Sunday School Lessons

Explore the Bible Lesson for October 8: Commanded

September 19 2017 by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston

Focal Passage: Exodus 20:1-17
 
In M. Night Shyamalan’s critically acclaimed 2002 film, “Signs,” Mel Gibson plays Graham Hess, a grieving widower who is forced to reckon with God after the death of his wife.
 
Seemingly random details abound in the film, set against the backdrop of an alien attack on mankind: a daughter who leaves full glasses of water throughout the house, a son who struggles with asthma, a single live-in brother-in-law who failed to achieve his dream of becoming a major league baseball player. The narrative climaxes when an alien threatens to kill Graham’s son.
 
Graham recalls an ominous statement made to him by his wife as she died. Suddenly, all of the random details come into focus. All was for a purpose, that Graham would remember her words and save himself and his family. The aliens were allergic to water. His son’s asthma would prevent their toxin from infiltrating his lungs. The would-be sports star could strike down the enemy with the prized bat that hung upon the wall.
 
The context surrounding Exodus 20:1-17 indicates God’s law was given for a purpose, to remind Israel of all that God had done and to warn her of all that He expected in return – love of Him and love of fellow man. To heed the warning and to obey was to save oneself. Of course, we know the law could not produce such obedience because of sin (Romans 8:3). In fact, the law that should have produced obedience aroused “sinful passions” leading to death (Romans 7:5).
 
God’s holy standard hasn’t changed. But it is made available in Jesus who fulfilled the Law for us. In Him, we are free to joyfully obey the commands of God. Only in Christ can we truly love God with all our heart, soul and might, rejecting other gods and false idols and bringing honor to His name as we rest in him. Only in Christ can we truly love our fellow man, giving honor to those in authority, valuing human life, respecting our neighbors and pursuing peace, contentment and justice.
 
And when we fail, we can rest knowing that Christ’s perfect obedience covers his people.
 

9/19/2017 8:13:15 AM by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for October 8: Battle Plan

September 19 2017 by Matthew Jacobs, associate pastor, First Baptist Church, Crossnore

Focal passage: Matthew 4:1-10
 
This time of year is known as hurricane season. If you have watched the news over the past few weeks, you have seen some powerful storms that have affected the United States.
 
These storms can be devastating and cause untold damage. Many times they can be deadly, so people in the storm’s path are warned to prepare and evacuate before it’s too late. Plans made by different states save numerous lives.
 
When facing storms of such magnitude, we need a battle plan. The same should be said when battling the evil forces of this world.
 
Jesus, our perfect example, demonstrates how to weather spiritual attacks.
 
Satan will try and tempt us in crafty ways.
 
The first way we notice Satan tempting Jesus is by appealing to his physical needs: “And after fasting forty days and forty nights he was hungry” (Matthew 4:2). Satan enticed him to turn stones into bread, yet Jesus responded with scripture, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
 
Satan also tempted Him by questioning God’s Word.
 
This is not a new tactic. Satan did just the same in the Garden of Eden when he persuaded Eve. Again Jesus responds, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test” (Matthew 4:7). Jesus uses the word of God to defend against Satan’s misuse of God’s Word.
 
Jesus’ third temptation was to worship something other than God. “I will give you everything if you will worship me,” Satan said. A third time Jesus used the Word of God to defend against the attacks of the tempter.
 
So, what does this say to us? In the same way we prepare for hurricanes with a plan, when facing the attacks of Satan we must have a defensible course of action. As Jesus quoted scripture in response to every attack Satan threw at Him, we too must be prepared with the knowledge of God’s Word to successfully face the temptations of Satan.
 

9/19/2017 8:10:20 AM by Matthew Jacobs, associate pastor, First Baptist Church, Crossnore | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for October 1: Sufficient

September 19 2017 by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston

Focal Passage: Exodus 16:1-5, 11-20
 
Remarkable. God has just pulled off one of the most astounding rescue efforts known to man. He sent plagues upon Israel’s enemies. He spared her children from death. He protected her from Pharaoh’s army. He parted the Red Sea. Yet, she grumbles against Moses and Aaron. “Would that we had died in Egypt!”
 
Enter grace.
 
God’s passion for His glory and His love for His people are always put on display in the life of Israel by works of grace.
 
