Sunday School Lessons

Explore the Bible Lesson for December 1: God Leads

November 15 2019 by Will Matthews, student pastor, Immanuel Baptist Church, Clinton

Focal Passage: Numbers 9:15-23
 
One scene from the 1994 movie “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” has stuck in my mind for over 20 years. Every time I see the opportunity to recreate the scene, I jump at it!
 
In this particular scene, Ace Ventura (played by Jim Carrey) is trying to prove that Roger Pedacter, an employee of the Miami Dolphins, has been murdered for having inside information on the kidnapping of the Dolphins’ mascot, Snowflake. In the hilariously famous scene, Ace is standing in Pedacter’s apartment, rapidly opening and closing the balcony door while belting a high note. With his antics, Ace proves in rhythmic fashion that the case could be solved easily.
 
Perhaps God’s dealings with His people post-Exodus in the wilderness could best be described as rhythmic. Over and over, God is establishing a rhythm, or a pattern, so He may lead His people according to His will and purposes. We gather every Sunday morning to live out those rhythms of obedience together in unity. Just as the Israelites lived in community with one another, following the commands of the Lord, the church is called to commit to one another – keeping one another accountable in our Christian walk and spurring one another to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:23-25).

11/15/2019 11:24:39 AM by Will Matthews, student pastor, Immanuel Baptist Church, Clinton | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for December 1: Do We Need to Defend Our Faith?

November 15 2019 by Casey Short, pastor, Pinetops Baptist Church, Williamston

Focal Passage: Jude 1-4, 20-25
 
When I was a child, a man once came to our house to hang out with my dad who, at the time, was not a believer. I was also lost, but as a regular van kid at my church, I had been taught much about the Bible. So, you can imagine my horror when I heard the man from the other room using God’s Word to justify animosity toward African-Americans.
 
I flew to my trusty King James to find the passage to which he was referring, and, unaware that my manner of attack might be disrespectful, I lit into him like a spark to gasoline.
 
It should come as no surprise to the believer when people challenge the truth of God’s Word, even within the local church. Jude writes that even then, many ungodly persons had infiltrated the ranks to spread false doctrine and to lead Christ’s sheep astray.
 
We contend boldly (1 Timothy 1:7-8) in the public arena of ideas because our faith is reasonable and worthy of consideration.
 
The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5).
 
When I am confronted, my prayer is that I will respond more graciously than I did as a child, that I will be bold and obedient, but loving.
 
Whether I fail or succeed, and I will do both, I know that God is with me. He will be with you, too.

11/15/2019 11:22:10 AM by Casey Short, pastor, Pinetops Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for November 24: Walking to Battle

November 15 2019 by Dayton Hartman, lead pastor, Redeemer Church, Rocky Mount

Focal Passage: Ephesians 6:10-20
 
The Christian life is warfare. We make war on our sin. We make war on the desires of our flesh. We are at war.
 
Which is why Paul commands us to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11). The war is not optional. Only your day-to-day success in battle is optional, which is why John Piper famously preached, and hip-hop artist Tedashi sang about, the need for Christians to “make war.”
 
Yet, Paul knows that we will likely misunderstand his appeals for battle. So, he rightly reminds us that our war is not against people, it is against cosmic powers (Ephesians 6:12-13). If it has flesh and blood, it is not your enemy. Thankfully, Christ has given us all we need to not only survive this war, but to win. We have truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation and the Spirit, which is wielded when we use the Word of God (Ephesians 6:13-17). But these defenses and weapons are of no use unless you wear them.
 
But we cannot do it alone. We need each other, which is why Paul tells us to pray for one another (Ephesians 6:18). Our ultimate victory is guaranteed. Nevertheless, here and now, we fight. We fight our enemy as we pursue Christlikeness. We will win. We have won, because Christ has already won, is winning, and will win.

11/15/2019 11:20:10 AM by Dayton Hartman, lead pastor, Redeemer Church, Rocky Mount | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for November 24: Living in Gratitude

November 15 2019 by Emily Kistler, member, Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia

Focal passage: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22
 
What comes to your mind when you think about Thanksgiving? Do you have a favorite food, after dinner napping spot or television special? One of my most treasured family traditions has always been our family blessing. Long before I was born, my great-grandfather wrote a prayer that we still recite each year. In the prayer, he wrote, “We thank Thee for this food and for every token of Thy love. Give us grateful hearts for all Thy benefits and feed our souls on the Bread of Life.” And so, before we chow down on our turkey and dressing, we take time as a family to thank God for His gifts.
 
