Sunday School Lesson – “God Called Abram” Genesis 12:1-9

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VERSE DISCOVERY: Genesis 12:1-9 (KJV, Public Domain)

What once was
Will not always be,
When we follow the way
The Lord leads.

Abandoning the comforts
And safety we know,
Attaching oneself
To the One who speaks, “Go.”

Stepping out
In this journey of trust.
By faith, we follow,
Leaving the past in the dust.

One foot, one step,
We walk our way through.
Arriving in His promise
Where every word comes true.
©WordForLifeSays.com

Every journey in life starts with a first step.  That step, and the ones that come after it is the way to arrive at the destination that was hoped for.

For most people, when making such a drastic change in life, they have properly prepared for it well in advance.  But, when you’re like Abram, there is no such thing.  The call was made, what will he do with it?  Will he make excuses as to why this is not the right time to uproot his family?  Will he reason himself out of what lay ahead because he just doesn’t have enough details to make a thoughtful and well-informed decision?  Or will he go against the norms of rational, and put one foot in front of the other and walk where God says walk?

At this point, we all know that’s exactly what he did.  Let’s examine the story of his call a little closer that we might find the encouragement to move when God asks us to move with nothing but faith as our guide.

God Called

Genesis 12:1-3 “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

In order for there to be a complete blessing, there must be complete obedience.  Our God is not a half-way God.  He does all things well, and when He pursues individuals and welcomes them into His plans, He expects the same follow-through mentality He possesses.  Often, this requires a great deal of faith.

And this, we will find out, is exactly what Abram did and why he is honored by God in the way that he was.  At the command of God, he was willing to leave everything behind that attached him to his old life that he may be more attached to his relationship with God.  Generally, this action is similar to what every Christian is called to do when God delivers them from what they used to do or be.

Back to Abram.  While living life in the land of Ur, minding his business and going about what we assume was his daily routines or normal course of living, Abram’s life was interrupted by God.  This interruption would cause him to nix any plans he had for himself.  This interruption would let him know that he was no longer the most important person in his life, and neither was his family.  This interruption would speak of things the eyes have not yet seen but ask to walk that way anyhow.  This interruption would change the life of Abram forever, but more importantly, it would help usher in the greatest change the world has ever seen.

In the place he was currently in, God said to leave it.  Everything familiar, leave it.  Everything you are comfortable with, leave it.  Every person you have become attached to, leave them.  The life they lived and the place where he was, was not conducive to what God had in store for this man.

Many times, we read stories like this and we think, “Oh, that’s all he had to do.”  It’s more to it than that because whether you admit it or not, as humans, we like the familiar.  We like the things that we are used to.  We like the circle of people who we have come to know their little idiosyncrasies, and they have come to know ours.  We like our positions in that circle of people, so leaving everything behind, especially in the most permanent way Abram was called to leave, takes faith.

God commanded him, “Get thee out of thy country.”  Detach yourself, Abram, from everything that’s not a part of my plan for you.  In that country, idol worshipping prevailed.  In that country, people were not in a relationship with the one true God.  That place would not foster the environment that would grow Abram to be the man that He has designed him to be, nor would it be the right environment for the promises and the people that God has in store for Abram’s future to reproduce and grow.

Some comfortable places are traps.  Some of the familiar things that we have a hard time letting go of are keeping us from where God wants to take us.  Abram had to choose, follow God or stay put and risk losing everything even though he didn’t know anything about where God was taking him.

Abram’s separation was to be a complete severance from “thy kindred, and from thy father’s house.”  Walk away from everything and everyone, with only those that belong just to you in tow.  Turn your back on that auntie who used to pinch your cheeks in the sweetest fashion every time she saw you.  Your cousin, who was more like your best friend, you must leave behind.  All familial holds had to be let go of.

He must go “unto a land that I will shew thee.”  God knew where He was taking Abram, but Abram didn’t.  One must wonder, what was it about this call that would inspire Abram to make such a sudden, life-altering choice.  We don’t know exactly how God appeared to him or how the call was made, but for Abram, a man raised in idol worship, he was more than willing to do what God asked him to do, and follow His leading, sight unseen.  That’s the true definition of faith (Hebrews 11:1).

