Sunday School Lessons

Explore the Bible Lesson for July 8: Accountable

June 26 2018 by Logan Sides, local missions director, Calvary Baptist Church, Winston-Salem

Focal passages: 2 Samuel 12:1-14
 
There are many uniformed, instrument-bearing members that make up a marching band. Each person must practice his or her routines in the summer heat, while also performing the music correctly. They are responsible for knowing their steps and unique parts.
 
However, they all look to one person, the drum major, to serve as their rallying point and their leader.
 
God holds all people accountable for their sins, especially those called to lead others. An almost absolute ruler, the king of Israel had to submit to the God who is sovereign over all. Yet David despised the word of the Lord when he broke at least four of the great commandments in one giant misstep.
 
The king was supposed to lead the nation in obedience by observing the law (Deuteronomy 17:18-20), but David’s great sin with Bathsheba did the complete opposite.
 
For most Christians, the most common spiritual leader they interact with is their local pastor. That pastor is your church’s God-called leader to set an example through demonstrating an upright life, sound teaching and other Christ-like qualities. It is both wise and appropriate then to hold pastors to a higher standard and to examine their qualifications. When they fulfill their calling, the people can flourish and the church’s witness to its community can be amplified. When a leader deviates from his calling, it can injure the church and impair its ministry efforts.
 
All believers must repent of their sins, realizing God forgives and walks alongside us through the temporal consequences. Importantly, we need to remember that the shepherds God has placed over us are sheep too. We must permit them to lead us also in the way of confession and repentance when they do stumble.
 
Psalm 32 says unconfessed sin causes a man to waste away, but blessing is poured out on the one who turns back to the Lord and receives forgiveness. Since our leaders are extra accountable for the lives they lead, Christians should intentionally intercede for them so that they do not fall into temptation.

6/26/2018 1:42:39 PM by Logan Sides, local missions director, Calvary Baptist Church, Winston-Salem | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for July 8: What Happens Next?

June 26 2018 by Emily Kistler, member, Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia

Focal passage: Revelation 21:1-8
 
One day we will fully experience who God created us to be. Sometimes I think living in this fallen world is a lot like serving in a castle as a singing teapot. Just consider the plight of the servants in the animated film “Beauty and the Beast.” The teapot, the clock, the candlestick – they all began life as humans. And yet, because of a curse, they were all transformed into mere household artifacts.
 
We are not Mrs. Potts the singing teapot, but just like her, we live under a curse.
 
Sin has distorted almost every aspect of our world. And just like Mrs. Potts, who desperately hoped to return to her life as a servant, we wait with expectation for the day when we will fully experience everything we were created to be.
 
Mrs. Potts longed for the prince to find true love. We long for the return of Jesus and for the restoration of His Kingdom.
 
Mrs. Potts hoped to live in the presence of a reigning prince. We know that one day all those who belong to Christ will live in God’s presence.
 
According to Revelation 21:3, Christians “will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.”
 
Mrs. Potts dreamed of serving in a beautifully refurbished castle. When Christ returns, we will truly live in a perfect place. There will be no more tears, and death will be destroyed. “Grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer” (Revelation 21:4).
 
Mrs. Potts longed for her curse to be removed, but she could only hope.
 
There was no guarantee that the prince would find true love. In contrast, our eternity is certain. It is firmly based on our relationship with Christ. He is “the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 21:6). He promises to be our God and make us His beloved children.
 
We can rejoice because we know with certainty that one day we will no longer be singing teapots.
 
Instead, we will be transformed, living in God’s presence and dwelling with Him forever.

6/26/2018 1:42:24 PM by Emily Kistler, member, Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for July 1: Valued

June 22 2018 by Logan Sides, local missions director, Calvary Baptist Church, Winston-Salem

Focal passages: 2 Samuel 9:1-13
 
David swore to Jonathan that he would preserve the family line of Saul’s descendants (1 Samuel 20:12-17). That promise is kept when King David finds Jonathan’s surviving son named Mephibosheth and lavishes his wealth on him. The kindness expressed here demonstrates first the importance of keeping our promises.
 
This is especially true in David’s case because the son is apparently the last surviving child of Jonathan (2 Samuel 9:3). David graciously restores all the land, provides workers for the fields and invites him into the royal meal each night. Mephibosheth himself has a son named Mica, which further confirms the promise David made that the line of Saul would not be cut off.
 
Twice it is mentioned in this passage that Mephibosheth is “lame in both feet” which implies he was in a disadvantageous position in his society. He very easily could have been looked down upon, and no one would have questioned David if he said, “Mephibo-what? I don’t know who this guy is; get him out of here.”
 
