LEARNING TO READ THE BIBLE

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1 BRAM BEUTE AND HAROLD KALLEMEYN LEARNING TO READ THE BIBLE ILLUSTRATIONS: PAT BERNING

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3 INTRODUCTION For many centuries, God s people have read and reflected on the message of the Bible. As disciples of Jesus we are called, like them, to discover God s plan and will for our lives through the Bible. This manual will help you understand the message of the Bible and the way it can be a guide and an encouragement to you everyday. The 22 lessons of the manual give an overview of the Bible, beginning with Genesis (the first book of the Bible) and ending with Revelation (the last book). Each lesson has several parts. At the beginning of each lesson (except for the first), participants report on their action plans made at the end of the previous lesson. Then the group reads and reflects on the Bible texts and on the related questions. After this period of reading and reflexion, participants write their action plan for the following week, pray together and read the Bible text to be memorized. Sometimes, at the end of the lesson, the facilitator will ask several participants to reflect, during the coming week, on a text related to the following week s lesson. During the week between each lesson, participants will accomplish their action plans and memorize the Bible text found at the end of the lesson. The lessons of this manual are designed to be read and studied in a small group which meets regularly, if possible once each week. Each participant is expected to play an active role in reading and reflecting on the questions. The group facilitator will insure that everyone participates actively in the discussions. No one person (including the facilitator!) should dominate the group. Before forming a study group, each participant will commit to 1) attend all the Bible lessons and 2) accomplish a weekly action plan. A participant who does not do action plans and report on them will learn little and will be a discouragement to the others in the group. 3

4 THE SALVATION ROAD The Bible describes events which take place over a long period of many centuries. To situate the historical period related to each lesson, a diagram called The Salvation Road, is found at the beginning of each lesson. Six important periods in Bible history are indicated by the following symbols: ➀ ➁ God creates and blesses the world. God s good world is broken because of sin. ➂ ➃ Throughout the Old Testament, God promises to heal the broken world through the coming Messiah. ➄ ➅ Jesus brings healing and blessing to the world through his suffering, death and resurrection. Jesus disciples receive the Holy Spirit and are sent throughout the world as servants of his blessing and healing. Jesus returns and establishes the blessed New Creation, where all brokenness is healed. This symbol is a combination of the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet: alpha (Α) and omega (Ω). In Revelation 22:13, the risen Lord says, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. 4

5 TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction... 3 THE SALVATION ROAD THE BIBLE CREATION SIN AND BROKENNESS ABRAHAM AND SARAH JOSEPH MOSES THE PASSOVER THE TEN COMMANDMENTS THE DESERT JOSHUA DAVID THE PSALMS PROVERBS THE PROPHETS JESUS THE KING JESUS, THE GOOD SHEPHERD THE CROSS THE RESSURECTION/EASTER PENTECOST THE CHURCH WORD AND DEED THE NEW CREATION

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7 ❶ THE BIBLE MAIN BIBLE TEXT Acts 8:26-40 LESSON FOCUS God created us to live in a personal relationship with him. Through the Bible, we discover God s actions in human history and learn to better understand ourselves and the world around us. CHRISTIAN DISCIPLINE When we carefully read and study the Bible, we learn to appreciate God s work in history and to love and honour him with all our heart. * * * 1. Introduction questions Think about one of your good friends. What do you do when you get together? Can you imagine meeting him or her and not speaking together? Imagine that a very important person, like the president of your country, asked to speak with you. How would you react? 2. Read and understand the Bible, from beginning to end A. In each lesson of this manual, you will read and reflect on different Bible texts. The next lesson (2) will begin with the first book of the Bible, Genesis. The last lesson (22) will conclude with the last book of the Bible, Revelation. This drawing, called The Salvation Road will be used throughout the manual to show where each lesson is located in the history of God s salvation. 7

8 B. 2 Timothy is a book in the Bible which the apostle Paul a leader in the church wrote as a letter to his young associate, Timothy. Read 2 Timothy 3:15. What will happen to Timothy if he carefully reads the Bible (called Scripture)? The Bible was written by many different people over a long period of hundreds of years. Read 2 Timothy 3:16. Why can we be certain that there is one main message in the Bible instead of completely different messages for each of the 66 Bible books? Read 2 Timothy 3:17. What does this text say will happen to us if we carefully read and study the Bible? C. After Jesus rose from the dead, he appeared to two disciples walking on the road from Jerusalem to the town of Emmaus. This story is told in Luke 24: As they walked along together, the disciples didn t recognize Jesus. Read Luke 24:27. What did Jesus speak to them about? This manual is like the road to Emmaus. Through it, you will learn to live a blessed life as Jesus disciple, the main person in the Bible. The Old Testament tells about how God prepared Jesus coming. (lessons 2-13) The four Gospels, the first books of the New Testament, speak about Jesus life and death on earth. (lessons 14-17) The books following the Gospels tell what happened after Jesus resurrection. (lessons 18-21) D. Acts 8:26-40 tells the story of an Ethiopian government official who was reading a text in the Old Testament while travelling from Jerusalem to Ethiopia. However, he didn t understand what he was reading. Philip, a Christian evangelist, helped him understand what he was reading. Read the Old Testament text the Ethiopian was reading in Isaiah 53:4-9 Who did Philip say this text was talking about? Acts 8:35 What did the Ethiopian want after speaking with Philip? Acts 8:36 How did the Ethiopian continue his journey according to v. 39? 8

9 Can we also go our way rejoicing, like the Ethiopian? If so, why? 3. Discipleship Action Plan Set aside a time, each day before the next lesson, to read Psalm 23 and then John 10: Think about the question: How do these texts show how much God values and loves me? Conclude your time of reflection with a prayer, using your own words or the words of the prayer below. 4. Prayer Father in heaven, thank you because you love me and want a personal relationship with me. Give me the discipline and wisdom to read the Bible and understand its message so that I can learn to love and serve you with all my heart. 5. Text to meditate and memorize this week ALL SCRIPTURE IS GOD BREATHED AND IS USEFUL FOR TEACHING, REBUKING, CORRECTING AND TRAINING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, SO THAT THE MAN OF GOD MAY BE THOROUGHLY EQUIPPED FOR EVERY GOOD WORK. 2 TIMOTHY 3:

10 ❷ CREATION MAIN BIBLE TEXT Genesis 2:15-24 LESSON FOCUS God created and blessed the world so it would be a beautiful, productive place. Adam and Eve were created to manage God s creation responsibly. CHRISTIAN DISCIPLINE We learn to admire the creation, to be thankful for it and to use the resources entrusted to us to manage God s creation responsibly. * * * 1. Action Plan reports Did you memorize the text and accomplish your action plans from the last lesson? Did you observe anything that changed because of what you did? 2. Introduction questions How are plants and animals productive? How are people productive like animals? How can people be productive in other ways? For example, by taking natural resources and transforming them into something even more productive. Give examples of people who are productive. 3. Read and understand the text A. Psalm 104:31 According to this text, who admires the wonderful things in the creation and rejoices because of them? 10

