Lesson 1: God Is Too Strict To Accept Me
So many people struggle with their past. They have lied, stolen, gossiped, etc. and they believe that they are just “too bad” for God to accept them The Bible tells the story of Matthew, a tax collector. He lived his life lying, stealing, and cheating people out of their money. People hated Matthew. But, one day Matthew met Jesus, and everything changed. Matthew became one of Jesus’ closest followers. His story proves that no matter what you have done in the past, Jesus can forgive you and wipe the slate clean. With your new life in Christ, you will do great things for Him. God will accept anyone who is willing to give Him their whole life
Leader: I am so excited to start our series called “Mythbusters” today. It’s... (all of a sudden “The Hamster Dance” song begins playing (can be found on I-Tunes). Wacky Wally pops out dancing wildly. He has a fly swatter in his hand. Music fades.) Who are you and what in the world are you doing?
Wacky Wally: Well, hidey ho, neighbor! It’s me, Wacky Wally! Brought my fly swatter, and I am ready to join right in with you today! Woo hoo!
Leader: Wacky Wally? What do you have a fly swatter for?
Wacky Wally: Well, duh! I’m here to join in with the moth busters! We are gonna bust those moths if it’s the last thing we do! Those big nasty creatures are not going to eat through our old sweaters anymore. We’re gonna bust ‘em and splat ‘em and (swings the fly swatter wildly and almost hits the leader) BUST ‘em!!
Leader: (ducks and is barely missed by the swinging fly swatter) Whoa! Watch it. Wally, you don’t need a fly swatter. I am afraid you are a little confused.
Wacky Wally: No, little smarty pants! You are the one who is confused. If you don’t use a fly swatter on those moths, then what are you gonna use? Your hands? You’re gonna get sticky little moth guts all over yourself! That’s grossest to the mostest!
Leader: No, Wacky Wally. I’m not going to bust any moths at all. We are not talking about being MOTH busters. We are talking about being MYTH busters.
Wacky Wally: What in the world is a myth? Is it the cousin of the moth?
Leader: I’m glad you asked. No, a myth is something that somebody made up, but other people believe that it’s true. People have been saying it is true for so long, a lot of people believe it.
Wacky Wally: Like what in the world are you blabbering about? I don’t get it.
Leader: Well, it’s like this. Today we are looking at a myth that a lot of people believe about God. They believe the myth that “God Is Too Strict To Accept Me.”
Wacky Wally: What are you talking about? That’s not a myth. It’s true.
Leader: What do you mean it’s true? Of course it isn’t.
Wacky Wally: Of course it is. There’s no way that God could accept me. I have done some really bad things in my life. I’m really not a very good person. So, God won’t accept me!
Leader: What could you possibly have done that would keep God from accepting you?
Wacky Wally: Well, one time in 3rd grade I put a tack in my teacher’s chair.
Leader: That’s not good.
Wacky Wally: Yeah, she jumped so high she hit her head on the light fixture and caused a blackout in the whole school. I got sent to the principal’s office for that.
Leader: Well, that’s certainly not good. But, that’s not enough to...
Wacky Wally: No, wait! There’s more! One time I took my little brother’s bottle from him, filled it with Red Bull, then gave it back to him. He drank that whole bottle of Red Bull and was bouncing off the walls for three weeks.
Leader: Oh, I bet your Mom wasn’t happy.
Wacky Wally: Nope. She sent me to my room. I was grounded from my computer for a month!
Leader: Wally, these are all terrible things and all, but they really are not...
Wacky Wally: (starts to wail and cry) But there’s MORE! I stole a pack of gum from the grocery store, I tied a firecracker to my cat’s tail, I even snuck into the usher’s room at church and drank all the communion juice. I’m a terrible person. God could never accept me!!!!!! (cries and “snots” all over the leader)
Leader: Now, there there. There’s no reason to cry like that. Tell you what. I want you to watch our Power Verse Video today. We have a guy named “BUSTER” who is going to teach us what the Bible has to say about this. I want you to pay close attention. OK?
Wacky Wally: OK.
Leader: So, you see, Wacky Wally? Christ has already accepted you. He is waiting on you to come to Him for forgiveness so He can wipe every sin away. He loves you and wants to help you become the person He has planned for you to be.
Wacky Wally: Well juicy hot jelly beans on a stick! Why didn’t you say so in the first place? I have to go tell all my friends about this. This is amazing! God is NOT too strict to accept me! He loves me! WOO HOO! (his theme music “The Hamster Dance” song begins to play as he exits)
Choose a “starting line” and a “finish line” on opposite sides of the room. Give each contestant a balloon. Have them all start on the starting line. When you say, “Go,” they have to stand in one spot and blow the balloon up (as much as they want, they choose), then let it go. It will fly (perhaps a little bit forward, perhaps a whole lot backward, you can never tell with balloons) , then they have to run to wherever it landed, pick it up, stand still and blow it up again.
