Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. (2 Ti 2:20–21).
Lesson 8: "Challenge Yourself!"
By Charles B. Knight
Living a faith-life is all about challenge. Faith itself is a challenge— as it demands us to believe and trust in more than we fully know or understand. God is challenging His creation to overcome its pride and serve Him with absolute surrender, even though it may be contrary to societal norms or behavior:
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” -Hebrews 11:6
Noah was a perfect example of this. He was challenged to live differently than the entire world around him. He and his family dared to follow a holy God in an unholy world. Imagine the mental and emotional challenges they faced every day! The Book of Hebrews mentions several other examples of individuals who faced many challenges in life because of their faith in God and His eternal plan (see Hebrews 11:32-39a).
Let’s face it, the Christian walk is all about challenge! And more importantly, it’s about challenging ourselves. While it is a fact that Noah and his companions of faith met many challenges in their lifetimes, the greatest challenge they faced was themselves. They had to change who they were to meet the challenges. Moses was tasked to deliver the Israelites from Egypt and guide them to the promised land. But Moses had to become more than just a herder of sheep. Paul was an expert in the Law of Moses and a former Pharisee. But it took more than Law degree and a political background to accomplish what he did for the Lord. We must become more than we are to be Useful to the Master.
Challenge Yourself : Become A Better Disciple
Stop just believing—begin following! Disciples are students of God. Disciples imitate Christ, carry on His ministry and become more like Him in the process. Disciples seek to change the way they think and the way they live. Jesus served the best interest of others to bring honor to God!
A) Embrace His Compassion
1) Mark 6:32-44.
2) Luke 7:11-17.
3) Luke 10:25-37.
B) Embrace His duty (Jesus was "mission-driven," as were His apostles later)
1) Matt. 20:20-28; Luke 19:10.
2) John 4:31-37, 38-42.
3) John 9:1-7.
C) Embrace His courage
1) To defend the purpose of God.
2) To stand boldly for God's will when it's unpopular.
3) To deny self and give hope to others who don't deserve it.
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13)
Challenge Yourself: Become More Relational
JESUS OPENED HIS LIFE TO THE LIVES OF OTHERS!
A) Build stronger relationships
1) If being a disciple means we imitate Christ, it means we must be intensely relational—just like Jesus. (Mark 3:31-35; Matt. 5:1).
a) John 12:12-19. (the world went after Jesus).
b) John 3: Nicodemus.
c) John 4. Samaritan woman.
d) Luke 7:18-22. (relationship oriented work of Christ).
2) One must need to build a real relationship with Christ, and grow closer to:(Matt. 5:13-16).
c) and strangers around them.
B) Seek more disciples (Matt. 28:19-20).
1) Reach 4 new people a week = 208 people reached a year.
2) Reach 8 new people a week = 416 people reached a year.
3) Reach 10 new people a week = 520 people reached a year.
C) Reaching People
1) Personal invite: To church, or a Bible study.
2) Email a link of your church website
3) Mail letters or church post cards.
4) Leave a card, bulletin, CD, etc.
How Did They Challenge Themselves?
1) Genesis 28:1-21.
2) 1 Samuel 17:1-50.
3) Luke 21:4.
4) Acts 14:19-22
5) Romans 4:18-21.
Lesson 8 Questions
How can we challenge ourselves?
1) Matthew 6:33-34.
2) Luke 19:10. James 1:22.
3) Acts 17:11.
4) 2 Corinthians 9:7.
5) Galatians 6:10.
6) Ephesians 5:22-28.
7) Philippians 2:3-5.
8) 1 Timothy 2:1-2.
Choose one or more of the following Challenges below. Share the results your challenge with others, and encourage them to challenge themselves.
1) Study this entire series again, by yourself.
2) Study this entire series again, with another fellow Christian.
4) Keep a year-long journal of your progress of becoming more useful to the Master.