BIBLE GROUP message to SPBC Youth (May 21, 2017)
è Can you share about a time when you wished you could erase words/actions?
Today’s Bible study will view actions that we all wish we could erase. We will also address the serious consequences of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus.
EXAMINE MATTHEW 27
Jesus was accused of blasphemy (claiming to be God), which was a religious offense. Therefore, the religious leaders desired to put Jesus to death and led Him to the Roman governor Pilate for the final confirmation for execution.
When Judas learned of Jesus’ fate, he had remorse. While Judas’ remorse led him to return the bribery money for betraying Jesus, it seems he couldn’t find peace for his guilt. We will never fully know the eternal fate of Judas until we enter our own eternal fate. Yet, we do know that guilt, shame, and fear led Judas to hang himself (Matthew 27:5).
Jesus was sentenced to crucifixion. He was beaten, bloodied, nailed to a wooden cross to die. While Jesus could have saved Himself, He chose to remain to accomplish God’s mission in paying the penalty for human sin. While Jesus’ death was under God’s control, there was also the human responsibility of the Jews and Romans who executed Him. In all, Jesus’ death brings us life.
How should we view suicide? How should Christians think of the value for life? How can God’s people be a source of hope and help for others?
There is a recent Netflix show called “13 Reasons Why.” It depicts the story of a teenager who committed suicide and left cassette recordings of an emotional audio diary reasoning her actions supposedly based on her relationship with other individual’s. These individuals receive the recordings to listen, and thus is the show.
Today, I would like to discuss this topic for what teens think of 13 Reasons Why NOT. In other words, let us consider reasons to live. This discussion will he handled seriously and sensitively to not discuss specific names of real-life individuals. If specific names are addressed then we will address conversation to stop so that those circumstances may be handled appropriately with that person and family.
The goal of our discussion is to
1) Inform and encourage students of the biblical value for life through faith in God,
2) Equip students how to communicate with peers and in circumstances when this topic is discussed.
3) Discern ways to further encourage and equip students and families at SPBC and in our community.
è What are some reasons you can think of why Judas should not have hung himself?
è From pd’s list of 13, what stands out/surprises you? What questions or comments do you have?
è What action in response to this study and discussion are you considering? Is there someone in your life that you should share this list?
Suicide: 13 Reasons Why NOT
- God isn’t asking for fake but faith. You can be real with God. You don’t have to hide your hurts or heartaches. You don’t have to diminish doubts or disbelief. God created you and is seeking to be in a faith relationship with you. He will not leave you and promises to walk with you through any situation (Hebrews 13:5-6).
- God cares. He cares and invites us to cast all our anxiety on Him (1Peter 5:7). God has spoken to us through the Scriptures. There are many passages that can identify with whatever you are feeling. Pick a Psalm and eventually there will be one that resonates. God is speaking to you and invites you to speak back, that’s called prayer. Try it.
- Your value started at conception. Before you were born, God knew you (Psalm 139:13-14). You are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Jesus tells us we are so valuable that God knows even the number of hairs on our head (Luke 12:7). One person said, “God does not love us because we are valuable, but we are valuable because God loves us.” You have immeasurable value because you are immensely loved.
- You have a mission. God has a purpose and plan for your life (Ephesians 2:10). This life is like a puzzle with people as the unique and different pieces. We can only see the full picture when we put ourselves together with our gifts and talents to create the bigger picture. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you have something to offer, even if you may not be able to see what or how. Realize the mission of your life requires you to persevere and go the distance.
- Church and community resources can be a comfort. For those who have faith in Jesus, God has placed you in a community of support to lament and laugh in life (Romans 14:15). Your brothers and sisters in Christ are a spiritual family comfort in your circumstances. Even for those who are not Christians, the church can be a place of grace to listen and love you through whatever you may be facing. The church is made up of imperfect people who live amid a broken and unjust world, but have found the remedy to bring about reconciliation and justice. Connect with a local church to explore the issues of the world and personal concerns. There are also additional community resources through NAMI and other mental health counseling organizations to receive help and healing. Please take the step to speak with someone who has professional experience on this topic.
- Perception can cause problems. Our view can be limited and not see or understand the whole truth. The brokenness of this world can distort reality. And young people are still growing to understand themselves, others, and the world around them. We must be careful to make decisions based on limited perception. Ask others for advice to gain insight and grow in understanding.
- People are not problems. You may have a problem, but you are not a problem. Sometimes we may feel like a burden and others would be better without us, but that’s a lie. There would be a huge hole in the lives of those around you if you were gone. Giving up makes people bitter not better. People are not problems, don’t give up.
- You are loved. God’s love is unfading and unending and has placed people around you to care and help (1Peter 1:4). The most important people around you are your family and friends. Even when it feels like family or friends are absent, they care beyond what you may realize. God has amazing love for you.
- Storms and sadness strengthen us. Times of darkness can develop us into better people and to help others (2Corinthians 1:3-4). Your life story has more to be written. You don’t want to miss what God will do in your life. God who began a work in you wants to bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6).
- Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. It silences your voice and the voices of others in the decision-making process. We must have patience before acting. There is always a way out and an opportunity for resolving your circumstances.
- Death is not the end. When we die we enter eternity. Each of us will stand before God, eye to eye and face to face (2Corinthians 5:10). While suicide is not the unpardonable sin, it is wrong because it takes life. Suicide is an attempt to control our life, when only God should have that power. Humanity cannot solve anything by taking life, their own or any other’s.
- Guilt can be gone. If you feel shame, fear, or guilt, you can know that Jesus is greater than all those. We don’t have to carry the burden of guilt because Jesus carried it for us on the cross and defeated all shame and sin. Our death will bring pain, but Jesus’ death provides life. We can be forgiven and free through faith in Jesus Christ. The gospel is greater than all our sin, and His grace is sufficient to cleanse our heart from all unrighteousness (1John 1:9).
- Hope is on the horizon. God is always at work and orchestrating circumstances for good and His glory (Romans 8:28). God promises to make everything right. Heaven is real, and we are promised a day when God will wipe away every tear from our eyes and there will be no more death, mourning, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4-5). Don’t give up hope. Hang on to hope. Hope is a Person named Jesus, and His arm is not too short that it cannot save, nor His ear too dull that it cannot hear (Isaiah 59:1). Call upon Jesus and He will save you (Romans 10:9-13).