Ur, he knew.  Haran, he knew.  Where God was taking him, he knew nothing about it.  What would the land be like?  Will it be enough to support us?  Will it be enough to support our herds and the people I have with me?  So many questions must have gone through his mind, yet if there were reservations, they were never allowed to manifest and become a hindrance of following through with where God called him to go.  Rather, his faith was manifested in his obedience to go, in spite of it all.

God not only told him He had a land for him, but God also had promises attached to his act of faith in stepping out.  God was going to “bless” Abram.  That word “bless” meant there were going to be some good things that would come his way.  Things that would be unattainable if he chose to stay where he was.

“I will make of thee a great nation” was one of the blessings attached to his step of faith.  The man who didn’t even have one heir at the time was promised a whole nation.  Considering his age at the time (75), could Abram even fathom this sort of increase on the horizon?  God was going to take Abram’s nothing (from an heir point of view) and “make” it more than he could ever realize.  God was going to create an entire “nation” from this one man of faith (see Genesis 17:4).  God had a definitive plan in mind for this man and when he stepped out in faith, God would accomplish His purposes for him and his future family.

“I will bless thee” was the next portion of the promises for Abram.  In general, God was going to honor Abram with His blessings which could really cover every area of his life (compare Genesis 24:1).  God’s favor would be evident upon Abram.  God would be in a covenant relationship with Abram, and eventually, his people, and the state of their blessedness in Him will show (compare Genesis 24:35).

“And make thy name great” is designed around the reputation Abram (who would eventually become Abraham) would be known for.  To this day, his name, attached to his steps of faith, is known and honored.  He didn’t leave for fame, but fame would follow his faith story.

“And thou shalt be a blessing.”  All that Abram would be and become was not just for himself or his family.  As God has blessed him, he would also bless others.  Abram would “be” a blessing.

“And I will bless them that bless thee.”  When favor was shown to this special man and this special family, God would take special note of it.  One cannot bless the people of God and God not be pleased with it.  When we treat others right, especially those in covenant relationship with God, God notices and rewards.

At the same time, if one mistreats these same ones, then God would turn their “curse” back on their own heads to bear.  When God is in a covenant relationship with His people, God protects them.

Lastly, God promised, “In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”  This was a promise that has been reiterated several times in Scripture (see Genesis 18:18; 22:18, and more).  In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul noted in Galatians, “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith,” (3:14).  As Abraham received his promise through faith, so too do those who believe in Christ, be they, Jew or Gentile.  When God stated, “all families”, that’s exactly what He meant.  He left the door open for any believing heart to have access to what Christ has to offer.  And Christ would come through the line of Abraham and his family, extending the blessings of God to whoever will receive Him.   

Abram Responded

Genesis 12:4-5 “So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.  And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.” 

Abram responded to the call of God in a positive fashion.  He obeyed.  When he “departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him,” it means he obeyed what the Lord instructed him.  Abram’s faith, as well as our own, is tied to obedience.  Obedience says, I don’t know everything, and he didn’t, but I trust God enough to step into the unknown and do what He has asked me to do.

Abram is seventy-five years old at this point in his life.  How difficult would it have been to leave everything when one is probably well-planted and settled where he is?  Yet, leave is what he did because this is what the “Lord had spoken unto him.”  He moved his life and his family under the direction of God.

Many years later, one of Israel’s future leaders will make a bold declaration for him and his house in obeying what God wills for their life.  Joshua stood and spoke with his faith, and said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD,” (Joshua 24:15).  Whether it’s addressing the issue of properly serving God as opposed to those who went after what is false, or as in Abram’s story of faith that has him trekking on an unknown journey because it is what God commands for his life, both scenarios are journeys of obedience, both require faith, and both had the whole family that belonged to them involved.

When Abram departed, he didn’t go it alone.  He had responsibilities to those who belong to him to include them in on what God was doing in his life now and in the future.  They had to follow him as he followed God.  Therefore, Abram “took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran” with him and they would witness firsthand what faith in following God looked like through their obedient leader.

“They went forth to go into the land of Canaan.”  “They”, all those journeying with Abram followed Abram and “they” all “went forth to go into the land of Canaan.”  They may have not understood but they followed Abram.  They all left Haran.

