Sunday School Lessons

Explore the Bible Lesson for March 15: Our Great Salvation

February 26 2015 by Lindsey Pope, Christ Baptist Church, Raleigh

Focal Passage: Zephaniah 3:8-17
 
Imagine a nation full of corrupt leaders who refused justice and prohibited fair trial. Rather than speaking up on behalf of others, officials ravaged them instead. Instead of protecting the vulnerable, judges provoked them without constraint. Imagine prophets who avoided prophesy, and priests who forgot their God. This was the state of Jerusalem and the nations at the time of Zephaniah’s prophesy.
 
The speech of the leaders was weak and profane, yet they were shameless. Unlike them, God spoke with clarity and truth through His prophet: the Day of the Lord was coming when He would judge and punish their sin.
 
He would ruin their streets and empty their cities of inhabitants. Yet in that day He would also save those who called on Him. He would be merciful to the repentant.
 
From the beginning God has desired to dwell among His people. In the garden, He walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. When they rejected His word and hid from His presence, what did He do? Though omnipresent, He called to them. Though omniscient, He asked them what they had done. At the moment of their greatest shame, God made Himself present among them.
 
He met with Moses in the desert. Though His people complained, He fed them with manna. He inspired David to song and Solomon to wisdom. He guarded His people, protecting them, feeding them and leading them back when they strayed. God delights in fellowship with us, but He is holy. His holiness is a mystery that we may never fully understand. Whatever we can imagine at our most innocent and creative, God is greater – more pure and more powerful. Yet throughout the Old Testament, He guarded a remnant for Himself. He made promises, and He kept them. He drew His people away from sin and into fellowship with Him.
 
In the midst of unjust circumstances or difficult times, God can be trusted. Through Christ, we can be forgiven and redeemed. We can again worship Him in innocence – in spirit and in truth.

2/26/2015 11:35:37 AM by Lindsey Pope, Christ Baptist Church, Raleigh | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for March 15: Power Like No Other

February 26 2015 by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church, Eure

Focal Passage: Mark 4:35-41
 
Do you ever have weird, nonsensical dreams? If yes, do you know why? Not long ago I had such a dream. I was in college, it was a few weeks into the semester and there was a class I had not yet attended. I struggled to get out of bed and go to class.
 
My worry was that if I went, it wouldn’t matter. I would have already failed.
 
As I awoke out of my nightmare, I shook my head and said, “What in the world was that about?”
 
It has been almost four decades since I’ve been in college, and I was always a conscientious student. All that is clear to me about this peculiar dream is that it described some fear stirring inside.
 
I’m convinced that many dreams reflect our fears.
 
I’m also convinced the two things we fear most are failure and death. And while the vast majority of our fears never materialize, when they do crop up, they often paralyze or destroy us.
 
Our text describes what started out as a normal evening in the life of Jesus and His disciples.
Jesus had been preaching and teaching and healing, and now it was time to travel across the Sea (Lake) of Galilee where Jesus would begin a new chapter in His ministry the next day. Exhausted, Jesus nestled in the back of the boat and promptly fell asleep.
 
Their boat was solid, the crew was well versed in water navigation protocols and Jesus was with them. No need to fear, right? Somewhere across the sea, however, a monstrous storm erupted. Gigantic waves pounded the boat, and even the hardiest of sailors among them feared death was imminent (v. 38b).
 
Jesus did, then, what He always seemed to do. He heard their cry and came to their rescue. He ordered the violent and deadly waves to cease, and the crisis was averted. Then Jesus asked a most telling and embarrassing question (v. 40b): “Why are you fearful? Do you still have no faith?” Jesus’ message to us is “Don’t fear. Trust Me completely.”

2/26/2015 11:32:52 AM by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church, Eure | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for March 8: Everyone Accountable (or Expect Judgment)

February 24 2015 by Lindsey Pope, Christ Baptist Church, Raleigh

Focal Passage: Zephaniah 1:1-11
 
C.S. Lewis once wrote, “We all want progress,” and he was right. There is an innate desire within us to learn, create, grow and develop. Our culture reflects this too. There are rapid technological advances and constant globalization. Businesses are connecting to global markets, and consumers are browsing foreign fashion from the comfort of their kitchen table. Transcontinental flights are carrying people greater distances with ease, as well.
 
As Christians, such worldwide access ought to spur us on to greater work for the glory of God among all nations. It should also draw us closer to the absolute truth of the gospel. There is one God who sent one Savior to redeem the sins of the world. Only He is worthy of worship; only He can save. Without Him, there is no hope in judgment. Before God, all that matters is a person’s standing with Christ.
 
