2: The Message of Hebrews-Sabbath School Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt, for Sabbath school class January 8, 2022.

Main Theme: The book of Hebrews focuses on Jesus being our high priest and mediator.

Read Together Hebrews 2:14-18. What is the main idea of this passage?

Study: What does this tell us about Jesus’ human nature?

See Desire of Ages, Page 48. “It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man’s nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life.”

Apply: What does Christ’s humanity mean to you as a Savior from the penalty of sin as well as a Savior from the power of sin? See Romans 6:3-6 and Romans 8:3-4

Share: Your friend says Jesus still does not know what its like to be tempted as a human, because while taking on human flesh He was still born of the Holy Spirit. What do you say to your friend? Hint: John 3:3, Ephesians 3:19-21, 2 Peter 1:4.

Read Together Hebrews 5:1-4. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: What did the High Priest do?

Apply: How is every believer a priest?

Share: A relative asks you if Jesus is our High Priest, why do we need earthly priests or pastors? How do you answer your relative?

Read Together Hebrews 8:8-12. Define the main point of this passage.

Study: What does the new covenant promise us?

Apply: How do you know when God’s law is written on your heart? See Love is why we Have to…

Share: A protestant friend tells you we don’t have to keep the commandments anymore because they are just written on our heart now instead. How do you answer your friend?

Read Together Hebrews 1:5-14. What is the main idea of this passage?

Study: What is being said here about Christ being compared to angels?

Apply: Do you have any personal evidence of angels ministering to you for your salvation?

Share: Your friend says that Jesus was a really good man, but He was not God. What do you tell your friend?

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only...James 1:22.

Death and the Resurrection in Light of the Cross

 As we consider the resurrection of Moses in this week’s Sabbath school lesson, lets take a look at the resurrection in general. In John 14 Jesus knows the disciples are going to miss Him when He goes away so he comforts them.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:3 NKJV

Notice Jesus has to come again in order for His disciples to be with Him again. They do not die and go straight to heaven, otherwise Jesus would have comforted them by saying, “When you die you will go straight to heaven and see me.” He never even hinted at such a notion. Jesus makes it clear that they will only be reunited with Him when He comes again. He receives them unto Himself when He comes again, and not when they die. This is why the special resurrection of Moses was so important. Without it Moses would still be in his grave. If Moses died and went straight to heaven then his resurrection in Jude 9 would be meaningless. If we die and go straight to heaven then why is the resurrection be such a crucial theme of the New Testament? Let’s take a look at what the Bible really Says about death and the resurrection. 

Death

Overview:
Death is a state of unconscious sleep. The dead do not know anything at this time and are not awakened until the last trump at Christ’s second coming. See Ecclesiastes 9:5-6Job 14:121 Corinthians 15:51-551 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

Why is it important to know the truth about death:
The teaching that you don’t really die is a lie Satan started in the Garden of Eden when he told Eve, “Ye shall not surely die.” By telling this lie Satan hoped to get Eve and all mankind to believe that there is really no consequence for disobeying God. He also wants us to believe that we are all immortal even if we have no relationship with God. This opens the door for spiritualism in which people may actually communicate with the devil and his angels, thinking they are speaking with their loved ones.

Our salvation does not come from knowing what happens when we die. Our salvation is found alone in God’s love. However, no lie is ever harmless, and when Satan told the lie, “Ye shall not surely die,” not only was he lying, but he was also calling God a liar.

Why understanding death in the light of the cross is important:
If you don’t really die, then Jesus did not really die for us, and we still need a Savior. The lie that we don’t really die destroys the cross and everything Jesus endured and accomplished on it. If Jesus was not really tasting death like Hebrews 2:9 says He did, then we have just minimized the cross to a six-hour pain endurance marathon.

I remember sitting in a funeral for a little girl who was hit and killed by a car. Her mother sat on the front pew, sobbing uncontrollably. Meanwhile the pastor talked about how happy the little girl and Jesus were right now up in heaven. Do you know how cruel that made Jesus look to the poor mother? Would Jesus tear a mother’s heart apart just to go have fun with her daughter? I think not! The little girl is resting in her grave and will be united with Jesus in heaven when the mother is reunited with her at the second coming.

