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Abraham’s Tests (Lesson)


Time

30-35 minutes
Description

This lesson teaches about how God tested Abraham when He asked him to sacrifice Isaac.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1-6; 17:19-20; 22:1-19
  • Hebrews 11:17-19

Materials

  • Whiteboard, chalkboard or flipchart
  • Marker
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “Raise your hand if your parents have ever tracked how tall you are growing by putting a mark on a wall right above your head.”  (Acknowledge raised hands.)
  • “My mom used to do that, too.”
  • “I want to see how quickly we can do it today up at this board (or flipchart).”
  • “Everyone line up over here, and then come up and let me mark your height on the board.”  (As each participant comes up, make a mark above their heads and put his/her name beside it.  Try to keep everyone’s marks clustered in the center, because you are going to draw a large heart around them.  You might even want to use the two tallest participants as the top of the heart and then taper the marks toward the bottom.  Don’t draw the heart shape yet, though. )
  • “Wow, we’ve got a lot of different heights in this room!”
  • “So, this is how your parents’ might have tracked your height.”
  • “God does something similar, but He’s not tracking your height; He tracking your heart.” (Draw a heart shape around all the measurements.)
  • “God is much less interested in your height than He is in your heart, so every once in a while, He measures your heart to see how spiritually mature it is.”
  • “You could say that if God measured you, and you were down here (put your hand near the bottom of the heart) that you are not very mature spiritually.”
  • “But if you were way up here (put your hand near the top of the heart), you would be very spiritually mature.”
  • “Does anyone know how God measures the spiritual maturity of our hearts?”  (Listen for responses.  What you want to hear is that He tests us.)
  • “Right!  God tests us to measure the spiritual maturity of our hearts!”
  • “The story I’m going to tell you about today is about a person who was VERY spiritually mature.”
  • “He was very old, and he had followed the Lord for a very long time.”
  • “His name was Abram, but you might know him better as Abraham.”
  • “Have any of you heard of him?”  (Look for a show of hands.)
  • “Great! Well, there is a lot to tell about the story of Abraham, but we are going to focus on one of the times in his life when God was giving him a test to measure the spiritual maturity of his heart.”
  • “This part of his story started when he was 75 years old.”
  • “God made him a very special but very surprising promise.”  (Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 12:1-3.)
  • “God promised to make Abraham (at this point, his name was just Abram) into a great nation.”
  • “This had to be surprising to Abraham, because he didn’t have any children at the age of 75.”
  • “His name, Abram, meant ‘exalted father,’ and it must have felt like a joke to him and may have even been a very painful reminder that he didn’t have anyone to carry on his name.”
  • “But Abraham believed God, and it’s a good thing he did, because this was one of God’s tests.” (Mark a line on the heart about one-third up from the bottom, and write “Abram” or “Abraham” beside it.)
  • “Abraham left his family and went to a place that God showed him.”
  • “Years later, Abraham still didn’t have any children when God appeared to him in a vision.”  (Have a volunteer read Genesis 15:1-6.)
  • “You see, it’s okay to tell God exactly how you feel.”
  • “Abraham complained to God that God had made a promise but nothing had changed.”
  • “So, God made His promise a little more clear and told him that he would definitely have a child..and not just one, but many, many, many…as many as the starts in the sky.”
