Archives For Bible Teaching

Lord’s Supper 1: Institution

February 27, 2014

This is part of an ongoing series on the Cornerstone Confirmation Curriculum we are developing at First Trinity Lutheran Church. (Main Confirmation Page)

Lord's Supper 580

Key Theme: Jesus leaves some last instructions, including a special meal for our spiritual health.

Read John 13:12-17

  • Underline: If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
  • Write: Serve others

Read John 13:31-35

  • Underline: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
  • Write: Love others

Read John 14:1-7

  • Underline: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
  • Write: Jesus alone saves

Read John 14:15-20

  • Underline: Because I live, you also will live.
  • Write: Jesus gives life

Read John 14:27-28

  • Underline: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
  • Write: Jesus gives peace

Read John 15:1-8

  • Underline: verse 5
  • Write: Actions come from Faith

Read John 15:18-21

  • Underline: Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
  • Write: We will be treated like Jesus

Read John 15:26-27

  • Underline: And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.
  • Write: Tell others about Jesus

On the night that Jesus was betrayed by Judas, arrested by the Romans, Jesus took time to be with His disciples and share a meal with them. That evening—the day before He would be crucified—Jesus wanted to share some important truth with His dear friends and disciples. Imagine being in a position where you knew you were about to die and had one last chance to share what was important with your family and friends. This is what Jesus did in the hours leading up to His death.

Read Matthew 26:26-28

After relating some important truth and final advice for the disciples, Jesus instituted a new practice that was meant to encourage and uplift His people. We will explore what happened with the Last Supper next time.

Class Documents

This is part of an ongoing series on the Cornerstone Confirmation Curriculum we are developing at First Trinity Lutheran Church. (Main Confirmation Page)

Small-Group-Material-580

Key Theme: God calls us to practice contentment in Him, rather than focusing on the things we do or don’t have.

Read Exodus 20:17

  • Underline: You shall not covet your neighbor’s house
  • Circle:You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife … male servant … female servant … ox … donkey … anything that is your neighbor’s.
  • Write and underline: 9th Commandment or “9C”
  • Write and Circle: 10th Commandment  or “10C”

Read 1 Timothy 6:8-10

  • Underline: For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils
  • Write: Don’t love money! (9/10C)

Read Luke 12:15

  • Underline: Be on your guard against all kinds of covetousness
  • Write: Don’t love stuff! (9/10C)

Coveting at its heart is about desiring something more than God. What the object is is less important than this simple fact: it is sinful to make something a higher priority than God. While money, stuff, or relationships are not evil, loving those things more than God is considered sin.

Read Genesis 3:6

  • Underline: when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes
  • Write: Coveting led to first sin (9/10C)

Read Romans 7:7-8

  • Underline: But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness.
  • Write: Sin leads to coveting (9/10C)

From the earliest moment of creation, Satan used coveting to trick God’s people into sinning. Eve listened to the devil’s prompting and coveted what God had reserved for Himself: the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve gave into that temptation and sinned. Ever since then, our sinful nature has led us to consistently covet what other people have or things that are forbidden. It is not God who put that desire in you, but sin living in you.

Read Philippians 4:10-13

  • Underline: I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
  • Write: Contentment cure for coveting (9/10C)

Read Hebrews 13:5

  • Underline: be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
  • Write: Contentment found in Jesus (9/10C)

Read Psalm 37:4

  • Underline: Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
  • Write: Seek God first (9/10C)

If coveting is part of our very DNA because of the sin living inside us, how do we fight it? Paul tells us in Philippians that the secret lies in contentment. Being content is an act of the will whereby you choose to be satisfied with what God has provided, rather than focusing on what you don’t or aren’t allowed to have. But even more, it’s is not merely being content with stuff. Stuff in itself cannot provide contentment. True contentment only comes from a relationship with God. Knowing that he will never leave you, and delighting in Him will change your attitude towards money, stuff, and relationships.

Class Documents

This is part of an ongoing series on the Cornerstone Confirmation Curriculum we are developing at First Trinity Lutheran Church. (Main Confirmation Page)

Small-Group-Material-580

Key Theme: Our words are powerful for tearing down or building up a relationship. God asks us to choose them carefully.

