True Love Waits – Session 2

The problem isn’t attraction or desire. Those are God given attributes and emotions. The problem is the heart that is bent toward sin that acts on the desire outside of God’s design. Jesus ties the sinful heart and thoughts into sin. (Matt 5) This past Friday we looked at this as well as misconceptions about premarital sex. This was not an exhaustive list but we hit on some high spots. In the break out groups; each group looked at Romans 6 where Paul breaks down the problem with thinking you are a forgiven Christian and yet can live however you want.

I will admit my stupidity. I didn’t hit record twice on the MP3 recorder. For some reason I thought I tapped it twice but clearly I cannot count so the transcript or script I used with discussion questions are below. I try to follow this very closely so parents know in advance what I am saying to their youth. The italics are for the group leaders to have general direction on some of the questions and if you are following along online, at any age, it might help you get my general thought direction.

-Jeremiah

Session 2 – Misconceptions about sex and purity

Introduction:

Last week we began a 3 week look into sex. Specifically what God’s word says about sex. Last week I started out by telling you that the key to understanding this study lies in something we call Lordship. Lordship is simplistically: who calls the shots in your life? In 1 Corinthians 6 we read where Paul was addressing Christians in Corinth. Corinth was no different than our culture today. Sex was celebrated, encouraged and expected just like today. Paul’s point was that if they called themselves Christians they should have a different view and different standard of behaviors than the culture. In other words if Jesus was Lord in their life then they should not be concerned about what the culture is doing and they should be concerned with what Jesus says and what He expects.

This week we are going to be going a little further into our study. The point of all of this is to confront a big issue in your lives. You might not be in a relationship right now, a relationship might not be on your radar right now, but I promise you will be challenged by the pressures of sex in your life. That pressure may come in form of a relationship, the pressure to view something that you know you shouldn’t, jokes about sex, something you read or watch something sex related. We are constantly pressured to objectify men and women as a trophy or prize to be obtained. As a culture we have become desensitized to sex. Christians easily fall into this temptation and desensitization many times without realizing it. Mainly because we don’t set up safeguards for ourselves, we have misconceptions about sex and flirt with “the line.”

That’s why we find ourselves asking questions like: “how far is too far?” We do this in all areas of our lives. How much do we absolutely need to do to obey? What does “no snacks” include? Or when you annoy a sibling – “She’s touching me – not touching”. Sin nature wants to push the limits of obedience and justify it with technicalities and excuses.

I want to spend some time dealing with misconceptions about sex. Some of these can affect how we will make decisions in the future. Some of these misconceptions may lead you to perhaps push that line. I don’t want that so let’s break a few down.

Study:

Ok, One misconception: It’s just physical. What’s the big deal right? Anymore it’s what couples do these days because it’s just physical pleasure. It’s what we do if we care for each other, just the next step. Attraction, holding hands, eventually… sex. Our culture encourages us to indulge as we want. It wants us to be confused about sex, gender identity and gender roles. So what; if you are happy?

Well there are a few problems with that viewpoint. One is that Sex is not just physical, it’s emotional and mental as well. To get science-y for a minute; Girls release a chemical called Oxytocin during romantic physical contact. It’s a bonding chemical. It develops trust, security, and intimacy. It is released regardless of the depth of relationship; Casual boyfriend, husband material, careless party meeting. The Chemical creates a natural desire to bond with that guy. Problem with it is once the relationship is over for however long, a void is left that the body only can satisfy with more physical contact and each time the bond weakens and dulls. When and if you marry it is incredibly difficult to develop trust, love and connection with your husband.

Guys, same principle, different chemical – vasopressin. Guys are drawn to visual stimulus more than women and this chemical is released not just in romantic contact but through infatuation or fantasizing and soft and hard pornography. The void left behind drives guys to more physical contact, more visual stimuli and more infatuation. Same scientific result. The inability to bond, trust and find contentment in a wife. For both depression, sadness and feelings of being unloved haunt them. Only satisfied in more meaningless encounters which only lead to increased depression and increased dissatisfaction.

We need to push through the butterflies and surface level attraction and look at all relationships as serious because they can and will have long lasting repercussions. That’s why your parents may be cautioning you in relationships right now. They have walked in your shoes and know the hurt that even a middle or high school relationship can cause.

Let me be “uncle JB” for a second, girls. If his interest in you is physical attraction only, drop him or step back until he is interested in more than your body. Sex isn’t locking anything “in” for you. It’s a ploy to get what he wants from you. Also, if you find yourself dressing to attract and seduce a boy, you will only attract heartache and emptiness. We can say “well, he shouldn’t be looking”. Your right, But you shouldn’t put it out there for sale either. Guard what you wear, how you behave and who you surround yourself with because you might find yourself sending the wrong message to the wrong guys.

Guys, Uncle JB didn’t forget you. If you are manipulating a girl to get what you want, you will destroy her and yourself. If you only see her as pretty girl and you are drawn to her physical attractiveness only, you have just made her an object. A thing to be obtained. If you are looking at something online or any format, I assure you; that isn’t real. Real girls don’t do those things and it’s a fictional life you will dwell on. Scientifically, sex images are permanently burned into your memory. Every relationship you ever have will carry with it a fictional expectation that she will never do and you will not be satisfied with her. Jesus connects the mental desire with physical sin. Matt 5:27-28

Look, attraction is not sin. That is another misconception that the church of long ago sold my generation and generation previous. The idea that being physically drawn to a guy or girl was heart issue. That’s not true. God created attraction. He created beauty and allows us the freedom to notice that beauty. Noticing a guy or girl as attractive isn’t sin. Acting on it in a physical way or mental desire is sin. Mental desire is how we dream about, fantasize over and plot encounters with someone in a physical sense. Attraction, Love, connection and sexual desire is hardwired into all of us but it’s designed as a reflection of our need for lasting love found in friendships, marriage and in a relationship with Jesus. Here’s a few verses from Genesis that describe Adam meeting Eve:

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”  22 The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”

24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Adam had a relationship with God, a close relationship but God knew Eve would complete and complement Adam. He also made that the plan for growing mankind beyond one man. This relationship we see as marriage, right, first time we see the word “wife”. Adam saw her and notice Adam’s response. He uses tangible physical terms to describe her and the gift God had given him. He noticed her! More than an animal or saying: “What’s that!?” He noticed her and noticed she was like him.

