1. LEADER PREPARATION

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1 character traits of god Week 2: God is Just This includes: 1. Leader Preparation 2. Lesson Guide 1. LEADER PREPARATION LESSON OVERVIEW In this week s lesson, we focus on how God is just. God loves justice and hates injustice. This means God wants us to be in right relationship with him and with other people. Because of our sin, we all deserve separation from God, but justice and mercy intersect, and Jesus has become the answer for having a just relationship with God and has become the foundation for our just relationship with other people. LESSON OBJECTIVES 1. WHAT: God loves is just and desires right relationship with us and God calls us to have right relationship with other people, too. 2. We have the opportunity and obligation to pursue lives of justice lives that are defined by a right relationship with God and with other people. 3. HOW: Help your young people understand that because God is just, we are given a way for a right relationship with God and with others, and encourage your teenagers to confront injustices against other people in our world. PRIMARY SCRIPTURE Psalm 99:4 SECONDARY SCRIPTURES Psalm 7:17, 11:4-7, 92:12-15; Isaiah 1:16-17, 61:8-9; and John 3:16-18 TEACHING PREP The short overview below is designed to help you prepare for your lesson. While you may not want to convey this information word-for-word with your teenagers, you ll definitely want to refer to it as you lead your small group lesson. Read Psalm 99:4.

2 In this verse, we see God described as a lover of justice who has acted with justice and righteousness in his relationship with Israel. When we talk about God being just, we mean that God acts in a righteous manner and desires a right relationship with his people. Being just also means us having a right relationship with other people. Encourage your students this week to think about their relationship with God and their relationships with other people. Are those relationships defined by righteousness right acts and right motives and right attitudes? When those things are absent, we experience injustice, which God hates and wants us to confront in our world. There is a right and wrong. God is consistent and doesn t flip-flop back and forth at random. God hates the evil that happens in the world, and one day all accounts will be settled. As Christians, we can choose to pursue and love justice not what s easy or convenient or expedient. THE BEFORE & AFTER [optional] Text Message Questions We ve provided a couple of different text message questions to send out to your students prior to your meeting. Feel free to use one or both of the questions below. As with the rest of the curriculum, edit these questions to fit the needs of your ministry. Parent What does it mean to say that God is just? Let s talk about it at small group tonight. Are you getting what you deserve? Should you? Be at small group tonight to dig deeper. We ve provided you with an below that you can send to your parents following the lesson. Our hope is to encourage parents to continue the conversation at home. Feel free to edit and customize the to fit your ministry needs. Dear parents, This week we continued our small group study on the characteristics of God. We talked about how God is just, and we used Psalm 99:4 as our primary verse God is worshiped because he loves justice and acts with justice and righteousness.

3 We talked about the idea of experiencing a just, right relationship with God and with other people. We saw how God wants us to recognize injustice and to respond when we see injustice being inflicted upon other people. There is a right and wrong. God is consistent and doesn t flip-flop back and forth at random. God hates the evil that happens in the world, and one day all accounts will be settled. As Christians, we can choose to pursue and love justice not what s easy or convenient or expedient. I d encourage you to take a few minutes in the coming days to talk with your teenager about this week s lesson. Here are some questions that you could incorporate into your conversation: What exactly is justice, and does everyone deserve it? Explain. Why do you think God loves justice? What are some ways you can pursue justice as a teenager? If you re interested in working for justice, how do you know what to pursue? How can you develop and maintain a merciful attitude toward other people? Thanks for your prayers for our small group ministry. Have a blessed week!

