May 9, 2021 – Exodus 19 – 20

Lesson Date: May 9, 2021

Focal Scripture Passage: Exodus 19:1-6; 20:1-17

AIM: To lead students to name and discuss the Ten Commandments and whether they apply to modern Christians, and to encourage them to make commitments to obey God’s commands.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Exodus 19 – 20 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Write the lesson title, “God’s Rules for Living,” on the marker board or chalkboard. Get enough copies of the God’s Rules for Living” worksheet for your anticipated attendance. Have some pens or pencils on hand for any who might need one.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Ask: “Why do we need rules?” (without rules life is disorderly, chaotic, and dangerous). Ask: “What would happen if there were no rules (traffic laws) for driving on the public roads?” (utter chaos and deadly accidents would result).

Tell the class some people don’t believe in laws: they think all laws should be abolished and people should be free to do whatever they want. They insist that laws hinder our personal freedom and spoil our fun. Ask: “Are traffic laws in place to hinder our freedom and spoil our fun?” (no, they are there to try to provide us a safe driving experience). Obeying the rules makes life safe and happy, but disobeying them results in chaos and hurt.

Tell the students that God gave His people some basic rules for living. We call these familiar rules “The Ten Commandments.” Today’s lesson is titled God’s Rules for Living. We will study the rules God gave the ancient Israelites and try to determine if they are still applicable or valid for us today.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Remind the students that we are studying the Old Testament book of Exodus.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (God’s miraculous provision upon the Israelites).
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (Phil. 4:19).
    • Tell the class that in chapter 18, Moses’ father-in-law came to visit him in the wilderness. He wisely advised Moses to appoint leaders to serve under him in judging and teaching the children of Israel.
  2. Setting and Purpose of the Ten Commandments.
    • Remind the students of the following:
      • God miraculously freed the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt.
      • He parted the Red Sea so they could cross over on dry land.
      • The Lord led them with a supernatural pillar of cloud and pillar of fire.
    • Read Exodus 19:1-2.
    • After two months of traveling through the wilderness, the children of Israel arrived at Mount Sinai (locate on the Map). God called Moses up to the top of the mountain.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Exodus 19:3-6.
    • Ask: “What did God tell Moses in verse 3?” (he was to convey God’s message to the Israelites).
    • Tell the class in verse 4 God reminded the Israelites of His miraculous care for them.
    • Ask: “What did He tell them in verses 5-6?” (if you obey my voice I will make you my special people, a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation).
    • Summarize: God led the Israelites to Mount Sinai. He told them if they obeyed His commands they could have a very special relationship with Him.
  3. The Ten Commandments.
    • Read Exodus 20:1-2.
    • Ask: “How did God identify Himself to the Israelites?” (the God who brought them out of Egypt).
    • Give everyone a copy of the God’s Rules for Living” worksheet (and a pen or pencil if needed). Lead them to fill in the blanks on the worksheet as they discuss the following verses.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Exodus 20:3.
      • Ask: “What is the first commandment?” (you shall have no other gods).
      • Ask: “What does that mean?” (Almighty God is to be pre-eminent in our thoughts, our affection, our devotion, and our actions).
      • Ask: “Is this commandment still applicable to us today?” (yes; read Mark 12:29).
      • Ask: “How does this commandment relate to modern-day Christians?” (we are not to let any other false god, hobby, job, or interest supersede our devotion to Jesus Christ).
    • Read Exodus 20:4-6.
      • Ask: “What is the second commandment?” (do not make or worship idols).
      • Ask: “What does that mean?” (the Lord is the only true God; worshiping anything or anyone else is an insult to Him).
      • Ask: “Is this commandment still applicable to us today?” (yes; read Acts 15:20 and 1 John 5:21).
      • Ask: “How does this commandment relate to modern-day Christians?” (we should not let any person or thing come before our love and devotion to God).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Exodus 20:7.
      • Ask: “What is the third commandment?” (do not use the Lord’s name in a vain or off-handed manner).
      • Ask: “What does that mean?” (we must not use God’s name lightly or irreverently, and certainly not in swearing).
      • Ask: “Is this commandment still applicable to us today?” (yes; read 6:9 and James 5:12).
      • Ask: “How does this commandment relate to modern-day Christians?” (it is very common today for people to use God’s name in vain, but believers should respect His name).
    • Read Exodus 20:8-11.
      • Ask: “What is the fourth commandment?” (honor the Sabbath and keep it holy).
