Lesson for May 28th, 2016
Idols of the Soul
Christ’s greatest teachings are counter-cultural; they go against the grain of society and our own natural desires. This lesson uncovers issues of humility, conflict, and forgiveness.
Paper, pencils, hymnals or songbooks, Bibles
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Think about one of your most cherished possessions. Now imagine setting fire to that object and completely destroying it. Could you do it?
- Draw a picture of a stick person walking on a path toward heaven. Along the route, draw four or five large boulders that block the path. On these obstacles, write words that describe what you think often stops people from reaching heaven.
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- For you personally, what is the most difficult aspect of forgiving someone who has hurt you deeply?
- Thought Questions
Read Matthew 18:1-4. What does it mean to become like little children to reach the kingdom of heaven?
- Children are dependent on their parents. We need to be dependent upon our heavenly Parent.
- A child’s innocence shows us how to be carefree in God's love.
- In this passage, there is a big difference between being "childish" and "childlike." The disciples were actually being childish.
- Humility marks the life of a small child. As adults, we need to regain that same humble opinion of ourselves.
- God's view of greatness is far different from our own.
Study Matthew 18:15-20. How are we to treat a person who sins against us?
- We should immediately notify the pastor.
- We should first approach this person one-on-one.
- Just forgive this person in your heart and get on with your life.
- If one-on-one does not work, bring another person who is neutral to listen and advise.
- Only bring this issue before a larger group if necessary.
Read Matthew 18:21-35. What additional advice does Christ give about those who sin against us?
- We need to forgive anyone who asks for our forgiveness, no matter how many times they ask.
- We should not forgive people who sin against us unless they ask to be forgiven.
- The primary issue is not how many times we forgive someone but whether we have compassion toward them.
- When we remember how large a debt God has forgiven us, we gain perspective on forgiving others.
- Six verses (15-20) address people who sin against us. Fifteen verses (21-35) address our attitude toward people who sin against us.
Read Matthew 19:16-22. What does the story of the rich young ruler teach us about the kingdom of heaven?
- This story actually applies only to a small number of people. Most of us are not rich, nor are we rulers.
- From the outset, the rich young ruler failed to see that Christ was more than a good teacher.
- The rich young ruler's focus was on himself: "What good things must I do..." He wasn't thinking of others.
- The "riches" of this young ruler had become an idol and needed to be removed.
- We must realize that the riches of heaven are greater than the riches of this world.
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Then report back to your group when your facilitator says time is up.
- Option 1: One day your teenager says to you, "Is it wrong to be rich? Can Christians ever own anything nice or must we live in poverty and give everything to the church?" How would you respond?
- Option 2: Think about Jesus' statements on forgiveness and then write a short poem called "I Forgive." Share it with your group.
- Option 3: Find a few hymns or songs that speak of becoming like children in order to inherit the kingdom of heaven. Sing or read the lyrics to the group.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- What part of this lesson was most challenging to apply to your life? Reflect on what the Holy Spirit might be saying to you through Jesus' words.
- Quietly pray and ask God to help you apply what you've learned in this lesson to your life this coming week.