under a special agreement with
presents Explorers Series 2
under a special agreement with
Lesson 3: God is For Me
Now that I have taken the Lord Jesus as my Savior, God is my heavenly Father, and I am His beloved child. God wants me to love Him and enjoy Him.
In order for me to enjoy God, I must know two things: I must know that all my sins are forgiven and I must know how God feels toward me right now.
I was a sinner and I had committed many sins. My sins separated me from God. My sins were like a heavy weight on me. Because God loves me, He has removed everything that was between Himself and me.
How did God get rid of my sins? He got rid of them by placing all my sins on His Son. The Bible says, "…the LORD has laid on Him [Jesus] the iniquity [sins] of us all" (Isaiah 53:6).
All my sins were on Jesus when He hung on the cross, but they were all gone when He rose from the dead. What happened to my sins? God blotted them out. They are gone forever because Jesus paid the full penalty for them.
What happens when I sin after I am saved? Does this mean that I am no longer in God's family? No, it does not mean this at all. Once I am in God's family, I am always in His family.
When I sin, my sin comes between my heavenly Father and me. Sin causes me to lose my joy. I must not continue doing things that displease my heavenly Father.
What should I do? I should go to God as soon as I realize that I have sinned and confess that sin to Him. I tell God what I have done. I say to Him, "Father, I have sinned. Please forgive me. I am really sorry. I don't want to do things that hurt Your heart."
God forgives me at once because Jesus died for that sin. The Bible says,
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
To enjoy God I must not only know that all my sins are forgiven, but I must also know how God feels toward me right now.
To help us see how God feels toward us, Jesus told a story in Luke, chapter 15, about "the prodigal son." The word "prodigal" means rebellious, disobedient, and wasteful. In this story, the father represents God, and the prodigal son represents you and me.
A certain man had two sons. The younger son was rebellious. He wanted to leave home and do what he wanted to do. He asked his father to give him his share of the family wealth.
No doubt the father begged his son not to leave. But the son was rebellious and wanted to have his own way. The father gave him a large sum of money. The son packed his belongings and left home.
The son went into a country far from home. There he chose the wrong kind of friends. He began doing sinful things and wasting his money. Soon all his money was gone, and his "friends" were gone too.
The son began to be hungry. The only job he could find was taking care of some pigs. He was dirty and in rags. He was so hungry he wanted to eat what he was feeding to the pigs.
One day the son began to think about his father's house and all the good things there. He said to himself, "Even my father's servants have plenty of food and a good place to live, and I am here in this pig pen, starving. I will go back to my father and say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no more worthy to be called your son. Make me one of your hired servants.'"
The son left the pig pen and started home. On the way back he must have wondered how his father would receive him. Would his father be angry with him? Would he let him be one of his servants? Would he tell him that he could not come back home because of the sinful things he had done?
How did the father receive him? His father saw him while he was still a great way off and ran to meet him.
The son wanted to tell his father how sorry he was for the way he had acted and ask his forgiveness, but the father hugged and kissed him again and again.
The son now knew two things: (1) He knew that his father had forgiven him. (2) He knew how his father felt toward him. By his actions, the father was saying, "I love you! I love you! I love you!"
Jesus told us this story because He wants us to know how God receives us when we come to Him by taking the Lord Jesus as our Savior. He "runs to meet us."
God forgives us and welcomes us into His family with great joy! He does not hold a single thing against us. God says that He will not even remember our sins. He says, "Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more" (Hebrews 10:17).
God has given the Holy Spirit to live in me so that I may know how He feels toward me right now. Through the Holy Spirit, God is saying to me, "I love you! I love you! I love you!" The Bible says, "the love of God is poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit…" (Romans 5:5).
God not only loves me, but He is for me. This means that God always wants what is best for me. If God is for me, it does not matter who is against me. God is all-powerful. No one can defeat Him. The Bible says, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31).
In the Old Testament, we find that David was Israel's greatest king. He had many enemies and he was in many battles. Although David had many difficulties, he never lost a battle. He was victorious because God was for him, and David knew this. David said,
"When I cry unto You [God], then shall my enemies turn back: this I know; for God is FOR ME" (Psalm 56:9).
You and I can say this too. Say it to yourself right now: "I know that God is for me!"
1. God has forgiven me of all my sins. The moment I took the Lord Jesus as my Savior, God forgave me of all my sins.
2. God loves me! Through the Holy Spirit, God is saying to me, "I love you! I love you! I love you!"
3. God is for me! No matter what happens, I know that God is for me. He will always be for me! This means that God always wants what is best for me.