11 B. Genesis 1:21-22 What did God call the animals to do? What did God do so that they would develop well and be productive (v. 22)? C. Genesis 1:27-28, 2:15 How are human beings like animals? How are they different from animals? What did God call Adam and Eve to do to show that they were like God? EXPLANATORY NOTE In the Bible, to rule means to develop well and to be productive. It also means to manage the resources of the world so that others will develop well and the world will be a productive place. What managing work did God give in Genesis 2:15? D. Genesis 2:8-9, God gave Adam and Eve three responsibilities: To cultivate the earth so that it would continue to develop well. Who first cultivated the earth to show that this was important work? (v. 8) To care for the earth so that it would continue to be a productive place of delight and enjoyment. Also, to care for each other. What words in Genesis 2:18,21-24 show that Adam and Eve were created by God to care for each other? To listen to God and obey him. What did God say to Adam and Eve so that they knew that they were valued by God and so that they knew what God expected of them? (Genesis 1:27,28,31) What did God warn them against? (Genesis 2:16-17) 4. Reflect Give examples of how we can honour God in these three ways: cultivate the earth and be productive in the material world care for the earth and our material possessions, and care for each other listen to God and obey him 5. Discipleship Action Plan Write one thing that you will do before the next lesson to honor our Creator God in one of the three ways indicated above. For example: 11

12 I will spend one afternoon working in my garden. I will spend one afternoon cleaning my house and my clothes. I will study my school lessons diligently, each day. I will bring help and assistance to someone in my neighbourhood who is in need. 6. Prayer Our Father in heaven, thank you for creating this wonderful world. Thank you that I have such great value to you. Help me to honour you by developing well and by learning to manage everything you entrust me. 7. Texts to meditate and memorize this week IN THE BEGINNING, GOD CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH. GOD SAW ALL THAT HE HAD MADE, AND IT WAS VERY GOOD. GENESIS 1:1,31 12

13 ❸ SIN AND BROKENNESS MAIN BIBLE TEXT Genesis 3 LESSON FOCUS Adam and Eve sinned and brought brokenness into the world. However, God did not abandon them, or the world. Even in punishment, God showed them mercy and gave them hope for the future. CHRISTIAN DISCIPLINE We learn not to hide from God, but to recognize and confess our sins and believe in God s promise to forgive us. * * * 1. Action Plan reports Did you memorize the text and accomplish your action plan from the last lesson? Did you observe anything that changed because of what you did? 2. Introduction questions Think of things that are broken, but that are not completely destroyed. For example: a chair is broken, but not completely destroyed a child s arm is broken, but the child is not destroyed a friendship goes through a difficult period, but it is not completely destroyed. Think about a chair or a table that is broken, but the broken part is hidden and cannot be seen. 13

14 What happens when something is broken, but the brokenness is hidden? 3. Read and understand the text A. Matthew 4:8-10 What did the devil want Jesus to do in Matthew 4:8-10? EXPLANATORY NOTE The devil is an angel who is jealous of God. He wants to be equal to God and honored like God. But that is not possible. So, he tries to stop the world from developing well and being productive. He tries to destroy God s world. Have you ever felt jealous of someone who had something you didn t have, or an ability that you didn t have. How did that make you unhappy? B. Genesis 3:1-7 What was the devil s strategy in Genesis 3:1-5 to prevent Adam and Eve from developing well and being productive? Did God really say? (v. 1) The devil wanted them to doubt God s word. You will be like God (v. 5) EXPLANATORY NOTE The devil also wanted Adam and Eve to be unhappy with their place in the world. He wanted them to be like he was: jealous of God. It was as if the devil was saying, You can do more than just cultivate and care for the earth. You can become like God in heaven with more knowledge and power. Don t let God keep you down! The devil tempted them so that they became dissatisfied with God s plan for them in the world. He made them want to become greater, instead of working to develop the world. C. Genesis 3:8-23 Because Adam and Eve did not obey God, the world changed. What was a sign that Adam and Eve s relationship with God was broken? (v. 8) What were signs that Adam and Eve s good relationship with each other was broken? (v. 12,16) How did sin bring damage to the earth? (v ) D. Genesis 2 What did Adam and Eve deserve after they sinned? (Genesis 2:17) 14

15 What did God do to make certain that his relationship with Adam and Eve would not end? (v. 9) Did God tell Adam and Eve that they could no longer live together, have children, or manage the earth because of their sin? How did that show that God still loved them? E. Genesis 3:15 What did God promise in Genesis 3:15 to make certain that the devil would never destroy the world? EXPLANATORY NOTE In this verse, God shows that he is stronger than the devil and that he will bless the world through the promised Savior. This verse shows how much value we have to God despite our sin. The rest of the Bible shows how God s plan to bless the world was accomplished. 4. Reflect Is it easy for us to acknowledge our sins and mistakes? How does 1 John 1:8-9 show us the way to be blessed by God, even when we sin? Why don t we have to be afraid, and hide from God like Adam and Eve, after we sin? What does God promise us when we face temptation? (1 Corinthians 10:13) 5. Discipleship Action Plan For the next week, each night before I go to sleep, I will think about the events of the past day. I will ask God to forgive me for my sinful thoughts and actions. I will also thank God for his mercy and love and ask him to give me the strength to love and serve him faithfully. 6. Prayer Father in heaven, I want to learn not to hide from you, but to bring to you the thoughts and actions that do not please you. Forgive me for my sin. Thank you for loving me and not abandoning me. More than anything else, I want to learn to love you and to do what you want for me, everyday. 7. Text to meditate and memorize this week IF WE CLAIM TO BE WITHOUT SIN, WE DECEIVE OURSELVES AND THE TRUTH IS NOT IN US. IF WE CONFESS OUR SINS, HE IS FAITHFUL AND JUST AND WILL FORGIVE US OUR SINS AND PURIFY US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS. 1 JOHN 1:8-9 15

16 ❹ ABRAHAM AND SARAH MAIN BIBLE TEXT Genesis 12:1-9 LESSON FOCUS God called Abraham and Sarah to leave their home to be blessed by God to be a blessing to the whole world. CHRISTIAN DISCIPLINE As disciples of Jesus, we learn to leave what is familiar and trust God who calls us to a new life as pilgrims on this earth. We learn to be a blessing to others. * * * 1. Action Plan reports Did you memorize the text and accomplish your action plan from the last lesson? Did you observe anything that changed because of what you did? 2. Introduction questions Do you remember travelling somewhere you ve never gone before, perhaps to another country where you don t speak the language? How was that different from travelling to a place you knew well? 3. Read and understand the text A. Genesis 12:1 What did God tell Abraham to do? Did God tell him where he was to go? Why may Abraham and Sarah have hesitated to obey God? 16