Notice verse 24, supporting the science I dropped on you. Sex joins you as one, leaving the parents means commitment, bonding and trust.  Finally, sex apart from marriage leaves behind shame but v 25… no shame. Because it’s God’s design. These verse contain so much more application and I breezed over them in a hurry.

“The Bible does not council abstinence before marriage because it has such a low view of sex but because it has such a lofty one.” (Timothy Keller- The meaning of marriage)

Last misconception I’ll cover, there are a lot though, I just simply only have so much time. Sex is gross. Right? I mean maybe you are in that category. It’s not on your radar and the thought of it is not appealing. Maybe it’s how you were raised; it’s a gross thing that only has the purpose of making babies. You hate when people talk about it. You get embarrassed around content of any type that may reference the sex word. Well, part of me wants you to have that idea forever for your protection. But I will say that God designed sex and yes for procreation but also as a gift for physical pleasure and communication. BUT always the Bible refers to sex as something in marriage. Without exception sex outside of marriage; the Bible calls immorality and fornication. Romans 1 describes the judgment on a culture when sex is practiced and participated in against His design. So the point though is not that sex is gross but rather a gift from God when applied Biblically. A gift implies both a giver and that there is an occasion to open the gift. God is the giver and the occasion is marriage.

Make sense? Ok, before we break into our groups. I want us to talk about purity and be thinking along those lines. Questions that are based on “what the boundaries are” miss the point. Purity and the desire to be pure (or Holy as the Bible calls it), establishes standards in your heart to glorify God. Purity isn’t about what you can get away with. Purity focuses on how that relationship respects each other, gets to know each other, how you are serving God and glorifying Him. Purity or holiness is a lifelong goal for the Christian. You set your sight on following Jesus and His word and becoming more like Him. The Bible has another word for it: Sanctification. It’s the process of changing your heart, your desires and dreams to be more like Christ.  The goal isn’t just to be a virgin until marriage it’s also to be faithful and obedient to His Word.

Quickly turn to: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

That draws us back to where we started last week. Who is Jesus to you? Is He even in the picture? Is He allowed in your life apart from Sunday? Are you ok with Him calling the shots in your relationships?

Here’s my last uncle JB statements for this week: Some of you may never marry, and that’s ok. In fact God may be calling you to a life of service to Him that a married couple could never do. I want you to know God has a special plan for people who do not get married. Always remember that. Singleness is a gift from God as well.

Secondly, Waiting until marriage doesn’t mean bliss 24/7. You will be disappointed at times. Your relationships will leave you disappointed. Remember they are sinners like you. They sinned so bad Jesus had to die for them too. Don’t take away from any sex talk that waiting for the Lord to direct you to the perfect person and saving yourself until marriage will bring you relational bliss. God is in the process of working on all of our hearts. What is important to take away is that sex is one part of a relationship. Sex in marriage is one part of the relationship. If you date or if you court, there is more to a relationship than the physical stuff. Relationships involve two people with a sin nature. Do not underestimate how weak you are. We’ll talk about some of this in our small groups.

 

Break out groups:

Guys and Girls:

Romans 6 – (yes the whole chapter.1-23)

Based on the verses: What is wrong in thinking that because we are forgiven in Christ we can live however we want? (We are forgiven and God forgives if we ask Him so why not indulge a little?)

Christ died to free us from the bondage of sin. If we really understand the price the savior paid why would we pursue the things He died for?

In regards to sex, Why would this passage be important?

Verse 12-13, JB said sex desires more sex Verse 16 and 19,

As a side note, the law says death for sin but grace says Christ already paid it.

If we fall into sin two things happen that often get confusing for us: Conviction and Condemnation.

What is Conviction in your terms?

Conviction is when the Holy Spirit makes us aware of our sin. The Spirit urges us to confess and turn from that sin. It’s not conscience it’s the Holy Spirit. Conscience as we define it, guides us in our own right and wrong. The Holy Spirit guides us in God’s right and wrong.

What is Condemnation?

Condemnation is us turning from God in shame and guilt. Condemnation tells us that there is no way God could love us let alone forgive us because we sinned or we continue to fall into a sin. Condemnation pushes us away from the things of God because it wrongly assumes that God looks down on us in disgust.

Romans 8:1 – Discuss Condemnation for the Christian.

Essentially though we do not have license to sin (as described in Romans 6) we need not fear God when we sin. He’s not saying “oh great there they go again, this time I’m done with them.”

Also, why is there no condemnation, or because of what work? God sees the believer through the filter of Christs shed blood.

 

 

GUYS – Practical application from the lesson:

Telling a girl you prayed about you dating her and God told you to ask her out…. Be careful. If it’s not of the Lord and the relationship ends what does that say about God? What does that say about you? (manipulation and dishonesty)

 

Understanding how Christ’s love demonstrated through action should carry over into your life. That means it affects how you view and treat girls. Do you see them as sisters in Christ that you are to protect and defend? 1 John 3:16

 

JB spoke about “pushing the boundaries” in a negative sense.

What is the purpose of boundaries? Why are they important as believers? Why shouldn’t we push them?

