November 1, 2020 – Genesis 14 – 15

Lesson Date: November 1, 2020

Focal Scripture Passage: Genesis 14:14-20; 15:1-8

AIM: To lead students to realize that people are justified (made right with God) by faith apart from any good works they might do, and to ask any who have never placed their faith in Christ alone for salvation to do so today.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Genesis 14 – 15 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. If possible, locate a simple balance scale and bring it to class. If you cannot locate a real scale, bring a picture of one. Write the following question on the marker board or chalkboard: “How Can a Person Be Right With God and Go To Heaven When He or She Dies?

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Ask a volunteer to read aloud the question written on the board. Tell the students that people have wrestled with that question since the dawn of mankind. There are many, many different opinions about the answer to that question. Ask: “What are some ways you have heard people answer that question?”

After a few answers are given, hold up the balance scale (or picture). Tell the class the most popular opinion in America today is that God has a big set of scales at the door to heaven. When you die God places all your bad works on one side and all your good works on the other. If your good works outweigh your bad works then you go to heaven, but if the bad outweighs the good then you go to hell. People who believe this think they get right with God by doing good works. Ask: “Have you ever heard anyone say they hoped to go to heaven because they were a good person and did good works?”

Tell the students the Bible makes it clear that no one is going to heaven because of his or her good works. In this lesson we will discover why Abram was judged by God to be righteous, and learn how we can be right with God, too.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Remind the students that we are studying the book of Genesis.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (God’s call and promises to Abram).
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (Gen. 12:2-3).
    • Remind the students that in chapter 13 Abram and his nephew Lot separated because there wasn’t sufficient land for all their flocks and herds.
    • Ask: “Where did Lot go?” (to Sodom; locate on the Map of Canaan).
  2. Abram Rescued Lot.
    • Tell the class in chapter 14 we learn that a confederacy of four eastern kings (locate Shinar and Elam on the Map of the Ancient World) came and plundered Sodom and the other cities south of the Dead Sea. They took the people – including Lot – away as captives (slaves).
    • Read Genesis 14:14-17.
    • Ask: “What did Abram do?” (armed all his trained servants and went after the foreign kings).
    • He pursued them all the way to Syria (locate on the Map of Canaan).
    • Ask: “What was the outcome of the battle?” (Abram defeated the eastern kings and brought back all the people and plunder they had stolen).
    • The kings of Sodom and the other cities went out to meet, congratulate, and thank Abram for recovering their people and goods.
    • Summarize: Abram rescued his nephew Lot and the others taken captive by the eastern kings. He returned all the people and plunder to their cities.
  3. Melchizedek Blessed Abram.
    • Read Genesis 14:18.
    • Ask: “Who else went out to meet Abram?” (Melchizedek, the king of Salem).
    • Tell the class Salem was an ancient name for Jerusalem (locate on the Map of Canaan).
    • Explain the following:
      • Melchizedek was the king of Jerusalem and he was also the priest of the most high God.
      • In addition to this passage, he is mentioned in Psalm 110:4; and Hebrews 5:10; 6:20; 7:1-21.
      • Based on these references we believe that Melchizedek was actually a pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 14:19-20.
    • Ask: “What did Melchizedek say to Abram?” (he blessed Abram and praised God).
    • Ask: “What did Abram do in return?” (he gave tithes to Melchizedek).
    • Explain the following:
      • The word tithe simply means a tenth.
      • Abram gave a tenth of all he had to the Lord.
      • This is the first mention of tithing in the Bible.
      • This incident establishes the validity of tithing, long before God gave the Law to Moses.
    • Tell the class the king of Sodom tried to give Abram a financial reward for rescuing his people and possessions, but Abram refused to accept it.
    • Summarize: Melchizedek, the mysterious king of Salam and priest of the most high God, blessed Abram. Abram gave Melchizedek tithes of all he had.
  4. Abram’s Faith was Counted for Righteousness.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 15:1.
    • Ask: “What came to Abram in a vision?” (the Word of the Lord).
    • Ask: “What did God say to Abram?” (“I am your shield and your exceeding great reward”).
