Monthly Archives: May 2022

Only Jesus

Sunday Lesson Notes from 5-15-2022

Read Matthew 4:1-11

  • Satan tempted Jesus with a promise that he would give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor  if he worshiped Satan. Why would this be a temptation for Jesus?
    • Perhaps because Jesus would not have to go through the pain of dying for the world’s reconciliation to God. Afterall, he would “be in charge” of all the kingdoms in one second and then he could force the world to obey him and “his job on earth would be completed”.
    • Jesus was fully human, so it could have been a temptation to desire power and to be in control of all the “man-made” kingdoms for his own benefit.
  • Why was this temptation flawed?
    • Satan was offering something to Jesus that Jesus already owned! Jesus was already the King of all the earth, everything was made for him at the beginning of time.
    • Satan was offering all the worldly glory-which is really a big joke- since everyone knows everything made by humans eventually gets old, rots or becomes irrelevant with time. The world changes and is not consistent or reliable.
  • Why was Jesus able to overcome this temptation?
    • Satan was tempting Jesus to use worldly kingdoms for his own benefit, which is the complete opposite of who Jesus was
    • Jesus was here solely to do God’s will, and God’s will was to serve all the kingdoms as God had asked him to do
    • Jesus knew being in charge in this way was not what God asked him to do, it went against God’s will
    • Jesus had no desire to outdo God, he already was lifted up by God
    • The way Jesus wanted to rule the world is completely opposite to what earthly kings were doing. Jesus came to serve the people, not for the people to serve him
  • What is God’s reasoning for setting up his plan of salvation for humanity in this way (Jesus dying for our sins as the ultimate sacrifice)?
    • God wants a personal relationship with each one of us and therefore paid a high price for our personal salvation and furthermore gives us a choice to take it or not
    • When humans have a free choice in a matter, this allows room for relationship as opposed to just following rules and meeting obligations. God is not into ruling over us or forcing us to make a choice to respond in favor of seeking a relationship with God, he wants us to come to him willingly
    • When Jesus refused to obtain all the kingdoms of the earth as a “gift” from Satan, he reinforced God’s love for us and willingness to give us freedom to choose GOD’s way as the way we would live our lives.
    • When humans are forced to follow rules or follow a structure, there is little room for heart and self motivation to keep us engaged. 
    • It is so easy for us to seek our own plans and ignore God’s plans for our lives. But when we feel like God is personally invested in us and gives us the freedom to live the way of our choosing, then the motivation to do what is right comes out of pure love for God.
    • It was terribly “inefficient” to build a kingdom by influencing one person at a time. Jesus spent 3 yrs of his life building his kingdom through building  relationships with 12 guys. Yet, 2000 years later, his words are being proclaimed throughout the world as these guys spoke to others about their personal interactions with Jesus. 
    • Jesus did God’s will and did not seek out a more efficient way or an easier way or his own way to spread God’s message. Therefore, we could confidently say, it is very likely that those who are responding favorably to God’s scriptures are more than likely doing so willingly and are gaining  a personal connection to God.

What is the “Gospel or the Good News” of Jesus?

Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-28

  • The Good News of Jesus or the Gospel is that Jesus came to the earth, died for our sins, was buried and was raised up on the third day to life. Additionally, Jesus ascended into heaven, was exalted and sits at the right hand of God. 
  • The Gospel is really about what Jesus has done, not about our actions or response to this good news. We are saved because of this good news. 
  • The Good News is part of the bigger story of God wanting us to return to ruling the earth with him as was originally intended in the Garden of Eden. Jesus’s sacrifice has allowed us to return to having a relationship with God, which is the culmination of the creation story.
  • Because of Jesus’s sacrifice: we have forgiveness of our sins, we have a promise of heaven and  we can share this good news with others, to help them reconcile their relationship with God

Read Philippians 2:3-11

  • Paul reminds us here that Jesus coming to the earth and dying for our sins and being resurrected and ascended to be with God is the true Good News or Gospel.
  • God exalted Jesus after death because of his humility and willingness to die as a sacrifice for all humanity thus allowing us to regain our relationship with God that we lost in the Garden of Eden when we chose to disobey God. 

Read Acts 3: 11-26

  • Peter reminds us here again that the Good News is that Jesus came to the earth, died for our sins and was raised from the dead by God. God resurrected Jesus from the dead and exalted him to sit at his right hand.  Peter reminds us that our response to the Good News should be repentance and turning to God: this means changing our minds and our actions should demonstrate this
  • When we teach others the Good News of Jesus, they should be called to respond to this fact with repentance: which involves changing of the heart and mind to be in alignment with God’s will and actions should follow.
  • Humans are created as images of God. Our intended role given by God,  is to rule over creation as God has asked from Genesis in the Garden of Eden. We are supposed to be taking care of every living thing on the earth-people, plants, animals. God has already installed in each human how to care, nurture, love, serve and encourage others. 
  • Jesus walked on the earth, lived a full life and experienced temptation just like everyone else, and did not give into the temptation. As humans, the ultimate temptation is to put ourselves above God  and disobey his will. But Jesus was an example of how to humble ourselves and obey God and yield to his will. 

Read Romans 6:1-14

  • When we get baptized into Jesus, we are participating in the “death, burial and resurrection of Jesus”. When we are raised up out of the waters of baptism, we are raised to a new life so that we can live for God. We are “reliving” the Good News during our baptism into Jesus. Peter calls us to the living Gospel. 
  • We have hope that this will allow us to be with God in a new life in Heaven. 
  • Think of this, resurrection, being raised from the dead-how is this possible? Only God can do this!
  • Read Acts 4:1-2, they were upset that the apostles were teaching that it is possible for a “dead person to be resurrected”. This is truly miraculous, that God raised Jesus from the dead and will do the same for us. 
  • When we remember that one day we too will be resurrected like Jesus, death has no power over us. We should remember this because it will allow us to persevere through any trouble, knowing that we have the hope of something better with God in heaven!
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