It seems easy or natural in this current season to thank God for His goodness, doesn’t it? And yet, scripture reminds us that thankfulness is not merely a November activity. As Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, we are to “give thanks in everything.”
 
Giving thanks in everything can sometimes seem a bit overwhelming. Everything means, well, everything. How can we possibly thank God for all of it? I must admit that I’m much more experienced at thanking God for my food than I am for thanking Him for the spiritual leaders in my life, for the gift of His Word or for the blessing of my local church. Perhaps it’s more about living each day with an attitude of gratefulness.

11/15/2019 11:18:50 AM by Emily Kistler, member, Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for November 17: Walking as Family

November 1 2019 by Dayton Hartman, lead pastor, Redeemer Church, Rocky Mount

Focal Passage: Ephesians 5:22-6:4
 
Submission is something of a dirty word in our culture, and yet it is meant to be one of the marks of the Christian life (Ephesians 5:21). The Apostle Paul called the Christians in ancient Ephesus to live like family by practicing a posture of mutual submission to one another.
 
To illustrate his point, Paul described the kind of submission that takes place in the husband and wife relationship (Ephesians 5:22-33) and in the parent and child relationship (Ephesians 6:1-4). But, what is submission?
 
Submission is a posture of deferential respect. It does not reflect a hierarchy of dignity and value, because all humans are made in the image of God with equal dignity and value.

Instead, the deferential respect that is demonstrated in our familial relationships is in accordance with each family member’s unique role within the family.
 
This is the kind of deferential respect that ought to mark the family of Christ because we are, in fact, a family.
 
Throughout Paul’s description of family life, he continually draws us back to the Good News of the gospel. The manner in which this deferential respect is demonstrated ought to display the story of the gospel for the world to see. Therefore, the kind of family that the scripture envisions the church to be is a people whose very relationships demonstrate grace, value and deference toward one another.

11/1/2019 9:43:51 AM by Dayton Hartman, lead pastor, Redeemer Church, Rocky Mount | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for November 17: God’s Will and the Glory of God

November 1 2019 by Emily Kistler, member, Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia

Focal passage: John 11:1-4; 38-45
 
Today I missed teaching my classes for a doctor’s appointment. A substitute teacher monitored my students and helped them accomplish their work.
 
Before I left, I explained how important it was that each student obey the substitute. They were to show respect, work hard and use their time wisely. Not only are these wise choices for any student, their actions while I am away are a reflection on me, their teacher. We’ll celebrate tomorrow if I return to a good report.
 
When I am away from school, obedient students bring honor to me as their teacher. As believers, when we obey God, even in challenging circumstances, God is honored, too. In fact, He is glorified!
 
In John 11, when Lazarus was sick in Bethany, his sisters desperately summoned Jesus. Jesus responded, “This sickness will not end in death but it is for the glory of God” (John 11:4). Even in the midst of devastating circumstances, God was working for His glory.
 
Later, after Lazarus had indeed died, Jesus commanded his companions to remove the stone from his tomb, reminding them of His promise. The people were unsurprisingly hesitant to obey. Lazarus had been dead four days and his body would have already begun to decompose.
 
And yet, they followed the directions of Jesus in a situation that made absolutely no logical sense.
 
When God demonstrates His glory, people are drawn to Christ and experience eternal life.

11/1/2019 9:42:19 AM by Emily Kistler, member, Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for November 10: Walking Wisely

October 29 2019 by Dayton Hartman, lead pastor, Redeemer Church, Rocky Mount

Focal Passage: Ephesians 5:15-21
 
I’m usually pretty bad with directions. One time I was leading a student ministry retreat in a major city when some students and chaperones wanted to take a walk after dinner. I was familiar with the city, so I led the way.
 
As we began walking through familiar places, I simply stopped paying attention. I became engrossed in conversation and in turn was not fulfilling my duties as tour guide. As the sun began to set and the landscape began to change, I realized what I had done. Rather than wisely paying attention to how and where I was walking, I foolishly led an entire group of people into a high crime portion of the city. In fact, it was a block that people simply did not venture into unless they were looking for trouble. My intentions were not bad. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was that I simply had no intentions.
 
Paul wrote Christians in Ephesus to exercise care and intentionality in how they walked or lived. To avoid darkness and evil and to instead walk in the light as children of the light (Ephesians 5:15-21).
 
Walking wisely requires intentionality. We cannot put our spiritual state on autopilot or we will find ourselves walking in sin and foolishness.
 
That is why the Apostle Paul tells the Ephesians to regularly address one another with encouraging words, spiritual songs and more. For us to walk wisely is to intentionally reverence Christ (Ephesians 5:20-21).

