Sunday School Lessons

Explore the Bible Lesson for January 21: Value All

January 9 2018 by James Zik, associate pastor, Beach Road Baptist Church, Southport

Focal passage: Acts 16:16-19; Psalm 139:13-16
 
As sexual assault claims continue to sweep the nation, citizens are having to come to grips with what Christians understand as man’s sinful nature on full display.
 
The act of humans exploiting other humans is as old as sin itself and now stares us in the face on a daily basis.
 
Couple the current climate with the prevalent phenomena of abortion and human trafficking, and society stands at a crossroads on what intrinsic value humans have.  
 
Nestled within the pages of Acts, Paul and Silas are confronted with a similar situation on their second missionary journey in Philippi.
 
Met by a slave girl with a demonic spirit, they are followed by her for several days.
 
She said of these men, they “are servants of the Most High God.”
 
Annoyance finally set in and Paul exorcised the demon out of her under the authority of Jesus Christ.
 
Her owners were unhappy upon hearing news of her recent encounter. Knowing their ability to profit from her abilities has come to an end, they have Paul and Silas turned over to authorities.    
 
Described twice as being owned (vv. 16, 19), this girl was only valued by her profitability – not dissimilar to our current cultural situation.
 
Christians on the other hand, place value on human beings because God places value on them. While the image of God is certainly distorted because of the fall in Genesis 3, it is not fully lost.  
 
Christians with a biblical worldview should echo the words of the Psalmist when they consider the sanctity of human life, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:13-14).
 
Standing up for the marginalized and devalued in a society should be the heartbeat of every Christian.
 
May we not see another tragic news story about the reckless abuse of power and become further desensitized, but rather see an individual created in the image of God.

1/9/2018 9:18:52 AM by James Zik, associate pastor, Beach Road Baptist Church, Southport | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for January 21: I Am Wonderfully Made

January 9 2018 by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham

Focal passage: Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
 
“Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains … at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.”
 
Augustine of Hippo penned those words over 1,500 years ago, but I believe they are just as relevant today. How often do we see our reflections and forget the miraculous beings God has designed us to be?
 
Psalm 139:1-6 describes our Creator’s omniscience, for He knows our “sitting down and rising up,” our every thought and way. His intimate knowledge of us speaks to how deeply He values every man, woman, and child.
 
We also know God has a plan for each life He created. “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them” (Psalm 139:16). Verse six in this psalm reminds us that we may not always understand the Lord’s purposes, but can trust in His understanding. In addition, believers can stand secure knowing that God is with us. “When I awake,” David writes, “I am still with You” (Psalm 139:18).
 
I’d like to encourage you to take time this week and choose one of three ways you can apply Psalm 139.
 
Consider those that are hardest for you to value, including yourself if needed. Ask God to give you eyes to see those that came to mind in the same way He sees them.
 
God created mankind in His image, but in order to understand what that means about us we must better understand who God is. What are some characteristics of God that Christians are called to reflect?
 
Indications of God’s value for every life flood the pages of scripture. Find three or four other passages in the Bible that support how much each life matters to God. How do these verses show that God values life differently than society values life?
 

1/9/2018 9:14:21 AM by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for January 14: The Unknown Known

December 28 2017 by James Zik, associate pastor, Beach Road Baptist Church, Southport

Focal passage: Acts 17:22-34
 
Primitive people bowing down to statues is usually what comes to mind when the word idol or idolatry is used. When we read passages like Acts 17 where Paul addresses the “Men of Athens” we think to ourselves, “That was so long ago. I’m glad we have moved past those ancient practices.” 
 
What we fail to realize is there are sophisticated idols as well. 
 
Idolatry wasn’t reserved for those living 2,000 years ago. It is endemic to the human race since Adam and Eve sinned in Genesis 3. 
 
John Stott said, “An idol is a god-substitute. Any person or thing that occupies the place which God should occupy is an idol.” This means children, spouses, technology, entertainment, food, shopping, money, fame and sex can all be idols. 
 
When Paul gives his sermon on the Areopagus he goes right after the idol worship of the Grecians. 
 
