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The Real Me

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THE REAL ME 

Scripture: Genesis 1:26, 2:7; Psalm 8:4–9, 23:1–6; Ecclesiastes 12:7; Luke 15:3–7

Memory verse: Psalm 100:3
“Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.”

Lead—In

Explain that this study’s theme is about who we are and how we can become more like Jesus by following the example He showed us in the Bible. We each are special to God and were created for His glory. We are alive because God has a purpose for us and wants us in the world. His desire is that we love and follow Him all the days of our lives.

Hearing God’s Word

What did God use to make man? God used dust from the ground to make man, and His own breath made the man a living soul. Do you know where the dust came from? Let us read Genesis 1:9, 10 to see what happened on the third day of creation. (Let a volunteer read these verses aloud.)

The first sentence in God’s Word tells us “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Then on the third day of creation God caused dry land to appear.  On the sixth day of creation, God made man out of the dust of the ground and breathed His own breath into the man to make him a living soul.

Ask: “Do you know what happens to a person when he dies?” (Allow responses.)

His physical body, the part that was made of dust, changes back into dust. However, the spirit God breathed into the person to make him alive will never die. His body, made originally from dust, will someday return to the ground. It is only a package in which the spirit lives. Ecclesiastes 12:7 tells us what happens when a person dies. (Have a student read the verse.)

All people belong to God, and God loves each of us. Psalm 24:1 tells us the earth and everything on it belongs to God. (Have a student read the verse.) The Living Bible says, “The earth belongs to God! Everything in the entire world is his!” Since we belong to God, we should want to grow to be what He wants us to be—more like Him.

Man’s Responsibility

God gave man responsibilities and made him a part of His plan for the earth. God wanted man to take care of the fish, birds, and animals.

The Bible says God made man a little lower than the angels, gave him glory and honour, and put him in charge of the rest of His creation. (Ask volunteers to read Psalm 8:4-9.) Because God created us, we belong to Him and are part of His plan for the world. He wants what is best for us, and He enjoys taking care of us.

This week’s memory verse says, “Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture” (Psalm 100:3). (Repeat the verse together several times.)

God, the Shepherd; Man, His Sheep

Man’s relationship to God is described in this week’s memory verse. It says we are God’s sheep and God is our Shepherd.

Ask: “Why do you think God calls us His sheep and himself our Shepherd?” (Allow discussion.)

Ask: “Can you think of another Bible passage that refers to the Lord as our Shepherd?” (Allow response. Instruct the students to turn in their Bibles to Psalm 23 and read it together.)

Ask: “Can you tell me some things about sheep?” (Let the students respond.)

For one thing, sheep are not very smart. That is, they do things that are not safe for them. If we were to watch sheep, we would probably think they are really foolish. For instance, sheep tend to follow a leader. The other sheep get behind one sheep and follow him no matter where he goes. Even when the leader goes in the wrong direction or to a dangerous place, the other sheep will continue following the leader.

Ask: “Have you ever known people like this?” (Allow discussion.)

Ask: “Did you ever hear someone say, ‘but everybody is doing it’?” (Discuss common reasons for students wanting to follow the crowd in what they think, what they say, what they do, and in how they act in order to fit in with the group.  Keep in mind that youth are strongly influenced by peer pressure.)

Stop and think! Do not turn away from God and follow the crowd. Because God made us, He loves us and wants to take care of us, even when we may wander away from His care. He knows we need Him to guide us so we will not follow the wrong leader and end up on the wrong path.

Sheep and their Shepherd

Sheep are normally shy and easily frightened. Sometimes when they are startled, they run away from their shepherd, the very one who protects them. Frightened sheep will even run right on top of other sheep until there is a pile of sheep. The sheep on the bottom will often die because they cannot get air.

People have a natural tendency to sin. When we sin, we go away from God, the only One who can forgive our sin. The Bible tells us that the road to hell is wide because so many take that road and it leads to eternal destruction.

Ask: “When sheep run away, does a good shepherd forget them?  (Allow responses.)

A good shepherd loves his sheep too much to abandon them when they get lost. Instead, he will guide them back into the fold because he cares for them. The Parable of the Lost Sheep in Luke 15:3–7 tells of a shepherd who would leave 99 sheep to go after one lost sheep until he finds it. Then he calls his friends and neighbours to rejoice with him because he found that one lost sheep.

Ask: “How should this remind us of God?”

He is patient with us when we do wrong by disobeying Him. He is always with us and ready to help us, if we ask. God wants us to come to Him. He made us to love Him and live for Him.

Sheep are also defenceless. They cannot protect themselves from dogs or wild animals. They are dependent on the shepherd to protect them. In this country, there are few shepherds because sheep are kept in fenced pastures. Still, the sheep are occasionally attacked by wild animals.

Suppose a sheep owner neglected his duty and allowed dogs or wild animals to get into his flock of sheep and kill one. What if he said, “I will let the wild animal have just one sheep for his dinner? If I do, he will probably leave the rest of the flock alone.” His actions would not be those of a good shepherd.

A good shepherd would lay down his own life for just one sheep. This is how God feels about us. We are “his people, the sheep of his pasture,” and Jesus did give His life for our salvation.

A good shepherd gets to know each of his sheep. He learns its individual characteristics. He learns which sheep tend to get lost more than others and which sheep are more easily frightened. He also watches for sheep that may be injured. A good shepherd considers the individual personalities of his sheep and cares for their needs.

God is Our Good Shepherd

We, as God’s sheep, also have individual personalities. God knows each of us and our personal needs. As our Good Shepherd, He is concerned when we are hurting, when we are lost, and when the enemy is after us. God rejoices when one sinner comes to know Him just as a shepherd would when he finds his one lost sheep.

Accepting God’s Word

God made us and He wants to guide and care for each of us just as a good shepherd does. Like the shepherd who rejoices when he finds his lost sheep, God rejoices when one sinner repents of sin and accepts Jesus as his Saviour and Shepherd.

God’s love is shown in the plan of salvation. He gave His only Son to take the punishment of death for our sins to provide salvation to those who are sorry for their sin and ask Him to forgive them. Would you like to receive Jesus as your Saviour today? Pray individually with any who respond.

Trusting God

Our team of three drove from Dakar, Senegal, to the town of Rosso - the border crossing into Mauritania. Arriving in Nouakchott, we were in the heart of the White Moor homeland that stretches along the coast from the Senegal border up through Western Sahara. While we were there, we met several White Moor university students. Some had studied overseas and were interested in visiting with us in order to interact with Western culture.

A visit to the market to purchase a traditional Moorish robe afforded us an opportunity to interact with businessmen. It appears that the White Moor dominate the business community and are eager to make a sale to a tourist. The White Moor are strongly Islamic, and as a people group they are resistant to a Christian witness.

Working with the White Moor necessitates one's total reliance on the work of the Holy Spirit.  Much seed has been sown among them, and one day it will bring forth fruit. I was reminded of Jesus' teaching in Mark 4:26-27: "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how." In God's perfect timing, there will be a great harvest among the White Moor. 

REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Moor University Students

1. Students at local universities to come in contact with a believer in Christ Jesus,
2. University students studying abroad in a free society to examine the Christian faith,
3. Believers to be intentional in introducing Jesus to students who will be tomorrow's leaders.

Prayer Promise

"The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (John 1:41).

Remember: THE REAL ME

Memory verse: Psalm 100:3
“Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.”

1. Jesus saved me and brought me into His family.
2. Jesus loves me and cares for me.
3. Jesus now lives His life through me.

Pray for Moor university students.

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Study 2 | Come Holy Spirit/Born Again | africaatts.org/go-teach

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