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I Need to Change

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I NEED TO CHANGE 

Scripture: John 3:16–17; Acts 4:12; Romans 10:9–10; Ephesians 2:8–9

Memory verse: 2 Corinthians 5:17
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

Lead—In

Begin the study by telling this story: Once there was a big fat worm. This was not an ordinary earthworm. It was a caterpillar.

The caterpillar spent every day eating milkweed leaves. The more he ate, the larger he got. The caterpillar had to shed his skin several times because he kept getting too big for it. Then one day the caterpillar hooked himself onto some bark of the milkweed and started spinning a web around himself. He did not stop until he was completely covered by the web like shell.

If we were to watch this shell from the outside, we would think nothing was happening on the inside. The shell would not move or jiggle or change how it looked. We would probably become bored with it.

Wait! At last something begins to happen. The shell begins to move and twist and finally crack open. Out of it comes something. It looks like an insect with large, limp wings. The insect begins to flap its wings, and beautiful colours are seen. The big caterpillar has somehow changed into a beautiful butterfly.

Ask the students how a caterpillar can possibly change into a beautiful butterfly.  Explain that we do not know exactly how it happens. It is a miracle of God. Then tell the students that this week they will learn about another miraculous change. It is one that takes place inside a person’s heart and changes their life.

God’s Purpose in Sending Jesus

Ask: “Why did God send Jesus to the earth?” (Allow responses. Then ask a volunteer to recite John 3:16.)

God sent Jesus to earth because He loves us and wanted to provide a way for us to have our sins forgiven so we can spend eternity with Him.

Ask: “What does Romans 3:23 say?”

We all have sin in our lives. God is fair and just. Because of this, all sin must be punished and all good rewarded. The trouble is that when we are compared to God, we do not have any good in us. In fact, compared to God’s holiness, our goodness is like dirty rags! (Read Isaiah 64:6.)

Ask: “What does the word holy mean?” (Allow responses.)

It means sacred and worthy of worship and high esteem. God is holy and worthy of worship. He is sinless. But by nature we have sin in our lives. We cannot have fellowship with a holy God because God cannot have fellowship with anyone who has sin in his life.

Ask:” How many of you are perfect? Raise your hand if you have never made a mistake.” (Pause for response.)

No matter how hard we try, we still fail or make mistakes sometimes. When we try by ourselves to be good, we fail. We cannot change ourselves. That is why God sent Jesus to earth to pay the price for our sins. Through faith in Jesus we can change to become holy and righteous in God’s sight. (Ask a student to read Hebrews 13:20, 21.)

Because of sin, our lives were on a path marked “Doomed for destruction.”  Jesus changed our path by His sacrifice on the cross for us. We can now have a direct path to God and an entrance to heaven because of what Jesus did for us. He paid for our salvation with His own life so our entrance to the road to heaven is “free.”

Jesus, our Mediator

Jesus is sometimes referred to as our mediator.

Ask: “What is a mediator?” (Allow responses.)

A mediator is someone who settles differences—one who tries to bring peace between persons or nations who do not agree with each other.

The Bible tells us Jesus is our mediator. (Have a student read 1Timothy 2:5, 6.) Because of sin, we are not at peace with God. The difference between our sinfulness and God’s holiness is too great. God cannot look at sin. We are not righteous enough to come directly to God. Jesus, as our mediator, made a way for God and us to come together. Jesus died on the cross to become the perfect sacrifice for sin. When we accept Him as our Saviour, then God sees Jesus’ righteousness in us. Only then can we have peace with God.

Salvation through Jesus

This change that takes place in our lives comes only through our faith in Jesus. Yet having faith in Jesus is not something we can do by ourselves. Romans 12:3 tells us God has given each of us a measure of faith. It is through faith in Jesus that we are saved from the punishment for our sin and equipped to do His will. Being saved is not a reward God gives us for our good deeds. None of us could do enough good deeds to earn our salvation and eternal life. Salvation is a gift from God. We receive it by repenting of our sins and accepting Jesus as our Saviour and Lord. No one can earn his salvation. (Ask a student to read Ephesians 2:8, 9.)

Only one Person can offer us salvation. We can receive it from no other source. There is salvation, forgiveness, and freedom in only one Name. Salvation comes only through Jesus.

Steps to Salvation

How does a person receive the salvation Jesus offers? (Ask a student to read Acts 3:19 and Romans 10:9, 10.)

