Sunday School Lessons

Explore the Bible Lesson for February 25: Always on Mission

February 6 2018 by James Zik, associate pastor, Beach Road Baptist Church, Southport

Focal passage: Acts 28:17-28
 
One of my responsibilities at the church where I serve is to train disciple-makers. Each semester I lead a class on how to fulfill the great commission Jesus gave to His disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). During our 12 weeks together, I use a phrase over and over that goes something like this: “We stand on the shoulders of the saints who have gone before us and were faithful to their God-given task.”
 
Think about it. If you are a follower of Jesus, you are saved because at some point someone shared with you the life-changing message of Christ.
 
In His sovereign plan, God appointed a time for you to come into contact with someone who had what you needed. In a sense, you stand on their shoulders.  
 
In the last chapter of Acts, Paul explains to the local leaders how he ended up in Rome.
From a heavenly perspective, it was because God knew he would come in contact with people who were eager to hear the message he was proclaiming (Acts 28:22).
 
Paul wouldn’t have had this audience if the circumstances hadn’t turned out the way they had.
 
God was working even in the midst of the struggles and trials Paul was facing.   Because some accepted this message, he now had saints that were standing on his shoulders, because he was faithful in sharing what had transformed him.
 
The same is true for you and me.  As you finish your study in the book of Acts, if you have taken away anything, my prayer is that you’ve developed a passion and commitment for personal evangelism.
 
You are a steward of a message that has eternal consequences. And because of a parent, grandparent, pastor, Bible study teacher, friend, co-worker, sibling or even a total stranger, your position with God is one of peace (Romans 5:1) and not wrath (Romans 1:18). Now, go! Go and make disciples of all nations!
 

2/6/2018 8:01:54 AM by James Zik, associate pastor, Beach Road Baptist Church, Southport | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for February 25: I Am a Light

February 6 2018 by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham

Focal passage: Ephesians 5:8-14
 
Christine Caine, an activist against human trafficking, spoke at a conference when I was in college and shared a story I’ll never forget.
 
Caine and her daughter, Sophia, were shopping for a flashlight. Sophia was thrilled with the one she’d chosen and, itching to go home, said to her mother, “Let’s go find some darkness!”
Their new flashlight was no use under the bright store lights; it would only serve its purpose within the contrast of darkness.
 
Believers have a new identity as “children of light” that are called to walk in obedience to the Lord as they learn what is pleasing and acceptable to Him (Ephesians 5:8-10). This means that anyone who does not know Christ as Lord and Savior remains in darkness.
 
Just like Sophia’s flashlight was indistinguishable among the incandescent store lights, missing its objective, the light Christ placed in us does not fulfill its intention when it fears exposing the darkness. Ephesians 5:11-13 reads, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things that are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.”
 
There was a time when we, too, were in darkness. Because of the Fall, everyone was born into sin, and whether we were 7 years old or 52 when we believed in the Lord, there was a time when there was no light in us either. Even still, having tasted the sweet salvation of Jesus Christ, we are not exempt from falling into sin. This understanding should lead us to humility, compassion for those in darkness and a deep desire to see the lost be found.

May we long to hear the Lord say unto others as He has graciously called out to us, “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light” (Ephesians 5:14).
 

2/6/2018 7:56:59 AM by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for February 18: Answering Critics

February 6 2018 by James Zik, associate pastor, Beach Road Baptist Church, Southport

This time last year, my wife and I were driving home to Kentucky to visit my side of the family, when just 20 minutes into our trip the transmission began malfunctioning. Leaving a red light, I pushed the gas pedal, but the car would barely move. It would take a couple miles to reach the speed limit of 55.  
 
Deciding to continue on for another 30 miles, thinking the issue would resolve itself, we drove until we came to another stop. To test whether or not the issue was still there, I slammed on the gas, only to have the car move at a snail’s pace. I told Ashley that we had a serious issue and needed to turn around.  
 
