Sunday School Lessons

Explore the Bible Lesson for Aug. 13: The Cleansing

July 25 2017 by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte

Focal Passage: Psalm 32:1-11
 
There is great contrast between righteousness and sinfulness. Last spring I asked a group of middle schoolers to make a list of sins and ungodly traits from Romans 1:29-31 and write down the opposite characteristics. For instance, in the left column they wrote the words evil, greed and envy. Correspondingly on the right side they wrote the words good, generous and delight. They then threw away the list of sinful behaviors and posted the godly ones on the wall because we wanted to confess our sins to God and remember that He removes them as far as the east is from the west.
 
Psalm 32:1-4 shows the contrast between the one who has brought his sin before the Lord and the one who is still holding on to it. There are few things worse than knowing you have sin in your life and continuing to hold on to it. Living with sin will drain a person’s energy, keep one from experiencing peace, reaching his or her full potential and will cause a stunt in spiritual growth. Freedom comes the moment the sin cycle is broken and confession is made to the Lord. One can almost hear the excitement in David’s voice in Psalm 32:5 “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’ – and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”
 
We do not need to run from God when our sin is made known to us, instead we need to run to God, for His word promises protection, deliverance and wise counsel. Imagine if we took our temptations to Jesus and sought out His help before we sinned.
If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).
 
Because of Jesus we are made righteous and may rejoice in the LORD and be glad. 
 

7/25/2017 7:59:34 AM by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for Aug. 13: A Channel of Comfort

July 25 2017 by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro

Focal passage: 2 Corinthians 1:2-7
 
Before he ever became a famous preacher and had denominations which claimed him as their founder, John Wesley was a preacher who had never met Jesus. He had gone to the American colonies and experienced a failed pastorate and failed romance in Savannah, Ga.
 
On his return voyage to England the vessel he was sailing upon encountered a horrific storm. While he and the others held on for dear life and were overcome with fear, Wesley noticed that a group of German Christians sang hymns of praise to God almost as if they did not notice the violent shaking of the ship and the salty water drenching them.
 
The attitude of these Christians (the Moravians) in the midst of a frightening time made a deep impression upon Wesley. In fact, what Wesley witnessed on that vessel played a strong part in his later conversion.
 
Perhaps you have never had the same experience as Wesley, but surely we’ve all had difficulties in life – losing a loved one, a broken or strained relationship or a doctor’s discouraging prognosis. It is during these difficult times that we learn that our God is “the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles …” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). God is the source of true comfort for the believer. However, since God comforts us as Christians, we are required to comfort others with his love and comfort; Paul goes on to add that God comforts us “… so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:4). Paul experienced hardship and learned God’s comfort in the face of his difficulties. The lessons we learn through trouble can help us to comfort others when they are facing those same troubles. How has God comforted you in a difficult time in your life? Do you know someone who is going through a trial that you have already completed? Have you considered sharing with them how God comforted you when you faced a similar situation? Let’s remember God spoke to us through Isaiah: “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God” (Isaiah 40:1).
 

7/25/2017 7:58:08 AM by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for Aug. 6: The Confession

July 25 2017 by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte

Focal Passage: Psalm 51:1-17
 
Most of my Bible heroes were also “big time” sinners. Moses was a murderer, Paul rounded up people to be killed and the man who penned Psalm 51 was no different.
 
David writes this soul wrenching and restoring psalm after being confronted by his advisor about his sin with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11).
 
David, like my other heroes, knew God, sought forgiveness and aspired to honor God through confession and obedience.
 
For repentance to take place we must have sorrow over our sin.
 
Second Corinthians 7:10 says that “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorry brings death.”

Psalm 51 moves directly from David’s guilt over his sin to his desire for cleansing.
 
David asks God to “create in him a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).
 
Man may put together something from other materials, but David is asking for a clean heart.
No man can make that.
 
Only God can create. It is also no wonder that David desires to have a firm spirit about him.
Temptation had led him astray already, and he had no desire to repeat that sin. He desired to stand firm.
 
Too often humans deny the need for forgiveness by trying to be self-sufficient.
 