Read Exodus 20:16

  • Underline: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  • Write: “8th Commandment” or “8C”

What is forbidden in the 8th Commandment?

Read Proverbs 19:5

  • Underline: he who breathes out lies will not escape.
  • Write: 8C: Don’t Lie.

Read Proverbs 11:13

  • Underline: Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.
  • Write: 8C: Don’t Gossip.

Read James 4:11

  • Underline: Do not speak evil against one another, brothers.
  • Write: 8C: Don’t talk bad about others.

God calls us to guard our tongues in the 8th Commandment, especially as it related to how we interact with (or about!) others. The temptation to lie is an easy one that can often lead to more lies, until you become trapped in a web that is difficult to escape from. Talking about others behind their backs—or gossip—is especially difficult. As Christians, we sometimes couch our gossip in the form of a prayer request: “Did you hear about Sally? She got pregnant with some guy she hardly knows! We should pray for her…” While it may feel like genuine prayer, too often we use this as the excuse to talk about others.  Very closely related to this is talking bad about others. It might not be a rumor or juicy piece of news, but putting others down publicly is also forbidden here—whether your assessment of them is right or wrong.

What is commanded in the 8th Commandment?

Read Ephesians 4:25

  • Underline: Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor
  • Write: 8C: Speak Truth

Read Ephesians 4:15

  • Underline: speaking the truth in love
  • Write: 8C: Speak in Love

Read Proverbs 31:8-9

  • Underline: Open your mouth for the mute
  • Write: 8C: Defend Others

Read 1 Peter 4:8

  • Underline: love covers over a multitude of sins
  • Write: 8C: Assume the Best

There are also God-pleasing ways to interact with others, however! We have opportunity to speak truth to others, but always with a loving spirit. If you have a hard truth to share with someone (maybe their actions are hurting you), you can bring it to them in a loving way. Basically, your goal is to help build up the other person or the relationship. While you can’t control their reaction, you can control how you present your words. We also are called in this commandment to speak for those who cannot defend themselves. Maybe this is speaking out against bullying or on behalf of someone who is unable to speak for themselves for whatever reason. We also assume the best in our dealings with others, rather than take offense first.

Class Documents

This is part of an ongoing series on the Cornerstone Confirmation Curriculum we are developing at First Trinity Lutheran Church. (Main Confirmation Page)

Small-Group-Material-580

Key Theme: God forbids theft of all kinds, but also commands us here to protect the property of others.

Read Exodus 20:15

  • Underline: You shall not steal.
  • Write: “7th Commandment” or “7C”

What is forbidden in the 7th Commandment?

Read Joshua 7:11, 20-26

  • Underline: I have sinned against the Lord … I coveted them and took them.
  • Write: 7C: Stealing is sin.

Read 2 Kings 5:20-27

  • Underline: my master has spared this Naaman … I will run after him and get something from him.
  • Write: 7C: Dishonest gain is sin.

Read James 5:4

  • Underline: the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you
  • Write: 7C: Pay for media.

God commands His people not to steal from others. This includes the physical theft of items via shoplifting, borrowing things and intentionally not returning them because you want them, or other methods for obtaining physical things illegally. However, we also learn that deceiving others to get some extra money is considered stealing. It might be telling someone they owe you $5 for the item you purchased for them, even though it only cost $2. Another form of dishonest gain is cheating on a test or schoolwork by copying someone else’s answers. You benefit from their work and “gain” in a dishonest way.

In addition to physical goods and dishonest gain, we also see that failing to pay for something is the same as stealing. Most often, we see this in the area of illegally downloading music and video on the internet. We try to rationalize our theft by saying we wouldn’t have purchased it anyway, or that a company charges too much for something, so I just get it for free on the internet. Regardless, James 5:4 tells us that failure to pay someone for their work, as is the case here, is considered theft.

What is commanded in the 7th Commandment?

Read Philippians 2:4

  • Underline:  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
  • Write: 7C: Help others.

Read 1 John 3:17-18

  • Underline: let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
  • Write: 7C: Care for others.

We are not simply commanded to not steal from others, but we are also charged with protecting the interests and well-being of others. That might include looking out for others’ property at school or in our neighborhood. It might include providing for the needs of someone who is hurting. We keep this Commandment by helping and caring for others as God has cared for us.

