TEEN TREE        OF LIFE

John’s Purpose in Writing His Account of Jesus’ Life

Part 7  –  March 21, 2021

 

Before you begin, ask yourself a very important question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins? If you answered yes, you will need to be sure that you are filled with The Holy Spirit. How do you do this? You name your sins to God The Father in His Son’s Name. This is called Rebound. As a Christian, you must rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1 JOH 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins andto cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, if you have never believed that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins, all you have to do is say to yourself that you believe in Him and you are saved! The Bible verse which teaches us this is ACTS 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

 

Did you know that you were created to serve God? The apostle Paul writes about this in EPH 2:10 (New International Version)For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works [service], which God prepared in advance for us to do. As we learned last week, serving God is an integral part of following Jesus Christ. With these spiritual facts in mind, let’s look at six ways in which we can serve God in our day-to-day lives. You should take these pages and put them on the wall of your bedroom so that you can look at them every day!

 

The first is to Invest in Other PeopleThis idea is summed up in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself(GAL 5:14) It’s remarkable how often we interact with people but never make the effort to get to know them and to represent Our Savior in the process. Think about the cashier at your favorite store; the janitor who cleans your school; the kids you see in your neighborhood; or even your friends and family members. Each of these individuals is someone God created. Christians looking to represent and share Christ can begin by reaching out to people around them: ask them how it’s going; compliment what they’re wearing; or simply take the time to have a conversation with them on any subject that’s appropriate to the moment. Building them up or making them feel happy – even just for a short time – will change them in some small way. When we invest in other people, we create the opportunity to open their minds to knowing who God is, as The Lord Jesus Christ’s representative on earth. By doing so, we serve God!

 

And don’t forget that anything we do (including praying, talking with God, studying His Word, representing His Son, and serving Him) is worthless unless we are filled with The Spirit. This is accomplished by naming and citing your sins to God in His Son’s Name. Any service you do without being filled with The Spirit is NOT ACCEPTABLE to God. We lose The Filling of The Spirit when we sin. When we name and cite our known sins to God, we are instantly filled with The Spirit and return to being 100% spiritual.

 

People often give or do so-called good works or service without being filled with The Spirit. This is human good, not Divine Good and it will be burned up at the judgment seat of Christ. Paul wrote about this in 1 COR 3:11-15 (New International Reader’s Version): No one can lay any other foundation than what has already been laid. That foundation is Jesus Christ. A person may build on it using gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay or straw. But each person’s work will be shown for what it is. On judgment day it will be brought to light. It will be put through fire. The fire will test how good each person’s work is. If the building doesn’t burn up, God will give the builder a reward for the work. If the building burns up, the builder will lose everything. The builder will be saved, but only like one escaping through the flames.

 

The second way to serve God is to Offer Help Where It’s Needed. This is taught in MAT 25:40 (New International Reader’s Version): “The King [Christ, Jesus] will reply, ‘What I’m about to tell you is true. Anything you did for one of the least important of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Even minor displays of thoughtfulness can change other people’s lives. Do you know someone at school who doesn’t have many friends? Invite him or her to have lunch at your table. Is someone moving into the house next door? Welcome them to the neighborhood and offer your help. Does a busy mother in your you know seem overwhelmed? Maybe you could offer to watch her children for an hour, so she could have some “me time.” Don’t pass up an opportunity to help where it’s needed. These moments may be brief, but they’ll make an impression on others and in doing them, while filled with The Holy Spirit, you will have served God.

 

The third way to serve God is to Seek Wisdom. Seeking wisdom means learning and applying God’s Word. PROV 16:16 states: How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver! Cars need gas, knives need sharpening, and Christians need to stay educated. And it’s of the utmost importance to learn how to apply God’s Word to your everyday life. Remember, tests are easiest when you study for them! John wrote an exceptional statement about seeking Wisdom in 2 JOH 1:9 (New International Readers Version): Suppose someone thinks they know more than we [the apostles] do. So they don’t follow Christ’s teaching. Then that person doesn’t belong to God. But whoever follows Christ’s teaching belongs to the Father and the Son.

 

The fourth way to serve God is to Practice Hospitality. This is taught in HEB 13:2Don’t forget to welcome outsiders. By doing that, some people have welcomed angels without knowing it. There’s a reason why Jesus frequently chose to share meals with his followers. Hospitality creates trust between strangers and builds bridges over the rough landscape of our lives. If Christians want to share God’s Love with their neighbors or strangers, they have to be welcoming and warm.

 

The fifth way in which we can serve God is to Show Forgiveness. You do this by following God’s Word and applying it to your life. This is summed up beautifully in MARK 11:25: And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. Forgiveness – true forgiveness – can be a difficult thing. As much as we like to believe we understand the concept of grace, some of us are still learning what it means to let go of our anger and pain. There are dozens of moments in life in which we would rather not show forgiveness. Think about the kid who bullied you in school or that friend who blew you off at the last minute to hang out with someone else. God teaches us that forgiveness means letting go of grudges and choosing to love over revenge.

 

The sixth way to serve is to Make Time to Worship God. This is something we’re commanded to do as part of our daily lives. John recorded this statement by Our Savior about worshipping in JOH 4:21:23 (New International Reader’s Version): But a new time is coming. In fact, it is already here. True worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth. They are the kind of worshipers the Father is looking for. God is spirit. His worshipers must worship him in the Spirit and in truth.” It’s easy for Christians to get swept up into their daily schedules. As teenagers, you wake up, go to school, do your homework, eat dinner, maybe watch some television, and prepare to do it all again tomorrow. You may even have a part-time job! With such a schedule, it’s easy to forget to worship God regularly. Before you step out the door each morning, stop and take a moment to thank The Lord for a new day. Thank Him for His Word, His Son, and The Holy Spirit. Praise His Work in your life: answered prayers, good health, prosperity and yes, even adversity. And never forget to be filled with The Spirit and to thank Him in His Son’s Name. The writer of HEB 12:28 (New International Readers Version) put it this way: We are receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken. So let us be thankful. Then we can worship God in a way that pleases him. Let us worship him with deep respect and wonder. How could you not make time to worship???

 

As we saw last week, John included an important message to believers in his account of Jesus Christ’s Life. It’s found in JOH 12:26 (The Message Bible), where Jesus states emphatically: “If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me. Then you’ll be where I am, ready to serve at a moment’s notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me.” So, in order to follow Jesus Christ, we have to place ourselves in the position of being His Servant – of being of service to Him. You have to follow Him in order to serve Him and if you serve Him, God the Father will honor and reward you.

 

Following Jesus Christ includes sacrificing your personal desires in order to serve God in all the ways we looked at. You will have to sacrifice time away from television or sports or hanging out with your friends in order to allow time to serve Him in the ways described in this study.

{to be continued}

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