The son himself says, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?” (2 Samuel 9:8).
 
God’s word is telling you unequivocally that he values the poor, the sick, the outsider and the physically impaired as dignified human beings made in His image, specially designed for a personal relationship with Him.
 
Surely we find in David’s kindness an example to follow for offering compassionate care to others and honoring our commitments. May we also celebrate God’s adoption of us into His family. Just like in this story, we were isolated, without a future and looked down upon.
 
Ephesians 2 portrays clearly the reality of those who are far from God: “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13, ESV). With a renewed sense of humility from reflecting on our brokenness apart from God’s grace, let us also show kindness and affirm value of others we meet, forfeiting any sense of superiority and loving them with the love we’ve been given.

6/22/2018 1:27:32 PM by Logan Sides, local missions director, Calvary Baptist Church, Winston-Salem | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for July 1: What Should We Do Now?

June 22 2018 by Emily Kistler, member, Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia

Focal passage: Acts 2:37-47
 
We do not live for ourselves; we serve God by serving others.
 
In 1987, after defeating the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI, New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms appeared in the first installment of a famous ad campaign. The recipe was simple. A voice off camera exclaimed, “You’ve just won the Super Bowl! What are you going to do next?”
 
And Phil responded enthusiastically, “I’m going to Disney World.” 
 
This iconic script was repeated in commercials throughout the next several decades. The Walt Disney Company successfully promoted the idea that even when you reach the pinnacle of your craft, life is far from over. Although few, if any, people reading this article will ever win the Super Bowl, as Christians we have experienced a much greater victory. Jesus Christ has redeemed us from sin and restored us to a right relationship with God. And yet, our lives are far from over. 
 
God has saved us from sin, but He has also left us here on earth for a magnificent purpose. As long as we are alive, we are to joyfully serve our Creator. Following the example of the early church, we are to glorify God by leading others to a deeper relationship with their Savior. 
 
In Acts 2:40, Peter urged anyone who would listen to repent and be baptized exclaiming, “Be saved from this corrupt generation!” We are to work diligently to lead outsiders to faith in Christ. 
 
The believers in Acts also intentionally encouraged the spiritual growth of fellow saints. They “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers” (Acts 2:42). In the same way, we are to support and help others as they grow in Christ.
 
Our lives should honor God and point to Christ in every circumstance so that His name is made great in our local communities and throughout the world.
 
Yes, we have experienced a great victory, but our lives are far from over. So what if there was a new ad campaign? How would you respond if someone asked you, “You’ve just had your sins forgiven. What are you going to do next?”

6/22/2018 1:27:21 PM by Emily Kistler, member, Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for June 24: Established

June 22 2018 by Logan Sides, local missions director, Calvary Baptist Church, Winston-Salem

Focal passages: 2 Samuel 7:8-21
 
“God is rarely early, but He’s never late,” my former pastor in Oklahoma used to say. In the scope of your personal life, waiting for an expected event or action can sometimes feel like an eternity.
 
In the scope of Israel’s national history, they literally waited centuries for God’s promises to be fulfilled. God promised to establish a descendant of David as leader of His people (2 Samuel 7:16). This promised eternal throne was part of a plan set in motion from the very beginning of the Scriptures, with every generation longing to see the King of Kings rule on earth in their lifetime.
 
David, in his zeal, wanted to build the Lord a house in Jerusalem, because God had richly blessed him and the people with rest, protection and a permanent home (7:8-11). Israel’s earthly king thankfully reflected on all God’s provisions, and wanted to honor Him by building a wonderful temple to His praise.
 
The answer the Lord gave David through the prophet Nathan can be summed up as “Wait. Not you, but another who will come after you will build a house for my Name.”
 
Nathan delivered a promise from God that David’s son would not only build the temple, but also that he would rule forever (7:11-17). Of course, Solomon is the immediate heir to David’s throne, who we know succeeds in building the temple and overseeing a period of prosperity in Israel’s history. We also know Solomon as the one who would do wrong and endure the rod of his loving Father. It is apparent then that God’s promises of a Savior would be preceded, but not fulfilled, by these great men. Christians today believe the prophecies foretold and rejoice that the Son of David rules over us. We long for that day when Jesus descends from heaven to earth on His eternal throne to make His dwelling with men.

6/22/2018 1:27:08 PM by Logan Sides, local missions director, Calvary Baptist Church, Winston-Salem | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for June 24: Why Did Jesus Come?

