"Run for Your Life"
Click below to download the Cornerstone Connections leader’s guide and student lesson. This week’s resources also include two lesson plans and a discussion starter video which offer different ways of looking at the topic. Each lesson plan includes opening activities, scripture passages, discussion questions, and real-life applications.
The Great Controversy
(Love Under Fire) Chapter 38
Contrary to human speculation, the world is not getting better. Yet, as the world plunges deeper into peril, the good news is that God’s Holy Spirit will give us special power to proclaim His message to the world!
Lesson Plan 1: Warnings are for Real
History’s most famous unheeded warning resulted in the sinking of the Titanic. Did you know that the Titanic received seven warnings about the huge masses of ice in its path? However, the ship’s captain, officers, and crew did not slow the speed of the ship or change its course, and continued at full speed with no one even assigned to keep a lookout for icebergs. Reports after the ship sank show that the architects and inspectors considered the Titanic to be indestructible, and its crew was untrained. On that cold, dark night 1,517 people lost their lives.
We have the opportunity to learn from the Titanic, because just as people died as a result of ignored warnings, God’s warnings to His creations on this earth also have life or death consequences. Living in this part of the world, where comfort and abundance are quite normal, it is possible that we could feel indestructible. When we read the warnings in the Bible, it is easy to think, “Oh, no problem, it won’t affect me right now. I will just take it easy and have fun with my friends.” God’s warnings are for real, and not only will we be saved if we obey Him, but we are also called to help rescue others from the deadly path of sin.
OPENING ACTIVITY: “IT FACTOR”
When someone tries out for a part in a play or a movie, they are often being observed for the “It Factor.” Directors or producers will toss out phrases like, “She really has the “It Factor,” or “He just doesn’t have the “It Factor.” According to the Public People website, people with the “It Factor” have charisma, charm, appealing qualities, or something extra special that causes others to be attracted to them. As we play our part in the mission of Jesus, we need the “It Factor” also. But, Who and what we have in our lives is different than what the world calls attractive or desirable. Explore the difference between the world’s “It Factor” and God’s “It Factor.”
BIBLE STUDY GUIDE
Read each Bible passage, then discuss the questions.
Read Genesis 4:3-7 (NIV).
3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
Read Exodus 11:4-10 (NIV).
4 So Moses said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. 5 Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. 6 There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. 7 But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal.’ Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. 8 All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will leave.” Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh.
9 The Lord had said to Moses, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you—so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.” 10 Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country.
Read Exodus 12:29-30 (NIV).
29 At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. 30 Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.
10 Virgin’s Warning
Read Matthew 25:1-13 (NIV).
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9 “ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
Warnings from God are real, and many people have never heard about them. Jesus is coming soon, and we are His representatives. Many are falling into the traps of Satan our enemy, but we can be the lifeline they need to find their way back to safety.
Experience the Topic
Consider applying what you learned in this week’s lesson.
There are some parts of the book of Revelation that can be difficult or even scary to read. For me, Revelation 18 is one of those parts. The story of Babylon, both metaphorical and literal, is a dire warning to those of us living in the last days. I don’t need to tell you that in the world that we live in, danger is everywhere we go. As much as we believe that we’re enjoying earthly pleasures, the devil is always lurking around. So was the case in the real-life city of Babylon: a place of wonder and magnificence, many saw it as one of the largest earthly pleasures at the time.
The queen described in Revelation 18 is a direct representation of the luxuries of Babylon. Before long, the pleasures of Babylon became intertwined with sin, but people were so far gone that they fell happily into the horrors. Sound familiar? It is what we are seeing today. Many people have accepted sin as a norm because they find temporary pleasure within it. When Babylon (and the queen) was destroyed, many people mourned and lamented the loss of her luxurious presence. It is interesting to note, however, that in verse 10, the same people that partook of her sinful indulgences recognize that it was God’s judgment that fell upon her.
Most people in today’s world have a conscience, they realize that these large indulgences are wrong in one way or another. So, why do they still do it? Because the devil has that grip on them; Babylon has consumed them. And on the day of redemption, they will realize the sin, yet they will mourn just like their earthly ancestors did when Babylon was destroyed. This is why the message of the angel of Revelation 18 is vitally important. We cannot fall into the trap of the queen of Babylon; we need to remain alert and aware. Our world is in a dire state, but by remaining vigilant of the dangers of Babylon, we will not be one of those who mourn the loss of trivial luxuries, knowing that the largest luxury and reward of all will come to us in heaven.
