2: Death in a Sinful World-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

Prepared by William Earnhardt, for Sabbath School class Sabbath, October 8, 2022.

Main Theme: Adam’s fall made us all sinful. Jesus’ perfect life and death brought salvation to all.

Read in Class: Romans 5:12, Romans 5:19 and Romans 6:23. Discuss the common thread of these passages.

Study: What are the consequences of sin? How did Jesus solve the sin problem?

Apply: What have we personally learned about the consequences of sin from our own sinful acts?

Share: Your friend says it is not fair that we were born into a sinful world by no choice of our own. How do you answer your friend? How did Jesus make it fair? How did Jesus undo all the damage Adam caused? See We are Saved by His Life.

Read in Class: Genesis 3:1-7. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: In what ways was “You will not surely die” a lie?

Apply: the serpent had absolutely now power other than the power of persuasion. How can we defend ourselves against these lies and persuasions when we are tempted?

Share: Your friend says that the Bible contradicts the norms of society in so many ways, its hard to believe that the Bible is even relevant in today’s society. What are some ways the Bible contradicts our current society and how do we know we can trust the Bible to be right?

Read in Class: Genesis 3:8-15. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: What are the consequences of sin found in this passage? What was God’s solution? Where do we find a Savior in this passage?

Apply: What can we learn from the consequences of our sins and the results of our actions? Why do some not seem to receive consequences for their sins?

Share: Your friend states that if people do horrible things and God just forgives them then no justice is served. It doesn’t seem fair for them to get away with these horrible sins. What do you tell your friend? See Forgiveness is not Saying it is Okay.

Read in Class: Genesis 3:16-21. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: What hope do we find in this passage for all of us?

Apply: What did the animal skins do for Adam and Eve that gave them hope and encouragement in their lives? 

Share: Can you think of someone who needs to hear about God’s plan of salvation? Can you share it with them this week?

1: Rebellion in a Perfect Universe-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt, for Sabbath School class, October 1, 2022.

Read in Class: 1 John 4:7-16. Discuss the main thought of this passage.

Study: What can the certainty that “God is love” tell us about the nature of His creative activities? What does this passage tell us about free will as a condition to cultivating love?

Apply: Free will, a gift from God, is sacred, but comes heavy laden with powerful consequences, not only for yourself but for others, as well. What important decisions are you, using this gift, about to make, and what will be the consequences of whatever choices you make?

Share: Your friend asks you why didn’t God only create people who would choose to serve Him? Wouldn’t that still be giving free choice to all his creation? Why would that be or not be free choice? Another friend claims that if we die for not choosing Jesus then Jesus is not really giving us free choice. He is intimidating and manipulating us. Is there a difference between free choices and consequences?

Read in Class: Ezekiel 28:12-19. Discuss the theme of this passage.

Study: What can we learn from this passage about the mysterious origin of sin?

Apply: Does pride make us not sense our need of a Savior? Does pride cause us to not be thankful for what Jesus and others have done for us?

Share: Your friend says, God didn’t create the devil, He created Lucifer. Is your friend right? How so?

Read in Class: Isaiah 14:12-15. Discuss the key thought in this passage.

Study: What far-reaching consequences did Lucifer’s pride while in heaven bring to the universe and to this world?

Apply: Why is it so easy to become proud and boastful of either our positions or achievements, or both? How does keeping the cross before us prevent us from falling into such a trap?

Share: Your friend says that competing in sports to be number one is like Lucifer wanting to be number one in heaven,. How is it the same? How is it different?

Read in Class: Revelation 12. Discuss the main point of this passage.

Study: What does this chapter teach about the spread of the rebellion in heaven to the earth?

Apply: What are ways in which we can see the reality of this battle being played out on earth? What is our only hope to overcome our enemy in this battle?

Share: For further discussion see “Why God Needed to Make Peace With Heaven?

13: Christ in the Crucible-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

Prepared by William Earnhardt for Sabbath School Class on Sabbath, September 24, 2022.

Main Theme: Jesus loved us so much He was willing to say goodbye to life forever if that’s what it to save us. Our appreciate for His amazing love makes it possible for us to love the way He loves.

Read in Class: Matthew 27:45-51. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: What made Jesus ask His Father why He was forsaking Him? What made Jesus think He was forsaken? See Agape in the Crucible.

