I cannot stress this enough: our answer to this question has eternal consequences. The eternal destination of our souls hang in the balance when we answer this question for ourselves – who do we believe that Jesus is?
Some believe Jesus never existed; some believe he was a “good moral teacher”. Some believe he was a religious fanatic; others believe he was (and still is) the Lord and Savior of the world who will return to establish his eternal kingdom. But regardless of who the world believes Jesus to be, we as Christians trust the ultimate authority of God’s Word – the Bible. The Bible tells us these truths:
- John 3:36 – Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son does not have life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
- John 5:24 – Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
- John 6:47 – Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.
- Romans 10:9 – because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
We as Christians know exactly who Jesus is. We courageously echo the words of Peter in Matthew 16:16 when he says: “You (Jesus) are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Our teaching time with the students this week will focus on this topic of discussion. This conversation will lead into an introduction of our teaching series for this semester, which we will officially start up next Wednesday – August 15th. This series is entitled “Jesus and the
Disciplines”, and will cover scriptural texts from all four gospels. My goal in teaching this series is twofold: 1) that our students would know who Jesus is and love him more than they ever have before, and 2) that our students would understand how Jesus’ love for God led to a disciplined lifestyle that promotes the basic disciplines of the Christian faith. These basic disciplines that we will be covering are: bible study, prayer, service and love to others, evangelism, and commitment to the church. My hope is that as our students grow to love Jesus more, they will imitate his lifestyle – leading to a lifestyle of discipline and commitment to God.
Here is how you as parents can pray for our students this week as we prepare our Fall Semester:
- Pray for salvation among our students. The sole reason that we are starting out with this text (Matthew 16:13-17) is because we want students to be saved. The games and the food are great, and the relationships that we build here are truly special. But if our students do not know who Jesus really is and place their entire faith and trust in His Lordship over their lives, then they will never find true joy in their lives. We want our students to know and love Jesus. Please pray for this!
- Pray that God would give our students a hunger and thirst for scripture. All that we know and do in God’s church is based on the truth of scripture. Without the Bible, we have nothing. With the Bible, we have all that we need. We want our students to learn this and apply this to their lives!
- Pray for students who are already saved to grow in their walk with the Lord this semester. This means repenting from sin in their lives, and growing to become more obedient to God’s word. Please pray for this!
- Finally, please pray for myself and the leaders of our youth group. Pray that we will build good relationships with our students, and pray that the relationships that we build will be beneficial to their lives as we point them towards Jesus.
Here are some simple questions that you can begin asking your student before Wednesday, and questions that you can ask your student throughout the week to continue this conversation in their day to day lives.
- What do your friends believe about Jesus? Is Jesus something that you ever talk about, and is he something that is important in their lives? Do you ever talk about Jesus at school with your friends?
- Who do you believe Jesus was? Is the Bible true, and can we trust all that it says about Jesus? Do you ever have doubts about who Jesus was?
- What should our lives look like if we truly believe God’s Word and believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior? How do people’s lives look like if they don’t believe in Jesus? How do these two lifestyles compare?
- If you ever wanted to learn more about Jesus, where would you go to look? Are there certain books of the Bible that speak about Jesus’ life on earth? (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – the Four Gospels)
- Was Jesus just a man, or was he God who reigns forever? (Answer is BOTH). Why is this important for us to understand?
- What do you think are some ways that you can tell people about your faith in Jesus at school? What about students you know at school who don’t believe in Jesus; how can you share your faith with them?