For Further study on Death:
What did Adam become?
And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7

What returns to God?
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:7

What is the spirit?
All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; Job 27:3

What does God take that turns the body to dust?
Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Psalm 104:29

What age-old question did Job ask?
But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where [is] he? Job 14:10

What is the Bible answer?
So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens [be] no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. Job 14:12

Do the dead know what happens to the living?
His sons come to honour, and he knoweth [it] not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth [it] not of them. Job 14:21

How much do the dead know?
For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any [thing] that is done under the sun. Ecclesiastes 9:5–6

What did Jesus call death?
These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. John 11:11-14

How long had Lazarus been dead?
Then when Jesus came, he found that he had [lain] in the grave four days already. John 11:17

Did Martha believe Lazarus was in heaven?
Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. John 11:24

What did Mary say?
Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. John 11:32

Was Lazarus called from heaven, hell or the grave?
And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. John 11: 43-44

The Resurrection

When are the dead raised?
For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 1 Corinthians 15:16-23

When do we receive immortality?
Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 1 Corinthians 15:51-54

Our hope and comfort:
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. for this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

10: Remember, Do Not Forget-Sabbath School Teaching Plan

Prepared by William Earnhardt, for Sabbath, December 4, 2021.

Main Theme: As we remember God’s goodness it strengthens us and helps us encourage others.

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Read Together Genesis 9:8-17. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: How is the word “remember” used here, and what can we learn from its use for how we should remember what God has done for us?

Apply: What “memorials” or “monuments” do you have that help you to remember the Amazing things God has personally done for you? For example, journal?

Share: What is something extraordinary God has done in your life? How does remembering this help you face the future?

Read Together Deuteronomy 4: 9, 23. What is the common thread of these two verses?

Study: What is God telling His people, and why is it important for us today?

Apply: How does sharing what God has done for us help us as well as others?

Share: A friend asks if false ideas or false teachings can also be idols? What is your answer and why?

Read Together Deuteronomy 4:32-40. Identify the main theme of this passage.

Study: What is God telling His people to remember, and why?

Apply: What is God doing for his church today, and how do we make sure we remember and share with others?

Share: Your friend mentions children starving in third world countries. “What has God done for them?” she asks. How do you respond to your friend?

Read Together Deuteronomy 8:7-18 and discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: What warning is God given here and what does it mean to us today?

Apply: What does this teach us about the dangers associated with wealth and prosperity? Just like Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4, does success make us prone to forget God? Why or why not?

Share: Can you think of a friend who may be encouraged by some of the testimonies shared in class today? Can you reach out to that friend this week?

 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only...James 1:22.

Today I Realized why my Golf Buddies Don’t all Keep Score

I love keeping score. I love statistics. I have entered on my computer every score of every match I have played and where I placed. I know I have annoyed a few of my golf buddies by adding up the score in the middle of a round. I learned early on some of my golf buddies don’t want their scores recorded, which as a statistics buff I found odd, but I learned to live with this uncanny fact. Granted I learned that there was more I needed to control on the golf course besides my swing. I needed to control my attitude. Your opponents, sand traps, water and woods can create some real challenges and obstacles, but all of those are beyond my control. I found there was an attitude inside my head that if I did not control it will surely do me in.

I tried not worrying about the score for the first several holes. I learned that most pro golfers do not even look at the leader board until they are over half way through the course.

I tried not worrying about the ball I just sent into the water or the other one that just now landed me in the woods. The only swing that matters is your next swing. The present is the only thing that matters. Do your best now. The past is gone.

I tell myself most of all enjoy a beautiful day on a beautiful golf course with your buddies. After all aren’t friends what life is all about. What golfer on his death bed wants to be surrounded by his trophies? None. They all want to be surrounded by their family and friends. I agree with this concept, yet I know after a super bowl victory Tom Brady does not text on Twitter, “Spent a fun evening with friends playing football.”

So what is it about the game of golf that makes it such a gentleman’s game (or ladies game just the same) to the point that score rarely matters when playing with friends if it matters at all?

