Sunday School Lessons

Explore the Bible Lesson for February 24: Reunited

February 7 2019 by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston

Focal Passage: Genesis 45:1-15
Little boys break things, and mine is no exception. Interestingly, my son looks to me to fix whatever it is he has broken. No one taught him to come to me, but something inside of him views me as the answer to the problem. The two pieces cannot come together unless I by some means unknown to him reunite them. On the one hand, this makes me feel great as a father.
On the other hand, the pressure is a bit more than one person can bear. What happens when that which is broken is something glue cannot reunite?
Joseph suffered greatly at the hands of his brothers. They plotted to kill him but instead sold him into slavery. In Genesis 45 he stands over them as second in command of Egypt and responsible for the livelihood of the entire kingdom and those who surrounded her. The lives of his brothers are in his hands. What will he do? Will he get his revenge or will he forgive?
Joseph forgives. Joseph forgives, because he sees the sovereign hand of God in his circumstances to provide for His people. Because God has rescued him, he can offer the same to his brothers.
Second Corinthians 6:19 says that because God has reconciled us to Himself in Christ, He has given to us the ministry of reconciliation. In the narrow context that means He has commissioned us to call others into this reconciliation through salvation. More broadly it also means that because we have been reconciled to God we can be reconciled to others, even those who have committed the worst atrocities against us.
What wrongs have been committed against you? They are nothing compared to the sin you have committed against God. Yet, He has offered you mercy and grace and forgiveness in Christ. Therefore, seek to be reconciled to your enemies. Offer grace and mercy and forgiveness to others. In this, you will bring God glory.

2/7/2019 12:11:49 PM by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for February 24: When False Religions Deceive

February 7 2019 by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church

Focal passage: 1 John 2:18-29
Recently, I was on a plane sitting next to very successful land developer in Atlanta, Ga. We had a fascinating conversation about how he made important business decisions. Basically, he would draw a grid on a piece of paper and write all the pros on one side and all the cons on the other side.
The business leader would evaluate both sides of the grid using a rational and reasonable approach. If he knew his decision was wise and right, he would move forward and make the deal.
In the midst of our conversation, I told him I was a pastor and asked if he ever thought about using his grid when it came to making decisions about eternal matters.
Immediately, he began to argue that all religions, for the most part, were all the same. So, to him, it did not matter if you were a Christian or a Buddhist, it was all equal. I tried to explain to him that all religions are not the same and they often make claims that are contrary to each other. I suggested using his grid to evaluate the claims of Christ, knowing that he would come to the conclusion that Jesus Christ is the Messiah – fully God and fully man.
Unfortunately, all his excitement about his strategy for making rational and reasonable decisions for his business endeavors were irrelevant when it came to truth claims about Jesus.

Tragically, he left the plane that evening rejecting what God had done for him in Jesus Christ.
As we think through our lesson this week, the Apostle John makes clear that anyone who denies that Jesus is the Messiah has no part in God’s family (1 John 2:22).
With that in mind, we must do all we can to help others to embrace the truth that Jesus is God, came to earth and dwelled among us, died on the cross for our sins, rose on the third day, ascended into heaven and is the mediator between God and anyone who believes on Him so they will not spend eternity separated from God.

2/7/2019 12:11:37 PM by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church | with 0 comments

