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Lay Your Burdens Down!

12 Lessons For Christians Who Want


Relief From The Burdens They Carry.
Lay Your Burdens Down!
A Curriculum by Jeff Sims

Table of Contents

Section 1: Burdens we put on ourselves.


Lesson 1: Spiritual Tight-Rope Walking

Lesson 2: Obsessive Confession Disorder

Lesson 3: Once Saved, Never Sure

Lesson 4: Lingering Guilt

Section 2: Burdens the world puts on us.


Lesson 5: Science vs. the Bible

Lesson 6: A Shaky Foundation

Lesson 7: Wanting More

Lesson 8: Deistic Tendencies

Section 3: Burdens Christians put on each


other.
Lesson 9: The Mask

Lesson 10: A Dangerous Tradition

Lesson 11: The “Calling”

Lesson 12: Comparative Christianity


Section 1: Burdens we put on ourselves.

Lesson 1: Spiritual Tight-Rope Walking


 Burden to be lifted: Feeling like you are constantly falling in and out of
grace.

Outline:

I. The Problem: Believing the lie that says “Every sin puts a Christian
in jeopardy of hell.”

A. Some Christians feel a lack of security in their salvation


because they sin.

B. This can lead to a sense of hopelessness that leads to more


sin.

II. The Solution: Believing the truth that Jesus’ Blood continually
cleanses the faithful Christian.

A. 1 John 1:7—A Christian is to walk in the light as Jesus is in the


light. That means that we are to live with Jesus as our standard.
If Jesus is our standard, then Jesus’ blood continually cleanses us.
It cleanses us because we need cleansing. Christians continue to
make mistakes, but we can have confidence that our fellowship
with God can be constantly maintained in spite of our
shortcomings.

B. Heb. 7:25—Christians can draw near to God only through


Christ. We continue to enjoy this intimacy even when we do not
walk perfectly because Christ continues to make intercession for
us.

C. Rom. 8:1-2; 33-34—There is NO condemnation for those in


Christ. When we were baptized, we died to sin’s penalty. That
means that God forgives us of our past, present, and future sins.
Even though men, Satan, and even we ourselves try to condemn
us when we make mistakes, we can know that God continues to
see us as justified because we have faith in Christ and He
continues to intercede on our behalf.

Visual: Lay a rope on the ground at the front of the room. Act like it is a
tight-rope and you are trying not to fall off. Say “Too many Christians feel
like they’re constantly walking on a tight-rope. They think that if they sin,
then they lose fellowship with God [pretend to fall to one side]. “They feel
like they are in constant danger of going to hell, and they lack the assurance
that God says Christians can have.”

Challenge: Let God’s continual forgiveness through Christ’s blood bring you
continual peace.

Homework: Memorize 1 John 1:7


Lesson 2: Obsessive Confession Disorder
 Burden to be lifted: Feeling like you must confess every sin in order to
go to heaven.

Outline:

I. The Problem: Believing the lie that says “God only forgives sins that
are explicitly confessed, so if I forget to confess one, then I am in
danger of going to hell.”

A. Some Christians feel like they are only in fellowship with God
between the time of their last confession and their next sin.

B. This can lead to a fear that their salvation somehow hinges on


their confession of each sin.

C. This fear robs a Christian of the joy and freedom promised by


Jesus.

II. The Solution: Believing the truth that our salvation is not based on
our ability to remember every sin we have committed.

A. 1 John 1:8-10—This passage does not say that our salvation


relies on our ability to confess our sins to God. God already
knows when we sin. John is writing this to get people to admit
their sinfulness. In other words, a person should agree with God
that he is sinful.

B. Tit. 3:4-7—Our salvation is not based on our works. We are


saved only by God’s grace and mercy.

C. Rom. 8:26-27—This passage says we do not know how we


ought to pray. As Christians, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
When we pray, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us. The Spirit tells
God what is in our hearts. We can take comfort in knowing that
the Spirit makes our prayers sound pleasing to God.

Visual: Act out a skit with a member of the class which you have prepared
beforehand. You are a customer and the volunteer is the pizza delivery man.
Pretend to order a pizza for delivery and call on your cell phone saying:
You: “Hello, I’d like to place an order for delivery…I’d like 2 large pizzas…one
pepperoni and one beef.

Volunteer: Ok, so two large..one pepperoni…one hamburger, that’ll be


$18.98 and we’ll have it to you in about 35 minutes.

[volunteer pretends to make pizza and deliver it ringing the door bell]

You: Thank you very much, here’s the money for the pizza and a tip.