June 22 2018 by Emily Kistler, member, Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia

Focal passage: Luke 1:68-79
 
Jesus came to remove our sin.
 
As a high school math teacher, it never ceases to amaze me what students will do for a good grade. Some bring me baked goods or sweet notes. Others use smart phone apps to immediately discover correct answers. Once I even had a parent call my private phone number to explain that her child was so sweet that she deserved a better geometry grade for her kindness alone!
 
It almost sounds absurd, doesn’t it?
 
But before you criticize, I believe every human is tempted to operate like this. We are continuously looking for ways to get out of a mess. Just consider our relationship with God. Because of sin, we have been separated from our Creator. We long for restoration, so we strive to fix our sin problem.
 
Some of us work to complete a specific list of good deeds. Others attempt to please God by following a set of rules or regulations.
 
As much as we may hope these things will help us restore what has been lost, there is only one solution.
 
When Zacharias prophesied in the power of the Holy Spirit as recorded in Luke 1:68-79, he explained that God alone provides a way for the redemption of His people through Jesus Christ. Jesus came to redeem us from defeat, providing “salvation from enemies and from the clutches of those who hate us” (Luke 1:71). He came to redeem us from fear, promising that because of what He has done, we can “serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness” (Luke 1:74-75). And ultimately, Jesus came to redeem us from sin, providing “knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins” (Luke 1:77).
 
The students in my classes may improve their grade by copying homework answers, but they will never truly experience success until they learn the material. There is no substitute for this. In the same way, there is no substitute for the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. As much as we may try to remove our sin on our own, only Christ can redeem us from sin and restore our relationship with God.

6/22/2018 1:26:27 PM by Emily Kistler, member, Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for June 17: Celebrated

May 28 2018 by Logan Sides, local missions director, Calvary Baptist Church, Winston-Salem

Focal passages: 2 Samuel 5:9-12; 6:12-19
 
Jerusalem is one of the most important cities in the Bible and continues to receive much attention in the world today. After King David is recognized before all Israel, the story transitions quickly to how he captured Jerusalem and made it his capital. His success is attributed to the fact that “the Lord God Almighty was with him” (2 Samuel 5:10).
 
A neighboring nation recognizes David by sending supplies and laborers to construct a palace in Jerusalem. This picture of strength and security drives home the truth that God was providing the resources for accomplishing His plans.
 
God’s works through David are on full display, and those actions reveal His character.
He works in our lives, both in the ups and downs, to bring us closer to Him in our personal relationship with Him. Human beings are designed for the purpose of spiritual relationship with God, so it is no surprise that God intervenes in so many ways to relate to us. Our relationship with God is strengthened further when we worship Him in the ways He prescribes.
 
David joyfully brings the ark of God to his city because that was the place where people could come near to God’s presence (6:12).
 
The people celebrate God by bringing offerings and making sacrifices before the Lord (6:17). Through their dancing, singing and giving of gifts they express their great thankfulness for God’s blessings to them.
 
After hundreds of years of pursuing the Promised Land and longing for a Messiah, they are finally getting a foretaste of God’s ultimate salvation. The essence of true worship is not found in where you are geographically, the clothes you wear (or don’t wear in David’s case, 6:20), or the words you say. Worship is about drawing near to God’s presence “in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:23).
 
Believers can worship God with more joy in their hearts, because they have seen God’s love demonstrated even more clearly in the final sacrifice for sins and the promise of an eternal dwelling with God.
 

5/28/2018 3:08:02 PM by Logan Sides, local missions director, Calvary Baptist Church, Winston-Salem | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for June 17: Why Can’t We Fix It?

May 28 2018 by Emily Kistler, member, Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia

Focal passages: Deuteronomy 5:32-33, Galatians 3:10-12, 19a, 24-25
 
We are unable to live up to God’s holy standard.
 
Take a stroll through “The Story of North Carolina” exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History and you will most likely discover a collage of military portraits. Inside a small alcove there is a wall littered with the faces of nameless soldiers from the past – citizens willing and ready to sacrifice their lives defending their country.
 
Each of these soldiers was qualified to serve in the Army because they met certain standards.  For example, they were healthy enough, strong enough and of an appropriate age. 
 
Just as the military had standards for those who would join their ranks, God has clear expectations for those who desire to live in relationship with Him and experience His abundant life. In Deuteronomy 5:32, God calls His people to “do just as the Lord your God has commanded you.” His followers are to live in complete obedience. Although I’m certain that behind each somber face in that museum there is a moving story, I am always drawn to one photograph in particular. Hidden in the collage is a lady disguised as a gentleman. It appears as if she meets the military standard, but try as she might, she could never truly qualify as a soldier.   
 
