Luke 2:13-14 [NLT] “Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.’”The Shepherds who witnessed the armies of heaven showing up on earth must’ve been scared, but the birth of the Messiah was the greatest peace gesture in the history of humanity. At last, we could be in right-standing with God. Q . Think back (if you can!) to a time before you had a relationship with God. What was it like to be at odds with God? How is the peace in your life different now from what it was then? Q . What are a few substitutes people turn to in order to find peace apart from God? How do those substitutes fall short in the end?
John 14:27 [GNT] “Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.”Our Messiah didn’t just come to make peace between us and God – He came to equip us with supernatural peace for the challenges and worries of an imperfect life. Q . What’s the difference between the peace the world gives and the kind of peace that only God can give? Q . Peace doesn’t mean the absence of challenges – it’s a change in perspective; a different response. Think of a time when you asked God to remove a problem, and instead, He gave you peace in the middle of it. Was the end result still good? Were you closer to Him as a result?
3. Prayer FocusTake a few minutes as a family – thank Jesus for making peace between you and God. Ask the Holy Spirit to be your comforter and peace-giver when life gets stressful.
Family with Small Children Discussion Guide
Jesus Is… Emmanuel
1. Power Verse
Matthew 1:23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel (which means ‘God with us’).”What’s Up: “Jesus Is With Me Every Single Day!” This week, we continue our series called, “Jesus Is…” In this week’s lesson, we learned another word that is used in the Bible to describe Jesus. We learned that Jesus is…Emmanuel.
Read the Christmas Story from the Gospels (You choose which one you would like to read) or retell the story in your own words. Where was Jesus born? What do you think it looked like? (Have your child draw a picture of the manger on a sheet of paper.)
3. DiscussionChristmas is the birthday of a king. But, Jesus was not just ANY king. He was a king who left His throne in Heaven in order to come to Earth. His entire motivation was to save the world from their sin. Jesus chose to come to Earth not as a flashy king with a crown and material wealth. He chose the most humble beginnings – a stable and a manger. He proved that He was not in it for Himself, but for others. Jesus is Emmanuel – “God with us.” He didn’t wait for us to come to HIM. He came to us. He came FOR us. He came to be WITH us. No matter where we are, what we do, or what we face, we can always count on Jesus to be with us. When we face trouble in this world, Jesus can bring peace to our lives. Just like the shepherds – when we spend time with Jesus, we can feel His presence and His peace.
4. Prayer FocusPray for your child if they are facing tough situations in their lives. Pray they will be reminded that Jesus is always with them. Lead them in a prayer of thanksgiving for Jesus’ sacrifice to come to Earth and pay the price for our sins.
THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS
Was Mary alone when she went to the tomb of Jesus the first time?
How did the disciples receive Mary’s report of what she had seen?
Which two disciples were curious enough to go check out the tomb?
What did they find that would dispute that the body was stolen?
How does the position of the two angels, sitting over where Jesus lay when He was buried, hint that this is probably a new mercy seat (a new way open to God)?
Women were not considered credible witnesses in Bible times, but who does John list as his main first witness to see Jesus after His death?
What in Mary’s past would have made her seem to be an unreliable witness?
What did Jesus ask Mary to do after she realized it was Him?
How does the resurrected Jesus state His relationship to believers & their relationship to God?
Those of you who were at the Alton campus of Abundant Life Sunday, heard me preach from 2 Corinthians 3:14-18. Let me take a few minutes and firm up a few of the thoughts from this passage of scripture. (Here it is, if you missed it.)
Paul is writing concerning the nation of Israel and how their confusion concerning God’s intent for the law has left them in a state wherein they are blinded. Paul compares their lack of clear understanding to a person who has a veil over their eyes and consequently their vision is restricted. Clarity and focus escape such a person.
Here’s the scripture…
“But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:14–18, ESV)
I want to direct your attention to verses 16-18 and the transformation that God intends when a person comes to Jesus. Notice this progression.
- When a person turns to Jesus the veil is removed.
- The Holy Spirit brings freedom. In this particular context this is freedom from confusion of the truth.
- We begin to be transformed into the image of Christ by beholding the glory of God.
- Every time we behold his glory we are transformed from one degree to the next.
I love this biblical description of the process of sanctification in the life of a believer. My question for today is this… “How do we behold God’s glory?”
Simply answered, by seeing Him in His Word and by experiencing Him through the work of the Holy Spirit that occurs when we truly worship.
The importance of God’s Word in the life of the believer cannot be overstated. Through the study and meditation upon the Scriptures we learn who God is. Pictures of His interaction with His people begin to form in our minds and we begin to trust His care and understand His will. Without the Scriptures hidden in our hearts and minds, we are prey to every contradictory opinion and idea about who God is and even His existence.
Once the Word is within us, we have the fuel that the Holy Spirit ignites.
The Holy Spirit, in times of worship and meditation, takes the Word and makes it alive. Suddenly God’s direction and counsel expresses itself in our minds, and according to 2 Corinthians 3:18 one degree at a time we are transformed into the image of Christ.
It’s a process. Step-by-step, moment-by-moment, year-by-year we are moved closer and closer. Slowly our image disappears and the image of Jesus appears. What’s my advice for you today? Don’t cut class. Don’t avoid the Word or times in God’s presence. Both are crucial ingredients in the maturation process of the believer and our world desperately needs you and me to reveal the image of Jesus.
Find a methodology that works for you to put the word of God in your mind. I read and listen to the Scriptures while I read. By using both my eyes and my ears I find that I retain much more of what I read. Find something that works for you. Then I schedule time to be alone with God and to meditate upon Him. These times begin with me focusing my mind on God. I do this through expressions of worship. Sometimes I speak out loud, other times I sing. My goal being to shut out the world and give God a portion of my time. It always amazes me how suddenly pieces of Scripture, things I’ve seen or heard, and other materials in my mind are used by the Holy Spirit to form a thought about God’s love, goodness, and faithfulness. In a flash God is with me, and conviction, encouragement, instruction, and direction happen. Over and over again I return to these times and little by little I am being changed into His image.
It only took a moment to be saved but to form the image of Christ in me takes a lifetime. I’m in for the whole thing! How about you?
For most young people today when you mention transformers they instantly think of cars and trucks that change into huge robots. But have you ever considered that we as Christians are intended by our Father to be transformers? The imagined world of alien robots that hide among us as ordinary automobiles and then suddenly change into huge, crusading defenders of good… really isn’t a bad definition of who we are supposed to be.
Christ’s atoning death that we celebrate next week was not only intended to secure our righteousness and thereby reunite us eternally with God, but it was also intended to be the power by which we are transformed here and now into huge, crusading defenders of good! Through Christ’s work which is now within us we should be undergoing a daily transformation that reveals the person of Christ through and in us.
We read in John 7:38 “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” ESV
Christ should be flowing out of us into the lives of all those around us. This is only possible as we are transformed into his image and likeness and ultimately that should be the inescapable conclusion of a life lived with Jesus in it.
Easter is about transformation. Without transformation you really haven’t gotten the meaning of Easter.