4: To Love the Lord Your God – Sabbath School Teaching Plan

4: To Love the Lord Your God – Teaching Plan

Posted on  by Michael Frackeravatar

Key Thought: In the heart of the Hebrew Schema is the statement, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength.
October 23, 2021

1. Have a volunteer read Deuteronomy 10:12Ephesians 2:1-10..

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the most important point is in this passage.
  2. How are we supposed to love and fear God at the same time? How does this make sense?
  3. Personal Application: For what reason should we be telling people to “fear God” today in preparation for His coming? Share your thoughts.
  4. Case Study: One of your relatives states, “If God is love, no one should fear Him. There is no reason to be afraid of God anymore than if we believed that He doesn’t exist.” How would you respond to your friend?

2. Have a volunteer read Deuteronomy 4:377:7,8,1310:15..

  1. Ask class members to share a thought on what the most important point in this text is.
  2.  ?
  3. Personal Application: What reasons do we have for wanting to love God in our hearts and minds? Share your thoughts
  4. Case Study: One of your friends states, “Many religions teach about a god orgods that have human characteristics of love, hate, jealousy, and indifference. How is God any different than those perpetuated by other religions?” How would you respond to your friend?

3. Have a volunteer read Deuteronomy 5:107:910:12,13..

  1. a. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
  2. ?
  3. Personal Application: Should we obey God to avoid punishment? What if we don’t want to obey God? What are your motives for obedience? Share your thoughts.
  4. Case Study: One of your relatives states: “Oh, I love God, and I love my family. I tell them that all the time. But I don’t want the church or my family infringing on my time or trying to tell me what to do. I want to live my life to please me, and not to serve or wait on others.“ How would you respond to your relative?

4. Have a volunteer read Mark 12:28-30..

  1. Ask class members to share a thought on what the most important point in this text is.
  2. Why is obedience and love so intricately tied together? Does obedience bring love, or does love bring obedience?
  3. Personal Application: How can you love God when you have never seen Him personally? How can you love the invisible, the untouchable, the intangible? Share your thoughts.
  4. Case Study: Think of one person who needs to hear a message from this week’s lesson. Tell the class what you plan to do this week to share with them.

(Truth that is not lived, that is not imparted, loses its life-giving power, its healing virtue. Its blessings can be retained only as it is shared.”Ministry of Healing, p. 148).

Love is why we Have to

Photo by Katya Wolf on Pexels.com

Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law. Romans 13:10 NLT 

A young grade school boy and his daddy were walking down a country road, when they noticed a car pull over to the shoulder a few hundred meters up the road. The passenger door opened, and a little puppy fell out the door into the ditch near the shoulder of the road. The boy watched in amazement as the car then sped off. The boy ran to the aid of the little puppy. He found the puppy whining and confused as well as looking malnourished. When the father finally caught up to the boy, the boy firmly told his daddy, “I know you may not let me keep him, but we have to take him home and feed him right now!” 

What did the little boy mean by “we have to?” How did an abandoned puppy suddenly became his problem? Was there some law written in stone that the boy had to rescue this poor dog? As a matter fact there was a law, but it was not written in stone. The only reason why the boy said, “we have to” is because there was a law written on that little boy’s heart. 

In Luke 10:30-37 Jesus tells a familiar story we call today, “The Good Samaritan.” In the story both the Levi and the priest knew the law of God which was written in stone, but yet they passed by a suffering brother, because that law was not written on their hearts. Then a Samaritan walks by who has the law of love written on his heart. He at once recognized what he had to do, not because of the law written in stone but because it was a law of love tugging at his heart strings. Like puppet strings, his heart strings controlled his behavior. Love and compassion were written on his heart and controlled his behavior. 

Writing God’s law of love on our heart is not new to the New Testament. the goal was never to have the law of love written on stone. The ultimate goal was always to have the law written on our hearts. This goes back to the Old Testament. 

