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THE PATH AND ANSWERS - TEACHER'S VERSION

Intro:

  1. Blind men and elephant illustration (how put all pieces of Christianity      together? Me for life notebook).
  2. Share what ties Christianity together for me:  Following Jesus Christ      along a very narrow path; a path we can only follow if leave SELF behind!

Diagram 1

  1. He knew where the path He was walking, led to – a Cross.  The cost to      Him would be great, but it was worth it to Him.  It would cost Him      everything in this life, but would gain Him everything in the next.
  2. When He was here he invited men and women to follow Him on this path      (Mk 8:34).  He promised them that they would never regret it (Mk 8:35).       Those that followed Him lost their life but found it.

 

GOD'S PART:  He gives a new    MIND    (LIGHT), a new   FAMILY
                     (LOVED), and a new     ME      (LIFE)

                     Only He can deal with our moral blindness, insecurity,
                     and fleshly desires.


OUR PART:  We must choose to deny our       SELF     , take up our
                            CROSS     , and follow Him.

      Only we can turn from our pride, self-sufficiency, independency, and half-
heartedness; and reach out in love to others.                                                 

It is up to us: we can walk as the old man walked with our lives revolving primarily around ourselves; or we can lose our lives and find them as we walk in the New Man, filled with Christ's life, with our lives revolving primarily around God and others!

GOD'S PART


WITH GOD'S __LIGHT__, WE CAN GO FROM___DARKENED___THINKING

TO    ENLIGHTENED__ THINKING (ROM 12:2) Theater in Navy illustration-come out and see popcorn on uniform.  Years later I came out of another darkness & found many things wrong with me and the world I did not see in the darkness.


     FROM         REBELLION         TO _SUBMISSIONLORDSHIP    OF GOD
                                                      (Eph 5:21)

                In the darkness, we blindly see ourselves as the center of our world,                 those over us as an interference to our plans.  In the light, we see                 God as the center and those over us as part of His plans.

                 MEANINGLESSNESS   TO     MEANING      INTENTIONS OF GOD
                                             (Eccl 3:11; Eph 1:11,12)

In the darkness, we blindly see meaning in life as centered in "me" & my little life, so in an infinite universe with eternal time, my little life means nothing.  In the light, we see that God has given us a purpose that ties us to Him, His plans, His universe, and His eternity.  So, we, as His children and seeking after His purposes, have meaning.

               CREATURE-WORSHIP  TO  GOD-WORSHIP GREATNESS   OF GOD
                                                    (Rom 1:21,25)

                In darkness, we blindly see man and his world as worthy of worship                 (Rock stars and sport stars, for example).  In light, we see that only                 God is worthy.  In the world outside of God, men worship man, men,                 even gods made out of trees.  They always disappoint us.  Only God                 will never disappoint us.

                 MORAL DARKNESS    TO   MORAL LIGHT  HOLINESS__ OF GOD
                                                       (Eph 5:8,9)

                In darkness, we blindly see evil as good and are able to enjoy what                 is evil and ugly (R-rated is more enjoyable than G-rated).  In the                 light, we see what is good what is evil, and we are only able to                 enjoy good.

                       DISUNITY          TO        UNITY       TRIUNITY__ OF GOD
                                                       (Jn 17:21)

                In light, we blindly see only what we want for ourselves in a                 relationship.  We cannot see what the other person is feeling and                 what that person's needs are.  In the late 60s people went to                 Haight-Ashbury looking to be loved, but few went there to give love.                  In the light, we can see God's pattern for relationships.  After                 thousands of years we are still unable to get along with each other;                 the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have been getting along with each                 other for eternity.  1+1+1=1 when we follow God's pattern!


WITH GOD'S LOVE    , WE CAN GO FROM       ENSLAVING    EMOTIONS TO
  LIBERATING   EMOTIONS (Matt 11:28-30; I Jn 4:18)
     We are enslaved when we think we have to earn God's love and others' love      and acceptance.  God's love and acceptance are free!!  And our love and      acceptance of each other should never have to be earned either.

     FROM FEELING      REJECTED   TO FEELING _ACCEPTED__  LOVED
                                              (Heb 13:5)                    UNCONDITIONALLY

                We do not need to try to get people to accept us, we can believe                 that God accepts and loves us just as we are!  No one has been as                 rejected as Jesus Christ, and no one is accepting of us as He is.  He                 was fully rejected, so He could fully and unconditionally accept us!

            FEELING  CONDEMNED   TO FEELING _CLEANSED_   OPEN ACCESS
                                   (I Jn 1:9; Rom 8:1; Heb 4:15)            TO GOD

                We do not need to atone four our sins – do penance, etc.  We can                 believe that God has cleansed us from our sins.  How can a holy God                 accept unholy and imperfect people fully?  That is what the cross of                 Jesus Christ is all about.

