“Like the Light ”
Click below to download the Cornerstone Connections leader’s guide and student lesson. This week’s resources also include two lesson plans and a discussion starter video which offer different ways of looking at the topic. Each lesson plan includes opening activities, scripture passages, discussion questions, and real-life applications.
Unlikely Leaders - Ch. 58
A Glorious Future Is Before Us
Many people encourage us to give our lives for “a cause.” But have we chosen a cause that will endure throughout eternity?
Home Renovation in Process
Flip the channel to the HGTV network and we are likely to see a home either in demolition mode or new floors and tiles being applied for a renovation. Home is a place we are all familiar with, so when Jesus talks about Himself as a firm foundation to build on, we can understand His illustration. The rooms in a newly built home are just blank spaces until they have specific furniture added and pipes or electrical hookups connected. We are the same in some ways, because only when God’s design is followed in our lives do we find our clear purpose. A kitchen without a sink, oven, refrigerator, table, and chairs would not be useful for its designed function. As we trust God’s design for our lives, He equips us for the purposes He has for us. Faith put into action is like when people use and enjoy their home with purpose. As Christians, we are the most at home when God’s Holy Spirit is living in us and directing our life.
OPENING ACTIVITY: FAITH AND LEGOS
Needed: an instruction booklet for a Lego set
Look at the various pages in the instruction booklet, while you discuss the way a Lego set is put together. Lego blocks come in various sizes, shapes, and colors, and each piece is essential to create the final structure. You can’t build a Lego set by starting on page 16 of the instruction book, because there is order and purpose in the design which requires a step-by-step process. If a piece is missing, the Lego set will not fit together the way it was intended. Even the smallest piece, if it is not attached in the proper spot, can throw the entire design off. Building with a Lego set requires some faith, because the pieces are randomly attached to one another until a shape starts to form and eventually looks really great! As we read Bible verses one at a time, we can build our knowledge of God and grow in faith. Piecing together the promises, prophecies, stories, and poems of the Bible builds a solid foundation of faith in our lives. If God’s design at first doesn’t make sense, we should keep building, because we will see His plans for our lives are good, and when we follow His instructions great things happen!
Bible Study Guide
Read each Bible passage, then discuss the questions.
Read Ephesians 2:19-22 (NIV).
19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. 20 Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. 21 We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. 22 Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.
Read 2 Timothy 3:14-15 (NIV).
14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.
Read 1 Peter 2:2-3 (NIV).
2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.
Jesus: Firm Foundation
Read Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV).
24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”
The Point Is
Just like a home is built on a solid foundation where piece by piece a meaningful structure is designed, when your faith is built on Jesus and in Him you live out your purpose, then a life of hope and security is promised. When God told Peter about the Rock that He would build His church on, He assured him that nothing would overcome Him, not ever. There will always be people who believe in the true God. Never will there be a time when evil overcomes good. From now until eternity, you are a loved and nurtured member of God’s family.
Consider applying what you learned in this week’s lesson by doing one or all of these activities:
For a Relational Bible Study (RBS) you’ll want to get into the Scripture passage and encourage the youth to imagine participating in the story while it’s happening. Then you will be able to better apply it to your own situation today.
You will need to ask God for the Holy Spirit to be present as your small group discusses the questions (no more than 3-6 people in a group is recommended). Start with the opening question. It is a personal question and the answer is unique for each individual. There is no right answer and nobody is an expert here, so don’t be surprised when you hear different responses. You are depending on the Holy Spirit to be present and to speak through your group. Say what God prompts you to say, and listen to what others share.
Take turns reading the chapter out loud. Follow that with giving the students some time to individually mark their responses to the questions (a PDF version of the handout is available as a download). This gives each person a starting point for responding when you start to share as a group. Next, begin the discussion by asking the students to share what they marked and why on each question as you work your way through. Feel free to take more time on some questions than others as discussion warrants.
Encourage each person in the group to apply what is discussed to their personal lives and to share with the group what they believe God wants them to do. Then ask them to pray that God will help each of them to follow through in doing so. Remind them to expect that God will show them ways to live out the message of this passage in the coming week, and that they are free to ask others in the group to help hold them accountable.
