|EXTRA! Supplimental teaching ideas|
Explore the Bible Series
with Dr. Jim McCullen
Do you help or exploit? Respond to God with faith
Do You Help Or Exploit? • Gen. 25:29-34; 27:6-8, 15–19, 34-36 • Feb. 24
Introduction: This battle over a birthright seems unusual to us. Jacob and Esau knew the importance of this blessing but Esau, famished with hunger, sold it for a meal of bread, beans and lentils. His appetite ruled him. One commentator asked how many church members would look at their watch and think of food if the preacher goes past noon? Well moving right along, what kind of a brother makes his brother promise his birthright before he will give him anything to eat? Probably some of us have seen examples of sibling rivalry that could equal Jacob and Esau. We need to ask the question when we face opportunities for service, Do You Help Or Exploit?
1. Do You Help Or Exploit Through Your . . Self-centeredness? 25:29-34
The “birthright” gave the oldest son the spiritual leadership of the family, and a double portion of the inheritance. The word “birthright” is only used ten times in the Bible and six of those relate to Jacob and Esau. It could be sold or given away, and Esau must not have wanted to be the spiritual leader. However, at this time Jacob’s credentials did not recommend him for spiritual leadership either. Jacob exploited Esau to gain a second portion of the inheritance, and used bread and beans. I can’t imagine the food being that good!
2. Do You Help Or Exploit Through Your . . Schemes? 27:6-8, 15-19
Rebekah concocted a scheme that Jacob carried out through their corrupt methods. They schemed to trick Isaac. This is certainly not an example to follow. In the background of this story, we know these brothers were twins and fought even before they were born. Rebekah loved Jacob more than Esau, and Isaac loved Esau more than Jacob (Gen. 25:28). Parents should not love one child more than another, but many times one child expresses ways and manners that identifies them more to one parent than the other. Esau loved the outdoors, and Jacob preferred a shepherd’s life.
3. Do You Help Or Exploit Through Your . . Secondary Blessings? 27:34-36
Esau came in after Isaac mistakenly gave his blessing to Jacob. Esau made a request for a blessing from his father. He sought this blessing through a loud voice and bitter cry. In the traditions of the time, Isaac could not revoke the blessing he gave to Jacob. Esau called attention to Jacob’s name which means “heel – catcher, or supplanter.” He did this while calling attention to the two times Jacob cheated him. Esau threatened Jacob but in later years did not fulfill his promised threat. Looking at this story, may encourage us to help our fellow man rather than exploit him; I would think that is especially true as it relates to family members. Hopefully, we can say we will help rather than exploit when we are asked, Do You Help Or Exploit? Amen? Amen!! (For a more detailed outline, visit: http://preachhim.org/SundaySchoolIndex.html.)
Responding To God With Faith • Gen. 28:1-2, 10-22 • March 2
Introduction: The Book of Hebrews tells us, “ . . . without faith it is impossible to please God . . .” (Heb. 11:6 HCSB). From the statement of that verse we must respond to God in faith if we please Him. But let us just ask ourselves, “What am I doing in my Christian life that requires faith?” Surely all of us want to be Christians Responding To God With Faith.
1. With Faith To . . Tackle Transitions. 28:1-2, 10
The older we get, the fewer transitions we desire to make in our lives. But Isaac ordered Jacob to participate in a transition to find a wife. Now most younger people do not mind that kind of transition. I wonder if we would have fewer divorces if more young people listened to their parents’ direction about finding a mate. Jacob acted obediently as he followed the advice of his father and made the transition to Haran in order to find a wife.
2. With Faith To . . Trust God’s Message. 28:11-15
Have you ever questioned God speaking to someone through a dream? I have. But then I am reminded of how many times God used this manner of communication. In addition, today we have the Word of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide in checking the validity of a dream. God communicated His message for Jacob through a dream, and Jacob did not waste much time interpreting and committing himself to it. If we have a dream and believe it is from the Lord, we need to make sure it agrees with His Word and further impressions we get from the Holy Spirit, and then act. This dream confirmed the Lord’s approval of the command given by Isaac to Jacob, and comforted Jacob in his commitment.
3. With Faith To . . Think Through God’s Message. 28:16-19
Have you ever had an experience where you did not recognize the Lord at work until it was over? Jacob sure did! He received a very unique revelation from the Lord but did not realize it while it took place. Remembering his dream, he decided to memorialize the place of this vision. He anointed the stone he slept on, and changed the name of the town from Luz to Bethel, which means “House of God.”
4. With Faith To Give . . Tribute To God’s Message. 28:20-22
If we really make a commitment, it impacts us financially. Did you note a commitment to tithe? Jacob was not very mature in his faith at this time, and offers a deal to the Lord. But the Lord planned to bless Jacob in his faithfulness with or without this offer. It is interesting to note the Bible speaks of tithing before, during, and after the Law; so do you tithe? Jacob was so impacted by his dream that he made a tribute to God’s message; thereby immortalizing it for us. Surely we need to be Responding To God With Faith . Amen? Amen! (For a more detailed outline, visit: http://preachhim.org/SundaySchoolIndex.html.)