David lusted after Bathsheba, then he sinned with her. He brought Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, in from battle to entice him to go home to his wife to cover up David’s sin.
 
Finally David had Uriah killed with a plan that involved the loss of other lives too as the army lines did not pull back from the fierce fighting until Uriah was dead.
 
David could not erase or cover his sin and neither can we. God is the only self-sufficient being.
 
God desires for His children to obey Him, but He knows we are sinful. He provides forgiveness and reconciliation through Jesus.
 
God desires for us to be broken over our sin so that He may restore us.
 

7/25/2017 7:56:16 AM by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for Aug. 6: The Gift of Grace

July 25 2017 by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro

Focal passage: 2 Corinthians 12:2-10
 
Some of us undoubtedly remember the folklore stories of Uncle Remus. One of my all-time favorites is the tale about the day “Br’er Fox” caught “Br’er Rabbit.” Br’er Fox wanted to make Br’er Rabbit suffer as much as possible. The sly rabbit was even smarter than the fox so he begged to be eaten or skinned alive but he pleaded, “Please don’t throw me in the briar patch!”
 
Of course, when Br’er Fox threw Br’er Rabbit in the briar patch, he soon learned that it was in the thorns and thistles that a rabbit was most at home.
 
While Br’er Rabbit clearly loved the briar patch more than we do, I cannot help but think of the similarities that exist between Br’er Rabbit and the child of God.
 
We really don’t want to be thrown into the briar patch of life (unlike Br’er Rabbit), but oftentimes we find that it is in the briar patch that we flourish.
 
The secret of our success in the face of difficulty is not our intellect or our good disposition, but rather the grace of God. In 2 Corinthians 12:2-10, Paul recalled how God had greatly blessed him in Christ. Nevertheless, he says, “in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7).
 
There has been endless speculation as to what Paul’s thorn in the flesh might have been, but it was undoubtedly a difficulty he experienced in his life. Paul’s problem kept him from becoming overly confident or independent. His struggle constantly reminded him that he had to rely on God’s grace. Because Paul admitted his weakness and need of God, Christ worked through him in a powerful way.
 
Therefore, when Paul felt weak in himself, he was strengthened in Christ by grace. No matter what difficulties you experience in life, you will have strength to succeed spiritually if you depend on God and His grace. The truth Christ spoke to Paul can be applied to all believers, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
 

7/25/2017 7:54:29 AM by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for July 30: His Faithfulness

July 11 2017 by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte

Focal Passage: Psalm 146:1-10
 
Recently I attended a memorial service where the pastor began his sermon by sharing that we all had one thing in common with the deceased. At some point in our lives we will face death. The author who penned Psalm 146 shared this perspective, but wanted to live life to the fullest by expressing his praise of God Almighty.
 
We can praise God because He is worthy of it. He deserves our praise.
 
Praise is powerful. Praise defeats discouragement. Praise focuses our thoughts on God. Praise prepares us to receive what God has for us. Praise changes our perspective on life.
The Psalmist understood all of this and sought to warn us that it is not mortal men who save; neither can the things of this earth that we work so hard to attain.
 
It is God who is our help and our hope. He is the one that holds the power to create and change our circumstances. He is able to make something from nothing.
 
He is the one who lifts up the head of the down-trodden. The Lord produces the miracles and takes care of the needy. God is faithful to remain true to Himself. He will not go against His character. God reigns now and forevermore.   
 
If you want to live life well then become a person of praise. Praise the Lord for who He is. You can simply pray Psalm 146 back to the Lord if you are having a hard time thinking of something for which to praise Him.
 
Praise God for a time when He has helped you through a difficult time or given you hope (v. 5). Praise Him for His creation (v. 6). Praise Him for a time He upheld your cause or set you free from bondage (v. 7). Praise the Lord for a time when He has watched over the weak (v. 9).
 
As Christ’s followers we have much for which to praise the Lord!
 

7/11/2017 8:00:07 AM by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for July 30: Objections Overruled

July 11 2017 by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro

Focal passage: Exodus 3:11-12; 4:10-17
 
I once attended a school that was great at many things, but football was not one of them. We did not win many games, and it was often painful to even think about an upcoming game. When a no-name school plays a big school with a great football program you don’t expect things to end well.
 