But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Jeremiah 31:33 NLT 

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5 NLT 

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18 NLT

True justice must be given to foreigners living among you and to orphans, and you must never accept a widow’s garment as security for her debt. Deuteronomy 24:17 NLT

In the Old Testament as well as today, God does not just want the letter of the law written on stone. He wants the spirit of the law written on our hearts. That means showing love and compassion for a little puppy that will never be able to help you. It means showing love and compassion for a neighbor or foreigner who would probably just spit on you and pass you by if the situation was reversed.  

This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:3 NLT 

A Samaritan had to rescue a foreigner left to die in a ditch, a young boy had to rescue a helpless puppy, not because of a law carved in stone. They had to because the law was etched upon their hearts. 

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

3: The Everlasting Covenant-Sabbath School Teaching Plan

3: The Everlasting Covenant – Teaching Plan

Posted on  by Michael Frackeravatar

Key Thought: All through the Bible the covenant and the gospel appear together. The central truth of the covenant was the gospel: salvation by faith.
October 16, 2021

1. Have a volunteer read Deuteronomy 9:527.

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the most important point is in this passage.
  2. What do these verses tell us about the covenant promises made?
  3. Personal Application: Since we are saved by grace through faith, what role does the law play in our lives today? Share your thoughts.
  4. Case Study: One of your relatives states, “Does God overlook and excuse our sins because we have accepted Him as our Savior and become His children? Did He excuse and overlook Israel’s sins in the desert?” How would you respond to your friend?

2. Have a volunteer read Deuteronomy 5:1-7.

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
  2. What shows how central the idea of the covenant is to the book of Deuteronomy?
  3. Personal Application: Do we look at this covenant as pertaining to us as Israel today? How different is this covenant from the new covenant in Hebrews 8:10 and 10:16? Share your thoughts.
  4. Case Study: One of your relatives states: “Why did Moses say that the covenant was not with their fathers, but with them, and they are here today? How do I make sense out of this verse?“ How would you respond to your relative?

3. Have a volunteer read Deuteronomy 26:16-19.

  1. Ask class members to share a thought on what the most important point in this text is.
  2. How is the covenant relationship between God and Israel summed up?
  3. Personal Application: Share your thoughts
  4. Case Study: One of your friends states, “What does it mean that God wanted Israel to be a holy people? Can anyone ever really be holy? Keeping God’s commandments even from a heart of love is impossible for sinful beings. So what is God’s expectation for holiness?” How would you respond to your friend?

4. Have a volunteer read Deuteronomy 8:514:132:6.

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
  2. What kind of imagery here reflects the kind of relationship God wants for His people?
  3. Personal Application: How do you look at God? What kind of relationship do you have with Him??” Share your thoughts.
  4. Case Study: Think of one person who needs to hear a message from this week’s lesson. Tell the class what you plan to do this week to share with them.

(Truth that is not lived, that is not imparted, loses its life-giving power, its healing virtue. Its blessings can be retained only as it is shared.”Ministry of Healing, p. 148).

2: Moses’ History Lesson-Sabbath School Teaching Plan

2: Moses’ History Lesson – Teaching Plan

Posted on  by Michael Frackeravatar

Key Thought: Just as Israel was to enter the promised land, Moses gave them a history lesson, remember what the Lord has done for you in the past. This should also mean something to us as we prepare to enter the promised land.
October 9, 2021

1. Have a volunteer read Exodus 32:29-32.

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the most important point is in this passage.
  2. What does this show about the character of Moses and why God was able to use him?
  3. Personal Application: Most people want to be leaders in concern for themselves, while God picked a leader who was concerned for others above himself. Do you see this kind of leadership in your church? Share your thoughts.
  4. Case Study: One of your relatives states, “Why would Moses risk his own eternal life for the Israelites who had rebelled against him, accused him, didn’t listen to him, and constantly complained about his leadership?” How would you respond to your friend?

