This is an object lesson I used with a middle school class at church a couple of years ago.
Need: tape measure, 10 commandments, scale
Measure 3 girls...give height in inches, feet, yards.
I can use this tape measure to measure how tall you are, or I can measure cloth or the room or anything else I want. I can measure you in other ways too – I can use a scale to get your weight in grams, pounds or use a big scale to weigh an elephant even in the tons!
It is important to have standards of weights and measures. You’ve probably heard the story of long ago when a foot was really a foot. So, if you wanted a foot of lumber, you'd measure with your foot. What is the problem with that system? [Everybody’s foot is a different size!] So, our country set up standard measurements. A foot equals 12 inches – all the time! (Perfect for my dad! He wears size 12.) The butcher who sells you a pound of meat, always means 16 oz. The government has people who go around and make sure that the scales are accurate and conform to the standards so that no one gets cheated.
But, our standards don’t work everywhere in the world. In Europe, they use the metric system. There, you wouldn’t ask for a yard of cloth, you would ask for a meter. But the meter is always a meter.
Did you know that God also has a standard of measure? He doesn’t measure us according to the height of our body, but according to our moral character. He measures to see whether we are good or bad. God’s standard of measure is found in the Bible. In the Old Testament, we have the 10 Commandments. Every one in this room has broken at least one of these commandments. I know because Romans 3:23 says, “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God!”
The only one who never sinned, who lived a perfect life, was Jesus Christ. He came to set a perfect example for us to imitate.
God’s moral law is a perfect law. Psalms says “the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” In France, the standard may be different from here, but with God’s law, the standards are the same everywhere, all the time. It is wrong to lie and steal in France and it is wrong to lie and steal here in America – or anywhere else in the universe! It is wicked now to swear or murder and it was always wicked. It was just as wicked 3,000 years ago as it is today. God has only one standard for all people, for all time.
God requires even you young ladies to be pure and holy. And He requires it of us adults too. If it is wrong for a preacher to go see a particular movie, it is also wrong for you. We will all be measured by the same standard.
At the end of our lives, or when the Day of Judgement comes, God will measure each of us according to HIS standard. Not by whether you THINK you were good enough and TRIED hard, but by the absolutes of His word. If you have broken one commandment, the Bible says you have broken them all. Think about it like a set of fancy teacups and saucers. If you break one, you have broken the whole set – it cannot be perfect! So, none of us will measure up. But, God provided a way to give us the extra inches we need – thru Jesus Christ. If you give your life to Him and let Him live through you – then God measures Jesus when it is your turn! He takes our place – just like He took our place on the cross. Make sure you have a relationship with Him...keep growing in Him...that leads to measuring up and fitting thru the ONE door to Heaven. If you don’t fit, there is only one alternative – Hell, and separation from God for eternity.
If I had measured you a year ago, and then again tonight, I bet I would find that you had grown some. Probably an inch or two. Just as you have been growing in height, you should also be growing in Jesus Christ and into His character. You should be making progress towards being holy. You should be lying less, stealing less, murdering less, taking God’s name in vain less, and honoring your parents more than you did last year. You should be thinking more about others than about yourself – more so than last year.
You remember the story of Jesus preaching in the temple when He was 13? The Bible says there that He went home obediently with His parents and grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. Stature is height...but Jesus also grew in wisdom and in favor with God and man. I hope that you are growing in wisdom and in favor with God and man. If you want to grow, you must read the Bible and pray! And don’t just read the Bible – do what it says.