Sunday School Lessons

Explore the Bible Lesson for November 18: With Submission

October 31 2018 by Anteneshia Sanders, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham

Focal Passage: James 4:6-17
 
Sometimes asking for help is one the hardest things we have to do. Admitting that we can’t handle something on our own is not easy. Admitting that we are not always strong on our own or not always capable can be a blow to our pride. This is the place, however, where submission to God begins.
 
Being able to confess our weakness and turn to God is humility. Humility opens the door for God to help us overcome the devil and resist temptation.
 
Satan is real, and he has a real agenda – to destroy us. Submission is the only way to victory.
 
God’s power is the only way we can resist the devil. Believers in Christ are called to live in this posture of humility. And as we seek to live lives of submission, we must show grace to others doing the same.
 
James warns us that judging another brother or sister is to put ourselves in the place of God. There is only one Judge … and we are not Him!
 
Submission to God also means we remember how finite we are. In our mundane day-to-day activities, God is still the one who oversees the outcome of our lives.
 
Therefore, we seek God’s guidance and remember to thank him, lest we become arrogant.
 
Learning to consider God’s sovereignty in every area of our lives is part of submission and humility.
 
We have a very real enemy who opposes our obedience and love for God. Knowing this, we act on the truth that we know from God’s Word. To not do so is willingly giving in to the devil’s schemes.
 
There is a day coming in which the Satan’s sway will be no more and our God will overturn every evil thing. While we await that day, however, we must continually come to God for help in overcoming the devil and his attempts to keep us from holiness.
 
By submitting to God, we rest in the eternal victory Christ secured for us by his life, death and resurrection!

10/31/2018 9:57:39 AM by Anteneshia Sanders, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for November 18: A Prayer of Confession

October 31 2018 by Tyler Frank, young adult pastor, Biltmore Church, Arden

Focal passage: Matthew 6:12-13; Psalm 51:1-7, 10-12
 
In this passage, Jesus continues to model prayer and moves to forgiveness. After renewing our hearts for God’s glory (v. 11) and the good of others, we then have the spiritual ability to forgive.
 
It has been said that forgiveness is an easy word to grasp, but a hard word to practice. Isn’t this true? However, like the ungrateful servant (Matthew 18:21-35), we must continually remind ourselves of God’s grace in spite of our sin.
 
A good example of this is in the life of David.
 
After committing sin, he writes Psalm 51 and pours out his heart to God.
 
The first thing he does is confess his sin and ask for forgiveness (vv. 1-7). There, we see his awareness of sin and he agrees with God about his mistakes (v. 4).
 
His sin has separated him from God and he longs to be brought back. By confession and asking for forgiveness, David longs to be welcomed into an intimate relationship with God. The second thing David does is seek restoration and renewal for his soul (vv. 10-12). He desires God’s presence in his life! This is what will keep David on the right path with God.
 
Like David, Jesus’ prayer to be protected from sin and temptation are the overflow of a life that desires to please God.
 
In both of these examples (The Lord’s Prayer and David), it becomes evident that they don’t just want God for His benefits, but simply want His manifest presence in their lives. They want God, not just His stuff. This must also be our hearts!
 
When we ask for forgiveness or an escape from temptation or sin, we must do so with correct motivation. A right relationship with our Creator must be our source of satisfaction.
 
When we repent and ask for forgiveness, we acknowledge God’s plan and seek His presence in our daily lives.

10/31/2018 9:57:16 AM by Tyler Frank, young adult pastor, Biltmore Church, Arden | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for November 11: With Control

October 31 2018 by Anteneshia Sanders, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham

Focal Passage: James 3:1-12
 
Have you ever gotten a paper cut? Or a tiny splinter of wood in your finger? Even the smallest speck of dust in your eye can cause a great amount of irritation and pain. Isn’t it peculiar how the smallest of causes can have the biggest effects? We wouldn’t think that something as small as our tongues could have detrimental effects, but God says otherwise.
 
James teaches us that mature believers in Christ are those who have learned to tame their tongue.
 
Like a small fire that can burn a whole forest, James says, so our tongues have the power to destroy. For those of us God calls to be teachers, taming the tongue comes with a warning that is even more stern.
 
Those who teach God’s Word will be held accountable for what they teach and are expected to teach truth.
 
