Sunday School Lessons

Explore the Bible Lesson for March 10: Forgives

February 26 2019 by Mike Parry, member, North Wake Church, Wake Forest

Focal passage: Mark 2:1-12
A prominent early church father named Iranaeus said, “If Christ forgives sins he must be truly God, for no one can forgive sins but God.”
The main point of this week’s text is that Christ forgives sins.
He alone has the authority and power to do so.
One commentator, William Lane, explains that while the effects of sin have caused sickness and disease, Jesus’ healing miracles demonstrate that He is undoing the curse. He is making all things new, and His ministry points forward to the end of time.
The signs and wonders of Jesus leading up to His encounter with the paralyzed man call our attention to the promises of prophetic hope (2 Corinthians 4:17-18; 1 Peter 5:10).
We wait for a future Kingdom where there is no need of healing.
However, it is important that we do not link physical sickness with a corresponding sin.
Lane writes, “There is no suggestion in the narrative that the paralytic’s physical suffering was related to a specific sin.”
Some thematic threads that tie Mark’s narrative to previous stories include Jesus’ authority (Mark 1:22, 27; 2:10), Jesus’ healing of the sick (Mark 1:31, 34, 41; 2:11) and the people’s “amazed” reaction (Mark 1:22, 27; 2:12).
The theme of disciple-making can be found here as well, for example, when some friends brought a paralyzed man to Jesus (Mark 2:3-5).
Finally, Jesus Himself preached and taught the word (Mark 1:14, 21, 38; 2:2). If Jesus is our example (1 John 2:6; 1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Peter 2:21; Ephesians 5:1–2), then we too should be preachers and teachers of the word.
How will you put your faith in action? In what ways can you spread the word?

2/26/2019 10:07:48 AM by Mike Parry, member, North Wake Church, Wake Forest | with 0 comments

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for March 10: The Problem with Pleasure

February 26 2019 by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Durham

Focal passages: Ecclesiastes 2:1-11
In college I had the privilege of meeting Wayne Simien, a brother in Christ and alumnus of my favorite college basketball team: the Kansas Jayhawks. He shared about a life-altering experience that completely changed my perception of success.
Simien was part of the Miami Heat team that won the 2006 NBA Finals.
He talked about the adrenaline rush and the feeling that he had all he could ever want.
The exhilaration wore off that same night when Miami’s coach promised fans another championship in 2007. The team had just reached the highest point in their careers. Was it not enough?
In 2007 the Heat did so poorly they were booed off their own court. The same crowd that idolized them the year before was now taunting them.
As unfulfillment sank in, Simien realized that God was calling him to another dream. He decided to leave the NBA and pursue youth with the gospel.
Similarly, King Solomon seemed to have it all.
He had access to entertainment, endless food and drink, and more wisdom than anyone in his kingdom, yet he regarded it all as vain (Ecclesiastes 2:1-3).
He had more possessions than any king before him, with countless houses, servants, and animals (Ecclesiastes 2:4-7), all of which were evidence of his immeasurable wealth.
With that wealth, Solomon built the First Temple in Jerusalem, an extravagant monument that was regarded as one of his grandest achievements.
But something was missing.
Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done … indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:11).
The New Testament puts it this way, “And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does the will of God remains forever” (1 John 2:17).
God is a good Father who wants to give good gifts to His children.
But He is our greatest possession and only in Him can we find everlasting pleasure.

2/26/2019 10:05:23 AM by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Durham | with 0 comments

Explore the Bible Lesson for March 3: Calls

February 26 2019 by Mike Parry, member, North Wake Church, Wake Forest

Focal passage: Mark 1:9-20
A well-known Christian theologian, Augustine, wrote about his conversion in his famous book Confessions. In the book, written as a prayer, he described God’s power to save, despite his initial reluctance to accepting Christ. He wrote, “I had no answer when you called me saying, ‘Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.’”
A Christian friend had come to see him. Upon discussing God’s Word, he listened intently and it caused a great inner struggle. He confessed his inner turmoil: “‘The Way,’ Jesus, the Savior, pleased me well, but I was still reluctant to pass through the narrow gate.”
As he withdrew to find solitude, he reflected deeply and eventually surrendered his heart to repent and believe. What Augustine experienced in God’s call to salvation – repentance and belief – is exactly what Jesus called for in Mark 1:15.
The first verses of Mark identify who Jesus is. Mark also shows how John the Baptist prepared the way for the messiah, and emphasizes one of the key themes throughout the book: Christ’s power.
A prime example of Christ’s power can be observed in verse two, as Mark quotes Isaiah the prophet, saying, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way.”
As the text introduces John the Baptist, Christ’s forerunner, it prepares us to meet Jesus Christ. As John is a messenger, so is Jesus (Hebrews 3:1). As John is showing people the way, Christ is “the Way” (John 14:6).
The “good news” of salvation also connects to disciple-making activity, which is another major theme throughout the book of Mark. John the Baptist made disciples (Luke 7:18) as well as Jesus (Mark 1:17, 20).
As the narrative unfolds, we the readers find ourselves engaged and needing to respond to two themes connected to the good news: a decision to follow “the way of the Lord” and the act of disciple-making.
Will you respond to God’s call?

2/26/2019 10:01:47 AM by Mike Parry, member, North Wake Church, Wake Forest | with 0 comments

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for March 3: When Life Feels Empty

February 26 2019 by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Durham

Focal passages: Ecclesiastes 1:1-14
Have you ever measured your life’s value based on how you’re doing in work, school or sports? Have you ever thought that you only measured up to the number of friends you have, how much was in your retirement or even how many people came to know Jesus because you shared the gospel with them?
I have done all of the above, actually.
In high school I saw myself as a good student, a strong athlete, someone who had plenty of friends and got along easily with most people.
Two years into college the last of my identities fell apart. I barely squeaked by my science courses, hundreds of runners surpassed my skills and I was more homesick than I thought possible. I grasped at titles, approval and performance to fulfill me, but came short every time.
If I could no longer claim any of these things to give me value, where was my purpose? Where did I belong?
In Ecclesiastes 1:1-14, King Solomon wrestles with the same sense of meaninglessness. “What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun? One generation passes away, and another generation comes; but the earth abides forever” (Ecclesiastes 1:7).
Generations of people have come and gone, working hard to pursue dreams or build personal kingdoms.
But what purpose do they have without Christ?
And how long will they stand alone?
Solomon also understood that, apart from Christ, nothing in this life can truly satisfy. “... The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing” (Ecclesiastes 1:8).
All other wisdom, possessions, and works are burdensome, futile, and easily forgotten (Ecclesiastes 1:11-14).
There is a yearning in every person for purpose and belonging. What then does this mean about seeking “first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33)?
What does it mean to put Jesus first as Lord, knowing that only He can define and fulfill us?

2/26/2019 9:58:32 AM by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Durham | with 0 comments

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

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