To help us realize that Jesus offers an alternative
to the struggles of life that make us weary and heavily burdened.
Scripture Basis & Reference:
Genesis 1-3, Eph 6:11, Luke 16 and Matt 6:25-33
Copy of the Video "Bill & Teds Excellent
Each of us face things that are difficult in our
lives - in effect we struggle. Many of us struggle financially,
others struggle in relationships, others against illness, disease,
drug addiction, depression, low self esteem, and the list goes
. Have the class list some of their struggles
or those they have observed in others. Discuss why they are difficult
The BackDoor: (Video)
Lets see what Gods says about our struggles and why
we have them. In order to do this we must first learn about time
travel. Time travel you say ? Yes, do you remember the movie "Bill
& Ted's Excellent Adventure". In it two rather unorthodox
students decide that in order to learn about history, they need
to travel back in time and learn about it from the people who
lived back then. Lets watch a little.
.. show segment from the video Bill and Ted from the beginning where they take their first ride back in time. (5 min)
Now we can learn something from Bill & Ted here.
In order to understand why something exists today, it is helpful
to go back and see how things happened in the beginning. Now we
are quite fortunate here since we actually have a time machine.
You see while TV show writers have to imagine the way things were
long ago, God actually knows .. he was there and his Word, the
Bible is a real record of what happened. It is our time machine.
So Lets take a trip back in time and see how the struggle began
Students Teach Students:
|The changed state of the woman including multiplied pain in conception, sorrow in motherhood; and the headship of the man||3:16|
|The light work of Eden (Gen 2:15) being changed to burdensome labor because of the earth's being cursed||3:18-19|
|The inevitable sorrow of life||3:17|
|The tragic certainty of physical death to Adam and all his descendants (also in Rom 5:12 - 21).||3:19|
Key Message :Today the world is a dark place and the struggle continues in the same way. You see struggles of this world are really struggles against Satan and his forces, (see also Eph 6:11) struggles against our sinful nature (see also Heb 12:4) and struggles against the curse. (Gen 3) We most often think of difficulty entering our lives only from our own sin, yet we also experience all sorts of difficulty in this world due to the sinfulness of others and mankind in general. So, what should we do? What is the alternative to struggling? Is there an alternative way to make it through the struggle. Yes there is! You see one day this guy names Jesus shows up and says ..
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest. Matt 11:28 (NIV)
Now most of us know this verse, some by heart, but
the next two verses that follow are often omitted, they say;
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I
am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your
souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." .
Matt 11:29-30 (NIV)
Now why would Jesus talk about giving the weary "his
yoke". A yoke is a device that is placed on the shoulders
of an Ox to pull the plow. It is a reference to work. The
strangest part of this verse is that Jesus here equates rest and
his work. Now what is up with that! Well there is another person
Jesus told us about in scripture that can help us understand.
Lets turn to Luke 16.
Read Luke 16:1-9
Now this is another story that I never understood,
I could never figure out why Jesus commends this obviously dishonest
manager for cheating him by helping his debtors off cheap. This
always frustrated me until one day I realized that Luke 16 follows
Luke 15. Luke 15 contains 3 parables on forgiveness and the value
of the lost. The last is the story of the prodigal son. In it
when the sinful son returns home the father actually restores
the prodigal son instead of making him live with the results of
Key Message : Once you
read the two stories back to back, you can see that the reason
the dishonest manager was commended is that the master really
wanted his debtors to be forgiven and his manager realized this
and set about helping the process. You see this is the yoke Jesus
spoke of. Matt 6:31-33 tells us point blank ..
So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?'
or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans
run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that
you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matt 6:31-33 (NIV)
Instead of struggling to get the basic needs of your
life, instead seek first the kingdom of God, make the number one
thing in your life building up the Body of Christ (i.e. bringing
people to Christ and/or supporting them) Then watch God provide
just enough for all the other aspects of you life. In doing
this you will find the rest and peace spoken of in Matt 11:28
because you will have exchanged the struggle against the curse
for the struggle against sin. Not just in your own life but in
the lives of others. For the struggle against sin is Jesus yoke.
It is however important to note that the struggle against sin is not
always easy. Satan does attack us when we begin to learn this lesson
and we must work to not give him a foothold. Furthermore, not all
difficulties in life are related to the curse. Some are actually used
by God to help us learn reliance on him and build up our faith.
But if you are struggling against the troubles of this
world consider the alternative. Begin by starting to do things
according Gods ways. Focus your efforts on eliminating sin in
your life. And begin taking the message of Jesus and his forgiveness
to others. Help them to be forgiven and watch God take care of your needs
while you build eternal rewards
Give a Personal Testimony of where you have seen
the struggles of life (darkness) lifted when the message of forgiveness
in Christ (light) was delivered or perhaps where you have seen
God provide for you as you sought first his kingdom.
Note to the teacher :
Follow up in another session with a lesson focused on the other types of difficulty in a Christians life as described in the matrix on the next page. Also the lessons These Inward Trials & The Cost of Following Jesus discuss dealing with difficulty . It is important that a student not go way with the concept that following Jesus will eliminate all problems in his life. Instead help them learn what types of difficulty we can avoid and what types are for our benefit.