Month: November 2017

Lesson 12: November 19, 2017

Mediator of the New Covenant: Hebrews 12:14-15, 18-29

 


Teaching Strategy: Explore current examples that point to humankind’s lack of holiness. Invite participants to share personal experiences – times when they felt awe and fear in encounters with God and times when they felt the saving grace of Christ drawing them close to God.

 

The scripture lesson describes human encounters with God as terrifying because of God’s pure holiness and awesome power. God is “a consuming fire” (v. 28) that purifies the sin of an unholy people. Yet believers experience God’s grace and forgiveness and are able to draw near to God through Christ who is the mediator of a new covenant.

In what ways does gathering for worship help believers to enter into the presence of our holy, loving God? How is the experience of worship affected by contemporary culture and current events?


Fall 2017 Theme: Covenant

Unifying Principle: Humans desire to experience a power greater than themselves, but do not always realize that drawing near to such needed power can be an awesome prospect. How can people approach such a power without being consumed? The psalmist affirms that God allows humans to approach the Divine; the writer of Hebrews proclaims that Jesus provides the means of boldly approaching the presence of God.

 

Lesson 11: November 12, 2017

Promise of a New Covenant: Jeremiah 31:27-34

 


Teaching Strategy: Discuss what motivates and guides participants in living in right relationship with God and others. What roles do external laws/expectations play compared and contrasted with what God has written on their hearts? Encourage participants to reflect on the ways their lives have been changed because God’s law is written on their hearts.

 

There are numerous conflicts today in which reliance upon written laws stands in contrast to expectations that people will do the “right thing” without rules and regulations. Examples include the ownership and responsible use of guns; discrimination against other based upon religion, race, or sexual orientation; and care for the environment. The debate about stronger gun control or anti-discrimination laws, for example, is often quite heated. How might scripture inform Christians’ response to this controversy? How can God work through Christians to inspire people to live as God intends – whatever the civil law requires (or does not require)?

Concern about gun violence increased again on Monday, November 6, when 26 people were killed in a Baptist church in Texas. There are no easy solutions, but there can be no doubt that the U.S. must find a way to reduce gun violence and eliminate mass shootings wherever they are occurring. The question is more urgent than ever: How can God work through Christians to inspire people to live as God intends – whatever the civil law requires (or does not require)?


Fall 2017 Theme: Covenant

Unifying Principle: Try as we might, humans often fail in our relationships. How can we restore broken relationships with others? Jeremiah foresaw a time when God would make a new covenant, writing God’s law on human hearts with the vow to be Israel’s God and to make Israel God’s people.