Related Verses: Gen 1:26,27; Deut 6:5; Gen 3:8-19; James 4:4; Gal 4:19; Mark 2:1-12; John 10:10
The lessons for this quarter are under the title, “The Role of the Church in the Community.” The primary focus of the lessons for the whole quarter is on God’s restorative work being done by and through the community of believers we call “the Church.” This work is quite wide in its scope and its legitimacy and mandate rest on a number of realities of presumptions that are important to understand. The goal of the whole process is sometimes referred to as “restoration,” that comprehensive work of God that has as its end the diminishing of the effects of sin, even its final eradication at the very end of things.
The whole notion of a restoration is built on the presumption that things are not now the way they were in the beginning. In order for something to be restored, it has to have once had a pristine existence that somehow became compromised so that its current state is less than its original state.
- Consider the original state of this world as it is described in the Genesis creation accounts. How were things then? How are they now?
- Consider what is said about humans, how we were created in the beginning and compare it to the way we are currently constituted.
- Explain what being “made in the image of God” means. What constitutes that “image?” Be sure to think about the major dimensions of human make-up: physical, mental, spiritual.
According to the Bible, the pristine nature of things as they were in the beginning was disrupted in very serious manner by the appearance of sin. The appearance of sin and the effects it brought upon this earth and those in it, is known as “the fall.”
- The idea of a fall caused by sin is not much spoken of today because it flies very much in the face of the current view of humans, that we are pristine selves encumbered by all the “junk” from our families, societies, religions, etc. The current view of humans does not leave room for corruption by sin. How can Christians still teach about the fall without getting crosswise with culture?
- What were the immediate effects of the fall?
- What were the intermediate effects of the fall?
- What are the ultimate effects of the fall?
- What are the effects of ignoring the fall, pretending that it is of no consequence?
- What part of the world or human experience is not affected by the fall?
- Why is the idea of a fall so important to the biblical understanding of things and to the Christian faith?
It is the very fact of a fall that makes the gospel such good news, that God, working through the person and life and ministry of Jesus, has made provision for the restoration of earth and those on earth who trust him.
- Why is the person of Jesus, his nature, so important to the idea of restoration?
- What do you think will get changed during the process of restoration?
- When will the work of restoration be fully completed?
- What is the role of humans in this process of restoration?
- How do you think the church, defined as the community of believers, should participate in the restoration God is working to accomplish here on earth? In other words, in what particular areas do you think the church should be making efforts to help with the restoration?