Sunday School Lessons

Explore the Bible Lesson for November 12: Set Apart

October 31 2017 by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston

Focal Passage: Leviticus 9:15-24; 10:1-3
 
I fancy myself an amateur baker. I make biscuits from scratch, I decorate cakes, I make cookies, and I love it. My favorite item to bake is pie. I can’t fully explain why, but there is something very satisfying about pulling the finished product out of the oven and observing its beauty, particularly if it’s a meringue pie, and I’ve gotten it right.
 
To make meringue, you whisk egg whites together and then gradually add sugar until it reaches the right thickness. Anyone who bakes knows that when you separate the eggs beforehand, even the tiniest hint of yolk left behind will spoil the meringue. Only pure whites properly set apart will produce a pie beautiful enough to please the baker.
 
In Leviticus 9 and 10, Aaron and his sons endure the grueling task of self-purification, atoning for their own sins through bloody sacrifice that they might then make atonement for the sins of the people.
 
Their purification is complete and their sacrifice accepted as the Lord in glorious and terrifying fashion consumes the offering with fire. However, the weaknesses and the temporal nature of the sacrificial system are on full display in the next three verses. Nadab and Abihu are struck dead for offering strange fire unto the Lord.
 
Jesus inaugurates a better way and succeeds where the old system was insufficient.
While the Law could not completely purify from sin in that it was weakened by the flesh, God did so by sending Christ to die on the cross (Romans 8:3). Christ is the pure and undefiled priest who offers Himself as the sacrifice once and for all. As such, he holds a permanent priesthood, interceding for and saving forever those who believe on Him in faith (Hebrews 7:23-28).

Therefore, those of us who believe join a kingdom of priests, “a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession” (1 Peter 2:9). We have been purified and properly set apart to live holy lives, abstaining from fleshly desires and behaving as model citizens of His eternal Kingdom, that others might see Christ’s beauty and so glorify Him.
 

10/31/2017 8:23:00 AM by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for November 12: John: Single-Minded Focus

October 31 2017 by Matthew Jacobs, associate pastor, First Baptist Church, Crossnore

Focal passage: John 1: 26-34; 3:26-30
 
I worked at a church in Mobile, Ala., my senior year of college. The pastor there had been in ministry for over 50 years. During this time, he baptized something like 10,000 people. I even heard one guy say he was the Billy Graham of pastors.
 
People came from all over to hear him preach.
 
By all accounts, we would say “Wow!” this man was a success and had a lot to be proud about. Yet, whenever people would try to praise him, he would always say, “It’s not about me. We come to praise God.”
 
I was taken aback. This man, who had such a huge following, did not care about the limelight. He simply wanted to make Christ known. He exemplified that Christ-centered living chooses to exalt Christ, not self.
 
When we come to this study in John, it is a familiar storyline.
 
John the Baptist is baptizing, and along the way, here comes Jesus. John says, “I baptize you with water but among you is one who takes away the sin of the world.”
 
He even goes so far as to say he is unworthy to untie Jesus’ sandals. Here we see John pointing to the greatness and salvation of Jesus.
 
John goes on to talk about the One who sent him to baptize with water – the One on whom you see the Spirit descend like a dove is the One who baptizes in the Spirit.
 
He describes his experience of understanding who Jesus is.
 
We should do the same thing when talking to others, emphasize the One who called and saved us.
 
In the last part of this study, we read about Jesus baptizing and gaining a following. John’s disciples asked about this.
 
John answers, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
 
This is what we all must do as followers of Christ. It is not about us, it’s about making Christ known.
 
We must not try and build a name for ourselves.
 
We are called to build Christ’s Kingdom, to make His name known.
 

10/31/2017 8:19:27 AM by Matthew Jacobs, associate pastor, First Baptist Church, Crossnore | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for November 5: Set Before

October 17 2017 by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston

Focal passage: Leviticus 1:3-9; 2:1-3; 3:1-5
 
As a pastor, I am called to equip my people to do the work of the ministry. One of the things I have done over the last year and a half is to teach through systematic theology on Wednesday nights. Yet there hasn’t been a week gone by – good or bad – that I have not thought to myself, “I’m boring them to tears. They don’t really care about this. Maybe I should shift gears.”
 
This summer, however, two Sunday School teachers approached me at different times, and told me how theology notebooks helped them understand their lessons.
 
