Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Why was He one of us?

My Life Group lesson from Sept. 21 ...

Memory Verse: Hebrews 2:18 - For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested.

Main Idea: God’s Son took on human nature to free us from sin and death.

FIRST THOUGHTS

*** The joke goes like this: "You are unique, just like everyone else."

Every one of us is a unique individual. Yet, we all have at least one thing in common. That’s right. We’re all human. We’re not plants, insects, or animals. We’re not robots or random collections of cosmic matter. We’re flesh-and-blood human beings, created in the image of God.

*** QUESTION - What are some positives about our uniqueness as individuals? What response do you have when you think about our common humanity?

Here’s another thing that, according to Scripture, we have in common. We’re all sinners in need of a Savior (see Rom. 3:23 - For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.). The world’s first two humans, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God and became sinners (see Gen. 3:1-7). Every human being descends from this first couple; therefore all of us are born under the curse of sin.

*** QUESTION - Jesus was born of a woman. Why is it important that Jesus was human?

--- "What if God was one of us," the song goes, but thankfully he's not a slob like one of us.

--- Answers in Genesis writes that if Jesus had just been a spiritual being he would not have spilled blood and we could not be truly cleansed from our sins.

Because He was fully human, we could see our own sufferings in Him, for He endured the same types of trials as we face, and He persevered under great physical pain. We can identify with Him since He was fully human (Hebrews 2:14). He suffered pain and endured emotions so He could relate to and sympathize with us (Hebrews 4:15).

EXPLORE THE TEXT

TO DESTROY THE DEVIL (HEB. 2:14-16)

14 Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through His death He might destroy the one holding the power of death—that is, the Devil— 15 and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that He does not reach out to help angels, but to help Abraham’s offspring.

*** v. 14 - Jesus shares our humanity.

--- Let’s talk about the term “hypostatic union.” It’s what the theologians use to explain that Jesus is fully God and fully man. While we may not be able to fully grasp this doctrine, the hypostatic union is the joining of the divine and the human in the one person of Jesus. (Answers in Genesis )

--- He walked. He talked. He laughed. He ate. He drank. He smelled the flowers. He wept. He touched. Surely He got a cold virus. He stared at the stars (although he probably never asked “What is the meaning of life?”). Right there in the Bible it says that Jesus got tired. He got frustrated frequently with his disciples.

*** Verse 14 also says that Jesus came to take on the Devil.

--- QUESTION – What are some of the Biblical names for the Devil? - Satan, Lucifer/morning star who fell, tempter, father of lies, god of this age, evil/wicked one, adversary/enemy, great dragon). How do these names help you understand the Devil’s character?

--- What too many people – and this includes Christians fail to admit – is that the Devil is all too real.

1 John 3:8 - 8 The one who commits sin is of the Devil, for the Devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the Devil’s works.

--- What we need to remind Satan is that he's a loser. It's in the Bible. He's already lost. Not only shouldn't we fear Satan, HE SHOULD FEAR US.

*** v. 15 - "You may take our lives, but you'll never take our freedom!"

--- The Scottish voted to reject independence Thursday, whether to become free from English rule. Something William Wallace would have much rather have been able to do 700 years ago instead of battle!

--- In verse 15 we read that Jesus was made human in order to free us from the power and penalty of sin. Now that's real freedom!

--- You know those studies that say you have a 25 percent greater chance of dying if you drink too many Mountain Dews, or a 55 percent greater chance of dying if you jump of a cliff? Well, the reality is, unless there's a rapture in the next 75 years there is a 100 percent chance of death.

Many live in fear of death. We think about “What comes after death?” and “Is this life all there is?” Here is the good news for those who will trust in Jesus: We no longer fear death because we know Jesus overcame it by His resurrection.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 - 55 Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting? 56 Now the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

*** v. 16 - Abraham’s offspring.

--- The term “Abraham’s offspring” can refer specifically to the Israelites, the physical descendants of Abraham. In this context, however, the term probably is broader in meaning. It can refer to all peoples of the earth in that God promised to bless all the nations through Abraham (see Gen. 12:3). The apostle Paul spoke of this broader meaning in Romans 4:13-25, where he declared that God’s promise of salvation by grace was guaranteed not only to Abraham’s descendants through the law (Israelites) but also to those who are of Abraham’s faith:

Romans 4:16-17 - 16 This is why the promise is by faith, so that it may be according to grace, to guarantee it to all the descendants—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of Abraham’s faith. He is the father of us all 17 in God’s sight. As it is written: I have made you the father of many nations. He believed in God, who gives life to the dead and calls things into existence that do not exist.

By His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, Jesus has removed forever the sting of death for believers. By His death, the Author of life rendered powerless the prince of death, the Devil. God the Son took on real flesh and blood to rescue those with whom He shared human nature. This rescue is given to every human being who believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (see Rom. 6:23).

*** QUESTION - What characteristics of God are demonstrated through Christ taking on a human body? What other passages come to mind that point to Christ defeating the Devil? How do those verses add to your understanding of who Christ is?

TO MAKE PROPITIATION (HEB. 2:17-18)

17 Therefore, He had to be like His brothers in every way, so that He could become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested.

*** v. 17 - Jesus was human to save us.

--- The term “propitiation” refers to a wrath-bearing sacrifice, which Jesus Himself became when He offered up Himself. It carries the idea of a sacrifice that turns away God’s wrath and judgment.

--- We don’t need a High Priest anymore. We don’t need a Pope. We have direct access to Jesus to ask forgiveness and thank him for being the only acceptable sacrifice to our sins.

--- Therefore, for believers - for all of us brothers and sisters in Christ - there is no more fear!

--- In His humanity Jesus did not want to die—He did not enjoy the thought of being beaten and crucified. He asked God THREE TIMES if there was another way:

Matthew 26:39 - Going a little farther, He fell facedown and prayed, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:42 - Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, Your will be done.” Matthew 26:44 - After leaving them, He went away again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more.

--- When it came time, however, Jesus accepted God’s will.

--- Mankind cannot say that God has not lived as man, and thus cannot relate. Jesus understands the challenges of living as a man, and extends His mercy, in part, because of His understanding.

*** v. 18 – Memory Verse: Hebrews 2:18 - "For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested."

--- Jesus knows temptations.

--- QUESTION - How often do you give in to temptation because you are tired or sick or you’ve run out of patience? What causes you to give in? As Junior Asparagus sang on VeggieTales, “life should be a party but my hot dog has fallen off the bun.”

--- It's easy to say that we have it harder nowadays, that the temptations of today are more than what they faced 2,000 years ago. We fight temptations when it comes to technology and alcohol and drugs and money.

--- But think of it this way: He is aware of the full weight of temptation on His followers. In Matthew 4:1-11 it is written that Jesus was in the desert for 40 days, fasting and tired and hot. Then he took on the Devil. He wasn't just tempted by Satan. Satan was sitting RIGHT THERE having a discussion and trying to tempt Jesus.

--- Jesus provides believers the way of escape from temptation:

--- 1 Cor. 10:13 – No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.). Therefore, we can turn to Him and find mercy and strength to resist temptation. He promises that when we come to Him, we will find mercy and grace to help in our time of need, because He sympathizes with our weaknesses, yet without sin.

TAKE AWAY POINTS

QUESTION - Did anyone have anything stand out in reading the Bible this week that you can share?

*** Jesus paid your sin debt in His death on the cross. We owe a debt so enormous that you could never repay even if you tried. So don’t.

*** Look at the study guide on page 40. Think of a friend or family member who needs to know that Jesus became flesh and shed his blood for our sins. Write their initials in the book and pray for them this week.

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