In our High School Ministry, Element, we just finished a 4 week teaching series called Did You Hear That? Each week, we would look at one saying of Jesus that is really hard for us to believe and follow. Jesus is not an easy person to follow or believe in. He says some very radical and confusing things. At times we can forget that there is a true cost to following Jesus. We had the opportunity to encourage our students to value obedience over comfort. Here is a little summary of each week:
Week 1: Matthew 7:21-23
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven…”
In this passage, Jesus reminds us that just because we know the right things to believe about Jesus does not mean we truly know him as Lord and Savior. Our church attendance and our good deeds do not earn us salvation. But those who do enter the kingdom of heaven are those whose lives are full of confession and dependence upon Jesus. The ones who inherit heaven are those who know that they cant get there without the work of Jesus.
Week 2: John 9:1-7
“Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
This story in John 9 is a wonderful story of Jesus healing a blind man. But if we look in more detail at this story, we will come across a difficult truth. In verse 3, Jesus says that this man was born blind so that “God might be displayed in him.” This man suffered for years for the sole purpose of God being glorified in Him. So we had the opportunity to talk about how our own suffering can lead to glorifying God. And one truth that we focused on was this: In times of suffering, don’t focus on the “Why” but focus on the “Who.” In times of difficulty, look to God who can be displayed in you.
Week 3: Matthew 5:29-30
If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away.
This statement of Jesus is difficult because sin is so attractive to us. Sin promises us happiness and excitement and fulfillment. But as we discussed, sin actually separates us from God. In this talk, we focused on the practicality of how to “gouge” sin out of our lives. We may need to take radical steps to avoid our sin. We may need to find new friends, give up our phones, or even change schools. If we desire obedience to God above all else, we will do whatever it takes to reject sin.
Week 4: Matthew 5:10
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Sharing the gospel with our friends is hard enough. But now Jesus says that when we share the Gospel, we may be persecuted. If we desire to share the good news of Jesus, we will suffer. We know this because of Jesus Christ and his suffering. He paid the penalty for our sins and suffered upon the cross. When we accept that gift, we then have the opportunity to share it with others. It may bring suffering, but it also brings blessing. We have the privilege to follow Christ in this way.
This was a difficult series but it was a necessary one. I am so excited to see our students continue to follow Jesus, no matter the cost.
Director of Student Ministries.