Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 7 PART 1 – Faithfulness (1 John 1:9)

Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 7 PART 1 – Faithfulness (1 John 1:9)

LESSON: FAITHFULNESS

Memory Verse: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9

BIBLE STORY: Scripture:  Luke 15:11-32 11 (Read from the Bible)

Our story is a parable told by Jesus. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.

Prodigal” means “extravagant” or “wasteful.” This story is about a young man who asked for his inheritance and then spent it all on useless and worldly things.

(The son had done a terrible thing. For starters, asking for one’s inheritance while the parent was still alive is kind of like telling the parent that the son wanted him to be dead already. This is because an inheritance is usually only given when the parent dies. This request from the younger son must have really hurt the feelings of his father, and yet, the father gave what the son asked for.)

The son left his father and went to a faraway place where he spent all his money on parties and food and worthless things. He suddenly finds himself without any money at all and he had to get a job feeding pigs just so he could survive. He was so hungry he thought of eating the pigs’ food.

(It was a very shameful thing for a Jewish person to get this kind of job because they considered pigs to be “unclean.” This could be considered as one of the lowest kinds of job a Jew could ever have.)

The son realized how his father’s servants were much more well off than him, because they had food to spare while he was here with pigs and he was dying of hunger. And so he made up his mind to return home and tell his father to make him one of the servants just so he could eat well.

(This part of the story shows us that the son probably went back to the father not because he was primarily “sorry” for all he had done, but more likely, because he was just so “hungry.” Even so, the father welcomed him back with open arms.)

While he was still a long way off, the father saw him and ran to him, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

(Here we see that the father already had shown that he has forgiven his son even before the son said “sorry.” The kiss and the welcoming embrace came first before the son’s confession of his sins. This shows us how our Father in heaven has also loved us while we were still sinners.)

The father said to his servants to bring the best robe and put it on his son. He also put a ring on the son’s finger and sandals on his feet. Then he asked that the fattened calf be cooked and a feast be made to celebrate the return of his lost son.

(The ROBE signified the “robe of righteousness,” which means that the past mistakes have been forgiven and all is now made “right” in the father’s eyes. The RING signifies authority, which shows that the son has been given back the power of being an heir of his father. The SANDALS show “sonship” because servants walk barefoot and only the master and his sons wore sandals.)

APPLICATION:

This parable teaches us that when we do what we want instead of what God wants, we are like the lost son. Sin leads to separation from the Father and this may seem fun or just fine for some time, but sooner or later, we will find that sin also leads to much suffering.

But as our memory verse states, God is FAITHFUL– it means He is true to His promises. If we confess ours sins to Him and ask forgiveness from our hearts, then it whether the sin was big or small, God will forgive us and cleanse us from all our unrighteousness or wrongdoing. Just as the prodigal son was accepted with open arms and his “sonship” was restored completely, so will the Father accept us when we repent and turn to Him. We are made “right” with God through Jesus, and by His amazing grace, we become sons and daughters of the most High God. We are then “heirs” of all of God’s blessings for His beloved children. Praise be to our Almighty God!

PRAYER:

Our Father in heaven, thank You for Your amazing grace! Thank You for Your great love and Your faithfulness. May Your holiness be proclaimed throughout all the earth! We have sinned against You and we now humbly ask for Your forgiveness. We confess that we have chosen to fulfill our own desires and listen to other voices instead of focusing our eyes, ears and more importantly, our hearts to You. And we thank You, our most gracious God, for we know that we can trust You that as we confess our sins, You are faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Thank You Lord for letting us become your children and heirs to Your Kingdom! All praise and honor be to You our heavenly Father! In the mighty name of Jesus, we pray, AMEN!

Lesson 7 Part 1

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Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 1 PART 4 – Love (Luke 6:31)

Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 1 PART 4 – Love (Luke 6:31)

LESSON: LOVE

Memory Verse:

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” – Luke 6:31

 Lesson Presentation:

  1.  This verse is known by many as the “golden rule.” It is also found in Matthew 7:12, where Jesus says it “sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Nearly every major religion has their own version of this rule but many are stated NEGATIVELY, such as:
    1. Confucianism – “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.”
    2. Hinduism – ‘This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.”
  2. Zoroastrianism – “Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself.”
  3. This basically tells us that even if we have different cultures and backgrounds, people from all over the world have a common belief that it is not right to harm anyone else. Actually, when we think about it, even the ten commandments also tell us to do the same thing: to AVOID CAUSING HARM OR PAIN to others by not stealing, killing, breaking promises, coveting and lying.
  4. But Jesus showed us a better way, for as He said, he did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17). Jesus made it clear to us that we should go to the heart of the matter— and it is not about DOING NO HARM, but ACTIVELY DOING GOOD for others that God requires from us.
  5. This means that we do not simply get out of the way of others and let them be, trying our best to avoid hurting them in any way. Jesus is telling us what we should be doing is to think of ways to help others and actually DO these good deeds as we would want others to do for us.
  6. It means that WE DO NOT WAIT until someone does something good to us before we return the favor. It means we do good for people around us regardless of whether they are able to return the favor or not, because to be honest, we also don’t like it if whenever somebody does something good for us, they would expect and sometimes even demand that we do something good for them in return. Examples:
  7. Sacrificing what we want so that others may have what they need like not buying a new dress so we can give to the poor.
  8. Helping mom or dad with chores at home even if we would rather play.
  9. Offering a helping hand to someone in need, even if person has not been nice to us in the past.
  10. Now this is what LOVING OTHERS really means, because LOVE SEEKS TO BLESS OTHERS and DOES NOT ASK FOR ANYTHING IN RETURN.  For this is the kind of love that we received from God, and if we are connected to that love, then this is the kind of love that we will have for others. It’s not just about DOING NO HARM, but instead, BEING A BLESSING! Be a blessing to someone today!

God made all things beautiful

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11

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This budding young little writer of mine (my 4-year-old Allyra) loves to make “mini-bibles.” The text on the cover page is actually read as “Bible,” and on the inside it says, “God so loves us for made so beautiful.” (Please excuse the spelling-she’s learning phonics and I’m sure she’ll learn to spell later.) She decorated the cover with colorful things to show how “it is beautiful.”

As we end 2012, it is a good idea to reflect on all the good (and not so good) stuff that has happened in the past year. And as we look forward to 2013, may we know and experience more of God’s love and hold on to the truth that whatever sort of circumstances may come our way, truly God makes everything beautiful in His time.

Have a blessed 2013 everyone!!!