Sunday Mornings – From Faith to Faith
It has been an exciting and fun experience (for me at least!) as we’ve been progressing through our two series: “From Faith to Faith” and “The Gender Series.” Sunday mornings have so far been just an introduction to the book of Romans as we dive more and more into it. Our theme verses for the Teens of Faith (and for the whole book of Romans) are Romans 1:16-17, and about the first four weeks were simply spent in a broad overview of the book.
Who wrote it? Why was it written? Why would the author spend time writing this letter to this church in Rome, and why should WE care about it?
As you initially study a passage of Scripture, these and other questions should be forming in your minds. The Bible IS an ancient book, and it’s our job to not only find out what God said, but, through that, what he is saying to us! Our “birds-eye” view of the book showed us that Paul had a distinct purpose in mind in his letter, and he was writing to get the church to see that the Christian life is much more than an event, but it’s a process.
Chapters 1-3 are a major discussion on sin and every man’s standing before God: condemnation. Chapters 3-5 are so precious and beautiful because although we’re all helplessly condemned, God has made a way out of all that through his love: salvation. But that’s not all… chapters 6-8 tell us that God wants his children to grow and change: sanctification. Chapters 9-11 deal with a lot of doctrine and future dealings with Israel: dispensation. Finally, Paul writes that as a person is saved and begins to be changed through the Spirit’s power, he ought to constantly be using his gifts and energy in giving back to the Lord through service: application.
So far, we’ve just barely started in Paul’s intro in Chapter 1, but already as we study God’s Word, we can make no apology for asking more from Christian teens. Paul says that he is a debtor, ready and not ashamed of the gospel. The headline of the book of Romans is that “The Just Shall Live By Faith!” Can that be said of each teen, or does the headline above his or her life say something a little different?
Wednesday Evenings – The Gender Series
Another interesting journey we’ve been on is our study of the Gender Series. We spent several weeks laying the foundation and the biblical goals for our gender, and much of the lessons in the following weeks will be on application.
Marriage – a HUGE step in most of our teens’ lives will be their marriage, and most of the references to gender in the Bible are related to marriage. While we are NOT encouraging them to get married right now, we ARE stressing the importance that the point of dating, courting, engagement–whatever you’d like to call it–is to grow closer to God until each is ready for marriage. God created Adam, but this single human was something that God looked down on and said, “Not good.” Wow! His own creation wasn’t good?
Well, it was not good that man was alone, so he created Eve–someone who was “perfectly suited just for him,” or, “meet” for him. She was his “help” that was “meet for him,” or, “according to the opposite of him.” God created someone so perfect and instituted a gorgeous union called marriage: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh (weave).” Genesis 2:24 Every teenager is right now working on his or her marriage! The way that they conduct themselves now is forming their opinions and habits about how they should act, think and feel about members of the opposite gender. Our goal through the series is that they learn to fulfill their individual roles as a man or a woman now.
God’s image – God created man to bear his image, but he created mankind to bear his image as male AND female (Genesis 1:27). That means that when he first created the perfect man and the perfect woman (before sin was introduced in the garden), man was 100% masculine and woman was 100% feminine in order to perfectly bear His image. Our goal is to be exactly what God wants us to be–a male or a female who is absolutely fulfilling his or her roles. When we neglect Bible teaching, we step away from 100% masculinity or femininity and are not where God wants us to be.
Steps – We spent a few weeks talking about what those steps look like. For women, a step out of 100% femininity would be a step toward the thinking of feminism–a teaching that basically says that women are equal to men in ALL areas, including social, family and church. (Gen. 3:16 “thy desire shall be to thy husband [his position of authority]”) While women and men are equal in areas such as quality, worth, spirituality and value to God, they cannot be equal in role, function and authority, according to the Bible. Pure womanhood is so much more precious and beautiful than our minds can imagine, and looking at it from God’s perspective, one cannot but desire to be at 100%! A woman’s main power is her influence.
Couple that influence with a man’s authority, and you have what I’ve been calling an “unstoppable” couple. A man has no authority outside of God, and we’ve spent a lot of time emphasizing that all the responsibility of the family rests on the man’s shoulders! (Eph. 5:23, 25) A man who is fulfilling his roles as a caring, loving, leading, biblical man carries FAR more authority than some big-mouthed tough guy! In fact, we spent a whole message on how a man steps back from 100% masculinity–by being too soft of a sissy or being too hard of a dictator! (I used the term jerk, but maybe that’s a little harsh for this setting!)
Future lessons – What will follow in our series are more lessons on what those roles look like in our culture and in this time. We are not too impressed with the guys who look sloppy and don’t treat ladies right, and the loud-mouthed, assertive model our culture pushes on our young ladies is far from the beautiful flower that God has designed. 100% masculine is not the macho, tough guy, and 100% feminine is not some dainty little girl who’s incapable of anything… quite the opposite. God desires and commands men and ladies to act certain ways and be certain things. Our prayer is that your teens’ daily lives are affected and that they learn now to be exactly what God has designed them to be. They would text, interact, think, talk, walk and act completely differently if they really desired God to work through their lives.
Parents – Parents, encourage your children to live right, and model to them the attitudes that they should follow. Your influence is far more long-lasting than mine, but if I can be a help in any way, I’ll do my best. Try your hardest to attend on Wednesday nights and have your teens in the Teens of Faith.