The word repent means to have a change of mind or to turn. After admitting we had a problem, we had to turn around. This is exactly what Paul proclaims as he makes his case to King Agrippa in Acts 26. He said, “repent and turn to God.” Stop living a self-ruled life and allow God to rule. Of course, this message is not always met with joyful acceptance (Luke 21:17). Paul was almost killed by the Jews (Acts 20:21) and Festus said he was “out of his mind” (Acts 20:24). Yet Paul did not back down. He continued to try to persuade Festus and others to follow Christ.   
 
The same should be true for you and me. When we share the message of Jesus, it is important that we don’t shy away from telling people they must repent. In fact, this should be something we should be used to doing ourselves as followers of Jesus.  

Martin Luther’s first of 95 theses said the entire life of the believer should be one of repentance. It should be something we practice daily. Thus, our familiarity with repentance allows us to communicate the gospel from a posture of humility. And when we are rejected, we don’t give up. We continue praying the world would “become as we are” (Acts 26:29).
 

2/6/2018 7:43:53 AM by James Zik, associate pastor, Beach Road Baptist Church, Southport | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for February 18: I Am Just Passing Through

February 6 2018 by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham

Focal passage: 1 Peter 2:11-17
 
After 16 years of growing up in Colorado, I attended a university in Kansas and lived in the Sunflower State an additional two years post-graduation. Through a series of noteworthy events, too perfect to be coincidental, I felt led to move to North Carolina.
 
It’s been four trips around the sun since I made it to Durham, still, my reference to “home” has more to do with my audience than location.
 
More often than not, Colorado is home. When I’m catching up with college friends, we share Kansas as “home.” During vacation, North Carolina is the home I miss.
 
Scripture explains that none of these temporary areas are the true dwelling place for which we were made.
 
First Peter 2:11 calls us “sojourners and pilgrims” reminding us to abstain from the temptations of this fleeting abode in an attempt to point others to what is eternal.
 
Life has a way of reminding the believer that we were made for another world – another home.
 
During these times, we can recall 1 Peter 2:13-17 regarding our responsibilities on this side of heaven. We are to submit ourselves “to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by Him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good” (1 Peter 2:13-14, 16).
 
The purpose of these responsibilities is to show love and honor to others. “… Yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17).
 
We can pray for those we’d rather condemn, ask God for humility when it’d be easier to prove our point, and love God and one another more than anything the world offers us.

By doing so, the broken world can deny but not evade that we were made for Someone greater.
 

2/6/2018 7:40:03 AM by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for February 11: The Testimony

January 23 2018 by James Zik, associate pastor, Beach Road Baptist Church, Southport

Focal passage: Acts 22:3-8, 15-22
 
J.D. Greear, a pastor in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., said, “It is one thing to understand the gospel but it is quite another to experience the gospel in such a way that it fundamentally changes us and becomes the source of our identity and security.”
 
Greear’s point is that the gospel is not just a message to hear.
 
It is a message to be believed.
 
It is a message that is life-altering. It is message that transforms.
 
For those who accept the claims and work of Jesus Christ on their behalf, their lives are changed forever.
 
In the opening verses of Acts 22, Paul recounts what his life was like apart from Christ.
Describing himself as “zealous for God” he was so opposed to the people of “The Way” that he “delivered men and women to prison” (Acts 22:4).
 
Paul then describes his experience on the road to Damascus where he encountered Jesus Christ who would radically change him.
 
We see his thought process clearly in the book of Philippians.
 
Of his former source of identity and accolades, Paul says he “counts them as rubbish” or dung.
 
The fact that he was circumcised, a Hebrew and a Pharisee were of no concern to him anymore.  
 
Why? Because Paul understood what experiencing the gospel will do for someone.  
 
Not only did it change Paul’s primary source of identity, but God would then use him to bring about His redemptive purpose as Jesus said, “Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles” (Acts 22:21).
 
You may not have had as dramatic of a turnaround as the Apostle Paul, but if you are a true follower of Jesus Christ then your story is no less miraculous. You have been brought to life.
 