      • Ask: “What does that mean?” (God told the Israelites to set aside the Sabbath day [Saturday] as a day of rest and worship).
      • Ask: “Is this commandment still applicable to us today?” (NO; read 2:16-17).
      • Explain that “Remember the Sabbath day” is the only one of the Ten Commandments not repeated and reinforced in the New Testament. Soon after the resurrection of Jesus the early church moved their day of worship to Sunday – the “Lord’s Day.”
    • Ask a volunteer to read Exodus 20:12.
      • Ask: “What is the fifth commandment?” (honor your father and mother).
      • Ask: “What does that mean?” (we owe our parents honor, reverence, respect, and obedience).
      • Ask: “Is this commandment still applicable to us today?” (yes; read 15:4 and Eph. 6:2).
      • Ask: “How does this commandment relate to modern-day Christians?” (regardless of their age or our age, we should honor and respect our parents).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Exodus 20:13.
      • Ask: “What is the sixth commandment?” (you must not commit murder).
      • Explain that the word kill clearly refers to murder. The Hebrew word literally means, “to dash in pieces, that is, kill (a human being), especially to murder: put to death, kill, slay.”[1] This commandment does not forbid capital punishment, self-defense, or acts of war, nor does it forbid the killing of animals. God established capital punishment in Genesis 9:5-6.
      • Ask: “Is this commandment still applicable to us today?” (yes; read 5:21-22 and James 2:11).
      • Ask: “How does this commandment relate to modern-day Christians?” (life is cheap today, but we must respect and protect all innocent human life, from conception to natural death).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Exodus 20:14.
      • Ask: “What is the seventh commandment?” (you must not commit adultery).
      • Ask: “What does that mean?” (adultery and all forms of immorality are forbidden).
      • Ask: “Is this commandment still applicable to us today?” (yes; read 5:27-28).
      • Ask: “How does this commandment relate to modern-day Christians?” (we live in a very licentious world, but as believers we must keep ourselves pure).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Exodus 20:15.
      • Ask: “What is the eighth commandment?” (you must not steal).
      • Ask: “What does that mean?” (all types of theft are forbidden, including money, property, and time on our job).
      • Ask: “Is this commandment still applicable to us today?” (yes; read 19:18 and Eph. 4:28).
      • Ask: “How does this commandment relate to modern-day Christians?” (we must not steal anyone’s possessions or our employer’s time).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Exodus 20:16.
      • Ask: “What is the ninth commandment?” (you must not bear false witness).
      • Ask: “What does that mean?” (do not lie or give false testimony about anything).
      • Ask: “Is this commandment still applicable to us today?” (yes; read 13:9 and Col. 3:9).
      • Ask: “How does this commandment relate to modern-day Christians?” (truthfulness is all but gone in modern-day America, but Christians must not lie).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Exodus 20:17.
      • Ask: “What is the tenth commandment?” (you must not covet).
      • Ask: “What does that mean?” (do not desire anything that belongs to someone else).
      • Ask: “Is this commandment still applicable to us today?” (yes; read 5:3).
      • Ask: “How does this commandment relate to modern-day Christians?” (covetousness is the motivator for many other sins, but God tells Christians to be content).
    • Summarize: God gave the ancient Israelites very clear rules for living, most of which still apply to us. If we want a happy life we should obey those rules.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the students that rules are useless if we don’t live by them. We live in a world that is trying to do away with all rules. Jesus gave the summation of all of God’s rules in two sentences. He called them the first and second great commandments. Ask if anyone remembers those great commandments. Read Matthew 22:37-39 to the class.

Ask: “Do you think God gave His people these rules to hinder their personal freedom and spoil their fun, or to protect them from hurt, heartache, and ruined lives?” (to protect us).

Ask: “Are you following God’s rules? If not, why not?” Tell the students it is impossible to truly obey God’s rules without being saved. Also, stress the fact that obeying the Ten Commandments does not get us into heaven. In fact, the Bible tells us one purpose of God’s rules is to teach us that we are sinners who need a Savior.

Encourage any who are not saved to turn to Jesus Christ for salvation right now. Encourage others to confess their failures to obey God’s rules, and to commit to obey them in the future. Lead a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Ask the students to notice this week how many problems in today’s world can be traced back to violating one or more of God’s rules for living. Encourage them to obey God’s rules every day.

[1] Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries, Electronic Edition STEP Files © 1998, Parsons Technology, Inc.

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