5: Children of the Promise – Teaching Plan

Posted on  by Michael Frackeravatar

Key Thought: The Lord called Himself Abram’s Shield. All the families of the earth were to be blessed through Abraham. God promises to be with us always.
May 1, 2021

1. Have a volunteer read Genesis 15:1-3.

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the most important point is in this passage.
  2. Why did God tell Abram not to fear?
  3. Personal Application: How is God our Shield? Does that mean no physical harm will come our way? How do we understand the image of a shield? Share your thoughts.
  4. Case Study: One of your friends states, “A faithful and active number of our church got Covid and even though he was aged and had heart problems, we prayed that he would get well, but he died. Why didn’t God shield him?” How would you respond to your friend?

2. Have a volunteer read Genesis Genesis 28:14Galatians 3:29..

  1. Ask class members to share a thought on what the most important point in this text is.
  2. How are all the families of earth blessed in Abraham?.
  3. Personal Application: In what ways are we blessed today? How often do we think about our blessings? Do we take them for granted? Share your thoughts.
  4. Case Study: One of your relatives states: “Why do we think people who don’t know God and are famous for some reason: music, movies, sports, or business, are blessed when they do not give God glory, but receive it to themselves?“ How would you respond to your relative?

3. Have a volunteer read Genesis 18:18.

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
  2. Why did the Lord want to make a special nation out of Abraham’s seed? What purpose was this nation to fulfill
  3. Personal Application: Why did God call a special church out of Christianity? What purpose was this church to fulfil? Share your thoughts.
  4. Case Study: One of your neighbors states, “Why do you think your church is unique or special? There are many Christian churches who preach and teach the gospel. Your standoffishness is a hinder to the unity of the Christian church.” How would you respond to your neighbor?

4. Have a volunteer read Genesis 12:2.

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
  2. Why would the Lord want us to make Abraham’s name great? Did He do it for Abraham’s personal benefit, or does it represent something more?
  3. Personal Application: Who deserves a great name? Would God bestow that on a church leader? For what reason?” 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).

Go Light Your World, Go Light Your Universe

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

“Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” Genesis 15:5 NLT 

Of course Abram’s most important descendant is Jesus, but each descendant has his or her own sphere of influence just like the stars. The other day I was reading a book about stars to a group of first graders when a thought came to me. While our sun gives us light by day and even by night via its reflection off the moon, the stars still contribute to lighten our nights. That means that while being  the sun in another solar system galaxies away, that sun in another solar system contributes its light to our solar system as well even though to us it is just another one of the billion stars. Likewise if you are a parent, to your family you are the sun, but to your children’s friends you are still a star as your influence goes beyond your own family or “solar system.” If you are a teacher or pastor or Sabbath School teacher you are the sun to your class or church, but often throughout the day a teacher and pastor will minister outside their own church or class. It may be as small as tying the shoe of child in the hallway from another classroom or just speaking a word of encouragement in an assembly. For a pastor it may be getting a random phone call from someone who has a problem they are too embarrassed to talk to their own pastor about. And of course a sphere of influence is not limited to parents, pastors and teachers. I think the universe teaches us a valuable lesson that just as the sun’s light is not limited to its own solar system so our light goes beyond our little sphere as well.  I am just using pastors and teachers as an easy example. A teacher may be the sun in her classroom (solar system) but she is still a star giving light to the rest of her school (Universe or if you are a college professor you can say university, pun intended.) A pastor may be the sun to his church but he is still a star in his conference and community. 

A sun of course is simply a star and even the closest star is still 5.88 trillion miles away, but amazingly we still benefit from its light. It should be a sobering thought to realize how far away our influence is felt. We may be thinking we are too small or far away to make a difference but we do make a difference often without even realizing it. Years ago I was working in a 5th and 6th grade Adventist classroom. One day I was walking to my car when I saw a group of fourth graders playing football. A girl was running with the ball while the boys were trying to catch her. I yelled our her name and said, “Run! Run!” I got in my car and drove away never giving it another thought. The next morning the girl’s mother came up to me and told me, “My daughter told me she was playing football with the boys yesterday and was running with the ball. She said she was about to give out and about to get caught when she heard you call out her name and yell run. She said that gave her an extra boost of energy and she ran for the touchdown!” 