  • “And Abraham believed him, and it was a good thing he did, because this was another one of God’s tests.” (Mark a line on the heart about halfway up from the bottom, and write “Abram” or “Abraham” beside it.)
  • “Years later, Abraham was 99 years old and had a son.”
  • “Abraham thought this boy, Ishmael, was God’s promise to him.”
  • “Unfortunately, it wasn’t the son that God had promised but a son that came from a mistake Abraham had made when he thought God needed his help making God’s promise come true.”
  • “So, God appeared to Abraham again to help him understand.”  (Have a volunteer read Genesis 17:19-20.)
  • “God got very specific this time and even told Abraham the name of the promised child.”
  • “This was actually the time that God gave Abram his new name, Abraham, which means ‘father of many nations.’”
  • “Abraham laughed at the promise at first (since he was 99, and his wife was 90 – pretty old to be having children), but then he believed God.”
  • “And it’s a good thing he did, because this was one of God’s tests.” (Mark a line on the heart about one-third down from the top, and write “Abraham” beside it.)
  • “One year later, Abraham and Sarah (his wife) had a baby boy, and they loved him very, very much!”
  • “Years passed, and Isaac grew strong and tall.”
  • “Probably about the time that he was a teenager, Abraham was tested by God again.”
  • “And since Abraham was spiritually mature, this test was a really tough one!”
  • “God wanted to know who was more important in Abraham’s heart – Isaac or God?”  (Have volunteer read Genesis 22:1-2.)
  • “This sounds like a terrible test!”
  • “How could God ask Abraham to sacrifice his promised son?”
  • “But Abraham trusted God and knew that even if Isaac died, God could raise him back to life.”
  • “We know that was what Abraham was thinking, because the Bible tells us so.”  (Have volunteer read Hebrews 11:17-19.)
  • “So Abraham obeyed God, and it’s a good thing he did, because this was one of God’s tests.” (Mark a line on the heart a little higher than the last one and write “Abraham” beside it.  Then have a volunteer read Genesis 22:3-5.)
  • “I know this had to be tearing Abraham up in side.  Three days walking with your son, knowing that you were going to offer him as a sacrifice!”
  • “But Abraham kept trusting God every step of the way.”  (Mark a line on the heart a little higher than the last one and write “Abraham” beside it.  Then, have a volunteer read Genesis 22:6-8.)
  • “Do you hear Abraham’s faith? ‘God Himself will provide the lamb…’” (Mark a line a little higher.  Then have a volunteer read Genesis 22:9-12.)
  • “Wow!  That was close!  But you have to understand that God never intended for Abraham to actually sacrifice Isaac.”
  • “God says in another part of Scripture that He must NOT be worshiped by human sacrifice.”  (Deuteronomy 12:31)
  • “God had his angel standing on the ready the entire time, but the test wasn’t complete until Abraham showed that he was actually willing to sacrifice his son.”
  • “Abraham proved that he loved God more than he loved Isaac and that he believed God could bring Isaac back from the dead.”  (Make a mark at the top of the heart, and write “Abraham” next to it.  Then have a volunteer read Genesis 22:13-19.)
  • “When Abraham passed God’s test, God provided a another way that Abraham hadn’t even imagined.”
  • “God provided a substitute for Isaac.”
  • “Instead of Isaac dying, the ram would die.”
  • “And because Abraham passed this test, he got to be part of a very special story – the story about Jesus.”
  • “This story of Abraham and Isaac is a lot like the story of Jesus, and there are clue all the way through.  Can anyone tell me something from this story that is like the story of Jesus?”  (Listen for responses.  Here are some possible answers that you might want to bring it if they aren’t mentioned:

o   Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son just like God was willing to sacrifice His Son, Jesus.

o   Isaac was going to be an offering for sin, just like Jesus.

o   The journey took three days, which reminds us that Jesus was buried for three days.

o   Isaac carried the wood that he was going to be sacrificed on, just like Jesus carried His cross.

o   Isaac asked where they would get the lamb for the sacrifice, and Abraham told him that God would provide the lamb.  God did provide Jesus as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.

o   Isaac apparently was willing to die, just like Jesus, because there is no mention of a struggle (a struggle Isaac surely would have won, since his father was over 100 years old, and he would have been a teenager).

o   The ram was caught in the thickets, a thorny bush, which reminds us that Jesus wore a crown of thorns.

o   An angel was present at both this event and the resurrection of Jesus.  You could say that Isaac also had a type of resurrection, since he was meant to die on the altar.)

  • “You see, this story points us to Jesus.”
  • “Some people call it a type or a shadow of the story of Jesus.  I prefer ‘shadow,’ because a shadow lets you know ahead of time if someone is coming around a corner.  And this type of story tells us ahead of time that Jesus is coming.”
  • “Jesus died for us so that we don’t have to.”
  • “The Bible says that the wages (or payment) for sin is death, and Jesus paid that payment for us on the cross.”
  • “He was our substitute, like the ram in the thicket.”
  • “And because Jesus paid for our sins, we get to live for eternity, forever and ever with Jesus in heaven.”
  • “What I want you to remember from today’s lesson are these few things:

o   God will test the spiritual maturity of your heart many times during your life as a Christian.

o   This test is not really for God to know your maturity; he already knows.  They are for you to recognize how mature you have become.

o   The more mature you get, the bigger the tests God will give you.

o   When you pass a test, God blesses you and uses you to bless others.”

 

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Filed under Abraham, Abram, Belief, faith, God's Plan, God's Will, Obedience, Priorities, Trust

The Roman Road (LESSON)


Scriptures:
Romans 3:23
Romans 6:23
Romans 5:8
Romans 10:9
Romans 10:13

Description: Within the book of Romans, the author has given us a path toward salvation.  Some call it the Roman Road.  This lesson helps participants to memorize the Scriptures of the Roman Road so that they can share it with their friends.

Time: 45 minutes

Materials:

  • Printouts of the Roman Road pictures (You can find these on the Lesson Materials and Downloads page on www.teachingthem.com.  The file is called, “Roman Road – Cards.ppt.”  You will want one enough flash-card size sets for every person to have one.  To get this size, go to File, then Print on the Menu Bar of PowerPoint.  Then, under “Print What:,” choose Handouts (6 slides per page).  Change the slides that you want to print to “From: 2” and “to: 19.”  This will give each person three sets of the six pictures (one with just the chapter and verse, one with just the Scripture words and one with neither).  If you don’t want each person to have all three sets, choose just the ones you want.
  • Scissor or a cutting board to cut out the flash cards
  • Rubber bands or envelopes (one per person in your group)
  • Cut out the flash cards, and put them in rubber bands or in envelopes to make them easy to distribute.
  • Practice the lesson.

o  LCD projector, computer and screen to project the slides (if you don’t have these, you can print out full-sized versions of the slides to use as displays.)
o  Bible

Preparation:
o  Print all the sets of the flash cards
o Cut out the flash cards, and put them in rubber bands or in envelopes to make them easy to distribute.
o Practice the lesson.

Procedure:
Use the following script or modify to suit your needs:

  • “The author of the book of Romans gave very clear instructions about how we can be saved and go to heaven.”
  • “Several Scriptures in the book link together to give us the plan of salvation.”
  • “These Scriptures are often called “The Roman Road.”  (Show title slide.)
  • “There are two reasons for this.  The first is that the Scriptures are in the book of Romans, and they describe the path (or road) to salvation.”
  • “The other reason is called a play on words, or a clever way of using a familiar term in a new way.”
  • “The roads built by the Romans a few thousand years ago were famous around the world during the early church period, because they were all straight, paved roads that led back to Rome.”
  • “The Roman Road in Scripture won’t lead you to Rome, Italy, but it will help you to walk the straight path to Jesus Christ.”
  • “So calling it a ‘Roman Road’ is just a way to make it easier to remember.”
  • “I’m going to take you down the Roman Road, and we are going to memorize the Scriptures together.”
  • “That way, you will be able to share it with your friends if God provides you an opportunity to share your faith with them.”  (Show Romans 3:23 slide, and ask for a volunteer to read it out loud from his or her Bible.)
  • “This means that there isn’t anyone who has ever lived with the except of Jesus Christ who has lived without sinning.”
  • “Our sin makes us fall short of God’s glory, but God is perfect and without sin.”
  • “In the game of ice hockey, if a player breaks a rule, he gets sent to the penalty box, also known as the ‘Sin Bin.’”
  • “In the same way, when we break one of God’s rules, we have to pay a penalty in the ‘sin bin.’”
  • “We put ourselves into spiritual prison, and Satan is the prison warden.”
  • “He can keep us locked up, because we broke the rules.  God has given him that authority over sinners, because God is too holy to allow sinners into His presence.”  (Show Romans 6:23a slide, and ask volunteer to read just the first part of the Scripture from his or her Bible.)
  • “Wages are what you get paid for work you do.”
  • “This Scripture is saying that our payment for the work of sin that we have done is death.”  (RIP on the tombstones in the picture stands for “Rest In Peace,” which used to be a common sentiment when someone died.)
  • “We have earned death because of our sin, and there are two kinds of death that this Scripture is talking about.”
  • “First, there is spiritual death in our relationship with God.”
  • “Sin separates us from God.  It creates a giant chasm between us, and none of us can leap over that chasm to get back to God.”
  • “The second kind of death is the one we are more familiar with – death of our bodies.”
  • “Before Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, they were going to live forever, but because of sin, they ruined their physical bodies.”
  • “What that physical body wears out of gets too sick or suffers a mortal injury, it dies.”
  • “So far, the death rate for human beings is just about 1 to 1 – one death for every life.”  (Exceptions might be Enoch and Elijah.  Show Romans 6:23b slide and have volunteer read it out loud.)
  • “This is a GREAT Scripture!”
  • “We earned death because of our sin BUT God has given us a gift – the gift of living forever with Jesus!”
  • “But notice that it’s a gift.”
  • “A gift is FREE!  There is nothing that you can do to earn it.”
  • “It comes from the generosity of the giver.”
  • “That means that we can’t earn our way into heaven; we can only receive it as a free gift from God.”
  • “Also, a gift is free, but you don’t have to accept it.”
  • “Millions and probably billions of people will live their lives here on earth and never accept the gift that Jesus bought for them.”
  • “Sometimes they don’t accept it, because they don’t know that it exists.  That’s why you have to tell everyone about the incredible gift Jesus bought for them.”
  • “Even more often, though, people don’t accept the gift, because they don’t trust the Gift Giver.”
  • “They think the gift is a trick or too good to be true or not worth having, so they don’t take it, and that’s a terrible shame, because Jesus was thinking about them when He bought it.”  (Show Romans 5:8 slide, and have volunteer read it out loud.)
  • “I said the gift was free, but that’s not totally true.”
  • “Someone had to pay for it.”
  • “It’s free to us, but it cost Jesus dearly.”
  • “Remember that I said that the wages of sin is death – the payment for our sin is that we have to die?”
  • “And remember that we are in the Sin Bin because we broke the rules and that Satan keeps the keys to our prison cell?”
  • “Well there is a way to pay the payment for our sin without us having to personally die.”
  • “In the Old Testament, the Hebrew/Israelites would kill animals to pay for their sins.”
  • “Animals could pay the debt we owed for our sin, because they were innocent and hadn’t sinned.”
  • “The problem with this arrangement, though, was that the death of the animal (really the blood of the animal) couldn’t clear our debt.”
  • “Animals are innocent, but that’s because they couldn’t sin if they wanted to – they don’t have the ability to choose to sin or to not sin.”
  • “So using their blood to pay for their debt was kind of like cheating.”
  • “It wouldn’t really pay for it.  It would just cover their debt for a year, but then the Israelite priests had to kill another animal to cover their sin again.”