"Father, I thank You that You have forgiven me of all my sins, that You love me with all Your heart, and that You always want what is best for me. I thank You and praise You for such a great salvation. In Jesus' name I pray."
A Special Gift
The story so far…
Jared explained to Lisa what he had learned from Beth about salvation, assurance, and forgiveness. When Jared left to apologize to Carlos, Lisa warned him of possible trouble.
Jared wanted to talk to Beth before he found Carlos and Alex. She was sitting on the front porch. Beth greeted him with her usual smile. "Hi, I made something for you, Jared!" she said with a grin.
"What is it?" Jared asked.
"It is your Secret Sword," she answered, looking at his puzzled face. "It is a bookmark for your Bible."
On one side, Beth had written, "Take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" (Ephesians 6:17).
On the other side, she had written, "Your Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against You" (Psalm 119:11).
"Wow! This is great, Beth. Thanks a lot," Jared said. He went on to tell her about his prayer the night before and his talk with Lisa. "I have to go apologize to Carlos and Alex. Hold on to my sword. I'll come back to get it and tell you how things went."
Jared heard Carlos and Alex coughing behind the tool shed in the Simons' back yard. Just then Alex walked from behind the shed and said, "Well, look here. It's the Preacher Boy. You can leave now, Preacher Boy, we don't need you around."
Jared did not want to leave, even though Alex had told him to go. He continued to walk toward Alex and now Carlos had come from the back of the shed. "I came to tell you that I'm sorry for losing my temper yesterday," Jared blurted out quickly. He swallowed hard, then went on, "I have asked Jesus to forgive me, and I know He has. I hope you will too."
Neither Carlos nor Alex said anything, but Jared looked at Carlos and noticed he was pale. "Carlos," he asked, "are you okay? You look sick."
"He's not sick," Alex said quickly. "Why don't you move on, Preacher Boy? We don't want you around here."
Carlos was staggering on his feet. Jared touched him on the shoulder. "Come on home, pal. You need to lie down." Carlos put his arm around Jared and they both walked toward the street.
Suddenly, Alex gave Jared a shove. "Leave Carlos alone, I tell you. He is finished with you for a friend."
Jared gritted his teeth and kept walking with Carlos. Carlos seemed dazed and clung to Jared all the way home.
Lisa saw Jared and Carlos walking into the yard. She helped Jared get Carlos to his room. Her face showed concern. "I just knew that Alex would get him into trouble," she said. "You have been smoking, haven't you, Carlos?" she asked with certainty in her voice.
Carlos nodded. "It was the first time, but I didn't like it. My stomach really hurts." He buried his face in the pillow with a groan. They heard Carlos' and Lisa's mother come home, so Jared left.
Jared remembered that he had left his Secret Sword with Beth. As he walked up the steps, he noticed that she had left it on the chair where she had sat earlier in the afternoon. With it was a note from his Aunt Emily.
When Jared reached his room, he was tired and discouraged. It seemed like his first week as a new Christian was full of trouble. He looked at the silver bookmark Beth had made for him. Then he opened the note from his aunt. He smiled as he looked at the Bible verse at the bottom of the page.
Jared picked up his Bible and turned to 2 Peter 3:18: "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…"
Jared thought to himself, "The only way I am going to grow in the knowledge of Jesus is to read about Him in the Bible."
Monday morning, breakfast was late because Jared's parents had an argument. Jared did not eat much and hurried off to school. He wished his parents were Christians like Beth's parents. But he was grateful that his parents were spending time together.
As Jared ran up to the school door, Dan Foster stuck out his foot and tripped him. Most everyone called him Big Dan because he was larger than others in his class. He was older and had repeated a grade several years before.
Jared went sprawling onto the sidewalk. His face burned with embarrassment as he picked himself up. Then he remembered his Secret Sword.
"But grow in grace…" Jared took a deep breath and got up slowly. His anger melted away and he was able to go into the school without saying anything.
In art class, the teacher, Mr. Tomkins, announced that the art display would be on Friday afternoon. He encouraged all to finish their leather projects by Friday.
Jared was excited because Mr. Tomkins had praised him for his work several times. Jared felt sure he could win a prize. His biggest competitor would be Dan Foster. Dan did not do well in school, but his artwork was very good. The wallet he was making was beautiful.
"I am going to do my best," Jared thought to himself. "I may even get second place." He worked hard during art class. Dan was also trying his best to finish by Friday. The only time he stopped was to pester Jared. This caused Mr. Tomkins to correct them, which annoyed Jared.
Is Dan trying to get Jared in trouble?
What will Jared do about Dan?
Don't miss what happens next!