Explore the Bible Lesson for February 17: Opportunity Knocks

February 7 2019 by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston

Focal Passage: Genesis 41:15-21, 33-40
While I was in seminary I worked at UPS, and while I was proud to wear the golden shield, I was miserable in my work.
During the day I was training for ministry, trying to master the skills I would need to take the gospel to wherever the Lord might send me.
At night, I was daily missing the chance to put those skills to the test by ministering to my lost coworkers.
My heart was not in the right place, and when opportunity knocked I was not listening.
Thankfully, we have a better example in the life of Joseph.
Joseph never missed the truth regarding his circumstances.
He knew God was sovereign and that no matter what there was always an opportunity to do God’s work.
He had been given an audience with Pharaoh for such a time as this, to rely on God’s wisdom to interpret Pharaoh’s dream and prepare for the famine that was to come. As a result, God exalted him to a place of great prominence to accomplish the task set before him. In doing this he would provide not only for the nation of Egypt, but for Jacob and his people as well, through whom God would send the Messiah.
Psalm 139:16 says, “In Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.”
In whatever circumstance you find yourself, God is not surprised. He has so ordained that you be where you are that you might glorify Him in Christ by spreading the gospel to the lost around you and by displaying the love of Christ through acts of service to all.
Rely on His wisdom, wisdom found in the Bible, and trust that if He has called you to the task, He will give you all that you need to accomplish it.

2/7/2019 12:05:58 PM by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for February 17: When Materialism Consumes

February 7 2019 by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church

Focal passage: 1 John 2:12-17; 3:16-18
When I was 15 years old, my father brought home an old 1970 Camaro.
It had a lot of surface rust, the front windshield was cracked, the side window was gone and there was about six inches of water in the floorboard along with leaves and fishing tackle. He paid $100 for the car, and told me it would be mine when I turned 16.
In many ways, that car was the best gift my dad could have given me.
He helped me work on it, and I learned to take something in really bad shape and make something really nice out of it.
For months, we worked together, so it would be ready to drive when the time came.
The day I turned 16, God taught me a valuable lesson. I got home from getting my license, and I went straight to the gas station to fill up the car. As I was turning into the store, a good friend was walking inside and I began waving to him. Not looking where I was going, I ran right into the concrete steel post that protected the gas pump.
It completely destroyed the right front fender of my newly restored car. I was so upset. I didn’t even get gas and went back home to tell my parents. They were very kind, because they knew I had worked so hard to make the car nice.
From that experience, I learned two valuable lessons.
First, pay attention when you are driving. Second, earthly possessions cannot ultimately satisfy you.
Even though I was a Christian when I wrecked my car, I had let restoring that car consume my life.
It was all I thought about for months. When I had the accident, it woke me up to the reality that earthly things will not last, and if I was not careful, they can compete for God’s rightful place on the throne of my life. Only God’s love can truly satisfy the longing of our hearts.
What about you? Do you have anything competing for God’s love in your life?

2/7/2019 12:05:50 PM by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church | with 0 comments

Explore the Bible Lesson for February 10: Tempted

January 30 2019 by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston

Focal Passage: Genesis 39:3-12, 19-21
I was recently challenged to throw a Christian bachelor party for my best friend. One of the first ideas to come to mind was to take him to an arcade. What guy doesn’t love video games, right? (Within moderation, of course.) What I love about an arcade game is that whether you win or lose, play well or poorly, there is never a loss of joy. The gameplay itself brings a satisfaction separate from any points or tickets you might win as a result. In other words, the blessing is not dependent on you but on the game itself.
It would be easy to read Genesis 39 and believe falsely that God is blessing Joseph because of his faithfulness. A closer read reveals that God blesses Joseph with success because He is God.
He has a plan, He has graciously included Joseph in that plan, and God favors him and causes him to prosper to advance it for His glory. Joseph’s faithfulness is in response to God’s favor, not as an attempt to receive it.
Verses 9-10 read, “There is no one greater in this house than I … How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?
God has blessed. How can I repay Him with rebellion and disobedience?
Further proof that Joseph’s faithfulness is not the cause of God’s blessing is seen in verses 19-21. After Joseph has withstood temptation, he is still imprisoned. Yet, God was working to accomplish His redemptive plan.
Believer, you are highly favored of the Lord, but such favor is pure grace and mercy. You cannot earn it, and you do not deserve it.
The proper response to God’s gracious favor is faithfulness in the midst of temptation and an understanding that to be faithful is to ensure a certain amount of suffering for His sake. Still, there is a satisfaction separate from the blessings of this world and immune to trials, the eternal, insurmountable joy found in Christ Himself.