  • “This had to happen every year, and they never really got out of Satan’s prison.  We just got to walk around the prison yard some. (joke – not meant to represent anything in doctrine)”
  • “In the end, Satan still owned us.  The Bible says we were his slaves.”
  • “We needed a better solution.”
  • “This is why Jesus came to live as a man on the earth.”
  • “He had to become like one of us and live a life completely free of sin.”
  • “That way, He qualified to pay our debt, because when He died, He didn’t have any debt of His own.”
  • “He took our punishment of death.  He paid our debt for us.”
  • “And the incredible thing is, He came and died for us ‘while we were still sinning.’”
  • “Who does something like that?”
  • “Do you give your friend money when he hasn’t paid you back the money you already gave him?”
  • “Do you buy your enemy a gift while he is cursing your name?”
  • “Nobody does that but God!”
  • “God loves us soooooooooo much that He overlooks our sin, our pride, our selfishness, our betrayal, and He pays the prison warden to get us out of prison!”
  • “That is an awesome God!”  (Show Romans 10:9 slide and have volunteer read it out loud.)
  • “I told you that what Jesus did was a gift and that you don’t have to take it.”
  • “But if you want to take it, this is the way to do it: confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead.”
  • “That’s how you accept the gift.  That’s how you walk out of Satan’s prison.”
  • “You see, when Jesus died for us, He broke the lock off of the prison door.”
  • “Unfortunately, many people are staying in prison, because (like I mentioned before) they either don’t know the lock is broken, or they don’t trust the One who broke it off for them.”
  • “All they have to do is accept the gift Jesus bought, and they can walk straight out of that prison cell, but many choose to stay.  It’s very sad.”
  • “One way of summarizing what you have to do to be saved from the punishment for sin is A-B-C.”
  • “A is for Accept the gift that Jesus bought for you.”
  • “B is for Believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead.”
  • “C is for Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord!”  (Review A-B-C, Accept-Believe-Confess several times so that they remember it.  Then show the Romans 10:13 slide, and have a volunteer read is out loud.)
  • “This Scripture says that ‘Only God’s favorite people will be saved, right?’”  (They should respond with a loud, “NO!”)
  • “Only those who lead a good life will be saved?”  (Get them to respond with a loud, “NO!”)
  • “Only those who go to church every Sunday?”  (Allow responses.)
  • “Only those who give to the poor?”  (Allow responses.)
  • “Only those who help little, old ladies across the street?”  (Allow responses.)
  • “What does it say?  ‘EVERYONE who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!’”
  • “Halleluja!  That’s the best news you will ever hear in your life!”
  • “God doesn’t want to leave ANYONE behind!”
  • “EVERYONE who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!”
  • “You don’t have to be good looking or strong or smart or even good – God bought this gift for EVERYONE!  You just have to accept it!”
  • “On the cross, Jesus paid our entire debt!”
  • “Our bill is cancelled!”
  • “Satan has nothing against us!  He has no power to keep us in prison any longer!”
  • “That’s called the ‘Gospel!’  ‘Gospel’ means ‘good news,’ and this definitely qualifies!”
  • “That’s news so good you just HAVE to share it with somebody!”
  • “So I’m going to help you memorize this so that you can share it whenever God leads you to tell a friend or someone you meet.”  (Go through the next six slides slowly, allowing everyone to say the Scriptures out loud a few times before advancing to the next slide.  After the six slides that show the Scriptures, there are six slides with blank spaces where the Scripture or verse reference use to be.  See if anyone is brave enough to stand up and say it from memory.)
  • “Fantastic, but we need more practice, so I’ve made up some flash cards for each of you.”  (Hand out flash cards to each person.)
  • “I want you to find a partner and go through these flash cards to help each other memorize each step of the Roman Road.”
  • “You will notice that you have three sets of the six pictures.”
  • “One set shows the actual words of the Scripture.”
  • “One set shows just the chapter and verse reference, and the third set is blank – just the picture.”
  • “You can use whatever set you think you are ready to use.”
  • “If you don’t have anything memorized yet, use the one with the words.”
  • “If you kinda have the words, you might want to use the one with just the chapter and verse reference.”
  • “If you think you have it all memorized, use the blank flash cards.”
  • “Tell your partner which ones you want to use, and have him or her hold them up for you until you can say the Scripture.”
  • “Then trade, and you hold up the flash cards for your partner.”  (Ask for questions.  After you have answered them, have them start helping each other.  Allow ten minutes or so depending on time available.  Then give opportunities for individuals to come up front and recite all six Scriptures (if you count Romans 6:23a and b as two Scriptures).)

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