Lesson for July 4th, 2015
God’s Missionary Nature
God initiated the plan of salvation before the world began, to do for us what we could never do for ourselves.
Whiteboard, markers, instructions and ingredients for the “bleach and food coloring” experiment (http://chemistry.about.com/od/colorchemistryprojects/a/Disappearing-Colors-Experiment.htm)
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Can you recall a favorite school project that you really enjoyed? What was it and what made it so much fun?
- Have you ever purchased a product based solely on its TV commercial? Why did the ad make such an impression on you?
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- On the whiteboard, list several events or emergencies for which you need a contingency plan. As you review the list, identify one item that would be helpful in every situation. As God considered a contingency plan to deal with the fall of humanity in the Garden of Eden, what would you say was the most important aspect of that plan?
- Thought Questions
Why was it so hard for Adam and Eve to follow the simple instructions in Genesis 2:15-17?
- They were physically and mentally perfect, so they felt they were wise enough to decide for themselves how they were going to live.
- By encouraging the disciples to pray steadfastly
- By asking the Father to remove the hardship
- By admonishing the disciples for falling asleep
- By asking the Father to do what was ultimately best
Read John 3:14, 15. Can the plan of salvation really be that simple?
- This is just a simple summary of a very complex plan and system.
- When you only have a few minutes to explain the plan of salvation, you’d better keep it simple.
- God’s plan of salvation is very simple, but we muddy it up with manmade rules and regulations.
- Salvation based on rules is complex, but salvation based on relationship is simple.
- It may be simple, but it only works if someone lifts up the Son of Man.
How could Jesus become “sin for us,” as described in 2 Corinthians 5:21?
- Jesus can only offer to be sin for us; we have to humbly believe that the crucifixion covers us.
- God so wants to save fallen humanity that the plan of salvation provides this perfect substitutionary sacrifice for us.
- If a lamb in the Old Testament system can be a substitute for a person’s sins, then the perfect Lamb of God can be a substitutionary sacrifice for humanity’s sin.
- “Sin for us” is just a fancy way of saying that Jesus took the punishment for my crimes.
- Jesus supernaturally absorbed the sins of the whole world, and those sins died on the cross. Now it’s up to us to believe that and claim the promise of salvation.
What is the best motivation for us to exemplify the salt and light of Matthew 5:13, 14?
- Salvation is such a wonderful gift that I want everyone to receive it.
- If I keep the gift of eternal life to myself, I will be held accountable someday.
- Jesus is loving, trustworthy, and reliable, and I want everyone to meet my Best Friend.
- The Creator and Master of the universe wants to make me a partner in the business of saving lost humanity. How could I refuse?
- Just as salt naturally seasons (because it is salt) and light naturally illuminates (because it is light), we naturally witness to God’s re-creative power because we’re made for that purpose (in God’s image)
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Then report back to your group when your facilitator says time is up.
- Option 1: An acquaintance comments, “You only live once, so live with gusto!” How would you respond? How could you lead this into a conversation about eternal life?
- Option 2: Try the “bleach and food coloring” experiment. Use this illustration to explain 2 Corinthians 5:21 to your group. If possible, schedule a time to do this experiment during the children’s storytime.
- Option 3: On the whiteboard, list the items needed for a personal “spiritual contingency kit” to help someone get through a crisis of faith. Explain the necessity and use of each item.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- We see that it’s in God’s nature to share the good news of salvation; is it in yours? For the next few minutes, consider this question: What does your answer say about your relationship with Christ?
- Think of friends and family who don’t have a saving relationship with Jesus. Select one person about whom you are most concerned and ask God not what to do but who to be in order to help him or her.