As we open this important book to Chapter 7, the Church of God is still a divided one, part on earth, and part in heaven. The first part shielded while amid evil; the second part raised above it, caught up, while tribulation is yet raging here, compared to the perfect calm that abides there. As we look at this portion of scripture for our study, we see God finally uniting His Kingdom. This gives us hope that we will be with God, and we won’t have to ever encounter sin or its effects anymore. At the end of all the suffering, pain, stress, sickness, and death, God wins! His people are also winners for trusting in him. Our text can be navigated and explored using seven questions about the citizens of God’s Kingdom.
With these final pictures, John reassures his readers that they will indeed receive the final eschatological reward, which is eternal life with God. All of this is quite in keeping with the overall theology of the book. Though there is great pain in tribulation for God’s people, the church militant will inevitably become the church triumphant. Everyone and everything are ultimately in God’s hands.
“We are Winners!”
Can you share about a time when you gained an improbable victory?
Read Revelation 7:9-17.
9 After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. 10 And they were shouting with a great roar,
“Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!”
11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living beings. And they fell before the throne with their faces to the ground and worshiped God.
12 They sang, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
13 Then one of the twenty-four elders asked me, “Who are these who are clothed in white? Where did they come from?”
14 And I said to him, “Sir, you are the one who knows.”
Then he said to me, “These are the ones who died in the great tribulation. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white.
15 “That is why they stand in front of God’s throne and serve him day and night in his Temple. And he who sits on the throne will give them shelter. 16 They will never again be hungry or thirsty; they will never be scorched by the heat of the sun. 17 For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”
1. What current issues in our country/world make you yearn for heaven?
2. What is Revelation’s main point in Chapter 7:9-17?
3. What is the celebration about in Revelation 7:10-12?
4. What is the essence of John’s words in Revelation 7:17?
5. Which of the seven praise points in Revelation 7:12 do you use most?
6. What do “white robes” and “palm branches” mean in Revelation 7:9?
7. What can you imagine yourself doing in this multitude?
8. Is God so centered in your life right now, that heaven will be your reality?
Revelation 7:9-17 is among my favorite passages in all the Scriptures. That’s partly because of the vision it gives God’s people of the kinds of things that are going on in the earth right now and God’s response that results in victory.
Here we see the redeemed triumphant, because of Jesus’ blood. He gave His life because of His incalculable love for humanity. It is of the greatest importance to remember that this love of God does not only forgive a person because they stained their garments, but it also makes them clean.
The merits of this bloody sacrifice also give us entrance into the hereafter with Him. We will then be safe in His presence forevermore. “He will pitch his tent over us.” We look forward to the endless ages of eternity, throughout which we are confident that God will indeed dwell in our midst. Never shall we be deprived of His presence, His sustenance, and His favor. To be without the presence of God is utter loss; to have Him dwell among us is salvation evermore.
This image presented in Revelation 7:9-17 teems with strength and unity, victory and assurance, hope that is achieved and received, as a result of Christ’s sacrifice and expressed by the shouting of praises to Him for who He is and what He has done. This crowd is not just shouting praises, they are experiencing them; they are involved as they partake in the worship of Christ. They are overcome with His presence, and in awe as the crowd, angels, and witnesses again fall prostrate before the Sovereign Lamb. What a scene to read about! The only thing better is to experience it personally!
Below, find some application activities to help you to interface with this lesson. These are simply to provide ideas, or to invite you to imagine and create some of your own, as you impact the lives of teens for God’s glory.
Understanding & Relating to African American Youth
By Esperanza Terrell & Sean Watkins
If you’ve read Growing Young, you know how important it is to engage young people in your church. But how? Even when we bring our best intentions to these conversations, the dialogue somehow flops.
This comprehensive guide is the perfect handbook for any adult looking for a starting point in conversations with today’s African American youth. It includes an overview of the reality African American youth face, fundamental principles of conversation, plus 30+ questions and ideas for next steps.
1. Activity / Busy Bags for Kids
Help parents stay sane. Assemble bags with activities to keep small children busy.
Cost: Less than $5.00
2. Placemats For Meals On Wheels
Cheer up the homebound. Thoughtfully decorated placemats are a lovely extra to bring to meal recipients. If you’re able to laminate the placemats, all the better!
Cost: Less than $5.00
3. Deliver Meals For Meals On Wheels
Help fight hunger. Pick up and deliver meals to seniors and people with disabilities.
Cost: Less than $5.00