Class Documents

A Messy Christmas

December 19, 2013

Christmas-Lights-Tangled-580

We’re having a baby this March. There’s much excitement at our house about this, especially Addison. She just can’t wait to meet her baby sister: Piper Noelle Christ. And while there’s great excitement about meeting Piper, there’s also the reality that we will functionally be half-dead zombies from lack of sleep for the first few months. Unless, of course, Piper is like the “Away in a Manger, Verse 2” Jesus:

The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes;

Ummmm…. OK. No crying? From what I know of babies, there’s not a lot of “no crying” going on when they wake up. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus this weekend through song, Scripture, and drama, consider this: That first Christmas was not nearly as neat and tidy as many carols make it out to be. In fact, quite the opposite is true.

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:6-7

The birth of Jesus was loud, messy, and painful. These verses ignore Joseph and Mary’s exhaustion from the long journey, only to arrive and find there was nowhere to stay. There’s nothing about the anxiety Joseph must have felt as he tried to make the stable comfortable for Mary, only to realize Jesus was coming. And of course, there’s Mary’s own discomfort (to put it mildly) as she gives birth.

No, Christmas is not neat and tidy—but neither are we. It was on that day, over 2,000 years ago, that Jesus stepped into our messy, sinful world, surrounded by messy circumstances. But what a beautiful mess it would become! The long-awaited Savior had finally arrived, and He remakes our messy selves into forgiven, beautiful children of God. “Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay, Close by me forever and love me, I pray.

This is part of an ongoing series on the Cornerstone Confirmation Curriculum we are developing at First Trinity Lutheran Church. (Main Confirmation Page)

Small-Group-Material-580

God has reserved the gift of sex for the marriage relationship, but we break this commandment in more ways than just having sex outside of marriage.

Read Exodus 20:14

  • Underline: You shall not commit adultery.
  • Write: “6th Commandment” or “6C”

The Gift of Sex

Read Genesis 1:27-28, 31a

  • Underline: Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth
  • Write: Sex is a gift

Sex is a gift given by God to a married couple—husband and wife. God commanded Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply, in order to fill the Earth. However, as with many of the gifts of God, there is a right way and a wrong way to use His gift.

What is forbidden in the 6th Commandment?

Read Genesis 39:6-10

  • Underline: nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?
  • Write: 6C: Sex outside marriage is sin

Read Matthew 19:6-9

  • Underline: What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.
  • Write: 6C: Divorce is sin

Read Matthew 5:27-28

  • Underline: everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
  • Write: 6C: Think pure thoughts

Read Romans 1:24, 26-27

  • Underline: exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature
  • Write: 6C: Homosexuality is sin.

This Commandment deals with our sexual or intimate relationships with others. We see very clearly from Genesis 39 that sex is reserved for marriage alone. God never intended for man and woman to have sex outside of the marriage relationship because there are many negative consequences for doing so. This includes sexually transmitted diseases, but also emotional and psychological pain and hurt that comes from sex outside of marriage.

In addition to sex, however, this Commandment talks about other ways we break this Commandment. Divorce, all too common in our culture, is one of those ways. We also learn from Matthew 5 that the very thoughts we have about others can be impure and break this Commandment. This includes viewing pornography or imagining what it would be like to have sex with some guy or girl that you know. God also forbids the practice of homosexuality in this Commandment.

While sexual sins are prevalent in our society today, they are just as bad as any other sin in the eyes of God. Thankfully, there is forgiveness for each of these sins, just as there is forgiveness in Jesus for all sin.

What is commanded in the 6th Commandment?

Read 1 Corinthians 6:18

  • Underline: “Flee from sexual immorality.”
  • Margin: 6C: Avoid Temptation

Read 1 Corinthians 6:18

  • Circle: sexual immorality, impurity, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talk crude joking
  • Underline: thanksgiving.
  • Margin:   No!   Yes!

Instead of focusing on sinful desires of the flesh, we avoid situations that will sexually tempt us. Instead of focusing on the sings of the flesh, we focus on the things of God and ask Him to help us resist this temptation.