 

 

Girls:

Same preface passage

GIRLS – Practical application from the lesson:

The draw to be loved, desired and to please is hardwired into you. The fight to compromise on personal purity is often a fight we try to win in our own strength and alone.

 

Discuss or think about the importance of accountability. Who might that be in your life that is a good candidate?

 

In 2004 Dove launched: “A Campaign for Real Beauty”. It was mini films and commercials aimed at finding your inner beauty and embracing it. It also exposed how models actually look before they are retouched for photo shoots and movies. Same year only 4% of women believe they are beautiful and 72% “feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful”.

In 14 years, have things changed? Think about how the culture sells clothing for your age. Is it for beauty or attraction? What is the difference?

 

 

Same year Dove ran a campaign for AXE men’s body wash. The images, script and implication was that if “you” used this wash, girls cannot control themselves around “you”. The instruction label actually read: “wash, rinse, attract.”

This mixed message tells you that you are beautiful how you are yet you are better served as trophy or accessory for guys. We are appalled in one sense but we should give careful consideration to the message we are “selling” on social media, appearance and flirtatious friendships.

 

You are neither a trophy nor an object. You are a child/ daughter of God. A guy who sees you as such will only lead you to heartbreak. Seek a man who honors you as a sister in Christ and who serves the Lord. The relationship shouldn’t center around physical touch or sex. Rather establish a relationship based in God’s love. Find experiences based on how God is at work in each other.

 

 

Recap – 9:55

To be pure mean to be morally clean – to be free from sin. It’s deeper than just avoiding sex before marriage and avoiding obvious sin. In order to be pure or holy our attitudes and actions must be fully submitted to God. “Purity is a posture, a way of life that flows out of a relationship with God” DA Horton

 

 

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True Love Waits – Session 1

Our culture sells sex everywhere we look, listen and drive. You can’t escape it. For teens today what message are we sending? We have new terms that old people (like some of us apparently) never had before. We watched as childhood Tv stars twerked their way to popularity. As parents hearts break over these types of images and moral decay what are we to do? How should we respond? What do we say to teens? What is message from the church or better yet; what does God say? Is it enough to simply say: “Abstain!” or “haven’t you heard about STD’s!?” In my youth the scare was HIV. But for many of us the scare wasn’t enough and the message of “Abstain” simply didn’t sink in.

Over the next few weeks in February on Friday nights we will be discussing what God says about sex. Its PG rated and isn’t “THE TALK”. It isn’t pushing dating vs courting or “dont drink smoke and chew or go with girls that do”. Its simply looking at the biblical passages on God’s design for sex. We will talk about some safeguards in respect to keeping their way pure. The last week (23rd) we will be making a commitment before peers, parents and God to abstain from sex until marriage. Because True Love really does Wait.

I cannot attach the recorded file from last Friday but I am pasting the teaching transcript with small group discussion below. 

 

 

True Love Waits

Session 1 – Starting this out right

Introduction:

For the next few weeks we will be covering a topic that will be difficult for everyone: Sex. Don’t worry its rated PG and we will not going to an embarrassing or awkward place. In the church we generally reference sex in passing and at this point in school you have covered the basics of how it works. In the past, the church has left it off with us as simply: “don’t do it before marriage” or “Sex is a sin”. Generally this was taken out of context. The truth is that we, for some reason, avoid certain subjects in the church while offering definitive opinion on those same subjects. Sex is one of those subjects.

Our culture and media are shamelessly flaunting and encouraging sex to us every day in just about everything we come into contact with. First, when we say “culture” and “media”, what are we talking about?

Culture: the time we live in. The influences, people, and social climate that make up the world you are living in.

Media: The news, entertainment and communication outlets that influence the culture. The culture drives the media and the media pushes the cultural influences to the extreme.

In our life right now the media is taking what the culture is doing and every week pushing the envelope. It’s like on every TV show, magazine cover, movie and news feed there seems to be a drive to deliver a “shock factor”. A lot of times sex is the topic pushed to the extreme. Because the extreme is now the standard, sex has been devalued in our culture. Deciding what to eat seems to require more thought than sex does. For example; considering the negative effects of junk food or using the microwave gets more “air time” than the negative effects of sex outside God’s design. We have all accepted some imagery, terms and humor as standard and dismiss it.

Sex is so devalued that it removes Love and commitment and exchanges them for loneliness and disappointment. The culture we live in tells us to let people live how they want, give them space, freedom, entitlement to do as they please and of course “what’s wrong for you isn’t wrong for me”. There is absolutely no self-control. We see that in all kinds of areas. The pushback we give as Christians is perceived as hate and judgmental.

I have no intention to influence you at all with my opinions. In fact I have no desire to tell you what to do. I am however very interested in telling you what God says. We as leaders will be doing our very best to exclude our opinion and focus on only what the Bible tells us. My opinion is useless unless it is God’s opinion. The reality is that we, the church and leaders, have done a poor job telling you what God says because historically we dwelled on our opinions. We are going to spend the next few weeks telling you what the Bible says. Along the way we are going to be answering some questions you may have or maybe don’t have yet. Questions like:

  • What is so bad about sex anyway?
  • Why should I abstain is everyone else is ok with it?
  • If we love each other than why not?
  • It’s my body who is the church to tell “me” what I can do?

We will be talking about purity, commitment and endurance. But along the way we will be using the Bible as our textbook and source of truth.

The study “True Love Waits” is exactly as it sounds. The false “love” sold by our culture will leave you in a hopeless pursuit of filling a void only God can fill. Sex outside of Gods design will leave you void. The result is a desire to fill life with more sex leading to only more emptiness. Relationships that are meaningless and devoid of the one thing your heart yearns for: Love and acceptance. As singles you find Love and acceptance in God. As a married couple you find it in…. God. The marriage relationship is a reflection of Christ and the church, a reflection of the Gospel. The bond of sex is shared and enjoyed in the relationship where man and wife truly love each other. Fulfillment is found in each other and the physical unity is a celebration of your commitment to each other. It’s not always perfect in marriage but I promise you, following God’s plan for you will not leave you void.

