Teaching About the Church

The Bible, from cover to cover, is a message of redemption. We are currently in the Church age so while it is important to help people understand what has come before and what will come after, to give them a big picture perspective, it is very important for them to grasp the present day part of God’s plan.

1) Creation & the Fall  2) The Law  3) The Old Testament Prophets 4) The Cross  5) Salvation  6) The Church

1) Creation & the Fall 2) The Law 3) The Old Testament Prophets 4) The Cross 5) Salvation 6) The Church

We’ve looked at how Jesus died on the cross and how those who put their trust in Him will be saved, not by anything they do but because of what HE did on their behalf. Bible teachers need to help students understand that while becoming a Christian begins with a personal decision to trust in Jesus for their salvation, they become part of a family of believers … the Church (1 Cor. 12:13). The Christian life is not something to be lived in isolation. We are members of one another (Rom. 12:5).

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Eph. 2:19-22)

Key Truths about the Church to Weave into Your Teaching

  1. God has an eternal purpose for the Church. Though the Church today might seem flawed, it is still part of God’s eternal plan.

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Eph. 3:10-11)

God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. (1 Tim. 3:15)

  1. God has made Jesus the Head of the Church. When we get our strength and direction from Him, the Church can make a real difference in this world. Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5).

And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (Eph. 1:22-23)

Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. (Eph. 5:23)

  1. God has entrusted the Church with His message of redemption. We have the privilege of working in cooperation with the Lord to accomplish His work on this earth.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. (2 Cor. 5:20)

  1. God has designed the Church to function interdependently. When we operate according to His design we experience growth and health as a Body.

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Eph. 4:16)

While a study of the church, ecclesiology, includes so much more than what has been covered in this post, the above four points are a good starting point for Bible teachers to incorporate into their teaching.  Look for tips for doing that in the next post.

Tips for Teaching About Salvation

Some Outreach Do's & Don'ts in the Adult Classroom Worksheet

Click image for “Some Outreach Do’s & Don’ts in the Adult Classroom” Worksheet

 

Since salvation in Jesus is so critical to our eternal future as well as our current lives, Bible teachers must make salvation an important part of their teaching. Obviously all lessons will not solely center on salvation, but teachers do need to share God’s plan of salvation at times.

We must be careful that we do not assume a student has been saved just because they grew up in the church, have parents who are believers, or can tell you about Jesus dying on the cross.

Here are some tips to help Bible teachers teach about salvation in Jesus:

1) Bible teachers need to be able to summarize God’s plan of salvation.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 tells us what is “of first importance.”

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to …” (1 Cor. 15:3-4)

At some point people do need to know why Jesus had to die for our sins and how they must respond in order to be saved yet the basic Gospel message can be weaved throughout one’s teaching.

2) Bible teachers must use terminology their students can understand.

Some of the words used in Scripture are difficult for even adults to remember and define, albeit young children. In an attempt to simplify, be careful not to confuse. Young children are concrete thinkers. For example, telling them to ask Jesus into their heart might not make sense. When teaching about salvation, you want to be as clear as possible and not let terms students might not be familiar with or might not be able to understand, muddy the water. As students grow, they will become more familiar with specific words. Initially, understanding the meaning and significance of the term is more important than knowing the term.

3) Bible teachers need to take students beyond a detailed cognitive study of the doctrine of salvation to helping students understand the difference it makes for them now … today, not just for eternity.

Be careful not to over-complicate salvation. The bottom line is that Jesus did for us something that we could never do for ourselves.  – “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)

That same grace that saves us is also what enables us to live victorious today.  – “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:11-15)

Teaching About Salvation

1) Creation & the Fall  2) The Law  3) The Old Testament Prophets 4) The Cross  5) Salvation

1) Creation & the Fall 2) The Law 3) The Old Testament Prophets 4) The Cross 5) Salvation

We’ve established in a previous post that the cross of Jesus is a pivotal point in the Bible. We look back at how Jesus bled and died on the cross so our sin could be forgiven and we could be brought into a relationship with God the Father. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn. 14:6). The cross was part of God’s eternal plan of salvation, not a last ditch effort.

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. (1 Pet. 1:18-21)

Consequently, teaching about salvation is very important as the Bible is God’s message of redemption. The doctrine of salvation, called soteriology (from the Greek word ‘soteria’ which is used for salvation), affects life now, not just our future.

