Complete Picture Part 2

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  • December 8, 2012

Complete Picture Part 2

Opening Game

Guess Again
Each person chooses to be a famous character, actor, cartoon character, or otherwise famous person. They only tell one leader who makes a note of who everyone is.  The leader reads out only the list of characters slowly – twice w/a bigger group. Warn everyone to pay attention as part of the challenge is that the leader doesn’t read the list again (especially if they’re playing).

Choose someone to start by saying to anyone, “I think you are…”. If the guesser is right, that person joins their team. If they are wrong, that person becomes the guesser and guesses someone else.

Gradually teams form (teams are not allowed to share with each other who they are). The winner is either the team with the most people in their team, or if anyone remains unguessed, they win.

If they say one of their own team members that have already joined their side the team member swaps to the other side
Variation: Form teams of 3-4 at the beginning and say they cannot tell each other their “identities”.

Last week:

We looked at how having more information enabled us to make better choices. We answered some questions and I gave you a little more information, the Aussie flag, and you were able to answer the question correctly.

You need to have some answers to have the complete picture. It can be very confusing without them. But the more we learn the less confusing it becomes.

How does this relate to being a Christian?

As a Christian is it important to have the complete picture, so the more we know about our own faith the more our faith will grow and the easier it will be to share with others. That doesn’t mean knowing everything about the bible but instead knowing why we choose to be a Christian.

Tonight we will look at the flame within.

What burns deep in your heart? Is it a desire to be all God wants you to be?

Do you have a real flame inside your heart to do whatever God wants to do in and through you?

 

Either sing the following hymn if you have some musical talent in your group, otherwise display the words and read through them together

Have you made a firm decision to follow Christ?

 

  1. I have decided to follow Jesus;
    I have decided to follow Jesus;
    I have decided to follow Jesus;
    No turning back, no turning back.
  2. Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
    Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
    Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
    No turning back, no turning back.
  3. The world behind me, the cross before me;
    The world behind me, the cross before me;
    The world behind me, the cross before me;
    No turning back, no turning back.
  4. Though none go with me, still I will follow;
    Though none go with me, still I will follow;
    Though none go with me, still I will follow;
    No turning back, no turning back.
  5. Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
    Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
    Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
    No turning back, no turning back.

Words so simple even a child can sing, but a theme so difficult even an adult has trouble with it.

Turn your bibles to:

Mark 1: 17-18 – “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed Him.

Those of you who have made a decision to follow Christ, when you made your decision, was it difficult to make?

It was for me because it meant casting everything aside that I thought was important to me and simply following Him.

 

  • I had to cast away my preconceived ideas of who God is
  • I had to cast away the things I was doing that were in no way consistent with the decision I had made
  • I had to cast away my wasted time to study Gods word
  • I had to accept that not all of my friends and family would understand my decision. You know I lost a brother in law because he couldn’t understand the decision we made. But I can’t help that, that’s his decision. I only occasionally see some of my old friends because we “do different things now”
  • I had to realise that the things I once called fun were seen by God as disobedient
  • I had to learn how to say no to temptations

It took a while to leave this stuff behind. It does not happen overnight but a firm decision to follow Christ involves a change of heart felt desires. It involves a turning away from sin. A change of direction.

It means letting go of the old self.

 

A deep despising of sin

When we decide to follow Jesus we also decide to turn from our sin.

The idea of sin in the bible is literally “to miss the mark” It is the idea of an archer firing at a target.

What is the mark or target we miss? God’s perfection

When we genuinely decide to follow Christ God gives us a new life, the old life has passed away.

We start to turn from our old ways as we become conscious of the sin in our lives, as we become conscious of the things in our lives that we know are not what God would have us do.

We start to dislike the sin in our lives, we feel grieved or even annoyed or angry with ourselves when we miss the mark and fail to live up to the standard God has set for us.

We can no longer keep these things in our lives and still say we are being obedient to God

When this is happening in our lives we know that we are growing as Christians. We know that God is changing us from the inside out.

Once we see that happening, should we stand back and be satisfied that we are growing.

 

Illustration

When you came into this world as a newborn baby, you had a lot of growing to do! You weighed only about six or eight pounds and you were about 50 cm tall! How heavy and tall are you now? GROWING UP is something that you are doing all the time–little by little, day by day, awake or asleep. Sometimes it may not even seem as if you are growing, but if you are young and if we were to compare your height with what you were one year ago, you would see a difference.

Those who are born need to grow! Those who are born again need to grow also! This is called growing up spiritually or growing in the Lord. You have been born physically and you are growing physically (in height and weight)?

If you have been born again? You will grow spiritually?

In 1 Peter 1:23, the Bible talks about “being born again.” For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

You are actually born twice, once a natural birth and the other a spiritual birth, born of God.

 

1 John 3:9 “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because Gods seed remains in him, he cannot go on sinning because he has been born of God.” The idea here is habitual sin.

