04: Salvation: The Only Solution – Thought Starters
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[Thought questions for Salvation: The Only Solution October 24, 2012]

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

1. Salvation the only solution. Since we can’t have a solution without a problem, what is the problem that salvation addresses? If you said, “sin,” what sin or sins are you including? Did Satan’s sin and rebellion long ago define the need and set the stage for salvation? Or was salvation an outpouring of God’s love after the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden? In other words, did the sin of mankind set in motion the dynamics of the plan of salvation? Discuss.

2. Sin’s scope. In Sunday’s lesson we are asked to define the sin problem as described in several texts of Scripture. How extensive is the sin problem in the part of the planet where you live? Do you think there is more sin today than in the time of Christ? Is Satan becoming more ingenious in the way he leads people to their eternal destruction? What about our lives? Are we affected by sin every day? Do our lives have smirches of sin lingering in them, are we overwhelmed at times by sinful acts or thoughts, or can we honestly say there is no sin within us?

3. God’s provision. In what sense did the consequences of sin (“you shall surely die”) take place the instant Adam and Eve sinned? Imagine seeing leaves and flower petals fade and die for the very first time. Given the nature of that sin and its woeful consequences for thousands of years to come, why do you think God was so eager to provide a rescue plan for his guilty children? Death began to destroy life that fateful moment, but what promise made “before the beginning of time” (Titus 1:2) sustains us today? How can we keep that promise forefront in our daily lives?

4. Jesus solves the problem. If the cross is the essence of salvation, why don’t we post monuments and paintings portraying the cross in our churches, hospitals, and schools? How do you feel when you see jewelry and clothing depicting the cross? Does the cross have the power to save us? Is there any possibility that without the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross, He would have died for us in some other way? What did Jesus’ death do for us? What is the relationship between His death and our salvation? More than a visible image of a cross, what do we need to gain its benefits?

5. Experiencing salvation. What are your thoughts when you think about the holiness of God? Do you feel rewarded that you can participate in a sense of being holy? Or are you overwhelmed by your weaknesses and total lack of reflecting God’s holiness to others? Why do we call the act of being saved as “justification?” At Halloween some people cover themselves in spooky costumes so that for a few moments at least we see them as dragons or devils or dead people. What kind of a covering does God offer us that makes us new in Him and not just look like it?

6. The end of sin. Is God looking forward to redeeming a crook who battered his wife, beat his kids, stole from his boss, and wrecked his brain with drugs? How can there be room for such a person in the sinless galaxies of eternity? Doesn’t God see the depths of people’s wrongdoing? Even ours? How can God trust those He saves to be so filled with His love that there will not be such a thing as sin? Are there ways we can explain the process of salvation to our children? Can a five-year-old understand sin and long to be free from its bounds? What about a sixteen-year-old who rebels against all constraints and turns from God? Is there a role you can I can play in making salvation attractive to youngsters among us? Can we explain salvation by our lives of humility and love of God so that others will want to know God better?

7. Sin and death. Does sin lead inevitably to death? Was it sin that caused Jesus’ death? If so, whose sin? How could Jesus die the death that you and I deserve so that we could live the life that is His? Is it a sin on my part if I don’t understand how God could love this scrawny world so much that He would give Jesus to die for our sins? Do you feel like rejoicing because Jesus is alive and in charge? Can thoughts of eternal salvation bring us happiness even as we struggle day by day with the vagaries of sin and sorrow?

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04: Salvation: The Only Solution – Thought Starters — 5 Comments

  1. I am very delighted to come across this site. i've learned a lot in making the lesson a reality. May God richly bless you.

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  2. I am very thankful for the resources provided...it definitely helps me to learn, be better prepared and have more than one hour of teaching materials. I just wonder why the quarterly covers so much in one week because so many people don't study it in depth and we can not possibly cover everything in 30 minutes of discussion. I encourage everyone to come to this website for deeper study. Thanks again to all who contribute and share.

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    • Dear Carol,

      Rather than attempting to "cover the lesson" as a teacher in Sabbath School, I suggest this three-fold approach:
      1. Prayerfully study the lesson for yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to apply it in your own life. This can include interacting with others on this site.
      2. Prayerfully study the lesson again with an eye towards picking out the one overarching principle that is most important for the members of your class, as you understand it. Re-arrange the points in the lesson, if necessary, so they all come together under that one principle. It is better to teach one point well than to touch on many points that leave no distinct impression. This should include practical applications in everyday life.
      3. Prayerfully devise a list of questions to lead your class to the conclusions you reached in point 2. You may be able to find some helpful discussion questions in the weekly Thought Starters provided by Joyce Griffith. But use only those questions that fit in with your overall outline. Joyce's questions are meant to be a resource, not to be used as a lesson outline in themselves.

      All along the way, pray for the wisdom God has promised. While you are actually teaching, allow the Spirit to lead you in ways you may not have anticipated, but do not allow the discussion to veer off on unimportant points.

      The idea is to lead the class to conclusions of their own. These conclusions will affect their daily lives. By contrast, if you just tell them your conclusions or the points in the lesson, the class session will make little impact on their lives. They may even argue with you and strengthen their own position in opposition to your conclusions or the points in the lesson.

      This approach will take practice to perfect, but your students will be interested and look forward to each week's study. And the study will make a difference in their lives. I can say this confidently from my own experience. :)

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