While not all of us will be teachers, learning to control our speech is evidence of the Spirit’s transforming work in our hearts. We know our words can have an impact on those around us – whether positive or negative. Believers are to be careful in both our choice of words and their delivery because of the harm they could cause to others. James also highlights the contradiction of using our mouths for both praises and curses. The idea of praising God yet tearing down someone made in His image should be ridiculous to us. That would be like drawing fresh water from the ocean – impossible!
 
Evidence of growing in Christlikeness is to be able to control our speech. We are to be those who are gracious in our words toward others and sound in our teaching, using our tongues as instruments of praise. Taming our tongue looks like refraining from gossip and from foul language. It also looks like gracious speech toward others that encourages and builds up. The author of the text makes it clear that controlling what we say is no easy task. However, we have a God who is willing to help us. Ask Him for help today!

10/31/2018 9:52:59 AM by Anteneshia Sanders, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for November 11: Praying for Others

October 31 2018 by Tyler Frank, young adult pastor, Biltmore Church, Arden

Focal passage: Matthew 6:11b; John 17:11-23
 
“Sure, thank you for telling me. I will pray for you.”
 
How many times have we said this – including myself – and not actually done it? Though we may not practice it perfectly, we know the ministry of intercession through prayer can be powerful in people’s lives.
 
Charles Spurgeon said, “No man can do me a truer kindness in this world than to pray for me.” Prayers of intercession can thus be a way to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39).
 
As we’ve been studying prayer in the life of a disciple, we have learned to pray to God – to pray with power, and to pray about ourselves. Now, as we move to intercession, our hearts begin to respond to God and knit our hearts closer to those we pray for.
 
A great example of intercessory prayer is in John 17. Jesus prays for you and me (v. 20), clarifying that this, coupled with the Lord’s Prayer, should be a communal practice for all believers. Jesus prayed that His disciples would be “kept in your name” – an intercession of spiritual protection.
 
There are many obstacles to spiritual growth, so we must continually pray for protection (vv. 11-16). However, we must also pray for the spiritual growth of others (vv. 17-19).
 
Jesus prays for His disciples to be unified around the mission and to be sent into the harvest. I can verify personally, some of the best moments in ministry are watching God move others toward personal, spiritual growth. Lastly, we must pray for unity (vv. 20-23). This unity must be around the same mission and the same zeal for the glory of God!
 
Let’s keep praying! It is an honor to continually bring before Jesus people that we come in contact with, inside or outside of the church. Based on John 17, intercession becomes prayer to God for others’ physical and spiritual needs, for protection, and for God’s glory to show in their lives specifically.
 

10/31/2018 9:52:43 AM by Tyler Frank, young adult pastor, Biltmore Church, Arden | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for November 4: With Works

October 19 2018 by Anteneshia Sanders, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham

Focal Passage: James 2:14-26
 
If we stop and think about it, the relationship between faith and works is foundational to our everyday lives. Because you believe that your favorite chair is sturdy, you sit down in it to have your morning coffee.
 
You believe that the door you’re walking into will open, so you turn the knob and pull. Belief is always displayed by action.
 
Scripture tells us that our saving faith must be accompanied by works as well.
 
Now, we know that salvation is by faith alone, and we are not justified by works.
 
We rest in the finished work of Jesus to make us righteous before God. However, the natural response to receiving such a salvation is to act on our faith.
 
When we believe God is who He says He is, the natural response is obedience.
 
James tells us that merely saying we believe in God is not enough.
 
He warns that even the demons believe. The difference between real faith and a mere statement of belief is submission to God and obedience to Him.
 
Scripture reminds us of two of our spiritual ancestors whose faith was exhibited by their works. Abraham and Rahab both believed God in a way that caused them to risk everything to obey Him.
 
They did not just merely agree with God in their minds or with their words. They trusted God’s character and the response to their faith was action.
 
Saving faith is always demonstrated by works.
 
A profession of belief in God that is not accompanied by obedience to Him is an empty, dead faith. Genuine faith in God causes a godly person to act accordingly.
 
As a result of the great salvation we have been given by God in Christ, we are moved to action.
 
We seek to obey God and His Word, and we submit our lives to the Lordship of Jesus. Because God is exactly who He says He is, we put our faith in Him and demonstrate with our lives our love for Him!

