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Lesson 1: Created for Community *

Introduction: Did God create us to worship Him or to help others? If the answer is "both," what does God expect of us in our dealings with others? Our lesson this week is entitled "Created for Community" and we start out with our most immediate "community" - the family. Let's jump into our study!

  1. Family Relationships

    1. Read Genesis 2:15-17. We see in the Genesis record God's first dealings with humans. In these verses, what do you conclude God has in mind for humans? (That they live productive lives and that they obey God.)

    2. Read Genesis 2:18. Why is it "not good" for man to be alone? (The second part of the verse teaches us that having a "helper" reflects God's view of the best human relationship.)

      1. What kind of "help" is this "helper" to provide? (Go back to the original assignment to humans: Live productive lives and obey God.)

    3. Read Genesis 2:19-20. Was Adam looking for a helper among the animals? (The text certainly reads that way.)

      1. When the Bible says "no suitable helper was found" what does that mean? (The New Bible Commentary says "suitable helper" would be better translated "helper matching him." Eve would supply what Adam lacked. It was only a woman who fully satisfied the job description.)

        1. Did God have "minimum specifications" for Adam's helper? (That is the reasonable conclusion to be drawn. God was looking for the right "match." Someone "suitable.")

        2. How should young people today judge whether a potential future mate is "suitable" and the "right match?"

    4. Read Genesis 2:21-23. If you read Genesis 1 you see that God created just about everything by simply speaking. Why is God fooling around with a rib when creating Eve? He must have had some lesson in mind for us, what is it?

      1. In what way is woman a suitable helper to man? Consider Adam's description of Eve in verse 23. (Adam says that she is suitable because she was part of me. I think he is saying that she is like me, she is the same thing that I am, she is compatible with me. That she was made of Adam's rib signifies an equality in creation. I think that was God's message. She is quite unlike one of the animals.)

    5. Read Genesis 2:24. This text says "for this reason" man and wife will become "one flesh." What reason does the text refer to? (The reason goes back to God's creative act of making woman out of a part of Adam's body.)

    6. How do a man and woman become "one flesh" today? (There are many aspects to the "one flesh" concept, but at the most fundamental level it refers to reproduction: the creation of new life out of the bodies of the parents. Adam and Eve were originally "one flesh" and they again become "one flesh" in procreation. Compare Genesis 1:28.)

    7. There is a huge debate in the United States that was brought to center stage by a ruling of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. It ruled that homosexuals have a constitutional right to marry.(I have argued constitutional law issues many times before this very court in the past.) Regardless of what the Massachusetts court thinks of its state constitution, what do these texts suggest that God thinks of homosexuality as a "marriage unit?" (Homosexuality fails the "one flesh" concept in the most fundamental of ways - homosexuals cannot join together to create new life. Physiologically, they are not a "match.")

    8. Unlike many popular theories of man, God never asks us to turn off our brains or our eyes when evaluating His plan for humans. Facts are a "hard thing" for the theories of man, but not the designs of God. What have you observed is the common result of homosexual unions? (It is certainly not life. The male homosexual sex act especially exposes the body to the transmission of disease and death. The result is a world-wide plague that has spread even to heterosexuals who do not observe the "man ... united to his wife" design of God. Death is a far different result than the new life that results from a man and a woman becoming "one flesh." This fits the common pattern in the great controversy between good and evil. God creates the original, Satan creates a counterfeit. God's original brings life, Satan's counterfeit brings death.)

    9. The New Bible Commentary says that the word "united" in Genesis 2:24 literally means "sticks." What does this teach us about the marriage relationship? (That God intends married couples to stick together. Jesus makes this clear in Matthew 19:4-8.)

  2. Golden Relationships

    1. Read Matthew 7:9-11. What kind of relationship does a father normally have with his son? (The best. Fathers care more about their sons than they do about other children. Mothers care more about their daughters than they do about other children. Parents care most about their own kids.)

      1. Have you ever worried that God does not have your best interests in mind? Is so, what do these texts teach you? (You can trust your heavenly father to at least("how much more") treat you the same way that a loving earthly father would treat you. If you are a father or mother, you have a better understanding of what God is trying to teach us about His love and care for us.)

      2. What kind of gifts does God give us? (Good gifts.)

        1. What does this teach us about having all of our prayers answered? (Parents know that their children often ask for things that are not "good gifts." This is a test God uses in answering our requests.)

    1. Read Matthew 7:12. "So in everything" suggests that verses 9-11 have something to do with verse 12. Do they? If you say "yes," what do they have to do with verse 12? (The kindness and love of our Father in Heaven should drive our relationships with those around us. We should show kindness and love to others.)

      1. What standard should we apply to our behavior? (Ask how you would like the other person to treat you, then treat them that way. This is the classic "Golden Rule" - do to others as you would have them do to you.)

        1. Does that mean we always give others what they want from us? (The "good gift" rule still applies.)

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 10:23-29. What could be "permissible" but not "beneficial?" ( Romans 14:1-2. teaches us that there are "disputable" matters in the Bible. One believer thinks the matter is sin and another does not.)

      1. What was the disputed matter in 1 Corinthians 10? (If you look at this chapter you will see that Paul says believers should not participate in sacrifices to idols. The question is, when does eating the meat offered to idols stop being idol worship? Paul explains that as far as he is concerned, when it hits the meat market it is "okay" unless it has a big "meat offered to idols" sign on it.)

      2. Would God give us two standards for behavior?

      3. Compare 1 Corinthians 10:27-29 with Romans 14:14-15. What standard is applied here? (The "unified" standard is love to others. These texts say that when we are around those who do not share our values we should avoid doing what distresses others.)

      4. Is acting differently depending on who is around hypocrisy or love? ( Romans 14:1-15 and 1 Corinthians 10:27-29 teach this is love.)

        1. Why should the standards of the weak (or the "strict" or the "legalists") limit us?

        2. What if the "weak" are obnoxious about their standards?

      5. Let's discuss the actual application of this. Many years ago wearing a wedding ring was a disputed matter in my church. I thought it was a moral obligation and others thought it was a sin. A church member came to me and (presumably on behalf of the church) asked me not to wear my ring to church board meetings. What should I have done? Should I have said (referring to the first part of this lesson) "Marriage is important, and the ring is an important symbol showing I believe in marriage?" (I stopped wearing the ring to church board meetings. God is looking for harmony on "disputable matters.")

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 13:3-7. How does your life compare to this standard?

    4. Friend, God has a standard for our marriage and our relationships with others. Are you meeting God's goals for your relationships with others?

  1. Next week: "Honor Your Father and Mother." (Tell your children to tune in!)
* Copr. 2004, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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