Sunday School Lessons

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for April 9: Victory Shared

March 21 2017 by Chris Hefner, pastor, Wilkesboro Baptist Church

Focal Passage: Luke 24:44-49
 
I get the privilege to serve as a professor of western civilization and apologetics at Fruitland Baptist Bible College. One of the more fascinating observations in history is the rise of Christianity.
 
Christian and secular historians alike concede that by the time Constantine issued the Edict of Milan in A.D. 313, granting freedom to Christians in the Roman Empire, there could have been as many as 9 million Christians empire-wide. That would be 15 percent of the empire’s population!
 
These numbers are even more amazing when we consider that during these early years Christianity was not granted freedom of religion and under many emperors suffered direct persecution. How could Christianity, a small religious offshoot of Judaism (a religion that had never spread evangelistically), possibly advance under such dire conditions?
 
Observing early Christianity reveals that these believers shared the victory they had received through Jesus Christ. Michael Green in his book Evangelism in the Early Church describes the vibrant witness of early believers: “Whenever one looks in the literature of these two centuries it is the same story. Doctrinal imprecision, even imbalance, abounds; heresy is common; antinomianism is an ever-present danger; but there is no denying the zeal and the sense of discovery which marked the witness of the early church in both their public and their private testimony, in both their written and their spoken word. It was this utter assurance of the Christians that they were right about God and Christ and salvation which in the end succeeded in convincing the pagan world that it was in error.”
 
Vibrant Christianity includes sharing the gospel as many believers are doing across the world. For example, see the explosive church growth in China.

Here in the United States we must return to the pattern of the early church. We must preach and teach the gospel as the exclusive means to forgiveness and redemption. We must share the victory we’ve received through Jesus Christ.
 

3/21/2017 8:28:33 AM by Chris Hefner, pastor, Wilkesboro Baptist Church | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for April 9: Offered to All

March 21 2017 by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church

Focal passage: Matthew 22:1-14
 
As a pastor, I have the privilege to conduct a lot of weddings. Over the years, I have learned at least three important lessons about weddings that are applicable and reflective of our focal passage found in Matthew 22:1-14.
 
The first lesson is that weddings are important! I might be stating the obvious, but spend some time around families that have spent thousands of dollars to watch their child get married and let others treat it lightly. The atmosphere can become tense very quickly, and rightly so.
 
Now, turn the corner with me as Jesus tells the parable that is like the Kingdom of heaven (22:2). There was a king who gave a great wedding feast for his son. This is an extremely important event – eternal in scope – because the wedding feast is a picture of God doing all the work for Israel to enjoy His full blessings. However, when they refused to participate and even killed those bringing the invitation, God placed His judgment and wrath upon them.
 
How would you respond if you gave up your only son that others might enjoy your blessings and they chose to reject your invitation and ultimately kill your son?
 
The second lesson is that people always appreciate being invited to the wedding. This becomes more evident when you are the one not invited. I have seen numerous people’s feelings hurt when their invitation did not arrive.
 
I am glad Jesus’ parable teaches us that His “wedding feast” is open to all who are willing to come (22:9-10). I am grateful salvation is freely offered to everyone.
 
Lesson number three: the people providing for the special event hate a wedding crasher. Evidently, there was someone at Jesus’ wedding feast that chose to crash the party. The passage describes a person who was not wearing the proper wedding garment (22:11), which indicates that those who come to God must do so on God’s terms, placing their trust in Jesus alone, thus, escaping God’s eternal wrath.

Have you responded correctly to your wedding invitation from God?
 

3/21/2017 8:26:54 AM by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for April 2: Victory Over Fear

March 21 2017 by Chris Hefner, pastor, Wilkesboro Baptist Church

Focal Passage: Romans 8:31-39
 
Some wonderful friends of mine have recently gone through the process of fostering and adopting.
 
Our church supports both local and international children’s homes that seek to provide a safe place for children out of broken family situations. The stories of neglected, abused and unloved children are chilling and devastating.
 
I cannot personally relate to being unloved as I grew up in a wonderful, loving family. But I’ve talked with people, as I’m sure you have, that have never experienced unconditional love.
 
Lack of love breeds distrust and fear. When we don’t see that God loves us unconditionally, we tend toward fear.
 
In Romans 8:31-39 Paul acknowledges the common fears of condemnation and separation.
Not experiencing love highlights these fears. But Paul’s main point in Romans 8 is the Father’s grand declaration of love – sending Jesus to address our personal sin, our relational separation and our eternal condemnation.
 