They keep doing this, each time trying to aim it toward the finish line. The first person whose balloon crosses the finish line wins.
Fold up the list and put it in your pocket; familiarize yourself with the Bible Story of Matthew (Levi) in Mark 2:13-17.
Have you ever tried to get into a club? Maybe it was a special club that had all kinds of rules on how to get in. Or, maybe you have tried to get on a sports team (hold up the football or the basketball). Perhaps you tried your best, but your best wasn’t good enough. They wouldn’t accept you on their team.
Many people have this same idea about God. They believe the myth that “God Is Too Strict to Accept Me.” They have an idea that God is up in Heaven with a long list (pull the list out of your pocket and unfold it) of rules for getting into His family (begin to read the “fake list”). They think that because they aren’t perfect and have made mistakes in the past that they are not “good enough” to be accepted by God.
God is not like that at all. He doesn’t make it hard to get into his family. He has gone through so much in order to give EVERYONE an opportunity to follow Him and go to Heaven. In the book of Mark chapter 2, we find a story of a man named Levi. Jesus later changed his name to Matthew, so we will call him Matthew in this story. Matthew was a tax collector.
In Jesus’ day, tax collectors were hated people. They collected taxes from the Jewish people and gave the money to the Romans. Often, they would charge more than what the people actually owed and keep the extra money for themselves. That’s stealing. Matthew was a tax collector and hung out with other sinners.
Jesus found Matthew sitting at a tax collector’s booth. He walked up to him and invited Matthew to become one of his disciples. Jesus knew Matthew was a tax collector. He knew he was a sinner. But, he called him to be one of Jesus’ disciples. Matthew was so happy to follow Jesus, he invited Jesus to dinner.
That night, Jesus showed up to Matthew’s house for dinner. Matthew had invited many of his friends. You might have guessed, but Matthew’s friends were not “good” people. They were sinner just like him. He wanted his friends to come and meet Jesus. He had left everything to follow Jesus and he wanted his friends to know how amazing Jesus was.
The religious leaders, known as the Pharisees, saw Jesus at dinner with all of these sinners. They got very angry. They said, “Why does he spend so much time with sinners?” Jesus heard this and answered them. Jesus said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor. Sick people do. I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough.”
You see, boys and girls, the Pharisees had bought into the myth that we are busting today. They thought that those “sinners” were not good enough to be accepted by Jesus. But, Jesus teaches them something very important.
It is a total myth that “God Is Too Strict To Accept Sinners.” Jesus clearly says that the whole reason He left Heaven and came to Earth was to call sinners to follow Him. He wants them to leave their sin behind and become His followers.
It made no sense to the Pharisees for Jesus to call Matthew to be His follower. On the outside they were total opposites. People loved Jesus, but they hated Matthew. Jesus gave to others, Matthew took from others. But, even though Matthew was not “good enough” in the Pharisees eyes, Jesus saw him differently. Jesus came to Earth for sinners. But, not only did He come to Earth for sinners...
Jesus spent His time with sinners, but He also gave His life for sinners. The Bible says that Jesus paid the price for our sin by dying on a cross. He died so that we could be free from sin. He didn’t deserve to die, but He did it willingly so that we who were sinners could be free.
Just like He did with Matthew, Jesus says to you, me, and every person who is alive, “Follow me.” It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done wrong. Jesus wants everyone to follow Him, be forgiven of their sins, and go to Heaven. All we have to do is accept His love, ask Him for forgiveness of our sins, and something amazing happens.
You might be like Matthew. Maybe you have done things you are not proud of. Maybe you have done things that have caused others not to like you. You think that because others don’t accept you that God won’t accept you. But, that’s not true. That’s a myth. God will accept you no matter what you’ve done! He will change you from a sinner to a WINNER! All you have to do is ask Him.
(Play soft music) Pray for those who have felt like God just wouldn’t accept them. Pray with them to receive Christ as their Savior. Also, pray with others who have struggled with the same attitude that the Pharisees had in our story. Pray with them to be more accepting of others who are different than them. God accepts everyone who comes to Him for forgiveness.
What was today’s Big Idea? Answer: Even Though I Am A Sinner, With God’s Help I’ll Be A Winner!
What were the names of our two Mythbusters on our video? Answer: Aaron and Brittany
What “crazy” myth did they bust today (not the spiritual one)? Answer: If you step on a crack, you break your momma’s back
What did Wacky Wally plan on doing with his fly swatter? Answer: Bust some moths
True Or False: God Is Too Strict To Accept Sinners Answer: FALSE
Who was the tax collector that Jesus called to follow Him? Answer: Matthew
What did the Pharisees think when they saw Jesus eating with sinners? Answer: They were upset
Jesus not only came to Earth for sinners, but he also ________ for sinners. Answer: Died
What is the name of the guy in our Power Verse video today? Answer: Buster
Where was our Power Verse found? Answer: Romans 15:7