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Greater Than Abraham

Read John 8:48-59.

“Jesus said unto them, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am” (v. 58).

Every faith traces their history back to outstanding figures of the past. Abraham was often considered the “father” of the Jewish faith. Indeed, his willingness to heed God’s call (Gen. 12), his intimate intercession with God (Gen. 19), his obedient dedication to God (Gen. 22), were among the examples that caused him to be revered by the Jews. In the Hebrews 11 “Hall of Fame,” Abraham is mentioned for his faith. Although Abraham’s sacrifices and intercession were exemplary, he could not atone for “Adam’s fallen race.”

Renown and reputation does not make a redeemer! While the Jews sought and looked forward to a “rescuer,” Jesus Christ came to be the Redeemer. He came to provide the atonement needed to bring “whosoever will” into an “at-one-ment” relationship with God. In many respects Abraham provided an example of faithful service, but Jesus Christ offers us living faith so that we can be a part of “the family of God!” While remembering Abraham may be inspirational, turning to Jesus Christ is transforming! Truly the Son of God has no equal! (Rodney Stearns)

“Great God, how infinite art Thou!
How poor and weak we are!
Let the whole race of creatures bow,
And pay their praise to Thee.”
Isaac Watts

“Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world”(I John 4:4).

2020-02-25T20:18:42+00:00February 26th, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments

March 1, 2020: God’s Great Son

Focus Texr: Hebrews 1:1-14

Central Trust: Jesus Christ is God's Son and our Savior.

Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to relate basic information concerning the Book of Hebrews.

LESSON OUTLINE:

I. Expressing the Father (Hebrews 1:1-3)

II. Exalted Above Angels (Hebrews 1:4-8)

III. Enduring Forever (Hebrews 1:9-14)

2020-02-25T20:14:03+00:00February 25th, 2020|Categories: Front Page, Uncategorized, Weekly Lesson Summaries|Tags: , |0 Comments

February 16, 2020: God’s Word for Today

What prompted this woman to go to such an extreme effort to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment (see Luke 8:48)? What does this example teach us about genuine faith? Is faith something passive? Or does it manifest as something active? Explain the difference between these two different ways of understanding faith.

The Epistle of James has a lot to say about faith, especially in chapter 2. James summarizes his teaching on faith in 2:18 where he says, "shew me they faith without works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works." James seems to be answering the question posed in our lesson by saying that genuine faith is active - that to say we have faith and not act on the basis of that faith is a contradiction. When I describe myself as a "believer in Christ," I am saying that my faith in Christ is the organizing principle of my life. But even then, faith is not passive. Faith in God is a constant source of spiritual motivation - a force that compels the Christian to action that demonstrates faith. James seems to be saying that if we are not acting on our faith, we likely do not have any. (Gordon Snider)

2020-02-10T15:01:54+00:00February 14th, 2020|Categories: God's Word for Today|Tags: , |0 Comments

Jesus’ Touch Raises a Child

Read Luke 8:40-42, 49-58

And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat” (v. 55).

Jairus’ daughter was just entering into young womanhood, and now she was dead.  Mocking Jairus for bringing Jesus to his home to heal his daughter, the mourners were loudly scornful of Jesus.  They had no respect for the Lord or His power. The mockery did not hinder Jesus’ power.  Out of the public eye yet in the presence of her parents and the disciples Peter, James, and John; Jesus touched the maiden’s hand and called her to arise.   Jesus honored Jairus’ faith and restored life to his daughter.

 

According to established Jewish traditions, Jesus should have been considered “unclean” and to have lost His spiritual power because of being touched by the woman with the issue of blood.  Yet Jesus had not lost any of His spiritual power; He remained undefiled, the pure and sinless Son of God able to raise Jairus’s daughter from death by the touch of His hand.   (LeAnn Davison)

The crowd laughed at Him in their unbelief
wallowing in their deep sorrow and grief.
Then touching her hand as she lay on the bed

….. a resurrection miracle took place.
The life-giving Spirit quickened her soul
and she stood before them alive and whole.

Taken from Talitha, cumi by Royston

 

When the world says all is lost, and there is no hope, Jesus says, “Have Faith and believe.”