Words Used to Describe Salvation:

conversion (Acts 15:3), salvation (Rom. 1:16), redemption (Rom. 3:24), regeneration (Titus 3:5), born again (Jn. 3:3) .. and variations of these words

While these words have some distinctions they all convey the idea of a change or transformation wherein we are taken from one place to another. We are delivered from something negative to something good.  – from idolatry to the true and living God, from sin to righteousness in Christ, from enslavement to freedom, from death to life, from darkness to light, etc.

Hence, Jesus paid the price for our sin so we can be made new. — “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor. 5:17)

Words Used to Describe How to Get Saved:

There are many terms used in Scripture regarding the kind of response we should have in order to be saved.

believe (Jn. 3:16), call on the name of the Lord (Rom. 10:13), faith (Rom. 3:25; Eph. 2:8-9), receive (Jn. 1:12-13), repent (2 Pet. 3:9)

While there are many terms used in Scripture regarding the kind of response we should have to Jesus in order to be saved, all of them combined would be insufficient apart from grace. Salvation is a free gift (Rom. 3:24; 5:15; 6:23), something we cannot earn nor deserve. — “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Eph. 2:8)

Words Used to Describe What Happens at Salvation:

adoption (Gal. 4:4-5), forgiveness (Eph. 1:7), glorification (Rom. 8:30; 1 Jn. 3:2), imputation of His righteousness (Rom. 4:22-25), justification (Rom. 4:25, 5:1), propitiation (Rom. 3:25; 1 Jn. 2:2, 4:10), reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-21), sanctification (1 Cor. 6:11; Heb. 13:12)

Due to the purpose of this post, we will not look at the meaning of these terms. Each word brings with it a deeper understanding of salvation. They are presented to remind us of how rich a salvation we have. We have many spiritual benefits as a results of salvation in Jesus.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Eph. 1:3)

Despite all the various words used to describe it, getting saved is not complicated — “For by grace are you saved through faith” (Eph. 2:8-9). What happens at salvation is pure grace and can only be received as a gift.

To dig deeper look into salvation, click on the link below to go to one of our affiliate stores for a classic book on this wondrous doctrine.

Salvation: God’s Marvelous Work of Grace by Lewis Sperry Chafer

Tips for Teaching About the Cross

In a previous post we noted that the Old Testament points forward to the cross and the New Testament points back to it. Bible teachers therefore need to understand the centrality of the cross and keep bringing people back to the cross. Help students value the cross as more than a religious icon. Though symbolic with Christianity, the cross is so much more.

To effectively teach about the cross of Jesus, keep these tips in mind:

  • You must deal with the sin issue.

In today’s world it is easy to shy away from the topic of sin. But, if people do not understand that we are all sinners (Rom. 3:23) and that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), the cross will hold little significance in their hearts and minds.

Help people understand why sin is an issue by looking at the character of God. He is a holy, righteous, and just God who cannot stand in the presence of sin. But, He is also a loving, compassionate, merciful, and gracious God who wants to be in a relationship with the people He created. Since we are sinners, that would not be possible unless there was an atonement for sin. In the Old Testament they sacrificed animals but had to do that over and over. Jesus died once for all so our sin could be forgiven and we could be made righteous in Him.

  • Get beyond the cross itself to the Person who hung on the cross.

The power does not rest on the cross but rather in the Person who died on the cross. If Jesus had not been God Himself come down to earth in the flesh, His death would not have been effective. Only the death of the sinless human being could die in our place to cover our sin and reconcile us to the Father. “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. … For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Heb. 2:14-18)

  • Don’t keep Jesus hanging on the cross.

Death and the devil could not hold Jesus in the grave. He rose victoriously. His resurrection shows His authority and power. As such, we must realize that because of cross, we not only have forgiveness of sin but also the ability to live as new creations (2 Cor. 5:17). “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” (1 Cor. 15:14)

  • Emphasize the necessity of grace.

Jesus died for us because we could not save ourselves. We will continue to fall short of God’s righteousness no matter how hard we try. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God …” (Eph. 2:8-9) That same grace that saved us is what “teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11-12). If we do not live to His glory, it means we have forgotten what He has done for us on the cross (2 Pet. 1:5-9) which is why we need to keep taking people back to the cross.

Bible teachers will not get beyond the “story” of the cross if they don’t have a good personal grasp of its significance, relevance, and power for not only their eternal salvation but also their everyday living. Click on the book images below to go to one of our affiliate stores for helpful books.

He Chose the Nails     Experiencing the Cross