Nothing New: An Introductory Foundation

I am currently the Youth Pastor for The Church Next Door in Prescott Valley, AZ. On Sunday, August 11, 2019, I took over teaching the adult Sunday School class before the regular service. (If you find yourself in North Central Arizona, specifically the Prescott Valley area, come join in from 8:45 to 9:45 AM, and then stay for the singing and sermon at 10!)

Here is the first lesson notes:

Nothing New: The Importance of Church History

Lesson 1: Some Foundational Thoughts

This class starts on what would have been my mom’s 58th birthday. The day after her 53rd birthday she went home to be with the Lord.

Why is this relevant?

My parents did not instill Christian beliefs in us growing up. When I became a Christian, they complained some. My mom in particular challenged me with hard questions. Thankfully, it is what helped lead her to Christ, and it gave me the start toward ministry and apologetics.

What else helped was overcoming my perspective on Church that came from an evolutionary mindset I was not aware I had.

Thus, here is the list of scriptural (and anecdotal) foundations for my life, ministry, and this class:

  1. 1 Samuel 16:7 – My parents raised me to not judge people based on appearances. However, I also fell into that evolutionary view that we learn more and understand better than our predecessors. (If you actually read the Bible and study history, that should change your mind.) Likewise, as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1, God used the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. It does not make sense for God to die on a cross, but He did. Then He used backwater fishermen, farmers, and tax collectors to change the world. We need to remember not to make assumptions about people based on appearances or perceptions.
  2. James 4:7-8 – We must realize that to overcome our biases and sin we must submit ourselves to God and draw near. Only He can make us clean and change our thinking.
  3. John 3:16-17 – We must realize that God first drew near to us, through Jesus. If we do not believe in the atoning work of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, we stand condemned in our sins, but we escape condemnation through faith in Him.
  4. Hebrews (11:1-)12:1 – We must realize that the previous witnesses, those who came before us and revealed Christ to the world, know more about God (collectively) than we. These witnesses were the biblical writers, the prophets and apostles, and those who gave their lives for the truth. We know what we know because God acted in history to reveal Himself and preserve His truth in this world. We do not know better than the Early Church, and certainly not more than the Author and Perfecter of our faith (12:2) and Founder of the Church.
  5. 1 Peter 3:15 – We must make Christ foremost in our hearts and minds. We must be ready to give an answer – apologia = reasoned defense, hence “apologetics” – for our faith, why we believe, and remember to do it with gentleness and respect to reach our fallen, backwards world. It means we call out sin, but love people as we do it, with patience and understanding. We are no better than anyone else. And we know this from Scripture.
  6. Ephesians 2:20 – We run all of Church history and all of our understanding through the lens of Scripture. Our faith is built on the foundation of the prophets (Old Testament/Hebrew scriptures) and Apostles (New Testament) with Christ anchoring everything. This is where we find all truth and our authority to speak to this world.
  7. Matthew 28:18-20 – Jesus has all authority, and He gave that authority to us to tell the world God has come to us, to teach them His commands, and to baptize them into the Trinitarian name of God. Without the risen, living Lord, we have no authority.

Church history reveals to us we still make mistakes and sin against our Lord, but He has used this history and guided His Church to better understand His Word and equip us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

It is fitting this new class starts on my mom’s birthday, because she helped me hone my understanding of God, the Bible, and Christian life. I am sure she would be honored with such a gift as her son sharing God’s redemptive work throughout history since the time of Christ her Lord and Savior. (And this is first shared online on the 5th Anniversary of her going to Him!)

Next time:

Christ our Foundation: The roots of the Church

  1. Glad your Mom came to Jesus. I also got to witness to my mother and another who also shared it with her seemed to think she made things right before she died. She was raised in the Cumberland Presbyterian church and made vague references to being saved. But, she never took us to church and she never talked about God. In fact, I don’t recall ever seeing a Bible in our house. I finally was saved myself at 45 yrs old. Turns out my Mom had no clue. I asked her why she never told me, and she said I was a good boy, so I’d be okay. She had no idea about salvation by grace through faith. She was convinced that her own life had been good enough and that she was heaven bound.

    I’m the last man standing in my nuclear family I’ve written on them. This one is my Mom and linked to my Dad and brother are in it.

    https://truthinpalmyra.wordpress.com/2016/04/13/there-is-always-tomorrow-or-is-there/

    Great lesson plan btw. I bet you are a great teacher.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember seeing those when you shared about your mom. I fortunate (blessed, you might say) that I come from a strong family. My brother’s wife is very anti-religion due to her overly strict religious upbringing (the usual thing of copying Psalms as punishment, and disagreements or doubts about the Bible are sinful and must be squashed. NEVER DOUBT! NEVER QUESTION!), and my sister is currently living with another woman (They said married but are now looking at divorce just a year and a half later). But we all enjoy each others’ company, and both let me talk with them about spiritual matters (at least for a short time.)
      And thanks. I hear I do alright. My favorite complaint/criticism is still that I seem to really emphasize Jesus with a strict adherence to factualness. Maybe that makes some things dry, but I would rather have dry truth and know I was faithful than the most eloquent and exciting programs and speeches of little substance or flat out lies.

      Like

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