While I was not the sun in her classroom, by speaking three simple encouraging words I was one of hopefully billions of stars speaking encouraging words into her life. While I got in my car and never gave it another thought I found out later those simple words made a difference. A big enough difference she had to share them with her mother. 

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:14-16. NLT

My friend, go light your world. Go light your universe.  

"Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever." Daniel 12:3 NLT 

The Amazing Covenant Keeper

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

When I saw the title of this week’s lesson, “An Everlasting Covenant” I automatically thought of how faithful God has been to His covenant even when His people were not keeping their end of the bargain. For example, in Exodus 32 God’s people worship a golden calf. Then God acts as if He is going to destroy them when Moses intercedes: 

Why let the Egyptians say, ‘Their God rescued them with the evil intention of slaughtering them in the mountains and wiping them from the face of the earth’? Turn away from your fierce anger. Change your mind about this terrible disaster you have threatened against your people!  Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You bound yourself with an oath to them, saying, ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven. And I will give them all of this land that I have promised to your descendants, and they will possess it forever.’”  So the Lord changed his mind about the terrible disaster he had threatened to bring on his people. Exodus 32:12-14 NLT 

Now whether or not God actually intended to destroy His people or if He was merely testing Moses, when Moses reminded God of His covenant promise to Abraham, God did not destroy them and He took the remnant into the promised land just as He had well, promised! We could have reasoned, well Abraham is dead; He will never know. We could have reasoned that the children of Israel did not deserve God’s promises, but none of that kept God from keeping His covenant with His people. God is the Amazing Covenant Keeper. 

Later we see something that to me is even more amazing. In Joshua 9 and Joshua 10, the Gibeonites used deceit to trick Israel into letting them in on the covenant God had made with them. Even though Israel was not supposed to make a covenant with anyone living as close as the Gibeonites, they did because they were tricked into it. Later when the Gibeonites were under attack, they called upon Israel to save them, 

The men of Gibeon quickly sent messengers to Joshua at his camp in Gilgal. “Don’t abandon your servants now!” they pleaded. “Come at once! Save us! Help us! For all the Amorite kings who live in the hill country have joined forces to attack us.” Joshua 10:6 NLT

Now Joshua very well could have told Gibeon, “You tricked us! We are not going to help you. What you did was dirty, and we don’t have to help you.” But instead, Joshua rushes to their aid. After all, a promise is a promise. 

So Joshua and his entire army, including his best warriors, left Gilgal and set out for Gibeon. Joshua 10:7 NLT

Now God could have told Joshua, “I am not helping you and Gibeon! You never should have let them in on our covenant. I am under no obligation whatsoever to help you or Gibeon since you both went about making this covenant all wrong!” But God is not like that. Instead God encourages Joshua to fight against Gibeon’s attackers.

Do not be afraid of them,” the Lord said to Joshua, “for I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you.” Joshua 10:8 NLT

It doesn’t stop there. God does something tremendously amazing to save these ornery rascals. He makes the sun stand still for them so they can defeat their enemies. 

On the day the Lord gave the Israelites victory over the Amorites, Joshua prayed to the Lord in front of all the people of Israel. He said, “Let the sun stand still over Gibeon, and the moon over the valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still and the moon stayed in place until the nation of Israel had defeated its enemies. Is this event not recorded in The Book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the middle of the sky, and it did not set as on a normal day. There has never been a day like this one before or since, when the Lord answered such a prayer. Surely the Lord fought for Israel that day! Joshua 10:12-14 NLT

Did you catch what just happened? God, could have told Joshua the covenant was not legal since Joshua never should have made the covenant with a neighbor in the first place. God could have said Gibeon cheated in order to get in on the covenant and therefore it should not be honored. But instead of saying any of that God makes the sun stand still in order to fulfill His promise which neither Joshua nor Gibeon deserved! Talk about an Amazing Covenant Keeper! 

