Volume. XXIII, No. 47
Sunday, 17 May 2009

Exhortation to Sunday School Teachers (Acts 17:16-34) - Part 2

Intellectual Readiness – Be Skillful in Delivery (vv.22-31)

Not only must your heart be stirred and you be mentally ready to take up the challenges from students, but you must also be intellectually ready to deliver your lesson well whenever it is your turn to teach. In order to be intellectually ready, a high level of commitment must be demonstrated in order to prepare each lesson and present it skillfully. Here are certain guidelines which perhaps would be helpful in your Sunday school lesson preparation:

Catch Your Students’ Attention

Act 17:22 “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars\' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.” Mars’ hill would be your Sunday school teacher’s podium. To say something like “ye men of Athens” is equivalent to saying “students listen up” which should catch the attention of your students. You will have to catch their attention by saying something captivating and appropriate to make your class ready to listen to you.

Employ Interesting Illustrations

Act 17:23 “For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.” Here the speaker tries to narrow the gap between the speaker and the target audience by giving an illustration or a personal encounter which is familiar to the audience by building a common ground to set the stage for the gospel to be preached or a lesson to be introduced and eventually leads into the main body of your lesson.  

Present Your Main Points Succinctly

Act 17:24-26 “24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men\'s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;” Here is where a speaker or a teacher begins his gospel message presentation, or lesson proper, by delivering the core of the lesson in point format. Such was the way Apostle Paul presented his message by stating first, the truth that God made all things who does not dwell in a temple made by man  (v.24); second, the truth that God is also essentially different from idols and in need of nothing, but is the Giver of all life (v.25); third, the truth that He created mankind and is sovereignly in control of all things without national boundaries (v.26). It is clear that Paul preached a three point sermon in a simple and succinct manner and Sunday school teachers should develop skills to prepare lessons to deliver to children in simplicity and clarity. 

Make Transitions Smoothly and Applications Personal

Having presented his main points, Apostle Paul makes a transition in verse 27 from his sermon proper to applications in verses 28 and 29 which reads, “27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.”

It is important to make a good and smooth transition from the sermon proper, which consists of raw spiritual truth, to bring in relevant applications in verses 28 and 29. Notice how Apostle Paul uses the personal pronouns to make a transition in order to bring in relevant applications. In verse 27, Apostle Paul uses the pronoun “they”, a third person plural pronoun, but ended with “us”, a first person plural pronoun. This should effectively make a transition in order to turn general statement of truths into personal applications, for, in verses 27 and 28, Apostle Paul no longer uses the third person plural pronoun but first and second person pronouns and possessive pronouns, “we,” “you, “our” and “your”, to make his applications “personal”. Similarly, Sunday school teachers should also make the applications more personal by using more first and second person pronouns after making general statements of truth derived from the Bible.

Sometimes, it will also be helpful to make applications more specific by pointing out the issues of concern. In the case of Athenians, it was idolatry. Thus, Apostle Paul pointed out in verse 29 “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man\'s device.” It is clear that Apostle Paul was condemning them of idolatry for worshiping gods of gold, silver or stones. Therefore, make sure to be more specific in the applications you include in order to impact your students with the lesson you deliver.

Include a Gospel Message

Once the applications are given out, you may challenge your students to make right with God by repenting of their sins before God. Apostle Paul does this with his audience in Acts 17:30 and 31 which says, “30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” Ideally, every Sunday school lesson should contain a gospel message that ties in with your lesson. Apostle Paul concludes his message with a gospel presentation to make sure that his audience would know the purpose of his preaching – to call on people to repent of their sins before the Risen Saviour Jesus Christ.

Spiritual Readiness – Be Patient in Dealing (vv.32-34)

One may well be stirred up to teach with a genuine burden, ready to take on challenges from students, prepared in his lesson and do a fantastic job as a Sunday teacher. However, he may soon realize that he may not be able to achieve the impact that he expects to see through his preaching or teaching ministry. This was exactly the scenario Apostle Paul faced. Act 17:32 and 33 describes what happened after Paul preached to the Athenians: “32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. 33 So Paul departed from among them.”