            FEELING _WORTHLESS_ TO FEELING    VALUABLE    VALUED
                                            (I Pet 1:18,19)

                We do not need to impress others into believing that we have                 worth.  We can fully believe that God greatly values us.  I would not                 give up my son for any amount of money.  The Father gave up His                 Son because He values us so greatly!

            FEELING _  ANXIOUS  _ TO FEELING     PEACEFUL   ETERNALLY
                                              (Phil 4:6,7)                          CARED FOR

                We do not need to carry all our concerns on our little shoulders, we                 can believe that God will take care of us.  Martha carried her cares;                 Mary carried her cares to Jesus Christ and left them there!

            FEELING _FRUSTRATED  TO FEELING      JOYFUL     DISCIPLINED
                                       (Phil 4:4; James 1:2-4)

                We do not need to overcome the obstacles in our lives.  We can                 believe that God is lovingly using even the obstacles in our lives for                 our good.  We are like a rebellious orphan that God has adopted.  He                 is disciplining us for our good so that we can more fully enjoy our                 new family life.

WITH GOD'S LIFE   , WE CAN GO FROM     SELF-LIFE TO    CHRIST-LIFE (Galatians 2:20; II Peter 1:3,4)
     The most pitiful addicts are the self-aholics!  Many offer solutions: Eastern      religions – lose self; Psychology – program, assert, or accept self; Education      – understand self; and Religion – suppress self.  Christianity's solution is to      put self under Christ's control!

            FROM       DEATH    TO SPIRITUAL       LIFE             LIFE OF CHRIST  
                                        (Jn 11:25; Col 1:27)

                Jesus said, "I am the Resurrection and the Life."  When we were                 separate from God's life, we were dead spiritually.  Now, with His                 life, we have been raised from spiritual death to spiritual life.

                        BLINDNESS TO SPIRITUAL      SIGHT           ILLUMINATION
                                   (Jn 8:12,16:13; I Cor 2:12)

                Jesus said, "I am the Light of the world."  He gives us the spiritual                 ability to see the world as He sees it.

                        EMPTINESS TO SPIRITUAL COMPLETENESS  FULLNESS
                                        (Jn 6:35; Col 2:9,10)

                Jesus said, "I am the Bread of Life.  He filled up our spiritual                 vacuum.  Pascal said, every man has a God-shaped vacuum that can                 only filled by God Himself.

                       WEAKNESS  TO SPIRITUAL     POWER          EMPOWERMENT
                                        (Jn 11:25; Acts 1:8)

                Jesus said, 'you will receive power from the Holy Spirit."  Without the                 power of God, we are like lamps that are not plugged in.  We were                 never meant to live godly lives apart from God's power.


OUR PART

WE MUST DENY SELF, TAKE UP OUR CROSS (LK 9:23)

    DENY SELF-DECEPTION         (I Jn 1:8-10)     CONFESS  
                   We need to go from "I did not do it," to "I did it."

             SELF-RELIANCE           (Prov 3:5,6)      RELY
                   We need to go from "I will do it myself" to "I will depend on Him                    to do it."

             SELF-WILL                 (James 1:22)     OBEY
                   We need to go from "I will do only what I want to do" to "I will                    obey Him and do what He commands me to do."

             SELF-SEEKING             (Matt 6:33)       SEEK GOD
                   We need to go from "I will do it my way" to I will seek out what                    His purposes and plans are and do it His way."

             SELF-SERVING             (Phil 2:3,4)       SACRIFICIALLY SERVE
                   We need to go from "I will take care of #1" to I will make God                    others #1 in my life, no matter what the cost."

 

AND SEEK TO REACH OUT IN LOVE   (MATT 22:37-40)

             TO           GOD              (John 14:21)      LORD BECOMES LORD

             TO     OUR FAMILY         (Col 3:18-21)     OUR FAMILY IS A FAMILY

             TO   BODY OF CHRIST   (ACTS 2:42-47)    VITALITY IN CHURCH

             TO      OUR WORLD       (MATT 28:19,20)  EVANGELISM OF THE LOST

 

WILL YOU FOLLOW JESUS CHRIST ALONG THE PATH OF THE CROSS?

        WILL YOU LEARN ALL YOU CAN ABOUT THE PATH?

        WILL YOU FOLLOW THE PATH WHEREVER JESUS MAY LEAD YOU? (IN
               YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE?  IN YOUR IMPORTANT DECISIONS?)

 

A SIMPLE GOAL:   MAKE GENUINE LOVE YOUR GOAL (I TIM 1:5).  EVERYTHING LISTED ABOVE IS THE WAY TO GET TO THIS GOAL ---THE WAY OF THE CROSS!  JESUS' CROSS TO OUR CROSS!

 

GOD'S GOALS?  EPH 3:16-19; I PET 1:13-15

The Way Of The Cross Studies