What does it mean to be a Christian?
It’s a simple question, but we tend to over think it.
So, what is the answer and what does it mean in our everyday lives?
Use this Youth Group Valentine’s Day Lesson to remind students that God loves us, we love God, and then show His love to others.
– Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth
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YOUTH GROUP LESSON ON VALENTINE’S DAY
Written by Eric Mendoza
Bible: Revelation 2:1-7; 2 Corinthians 5:14
Bottom line: Valentine’s Day is all about love – God loves us, we love God, and then show His love to others.
- Pieces of paper
- Prize for the winner
Note: If you plan to play more than one game, have multiple prizes on hand.
OPENING ACTIVITY: STRAIGHT-FACED LOVE
Have all of your students pair up with each other.
On each piece of paper, write one of the following phrases:
- You got straight A’s
- Someone gave you a gift
- Your mom cleaned your room for you
- Someone gave you a compliment
- You found $20 on the sidewalk
- You think something is hilarious
Fold each piece paper in half and place in the bucket.
HOW TO PLAY THE GAME
Say: Now that everyone has partnered up we’re going to play a simple game.
To determine which person in your pair will go first, play a quick game of rock, paper, scissors.
Now, face your partner and look deeply into one another’s eyes.
The game begins by the first player saying, “I love you” to their partner.
The first person to smile or start laughing loses.
The goal is to try to keep a straight face while saying “I love you” to your partner.
After the first round is over and have the winners, find a new partner.
Continue this until you have a winner.
The winner will receive a prize.
Then, have everyone go back to their original partner.
Say: This time, I will choose a piece of paper from this bucket.
When I read it, you will demonstrate the feeling expressed on the paper to your partner.
The goal is still the same – your partner can’t laugh or smile.
Continue reading slips of paper until there is only one person left.
Feel free to add more pieces of paper with phrases, or just re-read some that you have read before.
Feel free to repeat the game if time allows.
Say: That was awkward, but fun to watch.
Hopefully, you were able to get that message of love off of your heart and to the one you wanted to say it to.
As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, it is easy to get wrapped up in this idea of love.
Some of you think you know what love is, some of you have no clue and are still trying to figure it out.
Here is the thing, we can get a little lost sometimes.
Most people have the idea that the Christian life is about how much God loves me and wants to fulfill my dreams and my desires and my ambitions and my goals and my objectives.
And what he wants to do is make something beautiful out of me, and lift me up, and elevate me, and fulfill all the hopes of my heart.
We tend to make it about “me.”
But in reality, that is not the case, sure God wants you to be happy, but not because He gave you everything you wanted.
God wants you to be happy because He gave you eternal life.
The Christian life is about loving Christ.
It is about loving Him sacrificially and obediently.
It’s about loving Him through worship.
It is about loving Him in terms of service.
It is about loving Jesus Christ.
That’s what it means to be a Christian.
It’s that you now commit your life to love him.
It’s simple, and it is beautiful…
If you want to know where you stand with Christ, you have to ask yourself how much do you love Christ?
Are you growing in your love for Christ?
Do you love Him more now than you have in the past?
Read 2 Corinthians 5:14.
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died…
Love for Christ controls us, not in a robotic type of way; it drives us, or motivates us.
The Christian life is about a heart attitude.
And that heart attitude is an attitude of love.
It’s a very simple thing to understand what it is to be a Christian.
It is to love Jesus Christ and him alone.
It is to love him selflessly and to the degree that you’re willing to love Him more than anything else in this world.
To love him so much, that you desire to obey him, to honor him, to serve him, and to proclaim him.
So, the question you need to ask yourself is, DO YOU LOVE CHRIST?
This is a heart question… Do you love him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength?
The passage we are about to read is a letter from the Lord to the church at Ephesus.
God is telling this church to love Christ fully.
Read Revelation 2:1-7.
“Write this letter to the angelof the church in Ephesus.
This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands:
“I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people.
You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars.
You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.
“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!
Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.
But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do.
“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.
This Church in Ephesus was a healthy church that Paul and Timothy were pastors of at one point.
They were strong in their faith.
Verse 2 says that God himself knows their (Paul and Timothy) work and effort and just what they have done for the kingdom.
They had this good thing going for them.
That is the first thing we see in verse 2.
There are a lot of people within the church today that don’t do much, they don’t serve, they don’t help with the body of Christ, and we can see that today.
