Adult Teaching Resources August 7, 2016

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1 Adult Teching Resources August 7, 2016 Fith Mtters: Lessons From Hebrews (August 7-28) You re Not the First Hebrews 11:1-16 You re Not Alone Hebrews 11:29-12:2 All Shook Up Hebrews 12:14-29 Remember nd Do Hebrews 13: Subscribe to Nurturing Fith to ccess the core Bible content for this lesson. Find links nd videos relted to this lesson. 1 Nurturing Fith August 7, 2016

2 You re Not the First Hebrews 11:1-16 FIT Teching Guide by Rick Jordn This dult teching outline is designed to support The Bible Lesson by Tony Crtlege, printed in Bptists Tody. You cn subscribe to either the digitl or print edition of Bptists Tody to ccess the lessons. Plese lso ensure tht ech person in your clss hs copy of Bptists Tody so they cn prepre before the lesson. Before the Lesson: Mke copies of the hndout Fith is to be given out in the Informtion session. Bring wheelbrrow or wgon or some other item tht represents being crried, for the Trnsformtion Exercise. Fellowship Question (Use one of these to brek the ice, to begin some discussion nd led into the study): When you think of Biblicl chrcters (who re not in the Trinity), who stnds out to you s person of gret fith? Wht is n orgniztion or institution tht you put lot of fith in? Informtion Wht is fith? Here re some brod ctegories: [Write these four key words on the bord.:] Belief (gree to certin doctrines). Mgic (get enough fith, nything cn hppen). Trust (sit on chir becuse you trust it will hold you). Fidelity (until deth do you prt). There is not totl greement bout wht fith is, or wht one gets for hving fith. [Distribute the hndout, Fith is ] Tke look through the quottions. We ll use them gin t the end of tody s lesson. [Allow time for clss members to silently red the quottions.] Hebrews 11 begins with definition of fith. It is not the only definition in the Bible nd it does not include everything there is to sy bout fith. But if you re going to describe fith, this is gret plce to begin. [Hve clss member red Hebrews 11:1-2.] Our ncestors, the uthor sys. For the Jewish reders of the book of Hebrews, this could be tken literlly. After ll, the book is not clled The Book of Gentiles. However, for those of us who do not hve Jewish heritge but re Christin, these re our spiritul ncestors s well. 2 Nurturing Fith August 7, 2016

3 Informtion continued The very bsic ide in fith is tht there is Someone greter thn us. There is God, Cretor. [Hve clss member red Hebrews 11:3.] If we begin here the first tenet of fith is tht there is God who creted everything wht re some other things tht you would suggest re the very bsics? [Jot these on the bord. Some tenets might be: God is love; God cres bout Cretion; God creted humns in God s own imge; fith in God is bsed on reltionship; God gve us rules/lws/commndments, etc.] As we look further through Hebrews 11, let s look for these ides nd others we might dd. We hve definition of fith. Fith is something internl. But if it is true fith, it is lso externl, demonstrted through the wy we live. So, the uthor of Hebrews offers litny the heroes of fith. Fith is ctive. It includes belief, but it is more thn belief. Fith is n ction word. [Hve clss member red Jmes 2:14-17.] Let s look t this Hll of Fith. We begin with one of the first stories in the Bible. Let s her the originl story. [Hve clss member red Genesis 4:1-10.] Why ws Abel s scrifice ccepted, but Cin s not? We re not relly told. But the writer of Hebrews sensed it hd to do with fith. [Hve clss member red Hebrews 11:4.] Wht do we lern bout the person who hs fith from the story of Abel? (someone with true fith cn become trget; hving fith does not men everything will go well; etc.) Wht do you think this phrse mens: he died, but through his fith he still speks? How does this relte to the Genesis pssge: your brother s blood is crying out to me from the ground? The good works of righteous person continue to spek long fter the person is gone But the Precher thinks of Abel s more thn memory; he imgines Abel still tlking to God Abel s blood cried out from the ground to God, clling for justice, ppeling to set things right nd to venge his murder. [Thoms G. Long. Hebrews. Interprettion: A Bible Commentry for Teching nd Preching. Louisville: John Knox Press p. 116.] Abel s deth ws no mystery. Cin killed him. But there ws nother mn with fith who did not die. [Hve clss member red Hebrews 11:5-6.] Wht do we lern bout the person who hs fith from the story of Enoch? (some hve n extrordinry mesure of fith; his fith plesed God; he ws rewrded for his fith; etc.) 3 Nurturing Fith August 7, 2016

