Belonging to Jesus
- Experience the strength and joy of belonging to Christ.
- Practice seeking comfort in Christ during difficult circumstances.
- Hear stories of other Christians who found hope in Christ, even when they were mistreated and in danger.
- Describe why belonging to Jesus is important to us.
As you begin teaching these middle school children, please note that the Dwell curriculum for this age group changes its focus somewhat. It incorporates more doctrinal summary into each session.
Why? Why not just stick with the biblical stories? What's important about doctrine anyway?
The Bible is a big, sprawling, passionate story of God's relentless love for the world he made. There comes a time in reading and living into that story to summarize some of its truths into a clearer, more concise understanding of who God is and who we are in relation to God.
These young teens are ready to think more deeply about God. One tool that will be used to that end is Q&A: A Summary of Biblical Teachings--based on the Heidelberg Catechism. Q&A is a kind of shorthand version of the material the church has used for centuries to summarize and systematize the truths of the Bible.
One more thing: the Catechism on which this summary is based is not a cold or abstract summary of doctrine. It's not just statements about God, but zeroes in on what it means for us to be a child of God. It's biblical doctrine on a very personal level.
That focus is evident in the very first Q&A. "What is your only comfort as a Christian? That I, body and soul, in life and death, belong to Jesus Christ."
The comfort described here is not merely the ease of being comfortable, like the feeling you get curled up by a warm fire with your fingers wrapped around a hot drink. It is ultimate comfort, what remains when everything else falls apart, the comfort that gets us through anything this life throws at us, even death itself.
To grasp the reality of this ultimate comfort, you will be living into two powerful prison stories, one from the Bible and one from recent history. In both stories, believers in Jesus Christ are helplessly caught in deep trouble. In both, the only thing that gets the believers through is their faith that, no matter what happens to them, they belong to Jesus Christ.
What's pictured here is not a sugarcoated faith or an easy comfort. It's a sense of belonging that can endure any hardship or danger. The picture of Paul and Silas singing hymns to their Lord while in chains, their bodies racked with pain after being beaten to an inch of their lives, says it all.
Likewise, Corrie and her sister Betsie endure the darkest time and place of the twentieth century, slowly starving to death in a German concentration camp. Neither mistreatment, nor disease, nor the pain of death itself can shake their faith and the ultimate comfort of belonging to the One who held them in the palm of his hand.
As Paul put it in his letter to the Romans, "If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord" (Rom. 14:8).
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