Connectedness is a two-way street, though. There is also the sobering reality of non-Christian influence on the people of God.
 
We have the Word of the Lord instantly available on our smartphones and tablets, and more access to biblical resources than ever before. Still, are we heeding the warning Zephaniah gave so many years ago? Are we allowing God’s grace to humble us towards daily confession, repentance and evangelism?
 
Zephaniah prophesied to remind the people of God whom they stand before and who alone is worthy of their worship. We need to hear and be reminded of his words. We need to live for the sake of the Kingdom of God.
 
“We all want progress,” Lewis wrote, “But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turn, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”
 
What kind of progress are you making, dear Christian? Whose kingdom are you building?

2/24/2015 12:04:02 PM by Lindsey Pope, Christ Baptist Church, Raleigh | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for March 8: A Birth Like No Other

February 24 2015 by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church, Eure

Focal Passage: Luke 1:26-35
 
TIME ran an article in 2011 entitled, “Miracles in Japan.” It described how, as a devastating earthquake and tsunami ravaged Japan, a four-month old baby was literally swept away from her parents’ arms. Three days later Japanese soldiers were filtering through the rubble when they heard a cry. Removing the piles of debris, wood, shattered glass and rock, they found her. Not only was the miracle baby alive, dressed in her pink woolen bear suit, she was returned home safely to her family.
 
Miracles happen every day all over the globe, but not every miracle grabs our attention. One of the greatest miracles is human childbirth. Some of those, though, are more miraculous than others. In the Bible one can read about the unexpected and miraculous births of Isaac, Samuel and John. The miracle of birth for supposedly barren mothers brought great joy to those families. But without doubt, the greatest birth of all time is the birth of Jesus Christ.
 
Mary was a virgin. Her marriage was properly arranged, with full disclosure and consent. We are told Mary was a young woman who loved God passionately and was completely committed to obeying Him. Among the millions of women alive at that time, God chose Mary to be the biological mother of His Son. God had “favored” her (vv. 28-29). What a remarkable honor!
 
Mary’s response to the angel’s announcement was predictable. She was confused. She questioned God. She knew there had been no sexual relations between herself and her betrothed. She also had other dilemmas to navigate, such as how to communicate her unexpected circumstance to her parents, and to Joseph, and his parents, and to their friends.

She probably feared their rejection. What Mary accepted, however, was that the pregnancy and subsequent birth was far bigger than her. It was a birth like no other because the implanted seed of life came from God Himself. The baby Jesus was fully human, and yes, fully divine – a miracle indeed.

2/24/2015 11:59:11 AM by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church, Eure | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible lesson for March 1: God is

February 12 2015 by Lindsey Pope, Christ Baptist Church, Raleigh

Focal Passage: Nahum 1:1-8
 
Every now and then, we need a place of refuge. The days grow dark, the heavy weight of life bears down, and we look for shelter, for security and retreat. Where do you go in those moments? Whom do you ask for help? Can I tell you, where you go for refuge reveals more about what you think is true, good, and strong than anything else in your life. Where you go for refuge shows what you honestly believe about God.
 
In the days of the prophet Nahum, Nineveh, the great Assyrian city, had returned to rampant wickedness and brutality. The mere threat of their wrath caused more enemies to surrender than to fight. Though the God of Israel showed them mercy, they acted as gods of war, building an empire on fear and torture. God did not overlook their cruelty.
 
Nahum prophesied to the people of Judah, who had long been oppressed by the threat of Nineveh. The days of this empire were numbered, and God was preparing to judge Nineveh for its evil and to comfort Judah with hope.
 
Nahum describes God as a warrior, one who is jealous for righteousness and justice, and a stronghold for the weak. When God speaks, mountains quiver, the seas become waterless, and storms darken the sky. This is a God to embrace in times of upheaval and distress, a mighty One above all earthly powers.
 
We can become so accustomed to the mercy of God, that we either spurn God or become jaded by injustice around us. But the God we read about here is the same who later provides a sacrifice for judgment and a refuge for sinners through Christ’s death and resurrection. God is not weak, passive, or distant, nor does he ignore sin. Rather, He freely offers the security of forgiveness to all who come to Him in Christ.
 
