Sunday School Lessons

Explore the Bible Lesson for June 4: The Path

May 15 2017 by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte

Focal Passage: Psalm 1:1-6
As a child, one of my favorite places to play was near the creek that flowed through the pasture at my parent’s farm. Who can blame me? On a hot, humid summer’s day in Alabama; the creek and its wonderful shade trees were a real treat. In Psalm 1, readers are encouraged to avoid the wicked and not to take their advice. Instead we are to take our delight “in the LORD’s instructions” (Psalm 1:2).
Meditating on God’s Word will allow us to experience His blessings more fully. Spending time focusing on God’s Word will allow our relationship to grow “like a tree planted beside streams of water” (Psalm 1:3). A tree’s roots will seek out water and nutrients wherever it is planted. It is the same for us, in order to grow in our faith we must spend time in the scriptures.
The second portion of Psalm 1 warns us of a difference between the wicked and the righteous: “For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous” (Psalm 1:6). The wicked simply blow away.

Those are comforting words when we look and see so much wickedness and sin around us! It is nice to know that in God’s economy, righteousness wins. In this world where the wicked seem to be gaining power and prestige, God is still taking notice of the righteous and the things they do. Two years ago, I walked the pasture to see the creek scene of my childhood expeditions. To my disappointment the trees had thinned out and the creek had run dry due to multiple years of drought conditions. It is the same way with our relationship with God. If we don’t spend time meditating on His Word then our relationship grows dry. Spending time with the Lord and drinking the water of His Word, will bring rain to the dry creek bed of our souls and allow our relationship to be well nourished.

5/15/2017 10:28:06 PM by Emily Carter, member, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte | with 0 comments

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for June 4: Love Like Christ

May 15 2017 by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro

Focal passage: John 15:9-17
In the “Farewell Discourse” (John 13:31-17:26), Jesus gives some final instructions to His disciples on the eve of His execution.
In John 15:9-17, our Savior commands us: “Love one another” (John 15:17). As disciples of Jesus, we should love others just as He loves us. Of course, in order to love others like Jesus loves us, we have to experience His saving love through faith. Once God’s love has filled our hearts, we are able to love others from the overflow of His love. After all, because we are friends (John 15:13-14) with Jesus, His love for us is demonstrated by His willingness to lay down His life so that we may have eternal life.
Likewise, as His friends we are called to follow Him with loving obedience. The Bible also says, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Due to God’s unconditional love toward us, we can show love to others – whether they deserve it or not.
The 2000 film, “Pay It Forward,” tells the story of a troubled boy named Trevor who develops a plan to make the world a better place by helping others. Instead of paying one person back when he receives help, Trevor starts a movement of “paying it forward” by finding opportunities to help three new people.

The idea of “paying it forward” directly follows the logic of Jesus’ commandment to love others. Christ first loved us and while we can love Him and remain in His love, we must pass His love on to others. Later in his life, John the Apostle said, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18). What about you? Do you love others? If we are really Jesus’ friends who remain in His love, we will forgive others and show kindness and compassion to those in need.

5/15/2017 10:24:31 PM by David Crowther, pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Pittsboro | with 0 comments

Explore the Bible Lesson for May 28: What Do We Do Now?

May 15 2017 by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church

Focal passage: Matthew 28:16-20
“Disciple-making? It’s not that difficult. Here are a few practical tips. First, become omniscient. By being ‘all-knowing,’ you can easily identify where a Christian is on his journey toward spiritual maturity. Next, master predestination so you can map out an efficient path for him. Of course, his own ‘free moral agency’ might give you trouble, but if he’ll devote himself to you body, soul and spirit, your difficulties should be few. Then, become omnipresent. If you’re with him every moment of every day, you can help him sort through his various experiences. In fact, the best plan would be to beam him directly to heaven, into an environment perfectly suited for spiritual growth. Oh, and don’t forget to lay in an infinite supply of love, patience, time and energy.”
Chris Adsit wrote these words in the introduction of his book, Personal Disciplemaking, making the point that helping believers mature in their faith is impossible without God.
This is why, in our focal passage, before Jesus ascends to the Father, He gives clear instructions (Matthew 28:16-20). First, Jesus assures them that all authority has been given to Him. Second, He commissions the disciples to make disciples. Third, He promises to be with them always.
The expectation Jesus has for making disciples is clear.  Jesus said, “go,” which meant you should go about life with a mission mindset. Once individuals are saved, they should be baptized as a way to express their new faith in Christ. And, we should teach them the truths of scripture and how to live in a way that pleases God.