“And into the land of Canaan they came.”  As Abram would soon find out, this place they were entering was going to be the same place God said He would show him.  This place was going to be a pivotal place throughout their history for so many wonderful things of faith.  This place was going to belong to him and his people.  Others may live there now, but it would be their Promised Land.    

 Abram’s Journey and Worship

Genesis 12:6-9 “And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.  And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him.  And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord.  And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.”

If you have ever journeyed on a long trip, you know the sheer joy of arriving.  Arriving means your destination has been reached.  Arriving means whatever travail occurred during the trip can be put into the back of your mind because you are here now and that’s all that matters.

Abram’s journey started on nothing but pure faith in what God promised, and now he is in that very place of promise.  How awesome!

Coming into the land, Abram “passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh.”  He was walking through his promise.  Every step he took, every piece of land he crossed in that place was already his.  This land, though inhabited by “the Canaanite” at that time, his descendants will rightfully claim as their own because he stepped out in faith.

Verifying all of this, “the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land.”  “This land” was promised by God.  “This land”, the very parcel of ground where he stood, and all the borders of the region God would lay out for him was his and his “seed.”  God gave it to them.  God promised it to Abram (see also Genesis 15:18-21).  He may be a “stranger” in this place right now, but God was giving it to him for an “everlasting possession” (Genesis 17:8).

Many, many other verses in the Bible verify this land of promise by God belongs to Abram and his descendants.  God spoke to Isaac, his future son, when a famine hit the area, saying, “Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father,” (Genesis 26:3).  And unto Jacob, He said, “I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed,” (Genesis 28:13).  With many more references throughout God’s holy Word, Abram has the assurance that he is in the place God had for him.  His step of faith led him into what was previously unknown territory into the remarkable position of standing in that very place of promise.

The leaving was worth it.  The journey was worth it.  The stepping out into the unknown was worth it.  God did exactly what He said He would do, and as he looked around the land, and the mountains, and the plains and seeing all the places of “Moreh”, “Bethel”, and “Hai” in his journey, he could see nothing but the fulfillment of everything he hoped for in God.  It was no longer just a dream, but the expectations of that dream had been rewarded to him for his faith.  Physically, and literally, he could see all God had in store for him.

And so, he worshipped.  Worship should always be a part of one’s journey with God, and worship should also be prevalent when we get to where God was leading us (before, during, and after – at all times, Psalm 34:1).  Abram built “an altar unto the LORD, who appeared to him.” 

Abram, through his faith, through his obedience to go, and through his worship, centered his life on the “LORD.”  Herein is a great example to live by.  Knowing and recognizing who it is that has authored not only our lives, but everything in between, and giving Him the proper glory that is due to His name.

Abram “called upon the name of the LORD” and blessed and honored publicly the same God who so blessed and honored him.  He stepped out in faith, and in that same faith, he is declaring his devotion to God alone.

One man out of all the men of the earth.  Taken out of one nation to begin a new nation.  Out of this, one family will increase and grow until centuries later it gives birth to one Savior who will save all mankind from their sins when they turn to Him in faith.

All this started, by faith.  That faith led to obedience, which then led to the fulfillment of everything God promised.

As he continued “toward the south” one can imagine him taking in more and more of the land in utter amazement.  What an awe-inspiring feeling that must have come over him as he took it all in.

One step.  One journey.  One very happy result in the end.

Everybody is not called to take the same journey as Abram did, but when God calls, we are all to respond the same way: in faith and obedience.

PDF Printable Sunday School Lesson Pack (With easy to read instructions following the P.E.A.R.L. format on how to conduct each lesson with areas for adding personal notes): Sunday School Lesson – God Called Abram

Suggested Activities:

Adult Journal Page: Adult Journal Page – God Called Abram

Kid’s Journal Page: Kid’s Journal Page – God Called Abram

Word Search: God Called Abram Word Search  Answers: God Called Abram Word Search Answers

Crossword: God Called Abram Crossword  Answers: God Called Abram Crossword Answers

Word Scramble: God Called Abram Word Scramble  Answers: God Called Abram Word Scramble Answers

Draw the Scene: God Called Abram Draw the Scene

Memory Verse: God Called Abram Memory Verse

For fun game ideas, go to MinistryArk.com

For great activity ideas, hop on over to SundaySchoolzone.com

For a wonderful activity and printables, click on InMyWorld.com

 

“Be that generation!”