Jesus came so we could be adopted into the Father’s family (8:15) and experience true love.
Paul declares further that nothing – nothing that causes us to fear – can ever separate us from the love of God. God’s true love casts out fear.
 
I don’t know your past or your struggles. I don’t know your fears.
 
But Paul stridently affirms that no tribulation, distress, persecution, lack, danger, death, power, authority, ruler or anything in all of creation can separate us from God’s love (8:35-39).
 
Paul’s list is intended to be exhaustive in the sense that no fear remains that is greater than God’s love. We must then learn to bask in the glorious, overcoming, wondrous love of God.

How? Walking in prayerful, humble relationship with God is the only way to experience God’s relational love. And when we do walk with God, we can experience victory over fear.
 

3/21/2017 8:23:33 AM by Chris Hefner, pastor, Wilkesboro Baptist Church | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for April 2: If I Reject Jesus?

March 21 2017 by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church

Focal passage: Matthew 21:33-45
 
I am amazed at the variety of excuses people give for rejecting Jesus. Excuses are not new in our day.
 
Jesus spent a significant portion of His earthly ministry confronting people who rejected Him as Messiah.
 
In our focal passage (Matthew 21:33-45), Jesus uses a parable to describe how the Jewish religious leaders rejected not only Him but also the prophets who forecasted His coming.
It took the Jewish leaders a few minutes to realize the parable was about them, but instead of embracing Jesus as Savior they continued on the same path refusing to believe He was God’s Son.
 
Tragically, people are still rejecting Jesus today, and the excuses are numerous.
 
For example, someone might say, “My parents made me go to church when I was little, so I don’t want anything to do with organized religion anymore.”
 
Or, “There are a bunch of hypocrites in church;” or, “I am too busy for church.”
 
Could you imagine those same people telling a medical doctor, “My parents made me go to the doctor when I was little, so I don’t want anything to do with organized medicine”?
 
Or, “I don’t like going to the hospital because everyone there is sick;” or, “I am too busy to get treatment for my terminal illness.”
 
Clearly, these responses would be considered ridiculous in the medical field.
 
How much more ridiculous are the excuses for rejecting Jesus?
 
However, unlike the medical field, eternal judgment in hell is the consequence for not following Christ.
 
Do you know people who have rejected Jesus? What excuses did they make for not following God?
 
It breaks my heart that people are not willing to be honest with themselves.
 
Only God can help them see the fallacy in their reasoning.
 
We should pray every day that people all over the world would see the truth that Jesus really is the promised Messiah and help them lay aside their excuses and embrace Him as Savior and Lord.

Do not reject Jesus.
 

3/21/2017 8:21:00 AM by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for March 26: Victorious Faith

March 7 2017 by Chris Hefner, pastor, Wilkesboro Baptist Church

Focal Passage: Hebrews 11:1-6
 
Imagine that you decided to take a fishing trip on the ocean.
 
Suddenly a terrible storm came up and capsized your vessel, leaving you stranded and clinging desperately to the ship’s driftwood.
 
Finally, after several hours holding onto the driftwood, the Coast Guard arrives and casts you a life preserver.
 
What you do is obvious. You take hold of the life preserver and receive the rescue you’ve been offered.
 
You would be ludicrous to cling to your driftwood in rejection of the life preserver that represents safety.
 
Saving faith parallels this story. In your past and mine, we held on desperately to some form of self-righteousness or blatantly sinful driftwood. But when we realized that permanent rescue from our sin was only available through Jesus, we received His offer of salvation.
 
We put our faith in the cross as our rescue from death to life. Saving faith is victorious not because it is great faith, but because the object of saving faith (Jesus) is never failing.
 
The book of Hebrews details the uniqueness of Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament Law and the substitute/redeemer of mankind. Jesus is victorious.
 
Our part in experiencing the victory of Jesus is faith. Like we did when we trusted in Jesus as our Savior, we need to continue in faith.
 
Initial saving faith is permanent and eternal. Losing faith or walking in fear and doubt do not mean we lose our salvation.
 
However, many of us fail to experience daily the victory Jesus has already won because we don’t walk in faith.
 
Are you experiencing victory in your Christian life today? If not, examine whether or not you are holding on to some form of self-righteousness or sin (like the driftwood) that is taking the place of expressing continual faith in Jesus.
 