They were grateful for having learned the information, and I was pleased the tool I had set in place served its purpose.
 
In Leviticus, God establishes the sacrificial system as a tool for His chosen people to atone for their sins and to offer Him praise for all He has done. The burnt offering appeased God’s wrath while the grain and fellowship offerings were given to thank God for His blessings and to enjoy peace with Him.
 
Regarding the grain and fellowship offerings, Ligon Duncan observes that, “These sacrifices are not the mandated festival sacrifices that are described elsewhere in the books of Moses. These are sacrifices which the worshiper is given the privilege of bringing when he desires to. There may be an instance in life that prompts a worshiper to want to come and bring the sacrifice of the fellowship offering, or of the peace offering.”
 
Notice also that no offering of praise or of peace is given until the burnt offering, an offering to deal with sin, has been made.
 
For us, Christ is the burnt offering, the once and for all atoning sacrifice for the sins of His people that allows us the privilege of thanking Him for His blessings and enjoying His peace. Serve Him with gladness from a grateful heart and rest assured that He is eternally pleased with you.
10/17/2017 3:14:25 PM by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for November 5: Barnabas: Ongoing Encouragement

October 17 2017 by Matthew Jacobs, associate pastor, First Baptist Church, Crossnore

Focal passage: Acts 4:36-37; 9:26-27; 11:19-26
 
Everyone loves to be around encouraging people. I love to be around these people too. I remember a teacher in high school that said writing thank you letters is one of the most encouraging things a person can do.
 
Honestly, I thought she was crazy when she said this. After all, we live in a world of technology. We send emails now, not handwritten letters.
 
My attitude changed when I received my first handwritten letter. The author said they were praying for me, and if I needed anything to let them know. It was something so simple, yet it had a great impact on me.
 
The majority of handwritten letters I receive today come from senior adults. They don’t need anything fancy to encourage me, just a pen and paper. They simply use what they have to do what they can.
 
The same can be said of Barnabas, because in Acts 4, he sold a field and gave the money to the apostles. He used what he had to help build up the church.
 
We too can do what we can with what God has gifted us with to build His Kingdom. In Acts 9:26-27 Saul came into Jerusalem, and the disciples were afraid. Let me add: I would be too. But Barnabas steps in and speaks up for Saul. We too should encourage others by standing with them and becoming their advocate.
 
In Acts 11 we see the church in Antioch start to grow. We see the apostles send none other than Barnabas to them. And the passage says he was encouraged and taught them. Both Saul and Barnabas spent a year with the church in Antioch. The best way we can encourage others, like Barnabas, is by helping them grow spiritually.
 
Christ-centered living chooses encouragement, not criticism. We must strive to be like Barnabas and use what God has given us to build His Kingdom. We can stand up and be an advocate for others. We can also help fellow brothers and sisters grow in Christ. Let us be an ongoing encouragement to others.
10/17/2017 3:08:32 PM by Matthew Jacobs, associate pastor, First Baptist Church, Crossnore | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for October 29: His Presence

October 16 2017 by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston

Focal passage: Exodus 39:42-43; 40:4, 34-38
 
Tradition holds that one must follow certain rules of etiquette when addressing a member of the royal family.
 
In America, we expect our citizens to observe a well-established protocol when handling our nation’s flag. Those things and figures to whom we have pledged our allegiance carry with them a glory imbued by the people, whether deserved or not.
 
God is different.
 
God’s glory is a part of His nature. Any allegiance to Him is deserved, and He sets the protocol for all who might dwell in His presence. The formalities are actually acts of grace whereby He secures the good of sinful people in the enjoyment of His person.
 
Because of their sin, it was necessary and for the good of the Israelites that He establish such detailed plans regarding the tabernacle. Their obedience to those plans would mean an audience with the God of heaven who would personally and providentially guide the nation in the way she should go.
 
For the believer, Christ is the perfect tabernacle. Colossians 2:9 says, “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.”
 
The protocol for enjoying God’s presence now is nothing more or less than union with Jesus by His Spirit.
 
Then we too become a tabernacle although in a different sense. First Corinthians 3:16 reads, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
 
We are united with Him and partake of the divine nature (2 Peter 2:4), but we are not, ourselves, divine. His Holy Spirit lives inside us and guides us, in much the same way God led the Israelites through cloud and fire. And Christ’s perfect obedience allows us to enjoy God’s presence without fear.
 