BE THAT GENERATION! “Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation.” (Nelson Mandela) Let the greatness God instilled in you shine in this world today. “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4.
 

This “THING” is working for my good!

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) All things can be a hard pill to swallow. All things include the things that hurt, the things that disappoint, the things that make us feel broken and confused. But, our God is the only one who can take every ugly “thing” we experience and make it truly beautiful. He is the one that can make it all do a complete turn around until it becomes something that is fully good for His people. Today, don’t act out against the “things” you experience, even if they are unpleasant. Today, choose instead to hold on to the Biblical promise that this “THING” is going to work out for my good!

“Be A Teacher”

Image by Brian Propst from Pixabay

“We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength, and His wonderful works that He has done,” Psalm 78:4

As a parent, I value what my children are being taught, not only in school but in life.  I care about what they see and hear, and what information is being processed in their minds.  Our age of technology has a lot to offer.  A lot of ways to take things in but, as with food, everything that goes in is not good for you or your children.

Over and over again in the Bible, we see the importance of passing the wonderful truths on that we have learned.  I don’t care who you are.  I don’t care what your socioeconomic status is or what is your educational background, there are valuable experiences in you that come from living this life, things worthy to be passed on, to enrich another’s life with what you have learned.

The cool thing about it is there are others who may not be in your family but can still reap the rewards of what you have lived through.  They can glean off of what you have personally gone through to gain a better understanding of the world we live in and the God we serve.  You have something valuable to teach those all around you.  Your life becomes the classroom.

“Shewing to the generation to come.”  What can you show them?  Are there pitfalls that one can avoid if they follow your advice?  Are there mountains another can summit by walking in your example?  You, yourself, have learned some stuff along the way.  Why not leave something along the pathway of this journey (Hansel and Gretel), for another to follow?  Don’t hide it, show it!  Don’t keep it all for yourself, mentor another.  Give them a good foundation to start off on.

Don’t think within yourself, “I have nothing to offer.”  You have lessons learned from your whole life.  God saw value in you, to bring you through this far.  Let your life lead those who are coming behind you.  Breadcrumbs, if you will, on the road to help another find their direction.  Each of us has within us the ability to be a teacher.  To live a life others will want to follow.  To teach others the lessons learned.  You have a voice, literal or not, let it be heard.  Don’t shake your head at the generation coming after you.  Show them there is something better.

Let them know why you praise God the way you do.  Let them know of “His strength, and His wonderful works that He has done!”  Let them know!  “Ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence,” (Isaiah 62:6).  We are losing a generation of believers – NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO BE QUIET!  Let the truth of your faith ring loud.  If you don’t do it, then who will?  Who will you leave the job to?  Isn’t that the problem now?  The responsibility of who should do this is being shuffled around leaving no clear pathway.  I say we all need to stop the shuffling because this is not a game of cards.  This is about life!  We all need to be more active in our individual roles as teachers, models, tutors, mentors –  no matter what you call it, actively seek to be a participator and not a spectator.  Roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.  There’s a lot of potential in those coming after us.  Potential that none will ever see unless someone is willing to teach them the way.

“Our Thoughts Vs. God’s Leading”

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I have learned, that as humans, we don’t really know what we want some of the time.  Oh, we have goals, desires, and aspirations, but often how to attain them becomes skewered in our thinking.  We may pray for God to move this obstacle out of the way or transfer that particular issue over there, and when He does, we are just not happy or totally satisfied with the results.  Sometimes things don’t look or feel like we thought it should.

That’s because as humans we have to realize our limitations.  We are not all-knowing.  We can barely get through one day with all our faculties intact, let alone for us to try to tell our own end from the beginning and what we think our tomorrows and future should look like.

We can pray about things that bother us and concern us but ultimately we have to be willing to let God lead.  And, sometimes we even have to pray that He would help us to follow that leading.  When He leads, we don’t always understand the outcome, but then again, if we did, it wouldn’t be the walk of faith, filled with trust in our God that we are called to walk.

