Overview: Explain that today’s study considers…
• That the first three of the Ten Commandments tell us that God expects top priority in our lives.
• How we must not allow anything in our lives to become an “idol.”
• Why and how we must always give proper respect to God and His name.
Inform and Discuss
a). No Other Gods
>>Teacher Hint: Explain that the Israelites had just come out of 400 years of slavery in Egypt, where worshipping false gods was common. There were so many Egyptian gods that rivalries arose concerning which was most powerful. It’s interesting that, through the ten plagues and the dividing of the Red Sea, God proved Himself to be the one true God; and therefore demanded they throw off any affinity toward other gods.
1. Read or have a volunteer read Exo 20:1-3. What does the first commandment mean for us today? [God is not saying there are other gods, but that anything can become a “god” if we’re not careful.]
2. What “gods” does our culture encourage teens to worship? What happens when these things take priority over God in a person’s life?
Hint: The things we admire, depend on, or set up as priorities (and even people) can constitute “gods.” When these things take priority over God in a person’s life, they compromise the individual’s purpose and desensitize him or her to God’s care and direction.
Note: God is not saying we can’t have things like money, nice possessions, certain activities, or relationships with other people.
But we must not give them priority over Him with our attention and affection – we must relate with these things in a way that honours Him and follows His priority for our lives.
3. Why is it critical to keep God first and serve Him alone? [Hint: Depending on things other than God for satisfaction leads to hopelessness or false security. Only God who created you can give you peace, satisfaction, and ultimate purpose.
4. How can you be sure that God has top priority in your life? [Hint: Spend time listening to Him in prayer, learning what He says in His Word, and living what you hear and see from Him.
b). No Other Image
Teacher Hint: Read or have a volunteer read Exo 20:4-6. Explain that our view of God must be shaped by His Word and by how He revealed Himself through His Son, Jesus.
1. Read or have volunteers read Isa 44:12-19. Does the issue of idolatry really apply to most modern cultures? If so, how? [Hint:
Most people consider themselves to be too cultured or “enlightened” to engage in the worship of man-made images. Yet, people continue to set up idols and false images in their lives by allowing material things, activities, or people to detract from them or take the place of God in their lives.
2. Why is God’s jealousy appropriate (Exo 20:5)? [Hint: God loves us completely. As our Creator and Redeemer,
He has the right to expect complete devotion. Hence, He won’t tolerate anything that persistently opposes our relationship with Him.
c). No Other Name
• Read or have a volunteer read Exo 20:7. What does it mean to “misuse” or take God’s name “in vain”? [Hint: This includes making a false promise by it (Lev 19:21); pronouncing it insincerely or thoughtlessly, or cursing and blaspheming (Lev 24:10-16).
>Guide: Explain that God’s name is the Name above all names (Phil 2:9-10), and must be honoured and respected as HOLY and SACRED. God’s name carries His personal identity-all He is and does.
The way we use His name shows how we really feel about Him. We must respect His name, using it appropriately in prayer, praise, and worship, rather than cursing or jest.
involve Them: FIRST THINGS FIRST
Enlarge, reproduce, and distribute to students copies of the table below. In the first column, have students list the top few items that get priority in each of the four categories.
In the middle column, have them briefly describe how each item listed relates to their relationship with God. In the last column, have them indicate whether each item should be more or less of a priority in their lives than it is now.
Guide: Explain that if anything is more important or of greater value to us than God, we’ve made it a god before Him. Putting God first isn’t always easy. We may have to break down some idols in our lives in order to put God first.
Inspire Them: Remind students of “The Basic Message” of this study (pg 53), explain WHAT the Big Idea behind the study is; WHY it matters; and HOW we can live the lesson captured in the study.
Ministry Activity: SMASHING IDOLS
Ask. students to silently consider things in their lives that could be considered idols. If you used the “First Things First@ table, they can refer to it now. Encourage them to spend time in prayer, asking God to help them in these areas, restoring God to His rightful place in their lives.
Invitation Option: MAKING THE ONLY GOD YOUR GOD
As you close, invite those who have not made God the Forgiver of their lives and the Leader of their lives to do so now.
Teacher Hint: Ask yourself…
1. Do students understand why they should put God first?
2. Can students explain how material things, activities, or other people can become idols?
3. Have students had a chance to consider what things in their lives could be considered idols?
Daily Dew Drop
Mon: One God – Isaiah 45:18
Tue: None Besides Him – Deut 4:35; 1 Sam 2:2
Wed: Honour His Authority – Isaiah 25:1
Thu: Put Away Every idol – Colossians 3:5
Fri: I belong to God – Romans 14:8
Sat: Grow in Obedience – Jeremiah 7:3
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