Apply: Considering how deeply Christ suffered on the cross, what exactly makes sin so offensive to you?

Share: Your friend asks you how the cross of Christ has changed your life? What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: Luke 2:7, 22-24, and Matthew 2:13-18. Define the main idea of these passages.

Study: What do we see in these verses that gives us an indication of the kind of life Jesus faced from the start?

Apply: In what ways can you identify with Jesus’ childhood? How does what He endured as a child give you hope? See the chapter, As a Child, in Desire of Ages.

Share: Your friend asks you why God allowed innocent babies to be destroyed by Herod? How could the birth of Jesus possibly bring peace and goodwill towards the poor grieving parents? What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: Luke 4:21-30. What is the main idea of this passage?

Study: How does this passage help us understand the suffering and rejection Jesus faced on earth?

Apply: What can you learn from Christ that can help you better cope with the pain of rejection? What does His example show you? How can you apply it to your own life?

Share: Your friend tells you it is not practical for God to expect us to loved people who do not love us in return. What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: Matthew 26:39, Mark 14:33-36, and Luke 22:41-44. What is the common thread of these passages?

Study: What do we learn from these passages about how Christ suffered in Gethsemane?

Apply: Dwell upon what was happening to Jesus in Gethsemane. Already the sins of the world were starting to fall upon Him. Try to imagine what that must have been like. No human being has ever been called to go through anything like this before or since. What does this tell us about God’s love for us? What hope can you draw from this for yourself?

Share: What is the most important thing you have learned while studying the Sabbath School lesson in the last 13 weeks?

12: Dying Like a Seed-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt for Sabbath School Class, Sabbath September 17, 2022.

Main Theme: We serve God better when we surrender our will to His will.

Read in Class: Philippians 2:5-9. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: What important message is there for us in these verses?

Apply: What rights might we be holding onto that keep us from sharing God’s love and serving others better?

Share: Your friend tells you that Jesus’ example and teaching about being a servant and going the extra mile for our enemies appears to be tone deaf to the social justice issues of today. What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: Romans 12:1-2. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: What are some practical ways we can offer our bodies as a living sacrifice in our day to day life?

Apply: What things might you have to give up in order to become a living sacrifice?

Share: Your friend asks, how do we transform and renew our minds? What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: 1 Samuel 3:1-18. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: What is the difference between those who listen to God and those who don’t?

Apply: Preacher Charles Stanley describes how essential it is to cultivate openness to God’s voice in what he calls “shifting into neutral.” He says: “The Holy Spirit … does not speak for the sake of passing along information. He speaks to get a response. And He knows when our agenda has such a large slice of our attention that it is a waste of time to suggest anything to the contrary. When that is the case, He is often silent. He waits for us to become neutral enough to hear and eventually obey.” — The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992), pp. 179, 180.

What do you think Stanley means by becoming “neutral enough”? When you think about your openness to God, what things often prevent you from being “neutral enough to hear and eventually obey”? What do you need to do in your life to cultivate openness to God’s voice and a decisiveness to be obedient to His direction?

Share: Your friend asks you why God allowed Eli to be priest while not even being able to control his own sons? After all, doesn’t the New Testament teach that a leader should control his own household? What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: 1 Samuel 13:1-14. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: What did Saul do that led to his downfall?

Apply: Why do you think it was so easy for Saul to follow his own judgment, even though he had God’s clear instructions still ringing in his ears? If we know that we are so fragile and have such imperfect knowledge, why do we still try to rely on ourselves? What can we do to learn to trust in the Lord’s commands more than in ourselves?

Share: How can we encourage our leaders to rely on God instead of trusting in their themselves and their own wisdom? Is there a leader in your church family who you could call this week and pray with and for them?

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain” (John 12:24, NKJV).

11: Waiting in the Crucible-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt for Sabbath School class, September 10, 2022.

Main Theme: It may not seem like it to us, but God’s time is always perfect. That is why we need to wait on Him.

Read in Class: Romans 15:4-5, Psalm 27:14, Psalm 37:7, Romans 5:3-5. Discuss the common thread in these passages.

Study: What are these verses saying to us? What does patience lead to?