Our thoughts can lead us into the land of wondering, but it is our daily prayer that our hearts will follow God in the pursuit of what He has in store for our lives.  The Bible tells us, “The LORD knows the thoughts of man, that they are futile,” (Psalm 94:11, NKJV).  Some other translations relate that word “futile” found in the NKJV as “worthless” (NLT), “vanity” (KJV), and “meaningless” (HCSB) just to name a few.

In other words, our thoughts about a situation compared to God’s cannot be matched.  Did not the Bible tell us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts,” (Isaiah 55:8-9)?  What He knows about a circumstance far surpasses anything our intellectual capabilities can begin to even imagine.  With that being said, our thoughts take a back seat to His sovereign leading.  

As hard as it may be to let go of the wheel and allow God to steer, it is something we must do if we are to drive in the right direction and course for our best and most successful life in Him.  We have to end the constant back and forth tug of war for control of our lives and submit to the One who is in control of our lives.

 

 

Memorial Day: For those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in serving, we salute you.

image

“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened.” – Billy Graham

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” – Joseph Campbell

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” – Christopher Reeve

To you all, the courageously brave with unrelenting service and sacrifice, we say “Thank you.”

“If I choose…”

If I choose to be silent I could

be viewed as weak or wise,

depending . . .

If I choose to fight I could

be viewed as aggressive or brave,

depending . . .

If I choose to hope I could

be viewed as naive or optimistic,

depending . . .

Father God, depending on where life takes me I pray that you would help me to handle this daily life with the same grace You give.  With every step, help me to choose to look to You, O heavenly Father because I want to be wise, I want to be brave, and I want to expect the best of every day You give.  Amen!

Inspiration for choosing to look to God and let Him have control of this day:

“Let God have your life; He can do more with it than you can.” – Dwight L. Moody

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” – Jeremiah 29:11

“Trusting in the Lord means every decision you make is done with Him in mind.”– Bernita Weston

“Let your life reflect the faith you have in God. Fear nothing and pray about everything. Be strong, trust God’s word, and trust the process.”  – Germany Kent

“Allow God to take control in your life, so the enemy will have no control over you.” – Gift Gugu Mona

“In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” – Job 12:10

 

Sunday School Lesson – “Grafted in by Faith” Romans 11:11-24

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VERSE DISCOVERY: Romans 11:11-24 (KJV, Public Domain)

The Jews of the Apostle Paul’s day struggled first with accepting God’s plan of salvation by faith.  Rather, in their own righteousness, relied more on the works of the law (Romans 9:31-33).  Romans 10:4 declares, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”

Another thing they struggled in was the acceptance of the Gentiles into God’s spiritual family.  Rather than depend on the law, as the Jews previously had done, and the works of the law, they, the Gentiles “have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith,” (Romans 9:30).  Although through the centuries the prophets foretold, “I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved,” (Romans 9:25; see also verse 26).

Paul continued to teach when it comes to accepting Christ by faith, “There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,” (Romans 10:12-13; emphasis mine).

Does this mean that God has cast away His chosen people?  (Romans 11:1).  Absolutely not!  But, by God’s grace, there is still a remnant that will worship Him through faith (Romans 11:1-6).  While some remained spiritually blind, God was using this as an opportunity to bring salvation to the Gentiles.

Neither group had a reason for division amongst them.  God loves the Jews and the Gentiles alike and wants all to be saved if they believe.

Lesson Summary

 Romans 11:11 “I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.”

“Have they stumbled that they should fall?”  Referring to the unbelief of those early Jews and their rejection of Christ as the Messiah, as God’s plan of salvation – does this stumbling at this divine truth mean that this is the end for them?  Are they now a people that are done away with because they have no more purpose in God’s plan?  Has their fallen status become who they are to be permanently identified as?

“God forbid.”  Absolutely not!  God still has a divine plan and purpose in effect for His people Israel.  They may have initially rejected the Christ and transgressed against Him through their unbelief, but God was not completely done with them.

“But rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.”  As noted in last week’s lesson, salvation was never supposed to be exclusive.  God’s chosen people were designed to be carriers of His truth and His revelation to the world – to be a witness to the world of His desired relationship with all mankind.

