If it weren’t for the cross, we would have absolutely nothing to boast about. There’s nothing we can do to earn the gift of salvation. All the praise and glory go to Jesus!
Paper and pencils, modeling clay, hymnal with “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” in it (or the words printed on paper for each member)
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Follow Paul’s example and write a personal letter to your church. Without mentioning names or specific circumstances, what concerns you within your church? What solutions can you give the members?
- Play the “Boasting Game.” Sit in a circle and choose one member to fabricate a good deed he or she supposedly did and boast about it. The person to his or her left then tries to “outdo” him or her by making up an even better deed. The third person tries to outdo the second, etc. After everyone has had a chance to contribute, discuss what it felt like to hear others boast about something that should have been done out of love for Jesus.
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- The cross was an object of shame and humiliation, yet it was the means by which Jesus died. What reasons do we have to boast about something that should be an embarrassment?
- Thought Questions
Read Galatians 6:12, 13. How are we sometimes like the Galatians, doing good things in order to impress others?
- We hold a church office for the prestige it brings.
- We make sure those sitting next to us can see how much money we put in the offering plate.
- During the testimony sharing time, we boast about a good deed we’ve done.
- We never do a good deed anonymously because then we can’t get the credit.
- We make sure the pastor knows how hard we work for the church, in addition to our paying jobs.
Read Galatians 6:14. What reasons do we have today to “boast in the cross”?
- Jesus was humiliated by being crucified, and that should cause us to be grateful.
- It’s a way to show non-Christians how much Jesus loves them—enough to die on the cross.
- If it weren’t for the cross, we would have nothing to offer for our salvation.
- We should boast in the cross, but we can also pat ourselves on the back for the good we do.
- The cross set us free from the slavery sin causes.
- To become dead to the old selfish life of sin and become alive in a new life that serves God
- To allow Jesus to make us new by changing our hearts and giving us new desires
- To work harder toward perfection because we are now a new creation that shouldn’t sin
- To begin a relationship with Jesus in which we become more and more like our Savior
- To no longer be tempted because Jesus has made us new, which changes our desires
- Losing the support of family members who are non-Christians
- Having a boss threaten to fire you unless you perform in a way you believe is unethical
- Being excluded or made fun of by friends who are non-Christians
- Losing money if you’re financially honest in all your dealings
- Missing out on a potential future mate if he or she doesn’t share your commitment to Jesus
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Then report back to your group when your facilitator says time is up.
- Option 1: Read 2 Corinthians 5:17 and create something “new” out of your blob of clay. Make it an object of personal significance to you. Share what it was like for you to create it and describe the parallels to Jesus making you new.
- Option 2: Make a commitment in the New Year to tell at least one non-Christian about Jesus’ death on the cross and how this act of love can change his or her life. Write down what you would say and then pray for God to impress you as to whom that person is.
- Option 3: Draw a vertical line down the length of a piece of paper. In the left column, list the things people boast about (money, possessions, job status, awards, etc.). In the right column, list the things Jesus has done for you. Compare the two lists. What does it cause you to feel and think?
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- Read 2 Corinthians 5:17. Tomorrow is the beginning of a new year. What better time to become a “new creation” than on New Year’s Eve? Maybe it’s for the first time—or maybe it’s a re-commitment. Surrender to Jesus and write down plans of how you will stay close to Jesus in the coming year.
- Read the words to “Beneath the Cross of Jesus.” Sing it aloud if you wish. Contemplate the meaning of each stanza and come away with a new appreciation for the cross in your own life. Then praise Jesus for paying the ultimate price.