4 Informtion continued [Hve clss member red Hebrews 11:7.] Wht do we lern bout the person who hs fith from the story of Noh? (someone with true fith is willing to do some crzy things; his fith sved Noh nd his fmily; fith involves listening to God nd obeying God; etc.) Now let s recll the story of two persons of gret fith nd gret doubts Abrhm nd Srh. [Hve clss member red Hebrews 11:8-12.] Wht do we lern bout the person who hs fith from the story of Abrhm nd Srh? (God s timetble is not ours it tkes fith to trust God s timing; God cn do the impossible through fithful person; sometimes fith involves yers of wndering; etc.) The book of Hebrews is not letter. It is more like n extended sermon. So fter reminding us bout these persons of fith, there is mini-sermon. [Hve clss member red Hebrews 11:13-16.] We re looking bck t these heroes of fith, but wht we notice is the direction they re looking. Wht direction is tht? (Forwrd.) In looking forwrd, these people were demonstrting their fith nd their fithfulness. Fithfulness connotes focus, determintion, endurnce, even risk, nd especilly love. The heroes of Hebrews didn t just ccept the possibility of the result they sought or the gol they imed for. Mny of them doubted, big time! They cted, or they held on, not becuse of wht they intellectully pprehended s resonble. They did it becuse they knew Someone who would not leve them nd would never fil them. [Lurence DeWolfe. The Hll of Fme of Fithfulness. ] Obviously, these spiritul ncestors lived before Jesus Christ. Yet, by fith, our ncestors received pprovl. (verse 2) Cn someone who is not Christin hve fith in God? Although ll of these persons recorded in Hebrews 11 hd fith, they did not hve ll fith or even pure fith. We find pure fith s Jesus trusts in God, s Jesus gurds his reltionship with his Fther. [Hve clss member red Hebrews 12:22-24.] How is the cry of the blood of Jesus superior to the cry of the blood of Abel? (Abel s blood cried for vengence; Jesus blood cries for forgiveness, etc.) Our fith is not perfect, either. Fith is better understood s verb thn s noun, s process thn s possession. It is on-gin-off-gin rther thn once-nd-for-ll. Fith is not being sure where you re going but going nywy. A journey without mps. [Frederick Buechner. Wishful Thinking: A Theologicl ABC. NY: Hrper nd Row p Nurturing Fith August 7, 2016

5 Trnsformtionl Exercise If we look t our bsic tenets of fith (written on the bord), we hve some good solids truths here. And wht we hve lerned through the life of Jesus Christ is tht we cn hve fith in this God becuse this God loves us unconditionlly. So, we trust God, even when it seems crzy to do so. It is like this story: Perhps we re ll in the position of the mn in Morton Kelsey s story who cme to the edge of n byss. As he stood there, wondering wht to do next, he ws mzed to discover tightrope stretched cross the byss. And slowly, surely, cross the rope cme n crobt pushing before him wheelbrrow with nother performer in it. When they finlly reched the sfety of solid ground, the crobt smiled t the mn s mzement. Don t you think I cn do it gin? he sked. And the mn replied, Why yes, I certinly believe you cn. The crobt put his question gin, nd when the nswer ws the sme, he pointed to the wheelbrrow nd sid, Good! The get in nd I will tke you cross. Wht did the trveler do? This is just the question we hve to sk ourselves bout Jesus Christ. Do we stte our belief in Him in no uncertin terms, even in finely rticulted creeds, nd then refuse to get into the wheelbrrow? Wht we do bout the lordship of Jesus is better indiction of our fith tht wht we think. [Mnning. 177.] Tke look gin t your definitions of fith. Some of them re wrong but most hve truth. Which of these hs spoken to your spirit tody? Which of these do you wnt to ct upon? In the next few moments of silence, I invite you to write short pryer bsed on tht definition, or on something else tht hs stirred you in tody s lesson. Then, put tht pryer into the wheelbrrow [or wgon or whtever you hve to represent being crried]. No one will red these, so write your pryer freely. Put you fith in the God who rolls the wheelbrrow. [After persons hve written pryers nd deposited them, close in pryer something like this:] We thnk you, God, for the Bible nd the stories of others fith tht inspires us to hve more fith. Help us to move from inner convictions to outwrd demonstrtions of our fith this week. Amen. Comments or Questions for Rick Jordn? You my send comments to the lesson pln uthor t Rick is lso vilble to led workshops nd conferences on Christin Eduction, with prticulr emphsis on how best to use the FIT Fith model. 5 Nurturing Fith August 7, 2016

