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Smyth and Helwys Uniform Series Lesson Outline for March 29, 2015

The One Who Comes                 Mark 11: 1-11

Focal Outline:           Mark 11: 1-6                          Go ahead and get ready

                                    Mark 11: 7-10                        Hosanna in the highest

                                    Mark 11: 11                           Looking around

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

  1. We love to applaud important people and significant achievements. Jesus was the people’s King.
  2. We believe God meets our needs, but sometimes we still hold tightly to what is ours.
  3. The people didn’t fully understand Jesus’ mission. We don’t, either. But, they stopped and celebrated.
  4. As Jesus stood in the shadow of the Temple, He told the disciples to always stay at the ready.

 

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

  1. What are some specific ways in which we can celebrate our Lord by the ways we live?
  2. Is there anything that you would not be willing to give if “the Lord needs it”?
  3. What questions or misunderstandings seem to stay between you and the triumph of Christ’s victory?
  4. What would it mean for you to be found “ready” by the Risen Lord?

 

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!]

 

So much imagery pops in the scripture this week. Would you turn the keys to your car over to a stranger, just because they told you they needed it? That observation by our lesson writer just about sums up the way Jesus’ disciples went about acquiring the donkey for the Triumphal Entry. What is the strangest thing someone ever tried to get you to believe—that turned out to be true? Jesus’ disciples borrowed the equivalent of one or two cars in asking the stranger for the donkey. Yet, they were successful. The person loaned the donkey to them.

Jesus appeared on the way into Jerusalem. He was riding on that very donkey. The people didn’t fully grasp Jesus’ teachings. Nor did they understand what He was really there to do. How do I know that? Witness the fact that His own disciples had gaps in their understanding at this point still. Yet, they laid down their garments and waived palm branches as they cheered Him in.

We have elements of the faith that, if we are honest, we confess we don’t have all worked out. Yet, at some point Jesus demands our faithful response. The Passover is noted in the Bible at key times when something new is about to begin. Here, Jesus arrived for the Passover before making Himself an offering before God. He was committing His all, and asking a lot of His disciples. Some recognized and followed. Ask God for the courage to follow, for only God can convince us!

 

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

  1. Give out blank paper to each person in your group. Give them a few minutes to jot down the things they hold dear. (money, time, family, home, possessions, friends) How might we commit each of these to God?

 

  1. We know what the crowd did not know: Jesus’ triumph would be bought with sacrifice…on the cross. (p103) How is your celebration different because of what you know? How should your celebration be different?

 

  1. What is the strangest thing you have ever been asked to believe? Share stories within the group, and enjoy the tales each other may tell! Related, what is the strangest thing you’ve ever heard—that turned out to be true?! In today’s lesson, Jesus’ disciples will ask to borrow a donkey from a stranger—and get the animal!

 

  1. Take a look at “Beginning the Lesson” on p87 of your Uniform Teaching Guide. What qualities make someone worthy of honor—especially grand public recognitions?

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…

            Mark 11: 1-6                          Go ahead and get ready

Why were Jesus and the disciples coming to Jerusalem? (Passover) In v2-3, what is Jesus sending the 2 disciples to do? (prepare) How do you make meaning of what happens next in v4-6?

 

Mark 11: 7-10                        Hosanna in the highest

Why are we given the detail in v7? What is the symbolism of what the people did in v8? What had the people so hopeful and excited in v9-10? What belief are they stating here?

 

            Mark 11: 11                           Looking around

In v11a, why might Jesus have gone on to the temple so late? What do you make of Him simply having “…looked around?” In light of what will happen next in Mark’s gospel—what do you think He saw?

 

  1. On p101(lrge. print) our lesson author says, “Donkeys were valuable animals in Jesus’ time. It would be like two strangers coming up and asking to borrow your car.” What do you make of the donkey’s owner being willing to comply? What does that say about him/her? The Spirit? The disciples?

 

  1. How does Ps 67 relate to this passage? How about Mk 10: 28-31?

 

  1. On p103 our lesson author says “The crowds gathered in Jerusalem do not fully understand Jesus’ identity and purpose, but they still honor him as their King.” In your honesty, what remains on your list of things that you do not understand about Jesus? What can we learn from the people of this story in their willing responses?

 

  1. In the Uniform Commentary, Brian Harbour reminds us of Abraham Lincoln’s triumphal entry into Richmond. See bottom of p66-7 for the transition that Mark will illustrate in Jesus’ life/work. See p67 for discussion about Jesus’ purpose in this trip. Also on p.67, why is the phrase, “…that has never been ridden” more important than we may know? See bottom of p68-9 for why people may have been so enthusiastic!

 

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

Discuss any of the following questions…

  1. We believe God meets our needs, but sometimes we still hold tightly to what is ours.
  2. List the things you hold dear. One by one, pray in commitment of these to God. Ask God for help.
  3. On p101 our writer says, “The people had enough respect for Jesus that they gave him what he needed. What are we willing to give up because the Lord needs it?” What do you do with the willingness portrayed to give—and to follow?

 

  1. See “Applying the Lesson” on p91 of the Uniform Teaching Guide. In what creative way could we use our gifts to honor God’s victorious work in Christ?