17 B. Genesis 12:2-9 What did God promise Abraham when he arrived with his family in Canaan? (v. 7) What did Abraham do to show that he believed God? (v. 7,8) EXPLANATORY NOTE Building an altar and making sacrifices was a way for Abraham to show that this land belonged to God. It also showed that Abraham belonged to God and believed that God would bless him and his family. Genesis 12:10-20 Was Abraham always a blessing to others? C. Genesis 17:15-17, 18:10-15 Why wasn t it easy for Abraham and Sarah to believe God s promise to give them a son? 4. Reflect A. Hebrews 11:8-11 Why did Abraham leave his home? B. Read John 1:11 and Philippians 2:6-8 Who else left a familiar place to be a blessing to others? C. 1 Peter 2:9-12 When we become disciples of Jesus, we are called to become pilgrims like Abraham. What did God do so that we could become pilgrims? (v. 9-10) As pilgrims, we are called to leave behind old ways of living. What are some of the old ways of living that we are called to leave behind? (v. 11) What does God call us to do so that we will be a blessing to others who are not like us? (v. 12) D. John 14:1-3 Who gives us confidence for our pilgrimage so that we don t live in fear of what can happen to us if we leave behind our old ways of living? 5. Discipleship Action Plan Write one thing that you do, before the next lesson, to be a blessing to someone who you do not know very well. 17

18 6. Prayer Father in heaven, thank you that I can belong to you and receive your love and mercy. I want to follow you, like Abraham and Sarah and your Son Jesus-Christ. Through your Spirit, give me the strength to leave behind my fears and sinful ways so that I can live for you and be a blessing to others. 7. Text to meditate and memorize this week CONTINUE TO LIVE SUCH GOOD LIVES AMONG UNBELIEVERS THAT, WHEN THEY ACCUSE YOU OF DOING WRONG, THEY MAY SEE YOUR GOOD WORKS AND GLORIFY GOD ON THE DAY HE VISITS US. 1 PETER 2:12 8. Prepare the next lesson Assign 5 participants to read and prepare the 5 texts indicated for the next lesson. 18

19 ❺ JOSEPH MAIN BIBLE TEXTS Genesis 45:1-8, 50:15-21 LESSON FOCUS Despite the injustices he suffered, God did not abandon Joseph. Through God s strength, Joseph forgave those who did him harm and worked for their good. CHRISTIAN DISCIPLINE We learn to trust God when others do us harm, to forgive them and to work for their good. * * * 1. Action Plan reports Did you memorize the text and accomplish your action plan from the last lesson? Did you observe anything that changed because of what you did? 2. Introduction questions Remember when someone did something to harm you. How did that make you feel? How did you react? 3. Read and understand the text A. Ask the five participants to briefly answer these questions they prepared since the last lesson: Genesis 37 Why did Joseph s brothers sell him into slavery? ch. 39 Why was Joseph a blessing to his masters? (v. 2,3,5,21,23) Why was Joseph sent to prison? ch. 40 What happened to Joseph in prison? 19

20 ch. 41 How did Joseph get out of prison? Why could Joseph interpret the Pharoah s dream? (v. 16,25,28) How did Joseph become a blessing to the people of Egypt? ch Why did Joseph s brothers go to Egypt? What happened then? B. Genesis 45:4-11 Who sent Joseph to Egypt, according to verse 5 and 7? Why did Joseph do good to his brothers even though they had done him a great injustice and harm? Genesis 50:15-21 Why did Joseph forgive his brothers? C. John 1:11, Luke 23:32-43 Who, like Joseph, suffered great injustice and harm? How did Jesus react to those who did him harm? D. Acts 9:1-6 What did Jesus do to the person who was causing great harm to him and his people? Romans 8:31-32,35 After becoming Jesus disciple, what did Paul say about all the injustices and harm he suffered because he was Christ s disciple? E. Matthew 5:43-48, 1 Peter 3:9 What are we called to do when we suffer injustice and harm? Why should we do good to those who do us harm, according to Jesus in Matthew 5? Think about people who have done you harm or tried to do you harm. How can God bless you even in such difficult experiences? 5. Discipleship Action Plan Write one thing that you will do, through Christ s love and power, before the next lesson, to do good to someone who is not kind to you. 6. Prayer Father in heaven, thank you because you stay in control of my life, even when I face injustice. Help me to stay faithful to you like Joseph and your Son Jesus-Christ, so that I can be a blessing even to those who do me harm. 20

21 7. Text to meditate and memorize this week YOU INTENDED TO HARM ME, BUT GOD INTENDED IT FOR GOOD TO ACCOMPLISH WHAT IS NOW BEING DONE, THE SAVING OF MANY LIVES. GENESIS 50:20 8. Prepare the next lesson Assign 4 participants to read and prepare the 4 texts indicated for the next lesson. 21

22 ❻ MOSES MAIN BIBLE TEXTS Exodus 1:8-14, 2:23-25, 14:23-31 LESSON FOCUS Through his servant Moses, God delivered his people from oppression for a new life of freedom. CHRISTIAN DISCIPLINE We learn to live in freedom from fear and the oppression of sin and evil by following Jesus our Deliverer. * * * 1. Action Plan reports Did you memorize the text and accomplish your action plan from the last lesson? Did you observe anything that changed because of what you did? 2. Introduction questions Do you know people who are oppressed or exploited? Have you ever been oppressed or exploited by someone? What are other words for oppressed and exploited? 3. Read and understand the text A. Exodus 1:8-14 What happened to the Israelites after Joseph died? What was Israel s life like? What would you have prayed if you had been an Israelite in Egypt? B. Exodus 2:23-25 Who was listening to the cries of those oppressed slaves? 22

23 What does remember the covenant mean? What had God promised in that covenant? (Genesis 12:2-3) Why did it seem that God had forgotten the covenant made with Abraham? C. Ask the four participants to answer these questions they prepared since the last lesson: Exodus 2:1-22 Why did Moses mother hide him? Why did Moses grow up in Pharoah s palace? Exodus 3-4 Where did God meet Moses? What did God call Moses to do? Did Moses want to do what God called him to do? Exodus 5-12 What did Moses and Aaron ask of Pharoah? How did Pharoah react? What was the last plague that made Pharoah send Israel from Egypt? Exodus 13:17-14 What happened when Israel arrived at the Red Sea? D. Exodus 14:23-31 Who seemed strongest at the beginning of this story? Who was afraid? Who was really the strongest? Exodus 14:31, 15:1,20 What happened when God delivered Israel from oppression in Egypt? 4. Reflect A. Exodus 14:10-14 Why wasn t it always easy for God s people to trust and follow Moses? B. Acts 3:22 Moses spoke about a prophet who would come later to deliver God s people from the oppression of sin and evil. Who was that? God calls us to trust and follow Jesus like He called Israel to follow Moses. Why isn t it always easy to follow Jesus? Give examples of how we can experience oppression: when we fear evil forces or evil people who may mistreat us when the temptation and habit of sin is so strong when we mistreat other people 2 Timothy 1:7 What does God give us when we face oppression? 23

