Be Strong in the Lord Ephesians Chapter 6: 10-20

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1 Be Strong in the Lord Ephesians Chapter 6: Day 1 Be Strong in the Lord: Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Weapons of Peace (Truth, Righteousness, Gospel of Peace, Faith, and Salvation) Day 2 Truth: Ephesians 6:14 Gird you waist with Truth. Day 3 Righteousness: Ephesians 6:14 Breastplate of Righteousness Day 4 Gospel of Peace: Ephesians 6:15 Shod your feet with the Gospel of Peace. Day 5 Faith and Salvation: Ephesians 6:16-17 Shield of Faith and Helmet of Salvation.

2 Day 1: Be Strong in the Lord By this end of this lesson youth should realize the following: 1.) God gives us His Holy Spirit to strengthen us. 2.) We need to ask for God s help and guidance. 3.) Be able to read and comprehend Ephesians 6: ) Realize that there is spiritual warfare in our lives and how it is manifested to us so we can recognize it. 5.) Understand why we need to Be Strong in the Lord Procedures Activity 1: Teach the youth the camp song: Father I adore you Talk about the Holy Trinity and how much God loves us. Ask: How can we love Him? (Tell them to think about the song lay my life before You. We love God by giving Him ourselves. Introduce the topic: Spiritual Warfare What is it? Who does it involve? If it helps use the War situation that has been going on in Iraq to explain. Conclude you discussion by saying: God loves us and will never let the devil gain control of our lives if we pray to Him and ask for His help and guidance. Activity 2 Now say: in war we need weapons to fight our battles What weapons do we need to fight battles for Jesus? We are going to read a chapter in Ephesians, can you pick out the weapons used? Read Ephesians 6: Write out the weapons of truth, righteousness, Gospel of Peace, faith, and salvation out for all to see. Can they think of any other spiritual weapons we can use to fight off our enemies? Activity 3 Craft: If you have time, you can make spiritual weapons. Ahead of time, make some cut out swords, helmets, belts, anything but guns or modern ammunition, use construction paper, and have them trace the weapons onto construction paper and write their favorite weapon they would like to use in their journey toward Christ. Conclude by saying: We have learned that Jesus loves us and that we need to give our life to Him. By giving our life to Him, He protects us from those who want to hurt us, and by praying to Him He makes us become Stronger in the Lord. You might want to also discuss that this is our theme for the week. Grades 6 12 Using a large piece of paper or black board write all their responses to the following question for all to see. Ask: What does it mean to you to be Strong in the Lord? Now break them off into subgroups at least 4 groups of 5 in each group. You will need bibles. Have them choose a secretary in the group to write down answers to discuss Have them read Ephesians 6: and discuss these questions 1.) List all the weapons used in spiritual warfare as described by St. Paul in Ephesians?

3 2.) How can we use these weapons in our struggle against evil today? 3.) How will these weapons make us Stronger in the Lord? 4.) How can the Holy Spirit help us in our warfare? 5.) List 3 situation where we could be involved in spiritual warfare Ex. Peer pressure Have them come back into the larger group and discuss. The leader should ask the question again and have each secretary talk about their answers to the whole group.

4 Day 2 Gird you waist with truth. By the end of this session, youth should be able to understand the following: Determine that there is one truth and that is Christ. Truth is a person Learn how to begin distinguishing what is true or holy Talk about other truths in the world and discuss them Discuss the possibility that what we believe is true might not necessarily be the real truth Activity 1 On a chalk board or large piece of paper write two words. True False Have the class list all the things they know are true. Then have them list all the things they know are false. Activity 2 Play the game Two truths and a lie. Go around the room. Everyone in the room gets the chance to say two true things about themselves and one lie. Then the leader asks the question Does anyone know which was the lie? Let people raise their hands and guess. Now ask: Those of you that were not able to guess the right answer, why do you think this is so? They should answer that they didn t know the person well enough or that they were just guessing. Now ask: How do we know what is the truth? (The real truth can only be known through living a life pleasing to God. Without God s guidance, we will again and again fall subject to the lies of the devil and his army. We need to constantly pray to God and to His saints for strength and weapons to fight against evil.) Activity 3 Have someone read John 14:6. Ask: Who do they say is the truth? Answer is Christ Say: According to our Church, we believe that a person (Jesus) is the truth and that we need to follow Him. How do we know the truth about someone if we don t know who that person is? Just like when we played Two truths and a lie if you didn t know the person or were just guessing you might get the answer wrong. We can only follow Jesus if we know Him. We can only know the truth about Him, if we spend time praying and giving our lives to Him. Ask: What do we need to do to follow/love Jesus? Write their answers down so they can all see it. Have them cut out hearts from construction paper and with a marker have them write their answers down on the heart. Tape them up so all can see. Conclude by saying: We are made stronger in the Lord when we love Jesus and know that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Ask: Don t forget to continue praying for your partners. We are also made stronger by helping others, by praying for them, and by loving them. Grades 6 12 Have them break up into their same groups with these questions 1.) List three things that you hear or see among your friends that would be considered ungodly by the Church or not followers of the TRUTH.

