There are few issues more important to the formation of disciples than the issue
of taking responsibility for your own life. "For each one should carry
his own load" Galatians 6:5 says. There is no progress in Christian
discipleship until we are willing to carry our own load. Until we are willing to
take responsibility for our own lives, we will not show much progress. It is
oh-too easy to blame. The tendency to blame others, rather than taking
responsibility for our own lives is as old as the Garden of Eden. Blaming others
comes so naturally, it is often difficult to see. As in many areas, we are
blinded by sin (Revelation 3:17). Lead your class to see their blaming tendency
and become willing to be responsible for their own lives and you will have
served your Master well in teaching today.
Ezekiel is part of the Bible known as the major prophets. Who can state, in
order, all the major prophets?
Let's all say them together. Now, who
can say them by themselves?
Who can say the minor prophets?
Let's work on learning to say these just a bit. Let's say the first six
together. . . (1)
talk about historical chronology. Can you guess, within a hundred years when
Anyone have a study Bible? What are some events just
before and just after the life of Ezekiel?
One last question: spell
Ezekiel 18:1 - 4, 17 - 23, 30 - 32
What is one really sour thing you like to eat?
As we read this passage, look for the what
were the existing beliefs of Ezekiel's audience.
explain the metaphor of the grapes found in verse 2?
what is happening? How could these people have the idea that they are being
blamed for their father's sins?(2)
How does God, through Ezekiel, answer this idea that they are being punished
for their parents' sins?
The problem of blaming goes way, way, back.
Someone look up Genesis 3:9 - 13.(3)
As we read this, look at who the woman blames and who the man blames.
Why this tendency to avoid responsibility? Why not just own up to our sins?
Why didn't Adam and Eve just say, "We blew it; we are sorry"? Why did the
Jews in Ezekiel's day blame their parents?
Do you see this in modern
life? Give an example where someone failed to take responsibility for his
Does your respect for someone tend to go up or go down when
they admit they blew it?(4)
Let me get slightly more personal. Has there every been a time, maybe way,
way back in time, when you blamed others for what you were responsible for?
. . . Anyone else?
Think about this one: what are the advantages for
you for taking responsibility for your own life? What is in it for you to
admit that you sinned, you blew it, you need forgiveness?
advantages, why don't we do it?
Can God forgive sin we won't admit
and take responsibility for?
Here is an interesting question: can
this be overdone? Is there such a thing as taking too much
responsibility? Ever known anyone who is willing to take all the blame, not
only for their own sin, but also for the sins of everyone around them? Is
this good or bad?(5)
Look again in your Bibles to Ezekiel 18:23, 32. What do we learn about God
from these verses?
I'd like to ask you to bow your heads just now.
I'd like to ask you to pray this prayer,
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
(Psalms 139:23) Show me any area of my life in which I am blaming others and
failing to take responsibility for my own life. Right now I repent of my
failure to take responsibility for my life, and I just now take
responsibility again. Forgive me where I have sinned. Cleanse me, and
empower me to do what I should. Thank you, for taking pleasure in my
working at this as long as is appropriate to your group.
2. They were in captivity directly because of the sins of their fathers and
grandfathers. What they didn't realize is that they had plenty of sins of their
3. Genesis 3:9 - 13 But the LORD God
called to the man, "Where are you?" He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and
I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid." And he said, "Who told you that you
were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"
The man said, "The woman you put here with me--she gave me some fruit from the
tree, and I ate it." Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have
done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
4. Jim Bakker, for example, just came out with a book entitled, I Was
5. It often seems noble and humble and all
that, but it is not. It is the sick stuff of codependency. It is just another
way to control another person. The whole point is that we are to take
responsibility for our own lives, not that we are to take blame for other's