Back

Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.

LESSON 7 - A NEW START

INTRODUCTION: THIS WEEK WE LOOK AT THE WAY IN WHICH GOD HELPS US TO
HANDLE FAILURE.


I.  THE POTTER

     A. READ JER 18:1-6.  HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE OPERATED A POTTERY
     WHEEL?
     B. HOW MANY HAVE SEEN A POTTER OPERATING A POTTERY WHEEL?

     C. DID YOU EVER SEE THE POTTER MAKE A MISTAKE?  OR DECIDE THAT
     HE DIDN'T LIKE THE WAY THE POT HE WAS MAKING WAS LOOKING?

               a. WHAT DID HE DO? JUST TOSS THE CLAY OUT AND GET
                         NEW CLAY?(NO. JUST COLLAPSE WHAT HE WAS
                         DOING, ADDED MORE WATER, AND STARTED
                         TURNING THE POT AGAIN.)

     D. DID THE POTTER MAKE A MISTAKE HERE?  REMEMBER THAT GOD 
     COMPARES HIMSELF (v.6) WITH THE POTTER.

          1. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A SITUATION WHERE THE CLAY WAS NOT
          GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE POTTER TO MAKE WHATEVER IT WAS HE WAS
          WORKING ON?

     E. IS CERTAIN CLAY NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO BE MADE INTO A CERTAIN
     KIND OF POT? (I LOOKED AT STRONGS ON THE WORD "MARRED" AND
     FOUND THAT IT MEAN "TO DECAY." THIS GIVES FORCE TO THIS
     INTERP.)
     
     F.  IS THE LESSON HERE THAT IF WE ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH CLAY,
     THAT WE MUST SETTLE FOR BEING A DIFFERENT (AND LESSER) POT?

     
     G. DO WE ALSO HAVE THE LESSON THAT GOD CAN REMAKE US OUT OF
     THE SAME OLD CLAY INTO SOMETHING NEW AND GOOD?

               a. AND THAT GOD IS LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WHO WILL 
               COOPERATE WITH HIM: THOSE WHO ARE WILLING TO BE
               MOLDED.

     H. READ JER 18: 7-10.
          1. WHAT DOES THIS SUGGEST TO YOU IS THE MEANING OF THE
          POTTERS STORY?

          2. GOD IS TALKING ABOUT THE WHOLE NATION, BUT CAN THIS 
          HAPPEN WITH INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE TOO?  

          3. THE MORNING, BEFORE I READ THIS LESSON, MARGIE GOT A
          LOMA LINA MEDICAL SCHOOL GRADUATION ANNOUNCEMENT FROM A
          YOUNG MAN THAT SHE TAUGHT IN 1ST GRADE.  THEY DISCUSSED
          HIM GOING TO MED SCHOOL WHEN HE WAS IN THE 1ST GRADE, AND
          HE REMINDED HER HE HAS A PICTURE FROM 1ST GRADE ON WHICH
          MARGIE WROTE "I'LL BE YOUR FIRST PATIENT."  HE IS DOING
          HIS INTERNSHIP AT HARVARD UNIVERISITY.

          4. MY BROTHER WAS ACCEPTED INTO AN ANDREWS UNIVERSITY/
          LOMA LINDA MED SCHOOL SLOT, BUT HE DID NOT GRADUATE FROM
          COLLEGE. HE TURNED 41 THIS YEAR. 
          
          5. IS HE DESTINED TO BE ANOTHER POT?
          6. CAN HE, LIKE THE POTTER AND THE CLAY, JUST START OUT
          NEW, WITH HIS OLD GOAL NOW? (THE ANSWER IS THAT THE
          SOONER YOU LET THE POTTER MAKE YOU RIGHT THE BETTER IT
          IS.)

