< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: February 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mark 8: 31-33

Pastor Kurt is still preaching on the Gospel of Mark and I'm still taking notes!

Mark 8: 31-33 31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Jesus knew they didn’t understand that His kingdom would be spiritual, so He immediately began telling them what it meant that He was the Messiah: that He would go to Jerusalem, be killed and be raised after 3 days. He wanted them to understand what was going to happen in a very short time. In the past He had made references to it, but now He spoke plainly.

“The Son of Man MUST”. It was going to happen because it was God’s plan. Jesus only came to do His Father’s will.

Acts 2: 22-23 22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.

Read all of Isaiah 53 if you have any doubts. God put Jesus on the cross!

Our sin is so severe that He killed His own Son. What does this mean to us? Worship! That God would make a plan and Jesus would follow the plan to save us. It also means submission. Whatever God has planned for us we must submit to – just like Jesus did.

God did it because of His love for us, because of His mercy and kindness. How can we not worship Him back?

So Jesus reveals the plan and Peter took Him aside to rebuke Him! He interrupted Christ’s teaching because he just knew Jesus was wrong! Peter was sitting in the seat of a judge over Jesus. Never do that! People do it all the time and it’s wrong! Matthew 16:22 has the actual words Peter used, “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

Jesus said it’s going to happen and Peter calls Him Lord, but then says it can’t. “Lord” and “no” can not be in the same sentence! When Peter said “You are the Christ” in the previous passage he was speaking from God. Now minutes later he becomes a mouthpiece for Satan.

This happens to all of us. We all suffer from spiritual frailty. Peter missed that God’s plans often deviate significantly from our own. “Our ways are not His ways, our thought are not His thoughts.” Peter also missed that submission to God’s plan is crucial. And finally that an attempt to “correct” God’s plan is rebellion.

Christ corrects him in verse 33. He told him, “You are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but on man’s.” Jesus shows us here that Satanic behavior is much closer to home then we might think. It’s every time that we are not actually promoting God’s plan, His interests and His purposes. So it’s not just people who say they hate Jesus, it’s people who have apathy to God. Who just don’t care.

Do you love Christ and His interests? Then set your minds on God’s interests. Read the Bible and pray everyday. Let God speak to you.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Treasure Within

I read this story on Beliefnet.com by Victoria Osteen and wanted to share.

I read a story about a man who lived in a tiny apartment and died in extreme poverty. At one point in his life, he had even been homeless, living on the streets. This man never had any successes to speak of nor any noted victories. He lived and died as just another face in the crowd.

After the funeral, some family members went to his little run-down apartment to clear out his belongings. They found a painting hanging on the wall, so they decided to sell it at a garage sale. The woman who bought the picture took it to a local art gallery for an appraisal and was shocked to discover that the painting was extremely valuable. The piece of art that hung for so many years in a little run-down apartment was painted by a famous artist who lived in the early 1800s.

The woman decided to auction off that painting and ended up selling it for several million dollars.

Just think how that poor man’s life might have changed if he had known the value of what he possessed. He was a multimillionaire and didn’t even know it.

So many people live like that today with priceless treasure inside, and they don’t even know it. Scripture says that when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He makes His home on the inside of us — a treasure far greater than anything this world has to offer! This is what Second Corinthians 4:7 means when it says, “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” As believers in Jesus, the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us! We have a priceless treasure inside of us!

When we read, study and meditate on the Word of God, we are exploring that treasure within. The Word of God is your treasure map! We are tapping into what God has placed on the inside of us — the gifts, power and blessing through His precious Son, Jesus Christ.

I encourage you today; don’t settle for living a mediocre existence. When God created you, He created a masterpiece, a vessel in which to house the glory of God.

Every morning when you get out of bed, remind yourself, I have the same power that raised Christ from the dead living in me! I am the head and not the tail! I am positioned for victory in Jesus’ name! Make His Word your highest priority. Be determined to live a life of obedience to the Word of God so that you can partake of the eternal blessing He has in store for you!

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mark 8:22-30

Mark 8:22-30 22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”

24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” 25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into the village.”

27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” 28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”

29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” 30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

This was about 6 to 8 months before Jesus’ death. He was moving around a lot now because He wanted to focus His attention on His 12 disciples, but the crowds kept gathering. He wanted to teach the disciples well so they could continue on after He was gone.

In this passage Jesus heals a blind man. This is the only recorded healing that was done in two steps. We don’t know why. Maybe just so we will realize that Jesus heals in different ways. As usual Jesus tells the man not to tell anyone. He said, “Don’t even go back into the village.”
Which may have had something to do with how the Jewish people missed that He was/is the Messiah.

Messiah is an Old Testament term that refers to God’s anointed one. God chose this Savior.

Jesus created food out of nothing, He healed people. He cast out demons. He handled the Pharisees with the truth. He raised people from the dead. The Jews had waited forever for the promised Messiah and they missed Him!

The Jews thought the Messiah would over throw the Roman government and rule on earth. This would take a leader who rallied people around. Not someone who sent people away telling them not to tell about a miracle Jesus had preformed. And certainly not someone who was as gentle and humble as Jesus. AND He was speaking to the gentiles. They thought the Messiah was only coming to lead the Jews. Christ was confusing the Pharisees.