Due to their current unbelieving status, a doorway would now be opened for the “Gentiles” to have a shot at receiving “salvation.”  Acts 13 tells us what occurred when Paul and Barnabas were blasphemed against and contradicted by the Jews: “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing you put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles,” (vs. 46).  Thus, the preaching of the gospel was on the move toward the Gentiles.

Does this mean all Gentiles will be saved at the Jews rejection of the Christ?  Again, absolutely not!  Regardless of ethnic background or regional heritage, all must come to Him in and through faith – Jew and Gentile alike.

While the Jews rejection of Christ opened a door of acceptance to the Gentiles, the Gentiles too would become a tool to touch the heart of the Jews, “to provoke them to jealousy.”  Deuteronomy 32:21 foretold, “They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger . . . I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation,” (see also Romans 10:19).

Romans 11:12 “Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?”

If through their “fall” and “diminishing” the “world/Gentiles” become “rich” (spiritually so at the accepting of the rich gospel of Christ through faith), “how much more their fullness?”  Those who were not formerly considered to be blessed are now presented with the opportunity to be spiritually blessed.  Israel’s loss is the world’s gain (as some would note it today).

With the offering of Christ and all the blessings a child of God would receive now available to them – greater would be the spiritual riches when the hearts of the Jews are stirred toward the realm of faith in Christ Jesus, bringing them to their “fullness.”

Just imagine and compare the difference it would make.  How much more would their own faith (speaking of those future Jews), touch and turn others, causing a global domino effect of God’s blessings and the turning of people in faith as it ripples through this world?

It would be simply amazing.

Romans 11:13-14 “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.”

Lest they become haughty in their thinking, Paul directs his next line of thought directly to the Gentiles.  Careful heed should be taken given their now privileged position in Christ.  Paul, “the apostle of the Gentiles,” (compare to Acts 9:15), acting with authority to his calling, says, “I magnify my office.”

The Apostle Paul was the founding father of many churches located in Gentile nations.  His reputation of authority preceded him to the Roman church as well.  As their spiritual leader, he had no qualms in letting them know, “If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.”

Paul may have been an apostle to the Gentiles, but he still had a heart for his own kinsmen.  In Romans 9 he carried, “great heaviness and continual sorrow” (vs. 2) in his heart for his fellow flesh that rejected Christ.  To the point where he stated, “I wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,” (vs. 3).

His love for his own people never waned though his mission took him to others.  So, if there is some way for their hearts to be pricked to receive the gospel; to open themselves up to God’s truth of salvation through all of this – then, so be it.  He would be enamored with the idea.  To really know his feelings toward his people, think of your own family and the unsaved in it.  What if the similar would happen to cause them to accept Christ?  Wouldn’t you be overjoyed to see them come to salvation?  I would!

So, it is Paul’s hope that the Gentiles turning in faith would provoke his Jewish brethren that as many as will may be saved and brought back from the dead spiritually.  For another analogy, picture if you will in your mind an EMT bringing to recovery a loved one battled in a life or death crisis.  There is rejoicing.  There is joy over the recovering of said loved one.  The same with Paul.

As the Gentiles gained from their loss, oh what it would be if the provocation of such would awaken those Jewish sleeping souls to rise up and grab hold of Jesus for themselves, and “save some of them.”

Awesome!

Romans 11:15-21 “For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?  For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.  And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.  Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.  Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:  For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.”

If their rejection and unbelief have given place for the door of the gospel to be opened to the rest of the world, how much more “shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?”  A national prodigal son story of restoration, if you will.  A people literally brought back to life, being spiritually resuscitated and restored once again.

Therefore, the one who has this privilege bestowed upon them, the Gentiles, should not “boast.”  It’s not of their own goodness (far from it – but, a work of grace) that caused God’s mercy to extend salvation beyond the spiritual borders of His chosen people.  Their disobedience [God’s chosen] made a way for the measure of reconciliation, through Christ, to be made available to all who believe.

Would it not benefit the Gentiles to remember from where they came; their “parent body” of faith to be saved, if you will?  “For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the braches.”

In speaking of the “firstfruit” Paul breaks down for them, the Gentiles, the importance of their faith and what role the Jews played in that.  In Numbers 15:20-21 we learn the importance of the word firstfruit where they would offer up in appreciation “the first of your dough.”  Not until that first portion was offered was it permissible to eat the rest.