24 5. Discipleship Action Plan Write one thing that you will do, through Jesus love and power, during the next week, to overcome one of these three forms of oppression. 6. Prayer Father in heaven, thank you that you do not abandon your people in Egypt, but you sent Moses to deliver them in your great power. Thank you for sending Jesus to deliver me from the oppression of sin and evil. I want to trust Jesus and follow him in a life of freedom, everyday. 7. Text to meditate and memorize this week FOR GOD DID NOT GIVE US A SPIRIT OF TIMIDITY, BUT A SPIRIT OF POWER, OF LOVE AND OF SELF-DISCIPLINE. 2 TIMOTHY 1:7 24

25 ❼ THE PASSOVER MAIN BIBLE TEXTS Exodus 12:1-16, Deuteronomy 16:1-8 LESSON FOCUS God delivered his people from fear, oppression and suffering in Egypt for a life of blessing and freedom. God called them to remember and celebrate this deliverance every year during the Passover celebration. CHRISTIAN DISCIPLINE We learn to remember and celebrate God s deliverance from the oppression of fear, sin and suffering. * * * 1. Action Plan reports Did you memorize the text and accomplish your action plan from the last lesson? Did you observe anything that changed because of what you did? 2. Introduction question Imagine that you were a prisoner for many years in a terrible jail. Then one day, a powerful person come to the prison and set you free. Then, he brought you to his home, with your family and friends, to celebrate your new freedom together. Think about how you would you celebrate together. 3. Read and understand the text A. Deuteronomy 16:1-8 The Passover had several important parts. Each part helped Israel to remember and celebrate their deliverance from oppression. 25

26 the Passover lamb the preparation of unleavened bread and bitter herbs the meal itself B. The passover lamb Exodus 12:6-13 How did the first Passover lamb show that Israel was protected from God s judgment? EXPLANATORY NOTE The first Passover lamb was sacrificed so that Israel would not have to die. It was the lamb of deliverance. Throughout Israel s history, the Passover reminded them that because this animal died in their place, they need not be afraid of God s judgment and death. The lamb of deliverance reminded them of God s love and faithfulness. 1 Corinthians 5:7 What is Jesus called in this text? What did John the Baptist call Jesus in John 1:29? Why? (Further reading: 1 Peter 1:18-21,Isaiah 53:7-8) C. Unleavened bread and bitter herbs Exodus 12:8 What did Israel remember when they ate the bitter herbs? Can you remember a bitter experience from which God delivered you? Exodus 12:8, Deuteronomy 16:3 What did Israel remember when they prepared the unleavened bread? (The word for leaven or yeast in the Bible can also mean bitterness and oppression.) Exodus 13:7-10, Deuteronomy 16:4 After leaving Egypt, what was done for the week following the Passover celebration? How did that remind them that God was calling them to a new life of freedom from the oppression of sin and evil? Luke 12:1-3, 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 In the New Testament, the word leaven or yeast refers to hidden sins. What does it mean to be like unleavened bread according to 1 Corinthians 5:8? D. The meal Deuteronomy 16:2 Where was the Passover celebrated in the Promised Land? Deuteronomy 4:7 26

27 How was Israel s true God different from the pagan gods? 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 What meal did Jesus give us to remember his sacrifice and our freedom from the oppression of sin and evil? Revelation 19:9 What will we do together when Jesus returns? 4. Discipleship Action Plan Write one thing that you will do, during the next week-- like the Israelites at the Passover--to remember and celebrate Christ s deliverance from evil and sin. God delivers and protects us from sin and oppression. For example: Each evening before I go to sleep, I will take time to thank God for protecting me from sin and evil during that day. God forgives us and makes us clean. For example: Each morning before I begin my regular activities, I will ask God to keep me free from the unleavened bread of hidden sins, so that I can honour him throughout the day. God welcomes us to be close to him. For example: This week, on Saturday evening, I will invite Christian friends to share a meal. Together, we will take time to remember how God showed his love to us and blessed us during the past year. Jesus gives us a meal to remember and celebrate his deliverance For example: This week, I will prepare a prayer of thanksgiving to offer to God during the next Sunday communion service in our church. 5. Prayer Father in heaven, thank you for sending Jesus to free me from oppression and sin. Help me to remember everyday how much you love me. I want to say thank you for your love. Please teach me to love and follow Jesus and live in freedom, every day of my life. 6. Text to meditate and memorize this week CHRIST, OUR PASSOVER LAMB, HAS BEEN SACRIFICED. THEREFORE, LET US CELEBRATE, NOT WITH THE OLD YEAST OF MALICE AND WICKEDNESS, BUT WITH BREAD WITHOUT YEAST, THE BREAD OF SINCERITY AND TRUTH. 1 CORINTHIANS 5:7-8 27

28 ❽ THE TEN COMMANDMENTS MAIN BIBLE TEXTS Exodus 20:1-17, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 30:15-16, Luke 10:27 LESSON FOCUS God showed how much he loved his people and wanted to bless them by calling them to live in a close personal relationship with him, called a covenant. To live in this covenant, God called Israel to receive his love in their hearts and be thankful for it. But, that was not the only part of the covenant. God also wanted to bless his people by teaching them how to love him in return. How could God s people show their love to God? By trusting and obeying him with all their hearts. God gave the Ten Commandments to teach his people to trust and obey him and to love and honor others. CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP We learn to live in freedom from oppression and sin by 1) receiving God s love, 2) by loving and obeying God with our whole heart and 3) by loving and honouring our neighbour as ourselves. * * * 1. Action Plan reports Did you memorize the text and accomplish your action plan from the last lesson? Did you observe anything that changed because of what you did? 2. Introduction question How did God show that he loved Israel when they were slaves in Egypt? 28

