26 Jan Children’s Thematic Message 3: Do You Know Who You Are?
Objectives of the message
To help the children know that they have know themselves incorrectly since birth (man who fall short of the glory of God cannot know himself and his intrinsic quality).
To make the children realize that not knowing ourselves correctly has caused us to feel the wrong way about this world, and make all the wrong choices in life.
To help the children know that Jesus came to show us who we really are.
To help the children know that the Holy Spirit is given us to first know God and then know ourselves. With that, then we could know all creation that is created by God for us.
To help the children practice confirming how to enjoy everything, every relationship and every moment through knowing themselves correctly.
To instill in the children that even after we have know ourselves from the Bible, we must keep confirming and deny the wrong inclination that comes from our old understanding of self.
Bible Verses to Read and Memorize
Verses to Read:
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”- Genesis 1:26-28
When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown. The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.-Genesis 6:1-8
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” -Genesis 12:1-3
Verses to Memorize:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. – Romans 3:23
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” – Romans 8:15
Main theme: Who am I truly?
(My worth and the purpose of my existence)
Critical viewpoints to understand about the scripture:
<Gen 1:27,28>: Man created in the image of God = He is a representative of God in all creation. He represents God’s eternity, authority, moral (love and justice) – like a mirror that reflect God. So even when animals look at men, they fear him and listen to him. In another words, when worldly men see us, they should see the glory of God, not just a mere ordinary man/animal. But man loses this image (ability to glorify God).
<Gen 6:1-2>: Daughters born to them. Over here, the daughters refer to unbelievers of God. So the sons of God (believers) marry daughters of men (non-believers). The believers of God marry as they chose (want their own sovereignty by making own choice).
<Gen 6:4>: Nephilim. It means two things: Both the fallen ones, and also giants/great men. So it means as man continue to make their own choice (not seek God), they eventually give birth to many kind of people who are fallen great men. They have the intelligence, position and means to influence the whole world, just like many rich and successful people in this world now who doesn’t know God, yet impact the world greatly
<Gen 6:5>: Every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was evil. Coz of the influence of the Nephilim, all men have rejected God as both the maker of the Universe and author of their life. So whatever they do is to exalt and satisfy themselves. Now, that is evil at its core. With that, even the act of doing good works or breathing is evil.
Explaining and Expounding the Scripture
Man was created in the image of God, and what happened when he loses it?
Answer: He represents and reflects the eternity, authority and morality of the invisible God (as mentioned above). So man originally lives eternally. As he lives, he also possesses the authority to rule over all creation. And he shows God’s perfect morality (love and justice). After fallen, he loses eternal life and happiness, he became bounded by all things (money, games, relationship, fear of illness and death, etc). And he determines his own standard of morality by living the way his flesh desire (which in fact is bounded by Satan).
What did men start to do after he loses the image of God?
Answer: He loses the real identity and value of himself, and keep wanting to know who he really is. In his pursue of that, he finds recognition and self-identity in his own sovereign superiority. Therefore, we see men find satisfaction and recognition in being a well known singer, actor or good basket baller, footballer, or being a rich person, knowledgeable person, etc. He thinks he found himself there, but he could never be truly satisfied and will fall from it eventually. That’s why the Nephilim (great fallen men) has influenced the whole of mankind to live for and pursue his own sovereignty and superiority. Ask yourself, are you finding your identity and worth in this way too?
Did men ended up better?
Answer: No. In fact, man ended up with having every inclination of the thoughts of his heart filled with evil and the Lord saw how great man’s wickedness has become. Now, sometimes we see lukewarm Christians or unbelievers around us, but they still have conscious of God, or at least they have people around them telling them about God. But when men started to pursue their own sovereign supremacy as their identity for a few generations, no more believers of God was left, and no one has any conscious of God anymore. And the worst is, there are no one around to talk about God anymore. Everyone just boast about this life, or about their good works and achievements without the conscious of God. Some just sin their way through without any conscience. And Noah was the only one left who still revere God. U can see all these happening in this world. Say in the Hollywood when all want to become stars, or in a school where all want to become the best, or in a religious institution where all boast about their good works and morality, they become worse off spiritually and more ignorant of God. They see themselves as their own master.
What kind of identity did Christ came to restore in us?
Answer: Christ coming to redeem us will be like God revealing to Abraham. God told him to leave where he comes from (meaning: leave every belief, value and purpose he had gotten from this world). He must go to the place where God will bring him to, i.e. the land of Canaan where Christ will be born to redeem His people. For us, it is leaving this world and coming to Christ. From then on, we will know our real identity as who God says we are, i.e. we are blessed (by God), and all people will be blessed (by knowing God) through us. In another words, i.e. to magnify the glorious image of God to the world through our lives. Whether we are famous or not, smart or not, rich or not, pretty or not, it doesn’t matter. That doesn’t form our identity anymore. Yet in Christ, we truly are the blessed people of God, who magnify His glory through all our conditions. So there’s no need to compare ourselves with anyone in our life. In fact, when we compare, we get into identity crisis.
Why must one keep battling spiritually after knowing his identity in Christ?