6 Digging Deeper by Tony Crtlege Digging Deeper is designed to support The Bible Lesson by Tony Crtlege, printed in Bptists Tody. Wtch for the shovel icon in the The Bible Lesson, nd then reference tht item in this Digging Deeper resource. You cn subscribe to either the digitl or print edition of Bptists Tody to ccess the lessons. Plese lso ensure tht ech person in your clss hs copy of Bptists Tody so they cn prepre before the lesson. More, plese The Revised Common Lectionry text for the dy is Hebrews 11:1-3 nd 8-16, but there s no good reson to skip over vv. 4-7, so we include them in our study. Next week s lesson begins with v. 29, but we ll begin it with brief look t vv , which continue the Roll Cll of Fith begun in v. 4. For more on the uthor nd udience of Hebrews, see The Hrdest Question. An exhorttion As mentioned in the lesson, chpter 11 builds upon n exhorttion found t the end of the previous chpter (10:35-39): Do not, therefore, bndon tht confidence of yours; it brings gret rewrd. For you need endurnce, so tht when you hve done the will of God, you my receive wht ws promised. For yet in very little while, the one who is coming will come nd will not dely; but my righteous one will live by fith. My soul tkes no plesure in nyone who shrinks bck. But we re not mong those who shrink bck nd so re lost, but mong those who hve fith nd so re sved. The internl quottion is prphrsed version of Hb. 2:3-4: For there is still vision for the ppointed time; it speks of the end, nd does not lie. If it seems to trry, wit for it; it will surely come, it will not dely. Look t the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their fith. The uthor s point is tht followers of Christ hve the sme chllenge tht fced the Isrelites: hrd times cll for endurnce in which God s people hold firm to their fith nd live it out dy by dy. 6 Nurturing Fith August 7, 2016

7 Digging Deeper continued One definition, two wys Note the similrity of vv. 1 nd 6. While speking of plesing God, the writer sid without fith it is impossible to plese God, for whoever would pproch him must believe tht he exists nd tht he rewrds those who seek him. This prllels the definition of fith in v. 1: Now fith is the ssurnce of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. The two components re in reverse order: believing tht God exists compres to the conviction of things not seen, while trusting God for rewrds corresponds to the ssurnce of things hoped for. A second tril Abrhm pssed the gretest chllenge to his fith fter Isc ws born. He trusted God nd stood firm even when the nrrtor of Genesis 22 sid God tested Abrhm s fith by telling him to scrifice his beloved Isc, the son of the promise (vv ). Abrhm put feet nd hnds nd hert to his fith, nd God gve his son bck to him. Abrhm lerned tht God did not in fct desire the scrifice of humn blood, but of the humn hert, of the humn will. 7 Nurturing Fith August 7, 2016

