< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: March 2012

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mark 9: 1-8

Mark 9: 1-8 1 And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”

2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. 3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. 4 And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.

5 Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 6 (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)

7 Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

8 Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.

The first verse closes the sermon from the previous chapter. Jesus is saying, “The path I’ve laid out is difficult, but some of you will see my glory to encourage you.” And six days later He took Peter, James and John to the mountain where they saw the transfiguration of Christ.

In the transfiguration Jesus “crossed over” from His earthly to His heavenly form. His glory as true God shone through. The light was coming from inside Jesus.

Psalm 24:10 Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty— he is the King of glory.

2 Corinthians 4:4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Light is consistent with His self-revelation. Light speaks of moral perfection. Jesus is the light of the world. He brought light into a dark world…

Moses, who wrote down the laws, and Elijah, one of the most esteemed prophets, were thought very highly of by the Jews. This was kind of like a stamp of approval in their eyes. The three of them were talking about Jesus’ death. By talking about it ahead of time and in His glorified form He was showing His kingship. He was not a human victim being crucified, but our divine Lord and King in complete control.

The Luke story of this event tells that the three disciples had fallen asleep. They woke up in the dark to see this tremendous light show and were terrified. Peter, being Peter, said the first thing that popped into his head, “Let’s build three tabernacles: one for Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” Which was wrong on so many levels, but mostly because Moses and Elijah weren’t being glorified – only Jesus.

God clears that up right away when He says, “This is My beloved Son. Listen to Him.” Just Him! And the other two disappeared.

It’s interesting to see what the disciples did with this experience. John was the only one of the three who wrote a Gospel and the only Gospel that doesn’t mention the transfiguration.

Peter did write about it in 2 Peter 1:16-21 16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

He tells about their amazing experience, but he says basically that the Word is more important then our experiences. The lesson is; we don’t use our experiences or feeling (no matter how high, how deep or how exciting) in place of what God’s Word says to us. Which may be why John didn’t even write about it.

We all want God to bring us an experience, but God wants us to study the scriptures.

Peter says “Though you do not see Him you love Him.” And we do! Faith is seeing with your heart. To see the Glory of God with your heart. To savor it and to show the Glory of God is why we are on the planet.

Romans 12:1-2 says 1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

We can be transfigured too. He changes us by the renewal of our minds.
And 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Unveiled face is another way of saying born again. Christians are becoming more and more like Christ. Trust in Him. Walk for Him. And live for His Glory.

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Friday, March 09, 2012

Heaven is for Real

I wanted to share an article by Billy Graham called "Heaven is for Real".
It's not long. It says it all. And it's beautiful. Enjoy:

Heaven is for Real

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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Mark 8:34-38

Mark 8:34-38 34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

Jesus had been ministering to His disciples, but now He calls the crowds over so no one would think Christianity is just for a select few. The invitation is open to all.

Jesus isn’t looking for perfection in us, but movement. In a desire to grow. Being a Christian starts in a moment by faith and then becomes a progression. Jesus tells us here what we need to do.

1. Deny your supremacy. He demands a change of allegiance from your own life to His. “If any man would come after me” means if any one desires to come after Him. You have to desire it. And if anyone does – they are welcome. Christianity means to attach yourself to Jesus. To follow Him. Usually people put themselves in the center of their own lives. They are king of their own little world. But we need to put Christ in the center and realize He is the King of everything. And then we need to do what He says.

2. Crucify your desires. “Take up your cross” Jesus Himself took up His cross! He went through with God’s plan for Him at the cost of death not too many months after He told the disciples this. As Christians we need to live for God’s desires and His glory.

3. Follow your Master. Follow in His footsteps. We follow Him according to what He’s explained to us in the Word of God. Don’t follow your feelings. Don’t follow your common sense. Follow His guidance as it’s written in the Bible.

4. Forfeit your soul. Life is short – eternity is long. If we do stuff for ourselves, our own pleasures and for our own glory or benefit we lose. We need to forfeit our soul over to Christ who is the only one who can actually save it. When we forfeit our soul to Jesus He will give us everything we need!

5. Proclaim your Savior. In verse 38 He’s talking about our evangelism. Our boldness in speaking up for Christ – in proclaiming the Gospel. If we understand Him, if we are really saved, how could we possibly be ashamed of Him? How could we be afraid to speak up? To be more concerned with what other people think of us then what God thinks of us?

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