Given that the first portion to be offered was considered “holy” (set apart and consecrated), the “lump,” the source of the original would also have to be viewed as holy once it was consecrated.  Thus, making those first-century Christians, who were Jews by birth, vital in the foundation of their faith as well.

“And if the root be holy, so are the branches.”  The root system of any tree supports the branches.  Whatever the root is or has is transferred to the branches that grow from it.

There are varying opinions on which the “root” here is referring.  Some cite the patriarchs, some says God, and some refer this verse to the first Jewish Christians.  I won’t argue either point here.  Regardless of whom it is actually speaking of the main point for the Gentiles believers (whom Paul is currently speaking to) is to realize they and their newfound faith are grounded in the “holy” which came before them.  Again, there was no need to be boastful and haughty in their current status in Christ.  Those that were before them are foundational in their faith now.

Therefore, they are instructed not to lift themselves up with a prideful spirit, as if they are now superior to those Jews who refused to believe.  For God can, at any moment, cut them off as well.  “For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.”

Some of those natural branches were disobedient in their unbelief to believe in the fulfilled promise of Christ.  Thus, they were “broken off.”  A great spiritual pruning had taken place and “some,” not all, of those branches that lack to produce spiritual fruit, were done away with while others were “graffed” in.

This does not mean that God has done away with the Jews as a whole (referring back to the introduction and beginning of the lesson).  Only some were broken off showing God still has a remnant of those that believe.  But the unbelieving Jews were taken out and believing Gentiles, “wild olive tree,” was put in to grow “among them” and “with them partakest of the root and the fatness of the olive tree.”  Tied into the natural tree, as the farmer of an orchard would add branches through the process of grafting, they too would produce spiritual fruit.

The Gentiles believers were always to remember “thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.”  The ones that were broken off were done so because of “unbelief.”  Those who are now grafted in are done so by faith.  Ethnicity didn’t cause the loss of the promise – unbelief did.  Ethnicity didn’t compel the gain of the promise – faith did.  Everything hinges on whether one believes or not.

Living a life of faith through Jesus Christ will gain one a future with God.  Hebrews 11:6 tells us beyond a shadow of a doubt that you cannot please God without faith.  The feet of faith walk forward believing God is, “and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him,” (Hebrews 11:6).  Faith in its highest form removes all worldly shackles.  Ethnicity, background, and prestige all fall away in the eyes of our Savior whose only view is that of an opened heart filled with belief.

Obtaining the promise of being grafted in is directly related to one’s “faith.”  A mind of humility and godly “fear” is to be had as opposed to boastfulness when one realizes the goodness of God.

Romans 11:22-24 “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.  And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.  For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?”

God’s “goodness” has now allowed access to those who formerly had none, and in His “severity” He has cut off some of those who were formerly allowed access from the promise.

Again, everything hinges on belief and unbelief.  Those who believe will experience the goodness of God and those who refuse Him, His severity.

The Bible says, “Good and upright is the LORD,” (Psalm 25:8).  It tells us, “For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations,” (Psalm 100:5).  Over and over again we read of His goodness.  God wants to bless people.  He wants to see them thrive in the spirit, drawing nearer and nearer to Him.  Only the feet of faith will walk one there.

Unbelief is delusional and a robber of the goodness of God.  It separates one from where He wants them to be and through their lack of faith, they experience His severity (cut off).

How much are people missing out due to their lack of faith?  Apparently, a lot.  An eternal promise lies in the balance and faith is the key to enter.  “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith,” (1 John 5:4; emphasis mine).

“If thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.”  Initial faith is not enough.  One must continue in the faith to continue experiencing the goodness of God or else they too would be subject to losing out on the promise; being “cut off.”

The warning for the Gentile Christians is to take heed the path they walk lest they end up in the same destination as those Jewish people whose rejection of Christ led them away from the promise.  “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away . . .” (John 15:2) – Jew or Gentile.

“God is able to graff them in again.”  If the Jewish heart that was once unbelieving has now turned to Him in faith, God is able to restore that branch back to the tree.  Their relationship with God can be healed.  God has not totally washed His hands of His chosen people, as some believe.  Any heart that turns to Him, Jews included, God, can bring back into His promise.  God specializes in restoration, healing relationships with Him “again.”