You are no longer chained by the shackles of sin. And God wants to use your transformed life to make other disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).
 
The question we must all answer is: have I truly experienced the gospel?
 
And if so, how does God want to use me?
 

1/23/2018 8:40:59 AM by James Zik, associate pastor, Beach Road Baptist Church, Southport | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for February 11: I Am a Priest

January 23 2018 by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham

Focal passage: 1 Peter 2:4-10
 
Historically, priests took on the responsibility of going into the presence of God on behalf of many and standing as God’s representative among people. Jesus became our Great High Priest that we might be adopted into the priesthood.
First Peter 2:4 describes Jesus as the living Stone, one precious to the Lord and chosen by Him.
 
By extension, in Christ, we too are living stones “being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God … ” (1 Peter 2:5).
 
To offer spiritual sacrifices to God is to deny ourselves and obey Him. Romans 12:1 describes it this way: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God.”
 
Another example can be found in Hebrews 13:15-16. It reads, “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
 
Through Jesus we are free to enter into the presence of God with praise and supplication.
Christ also endowed us with the privilege of representing Him in the world and called us to serve others as He has served us.
 
Our Wonderful Counselor is the sole reason believers are positioned as priests.
 
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10).
 
As priests we are privileged, but also carry a great responsibility.
 
That responsibility is to take the gospel, our salvation out of darkness into light, to the ends of the earth.
 

1/23/2018 8:39:20 AM by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for February 4: Delivered

January 23 2018 by James Zik, associate pastor, Beach Road Baptist Church, Southport

Focal passage: Acts 20:22-35
 
Charles Spurgeon, the renowned English preacher, once wrote, “Soul-winning is the chief business of the Christian minister; indeed, it should be the main pursuit of every believer.”
Read that quote again. Think about its implications.
 
If you were to sit down and make a list of all the priorities in your life, would soul-winning be at the top? Do you structure your time and energy around making His name known?
 
As followers of Jesus, we have a task. We have a responsibility. We have a God-given commission to take the gospel to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). We are stewards of a message that is life-changing and permanently alters the future of those who trust in the person of that message (2 Corinthians 5:17).
 
Perhaps no one understood this better than the Apostle Paul.
 
When speaking to the Ephesian elders in person for the last time (Acts 20:38), Paul said that he “did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).
 
He did not shy away from telling them what was of utmost importance.
 
Paul understood that it was his duty to “testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24), regardless of the earthly consequences. Knowing he would have to make a tremendous personal sacrifice through imprisonment and afflictions (Acts 20:23), he did not waver. He did not dither. He boldly and confidently shared the saving work of Jesus Christ.
 
In his book, Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out, Alvin Reid said that the “only failure in witnessing is the failure to witness.” The majority of Christ followers will go their whole lives without ever leading someone else to the Lord. Why? Because they fail to share.
 
I challenge you. Don’t be in that category. Make a commitment to pray that God would put people in your path to share Jesus with.
 
Make a commitment to boldly share when those opportunities arise. Make a commitment to make “soul-winning the main pursuit of your life.”
 

1/23/2018 8:37:48 AM by James Zik, associate pastor, Beach Road Baptist Church, Southport | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for February 4: I Am a Minister

January 23 2018 by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham

Focal passage: 2 Corinthians 3:4-12
 
Several years ago, I was encouraged to make a timeline of my life. I was to choose 20 of the most impactful events in my life, highs and lows, and number them from one to 10 based on the level of impact they had on me. I was to look through the timeline for a theme God might be writing in my life.
 
The theme I identified was redeeming hope.
 
Repeatedly my Savior had redeemed my lowest of lows, and in the waiting time, He had given me experiences that filled me with great hope.
 
Before long, my timeline went back into my desk drawer, long forgotten. It wasn’t until I came across many people with experiences similar to mine that I pulled the dusty page out again. These people had one thing in common: they were looking for hope and redemption.
 
