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Lesson 1: The Restoration of All Things *

Introduction: God is under attack! His integrity and His authority as Creator, Designer and Redeemer have been undermined by Satan from the beginning. The attack continues today. The question for every human is "What role do you play in the contest between good and evil?" Our study of the Bible this week helps us to better understand the issues. Let's dig in and learn more!

  1. Losing God's Image


    1. Read Genesis 1:26-27. Assume that you had never read these verses before. What would you learn from this? (We exist because God created us. God created humans as rulers over the rest of creation and He created humans in His image. God created humans as male and female - and that reflects His image.)


      1. Since our lesson is about "restoration," how much of the information that you learned from these verses has been blurred, if not destroyed, by Satan? (A popular idea is that humans evolved, they were not created. They did not begin with an "image," much less an image of God. A popular idea is that humans serve the creation and not the other way around. A popular idea is that male and female identity is not important.)


      2. Decades ago it occurred to me that I should do a "self-test," to evaluate my influence. I didn't like the result. How would you come out on a self-test concerning God's original plan? Is your influence cast on the side of those who are tearing down God's original plan?


    2. Read Genesis 3:1-5. What is the essence of Eve's temptation? (To disbelieve God.)


      1. Consider those who accept evolution, radical environmentalism, and same-sex marriage. How do they compare to Eve? (They obviously do not believe God or they think that God's plan is unimportant.)


      2. Re-read Genesis 1:27. Are these issues irrelevant today? (God says these issues reflect His image. Erasing the image of God from the earth is the opposite of what the Christian is supposed to be doing.)


    3. Re-read Genesis 3:4-5. We believe that God does not change, is this also true for Satan? Does Satan employ the same tactics today as he did against Eve - to disbelieve God?


      1. What should you and I do about it? Should we be silent?


        1. If you were present when the serpent was tempting Eve, would you have been silent?


    4. Read Genesis 3:22-24 and 1 John 2:1-2. How did God treat those who disbelieved Him? (God drove them out of Eden so that they could not eat from the Tree of Life. But, God also put into operation His plan of salvation for those who sinned by disbelieving Him.)


  2. Gaining God's Image


    1. Read Galatians 3:6-7. What is essential to righteousness? (Believing God. Eve disbelieved God.)


    2. Read Galatians 3:10-12. Against what were the Galatians warned? (Against relying on the law for their salvation.)


      1. Read Leviticus 18:5. Notice that Paul quotes this verse in Leviticus. What does it mean? (The law does a lot of good things. Obeying the law helps us to live more enjoyable lives. Obeying the law brings honor to God and to us. But, obeying the law does not save us.)


    3. Read Galatians 3:13-14. What does redeem us from the curse of the law? What does give us salvation? (Jesus. Faith in Jesus' life, death and resurrection on our behalf.)


    4. Read Galatians 3:21-25. What is the relationship between the law and faith in Jesus? (The law is good, it directs us to a better life. However, we are sinners, and attempting to obey the law teaches us that we cannot perfectly obey it. Faith in Jesus is the only way to salvation.)


    5. Let's contemplate this a minute. How would you compare Eve's sin with the sin of the Galatians? (These are two extremes that we find in the church today. There are so-called followers of Christ who do not believe what God says about creation, our relationship to the creation, and gender roles in human sexuality. On the opposite extreme are so-called Christians who don't understand that the role of the law is to improve our life, not prove our entitlement to salvation. Both groups fail to put Jesus in His proper place in our life.)


  3. The Role of the Church in Restoration


    1. Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-13. We have discussed the two extremes - disbelieving God and relying on the law for salvation. What protection do we have from these errors? (Being a part of the body of Christ - which is the church.)


      1. Why is that a protection against error? (Read 1 Corinthians 12:7-10. Just as it is error to believe that we can save ourselves by our works, so it is error to believe that we can do the work of God on our own.)


    2. Read 1 Corinthians 12:11. What is the unifying factor in the church? (The Holy Spirit. Once again we come back to the issue of believing God. Jesus told us that God would send the Holy Spirit to guide us ( John 14:26).)


    3. Read 1 Corinthians 12:14-20. How does the Holy Spirit choose to have the church operate? (Each of us individually is a co-operating part in the greater church body. This is a group effort, not an individual effort.)


      1. Have you noticed that people who are off on some extreme are generally working by themselves or with a small group? (The benefit of a larger group is that it helps avoid error.)


  4. A Group Effort


    1. Read Mark 2:1-3. How many men did it take to carry the paralyzed guy?


    2. Read Mark 2:4. How many men did it take to decide to carry the paralyzed guy to the roof and dig a hole in it to get close to Jesus?


    3. Read Mark 2:5. Who is the "their" in "When Jesus saw their faith?" (Apparently, the five men.)


    4. Let's contemplate the part of the story we have read so far. How would you react if you were Jesus trying to teach a group and a group of guys are digging a hole in the roof above you? (I would have been very annoyed at the distraction, but Jesus sees through that and calls it "faith.")


      1. Could the paralyzed guy have done this on his own? (Obviously, not.)


      2. What would you think would be the minimum number to accomplish getting this fellow in front of Jesus? Is this a calculation we need to make when we have some mission goal?


    5. Read Mark 2:5. Do you think this is what the five wanted to hear?


      1. If you were one of the five and recounting your day, would you say it was filled with frustration? First the crowd, then climbing the roof, then digging a big hole, then getting Jesus to help. After all that, Jesus says the wrong thing!


    6. Read Mark 2:6-7. Let's assume that these five are representative of the coordinated work of the church. Do things always work out as the church group has in mind?


      1. Why does Jesus not immediately say the obvious, "Get up and walk?" (Jesus has the big picture in mind. This is not just about the paralyzed guy. This is about the religious leaders and all who are watching.)


    7. Read Mark 2:8-12. What has been accomplished by this mission of faith by the group of five men? (First, their paralyzed guy is healed. Second, his sins are forgiven. Third, Jesus demonstrates to the assembled group that He is God, and He has authority to forgive sin and heal! It has been a great day!)


    8. Friend, did you decide that your influence is not what it should be? If so, why not determine today to trust God and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit find a group to advance the Kingdom of God?


  5. Next week: Restoring Dominion.
* Copr. 2016, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2016 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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