Archive for January, 2015

Treasure in Heaven

Our hope is for our kids to know that: Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also 

Key Verse:
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also
Matthew 6:21

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Matthew 6:19-24) Jesus taught that we should not store up treasures on Earth. Does that mean we shouldn’t want nice things or have a savings account? Of course not. Jesus was saying that our money follows our hearts, and our hearts should focus on things eternal. Material possessions will decay and fade away, but things that our eternal stay eternal. Jesus wants our lives to be fulfilling, and that happens when we focus our eyes and our hearts on Jesus, because no one can take that away.

The Jesus Connection:
How does today’s Bible story fit into God’s greater plan of redemption?
Although it is true that we cannot serve God and money, it is equally true that we cannot serve God alone unless God changes our hearts. By nature, our hearts will be fixed upon earthly treasure unless Jesus gives us a new nature and a love for God. Jesus died to break the power of sin in our lives that we might be transformed by the power of his Spirit, that we would find our treasure in him rather than the world. Jesus is the treasure God has placed in our hearts. As unbelievers, we are blind to see this treasure. Once God’s Spirit transforms us and causes us to be “born again” (John 3:3), our eyes are open to see the truth of the gospel and believe in Jesus. The more we see Jesus and the riches that are ours in Christ, the less value our earthly treasures hold.

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Nicodemus

Our hope is for our kids to know that: You must be born again to enter the Kingdom of Heaven

Key Verse
‘Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again,”
John 3:3

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child John 3:1-21) Nicodemus was a Pharisee who came to Jesus at night to learn more about him. Nicodemus told him that he believed Jesus was the son of God. Jesus then told him that you must be born again to see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus did not understand what Jesus meant. Jesus explained that you must be born of water and spirit, meaning we all experience a natural birth, but we must also have a spiritual birth. As Jesus says, “Flesh gives birth to flesh and spirit gives birth to spirit.” Once we receive Christ we are secure in faith, and we know that we will spend eternity with God in the kingdom.  

The Jesus Connection:
How does today’s Bible story fit into God’s greater plan of redemption?
The third chapter of John introduces the idea of the new birth: being born again. Like our first birth, this new birth is not something we can do for ourselves; it is something that God does. When the Holy Spirit makes us alive or born again, we are given a new heart, and our eyes are opened to believe the truth of the gospel, that Jesus Christ was “lifted up” (John 3:14) on the cross so that all who look upon him for their salvation will be saved.
Moses lifting up the bronze serpent in the wilderness (Numbers 21:8–9) was a picture of how God planned to save his people from their sin. Bitten by the snakes, the Israelites could do nothing to save themselves. But, because of the grace and mercy of God, if they looked to the serpent on the pole, God healed them. Nicodemus was a teacher of Israel yet he failed to see that our salvation is by the mercy and grace of God, not by our own works. Perhaps it was when he saw Jesus “lifted up” on the cross that he finally understood and believed.

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

Our hope is for our kids to know that: God desires people who worship from their hearts

Key Verse:
“For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified”
Romans 10:10a

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Matthew 3:13-17) Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. However, Jesus did not sin, so there was no need for him to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus wanted to identify with us. He wanted to fulfill all righteousness. We also see the trinity show up for this event. The Father speaks and says, “This is my Son, in whom I am well pleased. The Son is there getting baptized, and the spirit descended in the form of a dove. This marked the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.

The Jesus Connection:
How does today’s Bible story fit into God’s greater plan of redemption?
Only after his resurrection did Jesus’ disciples understand what he was talking about when he told the Jews that he could rebuild the temple in three days (John 2:22). People hurled insults at Jesus during his crucifixion, mocking what he said about the temple (Matthew 27:39–40).
Jesus’ resurrection validates his ministry claims. His resurrection ultimately proves he is Lord over all, including life and death. The resurrection proves that Jesus was the Son of God and that his sacrificial death on the cross broke the curse of death and sin for all who put their faith in him (Romans 6:4; 8:11).

The Baptism of Jesus

Our hope is for our kids to know that: The Baptism of Jesus Marks the Beginning of His Road to the Cross

Key Verse:
“And behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.” 
Matthew 3:17

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Matthew 3:13-17) Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. However, Jesus did not sin, so there was no need for him to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus wanted to identify with us. He wanted to fulfill all righteousness. We also see the trinity show up for this event. The Father speaks and says, “This is my Son, in whom I am well pleased. The Son is there getting baptized, and the spirit descended in the form of a dove. This marked the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.

The Jesus Connection:
How does today’s Bible story fit into God’s greater plan of redemption?
At some point when John saw Jesus, he realized that Jesus was the promised Messiah. John proclaimed that Jesus is the Lamb of God, the one who will take away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Long before John’s ministry, Abraham told his son Isaac that God himself would provide a lamb for the sacrifice. That day, God did not allow Abraham to sacrifice his son but provided a ram. Here John tells us God has provided a sacrifice for sins—Jesus, the Lamb of God. Abraham’s ram was a foreshadowing of Jesus, the Lamb of God.

By his baptism, Jesus instituted a new sacrament for believers. Our baptism is a symbol of Christ’s burial in the tomb (when we go under the water) and a symbol of the resurrection (when we come up out of the water).
Paul writes, “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).
Jesus identified with sinful man when he was baptized. That is why he said, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15, see also 2 Corinthians 5:21). Now today when we are baptized, we identify with Jesus’ death and resurrection.