Class Documents

This is part of an ongoing series on the Cornerstone Confirmation Curriculum we are developing at First Trinity Lutheran Church. (Main Confirmation Page)

Small-Group-Material-580

God has forbidden murder, but also hate towards others, abortion, and more. He also commands us here to protect the life of others and care for their well-being.

Read Exodus 20:13

  • Underline: You shall not murder.
  • Write: “5th Commandment” or “5C”

What is forbidden in the 5th Commandment?

Read Numbers 35:16-21

  • Underline: “the murderer shall be put to death.” (in verses 16, 17, 18)
  • Write: 5C: Don’t Murder!

Read Jeremiah 1:5

  • Underline: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you
  • Write: 5C: Abortion = Murder

Read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

  • Underline: You are not your own; for you were bought with a price
  • Write: 5C: Suicide = Murder

Read Matthew 5:21-22

  • Underline: But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment
  • Write: 5C: Hate = Murder

Read 1 John 3:15

  • Underline: Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer
  • Write: 5C: Hate = Murder

In the Old Testament, it was clear that murder was wrong. While that is still true today, this Commandment deals with so much more than simply the physical act of murder. This Commandment is about the preservation of life both physically and emotionally. While murder and physical death are clearly understood to be forbidden here, God also commands that we protect the life of unborn children, as well as our own lives. Jesus expands our thinking on murder to include not only the physical act, but also hating someone and wishing harm on them.

What about war? Is that murder? Is it forbidden?

Read Romans 13:4

  • Underline: For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer
  • Write: War OK for Government

While individual killing is forbidden by this Commandment, war is not. The government is God’s instrument to bring judgment and punishment to those who are wicked. As a Christian, it is OK to participate in the military or even in active warfare on behalf of the military, provided the war is just and not contrary to God’s desires. After combat ends, however, it is the Christian’s obligation to provide medical care to those in need who were injured in the conflict. As always, we remember Acts 5:27-29, that “we must obey God rather than men” above all else!

What is commanded in the 5th Commandment?

Romans 12:20

  • Underline: if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink
  • Margin: 5C: Care for others

Ephesians 4:32

  • Underline: forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
  • Margin: 5C: Forgive Others

2 Corinthians 7:1

  • Underline: let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit
  • Margin: 5C: Healthy Living

Rather, in this commandment, we are called to protect life and speak out for those who are not able to protect their own lives. This means taking care of our own bodies and needs, but also providing for the needs and care of those around us, just as the Good Samaritan did in Luke 10.

Class Documents

This is part of an ongoing series on the Cornerstone Confirmation Curriculum we are developing at First Trinity Lutheran Church. (Main Confirmation Page)

Small-Group-Material-580

God has put parents in authority over us for our good. We should honor them as such.

Read Exodus 20:12

  • Underline: Honor your father and your mother.
  • Write: “4th Commandment” or “4C”

Honor Your Parents

Read Proverbs 23:22

  • Underline: the Listen to your father, … do not despise your mother
  • Write: 4C: Listen to Parents

Read Colossians 3:20

  • Underline: Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
  • Write: 4C: Obey parents.

Read Ephesians 6:2-3

  • Underline: Honor your father and mother … that it may go well with you
  • Write: 4C: Honoring brings blessing

Read 1 Timothy 5:4

  • Underline: let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents
  • Write: Keep honoring parents

Honoring our parents is commanded by God, but it is also the first commandment that carries a promise along with it: When we honor our parents, good comes from it. God created the family and placed parents in positions of authority above children. This authority, however, is always intended to be used for the good of the children. We listen and obey our parents because they are God’s agents to shape and mold us into the men and women He wants us to be. Even after our parents have died, we continue to honor them by remembering what they taught us and putting it into practice. We celebrate their life and continue to thank God for the gift of parents.

Honor Authority

Read Romans 13:1-2

  • Underline: whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed
  • Write: 4C: God gives us government

Read Titus 3:1

  • Underline: Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient
  • Write: 4C: God uses government

Read Romans 13:7

  • Underline: Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed
  • Write: 4C: Obey the government

Read Acts 5:27-29

  • Underline: We must obey God rather than men!
  • Write: Obey God first.