Having delivered an electrifying sermon, still most of the audience mocked or ridiculed Paul’s preaching, largely stumbled by the doctrine of resurrection of the dead. However, Apostle Paul departed from among them. By no means should teachers walk out of the classroom or quit teaching Sunday school simply because students pay little or no attention to you. In Apostle Paul’s case, he was more of a street evangelist and an itinerary  missionary. Apostle Paul had to move on because of the nature of his calling, not because he had given up preaching the gospel. Sunday school teachers need to focus on the wonderful working of the Spirit of God after Apostle Paul’s preaching in verse 34 which reads: “Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.” It is such a comfort and encouragement to see that certain men clave unto Paul and believed, but Paul would have no idea a few would eventually believe although the majority of them mocked. As Sunday school teachers, you may not see the fruit of your labour in a short time and perhaps not even in your life time. However, we must trust that God is working in the hearts of those whose lives you have touched through your faithful teaching. Thus, be encouraged and press on.

In Conclusion:

Therefore, make sure that you have that passion for teaching and the burden for the lost souls before you commit yourself to the Sunday school ministry. Make sure that you are ready to take up the challenge as a Sunday school teacher. Make sure that you are prepared to teach by preparing your lessons diligently by preparing the lesson well and be assured that God will move the hearts of people’s lives you have touched.

Pastor David Weng

(For Part 1 of this article please refer to Lively Hope Vol XXIII, No. 45, 3 May 2009)

More Lively Hope




Kitchen Rosters: Team Leader: Sis Bernadette Ng

Greetings from Sis Gillian Ong (S’pore)

Please Note: Coffee & Cookies after Worship Service next week.

Help needed for food/drinks & transport for the Senior Citizens’ Fellowship meeting. If you can help please see Rev George van Buuren.

Thank you to our YAF & young people for organizing the Mother’s Day photo session & gifts.


Looking Ahead

Baptism, Reaffirmation, Transfer of Membership & The Lord’s Supper, 31 May 2009 (Pastor Ki) 

23rd Anniversary Thanksgiving Service, 28 June. Speaker: Pastor Ki.

VBS 6-10 July, Speaker: Bro Hai Seng Lim


Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies: Bro Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong (KL); Bro Raymond Ang (Adl); Sisters Peng Ha Yeo (Malaysia/China) & Mag Yu (HK) & all others who have arrived safely.

Church activities: BBK Class; Shorter Catechism Class; BSAG; Joy & Maranatha Prayer Meeting & Bible Study; Chinese Ministry; Hope Fellowship (S’pore); Sparks4Christ; YAF Video Discussion

Much needed rain over the last few days.


Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren; Rev John & Mrs Christine McKenzie; Rev Stephen Khoo, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Tommy Brooks, Colin Creaser, S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi; Len & Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagam, Fred Volvricht & Hans Ziegelmann; Mr Swee Liang Ng, Mr Yeom; Grandpa Ki; Auntie Oei; Sisters Mabella Booth, Lai Kheng Cheong, Nita Chong, Annie D’Mello, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Choon Fong Lee (Evangel BPC - KL); Fiona Paauwe; Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson; Aranka Rejtoe, Sally Teng, Susan Veradi, Irena Kurek-Braden; Mrs Win Hooper; & others in affliction.

Missions - Cambodia (Bro Surish & Ministry in Siem Pang; Bible students at FEBC), Pastors & believers in Laos, Pakistan & India; Kuching Ministry (Teo family).

Special Prayer: Bro Surish Dharmalingam - for financial support for his family & ministry in Vientiane & Siem Pang.

Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Pr H S Lim

Pastor & Sis Ki - ministry & travelling mercies in USA; future ministry in New Life BPC, London; UK visa application.

Journey mercies: Bro Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong (Europe); Sisters Marion Chan (Adl) & Sheila George (Bangalore); & all others who are travelling.

Pastor Weng: family & ministry in Hope BPC.

Job - Bro Cong Pham; Sisters Marion Chan, Tabitha Heah, Judy Li & Corinne Teng.

God’s comfort, guidance & care: Sisters Kathleen Creaser & Margaret Hooper; Mrs Ivy Tow & family.

Bro Max Opaskiatikul serving the Lord in MV Doulos

Brothers & Sisters for Baptism/Transfer of Membership

Bro Richie Hornung’s mission in Cebu, Philippines, and his wedding in July.

Job security during this recession.

Fellowship Exams - Bros Raphael Ng (June) & John Wong (July)

Session Meeting: for God’s guidance & wisdom



© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041