Date: December 29, 2019
Aren’t All Religions the Same?
The Point: A vast difference exists between faith in Jesus and all other beliefs.
Get Into the Study
Use this current event to introduce Session 5.
In November 2018, over 165 million people participated in Black Friday shopping, either in stores or online, according to the National Retail Federation. While millions of people use Black Friday as a time to search for the best deal, a recent article on CNBC.com points out that “limited-time offers increase ‘anticipatory regret’—aka ‘fear of missing out’ or FOMO—which drives people to purchase things they otherwise wouldn’t…” Whether or not the best deal is being purchased on Black Friday isn’t certain, but people are worried that if they don’t buy it on Black Friday, they’ll lose their chance!
It can be easy for “FOMO” to motivate people’s religious choices as well. Different religions, or even less biblical, watered-down versions of Christianity that easily appeal to the masses seem to crop up more and more often these days, and sometimes, it can be scary not to jump on the bandwagon. The more people are attracted to false religions, the more we may wonder if we’re missing out on something great. But the truth is, as Christians, we’ve already gotten the best deal in the universe—eternal life and a relationship with Jesus Christ! Let us never be swayed by FOMO of the world’s latest and greatest when we have our great God.
Get Into the Study (Option)
Use this video option to introduce Session 5. Then ask Question #1.
For use with the Adult Leader Guide, page 57.
Study the Bible
Use this current event as you study the John 14:5-7 section of today’s Bible study.
At the April 2019 Ted Talk Conference in Vancouver, neuroscientist Matthew Walker scared a room full of high-efficiency, achievement-oriented people by telling them that according to research, not getting enough sleep at night is killing them all slowly. Inversely, he told that them that getting better sleep prevents all kinds of diseases and increase their immunity and brain function. He said caffeine is no substitute for a good night of sleep, and that sleeping pills are never going to give you a good night of sleep. One writer said she attended the TED Talk while exhausted, fighting a cold, and pregnant—and that Walker’s talk caught her attention because she knew how true his words were. There is no shortcut or substitute to getting the benefits of more sleep, according to Walker. The answer is simply to sleep more. This TED Talk was one of the most popular of the entire week, and it’s not hard to see why. Walker’s research got to something people already know at their core—we live in a sleep-deficient culture, and something has to change.
Jesus had wisdom for the people he spoke with as well—wisdom that went well beyond our current state of health, and into what it requires to gain eternal life in Heaven. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” he told Thomas in John 14. He didn’t say, “I am one way, and here are a few other ways.” He was direct because it was best for the world to know the truth as simply as he could possibly put it. He offered no shortcuts or substitutes because there are no shortcuts or substitutes for gaining eternal life.
In the case of exhaustion—we need sleep. In the case of our sin—we need Jesus. Let us rest in the simplicity of the truth of God’s grace.
Ashley Emmert wrote the Get Into the Study and Study the Bible leader extras. She is a freelance writer and full-time mama from Chicago, where she lives with her husband and baby boy. You can find her on Twitter at @ashgemmert, or failing to update her blog at ashleygraceemmert.blogspot.com.
Study the Bible (Option)
Display this image of a “Coexist” bumper sticker. Assign each symbol to a class member to look up its meaning. After allowing a few minutes to work, Ask members to report what their symbols’ beliefs are. Do any of the beliefs claim exclusivity; that is, they say they are right and everyone else is wrong? What beliefs agree or disagree with Christianity? What does this study tell you about the statement that “all religions are the same”
From the Senior Adult Leader Guide, page 63, and the Young Adult Leader Guide, page 67.
- What are some things you buy that you don’t mind being generic?
- What do you remember about your first encounter with someone of a different faith?
- How do you typically respond when you hear the word “religion”?
- What’s your initial reaction to these verses? Why?
- How is the God of the Bible unique to all other gods you’ve heard of?
- How do these verses encourage you?
- What things or people have society made into gods?
- What are the negative effects of idolatry?
- Why might idolatry be tempting?
- How do these verses represent both good news and bad news?
- In what ways has Jesus shown Himself to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life in your life?
- How would you respond to the statement, “All roads lead to the God”?
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Here’s a brief video giving you an overview of this session: Answers to Tough Questions, Session 5.
This article complements the study. Share this link with your group members.
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