8 The Hrdest Question by Tony Crtlege The Hrdest Question is designed to support The Bible Lesson by Tony Crtlege, printed in Bptists Tody. You cn subscribe to either the digitl or print edition of Bptists Tody to ccess the lessons. Plese lso ensure tht ech person in your clss hs copy of Bptists Tody so they cn prepre before the lesson. Who wrote Hebrews, when, nd why? Neither the udience, uthor, nor dte of Hebrews cn be determined with certinty. Fortuntely, our understnding of the book s bsic messge does not hinge on being ble to identify either of the three. Tht doesn t men, however, tht it s not worth mking some educted guesses. The book ws written nonymously. Pul lwys identified himself clerly in his letters, but there is no self-identifiction here. The uthor is clerly Christin, but with strong Old Testment bckground nd some pprent ffinities with ides common mong Christin techers in Alexndri, city in northern Egypt tht ws home to thriving Christin community by the lte first century. As erly s 180 A.D., some leders of the Estern churches climed Pul s the uthor of Hebrews, some rguing tht it ws written to the Christins in Alexndri. The Western church did not clim Puline uthorship until the fourth century. Indeed, the book ws slow to be ccepted s scripture in the western churches, lrgely becuse of its lck of ttribution to known nd respected uthor. Severl fctors mitigte ginst Puline uthorship, the most notble being tht the book is written in excellent Greek, comprble only to Luke-Acts in the New Testment, nd clerly different from the prosic style of writing in Pul s letters. The Greek of Hebrews is of n elevted, clssicl sort with beutifully composed sentences. Edgr V. McKnight described the lnguge s so uncommon tht The originl reders rection to the clssicl Greek of Hebrews would be comprble to modern reders hering or reding sermon in the lnguge of Shkespere or the lnguge of the King Jmes Version ( Hebrews, in Hebrews-Jmes, Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentry [Mcon, GA: Smyth & Helwys, 2004], 11). Clement of Alexndri, writing in the third century, recognized tht the Greek ws different from Pul s style, but explined the discrepncy by climing tht Pul wrote the book in Hebrew nd Luke trnslted it into Greek. Given tht Pul ws pprently quite comfortble writing or dictting his other letters without trnsltor, however, the rgument is not convincing. The themes explored in the book hve some reltion to Puline thought, but lso show notble differences. For exmple, the writer spends gret del of time discussing Melchizedek nd the priesthood of Christ, subject tht Pul does not ddress. Chrles Trenthm suggested tht the writer is both more Jewish thn Pul on the one hnd, nd more Greek thn Pul on the other ( Hebrews, in the Brodmn Bible Commentry, vol Nurturing Fith August 7, 2016

9 The Hrdest Question continued [Nshville: Brodmn Press, 1972], 5). Apollos is frequently mentioned s possible uthor, s he ws known for his eloquence (Acts 18:24). Joint uthorship by Priscill nd Aquill hs some support. Other erly believers such s Brnbs or Sils hve lso been mentioned, but none convincingly. Apprently, the writer did not find it importnt to identify himself or herself, which provides clue s to how much time we should spend in worrying bout the mtter. The udience, judging from internl evidence, ws lso mde up of Christins who either hd strong heritge in Hebrew trditions, or hd dopted hybridized version of Christinity tht retined mny techings nd prctices trnsferred or trnsmogrified from Judism, perhps n berrnt sect of Judism. It seems most likely tht they were dispor Jews who hd come to fith in Christ nd possibly suffered becuse of it. In the flush of new fith nd with the hope of Christ s soon return, persecution nd loss ws berble. As time went on, however, nd hrd times continued with no sign of Christ s rewrd t hnd, some were tempted to fll wy from their fith, which the uthor considered distinct possibility. Some evidence suggests tht Hebrews ws originlly ddressed to the church t Rome, the strongest being 13:24, where the uthor sends greetings from those who come from Itly. The letter ws lso known nd referenced by the erly church fthers Clement nd Herms of Rome, writing just before nd fter 100 C.E. Others rgue tht the sermon my hve been intended for Christins in Alexndri, but the reference to those who come from Itly nd the fct tht they know Timothy rgues in fvor of Rome. The recipients, in ny cse, were residents of n urbn center, nd fmilir with the pgn prctices nd government pressures of first-century Romn city. They pper to hve been second-genertion Christins who hd grown distnt in their doctrine nd lx in their enthusism, perhps becuse persecution hd become relity, while the expected second coming of Christ hd not. The uthor is prticulrly concerned tht they do not fll wy from the fith. The dte one ssigns to Hebrews must fll no lter thn the lte first century, becuse ner quottion from the work ppers in the writings of Clement of Rome (1 Clement 36:1-5), dted bout 96 A.D. If the pssge you hve not yet resisted unto blood (12:4) is tken to indicte the presence of persecution, but not unto deth, vriety of dtes my be suggested, since persecution ppered t different times nd with different severity in different plces. Severl references to temple worship re written in the present tense, s if such worship ws still being prcticed. If this is the cse, the book would hve to be dted prior to 70 C.E., when the Jeruslem temple ws destroyed. Some suggest dte not long fter Emperor Cludius expelled Jewish Christins from Rome in 49 C.E., while others prefer dte just before the violent persecutions of Nero begn bout 64. C.E. 9 Nurturing Fith August 7, 2016