Time and again He proves Himself to be all-sufficient to fulfill His sovereign purposes and to provide for the good of His children, in spite of Israel’s sin.
 
Manna and quail in the wilderness served as a daily testimony to His presence and providence in her life as well as a test of her faithful obedience to Him.
 
Parents can identify here, I think. Our children are never satisfied, are they? My two-year-old wakes up every morning crying, “Umm, umm. Eat!” while her brother grabs the remote and demands his cereal bar and milk.
 
At bedtime, a similar scene plays out. “I’m still hungry!” “I want a glass of water!” “Umm, umm, eat!”
 
My wife and I have provided for their needs throughout the day, making sure they have a good breakfast, lunch and dinner and even a snack or two.
 
Still, they grumble, and we show grace.
 
We provide for their needs while at the same time offering correction to curb their sin patterns and stir their affections and trust.
 
We know how to provide good gifts to our children because we love them.
 
The result? “Thank you, Daddy.”
 
Jesus says in Matthew 7:11, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” Believer, you need not worry about tomorrow.
 
The God who provided manna and quail will provide for you too.
 
As He does, I pray that you will respond with a grateful heart as you walk in loving obedience to His commands.
 

9/19/2017 8:08:22 AM by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for October 1: Battle Armor

September 19 2017 by Matthew Jacobs, associate pastor, First Baptist Church, Crossnore

Focal passage: Ephesians 6:10-20
 
Fall is one of my favorite times of the year, and one of the many reasons is football season. In the game of football, the coach gives you all the equipment you need to both protect yourself and be capable of going on the attack.
 
Ephesians 6:10-20 says Christians are given a helmet, shield, belt of truth and sword of the Spirit.
 
Like a good coach, God has given us everything we need for the battle we face.
 
I am a middle school football chaplain, and I noticed before the first game there were players who were scared. I asked them why, since they had been given everything they need. The same is true for believers. God equips us for the spiritual battles we face.
 
There are a few things we need to know when it comes to this battle. First, it is a spiritual battle: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood … but against the spiritual forces of evil” (Ephesians 6:12). We fight spiritual forces, not humans.
 
The second thing we need to know is God equips us and protects us completely.
 
In all circumstances,” Paul said in verse 16, God has given us what we need to overcome the temptations of evil powers in this world. In the Spirit, we lack nothing to protect us from sin and spiritual death.
 
Third, equipped by God, we can act in boldness and confidence. Paul, who is in chains, said, “… be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” He calls these saints to act with boldness, as he demonstrates. We too should act with boldness, opening our mouths “boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,” because we know God is always with us.
 
And unlike the middle school football team about to take the field, we know who wins.
 

9/19/2017 8:06:11 AM by Matthew Jacobs, associate pastor, First Baptist Church, Crossnore | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for Sept. 24: Victory

September 5 2017 by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston

Focal Passage: Exodus 14:13-28
 
It is all too easy to read the parting of the Red Sea and see only pillars of cloud and fire, Moses’ staff of miracles, the Israelites’ crossing on dry ground and walls of water crashing down upon Pharaoh’s army. In fact, the story is so familiar to us that, more often than not, our focus on the what and the how diverts our attention from the who.
 
Consider v. 24, “At the morning watch, the Lord looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion.”
 
First, the language connotes battle. “At the morning watch” God looked down.
 
Second, He looks down through the pillar of fire and cloud. God is the one standing in the gap between Pharaoh and His children. God is the one engaging the enemy in battle for His glory and their salvation.
 
The victory belongs to the Lord, and it is a victory so powerful that it produces faith in the hearts of the Israelites, faith in Him and in the one He sent to deliver them.
 
The story reminds me of a scene from the well-known books by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings.
 
The unlikely group of heroes, on the run from Orcs and a Balrog of the underworld, hurry across the bridge of Khazad-dûm. Gandalf, their guide and protector, turns to face the fiery dragon. The wizard strikes his staff upon the ground as he cries out, “You shall not pass!”

Because Gandalf was willing to stand in the gap, his friends escape the enemy and resume their quest.
 
First Corinthians 15:57 says, “… thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” On the cross, Christ the God-man engaged the enemy in battle on our behalf. He defeated sin once and for all, and He stood in the gap between us and God’s righteous judgment.
 
By grace through faith in Him, we enjoy God’s presence, and we achieve victory over daily sin.
 