Moses must have felt even greater inadequacy when God spoke to him as he was herding sheep on the backside of the desert. God appeared in a burning bush and ordered Moses to go to Pharaoh and demand the release of Egypt’s workforce (Exodus 3:10). Naturally, Moses was not inclined to boss around the most powerful man on earth. Moses objected to God’s plan three times.
 
First, Moses argued that he wasn’t the right person for the job – “But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?’” Moses thought he wasn’t important or skilled enough to be used in such a special way. However, the Lord promised Moses that He would go with him (Exodus 3:12). Second, Moses objected that he didn’t have the power or authority to accomplish the task to which God had called him (Exodus 4:1). God asked Moses what was in his hand (Exodus 4:2). God took Moses’ staff and turned it into a serpent.
 
Thus, Moses learned that he would receive power from God to accomplish his mission.
Finally, Moses claimed that he wasn’t persuasive or a good speaker (Exodus 4:10). God had an answer for that too – because He made Moses’ mouth, God could certainly fill it with the right words.
 
When we read the story of Moses’ calling we should remember that regardless of our shortcomings, God can use us. God has given us work to do, and Jesus has already assured us that He will go with us (Matthew 28:20).
 
I believe in the adage, “God doesn’t call the qualified, God qualifies the called.” When you feel incompetent to speak God’s truth, remember who made your mouth. When you feel unable to do God’s work, remember who made your hands. When you feel unable to go where God is sending you, remember who made your feet. And, when you don’t think you have the resources, God is asking you, “What’s in your hand?”
 

7/11/2017 7:58:34 AM by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for July 23: His Love

July 11 2017 by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte

Focal Passage: Psalm 136:1-5, 10-15, 23-26
 
In her autobiography, The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom tells a story of her sister Betsie encouraging her to be thankful in all circumstances.
 
Corrie tells her that there is no way she will ever be thankful for the fleas that are in their concentration camp barracks.
 
Night after night Corrie and Betsie were able to lead Bible studies that were translated into different languages by the other women in their group.
 
Why?
 
They were able to share God’s love because their captors were afraid to enter the flea-infested building.
 
The things that Corrie hated so, Betsie saw as a blessing.
 
It was one more way that God showed that His love goes beyond our comprehension. His love provided not for their initial need, but for the eternal salvation of others.
 
At the beginning of each verse in Psalm 136 there is a truth about God that is followed by the statement “His love endures forever.”
 
Whether it is in creation, in conquest or in compassion, over and over again we see that God’s love for us is everlasting.
 
Twenty-six times the Psalmist reminds Israel that God’s love has seen them through the best and worst of times: through slavery in Egypt, the Exodus and into the Promised Land.
Let us be strengthened by the verses from Romans 8:35, 37-39: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
 
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
 

7/11/2017 7:56:09 AM by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for July 23: A Fresh Start

July 11 2017 by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro

Focal passage: John 18:15-18, 25-27; 21:15-19
 
If Peter slept at all after Jesus was crucified, he must have woken to find a burden of grief so heavy that he could scarcely rise. I can’t imagine how tight the knot in his throat must have felt knowing that he had denied his Lord. What guilt must have flooded his conscience when that rooster crowed on Thursday night?   
 
As horrible as the moments of denial must have been for Peter, there was a greater joy when Jesus forgave Peter.
 
In the presence of the 11 other disciples, Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him more than “these.” Peter exclaimed his love for Jesus to which Jesus charged him, “Feed my lambs.”
 
Jesus repeated His question a second time, and Peter responded once again in the affirmative. Jesus said, “Tend my sheep.” A final time Jesus asked Peter the same question. Peter once again pled his love for his Lord and Jesus replied, “Feed my sheep.”
 
Three times Peter denied Jesus and three times Peter declared his love for Jesus. It was through his actions that Peter denied Jesus, and it was through his actions that he showed his love for Jesus. By receiving Jesus’ forgiveness, Peter was restored.
 