2020-02-10T14:47:00+00:00February 12th, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments

February 16, 2020: Touched by Jesus (Jairus’s Daughter and Sick Woman)

Focus Text: Luke 8:41-55

CENTRAL TRUTH: The touch of Jesus upon our lives can enable us to have faith in His provision for our need.

OBJECTIVE: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to identify needs which they should trust God to supply.

LESSON OUTLINE:

I. A Faith That Calls for Help (Luke 8:41, 42)

II. A Faith That Acts (Luke 8:43-48)

III. A Faith That Is Rewarded (Luke 8:49-55)

2020-02-10T14:39:10+00:00February 10th, 2020|Categories: Front Page, Weekly Lesson Summaries|Tags: , |0 Comments

February 9, 2020: God’s Word for Today

One of the discussion questions for today is, "In what do people place their final or ultimate faith and trust?" This post is designed to offer a possible answer to that question.

In today's lesson, Pilate  seems to places his ultimate trust in power - the ability to control. Another way of wording the same truth is that Pilate placed ultimate trust in his own self-sufficiency. Many people still do the same. "I don't need any help" seems to be ingrained in the American psyche - the idea that "I can pull myself up by my own bootstraps."

Another common point of trust is our own intellect. Maybe it is formal education, but more often people trust in their own logic or ingenuity. For such a person, there is no problem they cannot solve; no dilemma they cannot wiggle out of. You might refer to them as the "Teflon kid" - they are convinced that nothing can stick to them!

Some people trust their own experience. They feel they have been through it all, and they have the answers to their own or anyone else's situation.

Our lesson today shows that if place ultimate trust in anything other they God, we are sure to be disappointed. "The arm of flesh will fail you; you dare not trust your own" (George Duffield).

Gordon L Snider

Director of Publications for Herald & Banner Press

2020-01-31T19:36:15+00:00February 7th, 2020|Categories: God's Word for Today|Tags: , |0 Comments

Day of Decision.

Read Joel 3:11-14

Focus Verse: “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision” (v. 14)

 

Without doubt, making decisions can be difficult. But waiting for someone else to decide for you can be equally difficult. For a job applicant, the wait can seem forever — the same for an accountant undergoing an audit, or a defendant waiting for the jury’s decision. Yes, waiting for a decision can be very painful.

Usually, the true reason, however, is that we do not know for sure what the person/people making the decision are looking for. But for multitudes  Joel saw, that was not the case. God has made it very clear what He is looking for in us – repentance and faith.

Fortunately for those still waiting for God’s decision, the Bible makes it clear that He is waiting for a reason. 2 Peter 3:9 makes that reason clear – God does not want any to perish. So God has done two things to make the day of decision easier for those in the valley of decision: 1) He has told us clearly how He will judge us, and 2) He is giving us all extra time.

If you are still in that valley, you can leave it today! Make this your day of decision. (Gordon L. Snider)

 

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

 

 

2020-01-31T19:09:18+00:00February 5th, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: |0 Comments

February 9, 2020: A Momentous Decision (Pilate)

FOCUS TEXT: John 18:37, 38; 19:8-16

CENTRAL TRUTH: The most important decision in life concerns our relationship with Jesus Christ.

OBJECTIVE: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to explain what is involved in making a decision to follow Jesus Christ.

LESSON OUTLINE:

I. Facing the Truth (John 18:33-38)

II. Pilate's Powerlessness (John 19:8-11)

III. Pilate's Failure (John 19:12-16)

2020-01-31T19:03:41+00:00February 3rd, 2020|Categories: Front Page, Weekly Lesson Summaries|Tags: , |0 Comments

February 2020 Banner Editorial: Sent By God

“I have been sent to you by God!” How do you respond to those words? Excitement? Skepticism? I must admit that my response is more toward the latter. Specifically, I want to know what evidence there is that you have been sent by God. Now please understand, I realize that the God of the Bible is a sending God. And I also understand that a part of the mission of God’s people is to go when and where we are sent. But how am I to know that God sent you?