5 2.) List three things that you do to follow Jesus The way, the truth, and the life. 3.) How do we begin to distinguish what is true or holy verses what is wrong or worldly? (It is through prayer and living a life in the church that we can know the truth.) 4.) Can we find ourselves outside of the Church or outside of doing what is true or holy? What do we need to do to get back on track? Come back and discuss. Ask this question: Is it possible to believe you are doing what is true, right, or holy and in actuality you are doing the wrong thing? Write down some examples of people in history who might have thought they were doing the right thing. Conclude by saying: We are made stronger in the Lord when we follow Jesus and know that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

6 Day 3 Breastplate of Righteousness By the end of this session, youth should be able to understand the following: Define righteousness as doing what is pleasing to God Identify people in our lives who can help us learn right from wrong Identify Christ as our teacher of righteousness How we can live a righteous life in accordance to the Orthodox Church. Ask: What does it mean to be righteous? If nobody knows, tell them that it means to do the right thing all the time live a life pleasing to God. Have them list all the good things that they can do for each other. (You can use the story of the good Samaritan in the New Testament to illustrate righteousness.) Activity 1 Play a game called the good and the bad. Separate your class into three different groups. Ask group three to leave the room. Have group one pick a spot in the room. Have group two pick a different spot in the room. Tell them that there are two spots in the room, one leading to Heaven and the other leading to nowhere. (Don t tell group three this but instruct group one and two when group three leaves.) Group one will always tell the truth and lead to heaven. Group two is encouraged to lie to get members of group 3 off track. Both teams can bribe them with candy or do whatever is necessary to get the most from group 3 on their side. The team with the most people wins. The third group will not know and will be our victims. Instruct group three outside and let them know what is going on and that they must find the people telling the truth. Have group three come back in the room and let the games begin. Have them all sit down for a moment and be absolutely silent. Then ask group three: Did you know who was right and who was wrong? Most of you ended up in the right or wrong place by accident. You didn t know who to believe. However, we are very lucky to have special people in our lives who we can trust. Who do you know that you can trust to teach you right from wrong? (They will most likely say parents, grandparents, and family members ) If they hadn t already said Jesus, say We are missing someone very important Who we have been talking about. Ask: Who do we say is the truth and our weapon in time of trouble? JESUS Activity 2 Prayer partner project. Break your class up into pairs of two or three. Tell them that they are responsible for praying for each other throughout the whole week. Have them ask Jesus to help and protect their new friend and make sure that they help them if they should get sad or scared. Ask: Are we being righteous by watching over each other and praying for each other? Let s do this throughout the whole week and our whole lives. Activity 3 Have youth write a letter to Jesus telling Him what they plan to do this week to be righteous. Give them construction paper and markers to complete the task. Hang them up for all to see. Conclude: We are made strong in the Lord every time we help someone, pray for them, or do something good for each other.

7 Grades 6 12 In the game the good and the bad, was there a definite way to determine you will end up in heaven? Group three just experienced what it would be like if they did not know Christ. Without Christ in our lives, there is no way to know which way we are going. It is only through loving Him that we learn what truth is and how to follow the truth. There is no other way to know if we are being righteous. Have them break up into their same groups with these questions 1.) How do we begin to live a righteous life? (Righteousness is a journey that we go on the journey toward righteousness. Each day we learn how to love God by living prayerful lives and learning day to day how to follow His commandments.) 2.) Who is in our lives right now that can help us learn right from wrong? (Parents, friends, family, the saints, and Christ are all acceptable answers) 3.) Should we be careful when we are listening to the opinions of others? Why? Give a situation that could be harmful to us. (Yes Sometimes too much advise or no advise at all can be spiritually dangerous. You can talk about peer pressure here or just advise from family or friends that have taken you down the wrong road.) 4.) How can we use righteousness as a weapon against the devil? (Avoid temptation, love God, and help others.) You can use the story of Job to illustrate this point. He defeated evil by remaining righteous. Conclude: By living a righteous life, God will bless us and bestow on us the grace of the Holy Spirit. This grace protects us from spiritual and physical dangers. It greatly strengthens us. We need to pray to God because the Church believes that it is through prayer alone that we receive the answers to our toughest questions on living a righteous life.