At the end of the month I’m inviting parents to come here. It’s a celebration for those that choose to make a commitment to remain sexually pure until marriage. It’s also a time of commitment to be pure of heart if that has already been broken. When Jesus offers forgiveness it’s not conditional. So if that’s you forgiveness is staring you down and though you cannot get back that moment or the consequences you can dedicate you heart to Christ going forward. Perhaps the choice to be pure was taken from you involuntarily. Well, that’s a different story. You are committing to be voluntarily pure from this time forward.

The commitment is done with your parents here. Wow, right. I know but you know what, it’s something called accountability. They are committing along with you to help you stay on that path. Plus a commitment made with your parents and conversation with your parents engraves it in your memory and you are a lot more likely to keep this commitment than simply saying it only. Its voluntary meaning you choose to do this by the third week. That gives you 1 week to decide before the parents get here. No one will force you here nor look down on you if you opt out. Here’s why: I want you to make a real heart commitment to God not me or your parents. If you aren’t there then I would rather you surrender what’s holding you back, repent and follow up when you can make the serious commitment before God. While we are on the subject of parents; don’t avoid them in regards to sex. Trust me, they are just as scared as you are but I promise you they have truths and advice that will help you make right choices. Maybe you are there now in a relationship. Consider this, maybe their rules are to keep you from hurt they experienced. They love you and want to keep you from that same hurt.

Study:

Turn in your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

This passage is going to be our basis for our study this week. The city of Corinth was no different from today. The culture was obsessed with sex. There were no restrictions. There was no censorship. Sex was so accepted that it was expected. It was celebrated in the town. Men visiting by ship would go out of the way to dock for the night and visit Corinth because they knew sex was unrestricted, expected, celebrated and you could engage in as much as you want as often as you want. Sex was a huge commodity and source of income. Paul, the writer, wants to remind the reader, you and I, that even though the culture was obsessed with sex they were Christians. Their perspective was different.  They had been freed from the bondage of sexual sin by the blood of Christ. For us, our perspective is different than the culture. It has to be.

The culture we live in spends 15 billion dollars a year for sex online. That’s 16 tons of money or placed end to end, it would wrap around the earth 600 times. 70% of the shows marketed and written for your age contain sex in some content and are written about sex as a major underlying theme. The average age when you come into graphic content related to sex is age 11. That’s not “the talk”, that’s seeing something, hearing something or reading something describing sex. 91% of freshman girls in college believing that the school expects and intends them to be having sex with men and women on campus. The rules have changed to allow this activity and experimentation. The culture we live in is the same as Corinth.

God reminds us in this passage that even though you live in that environment, Christians will have a different perspective. God wants the best for you and He will always be calling you to be pure, holy and set apart. He will always be in the business of encouraging Christians to be set apart for His mission and for redeeming and restoring fallen people.

 

Starting out right:

The only way you will get anything out of this is if you understand a few things about yourself and God.

  1. God made you, designed you and has a purpose for you. That changes things doesn’t it? The culture tells you that you are basically an animal. Higher evolved but animal. So sex is just something people instinctively do like any other animal does. But being designed and made, It means thought and care went into you to make you separate and special.

 

  1. God created you in His own image. That means you are His image bearer and reflect His attributes. Love, affection, desire, dreams and humor. All designed by God and all reflect Him. A humorous God? A God that desires closeness? We don’t often think of God like this. Bearing the image of God also means you represent the unique beauty and diversity of His Love. Bearing His image makes you an enemy to who? Satan. Satan cannot stand the image of God. It’s a constant reminder of his inevitable defeat. His mission is to destroy anything that reflects the image and values of God.

 

  1. God created man and woman and designed them to work together, join together and commit to each other as a reflection of the oneness in the Trinity. The symbolism of the marriage ceremony is an outward reflection of how two separate people are joined together as one person. Yet each are diverse in personality and gender. The joining of the name, the desire to share all of life with each other and of course sex is part of that marital bond as well. A breakdown in any of these areas attack the marriage but ultimately it attacks the imagery of the Trinity.

 

  1. Sex is created by God as good thing for the marriage. It was a sign of the intimate covenant between man and wife. It was ordained and designed as gift between man and wife with value and purpose. Genesis 1:26-27, 2:21-25. Yes, School taught you that’s where babies come from not the stork. That’s one purpose. It’s an intimate oneness you cannot replicate apart from a committed marriage. It’s a bond.

 

  1. Being a Christian means you confess and desire Jesus to be Lord of your life. We call it Lordship. This is important. Lordship is basically: who calls the shots in your life. You? All of the major decisions in your life will fall back to how you answer this question. How you deal with problems, relationships, direction and purpose. Who call the shots? It’s more important than money, college, marriage and service. Yes Christian service. Why? Because in whose name are you doing this service? Jesus or yours? When you call the shots (lord) you are driven by selfish ambition, you get what you want by whatever means you need to, You are driven by the moment. What feels right now with little to no thought about long term consequences. So Sex is good now because it’s good now. When Jesus is Lord, You check your desires with how they fit against His standards. His purpose becomes your purpose. Your relationships are directed by Him for your good. As Lord He protects you from the consequences of sexual sin. God will allow you to be lord but it comes with great cost and you have to pay the price.

