Sunday School Lessons
Mrs. Daisy B. Scott - Superintendent
(Updated July 27, 2021)

Sunday School classes start at 9:30 AM every Sunday.



July 4 – An Attitude of Gratitude

Alternate Title – Be Thankful to God

Bible Lesson:
Leviticus 13:45-46 ; Luke 17:11-19 KJV

The key verse:
Luke 17:15 (KJV) - "And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God."

(Pop-up references come from The New Living Translation courtesy of Faithlife Reftagger)

What shall we learn from this lesson:

The lesson for today is about gratitude to the Lord for what he has done for us. We should start each day off with an attitude of gratitude to the Lord for He is the One responsible for every good thing we have (James 1:17 NASB). He is the one who has allowed us to see this new day and for that alone we should be grateful.

In the Scripture text, there is an example of someone having the right attitude of gratitude. In the text, ten men who had Leprosy were all healed by Jesus but only one came back to Jesus and showed praise to God.

Our reference Scripture starts in Leviticus with some background on just how undesirable it was to have Leprosy. A person with this disease was isolated from the general public and had a bleak future since there was no common cure at the time.

The lepers had to live in an area of isolation outside the camp. They had to wear torn clothes and their head must be bare. In addition, the person with this disease had to cover their mouth and call out, "Unclean, Unclean!" when around other people (Leviticus 13:45 KJV).

This was a serious skin disease that was considered to be contagious. It was marked by skin lesions and other symptoms which if untreated could lead to disfigurement, lack of nerve sensation, loss of hair or hair color, and blindness.

Leprosy is still around today. According to the World Health Organization, there were over 200,000 new cases of leprosy diagnosed across the globe in 2019 with India being the hardest hit. Antibiotics can slow the effects and kill the bacteria, but in some cases, the damaged areas will remain so even after treatment.

Leprosy is obviously a condition to be avoided at all costs. During the period of history of our reference Scripture, one can only imagine the extreme level of gratitude someone should show to anyone who cured them of the disease.

It was the priests who had the responsibility of examining a person to determine if they had Leprosy. If the person did have the condition, it was the priest who pronounced that person "unclean."

Likewise, it was also the priest who would pronounce the person healed of the disease if that should occur. The ten lepers were on their way to see the priest when Jesus' healing power took hold and they were all cured. But only one of the ten came back to thank Jesus and to praise the Lord for this miracle (Luke 17:15).

Jesus made note of this when He asked the man, "...Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?" In other words, Jesus questioned why the other nine men who had also been healed did not come back to express gratitude as the Samaritan had.

There is an important lesson in this for all of us. We don't want the Lord making note of the times when we don't express gratitude for the blessings He gives us. We would much rather for Him to know that we appreciate all He does for us because we are truly grateful and we want Him to continue to bless us.

Not only should we tell the Lord how much we appreciate what He does for us, but we should also testify to others how much we are grateful for all He does (and has done) for us. This is not only to express our gratitude and to remind us how we have been blessed, but it is also to give glory to the Lord.

Our testimony can be viewed as being akin to positive advertising. From a personal perspective, I chose a particular doctor to perform my hip replacement based on the success reported by some of his patients. Testimony is often used to help us when we look for something to buy online. It is called customer reviews.

Therefore we can see that gratitude (to the Lord) is an action word. It moves us to speak, write, or act in a way that pleases the Lord. Pleasing God through our actions is one of the best ways to show Him how grateful and thankful we are for all He does for us and it also shows that we do not take his blessings for granted.

Our attitude of gratitude is expressed in the verses below:

"Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” Psalm 50:14-15 NLT

The Bible lesson link (at the beginning of the lesson) is for the King James Version. You may also wish to read the New Living Translation Bible Version of Leviticus 13:45-46 ; Luke 17:11-19 NLT

The key verse: Luke 17:15 (NLT) - "One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, 'Praise God!'"

July 11 – The Power of the Gospel

Alternate Title – Do Not Be Ashamed of God's Word

Bible Lesson:
Romans 1:8-17 KJV

The key verse:
Romans 1:16 (KJV) - "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."

(Pop-up references come from The New Living Translation courtesy of Faithlife Reftagger)

What shall we learn from this lesson:

The Book of Romans was written by the Apostle Paul. Even though he had never been to Rome and was not the founder of the Church there, he praised them for their good reputation for their faith in Jesus (Romans 8:8). Rome was a city that attracted many people and it is possible the church there was formed by a simple group of Christians that just so happen to be there. We don't know for sure.

Paul told them of his great desire to visit them (Roman 8:10) and that he prays, "day and night," for their needs (Romans 8:9).