Even still, while God’s presence never leaves us, to the extent that we are walking in the Spirit, we enjoy that presence more and more. Therefore, walk in obedience to His commands, not for faith but from faith, for the good of your soul to the glory of His name.
10/16/2017 1:39:16 PM by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for October 29: Ruth: All-in Commitment

October 16 2017 by Matthew Jacobs, associate pastor, First Baptist Church, Crossnore

Focal passage: Ruth 1:8-17
 
The idea of “all-in” has become a common theme among sports teams. Yet, it is not a new idea.
 
When I think of an all-in commitment, I cannot help but think of a dear friend named Dr. Best. He has been a faithful minister of the gospel for well over 50 years. He had an all-in commitment to his wife, who in her later years had Alzheimer’s disease.
 
Even in retirement, he was filling in at churches every Sunday. But when his wife’s health declined, he had to reduce his preaching schedule to care for her.
 
He has what we might call “all-in” in his commitment to his wife.
 
We see a similar narrative in the story of Ruth. Ruth’s husband had passed away, and she found herself in a foreign land with her mother-in-law, Naomi.
 
Naomi told her to depart and go back home. But Ruth stayed. Her commitment to Naomi, and to Naomi’s God, was clear.
 
As many of you know, commitments sometimes go through hard times. Ruth and Naomi had no husbands to provide for them. Yet, even as their futures lacked security and certainty, Ruth clung to Naomi. All-in commitment is demonstrated by our actions. Ruth told Naomi, “Where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge … Where you die I will die.” Ruth demonstrated that she was all-in until death separated them.
 
Dr. Best stayed at his wife’s side day-by-day caring for her. They made a commitment to love each other in sickness and in health. Dr. Best had an all-in mindset because he knew his love for her was a display of his love for Christ.
10/16/2017 1:36:43 PM by Matthew Jacobs, associate pastor, First Baptist Church, Crossnore | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for October 22: Rebellion

October 3 2017 by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston

Focal Passage: Exodus 32:1-6; 11-14
 
We can read the story of the Israelites worshipping the golden calf with detached indifference. Bowing to statues seems futile and foreign to our civilized Western sensibilities. Idolatry, however, is anything that demotes God and substitutes itself.
 
At the end of the day, we are all idolaters. For some it’s obvious sins of rebellion, sex, drugs and the like. For most, however, it is more subtle.
 
You’ve seen the picture. A beautiful family sits down for dinner, perhaps at their favorite local restaurant following corporate worship. Dad sports his best coat and tie, and mom, a lovely skirt and blouse. Johnny and Suzy are equally striking in their Sunday dress. But something is awry about the scene. Each is hunched over in what looks like an uncomfortable pose. A dim light shines on each face as well and reflects vibrant flashes of color in their catatonic eyes.
 
“Can I take your order?” the waitress asks.
 
No one hears. Social media has captured their hearts. The lure of the latest app has captivated their gaze. The golden cell phone is now all that matters. Idolatry has won the day.
 
Thanks be to God that in Christ there is much grace.
 
For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, NASB).
 
In Christ, our idolatry is confronted and defeated. Because He has been judged for our sin and now intercedes before the Father, God relents and grants repentance and faith to His people. Now, we share in the ministry of intercession, pleading for others that God might also impart His saving grace to them (2 Timothy 2:25).
 
And when idolatry rears its ugly head, we do not despair. In this life, the flesh will always wage war against the Spirit. Repent, and take heart. He has overcome. In glory, idolatry will be no more.
 

10/3/2017 7:39:12 AM by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for October 22: Solomon: Unfailing Wisdom

October 3 2017 by Matthew Jacobs, associate pastor, First Baptist Church, Crossnore

Focal passage: 1 Kings 3:3-14; 4:29-34
 
There is no lack of information today.
 
Some might even say we have too much.
 
Most any burning question we have can be answered with the click of a mouse.
I remember my last course in college.
 
We had to give presentations to the class, and a student was giving a lesson on the pyramids of Egypt and what they were made of.
 
Our teacher began to question the student’s information, because it was not accurate.
 
The student had searched online, found something and just ran with it to get the task done.
 
There is so much information available today, yet how can we know what is true or untrue?
 
Solomon, as many of us have been told, was the wisest man on earth. He did not become this way by going to college.
 
No, Solomon as we see in this study, prayed to God for wisdom and discernment.
 
