Part of building the church comes with reaching out to others who are not yet part of the Body of Christ. One way you can reach out to others and build your Sunday school class community is to pick a project to do as a class. The possibilities for this kind of ministry seem endless. You can work together to serve the homeless, clean up an elderly or needy neighbor’s yard, visit the nursing home on a regular basis, fundraise for a special need with a spaghetti supper, clean a city park, have a food pounding for a new neighbor or family in need, make blankets for orphans, etc. If you look closely at the people who live in your church’s community, I am sure you can find a way to reach out to others and be an extension of Jesus. “The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service” (Billy Graham).
Focus Text: 1 Corinthians 9:24 — 10:13
Central Truth: Victorious living is the fruit of being united with Christ.
Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to list some evidences of victory in the Christian life.
1. Maintaining the Mastery
2. Learning from the Past
3. Trusting for Victory
Read Nehemiah 8:5-12
“So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading” (v. 8).
I love to read the Jesus Storybook Bible to my grandchildren. From the first Genesis story, it points to Jesus. The story of redemption is woven throughout the entire Bible. As they say in an advertisement for a popular cell phone plan, “It’s not complicated!” However, we sometimes get bogged down in some of the harder-to-understand details. As Ezra read the Word of the Lord to the people in our passage, several appointed men explained it and helped the people understand what was being read. If you struggle to understand the Bible, don’t allow the enemy to convince you to use that as an excuse to neglect daily time in the Word! If you truly desire to understand it, there are steps you can take to do so. First, ask. Ask the Holy Spirit to break up any stony ground, to illuminate your mind, and to reveal His Word to you. Next, find some good study helps. A commentary will explain the content, context, historical background, and language used in the text. Websites (such as thebibleproject.com) and rich Bible studies are also available to help you. Don’t be haphazard, grabbing a Biblical “snack” here and there; be purposeful and organized when feeding on the Word. Finally, engage your mind. Remove distractions and get serious about studying! It will require effort; it may even require sacrifice. But the rewards are well worth it! (Faith M. Trussell)
“Help me to understand the meaning of your commandments” (Ps. 119:27).
Focus Text: Nehemiah 8:5, 6, 8-10; 9:1-3; 10:28, 29
Central Truth: The godly life is instructed by God’s Word.
Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to adopt a simple plan for effective Bible study.
1. Reading the Word
2. Obeying the Word
3. Practicing the Word
Have you ever been in a class where you really wanted to ask a question, but felt like you were the only one who did not know the answer? Sometimes it can be a bit intimidating to ask for clarification when we do not understand something. One way to help your class members to not feel awkward asking questions is to admit that you do not know it all either. If while preparing your lesson you run across something you do not know, share that with your class members. If you are teaching class and someone does ask a question and you do not know the answer, readily admit it. You can look up an answer together or you can commit to finding an answer before next Sunday. There may be times when there really is not an answer and you can admit that, too. You may be surprised how more open your class members become when they realize you do not know it all.
Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (v. 30).
Combining paint with small hands can be disastrous, but it was Father’s Day. We had an interesting craft we were going to make for all the fathers, so here we sat around a table wearing great big paint shirts to protect fancy church clothes and dripping bright paint into little glass jars. As small hands wiped at excess paint and spilled colors onto the table, the teacher doubted her wisdom. This project was a mess! Another version of these verses says, “God chose what the world considers low-class and low-life — what is considered to be nothing — to reduce what is considered to be something to nothing.” Parents can look at a smudged, mixed-up gift and see only the small hands responsible for it. They ignore the odd color choices and understand the learning process. Fathers know how silly that picture holder might look on the desk at work, yet still display it happily because of the one whose effort created it. Aren’t you glad our Heavenly Father views our lives the same way? He sees and blesses us not based on our own works but on the righteousness Jesus gives us. He will not reward us with heavenly homes because of what we earn but because of what Jesus offers us. (Michelle D. Avery)
Lord, thank you for your wonderful gifts!
Focus Text: Philippians 3:7-21
Central Truth: The Christian life is characterized by a desire to follow Christ’s example in all things.
Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to name some areas of life in which they should follow Christ.
1. The Commitment
2. The Course
3. The Condemnation
4. The Conquest
When you go to another person’s house, they often ask if you would like something to drink. It must be on the list of hospitality rules. We can help make our classrooms more inviting by offering water, coffee, or tea. Our little church talked about installing a water fountain, but that was an expense that still would not make our country water taste good. Someone brilliantly thought of buying one of those hot/cold water dispensers. So now all we have to do is buy the big water jugs and paper cups. There is always fresh coffee brewing in our classroom and a little bowl of mints. It is nice to have those little things available because it makes everyone feel more at home. And there are some people who just need their morning coffee to stay awake. You might be surprised who brings their own coffee cup to church and leaves it there to use every week.
Read Luke 7:36-50
“And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven” (v. 48).
The happenings in this account seem to be suspect from the very beginning. A Pharisee invites Jesus to eat in his house, a woman known by reputation to be a sinner enters in and is allowed to make a scene. The purpose of Simon the Pharisee now becomes evident. He wanted to see if Jesus could indeed see the heart of humanity. In his arrogance, he didn’t believe that any man who was holy and knew of sin would allow himself to be touched by it. Sin, however, could not take away the holiness of the Son of God. Women were often seen as being of very little importance in the society of that day. Jesus time after time in His ministry went out of His way to lift them up. The woman in this story is a prime example. Her sorrow over sin and faith in Christ for forgiveness was considered equal to that of any man. Jesus saw the heart condition, not the physical appearance nor community reputation. This heart condition is what He honored then and still honors today. Jesus was known as the friend of sinners. Do we dare to have that reputation also? (Tim J. Brubeck)
Ruined sinners to reclaim, Hallelujah, what a Savior! — Philip P. Bliss
Lord, help me to see the soul and not the sin.
Focus Text: Romans 10:1-17
Central Truth: God has made the steps to salvation simple and plain so all may be saved.
Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to clearly explain how a person may be saved.
1. The Person
2. The Pattern
3. The Proclamation