The students will be able to explain the importance of placing their entire selves at God’s disposal, and allowing Him to direct their future.
God created the first man and woman. He let them know there would be a future. In Genesis 1:28 He told them to be fruitful and multiply. But He also showed them very soon that obedience was essential for their future good (Genesis 3:16-19). Through disobedience they were sent away from all the good things they had known, into a life of hard labor. In Genesis 4:7 the Lord told Cain that if he did well God would accept him, and if he did not do well sin was lying at the door, showing him that the future depended upon what he chose.
Saul of Tarsus was a young man who took advantage of the opportunities presented to him. He was raised a Pharisee and sat under the teaching of Gamaliel, an eminent doctor of the law in that day. Saul was given authority by the Jewish rulers to persecute and imprison Christians, which he zealously did. When he was converted on the road to Damascus, his entire viewpoint was changed. The advantages that he had once thought very worthwhile, he now felt were worthless when compare to knowing Jesus. His determination was to forget the things of the past and to look forward to what lay ahead.
The Apostle Paul (as Saul was known as after his conversion) had given up everything of natural worth, because he had seen (through the revelation of the Holy Spirit) what things God had in store. “I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake” (Acts 9:16). Though he wasn’t anxious to experience suffering (who is?), his one aim was not to look back but forward to the things God had in store for him—whether in this world or in the world to come.
Paul encouraged the Christians in Rome to present their bodies “a living sacrifice.” This metaphor referred to the bringing of sacrifices to the altar of God. The person making an offering selected the choicest of his flock, one without blemish, and brought it to the altar and presented it there as an atonement for his sins. We, too, are included in Paul’s exhortation. When Jesus, the Lamb of God, died to take away the sin of the world, He made it possible for Christians to be living sacrifices to God. We are to give ourselves wholly to the Lord, just as the burnt offering was wholly given on the altar—no part held back for any other use. The whole man—body, mind, and soul—is to be given to God. When this has been done, we can live a holy life, one that is “wellpleasing” to God (Hebrews 13:21), and we can know that our future is in God’s hands.
In concluding this lesson as well as this quarter, it is obvious that we must first decide where we will place Jesus in our lives. Jesus teaches that we should love Him more than anyone or anything—no other relationship can compare with our relationship with Him. We must be willing to say from the depths of our being that He will have preeminence over all others. We must be willing to say, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). This is the only proper response that we can give God for the great things He has done for us. There is no way to be holy other than by being instruments set apart by God to fulfill His purposes in our world. Holiness is not a “better than you” attitude, but a willingness to let God set you apart for His work. Will you let Him? We do not know what the future holds, but we can know the One who holds the future.
Bring a map to class and discuss a possible route you would take on a trip. Then explain that God has a plan all mapped out for your life.
Show your students a toy piano and tell them that if you take lessons and are faithful to practice, you will be a future piano player. Lots of work goes into being a player, it doesn’t just happen. Bring out the point that our lives, to be happy, must have a spiritual beginning. Through prayer, we can have a successful future.
Have each one in class tell what he thinks are the keys to a happy future. You might like to cut keys out of construction paper, and have your students write their replies. Place the keys on a board to display the students’ ideas.
Bring a pair of binoculars to class and explain how far you can see through them, comparing it with how far God sees into the future.
Have someone in the class tell of a Bible story character that he thinks had a good future. If there’s time, let everyone in the class think of one.