< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: May 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jesus the Servant

Mark 10: 46-52 46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

They had been in Galilee and were headed to Jerusalem, so they were going through Jericho. Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, is listed by name, which is unusual in the stories of Jesus’ miracles. But we know his name because he later becomes a leader in the church. He went from being a beggar to a church leader because he humbled himself and called out to Jesus.

He called out for mercy and Jesus stopped. By the world’s standards he was worthless. But Jesus will in no way cast out the person who comes to Him in humble need. Jesus was the servant: “What do you want me to do for you?” (The same thing He said to the disciples in the previous passage.)

Jesus will save us at our point of need if we recognize it and give it to Him. Ask for His help with our short comings. When we let Him in we become free and “therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.”

Jesus tells him that his faith has healed him. Jesus died to save everyone, but not everyone is saved. It’s our faith that makes the difference.

Recognize your need. Call on the One who can help. And have faith.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jesus came to serve not to be served

Mark 10:35-37 35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”

36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

Think about this. Jesus had just told them for the third time not only was He going to Jerusalem to die, but how He was going to die and two of His closest disciples make this demand. “We want you to do for us whatever we ask”!

Jesus is extremely gracious when He asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” The reason it’s incredibly gracious is because first they had no right to demand anything of God and second they hadn’t even been listening to what He was telling them. He said He was going to die and they still thought He was going to be setting up an earthly kingdom and wanted to be numbers 2 and 3 in the cabinet!

As Christ followers we shouldn’t be at all concerned about making ourselves great, but by making Christ great.

Mark 10:38-40 38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

39 “We can,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

When Jesus asks if they can drink the cup He will drink – the cup is the way they used to talk about suffering, about God’s wrath or the cup of judgment. Where He talks about baptism, the word He uses means immersed. He’s asking them if they are willing to be immersed in God’s will the way He was. Jesus didn’t have an air of privilege and as His followers we shouldn’t either.

In verse 39 James and John said they could! And Jesus said they would drink from the cup and be baptized with the baptism that He would be baptized with because He knew that they would become believers, serve Him and die for Him. (James would be martyred and John exiled.)

Mark 10: 41-42 41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.

The other 10 disciples were indignant with James and John because they wanted the same thing! Jesus tells them the difference between the world and Christianity. The world wants privilege and authority. Christians come as servants. We must pursue Christian responsibility, not privilege and God will take care of the rest.

Jesus was within days of His death here. These passages are His last teachings. He wanted us to know and remember these things. Especially these next verses:

Mark 10: 43-45 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Inspirational Magnets

I've added a lot more inspirational magnets to my print on demand store "givitup".
Many have Bible verses and Christian quotes. To check them out click on Inspirational Magnets


Monday, May 21, 2012

The First will be Last and Last will be First

Mark 10: 28-34 28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”

29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

32 They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. 33 “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34 who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”

In the first part of this passage Jesus tells us that the first shall be last and the last shall be first. He is telling us to put ourselves in last place. This takes sacrifice. We need to put possessions and even family behind us and everyone else in front of us because not doing so causes competitiveness. Possessions can keep us too busy to do God’s will. They can bog us down.

Jesus also tells us the benefits of putting ourselves in last place. After we make the sacrifices to honor Christ, He promises a reward of a hundred times more than we give up. (In other words a massive amount.) The mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters we will gain are other believers. And we will enjoy them for all eternity. We are also rewarded when we are content with what we have and where we are. We begin to see that these rewards really are for ourselves.

Matthew 6:19-21 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

We will never lose our reward.

Hebrews 6:10 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

How we live today and what we do with our time, talent and treasure on earth matters for how we are going to be living in Heaven.

Matthew 10:42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.

Every time you extend Christ to someone He remembers. He will not forget one act or one attitude.

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

This is the second judgment. It’s not designed to punish us, but to reward us for what we did on earth: evangelism, discipleship, ministry. 2 Corinthians 5:11 says Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. WE PERSUADE OTHERS. That’s evangelism.

Verse 30 says something a little odd: He mentions persecution in the list of rewards.

Matthew 5:11-12 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

You are honored if you are persecuted for Christ’s sake.

Finally, in verses 32 – 34 of Mark 10, Jesus gives us the perfect example of putting oneself last and living sacrificially. He describes His upcoming death. Jesus was in the final days of His life on earth and He put EVERYONE in front of Him:

“For God so loved THE WORLD He gave His only Son.”

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Christ's Definition of Faith

Mark 10: 13-16 13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

Jesus begins to define faith in this passage and continues through verse 27. In verses 13 through 16 He defines faith as humility (a child’s faith.) We just talked about this from the other passage, but He’s illustrating it again because it’s so important. The disciples were being prideful sending the children away. They were being a roadblock to people who wanted to come to Christ. Something no one should do. And Jesus becomes indignant.

He said the kingdom of Heaven is made up of people like the children. People with humble simple faith. He even said if you don’t have that kind of faith you won’t enter it at all! We should never add anything to the simple message of the gospel. Jesus calls and He saves. After we are saved we work at learning more about Him and becoming more mature in our faith. More deep.

Mark 10: 17 -22 17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”

20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

The second way Jesus defines faith is allegiance. We know from the three gospels this story is in, that the man here is rich, young and a ruler. He asks the right question to the right person: “What must I do to go to Heaven?” He calls Jesus good Teacher. He knows God is good. But he also thought he was good. Just not good enough to get into Heaven. He wanted to know what he still needed to do. He was asking Jesus what one more thing could he do that he hadn’t already done.