What method does Paul employ? First, he emphasized and elevated the character of God; pointing out that God is the creator, sustainer and ruler of the universe (verses 24-28).  
 
Secondly, He calls on the people to repent because one day God will judge the world (verse 31).  
 
We live in a society littered with idols as people search for meaning and happiness in their lives. 
 
The first thing we need to do as followers of Jesus is admit that idolatry is something we struggle with as well. This means stepping back and asking ourselves, “What is competing with Jesus in my life?” Once we are honest with ourselves, we can begin taking steps to remove those. 
 
Secondly, we need to tell others that everything they are looking for in life can be found in the person of Jesus Christ. Turn from making your life about something that will leave you empty and enslaved and turn to the one who can set you free. 

12/28/2017 11:56:37 AM by James Zik, associate pastor, Beach Road Baptist Church, Southport | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for January 14: Jesus Corrects

December 28 2017 by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham

Focal passage: Mark 7:5-15
 
The Pharisees were constantly trying to condemn Jesus by using their preferences and traditions against the Him, a Man whom they knew nothing about. 
 
Mark 7:5 shows the Pharisees clearly knew that some commands came from traditions and not scripture: “And the Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders …” (Mark 7:5). 
 
They believed they were more devoted to God than others and, consequently, looked down on those around them.
 
Jesus warned them against replacing God’s commands with rules and traditions they had created. 
 
He regarded their offerings to God as futile because they neglected and twisted God’s commands by using their own. 
 
‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!” (Mark 7:7, 9). 
 
Jesus calls the Pharisees and everyone present to a higher standard. 
 
There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him” (Mark 7:15). What our Lord points out is the importance of our heart’s condition, that only the Holy Spirit can change. 
 
Are there times when this is true of us? Do we attend church, give generously, participate in ministry or read our Bibles, but our hearts are far from God? 
 
Do we boast about our Savior to the lost, but carry bitterness and deceit, or give our hearts away to preferences and traditions? The Good News is that Jesus’ death and resurrection provide the power to overcome our sinful hearts. 
 
We can steward that power well by examining our hearts, repenting and asking the Spirit to rid us of the Pharisee within us.
 

12/28/2017 11:46:54 AM by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for January 7: A Changed Family

December 28 2017 by James Zik, associate pastor, Beach Road Baptist Church, Southport

Focal passage: Acts 16:22-34
 
It was a cold, wet day in Boston, Mass. We had just finished our mission trip assessment the night before and were heading back home to North Carolina. 
 
As we got into the van for our commute to Logan Airport, I headed toward the back of the van so my team could sit closer to the front. Noticing that no one took the front seat, I got up and asked the driver if I could sit next to him. 
 
My goal was simple. Knowing we would spend the next 20 minutes together, I wanted to eventually steer our inevitable conversation toward the gospel.
 
As Paul and Silas were sitting in their prison cells, feet fastened, recovering from the beating they had just taken at the hands of the Romans, they began praising God. As the other prisoners listened to their prayers and hymns, God moved through an earthquake and the chains that were once holding them in place loosened. 
 
Fearing for his own life because the prisoners had presumably escaped, the jailer resolved to take his own life. And then Paul stepped in. 
 
He shared the life-changing message of the gospel, and the Philippian jailer, along with his whole family, was saved. 
 
While in less-than-ideal earthly circumstances, Paul and Silas had an opportunity – an opportunity to share a life-changing message. 
 
Every day you and I come in contact with people that are either lost or saved. Dead or alive! God wants us to use our influence to point others toward Him. 
 
After some small talk about his family and where he was from, I finally asked one of my favorite questions to transition the conversation to the spiritual realm, “What do you believe about Jesus?” 
 
Giving me the “Jesus was a good person” answer, I then began explaining to him that Jesus was God and had the authority to forgive sins. 
 
I wish I could tell you this man was saved like the Philippian jailer, but it illustrates my point. 
I had an opportunity, and my job was to share. As we begin the New Year, commit to using your influence to lead others to Him.
 