10/29/2019 8:47:32 AM by Dayton Hartman, lead pastor, Redeemer Church, Rocky Mount | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for November 10: God’s Will and My Circumstances

October 29 2019 by Emily Kistler, member, Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia

Focal passage: Romans 8:26-32
 
Have you ever felt like you were in the right place at the wrong time? Perhaps you can resonate with the lyrics made famous by Dr. John in 1973, “I been in the right place, but it must have been the wrong time. I’d have said the right thing, but I must have used the wrong line. I’d a took the right road, but I must have took a wrong turn. Would have made the right move, but I made it at the wrong time.”
 
It can be so tempting to look at our circumstances, whether good or bad, and question how God might be involved in the details of our lives. And yet, God makes it clear in His word that He is always working. Even when we think things seem disastrous, we can trust that God is not taken by surprise.
 
Paul wrote in Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” He isn’t declaring that every circumstance will turn out the way we would wish or that those who follow Jesus will have easier lives. Instead, Paul is reminding us that even the hard things we experience are designed to refine us and make us more like Christ. When we are trusting God and relying on His strength, we can rest assured that God will “conform us to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29).
 
Yes, sometimes our circumstances may seem overwhelming. The same God who gave His Son for us cares for us every moment. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

10/29/2019 8:44:20 AM by Emily Kistler, member, Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for November 3: Walking in Love

October 17 2019 by Dayton Hartman, lead pastor, Redeemer Church, Rocky Mount

Focal Passage: Ephesians 5:1-14
 
We often think love is demonstrated by what we do. This is true in most situations. However, there are ways in which love is demonstrated by what we choose not do.
 
In Ephesians 5, Paul commands believers to “walk in love.”
 
In the following verses he illustrates what this means in some interesting ways. He tells Christians that walking in love is to resist sexual sin. Why? Because sexual sin is inherently selfish. Paul tells us to avoid coveting, because coveting is inherently selfish.
 
He calls upon Christians to avoid filthy speech and crude joking, because they are not loving, they are destructive (Ephesians 5:3-4). 
 
Love, by definition, is other-centered. Thus, it will not be selfish, and it will not be destructive. The evidence that we are in Christ is that we love, and we throw off the impulses of selfishness and the destruction of others (Ephesians 5:5-6).
 
Before Christ, our lives were marked by selfish and destructive affections instead of true affection, true love (Ephesians 5:7-14). Thus, the believer must regularly ask “Am I walking in love or selfishness? Am I building up or being destructive?”
 
Think about how this plays out in church life. Are you pursuing your agenda at the expense of the mission Jesus has given us, or at the cost of offending or hurting other believers? Do you engage in gossip, destructive or divisive behavior?
 
Believers are called to walk in love. Walking in love is often manifested in what we choose not to do. How are you walking?

10/17/2019 2:03:13 PM by Dayton Hartman, lead pastor, Redeemer Church, Rocky Mount | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for November 3: God’s Will and the Church

October 17 2019 by Emily Kistler, member, Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia

Focal passage: 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
 
Several years ago, my friend Cheryl and her husband adopted a beautiful baby boy named Justin. At the moment those papers were signed, Justin legally became their son, and they became his parents.
 
Can you imagine how crazy it would be for Justin to embrace his parents and then reject all other members of his new family? What would you think if Justin ignored his older brother? How you would respond if he treated his grandparents as strangers?
 
As crazy as it may sound, this is exactly what many of us do as believers.
 
When we repent and believe the gospel, we are adopted by God as His son or daughter. Although this relationship is primary, it is not solitary. The moment we are adopted into Christ, we gain an entire family of fellow believers, known as the church. And yet, how often are we tempted to neglect these new relationships?
 
God has many purposes for His church. One purpose is that we would point each other towards God and His truth. Each person who knows Christ has been indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit works in and through each of us.
 
Through the Holy Spirit, we have been given what the Bible calls spiritual gifts. There is great diversity in these gifts - knowledge, faith, discernment, etc. And yet, all these gifts come from God. “There are different gifts, but the same Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:4).
 
These gifts are not for our own accolades or glory; they are for building up fellow believers in the faith and pointing them toward the truths of God and His will for our lives.
 
According to 1 Corinthians 12:7, “A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good.”
 
It would seem crazy for Justin to ignore his grandparents and miss out on all the blessings of his extended family. It is just as crazy for us as believers to miss out on what God can do as He works in and through our brothers and sisters in Christ by the power of the Spirit.

10/17/2019 2:00:52 PM by Emily Kistler, member, Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia | with 0 comments



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