Volunteer: Thanks, and enjoy…

[volunteer leaves…you open the box and say…]

You: What is this?! This isn’t pizza…it’s just meat!

[Pretend to dial the pizza place]

Volunteer: Hello, Pizza palace…would you like to try one of our new 18 meat
pizzas for only 18 dollars?

You: No thank you, I just wanted to call about my pizza. I ordered two
pizzas, one pepperoni and one beef, but when they were delivered, I only got
the meat.

Volunteer: Oh…yes sir…about that. I’m sorry, we can only deliver the things
that people specifically name over the phone. So for those pizzas all you can
possibly get is the meat. Next time please be sure to mention the crust,
sauce, cheese, and any toppings. Once again, I’m sorry. Have a great day!

[You close your phone in disgust and begin your lesson]

Challenge: Confess your sins, but realize that your salvation is not based on
your ability to remember and confess each one.

Homework: Memorize Rom. 8:26-27


Lesson 3: Once Saved, Never Sure
 Burden to be lifted: Feeling like you are never good enough or do
enough to be saved.

Outline:

I. The Problem: Believing the lie that says “your salvation is based on
what you do, so you’d better be good enough and do enough good
works to ensure that you’re saved.”

A. Some Christians believe that salvation is based their good


works.

B. This leads them to serve God out of a feeling of obligation


rather than of joy.

C. Since their salvation is perceived to be within their control,


there is a constant fear of hell or at least a lack of assurance.

II. The Solution: Believing the truth that our salvation is a gift from
God and is not based on our works.

A. Eph. 2:8-10—our salvation is not based on our works, but is a


gift of God. It is by grace through faith that we have hope of
eternal life. We do not work to be saved, but we work BECAUSE
we are saved.

B. Rom. 5:8-11—We can know that we will avoid God’s wrath


because we are covered by the blood of Jesus. Christ reconciled
us to God while we were still enemies of God.

C. Rom. 3:23-24—We have all sinned, but Christians are seen as


righteous before God because we have been redeemed by Jesus’
perfect sacrifice.

Visual: Ask the class to help you make a list on the board of all of the good
things Christians should do. (Ex. Attend church, pray, sing, don’t curse, read
your Bible every day, etc…). Ask questions like “so which one of these
things can save us?” and “Do you feel less saved or less of a Christian when
you miss a Sunday? Should you?”
Challenge: Put your faith in Christ and not in yourself.

Homework: Memorize Eph. 2:8-9


Lesson 4: Lingering Guilt
 Burden to be lifted: Feeling guilty for past sins and/or experiences.

Outline:

I. The Problem: Believing the lie that says “you may be a Christian,
but you’ll always be haunted by your past.”

A. Christians are not immune from guilt, and some continue to


be plagued by their past sins and experiences long after they
have been baptized.

B. This guilt robs these Christians of the joy and freedom that
Christ promises.

C. This guilt sometimes hinders them from serving Christ in a


healthy and productive way.

II. The Solution: Believing the truth that a Christian has been freed
from the guilt and penalty of their past sins.

A. Heb. 9:14; 10:17, 22—God forgives sins to remember them no


more. Jesus’ blood has the power to cleanse the conscience. We
must choose to let go of our guilt and agree with God about our
position before Him.

B. 1 Pet. 3:21—It is when we are baptized into Christ that we are


saved and our consciences are cleansed.

C. John 8:36, Gal. 5:1a—Christ has set us free from our sins. He
has also freed us from the guilt associated with those sins.
Christ wants us to continue in this freedom and not be burdened
by guilt.

Visual: Bring a stack of boxes. Ask the class to name some common
burdens that are a result of past sins or painful experiences that a Christian
might carry around. (Ex. Abuse, Divorce, Addiction, etc…). Label the boxes
with a marker as they name each burden. Ask for a volunteer and begin to
place the boxes in their arms. Ask questions like…”Is this what Christianity is
supposed to look like?” and then say “Let’s take a look at what the Bible says
about our pasts.”

Challenge: Accept God’s forgiveness and let Christ free you from your guilt.

Homework: Memorize Heb. 9:14

Section 2: Burdens the world puts on us.

Lesson 5: Science vs. the Bible


 Burden to be lifted: Feeling like science is at odds with God’s word.

Outline:

I. The Problem: Believing the lie that says “There’s no way the Bible
can be totally right. Science has proven some parts of it to be wrong.”

A. Christians are sometimes influenced strongly by the world.


Some believe that the Bible has been proven to be wrong by
science. Some have even adopted views that are contrary to the
Bible because the scientific community sometimes puts theories
forward as facts.