As followers of Christ, we’re equipped with the Holy Spirit and our testimonies to minister about the wonders of God’s love.
 
And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient … but our sufficiency is from God, who made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit …” (2 Corinthians 3:4-6). We can trust that through Jesus we have all we need to serve God.
 
Further into this chapter of Corinthians, Paul compares the law of the Ten Commandments to the fulfillment of the law through the Jesus’ righteousness. Our attempts to live under the law are futile, holding out temporarily before we inevitably sin.
 
However, God has called us to live through Jesus’ righteousness alone, the glory of which will last into eternity. This is how we serve our Lord and minister to the world.

We have the hope of redemption that the broken world around us longs for. “Therefore, since we have such a hope, we use great boldness of speech …” (2 Corinthians 3:12). Let us minister. Let us be bold.
 

1/23/2018 8:31:02 AM by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for January 28: Incomplete Picture

January 9 2018 by James Zik, associate pastor, Beach Road Baptist Church, Southport

Focal passages: Acts 18:24-28; 19:1-7
 
“I would tell Him I do the right things” was the response I received to the question, “If you died today and God asked you why He should let you into heaven, what would you say?”
 
I sat there surprised, not by the answer, but because this person and her unbelieving husband had been members and taught in churches before! They had obvious gaps in their understanding of the gospel.
 
That day marked the beginning of a spiritual journey for them.
 
Over the next few months, I went to this couple’s house regularly to teach the gospel more clearly. I came to learn that she was indeed a believer but had an incomplete understanding of salvation. He, on the other hand, would for the first time make a commitment to follow Jesus.
 
This was a 21st century example of what occurs near the end of Acts 18. Readers are introduced to a man named Apollos, who had knowledge of the scripture (v. 24). He was accurate about many of the things he said (v. 25), not unlike the wife in the story above. Yet, there were still things he needed to learn as Priscilla and Aquila’s introduction to the story tells us.
 
They took Apollos aside and “explained to him the way of God more accurately” (v. 26).
 
Each person is in one of two categories: lost or saved. They are either a follower of Jesus or not. If they are spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1), then our job is to share the gospel with them.
 
For the believer, we have an opportunity to spur them onto spiritual growth; showing them what it means to walk with Jesus more clearly by correcting any misconceptions about God’s Word.
 
The great news is that there isn’t a person on the planet who has it all figured out.
 
Every believer still has gaps in their knowledge and level of commitment. Like Priscilla and Aquila, we can help bridge that gap!
 

1/9/2018 9:23:02 AM by James Zik, associate pastor, Beach Road Baptist Church, Southport | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for January 28: I Am a Child of the King

January 9 2018 by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham

Focal passage: Galatians 4:1-7
 
My family came to the United States from Mexico when I was two years old.
 
After years of paperwork, interviews, fees and a very important test, my mom took an oath to become an American citizen. I was underage at the time, making it possible for me to inherit citizenship because she fulfilled all the requirements.
 
Her desire of a better life for me set a promise into motion; the only thing I had to do to receive that inheritance was to take my own oath of commitment.
 
Almost two decades after my mom had completed the process, I was sworn in as a U.S. citizen.
 
During those 17 years of waiting, I was able to live, go to school and work as a U.S. resident.
Even though I was incredibly grateful for residency, citizenship would offer me freedoms and access to resources I didn’t have otherwise.
 
Galatians 4 makes a very personal connection for me and my experience. “Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is the master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world” (Galatians 4:1-3).
 
Before Christ, we were separated from the Father’s inheritance, present in the world, but without access to all God offered.
 
With perfect timing, God sent His Son, “to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).
 
Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for our sins enables us to become children of God. As members of God’s family we are also heirs, inheriting His Holy Spirit, citizenship in His eternal Kingdom, and above all, inheriting God, Himself.
 
The question now is what we will do with our inheritance.
 
Will we keep it to ourselves or show others the way?
 

1/9/2018 9:21:08 AM by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham | with 0 comments



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