His attitude toward this church expressed how we should be. It is important for us to encourage all those who love the Lord in order to inspire them to work harder for the Lord.

Sometimes we may lose sight of the fact there is but one church ... and it is the body of Christ. All of the believers belong to that church if they seek to love and obey Christ and to live by the word of God.

Often times we use the word "church" to refer to houses of worship where the members meet to worship the Lord. Paul could have taken the position to not encourage the Church of Rome because he was not the founder. But he did the opposite and encouraged them to continue their good work.

We should not view any other church as a "competitor" in regards to gaining new members. When a church is doing well, we should congratulate the members and pray for their future success and for their needs to be met.

All of God's children should be happy to hear of the success of a certain congregation or pastor. We should be proud of their growth in Christ because we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.

Paul was so impressed with the reputation of the church in Rome that he looked forward to visiting the church not just to encourage them but for him to receive encouragement
(Romans 1:12).

In his letter to the Roman church, Paul said, "For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ." (Romans 1:16). Back in that time, there were those who might think that worshiping someone who had been crucified was not admirable, especially in a sophisticated city such as Rome.

Not surprisingly, it was in this city that a great deal of Christian persecution took place in the first century, starting with Emperor Nero. At one point it became fatally dangerous to even be known as a Christian. But God cannot be defeated and 2,000 years later our church is alive.

The Bible lesson link (at the beginning of the lesson) is for the King James Version. You may also wish to read the New Living Translation Bible Version of Romans 1:8-17 NLT

The key verse: Romans 1:16 (NLT) - "For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile."

July 18, 2021 – The Faith of Abraham

Bible Lesson:
Romans 4:1-12 KJV

The key verse:
Romans 4:3b (KJV) - "Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness."

(Pop-up references come from The New Living Translation courtesy of Faithlife Reftagger)

What shall we learn from this lesson:

The lesson for today centers on faith. In particular, Paul's letter to the Roman Christians explains the importance of Abraham's faith in God and how his faith gave him righteousness apart from works. Righteousness means to be right with Godto be justified.

Abraham (God changed his name from Abram to Abraham) was viewed as the first patriarch of the Jewish people. All those who were Jews were his descendants. Another way to view him is that he was the patriarch of the Israel Nation.

What he did in reference to God was passed down from generation to generation before it was written by Moses in Genesis hundreds of years later.

God made and fulfilled the promise of many nations coming from Abraham. This covenant promise was carried through his son Isaac and Isaac's son, Jacob. God changed Jacob's name to Israel which was the basis for the name of the nation of Israel and the people who were called Israelites. But it all began with Abraham. This is why Paul referred to Abraham as "our father" in Romans 4:1:

What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?

This particular verse contains a question that is rhetorical in nature. A rhetorical question is one that requires no reply because the answer is implied in the question itself.

To see the question more clearly, we need to read verses 4:1 and 4:3 together (Romans 4:1, 4:3 NIV):

What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter?

What does Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."

So God considered Abraham to be righteous not because of all his works of obedience and other good deeds but simply because of the strength of his faith. His faith led him to believe and trust God and because of this, God considered him righteous.

From Abraham's example, what can we discover that is required by our works in order for us to be righteous in the eyes of God?" The answer is we can discover nothing because Abraham's example points to faith as a requirement.

However (and this is big however), faith does not nullify the value and need of our good works—our good actions and deeds—for it is the fruit of our faith in God that helps us do the right things. Romans 3:31 NIV says it this way:

Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

In fact, our faith is required first to facilitate our works—our good actions—because it is our faith in God and our desire to please Him that helps us do the right things.

Faith facilitates action. What does this mean? It means that faith encourages and empowers us to take action. This is a big idea, and an important idea because our walk with God begins with faith.

When God called Abraham, He looked beyond who Abraham wasa member of a family that worshiped idol godsto see who he could be. It is the same with us. God knows our capabilities; our strengths and our weaknesses, but He can look beyond who we are in the present, to see who we can be in the future.

Even though Abraham was raised in a family of idol worshipers (Joshua 24:2 KJV), he recognized the existence of the one true God.

God told Abraham to leave his homeland, and his father's family and to travel to a yet undisclosed location. God said He would bless Abraham with many descendants and his name would be famous and all the families of the earth would be blessed through him (Genesis 12:1-2).

Even though Abraham was relatively old, 75 years of age, he listened to and obeyed God unquestionably and took his family and all his possessions, and headed out to wherever the Lord would reveal to him. This meant that Abraham did this by faith and "not by sight (logic or deduction)."