He didn’t understand goodness, which is: God is good and no one goes to Heaven on their own works. We go to Heaven because of God’s mercy and Christ’s work.

The rich, young ruler said he had kept all the commandments. It was all about his actions. So with love Jesus pointed out what he was missing. It’s love because He wasn’t going to sugar coat anything. It was too important. He told him to repent of his materialism and follow Him.

What he lacked was allegiance to Jesus.

At the end of the story the man chose his possessions and went sadly away.

There are four questions we can ask ourselves to see where our allegiance lies:

1.      What do you give your time to?

2.      What do you give your energy to?

3.      What do you give your money to?

4.      What do you think about?

To show your allegiance to Christ you must show your allegiance to His bride, the church. That’s why we promise to give our prayers, our presence, our gifts and our service to the church when we join.

Mark 10: 23-27 23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”

27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

The third way Jesus defines faith is dependence.

The only way to achieve eternal life is by depending on Jesus Christ. You cannot save yourself. But He can certainly save you.

The reason it’s hard for a wealthy person to enter the kingdom of Heaven is because they are used to depending on themselves. Jesus used an example of impossibility; a camel going through the eye of a needle. And the amazed disciples asked, “Well then who can be saved?”

And Jesus answered them, “It’s impossible for a man to save himself, but not for God. With God all things are possible.”

We can depend on Him!

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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

James 1:19-25 a Mini Worship Guide

Dan Dumas, Senior Pastor at East Baptist in Louisville, KY was our guest minister a couple Sundays ago. He told us that James 1:19-25 is a mini worship guide.

That got my attention!

James 1:19-25 19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

James is full of crisp clear commands.

This passage tells us that on Sunday mornings we need to be an active listener. When scripture talks about “hearing” it assumes obeying. James had begun his book telling his readers how to handle trials and then temptations. Now he tells us how to handle truth in the context of corporate worship.

There are six disciplines for expository listening:

1.      Open your ears. Back when James wrote this they didn’t have a New Testament. His was the first book written in it. So they had to listen intently. “Take note.” “Be quick to listen.” “Never forget.” Today we still need to go to church prepared to listen.

2.      Close your mouth. This is a companion discipline to listening: listen more and talk less! Be careful about what you say. Don’t promise God things you won’t do. Don’t make rash commitments. In Matthew Jesus said we will be accountable for every word that comes out of our mouth.

3.      Control your temper. Stay in control. Anger inhibits worship because it quenches the spirit. Anger drives everyone away, including God.

4.      Cleanse your heart. Put aside all filthiness and wickedness. This is part of sanctification. You are to put off some things and put on others. And it’s not just one or the other. For example: put off anger and put on peace. Get rid of anything that corrupts or affects our ability to hear and 1 John 1:9 promises us that when we confess our sins He will cleanse us.

5.      Mortify your pride. Don’t be arrogant. “With meekness receive the word of God.” Be teachable.

6.      Move your feet to action. “Be doers of the word.” What are you going to do about the sermon you just heard? About the passage you just read?

 The one who sees himself in the mirror; hears the word and applies it, will be blessed.

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Monday, May 07, 2012

What Jesus Said About Divorce

Mark 10: 1-12 Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them.

2 Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3“What did Moses command you?” he replied. 4 They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”

5 “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. 6 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’  7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,  8 and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

10 When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11 He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

Jesus has gone from Galilee to Judea and some Pharisees test Him with a question about divorce. Jesus quotes Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:24 in His answer:

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

And That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

God hates divorce. Malachi 2:16 is a well known verse showing this. “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.

One of the reasons He hates it is because it always brings suffering and misery.

Jesus teaches here that marriage is God’s design and God’s institution. God created married couples to stay together. Man created divorce. But that doesn’t mean divorce is any worse then any other sin. There are three examples in scripture where God actually ordained divorce.

Ezra 10: 3, 11 and 44 Now honor the Lord, the God of your ancestors, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives. And All these had married foreign women, and some of them had children by these wives.

Where His people had married foreigners, which they weren’t supposed to do because it would dilute their faith. They might easily begin to worship their spouse’s gods; follow their ways.

Jeremiah 3:8 I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery.

God actually divorced Israel because she was cheating on Him!

Matthew 1:18-19 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.

19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

Joseph planned to divorce Mary because it looked like she had committed adultery – but the Bible still calls him a righteous man.

God allows divorce under two circumstances.

1.      Adultery. Mark 5:32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

2.      Abandonment. 1 Corinthians 7:15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.

God’s not saying we should divorce under those circumstances. Just that we can.

But as Christians we are to try – hard! – to make it work and here are some suggestions to do that:

1.      Fight the desire to divorce.

2.      Love your enemies – even if it’s your spouse!

3.      Forgive 70x7 times

4.      Read James 1:2-5. It’s about persevering in trials.

5.      Go to a Biblical counselor for help.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Will They Know?

In my sorority magazine the editor was talking about the sorority’s values: honor, beauty, friendship and service to others. She asked, “Without reading our ritual, could a potential new member know what our values are by watching our behavior and listening to our words?”

And I thought, “What a great question for Christians. Could someone know what we believe by watching our behavior and listening to our words?”