Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Genesis 2 Youth Sunday School

Refer to my Most Effective Way to Teach a Youth Bible Study

Discussion Points:

- The 7th Day or the 7th and 1st Day? - Did you know that the ancient Jewish people only had a one-day weekend instead of two? How would you like that - going to work or going to school six days a week?

That's what the Jewish people did. The Hebrew Sabbath, or weekend, was only one day, Saturday. It wasn't until Christ rose on the first day of the week, Sunday, that Christians began observing a two-day Sabbath, or weekend.

In Genesis 2, God blessed us with a one-day weekend to give us a rest for our physical, mental, and emotional health. We need to take a break from the rest of what we were doing that week and refresh ourselves.

With Christ's resurrection, it then became appropriate for us to celebrate the Lord's resurrection on Sunday, the day of the week that He rose from the dead. Taking a break on Saturday is for our physical, mental, and emotional health. Sunday is for our spiritual health.

And Sunday should be a celebration. Every week, we're celebrating what Christ did for us when He defeated death on our behalf. Don't skip that.

And don't miss out on the benefits of the weekend in general. If you're like me, you tend to want to keep busy and keep accomplishing things whether it be for work or school or just things you need to get done around the house. But know that God has given us the weekend, and commanded us to observe the weekend, because He cares for us. He cares for us as whole persons - our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual heath - and has given us set times to renew and refresh each of those aspects of our being. That's what the weekend is for. God has ordered us to keep it holy for our own good.

- The Breath of Life - In the first chapter of Genesis, we see God forming the earth itself, the land and sea, the plants and animals, and then briefly the first human beings. Then, in Genesis 2, we focus a little more intently and get a more detailed picture of how God created Adam and Eve.

God didn't just speak Adam into existence like He did with the rest of the plants and animals. Instead, God personally formed Adam. He shaped the soil of the ground perfectly to form just what He wanted and then He took that form of a man and breathed His own breath into it.

God didn't do that with any of the things He made during creation. This shows how special mankind is to God - that He would personally form Adam and breathe God's breath into Adam's lungs.

It reminds us of Jesus breathing on the disciples and telling them to "receive the Holy Spirit" in John 20:22. Talk about God personally forming someone. God spent a moment forming Adam, but Jesus spent three years personally forming these disciples into what He wanted them to be. And then He did the same thing God with Adam. He breathed His own breath onto them and gave them gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Hebrew and Greek words for breath also mean spirit. When God breathed on Adam, He was giving Adam His own breath, His own Spirit. It's the same thing Jesus is doing with His disciples. He's literally breathing the Holy Spirit into them and giving them new life, just as God gave Adam life.

I wonder how long God has been personally forming you. How long has He been working with you and shaping you into that perfect creation that He wants you to be? Do you know that you can't have true life without Him breathing the Holy Spirit into you? Ask Him to breathe His life-giving Spirit into you anew today and give Him permission to shape you any way He wants to.

- "It is Not Good for the Man to Be Alone" - In Genesis 2, after God made Adam and got him started on his work, God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone?" What does that mean - "not good to be alone"? And was Adam alone? He had God. He had the animals. Adam wasn't alone!

Except in the sense that he had no equal. God was above him, the animals were below him; he had no one beside him.

Until God put Adam to sleep and made "a suitable helper" for Adam out of a rib in his side. Now, it's important to note that Eve was made out of a part of Adam's side because that shows that she was Adam's equal. She wasn't made from a part of Adam's head, which would symbolize that she was above Adam in status like God was above Adam. She wasn't made from a part of Adam's foot, which would symbolize she was lower in status than Adam like the animals were lower than Adam. She was made from a part of Adam's side, symbolizing that she could stand side by side with Adam as his suitable helper.

Now, even though Eve was taken from a part of the man, she wasn't a man. She was a woman. She was like the man, but different. And I think it is this different but equal status that she held with the man that made Eve an even more suitable companion than if she would have been just another man.

