|Story Passage:||Jeremiah 1:7-10, Jeremiah 38|
|Other Passages:||2nd Timothy 2:3-4, 2nd Chronicles 36:11-20, 2nd Kings 24:18 – 25:26, Matthew 28:18-20, 1st Corinthians 15:1-4, Romans 10:5-13, 2nd Corinthians 5:1|
|Objective:||Teens should learn that they should endure the world's contempt when living their faith and when sharing their faith.|
|Memory Verse:||Romans 1:16, |
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Introduction: Good News
How many of you know where you're going when you die? Where are you going? (Accept answers.) Okay, if you're going to heaven, how many of you know how to know for sure that you will go to heaven? Good, that's good news. How many know someone who might not be able to go to heaven when they die? Think of someone you know, who really needs this information. A relative perhaps, or a friend... Why don't we tell them sometimes? (Accept answers.) There's a man in the Bible named Jeremiah, and there were some reasons why he might not want to tell people what God said he should tell them — but he did anyway.
God called Jeremiah to be a prophet. A prophet was a man who delivered a message to people from God. Sometimes God told a prophet what was going to happen, and he would tell the people, and then later it would happen. Other times, God told a prophet what he wanted people to do, and the prophet had to tell the people. They didn't always want to hear it. God told Jeremiah that he had been set apart, from before he was born, to tell the people what God wanted them to hear. Jeremiah didn't know what to say, but God told him,
I will put my words in your mouth.God told Jeremiah not to be afraid of the people, and tell them everything God said, and God would protect him. One time, when the people had been worshipping idols (false gods), Jeremiah had to tell them that they'd been faithless to God, and should return to worshiping him only. Do you think they liked hearing that? Would you like being called faithless? Another time, he had to tell the people of Judah and Jerusalem that because they had disobeyed God, God was going to bring disaster on them, and they couldn't stop it. Do you think they were happy to hear this message? No, and they blamed Jeremiah and plotted against him, but God kept his word to Jeremiah and always protected him.
God's protection didn't always mean that nothing would ever happen to Jeremiah. Sometimes things weren't so pleasant. One time, when the city of Jerusalem was about to be taken by the cruel king of Babylon, Jeremiah had to tell the people that they could not save the city. He told them that God said they should go surrender to the king of Babylon, so they could live, because if they stayed to defend the city they would die. But the people didn't want to hear it, and some of them blamed Jeremiah. They put him in a dark room that was dug out of the ground to hold water — a cistern — and the only way out was through a hole in the ceiling. This pit didn't have water in it at the time, but it was still muddy, and Jeremiah sank into the mud when they put him down there. He didn't have any food or water, and it was dark.
God sent someone to rescue him, but it took a while. Ebed-Melech, an official in the royal palace of Judea, felt bad for Jeremiah. He was worried that Jeremiah would starve to death. Ebed-Melech put his own neck on the line and got permission from the king of Judea, and he took thirty men and they lowered ropes down to Jeremiah, and some rags to put under his arms to pad the ropes, and they pulled him out. We don't know how long he was down there, but God protected him. Jeremiah went on telling people what God had him say. Even though it wasn't fun to be in the pit, Jeremiah knew he had to obey God, and the people needed to hear the message, even if it wasn't a happy message.
Application: Telling Others
We need to obey God too, and God tells us to tell others about Jesus. Now I know that you know people who need to know that Jesus died for their sins, and that he was buried and raised to life three days later, and that he will forgive their sins if they believe, so that they can live forever in heaven with him. Do you tell them? What if they might not want to hear? What if other people don't want you to tell them? What if people make it hard for us? What if someone teases you? Shouldn't you still tell people about Jesus then? What if you are in danger of losing a friend? You don't need to be obnoxious about it, but don't stop telling people what they need to hear. It doesn't magically get easier when you become an adult. If you're not going to tell people now, you probably never will.
Give an invitation for teens who want to do a better job of sharing their faith, or who need to accept the Lord themselves.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.