A group of us are looking to start a new Reformed church in Ashland. This March we will begin Sunday evening worship services as we move towards that goal. We are currently under the oversight of Providence Church in Mifflin and have the temporary name of Hopewell Fellowship.
We will begin meeting on March 6th at 6:30 pm at Heritage Baptist Church (401 Center Street).
If you would like to be a part or find out more information, please contact me.
Put the following question and three categories on the board. Remind each student that the proactive side of the sixth commandment is to build up life. Have the students attempt to fill in some of the blanks on their own.
Students may say, "Don't call someone a name." But remind them that saying nothing may be right at certain times, but it doesn't do anything to promote someone's life. Make them understand that promoting life is a proactive thing, not a passive thing.
Once the students have exhausted their knowledge bank, have them look up and read the Scriptures that are listed below. Have them fill in the blanks with their observations from the text.
How do we promote life…
Eph. 4:26-5:4, 32; 1 Peter 3:8-11; Proverbs 15:1; Matt 5:24; Rom. 12:17, 20; 1 Thess. 5:14, Prov. 31:8-9, Col: 3:12-13
Discuss: Take time to talk about speech that builds up vs. tears down. Ask them, "What kinds of speech are destructive to life?
Then have them think about sarcasm, boasting, “talking smack”, put-downs, hurtful jocularity, pride. (Someone once said that sarcasm is the sulfuric acid of relationships.) Ask why we do these things? We consider them fun (which is an evil in and of itself), but it is an attack on the person and upon God whose image he bears.
Of course, Jesus said even name calling would put you in danger of hell fire. [Yes, it is that serious!] But let’s not forget that words have power. A college professor once told a story about his days in high school. He and his friends decided they would pick on a certain classmate. Throughout the morning they would randomly say, “Joey, are you feeling okay? You don’t look so good.” By lunchtime the classmate went to the nurse and called home sick because he wasn’t feeling good.
Sticks and stones will break your bones, but let's be real: Words can have power too break spirits and destroy lives. Destructive speech is death...for "the venom of asps is in their mouths.
Challenge: To reinforce the lesson challenge the students to be more fervent in love. For now on, disrespectful language or acts will be penalized by putting $.25 in a jar. Friends are allowed to call them out when they offend, but must do so kindly & gently. For every kind gesture, the teacher will contribute $.10. Same rule applies: If a student does says or does something kind without having thought about it, friends may highlight it (we want that!) and tell the teacher to pony up.
Self Defense - Ex. 22:2-3 ESV
If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him, 3 but if the sun has risen on him, there shall be bloodguilt for him.
The 6th command requires you to defend and promote life. Thus self defense (and defense of your family) is justified. This verse gives us a good understanding of when self defense is justified.
Suicide is a wicked sin. We should detest it and see it as an awful thing. It is self murder, and treason against the highest law to “love your neighbor as yourself.” To commit suicide is a usurpation God’s lordship and a rebellion against His providence. God alone is to determine the means and time of death.
Nevertheless, we should be sensitive to the issue. Someone who has come to this point obviously has problems. Things have devolved to such a miserable degree that the person finds it better to take his life.
Whence comes suicidal tendencies?
1. Mental illness
Someone’s brain might not work right, just like a muscle in the body or other organ might be somehow impaired. The fall affected the body. So it is possible that someone’s mental state may be the indicative reason why this was chosen as the route to take.
2. Life’s Misery
The misery of life can be what drives a person to take his life. In this case, suicide becomes a form of escapism. They believe the best way to end the pain is to end their life. This is a woeful state to be sure. But it is also a woeful decision to make, for the life to come may be even more miserable.
3. Bad belief systems
Suicide is also the result of a bad worldview. Existentialism and Nihilism commend suicide. Existentialism says that your choice is what is best (follow your heart). Even if it means choosing to take your life. Nihilism says life is meaningless and completely absurd; so why not kill yourself?
To be sure, none of the above are excuses for suicide. They are simply motives behind the act.
The point of this part of the lesson is to remember our duty to build up life and promote it where ever possible. The people around us need to know that Christ is the Lord of life. He has come that we might have life and have it to the full.
As well, as His people, we must seek to succor those who are ill and comfort those who are miserable that their lives may be preserved.
 Resource: http://theonomyresources.blogspot.com/2011/07/biblical-law-and-self-defense.html
The author of Four Against the Arctic, in a philosophical moment, quotes the existentialist Albert Camus' book The Myth of Sisyphus. Camus (I believe it is pronounced Cam-moo) writes,
"There is one truly serious philosophical question, which is that of suicide. To decide that life is not worth living is to answer the fundamental question of philosophy."
I have to admit again that the existentialists have much insight on life. Sadly though, the honest and consistent existentialist does not even have an answer to the question, let alone the right answer.
One thing is for certain though, without a Biblical view of man, man is (as they say) "better off dead." When one takes an "under the sun" approach to life one is left without a distinguished purpose and without a solid basis for dignity. In other words, man has no real reason for living. These words of Camus almost echoes those of Solomon who, after viewing all of life from a Camus-like lens, says, "Meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless."
Thankfully Jesus solves the "to be or not to be" question when He says, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." In this passage Jesus underscores the value of humanity. In the background of this passage we hear that man is God's beloved creation. Even in his miserable, sinful state humanity is precious. So precious is man in God's eyes that He would send his Son, in the very form of man, to redeem the men He has designated for it.
The key to life's question is the Life Giver. Life is not to be terminated by one's own hand. Life is to be lived. But not only is life to be lived, it is to be lived with fullness of life. Sure, if life is just about scrapping by, then, yeah, why not pull the trigger? If life is no better than that of a dog's, then why put off the inevitable? But if life possesses meaning and fulfilment, purpose and dignity, then another day is to be had.
Jesus knows that life is really nothing more than an existence without His redemption. Jesus knows that the real end of a man oriented philosophy is ultimately suicide. So he intervenes with the answer to philosophy's most basic question: It is not about whether or not I chose to take my life of live it. It is about whether or not I choose to serve Christ or not.
The following is the latest email I sent out regarding our upcoming Sunday evening services, which will start on Sunday March 6th. If you would like to get updates & hear what is happening, let me know.
Kindled Fire is dedicated
to the preaching and teaching ministry of
Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.