2. Have a volunteer read Deuteronomy 1:9-11.

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
  2. What is significant about the fact that this is mentioned as the fortieth year?
  3. Personal Application: Why would Moses want Israel to multiply so much when he just said that they were too much for him to handle? Share your thoughts.
  4. Case Study: One of your relatives states: “How can you be so sure of the prophecies you mention that are supposed to happen in the future?.“ How would you respond to your relative?

3. Have a volunteer read Numbers 14:11-20.

  1. Ask class members to share a thought on what the most important point in this text is.
  2. What reasoning did Moses use in interceding for the people with God?
  3. Personal Application: How are we to bring about the manifold wisdom of God to the world? Share your thoughts
  4. Case Study: One of your friends states, “Why did God put up with the Israelites in the wilderness? Why didn’t He just destroy them all and start over like He did at the flood?” How would you respond to your friend?

4. Have a volunteer read Genesis 15:1-16.

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
  2. How do we understand God’ purpose in destroying whole cities including men, women, and children in Israel’s march across the area?
  3. Personal Application: How do you respond to someone who says that God is love and He doesn’t destroy anyone?” Share your thoughts.
  4. Case Study: Think of one person who needs to hear a message from this week’s lesson. Tell the class what you plan to do this week to share with them.

(Truth that is not lived, that is not imparted, loses its life-giving power, its healing virtue. Its blessings can be retained only as it is shared.”Ministry of Healing, p. 148).

1: Preamble to Deuteronomy – Sabbath School Teaching plan

1: Preamble to Deuteronomy – Teaching plan

Posted on  by Michael Frackeravatar

Key Thought: This quarter we will look at the themes of Deuteronomy: the everlasting covenant, law and grace, present truth messages, and the love of God.
October 2, 2021

1. Have a volunteer read Genesis 12:1-3.

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the most important point is in this passage.
  2. From our perspective today, how do we understand what God was promising to do through Abraham?
  3. Personal Application: How do we see ourselves in relationship to the world and the call to give the three angels’ messages? Share your thoughts.
  4. Case Study: One of your relatives states, “How much of what God was telling Abraham did he and his descendants really understand what God was saying?” How would you respond to your friend?

2. Have a volunteer read Exodus 19:4-8.

  1. Ask class members to share a thought on what the most important point in this text is.
  2. Why did the Lord call the people out of Egypt?
  3. Personal Application: Do you consider the church members a kingdom of priests and a holy nation? Why or why not? Share your thoughts
  4. Case Study: One of your friends states, “They said that they would do all that the Lord commanded. Isn’t that legalism? How do we discern between obedience and legalism? How do we discern between legalism and obedience? What could turn obedience into legalism?” How would you respond to your friend?

3. Have a volunteer read Numbers 14:28-35.

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
  2. What was the punishment given to the nation because of their refusal to trust what the Lord had told them to do?
  3. Personal Application: Since disobedience usually comes from a lack of trust in God’s word, how can we learn to have more faith? Share your thoughts.
  4. Case Study: One of your relatives states: “Since God seems to destroy those who don’t follow His will, we should obey just so we won’t get punished, but my heart wouldn’t be in it.“ How would you respond to your relative?

4. Have a volunteer read Genesis 3:1-7

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
  2. What does this show us about the truth of the freedom found in love?
  3. Personal Application: Take a mental note of your thoughts throughout the day. What does this teach you about the state of your own heart?” Share your thoughts.
  4. Case Study: Think of one person who needs to hear a message from this week’s lesson. Tell the class what you plan to do this week to share with them.

(Truth that is not lived, that is not imparted, loses its life-giving power, its healing virtue. Its blessings can be retained only as it is shared.”Ministry of Healing, p. 148).