Apply: What things are you desperately waiting for? How can you learn to surrender everything to God and to His timing? Are you willing to pray your way into an attitude of complete surrender and submission to the Lord.

Share: Your friend says she was praying and waiting for God to heal her father, but He never did, and her father died. Another couple have been waiting for a long time to have a child, but have been unable to have children. Meanwhile they lament the fact that so many abusive parents are allowed to have children while they have none. What do you tell each of your friends? What examples found in the Bible might you use for each case?

Read in Class: Romans 5:6 and Galatians 4:4 and Daniel 9:24-27. What is the common thread of these two passages?

Study: What do these passages tell us about God’s timing? What was the time period for Daniel 9 and why such a long time?

Apply: What examples can you find in the Bible of God’s doing things in His own time that can help you learn to trust that He will do for you what’s right in His own time, as well? (Think, for instance, about Abraham and Sarah and the promise of a son.) At the same time, ask yourself, “What might I be doing that could be delaying the answer to a prayer that could have been answered long ago?”

Share: Your friend says in 2 Peter 3:12 it tells us to hasten Jesus’ second coming. If God’s timing is always perfect why do we need to hasten His coming? What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: 1 Samuel 26:8-11. Discuss the most important idea in this passage.

Study: Why doesn’t David kill Saul and just become king? After all, God has already anointed him as king, and taken the kingdom from Saul. What is there to wait for?

Apply: How much patience and trust in God do you have when you are waiting for a job, promotion, soulmate, or other?

Share: Your friend says David should have taken Abishai’s advice. How do you answer your friend?

Read in Class: 1 Kings 19:1-9. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: After such a powerful intervention by the Lord on Mount Carmel, Elijah should have been full of faith and trust; instead, he runs in fear for his life. What lesson can we learn from this bad example?

Apply: Have you ever been tempted to run away from a situation instead of waiting on the Lord to take care of things? What did you do? How did it turn out? What did you learn?

Share: Can you think of someone who has been waiting a long time for a certain blessing? How can you encourage them this week?

 At the right time, I, the Lord, will make it happen. Isaiah 60:22 NLT

10: Meekness in the Crucible-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt for Sabbath School class, Sabbath September 3, 2022.

Main Theme: Meekness makes us a witness and example even in our crucibles.

Read in Class: Exodus 32:1-14. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: What role is Moses playing here, and why does he ask God not to destroy Israel?

Apply: Think about the people around you who you think are the least deserving of grace. How can you, with meekness and selfless humility, be a revelation of God’s grace to them?

Share: Your friends seem to think that the pastor is doing a good job when he is making them all happy, but he is doing a poor job when he upsets everyone. How might you use the example of Aaron in this story to help illustrate how we should and should not judge our pastors?

Read in Class: Matthew 5:43-48. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: Jesus calls us to love and pray for our enemies. What example from nature does Jesus give us there that helps us understand why we should love our enemies? What’s the point He is teaching us?

Apply: When you look at your “enemies,” what do you normally see — the pearl or the dirt around it?

Share: Your friend says he can never forgive his enemies because of what they have done to him. He feels like forgiveness is just sweeping it under the rug. How can you assure your friend forgiveness is not just sweeping it under the rug? See Forgiveness is not saying it is okay.

Read in Class: 1 Peter 2:18-25. Discuss the key point of this passage.

Study: Peter is offering some surprising advice to slaves. He describes how Jesus responded to unjust and painful treatment and suggests to them that He has left them “an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Pet. 2:21, NKJV). What principles of meekness and humility in the crucible can we learn from Jesus’ example, as expressed here by Peter?

Apply: How do you deal with situations in which you have been treated unfairly? How can you better apply some of the principles looked at here today to your own life? See Let God be the One to pay you Back.

Share: Your friend asks you to what extent should we get involved in social justice issues? Was Jesus involved in social justice issues? How do you answer your friend?

Read in Class: Psalm 62:1-8. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: What seems to be the background for this psalm? What points is David making? What spiritual principles can you learn from what he is saying? Most important, how can you learn to apply these principles to your own life?

Apply: How immune are you to the reproaches and barbs of others? Most likely not that immune, right? How can you cleave to the Lord and anchor your sense of self-worth on the One who loves you so much that He died for your sins, and thus help protect yourself against the slights of others?

