10: The Fire of Hell-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt for Sabbath School Class, Sabbath December 3, 2022.

Main Theme: We will look at some un-Biblical theories about life after death as well as what the Bible teaches about life after death.

Read in Class: Mark 9::42-48 and Isaiah 66:24. Define the common thread of these passages.

Study: How do you understand the expression “their worm does not die?” Click here for a hint.

Apply: In the end, we are either totally saved or totally lost. There is no middle ground. We can have either eternal life or will face eternal destruction. What choices do you have to make today? How should this reality — eternal life or eternal destruction — impact those choices?

Share: Your friend says we all are going to spend eternity somewhere, either in heaven or hell. How do you answer your friend? Click here for hints.

Read in Class: Malachi 4:1 and Jude 7. Define the common thread of these passages.

Study: How can these passages help us better understand the notion of “eternal fire” or the idea, as Jesus had expressed it, that the lost will be in “everlasting fire” (Matt. 18:8) or in a “fire that shall never be quenched”? (Mark 9:43, NKJV). Remember a camp fire can disintegrate a marshmallow and keep on burning. Just because the fire continues to burn does not mean the marshmallow still exists.

Apply: As unfortunate as the fires of hell are, what does the truth about hell reveal to us about God’s love, especially in contrast to the idea of eternal torment?

Share: Your friend says that the Bible says the wicked will burn forever so that must mean that they will be alive and burning through all eternity. How would Exodus 21:6 help your friend understand the meaning of the word “forever, simply meanimg for the duration or until you die?

Read in Class: Ecclesiastes 9:10, Ezekiel 18:20-22,and Hebrews 9:27. Define the common thread of these passages.

Study: How do these passages refute the theory of purgatory?

Apply: What do errors like purgatory or eternal torment teach us about the importance of doctrine? Why is what we believe of importance, and not just in whom we believe?

Share: Your friend says that we may not be able to buy our way into heaven but if our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds our works can get us into heaven. What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: Acts 2:29, 34-35 and 1 Corinthians 15:16-18. What is the common thread of these passages?

Study:  How do these passages shed light on the state of the dead and those awaiting resurrection?

Apply: What are ways in which you could help people understand that the idea that the dead are asleep in the ground is really “good news,” in the sense that they truly are at rest and know no pain and suffering?

Share: Your friend who said we will all spend eternity in heaven or hell is still confused, thinking the soul is immortal, and we all have eternal life either in heaven or in hell. How could you use 1 John 5:3-12 and 1 Timothy 5:15-16 to show your friend that only those who accept the gift of salvation have eternal life?

9: Contrary Passages?-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt for Sabbath School Class, Sabbath, November 26, 2022.

Main Theme: When properly understood, seemingly contrary passages are not so contrary after all.

Read in Class: Luke 16:19-31. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: How do we know this story is not a literal description of the afterlife? For hints click here.

Apply: “But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead’” (Luke 16:31, NKJV). What message from Jesus’ powerful words should we take for ourselves regarding the authority of the Bible and how we respond to it?

Read in Class: Luke 23:43, John 20:17, and John 14:1-3. Define the common thread of these passages.

Study: How should the promise to the repentant thief on the cross be understood in light of Jesus’ words to Mary Magdalene and His promise to His disciples? For hints click here.

Apply: Read the story of the repentant thief (Luke 23:39-43), who, despite his sin, despite the fact that he had nothing to offer God, was promised eternal life by Christ. How does this story powerfully reveal the great truth of salvation by faith alone? In what ways are we just like that thief? In what ways do we differ?

Read in Class: Philippians 1:21-24 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Define the common thread of these passages.

Study: When did Paul expect to be “with Christ” (Phil. 1:23) and “with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17)? For hints click here.

Apply: Particularly in hard times, who hasn’t thought about how nice it would be to close your eyes in death and, the next thing you know, “be with Christ”? How does this thought help us understand what Paul was saying in Philippians?

Read in Class: 1 Peter 3:13-20. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: How did Christ preach “to the spirits in prison … in the days of Noah”? (See also Gen. 4:10.) For hints click here.

Apply: The flood was present truth in Noah’s day, what Bible truths especially apply to us today?

Read in Class: Revelation 6:9-11. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: How can the “souls” of the dead martyrs cry “under the altar”?

From Difficult Texts Made Simple:

This is obviously a symbolic verse. In order to be taken literally not only would the souls be in heaven but they all would be under an altar. Also they would be pleading for vengeance for being in heaven. This simply is not realistic. We know from our reading of the entire scriptures that the dead are just that-dead. Even this passage says that they must rest a while yet, implying they are not literally in heaven now, but their cause has come before the altar and before God. This was the case when Abel was killed by Cain. God said, “The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.” Genesis 4:10 

Abel’s blood did not literally grow lips and cry, but his cause came before God. So in the fifth seal of Revelation we see that God has not forgotten His faithful martyrs but has heard their cause even as He did Abel’s. After all, why would they be crying for God to avenge the ones who killed them and put them in the presence of God? What an insult to God this would be.