4 character traits of god Week 2: God is Just 2. LEsson guide GETTING THINGS STARTED [optional] Before your small group meets, buy an inexpensive pie or pizza something round that you can cut into pieces of varying sizes. Cut the pie or pizza before your teenagers arrive. Cut the right number of pieces to correspond with the size of your group BUT make sure you don t cut them all the same size. As you begin your small group, welcome your students and invite them into your meeting area. Open in prayer, and then SAY SOMETHING LIKE: OK, we re going to start off this week with a surprise. I didn t tell you ahead of time, but I decided to bring along some food tonight. Let s dig into some pie/pizza before we get started! Once your teenagers see the food, it s likely you ll encounter swift competition for the largest slices. That s fine. After each person has eaten a slice, Who got the biggest piece? Why did you take it instead of offering it to someone else in the group? Who got the smallest slice? How did you feel about the whole situation? Was this experience fair or just? Why or why not? SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Today we re going to talk about one of God s characteristics that fits right in with our food experience. God is just. God sees and treats everyone the same. God doesn t care if you are an athlete, cheerleader, chess club president, band member, top in your class, or bottom of your class. God judges and views everyone with the same level of wisdom, love, and passion. If you came up with an opening activity, movie clip, or game that worked well with your group, and you d like to share it with other youth workers, please us at

5 Teaching Points The goal of the Teaching Points is to help students capture the essence of each lesson with more discussion and less lecture-style teaching. The main points we have chosen here are (1) God loves justice and (2) God hates injustice. Remember: All throughout these lessons, it s up to you to choose (1) how many questions you use, and (2) the wording of the main points keep ours, or change the wording to make it clearer for your audience. Read Psalm 99:4 together as a group. Consider allowing one or more of the teenagers to read the text. SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Let s spend a few moments looking at how just God is. 1. God loves justice Ask student volunteers to read Isaiah 61:8-9 and Psalm 11:4-7. Why do you think God loves justice? What would God be like if he wasn t just? Psalm 11:5-6 offers some harsh words about God s attitude toward people who love violence and who are unjust toward others. Why is God s attitude about these things so strong? What do you think it means to experience a just, right relationship with God? What s it like to have that kind of relationship with other people? SAY SOMETHING LIKE: God loves justice because God is pure. Being just means having a very clear sense of right and wrong. If we are just, it means we re having right relationship with God and others. Justice is the foundation. There is a right and wrong. God is consistent and doesn t flip-flop back and forth at random. God hates the evil that happens in the world, and one day all accounts will be settled. As Christians, we can choose to pursue and love justice not what s easy or convenient or expedient.

6 2. God hates injustice SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Spiritual growth means becoming more like God. As our relationship with God deepens, we start to gain a better understanding of justice. We have a greater awareness of injustice in the world, and we look for ways to address this injustice. That s an important principle: Yes, God wants us to recognize injustice, but God also calls us to act and respond when we see injustice being inflicted upon other people. What are some of the greatest injustices in the world right now? Why would you define them as being unjust? How do these injustices affect people s relationship with others? When you think about the people committing these injustices, how do their actions reflect a damaged relationship with or perspective of God? How has the world become either more just or less just than it was when Jesus walked the earth? ADDITIONAL DISCUSSION [optional] Do you believe God holds you to the same level of accountability as a 70-year-old adult who has been a Christian for 60 years? Why or why not? Read Psalm 92: These verses tell us that as godly people grow older, they will continue to recognize that God is just. Why might this characteristic become clearer or more certain to you as get older and continue maturing spiritually? Look at verse 13. Why do you godly people flourish in the courts of our God? Read Psalm 7:17. What are some experiences that have caused you to think of God s justice as a reason to give thanks and sing praises? Read John 3: How do these verses speak to the principles of justice and mercy that we ve been discussing in this lesson?

7 APPLICATION Pair up with another person in the group for these questions. Read Isaiah 1: What are some injustices that happen regularly at your school or among teenagers in our community? What are some ways you can pursue justice as a teenager? If you re interested in working for justice, how do you know what to pursue? Each of us deserves to spend eternity separated from God, but we have the opportunity through Jesus to receive God s mercy and forgiveness. How can you develop and maintain a merciful attitude toward other people? Bring your students back together to discuss their answers to the previous questions. SUMMARY End your small group lesson here. Provide your teenagers with a quick summary or take-home challenge based on (1) the content of this lesson, (2) the dialogue that took place during the lesson, (3) your understanding of the issues and struggles your teenagers are facing, and (4) the big picture of your youth ministry and what your leadership team wants accomplished with the teaching and discussion time. FOR KEEPS [MEMORY VERSE] Encourage and/or challenge your teenagers to memorize the verse below. I will thank the Lord because he is just; I will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High (Psalm 7:17).

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