1/30/2019 9:17:33 AM by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for February 10: When Marriage is Questioned

January 30 2019 by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church

Focal Passage: Genesis 2:18-25
In 2004, Daniel R. Heimbach, ethics professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote a book titled True Sexual Morality: Recovering Biblical Standards for a Culture in Crisis. His book is considered to be the standard for helping believers understand the importance of the Christian sexual ethic.
In the first part of his book, he describes the potential danger of moving away from what God intends regarding marriage and sexuality. Interestingly, his book was written over a decade ago, but much of what he describes is already occurring today.
Since the topic for our lesson this week is about marriage, Heimbach’s thoughts are important for us to consider. I have modified his information, but the thrust of the argument belongs to him. I highly recommend his book.
What could happen if Christians do not stand strong on the biblical position of marriage? First, if the sanctity of marriage is compromised, promoting sex without boundaries occurs. When sex occurs without boundaries, the importance of procreation is threatened. Sex becomes about self-gratification only and not about creating a family.
When the importance of the family is weakened, respect for authority is not taught.
When there is no respect for authority, the laws of government are not followed, which leads to further breakdown of the society. When the society begins to breakdown, crime, murder, riots, poverty and violence begin to occur. As these things occur, the social structure will eventually collapse.        
When you think about these negative consequences, it is important for us to resist the temptation to conform to the world’s vision for male and female relationships. God’s plan is always best. The Bible teaches us that God created marriage to be between one man and one woman for a lifetime.
If we want a strong, healthy society, it begins with strong, healthy marriages that produce strong, healthy families.
If we abandon God’s intention for marriage, then we can expect long-term moral failure and the corrosion of a great nation. Instead, let us turn back to God’s plan for marriage and experience His blessing.

1/30/2019 9:17:23 AM by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church | with 0 comments

Explore the Bible Lesson for February 3: Accept It

January 22 2019 by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston

Focal Passage: Genesis 37:5-11, 19-27
I have often heard people say, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” The idea here is that when chance circumstances are not what you would like for them to be, you make the most out of the situation. On the surface it seems like a good notion. However, the Bible teaches something altogether different – that God is sovereign over our circumstances and that while evil may come at the hands of sinful men, His plans cannot be thwarted, and He will turn all things for our good and His glory.
Consider Joseph. Joseph did not choose his dreams, God did, and his brother’s efforts to prevent God’s plans actually fulfilled them instead. They do eventually bow down to Joseph in Egypt.
Of course the plan was not to have all of them bow down before their favored relative. No, Joseph was sent ahead of them to preserve them as a people from the famine. This would also preserve the line of the Messiah to come through Judah’s offspring, a Messiah whose story also illustrates God’s sovereign use of evil to advance His purposes.
Acts 2:23-24a says, “This Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to the cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again …
Evil men committed evil acts against Jesus, but God had predetermined that these things would take place for His glory and the salvation of His people. They meant it for evil, but God meant it for good (Genesis 50:20). Such knowledge brings great hope and comfort to the believer.
Therefore, in your service to the Lord, do not become prideful or prone to despair. He has placed all of us in unique situations, He uses all of us differently, and He even uses those who would seek to destroy us to accomplish His will.
Be faithful to walk in a manner worthy of your calling.

1/22/2019 11:25:20 AM by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for February 3: When Substances Take Over

January 22 2019 by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church

Focal Passage: Ephesians 5:15-21
Many years ago, I took a planning seminar to help me get organized. In the seminar, I learned it takes at least 21 days to develop new patterns of behaviors in a person’s life. They argued that if a person wanted to change bad behavior (stop procrastinating or quit eating too much), he or she must replace the bad behavior with good behavior (better planning and exercise).
If the person kept doing the good behavior for at least 21 days straight, it would become a habit in that person’s life. Although I took that seminar more than 20 years ago, I still think I am working on the 21 days.
This week’s lesson focuses on the dangers of substance abuse and why believers should allow the Holy Spirit to control their lives and not drugs or alcohol. Ephesians 5:18 says, “Do not be drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit” (ESV). In the passage, the Apostle Paul is exhorting believers to live under the control of Holy Spirit and not anything else.
Over the years, I have ministered to dozens of individuals struggling with substance abuse. We often recommend they attend a place called Hebron Colony, a Christian residential facility near Boone, N.C. They have an approach that is very effective in helping men break free of alcohol and drug addiction that is reflective of Paul’s words in Ephesians 5:18.
Basically, they teach the men first to find their identity in Christ, and secondly, they teach them how to replace old habits with godly habits. In other words, instead of focusing on what you cannot have (drugs or alcohol), focus on what you do have, which is a relationship with Christ.
Over a period of 12 weeks, men begin to understand what it means to allow the Holy Spirit to control their lives.
In the end, they realize God offers something far greater than any substance can provide – and they are willing to fight for it!

