Today I was convicted while studying the Passion Week of Christ for my 6th grade Bible class. We know the story of Peter’s denial of Christ. He’s asked 3 times whether he knew Jesus and all 3 times he denies Him. Peter was afraid. I get it. I would be afraid to die in that moment as well. I’d like to think I would never deny Christ out of fear. I’d like to think I wouldn’t have been like Peter.
But, I am. Everyday.
How often do I deny Christ to the unsaved around me? “Maybe they won’t want to hear,” we think. “He doesn’t want to be bothered with religion.” “I don’t even know where to begin a conversation with her,” we tell ourselves.
Silence isn’t golden when eternity is at stake. Maybe our silence is even acceptance of the eternal fate of the soul of those who need to hear. Those that I am too afraid to tell.
Our silence is disobedience. We are commanded by our Savior in Mark 16:15 Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. This isn’t a suggestion. The One who suffered and gave Himself for me is commanding me to share His gift with the rest of the world.
But, I’m too afraid.
Peter didn’t disobey a direct command, he denied our Savior to those around him. Do we not deny Him as well when we don’t speak about Him?
Luke 22:61-62 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.
How different would our obedience be to the command to share Christ if every time we disobeyed we would see disappointment in Christ’s eyes?
This is just a quick lesson for our Jr. church that is clearly not an exhaustive Bible study on Who Jesus is. It is just some quick points that prove Jesus is not a liar, lunatic, or loser, but that He is Lord!
- Jesus is truth.
Jesus Himself told us he was truth in John 14:6. But let’s look at the times Jesus claimed He would rise again.
Mark 10:32-34 The disciples are aware of Jesus’ coming death, and that scares them. Jesus relays what will happen to Him and ends His quick lesson with 8 words full of hope…“and the third day he shall rise again.” After reading this and multiple other places Christ told them of His resurrection, I cannot believe that not one disciple camped near the tomb waiting for Christ to rise. Not one expected the resurrection to happen. Christ told them He would; and He did.
Jesus never lied. He can’t lie. Jesus is truth.
- Jesus is the ultimate winner.
In John 15 Jesus tells the disciples that following Him will lead to hatred from the world. Sounds wonderful, right? In John 16 Jesus is speaking to His disciples and again they are upset about His teaching them that He will be leaving them. He finishes the teaching with John:16:33 “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Jesus has victory over the world.
But more than just victory over the world, Christ has victory over death and Hell.
Colossians 2:13-15 “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”
Albert Barnes puts it this way in his notes. “The terms used in this verse are all military, and the idea is, that Christ has completely subdued our enemies by his death. A complete victory was achieved by his death, so that every thing is now in subjection to him, and we have nothing to fear.”
We too are awarded victory over the penalty of sin, the power of sin, and ultimately the presence of sin through our Savior, Jesus Christ, the ultimate winner.
- Jesus is God.
Isaiah 7:14 “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Jesus’ very name, Immanuel testifies that He is God. Immanuel means God with us.
Psalm 110 David is writing about the Lord speaking to the Lord “Sit thou at my right hand.” During Jesus’ trial before the council He tells them that it is He who will sit at God’s right hand.
Luke 22:66-70 “And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying, Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: And if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go. Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God. Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am.” Emphasis mine.
This is the next part of our What’s the Big Deal series with my 4th-6th grade Jr. church. It is a very touchy subject when we begin talking about entertainment choices. This was not taught to speak on specific shows, groups/bands, movies, etc. This was meant to teach the kids the biblical principles from which our entertainment guidelines should come from.
Bible characters like David and Paul never had to worry about TV shows, the internet, or video games, but the principles found in God’s Word are very much relevant to today’s entertainment.
- Am I Conformed or Transformed?And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2
What is the difference? Both require change. Conforming is change from the outside, transforming is change from the inside out. When we are conformed to the world, we allow the world to make a change to us. We are squeezing into the mold and formed like all of those around us. When we are transformed through the renewing of our mind, it is God changing us from the inside. When I model Play-Doh into spaghetti, it doesn’t become spaghetti, it simply looks like it on the outside, but it is still Play-Doh. When a caterpillar spins a cocoon, it emerges transformed, a new creature. God has transformed you at salvation. You are His child.
Much of the world’s entertainment is aimed to conform us to be accepting of sin. Let’s turn from those types of entertainment and rather choose to be transformed by renewing our mind in God’s Word.
- Amusement or Commitment?
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. Psalm 1:1-2
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14
This is to say, which is best? Some amusement/entertainment isn’t wrong in itself, but when it takes the place of my commitment to spend time with God, then it becomes wrong. My commitment to get alone time with God is absolutely vital to my spiritual condition. Look at what Christ says to Martha.“Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part.”
Martha was not sinning by trying to keep home and be a good hostess for Jesus, but she wasn’t choosing what was best. Notice the word Christ chose to say, needful. It is needful for us to be with Him. Which is a priority for you?