None of this can be done apart from the presence and power of God. The next time you begin to invest in someone else for the gospel, don’t do it in your own strength. Rely on the “One” who commissioned you!

5/15/2017 10:22:16 PM by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church | with 0 comments

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for May 28: Life on Mission

May 15 2017 by Chris Hefner, pastor, Wilkesboro Baptist Church

Focal Passage: 1 Corinthians 9:19-27
Many of you know the feeling – the sweaty palms, your heart beats just a little faster, you’re not sure exactly how or where to begin, you’re nervous because you expect rejection. No, I’m not thinking of the first time you asked a girl on a date. I’m thinking about those moments just before sharing the gospel. Even as a pastor, I often experience nervousness right before sharing the gospel. But nerves don’t negate the mission.
Paul shared his experience in 1 Corinthians 9 about personalizing the mission by contextualizing the gospel to his audience. Being on mission is an everyday challenge to anticipate opportunities for sharing the gospel.
A number of years ago I remember a family that was leaving church. A young girl stopped me and said she wanted to be saved. I shared the gospel with her and spoke with about her why she wanted to trust Jesus. Then I asked her, “If you could trust Jesus today or wait a week, what would you do?” She thought about it and said, “I’d like to wait.” (I ask that question with children to sense their urgency, a clue the Holy Spirit is working.)
But when she and her mom got to their car, she turned around and told her mom that she didn’t want to wait. They came back to find me, and she placed her faith in Jesus. Living on mission sometimes requires more than just readiness.
Another example is a friend I met for lunch. He was curious about faith, but hung up about evolution. We met for lunch. He had good questions, and I tried to give him good answers. But he didn’t trust Jesus that day. My arguments could not overcome his doubts. However, just a year ago, he came to faith in Jesus. Why?
His neighbors built a relationship with him and showed him love. Living on mission means we must always be ready, must consistently show love and must faithfully share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

When we do, God is faithful to fulfill His mission through us.

5/15/2017 10:18:50 PM by Chris Hefner, pastor, Wilkesboro Baptist Church | with 0 comments

Explore the Bible Lesson for May 21: Crucified

May 2 2017 by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church

Focal passage: Matthew 27:41-52
How do you know God loves you? Some people might say I know God loves me because every day He gives me blessings I do not deserve.
Others might say I know God loves me because He gave me His Word to guide and lead me.
Both of these reasons are correct, but I believe the greatest expression of God’s love for us is seen in His crucifixion.
Our focal passage describes how Jesus was mocked, forsaken and crucified on the cross for us (Matthew 27:41-52). Consequently, it was through Jesus’ death that the chasm between God and us was removed making it possible for us to have a relationship with Him, which is the ultimate expression of love.
I like how Bill Lobbs expressed God’s love for us when he wrote: “Does God really love us? I say look to the crucified Jesus.
“Look to the old rugged cross. By every thorn that punctured His brow – by every mark of the back lacerating scourge – by every hair of His beard plucked from His cheeks by cruel fingers – by every bruise which heavy fists made upon His head.
“God said, ‘I love you!’ – by all the spit that landed on His face – by every drop of sinless blood that fell to the ground – by every breath of pain which Jesus drew upon the cross – by every beat of His loving heart – God said, ‘I love you!’”
Periodically, we sing a hymn at our church that freshly reminds me of God’s love for us.
Verse three and the chorus reads, “In the old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine such a wonderful beauty I see; for ‘twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died to pardon and sanctify me. So I will cherish the old rugged cross till my trophies at last I lay down; I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it someday for a crown.”

If there is ever any question in your heart that God loves you, just look to cross and you will find the answer.