Celebrating the Friendships That Didn’t Last a Lifetime

They all cried as they embraced and kissed him [Paul] good-bye. They were sad most of all because he had said that they would never see him again. Then they escorted him down to the ship. Acts 2:37-38 NLT

Growing up back in the 20th century, long before Facebook and social media, a pastor or Sabbath School teacher we all loved would move away. It seemed there would always be one member of the congregation or Sabbath School class who would keep in fairly regular contact with the pastor after he moved. Through this member we would hear about the pastor’s current mission trips and his daughter’s graduation and marriage. Looking back now, it never occurred to me to get the former pastor’s contact information. It was enough to hear the stories through that one member who kept in contact, and I suppose subconsciously in the back of my mind, I assumed if I ever needed to talk to the former pastor again personally, all I had to do was get his number from that one member who had it. Looking back, before social media, we still had a healthy and balanced way to stay in touch. 

Often times I read memes about lifelong friendships and how wonderful they are-and yes they are! I treasure my friends that I discuss current events with, while remembering going through Watergate together. A couple weeks ago I shared a story about a lifelong friend who had to remind me of an accident I had decades ago. That was very special albeit embarrassing. yes, lifelong friendships are very special, but let’s not let that distract from the specialness of the friendships that didn’t last a lifetime. 

While I was in first grade my family moved into a home just a couple blocks from the church school, so I moved with them. Next door lived “Hans” who was about my exact age. In no time we were playing together all the time. He was into puppetry, and we even did a puppet skit on a local TV cable station. We played super heroes and on certain summer nights would sleep outside in the treehouse, with the plans of waking up at 4am to go fight crime. Looking back I thank God I never could wake him up. No telling what trouble we would have ran into. Later in middle school we started drifting apart, and in our teens while we still lived next door we seldom saw each other at all. He had his public school friends and his music. Even as a little boy he loved playing the “Entertainer” on the piano with his front door wide open. To this day I can’t hear that song without thinking of “Hans.” I digress. Anyway Hans and I drifted apart, and for the last few years we were neighbors we were basically total strangers. However, there were times in high school where I was struggling with Algebra and Geometry.  “Hans” was great at math, and would let me come over so he could explain it to me. I would thank him, and he would express his pleasure at being able to help me, then I would go back home. That was the extent of our friendship at that point. 

At the turn of the 21st century, I learned from his sister that “Hans’ was living in New York City. (Thankfully his sister did indeed turn out to be a lifelong friend.) About this time I got my first computer with Internet capabilities, and had some questions. “Hans” was into computers so I called him up, and once again he enthusiastically helped me out. Once again, I thanked him, he said I was welcome, we hung up and have never spoken since. Ever since 7th or 8th grade “Hans” has had his own friends, hobbies, career and a life that I simply haven’t fit into since around 6th grade. I love staying in touch with people. I love lifelong friends. At the same time I realize it is not practical or even healthy and balanced to expect everyone from my past to still be an active friend today. That would be about as silly as a playwriter putting the entire cast into every single scene. The entire cast does not belong in every single scene, not even the star. It would be about as crazy as a field goal kicker expecting his coach to put him in on every play. That’s not how it works or how you win games. 

Fact is, there is a time for actors, once they have served their purpose, to make their final exit from the play. Solomon’s wisdom teaches us there is a purpose for every season, but seasons change and so do our needs, and so do the needs of our friends. But while we celebrate lifelong friendships, lets remember the wisdom of Solomon and also celebrate those wonderful friendships that did not last a lifetime. They still served their purpose. Every friendship howbeit ever so brief, serves a purpose and brings a lesson. While my friend “Hans” had moved on with his life, and really did not need me in it, he was still there when I needed him for Algebra. Through him I have learned how to move on in my life and leave some people alone, while leaving the door wide open for that moment when I may actually be able to serve them again. That’s why I also came up with the analogy of the field goal kicker. While the field goal kicker is not needed on every play, he is needed to be on the sidelines throughout the entire game for that one moment he is needed to kick the winning field goal as time expires. Just because the coach seldom puts the kicker in on a play does not mean he does not value the kicker-he does! Just because a friend called another friend for lunch today without calling you does not mean your friend does not value you. We don’t have to be in on every “play” to be valued and appreciated. 

