The Destiny of the Church
Lesson 13 - August 27, 2017
Focus Text: Ephesians 2:8-22
Central Truth: God is forming believers into a Church with a glorious destiny.
Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to explain how their church can be a victorious one.
- Saved Through Faith (Ephesians 2:8-10)
- Reconciled Through Christ (Ephesians 2:ll-l7)
- Foundation of Victory (Ephesians 2:18-22)
What is the Church's Relationship to Israel?
In "Doctrinal Discussion" Don Callaway writes:
At the center of this lesson lie two questions: The first is the broader question of the Church's relationship with Israel, and more specifically, whether Old Testament promises to Israel apply to the Church today. Second, if these verses do apply to the Church, at what point should we expect these promises to be fulfilled? Two general approaches have been taken in addressing the relationship between Israel and the Church. Replacement Theology teaches that the Church has replaced Israel, and therefore is heir to all her promises and blessings. A second approach understands the Church to exist as a separate organism from Israel and therefore has no claim to her promises. This approach would prevent the New Testament Church from appropriating many Old Testament promises, including the ones provided here in Isaiah 62. If pushed to an extreme it might also lead to the faulty conclusion that Israel is under a sep-arate salvation plan than the Gentile Church. What do the Scriptures say?
Source: Building Christian Relationships: Adult Teacher's Insights, page 13.
Assurance for the Church
In "God's Word for Today" Gordon Snider writes:
“The check is in the mail.” There is likely no other promise received with so much skepticism as this one. We have heard the promise before, and it didn't prove true. We will believe it when we see the check. Many people hear the promises in the Bible with the same skepticism. The promises seem too good to be true. In fact, Isaiah was facing the same response to his ministry. God was making great promises to His people through the prophet, but the future seemed to contradict the assurances of good. So in 61:11 Isaiah raised the problem dealt with in our lesson today: “How can I be sure that the good God has promised will really happen?” In our lesson today, God's Old Testament people were facing captivity and the destruction of Jerusalem – the holy city. The modern church is facing renewed persecution from without and increased apathy from within, either of which potentially could destroy our “holy city.” Still, some people say that “the future is as bright as the promises of God.” How can they be so sure? The answers Isaiah gave to the Old Testament church are relevant to the New Testament church as well.
Source: Building Christian Relationships: Adult Teacher's Insights, page 10.
Prophetical Picture of the Church
Lesson 2 - June 11
FOCUS TEXT: Isaiah 62:1-12
CENTRAL TRUTH: God planned that the Church should be a vibrant and victorious organism.
OBJECTIVE: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to list at least three prophecies concerning the Church which have been fulfilled.
- God's Promises for His Church (Isaiah 62:1-5)
- God's Watchmen (Isaiah 62:6-9)
- God's Holy People (Isaiah 62:10-12)
To Whom Does Your Church Belong?
In "Doctrinal Discussion" Don Callaway writes:
Naming a church can be an important step toward expressing the mission, personality, and goals of the congregation. Contemporary names of churches usually include terms like “hope,” “grace,” “faith,” or “community” in an attempt to make a public statement of an important quality of the gospel that church wants to promote. In a neighboring town, a local non-denominational church was established several years ago. The name they chose was “The People's Church.” Likely this name was chosen to convey the openness of the gospel that the church is committed to promote — whoever comes is welcome. However, the name also suggests that they are the sole owners and decision-makers of the congregation. If this human-centered philosophy of the church is the real message of the church, they have missed the whole meaning of the church.
Source: Building Christian Relationships: Adult Teacher's Insights, page 8.
Who is the Rock upon which the Church is built?
In "Word Focus" Glenn McClure writes:
Verse 18 has been a source of controversy, and calls for a closer look. Here we need to ask the question, Does “this rock” refer to Peter, to Peter's confession, or to Christ? The contrast between Peter (petros) and rock (petra) sheds some light on the matter. Petros is a stone, loose and movable. It was used as a proper name and is used here in the masculine form. On the other hand, petra is feminine and therefore may not refer to Peter. Petra means a rock, immovable, like the one the wise man built his house upon (Matt. 7:24). Most Protestants, as well as some early Church fathers (Augustine, Jerome), feel that this refers to Peter's confession and not to Peter himself. This may be because this meaning had been abused by the Church of Rome, and therefore another meaning was sought. Yet from verse 23 we realize that Peter was neither the foundation nor the builder, but Christ alone, whom he had confessed (see also 1 Cor. 3:11).
Source: Building Christian Relationships: Adult Teacher's Insights, page 4.
Is the Church just another club?
In "God's Word for Today" David Woods writes:
When I was young, my brothers and I tried to organize a club with some friends. The problem was that we only saw our friends occasionally. During our first meeting, we talked through the rules and purpose of our club. A month later when we saw our friends again, we realized we would have to start our club from scratch. Another month later when we saw them again. . . . Sometimes the local church appears to be a sophisticated version of our boys' club. The loyalty of some members may be greater – or lesser – but the purpose is similar: to satisfy my spiritual needs and desires. Scripture paints a much different picture of the Church – a group of individuals redeemed by the blood of Christ, vitally connected to one another, committed to an eternal purpose.
Source: Building Christian Relationships: Adult Teacher's Insights, page 3.
The Lord of the Church
FOCUS TEXT: Matthew 16:13-27
KEY VERSE: And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead (Colossians 1:18).
CENTRAL TRUTH: Jesus Christ is the head of the Church.
OBJECTIVE: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to identify ways to put Christ in His place as Head of the Church.
- The Divine Revelation (Matthew 16:13-20)
- The Human Misunderstanding (Matthew 16:21-23)
- The Challenge to Follow (Matthew 16:24-27)