II. The Solution: Believing the truth that God created the heavens and
the earth and that His word is truth.

A. Rom. 1:20, Acts 17:24-27—God says that it is clear that the


world was created by Him. He presents His creation as evidence
and says that it should cause men to seek Him. Even the
scientific community’s “best” theorists can only speculate on
how the world was created. They have to speculate because
they deny God’s obvious truth that He has revealed to us.

B. 1 Cor. 1:18-21—Those who refuse to accept God’s message


and so be saved have professed to be wise by worldly standards.
God says he will humble them. They try to make Christians look
foolish, but God says, even so, it is through this “foolish”
message that men are saved.
C. 1 Tim. 6:20—Christians can have confidence that the Bible is
truth. History, Archaeology, and all true science support this
fact. We must hold fast to its truth and avoid empty discussions
based on theories of men that they falsely call “wisdom.”

Visual: Borrow a science book from a local public school or university. Find
examples where the teaching is contrary to God’s word. Show your class
how God’s word turns the world’s “wisdom” into foolishness.

Challenge: Learn to filter scientific theories through God’s truth.

Homework: Memorize 1 Cor. 1:18-21


Lesson 6: A Shaky Foundation
 Burden to be lifted: Feeling like the Bible is not accurate or complete.

Outline:

I. The Problem: Believing the lie that says “You can’t be totally sure
that the Bible is right. What about all of the inaccuracies and
inconsistencies? Aren’t there more books that should be in the Bible?
And, what about modern-day prophets?”

A. Christians are inundated by people trying passionately to


prove the Bible to be inaccurate and inconsistent.

B. Others purport that other writings should be added to the


Bible, or that modern-day prophets are inspired to speak by the
Holy Spirit.

B. If these lies are believed, it places them at risk of falling away


from Christ.

II. The Solution: Believing the truth that God’s word is accurate,
complete, and sufficient for salvation.

A. Eph. 3:4-5—The Bible was written by apostles and prophets


that were inspired by the Holy Spirit. Paul says that we can
understand it even as he understood it. This also says that the
gospel was not preached before Paul’s generation as some today
claim.

B. Jude 1:3—Jude says that “the faith” was handed down once
and for all. This means that there will be no more revelations
given or needed for a person to be saved.

C. 2 Pet. 1:2-4—God has given us EVERYTHING we need for life


and godliness. Without the Bible we would know precious little
about Jesus. The early churches kept these documents because
they believed them. We know that history and archaeology
support them. It is enough to help us become like Christ and to
get us to heaven. It is all we need.
Visual: Cover your Bible inside and out with post-it notes of prophecies or
added material that individuals or groups claim should be added to the word
of God. (Ex. Book of Mormon, The Watchtower, Gnostic Gospels, modern
“prophecies,” Papal statements, etc…). Pass around post-it notes to
everyone and act like there was another prophecy last night that needs to be
added. Say “ok, make sure you get this right…let’s all get this together, this
is God’s message after all” Talk about the absolute chaos and inconsistency
that would accompany such a system and then go into your lesson.

Challenge: Trust God when He says He’s given you everything you need in
His word.

Homework: Memorize 2 Pet. 1:2-4


Lesson 7: Wanting More
 Burden to be lifted: Feeling like you need or lack a “religious
experience.”

Outline:

I. The Problem: Believing the lie that says “faith is based on feelings
and experiences and if you haven’t had a ‘religious experience’ or felt
a certain way then there must be something wrong with your faith.”

A. Pentecostalism tells us that we must have certain experiences


to “know” we are saved, or to know we have the Holy Spirit. This
is contrary to biblical teaching.

B. Some people measure their relationship with God based on


how they feel at any given moment. When they feel close to
Him, they feel saved. This kind of thinking leads to a lack of
assurance and amounts to believing in a lie.

II. The Solution: Believing the truth that faith comes from hearing the
words of Christ.

A. Rom. 10:17—Faith is not caused by some mystical


experience. Salvation comes through education. Faith must be
in Jesus, and we only learn of Jesus through His word.

B. Eph. 1:18-23—Christ is seated at God’s right hand far above


every power and authority. Our faith must be in Him alone. We
must not trust in our feelings, but in His promises.

C. Acts 2:38—When you were baptized into the name of Jesus


Christ, your sins were forgiven and you received the indwelling
Holy Spirit. Our salvation rests on God’s promises rather than
our perceptions.

Visual: Find an old tobacco ad that promised health benefits as a result of


smoking. For example, Camel cigarettes advertised that smoking could “Give
your throat a vacation.” Discuss how dangerous it was for people who
believed those lies. In the same way, there are religious lies that if believed
lead to death.
Challenge: Let your faith be based on facts not feelings.