12/28/2017 11:40:25 AM by James Zik, associate pastor, Beach Road Baptist Church, Southport | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for January 7: Jesus Provides

December 28 2017 by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham

Focal passage: Mark 6:34-44
 
Alexandra and Cory Keehn are two friends with incredible stories about God’s provision. They felt a strong call to move from Kansas and serve at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. Moving was costly, and the Keehns found themselves with $5 in their bank account, rent due in a couple days and a week before their next paycheck.
 
Cory heard of an opportunity to run in a race that offered $1,000. He ended up running and winning first place. When he returned home, Alexandra told him about her coworker, a single mother who was also struggling financially. The couple used the winnings to cover her rent and their immediate needs, left again with single digits in their bank account.
 
Days later Cory received an unexpected “thank you” check from his graduate program as a gift for his work. 
 
Jesus cares equally about our physical and spiritual needs and oftentimes uses His followers to provide for others. We see a great example of this in Mark 6:34-44 when Jesus works through His disciples. 
 
Before giving anything, Jesus looked at the people before Him with compassion (Mark 6:34).
 
When the disciples wanted the people to go away and feed themselves, Jesus challenged them, saying, “You give them something to eat” (Mark 6:37). The disciples claimed they didn’t have enough to give, but Jesus tells His followers to bring what they do have. The Messiah takes time to praise God for the food, gives it back to the disciples and has them distribute it. “They all ate and were satisfied” (Mark 6 :42).
 
Sometimes I ask God why I’ve received so much when others have many needs. The heartbeat of the Holy Spirit reminds me that I was given much so that I would give much away.
 
Has God ever asked you to take a risk with what He’s given you? Do you claim to not have enough or do you trust that He will show up?

12/28/2017 11:34:55 AM by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for December 31: Strengthened

December 12 2017 by James Zik, associate pastor, Beach Road Baptist Church, Southport

Focal passage: Acts 15:36-41; 16:1-5
 
As his first term in office came to an end, President George Washington was faced with the decision of whether to seek a second term. The toll public office was taking on his health, his feeling of political inadequacy, and his desire to be at his home in Mount Vernon were all motivating factors in longing for retirement.
 
His plan was to relinquish the office sometime during his first term. So, why did Washington stay? He wanted to see the United States succeed. He was convinced, in part by those around him, namely Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, that his continued presence would foster both stability and strength to the newly formed Constitution.
 
Halfway through the book of Acts, churches have been planted but are still in their infancy. Part of God’s design is that human agents are used as a source of strength and encouragement.
 
That is exactly what is happening at the end of Acts 15 and into Acts 16. Paul, Silas, Barnabas, Mark and Timothy travel to these newly formed churches. Scripture does not hide the fact that there were disagreements along the way. The text says that Paul and Barnabas had a sharp disagreement (v. 39) and eventually decided to part ways.
Yet in the midst of the confrontation, God still uses them. In His sovereign plan, He chooses to use flawed human beings, even gifting them (1 Peter 4:10), to bring about His redemptive purposes.
 
Verse 41 says “he [Paul] went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.” In chapter 16, Paul takes on Timothy and disciples him in the faith. As they go around from church to church, God uses them to strengthen those churches as well. The same is true for you and I. In His plan, God has placed us in our churches to help make them stronger. You may be asking, how do I do that?
 
First, pray for your church. Pray for her growth. Pray for her leadership. Pray for her unity.
 
Second, be an example. Be an example of someone who uses their spiritual gifts, refuses to gossip, evangelizes the lost, faithfully serves and disciples others. If you do those things, you’ll be a source of strength and encouragement in your church.

12/12/2017 10:03:18 AM by James Zik, associate pastor, Beach Road Baptist Church, Southport | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for December 31: Jesus Heals

December 12 2017 by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham

Focal passage: Mark 5:22-24, 35-43
 
The practice of medicine has always been a marvel. I love the redemptive process of taking something that’s broken or hurting and watching it be restored. It’s also incredible to see how the body contains mechanisms to heal itself with little to no help.
 
Despite being fearfully and wonderfully made, our bodies possess many weaknesses, and there are circumstances when doctors and pharmacists don’t have answers to our ailments. Many of us can relate to a time when a loved one was ill and we felt powerless to provide what he or she needed.
 