Answer: Satan is not only an attacker of the mind, but also an attacker of the heart. Before we know the gospel, we are made ignorant by him, so that we seek our identity elsewhere. After we know who we are through the gospel, he attacks our heart by always making us feel otherwise about ourselves. For instance: When we’re poor in studies, when we are scolded by parents, when we are not accepted/look down by friends, when we dun have things other kids have, etc. Do we get hit? Do we feel lousy about ourselves? Now that is Satan working to deceive our hearts. Or in another way, when we are better off than others, when we are smarter than others, when we are always accepted/praised by people. Do we as a result feel proud about ourselves becoz of those achievements? Now, that also fall short of our identity. Becoz all these things will be gone in a while, but we will not lose our identity in Christ. So we should be proud that we’re blessed as children of God, not becoz of changing conditions. And we have to keep praying to remind ourselves.
Critical Thinking and Practical Application
Jordan is an obedient child to his parents since young. He has many good friends when he goes to school. Everyone likes him. So he grows up knowing himself as a good and well like person. And because he is so well accepted by everyone, he motivates himself to do good and not disappoint everyone around him. Is he good? If not, why not? If he carries on this way, what problems will he face eventually?
Answer: No one is good before God, for all have fallen short of the glory of God. And after born again, a person must know that he is blessed and loved, even though he may not have obvious flaws in his personality. He must come to know that only by listening to the Holy Spirit to do good and getting praises from God is the only motivation that HE wants us to have. Without that, he will only live before men and face an identity crisis when he falls short of men’s expectation.
Jean is a beautiful gal. She loves to dress and doll herself up nicely and also want to be a star next time she grew up. But when she grew up, she realizes that there are so many people who are more beautiful than her. She felt so inferior as a result. But she cannot stop comparing herself with others and became very sad as a result. What do you think is her problem? And is dressing and dolling up wrong?
Answer: Her root problem is neither becoz she likes to doll up nor that she compares herself with others, but rather she didn’t know her real identity in Christ. When you cannot know yourself as truly loved and blessed, and having more worth than the whole Universe, you will always tend to compare with men. You will either become proud when you’re good or inferior when you’re not as good. Yet, we must know dressing and dolling up is not wrong, becoz God makes all things beautiful. So it is perfectly all right to appreciate beauty and to make ourselves beautiful for the Lord. Yet, our beauty is to magnify the Lord’s beauty and also appreciate others’ beauty, but not to compare ourselves with people or criticize others out of jealousy.
Richman knows about Jesus yet likes to tell lie. He lies to his parents when her parents questioned him about whether he has finished his homework (for fear he will be scolded). He lies to his friends by telling them how rich he is (dun want to appear lousy). At first, he felt guilty about lying, but slowly he became bolder and lies naturally to get his way out. Now, why do you think he lies? And why do you think it becomes a habit? Although he gets his way around, what does he loses when he keeps going against his conscience?
Answer: He lies becoz he did not enjoy the blessing of his heart that comes from knowing who he truly is in Christ. He only looks to his feelings and circumstances for enjoyment; It becomes a habit becoz Satan deception gets deeper and more powerful when a person keeps doing the wrong thing against the conscience God has given him; He loses the assurance as a child of God and also sensitivity to the Holy Spirit when he keeps acting against his real identity. Its like when you keep doing things against your father, you increasingly feel shameful as a son and dare not face him.
Rainy knows from the Bible that he is a Child of God and God has created and prepared everything for him. But he knows this heart of his is prone to forget this truth. So he prays everyday to confirm his identity and sees all things through the Father’s love. Even sometimes when he sinned (flare up or told a lie out of fear), he goes back to face God to pray. Slowly he finds that he begins to like reading the Bible, like to pray, like to listen to the word of God, and have the strength to resist temptation. Now, what can we learn from Rainy?
(1) Rainy first know his identity correctly from the Bible. He did not base his knowledge of himself through feelings or how others see him or what he had achieved in life;
(2) He is honest to the Holy Spirit in his heart by knowing that he is prone to forget and act against the truth of his identity, therefore he prays;
(3) He doesn’t see prayer as a good work in itself to prove he is a good Christian. But he truly confirms his identity and seek the Father’s love during prayer. Remember: when we confirm (recall our identity) again and again, Satan’s power of deception gets lesser;
(4) Although sometimes he might feel accused for doing the wrong things, he always goes back to God to find forgiveness and strength becoz of who he know he truly is. Therefore with that, he begins to love the goodness and holiness of God in his heart.
Kenny knows from his parents and Sunday school teacher that he is a child of God, and that he is loved and blessed by God. And everytime people ask him about his identity, he will give the model answer that he is a blessed child of God. But he is grouchy and grumbles easily. He gets frustrated when things dun turn out his way. He always feels grievous and unfair when his parents show more attention to his siblings. What’s wrong with him?
Answer: He might possess all the knowledge of the Bible with regards to his identity, but the true identity that Jesus is giving us is not only of the head but also of the heart. So the bible in <Rn 8:15> says he has given us a spirit of sonship. With that spirit of sonship, being a child of God doesn’t remain as a knowledge in the head, but truly sees (with his heart) how the Father loves him. A spirit of sonship shares the Father’s heartbeat of having compassion and love for his siblings/brethren. A spirit of sonship wants to do the Father’s will and thus seek his will. And how does this come about? It comes from praying and reflecting ourselves through the truth again and again).
*Teachers can think of more examples to get children into critical thinking and practical applications if need be. (This material can be more engaging through your living prayers and applications. So teachers, put in your best effort to confirm and teach!). However, if you do need help on some answers for the case studies above, email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*It will be good to read through the scripture and notes thoroughly before teaching. Have a good grasp with the message, together with some testimonies, so that you could relate things accurately to our young minds.