Assemblies of God Teen Manual

Ready For Christ’s Return. AG Teen Sunday School Manual

 

STUDY 3: READY FOR CHRIST’S RETURN

TEXTS: 1 Thess 1:10; 4:1-8; 5:1-11; 2 Thess 1:6-10

Key Verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:9,11 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (NIV)

>> Focus
People have always been fascinated with the future. Whether they anticipate it or fear it, people, even non-Christians, can’t help wondering what is ahead, especially those who know or have heard what the Bible predicts about the end times. It’s important to realize that while most of the information they may have picked up (by reading or watching movies) about the end times is true, some is speculation and sensationalized. It’s likely that some students wilt come to class with such information and assumptions, which the Bibie does not substantiate.

Although speculation about this topic abounds and makes for interesting discussion, spend the study time focusing on what God’s Word says about the end times. This will help them differentiate between what is scriptural and what is mere speculation. The questions your students ask in class may even be the ones they’ve heard from their friends. So your task is not only to make students aware of the fact of the Second Coming, but to also show them what the Bible instructs them to do to get ready for it. Note that Paul’s primary purpose for addressing the Thessalonians in regard to Jesus’ second coming was to provide hope. This should be your primary purpose as you present this study to your students as well.

>>The Basic Message: Explain to students…
• WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
Jesus will return soon to take from the world those who know Him to be with Him forever.
• WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Those who know Christ and are ready for His return will spend eternity with Him, but those who don’t will be subject to God’s wrath for eternity.
• HOW DO I LIVE IT?
Actively wait for Christ’s return by inspiring those who don’t know Him to prepare, and encouraging those who do know Him to live with hope.

>>Activity Option: Discuss with students the following questions:
• Have you ever thought that the Rapture might have occurred and you had been left behind? If so, briefly describe your experience. [Guide: If you get little or no response, ask students to describe how they might feel and react in such a situation. Would they panic, pray, etc. ?]

• How should the expectation of Jesus’ return impact your daily life? >>Guide: Explain that the thought of the Rapture causes fear in the lives of some faithful Christians because of the unknown or because of sensationalized stories they have heard about it. The Bible provides clear information that will help Christians overcome their fears and grow confident as they anticipate this wonderful, incredible event.

>>Study Overview: Explain that today’s study considers…

• How Jesus will return.

• What will happen to believers when He returns.

• What the consequences of rejecting Him will be.

• How believers should live as they await His return.

>>Inform and Discuss

a). If You’re Watching…
1. Read or ask volunteers to read 1 Thess 5:1-8. What are the two distinct ways the Rapture will affect people? What will make the difference in how they respond? [Hint: Jesus’ return will be sudden and without warming. The unprepared will not know what’s happening until it is too late. The prepared, who have been watching and waiting, would be aware and not be caught by surprise. A person’s relationship with Jesus will make the difference.]

2. What can a Christian do to avoid “falling asleep” spiritually? Why is self-control such an important part of being prepared? [Hint: We must be disciplined in order to avoid getting careless or reckless in our spiritual lives. Thus, by all righteous means, our faith in God must be kept alive; and we must love one another, and keep focused on the eternal hope God provides.]
>>Guide: Explain that we must be ready to meet Jesus at all times. This shouldn’t cause fear, but should act as a motivation for us to serve Jesus wholeheartedly and not get spiritually lazy.

b). If You’re Wondering…
1. Discuss some reasons why a Christian might feel anxious about the Rapture. Invite students to share personal feelings. Some might feel uncertain in their relationship with God and worry about the prospect of experiencing God’s wrath. Others don’t like the thought of being ridiculed for believing in something most non-Christians reject.

2. Read or ask volunteers to read 1 Thess 1:10; 2 Thess 1:6-10. How can these verses affect Chnstians’ attitudes toward the Rapture — especially if they have any fear or uncertainty?
>>Hint: We don’t need to worry or doubt if we have accepted God’s gift of salvation and forgiveness. When the Rapture comes, we’ll go to be with Jesus.