          7. ARE WE TALKING ABOUT SALVATION HERE? (NO.)

II. THE PRODIGAL

     A. OUR LESSON TAKES US OUT OF JER FOR A BIT AND INTO LUKE. SO
     TURN WITH ME TO LUKE 15:11-20.

     B. DID THE POTTER MAKE A MISTAKE OR IS THE CLAY AT FAULT SO
     FAR IN THIS STORY? (THE CLAY.)

     C. READ 15:21-23. DID THE SON THINK THAT HE WOULD BE MADE INTO
     AN INFERIOR POT? (YES. HE SAID HE WAS NO LONGER WORTHY TO BE
     CALLED A SON. v.21)

     D. DID THE FATHER THINK THAT THE SON SHOULD BE AN INFERIOR 
     POT? (NO. HE TREATED HIM AS A SON. v.22 &24.)

     E. WAS THE SON IN FACT THE SAME POT HE HAD BEEN? (NO. LUKE 
     15:30-32)
          1. ARE WE TALKING ABOUT SALVATION HERE? (v.30-31 TALKS
          ABOUT THE KIND OF POT THE PRODIGAL WILL BE. v.32 TALKS
          ABOUT SALVATION.)

          2. WHAT IS THE LESSON FOR US? FOR OUR CHILDREN? (THAT IT
          IS NOT TOO LATE TO BE SAVED. BUT THAT SOME SCREW UPS ARE
          LIFE ALTERING.)

     F. THIS STORY SHOWS THE STAGES THAT A "BACKSLIDER" GOES 
     THROUGH IN THE "AWAKENING PROCESS." 
          1. WHAT ARE THEY? 
               (a.THINGS AREN'T GOING RIGHT v.14
               b. HIT BOTTOM v.16
               c. BOTTOM MAKES YOU COME TO YOUR SENSES. v.17
               d. DECIDED TO REPENT AND RETURN. v.18
               e. RETURN v.20)

          2. AS YOU LOOK AT THIS LIST, WHAT REALLY CHANGED? WHAT IS
          THE CRITICAL PART? (THE ATTITUDE.  IN JER 4:4 GOD SAYS
          THAT WE MUST CIRCUMCISE OUR HEARTS.) 
               
          3. WHAT REASONS MIGHT CAUSE A BACKSLIDER TO HESITATE TO
          RETURN?

     G. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME A PRODIGAL RETURNED HOME?
          1. HOW DID YOU FEEL?
          2. YESTERDAY I HEARD THAT JEFFERY DALHMER (THE GUY WHO
          KILLED HIS VICTIMS (MOSTLY YOUNG BOYS) AND THEN ATE PART
          OF THE REMAINS) WAS CONVERTED AND BAPTIZED IN A PRISON
          WHIRLPOOL. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT?

III. FIGS

     A. READ JER 24:1-3.

     B. I'LL TELL YOU THAT THE FIGS REPRESENT THE PEOPLE OF JUDAH.
     WHICH DO YOU THINK ARE THE GOOD FIGS? THE ONES IN EXILE OR THE
     ONES THAT REMAINED BEHIND WITH JER?

     C. LETS READ ON. READ JER 24:4-9.

     D. THIS SEEMS TO BE CONTRARY TO COMMON SENSE. THOSE THAT ARE
     EXILED ARE GOOD.
     
          1. WHY IS THIS?
          
          2. COULD YOU SAY THAT WHEN THE POTTER SCRAPPED HIS FIRST
          POT HE WAS BLESSING IT?
          
          3. WHEN THE PRODIGAL WAS REDUCED TO FEEDING PIGS WAS HE
          BEING BLESSED? (THE LESSON HAS A GREAT STATEMENT (THURS)
          "THE PROVIDENCES OF GOD SEEM MYSTERIOUS TO US.  WHAT
          OFTEN APPEARS AS THE END IS REALLY A NEW BEGINNING."
          WHETHER IN OR OUT OF EXILE, THOSE WHO SEEK GOD WILL FIND
          HIM.)

IV. NEXT WEEK: THE SABBATH