 

  1. Are you a Christian? I mean really, inside you know the answer. This kicks back to the Lordship. Simply saying: “I’m a Christian” or even praying to receive Jesus doesn’t mean it’s the real deal. True and real Christianity involves repentance, surrender and faith. Far too many Christians make the decision for Jesus but don’t let Him be Lord. Many never really repent. That means you really strive stop sinning because you recognize who you are sinning against. Lordship deals with surrender. Surrender of your desires and rules to the desires and boundaries of Jesus. Faith for many of us is only as deep as when things are going well and we have a good emotional feeling. We believe in the promises of God but from afar. Are we really ready to turn over our relationships (now or in the future) to Jesus? Are we aware of Jesus when we are on our phones, Instagram and behind closed doors? Do you really have faith that He, as all-knowing God might have a better idea of the consequences of sin than you do?

 

God designed sex. He’s not keeping something good from you because He is cruel or likes to inflict difficult rules. He expresses boundaries for your protection. Protection from: hurt, rejection, selfishness and self-destruction. God the ultimate designer of all things designed sex to work in the security and love found in a committed marriage. Until that time comes, we are striving to be complete in Him.

 

This probably wasn’t the start to a sex talk you were expecting. But the foundation is critical to understanding Gods desires for you. The commitment to purity is only as good as who you are committing to. If you are not in tune with God right now the commitment is in word only and you probably will not keep it. If you truly surrender your heart to God in faith, He will sustain you.

 

Break out groups:

As we break out into small groups: we will be reading a verse or a few, then talking about what it says and what it means to you. Your leaders are there to guide you through what the Bible is saying on the tough ones. This is a format for girls and guys to deal with scripture in a practical sense.

 

Guy and Girl groups:

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Verse 12: What do you think this verse means? How does it apply or does it to purity?

(sex is technically legal in society but is it “profitable” for the Christian?)

Verse 14: This verse kicks back to 13 where the body is for the Lord not immorality. In the struggle against the message of our culture, what can we learn from verse 14?

(Similar to praying in Jesus name, Christians tap into the power of Christ. This gives us confidence and power to overcome) Verse 17 – similar thought

Verse 18: “Flee”. Why do you think it says flee and not fight against? Why would God say “flee” instead of resist?

We use 1 Corinthians 10:13 as a verse for enduring temptation. Interesting to note the statement: “but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also”

After reading both passages, do you think God is trying to tell you something about flee vs fight? How could this relate to a relationship?

 

The pursuit of purity begins in with the belief that God wants to give you something not take something away. We acknowledge in that belief/ faith that God is qualified to be Lord in our life.

Do you think that you are fully qualified to be lord of your life? Why?

 

Recap – 9:55

The pursuit for purity starts with acknowledging who your Lord is. If it’s Jesus then we look to what He says and trust that He sees our lives, sees our weakness and makes decisions on what is best for us. What is best is not always easy but its for our good and it glorifies Him. In church terms we call this sanctification – it’s the process where we strive to become more like Jesus and as a result God uses us and His name is glorified through us.

God gave us tools to help in the area of purity: Prayer, Scripture and accountability. Trying to tackle purity without using the tools God gave us “is like thinking we are ready for war just because we have a few camo shirts” (D.A Horton)

 

 

 

Next time:

Misconceptions about love

Heart issues

What is purity

The problem at Christmas part 2

“A bad father never has a good son” – Latin Proverb.

Researchers have shown that people who had bad or absentee fathers are: more like to be aggressive, more likely to be depressed, more likely to have self-esteem issues, more likely to try and use drugs, more likely to do poor in school and have an increased risk of suicide. There are parts of the brain that control cognitive thought and reasoning that never develop correctly and, in time, get developed in a destructive way. For girls, they often end up filling voids in their lives through bad or demeaning relationships. Often sex is a way to bond with a male figure in hopes it will keep them around. For guys they never learn how to treat women, deal with other men, leadership roles and many of those relationships can become abusive on many levels.  Some fathers are in the home, every night but never attend a game, graduations, plays and special moments. Many don’t know how to express love, simply express pride or value. Many children go through life trying to prove themselves to their father and that carries through to adult hood.

So why this sad introduction? Simply because last time we looked at Isaiah 9:6 and how Ahaz the king had a problem. The problem was solved both immediately and later in the birth of Jesus. The real problem we have is sin and that sin separates us from God. Sin causes death. The problem of sin was conquered at the cross. Well the verse we looked at last time has more to it.

Isaiah 9:6 – For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

The names in this verse tell us more about God and His son and remember this is a continuation of Jesus addressing our deeper problem. These names give us hope and confidence for the future and unfold the truth that He is the perfect fulfillment of everything our earthly fathers should be in our lives. Here’s the first name:

Wonderful counselor: Beyond understanding – beyond human understanding. Literally: wisdom with authority. As in: one who can determine the problem, understand the solution, sympathizes with the problem, empathizes with the problem and has the power to fix the problem.  See a friend or parent can sympathize, empathize and maybe know a solution but how often does a friend or parent possess the power, wisdom and authority to solve your problem? Not often. Friends and parents come from a biased point of view. Their council comes from the vantage point of limited understanding and solutions are biased based upon emotion. A friend can help you feel better momentarily but they can’t fully solve the problems you are going through. Their power and authority is limited. Jesus has the wisdom, power and authority over all things. He also understands your problems and situations deeper than any friend ever could.

Hebrews 4:15 – For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

He was the poorest of the poor, rejected, humiliated, mocked, tortured, spit upon and forsaken. His own family, nation and closest friends left Him. So what could you be going through that He has not Himself gone through? He is a friend that understands you, a parent who wants the best for you, a king who has the authority to deal with your problem and a God who has all power over your problem. When I am tempted- I should go to the one who was tempted yet sinned not. When I am hurting – I go to the One who experienced real pain. When relationships fail – you go to the one who had all His relationships abandon Him. Do so with the confidence that He is listening, understands and cries with you. Rest in the comfort that He overcame and provided a solution for your most important problem- sin.