Men and women are very different. Maybe you've noticed that. We have a lot of similarities; we're far from being polar opposites as some people seem to think, but we also have a lot of differences.

In general, a man has different personality traits, strengths, and weaknesses than a woman's general personality traits, strengths, and weaknesses. This difference is what helps us to complement each other and work so well together. We can balance each others' perspective; we can cover for each others' weaknesses with our complementary strengths.

It wasn't good for Adam to be alone because he needed an equal but different companion to be a suitable helper for him.

How has God blessed you with an equal but different companion? How can you work better with that person to more fully complement each others' differences? If you haven't found that person yet, what are some qualities that would be different but complementary to your own qualities in another person? What type of person do you feel would balance and complement your personal strengths the best?

- Adam Names the Animals - One of the most interesting things in Scripture is who named the animals. God thought them up, God spoke them into existence and created them, but it is Adam who names them. Just imagine that for a second. God created all of these wonderful, various creatures, and then it sounds like He lines them up in front of Adam and asks Adam what he would like to call each one.

I get the image in my head of God almost in a childlike state of excitement presenting His creations to Adam as a gift and waiting to see what Adam will think of each one.

It's such an amazing thought to think of the gift that God has given us with the creation of this world. We talk about how the world is going downhill and about how much better it will be in Heaven or when Christ returns. and I agree. But it wasn't like that in the beginning. In the beginning, the world was very good. It was God's masterpiece, and He gave it to us. That shows us how much God thinks of us - that He would give us such an amazing gift.

Sometimes you hear about men promising their girl the moon. No one can give someone else the moon, but God did give us the world. 

Of, course, the gift came with responsibility. Earlier in the chapter, God sets Adam in the Garden of Eden "to work it and take care of it." Here, he presents the animals to Adam and Adam names them. Now, when you name something, you're showing that it has some sort of significance to you. When you give someone a nickname, you're doing so to show that that person is special to you in some way. Even if you're teasing someone and you give them a not very nice nickname, that still shows that the person is significant to you. They're special enough to you - in some way - for you to want to take the time to name them.

When Adam names the animals, they become significant to him. He cares for them and has some responsibility to take care of them.

As you go through your day today, I encourage you to thank God for this amazing gift of the world that He's given to you, and think about the responsibility you personally have to take care of it.

- One Flesh - In Genesis 2, it says that when a man and woman get married, they become one flesh. In 1st Corinthians 6:16, it says that when a man has sex with a prostitute, he becomes one with her in flesh. Well, what does that mean? What does it mean to become one flesh with someone?

First, let's think about this very literally. What does a man do with his wife that he can also do with a prostitute? Have sex, right? When a man and a woman have sex, whether they're legally married or not, a part of the man's body enters the woman's body. They're joined. He is inside her. They are one flesh for as long as penetration lasts.

When Paul tells us not to become one flesh with prostitutes, he's telling us not to defile our bodies because our bodies, being inhabited by God's Holy Spirit, being members of Christ's Body as part of the body of believers, are holy themselves.

So we need to exercise discretion. We only want our bodies to be one in flesh with someone who is also a member of Christ's body, who is also holy themselves. That's part of why Paul tells us not to be unequally yoked as well. As holy beings, even in body - not just in spirit - we need to be joining ourselves to, or becoming one flesh, only with a partner who is also holy. God has created us as whole beings - spirit, mind, and body - and He cares about whole being, not just our spirits. God is very concerned with how we treat, and what we do with, our bodies.

It's important to remember that Adam and Eve felt no shame being naked with each other because they were both holy. When we should feel shame is when are naked with someone who is not holy. And part of this being holy/not being holy is not just the idea of uniting yourself to other Christians in sex, but uniting yourself in the way that God has commanded us to. That means following the example of Adam and Eve in this first part of Genesis - one man and one woman being solely committed to each other.

That is the model that God has given us for marriage and for sex, and it's what Paul and the rest of Scripture warns us to maintain.

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