Even so, today we find it hard to see how they missed it. I mean there are over 300 prophecies about the Messiah in the Old Testament and Jesus fulfilled every single one! But we have the advantage of the New Testament too. We know about His resurrection. So WE have no excuse not to see who He is.

In verses 27 and 28 Jesus had finally got them alone and asks “Who do people say I am?”

Between the gospels of Mark and Matthew the answers were: 1. John the Baptist – who had been known for his popularity and his bold preaching style. 2. Elijah – the prophet who could do miracles. 3. Jeremiah – the weeping prophet – Jesus was kind, tender hearted and compassionate.
But then He asks the disciples who THEY think He is and Peter nails it. “You are the Messiah.”

That means He is Lord and Savior. It means He is God’s Son. When we know this it should impact our lives. We have to do something with that knowledge. We need to act like we are saved. We need to worship Him in gratitude. We need to share the news with everyone. We need to let Him control the choices we make and submit everything in our lives to Him.

Unlike the people He healed when He walked the earth WE are told to “go and tell”!

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mark 8:1-21

Mark 8:1-21 1 During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, 2 “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. 3 If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.”

4 His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?” 5 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked. “Seven,” they replied.

6 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people, and they did so. 7 They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. 8 The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 9 About four thousand were present. After he had sent them away, 10 he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha.

11 The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. 12 He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.” 13 Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.

14 The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 15 “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”

16 They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.”

17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?” “Twelve,” they replied.

20 “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?” They answered, “Seven.” 21 He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

This group of people was mostly made up of gentiles. 4000 men PLUS women and children who had been with Him for 3 days.

The first really interesting thing in this story was the disciples question when Jesus said they needed to feed the people, “Where are we going to get bread way out here?” !!

Didn’t they go through this one other time? How could they forget Jesus feeding the 5000? But we do the same. We know what Jesus can do and did do from the Bible. We know everything He’s done for us in our own lives. Yet we still doubt He’s going to take care of us. Sometimes Jesus lets us wait –so we stay dependent on Him. Sometimes He doesn’t provide in the way we expect, so often we’ll miss the answer or even think He said no.

In this story Jesus took care of them again. He provided enough food for the huge group with leftovers to spare. When Jesus provides He provides abundantly.

The Pharisees asked for a sign. He wasn’t going to give them one because they had already had lots. Everything about Jesus was filling the Old Testament prophecies they had read about all their lives. Another sign that they demanded wasn’t going to convince them. Their hearts were hard.

We should never say to God or Jesus, “Do this and I’ll believe.” The person who does this is looking for an excuse NOT to believe. Jesus Himself is the only sign we need.

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Monday, February 06, 2012

Mark 7:31-34

Mark 7:31-34 31 Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. 32 There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.

33 After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”).

Jesus goes to a new area next: Decapolis. It’s on the other side of Galilee from Tyre. There “some people” brought a deaf mute to Jesus and pleaded with Him to heal the man. Again, intercession. The man couldn’t ask for himself, he was deaf and dumb. There are people who are deaf to the Gospel and who won’t ask for themselves because they don’t know. They need someone to intercede for them.

He looked up to Heaven with a deep sigh. The word for sigh here means groan. Because He partners with us in His compassion He suffers with us.

Instantly the man could not only hear, but speak plainly. He may never have heard anything in his life, so to speak clearly was even a bigger miracle.

Next Jesus gives them orders not to tell anyone about this. He didn’t come to physically heal people and He didn’t want to be known for that so people would only come to Him for that purpose. But they were so excited they had to share. Every time God changes a heart we should get just as excited and run share the news!

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Sunday, February 05, 2012

Mark 7:24-30

Mark 7:24-30 24 Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25 In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet. 26 The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

27 “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

28 “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

29 Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”

30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Jesus was a traveling Rabbi and it would have been unusual for Him to travel outside of the Jewish area. But here He did. He went to Phoenicia and met a Gentile woman who gives us an example of intercessory prayer. She was begging Christ to help her child and she wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Intercessory prayer is persistent.

She fell at His feet and pleaded with Him. In the Matthew version she says, “Son of David, have mercy on me.” On behalf of her faith she’s asking Him to have mercy on her child.

Matthew 15 tells us that He actually ignored her. And when He finally says something, it’s very strange and seemingly very mean. “Let the children be satisfied first” refers to the nation of Israel. Jesus is clarifying His mission. He came to the Jewish people first and foremost. Even after all their rejection of Him, He is still patient with the Jews.

BUT, even though He came first and foremost to the Jews, He WAS in Tyre – a Gentile region.

Next He basically calls her a dog. The difference between this and someone just insulting someone else is; Jesus knew her heart and He was drawing her faith and humility out of her. This was actually a merciful action. You have to be humble with God. You have to need Him. To know He is the only thing that can help you. He is the only answer.

And her answer was right. She was fine with letting the Israelites get help first. She just wanted the crumbs. She somehow understood there was more then enough and would settle for being under the table if that’s what it took to get into the room!

Sometimes God doesn’t give us a yes answer right away. He may be trying to tease some faith out of us. We need to be persistent, humble and have faith.

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