Jairus was a synagogue leader when Jesus was living out His ministry. His young daughter was dying and neither his position nor status could save her. However, Jairus had heard of someone who could. “When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, ‘My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live’” (Mark 5:22-24).
 
After an interruption from a woman who also needed healing, Jesus followed Jairus to his home.
 
By this time his daughter had died, her family and friends were mourning her passing, and everyone told Jairus that it was too late. But Jesus encouraged Jairus to have faith.
 
In the last few verses of Mark 5 Jesus miraculously healed the young girl proving He had authority over death even before His own resurrection occurred.
 
Through Jairus’ experience we can affirm that nothing is too insignificant or too challenging for Jesus. He meets us where we are when we come to Him (James 4:8) and is always trustworthy despite the obstacles we face on this side of Heaven. We can have hope beyond medicine, beyond our own abilities, and beyond the grave because Jesus has authority over everything.

After all, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).
 

12/12/2017 10:01:51 AM by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for December 24: The Promised One

December 12 2017 by James Zik, associate pastor, Beach Road Baptist Church, Southport

Focal passage: Luke 2:25-38
 
April 1, 2017, marked one of the most important days of my life. At 2 p.m. my life changed forever as I married my wife, Ashley.
 
Having married later in life, at age 32, I looked forward to this day with great anticipation for some time, even wondering if it would ever happen.
 
And when the day finally came, joy filled my heart as I knew God had brought her into my life.
 
In Luke 2, Jesus is taken to the temple, and the author introduces the readers to a character who had waited with great anticipation, wondering when the day would come.
 
Simeon, described as righteous and devout, knew he would see the consolation of Israel.
All throughout the Old Testament God had promised to send a redeemer who would fix what humans had broken.
 
Genesis 3:15, known as the protoevangelium or “first gospel,” says, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.”
 
Moments after Adam and Eve rebelled against God, He promised a rescue plan.
 
And now Simeon, after waiting for years, finally realized that promise.
 
Taking the baby into his arms and looking toward heaven he said, “my eyes have seen your salvation” (v. 30).   
 
While Jesus would certainly redeem humanity it would come with a cost (v. 35).
 
He would have to die a substitutionary death on our behalf because every human being has a debt they cannot pay themselves.
 
We must ask ourselves, “Have our eyes seen God’s salvation?
 
“Have we put our faith and trust in Jesus alone for our salvation?”
 
If the answer is no, the application is simple.
 
Trust Him.
 
Make today a day that will change your life forever.
 
If the answer is yes, may we be like Anna, who just a few verses later, offers praise for what God has done (vs. 36-38).
 
May this Christmas Eve be marked not simply with more fanfare but with glory given to God for our salvation.
 

12/12/2017 10:00:15 AM by James Zik, associate pastor, Beach Road Baptist Church, Southport | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for December 24: Jesus Saves

December 12 2017 by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham

Focal passage: Luke 2:4-20
 
When you consider Christmas, what are some things that come to mind? Do you think of traditions, favorite movies or carols? Do you anticipate the gathering of family members?
The images of ice skaters in Central Park, a full day in pajamas or a fresh Colorado snowfall all come to my mind. I think of decorating cookies with my sisters or surfing the snow in an inner tube with my brother.
 
The season seems magical, and it is.
 
Jesus, the Son of God, was born into our broken world. Each sentence in Luke 2:4-7 is the fulfillment of a prophecy made about Jesus, showing that He was part of God’s plan and timing. Galatians 4:4-5 supports this: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
 
Luke 2:8-11 reminds us that Christmas is not only a celebration of the birth of God’s Son, but of a Savior destined to be the perfect, living sacrifice in atonement for our sins. “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:11-12).
 
Jesus ultimately came to set us free from the bondage of sin and to give us hope that one day we will join Him for an eternity of celebration.

We also see that the shepherds who heard about Jesus that night not only went to Him, but “spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child” (Luke 2:17). We, too, can make Jesus the focus of Christmas. May we not grow too busy or too familiar with this season that we forget to proclaim Christ’s birth as the beginning of the most magical story in history.
 

12/12/2017 9:58:44 AM by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham | with 0 comments



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