3. What should our attitude be about people who currently resect us because of our faith?
>>Hint: Instead of being angry at or ignoring the people who reject us, we should feel compassion for them, praying that they will become Christians and avoid God’s wrath.

>>Guide: Explain that everyone will fall into one of two categories when Christ returns to earth. They will either be rescued from the judgment to come or left behind to experience it. The category we fit into will be determined by the decisions we make now regarding our relationship with God. We can all be in the first group if we accept Jesus as Saviour and build a relationship with Him — but there’s no second chance to make the Rapture.

c. If You’re Waiting… .

1. Read or ask a volunteer to read 1 Thess 5:9-11. Why do you think it is necessary to encourage people regarding their faith? [Hint: As Christians watch and wait for Christ’s return, we will be targets of Spiritual attacks. Sometimes, we can forget about God’s promises for our future. We need other Christians to remind us so we can stay encouraged.]

>>Note: God intends for us to know Him and be with Him. We can draw strength from knowing that we will always be in His presence, whether we are alive or dead.

2. What does it mean to “build each other up,” and what are some ways you can do this?
>>Hint: It’s more than telling people to “keep up the good work.” It requires an investment of time, attention, and resources. Christians can pray for each other, study the Bible together, become accountability partners, and encourage each other to use their God-given gifts in serving Him and others.

3. Why is church attendance important for Christians? [Hint: It reminds us that God is with us. It’s also an opportunity to worship God and to give and receive instruction and encouragement]
>>Guide: Explain that none of us are exempt from getting worn down by the combat that we face from the powers of evil. We need to be reminded of God’s love, protection, and help as we stay ready for His second coming.

4. Read or have a volunteer read the following passages. Discuss the questions that pertains to each.

• 1 Thess 4:1-2 — How could you do this “more and more” — to live a life that is pleasing to God? [Hint: Ask God to show you areas of your life where He wants you to change and grow. Act on what He had already taught you. Develop Christ-like character. Develop your gifts by serving others.

• 1 Thess 4:3-8 — What do these verses say about what pleases God? [Hint: Avoid sexual immorality. Exercise self-control. Don’t take advantage of each other. Stay pure and lead a holy life.]

>>Involve Them: TOMORROW
Distribute paper and pens or pencils. Ask students to imagine that they know for sure that Jesus is returning tomorrow. Have them outline how they would spend their last twenty-four hours on earth. Ask volunteers to read their lists to the class. Ask others to highlight the main things they would do. Have them tell why they would do these things. Briefly discuss what the lists might say about what is important to students.
>>Guide: Remind students that Jesus could come at any time so they shouldn’t put off sharing Christ with friends and family, or mending a friendship. Have students pray that God would show them how to wait actively for His return by helping people.

>>Inspire Them: Remind students THE BASIC MESSAGE of this study (pg 81), even as you explain WHAT the Big Idea behind the study is; WHY it Matters; and HOW we can live the lesson captured in this study. Explain that Jesus’ Second Coming is good news to those who are ready when He returns. It provides hope when everything seems to be going wrong. But our responsibility is not to simply rejoice in our privileges, but to awaken as many of the lost as we can before it’s too late.

>>Ministry Activity: WAITING AND WORKING
Encourage students to take time for personal prayer, allowing the Holy Spirit to show them how they can better prepare for Christ’s return. You may want to play a worship CD. As students pray, write the following topics on the board, encouraging teens to consider how God could help them grow in each area: 1. Current personal prayer life; 2. Current personal Bible study; 3. Personal ministry to and with other Christians; 4. Commitment to share Jesus with the lost; 5. Your language and conversation.

Conclude the study by offering an opportunity to anyone who feels unprepared for Christ’s return to accept forgiveness and give Him leadership of their lives.

>>Teacher Hint: Ask Yourself…
1. Do students believe Jesus will return and are they personally prepared for that day?

2. Do students realize the consequences of not being ready when Jesus returns?

3. Are students ready to rely on the Holy Spirit to help them serve Christ better and be prepared for His return?

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