Smyth and Helwys Uniform Series Lesson Outline for December 7, 2014
Worship Christ’s Majesty Hebrews 1: 1-9
Focal Outline: Hebrews 1: 1-2 God spoke
Hebrews 1: 3-4 Reflection of God
Hebrews 1: 5-9 God’s Son
Summary Statements: (To help you get a handle on the lesson truths.)
- Christ brought us direct access to God. When He did, everything changed for the better!
- When we pray, we spend time with God. Relationships grow stronger when time is spent connected.
- Jesus is the imprint of the loving and gracious God. Jesus shows us the very best of God’s persona.
- We may not worship angels as much today. But, something pulls at you and competes for your attention.
Questions for Thought: (To help you think of some questions to challenge with a “So What?”)
- How well do I reconcile my current needs with the hope of God’s future victories?
- Why is direct communication with God so important for me? So important for my church?
- If I review what scripture has taught about Jesus, what composite picture of God results?
- What pulls you away from Christ and competes for your attention?
Points to Ponder
[NOTE: These suggestions are to help your class be more interactive and discussion oriented. Using 3-5 different ideas will enhance your preferred teaching style and involve class participants. Build excitement and intimacy in your learners!]
Have you ever noticed that when God speaks, big things happen? This could sound a little obvious; maybe a little simplistic. But, notice this week’s text as it emphasizes the words God spoke. And, the seismic change those words brought about. Hebrews began its summary work by placing Christ at the head of the new covenant. God had spoken by various means, but was now speaking largely through the life of Jesus Christ. This same Christ is said by Hebrews—and by John’s Gospel—to have been a part of God “speaking” the very Creation into being.
Now, we begin this Advent unit focused on how the Christ of Christmas is described. Take in the images, but don’t let your familiarity cause you to miss their power. There was radical change in these words! For now, in human form, the world had seen a “reflection” of God’ self. “God’s very being…” Hebrews 1 declares. But, there’s more. God’s word in Christ “sustains” the world even now. (v3)
Jesus is the perfect imprint of a loving and gracious God… (p111) That phrase jumped out at me. Some people have formed their faith around an angry, judgmental God. Jesus is the living picture of God. The result is a composite image of a God who loves in lavish and meaningful ways. A God who cannot be out-given nor outworked. That’s right. Outworked. For in Jesus, we see the relentless pursuit of understanding, grace, healing and hope. We see One who fought for justice and a healthier kingdom even unto a Cross.
Introductory Thoughts (5-15 minutes – These are for discussion to introduce this week’s Lesson Ideas.)
- “Angel” is a word that brings light and happy emotions for some Christians. For others, they aren’t sure just how Angels fit into God’s world–or their own. When you hear “Angel,” how does your theological self react?
- Matthew 3: 13-17 as the story of Jesus’ baptism is presented. What does it mean for God to acknowledge Jesus as ‘Son?’” How does this change faith for you, and your understanding of Jesus’ role?
- We all have questions. What more do you wish you knew about Jesus? Discuss this in your group. Maybe someone could keep track of responses on the board. Enjoy what should be a fun, challenging conversation!
- Take a look at “Beginning the Lesson” on p100 of your Uniform Teaching Guide. What is your understanding of biblical “angels?” What should be their role in our faith?
Studying & Discussing the Passage (20-25 minutes – See Brian Harbour’s Commentary for added insights and explanations.)
- Share an overview of the Lesson from “Locating the Text” (Teaching Guide ) and then examine the Focal Passage using a variety of teaching methods…
Hebrews 1: 1-2 God spoke
What theological news does the writer of Hebrews break in v1-2? (Jesus = Son of God; voice of God) Why was this so revolutionary and important for listeners—then and now?
Hebrews 1: 3-4 Reflection of God
How does v3 shed further light on the roles that Christ occupied? What have we learned about God from Jesus being with us? Why does Hebrews give us His “position” in v4, and what should this mean for our faith?
Hebrews 1: 5-9 God’s Son
In v5-7, how does this substantiate Jesus’ elevated role in God’s kingdom? V8-9 provides a strong contrast as to how Jesus is viewed. What meaning do you make of this?
2. On p113 (lrg. print) our lesson writer says, “To modern Christians, the argument that Jesus is superior to angels might seem obvious and unnecessary. But scholars believe that some first-century Jews actually worshiped angels (see Col 2:18)” How does this note shed light and perspective for you on this study?
- How does Mt 3: 13-17 relate to this passage? How about Phil 2: 9-11?
- On p113 our lesson author says “Make a list of the words in Hebrews 1: 1-9 that show how Christ is different from angels. What do you learn about Jesus in these verses?” This exercise from our Study Guide might be good to work in as your class digs into the text. Why is this important for us as we live our lives of faith?
- In the Uniform Commentary, Brian Harbour leads with a story that begs the question of the place of “angels.” On p69, what was the height of Jesus’ status? On p70, how is Jesus different from other prophets or angels who have spoken for God? On p70-1, you’ll get some help with key words and phrases. Bottom of p71 gives you a very nice bonus illustration from football player Reggie White. See “Conclusion” on p72 for 3 key lessons!
Applying the Lesson (10-20 minutes – Choose one or two questions to encourage action plans for the coming week!)
Discuss any of the questions…
- a. If you made the list of words in exercise #4 just above, pray on those words just now. Give thanks!
- Ask God to help you gain a deeper appreciation for Christ’s unique, specific role in God’s plan.
- God added to the ways we could receive communication as the Bible progressed. Angels, prophets, Jesus Christ and eventually the Holy Spirit. So, what are the ways in which you communicate with God?
- See “Applying the Lesson” on p104 in the Uniform Teaching Guide. Where does Jesus’ revelation fit in comparison to any others on earth? Why does keeping Christ in the center of our worship matter so much?
People go where they know they’ve been prepared for and are cared for!
Bo Prosser, series editor, is the Coordinator for Missional Congregations at CBF in Atlanta.
Charles Qualls, session writer, is Associate Pastor at Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church in Atlanta.
Copyright SS Helps 2014 All references to Smyth and Helwys literature are used by permission of the Publisher.
All materials used are available through Smyth & Helwys Publishing,www.helwys.com, 800-747-3016.
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