Friends I personally have read in the Bible about the conditions to receive God’s blessings, and I have to admit I have not met those conditions, and yet God’s blessings keep pouring in. What I have personally experienced is a God Who is more wonderful and merciful than He even claims to be. I have experienced a God who will make the sun stand still for me when I don’t deserve the time of day. He is an Amazing Covenant Keeper! It is because He is so merciful, forgiving and faithful that I choose to obey Him. David also experienced the amazing mercy of our Amazing Covenant Keeper when he said,

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Psalm 34:8 NLT 

4: An Everlasting Covenant-Teaching Plan

This plan was provided by Michael Fracker.

Key Thought: God called Abraham into a special relationship with Him, one that would reveal the plan of salvation to the world.
April 24, 2021

1. Have a volunteer read Genesis 17:1-6.

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the most important point is in this passage.
  2. Why would God present Himself to Abrah as El Shaddai – the Almighty God- at this time?
  3. Personal Application: How does believing in the Almighty God give us comfort and trust when we are weak and frail and old? Share your thoughts.
  4. Case Study: One of your friends states, “Do you think God calls people today to leave position, wealth, plans and home to do a work for Him in spite of our human frailties? How does one know if it is God’s call?” How would you respond to your friend?

2. Have a volunteer read Genesis 17:7..

  1. Ask class members to share a thought on what the most important point in this text is.
  2. Why did God change Abram’s name to Abraham?.
  3. Personal Application: What kind of “new name” do you think God is going to give you in heaven? What might that name reveal about you and your character? Share your thoughts.
  4. Case Study: One of your relatives states: “Why does God call His covenant an everlasting covenant with Abraham and his descendents forever? Wasn’t that the Old Covenant that has been replaced?“ How would you respond to your relative?

3. Have a volunteer read Genesis 18:19.

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
  2. What important facts do we see about Abraham and why God chose him for the covenant promises?
  3. Personal Application: Is leadership and teaching important factors in the family life as well as church life? Share your thoughts.
  4. Case Study: One of your neighbors states, “Obedience seems to be a big factor in Abraham’s walk with God, but obedience doesn’t save anyone; only faith does. So what is the relationship of obedience to faith since we are told we are not saved by faith and works, but by faith only?” How would you respond to your neighbor?

4. Have a volunteer read Revelation 14:6,7.

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
  2. How is the message of Revelation 14 similar to Abraham’s covenant?
  3. Personal Application: What specific responsibility do we have in living and giving the three angels messages to the world?” 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).

The Lawgiver and Promise Giver

I m writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach [them], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:17-19

During my Bible Worker ministry, I have occasionally heard people try to rationalize away Matthew 5:17-19 and the whole law by saying that Jesus did away with the law once it was fulfilled. This is where we need to exercise Isaiah 28:10 and compare other verses. In Matthew 3 Jesus goes to be baptized. In Matt 3:15 Jesus says it is necessary to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness.

After Jesus fulfilled the rite of baptism, did He then do away with baptism? No. In Matthew 28:19-20 He tells the disciples to baptize. So Jesus did not do away with baptism when He fulfilled it, and neither did Jesus do away with any of the law after fulfilling the law. Paul also demonstrates what it means to “fulfill” God’s law:

“For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if [there be] any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love [is] the fulfilling of the law.” Romans 13:9-10

I have also had explained to me that we no longer need the commandments because now we have love. Fact is we have always had love. It is because we have love that we do not steal, kill or lie about our neighbor. When we have love we fulfill the law by putting God and our family and neighbors before ourselves. Love is putting others first. The first four commandments show us how to put God first. The last six tell us how to put our family and neighbors first.

The beautiful thing is how it is all brought about. When the Lawgiver gave the commandments, He began with the reminder, “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” Exodus 20:2 Here the Lawgiver is reminding His people that they did not free themselves from the Egyptians, but that He freed them while they were totally helpless. He then goes on to explain in Exodus 20 that He will free them from other gods. He will free them from adultery and murder and other sins.

So how is this brought about? The Lawgiver tells us in Exodus 19:3-5,

And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; ‘Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people.’ Exodus 19:3-5

Just as the Israelites did not save themselves from the Egyptians, but God did, so we will not save ourselves from the power of sin, but He will. He goes on and tells us to obey His voice. My Strong’s Concordance tells me that word “obey” (shama) means to listen and be attentive. God is not demanding a legalistic obedience of works.