The other names flow out of the similar thought. He is better than everything we can drum up to solve our own problems. A better counselor, a better god than those we create ourselves and a better father than even the best father your could hope for.

Eternal or Everlasting Father:  a protector and provider. One who does not withhold love. What greater love can a father show than to lay down His life for you? He will not leave you in hard times. He isn’t too busy for you. He is not embarrassed by a poor performance or grade. He is not ashamed of you in failure. You can’t wander away too far for Him to reject you. Fathers fail. Fathers sin.  Even good ones. Jesus does not. How comforting is that? Maybe you don’t have a father figure in the home. Maybe yours is jerk. Maybe he hurt you or still is. The father you need is found in Jesus. He is the ultimate provider. He is the ultimate protector. He is the one who cares for you deeper than any earthly father.

Prince of Peace: Back to where I started. Peace with God. Sin caused division/ separation. It causes strife in our relationship. That is solved at the cross. As Prince we rely on His decisions, direction and justice and we know that they are just and right for us.

So where do we go with this? How does this fit into your life? How can He council and father you? Well you have to have the desire to be helped and the desire to do what He says. In the Gospel of John (chapter 5) a paralyzed man desires to be healed but Jesus asked him a weird question: “do you wish to be made well?” Of course he did- right? But isn’t that us? Wasn’t that Ahaz? We want to be helped without the pain or implications it might mean? We want God to clean up our mess without dealing with the choices that got us there. Maybe it’s not a choice we made but a situation we are in. Can we ask for the power of God while rejecting the means of that power in our daily lives?

James 1:5-7 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. 

OUCH! Obedience doesn’t always make sense to your culture or your friends. In fact it’s often in conflict with culture. Perhaps that’s the point though. Back to the desire to be helped. Do you desire that – not like Ahaz but real and lasting help? I mean the choice between heaven and hell is a no brainer. But do you desire to be forgiven? It’s different isn’t it? Do you desire to be loved by a father who unconditionally loves you? Ok, then why don’t you let go of what’s holding you back? Fear? How well is it going on your own? This Christmas why not surrender to Jesus as Lord and let Him in your life?

If you want to know more about Jesus, forgiveness or what you must do to be saved. That’s what it really is. Saved from the punishment of sin. The Bible calls it Born again. Die to your old life and start new again. Maybe you need to talk through surrendering something in your life. Don’t hesitate to contact us or stop by any Friday at 7.

 

O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel.

O little town of Bethlehem by Phillip Brooks

 

Jeremiah Brown, Youth Pastor

Youth@northharford.org

The Friday lesson we missed due to snow. Otherwise known as: “The problem at Christmas”

It’s 730 B.C. The King of Judah (Ahaz) is about to be attacked by Assyria. Generally attacked meant destroyed, conquered and those not killed were put into slavery. So Ahaz (the king, in case you lost track already in one sentence) is deciding what to do, how to strategize, who can he make allies with to help. In the middle of this quandary, God sends Isaiah the prophet. So Isaiah tells Ahaz (the king remember) that they will not be destroyed, God Himself will take care of this and he need not worry. Oh yeah, to seal the deal God will provide a sign as proof. Ahaz however says “no thanks, I’m good, no sign required.”  See Ahaz knew accepting the sign would lock him into obedience to God and he wasn’t really on board with all of that. Isaiah says too bad, you’re getting a sign anyway. Now the explanation of that sign takes a few chapters however one verse in particular (maybe two) we recognize and are familiar to us.

Isaiah 7:14 14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. (also in Matthew 1:23)

Isaiah 9:6 – For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

OK, so that’s nice but what does the promise of Jesus have to do with Ahaz and his problem? I mean there is a real army, a real threat and the answer is 700 years away? Maybe you go a bit further and say: “see, the bible isn’t relevant to me, its answers are future hopes and promises and I’m here right now and these promises are nice but they don’t help me now.”

Well, I’ll try to answer some of that. See in the Bible often there is prophecy that is answered now, some later and some both now and later. This story of Ahaz is the now and later. (Not the candy) Ahaz was delivered from his enemies and a partial prophecy was fulfilled. He would have a son and that son would be a good king. The ultimate and later fulfilment met his greater problem, our greater problem. So what is our real problem and how does the birth of Jesus solve it? I mean you have real issues, problems and concerns and God genuinely cares about them, has a plan for them and may even have a miraculous answer for them. But would a genie in lamp type of god solving our problems address the root problem in our lives? Would it be like treating symptoms without curing the real infection? Yes.  Ok, so how? And what does this verse show us about God’s plan and assurance for us?

The birth of Jesus reveals and deals with our biggest problem.

Our biggest problem isn’t parents, school, health, poverty, social injustice, depression or relationships. Those are real and 100% legitimate problems. Our biggest problem is sin and that we are terminally separated from God because of it. Wasn’t that the real problem of Ahaz? He had real issues, literally life and death but really his sin caused a separation that even he realized. That’s why didn’t want to lock in a sign and be obligated to obey God. Sin does that. You break fellowship and stay clear of God, church, Christians and even just good people because we instinctively sense that sin separation.  See that is why a genie god doesn’t work. All he would do is fix problems because we create new ones all the time.  Salvation wasn’t coming as valiant warrior defeating all enemies and situations that cross us. Salvation came as a child, born like we were yet every bit God in that little baby. He lived the sinless life were supposed to live and can’t. He took sin upon Himself and stepped into our place and took the punishment we deserve so we wouldn’t have to. He died in our place so that we only experience the shadow of death. God raised Him from the dead so that we could have eternal life free from sin, death and pain. See the root problem began to be solved when the Child was given. His substitution on our behalf releases you from the bondage of sin. Do we still sin? Yes but we are not captive by it. We are not dead in it and Jesus died for that sin so let’s stop the guilt because when we ask for forgiveness in faith…. It’s forgiven!  There’s no distance you have wandered that is too far to return. There is no horrible sin that you have done that can’t be forgiven. When God sees us, He sees Christ. So that sin is covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. We are incapable of being righteous/ blameless/ guiltless before God because we wear this constant robe of sin but because of Jesus work at the cross we are clothed in His righteousness, His perfection and His innocence. Condition on that however. We have to choose Him. I mean we confess our sins, repent, believe in faith and follow Him as Lord. Look up Romans 10:9-10 for evidence.