In addition to parents, God has placed others in authority over us. This includes the government, teachers, pastors, other adults, coaches and more. God uses these other entities and people to provide for us and we are to honor and respect them just as we would our parents. However, we remember this caution: when those in authority command us to do something contrary to what God teaches, we must follow Him first and foremost.

Class Documents

This is part of an ongoing series on the Cornerstone Confirmation Curriculum we are developing at First Trinity Lutheran Church. (Main Confirmation Page)

Small-Group-Material-580

God is our source of rest. He calls us to a Sabbath day of rest once/week.

Read Exodus 20:8

  • Underline: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  • Write: “3rd Commandment” or “3C”

Sabbath in the Old Testament

Leviticus 23:3

  • Underline: the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation.
  • Write: OT: Sabbath = Saturday

In the Old Testament, the Sabbath was only on Saturday and could not be observed on any other day. No work was to be done on this day of any kind. Anything you needed for the day should be prepared the day before so that you do not have to work.

Sabbath in the New Testament

Read Mark 2:27–28

  • Underline: The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
  • Write: Sabbath is FOR us!

Over time, people came to understand that man was made for the Sabbath. In other words, they thought God valued the Sabbath more than them. But Jesus turns this teaching upside down. In fact, the very opposite was true. God knew that we needed a day of rest and so He commanded a Sabbath day specifically because He loved us and knew we needed it.

Sabbath Today

Read Matthew 11:28-30

  • Underline: Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
  • Write: Jesus brings rest.

Hebrews 10:25

  • Underline: not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some,
  • Write: Worship together!

Luke 24:1-2

  • Underline: But on the first day of the week, … they found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
  • Write: Easter Sunday

Today, most Christians celebrate the Sabbath on a Sunday. This is because we understand that Jesus is the true source of rest for His people. As the early church formed and grew, they chose the first day of the week (Sunday) as their Sabbath day of rest and worship because that was the day that Jesus had risen from the dead. There is no other special significance to this day over any other. The critical point is not what day you celebrate the Sabbath, but rather that you choose at least one day to set aside time to rest in Jesus.

How do we keep this Commandment?

Acts 2:42-47

  • Underline: And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
  • Write: God’s Word and Worship

We continue to keep this Commandment by gathering with other believers to learn from God’s Word and to Worship together on a weekly basis. We join together to praise God for who He is and to remember what He has done for us. It is our time to be refreshed and recharged for the week ahead, and the ministry that God has prepared in advance for us to do.

Class Documents

This is part of an ongoing series on the Cornerstone Confirmation Curriculum we are developing at First Trinity Lutheran Church. (Main Confirmation Page)

Small-Group-Material-580

God’s name is powerful and to be respected. There are right and wrong ways to use His name.

Read Exodus 20:7

  • Underline: You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain
  • Write: “2nd Commandment” or “2C”

How do we use God’s name in vain?

Read James 3:9-10

  • Underline: From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
  • Write: Misusing God’s name

Read Matthew 5:33-37

  • Underline: Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.
  • Write: Misusing God’s name

Read Matthew 26:63-64

  • Underline: I adjure you by the living God
  • Write: Misusing God’s name

Read Matthew 15:8-9

  • Underline: This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;
  • Write: Misusing God’s name

There are many ways that we misuse the name of God. Whether it’s cursing, swearing, or claiming our honest by “swearing to God!”, we regularly misuse His name. This includes phrases like “Oh my God!” or even “OMG” because we all know what it actually stands for. In addition, we misuse God’s name when we claim to follow Him, but live our lives as if He does not exist.

How should we use God’s name?

Read Psalm 50:15

  • Underline: call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.
  • Write: Use God’s name!

Read Psalm 103:1

  • Underline: bless his holy name
  • Write: Use God’s name!

Read Ephesians 5:20

  • Underline: Entire verse.
  • Write: Use God’s name!

Read John 16:23

  • Underline: whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.
  • Write: Pray in Jesus’ name!

God’s name is powerful and He tells us to use His name in certain situations. These include calling out to God when we are in trouble and asking Him for help or when we are worshiping Him. We are to give thanks for all things in God’s name and to pray in “Jesus’ name.” When we pray in Jesus’ name, it means that we are praying the prayers that Jesus would pray if He were in our situation. This means we ask God to show us what to pray for, then pray for that in Jesus’ name.

Class Documents