Our Identity in Christ, Part Two
February 15, 2020
Thermometer. Do you remember Bob Hayes, the man who was named “World’s Fastest Human”? He was a hero of the 1964 Olympics, bringing home the gold medal in the 100-meter run, and being clocked at an incredible 8.6 seconds in the final 110 yards of the 400-meter relay run. After the Olympics he became an all-pro wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys football team in the United States. His college coach said that if there had ever been a young man he wished was his, it was Bob Hayes.
Then, in April 1979, Bob was convicted of selling narcotics to an undercover agent. He received two five-year prison sentences. He went from the pinnacle of success to prison. According to Hayes and those who cared most about him, his downfall was caused by his inability to choose good friends. The people he hung out with gave him bad advice and got him into trouble. As a rule, we usually reflect the thoughts and lifestyles of the people we spend the most time with.—From Sermonnotes.com published on-line by Alderson Press.
Whom are you spending time with?
Thermostat. Charles Osgood told the story of two women who lived in a convalescent center. Each had suffered an incapacitating stroke. Margaret’s stroke left her left side restricted, while Ruth’s stroke damaged her right side. Both of these women were accomplished pianists but had given up hope of ever playing again. The director of the center sat them down at a piano and encouraged them to play solo pieces together.
They did, and a beautiful friendship developed. What a picture of the church’s need to work together! What one member cannot do alone, perhaps two or more could do together—in harmony.
How do your strengths and weaknesses relate to the body of Christ?
Memory Text: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34, 35, NKJV).
Our Beliefs, no. 12, The Church: “The church is the community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. . . . The church is God’s family; adopted by Him as children, its members live on the basis of the new covenant.”
Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 136, 137
Read Hebrews 3:13, 14.
Ken’s best friend, Mark, thinks he is in love. While Ken is happy, he is concerned that Mark is becoming consumed with his new girlfriend. Mark is failing classes. He is not getting along with his parents either. Ken watches as his best friend changes, and he doesn’t want to say anything because he doesn’t want to seem jealous. He doesn’t want to drive Mark further away, but he feels it is his responsibility to remind Mark of his other friendships. As time goes by they grow further and further apart. What do you think Ken should do? What would you say—knowing that how you say something is as important as what you say?
Read Matthew 18:18; Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:9.
We are adopted sons and daughters of God. He loves His church, and when we have His Spirit in us, we will love others. He has given us gifts to use in helping others with their daily struggles as well as to tell others about Him. The church working together has a great responsibility in telling others of His soon coming.
How do you see yourself working as part of the church team in helping and telling others about Jesus?
Fill in the blanks using the words from the word bank.
accomplished all be church eternal fellowship given Ephesians God grace 8-11 Jesus known least made make now of preach 3 purpose see through wisdom NKJV
“To me, who am less than the of all the saints, this was, that I should among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to what is the of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things Jesus Christ; to the intent that the manifold might by the to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the which He in Christ our Lord” (:,).
Read Romans 12:10-13.
One teen said, “Why can’t I just keep my relationship between God and me? It’s personal.” There is a difference between personal and private! There aren’t any Bible passages that say, “Just believe and be quiet. Everyone will get there sooner or later.” No, quite the opposite seems to be true. God has made us to work together. We work best in teams, because our weaknesses get strengthened by others’ strengths, and our strengths help other people who have weaknesses. We are not whole unless we are united.
Have you considered what God may be asking you to bring to the table? Are you wondering how to be someone who sets the temperature and doesn’t just record it? The answer to our quest for boldness in Christ is in community. We are braver together than we are alone. We are smarter as a team than we are as individuals. Each new member that we add to the family makes us more loving and compassionate, because each new member has a unique experience with God’s grace. Each person is expected to participate. Each person is needed, but the whole is more effective than the individual parts. Why do you think Christ sent the disciples out in twos? Because when one is weak, the other can be strong.
Read the texts and match each one with a description. Some descriptions correspond to more than one text.
Hebrews 3:13, 14
1 John 1:5-7
1 John 4:11, 12
John 13:34, 35
Luke 10:1, 2
Luke 22:31, 32
Acts 13:2, 3
1 Corinthians 1:11, 12
2 Corinthians 1:21
A. Brotherly love
B. Kind, compassionate, and forgiving
C. Encourage one another
D. Fellowship and loving one another
E. Harvest and laborers
F. Sift as wheat
G. One body and perfectly joined, united
H. All sons of God
Read 1 John 1:5-7.
Review the memory text.
Everyone is hearing voices! No, it’s not that we are all crazy. But we tend to become what we listen to. If you think that God listens to your prayers only when you behave properly, then you are not listening to God. If you think that the only way to really “be someone” is to get noticed, then you are not listening to God. If what others think about you is what will make or break you, then you are listening to someone other than God.
God has spoken, and He has declared you not just valuable but precious. He has announced publicly your honored position as His child. Your future is sure if your desire is to be counted as His child. Be counted, along with the many others who are signing up for the kingdom of God. Those who truly sense the surge of joy are those who step out and become agents of change around them. Thermostats, and not just thermometers! It’s not always easy, but it makes all the difference. What about you?
Read 1 John 4:11, 12.
Choose the three friends you love and respect the most. Answer the following questions about them.
How are you like them in the following areas?
In what ways are you different?
How do you help each other grow closer to God?
In what ways do you get in each other’s way in your walk with God?
What are some goals you want to set for these particular friendships?
How do you want to pray for your friends specifically?
What things do you want to pray about for them this week?
What do you want to thank them for (by letter, e-mail, or in person) for the way they inspire you to be what God has designed you to be?