For many of us, if we are honest, we want the genie god and the birth of Jesus and the Easter story are nice quaint stories. Meaningful and important – yes. But we want the now problems solved and the story is believable yet we’re not sure it fixes anything. Wasn’t that Ahaz’s problem? The root problem is sin correct? So let’s look at it like this. Could sin be a factor in your relationship with your parents? Your friends? School? Social injustice? Of course it is. Let’s deal with the real problem then. By the way I don’t mean that the problem you are experiencing right now is some kind of Gods judgment on some specific sin and He is punishing your health or relationships. But If He took away all of our problems and healed every hurt; the root problem of sin still exists. What you will find is that as we live free from sin many of those problems get easier, manageable, tangible and some might even get resolved.

Here’s reality: You are a sinner and God is sinless. This sin is an offense to Holy/ sinless God. The penalty or payment required for sin is death. Eternal death in a real and literal hell. Eternity in hell knowing you are forever separated from God. The good news (the gospel) is that God loved you, so much He demonstrated it by sending Jesus to die in our place. He would take upon Himself the pain and death we deserve so we no longer had to be separated from Him. That’s seen in the resurrection: God raising Jesus from the dead to live forever with Him. Nothing you did or will do is going to help you; it’s what He did for you. That’s why salvation is found in none other than Jesus. Our contribution was the sinning. His was the saving. A man named Fred Kornis once said something that has stuck with me through the years: “He had to come as He did to be who He was. He had to be who He was to do what He did. He had to do what He did so that we can have what He is – Life.”

Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.(1)

 

Next post will be the second half of the verse.  The names listed in Isaiah 9:6 give us hope confidence in Him as one who is able to save, willing to save and understanding of your current and future situation.

Contact me if you want to know more about Jesus, how you can have forgiveness and freedom from sin. 

Jeremiah Brown, Youth Pastor

Youth@northharford.org

Hymn reference: Jesus paid it all- Elvina M. Hall (1865)

To College and Beyond

COLLEGE DECISIONS YOU ARE FACING

 