Share: Can you think of someone this week who may be going through a crucible who you may encourage?

9: A Life of Praise-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt, for Sabbath School class on Sabbath, August 27, 2022.

Main Theme: Praising God not only changes our attitude. It can also change our situation.

Read in Class: Philippians 4:4-7. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: How do you think Paul could have written such things when he himself was sitting in a prison? In this passage, what are the keys to gaining the “peace of God”?

Apply: What reasons do you have to praise God even in the worst of circumstances? See Ruin Satan’s day.

Share: Your friend asks, is there a difference between praising God in all things and praising God for all things? What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: Joshua 6:15-17 and Hebrews 11:30. Define the main idea of these passages.

Study: What was God trying to teach His people here?

Apply: How does Psalm 66:1-2 help you understand the meaning of Hebrews 11:30?

Share: Your friend says there is no way we can have total victory over addictions in this life. How can you sue Hebrews 11:30 to show how faith makes victory a reality.

Read in Class: Acts 16:16-34. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: Why did this event cause the jailer to focus on his own need of salvation? What role do you think Paul’s and Silas’ prayers and songs played in the prisoners’ not running away, and in the conversion of this man and his whole family?

Apply: Who do you think could be influenced for God by a song of praise that could come from your heart? Make a concerted effort to be more open and effusive in your praise to God around others. You don’t know the positive effect it could have.

Share: Your friend asks if Paul and Silas sing hymns of praise caused the earthquake? What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: 2 Chronicles 20:3-12. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: When you see a “vast army” approaching, what is your instinctive reaction? From Jehoshaphat’s response in 2 Chronicles 20:3-12, what can you learn about dealing with overwhelming opposition?

Apply: What spiritual principles can you find in 2 Chronicles 20, that can apply to your own walk with God, especially in times of trial and stress?

Share: Can you think of a friend who could use some encouragement from the Bible passages in this lesson? How can you share it with them this week?

8: Seeing the Invisible-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt for Sabbath School class on Sabbath, August 20, 2022.

Main Theme: God’s Word gives us real hope we can trust even in the worst circumstances.

Read in Class: Romans 8:28-39. Identify the main thought of this passage.

Study: How does this passage help us keep from doubting God’s goodness, even when things go wrong?

Apply: How is it possible for a truth (God’s goodness) to have a more powerful effect on you than your doubts? What does this do for your faith?

Share: Your friend asks you if all things work together for our good, does that mean that everything that happens to us is good? What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: John 14:1-14. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: What does it mean to pray in the name of Jesus? Why does Jesus encourage us to pray this way?

Apply: What hope and encouragement can you draw from these promises? At the same time, ask yourself, “What things in my life could be standing in the way of having these promises fulfilled for me? What changes must I purpose in my heart to make?”

Share: Your friend asks, “Why did Jesus say in John 14:3 that He would come again so we could be with Him? Aren’t we with Jesus as soon as we die?” What do you tell your friend? Hint: See Death in Light of the Cross.

Read in Class: Ephesians 1:18-23. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: Paul talks about the power of God. What do these verses teach us about the power of the Resurrection? What hope and promises for yourself can you find in these verses?

Apply:  what can we do better, what choices can we make, that can allow this power to work more freely in our lives?

Share: Your friend asks how the church can represent the fulness of God’s body? What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: 1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 55:22 and Matthew 6:25-33. Define the common thread of these passages.

Study: It’s been said, “What we worry about the most shows where we trust God the least.” How can worry be a sin? How does worry expose our lack of trust in God?

Apply: What are things that cause you worry now? However legitimate they are, however troublesome they are, is there anything too hard for the Lord? Maybe our biggest problem is that even though we believe that God knows about it and can fix it, we don’t believe that He will resolve it the way we would like it resolved. Dwell on that last point and ask yourself how true it is in your own life.

Share: Your friend asks you, “Why should I cast all of my care upon someone who let His own cousin get beheaded in prison?” What do you tell your friend?

7: Indestructible Hope-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt, for Sabbath School class, Sabbath August 13, 2022.

Main Theme: Understanding God’s love gives us hope in our crucible.

Read in Class: Habakkuk 1:1-4. What did Habakkuk face?

Study: How does the introduction to the promised destruction of Babylon in Habakkuk 2:2-3 give hope?