Today while reading about Tiger Woods’ drama off and on the golf course over the years something just as profound as it is simple and obvious dawned on me. Fist of all I do not mean to single Tiger out as an example. Fact is we all have our struggles and demons. The pressure placed on him in childhood may have been less than ideal. His own expectations in adulthood may have been unreasonable. Like many of us he tried so hard to control all of the obstacles around him that he lost control of himself. While becoming a famous household name he was known by millions, but did he know himself anymore? Admittedly he did not. Relationships were unsatisfying. Instead of seeing people as friends he only saw them as obstacles in his way of greatness.

This is when the profound, simple and obvious dawned on me. I also Googled Arnold Palmer this afternoon, and found when Arnold Palmer was on his death bed in a Pittsburg hospital he was surrounded by family and friends. He was not surrounded by his trophies and awards. People were not obstacles in his way of greatness. People were what Palmer’s life was all about.

I realized why so many of my golf buddies don’t keep score or at least not as meticulously as I do. The happiest person on the golf course is not the one with the best score. It is not the one with the most money in their wallet. The happiest people on the golf course are the ones who are at peace with themselves. They control their own attitude instead of controlling the people around them. Their integrity buys them peace in the woods and sand traps as well as on the fairways and greens.

The greatest opponent is the one inside your head. The greatest achievement in golf is to walk off the 18th green at peace with yourself. And a score card wont ever reveal the peace in your heart.

Don’t Hint When you Need Help. Make it Clear.

Avianca Flight 52 left Bogotá Columbia January 25, 1990 headed for JFK airport in New York. That particular day there were several storms on the eastern coast of the United States forcing flight 52 to go into holding patterns over a few cities to avoid the storms. Because of this once they got to New York they were literally running out of fuel. In only minutes they would be on empty. The cockpit radioed to the control tower that they were “running low on fuel.” The control tower did not take this as a signal of distress. They figured every flight from South America is low on fuel by the time they get to New York. But flight 52 was not just running low on fuel. They were literally running out of fuel! It was an emergency situation, but the cockpit was much too polite to be more assertive and tell the tower it was an emergency situation. To the air traffic controllers low on fuel did not mean on the verge of empty or emergency situation. So the tower put flight 52 into another holding pattern as other planes landed. While waiting Flight 52 tragically ran out of fuel and crashed on Long Island killing almost half of the 158 people on board.

During the investigation listening to the conversations on the black box it was discovered that the word “emergency” was never used by the cockpit. If the cockpit had been more assertive and used that word instead of just hinting at running low on fuel the tower would have put them first in the queue.

During these days of isolation or anytime really, you may be lonely or depressed and because of social distancing others may not pick up on it just like the control tower was not picking up on the hints given by the cockpit that there was an emergency. If you are depressed or lonely and need someone to talk to please do not leave subtle hints. Make it clear to those around you that you need help!

In my early 20’s I enjoyed going out to eat with friends on Sunday nights as a way to have a little fun before the weekend ended. One Sunday night I called a friend to see if he and his wife wanted to go to Mazzios. He told me they were tired and wanted to just stay in. I told them fine and I would talk to them later. As I began to hang up, my friend said, “Wait a minute William. Do you need someone to talk to? If so we can go.” I told my friend that I was just fine and just thought it would be fun to go out. That’s all. My friend replied, “Okay then we will just stay home and go out another time.” I thanked him and called another family that I met at Mazzios.

I have never forgotten that phone call. While the control tower failed to realize the emergency situation of flight 52, and the cockpit failed to make it clear that there was an emergency which led to a miscommunication and scores of deaths, my friend wanted to make sure there wasn’t an emergency situation he was not picking up on. He asked me to make it clear if I needed someone to talk to that night. He would not allow any miscommunication or leave anything to chance.

Please let’s all be like my friend that night. During these days of isolation and anytime really, let’s listen carefully and even ask our friends clearly and openly if they need someone to talk to. Ask plainly if someone may be lonely or depressed. Let’s not let anyone fall off our radar.

If you need help don’t leave hints. Spell it out clearly to your friends, family, pastors and teachers. Also listen carefully to those who may be crying for help. Don’t rely on hints. Be like my friend and ask plainly and clearly, “Do you need someone to talk to?”