29 3. Read and understand the text EXPLANATORY NOTE After leaving Egypt, God gave Israel three types of laws: ceremonial, civil and moral laws. The ceremonial laws, found in Leviticus, were made up of sacrifices and special events that pre-figured Jesus- Christ s sacrifice on the cross. (Hebrews 9-10:14) The civil laws regulated the social and civil life of Israel until Jesus came. (For example: Exodus 22.) As prefigurations, the Old Testament ceremonial and civil laws help us understand Christ and his sacrifice for us. But we do no longer need them to live in a personal relationship with God through Christ. The 10 commandments present the moral law given to Israel. As Christ explained in Matthew 5:17-48, the moral law is still valid for us as Christians. Through the 10 commandments we learn to love God with all our heart and our neighbour as ourselves. A. Exodus 19:1-8 Israel stopped at Mount Sinai on the way to the promised land to confirm God s covenant with them and to learn how to live every day in freedom from oppression and sin. What were the three parts of God s message to Israel in v. 4-6? How did God show that he loved and valued his people? How was Israel called to respond to God s love? What is the word used to describe God s relationship with his people in v. 5? How did Israel respond to God s message in v. 8? B. Exodus 20:1-17 How do the Ten Commandments begin? (v. 1-2) How is this beginning like the beginning of God s message in 19:4? Why was it so important for Israel not to forget how God had delivered them? C. Exodus 20:17 In this section, we will reflect the 10 th commandment: You shall not covet what belongs to your neighbour. EXPLANATORY NOTE To covet means to desire something that doesn t belong to us. When we covet, we show that we are dissatisfied with the life that God has given us. Our hearts become bitter because of what God has not given us, and our good relationship with him is broken. 29

30 Working hard to achieve a goal is not the same as to covet. For example, a young person can train hard in a sport to become an excellent player, like a champion. To imitate someone who is a model of achievement is called zeal. Zeal should not be confused with coveting. Hebrews 13:5 According to this text, who do we offend when we covet what does not belong to us? James 4:1-3 What happens when we covet? 1 Timothy 6:6-10 What is dangerous to love, according to this text? Why? Philippians 4:12-13 What was the secret that Paul learned in order to overcome coveting? 4. Discipleship Action Plan Write down one thing that you will do, before the next lesson, to learn Paul s secret of being content with whatever you have. For example: Each morning before I begin my regular activities, I will thank God for his love and for what he has given me. Each evening before going to sleep, I will think about what happened during the day and thank God for the life he has given me. 5. Prayer Father in heaven, thank you for sending Jesus to so that I can live in a personal relationship with you. Thank you for creating me to be the person I am in the place where I am. Help me be content and a blessing to those around me with what I have. 6. Text to meditate and memorize this week KEEP YOUR LIVES FREE FROM THE LOVE OF MONEY AND BE CONTENT WITH WHAT YOU HAVE, BECAUSE GOD HAS SAID, NEVER WILL I LEAVE YOU; NEVER WILL I FORSAKE YOU. HEBREWS 13:5 7. Prepare the next lesson Assign 4 participants to read and prepare the 4 texts indicated for the next lesson. 30

31 ❾ THE DESERT MAIN BIBLE TEXT Deuteronomy 8:1-5 LESSON FOCUS After God delivered Israel from Egypt, he led them through the desert on their way to the promised land. CHRISTIAN DISCIPLINE Through the desert experiences of our lives we grow in maturity. * * * 1. Action Plan reports Did you accomplish your action plan from the last lesson? Did you observe anything that changed because of what you did? 2. Introduction questions Think about some of the difficult and disappointing experiences that happened to people in the Old and New Testament: sickness, famine, family conflicts, persecution, etc. Think about some difficult and disappointing experiences that have happened to you or to your family. 3. Read and understand the text A. Exodus 15:22-17:16 Ask four participants, during the week before the lesson, to prepare to tell briefly what happened after Israel was delivered from Egypt: Exodus 15:22-27 Why did Israel quarrel with Moses? What did God do? 31

32 Exodus 16:1-36 Why did Israel quarrel with Moses again? What did God do? Exodus 17:1-7 Why did they keep quarrelling with Moses? How did God respond? Deuteronomy 1:19-40 What happened when Israel arrived at the promised land? B. Deuteronomy 8:1-5 What was God doing during the 40 years Israel spent in the desert? 4. Reflect Matthew 4:1-11 Who was led into the desert by God to be tested for 40 days? How was Jesus time in the desert different from Israel s time in the desert? Hebrews 5:8 What did Jesus learn from the difficulties and suffering he experienced? When we experience such difficulties and disappointments, it is like we are going through a desert. It is hard to understand that the hard times we are experiencing can help us grow. For example: When our life is not comfortable and enjoyable. When we fall sick or an accident happens to us or to someone we love. When others mistreat us. When we suffer the consequences of our own foolish actions. can regret our own lack of faith and obedience. During these desert times in our lives, we can be tempted, like Israel in the desert, to think that God is not with us and that he doesn t care for us. 1 Peter 1:6-7 Why can we rejoice even during the desert times in our lives, according to this text? Hebrews 4:14-16 Who knows the way through the desert and stays close to us during the desert times in our lives?? 5. Discipleship Action Plan Write one difficulty or disappointment that you encounter in your own life. During the coming week, set aside a time each day to read Hebrews 4: Respond to the invitation in verse 16 to bring the difficulty you are experiencing to God. 32

33 6. Prayer Father in heaven, thank you that you did not abandon your people in the desert, despite their discontent and murmuring. Thank you for sending Jesus who was faithful to you in life and death. Renew and strengthen me in your grace so that I may grow in trust and love for you, even through the desert experiences of my life. 7. Text to meditate and memorize this week LET US THEN APPROACH THE THRONE OF GRACE WITH CONFIDENCE, SO THAT WE MAY RECEIVE MERCY AND FIND GRACE TO HELP US IN OUR TIME OF NEED. HEBREWS 4:16 33

34 ❿ JOSHUA MAIN BIBLE TEXT Joshua 5:13-15 LESSON FOCUS After 40 years in the desert, God called Joshua to lead Israel to victory and blessing in the promised land. CHRISTIAN DISCIPLINE We learn to follow our Lord Jesus-Christ and share in his victory over fear and evil. * * * 1. Action Plan reports Did you accomplish your action plan from the last lesson? Did you observe anything that changed because of what you did? 2. Introduction question What are people around you often afraid of? EXPLANATORY NOTE Joshua s conquest of the Promised Land showed all the nations that God was the one true God, more powerful than any other false gods. The story of Joshua does not teach us as Christians to use military force to fight against those who oppose us. (Matthew 5:38-45, Ephesians 6:12) 3. Read and understand the text A. Ask five participants, during the week before the lesson, to read the following texts and briefly answer the related questions. 34

