Sunday School Lessons

Explore the Bible Lesson for December 2: The Deceiver

November 16 2018 by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston

Focal Passage: Genesis 27:18-29
 
My wife and I allot a certain amount of time each day for our children to watch TV. We also try to bless each child with the privilege of choosing which program to watch. My son, however, is the master manipulator over his sister. He has figured out which of his programs she finds tolerable, so even when it is her turn to choose he will trick her into watching what he wants.
 
We have promised him a blessing, but instead of waiting for that blessing he steals it. Sound familiar?
 
In Genesis 25, God prophesizes a blessing for Jacob, the younger of twin brothers. Little do we know at this point how that blessing will come about. First, Jacob tricks Esau out of his birthright. Then, Rebekah and Isaac connive to steal the blessing. And if you think Isaac and Esau are innocent, think again. Isaac is well-prepared to bless the wrong son even though he knows God has promised to bless Jacob. Esau despises his birthright for a bowl of stew. Yet all the while, God’s sovereign hand is in control in spite of the sinful actions of His creatures.
 
Romans 9:8-13 teaches us God had chosen Jacob prior to his birth and without regard to either brother’s sin or righteousness. As you can see in the passage, no one deserves the blessing. But God is gracious. His sovereign plan of redemption through Abraham’s seed pressed on.
 
There is a right way to enjoy God’s blessings, and it isn’t through deception or personal favoritism. We honor God by walking in love and integrity no matter the consequences. As we walk, we trust in the sovereignty of God to accomplish His good purposes in us and through us.
 
Romans 8:28 says God is working all things for His glory and our good. And when we fail, we can rest in the promise of I John 1:9. He is faithful and just to forgive.

11/16/2018 11:04:01 AM by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for December 2: Isaiah’s Prophecy

November 16 2018 by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church

Focal passages: Isaiah 7:10-14; 9:6-7; 11:1-5
 
As a parent of three children, planning for Christmas can be quite the job. It begins with my wife and me talking with the kids in early October about what they want for Christmas. Then, throughout November and December we begin making arrangements through various channels (grandparents, aunts and uncles, shopping etc.) to secure those items.
 
However, the real planning begins the night before Christmas morning. Our children never know what we go through to make Christmas morning such a special time.
 
Sometimes it requires an all-night construction party or a midnight run to the store because we forgot batteries. Interestingly, when the kids wake up the next morning they have no clue what had taken place prior to that special morning. Could you imagine how you would feel if your child came into the room on that Christmas morning and immediately ignored all that was prepared and did not demonstrate any gratitude for all that had been given? I am sure, in a similar way, our heavenly Father feels the same way when we take for granted all that He has done in sending to us the greatest Gift – His Son, Jesus.
 
As our lesson teaches us, the incarnation of Christ was no mere circumstance, but was planned by God. Hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah prophesied of His arrival (Isaiah 7:10-14). Talk about planning for Christmas!
 
Of course, we can go back further than Isaiah to Genesis and see the first prophetic words about the coming Messiah (Genesis 3:15). I am simply stating that in God’s goodness, He planned in advance a way for us to experience the greatest blessing in all of life, namely a relationship with Him through His Son.
 
When Christmas comes this year, let’s not be like that child who ignores all the sacrificial work that has been put in before time. Instead, we should spend time thanking God for every little detail that was given for us that we could experience life to the fullest in Jesus Christ.            

11/16/2018 11:02:36 AM by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for November 25: With Anticipation

November 13 2018 by Anteneshia Sanders, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham

Focal Passage: James 5:7-9, 13-20
 
Everyone’s waiting for something, whether it’s a new job, a spouse or the weekend. Waiting is a part of living, it seems. But as Christians, we are ultimately waiting for one thing. Concluding his letter, James reminds his readers that what we are waiting for is the return of our King. He also reminds us how we should wait.
 
We know God did not promise us a life free from trials. In this time between Christ’s first and second coming, we have and will experience hardship. Praise God that we have an eternal hope in Jesus! Though we struggle, we know that at just the right time, our Savior King will return and put an end to pain forever! In our sickness and suffering, then, James reminds us of the importance of turning to God in prayer. Because of the righteousness we have in Christ, our prayers are powerful and effective. Just as Elijah’s prayer moved God to stop the rain (and start it back again!), so our prayers move God to help us in our sin and sorrow.
 
Sometimes, life’s difficulties cause believers to falter in their faith. Scripture tells us to seek out those who have strayed. We are to show grace to those who have fallen into sin and seek to restore them. In verse 20, James teaches that this seeking and reclaiming can save a person even from physical death. In this way, we help others wait well.
 
When Jesus returns, every evil thing will be upended, and we will live forever with the One who died for us. We wait in hope, knowing that our God is faithful and will return as He promised.
 
We wait in prayer, knowing that He is the only one who can sustain us through our every circumstance. We wait in faithfulness, encouraging others to be faithful too. With anticipation we wait. For we know that our minds cannot even conceive the half of what God has prepared for those who love Him!

11/13/2018 12:45:48 PM by Anteneshia Sanders, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for November 25: A Prayer of Thanksgiving

November 13 2018 by Tyler Frank, young adult pastor, Biltmore Church, Arden

Focal passage: Psalm 138:1-8
 
In these sessions, we’ve sought to follow the lifestyle of Jesus by studying His prayer life.

Like the disciples, we still today ask Jesus to “teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).
 
Clearly from the gospel accounts, Jesus’ patterns of prayer were simply part of the warp and woof of His life. The example of the “model” prayer can be an encouragement as we seek communion with our heavenly Father who loves us.
 
One result of this intimate communion with God is praise and thanksgiving. As we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we cannot help but become a thankful person. An excellent example of thankfulness in God is found in Psalm 138.
 
The psalmist starts by praising God for His covenant loyalty and faithfulness (vv. 1-2). The psalmist’s response is to give praise and thanks for who God is and what He has done. A thankful heart looks at the works of God in his or her life and turns that thankfulness into praise.
 
Next, the psalmist praises God for His provision. God meets with the lowly and with kings alike (vv. 3-6) and our response must be humility and thankful praise.
 
Lastly, God protects His people (vv. 7-8). In these verses, God is the one acting on behalf of His people – we get the help and God gets the glory and praise. That’s a pretty good deal!
 
One can easily see how these requests, petitions and praises are echoed in our Lord’s model prayer.
 
The Christian life is marked by thanksgiving. In the hard knocks of life, we learn from our Teacher the way of humility and thanksgiving.
 
Even the model prayer was a petition for God’s will, Kingdom and provision to work on behalf of His people.
 
This joyful thanksgiving is the fruit of vibrancy in our prayer lives – something that God wants for us all!

11/13/2018 12:42:01 PM by Tyler Frank, young adult pastor, Biltmore Church, Arden | with 0 comments



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



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