10/19/2018 10:48:13 AM by Anteneshia Sanders, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for November 4: Praying for Ourselves

October 19 2018 by Tyler Frank, young adult pastor, Biltmore Church, Arden

Focal passage: Matthew 6:11b; Isaiah 38:1-6, 15-17
 
With the “Model Prayer,” Jesus profoundly redirects the focus of our prayers. If we are honest, we often start with our needs and how God can help us. Perhaps afterward, we make sure to focus on praise and thanksgiving.
 
To be sure, God loves to hear us and our requests! The image of the children coming to Jesus applies to all disciples. However, once we have focused on His glory and honor, we then are aligned with His will. God reveals both His purposes (6:9-10) and gives us provision (11-14).
 
A good example of this is the story of Hezekiah’s sickness and recovery in Isaiah 38. Surrounded by enemies, Hezekiah became sick unto death (v. 1). He appealed to God for help in his time of need. By God’s grace, he was healed.
 
Now, this isn’t a prescription for every physical ailment people have in this world. Rather, it is an encouraging example to give us hope when we ourselves pray. God does answer our prayers for His glory and our good.
 
By healing Hezekiah, God is glorified and Hezekiah was helped. With us, God seeks to hear from His followers and desires to meet our needs as well – conforming us to His image (Romans 8:28-29). With our minds and hearts aligned to God’s glory, reputation and Kingdom, we can then ask for our daily needs. Physical needs (bread), interpersonal needs (forgiveness) and spiritual needs (temptation) are all connected, and God knows what we need.
 
When we see Him as our Father, we can trust His motivation. Like Hezekiah, we can humbly appeal to God’s reputation and glory, knowing God will work in and through us according to His will. Prayer is simply talking with God.
 
As we converse with Him by his Spirit and His Word, we are changed to become like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18). We can pray for ourselves, because our lives are aligned with God.

10/19/2018 10:47:58 AM by Tyler Frank, young adult pastor, Biltmore Church, Arden | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for October 28: With Obedience

October 17 2018 by Anteneshia Sanders, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham

Focal Passage: James 1:19-27; 2:1-4
 
I loved to spend time looking in the mirror when I was growing up. One of my favorite things to do was dress up in my grandmother’s clothes, put on her jewelry and play in front of her mirror. I wanted to wear all the shiny and beautiful things she wore because I wanted my reflection to be just like hers.
 
Scripture calls us to take a careful look at our lives.
 
Are we reflecting the image of Christ in our words, deeds and attitudes toward others?
 
The grace we have been given in Christ requires a response from us.
 
Our faith must result in the setting aside of things that hinder us from being both hearers and doers of God’s Word.
 
As Christians, we are called to live out the truth of the gospel by ridding ourselves of anger and other things that are not of God.
 
Instead, we are to act on the things we learn from God’s Word.
 
James discusses several areas in our behavior toward others that exhibit a faithful response to the work of Christ in our lives. One of these ways is our speech. What we say is an indication of what is in our hearts.
 
James also points out that God has a heart for those who are needy and vulnerable.
 
Our actions toward them display either sincere faith in God or the lack of it.
 
Character traits of a believer in Christ include compassion, justice and care for the needy.
 
If our lives do not reflect growth in Christlikeness, it is safe to assume that we have become only hearers of God’s Word.
 
If we desire to be more like Jesus, we will act on what is revealed to us in scripture.
 
As we receive the implanted word (James 1:21) we begin to mirror God’s character in our lives.
 
We become those who are careful with our speech. We seek the fair treatment of others.
 
We become obedient followers of Jesus who care about what God cares about.

10/17/2018 8:33:51 AM by Anteneshia Sanders, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for October 28: A Prayer of Surrender

October 17 2018 by Tyler Frank, young adult pastor, Biltmore Church, Arden

Focal passage: Matthew 6:10-11a; James 4:6-10, 13-17
 
As we study the “Model Prayer,” it becomes clear that all of life must be shaped and formed by this pattern.
 
The first request – to cause God’s name to be honored in our lives – must be the foundation. But how will God’s name be honored in our lives?
 
Jesus says we must also pray His will be done in all things (v. 10).
 
When our will and desires are aligned with God, we give Him glory.
 
A particularly good example of this is in the book of James. In chapter 4, we see many verbs helping to further clarify what it means to bring our wills in alignment to God’s plans.
 
We are to “submit ourselves to God,” “resist the devil” and “draw near to God” as a way of honoring God and declaring His will to be done (4:6-10).
 