 

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 2015            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 3-29-15

Smyth and Helwys Uniform Series Lesson Outline for April 5, 2015

Resurrection Guaranteed           1 Corinthians 15: 1-11, 20-22

Focal Outline:           1 Corinthians 15: 1-2                       A reminder of good news

                                    1 Corinthians 15: 3-11                     Proof of good news

                                    1 Corinthians 15: 20-22                   The meaning of good news

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

  1. Like the Corinthians, we can celebrate good news, recall its history and make meaning for our lives, too!
  2. There are many “substitute gospels” in our culture that can sound good at first.
  3. Many of us long for proof of our relationship with God. We would love for God to be more obvious.
  4. The Easter victory of Christ can empower us to weather the “little deaths” in our lives.

 

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

  1. What are some of the specifics of the good news (Gospel) that you should celebrate more often?
  2. Name some of the substitute gospels that we can sometimes try to get by on?
  3. We long for God to be more talkative or obvious. What does God give us to live on instead?
  4. What is the power for your living that comes from the Easter triumph by Christ?

 

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!]

 

Easter is here! This week, we celebrate the power of the Gospel. Christ is risen…He is risen indeed. Whether your church celebrates in jubilation and full-color, or whether you are more subdued in your observance, Christ lives! This good news reminds us of so many possibilities. For Christ defeating death and the tomb empowers us to dream of God’s kingdom. A kingdom where death holds less sway than life, where goodness can triumph over evil and where surprise continues to be one of God’s greatest assets. He is alive! And, vision can take on a fresh clarity for us. We can see how our lives might just come out okay! Right?

Paul wanted to proclaim that power. That possibility found only in Christ. But, the gospel seemed to some to be simply a foolish notion. This lesson is the first in a unit about “The Community of the Beloved Disciple.” We will study in 1 Corinthians this week, and then move to the writings of 1 John. On balance, we get a refresher as to the sources of hope first-century Christians were giving voice to.

A foolish gospel. Folly. Paul knew the arguments he was up against. And, our lesson writer will term some ways of living as “substitute gospels.” Be sure this week to get in touch with what some of the substitute gospels can be for each of us. Things that seem solid on the surface, and might even sound like Christ. On the surface. But, how can you know the difference? Christ is Risen! May our faith look, sound and act like Him!

 

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

  1. Paul is going to point out what he terms “the folly” of the good news found in Jesus Christ. Why might in Paul’s time—and in ours—the gospel seem foolish to others around us? Discuss within your group.

 

  1. What ideas and belief threaten the good news that Paul was trying to proclaim? What are some ways of living/believing that people try to substitute for a relationship with God through Christ?

 

  1. Faith has been defined as believing in something that can’t be proved. Paul believes there are aspects of our faith that can be proved. What do you believe can be documented? And, what are the aspects of our belief that really do have to be accepted without all the blanks filled in? Enjoy the discussion!

 

  1. Take a look at “Beginning the Lesson” on p94 of your Uniform Teaching Guide. How might the gospel be good news to those who struggle to find their place in the church?

 

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…

            1 Corinthians 15: 1-2                       A reminder of good news

In v1, what has Paul already given the Corinthians? Why is this shared reference point so important? Why is he reminding them of this? How does v2 reinforce the importance of this reference? How might they “…believe in vain”?

 

1 Corinthians 15: 3-11                     Proof of good news

As a group, outline the points that make up the “good news” Paul offered in v3-8. (have someone write on the board) In v9, what still haunts Paul? In v10-11, how did this gospel come to the Corinthians?

 

            1 Corinthians 15: 20-22                   The meaning of good news

On what life-giving claims does Paul stake his faith inv20-22? (go through as a group and note these points) What would you describe as “miraculous” in this description of God’s grace?

 

  1. On p109 (lrge. print) our lesson author says, “But Paul insists that the truth of the resurrection is worth the ridicule. In fact, it’s worth celebrating!” What are the biggest threats to the church at Corinth? Why might the dynamics of faith at Corinth then not be so different from our culture’s reaction to Christianity today?

 

  1. How does Jn 20: 19-25 relate to this passage? How about Ro 10: 14?

 

  1. On p110 our lesson author says “But the true gospel that Paul celebrates has nothing to do with our actions. It honors what God has done in Christ, and it shifts the focus away from our works to god’s work on the cross.” Why is this distinction central and unique to our faith? What other important points has Paul made here?

 

  1. In the Uniform Commentary, Brian Harbour describes 2 other would-be Messiahs from the first century and (on p71) asks “Why is Jesus still viewed as the One?” On p72, why was what he already gave the Corinthians so crucial? Top of p73, why is the word “that” so key in understanding Paul here? See also p73 for ways in which Paul references other people of his day who could have substantiated his message!

 

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

Discuss any of the following questions…

  1. This Easter, what is the point of your greatest need? What is your greatest celebration?
  2. Ask the God of Resurrection to bring new life in both your fullness and your need.
  3. How do those around you see your faith is folly? What, specifically, do they seem to not understand? Pray that God will strengthen your faith. Give thanks for the gift of a Risen Christ who makes all things new!

 

  1. See “Applying the Lesson” on p98 of the Uniform Teaching Guide. As you go to worship on this Easter Sunday, pray that God will interrupt your familiarity and do something new and fresh!
 Uniform 4-5-15