  1. INTRODUCTION –
    1. What Is Your Purpose?
      1. The experience – Like going to Ocean City Senior Week
      2. To find a mate
      3. To go to a school with a winning football team
      4. To get an education
        1. To get a degree in something exotic
        2. To get a degree in something useful
          1. To be able to work in a church
          2. To be able to go on the mission field
        3. To have a viable platform for service
        4. To have a degree which gives you credibility
    2. What Do You Want To Do?
      1. What do you really want to do when you grow up?
      2. How will you be able to serve the Lord with that major?
      3. Will you be able to get a job when you graduate?
      4. What jobs will be available when you graduate?
        1. Is that exotic sounding title a possible job?
        2. Will that job enable you to pay off your debt?
        3. How will you eat?
      5. What courses will your major require?
        1. 120 college credits for a BA degree.
        2. 60 college credits for an AA degree.
        3. Check the college catalog for the required courses in your major.
        4. Are those courses in which you will be successful?
        5. Does the college you want to choose offer courses required for your major?
    3. How Can You Save Money?
      1. How much will the degree cost you?
      2. What does the Bible say about debt?
        1. How can you be ready to serve if you are in serious debt?
        2. How much debt can you or your parents take on?
        3. Will paying off the debt change your life?
      3. AP courses – Attempt an AP (Advanced Placement) course to get advanced class standing or credits for college.
      4. Live at home and commute
        1. Room and Board are expensive! $10,000+ per year.
        2. What do you gain by living on campus?
        3. Remember, at home you have people to touch base with and keep you on track.
        4. Legitimate question for parents? But, I need to show that I trust them…Huh?
        5. Iron sharpens iron… Proverbs 27:17 (NASB) 17 Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.
      5. Take 3 years instead of 4 or 5
        1. Take more credits per semester – the overload fees are cheaper than an extra semester or an extra year.
        2. Why take five years and give additional money to the college when you could actually finish in three and save one year’s tuition?
      6. Community College -Go to the community college to get your GUR’s (General University Requirements) out of the way and acquire your AA degree. [2 years cost $5,520]
        1. Those credits earning a degree at the local community college cannot be taken away.
        2. You will have a better idea of what major you would want to pursue.
        3. You could earn a full scholarship to finish at a four year school.
        4. It is boring – So, you are at HCC and find it boring and not as exciting as you pictured college should be:
          1. What did you expect?
          2. What is your real purpose?
          3. Is this to be a fun thing, an exciting time?
      7. College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), College Board
        1. Developed by the College Board
        2. Accepted by 2,900 colleges and universities
        3. Examines mastery of college-level material acquired in a variety of ways.
        4. CLEP offers 33 exams in five subject areas.
        5. Pass a CLEP exam and earn 3 to 12 college credits
        6. Exams cost $80.00.
      8. CollegePlus.org
        1. Earn transferable college credits (12) while staying home. [12 credits cost $888]
        2. Have a personal Accountability Mentor.
        3. Cost per credit hour is $74 vs. $92 for HCC.
        4. Open to high school Freshmen & Sophomores.
        5. Partnered with Liberty University, Bryan College, Moody Bible Institute, Belhaven University, Thomas Edison State College.
      9. Credit for Prior Learning
        1. Test out of courses and get up to 30-60 credits total – Lots of money saved.
        2. You can also take a 102 or 201 course and apply for the prerequisite credits. More free credits.
      10. Internships
        1. Does the college offer internships?
        2. Are they local so that they could offer you a job?
        3. Many employers are inclined, if they have an opening, to hire a person who interned with them.
      11. Scholarships
        1. Look for all the possible scholarships out there.
        2. Apply for as many as you can find. They will all add up.
        3. Take the PSAT exam. A high score will get you a full scholarship to most in state colleges.
        4. Get paid to go to college.
          1. Going in state with a full scholarship and living at home will allow you to save on Room & Board
          2. Put money away the excess money for your Master’s Degree or for the QM2.
    4. Where would I like to be in ten years?
      1. Serving actively in a local church.
      2. Using my career as a stepping stone for witnessing.
      3. Using my career choice as a platform for missions.
    5. What are some things that I should think twice about?
      1. College name
        1. Does it really matter?
          1. Masters of Education – M.Ed.
            1. Towson University
            2. Loyola University
            3. Johns Hopkins University
              1. Cost
              2. Easy to get in
              3. Easy to get out
                1. Requirements to graduate
                2. Special ending requirements.
      2. Early decision – Do not get caught up in the excitement that you have been accepted. Many people are excited about being accepted at college, but an early decision to brag about could cost you a great deal of money. Also, early decisions are legally binding and cannot be disregarded to pursue a better financial offer from another college.
      3. Specialized Field
        1. Some jobs such as teaching are better acquired if you go to a local college which will meet the state certification requirements. Also, local graduates are more familiar with the county and state testing and curriculum.
      4. Local Church – Staying local gives you the opportunity:
        1. To stay involved in the church
        2. To bring to church the people you meet in college
        3. North Harford could be a local church for them.
        4. If away at college, will you be able to find a good church that can strengthen your faith?
      5. Mission Field – College can be your mission field! – Mike Christ+ and others.
        1. This may be the last time these people will be willing to talk about spiritual things.
        2. Don’t be afraid to attend a public college, you are not stuck with them all the time. {Discernment}
        3. You can bring all the support you need – you have your friends, your parents and your church.
    6. Forget College
      1. Why not forgot the first year of college and take an Around the World Cruise on the Queen Mary II.
      2. Spend your parent’s money and have a really great experience. Trips begin at around $18,000 for 119 days and that includes room and board (and those meals are fantastic).
      3. You might even get a part time job while on board and reduce your costs.
      4. You will have been around the world in a safe and very pleasant environment.
  2. CLOSING –
    1. STUDENT – How Will I Be Able To Better Serve The Lord After College?
      1. What will I do with church while at college?
      2. Will I continue to be active in a church?
      3. What is the driving force in your life?
      4. Are you putting your desires first?
      5. What does the Bible say about college?
    2. PARENT – How to keep your child strong in the Lord: (Jeff Myers)
      1. Have your children develop strong convictions based on a Biblical Worldview that addresses real world challenges. They should be able to share such questions as:
        1. Where did I come from?
        2. What is the purpose of my life?
        3. How should I live my life?
        4. Where am I going? (after life ends)
          1. How they answer these questions will determine how they live their life.
      2. Have them have caring mentors who demonstrate that it is possible to successfully live out a Biblical Worldview.
      3. Keep them involved in a vibrant community of people who share their values and life experiences and commit to living Godly lives.  (Jeff Myers)
      4. When confronted by some person, you need to teach your children these four simple questions to ask:
        1. What do they want me to do and why? (money)
        2. To what motives do they appeal? (be attractive)
        3. Can they really deliver what they promise?
        4. What is best?
      5. Teach them these questions to ask about ideas: (Phil Jack)
        1. What do you mean by that?
        2. How do you know that is true?
        3. Where do you get your information?
        4. What happens if you are wrong?
      6. Making Wise Decisions about College and Life After Home School (Douglas Phillips)
        1. “You have protected your child all their lives and now in a critical moment you will allow other 17 year old peers to influence your child’s decisions.” 
  3. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS –
    1. Harford Community College – Tuition
      1. Cost per credit hour – $92.
      2. Credits for an Associate of Arts degree – 60 credits
      3. Cost is $5,520.00 (2 year program).
    2. Towson University – Tuition
      1. Cost per credit hour – $271.
      2. Credits for a Bachelor of Arts degree – 120 credits
      3. Cost per year – $8,132.
      4. Cost is $32,528.00 (4 year program – commuting)
      5. Rooming and eating at college increases the costs.
        1. Room – $5,910; Board – $ 4,258; Per Year $10,168
        2. Grand total for four years living on campus $73,200 (not including books)
    3. University of Maryland – College Park – Tuition
      1. Cost per credit hour – $573.
      2. Cost per year – $17,190 (commuting)
      3. Cost for a 4 year degree – $68,760 + room and board.
        1. Room – $6,153; Board – $4,127; Per Year $10,280
        2. Grand total for four years living on campus $109,880 (not including books)
    4. Extra Fees
      1. None of the above costs include the extra fees.
        1. Books
        2. Parking
        3. Telecommunication Fees
        4. Student Activity Fees
    5. MOOCS – Massive Open Online Courses
      1. US News – Of the 400 colleges surveyed, 60 percent charge the same tuition for online as for in-person courses, while 36 percent charged students more to take their courses online.
    6. Colleges are in business to make money
      1. Based on recent developments with colleges such as Ivy Bridge College there is no desire on the part of higher education institutions and accreditation agencies to change that focus in the near future. (Tomorrow’s Online Schools, Andrew Kelly, National Review, October 28, 2013).