Intro:

Part of the purpose of this five week study is to take us down a journey to discover who we should be as Christians. With the world in its current state of reality we seem to not know what tomorrow will bring. This leads to so much fear and doubt in our lives. It leads us to lack the courage we need to stand for our faith. It leads us to feeling hopeless. It even makes us feel like we don’t know who we are. To feel alone and unloved. But we can’t allow this to beat us. NO we have to stand firm on the word of God, being identified by Him and His love. Without Christ none of this matters. So we need to focus on Him, in the midst of a nation doing very frustrating and confusing things we need to put our Hope in Him and nothing else. You see if our desires are for the World than we will have NO courage, hope, identity, love, or even a legacy that matters. Our main verse for this study is John 15:4-5,
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; Apart from me you can do nothing.”

Without Christ we have No point or purpose and there will never be a moment of CHILL (pun intended). So as you journey through this know I am praying for you. I am praying you can find peace in the Chaos. That you can be lifted onto a strong foundation and be given such purpose that your convictions will not let you hold back from serving God. No CHILL for the world, but for us our CHILL comes from the knowledge of Jesus Christ and how He saved our souls.

Week 1: NO Courage

Memory verse: Joshua 1:9
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! 
Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Ok I know this week’s memory verse is kind of over played and cliché, but here me out on this. Joshua is a pretty legit representation of courage in a world of craziness. What’s more crazy about the verse though is that this isn’t the original statement for say, it is actually a reminder of what was just said. In other words it  is not the first time he was told to be strong and courageous. In verse 7 he was also told this, and its probably the better verse seeing there is more to it.

Joshua 1:7 “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.”

 Joshua 1:9 just sounds cooler and flows better that’s why it is quoted like crazy, right? Or is it because the first time there is a call for Joshua to do something. Now before I say this we are not under the Law of Moses in the same since as Joshua was, that doesn’t mean we have a free pass to do whatever we want. To understand this for ourselves and how it pertains to us we will need to do some pretty basic exegesis (figure out what it meant for Joshua) and then use some basic hermeneutics (figure out what it means for us).

Joshua took over for Moses after he was not allowed to go into the promise land. He was chosen to do so because he had already shown himself to be faithful to God as we can see in Numbers and Exodus. Prior to taking over for Moses he was his assistant. In other words Joshua has faith and understanding for the law. So, what does this mean for us? Or as many of you are probably thinking “get to your point”. As Christians we should have some sort of understanding for who God is like Joshua did. You see his courage wasn’t all from himself it was founded in God. He stood up with Caleb and said “we can defeat the Canaanites.” He knew God would protect them, even though the majority said differently. Without Christ as part of our lives and His word backing us where is our strength found. Courage is defined as “strength in the face of pain or grief.” The world is hurting and grieving right now because they are uncertain for the future. Here is the kicker Joshua wasn’t uncertain of his future because he had faith in what was to come. He understood the promises of the lord through His word.

That’s what we need to see here, we need not to be afraid because our strength comes from the Lord. It comes from the belief of salvation. That no matter how bad sin affects this world we will one day have something greater and that is Heaven.  Stand with Courage in your faith through Gods word like Joshua.

Personal Activity: Make a list of things in your life right now that scare you, write out next to each one how you feel about it, then seek courage from God through prayer and scripture reading. After doing so take that list and tear it up. Keep it to remind you that with God you need not be afraid of these things because he is where your strength is found.

 

Week 2: NO Hope

Memory verse: Hebrew 6:19-20 

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a highpriest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

I know this week’s memory verse has some random guy’s name in it that none of you probably know how to pronounce. To be honest I often pronounce it wrong myself. So I looked up the proper way to say it. It looked like this… [Hyphenate: Melch-izedek, Mel-khiz-ed-ek, MehLKIHZ-ah-DihK, mehl-KHIZ-eh-dehk, melchizedek, mel-kiz-i-dek}

So why include a name that we are all struggling to say? Because it matters for the lesson? Not really, no it is actually just a reference to the Old Testament going back to Abram. Which most of Hebrews reference things in the Old Testament because it is talking to the Hebrew (Jewish) people who would understand it. I know “so what is the point?”