However, in the church of Ephesus, there were no people like this, they worked hard and diligently even in the face of adversity, they endured.
There’s something else good about this church – it says they cannot endure evil.
They had very little tolerance for sinners.
Then at the end of verse 2, we see that they tested those who called themselves apostles.
They recognized the false prophet.
And that wasn’t always easy to do, because false prophets disguise themselves.
So we see three things, we know that they worked hard for God.
They didn’t tolerate evil.
They were able to point out the false apostles.
The Church of Ephesus was a good church, they worked hard, they did not tolerate sin, and they called out false people.
Then, we come to verse 4.
BUT… I have this against you, you have abandoned your first love.
They were doing what they always did because that’s what they did.
That’s what was expected.
Faithfulness was there, and duty was there, and responsibility was there.
But the passion was gone.
The enthusiasm for Christ was drying out.
Some of you may have a great relationship with Christ, some of you might not even have one.
I want you to think back at a time, where you were passionate for God.
Are you passionate for God right now, or are you merely doing what you always do?
Do you love to hear His word?
Do you love to share His truth with others?
Do you want to see others come to Him because they need what he has to offer?
On the outside, everything looks great and wonderful at this church in Ephesus, but God can see what we can’t, and that is the heart.
If you say all the right things, do all the right things, and appear the right way, others might think you appear to be a great Christian.
But if God were to look at your heart, what would he say?
Would he say you have lost your passion?
What would he say?
God is speaking to the church in Ephesus, but this is a warning to us today, not let your heart grow cold.
How do we or can we end up with a cold or passionless heart?
It starts with, how is your relationship with Christ, is it growing or is it at a standstill?
How would I describe my love for Christ on a 1-10 scale?
Are you consumed in his glory and his honor and his word and his pleasure and his will?
What is the description of your Christian life?
Are you passionate about this youth group?
I would know this if you were passionate about God.
You would be passionate about this youth group.
This youth group is an offering to God in praise and worship.
If you are looking for excitement, fun games to play, a cool environment to hang out, something different or somewhere to accept you for all that you are…..
Then I this to say to you…
Return to your first love, Jesus Christ.
It is simple love.
This youth group is all those things I just talked about: it is exciting, the games are fun, the environment is great, people accept one another here, but to keep it simple we need to remember why we meet as a youth group.
To keep it simple, we meet to love God.
No matter where you go, what youth group or church you are in, who is preaching or teaching, how much your serving, no matter how much truth about Scripture you know.
If you look around at this youth group and your response is “where did the passion go”?
Well, it starts with you, are you passionate?
When the passion is gone, and the joy is gone, and the love is gone.
Then it all just becomes duty…
So what do you we do?
Well, three things.
The first thing is to “remember.”
Remember when you came to Christ, remember how God showed you His love.
Look at your life. Is there anything you love more than Christ?
Is there anything you want more than Christ?
Is there anyone that you want to serve more than Christ?
Anyone you might want to honor more than Christ?
Anyone you might want to proclaim more than Christ?
If there is, you left your first love.
Go back and remember how it was.
The second thing is to “repent.”
Confess the sin of losing your first love, or leaving your first love.
Confess the sin of the sort of routine approach to worship and everything else in your Christian life.
Confess the sin of serving the Lord without joy.
Confess the sin of only doing your duty.
Confess the sin of doing what you do because you think somebody wants to see you do it, and therefore somehow will think well of you.
The third thing is “do.”
Do the deed you did at first.
When you were swept up in prayer and Bible study and fellowship and worship, and it was all so amazing to worship.
So, as you live your Christian life remember that God loves you, you should love God, and then allow his love to flow through you to those around you.
Close in prayer.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. What was it like when you first began a relationship with Christ?
What do you remember about giving your heart to God
2. Loving Christ is simple, how do you do it?
How is your love demonstrated in how you treat others?
3. How can you love God on Valentine’s day?
4. Does your approach to God seem more like an obligation? Why or why not?What was the problem with the church at Ephesus?
5. What did the church at Ephesus need to correct?
6. What is the message for us as we read Scripture today?
7. Is it difficult to show love to God? Why or why not?
8. Does God show His love by providing us with the things we desire? Why or why not?
9. Why is there such a big emphasis on love in our culture?
10. How can you show God’s love on Valentine’s Day?
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