Homework: Memorize Rom. 10:17 and Acts 2:38


Lesson 8: Deistic Tendencies
 Burden to be lifted: Feeling alone and powerless and that God is not
active in the world

Outline:

I. The Problem: Believing the lie that says “God set creation in motion,
but has let the laws of nature take their course since then. He is no
longer active in any way in the world.”

A. Some Christians feel alone in the world and have forgotten


that they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

B. Some mistakenly think that God is not active in the lives of


men today because they do not see any miracles.

C. This kind of thinking leads to stagnant or non-existent prayer-


lives.

II. The Solution: Believing the truth that God is active in the world,
and even within each Christian through His Holy Spirit.

A. 1 John 5:11-15—God answers prayers! If we ask anything


according to His will, He will grant it. Let us never assume God is
not active in our lives, or we risk losing one of the most precious
opportunities of life.

B. Matt. 6:25-34; 5:45—Just as God provides for the plants and


animals, He provides for us as well. He provides for the
righteous and unrighteous both.

C. 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Cor. 10:13—God provides strength to


Christians through His Spirit. He leads them from temptation
when they seek Him.

Visual: Many of us have watched our favorite movies over and over,
sometimes wishing for a different ending, but knowing that we are powerless
to change it. Talk about how God is different. He’s not sitting back with a
bucket of popcorn watching His creation as if uninvolved.
Challenge: Thank God for His provision. Pray to God and let Him continually
transform you through His Holy Spirit.

Homework: Memorize 1 Cor. 10:13 and 1 John 5:14-15


Section 3: Burdens Christians put on each
other.

Lesson 9: The Mask


 Burden to be lifted: Feeling like you have to be perfect and that you
cannot admit your faults.

Outline:

I. The Problem: Believing the lie that says “Christians are supposed to
be like Jesus…perfect in every way…and since I’m not, I have to hide
my faults from other Christians or they will look down on me.”

A. Some Christians feel like they have to be sinless in order to be


accepted. Christ-likeness is a proper goal for a Christian, but the
church is made up of people in various stages of transformation.
This means that all Christians continue to make mistakes while
we hold Christ up as our standard.

B. Many Christians mistakenly believe that they must hide their


sins from one another in order to maintain the Christian persona.

C. This leads to an unhealthy spiritual state that lacks


accountability, healing, and forgiveness.

II. The Solution: Believing the truth that though Christians are called
to stop sinning, they still sin, and God looks at Christians who sin as if
they are as righteous as Jesus because His blood covers us.

A. 1 John 2:1-2—John’s wish for Christians is that they do not sin.


But he reassures them that when they do sin, that Jesus
continues to wash our sins away. We must not pretend that we
are sinless while striving to become sinless.

B. Jas. 5:16—James commands Christians to confess to one


another and pray for one another so that healing can take place.
If everyone hides their faults from each other, then we are
hindering God’s process of spiritual healing in our lives.

C. Gal. 6:1-2—We are to bear one another’s burdens. How can


we hope to do this if we are pretending that we never have any
burdens to bear?

Visual: Bring in a mask and prepare a skit beforehand with two volunteers.
Address one volunteer as a non-Christian friend from whom you hide very
little. Address the other as your Christian friend from whom you hide much.
Say things to the non-Christian without your mask on like “oh, you wouldn’t
believe how awesome that movie was last night! Did you see it when they…”
Then, say things the same things with your mask on to your Christian friend,
but make them “church appropriate.” Use this as an introduction into your
lesson.

Challenge: Do not hinder Christ’s body from functioning correctly. Confess


your sins to one another and bear one another’s burdens as you strive to be
more like Christ everyday.

Homework: Memorize 1 John 2:1 and Jas. 5:16


Lesson 10: A Dangerous Tradition
 Burden to be lifted: Feeling bound to observe man-made traditions as
if they were commanded by God.

Outline:

I. The Problem: Believing the lie that says “man-made traditions are
just as important as God’s commands. We must practice Christianity
according to these traditions.”

A. Mark 7:5-9—This is not a new problem. The Pharisees were


charged with neglecting the commandments of God in order to
follow the traditions of men. This can sadly be said about some
Christians today.

B. Many others feel bound to observe these traditions to


appease those who view them as necessary. This is tricky
territory because neither brother should put a stumbling block
before the other.

II. The Solution: Believing the truth that Christians must seek unity
and follow God’s word above all else.

A. John 4:24—God desires to be worshipped in a certain way.


There is a true worship. This also means, however, that there is
a false worship. We must be careful to follow God’s plan for
worship, and not man’s. God’s word alone must be our standard.

