Jesus is…

Jesus invitingThe Scripture is full of truth about who Jesus is and what He has done. One verse of Scripture that I love is chock full of big truths about Jesus.

As believers, we need to study these truths and let them deepen our relationship with Jesus and call us to worship Him.

As teachers, we need to study these truths so that we gain a deeper understanding and so that we can teach them effectively to our students.

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (Hebrews 1:3)

This verse tells us a lot about Jesus, so let’s dig into it.

1. Jesus, the Son

Jesus is the Son of God. The writer of Hebrews starts his book with a passage about who Jesus is and what He has done.

He writes that God has spoken to us through His Son (vs. 1) whom He has appointed heir of all things and through whom He has created the universe (vs.2).

His choice of words reminds me of John chapter 1:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-4)

Jesus is God, the Son.

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.”  (Hebrews 1:3a)

This may seem like basic theology. But this is a huge, glorious truth that we need to put our faith in. When put our faith in Jesus we are trusting that He is the Son of God who saved us from our sin.

“In his very nature he was God. But he did not think that being equal with God was something he should hold on to. Instead, he made himself nothing. He took on the very nature of a servant. He was made in human form. He appeared as a man. He came down to the lowest level. He obeyed God completely, even though it led to his death. In fact, he died on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6)

2. Jesus Shows Off God’s Glory

He is the radiance or gleaming brightness of God’s glory. Again, these words make me think of John chapter 1:

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

Glory means honor or excellent reputation. But the concept of God’s glory is bigger than that. Jesus came to this world and gave us a glimpse of the glory of God. Jesus lived a life that showed off how great God is!

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.”  (Hebrews 1:3a)

3. Jesus Uses His Powerful Word to Hold all Things Together

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” (Hebrews 1:3a)

The word ‘sustain’ means to hold things together, to keep them going, or to continually carry along all things. It’s not a one-time act; it’s an ongoing action. There’s the idea of bearing the weight of something or supporting it.

Jesus created all things and keeps them going by His powerful word. In Genesis we are told that God created the world by speaking it into existence. That word is powerful! In Hebrews we are told that not only did Jesus create all things, but He sustains all things.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-4)

4. Jesus Provided the Way for People to be Made Pure from Sin

After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (Hebrews 1:3b)

Jesus, through His death on the cross, took away the sins of the entire world.

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

Purification means to make pure or to free from guilt. The amazing truth is the Jesus, the Son of God, made a way for us to be forgiven of our sin and have a relationship with God!

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (1Peter 1:18-19)

5. When He Finished That He Went Back To Heaven To Sit Down Beside God, The Father, The King.

“After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (Hebrews 1:3b)

Being seated at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven means that the work of redemption is complete. Jesus is our living, mighty Savior! And He is in heaven interceding for us.

“Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.” (Hebrews 7:25-27)

Jesus is the perfect Son of God, Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Jesus, through His death and resurrection, provided purification for sin. Now, He is seated at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

That’s who Jesus is!

“In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Revelation 5:12-13)

4 Things To Do In Your Own Spiritual Life To Be A Better Children’s Ministry Volunteer

1. Read your Bible

This sounds obvious, I know. All believers need to be spending time in the Word. Why?

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Scripture is inspired by God; it is God’s Word to us. If we want to get to know God and build our relationship with Him, we read the Bible.

All Scripture is useful for teaching us, rebuking us, correcting us, and training us in righteousness. When we read the Bible, we need to read it as God speaking to us. It can be tempting to be thinking of our children’s ministry kids or even our volunteers when we read Scripture. But God’s Word says that Scripture is useful for training us in righteousness. Take the time to read God’s Word and consider what God is saying to you.

Finally, Scripture is useful so the believer may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Do you wish you had more training as a children’s ministry volunteer? Your training starts in the Word of God. Scripture will equip you for the work God has gifted you to do. As you read your Bible, you will grow and become equipped to teach and influence the children in your care.

2. Study your Bible

Reading the Bible and studying the Bible are 2 different things. I have read the Bible in the past and at the end of the day realized that I don’t really remember much of what I read. Studying your Bible is about digging deeper, seeking to gain a better understanding.

Learning to study your Bible means that you don’t need to depend on what other people say the passage means. Learning to study your Bible means that you become a better children’s ministry volunteer because you will recognize wrong thinking, wrong application of a Bible passage, and you can pass on the habit of Bible study to the kids in your care.

Bible study sounds daunting. There are some great resources to help you. I highly recommend Kay Arthur’s How to Study Your Bible and Discover the Bible for Yourself.

3. Pray

This also sounds obvious. But it is much more difficult in practice. Prayer is talking with God. Prayer is such a vital part of building our relationship with God. Prayer is talking and listening. The amazing thing is that the God of the universe hears us, cares for us, and speaks to us!

