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YOUTHWORKS BIBLE STUDY SERIES

TOPICAL

Sex, love and relationships

Michael Sams


Published August 2011 Anglican Youthworks PO Box A287 Sydney South NSW 1235 Ph: 612 8268 3344 Fax: 612 8268 3357 www.cepstore.com.au Copyright Youthworks Press © Michael Sams 2011 This book is copyright. Apart from fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without the written permission of the Publisher. Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. National Library of Australia ISBN 978-1-921460-89-0 Author – Michael Sams Managing Editor – Julie Firmstone Theological Editor and additional text – Marshall Ballantine-Jones Typesetting and design – Rebecca Jee

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YOUTHWORKS Bible Study series


Part I: The foundation of all relationships The Christian perspective on relationships is worked out by thinking about what purpose God has for us and what principles he has given us for relating to him and to each other. It is not about a set of rules on what you can or cannot do. So before we get to the specifics of marriage, sex and relationships, we want to understand the foundation God gave us to understand these things. Without this foundation, we are a little like a learner driver who has a new car but no idea how to drive it. Before you can drive by yourself you need to understand the basic principles of driving a car. Our first two studies lay down the principles of all relationships. Once we understand these principles we can then talk about the specifics of all sorts of relationships we encounter.

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GOD’S CENTRE OF EXISTENCE: LIVING FOR THE OTHER PERSON

Share Why do you think that some relationships fall apart? What role does selfishness play in their downfall? Discuss any type of relationship: siblings, boyfriend/girlfriend, mates, parents etc. If you are sharing in a group, you don’t need to be specific if that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Who is at the centre of God’s existence? What the Bible teaches about God’s centre of attention is mind blowing, and totally opposite to what we would expect. Even if we were just to have God on his own, with no heaven, earth, universe or anything else, we would still find that he is totally unselfish. Even then he lives for ‘the other person’. Moreover, the Bible is the story of God putting us before himself: Jesus dying on the cross is the climax of this. God’s nature is to put others first. Or, another way of saying it is: God is ‘other-personcentred’. In addition, the Bible teaches that God gave us the same nature to be other-personcentred. We were designed to put each other first and, more importantly, to put Jesus first in our own life. The Bible passages in this study will show how this works.

Being other-person-centered ‘Other-person-centredness’ sounds like a strange phrase but really captures what God is like. God is ‘Trinitarian’; He is one God, three persons. In these three persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—he expresses perfectly what other-personcentredness looks like. 2

YOUTHWORKS Bible Study series


Read the verses in each box below and answer the adjacent question to discover how God is perfectly other-person-centred: Other-person-centredness of the Father How does the Father live for the Son? John 3:35 John 5:20 Other-person-centredness of the Son

How does Jesus live for the Father?

John 5:30

Other-person-centredness of the Holy Spirit

How does the Spirit live for Jesus?

John 16:13

God’s other-person-centredness to us

How does God live for us?

Romans 5:8 Mark 10:45 1 John 4:10

In light of who God is, make a list of virtues that are other-person-centred (for example, loving, caring etc.). Then check out Galatians 5:22–24 for more ideas.

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Having Jesus at our centre You may be familiar with the two great commandments in Mark 12:30–31. We often use these to prove that God wants us to be other-person-centred. But to really understand our purpose, we need to take a step back and understand who is at the centre of the whole universe. Read Colossians 1:15–19 Who is Jesus and what did he do?

When something is created it is made for a reason. What is the ultimate reason you were created? (verse 16)

How should our lives reflect this? (See Matthew 22:37–38 and Romans 12:1.)

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YOUTHWORKS Bible Study series


Below are four common reasons why people believe in God. How do they compare to the perspective that Jesus is the centre of the universe?

I believe in God because: 1. He makes me happy. 2. He helps me to achieve my goals. 3. He helps my relationships, especially with my boyfriend/girlfriend. 4. He shows me the best way to live since he knows what is best.

What do the first three answers have in common?

How does the last answer, where God becomes the centre of relationships, reflect a change in approach to the first three statements?

A Christian perspective on relationships requires us to realign our thinking to mirror God’s. This means God is at the centre rather than us. What we are seeking to do in the rest of this series of studies is work out how we apply Jesus’ desires and priorities to our own lives. The most important question we ask is, ‘What does God want?’ Let’s now start our journey into understanding what the answer to this question is.

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Get real Consider this scenario: You have your first boyfriend/girlfriend as a Christian and you think the other person is awesome. You care for them deeply and you don’t want to do anything to hurt them but you have very strong physical feelings for them. What is the first question you need to ask yourself when embarking on this relationship?

If you discover at times throughout the course of these studies that your feelings or thoughts are in conflict with what God wants, what will your game plan be for dealing with this?

Are there any obvious areas of your life, especially regarding relationships, where God is NOT at the centre?

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YOUTHWORKS Bible Study series


Can you think of two relationships in which you would like to be more other-personcentred? Use the virtues you came up with earlier.

If sex is to be viewed in the context of other-person-centredness, what do you make of the view that ‘one-night stands’ and pornography are good for relationships?

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How do we know what real love is? What should a Christian relationship look like? What is good sex and bad sex? The world bombards us with its views on sex, love and relationships. As young people, how are we to seek a godly marriage or to live God’s way in singleness? These studies are designed to show us God’s views on relationships as revealed in the Bible as well as addressing issues such as pornography, masturbation and homosexuality. About the author Michael Sams has been involved in training and leading youth groups for 10 years. He is passionate about seeing high school kids come to Christ and grow in their faith so that they will be leaders of the next generation. At university, Michael also developed a passion for inspiring young adults to evangelise youth. He was previously an Occupational Therapist in mental health and is married with three children. About the Youthworks Bible Study series More than ever, young people today need answers to life’s big questions. The Youthworks Bible Study series is designed to challenge and encourage young people to be confident in their faith in Jesus in a changing world. These studies have been written by experienced youth leaders and are arranged into Old Testament, New Testament and Topical.

ISBN 978-1-921460-89-0

9 781921 460890

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