5/2/2017 10:59:31 AM by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church | with 0 comments

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for May 21: Life in the Community

May 2 2017 by Chris Hefner, pastor, Wilkesboro Baptist Church

Focal Passage: Matthew 25:34-40
Jesus used a parable to indicate the kind of person who would enter into the Kingdom of heaven. Placing sheep on the right hand and goats on the left, Jesus explained that genuine righteousness is revealed in one’s compassion toward others.
Timothy Keller, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York, noted the broad nature of the activities Jesus listed for His followers in Matthew 25: “It is a remarkably comprehensive list. This is the kind of community that Jesus said [H]is true disciples would establish. Believers should be opening their homes and purses to each other, drawing even the poorest and most foreign into their homes and community, giving financial aid, medical treatment, shelter, advocacy, active love, support and friendship.”
In this gospel, Jesus directs many of His charges against the self-righteousness of the Pharisees and religious leaders. They embodied the outward appearance of righteousness and religion. They wanted people to know about their fasting and obedience. The righteousness of the Pharisees and religious leaders was self-righteousness. They pursued justification before God by the way they looked on the outside.
Many were entirely unconcerned with the condition of those around them (like the goats in the parable). Self-righteousness cares only about the outward appearance of righteousness – not the inward righteousness and compassion that comes with genuine faith.
In this parable, the contrast could not be more poignant. True righteousness is found only by the grace of Jesus Christ. As a result, the truly righteous (the sheep in this parable) show concern and compassion for their fellowman. They are blissfully unaware of their own righteousness as they asked the Lord, “When did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or in prison, or naked?”
Genuine righteousness is comprised of building a community of compassion and service toward others. The genuinely righteous care precisely because they’ve been changed and redeemed by Christ – who modeled this community of compassion throughout his earthly ministry. 

5/2/2017 10:58:00 AM by Chris Hefner, pastor, Wilkesboro Baptist Church | with 0 comments

Explore the Bible Lesson for May 14: Loyal?

May 2 2017 by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church

Focal passage: Matthew 26:63-75
Following Jesus demands loyalty in the face of risk. As we see in our focal passage (Matthew 26:63-75) the early disciples, specifically Peter, had to learn that lesson the hard way. Jesus had been falsely accused of blasphemy and would ultimately be crucified. Peter thought he would be strong for Jesus when danger came, but as scripture teaches his loyalty faded when the risk became too great (Matthew 26:69-75).
How would you respond if you knew following Jesus meant certain death?
In 1945, pastor and theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was taken to a German concentration camp after preaching the gospel where he was eventually tried and hung for treason just days before the prison camp was liberated by the Allied Forces.
Years later a doctor at the camp described Bonhoeffer’s final moments. He wrote: “Through the half-open door in one of the huts I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer, before taking off his prison clothes, kneeling on the floor praying fervently to his God. I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a short prayer and then climbed the steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued after a few seconds. In the almost [50] years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so submissive to the will of God.”
Thankfully, Peter’s story did not end with his denial. Jesus would restore Peter after the resurrection, and like Bonhoeffer, Peter would ultimately become a martyr for Christ.
Are you willing to give your life for Christ?
In many ways we have been sheltered in America from the threat of death or severe persecution for believing in Jesus, but just as Peter and Bonhoeffer experienced in their lives things can change very quickly.
Will you be ready to remain loyal regardless of the cost?  

5/2/2017 10:56:21 AM by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church | with 0 comments

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for May 14: Life at Work

May 2 2017 by Chris Hefner, Pastor, Wilkesboro Baptist Church

Focal Passage: Colossians 3:22-4:1
Sometimes work is perceived as something bad. God designed mankind to work (tending the Garden of Eden) before the fall. Work is not just a bane or drudgery. Rather, it is a privilege.
Surely, many forms of labor and the significant challenges presented are effects of our fall into sin. Part of God’s curse upon sin is reflected in the difficulty and challenge the earth presents back to us in our work. But as we work, we should reflect the creative activity and glory of God in what we do, in all that we do whether at our place of labor or at home.
In the text, Paul addresses slaves who were under obligation to their masters. If Paul could expect a slave to work for the glory of God who had no choice about his enslavement, then no doubt God can expect all of us to work for His glory.
I believe Paul’s teaching and the biblical paradigm is that work, both in and outside the home, for a paycheck and for the family, is to be understood as meaningful.
Work is reflective of the God we serve. God worked in creation to give us the world we have. God works regularly in His sustaining and providential care for creation. God worked in the person of His Son Jesus Christ when Jesus came to earth to live perfectly and become the once and for all sacrifice for our sins. Jesus’ work on earth was labor – making disciples of selfish and immature followers. His sacrificial suffering and death on the cross was labor – intense in its pain and suffering, immense in its implications for mankind and creation.
And wonderfully, His work does not mean that we do not work. Rather His redeeming work on the cross provides us validation and the opportunity for meaningful work and service.
So, are you working for the glory of God?