Victorious living is possible if we will only trust in the victorious Christ.
 

3/7/2017 7:55:00 AM by Chris Hefner, pastor, Wilkesboro Baptist Church | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for March 26: More Than A Prophet

March 7 2017 by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church

Focal passage: Matthew 21:1-11
 
When most people think of a donkey, it is not normally accompanied with thoughts of awe and wonder.
 
In fact, for those growing up in urban areas, they may consider the donkey to be an unimportant or insignificant animal.
 
Yet, it should be noted that donkeys have played an important part in society for thousands of years.
 
They have been used to protect goats and sheep, carry heavy loads, clear land, pull carts and breed mules. In modern day, they have also been used for backpacking trips, handicap riding programs and petting zoos.
 
Given all that donkeys have done over the years, there is one event that surpasses them all.
A little less than 2,000 years ago a donkey had the privilege to escort the God of the universe into Jerusalem.
 
Matthew 21:1-11 describes the triumphal entry of Jesus fulfilling Zechariah 9:9 pointing to the reality that He is King. Could you imagine what the donkey would have said to his fellow burros if he could talk?
 
“Hey fellows, you will not believe what happened to me today. You remember how for over 500 years our ancestors have passed down the prophecy that a Messiah would enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey?
 
“Well guess what – today it happened! It is still hard for me to believe.
 
“I was standing there minding my own business when two men took me outside of the city.
 
“At first, I was a little concerned, but my master didn’t seem concerned so I went with them.
 
“Before I knew it, a man sat on my back. We started into the city and then I realized who I was carrying.
 
“People were crying out ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ It hit me!
 
“Out of all the donkeys in the world, God chose me to carry the Savior of world into Jerusalem. I cannot believe it. I am the most blessed donkey ever to have lived!”

If donkeys could talk – he would be correct!
 

3/7/2017 7:51:56 AM by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for March 19: Victory Over Sin

March 7 2017 by Chris Hefner, pastor, Wilkesboro Baptist Church

Focal Passage: Romans 6:4-14
 
Baptism is one of my favorite things in ministry. Having the privilege of baptizing believers as a testimony of their faith in Jesus is a true joy.
 
From baptizing my son to baptizing in a frigid baptistry in South Africa, I’ve had some truly memorable baptism experiences.
 
But what I love most about baptism is what it illustrates.
 
In Romans 6, Paul describes our salvation experience using baptism. We were “baptized” with Christ in his death. Jesus took our sins on the cross.
 
When he died, our sins died with him. When he was buried, we were buried with him. When he rose, we rose with him.
 
The observance of baptism, being buried under the water and raised out of the water is an outward illustration of an inward reality.
 
Baptism pictures outwardly the victory received inwardly through our faith in Christ’s death and resurrection.
 
Our salvation then is an identity change. We are no longer mastered by sin’s power. Rather, we’ve received the new life, the life of the resurrected Christ.
 
Paul’s point in this text is that we have victory over sin precisely because Christ won the victory over sin.
 
Because we identify with him, we experience victory with him. Paul challenged his readers to consider themselves dead to sin and to present themselves to Christ for righteousness.
We consider ourselves dead to sin and walk in righteousness not to earn our salvation, but rather because we have been saved.
 
Our identity is now found in Jesus. Our sin died with Jesus on the cross. Our old life was buried with Christ in the tomb.
 
Our new life is now the resurrected life of Jesus. Our daily challenge is to live in the victory of our present position in Christ rather than live in the defeat of the sins of our past.
 

3/7/2017 7:48:58 AM by Chris Hefner, pastor, Wilkesboro Baptist Church | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for March 19: What is Required?

March 7 2017 by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church

Focal passage: Matthew 19:16-26
 
Nathan Schaeffer once wrote, “At the close of life, the question will not be, ‘How much have you gotten?’ but ‘How much have you given?’ Not ‘How much have you won?’ but ‘How much have you done?’ Not ‘How much have you saved?’ but ‘How much have you sacrificed?’
 
“It will be ‘How much have you loved and served,’ not ‘How much were you honored?’”
When I think of Schaeffer’s words, I am reminded of Jesus’ conversation with a wealthy young man in Matthew 19:16-30.
 
The young man asked Jesus how he could have eternal life. It was a great question, but Jesus knew there was something that captured the man’s heart more than following him, namely, his wealth.
 
Of course, money is neither good nor evil. It is a tool that can be used to glorify Christ, or it can lead you farther away from God.
 
