7: Unto the Least of These-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt, for Sabbath School Class February 18, 2023.

Main Theme:  Because we are managers of God’s business, helping the poor is not just an option. It is following the example of Jesus and obeying His commands.

Read in Class: Leviticus 23:22 and Deuteronomy15:11. Define the common thread of these passages.

Study: However different the context may be from our lives today, what principles should we take away from these verses?

Apply: How should the gospel, the idea that Christ died for everyone, impact how we treat everyone, regardless of who they are?

Share: Your friend says we should not be helping the poor, because they are just lazy. How do you respond to your friend?

Read in Class: Matthew 19:16-22. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: What did Jesus mean when He said to him, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me” (Matt. 19:21)?

Apply: “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:35-37). What does it mean to lose your life for the sake of the gospel?

Share: Your friend asks, “Does Jesus expect everyone who follows Him to give up all they have?” How do you respond to your friend? What have you given up to follow Jesus? How can we surrender our goods and resources to Jesus even while they stay in our own possession?

Read in Class: Luke 19:1-10. Discuss the main idead of this passage.

Study:  What were the differences between this rich man’s experience with Jesus and that of the rich young ruler?

Apply: Most adults don’t climb trees, but Zacchaeus was willing to sacrifice his pride in order to see Jesus. Zacchaeus also quickly sacrificed his pride by repenting so quickly and freely. What can we learn from his example? How does being humble like Zacchaeus help us become better stewards of God’s money and resources?

Share: Your friend asks, why Zacchaeus gave so much to the poor when he was converted? Isn’t salvation free? What did his paying back those he defrauded and giving to the poor have to do with his salvation?

Read in Class: Job 1:8 and Job 29:12-16. Discuss the common thread of these passages.

Study: How was Job described by God Himself? What is depicted here that gives us even more insight into the secret of Job’s character?

Apply: Read Isaiah 58:6-8. How can we take these ancient words and apply them to ourselves today?

Share: We are all going through difficult times these days, but can you class think of someone who may be going through an extraordinarily difficult time financially? Can your class take up a collection and help this person or family out financially without ever mentioning it outside of class?

6: Laying up Treasures in Heaven-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt for Sabbath School class, February 11, 2023.

Main Theme: The Bible shows us how to store our treasurers in heaven and reap an eternal reward.

Read in Class: Mark 8:36-37 and Matthew 6:19-21. Define the main idea of these passages.

Study: What words of warning and encouragement do we find in these passages?

Apply: How can we make sure we don’t lose our soul while chasing worldly gains? How can we invest ourselves in the kingdom of God?

Share: Your friend asks, “If our treasurers in heaven are golden streets and mansions doesn’t that make us just as materialistic as those who are materialistic here on earth? Do you agree with your friend? How do you respond?

Read in Class: Genesis 12:1-3 and Hebrews 11:8-13. Define the common thread of these passages.

Study: How are all of the families of earth blessed through Abraham? What did Abraham do to make sure he could be a part of this blessing? What example here is given to us?

Apply: Read 2 Corinthians 4:18. How should the message of this verse impact the kind of spiritual decisions that we make? How did both Moses and Abraham follow that same principle?

Share: Your friend has been teaching in an elementary school in a troubled neighborhood. After one year she is ready to quit as she says, “With all things working against these kids it’s a losing battle.” How do you respond to your friend.

Read in Class: Genesis 13:10-12 and Genesis 18:20-33. Define the main idea of these passages.

Study: What rational factors could have led Lot to make the decision that he did? What did God tell Abraham was the reason for His visit to earth? What was Abraham’s response to the news that God was planning to destroy these wicked cities?

Apply: How can the message in Mark 8:36-37 help prevent us from making the same mistakes Lot made?

Share: Your young Adventist friend has been offered a scholarship at a prestigious university playing football on Sabbath afternoons. He realizes he will have to compromise, but does not want to pass up on such a “miraculous” opportunity. What do you share with your young friend?

Read in Class: Hebrews 11:24-29. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: Think about what Moses left behind and what he had to face instead. Try to look at it from his position, before he made the choice. What was he leaving, and what was he choosing to accept by leaving?

Apply: From a worldly perspective, Moses should have stayed in Egypt. However, as Christians, we have been given a view of reality that takes us way beyond this world. When we are tempted by the world, how can we keep the big picture always before us? Why is it so important that we do so?

Share: Can you think of someone who could use a word of encouragement or even warning from this week’s lesson? How can you plan to share it with them this week?

5: Dealing With Debt-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt, for Sabbath School class February 4, 2023.

Main Theme: God can help us out of debt so we can be good stewards.

Read in Class: Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 12. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: What is God’s ideal for His children regarding debt? How can they attain this ideal? And though this context is very different from ours, what principles can we take away from this context and apply to our own now?