B. Rom. 12:16-18, 1 Cor. 1:10—We are commanded to be at


peace with all men if at all possible. We are called to have no
divisions among us. Matters of man-made traditions which cause
division must be thrown aside for the unity of the church. Let us
not neglect the commandments of God to follow the traditions of
men.

C. Rom. 14:1-23—In non-essential, doctrinal matters, we are to


have an opinion. But if this opinion puts us into conflict with
others, we are to keep it to ourselves and look out for our
brother’s best interest. We all stand or fall before God alone, and
God can make us stand.
Visual: Change some integral aspect of the room before class begins. For
example, if your class is normally seated in a circle, change the seating into
rows, or a square. Note people’s reactions on the way in and use it to lead
into your lesson. Ask questions like “how did you feel when you first came
into the room?” and “why is our classroom set up in a circle to begin with?”
etc…

Challenge: Learn and follow God’s commandments so that you can ensure
that both you and others are united and worshipping in spirit and in truth.

Homework: Memorize Mark 7:9 and Rom. 12:18


Lesson 11: The “Calling”
 Burden to be lifted: Feeling like you must have a unique “calling” from
God in order to pursue ministerial or evangelistic works.

Outline:

I. The Problem: Believing the lie that says “true ministers and
evangelists receive a special ‘calling’ from God into those roles. If you
haven’t had such an experience, then you must not be ‘called.’”

A. Some Christians buy into the denominational idea that a


minister or missionary of God must receive a special and unique
“calling” (which in essence means some mystical or seemingly
supernatural experience must have taken place) in order to do
the Lord’s work. This leads many to mistakenly believe that they
must be exempt from serving their Lord.

B. Many people do not understand that God has called all


Christians to follow Him and to obey His commands.

II. The Solution: Believing the truth that God calls all Christians
through His word to minister to, and share the good news with, others.

A. Matt. 28:18-20—Jesus was addressing His disciples directly in


this passage, but also us as well. We are to take His message of
hope to all nations and teach and baptize them in His name. His
promise still remains for us as well that He will be with us always.

B. 2 Thess. 2:13-15—We are all called through the Gospel! God


does not use some mystical or supernatural event to call us to
the faith. We are taught the good news message from others
who know the truth, and it is truth that we are to hold and pass
on to the next generation.

C. 1 Pet. 2:9—Peter tells us plainly why God has called us out of


darkness and into the light. It is to proclaim the Excellencies of
God to the world.

Visual: Have each person write out 1 Pet. 2:9 in their own words on one side
of their paper, and then have them write out what that might look like in
their lives on the other side of the paper. God has called you for a purpose.
Who in your circle still needs to hear the good news? Discuss ways that they
might approach the topic in their conversations.

Challenge: Believe God when He says He’s called you. Now, proclaim His
Excellencies to the world!

Homework: Memorize 1 Pet. 2:9


Lesson 12: Comparative Christianity
 Burden to be lifted: Feeling like you must measure up to other
Christians in order to be pleasing to God.

Outline:

I. The Problem: Believing the lie that says “You must not be as good
as or have as much faith as other Christians.” Or, “You’re too young to
be able to make a difference in the church.”

A. Some Christians view themselves to be of little value to the


church because they do not see their gifts as having value.

B. Others see their youth or lack of experience as a hindrance to


their spiritual service to others.

II. The Solution: Believing the truth that God gives gifts to all
Christians and He looks on all members as valuable to His purposes.

A. 1 Cor. 12:12-25—Christ’s body, the church, is made up of


many people with varying gifts. We must all serve the body
while not judging the other members. We must not look down on
our own gifts, for all are important to God.

B. Rom. 12:3-8—We do not all have the same function within the
church. Each must use his own gifts for the edification of the
others.

C. 1 Tim. 4:12; Heb. 10:24—Paul tells Timothy not to let others


look down on him because of his youthfulness. He rather tells
him to be a good example to others. Instead of comparing
ourselves to others, let us strive to spur one another on to love
and good deeds.

Visual: Bring in a tape measure. Walk around and start measuring how tall
each person is. Start with the tallest people in the room. Pretend to be
disappointed when you measure yourself and you don’t measure up to the
others. You can even prepare the tape measure beforehand to say good
things at other heights like “great parent,” “wonderful teacher,” and “terrific
prayer warrior.” Have it say something at your height like “doesn’t measure
up,” or “never good enough.”

Challenge: Let no one look down on you, but rather be a good example to
others and serve Christ’s church with your gifts, for all are needed.

Homework: Memorize 1 Cor. 12:23-25