  •  There is no longer habitual sinning. What is habitual sin?
  • The person who been born again no longer sins willfully. Is sin ever a willful act?
  • As The Spirit of God works in us the desire we once had to act opposite to Gods will grows less.
  • Those things that once seemed like just plain good fun, we now realize are opposite to a life in Christ. Sin now saddens us.
  • We should long to be completely set free from sin as it no longer pleases us; we no longer get pleasure from it. The question is does sin still please you?
  • Life Changing 2 Corinthians 5: 17 say, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new…” As you grow your desire will be tp cast off sinful behaviour

Turn to 1 Peter 2:2 we see that these born again people need to GROW:   “Like newborn babes, we should desire the pure spiritual Milk of the Word that we may grow up in our salvation.”

What is the one thing that babies yearn for, long for, and really desire and cry if they do not get it? Milk

Have you ever known a baby that was not a milk drinker? Milk brings nourishment and strength to the infant, and it is not long before the growing child is crawling around, walking around, running around and getting into everything!

What is the spiritual milk that believers must have for nourishment, strength and growth (1 Peter 2:2)?  A healthy believer feeds on God’s Word so that he might grow stronger and stronger.

How can we tell if we really are growing as Christians? Ask yourself this question. Do I hate my sins as much as God hates my sin? Think about that for a minute.

If we answer no to this question then we still have some growing to do.

Do you have a burning hate towards any and all things that miss the mark and step over the line? Or is sin more like a big weed in your garden, you really don’t like it being there, but you’re just too lazy to get up and do something about it.

If you truly understand the devastating effects of sin, you wouldn’t see sin as a weed- but rather as a wasp about to attack.

The question is, in your heart, do you really hate sin because God does.

Does your life reflect the fact that you hate sin?

1 Peter 2:11-12

Dear friends, I urge you as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against the soul; live such good lives among the pagans that though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds, and glorify God in the day he visits us.

The call for us as Christians is to turn from sin so that God will be glorified when people see our obedience to him. This is your witness that brings glory to God even among unbelievers

But what if we stumble, what if we blow it? That will happen from time to time. God knows this. God has not left us to fend for ourselves

 

1 John 2:1-2 “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defence-Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” NIV.
           

God has given us victory but we will still struggle with sin, but it does not have a hold on us any longer. We are forgiven and we are new creations

Rom 6:18 “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” NIV

Rom 6:11 “Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” NIV

Acts 13:38-39 “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.” NASU

In case you fall and stumble, know beyond a doubt that God will forgive you. That is the kind of salvation God offers. Unconditional

 

If you have chosen to follow Christ you have this kind of salvation? You can know beyond any doubt that you are saved? Gods promise is Romans 10:9 Confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead and you will be saved.

 

Learn to put the things of God first in your life, turn from sin and trust in Christ. I know it is difficult at times but it is about making the right choices.

He is the potter and you are the clay, Let him mould you into what He wants you to be. Be excited that God wants to work in and through you. Allow Him to do that. Say, God “CHOOSE ME” “USE ME” and you will be surprised at the things He will do in and through you.

I have decided to follow Jesus – No turning back. Get excited about going forward with Christ

 

Additional Idea

Items Needed: Two regular latex balloons (fill one with water about 1/10 so that there’s a sizeable puddle inside the balloon; fill the other with only air) and a lighter. Experiment with this before trying it in group.

Ask for a volunteer to come up and sit in a chair facing the crowd. Blow up one of the balloons full of air and hold it over the persons head. Ask the person or the audience what they think may happen when you hold a lighter to the bottom of the balloon. Then, while holding the balloon about a foot above the volunteer’s head, click the lighter and put it under the fully inflated balloon. It should pop
immediately, sometimes scaring the person a little.

Then take out the balloon with the puddle of water in it. (Most of the time, the kids can tell you’re about to do the same thing with the lighter to this balloon, thinking that it’s going to pop as well.)  Ask the kids or the volunteer what they think will happen and tell them to make sure to sit still and not jump up or anything; it doesn’t matter if they do, but this makes them think it’s more fragile and there’s a good chance they’re going to get wet.

When you put the flame to the bottom of the balloon this time, nothing happens. JUST MAKE SURE YOU KEEP MOVING THE LIGHTER AROUND IN SMALL CIRCLES ON THE BOTTOM OF THE PUDDLE.

Analogy: The water in the balloon makes the balloon act differently; it changes the way the balloon responds to heat. When empty the balloon behaves the way it does because of the properties that make up what it’s full of – nothing.

When we accept Christ, we are asking God – through the power of the Holy Spirit – to come in and make us more like Him.  Yet sometimes, we still want to act like we used to. The Bible says the old self dies with Christ and we are made into new creations. Some people claim to have accepted Jesus as their Savoir, yet they don’t show any signs of being renewed. They are still fine with the fact that they gossip, they look down on the kids who are not that popular, and they make no effort to love their neighbours or give themselves to the causes of Christ. Make no effort to stop sinning

To say we are one with Christ, yet show no signs of a renewed life, is a lie.

Supporting Scriptures:
Ephesians 4:20-27
Romans 6:5-6
Colossians 3:8-11
1 John 1:9-10

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