35 Numbers 13:16-14:11 Fear Why were the Israelites afraid when they arrived at the Promised Land the first time? Joshua 2 Rahab How did Rahab help God s people overcome their fear and lack of trust in God? Joshua 3 The Jordan River What did the crossing of the Jordan River remind Israel of (v. 7)? How did this event help them to overcome their fear and hesitations? Joshua 5:13-15 The Commander of God s army How was this event like the one told in Exodus 3:4-5? How did this event help Israel overcome their fear? B. Joshua 23:1 What did God give Israel by the end of Joshua s life? EXPLANATORY NOTE In the Bible, the word rest refers to a life blessed by God and free from oppression. Joshua 24:14-18 What choice did Joshua put before the people at the end of his life? How was Joshua s message like Moses message at the end of his life? (Deuteronomy 8:19-20) What was the temptation that Moses and Joshua called Israel to overcome? 4. Reflect A. Numbers 13:16 Moses gave Joshua his name. Joshua means The Lord saves. Through Joshua, God saved his people from a life of fear and lack of trust in Him, to victory and blessing in the Promised Land. Joshua is the same word in the Hebrew language for Jesus. Why was Jesus given this same name, according to Matthew 1:21? Like Joshua, Jesus brings us out of a life of fear and lack of trust in God, to a life of victory and blessing. B. Moses and Joshua called Israel to trust and serve God with all their heart. Jesus calls us to do the same (Mark 13:28-31). 35

36 C. Joshua 24:16-18 What did God do, through Moses and Joshua, so Israel could: overcome fear and lack of trust in God? learn to love and serve God with their whole heart? Romans 8:31-39 What did God do through Jesus, and what is Jesus doing now so that we can: overcome fear and lack of trust in God? learn to love and serve God with our whole heart? 5. Discipleship Action Plan Think again about the difficulty or disappointment that you wrote down last week. Write down one way that you can face this difficulty by trusting in Jesus during the coming week, just as Joshua led Israel to overcome the obstacles they faced. 6. Prayer Father in heaven, you brought your people through many dangers to the Promised Land, through Joshua s leadership. Thank you for sending Jesus the new Joshua to save us from fear and evil. Give me the assurance that you love me and care for me. Teach me to love and serve you with my whole heart. 7. Text to meditate and memorize this week IN ALL THESE THINGS WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS THROUGH HIM WHO LOVED US. FOR I AM CONVINCED THAT NOTHING WILL BE ABLE TO SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD. ROMANS 8: Prepare the next lesson Assign 4 participants to read and prepare the 4 texts indicated for the next lesson. 36

37 11 DAVID MAIN BIBLE TEXT 2 Samuel 7:12-29 LESSON FOCUS Israel s first king, Saul, did not lead Israel faithfully. But God did not abandon Israel. God raised up an eternal dynasty, beginning with David, to protect Israel and to teach them to trust and serve God with all their heart. CHRISTIAN DISCIPLINE Through the story of David s life and royal kingdom (1 Samuel 16 1 Kings 2:10) we learn to love our great King Jesus and to praise him in everything we say and do. * * * 1. Action Plan reports Did you memorize the text and accomplish your action plan from the last lesson? Did you observe anything that changed because of what you did? 2. Introduction questions Do you know of a good leader? Think about leaders in your church or community or country. What are the qualities of a good leader? EXPLANATORY NOTE After Joshua died, God raised up judges to lead Israel. Their story is found in the book of Judges. Israel usually stayed faithful to God while the judge was still living. However when the judge died, Israel forgot their covenant with God and began to worship other gods, 37

38 for example after Gideon s death (Judges 8:33,34). After several generations, Israel asked God for a king who, through a royal dynasty, would provide more stable leadership for the nation. The story of Israel s first king, Saul, is found in 1 Samuel Saul s reign ended in failure because he did not stay faithful to God. 3. Read and understand the text A. Ask four participants, during the week before the lesson, to read the following texts and briefly answer the related questions. 1 Samuel 16:1-13 Samuel anoints David What happened when David was anointed? (v. 13) 1 Samuel 17 David defeats Goliath How did this event show that God s Spirit was in David? 1 Samuel Saul is jealous of David and tries to kill him Why was Saul angry when David delivered Israel from their enemies? 2 Samuel 11 David and Bathsheba What three things did David do to misuse the power God had given him? B. A kingdom that will never end 2 Samuel 7:12-17 What did God promise to David? 2 Samuel 7:18-29 How did David respond to God s promise? At the end of his life, David sang a great praise song found in 2 Samuel 22:1-23:7. 2 Samuel 22:50-51 What did God s goodness and promise make David want to do? 4. Reflect: David and Jesus Jeremiah 33:14-17 What did God promise, many years after David s death, when Israel was living in exile, far from the promised land? (see also Isaiah 9:7, 11:1-2) Matthew 2:1-3,13, Mark 15:9-10 Who was jealous, like Saul, of God s anointed King? EXPLANATORY NOTE In Jesus time, Israel was occupied by the Roman army. Many Jewish people hoped that God would send them a king to deliver them from the Romans, like David had delivered Israel from the Philistines many years before. 38

39 Acts 2:29-33 How did Peter show that Jesus is a greater and better king than David ever was? Romans 1:1-6 How was Paul s ministry to the nations a fulfilment of David s song in 2 Samuel 22:50-51? Revelation 22:16 Who is Jesus, according to this text? 5. Discipleship Action Plan Write down one thing that you will do, before the next lesson, to show honor and love to our great King, Jesus. 6. Prayer Father in heaven, thank you for raising up David to save your people from their enemies. Thank you for sending Jesus, our powerful and eternal King, to bring salvation and blessing to all the nations. Help me to be a faithful witness to my King in everything I say and do. 7. Text to meditate and memorize this week THE ROOT OF JESSE WILL SPRING UP, ONE WHO WILL ARISE TO RULE OVER THE NATIONS. ALL PEOPLES WILL PUT THEIR HOPE IN HIM. ROMANS 15:12 39

40 12 THE PSALMS MAIN BIBLE TEXT Psalm 23 LESSON FOCUS The Psalms teach us to listen to God and speak with him in times of joy and happiness and also in times of difficulty and distress. CHRISTIAN DISCIPLINE Through the Psalms, we learn to listen to God and speak with him when we are happy and when we face difficulty and distress. * * * EXPLANATORY NOTE The 150 Psalms have been memorized and sung by God s people throughout the ages. The Israelites sang the Psalms on many different occasions. Jesus and his disciples sang Psalms when they celebrated the Passover. In Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, Paul tells us to sing the Psalms. Throughout church history, the Psalms have often been used in Christian worship. 1. Action Plan reports Did you memorize the text and accomplish your action plan from the last lesson? Did you observe anything that changed because of what you did? 2. Introduction question Think about a happy experience you had during the last few weeks. Then, think about an experience that was not so happy. 40