You see when we talk about Hope, the Old Testament is the perfect place to look. And Abram, or now better known as Abraham, is the perfect person to look at. Everything in his life was based on hope. He had hope for the promises of God as did Moses. Moses hoped for the promise of a new land, but Abraham’s hope was for a son. Ultimately though every faithful person in the Old Testament had Hope in a promise. And that ultimate promise was Jesus. Without the promise of a savior, they would be hopeless. Likewise without Jesus we are hopeless. In our memory verse it said Jesus entered as a forerunner for us, which means He went before us to accomplish our salvation. The verse also talks about a veil. This is hinting to the veil of the temple which separated God’s presence from His people. What always went first before a priest could enter that place was an acceptable offering. Without the proper offering, the priest would die if they entered. That inner place past the veil is where the Lord dwelled. You see, Jesus is the anchor of our Hope. He is what allows us, like those of the Old Testament, to have purpose and have access to God. He is the One who offered the acceptable sacrifice for us. We have hope to one day walk past the veil into the place of the Lord, not because of anything we did but because of the perfect sacrifice.

As for the world today, they have No Hope. They look to politicians, philosophers, and even actors to provide them hope. Like these people have answers greater than God. A hard truth is this earth will never be perfect. So the hope the world puts in these people are empty. It leaves them as vessels with no anchor, left to wander around the ocean without direction.  There is No Hope in that.

As for believers, our hope is firm. It comes from the knowledge and belief in Christ. That one day He will conquer sin for good, there will be no more pain, this earth will be gone and a new one made. Your Hope needs to be in a sure thing and that sure things is Jesus Christ. 

Hebrews 13:8  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

Personal Activity: Just answer this one question “Where does your hope come from?”, take it serious don’t simple say Jesus because that is the answer you think is right. Instead reflect and ask yourself if you truly are putting your Hope in Him.

Week 3: NO Identity

Memory verse: 1 Peter 2:9

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. “

      There is an Eastern Fable known as the blind men and an elephant. In the fable each man attempted to describe an elephant based on what part of the elephant they were examining with their hands. Because of their blindness, they drew some pretty funny answers. One felt the leg and decided the elephant was a pillar. Another touched the tusk and determined it was a solid pipe. Still another grabbed the tail and proclaimed it to be nothing more than rope. The story goes on and in the end a man blessed with sight enters and sees the whole picture, that it was, in fact, an elephant.

Now this so-called fable is typically used to in some religions to say there are different ways to get to God. As we know from scripture there is only one way “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). SO, why do I bring up the story then? The examples in the story have some good teachings when the application is changed. What we need to do is look at yourselves as the blind men and God as the man with site.  

You see so often even as Christian we only see part of the picture. God on the other hand continually see the entire picture. This is the same for our identity. If we play a sport like basketball, we will say I’m a basketball player or an athlete. We might even define ourselves based on the groups we hang out with. We do this even though neither of these things should define us at all. Look at it like this, if I get hurt and can no longer play a sport do I still call myself an athlete? You see we limit our identity to only what we see directly in front of us and forget to realize these things may not always be there. There is a bigger picture and that what God is seeing for our lives.

In 2019 the movie Overcomer came out and it had an awesome scene where the main character John Harrison was asked “who are you?” the premise was to make him see he was defining himself as so many other things other than a Christian. What is interesting is the man in the movie asking him this was blind. Than man goes on to say “Your identity will be tied to whatever you give your heart too.”

 1 Corinthians 6:17 but whoever is united with the Lord is one with Him in spirit”

What’s your identity is it in something empty? Or is it united with the Lord? When all is said and done the world give us NO Identity that will keep us. But God gives us an Identity that is ever lasting. Where is your heart today? Are you defining your life on your future, saying one day I am going to be a doctor or lawyer? Or are you first identifying yourself as a Christian. When everything is gone that is going to be the only identity that matters.