We can draw near to Him through His Word, prayer, and the community of believers in our local churches. We can take refuge in the One who is true, good, and strong. We can find rest for our souls. 
2/12/2015 1:22:00 PM by Lindsey Pope, Christ Baptist Church, Raleigh | with 1 comments



Bible Studies for Life lesson for March 1: Promised Like No Other

February 12 2015 by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church, Eure

Focal Passage: Isaiah 53:2-12
 
Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy are American heroes. Many people know how they adopted Michael Oher, since the story was made into a blockbuster movie, “The Blind Side.” Prior to meeting the Tuohys, Michael bounced in and out of foster care and the streets of Memphis. He was one of 13 children and his mother was unable to properly care for him. The connection of a wealthy white family with a lonely, black, teenage boy was a miracle of God. But why? Why would the Tuohy’s take Michael into their home, to raise and provide for him as if he were their biological child? Leigh Anne Tuohy explains, “Michael was there, he had a need. We had the ability to fill it.” The Tuohy’s made a promise to Michael, a promise to help him become the man that God intended.
 
Our passage is about a greater promise, one that defies common sense or logic. Isaiah prophesied that God would send a Savior, and we know Him as Jesus. Isaiah presented: (1) He would be nothing extraordinary to look at. (2) He was despised by the religious elites. (3) He bore our sicknesses, pain and sin. This is where the promise becomes difficult to understand. Isaiah says that God the Father planned and allowed for His Son to be tormented and tortured. Here are some of his words: “punished, struck down, stricken, pierced, crushed, oppressed, afflicted, taken away, cut off.” It was a promise that no one would look forward to.
 
Why would God do such a thing? What if we put the words of Leigh Anne in the explanation? “I was there (referring to you and me), I had a need. We (God the Father and Son) had the ability to fill it.”
 
We all make promises. Some we keep and some we don’t. Some are important, and some not so much. The promise of God, though similar to the one made to Oher – who now plays professional football – is a promise like no other.
2/12/2015 1:14:40 PM by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church, Eure | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for February 22: Commit Your Way to the Lord

February 10 2015 by Randy Mann, lead pastor, Central Baptist Church, Henderson

Focal Passage: Nehemiah 10:28-39
 
We find it easy to segment our lives in many different ways. You likely have work clothes, church clothes, play clothes, and so on. We do this with time as well. We have work/school time, family time, church time, play time, etc. I don’t want my church time to encroach too heavily on my play time or family time. So it is with our money. I don’t want to use my eating-out money for car repairs.
 
God did not create us for segmented lives. It is not that any of these individual divisions are bad inherently. But they must all be governed and guided by God’s rule over our lives.
 
The people of God were exiled due to their rebellion and their lack of faithfulness to God’s covenant. While they worshipped as God had commanded, they also followed the rituals of their pagan neighbors. Their lives were segmented. They had their God-box where they kept things related to Him, and they had their other-box where they kept the rest of their lives.
 
In this week’s passage, God’s people restore their commitment to God’s covenant – no more segmented living. Their commitment to God as the sole ruler of their lives was demonstrated by their refusal to marry foreign wives, because God was king over their relationships. They gave faithfully because God was king over their material possessions. They also worshipped God alone, because He alone is worthy of worship. All of their lives belonged to Him.
 
Though God’s people pledged to follow Him faithfully, they eventually waned in their commitment. However, Christ came and fulfilled the law where we could not. He died to take the penalty for our rebellion against God. Christ rose from the dead to give us hope of new life, reconciled to a right relationship with God where He rules as King over every aspect of our lives. God calls us, as His people, to walk in surrender and holiness before Him in every way. Is there any aspect of your life you are trying to keep outside God’s rule and reign?

2/10/2015 1:41:47 PM by Randy Mann, lead pastor, Central Baptist Church, Henderson | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for February 22: Ready When Pornography Controls

February 10 2015 by Thomas Marshall, Spring Hill Baptist Church, Wagram

Focal Passage: 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8
 
Sex was created by God and is a beautiful expression of love in marriage. Satan takes what God creates and corrupts it “to steal and to kill and to destroy” (John 10:10). No matter what Satan intends, we must always come back to what God says about the issue. Today, we are considering what many believe is an unimportant issue. After all, viewing something pornographic is an individual event, and it does not harm others. So, what could be so bad about it?
 
Revelation 2:23 reminds us that God knows everything about us. Every place we go, every thought we have – God sees them. We may think we are getting away with something, but God sees it all.
 
In 2005 statistics were released that said 68 million pornographic search requests (about 25 percent of all searches) occurred daily. Research has found that with any form of addiction, there is a progression that draws a person ever deeper into that which provides satisfaction. What starts as dabbling may satisfy for a while, but it never lasts. This creates a desire for more, enticing the person to seek a more thrilling experience to achieve the same level of satisfaction. And the cycle repeats over and over.
 
