Bible Lesson: Priorities (Philippians)

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This is the first lesson in a series from the Book of Philippians.  The lesson was used for older elementary students and it focuses on the importance of making daily Bible reading and prayer a priority.
The lesson is only a guide and can be adapted for your needs.

Bible Lesson Tilte: Priorities (Philippians)
Scripture: Selected Scriptures from Philippians
Target Age Group: Age 9 – 11 (U.S. 3rd – 5th Grade)
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 60 minutes
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Supplies: Bibles, Daily schedules (with time of day increments), pencils, jar, rocks, rice,
Learning Goal: Students will discover the importance of making Bible reading and prayer a priority in their daily lives.
Learning Activity #1: Daily Schedule-Students fill out their schedule with a sample of what they do each day.
Object Lesson: Jar, rocks, rice-Jar represents time allotted every day. Rocks are the important things we do every day; rice shows that there is still enough room in the jar.
Memory Verse: Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”

Bible Lesson: Priorities

(Begin with prayer.)
Everyone who is a believer received the gift of salvation through faith in Jesus. It is by faith alone that we are saved. We cannot earn the free gift of eternal life by doing any good work. (Ephesians 2:8)
Once a person becomes a believer, what should be an important priority on each of our daily schedules? (Allow responses) We know that it is important to read our Bibles and pray every day but many days pass and we haven’t picked up our Bible and have barely remembered to pray for God to bless our food.
Daily Bible reading and prayer do not save us. If we don’t pray and read our Bibles we don’t lose the free gift of eternal life. Our lesson today is going to refresh our hearts and minds of why it is so important to daily spend time with God in His Word and prayer.
Last week we studied Psalm 1 together. Who remembers the word picture of what a righteous person is like? (Psalm 1:3 “He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”)
We are going to use that word picture to help us understand how the daily discipline of Bible reading and prayer enables believers to be strong and fruitful.
Streams of water:
How important is water to life on this planet? Just as water is important to all living things, a believer needs the streams of living water flowing within his/her her heart to live a life that pleases God.
Choose volunteer to read John 7:37-39. “37 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.”
At the moment of salvation all believers receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit. He lives inside the hearts of those who have believed in Jesus, God’s Son. Many times the Holy Spirit is referred to as water. (For teacher:  Ephesians 5:26-With the washing of water – Baptism, accompanied by the purifying influences of the Holy Spirit.-Clarkes Commentary) (Titus 3:5-By the washing of regeneration – Undoubtedly the apostle here means baptism, the rite by which persons were admitted into the Church, and the visible sign of the cleansing, purifying influences of the Holy Spirit, which the apostle immediately subjoins. Baptism is only a sign, and therefore should never be separated from the thing signified; but it is a rite commanded by God himself, and therefore the thing signified should never be expected without it. By the renewing of the Holy Ghost we are to understand, not only the profession of being bound to live a new life, but the grace that renews the heart, and enables us thus to live; so the renewing influences are here intended. Baptism changes nothing; the grace signified by it cleanses and purifies. They who think baptism to be regeneration, neither know the Scriptures nor the power of God; therefore they do greatly err.-Clarkes Commentary)
When believers make it a priority to spend time daily in God’s Word, the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, teaches them to live righteously and empowers them to live a life that pleases God. Have students volunteer to read the selected verses:  John 14:26, John 16:8-13, Acts 1:8
Spending time each day in God’s Word and communicating with Him in prayer is as important as our need to drink water. Just as water refreshes us when we are thirsty, Jesus refreshes us during the time we spend with Him studying His Word.
A challenge for each of us anytime we take a glass of water or become thirsty we need to ask ourselves, “Did I go to the Fountain of Living water, Jesus and allow Him to quench my thirst to know Him better?”
Yields fruit/prospers:
Who remembers from our lesson in Psalm 1 what it means for a believer to be fruitful? Does it mean that if we read God’s Word and pray each day, apples will appear on our limbs? To bear fruit means that others are learning about Jesus from our lives and some people may even become believers from our obedience to share the Good News. When our lives please God there will be proof that God’s power is working in and through us to bring others to salvation through Jesus.
We just talked about the Holy Spirit being living waters flowing in the life of a believer. When believers continue to allow God to be their boss by obeying Him and spending time each day with Him in His Word and prayer the fruit of the Holy Spirit is seen in our attitudes.
Read Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such there is no law.”
By using the word picture of a fruitful tree in a believer’s life we could say that just as we would expect an apple tree to produce apples each year, a believer should have attitudes of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Most of us never have all of these attitudes all of the time. But the more we learn and grow by spending time in God’s Word and prayer we will see these attitudes more and more in our lives. Others will know that Jesus lives in us because without Him it is impossible to consistently be patient with those who irritate us or love the unlovely.
From Psalm 1 the opposite of a fruitful life is compared to a leaf that withers. How many of you have dried crunchy leaves in your yard right now? When you walk on those crunchy leaves may it remind you that it is important to stay close to God and His Power so that your life won’t become a leaf that seems to have no use except to make more work for others who have to rake them and get rid of them.
Next week we are going to begin lessons from the Book of Philippians to help us discover how to make daily time with God a high priority. As we close what has God shown you that you need to change? Are you a believer who hasn’t made daily time with God a high priority? If so, ask God to forgive you and ask for Him to help you begin to make this a daily discipline.
Are you not a follower of Jesus and reading His Word makes no sense at all? As a sinner without a right relationship with God you can’t understand His words because His Holy Spirit is not living in your heart teaching you what God’s Word mean. Jesus died on the cross for your sins, was buried and rose again the third day so that you could have your sins forgiven and have a right relationship with God. Believe in the Lord Jesus today and you will be saved. His Holy Spirit will live inside your heart and give you life!
Close in prayer.
Review Questions:
1. What does a person need to do to be saved?
2. Why is it important to read God’s Word and pray everyday?
3. When is the best time of day for you to have quiet time with God?
4. How will you change your daily schedule to make time for Bible study and prayer?
5. What attitude that is not a fruit of the spirit need to be changed by the power of the Holy Spirit in your life?
6. Who are you sharing the Good News with? If you aren’t sharing the Good News will you pray that God would show you the person He wants you to share with this week?

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