41 3. Read and understand the text Ps 23:1 What image does David use to speak about God? Why do you think David uses that image? How would you say I shall not be in want using different words? v. 2-3a Where does the Shepherd lead David? What did green pastures and quiet waters mean for David? What do green pastures and quiet waters mean for you? v. 3b Read also Psalm 25:4-5 Where else does the Shepherd lead David? What paths was he talking about? v. 4 What kind of experiences brought David through the valley of the shadow of death. Think, for example, of the times Saul tried to kill David (1 Samuel 19:1ss). Why isn t David afraid? Discuss together the things that can make us afraid. How does Romans 8:35-39 help us understand v. 4? v. 5 What are the images of a celebration used in this verse? What is David celebrating? Think, for example, of David s victory over Goliath. How was Jesus victory greater than David s victories, according to Peter in Acts 2:25-35? v. 6 How did David show that he put all his trust in the Shepherd? To dwell in God s house meant, for David, that he would meet God through worship in the tabernacle. Who replaced the Old Testament tabernacle and temple according to John 2:18-21, Matthew 12:6 and Revelation 21:22? According to those texts, what does it mean for us as Christians to dwell in the house of the Lord forever? 4. Discipleship Action Plan During the week before the next lesson, take time each day to read and memorize Psalm 23. Think about the different images and what they mean for you. Thank God for sending Jesus to be your Good Shepherd. Bring your needs to him. If there are musicians in your group, find or compose a song based on Psalm 23, to sing together next week. 41

42 5. Prayer Father in heaven, thank you for loving me and sending Jesus, the Good Shepherd, to care for me and to stay close to me through all the experiences of my life. Help me live in victory over sin and evil today and through my whole life. 6. Text to meditate and memorize this week THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD, I SHALL NOT BE IN WANT. HE MAKES ME LIE DOWN IN GREEN PASTURES, HE LEADS ME BESIDE QUIET WATERS. HE RESTORES MY SOUL. HE GUIDES ME IN PATHS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS FOR HIS NAME S SAKE. EVEN THOUGH I WANT THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, I WILL FEAR NO EVIL, FOR YOU ARE WITH ME; YOUR ROD AND STAFF, THEY COMFORT ME. YOU PREPARE A TABLE BEFORE ME IN THE PRESENCE OF MY ENEMIES. YOU ANOINT MY HEAD WITH OIL, MY CUP OVERFLOWS. SURELY GOODNESS AND LOVE WILL FOLLOW ME ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE, AND I WILL DWELL IN THE HOURS OF THE LORD FOREVER. PSALM 23 42

43 13 PROVERBS MAIN TEXTS Proverbs 1:1-19, 4:20-23 LESSON FOCUS Through Proverbs, we learn to follow God s ways and live wise and fruitful lives. CHRISTIAN DISCIPLINE Proverbs teaches us to discipline our lives so they will be wise and fruitful. Three areas of discipline concern the way we spend our time, sexual discipline and living productive, honest and generous lives. * * * 1. Action Plan reports Did you accomplish your action plan from the last lesson? Did you observe anything that changed because of what you did? 2. Introduction questions Ask a participant, during the week before the lesson, to read 1 Kings 3:4-15 and answer briefly these questions. What did Solomon ask for when God told him he could have whatever he asked? How did God respond? 3. Read and understand the text A. Proverbs 1:1-7 What other words describe wisdom? How does wisdom begin? EXPLANATORY NOTE In the Bible to fear God does not mean to be afraid of God. How does Proverbs 3:5-7 help us understand what it means to fear God? 43

44 Proverbs 4:20-27 Make a list of the commandments in this text which explain what God expects of us. What does God promise to those who live wise, disciplined lives? DISCIPLINED USE OF TIME B. Proverbs 6:6-11, 12:11, 26:13-15 What kind of people are described in these texts? What happens to them? Share one thing that you can do next week to spend your time better. SEXUAL DISCIPLINE C. Proverbs 7:1-27 What happens to this foolish young man? Think of the influences that can tempt us in our sexual thoughts and behaviour. What happens to those who don t learn to discipline their sexual lives? PRODUCTIVITY, HONESTY AND GENEROSITY D. Proverbs 31:13-18,20,24 Why is this woman praised? Make a list of ways in which we can be productive. Proverbs 11:1, 20:10,23, 23:10 What does God hate? What does he approve? Give examples of how people lie and cheat for their own gain. Proverbs 11:24-26, 19:17 What happens to generous people? Give examples of generous people whom you have known. Proverbs 30:7-9 What two things does Agur pray for in this text? E. Corinthians 1:30 What three words in this text show how to become wise through Jesus-Christ? Righteousness. What can you do each day to become a wise person according to Proverbs 28:13? Holiness (purity). How does 1 John 1:9 show us how to become pure? Redemption/deliverance. What does Hebrews 12:2 tell us to do so that we can throw off the sins that keep hanging on to us? 44

45 F. Proverbs 15:22, James 1:5 How do we grow in wisdom? 7. Discipleship Action Plan Write one thing you will do before the next lesson to live a wiser, more disciplined life. 8. Prayer Father in heaven, thank you that you love and bless me. Show me how to grow as a wise and productive disciple of Jesus. 9. Text to meditate and memorize this week TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND LEAN NOT ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING. IN ALL YOUR WAYS ACKNOWLEDGE HIM, AND HE WILL MAKE YOUR PATHS STRAIGHT. DO NOT BE WISE IN YOUR OWN EYES. PROVERBS 3:5-7 45

46 14 THE PROPHETS MAIN BIBLE TEXTS Isaiah 52:9-12, 52:13-53:12, 55:6-13 LESSON FOCUS Even though they were disobedient and living in exile, far from home, God did not abandon Israel. He sent them messengers, the prophets, to remind them of his faithfulness, their covenant responsibilities and the promise of a coming Messiah. CHRISTIAN DISCIPLINE We learn to love and serve God with all our whole heart by listening to him speak to us through his Word, the Bible. * * * 1. Action Plan reports Did you memorize the text and accomplish your action plan from the last lesson? Did you observe anything that changed because of what you did? EXPLANATORY NOTE Most of the kings that came after David and Salomon were not good leaders. They forgot their covenant responsibilities. Their story is told in 1-2 Kings and 1-2 Chronicles. Because of their unfaithfulness, Israel was sent in exile to Babylon, far from the promised land. But even in slavery, God did not abandon his people. God sent prophets to remind them of 1) God s great faithfulness, 2) Israel s responsibility to keep the law and be a blessing to the whole world and 3) the promise of a coming Messiah through whom they would learn to love and serve God with their whole heart. 46

