Spiritual Success or Distress?
Quarter 3, Lesson 12

Lesson Twelve

Surrendering To Eternity

Texts: 1 John 2:15-17; 1 John 3:1-3; Hebrews 11:13-16

"Don't get too comfortable!" When do you hear that statement? In America it is used to caution a person unexpectedly enjoying circumstances ordinarily not available to him or her. Your superior at work is temporarily away. In his or her absence, you are asked to move into "the big office" and care for some of the duties. It is a major step up for you! You enjoy the best work situation you ever experienced. A coworker stops by "the big office" and says with concern, "Don't get too comfortable!"

You live in a $50,000 home. Your family uses combined efforts to meet financial obligations. As a Christian, you are a trustworthy, dependable person. An acquaintance who lives in a $250,000 home places a lot of confidence in you. Necessity requires him to be on a trip for a month. He asks you and your family to "house sit" while he is gone. You agree. In that month your children discover luxuries they did not know existed. They enjoy themselves so much that you caution, "Don't get too comfortable!"

What does "Don't get too comfortable!" mean? Do not regard a temporary circumstance as a permanent situation.

American Christians suffer some of their most powerful struggles because they "get too comfortable." Circumstances and situations that oppose godly behavior entice them. We physically exist in a complex, complicated situation. Christians want to be God's light to people who live in darkness, but we do not want to fall in love with darkness. Christians want to reach out to those who are ruled by evil, but we do not want to fall to "the pleasures of sin." Christians live in a world that has fallen to the forces that oppose God, but we do not want to oppose God.

In America this struggle is intensified by our concern for comfort. Our standard of living is comfortable. Our homes are comfortable. Our transportation is comfortable. Our lifestyle is comfortable. Our ambitions include the determination to maintain or increase our level of comfort. Being physically comfortable is good. Being physically uncomfortable is bad.

A significant criteria for our church buildings is comfort. An important consideration in every physical decision concerning the church building is comfort. The temperature should provide our bodies comfort. The pews should provide comfortable seating. The acoustics should provide comfortable sound. The aesthetics should provide comfort for our eyes. The carpet should provide the comfort of quiet. The assembly length should be comfortable. The comfort of the physical circumstances powerfully impact the quality of our worship.

People from third world and poverty stricken countries would look at our homes and church buildings with eyes we do not have. They would look at our lifestyles, our homes, and our church buildings and conclude we consider this life permanent. Our devotion to physical comfort and material well being suggests that we belong here and plan to stay.

Once two African ministers who were friends visited in our home for a few days. When I lived in their country, I appreciated "windows" into their culture. Since the practices surrounding death and burial are so different, I took them to a funeral home to explain our practices. They were astounded by our expensive, elaborate burial practices. They repeatedly asked, "Do Americans think they will use their physical body again?"

Many things suggest that we American Christians have settled in this world.

Read 1 John 2:15-17.

  1. Christians should not do what (verse 15)?

  2. When Christians allow themselves to love the world, what is not in them (verse 15)?

  3. What three things do not have their origin from God (verse 16)? Explain what those three things are.

  4. What moves in the direction of extinction (verse 17)?

  5. Who will live forever (verse 17)?

Read 1 John 3:1-3.

  1. God has given us something incredible. What is it (verse 1)?

  2. What illustrates the truth that God loves us (verse 1)?

  3. Why does the world not recognize Christians (verse 1)?

  4. What are we (verse 2)?

  5. What do we not realize (verse 2)?

  6. When Jesus appears [God will be evident when Jesus returns], what two things will happen (verse 2)?

  7. What does the person who has his hope fixed on Jesus do (verse 3)?

Read Hebrews 11:13-16.

  1. Verse 13 talks about people who died believing, but who did not receive the promise. What people?

  2. These people saw the promise producing benefits in the distant future. Because they saw the benefits of the promise, what did they confess (verse 13)?

  3. Those who made this confession made what clear (verse 14)?

  4. At any time they wanted to belong to this world, what could they do (verse 15)?

  5. What did they desire (verse 16)? What is God not ashamed to do? What has God done?

The more we think and act like Jesus, the less we think and act like the ungodly. The more we are like Jesus, the less we belong in this world. Because we belong to God, we want to live where God is. Nothing physical life in this evil world offers us can change our desire. Our goal is not physical comfort in this world. Our goal is eternal comfort with God in His world. As Christians, perhaps we need to be reminded, "Don't settle and get comfortable in this world."

Link to Teacher's Guide Quarter 3, Lesson 12

Copyright © 2000
David Chadwell & West-Ark Church of Christ

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