8 Day 4 Shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace By the end of this lesson, youth should be able to: Define what is different about the Gospel than anywhere else in the bible How we can use the Gospel as a weapon of peace Why it is important to study scripture On a large sheet of paper or chalk board for all to see, write in large print Gospel of Peace. Say: It is through the Gospels that we receive the word of God and we can use it as a weapon that brings peace to ourselves, our families, and the world around us. For the younger ages ask: What are the four gospels? (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) Ask: What is in the Gospel that is different from anywhere else in the bible? (Christ s own words and teachings.) If they don t know make sure they get this point. Now have them list all the teachings of Christ that they can remember ex\\ love your neighbor, turn the other cheek etc. Activity 1 Have everyone trace their feet or have someone help them. You will need construction paper, markers, and scissors. Now have them cut out their feet. Finally, they must write three things on them that they have personally learned so far this week about the theme Being Strong in the Lord. For the younger children, have them write there three favorite things from the chalk board that were already discussed. Make sure you display the feet so all can see. Play gospel bingo. Appendix A has all the bingo/gospel cards needed for the game. Copy enough for your group. You will need a set of bingo cards for yourself to cut up and pick from a bowl or bag. Tear up pieces of construction paper to use to cover the spaces or use dry breakfast cereal. As you are playing, talk about the bible stories that you call out for each gospel. Grades 6 12 Send them off into their same groups, or if they want to, they can choose to change groups around today for some variety with these questions. Each group will need a bible: 1.) Why should we study scripture? 2.) How does Christ s words, the gospel, bring us peace? 3.) How does the bible strengthen us in the Lord? How does it make our spiritual muscles stronger? 4.) As a group, look through the four Gospels and find a message that Christ gives that can help us fight against temptation. Write it down and share it with the whole group. Come back and discuss the above questions.

9 Day 5 Shield of Faith and Helmet of Salvation By the end of this session, youth will be able to do the following. Know that by following Christ as the way, the Truth, and the Life brings about our salvation Know that the weapons faith and salvation are very important to help strengthen us in the Lord. Ask: What is faith? Give them a chance to talk about it. Have someone read from Hebrews 11:1 Write it down so everyone can see it and explain that faith is what we hope for and do not see with our physical eyes. But can we see them with our spiritual eyes. Activity 1 Faith Catch Two youth interlock wrists while one person falls backwards, putting their faith in the person behind them. This activity can be risky. Make sure there is one adult staff member behind each group to be a spotter. When everyone is finished, have them sit down and be quiet for a few moments. Let them openly talk about their experiences. Ask them, how did it go? Ask: Did you keep the faith or did you not trust your partners? Who wouldn t try it? Say: Our relationship with God is very similar. Sometimes, we do not trust in God enough. Sometimes we do not give Him our whole trust and put our whole faith in Him to get us through the rough times or even the good times. We forget about Him and push Him aside. We would rather go to a mall or stay home and sleep sometimes before we go to Church. Being faithful, means keeping our minds and hearts on the Lord. Ask: How can we use faith as a weapon against the devil? How does it strengthen us in the Lord? Write their answers on a chalk board or large paper. Conclude by saying: By having faith in Christ, by living a righteous life like we talked about earlier, and by asking the Holy Spirit to come into our hearts, we attain salvation. Grades 6 12 Break them off into their groups with these questions. 1.) What do we need to do as Orthodox Christians to gain salvation? 2.) Who can help us with our salvation? 3.) Are we saved by faith alone? 4.) What does it mean to be in union with God, and how do we become united to God? 5.) Give three examples of real life situations where someone can separate themselves from God? Come back and discuss with your group. Conclude by saying: By using all the weapons we have learned about in our spiritual journeys to Christ, we will encounter many bumps along the way but we must continue to strengthen our spiritual muscles to fight against our spiritual enemies. By knowing that Christ is the truth, by living a righteous life, by understanding scripture and the gospel of peace, and by believing in Christ we will be saved.

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