Many have the idea that the Old Testament is about being saved by law while the New Testament is about being saved by grace. But grace is just as real in the Old Testament as it is in the New Testament. God wants us to listen to His voice of promises! The Lawgiver goes on and says “keep my covenant.” Again, according to my Strong’s concordance, that word “keep” (shamar) means to guard or protect. Shamar is the same word used in Genesis 2:15 when Adam was told to keep the garden. Did God mean for him to obey the garden? No, He meant for him to cherish the garden. Care for it. Protect it. The word “covenant” is also a promise. So in Exodus 19:3-5 the Lawgiver is telling us that just as He delivered the Hebrews from Egyptian bondage, He will also deliver us from spiritual bondage, if we will only cherish His promises!

Thus we find in the Old Testament the same grace we see in the New Testament.

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 peter 1:4

God’s ideal for His children is higher than the highest human thought can reach. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” This command is a promise. The plan of redemption contemplates our complete recovery from the power of Satan. Christ always separates the contrite soul from sin. He came to destroy the works of the devil, and He has made provision that the Holy Spirit shall be imparted to every repentant soul, to keep him from sinning. –Ellen White, Desire of Ages, page 311.

You may study this week’s lesson here.

3: All Future Generations-Teaching Plan

Key Thought: What did sin do to God’s creation? What were some of the characteristics of Noah? What elements were involved in the covenant with Noah? In what ways is God’s grace revealed in the covenant with Noah before the Flood? What does the covenant God made with humanity after the Flood teach us about His universal love for us?

Prepared by William Earnhardt

April 17, 2021 Sabbath School Class.

  1. Have a volunteer read Genesis 6:5-9, 11.

A. Ask the class what is the main idea of this passage?

B. Why did God repent that He had made man? (Try to help the class understand that God was sorry because His creatures were in pain. For example Malachi 2:16 says God hates divorce. Does God hate divorcees? Of course not! He loves divorcees which is why He hates the divorce that brings pain to the divorcees.) What does His solution teach us about true Biblical repentance? (Try to help the class the understand that God repented by undoing what He had done. True repentance on our part is undoing what we have done as far as lies in our power.)

C. Personal Application: In the midst of a wicked world how do we find grace in the eyes of the Lord? What hint does the last part of verse 9 give us?

D. Case Study: Your friend says his pastor says that if Jesus does not come soon to destroy sin and sinners that He will need to apologize to the antediluvians for destroying them? Do you agree with your friend?

2. Have a volunteer read Genesis 6:10-18.

A. Ask the class what is the main idea of this passage?

B. How is the covenant in verse 18 related to the covenant in Genesis 3:15 and why does that make it crucial for God to preserve a posterity on the ark?

C. Personal Application: What part did peer pressure play in Adam choosing to sin in Genesis 3:6 and what part do you believe peer pressure played in no one besides Noah’s family getting on the ark? When it comes to salvation why is it so important that we make our own decisions?

D. Case Study: Your young nephew who just lost his favorite puppy asks you if his pet will be in heaven. After all he says, God saved the animals on the ark. What do you tell your nephew?

3. Have a volunteer read Genesis 9:12-17.

A. Ask the class that is the main idea of this passage?

B. What is the significance of “every living creature” in verse 16 and “all families of the earth will be blessed” in Genesis 12:1-3? Have unbelievers benefited from the covenant? If so how? Hint: “To the death of Christ we owe even this earthly life. The bread we eat is the purchase of His broken body. The water we drink is bought by His spilled blood. Never one, saint or sinner, eats his daily food, but he is nourished by the body and the blood of Christ. The cross of Calvary is stamped on every loaf. It is reflected in every water spring. All this Christ has taught in appointing the emblems of His great sacrifice. The light shining from that Communion service in the upper chamber makes sacred the provisions for our daily life. The family board becomes as the table of the Lord, and every meal a sacrament.” -Ellen White, Desire of Ages Page 660.

C. Personal Application: How well has God kept His covenant with your personally? How well have you kept your covenant with Him?