Apply: Read Matthew 6:24 and 1 Timothy 6:6-9. What is said here that all of us need to heed? What do these words mean to you, and in what ways can you better follow what the Word is teaching us here?

Share: Your friend says she is overwhelmed with debt. She knows she has made mistakes and corrected them, but the debt is too great and she does not believe she will ever be debt free again. How do you respond to your friend? How could 2 Kings 6:1-6 help?

Read in Class: Proverbs 22:7. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study:  In what sense are we under bondage to the lender?

Apply: “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ ” (Heb. 13:5, NKJV). How could applying these words greatly help people avoid getting into debt?

Share: Your friend says that it is impossible to avoid debt. Who can pay cash for a car or brand new home? How do you respond to your friend?

Read in Class: Proverbs 6:1-5, Proverbs 17:18 and Proverbs 22:26. Define the common thread of these passages.

Study: What is the message here?

Apply: Read Proverbs 28:20 and 1 Timothy 6:9-10. How can you avoid being greedy for riches? How are you learning to be content like Paul mentions in 1 Timothy 6:6?

Share: Your friend asks you to cosign for him so he can finally buy a home, as his entire family has been living in a small apartment. How do you respond to your friend?

Read in Class: Deuteronomy 15:1-5. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: What did the Lord require of His people as revealed in these verses?

Apply: If you have lent people money, how honest and fair and kind are you in your dealings with them? How would you fare before God when you have to answer for those dealings? (See Eccles. 12:14)

Share: This week can you think of a student who may be behind on his or her tuition or even lunch bill? How can you help them out this week?

Expressing our Love for Christ

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

Soviet Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, the author of Tortured for Christ, suffered terribly for the Lord. Yet he said that even while in prison, he saw fellow Soviet believers practice generous giving. “When we were given one slice of bread a week and dirty soap every day, we decided we would faithfully ‘tithe’ even that. Every tenth week we took the slice of bread and gave it to the weaker brethren as our ‘tithe’ to the Master.”

I tend to think that God did not demand that these prisoners tithe their bread and soap. Yet they felt compelled to, in order to express their love for God. After understanding the awesome sacrifice Christ had made in expressing His love for them on the cross, they wanted a way to express their love for Christ. They wanted to give all of themselves to Christ since He had given all of Himself for them.

It is the same case with the woman in Mark 14:3-9, who broke open a bottle of ointment costing a year’s wages, so she could anoint the feet of Jesus. She was simply giving all she had because Jesus was giving all He had for her. Like the Soviet prisoners she needed a way to express her love.

God did not give us the tithe and offering system because he needed our money, but because He knew we too would need a way to express our love. God nor the church needs our money. Both were getting along just fine before we came along and both will do just fine after we are gone.

I have a plaque with a picture of the cross and written on it are the words,

“ I asked Jesus how much do you love me?”

“This much” He said, ’Then He spread out His arms and died.”

God will finish the work with or without our money. Yet He has given us the tithe and offering system so that when He asks us, “How much do you love me?” We will have a way to answer.

You may study this week’s lesson here.

1: Part of God’s Family-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt, for Sabbath School Class, January 7, 2023.

Main Theme: Being a part of God’s family is both a privilege and a responsibility.

Read in Class; Psalm 50:10-12 and Psalm 24:1. What is the common thread of these passages?

Study: What’s the message here, and what should this truth mean to us and how we relate to whatever we possess?

Apply: “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this?” (1 Chron. 29:14, NKJV). What beautiful principles are expressed in these words, and how do they reflect what our attitude toward God should be and our attitude toward what we possess?

Share: Your friend tells you the story about a great swarm of locusts devouring several farmer’s crops. At the town square one farmer complains to another farmer. The other farmer responds, “If God wants His locusts eating His crops that’s His business.” What did the other farmer mean by that? Do you agree with the other farmer?

Read in Class: Psalm 23:1, Psalm 37:25 and Philippians 4:19. What is the common thread in these passages?

Study: What do these verses say about God’s provision for our daily needs?

Apply: How has God taken care of your daily needs? Do any examples stand out in your mind about how He has provided for you?

Share: Your friend tells you they never bring anything to fellowship lunch at church because they know God will provide. They also tell you they never give to the local church budget because the church will always be there with or without their offerings. What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: Deuteronomy 6:5 and Matthew 22:37. What is the common thread of these passages?

Study: What does this mean, and how do we do it?

Apply: How have been blessed both temporally and spiritually by loving God?

Share: Your friend says she does not need to keep the commandments. She only needs to love God. How do you respond to your friend?

Read in Class: Matthew 6:19-21. What is the main idea of this passage?

Study: What crucial truths is Jesus speaking here?

Apply: What have you been doing in the last month that reveals where your heart is? 

Share: Can you think of someone this week who is need of food, clothing or other resources? How can you help them in a practical way this week?