My preacher father introduced me to an Old Testament story in 2 Samuel 18 that involves this idea of sending. The context is the rebellion of Absalom. Chapter 17 records how God thwarted the wise counsel of Ahithophel. Being right does not always ensure success! And when Ahithophel realized his wise counsel was not going to be followed, he knew his time was up (2 Sam 17:23), so he goes home and commits suicide. Chapter 18 opens with David planning the final battle of the rebellion. He is confident of victory, but he is also worried about the fate of his son. So he clearly charges his generals to treat Absalom kindly (18:5). (Whether this was wise advice is another matter!) Joab, however, pays no attention to David’s order and kills Absalom as soon as he has an opportunity. Now comes the tough part. How does he tell David what he has done? A messenger needs to be sent.

In David’s time, the message to be sent determined the messenger. Bad news was carried by messengers of low social status. Good news was carried by people of high social status. Clearly this message will not be received by David as good news, so Cushi, maybe a name, but more likely an ethnic description, was chosen and sent with the ominous message (2 Sam 18:21). But Ahimaaz, the son of the priest Zadok, wants to be sent to! In fact, he insists on being sent. He keeps bugging Joab to send him, and Joab keeps explaining his reasons for not sending him. Joab knows that Ahimaaz is a better runner, and knows the area better. But the message does not fit him! At length, however, and in what seems to me exasperation, Joab relents and lets Ahimaaz run, thinking that Cushi surely has had enough of a head start to beat Ahimaaz to David.

But Joab underestimated the zeal and skill of Ahimaaz. And when David’s watchman looks out across the valley, the first runner he sees is Ahimaaz. David is encouraged. “He is a good man, and cometh with good tidings” (2 Sam 18:27). And in fact, Ahimaaz does indeed have what should have been welcome news to David. “All is well.” But that is not the news David wants to hear. How does that news relate to Absalom? But when David asks for clarification, Ahimaaz responds, “I don’t know.” The problem was that Ahimaaz had sent himself, and only knew what he wanted to tell. David’s disappointment can be felt in v. 30. “Turn aside, and stand here.” Or in my paraphrase, “Get out of my sight, you are worthless!”

Did Ahimaaz feel like he was sent by God, or at least Joab? I think so. He had the message he thought was needed, and the skill to deliver it better than the one actually sent. But the message he brought did not meet the need of the heart. So regardless of how valuable the message was, it was rejected with extreme disappointment.

As Ahimaaz stands back and watches, Cushi arrives. It seems likely that Ahimaaz looked on him with some disdain. But Cushi had the message David needed. And even though the message caused David great grief, it met the felt need in David’s life.

As Christians, we are to be messengers of God – sent by Him. But we need to be sure that the message we are carrying is God’s message for the person at that point in time, and not our message for that person. Our message may be correct without being timely, and we will be dismissed as worthless. If we feel God is sending us, let’s tarry long enough with God to make sure the message we are going to convey is His and not our own. God may want that person comforted before they are confronted!

 

Dr. Gordon L. Snider

Editor

Church Herald & Holiness Banner

2020-01-31T17:04:02+00:00February 2nd, 2020|Categories: Banner Editorial|Tags: , |0 Comments

Repentance Brings Life

Read Jonah 2:1-10.

Focus Verse: “And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land” (v. 10).

Have you ever had a bad day? Maybe two of three in a row? After three days and nights in the belly of a great fish, the prophet Jonah had probably never been so glad to see dry land in all of his life even though it meant lying in a puddle of whale vomit! Although the rest of his story raises some serious questions about his continuing attitude towards the job that God had given him, he clearly experienced a miraculous deliverance. This began when his affliction made him remember the Lord and cry out to him. He knew the only source where he could find salvation and made his petition, which was followed by God’s answer to his prayer.

Hopefully, none of us find ourself in this type of situation, brought on by our own refusal to obey God’s clearly revealed will. But if we do, like Jonah, we will discover that our only hope for salvation is to cry out to the one who can control the great fish of our lives with just a word. (Stephen Smith)

“Before Thy throne, O God, we kneel;
Give us a conscience quick to feel,
A ready mind to understand
The meaning of Thy chastening hand;
Whate’er the pain and shame may be,
Bring us, O Father, nearer Thee.” (William B. Carpenter)

2020-01-31T14:51:08+00:00January 31st, 2020|Categories: Opening the Word|Tags: , |0 Comments
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