Course Spotlight: Render to Caesar!

Matthew 22:21 states: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” How is this Scripture applied today, and how does God want our attitude to be towards those who are placed in positions of authority?

Course Spotlight From The Life, Teachings, and Ministry of Jesus Christ: (Unit 3) The Judean Ministry

Forum Summary: An Unshakeable Core

Author: Juliette McNair | Student, Living Education Charlotte 2020


“What if everything changed instantly?”

Mr. Phil Sena, pastor of several congregations in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio, presented the students with this question at the beginning of his forum. He explained that at some point, our lives will become drastically more difficult than they are now. “You may not want to live through the “beginning of sorrows,” but you cannot change the times in which you live. You can control your response.” 

Esther was a young woman thrust into a situation entirely out of her control.

Yet, she rose to Mordecai’s challenge. “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place” (Esther 4:14). She didn’t run. Esther became “one who influences positively,”—Mr. Sena’s definition of a good leader. After seeking the people’s and God’s support, she made her choice: “I will go to the king… If I perish, I perish!” (v. 16)

Mr. Sena stated that a leader’s ability comes from “an unshakeable core.”

We build our core by making decisions. God used Esther to do His Work—to deliver His people. “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (4:14) Mr. Sena explained that a young person’s example has far-reaching implications. “You represent the Kingdom.”  

We don’t have control over the times in which we live, but we can control our response. Mr. Sena inspired us to learn from the story of Esther: accept the challenge, become a leader, do God’s Work. 


This post is part of our new series of student-written content for LivingEd-Charlotte. These summaries cover topics originally presented by our faculty and guest speakers in our weekly Forum and Assembly. For more Assembly-related content check out our Second Thoughts posts.

Digging Deeper: Ye Are My Witnesses

Author: Mr. Kenneth Frank | Faculty in Theology, Living Education


Est. reading time: 7 min. 48 sec.

Did you know that God appointed the nation of Israel to be His witnesses to all other nations?

Of all the nations around the globe, God chose a slave people in Egypt, set them free by a series of miracles, guided them on a perilous journey through the Sinai wilderness, and delivered them to the Promised Land. They were a privileged but obligated people. With privilege comes responsibility. This Digging Deeper explores Israel’s God-appointed task to represent Him to the world. We will learn that even though they failed in that task, God did not abandon them and will yet employ them as His witnesses in the future. Additionally, there is a lesson for Christian witness today.

Our central passage for this study is: “Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God (Isaiah 43:10-12 KJV)”. Another companion verse is: “Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any (Isaiah 44:8 KJV).”

Witnesses in the future

These verses are part of the second major section of the Book of Isaiah. Is it merely coincidence (or design?) that this book has 66 chapters, corresponding to the 66 books of our English Bible. Another parallel is that chapters 1-39 equal the number of Old Testament books (39) and chapters 40-66 equal the number of New Testament books (27). Even the themes of each section parallel those of the corresponding testament. The Book of Isaiah is heavily Messianic, especially in the second section. Our three primary verses referring to Israel as God’s witnesses all come from this second section. This informs us that God still has a plan for Israel to represent Him in the Millennium and beyond.

The scene portrayed in Isaiah 43 is a courtroom in which God challenges the nations to gather and present their gods to compete with the Almighty in prophesying the future (Isaiah 43:9). Verses 10-12 then notify Israel that they are to witness to the truth about the one true God: there is no other. Webster’s 1913 Unabridged Dictionary defines a witness in law as: “One who testifies in a cause, or gives evidence before a judicial tribunal; as, the witness in court agreed in all essential facts” (e-Sword 12.1). God chose Israel for this holy task to testify that there is one God, that He is supreme, that He is good, that He can be trusted, that He has our best interests at heart, and that someday we may join Him in eternity.