Bible Studies for Life
with Dr. Andy Chambers
The Model; living 3:16 – by the Book
The Model • John 4:4-10, 13-18, 24-26 • Feb. 24
How can Jesus’ ministry in Samaria teach you how to share Him with others?
First, initiate contact (John 4:4-9). Jesus was fully God, but He was also fully man. He grew tired and thirsty from a hot day of traveling. He stopped at a well in Samaria at the end of the day when people came out to draw water and asked Samaritan woman for a drink (vv4-8). She was startled, because Jews usually shunned Samaritans (v9).
Jesus did not care about human prejudices like the hatred between Jews and Samaritans. He was interested in reaching out to people who needed to know the Father’s love. So, He used a human need shared by everyone, thirst, to initiate contact with this woman and make a connection. Jesus is a model for you. What common interest or needs can you find with people in your community that you can use to make a connection?
Second, arouse interest (John 4:10, 13-15). Jesus told the woman if she understood God’s gift and who He was speaking to her, she would ask Him for living water (v10). Jesus’ water is living water that satisfies your thirst and becomes a well of water springing up within unto eternal life (vv13-14; cf. John 6:35; 7:38). Now, the woman was interested. She wanted to know more about the water Jesus offered (v15).
People may act like they have it together, but inside a thirst exists when God is absent. The reason people don’t admit their thirst is because they suppress the truth (Romans 1:18-20). They have substituted other things for God in their lives, but an awareness of eternity is there (Ecclesiastes 3:11), and it needs to be drawn out.
Third, help people see their need for Christ (John 4:16-18). Before the Gospel can become good news, people need to see God’s judgment of their sin in light of the Law. Jesus exposed her rebellion against God’s law when He uncovered her pattern of marrying and divorcing and of living in adultery in her current relationship (vv16-18).
A person will not sincerely turn to Christ unless they feel deeply their need for a Savior. The law was given to make us conscious of sin (Romans 3:20), so that sin becomes thoroughly sinful to us (Romans 7:13), and we are led by the law to Christ to be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24). Use the law to help people see their need for Christ.
Fourth, focus on the essentials (John 4:24-26). The woman needed to learn to worship God in spirit and truth (v24). She was looking for the Messiah to come and answer her questions (v25), but the Messiah was standing right in front of her (v25). Jesus kept gently drawing her attention back to Himself, because she needed to know Him.
Focusing on the essentials means lovingly guiding people toward Jesus Christ, who He is, what He has done, and what He calls you to do. Point people to Jesus, and you will be witnessing like Jesus did.
Living 3:16—By the Book • 2 Tim. 1:8-12; 3:14-4:4 • March 2
What should you do with the Bible to help you live confidently in an uncertain world?
First, stay confident in the Bible even amidst suffering (2 Timothy 1:8-12). Paul was waiting in prison to learn his fate. He knew he could be martyred. However, he held nothing back in his call to Timothy not to be ashamed of the Lord’s testimony or of Paul himself. Instead, Paul called Timothy to share in his suffering for the Gospel (v8).
How do you stand confidently even when your stand leads to suffering? You do it the way Paul did, through the power of God who saved you by His grace through Jesus (v9). God abolished death and brought life through the Gospel of Jesus Christ (v10). So, if God calls you, you can have confidence and be unashamed when that calling includes suffering. You know God is in control. He will see things through (vv11-12). Stay confident as you stand on God’s word, whatever you face.
Second, practice the Bible’s instructions in order to be equipped to serve (2 Timothy 3:14-17). Paul challenged Timothy to continue in what he had learned, knowing those he learned it from (v14). Paul also reminded Timothy that he had known the Scriptures from childhood (v15). Knowing Scripture is valuable, because the Scriptures are so profitable for faith and life. They are inspired by God (v16). The Greek work for “inspired by God” means literally “breathed out by God”. Scripture was written through the agency of man (2 Peter 1:21), but their origin is in the mind and will of God. God does not lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18; Numbers 23:18), and therefore His word does not lie. Every word of God is flawless (Psalm 12:6). God’s word accomplishes the purpose for which He sent it (Isaiah 55:10-11). What is that purpose? God wants to equip you for service to Him through His word. This is why Scripture is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (vv16-17).
If you will invest yourself in learning the Scriptures, not just for knowledge alone, but in order to be brought to maturity, then you will be able to stand with confidence in a culture that needs the truth of Scripture.
Third, declare the truths of the Bible even when people turn away from hearing the truth (2 Timothy 4:1-4). Paul challenged Timothy to preach the word (vv1-2a). He told Timothy to keep doing it whether it is convenient or not. Preaching includes rebuking wayward souls, correcting errors of thinking and living, and encouraging people with great patience and teaching (v2b). The reason for the charge to persist is because a time will come when people refuse to listen to sound doctrine. They will prefer teachers that say what they want to hear and turn away from the truth in the process (vv3-4).
Interest in the Bible’s message fluctuates with the times. After 9/11, America wanted to hear what the Bible says. Soon, interest waned. However, we preach the Bible, because it true, not whether people are interested. I urge you to stand on the truth of the Bible and share its message regardless of the response, because it is true, and people need the Lord.