The Gospel Project
Session 3-13 Notes
May 26, 2013
As with many introductory illustrations, I believe that you will choose whether or not to use the Braveheart illustration based on whether or not you believe that your class will identify with movies and with Braveheart particularly. However, the point that is being made in the introduction is helpful. When you understand that your life is more than the few years that you live on earth, but it is an eternal event, you will be willing to stand stronger and go through more in the here and now for the glory of God.
This lesson is about the doctrine of last things. God has a plan to wrap up history and bring all things to a right conclusion. God’s children will live with him forever. This is what we are wanting to get hold of in this lesson.
Again, remember that this lesson is not about digging as deeply as we could into the passages available. We are teaching the doctrine, not trying to unpack the passages. As we see in the lesson summary from leader, page 154: In this session, we will look at what the Bible has to say about the future of our world. As Christians, we look forward to the day when Christ will return to judge the living and the dead and finally purge this world of all traces of evil and unrighteousness. The reality of heaven and hell and the truth of Christ's second coming should impact the way we live. God calls us to look forward to Christ's coming with eager anticipation as we engage in His mission until He returns.
Also, don’t forget that this lesson is a 4 point lesson. So, watch your time. Remember that, if you have 1:15 for class, you probably are still teaching only around 45 minutes with 15 minutes for prayer and 15 for fellowship. That leaves only 10 minutes or so per point with introduction and conclusion coming in a couple minutes each. For our 1 hour classes, you are probably teaching for 40 minutes with 10 minutes for prayer and 10 for fellowship. If that is the case, you will likely accomplish each point in around 9 minutes with a couple minutes each for introduction or conclusion.
Remember also that, if you want to emphasize some points more and leave your students to read the others in their books at their leisure, that is OK. Shape the lesson to your class. You will be able to read what they are interested in as you teach them.
Point 1: The truth of Christ's coming in the future should change our lives today (1 Thess. 1:8-10).
· As Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica, he affirmed that their salvation was genuine. One way in which he did this was by pointing out how they turned from idols and to the Living God.
· In our own lives, our salvation should be marked by us turning away from things that do not last forever and embracing the things that will last eternally.
· The Bible calls us to eagerly await the return of Jesus. That waiting is active. We do not wait passively, not caring or taking any action. No ,our waiting for Jesus to return should be marked by great anticipation, great hope, great confidence, and great changes in our lives.
· When Jesus returns, he finishes rescuing his children from the wrath of God, “the wrath to come.” This means that, for believers, the return of Jesus is a sweet and glorious time in which we marvel at and give glory to the Savior who rescued us.
· For those who do not know Jesus, the day of his return will be a day of horror. On that day, the wrath of God will be fully revealed against all who have not been forgiven by God of their sin.
· God will do justice. He will properly respond to every sin. The sins of believers in Jesus are covered by the sacrifice of Jesus. God will rightly judge those who have not trusted in Jesus for their sins.
· As we look forward to the day of Jesus’ return we should have hope. We also should feel in our hearts the call to share the saving grace of Jesus with as many people as we can.
Application Questions: (Remember, these are merely extra questions that you might ask if you choose not to use those in the book.)
· What can you do to better actively await the return of Jesus?
· How can you remind yourself that you live in a world that will end and will be set right by God?
· How does remembering that Jesus will return call you to share your faith with the lost?
Point 2: The truth of Christ's coming leads us to reject the spirit of antichrist (2 Thess. 2:1-4).
· Before reading the passage, set the context. Apparently the people of Thessalonica had been tricked into thinking that they had somehow missed the Day of the Lord. Paul is about to show them a way to know that they have not missed anything.
· It will not help your classes to get bogged down in debating the identity of the “man of lawlessness.” This may indeed be a picture of a future coming antichrist. However, we do not need to spend much time in our classes trying to figure out the major details here. You will find that your classmates do not all have the same understanding here, and fully spelling out the differing views of the end times regarding antichrist is beyond the scope of this lesson. So, don’t let yourself get taken off course into things we just cannot prove at this point.
· One thing we do know is that there will be a person or spirit of the age which tempts people to reject God and to desire to follow the pattern set for them by the lost world.
· Paul calls God’s children to stand against one who would lead them away from the truth of God. We should oppose any world system that takes us away from God’s word and toward sinful ethics, standards, and practices.
· Christians who wish to battle against being led astray must cling to the clear truth of God’s word. When we reject the teaching of Scripture, we put ourselves in danger of being mislead.
· The man of lawlessness will specifically try to lead people away from holiness. Something about the evil of our age wants to draw us into sin and away from righteousness.
· As we remember the truth of the end times, we should guard ourselves against being led away from holy living.
· What are some ways in which you see our modern age trying to lead people away from godly standards and righteous living?
· Why is the regular study of Scripture and the right application of Scripture so important for Christians who want to defend themselves against lawlessness?
· Why is being connected to a small group in our church helpful to Christians who wish to defend themselves against lawlessness?
Point 3: The truth of Christ's coming gives us urgency in joining God's mission (Jude 20-23).
· The Steve Jobs quote and illustration about how death makes us better evaluate our lives on page 158 is not bad at all.
· John 17:18-ff shows us that Jesus leaves his disciples in the world for the sake of those who will believe based on their word. Thus, a major reason we are still alive is so that we can tell others about Jesus before God takes us home.
· Jude calls us to rescue others by snatching them from the fire. This is a clear call for Christians to be about the process of trying to rescue people from hell by telling them about the grace of God in Christ
· How does looking toward eternity help you to want to share your faith in the here and now?
· What do you think God wants to accomplish through you in your remaining time on earth? How can you find out?
Point 4: The result of Christ's coming is a renewed earth filled with God's presence (Rev. 21:1-8).
· God promises, at the end, to create a new heavens and new earth.
· When Adam and Eve sinned, they were removed from the garden and from intimate fellowship with God.
· Abraham was promised a land to dwell in as he followed God.
· Jesus, God in flesh, came to physically dwell with God’s people for a time.
· God’s Holy Spirit now dwells with God’s people as he dwells within God’s children.
· But eventually, God will renew the earth and the heavens, and he will live with his people in a perfect world forever.
· When God renews the world, he will destroy all sin, wipe away every tear, comfort all sorrow, and grant his people perfection.
· In a real sense, God’s children will live with him in an even more perfect fellowship than Adam and Eve had, because we will not have even the opportunity to sin and ruin it.
· Nothing can ever make a human being happier than to dwell in the presence of God, rejoicing in his glory and perfection (cf. Rev 21:3; Psa 27:4). Eternal life will be perfect because we get to experience the one thing that will grant us the most joy possible; we will be in the presence of the God who made us and who shaped us in such a way as to be satisfied by his glory alone.
· Sin, death, and grief will not exist in the new world that God creates.
· What good does it do Christians to set their minds on the perfection to come? Brainstorm some ways this helps us.
· How does considering the new creation help you want to share Jesus with others?
· How does considering the new creation help you to worship God today?
As we see that there is coming a time when God will make all things new and set all things right, we also see that our short lives are tiny in comparison to that sweet forever. Let your knowledge of what is to come help you to love, share, and obey Jesus in the here and now.
For other helps visit www.gospelproject.com/additionalresources. There you will find a short teacher help video for this lesson, blog posts and podcasts of sermons that relate to this lesson, and connection conversations for parents to use with their children and students based on this week of the Gospel Project.