The Ideal Example

The Dake Annotated Reference Bible presents four reasons God chose Israel as His witnesses:

  1. That you may know Me (Isaiah 43:10).
  2. That you may believe Me.
  3. That you may understand that I am He.
  4. That you may witness that I am God (Isaiah 43:12). (Bible Analyzer 5.4.1.22)

Israel will need to know God intellectually and relationally to teach other nations about Him. Jeremiah informs people how to know God: “And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart (Jeremiah 24:7 KJV).” This new heart requires faith and understanding to prepare witnesses to testify that the God described in Scripture is the only true God.

The Dake Annotated Reference Bible then describes eight things Israel was to bear witness to:

  1. That I am He (43:10; note b, 41:4).
  2. That before Me there was no God formed.
  3. That after Me there will be no God formed.
  4. That I am Jehovah (Isaiah 43:11).
  5. That beside Me there is no Savior.
  6. That I have declared former things which have already come to pass (Isaiah 43:12; 41:21-24; 41:26; 42:8-9; 43:9).
  7. That I have saved you (Isaiah 43:12).
  8. That I have showed you things when no strange god among you could reveal them to you. (Bible Analyzer 5.4.1.22)

Only when Israel is cured of its idolatry is it capable of witnessing to polytheistic nations that the many gods they serve are vain, fiendish, and non-existent in reality. In the world to come, all nations will serve only one God. Pagan worship will not be tolerated and all icons will be removed and destroyed. God will not share His worship with other deities. There is no other Savior.

A Witness for Repentance

Solomon’s dedicatory speech for the magnificent Temple declared that one reason for its existence (among others) was to attract the Gentile nations to repent of their idolatry and serve the Creator. Notice what he said: “Moreover concerning the stranger, which is not of thy people Israel, but is come from a far country for thy great name’s sake, and thy mighty hand, and thy stretched out arm; if they come and pray in this house; Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for; that all people of the earth may know thy name, and fear thee, as doth thy people Israel, and may know that this house which I have built is called by thy name (2 Chronicles 6:32-33 KJV).”

During Israel’s heyday, no doubt many Gentiles did take advantage of this golden opportunity to convert. For example, the Queen of Sheba visited Solomon to learn more about Israel’s faith. Regrettably, it was not long afterward that Solomon compromised with idolatry by accepting the gods of his foreign wives into his kingdom. This leaven eventually so corrupted the nation Israel that God was left with no choice but to punish His people because they rejected the prophets He sent for hundreds of years to call the nation to repent.

Witnesses Today

Ancient Israel failed in its responsibility to represent the Almighty (Amos 3:9-11; Jeremiah 2:9-13; 18:13). However, in the Millennium when it is cured of idolatry, it will finally fulfill its assigned duty. In the meantime, God’s church today has the same mission: to witness to the one true God and Savior. Numerous verses in our New Testament describe how the early church did just that: Luke 1:2; 24:48; Acts 1:22; 5:32; 10:39; 13:31; 1 Peter 5:1; 2 Peter 1:16. For example, notice what Paul wrote: “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him (1 Corinthians 8:5-6 KJV).

Joseph S. Excell in his The Preacher’s Complete Homiletical Commentary enumerates qualities required of Christians to witness to God today: “1. Knowledge. 2. Veracity. 3. Consistency. 4. Patience. 5. Boldness, firmness. (H. E. I. 3922–3976) (e-Sword 12.1).” Christians need to study Holy Scripture to understand the true God since He has revealed His mind through it. They need to be reliable witnesses who affirm that what the Bible says is correct. They need to live consistently holy lives that effectively declare the truth. Patience and endurance are required to present this consistent message over and over if need be. In a world of opposition, they will require boldness and firmness. Strong convictions will fortify Christians that despite the opposition they will continue to represent a Holy God. The New Testament records how God’s early church did just that against all odds.