So, what can we do? We have hope for those caught in the web of pornographic addiction. First, identify all the locations and activities that start the temptation. Then set up safeguards to avoid the situations and places. This might mean changing web surfing patterns, or installing protective software on a computer. Identify the emotional triggers that cause the desires – hungry, angry, lonely, tired. It is important to see the behavior as sin. Remove all the rationalizations used to excuse it. Refocus your thoughts and relationships upon Christ. Bible reading, prayer and Scripture memorization help in this area. Enter into accountability with a group of believers who will edify and support you.
 
Is there hope? In Christ, we are victors.
2/10/2015 1:18:55 PM by Thomas Marshall, Spring Hill Baptist Church, Wagram | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for February 15: Return to the Restoring God

February 9 2015 by Randy Mann, lead pastor, Central Baptist Church, Henderson

Focal Passage: Nehemiah 9:32-37
 
I am a person who is very “directionally challenged” – a real problem for someone who likes to hunt.
 
On far more than one occasion, I have found myself in the middle of the woods, wondering where I was, how I got there and how I was going to get back to my truck. In order for me to find my way back to my truck, I always had to first come to an accurate assessment of where I was.
 
Our spiritual lives are much the same. In order for us to return to the place we need to be spiritually, we must first come to an accurate assessment of where we are.
 
That does not happen by looking at ourselves, but rather by looking at God. When we have a right view of God, we will come to a right view of ourselves and of where we are spiritually.
 
The people of God had rebelled against God and had suffered the consequences as they ended up separated from the land of promise and living in the land of their enemies. God, in His covenant-keeping love, mercy and grace, had returned this remnant of His people to their land.
 
In this process, as they heard the word of God and were reminded of God’s character and faithfulness, they once again began to see God clearly.
 
As that happened, they saw themselves clearly, bringing them to the point of brokenness, confession, repentance and restoration.
 
The people of God, with their eyes fixed upon Him, quickly saw that God had always been faithful.
 
If the Israelites had ended up far from Him, it was because they moved away from God, not vice versa.
 
He will restore His people to fellowship with Him when His people acknowledge their sin, repent and return to Him.
 
Today, as God’s people, our relationship with Him is secure in Christ.
 
When we find ourselves in broken fellowship with God because of our sin, the first step is to regain once again a clear understanding of God.
 
When that happens, we will see the reality of our sin and be drawn to repent and return to Him.

2/9/2015 1:11:34 PM by Randy Mann, lead pastor, Central Baptist Church, Henderson | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for February 15: Ready When Homosexuality Devastates

February 9 2015 by Thomas Marshall, Spring Hill Baptist Church, Wagram

Focal Passages: Romans 1:18-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
 
When we use the term homosexuality, it refers to both an orientation and a behavior. The orientation is a condition in which a person is sexually attracted to persons of the same sex. The behavior is any sexual activity between persons of the same sex. While this is an ongoing discussion, there has not as yet been any research that supports the existence of a “gay” gene – thus giving us no conclusive evidence of a biological reason for it. We are concerned here with the issue of choice.
 
In the scriptures, we see that God’s intent and purpose for sexual relations was to be an expression in a covenant relationship between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:24; Hebrews 13:4). Paul says that homosexuality is “unnatural” (Romans 1:26, HCSB); in other words, it is against what God had planned for sexual relations. The acts are called “shameless” (Romans 1:27), and the passage says that there will be a penalty for this error. It is considered a moral issue in both the Old and New Testaments because it goes against God’s plan. So, how do we address this issue so prevalent in our society today? First, we need to remember that all sin is sin. James reminds us that if we “fail in one point, [we are] guilty of breaking it all” (James 2:10, HCSB). We need to enter into what God experiences (even with us) of loving the person, hating the sin and remaining true to God’s standards. We must remember that there is a huge difference between loving a homosexual person and supporting homosexuality. We are called to be the heart, hands and witness of God to those who are caught up in sin.
 
As in any sexual (or any other) sin, one must be willing to radically submit to the Lord Jesus Christ in full obedience. One must choose to sacrifice all fleshly desires and develop a deep identity with Jesus. As we are exposed to those who profess this lifestyle, we must seek the heart of God in loving them unconditionally, and lovingly leading them into the truth of God’s Word.

2/9/2015 1:06:44 PM by Thomas Marshall, Spring Hill Baptist Church, Wagram | with 0 comments



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