    • Tell the class that Abram had just won a great military victory over a superior force, but God said He was Abram’s protective shield. Abram had just refused a great financial reward, but God said He was Abram’s reward.
    • Read Genesis 15:2-3.
    • Explain the following:
      • God had promised to make Abram’s descendants as numerous as the dust of the earth (Gen. 13:16), but Abram still did not have a child.
      • He was more than 80 years old and still childless!
      • If he had no child his trusted servant Eliezer of Damascus would inherit all he had.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 15:4-6.
    • Ask: “What did God tell Abram in verse 4?” (Eliezer would not be his heir; Abram’s own natural-born child would be).
    • Ask: “What did God tell Abram in verse 5?” (his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the heavens).
    • Ask: “How did Abram respond to God’s promises?” (he believed God).
    • Ask: “What did God do about Abraham’s faith?” (He counted it as righteousness).
    • Explain the following:
      • The word counted is a banking term that is used when a sum of money is deposited to an account.
      • When you deposit $100.00 into your account, the bank “counts” that money as being in your account.
      • In reality, that money is still in the bank teller’s drawer.
      • Your account at the bank is not an envelope or a box containing a certain amount of money; it is a line on a chart of accounts.
      • The money is not physically “in” your account, but since the bank considers it to be they allow you to spend money out of your account.
    • Stress that Abram was not declared to be righteous based on his works or behavior, but solely because of his faith in God.
    • Tell the students that this important verse is quoted in Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6; and James 2:23.
    • Faith is the only way anyone can be declared by God to be righteous.
    • Summarize: God made a promise to Abram, which Abram believed. His belief (faith) was the sole reason God counted Abram as righteous (right with God).
  5. God’s Covenant with Abram.
    • Read Genesis 15:7-8.
    • Ask: “What did God tell Abram?” (He reminded Abram that He had brought him out of his homeland, and He promised that Abram would inherit the land in which he now lived – Canaan).
    • Ask: “What did Abram ask?” (“How can I know I will inherit the land?”).
    • Explain the following:
      • In verses 9-17 God used a custom with which Abram was familiar to teach him an important lesson.
      • In ancient times when two persons wanted to make a covenant or contract with one another they would kill some animals, cut them in half, and then walk together between the pieces (thus they were “cutting” a deal”).
      • God caused Abram to fall asleep.
      • While Abram slept God (in the form of fire and smoke) passed between the pieces; Abram did not walk between he pieces.
      • God made a one-sided covenant with Abram; He made all the promises and required nothing from Abram.
      • God also foretold Israel’s captivity in Egypt and their return to the Promised Land.
    • Summarize: God made a covenant with Abram, promising that his descendants would inherit the land of Canaan.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the students that Abram believed God’s promises and therefore he was saved by faith. The same is true today: we must still come to God by faith. In fact, Hebrews 11:6 says: “without faith it is impossible to please Him.”

Explain that when Abram believed God, the Lord gave him righteousness as a free gift. Abram’s faith was counted to him as righteousness. In the same way, when we believe in and trust Jesus Christ for salvation He gives us His righteousness. The Bible says it this way: “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).

Hold up the balance scales (or picture) again. Tell the class there are no scales at the door of heaven. People either get in based upon their faith in Jesus Christ or they don’t get in at all. In John 14:6 Jesus said it this way: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Read aloud the question written on the board. Ask: “If someone asked you that question, how would you answer?” Tell the students the only way to be right with God and go to heaven when we die is to place our faith in Jesus Christ.

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Ask: “If you’ve never trusted in Christ alone for salvation, would you like to? If so, please repent of your sins and place your faith in Jesus Christ right now.” Voice a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Genesis 15:6. Tell them to remember that they are not right with God because they have done good works, but only because of faith in Jesus Christ. Ask them to thank God for their salvation every day, and to look for opportunities to tell others how they can come to Jesus Christ by faith.

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