The lesson for Christians today is that the world is watching us, examining whether we live consistently holy lives that represent our only Savior, creating an attractive alternative to the hopelessness and futility of the gods of other world religions. In this time of world history with increasing danger and chaos, people need truth and hope. God calls upon His church to present this saving message to unbelievers by challenging us with this mission: “Ye are my witnesses.”  


Ken Frank

Kenneth Frank was born and raised in New Jersey, USA and attended Ambassador College, graduating in 1973. He served in the Canadian ministry from 1973-1999, after which he returned to the USA to pastor churches in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina for 15 years. Having earned a BA degree from Ambassador College he later earned a MA degree from Grand Canyon University before being assigned to the Charlotte office to teach at Living University, now Living Education. Currently, he teaches the Survey of the Bible course to the on-campus students and writes the Digging Deeper column for our online Bible study program. He is married, has four children, and seven grandchildren.

Programa Bíblico para Niños – Nivel 3: Lección 8 ” Los dos árboles “

Pasaje Destacado: Génesis 2:8–9, 16–17, 21–23, 3:1–6; 1 Juan 2:16.


Dios creó al primer hombre y a la primera mujer: Adán y Eva. Los colocó en un hermoso jardín lleno de hermosas plantas y árboles. Dios también plantó en medio del jardín dos árboles que tenían un significado especial, y le dio a Adán instrucciones específicas sobre ellos. El primero, era el árbol de la vida y el segundo, el árbol del conocimiento del bien y del mal. Dios le dijo a Adán que podía comer del árbol de la vida, pero que no debía comer del árbol del conocimiento del bien y del mal porque el día que comiera de él, moriría. Las instrucciones sobre los árboles y las consecuencias de la desobediencia fueron claramente establecidas. Dios le dio a la humanidad libre albedrío para elegir, pero Él quiere que elijamos hacer lo que Él dice. Los dos árboles fueron utilizados para probar la obediencia de la humanidad a Dios.

Discusión:

  • Recuerde a sus hijos que estos eran árboles reales en un jardín real, aunque simbolizaban elegir el camino que conduce a la vida o el camino que conduce a la muerte.
  • Discuta las implicaciones del camino del “conocimiento del bien y del mal” ¿Cómo vemos que se manejan “el bien y el mal” en nuestra sociedad?
  • Examine la excusa de Eva para desobedecer a Dios. Tenga en cuenta cómo la lujuria de los ojos y el orgullo de la vida jugaron un papel en su decisión.
  • Dios a menudo prueba a su pueblo con situaciones difíciles. Pregunte a sus hijos por qué piensan que Dios hace esto. Asegúrese de enseñarles que la toma de decisiones construye el carácter.
  • Mediten sobre los dos árboles: Que siempre hay dos opciones, el camino de Dios y el camino errado. Note que ambos árboles se veían bien, pero solo uno era bueno.

Memorizar y revisar:

Deuteronomio 30:19–20 “A los cielos y a la tierra llamo por testigos hoy contra vosotros, que os he puesto delante la vida y la muerte, la bendición y la maldición; escoge, pues, la vida, para que vivas tú y tu descendencia; amando al Eterno tu Dios, atendiendo a su voz, y siguiéndole a él; porque él es vida para ti, y prolongación de tus días… “.


Programa Bíblico para Niños – Nivel 2: Lección 8 “Satanás engaña a Adán y Eva”

Pasaje Destacado: Génesis 2:16–17; 3:1–6, 13–19, 22–24


Adán y Eva estaban felices en el jardín que Dios había creado para ellos. Sus vidas eran bendecidas con alimento delicioso sano y nutritivo que Dios había designado para que ellos lo comieran. Estaban rodeados de belleza y tenían un trabajo importante y agradable cuidando del jardín y de los animales. En medio del jardín había dos árboles: el árbol de la vida y el árbol del conocimiento del bien y el mal. Dios le dijo a Adán que podían comer del árbol de la vida, mas no del árbol del conocimiento del bien y el mal. Pero Andan y Eva se dejaron convencer de Satanás y desobedecieron a Dios comiendo del fruto del árbol del conocimiento del bien y del mal, por lo que Dios los obligó a abandonar el jardín.