“For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?”  By nature’s law one of one’s “own” is more easily and readily grafted in than a wild one, or one who doesn’t originally belong.

Some packs of animals carry a specific scent for their particular pack.  One who does not bear the same scent would have a harder time being accepted into the pack.  We see a similar example in the human body with organ transplants.  It is so wonderful that God has allowed science to take on such a procedure, but parts that are trying to be incorporated in could suffer rejection because they were not naturally a part of that particular body.

If Gentiles, who were not of the natural olive tree (who weren’t originally God’s chosen people; who didn’t have God’s ordinances and such) can be grafted in – how much easier for the Jews who hearts have been turned to a life of faith (those who bore the markings of the natural)?

Conclusion

God welcomes all to partake of His promises – Jew and Gentile alike.  He can graft any believing heart into the family of God when they operate with a heart of faith.

PDF Printable Sunday School Lesson Pack (With easy to read instructions following the P.E.A.R.L. format on how to conduct each lesson with areas for adding personal notes):  Sunday School Lesson – Grafted in by Faith

Suggested Activities:

“How to Graft a Fruit Tree Video”

Adult Journal Page:  Adult Journal Page – Grafted in by Faith

Kid’s Journal Page: Kid’s Journal Page – Grafted in by Faith

Word Search: Grafted in by Faith Word Seach Answers: Grafted in by Faith Word Search Answers

Crossword: Grafted in by Faith Crossword Answers: Grafted in by Faith Crossword Answers

Word Scramble: Grafted in by Faith Word Scramble Answers: Grafted in by Faith Word Scramble Answers

Draw the Scene: Grafted in by Faith Draw the Scene

Memory Verse: Grafted in by Faith Memory Verse

How Many Words: Grafted in by Faith How Many Words

From previous lessons, but can be applied here as being grafted in as a child of God or in the family of God:

“I Am a Child of Faith” Necklace Craft: I Am a Child of Faith Necklace Craft (Use this PDF for accurate printing) Simply have the student draw their portrait on the necklace, bead any way they want and there you go.  Enjoy!

Coloring Sheet: Not the Same but Loved by God Coloring Sheet

“The Family of God Activities” from Sermons4kids.com(Including group activities such as “Available Grace to All” and “Child of God Headband.”)  Enjoy!

“Adopted into God’s family” from Ministry-To-Children

 

“STAND!”

 

Even in days of adversity, as hard as it may be,
we are called to stand. We are called to plant our
feet firmly on the foundation of our Lord Jesus
Christ and refuse to be moved. We are called to
“hold fast the profession of our faith without
wavering” (Heb. 10:23).

When we are threatened by enemies, God
has given us the adorning of holy armor to
cover us in times of battle. Therefore, dress in
truth, righteousness, and the gospel of peace.
Dress in faith and salvation, with much holy
prayer. Take up the “sword of Spirit, which is the
word of God,” (Eph. 6:14-18) that we might be the
victorious children of God we are called to be.

“Jesus Loves You To The End!”

“Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end,” John 13:1

Eventually, the love of friends fades.  As years go by we grow up and move on with our lives.  Even some familial relationships can wane with the passing of time.  But, there is one love that never quits on you.  His promise was to never leave you nor forsake you, Heb. 13:5.  He showed His devotion to His disciple right up to the end.  And daily, He shows His devotion to each and every one of us by continually being there for us, loving us, interceding for us and hearing us when we call.

I am personally amazed at His undying devotion to us.  Through all of our faults, shortcomings, and mess, He still stays committed to us even “to the end.”  This is a source of comfort and reassurance for them that are His.  Despite the tragedies of life or how much we feel like we are not measuring up, we have a Savior, nay a friend that sticks closer than a brother, Pro. 18:24.

The times and tides of life may ebb and flow, come and go, but Jesus is a solid source never to be moved.  Somebody said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over!”  And, since we are here today alive and with breath in our bodies, guess what, it’s not the end.  Bolster your faith today in this great truth that no matter what it may look like right now, Jesus loves you to the end!  God bless you!