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1. Opening up

  • Review: We have now read all of the Gospel of Mark. That’s a great accomplishment! Many people go through life without ever stopping to hear the story of Jesus. It’s a big deal that you’ve made the time to do this.
  • Question: Last week we finished with the resurrection. As you look back at everything we’ve studied, what stands out to you? What did you learn?
  • Pray: Ask the Holy Spirit to open your hearts and guide your time.

Transition: Now that we’ve read all of Mark, let’s put it together and summarize the message.

2. The Gospel Message

  • Question: if you had to summarize the story of Jesus, and the Gospel message itself, how would you do it? If a friend asked you to explain the message, what would you tell them?
  • Summarizing the message. The story of Jesus fits into the big story of history. As we think about how to explain the gospel, we need to know the whole story.
    • The “four chapters” of the Bible.
      • What’s your favorite movie? Imagine if you were watching it for the first time and missed the first 10 minutes and the final 10 minutes of the movie. How would that change the story or confuse you?
        • Missing the beginning and end would really confuse you, so much so that you might misunderstand the whole story. When we think about the Bible, sometimes we approach it the same way, leaving off the beginning and the end. The Gospel of Mark is of course, set into the grand story of the whole Bible. And if you think about that grand story there are four chapters. Now, if you thumb through the Bible you will notice way more than four chapters. So, what we’re saying is that you can break the big story of the Bible into four sections: 1) Creation, 2) Fall, 3) Redemption, 4) Restoration/ New Creation:[1]

      • How would you explain these parts of the big story?
        • Chapter 1: Creation
          • God – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – made all things, and he made them “good.” Then he made man and woman, and he called them “very good,” because they were made in his image. That meant they reflected God – they could know things with their mind, they could do good things with their will, and they could love others. In fact, God made us to love Him and each other.
        • Chapter 2: Fall
          • Sin interrupted the whole story and design. Adam and Eve rejected God’s love and authority, so instead of loving God and each other, human beings became self-centered. Sin created brokenness with God, each other, and our world.
        • Chapter 3: Redemption
          • God could have started over, but instead he decided to redeem and rescue his creation. God the Son came down and became man. He lived a life of perfect love and goodness, but then he died the death of a lawbreaker on the cross. Three days later he rose from the dead! Now, whoever is connected to him can have restoration – a right relationship with God, and the start of a new way of life in the world and with other people.
        • Chapter 4: New Creation
          • God is not satisfied with just rescuing our souls – he wants to make all things new and better. A day is coming when heaven will come to earth and all things will be made new, so that we will live in perfect peace with God, each other, and our world.

Transition: With the big story in mind, let’s think about how our stories fit in…

3. Your Story and The Gospel

  • The Gospel Message: The Gospel message tells you how your story fits into God’s story. Remember that we were made to know and love God – to experience a joy-filled relationship with him. But our sin separates us from him. Maybe you’ve visited or seen pictures of the Grand Canyon. The result of our sin means that we are on one side of the Canyon and God is on the other, and there seems to be no hope of being together with him. [2]

    • But even though we’re separated from God because of our sin, here is what he offers us…
  • Grace and Mercy.
    • God’s character is so incredible, that instead of giving us what we deserve (punishment and separation), he offers mercy. And on top of mercy, he offers to gives us what we don’t deserve (what we could never earn) – grace. God wants to give YOU grace and mercy. And the way he does is explained in 2 Corinthians 5:21.
  • The Great Exchange.
    • “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
      • In this verse, you can hear two things happening: 1) Jesus took on our sin. Even though he was sinless, he took on the punishment of our sin (became sin). This meant that he died on the cross to pay the penalty of your sin – death. But also, 2) he gave us his perfect life, so that we might become “the righteousness of God.” In other words, we needed a perfect record and Jesus gave us his. This is called the Great Exchange. Jesus exchanged his place for you, his life for yours, his death for you.

[1] Picture from https://www.outsideonline.com/2367261/grand-canyon-travel-guide

Transition: So how do you know that’s true for you?

4. Respond: Faith and Repentance

  • Repentance. Because this is a word that we use in church but not anywhere else, it can be confusing. Repentance is like driving down the highway the wrong way and suddenly admitting it, and then turning around in the right direction. When we repent, we recognize that we’re on the wrong path – it’s not just that we do bad stuff sometimes, but that we live for ourselves. Remember that people can even use religion (keeping all the rules) or irreligion (living however I want) to feel good about themselves. Repentance is admitting that you can’t keep the rules and that you don’t want to live however you want. It means admitting that you’re wrong and that you can’t do anything to fix it.
  • Faith. When we turn in the right direction we turn to Jesus. He is the One we look to. If we can’t rescue ourselves, make life work on our own, or draw near to God, then we need him to do all those things. He is the Savior who says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). The Gospel is an invitation to trust in Jesus, not just with our mind, but our heart, and will – all of us. If we decide to trust Jesus, it means that we want him to save us, we love him with all our hearts, and we want him to be the most important thing in our lives.
  • For you. When someone turns from their sin and trusts in Jesus for the first time, they become a follower of Jesus. And as his followers, God wants us to keep living the same way each day – turning from our sin and trusting in Jesus.
    • ASK: Where do you think you are? Have you really admitted that you were on the wrong road – going in the wrong direction – by only living for yourself? And have you turned to Jesus and decided to trust him fully?
      • PRAY for a new relationship by faith: If not, then pray together to turn from self and sin, and turn to Jesus in faith. Parents, you can guide your kids through that prayer, or model it for them and allow them to pray in their own way.
      • PRAY to continue your relationship in a new way: If you’re son or daughter is already a follower of Jesus, then remind them that every time we hear the gospel message, it’s an invitation to follow Jesus in a new way – with greater love and commitment to him. In fact, God wants us to keep on looking to Jesus with love and faith. Pray to that end, taking time to silently confess sin, and then turning to Jesus by faith.

5. The BIG Picture GOAL: To respond to the Gospel message, for the first time or in an ongoing way.

  • Remember, the Gospel is not “do,” it is “done.” Jesus accomplished what we couldn’t, and now we’re invited to receive his work by faith.

6. For next time…

  • Kids and parents: Read Mark 12:28-31 and Matthew 28:16-20

[1] https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2012/november/big-story-of-scripture-creation-fall-redemption.html
[2] Picture from https://www.outsideonline.com/2367261/grand-canyon-travel-guide

 

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