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Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

~John 14:6-7

Lesson3-image001Materials Needed:  Whiteboard or easel and you will need –

  • One large pin or sewing needle (one that is not stainless steel)
  • One small piece of cork (thickness and size of a dime)
  • One large strong magnet
  • A large flat dish filled with water. In the water, place one drop of liquid detergent to break the surface tension.

Class Project: This study begins with a demonstration. Stroke the pin against the magnet. Starting at the mid point, stroke to the end 15 to 20 times. You are basically magnetizing the one end of the pin. Put the pin across the cork and into the water. If all goes as planned the pin will float on the cork and point north. Congratulations, you just made a compass.

History of the Compass: The first compasses were used in China as early as 200 BC, derived from the tools of fortunetellers who divined the future using a spoon made of a magnetic iron ore called lodestone. The handle of the spoon always pointed south. When someone realized that this feature could be used to navigate, not just predict the magnetic compass was born. The spoon was mounted on a slab marked with the constellations and the cardinal points. The magnetized needle replaced the spoon around the eighth century.

Western Europeans, as usual trailing the Chinese in the area of invention, adopted the magnetic compass in the 12th century. This was great improvement over the navigational strategy of following the sun, especially in inclement weather. It’s a matter of dispute whether the technology traveled from China to Europe by sea or whether it came via the Silk Road, but its arrival changed the world.

Could Columbus or Cortez have found the Americas without it? The European, to their credit, improved the device. The English, for example, mounted the needle on a pin in the 13th century. In 1907, American Elmer Sperry invented the gyroscopic compass, which remains level and therefore, accurate when in motion, useful on ships and airplanes. Compasses still rule navigation, through today they sport tungsten steel needles, jeweled bearings and other modern fixtures. (CIO Magazine, “Time Piece – Tools that Ruled, Giving Direction”, March 15, 2001, Sara Shay, pg. 172)

What are the attributes of a good compass or navigation device?

  • Dependability/consistency – always points to the same direction
  • Track record. Been in use a long time
  • Can be applied to the type of travel we are attempting to do
  • Works all the time 24 X 7 (any weather, day and night)
  • Simple to understand and use

Who is our spiritual compass and why did you choose who you did?

  • The obvious answer is Jesus but “why” is the real point of discussion here. We should be choosing Jesus for the same reasons that we just gave for choosing a good compass.

What are Christ’s attributes and how are they similar to the compass?

  • Dependability/consistency — Jesus never sinned — Hebrews 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin.”
  • Jesus points the way to God — John 14:6-7 “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.'”
  • Track Record — Jesus has been a constant even before the beginning of time. – John 1:1-3 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”
  • There is one most important additional attribute of Christ — Romans 3:22-23 “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall sort of the glory of God.” — Like the compass which does not care where you have come from, only where you are and where you want to go, Christ’s work on the Cross has freed each of us from any past baggage.

Why do we need a compass in life?

  • The journey to God is difficult and uncharted (except through Jesus)
  • It is easy to get off course (the world pulls in many ways)
  • There is danger, even death if you get lost (eternal separation from God)
  • We will stray all of the time but with a compass (using Christ as our guide) we can pull ourselves back on course.

What is the difference between magnetic north and true north?

True North Pole

The northernmost point on the earth’s surface is the geographic North Pole, also known as true north. It’s located at 90° North latitude and all lines of longitude converge at the pole. The earth’s axis connects the north and south poles, as its the line around which the earth rotates.

The North Pole is about 450 miles (725 km) north of Greenland in the middle of the Arctic Ocean – the sea there has a depth of 13,410 feet (4087 meters). Most of the time, sea ice covers the North Pole but recently, water has been sighted at the exact location of the pole. If you’re standing at the North Pole, all points are south of you (east and west have no bearing).

Magnetic North Pole

Located more than 1000 miles (1600 kilometers) south of the geographic North Pole lies the magnetic North Pole at 78°18′ North and 104° West, southwest of Nunavut, Canada’s Ellef Ringnes Island.

The earth’s magnetic pole is the focus of the planet’s magnetic field and is the point that traditional magnetic compasses point toward. Compasses are also subject to magnetic declination which is a result of the earth’s varied magnetic field. Each year, the magnetic North Pole and the magnetic field shift, requiring those using magnetic compasses for navigation to be keenly aware of the difference between magnetic north and true north. The magnetic pole was first determined in 1831, hundreds of miles from its present location.

So how does a compass work then if it does not point to “True North?”

To use a compass accurately, one must constantly be aware of both the difference between the two north positions and one’s own location. Then a compensation can be added and an accurate direction plotted.

How does this same point (constant self-assessment) pertain to knowing our position in life (where we are in our Spiritual walk)?

The world throws a lot of confusion at us every day. Each Christian should have a regular self-examination of their faith walk so that adjustments can be made as they journey through life. (see Lamentations 3:40-41a; 2 Corinthians 13:5-14)

What could confuse our view of Jesus and get us off course?

Note to the leader: This would be an excellent place to break your group into smaller groups. Give them the assignment to build a list of the things that our world does to confuse our faith and belief in Jesus. Write these on a whiteboard or easel.

The world tells us that believing in Jesus is no longer relevant – be modern, contemporary they say.

The world tells us that Jesus’ unselfish life should not be our goal but we should look out for ourselves, just do it, go for the gusto, grasp the ring of opportunity.

We, as Christians, argue over the areas of God’s Word we do not understand instead of embracing the parts that are clear and understandable. Jesus’ life was very clear. How He lived, what He did, what Jesus believed in is not very complicated.

Like the problem with magnetic north and true north, you cannot use the compass effectively until you know where you are. In life, self-introspection is something that should occur daily.

Or, we may not have really come to believe in Jesus. That is analogous to not believing the compass needle and using our own instincts to guide our lives.

Note to the leader: This is a point at which an emphasis should be placed on one’s personal decision to accept Christ as their personal Savior (compass). Each individual must be reminded that no one can make that one choice for them. It is theirs alone to either accept or reject Christ.

What can each of us do to combat the daily confusion that we just discussed?

  • Regular attendance in Worship.
  • Active fellowship with a community of Christians that will hold us accountable for our actions and choices.
  • Daily prayer.
  • Bible study. This can be self-directed but most growth and understanding comes from group study where there is discussion and sharing.
  • Re-address individual priorities frequently. In a world driven by media, it is easy to get caught up in the “chase after the Jones.”
  • Stewardship — The sharing of our time, talents, treasure and testimony. Nothing draws us closer to our God than doing His work.

Do we have other compasses in life?

  • Our parents, the friends who hold us accountable, the mentors who we look up to, the roll models that everyone has through their life.

However, there was only one that knows how to get to God’s house, and that is Jesus.

Bible Truth Being Taught

Jesus gives us the only view earthly man will ever have of God. The only way to God is to trust that Jesus knows the way and follow Him.

Our Response

Test constantly our life, the things we hold as priorities and our actions against those of Jesus. In this way, we can tell if we are on course to “true north.”