Sunday School Lessons

Explore the Bible Lesson for September 3: Reluctance

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

Focal Passage: Exodus 3:4-14; 4:13-16
 
Little Susie gazes at the pack of German Shepherd puppies to decide which one she’ll take home as a pet.
 
“That one, Mom,” she said, pointing. “She’s the prettiest.”
 
The nearby law enforcement officer shopping for a sidekick, however, locks in on another pup.
 
He thinks, “This one isn’t much to look at, but he stands a little taller than the rest. He has a knack for herding and sometimes heading off the others. He’s also adept at getting the most milk when feeding. One day, with the proper training, he will make a fine police dog.”
 
Each master looks for skills and characteristics that align with the purposes of their companion. But in either case, each pup will need training to make them capable of fulfilling their tasks.
 
Moses, like the alpha pup, possesses the skillset to confront Pharaoh and to deliver the Israelites from bondage. Raised as a prince of Egypt, and now working as a shepherd, he is well acquainted with confronting the enemy and herding the masses toward safety.
 
But without the calling and empowerment of the Master on his life, he possesses neither the desire nor the ability to do so. Even then, his reluctance to accept God’s call nearly cripples him. Yet, God reassures Moses by rooting the mission in His own person, presence, purpose and power.
 
God’s providence has positioned each of us to obey the Great Commission in our given contexts. Thusly, He calls each of us to perform a specific task in the kingdom work.
 
Whatever God has asked us to do, we can rest assured that He will be with us and that He will give us the help we need to accomplish that task. When we are tempted to resist the call, we need only remind ourselves of the person, presence, purpose and power of God in our lives. Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (NASB).
 
Remember that “His good pleasure” is our one overarching purpose, and like Moses, when all is accomplished, we will “worship God at this mountain” for all eternity.
 

8/22/2017 9:46:44 AM by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for September 3: Satan

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

Focal passage: Revelation 12:7-12
 
One of my all-time favorite sports is football. The game requires a lot of preparation, and a huge part of each team’s plan is to study the opposing team’s game films. Coaches do this to learn what formations and techniques of deception their opponents utilize. The church’s greatest opponent is Satan, yet they often either talk too much about him or not at all.

Unfortunately, it’s not a game, and we are often not properly prepared.
 
“The dragon, the ancient serpent” is the one who tries to deceive us. Just like a quarterback, we must know him and his playbook, and that his favorite route is one of deception. His tactics haven’t changed, and he likes to put us in a position where we question God’s Word and His goodness, just as he did with Adam and Eve.
 
He twists God’s Word to deceive us and persuade us to question God’s love: “Does God want what’s best for us?”
 
When we fall for Satan’s deception, he then throws out accusations, which deplete our spirit of hope and strength. It makes us feel like we are not good enough for God, or that our sin is something God could never forgive us for. It’s not true.
 
There is hope in Christ.
 
We do not have to be deceived by Satan. Christ’s work on the cross has already defeated Satan’s ultimate “game plan.”
 
Satan, unlike Christ, is not omnipresent. His hands are tied. The book of Revelation teaches us that Christ will return and will finish Satan off for good.
 
We know that Satan is able to trick us, to provoke us to jump offside. What we must do, as followers of Christ, is get in the Word of God. We need to examine how Satan operates to know his “plays” of deception.
 
The more we submit to God and resist the Devil, the more and more his tactics will no longer affect us. The more we turn to God for strength to resist the Devil, the more prepared we will be for our opponent’s deceptiveness.

8/22/2017 9:40:41 AM by Matthew Jacobs, associate pastor, First Baptist Church, Crossnore | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for August 27: The Longing

August 7 2017 by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte

Focal Passage: Psalm 42:1-11
 
Psalm 42 offers a highly personal, introspective look into the author’s life. His desire is for the Lord, but he wants more of God. Do you ever find yourself parched for the Lord’s presence?
 
Because of our sinful condition, most everyone can relate to this psalm. We are limited in our understanding of God and His work, His sovereignty and His movement.  God’s ways are higher than ours.
 
I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked, “Why you?” in relation to my cancer diagnosis. My usual response is, “Why not me?” or “Better me than someone who doesn’t know Jesus.”
 
Over the course of this journey there have been times of struggle and times where I have wondered what God was doing. I have wondered where He was.
 
In times of despair, I encourage you to read the Psalms or write a list of ways God has been very present in the past. In Psalm 42:4, we are told of a time when the Psalmist remembers going to the house of the Lord with thanksgiving. In hard times it is vital to remember the good things that God has done. It is good to seek out biblical counseling when our depression goes on to long.
 
The Psalmist tries to strengthen his soul’s position by saying, “Why are you down cast, O my soul? Why so disturbed in me. Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:5 & 11).
 
Putting our hope in God can be challenging at times. Yet God’s Word is powerful, and there are many verses that will lift you up. Here are a few of my favorites: Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 1:18-20, Romans 15:13, Psalm 52, Psalm 56:3.
 
I pray you will be encouraged by God through His Word. No matter what trial or tragedy you are facing today, remember that God is with you, and He will never leave or forsake you.
 