Jesus then becomes not only our model of prayer, but reemphasizes His Lordship in our lives as we seek His will.
 
Even in our day-to-day plans, we must bring God’s will into our lives (4:13-17)!
 
Our constant prayer should be that God’s will be done and that His Kingdom would be realized in our lives – both on this earth and in His heavenly realm.
 
Like a kid who asks for candy for breakfast, many times we go to God to get our own way. Or, like a teenager who doesn’t submit to his or her parents, we deem them unworthy of trust and take matters into our own hands.
 
Perhaps we’ve made up our mind and have implemented certain plans for life, scarcely inviting God into the process.
 
With this model prayer, Jesus invites us back into relationship with Him. His plans are for His glory and our good.
 
Building upon the foundational prayer of our lives (that God would be honored), we’ve seen that another important aspect of prayer is to align our hearts with the will of God.

10/17/2018 8:29:08 AM by Tyler Frank, young adult pastor, Biltmore Church, Arden | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for October 21: With Perseverance

October 4 2018 by Anteneshia Sanders, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham

Focal Passage: James 1:2-15
 
Life can be hard, there’s no denying that. We are faced with sickness, broken relationships, failure, lack and loss. Sometimes we face all of those at the same time. If you’re not in the middle of a difficult situation right now, then you probably know someone who is. Jesus even told His disciples that they would definitely have trouble in this world (John 16:33).
 
It seems strange that scripture would tell us to consider all our trials as joy. How can we be joyful about things that are so painful? As James is writing to a group of displaced and persecuted believers, he answers this question for us. In our trials, God is doing something holy. As our faith is tested by hardship, God is producing endurance and faithfulness is us. He is growing us up into mature Christians.
 
As believers, maturity is what we want – it is our goal. We want to be those who are faithful and obedient. We want to be those who trust God. As we persevere through difficulty, this is the type of character produced in us. And being the loving Father that He is, God does not leave us on our own when life gets tough. He knows that we need wisdom to faithfully endure. He promises that if we ask in faith, He will give us all the wisdom that we need.
 
We must also be careful not to assume that God is somehow tempting us in our troubles.
 
A sinful response to suffering is not from God, but from a lack of faith in Him. Instead, we rest in the fact that God is present in our trials, providing for us and making us more like Jesus.
 
We have a great hope, knowing that our present reality is not all that there is for the Christian. We can endure difficult seasons in this life, because we know that there is another life to come.
 
Until then, we rejoice in the fact that God is present in our trials, providing for us and making us more like Jesus.

10/4/2018 1:13:07 PM by Anteneshia Sanders, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for October 21: A Prayer of Praise

October 4 2018 by Tyler Frank, young adult pastor, Biltmore Church, Arden

Focal Passage: Matthew 6:9b; Psalm 96:1-9
 
The Medal of Honor is a well-known award given to those who have distinguished themselves in military combat by going beyond the call of duty. The prestigious award is given to the recipient with gratitude and thanksgiving from government officials and is recognized even by civilians as something worthy of honor, respect and admiration.
 
In Matthew 6, once we first see God as our loving Father, we can then petition that His name be honored above all. With thanksgiving and gladness, our foundational prayer can be “hallowed be thy name.”
 
With this refrain, Psalm 96 becomes a poetic commentary on what it means to honor God as holy. First, we must declare His works and His praise for what He has done (vv. 1-3).
 
Declaring, singing and telling are all phrases to describe the honoring of God.
 
Next, the majesty and splendor of God must awaken us to praise (vv. 4-6). In the end, God is the only thing that can hold any true worth and honor. Man-made idols can never last (v. 5).
 
The rest of the psalm is a description of the entire world giving honor and worth to God (vv. 7-13).
 
The peoples, the heavens and earth, the sea and fields, everything in the world should give God true honor.
 
As the cosmos gives honor to its creator, we too must come to our Father with prayers and petitions that seek to honor Him. Our most foundational belief and request to God is to be fully honored in our lives. In fact, that’s what it means to be a Christian (1 Corinthians 10:31). Yes, God wants to hear our requests. Our good Father desires to hear from His children.
 
But before this, we must reframe our minds and hearts around this reality: God’s glory. When God’s glory is our first and foremost concern, the petitions and requests found in the model prayer can then fall into place.

10/4/2018 1:12:57 PM by Tyler Frank, young adult pastor, Biltmore Church, Arden | with 0 comments



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