- Does it Grieve God? – Proverbs 6:16-19
These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. Proverbs 6:16-19If we know what God hates, why would we seek to entertain ourselves with the things that He hates? Instead, look to see if it is glorifying to Him. Does it pass the Philippians 4:8 test? Is it something that is true, just, pure, lovely, of good report?
There is no substitute for parents who are Spirit-filled and are helping shape many of these guidelines for their families. My prayer is that our church is filled with that type of parents. Below are two great resources for your home (they are not sponsors):
pluggedin.com – Awesome Christian movie and game review website. Please, please use this before watching a movie or purchasing a popular game for your child without knowing anything about it.
vidangel.com – Great use of technology to choose what you want filtered out from many popular movies.
Here is lesson #1 of the “What’s the Big Deal?” series in our preteen Jr. Church. The purpose of these lessons is to talk about the “struggle” going on in the minds of preteens by using some difficult questions they may ask. Our first lesson was Why Do My Parents Always Say No? Here is the outline for you to use for discussing this week with your kids. I hope it is a help to you.
Ever wonder why it seems your parents never let you do anything? Why it feels like they never say yes? Maybe your parents have “so many rules!” These rules could be anything from homework to how you dress to TV watching to reading and even to which friends you can hang out with and those you can’t! Have you ever been punished for breaking a specific rule that your parents have in your home?
You might wish for the time when you are no longer under the rules of your parents. But, are you better off without them?
You may have friends that have lower rules from their parents. I knew which ones of my friends had parents who let them get away with more. I knew whose house to visit so I could play games and watch TV that my parents wouldn’t allow.
Your parents have rules for a reason.
Here are five things to think about you when you feel like your parents are always saying no.
- God leads us too. Psalm 32:8
- Learn to control your emotions. Proverbs 29:11
Avoid whining, sulking, and childish tantrums. No matter how much you feel like slamming the door or stomping around the house when your parents restrict you, such behavior will probably lead to more rules—not to more freedom.
- Try to see it from your parents view. Proverbs 3:1-2
Ask, ‘What are my parents trying to accomplish with their rules?’ They are trying to help me become a better person.
- Be thankful for rules AND punishment:
It brings wisdom Proverbs 29:15
It proves that your parents love you. Proverbs 13:24
- Rules are for your best! Ephesians 6:1-2
I hate flossing. It’s annoying. Every time I would go to the dentist my hygienist would always tell me that I should be flossing. I never did. Then I went to my most recent dental appointment. I had a brand new hygienist this time. As she was flossing my teeth, she said the usual company line, “you really should be flossing.” Only this time she added more to it. Words I hadn’t heard a dental hygienist utter before. “There is some gum recession around one of your molars. Do you know what that means?” Sure, I thought. Recession is never a good thing. She then told me that if I start flossing, I may be able to build up more healthy gums around the tooth. So, naturally, I started flossing. I haven’t missed a day since that appointment. Why? Because I am terrified that I will lose my tooth.
Proverbs 3:7-8 “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.”
We often state that fear of God is a reverent fear and respect for God. While I agree, I also believe we need to teach our kids to have a terrified fear of sin. Would it make you live differently if you were terrified of your sin? Terrified that God was there with you all the time – watching what you watch, reading what you read, listening to what you listen to? Put Psalm 101:3 over your TV set. “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes.” That will change what you watch!
I find it interesting, particularly for me, that the promise attached to fearing God is health! Who doesn’t want to live a healthy life? We need to teach our kids to fear what sin can do to them, and when needed, to develop healthy habits to erase any negative impact of their sin.
Trust – firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
Every time I hear the word trust, my mind goes to a chair. No one, before sitting down, makes sure their chair is stable or hasn’t been tampered with. We just place our “blind” trust in the chair.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
We need to train our kids to trust the Lord completely. When I lean on something, I am resting for support on it. This passage is pleading us to rest on God in all our ways. When we lean on ourselves, what we are really saying is that we don’t need God. This is a dangerous place to be. Our kids need to acknowledge God in all their ways. God speaks in a still small voice and too often, we are so busy, we fail to acknowledge Him. I’m afraid our kids are so busy with school work, sports programs, video games, that they are pulled from spending time with God. Our kids will never understand God’s still, small voice if their lives are full of loud activities.
I love that the promise attached to this exercise is God’s guidance. Verse 6 says, He shall direct thy paths. Do you want your kids to know God’s direction for their life? Train them to trust Him.
The Bible tells us in Proverbs to “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” When I read this I thought, what is that way? What do we need to train in our children that will show them the way they should go? I was drawn to Proverbs 3:5-12. In those verses, we are given 4 exercises we need to train up in our children: trust in God, fear of God, honor of God, and growth through God.