8/7/2017 4:57:03 PM by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for August 27: Right Here, Right Now

August 7 2017 by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro

Focal passage: Mark 5:1-2, 8-15, 18-20
 
There is something very exciting about going on a foreign mission trip. It seems adventurous and perhaps even risky.
 
We may be tempted to think that we are being bolder for Jesus when we share Christ in a far-away land.
 
From our perspective, it may seem much less exciting to walk over to the guy across the street whose dogs keep you up at night and tell him about Christ.
 
And, though you’ve got some friend or family member that needs to know Jesus, you break out in a cold sweat every time you consider talking to them about putting their faith in the Lord.
 
We find a similar apathy to local witnessing in Mark’s Gospel.
 
Mark tells us about an intense encounter between Jesus and a man who was possessed by demons.
 
While there are many interesting details about this encounter, we find that Jesus drove the demons from this man and that just like many contemporary believers, the man had his sights set on a far-away mission field. As Jesus was departing the region, the formerly demon-possessed man wanted to go with the Lord.
 
However, Mark writes, “But He [Jesus] would not let him; instead, He told him, ‘Go back home to your own people, and report to them how much the Lord has done for you and how He has had mercy on you.’ So he went out and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and they were all amazed” (Mark 5:19–20).
 
The power of this man’s testimony was in the fact that everyone had known him before.
You don’t have to go far to share how Christ has changed your life.
 
You will find at least two advantages of sharing your testimony in your own community.
 
First, your testimony is more powerful if people can see that Christ has changed you or that
God has brought you through difficulties in life.
 
Second, you already have a relationship with the people with whom you are sharing the gospel.

So while we cannot forget the mandate to do missions, keep in mind that when the disciples were standing on the Mount of Olives, Jesus told them the first place they were to be His witnesses was “… in Jerusalem and Judea” (Acts 1:8).
 

8/7/2017 4:48:25 PM by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for August 20: The Protector

August 7 2017 by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte

Focal Passage: Psalm 141:1-10
 
Over the course of my life most of my prayers have been prayers of petition. I believe many of you would probably say that is true of your prayers as well. As I have grown in my faith, elements of praise, thanksgiving and confession have been added, but even still, the plea of my heart is almost always involved.
 
David begins his prayer with an offering of praise in Psalm 141. He desires for God to collect his prayer as if it was an offering of incense. Why? David longs to please God even in his prayers and writings.
 
In verse three, David beseeches God for His protection. First, David asks for protection from his own sinful ways: his mouth, heart and actions. Next, David wants God to allow him to receive instruction and correction from the righteous – much like Hebrews 12 encourages us to accept God’s discipline. We all need correction at times. Third, David wants nothing to do with wickedness. Can you say the same about yourself? Or do you enjoy the choice morsel of gossip or the inappropriate television show?
 
David closes this Psalm seeking God’s protection and promise. David knows who has granted him success and safety and he will continue to seek that refuge from the Lord. He also knows that there are traps all around him, temptations to snare him and evil people who want to ruin him. It is the same for us today.
 
There is wickedness in us, otherwise known as our sinful nature and the evil of the world lurks around us too. But God is immutable. If He was our refuge in the past, then He is our refuge in the present and the future. He does not change. His character remains the same. No matter what we face, we can turn to God and obtain help for the situation.
 

8/7/2017 4:46:55 PM by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for August 20: A Passion to Share the Gospel

August 7 2017 by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro

Focal passage: 2 Corinthians 5:11, 14-21
 
When someone has passion about something, you can usually identify what that passion is in a matter of moments. Walk into a neighbor’s house and see what adorns their living room – are there pictures of grandchildren? Mounted deer heads? Antiques? Sports paraphernalia?
 
Listen to a person’s conversation and hear what they talk about the most (perhaps it’s golf, money, vacation, work or their faith).
 
We talk about and make much over the things that we love. If we are passionate about something, we’ll talk about it.
 
Paul was a passionate man, but his passion was for the Lord Jesus Christ and to make Him known. God has given us all unique personalities, talents and gifts, but regardless, He expects us to share the gospel.
 
If you are not excited and passionate about sharing the gospel, I challenge you to spend more time thinking about what the gospel actually is!
 
First, Paul was motivated to share the gospel by the “fear of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:11). Paul wasn’t saying that we should be afraid of God, but that because we have so much awe (respect) for God, we should be obedient to do what He has asked us to do. Moreover, we respect God because of what He has done for us. After all, it is “Christ’s love that compels us” (2 Corinthians 5:14), and “we no longer live for ourselves” (2 Corinthians 5:15) as Christians.
 
If God has done so much for us, our love for Him and our love for others should lead us to seek to persuade others to be reconciled to God.
 
After all, God has given us a “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18). To reconcile means to bring two parties together into harmony.
 
A while back, I had the opportunity to intervene in a family dispute. There were two members of a family who were estranged. I love both of them, and God was able to use me to say something to one that caused him to reach out to his relative. As a result, they were reconciled and are again communicating with one another.
 
It was joy to me to see this happen, but it’s an even greater joy when we are instrumental in practicing our “ministry of reconciliation” (sharing the gospel) and seeing a rebellious sinner be reconciled to God.
 

8/7/2017 4:45:03 PM by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro | with 0 comments



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, “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 2 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



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