Ministry Index
Map & Directions     |     Contact Us

Teacher’s Resources



 

Smyth and Helwys Uniform Series Lesson Outline for November 30, 2014

Let Zion Rejoice                 Isaiah 52: 1-2, 7-12

Focal Outline:           Isaiah 52: 1-2             Temple returns

                                    Isaiah 52: 7-10           Your God reigns

Isaiah 52: 11-12         Go out from there

 

Summary Statements: (To help you get a handle on the lesson truths.)

  1. Throughout scripture, God offers assurances that our current pain pales in comparison to God’s future plans.
  2. With God, there is always hope for a brighter future.
  3. Tough times will cause us to wonder, “Will things ever get better, or is this my lot in life?”
  4. The God who delivered the Hebrews from Egypt can deliver us from exile, too.

 

Questions for Thought: (To help you think of some questions to challenge with a “So What?”)  

  1. How well do I reconcile my current needs with the hope of God’s future victories?
  2. With God, what are some real reasons for hope?
  3. How should I answer the question—Will things get better, or is this my lot in life? Why?
  4. What is my best use of the encouraging biblical stories where God delivers for those in need?

 

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!]

 

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.” These powerful words from David (Psalm 16: 5) are compelling. For in each of our journeys of faith, surely we have those seasons where we yearn for God. God’s voice. God’s direction. God’s perspective–anything! We may also do some contemplating on what our “lot” is in life. That is, why certain things are happening to us. Or, why they are not happening. Maybe a little musing on what-in-the-world God is up to?

Isaiah extends a call to God’s people: put on your strength! Listen to the words that open this chapter. The call is to return to their lives! But, not return to their lives apart from God. No, the sacred work and practice of faith was to be the source of their strength in God. The beautiful garments, entry into the holy city, the keeping of Temple practice. These are the notes hit in Isaiah 52. A return to life!

How does your faith help you to truly live? That question might be a good one to explore. For our call to live as Christ has lived is also a call to life! Just as Jerusalem was to spring back to bustling life, we also are set free to a purposeful life. A life where being as God intended will add power, strength and hope to our existence. How do your expectations match up with God’s? If my expectations are out of line, God has a hard time helping me to feel good about things. When my expectations align with God’s, suddenly so much of my life and work make sense.

 

Introductory Thoughts (5-15 minutes – These are for discussion to introduce this week’s Lesson Ideas.)

  1. “Hope” is a key concept in our faith. How would you define “hope?” Talk this over within your group. What are some ways in which you have seen God give hope firsthand in your life?

 

  1. Do you ever feel as though God has forgotten about you? Do you ever wonder if God even has a plan? What do you do when your time to explore these doubts arrives? What help does the Bible give?

 

  1. Psalm 16:5 finds David saying, “Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.” How would you describe your “lot” in life? How does God impact that lot, in your estimation?

 

  1. Take a look at “Beginning the Lesson” on p92 of your Uniform Teaching Guide. In our society, who needs redemption or hope?

 

Studying & Discussing the Passage (20-25 minutes – See Brian Harbour’s Commentary for added insights and explanations.)

  1. Share an overview of the Lesson from “Locating the Text” (Teaching Guide ) and then examine the Focal Passage using a variety of teaching methods…

 

Isaiah 52: 1-2             Temple returns

What might “awake” mean for Isaiah’s audience? How about for us? What does v1b mean, with talk of beautiful garments and unclean people? How does v2 contribute to this calling?

           

            Isaiah 52: 7-10           Your God reigns

What is the “good news” of v7? (God reigns!) To Isaiah’s audience, why was that important? What has brought this joy in v8? What will God do, according to v9-10? What does this really mean, then and now?

 

Isaiah 52: 11-12         Go out from there

What do the instructions found in v11-12 imply about the outlook for Isaiah’s people? What kind of life will they have cause to live one day? (free, faithful, worshipful) What memory did v12 draw upon? Why?

2. On p100 (lrg. print) our lesson writer says, “When we experience grief today, we don’t literally sit in dust and ashes…When we mourn the loss of a loved one….we can become totally different people, consumed by sadness confusion and fear.” What message does Isaiah have about God, for those living in challenging times?

 

  1. How does Ps 42: 5-11 relate to this passage?   How about Hab 3: 17-19?

 

  1. On p104 our lesson author says “Remembering our history reminds us that God is still working on our behalf and is actively involved in our lives.” What of the biblical history helps you to remember this? What from your own experience with God helps you to remember this? Why are Isaiah’s words still relevant to us?

 

  1. In the Uniform Commentary, Brian Harbour leads with a fascinating view of Isaiah as “the miniature Bible.” What should we know about this prophet’s context that helps us interpret the message? (p64) Why do the people need to “awake?” (p65) See p65-6 for a discussion of the “beautiful garments.” On p66, what 3 things will characterize the new day to come? See p67 for 2 expectations God had for Israel—and still for us today!

 

Applying the Lesson (10-20 minutes – Choose one or two questions to encourage action plans for the coming week!)

Discuss any of the questions…

  1. a. This week, write about times in your past when God showed up and did great things!
  2. Dwell on these. Pray that you would have vision and willingness to go as God calls you.

 

  1. Challenging times will test what we have to offer. Pray this week that God will give you a heart of faith, and the strength you need to face the days ahead with hope!

 

  1. See “Applying the Lesson” on p96 in the Uniform Teaching Guide. Why is God worthy of our praise? And, how might living a worship life of praise empower us for the days ahead?
 Uniform 11-30-14

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.)

  1. Christ brought us direct access to God. When He did, everything changed for the better!
  2. When we pray, we spend time with God. Relationships grow stronger when time is spent connected.
  3. Jesus is the imprint of the loving and gracious God. Jesus shows us the very best of God’s persona.
  4. 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?”)  

  1. How well do I reconcile my current needs with the hope of God’s future victories?
  2. Why is direct communication with God so important for me? So important for my church?
  3. If I review what scripture has taught about Jesus, what composite picture of God results?
  4. 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.)

  1. “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?

 

  1. 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?

 

  1. 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!

 

  1. 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.)

  1. 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?

 

  1. How does Mt 3: 13-17 relate to this passage?   How about Phil 2: 9-11?

 

  1. 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?

 

  1. 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…

  1. a. If you made the list of words in exercise #4 just above, pray on those words just now. Give thanks!
  2. Ask God to help you gain a deeper appreciation for Christ’s unique, specific role in God’s plan.

 

  1. 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?

 

  1. 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.

 

Send Comments to:        Center for Christian Education ATTN: Gail Prosser e-mail – gail24@comcast.net

2511 Summeroak Dr. Tucker GA 30084 phone: (770)493-6648

 Uniform 12-7-14