The “Me first” mentality is unfulfilling and NOT God’s plan for our lives.
Who is the hairiest person you know?
This weekend, Pastor Zac kicked off our new series, #nofilter, with the first sermon entitled, “Just Call Me Jacob”. He reassured us this was not a campaign to stop us from taking selfies or pictures of our cats. Rather, it is an opportunity to examine the conflict between the real us and the person we project to others. In the book of Genesis, Jacob demonstrates the “Me First” mentality in several situations early on in his life. From his heel-grabbing at birth to masquerading as his older brother in order to grab his blessing, Jacob shows his motives were self-centered. It was not until he wrestled with the pre-incarnate Christ that Jacob revealed his true identity and was renamed, Israel, which means “triumphant with God.” REMEMBER, God cannot bless who we pretend to be. Jesus calls us as we are, weary, heavy laden, without a filter, and He will give us rest and victory. We are reminded of this in Exodus 3:13-15 when the Lord referred to Himself as “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob”. He did not call Jacob “Israel” because He is the God of our failures! Amen!
ENCOUNTERING GOD THROUGH BIBLE STUDY:
Read Genesis 25:21-26
1. Where did Rebekah turn when she was having “difficulties” with her pregnancy?
2. What information is contained in verse 23?
3. T or F? The Lord chose Jacob over Esau because Jacob was the “better” brother.
Read Genesis 27:15-21
4. Although Jacob got the blessing he wanted, deceiving his father cost him dearly. What are some of the consequences of his deceit?
5. What could Jacob’s life have been like if he and his mother had waited for God to work His way and in His time?
6. You, too, have a spiritual birthright and a choice about what to do with God’s generous gifts. Would God describe you as a person who “despises his or her birthright”? What do your desires and pursuits reveal about you and the “inheritance” that can be yours?
Read Genesis 32:22-29
7. Who was “the man” that wrestled with Jacob? How did the man overcome Jacob?
8. Jacob “set a condition” to end the wrestling match. What was it?
9. Jacob struggled with his true identity. When he surrendered all to Christ that night, he was forever changed and had a new identity. What does the Lord need to wrestle out of you? What do you need to surrender?
10. Share with your group who you once were before you became a “new creation in Christ”. (See Mark 8:35, 2 Cor 5:17)
Read Matthew 19:30
11. Who will be first? Who will be last?
12. Consider successful people you know or know of. Did they get that way by being humble?
13. Are you willing to forfeit eternal rewards for temporary benefits? Share with your group which temporary benefits tempt you the most. How can your group pray for you to overcome these temptations? Whose approval should you seek?
Read Luke 9:25
14. This question seems obvious – who would want to lose their soul?!? However, if this present life is most important to you, you will do everything to protect it. Christ followers understand that total commitment to Him may lead unsafe and uncomfortable situations. Can you think of examples in the news where Christ followers risk it all? Have you suffered persecution or other negative consequences because of your identity Christ? Share with your group.
Read Romans 10:9
15. T or F? Becoming a Christian is a very complicated process.
1. The Lord
2. Twins, prophecy of 2 separate nations, one stronger, and reversal of tradition where the firstborn inherited the birthright.
3. F. God’s choice of Jacob for the position of leadership had nothing to do with the comparative goodness of the two sons (Romans 9:12). Though God’s choice was absolutely sovereign, his choice of Jacob was reflected in Jacob’s attitude as well as Esau’s. The younger Jacob deeply valued the birthright. The older Esau despised it.
4. He never saw his mother again, his brother wanted to kill him, he was deceived by his uncle Laban, his family became torn by strife, Esau became the founder of an enemy nation, he was exiled from his family for years.
5. God is sovereign. Jacob would have been the leader and the father of the nation of Israel anyway.
7. Christophany- the pre-incarnate Christ. He “touched” his hip socket. Jabob must have realized that his opponent could take him at any time.
8. “I will not let go unless you bless me.” Jacob begged for God’s favor. We do not earn or grab His blessings; He gives them when we are surrendered.
9-10. True encounters with God bring obvious life transformations and great blessings. These processes are painful, but in His sovereingty, the Lord allows them. He shines the best through broken/cracked pots.
11. Jesus turned the world’s values upside down.
12. Very few powerful and well-known people achieve their success through humble, self-effacing and gentle ways. It is not impossible, however!
13. We should have an audience of one- our Lord!.
14. Pastor Sayeed, Christians in the Arab world being martyred, among others.
15. False! It is not! If we believe in our hearts and say with our mouths that Christ is the risen Lord, we will be saved!