10 The Hrdest Question continued In ny cse, the people ddressed pper to hve been fcing some mesure of persecution, to the extent tht some were in dnger of posttizing, of flling wy from the living God (3:12). The uthor believed tht the people ddressed were immture in their fith, nd needed to be moved on to mturity in Christ. This is especilly evident in the lst few verses of chpter 5, where he sys they were like bbies who still needed milk when they should be grown nd teching others. The form of the book is hybrid. It hs some chrcteristics of letter, minly t the end, but it minly hs the form of lengthy nd eloquent sermon tht cites numerous Old Testment scriptures (from the Greek Septugint) nd interprets them to support series of strong exhorttions designed to proclim the supremcy of Christ nd to chllenge the recipients to hold firm to their fith nd serve Christ lone. The book my hve originted s sermon tht ws put in written form nd sent to group of Christins who needed to her its messge. Being found helpful, the letter ws copied nd circulted to other churches, growing in populrity nd cceptnce until it ws ccorded plce within scripture. 10 Nurturing Fith August 7, 2016

11 Hndout Fith is Fith is the turning of drems into deeds; it is betting your life on unseen relities. [Clrence Jordn. The Cotton Ptch Version of Hebrews nd the Generl Epistles: A colloquil trnsltion with Southern ccent. New York: Assocition Press p.35.] It s mtter of your fith. You got one-dollr fith, nd you sk for ten thousnd-dollr item, it in t gonn work. It won t work. Jesus sid, According to your fith, not ccording to His will, if He cn work it into His busy schedule. He sid, ccording to your fith be it unto you. Now I my wnt Rolls Royce nd don t hve but bicycle fith. Guess wht I m gonn get? A bicycle. (Frederick K.C. Price, Prise the Lord brodcst on TBN, 21 September 1990). Fith mens you wnt God nd wnt to wnt nothing else. [Brennn Mnning. The Rgmuffin Gospel: Embrcing the Unconditionl Love of God. Portlnd: Multnomh p. 167.] Fith is believin wht you know in t so. [Huckleberry Finn] Fith is not being sure where you re going but going nywy. A journey without mps. [Frederick Buechner. Wishful Thinking: A Theologicl ABC. NY: Hrper nd Row p. 25.] How bout reding Hebrews 11 nd substituting fithfulness for fith? In most plces it works. Fithfulness connotes focus, determintion, endurnce, even risk, nd especilly love. [Lurence DeWolfe. The Hll of Fme of Fithfulness. the-hll-of-fme-of-fithfulness/ ] Most of us red [Hebrews 11] nd think of it s list of gret deeds by gret people. (Which lets us off the hook for pplying it to our own lives.) But wht if the rel point is tht ll these people shred one importnt ttribute they ll believed tht God is going to previl in the end, AND tht such conviction should inform the decisions they mke nd the ctions they tke. [Bruce Mples. Cn We Get Grown-Up View of Fith? ] 11 Nurturing Fith August 7, 2016

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