December 24, 2017 – Matthew 1
Lesson Date: December 24, 2017
Focal Scripture Passage: Matthew 1:1-6, 18-25
AIM: To lead students to recognize that Jesus Christ came into the world in response to man’s desperate need, and to encourage them to respond to God’s gracious plan of salvation.
Before class: Bring a simple manger scene and set it up at the front of the class. The manger scene does not have to be large or elaborate, but it must include the essential characters: Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus. Print the following verse references on small pieces of paper: John 1:12; Romans 5:12 and 18; Romans 10:9-13; and 1 Corinthians 15:21-22. Give the references to some class members who are willing to read aloud. Ask them to look up the verses and be prepared to read them to the class when called upon.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct everyone’s attention to the manger scene at the front of the class. Comment that the Christmas story is very familiar to most people. Ask: “What are the essential elements of the Christmas story? If someone who knows nothing about Christianity was to see the manger scene and ask you what it is, how would you answer?”
After some responses are offered, tell the class that our focus at Christmas is usually on the baby, His mother, the stable, the journey to Bethlehem, and even the wise men. These are the prominent events and characters of the Christmas story.
Tell the class that this morning’s lesson will cover many of those prominent events and characters, but our focus today is on the story behind the story. We will learn about man’s need, God’s plan to meet that need, and the proper response to God’s plan. Write the words “Need,” “Plan,” and “Response” on the marker board or chalkboard.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Remind the class that we are involved in a study of the New Testament books of 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus.
- Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (biblical qualifications for pastors and deacons).
- Tell the students today we are departing from our regular study for a special Christmas lesson from Matthew 1. Ask everyone to turn there.
- Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 1:1.
- Tell the class that the Old Testament is the story of Adam and his descendants (Gen. 5:1), while the New Testament is the story of Jesus Christ and those who follow Him as His children.
- Read Matthew 1:2-6.
- Tell the class that the first half of this chapter gives us Jesus’ family tree – His legal lineage through His earthly father, Joseph (see verse 16).
- Ask: “Who are some of the important people named in verses 2-6?” (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Boaz, Ruth, Jesse, and King David).
- Explain that Jesus was born of the royal line of King David, qualifying Him to be the promised Messiah.
- Comment that a lot of people are named in this genealogy, people whose lives covered many centuries.
- Ask: “What eventually happened to all of those people?” (they all died).
- Tell the students that next we will find out why they all died.
- Man’s Need.
- Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 1:18-21.
- Explain the meaning of espousal in ancient Jewish culture:
- Espousal was legally binding and required a legal divorce to break.
- Espoused couples did not live together or have any physical contact.
- Espousal usually lasted 9-18 months.
- Ask: “How did this young virgin girl become pregnant?” (through the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit).
- Explain Joseph’s predicament in verse 19: the Law said Mary could be publicly humiliated or even stoned to death for her apparent promiscuity, but Joseph did not want to hurt her.
- Ask: “What changed Joseph’s mind?” (an angel appeared to him and told him to take Mary as his wife).
- Ask: “According to verse 21, why was Jesus coming into the world?” (to save His people from their sins).
- Tell the class that ever since Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, all human beings have been born with a sin problem.
- Ask the previously enlisted volunteers to read Romans 5:12, 18 and 1 Corinthians 15:21-22.
- Stress the fact that through Adam’s sin death entered the human race. All of the people listed in Matthew 1:2-15 died because they (and we) were born under the curse of death. Death is the result of sin.
- Direct the class’ attention to the word “Need” on the board. Tell them Jesus Christ came into the world because mankind has a desperate need – salvation from their sins.
- God’s Plan.
- Direct the class’ attention to the word “Plan” on the board. Tell them that man has a terrible need but God has a wonderful plan to meet that need.
- Read Matthew 1:21-23.
- Ask the previously enlisted volunteers to again read Romans 5:12, 18 and 1 Corinthians 15:21-22.
- Ask: “What did God do to meet man’s desperate need for salvation?” (sent Jesus Christ into the world to pay the price for our sins).
- Direct the class’ attention to the manger scene. Tell them at Christmas we celebrate the fact that Almighty God chose to send His sinless Son into the world to take our place and pay for our sins.
- Ask everyone to look back at Matthew 1:22-23.
- Ask: “Was Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem an afterthought?” (no).
- Ask: “How do we know God had a plan to meet man’s need?” (He prophesied the birth of Jesus Christ hundreds of years before it occurred).
- Note that the Old Testament prophesied the virgin birth of Jesus Christ and the New Testament tells us it took place just as God planned.
- Stress the fact that if Jesus Christ was not born of a virgin mother then He could not have been God’s Son and His blood could not save anyone from their sins. The virgin birth is a very important doctrine.
- Direct the class’ attention back to the board. Remind them that man has a desperate “Need” for salvation, so God made and carried out a “Plan” to save us.
- Man’s Response.
- Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 1:24-25.
- Tell the class that Joseph was in a predicament:
- His bride-to-be, with whom he had never had sex, was pregnant.
- He was planning to divorce her (“put her away”), but an angel appeared to him with a message from God.
- The angel told Joseph something even more unbelievable than the fact that his virgin bride-to-be was pregnant – the baby she was carrying was the Son of God and Savior of the world.
- Ask: “What did Joseph do? How did he respond to the angel’s instructions?” (he believed and he obeyed).
- Tell the class Joseph did exactly what the Lord told him to do – he took Mary as his wife and named the baby Jesus.
- Direct the class’ attention to the word “Response” on the board.
- Ask: “What was Joseph’s response to God’s instructions?” (he obeyed).
- Tell the class God has given us some instructions, too.
- Ask the previously enlisted volunteer to read Romans 10:9-13.
- Direct the class’ attention back to the board. Remind them that man has a “Need” for salvation and God made a “Plan” to save us.
- Ask: “What should our response be to God’s provision of Jesus Christ as our Savior?” (we should believe in our heart, confess with our mouth, and call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation).
- This is the proper “Response” to God’s “Plan” to meet our “Need.”
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Ask the previously enlisted volunteer to read John 1:12. Ask: “According to this verse, how many people can become children of God?” (everyone who receives Jesus Christ as Savior). Ask: “What is required to receive Christ?” (believe in Him).
Direct the class’ attention once again to the words on the board. Tell them man has a “Need” and God has a “Plan,” but the important question right now is this: “Have you Responded to God’s plan of salvation by believing and trusting Jesus Christ?”
Tell the students if any of them have never received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord you urge them to do so right now. Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Ask any who have never trusted Jesus Christ for salvation to call out to Him in prayer right now, confessing their sin and placing their trust in Him. Wait a moment and then voice a closing prayer.
CONCLUSION: Tell the class if any of them trusted Jesus Christ for salvation just now they need to make that commitment public right away. Offer to go down the aisle with them during this morning’s invitation. Direct the class’ attention back to the manger scene. Tell them when they see a manger scene this week to remember that it represents God’s “Plan” to meet man’s greatest “Need.”
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