It’s not wrong to practice praying. Praying is not easy and it takes determination and perseverance. Read about prayer in the Bible; look at how people prayed in the Bible; pray Scripture as worship.

As you practice prayer, it will start to affect your life and your ministry. Kids will see you and learn from you.

4. Learn theology

Don’t be scared! You don’t need to be a scholar. I will give you some easy tips to help you study theology.

Theology is the study of God.  So when I say learn theology, what I mean is study God’s attributes and characteristics. Take time to learn about God’s holiness, goodness, all-powerfulness, omniscience, omnipresence.

This is important in the life of a believer. It’s important to be able to discern truth and not be swayed by incorrect thinking.

There are many books and resources available, but be discerning. Ask your pastor for a recommendation, or choose recommendations from already trusted authors.

There are a lot of theology texts out there and most of them are huge! If you want to jump right in, then go for it! If you want to start with something a little less daunting, I recommend Bruce Ware’s Big Truths for Young Hearts. Dr. Ware is a theology professor who wrote the book because he wanted to teach his children what he was teaching his students. This is theology for kids, but it is still theology. This is a great place to start. It is easy to read and yet still challenging.

Learning theology will help you to be a better children’s ministry volunteer. It will help you teach children big truths about God and show them how to discern truth and lies.

Don’t Bite off More Than You can Chew!

Children's Ministry Don't Bite off More than you can chewHow to Avoid a Major Pitfall in Teaching Children Biblical Truth

My husband and I visited a church recently that was starting a children’s feature in the main service for the summer. I have great respect for the people willing to sit in front of the entire congregation and teach children for 5-10 minutes. It’s not easy! That proved especially true on this particular morning.
The decision had been made to have the children’s feature match the sermon series. The first sermon in this particular series was about Saul and his experience on the road to Damascus.

The children were called to the front and the feature began with a brief discussion about faith. Then the speaker read from Philippians 3: 4-10

“If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee;  as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.”

I was a little surprised when I heard him read this text. The majority of the kids at the front were preschoolers!

He did a pretty good job explaining that Saul was a Hebrew who knew God’s Law and followed it strictly. He was proud of his job of arresting Christians because he was convinced that he was right.

The speaker got into some trouble though with wording and explanations and ended up saying something about Jesus that wasn’t true.

I don’t think he meant to say it and I don’t think he believed it, but the truth is he said it. Kids listen and kids believe what we tell them. It is so important to make sure that we are speaking truth to them.

The speaker should have simply stated that Saul was a man who was proud of the fact that he knew about God and about God’s rules. He was convinced that he was right and Christians were wrong. He did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God.

No matter what situation you are in, teaching a small class of children or leading the children’s feature in front of the whole church, be prepared. If you are teaching a difficult concept or passage, plan ahead of time how you will explain it.

It is so important to be prepared. Kids are listening and absorbing what we tell them. Kids will also ask questions – sometimes unexpected questions. This can distract teachers and throw them off.

Take the time to prepare. Make sure you understand fully what you are going to teach.
Remember, we are teaching children the truth of God’s Word. We need to get it right!

Teacher Training – Understanding Biblical Doctrine

childrens ministry: teaching biblical doctrine

Redemption, Sanctification, Atonement, Forgiveness, Sin, Justification – These are big words that a lot of adults have difficulty understanding. I believe that it is important to teach our children these truths. In order to teach them, we must first understand them ourselves.

“It takes as much or more understanding of a biblical doctrine to teach it to children than it does to teach it do adults. If you understand a thing well, you can usually make it plain for ordinary people and children. But if you are fuzzy in your own understanding, you will generally be overly complex in your explanation.” (John Piper)

I have seen the truth of this statement in classrooms that I have observed. Teachers who don’t fully understand the concept they are teaching end up being overly complicated and lengthy in their explanations.

This is one of the reasons why teachers should be encouraged to prepare for their Sunday School lessons early in the week. Doing so gives them a chance to fully understand a concept they will be teaching on Sunday morning. It also gives them the opportunity to come up with and prepare for illustrations and activities that will help to explain the doctrine or concept.

There are resources available for teachers who are interested in learning about Biblical doctrine. Watch for adult Sunday school classes or Bible studies on this subject at your church. There are some good books also that help teach Biblical doctrine. Consider making a good systematic theology book available to your teachers. One book I highly recommend is called, “Big Truths for Young Hearts,” by Bruce Ware. This book was written by a theology professor. The purpose is to help adults teach children Biblical doctrine. I have used this book a lot – it is helpful first for understanding a concept and second for teaching it to children.

Teachers who have taken the time to fully understand Biblical doctrine will be able to teach it well to their students.