Personal Activity: another simple one, just write down who you are and what is identifying you. Make sure your being honest with yourself. Then I challenge you to ask your friends who they define you. I hope they say as a Christian…

Week 4: NO Love

Memory verse:1 John 4:7

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.“

        I would like to let you all in on a secret, without God there is No Love! What I mean is He literally created love when He created us. You see love is probably one of the hardest things in the world to truly understand. It ignores the obvious imperfections of a person and makes them a priority. Love is solely based of personal choice, for example I love Swedish Fish. They are my absolute favorite candy, but not everyone likes them. Why do I like them? I don’t know…I just do. That is how love is for the most part. It is something that no one else controls but you as the individual.

We also can’t ignore that scripture says God is love. It’s not “love is love” as is being popularized in society right now. No…God is love and to know God is to know love. Like always “what does that mean for us?” Big picture, it means the only real way to understand love is through a relationship with Christ. We can try our best to strive to define it but without God, we will fail. We fail because we don’t have the true concept of what love is and what love does. Let’s get some perspective from scripture.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

When looking at love as defined by this verse, it is something that can’t produce real happiness when doing things that are not right or of God. Makes sense by seeing God is love and that He cannot coincide with sin, meaning love cannot coincide with sin. Now I said that in a lot of ways, love doesn’t seem to make since. We just love because we do. That really isn’t the case. If we are being honest, I don’t love Swedish Fish, no I just like them. Because love is more than simple affection. As we see here in 1 Corinthians, Love is action. It is being patient, it is being kind, ultimately love is saying someone is so important that you will sacrifice for them. As God sent His son to be sacrificed for us. You see the world doesn’t know love because they don’t know God. So, they don’t really have love they just have simple affections. Why are homes broken? It is because of a lack of love. A lack of saying that I am going to put myself aside for the betterment of someone else.  

I know the response to this is often “what about me?” or “they don’t deserve my love.” There are two thoughts that I want to share on that. First, God loves us so much more than anyone on this earth ever could, yet do we deserve that love. 1 John 4:9-10 tells us that He didn’t it because He loved us, not because we loved Him. Secondly, our promise from God through love is not that this life be perfect but that one day we will reap the reward of eternal life.

My final hard truth on love is that we were never called to be loved by this world, but we were called to love. This is because we are already loved more by God than the world could ever love us. To keep it simple, the world has No love just affection, while us as Christians have true Love from God presented to us through His son Jesus Christ.

Personal Activity: Make a list of how you can express love to those around you… then act on that list without hoping to get anything in return.

Week 5: NO Legacy

Memory verse: Psalm 145:4

 “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.”

        In college I had to read a book called “the one thing you can’t do in heaven”. The purpose behind the book is to encourage us to help others come to know Christ. If I am being honest though I didn’t like the book. Not that it was all bad, I just felt it left out the potential we have to leave a legacy. I know that we can’t directly impact things when we are gone. But, we can work to establish things in our current life to indirectly impact those that follow us.

As a teenager you are probably thinking “I am not old enough to be worrying about that.”  I want to tell you that you are not. Now I am not here to give you a speech about being the generation of today. I am here to point out something we all miss every day. We miss our potential for witness through our lives. Right where you sit you have the abilities to reach someone else. Say you’re a 11th or 12th grader and you see an 8th or 9th grader struggling. You have been where they have been not so long ago. With that you have a knowledge of their current struggle and an ability to help them.  Wait that kind of sounds familiar….

 Philippians 2:5-8 “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Now I am not saying you in anyway or form are as Jesus is, because He was blameless. But, as we look at the lessons we gain from His life on earth. He humbled Himself and came down to our level and helped us. He met our struggles with His sacrifice. I bring this up to point out the fact that we as Christians we tend to look over those around us when we could be following the example of Christ. We could be leaving a legacy in those around us as we impact their lives through the love of Christ. What is it that might be sacrificed? Some cool points with friends? If they are good friends it shouldn’t. A better question is though, what happens if you do nothing? What happens if your legacy is nothing more than your name in a year book? There is a saying I recently came across that I just can’t stop quoting. It says “carve your name on hearts, not tombstones.” A lady named Shannon Alder was quoted for saying that. Think about it you have the ability right where you are to reach someone, but you also have the ability to leave an empty legacy. 

Personal Activity: Find one person younger than you and intentionally pour into their lives. Call them, pray for them, do something!