Apply: Read Habakkuk 3:16-19. What does Habakkuk identify as his reasons for hope? What is the hope of God’s people as we wait for the last prophetic scenes to unfold? How can you make this hope your own?

Share: Your friend tells you they feel just like Habakkuk, when he said there was no justice. The court system is a joke and the wicked get away with everything, and the righteous suffer. What do you answer your friend?

Read in Class: Isaiah 41:8-14. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: What reasons for hope can you identify for people waiting eagerly for future deliverance? How does this promise help us as we wait for our exile on earth to end?

Apply: How does knowing that the God of this universe is close enough to hold your hand, change the way that you live? How does it change how you cope with your crucible?

Share: Your friend asks, “what if those who are against us claim the promise of Isaiah 41:8-14? What if our enemies believe we are the ones in verse 12 who will become nonexistent? How do we know if this is really talking about us? How do you answer your friend?

Read in Class: Jeremiah 29:1-14. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: What specific sources of hope are provided in verses, 4,7, and 10?

Apply: Read Jeremiah 29:11-14, saying your name after the word you, as if God is making these promises to you personally. Apply these promises for yourself in whatever your present struggles might be.

Share: Your friend points out that the promise in Jeremiah 29:11 was given to the Jews. Your friend asks why the same people who claim the promises in the Old Testament turn around and say the commandments in the Old Testament were only for the Jews? What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: Hebrews 12:1-13. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: In verses 5-13, what is our source of discipline? What should be our response to discipline? What is the goal of discipline?

Apply: Read through Hebrews 12:1-13 again. Make a list of all the reasons you can identify with as grounds for hope. How have you experienced this hope in your own times of spiritual “education”?

Share: Do you have a sharable testimony on how it has gone the last week or so when you have reached out to encourage a friend with a thought from the recent lessons?

6: Struggling With All Energy-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt, for Sabbath School class Sabbath, August 6, 2022.

Main Theme: The Holy Spirit will not force us to obey against our will. We need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as far as we are able.

Read in Class: John 16:5-15. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: In this passage, Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the “Spirit of truth” (John 16:13, NIV). What does this imply that the Holy Spirit does for us?

Apply: What convictions has the “Spirit of truth” brought to you recently? How well are you listening to His voice? And, most important, what choices are you making with your free will?

Share: Your friend says that if you are led by the Holy Spirit that you will agree with him on every Bible doctrine, because after all, he is led by the Holy Spirit too. Do you agree with your friend? Why or why not? Do we sometimes create unnecessary crucibles by trying to make everyone agree with us? See Do we Have to Agree on Everything?

Read and Compare in Class: Colossians 1:28-29, Deuteronomy 4:4, Luke 13:24, 1 Corinthians 9:25, and Hebrews 12:4.

Study: Though Paul talks about God working in him, in what ways does he show the human effort also involved? 

Apply: What is your own experience with the kind of striving Paul talked about? What things has God laid upon your heart that you are struggling with? How can you learn to surrender to God’s will?

Share: Your friend says, “God understands some of us may be trying very hard to overcome our bad habits, even though it may not look like it to others.” Do you agree with your friend? Consider: “While some are continually harassed, afflicted, and in trouble because of their unhappy traits of character, having to war with internal foes and the corruption of their nature, others have not half so much to battle against. They pass along almost free from the difficulties which their brethren and sisters who are not so favorably organized are laboring under. In very many cases they do not labor half so hard to overcome and live the life of a Christian as do some of those unfortunate ones I have mentioned.” Ellen White, Testimonies Volume 2 page 74 

Read in Class: 1 Peter 1:13-16. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: What is Peter concerned about, and what does he want his readers actually to do?

Apply: What important decisions are you facing? Ask yourself honestly, “How can I know if I am basing my choices on feeling, emotion, desire, as opposed to the Word of God?”

Share: Your friend asks, “How can I tell the difference between the Holy Spirit speaking to me and my own feelings and desires?” What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: Matthew 5:29-20. What is the main idea of this passage?

Study: Is Jesus suggesting we literally main ourselves physically? What is He actually saying?

Apply: What are some practical ways we can remove temptations?

Share: Think of someone who you have seen grow spiritually over time. Can you affirm them and encourage them this week?