If you repent of your sins (are truly sorry for your sin and turn from your sin), confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord (say with your own words that Jesus is Lord of your life), and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be  saved. With your heart you repent and believe in Jesus and with your mouth you can express your faith in Him. It is important to let other people know you believe in Jesus. This is great news to share with others. It is exciting to know you are free from the power and punishment of sin!

When we accept salvation through Jesus, He forgives us of our sins and we become righteous and holy in God’s sight. We are no longer living by our rules, but by God’s rules. We become a part of God’s wonderful family.

New Lives in Jesus

What happens when we accept Jesus as Saviour and Lord?  Our memory verse, 2 Corinthians 5:17, says: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (Repeat the verse together two or three times.)

When we become Believers, we have a new outlook on life. We no longer follow our own way. We follow God’s way and obey Him. Our attitudes change because we have become new spiritually.

We talked earlier about a caterpillar that turned into a beautiful butterfly. The caterpillar did nothing but crawl around and eat leaves. It was not pretty at all. Most people would never stop to look at it and admire its beauty. Yet one day the caterpillar changed. It became a butterfly that could use its brightly coloured wings to fly in the air. Many people like to watch the graceful butterfly and admire its beauty.

We can compare our lives to that caterpillar. Before we ask Jesus into our hearts, our lives are sinful and ugly. Our sin separates us from God. When we become a Believer, our lives change. We become beautiful in God’s sight. Our desires change; we want to please God. We have His power available to help us. Others will notice the change in our lives too. That is because we become children of God and are a part of His family. Now we live to please Him, not just ourselves.

The Choice is Ours

Jesus will never force salvation on us. Whether or not to receive salvation is a free choice each of us must make for ourselves. We can choose to be sorry for our sin, stop it, and ask Jesus to be our Saviour and Lord. Or we can choose to live by our own rules and reject the sacrifice Jesus made for us when he died on the cross. The result of this choice will be eternal separation from God.

Jesus died so we could have our sins forgiven and live at peace with God forever. What will you choose to do? Why not let Jesus change your life and make you beautiful and holy in God’s sight? (Repeat the memory verse once more with the students.)

Accepting God’s Word

Remind the students of the choice they each must make—to give their lives to Jesus, or to keep living for self. Explain that not making a choice at all is the same as saying “no” to Jesus. The result of choosing God is a metamorphosis, or change, from the old sinful nature into a beautiful new creature in Christ. Tell the students that salvation happens the moment we ask Jesus to forgive our sins, but just as it took some time for the caterpillar to change into the butterfly, we need God’s power to keep changing us into the persons we need to be. This change will happen as we spend time getting to know Jesus through prayer and reading His Word. Encourage the students to share about their decision for Jesus with someone this week.

A Proud People 

I was privileged, along with a driver and an interpreter, to visit the Moor living along the Senegal River, the southern border of their homeland. Our guide led us through a sugar cane plantation to a small Black Moor village of 200 persons.

The village seemed prosperous. Most of the houses were built with cement blocks, and a new school was under construction. The chief was pleased to meet us and took us to a vacant house to officially receive us. He gave us permission to move through the village and take pictures and even assigned a young man as our tour guide.

An imam and his family live in the village, although there is no official mosque. The Black Moor of Senegal are Sunni Muslims and have two recognized brotherhoods—the Qadiri and Tajani. There are no known Christians among them, but a few have been introduced to the gospel and are seekers.

The Moor are obviously a proud people, self-sufficient and industrious. I was amazed at their openness and hospitality. Yet they are hesitant to accept the good news of the Kingdom. The timing seems right for the Lord to assert His power and glory to validate His message of redeeming grace and for seekers to become believers in Jesus Christ.

REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Moor Village Girls

1. Girls to work hard and honour their parents,
2. Christian classmates to challenge the girls to consider putting their faith in Jesus,
3. Lady messengers to visit the girls' villages and disciple the new believers.

Prayer Promise

"How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news" (Romans 10:15)!

Remember: I NEED TO CHANGE

Memory verse: 2 Corinthians 5:17
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

1. Jesus paid for my sins.
2. Jesus want to save me and transform my life.
3. Now I can enter the presence of my heavenly Father, covered by Jesus' righteousness.

Pray for Moor village girls.

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Study 4 | Come Holy Spirit/Born Again | africaatts.org/go-teach

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