He asked for an understanding mind, so he would know how to govern his people.
 
The result of Solomon’s prayer was God-given wisdom. He became the wisest man ever.
We, too, must seek knowledge from God. God imparts His wisdom to us through His Word and His Holy Spirit, who helps us to understand His Word.
 
The outcome of Solomon’s wisdom was the benefit of others: “And people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon” (1 Kings 4:34).
 
People from all over the world came to learn from this man.
 
We, like Solomon, must seek God for understanding of what is true and false in this world.  The beautiful thing is we never have to wonder if God’s word is untrue.
 
The Bible is truth; it gives life, it brings change and it is what the world needs today.
 
Just as Solomon offered wisdom to all, we too must go and give the world the wisdom that can only come from God.
 

10/3/2017 7:37:38 AM by Matthew Jacobs, associate pastor, First Baptist Church, Crossnore | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for October 15: Equipped

October 3 2017 by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston

Focal Passage: Exodus 25:1-9; 31:1-6
 
Have you ever endured the credits following a feature film? Had I asked that question 20 years ago, the answer would most assuredly be no. Today, filmmakers have developed clever ways to keep their audiences until the last words scroll by.
 
What strikes me about film credits is the sheer number of people involved in the process, each with a particular skillset vital to bringing the vision of the producers and directors to life. No doubt within this field of specialists there are some who labored hard at their training while others seemed to possess a gift that propelled them to the top.
 
Exodus 25-31 is hardly detailing something as trivial as filmmaking. God instructed His people to erect a dwelling place in which He would commune with them.
 
His vision was laid out in meticulous detail, so meticulous in fact that no one man could accomplish the task. So, God graciously gifted those called to labor with the skillsets needed to build the furniture, craft the elements and utensils and weave the curtains and the garments. To others He imparted gifts of wisdom to oversee and to lead in the construction of the tabernacle.
 
God’s calling and God’s gifting work the same way in the church. The Bible teaches that Christ is building a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5) and that He calls believers to use both their skillsets (Colossians 3:17) and their spiritual gifts (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; 1 Peter 4:11) for the construction of that house in love (Ephesians 4:15-16).
 
What He calls us to do, He equips us to do. And just like Bezalel and Oholiab He has granted to some to aid in that equipping through gifts of administration and leadership – prophets, evangelists and the pastor/teacher (Ephesians 4:11-12).
 
Having been graciously equipped, we willfully and joyfully labor, using our talents and spiritual gifts, not to see our name scroll by in the credits, but rather to bring glory and honor to the One who has granted us the privilege of His presence.
 

10/3/2017 7:35:59 AM by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for October 15: Caleb: Unwavering Faith

October 3 2017 by Matthew Jacobs, associate pastor, First Baptist Church, Crossnore

Focal passage: Numbers 13: 26-30; 14:6-10, 21-24
 
Trusting in God, not in our circumstances, is often hard.
 
A little more than a year ago, my wife and I were in a place much like Caleb. I was in seminary and our first child had just arrived. I also received a call to interview at a church.
 
The meeting went well, and before we made it 300 yards from the church, I looked over at my wife and said, “They might not know it yet, but this is where we are moving.”
 
But not long after, my wife was offered a teaching job where we were currently living. We were faced with a decision.
 
Just like Caleb, we had to trust God more than circumstances.
 
In this study, we read that the Israelites sent spies out into the promised land.
 
When the agents came back they told of how great the land was, yet they couldn’t take it, for it had giants in it.
 
But Caleb knew the promise of God and believed they needed to take it.
 
Caleb also trusted God to continually be with him. When he spoke about the promise of God, they wanted to stone him.
 
Caleb did not change his mind; he knew God had given them the land.
 
Caleb trusted God and His faithfulness. God made a promise to Caleb for his unwavering faith, that he and his children would see the promised land. God said no others from that generation would see it, but because Caleb stood firm on the promises God had given him, he was given a promise to see it.
 
My wife and I knew God had called us to that church, yet we were still in the waiting stage. We had to seek God on what the next step of life would be.
 
So, we turned down the teaching job. A few days later we received word the church was going to vote me in as their next associate/youth pastor.
 
We must have unwavering faith when it comes to God and what He calls us to do. 
 

10/3/2017 7:29:51 AM by Matthew Jacobs, associate pastor, First Baptist Church, Crossnore | with 0 comments



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