Discusión:

  • Explique a sus hijos que Satanás, cuyo nombre significa adversario, era un ángel que se volvió malvado y se rebeló contra Dios. Es llamado “serpiente” varias veces en la Biblia.
  • Señale que Satanás engañó a Eva. Explica lo que significa engañar.
  • Pregunte a sus hijos cómo se sintieron Adán y Eva después de haber desobedecido a Dios.
  • Muestre cómo las vidas de Adán y Eva fueron peores después de desobedecer a Dios.
  • Discuta cómo la obediencia lleva a bendiciones y la desobediencia a maldiciones.

Memorizar y revisar:

Génesis 1:27 “Y creó Dios al hombre a su imagen, a imagen de Dios lo creó; varón y hembra los creó”.

¡Más que hacer!

Estas actividades son opcionales, pero algunos niños pueden encontrarlas agradables.

  • Hagan un dibujo del Jardín del Edén y hablen sobre los elementos del dibujo.
  • Juegue con sus hijos al juego de “Verdadero o Falso”. Haga una declaración sobre algún punto cubierto en la lección y pregúnteles si es verdadero o falso.

Algunos ejemplos son:

  • Verdadero o Falso: Los seres humanos son primos lejanos de los simios.
  • Verdadero o Falso: Solo un hombre y una mujer pueden formar una familia.
  • Verdadero o Falso: Hombres y mujeres son iguales; su género no importa.
  • Verdadero o Falso: Dios hizo a la mujer a partir del hombre.

Programa Bíblico para Niños – Nivel 1: Lección 8 “Satanás engaña a Adán y Eva”

Pasaje Destacado: Génesis 2:16–17; 3:1–6, 13–19, 22–24


 Adán y Eva estaban felices en el jardín que Dios había creado para ellos. Sus vidas eran bendecidas con alimento delicioso sano y nutritivo que Dios había designado para que ellos lo comieran. Estaban rodeados de belleza y tenían un trabajo importante y agradable cuidando del jardín y de los animales. En medio del jardín había dos árboles: el árbol de la vida y el árbol del conocimiento del bien y el mal. Dios le dijo a Adán que podían comer del árbol de la vida, mas no del árbol del conocimiento del bien y el mal. Pero Andan y Eva se dejaron convencer de Satanás y desobedecieron a Dios comiendo del fruto del árbol del conocimiento del bien y del mal, por lo que Dios los obligó a abandonar el jardín.

Discusión:

  • Explique a sus hijos que Satanás, cuyo nombre significa adversario, era un ángel que se volvió malvado y se rebeló contra Dios. Es llamado “serpiente” varias veces en la Biblia.
  • Señale que Satanás engañó a Eva. Explica lo que significa engañar.
  • Pregunte a sus hijos cómo se sintieron Adán y Eva después de haber desobedecido a Dios.
  • Muestre cómo las vidas de Adán y Eva fueron peores después de desobedecer a Dios.
  • Discuta cómo la obediencia lleva a bendiciones y la desobediencia a maldiciones.

Memorizar y revisar:

Génesis 1:27 “Y creó Dios al hombre a su imagen, a imagen de Dios lo creó; varón y hembra los creó”.

¡Más que hacer!

Estas actividades son opcionales, pero algunos niños pueden encontrarlas agradables.

  • Hagan un dibujo del Jardín del Edén y hablen sobre los elementos del dibujo.
  • Juegue con sus hijos al juego de “Verdadero o Falso”. Haga una declaración sobre algún punto cubierto en la lección y pregúnteles si es verdadero o falso.

Algunos ejemplos son:

  • Verdadero o Falso: Los seres humanos son primos lejanos de los simios.
  • Verdadero o Falso: Solo un hombre y una mujer pueden formar una familia.
  • Verdadero o Falso: Hombres y mujeres son iguales; su género no importa.
  • Verdadero o Falso: Dios hizo a la mujer a partir del hombre.