Let’s learn from the stranger who helped us fix that flat tire and then disappeared into the night never to be seen again. He came and taught us kindness, served his purpose and exited the scene. He doesn’t even need to exchange Christmas cards. He taught us a lesson, served his purpose and that was enough. 

Let’s learn from the Sabbath School teacher who harped on that one idea all the time till it drove you crazy. You haven’t seen or heard from her since the turn of the century. But sitting in Sabbath School class last week a question came up and you remembered what she said so many years ago. You used it to help someone last Sabbath understand the point a little more clearly. 

My ex-fiancé dumped me over 20 years ago, but I still remember how she showed me to add sour cream to mashed potatoes and gravy. I still love making them that way to this day. And as I look back, I learned some important lessons from that relationship that are more important than mashed potatoes and gravy. I learned some hard lessons that have helped me in my relationships today. I am glad she was a part of my life! 

While the blessings of lifelong friendships are amazing beyond words, lets not forget to celebrate the friendships that didn’t last a lifetime. After all, those friendships were not in vain even though they did not last. They served their purpose and they taught us valuable lessons that last a lifetime. 

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

Does the Bible Teach About a Secret Rapture?

“Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.” Matthew 24:40-41 NLT

Many people have used this passage to suggest a secret rapture, where people will suddenly just disappear and be taken to heaven. Growing up, I occasionally saw bumper stickers, warning that in case of rapture this car will be unmanned. But when you read this passage in context you will see no hint of a secret rapture.  *Unlike the secret rapture theory, the Sabbath is found in the Bible and has been taught and observed in the Bible and throughout history. The secret rapture was never taught before 1830 and is not found in the Bible.

Let’s take a look at the entire context of the passage in Matthew 24.

“When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. “Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left. Matthew 24:37-41 NLT

In the days of Noah the people who were swept away or “taken away” as other versions describe, were the wicked people, not the righteous. Jesus tells us it will be the same when He comes. So the ones taken in the field and at the mill are not the righteous, they are the wicked! They are taken away from the presence of the righteous and destroyed, just like in the days of Noah. So, Jesus is telling us that two men will be in the field; one will be taken and destroyed, just like the tares that are bundled up and destroyed in Matthew 13:30 while the wheat remains in the barn. By saying the other man is left, Jesus means that man is left alive and not destroyed. In Matthew 13:38 Jesus says the field is the world. That tells us that the one who is taken is destroyed while the one who is left inherits the new earth. (See Matthew 5:5 and Revelation 21:1-5.)

Luke makes it even more clear that those who are taken are not taken to heaven, but rather are taken to destruction like those left to be eaten or destroyed by vultures.

I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.” And they answered and said to Him, “Where, Lord?” So He said to them, “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.” Luke 17:34-37 NKJV

Neither Matthew or Luke give any hint of a secret rapture. After all, when the wicked were swept away in the flood that was no secret. The whole world at that time saw what was happening. The eight who remained and took over the earth knew what was going on the whole time also. There were no secrets either way.

Far from being a secret the entire world will know.

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. Revelation 1:7 NKJV

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NKJV

Yes there will be a rapture when we are taken up, but it will be no secret. Why is it so important that

everyone sees Jesus coming instead of the righteous just secretly disappearing? There are many reasons, but I am sure that Satan does not want to have to face the music. He would rather avoid that confrontation when Jesus comes as King of kings and Lord of lords. But there is no avoiding it. One day,

As I live says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God. Romans 14:11 NKJV

When the great controversy is finished, the entire universe will declare that God is love. And that is a truth that Satan would rather cover up and keep secret, but he won’t be able. The whole world will see Jesus coming, and He will take home with Him all those who have accepted His love into their lives. Let’s accept Him into our hearts now so that we will greet His coming with joy.

*By the way the secret rapture rapture was never even taught until the theory was invented by John Darby around 1830. The Sabbath truth was re-discovered around the same time. 

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.