Because of our sin, we will never be able to qualify as living in complete obedience before God. And as Paul explains in Galatians 3:10b, “Everyone who does not continue doing everything written in the book of the law is cursed.”
  
There was no perfect solution for the female military imposter, but for those of us who long to live in communion with God, there is hope.  True, we can never perfectly fulfill God’s law, but the law was designed to highlight our helplessness and “lead us to Christ” (Galatians 3:24). Jesus Christ obeyed the law perfectly and then took our curse upon Himself. He died in our place, and when we place our faith in His substitutionary work on our behalf, we are restored to a right relationship with God and can begin experiencing the true abundant life He designed.
 

5/28/2018 3:06:31 PM by Emily Kistler, member, Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for June 10: Crowned

May 28 2018 by Logan Sides, local missions director, Calvary Baptist Church, Winston-Salem

Focal passages: 2 Samuel 3:8-21
 
The people of God were not united under David at the beginning of his reign.
 
In fact, there was war between his followers and followers from the house of Saul (2 Samuel 3:1). Yet, God’s purposes would be fulfilled as David eventually becomes king over all Israel (5:1-2).
 
No one likes for someone to over-promise a service or other commitment. If they say they can make the delivery before the weekend, we will be disappointed if it’s not on our doorstep until Monday. For David, the Word of God promised that he would be king over Israel, but this promise was not immediately fulfilled.
 
There was civil war, there was treachery and there was division. David was patient and faithful to God despite this apparent delay in receiving what he was promised.
 
Eventually, God gave David an ally from the opposing army and this led to renewed unity among the embattled tribes of Israel.
 
This ally, named Abner, received honor for how he led his followers to commit to God’s purposes with King David. It’s never too late to do the right thing, and Abner realized that in his zeal he was actually running counter to the will of God. Now he could have stood his ground and stubbornly refused to change course, but instead he used his influence to encourage others to follow God’s plan (3:17-21).
 
David was the one who the Lord had chosen to save Israel from its enemies.
 
Second Samuel 3:18 says, “For the Lord promised David, ‘By my servant David I will rescue my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.”
 
The earlier attempt by Abner to establish another kingdom was an attempt to fight their battles without divine help, using only human might and reasoning.
 
The surrender to David represented an admission that Israel can only defeat its enemies when it follows God’s chosen servant.
 
The gospel of Jesus Christ says the same thing: victory over our greatest enemy, death, is only secured when we surrender to God’s chosen servant.
 

5/28/2018 3:04:33 PM by Logan Sides, local missions director, Calvary Baptist Church, Winston-Salem | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for June 10: Why Are We in This Mess?

May 28 2018 by Emily Kistler, member, Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia

Focal passage: Genesis 3:1-7, 14-19
 
We ruined a perfect relationship with God through our sin.
 
My husband recently purchased a bed for his dog Max, and I have never seen a puppy love a mattress more.  Each evening as we drag the bed into his favorite spot, Max barks uncontrollably and runs around in circles.  He is so excited about the prospect of relaxing on memory foam he can hardly stand it.
 
Or at least that’s what I thought.
 
As I made my morning trek to the coffee maker earlier this week, I felt something squishy underneath my feet.  
 
Turning on the lights, I assessed the situation and discovered that our living room was covered in tiny slobbery pieces of foam. Instead of treasuring the good gift from his owner, Max had chewed his mattress into pieces. It was ruined.
 
As I stood there watching Max wallow in his disaster, I was reminded of the disaster in which we find ourselves today.  
 
You see, God created a beautiful earth – a paradise for His beloved humans to manage and enjoy.
 
But instead of living in communion with Him, Adam and Eve chose to sin. They believed the lies of a deceptive serpent over the voice of their Maker and disobeyed God’s commands.
 
This disobedience brought consequences and a curse that plagues the earth even today.
Like Adam and Eve before us, we sin when we do not obey God. And like Adam and Eve, because of our sin, we face consequences – separation from God and the suffering that comes from living in a fallen world.  
 
I’ll be able to order a new mattress for Max, but more than likely, he will destroy his next dog bed, too. The chewing problem is not going away. But praise God, this is not true for our sin problem. Because of God’s great and undeserved love, we have hope that eventually the curse will be destroyed. In Genesis 3:15, God declares that He will send someone to defeat the serpent.  He says, “he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”  There may be no hope for Max, but there is hope for us!
 

5/28/2018 2:58:06 PM by Emily Kistler, member, Parkwood Baptist Church, Gastonia | with 0 comments



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