Apply: Who (especially of those who have been victims of injustice) hasn’t cried out for justice, which has not yet come? Why must we, by faith, trust that ultimately the justice so lacking in this world will nevertheless come? What comfort can you draw from this wonderful promise?

Share: Can you think of someone who could benefit from a proper understanding of the passages we studied this week? How can you share your understanding of these passages with someone in a way that will give them encouragement?

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?

10: Jacob- Israel-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

Prepared by William Earnhardt for Sabbath School Class June 4.

Main Theme: God fulfills His promises despite our mistakes.

Read Together: Genesis 32:22-31 and Hosea 12:3-4. Define the main idea of these passages.

Study: What is the spiritual significance of this amazing story?

Apply: What has been your own experience as far as wrestling with God goes? What does it mean to do that, and why is it at times important that we have this kind of experience?

Share: A friend asks you, “If salvation is free, why did Jacob have to struggle with God to overcome?” What do you tell your friend? See also 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

Read Together: Genesis 33. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: What connection is there between Jacob’s experience of seeing the face of God at Peniel and Jacob’s experience of seeing the face of his brother? What is the implication of this connection in regard to our relationship with God and our relationship with our “brothers,” whoever they may be?

Apply: What have you learned about grace by how others (besides the Lord) have forgiven you?

Share: Even though Jacob cheated Esau, God blessed Esau so much that when Jacob offered to repay him, Esau told Jacob he did not need anything from him. How has God blessed you even when others have cheated you? See Let God pay you Back.

Read Together: Genesis 34. Summarize this story.

Study: What happened to upset his plans for a peaceful existence?

Apply: Over and over we see deceit and deception, as well as acts of kindness and grace, in these accounts. What does this tell us about human nature?

Share: Your child asks, you, “This story is pretty gross! Why is it in the Bible?” What do you tell your child?

Read Together: Genesis 35. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: What lessons can we take about true worship from what happened here?

Apply: What are subtle ways that idolatry can find its way into our hearts, and what can we do about it?

Share: Without mentioning any names to the class, can you think of a family in your church or community who could use some extra prayers this week? Can you remember to pray for this family during the week?

9: Jesus, the Perfect Sacrifice-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

Prepared by William Earnhardt, for Sabbath School Class Sabbath, February 26, 2022.

Main Theme: Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. “With His stripes we are healed.”-Ellen White, Desire of Ages, Page 25.

Read Together: Hebrews 9:22-28. Define the main point of this passage.

Study: What does this passage say about the work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary?

Apply: Think what you would face if you had to face the just punishment for your sins. How should that truth help you understand what Christ has done for you?

Share: Your friend asks you why Jesus is ministering in the sanctuary? Wasn’t everything already accomplished on the cross for our salvation? Why is He in the sanctuary now? What do you tell your friend? For Hints see The Sanctuary in Light of the Cross.

Read Together: Hebrews 2:9. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: How did Jesus taste death for every man? Especially since everyone seems to die their own death? Hint: See The God-forsaken God.

Apply: How does Jesus’ death on the cross not only atone for our sin, but also help restore our faith in God’s love?

Share: A friend tells you they have read where Jesus died for everyone, but how can they know for sure that they can have eternal life? How do you answer your friend? Hint: See The Gospel Presentation.

Read Together: Hebrews 7;27 and Hebrews 10:10. Discuss the main idea of these passages.

Study: How is Jesus’ sacrifice described in these passages?

Apply: The cross is the basis for all the benefits that God bestows upon us. It provides purification from sin, sanctification to serve, and nourishment to grow. How can we better experience what we have been given in Jesus?

Share: A friend asks, why did all those innocent animals have to be killed in the Old Testament if Jesus’ sacrifice accomplished forgiveness for all time? What do you tell your friend?

Read Together: Romans 3:21-26, Romans 1:16-17, and Romans 5:8. Discuss the common idea in these passages.

Study: What does Redemption in the Cross for the forgiveness of our sins reveal about God?

Apply: Why does the cross and the ministry of Jesus in our behalf suggest that we should look confidently, but with humility and repentance, toward the judgment?

Share: Have you ever shared the Gospel Presentation with someone? Can you think of someone this week you could share it with?

“No sooner does one come to Christ than there is born in his heart a desire to make known to others what a precious friend he has found in Jesus; the saving and sanctifying truth cannot be shut up in his heart. If we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ and are filled with the joy of His indwelling Spirit, we shall not be able to hold our peace. If we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good we shall have something to tell. Like Philip when he found the Saviour, we shall invite others into His presence.” -Ellen White, Steps to Christ, Page 78.

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.