We all need a fresh start in life at times. There will be moments in life when we will realize that we haven’t acted like disciples and we can only be restored by confessing our sins and letting Jesus wash them away (1 John 1:9).
 
One day when I was a sophomore in college I sat all alone in an empty apartment in Charleston, S.C. Several years earlier I had surrendered my life to ministry and even preached while I was in high school, but in college I made choices that took me far from God.

I desperately wanted to get back on the tracks that I had been traveling on before my massive derailment. I concluded that God was done with me. I even wondered if I had ever been saved. However, I came to a striking realization – although through my actions I had denied Jesus, Jesus hadn’t denied me.  It was through this experience that God reaffirmed his grace and his calling on my life. Even “if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).
 

7/11/2017 7:53:18 AM by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for July 16: God Revealed

June 27 2017 by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte

Focal Passage: Psalm 19:1-14
 
Have you ever searched YouTube  for “Indescribable” or “How Great is Our God” by Louie Giglio?
 
If you do, you’ll view some amazing teaching about God and the incredible universe He has created. The pictures of the galaxy are worth the effort.
 
In Psalm 19:1-6 we see that God can be seen through His creation. God’s creation is marvelous, and it shows His might and His ability. It also reveals who He is.
 
Romans 1:20 explains, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”
 
God also reveals himself through His Word. As I read through Psalm 19, the first time, I could not help but feel like I was reading the abridged version of Psalm 119, where we are taught even more about God’s teachings, precepts and laws.
 
In God’s Word we will uncover the wisdom we seek. If we will take the time and dig in to it we will discover more about the amazing character of God. We would see His love for us and discover His plans for our lives.
 
Finally we learn about God from our common daily struggles and experiences as Psalm 19:13-14 shows. Often times the more we strive to be like God the more we realize our great need for Jesus and His forgiveness.
 
There is amazing power in God’s creation and His Word. A walk in the woods, a view of the vast ocean, hearing the waves crash on each other or seeing the stars in the night sky: there are so many things about God’s creation that draw us to Him. But, nothing calls us quite the way that His Word does.
 
When we are alone in God’s presence, seeking for Him to meet us, He will show up with a fresh word of encouragement or challenge.
 

6/27/2017 8:26:10 AM by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for July 16: First Things First

June 27 2017 by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro

Focal passage: Haggai 1:2-13
 
There’s a popular saying that reminds us to “Put first things first.” It is a way of remembering that if we fail to keep the proper perspective on life, we can make the minor things major and the major things minor.
 
Throughout scripture, God is clear – He is to be our first priority. When anything else comes before God, we are setting ourselves up for failure.
 
Haggai lived over 500 years before Christ. He spoke to exiles who had returned to Jerusalem years after the Babylonians had destroyed the city and temple. While these exiles were busy repatriating themselves in their homeland and building their homes and working their fields, God’s house remained in ruins.
 
Haggai pointed out to the people that if they wondered why their endeavors had been met with difficulty, the answer was that they had neglected to put God first. Haggai says that attempting to work and live our life without God is like a man putting his money in a bag with a hole in it – whatever you get won’t do you any good and it will quickly be lost (Haggai 1:6). The people of God planted their seed and worked in their fields but there was no rain and little yield. However, God told them that if they would prioritize worship by building a place to worship Him, He would bless them.
 
Today, we know that God “does not dwell in temples made with hands” (Acts 7:48), but we must prioritize God in all things. God is to be our “first love” and He is to have “pre-eminence” (first-place) in our life. We must prioritize our relationship with God above our relationship with our spouse, children or grandchildren and before our career, pleasure or hobbies. God is a jealous God, and there is no room for anything else before or above Him.
 
Are you finding your plans and labors are often frustrated? Do you feel that there is just not enough time in the day? If so, perhaps you need to put first things first. Do you prioritize time spent with God every day? Do you prioritize obedience over pleasure? Do you prioritize Kingdom work in your giving? Do you prioritize gathering with other believers above having “your weekend”?

Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you” (Matthew 6:33).

6/27/2017 8:24:14 AM by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro | with 0 comments



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