The account of Joseph and his brothers includes some powerful lessons that not only express God righteous will for daily living, but also can be connected to Jesus Christ and His work for our redemption. For this post, I will take each of the portions in turn, highlighting salient points and offering practical ideas.
It’s often a struggle to understand, let alone teach, the freedom that we have in Christ. In the United States we enjoy a standard of living and degree of freedom unmatched in human history and unparalleled in the modern world. When one can enter a grocery store and find an entire aisle devoted to nothing but breakfast cereal, how can it be impossible to choose Jesus as my Savior? When I am free to live in any of the fifty states, pursue education, career and family according to effort and God-given ability, how can I be (without Christ) under the power of the devil and unable to see Jesus in the Holy Bible?
Returning to our confirmation days, we know that baptism is not a mere symbol or expression of devout faith in God. In fact, baptism is entirely God’s act. In this blessed Sacrament, God brings life and salvation, specifically, the Holy Spirit who creates saving faith in Christ, forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. God makes us His child, placing His everlasting mark of ownership on a wretched, yet redeemed sinner.
Recently, I asked my Sunday morning Bible study class to indulge me in a short illustration. I asked four volunteers to come forward and stand shoulder to shoulder. I then asked three to step forward while the fourth remained in place. I explained that of all the people that join a church, three out of four do so because someone they know and trust invited them. Seventy-five percent of church members joined through an existing member. This is not speaking to the work of the Holy Spirit, who creates faith in the dead sinner through the Gospel of salvation of Jesus Christ. Rather, people predominantly join after being invited by a friend. We know this is true of adults, why not children as well?
For children, the weeks leading up to Christmas are often filled with joyful anticipation. Businesses, schools, and churches hang decorations that make children mindful of wonderful food, family, and gifts!
Unfortunately, these worldly things often become their focus and the limit of their anticipation. For many families (and even congregations), there is a sad lack of emphasis on the coming Christ. Advent is one of the two anticipatory seasons of the Church Year; the other being Lent.
“Redemption” and “salvation” are two words which many unbelievers and even Christians throw around interchangeably, supposing that they both refer to the same concept: that God makes it possible for us to go to heaven.
One of the greatest challenges teachers face is to present Jesus Christ from the Old Testament. Our Savior’s presence, role, and activity are apparent and accessible in the New Testament, beginning with Matthew’s Gospel, continuing in Paul’s letters, and through Revelation. As a result, we tend to underutilize the first two-thirds of God’s Word in the Bible. My hope and prayer is that this blog will enable teachers to open up the Old Testament for themselves and their students.