Therefore, let us walk in joyful obedience to His commands and give Him the praise that is due Him.

 

9/5/2017 10:49:17 AM by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for Sept. 24: Fear Not!

September 5 2017 by Matthew Jacobs, associate pastor, First Baptist Church, Crossnore

Focal passage: 1 John 4:1-6
 
Talk of evil forces usually makes us uncomfortable. As a new believer, it made me nervous. When I went to college, I had only been a Christian for a few months. Fellow students who had been on overseas mission trips talked to me about demonic possession and different things they had encountered. It was new and scary for me.
 
I always thought when you talk about this stuff, you would open up the door for evil forces to come in. I would often try to fall asleep after these talks with a recycling of Adrian Rodgers’ sermons playing in my room all night, as I thought to myself, “I am not strong, but Adrian and his preaching voice might keep them away.”
 
As I grew more as a believer, texts like 1 John 4:1-6 gave me confidence. We do not need to fear evil forces when we’re in Christ.
 
The Bible says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1 John 4:1). As followers of Christ, we are not to run from things like this, but test them. We test the spirits to see if they are from God, by discerning whether these spirits line up with God’s Word or not.
 
Every Spirit that confesses Jesus Christ is from God. This should build our confidence when facing evil forces.
 
Not only should we test the spirits, but we should also know that Christ – who is in us – is greater than Satan. “Little children,” Jesus said, “you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
 
He who dwells in us is greater than he who is in the world. This text alone took me from playing Adrian Rogers’ sermons at night as I slept, to being bold when it comes to evil forces. We do not need to fear evil when we’re in Christ.
 

9/5/2017 10:46:35 AM by Matthew Jacobs, associate pastor, First Baptist Church, Crossnore | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for Sept. 17: Liberation

September 5 2017 by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston

Focal Passage: Exodus 12:1-13
 
A familiar scene plays out on the not-so-silver screen. Perhaps the man hangs perilously from a cliff or building. Maybe the young lady is trapped inside a malfunctioning elevator. Fingers slip. Hinges jolt. The music rises, and tension mounts.
 
Suddenly, a hand appears, and a hero emerges. The audience gives a sigh of relief, but it is almost always short-lived. The hand may be extended, but inevitably fear’s hostage must trust the one extending it.
 
I wonder if the Israelites felt apprehensive about God’s promise of deliverance in Exodus 12. What He was asking them to do would require great faith.
 
A lamb unblemished, one year old? Sacrifice at twilight? Roasted, not boiled? The details were so specific, the sense of urgency, so palpable.
 
Yet, the outcome for doing otherwise was too awful to contemplate – the death of a child. Then again, wasn’t it He that had struck Egypt with all of His wonders? Surely, now, if they would but trust Him, they would be delivered still, maybe for good.
 
That was His promise, that through the sacrifice of the Passover lamb, they would see the hand of God finally liberate them from the Egyptians. Every year, that same lamb would serve as a memorial to all that God had done for them and as an impetus to continue trusting in Him for guidance and protection. Of course, all of this was to foreshadow the coming of the Christ, the true Passover lamb. By the blood of Jesus, judgment has passed over all who trust in Him. He was sacrificed in our place, for our sin. For this, we owe Him our humble praise.
 
Yet, many still reside as children of wrath in need of liberation. God’s Word tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:20 that we are “ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us.”
We are the extended hand of the emerging hero sent to save. Fingers slip. Hinges jolt. The music rises, and tension mounts. Then a voice calls out above the fear, “we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”  And He saves.
 

9/5/2017 10:43:00 AM by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for Sept. 17: The Paranormal

September 5 2017 by Matthew Jacobs, associate pastor, First Baptist Church, Crossnore

Focal passage: Deuteronomy 18: 9-18
 
Interest in the paranormal is common today. In fact, there is an entire television industry putting this subject into the mainstream. Some people watch these shows for pure entertainment. Others, like my late grandmother, would never turn them on because she considered them demonic.
 
Yet, every morning, after fixing herself a cup of coffee, she opened the daily newspaper to the horoscope section to discover what the day had in store.
 
She looked to her astrological forecast to know whether it would be a good day or a bad day. And when my family was there to visit, my grandmother would read ours aloud too. If the prediction was negative, she wouldn’t leave the house unless it was necessary.