Tragically, the young man had allowed his wealth to capture his heart and was not willing to give it up to follow Jesus.
 
I am afraid there are a lot of people like the young ruler that have mistakenly substituted outward performance as a means of salvation instead of a heart sold out to God.
 
They will have climbed the ladder of life only to realize it was leaning on the wrong wall.
They will gather worldly treasures only to lose them when they stand before God.
 
Where is your heart?
 
Where is your treasure?
 
Are you asking, “How much have you gotten?” or “How much have you given?”
 
God offers eternal life to every person, but you must be willing to deny yourself and follow Him.
 
Jesus’ words remind us that eternal life is free, but it may be costly.
 
Are you willing to give up all your worldly possessions in order to gain eternal life?
 
As you consider that question I can personally express that Christ’s rewards are far greater than anything we could ever give up in this world.    
 

3/7/2017 7:44:41 AM by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for March 12: Victorious Hope

February 21 2017 by Chris Hefner, pastor, Wilkesboro Baptist Church

Focal Passage: Matthew 8:5-13
 
Do you hope for more? I hope for many more years to spend with my wife and children. I’m sure you’ve used the word hope in this same way.
 
In the sense we so often use the word hope, we mean something akin to wishful thinking. We would like something to be true.
 
But the biblical use of the word hope is something far more certain.
 
When the Bible speaks of hope it means something assured that we simply wait for. The biblical key to unlocking hope in this sense is faith.
 
In this story we find a glorious example of faith.
 
A Roman centurion sought out Jesus to heal his servant.
 
Instead of asking Jesus to come to his house, the centurion observed, “Lord, I’m not worthy to have you come under my roof. Speak the word and my servant will be healed. I too am a man with authority. When I tell my servant to do something, he does it.
 
The centurion modeled great faith – so great that Jesus observed he had not found such faith in Israel.
 
Here we see biblical hope unlocked. The centurion knew Jesus could heal.
 
He displayed his hope with humble faith.
 
He acknowledged his unworthiness – a picture of a sinner humbling himself before the only One who can save.
 
He expressed his faith, “Only speak the word, and I know my servant will be healed.” Then the centurion experienced victorious hope.
 
Jesus healed His servant.
 
Did you know you were in this story? After Jesus’ complimented the man’s faith he said, “Many will come from east and west to recline at table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.”
 
Jesus asserted that if you’ve humbled yourself and trusted in Jesus, “You will be in the kingdom.”
 
It doesn’t get more certain than Jesus’ declaration.
 
So have hope. Look forward to the certain victory you will experience with Jesus in His Kingdom.
 

2/21/2017 7:45:53 AM by Chris Hefner, pastor, Wilkesboro Baptist Church | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for March 12: Is Jesus Fully God?

February 21 2017 by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church

Focal passage: Matthew 17:1-13
 
I love watching my children during Christmas time, especially as they open presents. It is very clear which gifts they enjoy over the others.
 
For example, every year they always get candy in their stockings.
 
Consequently, when they unload the stocking they spend little time admiring the candy because it is not as valuable to them.
 
However, one year I snuck a brand new iPhone in my daughter’s stocking.
 
As she was pulling out the candy, I called her phone with my cell phone, and it started ringing in the stocking.
 
If you could have only seen her face – her eyes got huge, her mouth dropped, and she started screaming with great joy! She was so excited about her new phone.
 
Her reaction describes what it means to value something really important.
 
In our focal passage, Jesus reveals His glory as He was transfigured on the mountain (Matthew 17:1-13). Peter, James and John were privileged to experience this event, and their reaction describes what it means to value something really important.
 
Peter was so impressed with the divine presentation he was unsure what to do.
 
He first asked if he and the other two disciples should leave, and then he quickly proposed to build a tent for a longer stay.
 
A few moments later, scripture records that God the Father spoke to them and, fearing for their lives, the disciples fell on their faces. Jesus comforted the disciples, and as they raised their heads, the whole experience was over.
 
What was the purpose of this event? Certainly it involved the prophecies of Elijah being the forerunner of the Messiah and being fulfilled in John the Baptist.
 
But I also believe it was about Jesus allowing the disciples to get a greater glimpse of his glory and greatness.

Through their experience the disciple would come to understand that Jesus shares fully in God’s glory. What a great gift that was for the disciples and it is an even more important gift for you and me today.
 

2/21/2017 7:43:50 AM by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church | with 0 comments



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