5/2/2017 10:49:12 AM by Chris Hefner, Pastor, Wilkesboro Baptist Church | with 0 comments

Explore the Bible Lesson for May 7: Do I Have the Strength?

April 18 2017 by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptists Church

Focal passage: Matthew 26:36-46
Since I was a young teenager, I have always enjoyed working on cars. As I look back on those years, some of the cars I owned would be worth a lot of money today.
I had a 1955 Chevrolet, a 1970 Camaro, a 1969 Volkswagen camper van with a pop-up top and several others. I loved those cars and thought someday I would work for a large car manufacturer designing engines.
In fact, I had enrolled at North Carolina State University pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering, hoping to get a job with General Motors. Things were going well, but God began to shift my desires during the middle of the semester.
I was involved in my local church on the weekend and went to a Christian campus ministry during the week. Through those ministries, God began shaping my heart for full-time Christian ministry.
However, it was not an easy transition.
I remember feeling all alone. Even though I had the support of friends and family, no one could make the decision for me. It was in moments like those that I reflected on passages like Matthew 26:36-46 where Jesus willingly submitted to the Father’s redemptive plan.
Jesus did not have to go to cross, but as He prayed He chose to yield His heart to the Father’s will and ultimately gave His life for you and me. Not that I would ever compare my decision to what Jesus went through, but His life of obeying the Father is a model for all believers to emulate. It is through Jesus’ example that believers are encouraged to willingly accept God’s direction and will for their lives.
Ultimately, after a lot of prayer, I decided to forego my dreams of working on cars and gave my life to full-time Christian ministry. Now, over 20 years later, I could not imagine doing anything else. Through that experience I have learned that God calls each of us to a particular work and the greatest thing we can do is yield our lives to His will and watch Him use us.  

4/18/2017 8:34:27 AM by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptists Church | with 0 comments

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for May 7: Life at Home

April 18 2017 by Chris Hefner, pastor, Wilkesboro Baptist Church

Focal Passage: Ephesians 5:22-28; 6:1-3
Recently, I went through a time of personal and professional stress. I was dwelling on financial concerns, an imminent church renovation project, on-going ministry and study requirements, along with trying to work through some important family decisions.
The stress and frustration that I experienced revealed several pressure points – attitude, energy and family. I tended to be short, snappy and easily irritated.
I took out my internal stress on my wife and children. In short, I treated those I love the most very poorly.
After a helpful conversation with a friend, as well as a time of confession to my family, I was able to correct some of my behavior.
Have you ever allowed your stresses to create tension in your family? Have you ever been guilty of taking your spouse, your children, your grandchildren or your parents for granted?
There are no more important relationships than those of our immediate family members. They are the closest people to us. They know us for who we really are.
You may be able to fool your colleagues at work or your fellow church members, but you will not fool those who live with you.
Your Christian life begins and ends in your home – literally.
As I have presided over funerals of church members, it is very apparent which people lived their Christian life at home. Family members will speak of the quality of one’s Christian life by relating what influenced them.
Sure, we all have flaws and faults. None of us are perfect.
But at the end of our lives, those who know us best will remember not the quality of our work, the amount of our paychecks or our public influence. Rather, they will remember our love, our integrity and our character – or the lack thereof.
In Ephesians 5 and 6 Paul teaches that family relationships must be grounded on love, respect and honor. Jesus modeled these relational qualities to us and for us.
So, how is your Christian life at home?

4/18/2017 8:31:40 AM by Chris Hefner, pastor, Wilkesboro Baptist Church | with 0 comments

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