D. Case Study: Your neighbor asks if the flood covered the entire globe or just the known world in the middle east at that time? What implications does such a question have? What do you tell your neighbor?

4. Have a volunteer read Revelation 12:17.

A. Ask the class what is the main idea of this passage?

B. What relation is there if any, between the “seed” in Genesis 3:15 and “the remnant of her seed” In this passage? How is the remaining and surviving seed identified?

C. Personal Application: If you are a part of God’s remnant how has the dragon made war with you personally? How has God protected you?

D. 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. 149).

Better Promises Make a Better Covenant

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

The story goes of a man who got a job chopping down trees. The first day his foreman noticed he had cut down only ten trees while the other men had cut down a hundred or so. “Oh well,” thought the foreman, “it was his first day.” But the next couple days went the same way, so the foreman decided to have a talk with the new worker. “I am sure you have noticed you are not cutting down nearly as many trees as the others are,” the foreman began. “Yes I know, Sir, but I am having trouble with this saw you gave me,” said the new worker. The foreman took a look at the saw and pulled the cord to start the motor. The buzz of the motor scared the new worker, and he jumped back shouting, “What is that sound?” 

The new worker did not realize he was not expected saw down a hundred trees in his own power. He did not realize what power was available to him. It’s the same way with us.

Many people shirk at keeping the law, thinking it is an impossibility, not realizing they were never expected to keep it in their own power, and like the power saw, there is plenty of power available.

If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. But when God found fault with the people, he said:

“The day is coming, says the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel and Judah.
This covenant will not be like the one
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
and led them out of the land of Egypt.
They did not remain faithful to my covenant,
so I turned my back on them, says the Lord.
But this is the new covenant I will make
with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their minds,
and I will write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people. Hebrews 8:7-10

There are those who would have us believe that the Ten Commandments were done away with because God realized they were unreasonable and could not be obeyed. However that is not the case.

Psalms 19:7 KJV says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.”

A popular urban legend tells about a captain on a battleship who spotted a light off in the distant fog and radioed the source of the light telling it to change its course 15 degrees to avoid a collision. The response came back that the ship needed to change its course instead. The arrogant sea captain once again demanded the other vessel change its course instead, threatening reprisals, if his demands were not met. The response was, “This is a lighthouse. Your call.”

So it is in life. Many people want the law to be changed just like the ship wanted the lighthouse to change, but lighthouses don’t move out of the way and neither does the law. The law is perfect. The law does not need to change. The law is not faulty. Hebrews 8:8 NLT says the fault was not with the law but with the people. So why would God change the law when the law was not the problem?

The New Covenant was not an afterthought after the first covenant did not work. The new covenant was actually God’s original plan. What we call the “old covenant” was actually man’s idea – thinking he could save himself by his own strength and effort. It was not a faith response. (See Heb. 4:2) Man’s effort failed, so in what we call the New Testament God re-introduces His original plan from the Old Testament, and says “Are you ready to give up trying to do it on your own? and let me write my law on your heart Myself?

The fault of the people was in trying to keep the law in their own power. God made a covenant with the people, and instead of them asking for God’s help they confidently replied,

“We will do everything the Lord has commanded.” Exodus 19:8 NLT

God knew this was never going to work from the get-go. He knew they could not keep His Law in their own power. This is why God says in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah 31:33 NLT,

“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” 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.”

You see, the old covenant was not called old because it was the first covenant. It was called old because it was a useless covenant that God never asked them to make. He never asked Abraham to have a son on his own. He never asked us to keep the commandments on our own. This is what Paul is talking about in Hebrews 8:6 NLT when He says the new covenant is, “based on better promises.”

In the “old” covenant the people in Exodus 19:8 were the ones making promises God never asked them to make. I don’t need to tell you how worthless man’s promises are. The new covenant is based on better promises because they are God’s promises!

And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. 2 Peter 1:4 NLT

The law was never the problem. The problem was the people and their worthless promises. Even in the Old Testament we find the new and better covenant when Abraham becomes the father of Isaac, based on God’s promise. We find the new and better covenant based on better promises in Jeremiah 31:33 when God is promising to write and establish the perfect law in the hearts of men, not by their own power and promises, but by His power and promises.

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