The interesting thing is, my grandmother never missed church until her last few years, when she was too sick to attend.
 
And she read her Bible regularly. Yet, were her daily routines aligned with what the Bible teaches? No.
 
Deuteronomy 18:9-18 describes a culture full of paranormal practices. In our society, people do not burn their children as sacrifices. However, do we not look for wisdom from things other than God?
 
Paranormal practices are condemned by God: “But as for you the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this” (Deuteronomy 18:14). We, as followers of Christ, are not to seek out prophetic wisdom from anything or anyone other than God.

The direction we seek, the one we need, is found in God. That’s why the psalmist said, “Oh God you are my God; earnestly I seek you” (Psalm 63:1). Even something that seems as innocent as a horoscope in a newspaper can be harmful. Dappling with evil is destructive; seeking direction from God brings life.
 

9/5/2017 10:41:00 AM by Matthew Jacobs, associate pastor, First Baptist Church, Crossnore | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for September 10: Confrontation

August 22 2017 by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston

Focal Passage: Exodus 7:1-13
 
In Arthurian legend, Sir Lancelot enjoys the favor of the King as one of the Knights of the Round Table and Arthur’s closest companion. Yet, in a selfish display of betrayal, Lancelot takes Guinevere the Queen for himself. In spite of all that his lord had done for him and all of the status that accompanied being a knight of Camelot, he came to value something more.
 
That which we prize above all else is what we will exalt to a place of worship in our lives. However, there is one and only one who is worthy of such honor, namely God, and He will share His glory with no one.
 
All that He is and all that He has done throughout the history of man has been for the knowledge and display of that glory. Israel’s deliverance from bondage under Pharaoh is the Old Testament’s greatest example of God displaying His power that His people might worship and serve Him.
 
Both the simple obedience of Moses and Aaron and the stubborn hardening of Pharaoh’s heart make way for the sovereign hand of God to move for His glory. Judgment and deliverance work toward the same end but with drastically different consequences for those involved.
 
God will accomplish His sovereign purposes in creation and redemption. His glory will be known and shown throughout the earth. We stand to be a part of that glorious display, either through simple obedience and freedom in Christ or through the stubborn hardening of our hearts and judgment.
 
In light of who God is and all that He has done for us in salvation, it is only reasonable that we offer ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to Him.
 
As we trust in the Spirit’s power to renew our minds and transform us, we live by faith through simple obedience to His commands, trusting that He who began a good work in us will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
 

8/22/2017 9:55:39 AM by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for September 10: Demons

August 22 2017 by Matthew Jacobs, associate pastor, First Baptist Church, Crossnore

Focal passage: Mark 9:17-29
 
As a child, I loved pickles, and I don’t know if you are like me, but a new jar of anything – especially pickles – can be hard to open. I would often turn to my father to help me open the jar because I was not strong enough.
 
The topic of this week’s lesson, dealing with unclean spirits, is also an area in which we must turn to our Father for help.
 
It’s an issue many of us are deeply uncomfortable with – probably because it exposes our weaknesses – but it is a conversation that we must not be reluctant to deliberate. Demonic forces are real, and they seek to destroy every aspect of our lives.
 
In our passage from Mark, the scripture says, “[the unclean spirit] often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him.”
 
Like the boy, demons want to destroy us.
 
They desire to see us fail, to become ensnared in a web of sin that destroys hope and causes a lifetime of struggle.
 
Fortunately, we can seek our strength in Christ and the knowledge that he has the authority to destroy demons.
 
As a child of God, we must seek Christ urgently.
 
Just as I had to turn to my father to open a pickle jar, we must also turn to Christ to help overcome the attacks of Satan and his demons. A wise man once told me, “Sometimes we get so caught up in theology that we forget ‘Kneeology.’”
 
The disciples were confused as to why they were not able to cast the demons out, because they knew a lot about demons and had also witnessed them being cast out.
 
However, they missed a key aspect. They needed Christ’s power.
 
I knew the mechanics of how to open the jar of pickles, yet was unable. I had to turn to someone greater than myself. This text is a reminder that some things can only be accomplished through prayer. There is spiritual warfare all around us, and we should constantly be in prayer to Christ, the defeater of death and the devil.

8/22/2017 9:53:53 AM by Matthew Jacobs, associate pastor, First Baptist Church, Crossnore | with 0 comments



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