Living Education Weekly — October 22, 2020

Every week, we send out an email newsletter highlighting the latest Living Education posts.

Forum Summary: “Dating, Courting, Attraction, and Engagement”

Author: Juliette McNair | Student, Living Education Charlotte 2020


Est. reading time: 1 min. 30 sec.

Mr. Paul Kearns, an area pastor in New Zealand, introduced himself by relating to the students his experience as a Living University student at the regional Church office in Adelaide, Australia.

He said his experience was, “one of the greatest periods in my life.” With the LU motto of “Recapturing True Values” in mind, Mr. Kearns redefined dating, courtship, attraction, and engagement.  

Dating, Mr. Kearns explained, is not “a dirty word”…

but a “non-romantic opportunity to serve somebody of the opposite sex.” Through dating widely and avoiding pairing off, young men and women serve each other and learn.  

In today’s world, courtship is an old-fashioned, meaningless term.

Courting occurs when two people date exclusively towards engagement. This stage requires maturity to cope with the emotions that accompany it. Mr. Kearns shared a piece of advice he had received from Mr. Bruce Tyler, “The right thing at the wrong time is still the wrong thing.”  

Mr. Kearns asked, “Should there be attraction in dating?” 

Attraction, the force by which one object attracts another, is a physical pull in the world around us. For us, attraction should not be the motivator in dating; serving should be. In courtship, while attraction is good, there should be more that attracts us than looks. 

Mr. Kearns concluded with the term, engagement.

This stage should not be a “cooling off period” in which we re-evaluate the deal—it is a formal decision to marry and a stage of relationship God treats seriously.  

By redefining these terms, by God’s standards and not our society’s, Mr. Kearns hoped to help the students recapture true values in their relationships. 


This post is part of our new series of student-written content for LivingEd-Charlotte. These summaries cover topics originally presented by our faculty and guest speakers in our weekly Forum and Assembly. For more Assembly-related content check out our Second Thoughts posts.

Course Spotlight: Paul’s Travels

View our map on places that the Apostle Paul traveled to so he could preach the gospel, and click on the brown location symbols to learn more about each city!

Course Spotlight From Acts of the Apostles: (Unit 3) Paul’s Imprisonment

Assembly Summary: Living a Life of Creativity

Author: Juliette McNair | Student, Living Education Charlotte 2020


Est. reading time: 1 min. 17 sec.

“How much have you exercised creativity in your life?” Mr. Jonathan McNair asked in today’s assembly.

We watched a YouTube video of Ben Folds, singer-songwriter and record producer, build an orchestral piece in ten minutes inspired by a random sentence in a brochure. This is the ability of a single individual working with 120 musicians to create unified, harmonious sound out of practically nothing.  

Mr. McNair then took us to Genesis 1. The creativity of God uses elements of design, power, beauty, and sound mechanics. God constructed the systems of our world through His creative genius—from vast environments and specific ecosystems, to different animal species and their complex social behaviors. But as we saw in the Folds’ video, we have inside us this desire to create. 

“Have you asked God to help you develop your creativity? If you haven’t, you need to ask—not just for playing video games or entertainment but for a productive, creative skill God can leverage in your life in service to others and for your own good.” Mr. McNair said emphatically, “It doesn’t happen magically.”

He gave three principles to apply to develop this:  

  1. Use proven patterns 
  2. Get the little things right 
  3. Work in harmony with others.  

If we live a life of creativity, we exercise a quality of God Himself—a quality placed in us for the very purpose of creation. 


This post is part of our new series of student-written content for LivingEd-Charlotte. These summaries cover topics originally presented by our faculty and guest speakers in our weekly Forum and Assembly. For more Assembly-related content check out our Second Thoughts posts