"Life of the Party"
If you were suddenly given a million dollars, what would be the first thing you do?
Read Revelation 18:1-14.
After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. 2 With a mighty voice he shouted:
“ ‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!’
She has become a dwelling for demons
and a haunt for every impure spirit,
a haunt for every unclean bird,
a haunt for every unclean and detestable animal.
3 For all the nations have drunk
the maddening wine of her adulteries.
The kings of the earth committed adultery with her,
and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.”
Warning to Escape Babylon’s Judgment
4 Then I heard another voice from heaven say:
“ ‘Come out of her, my people,’ w
so that you will not share in her sins,
so that you will not receive any of her plagues;
5 for her sins are piled up to heaven,
and God has remembered her crimes.
6 Give back to her as she has given;
pay her back double for what she has done.
Pour her a double portion from her own cup.
7 Give her as much torment and grief
as the glory and luxury she gave herself.
In her heart she boasts,
‘I sit enthroned as queen.
I am not a widow;
I will never mourn.’
8 Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her:
death, mourning and famine.
She will be consumed by fire,
for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.
Threefold Woe Over Babylon’s Fall
9 “When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. 10 Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry:
“ ‘Woe! Woe to you, great city,
you mighty city of Babylon!
In one hour your doom has come!’
11 “The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore—12 cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; 13 cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and human beings sold as slaves.
14 “They will say, ‘The fruit you longed for is gone from you. All your luxury and splendor have vanished, never to be recovered.’
Revelation 18 presents a dire warning of the dangers of falling into the trivialities and superficialities of the world. Throughout verses 11-13, the “queen’s” luxuries are named, including gold, pearls, silk, ivory, jewels, and even slaves. Some of these luxuries may even appeal to us today. Who doesn’t want to be wealthy, without a care in the world, living in finery and feasting every night? There is nothing inherently wrong with having some of these, but it is so easy to fall into sin and live in the way of the world. We have a greater reward in heaven, one that combines everything good you can think of. Listening to the warning presented by the angel in Revelation 18, we can stay above the trivialities of the world, not mourning the earthly wealth that will soon become ashes, always keeping our eyes trained ahead for the greatest prize of all.
The warning of the angel in Revelation 18 is vitally important to us as members of the last day church. It is always a necessary part of studying to sit back and meditate on how a story or lesson applies to us today. Below you will find three applications that can benefit the youth in your group and help them meditate on the Word shared today. These applications work both individually and in a group.
One of Babylon’s biggest targets is youth. We are young, we want to try things, we want to enjoy what the world tells us is fun. Sometimes, we could even say that social pressure makes avoiding these temptations practically impossible. However, there are verses in the Bible that can provide strength when we are falling.
One of the most effective ways to avoid becoming a self-absorbed person who only worries about their own pleasure is by giving back. A lot of rich people make a show of being philanthropic, giving away large sums of money and expensive items. You don’t need to be rich to give back. Instead, just like Jesus said about the woman that gave the two coins, the humblest gifts are the most valuable.
Praying to avoid temptation and staying away from the sins of the world is one thing, but neither we nor God expects us to sit back and do nothing while we are here on earth. It is unrealistic to believe that we are perfect beings whose lives revolve around church, religion, and studies. However, there are many benign alternatives that are harmless.
By Vandeon Griffin, Tracy Wood, and Armando Miranda
The #ONETEAM CHALLENGE is a 21-day devotional written by leaders for leaders. As co-laborers in the Seventh-day Adventist Church commissioned to lead and serve the youth and young adult generation, we share the burdens and triumphs of ministry.
In this devotional, we will walk together through scripture and journey through the lessons of life and ministry. Daily, you will be challenged with reflective questions and to share your affirmations on social media to encourage and inspire others. We are #ONETEAM!
Birthday in a Box
Spread birthday joy at shelters. Collect and assemble birthday candles, cake mix, frosting, decorations, plates, cups, napkins, and a simple toy or two in a box. Decorate the box.
Cost: Less than $10.00
Sock Collection for Homeless
Give the item most requested at homeless shelters. Collect and donate white crew socks for men, women, and children.
Cost: Less than $5.00
Paper Bag Decorating for Meals on Wheels / Food Bank Snack Pack
Add pizzazz to lunch for seniors. In addition to receiving the hot portion of the meal in a tray, Meals on Wheels recipients get the cold portion in a lunch bag. Add life to their meals by decorating lunch bags. Simply buy paper lunch bags and use your creativity, crayons, markers, stickers, or any art materials you have on hand.
Cost: Less than $5.00