1/22/2019 11:25:08 AM by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church | with 0 comments

Explore the Bible Lesson for January 27: Assurance

January 10 2019 by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston

Focal Passage: Genesis 35:1-15
At the end of Genesis 34, the patriarch Jacob faces a tough situation. His sons, Simeon and Levi have just avenged the rape of their sister Dinah by Shechem, son of Hamor. They have sinned and thus have brought reproach upon the name of Jacob who fears retribution at the hands of his enemies. In chapter 35, God brings assurance.
Have you ever worked on a home project with your spouse? This, of course, means the husband has decided it can’t be too difficult, and he can figure it out without instructions. At some point the wife has noticed, and much to his chagrin, she decides to help.
In the end, what usually happens? More often than not, assurance doesn’t come until someone wises up and looks to the creator who has given clear instructions for construction (she told you so).
Jacob finds assurance in the God who appeared to him following his own sinful actions toward his brother, Esau. This assurance produces faithful action on Jacob’s part.
He takes God at His Word and takes action as a demonstration of his faith. He purifies himself and his family and he joyfully obeys God’s instruction to return to the land He had promised him.
Second Peter 1:2-3 says, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”
We, too, face difficult situations, some of which are the consequences of others’ sins.
God offers us assurance that though we are often fearful, He is always faithful.
He’s given us all we need for life and godliness. Knowing this, we can walk by faith. We can flee sinful distractions and pursue holiness. We can obey God’s commands joyfully as we cherish the eternal promises of scripture offered to us in Christ.

1/10/2019 10:07:35 AM by Casey Short, pastor, Reddicks Grove Baptist Church, Williamston | with 0 comments

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for January 27: When Circumstances Overwhelm

January 10 2019 by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church

Focal passage: Psalm 42:1-3, 6-8; 43:3-5
As a young Christian, I was reading through the Bible when I came to Proverbs 24:16, which says, “The righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity” (ESV).
At first, I got kind of frustrated and said, “God, that is not fair! Why does the righteous person have to fall so many times, but the wicked seem to stumble less?”
It is important to note during this time, it seemed like I was the poster-child for this verse.
My life as a Christian was one step forward and two steps backs. But, after I began studying the verse more closely, I realize that when the righteous man falls, God picks him up, dusts him off and helps him keep going.
However, when the wicked man falls, he is down for the count.
He has no support to help him overcome his calamity.
When you couple this verse with the truth found in Psalm 42-43, you realize God lifts us up when our circumstances pull us down.
Sometimes our struggles are self-imposed, but other times we have no control over them.
Either way, it is important to trust that God will see you through no matter the outcome.
I have a young friend who was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome after falling in an exercise class in college.
We were hoping the effects of the concussion would be short as we prayed for him at our church. In fact, many of us were discouraged that for three years this young man basically had to stay at home battling numerous neurological problems.
During that time, I am sure he had similar thoughts as the Psalmist, “My soul is cast down within me, [but] By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me a prayer to the God of my life” (Psalm 42:6, 8).
Thankfully, my friend did not grow weary during this difficult time; and, in God’s provision, my friend has become an example of the truth found in Psalm 42-43 as he serves our church today.

1/10/2019 10:02:42 AM by Bartley Wooten, pastor, Beulaville Baptist Church | with 0 comments

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