47 The prophets speak about three different periods in history: The time in which they were living Jesus coming, when the hearts of God s people would be changed so that they could love and serve God with all their heart. Our responsibilities as Christians and God s promises for our future Sometimes the prophets wrote about these three historical periods in the same Bible passage. Reading the prophets is challenge which builds our faith. 2. Introduction questions Remember an experience, perhaps in your childhood, when you promised to do something and then forgot. You didn t do what you had promised. What happened? 3. Read and understand the text A. Isaiah 52:9-12. This text is written to Israel living in exile, in Babylon What does God promise to Israel in this text? What will their deliverance from Babylon remind them of? (v. 12). Read Exodus 14:19 B. Isaiah 52:13-53:12. This text speaks, in advance, about God s servant, Jesus What happened to Jesus according to this text? How does this text describe us? (v. 3-6) How does this text show us that Jesus loves us? What happened because of Jesus sacrifice according to 1 Peter 2:24-25? C. Isaiah 55:6-13. This text shows us how to receive and share God s love What is God s good news according to v. 6-7? What does God promise about his Word? (v ) How does Isaiah describe in poetic language the change in people s hearts who receive God s love and forgiveness? (v. 13) Who does this good news speak about according to Romans 10:17? Summary: The Old Testament prophets 47

48 show that God was faithful to his people Israel, despite their unfaithfulness. tell about the coming of Jesus, the Lamb of God. Through his suffering and death, God s people are forgiven. They are given a new heart to love God and live for him. invite us to receive this good news and to share it with others. 4. Discipleship Action Plan Indicate a time, every day during the next week, to read and reflect on one of the passages from the prophet Isaiah studied in this lesson. 5. Prayer Father in heaven, thank you for sending the Son you love, Jesus, as a sacrifice for my sins. Teach me to love and honour you by listening to you speak to me through your Word. 6. Text to meditate and memorize this week HE WAS PIERCED FOR OUR TRANSGRESSIONS, HE WAS CRUSHED FOR OUR INIQUITIES: THE PUNISHMENT THAT BROUGHT US PEACE WAS UPON HIM, AND BY HIS WOUNDS WE ARE HEALED. ISAIAH 53:6 48

49 15 JESUS THE KING MAIN BIBLE TEXTS Luke 1, Matthew 6:33 LESSON FOCUS God sent Jesus, the promised Messiah King, to deliver from oppression and evil for a life of blessing. In apparent weakness, Jesus inaugurated his kingdom of power and righteousness. CHRISTIAN DISCIPLINE Through the Gospels we learn to admire Jesus power to deliver from sin and evil, to receive his great love for us and to practice his righteousness. * * * 1. Action Plan reports Did you accomplish your action plan from the last lesson? Did you observe anything that changed because of what you did? 2. Introduction question Make a list of the people in your society who have political power and social authority. What are their privileges? 3. Read and understand the text A. Matthew 6:33 In this lesson, we will consider three aspects of Christ s kingdom: Jesus kingdom power is shown through weak people Receiving God s righteousness Practicing kingdom righteousness, in apparent weakness 49

50 KINGDOM POWER SHOWN THROUGH WEAK PEOPLE A. Luke 1:26-38 Think about Mary who had no political power and little social influence. What did Mary have in common with David before he was anointed king? Luke 1:46-55 Who are the weak people who God will deliver and bless, according to Mary s song? B. Luke 2:8-20 Who were the first people on earth to praise God for sending the promised Messiah king? RECEIVING GOD S RIGHTEOUSNESS EXPLANATORY NOTE The word righteousness in the Bible refers to what is right and good. God is righteous because what he does what is right and good. God created us to share his righteousness, to live by doing what is right and good. Through the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, the righteousness that God created human beings to live became polluted with evil. Like a virus, this evil spreads throughout our heart and influences us to think and act in ways that are not right and good. When we honestly admit to God that our lives are not right and good and ask his forgiveness, God covers us with Jesus righteousness with Jesus goodness. It is like God puts new clothes on us, clothes that come from Jesus. When we wear Jesus clothes Jesus righteousness God looks at us in the same way he looks at Jesus and sees what is right and good. Jesus covers the guilt and shame of what is not right and good in our lives. God considers us righteous because of Jesus. Jesus righteousness is a free gift that we receive by believing God s promise to forgive and love us. EXPLANATORY NOTE Pharisees were religious leaders in Jesus time. Tax collectors were despised because they took money from the people for themselves. (Luke 19:1-9) B. Luke 18:9-14 What was the problem of the Pharisee (religious leader)? What prevented him from receiving God s righteousness? 50

51 Why did the tax collector receive God s righteousness as an undeserved gift? Ephesians 2:8-9 How did the apostle Paul explain what happened to the tax collector? Why is it so difficult for people to receive God s righteousness, even today? How does this story help us understand why Jesus was rejected by the religious authorities of his day? (see also Luke 5:27-32) PRACTICING RIGHTEOUSNESS IN APPARENT WEAKNESS EXPLANATORY NOTE When we receive Jesus righteousness, we also receive God s Spirit who enables us to live right and good lives, everyday. C. Luke 10:29-37 What is the word used in verse 37 which helps us understand what it means to practice righteousness? 5. Discipleship Action Plan Each day, from Monday through Saturday, read one chapter of the Gospel of Luke. This coming 1 st week: chapters 1-6 week 2: chapters 7-12 week 3: chapters week 4: chapters Keep a written journal record of your reading. Answer these questions: How did God show his power and love, through Jesus, in this chapter? How does this chapter show me how to receive Jesus righteousness? How does it show me how to practice Jesus righteousness? Prepare to share some of your answers during the next lesson. 6. Prayer Father in heaven, thank you for sending Jesus to show me your power and love. Thank you for forgiving me and for the gift of Jesus righteousness. Despite my weakness, help me show your mercy and love to those I meet, each day. 7. Text to meditate and memorize this week SEEK FIRST HIS KINGDOM AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND ALL THOSE THINGS WILL BE GIVEN TO YOU AS WELL. MATTHEW 6:33 51

52 16 JESUS, THE GOOD SHEPHERD MAIN BIBLE TEXT John 10:11-18 LESSON FOCUS Jesus is our Good Shepherd who values and cares for us. We cannot have a secure, fruitful life apart from him. CHRISTIAN DISCIPLINE We learn to see our need for Jesus and to follow him with our whole heart. * * * 1. Action Plan reports From your journal of Luc 1-6, briefly share how Jesus shows his power and love in these chapters and how they call you to receive and practice Jesus righteousness. 2. Read and understand the text A. In the Gospel of John, Jesus compared himself to many different things to teach us how important it is to belong to him if we are to have a secure, fruitful life. John 6:35,48 I am the bread of life What would happen to you if you didn t have anything to eat for many days? John 8:12, 9:5 I am the light of the world What would happen if the sun had not risen this morning? John 11:25 I am the resurrection and the life When you die, can you come back to life by your own effort? 52

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