The strength of what Abraham believed was the driving force behind what he did. This kind of faith pertains to Christianity because we have to achieve faith in Christ before what we do in His name becomes important.

We have no chance of achieving righteousness and salvation only based on what we do or what we don't do. We cannot earn or buy righteousness or salvation based only on what we physically do.

As was said earlier, our lesson Scripture reveals that because of Abraham's faith in God, he was given credit for righteousness." (Romans 4:5 KJV).

The NIV translation says it this way:

"What does Scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.'” Romans 4:5 NIV

This is a near quote of Genesis 15:6. Let's look at what led up to this statement.

Abraham trusted and obeyed God, but he had become uneasy because he and Sarah had no son together who could carry on his name. And by this time he was 100 years old and Sarah was 90; well beyond the normal childbearing ages.

But God reassured him by telling him to go outside on a clear night and look up at the ocean of stars. The limitless number of stars represented how many descendants he would have...God told him.

He believed God and God considered him righteous because of his faith (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:5).

In order to believe God, we must be attuned to what He is saying to us. And when He tells us to do something or to not do something, it is our responsibility to obey.

How do we do this? Every day we should begin the day with prayer and ask the Lord to guide our day through the Holy Spirit. That way we will be attuned to what God wants us to do.

God knew Abraham inside and out as He knows us inside and out. Let's look at an example of what that means on a human basis.

God had made up His mind about Abraham where it counted. He had not revealed his law to the people at that time. There were no written rules to followno stone tabletsto which to comply but God judged the faith of Abraham to be so great that because of his faith, He considered him righteous.

Abraham was not perfect when it came to some of his actions. A study of his life in the book of Genesis would reveal this. We are not perfect in our actions either. But we are grateful to have a God that looks beyond some of our missteps to see the good in us and the faith we have in Him.

It is also important that Paul recognized that Abraham was declared righteous before any act of circumcision. Therefore his righteousness was not based on circumcision either. It was based on faith.

Paul considered Abraham as the father (spiritual father) of all who believed, both circumcised and uncircumcised (Romans 4:11 KJV). This was good news to the uncircumcised Gentiles.

That demonstrates just how important our faith in the Lord is. God knows who we are on the inside. He knew who Abraham was on the inside and He credited his account with righteousness because of his faith.

Abraham put his total trust and confidence in God. What does that mean? It means he believed what God said to him and he believed who God is. He did not doubt in his faith. His attitude of belief made him right with God.

Because of his unshakable belief in God, he was driven to follow God's instructions and commands without question. This made his faith one of action.

In James 2:26 we are told that faith without works is dead. But we want a faith that leads us to action .... a living faith.

Real faith is not just a theoretical concept but one we actually believe in and one which drives us to action. When faith drives us to action, it is a living faith.

After waiting 100 years before God blessed him with a son through his wife Sarah, one day God tested Abraham's faith. He told him to sacrifice his son, Isaac, in a burnt offering as one would do to a lamb.

That means he would not only kill Isaac but then he would burn him up. Abraham was willing to do even this and proceeded to do it until God stopped him at the very last moment.

Even though Abraham did not want his only son to die, he trusted God as knowing best. Most of us would think sacrificing our son is an unthinkable command, but God did it for us. He sacrificed His one and only son for us.

In John 3:16 (KJV), we find these words:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

What does the word "believeth" imply here? It means faith! It means not just a simple faith but a living faith; one that leads to action.

As Christians, through faith, we do what Christ wants us to do. This living faith leads to salvation and it becomes what some call a "Saving faith." We have to have faith in Christ to be saved by His blood.

As it was with Abraham, this faith that we have, becomes a part of who we are and what we do. It determines how we act and react to the world.

How will our faith hold up when God tells us to get rid of something or someone that is precious to us; something we don't want to live without. Will we argue with God or rationalize until we can think of an excuse to not do it? Or will we do as Abraham did and just obey?

Paul approaches the thought of gaining righteousness and forgiveness of sins without works being a requirement when he referenced David. He said, "just as David also speaks of the blessing of the person to whom God credits righteousness apart from works"(Romans 4:6 NASB).

In other words, he is saying a person is blessed by God who receives credit for righteousness based on faith because it is not something that can be earned by work. It can only be declared and provided by God Himself.

Today, our righteousness is given to us by the grace of God and through our faith in His Son Jesus.

By offering His Son as a perfect sacrifice for our sins, Christ died on the cross so we would be able to receive forgiveness of all our sins so we can have a relationship with God and be made right with Him.

Are we willing to do what God tells us even if we can't prove with our eyes or logic that it is the best way to go? That's what Abraham did.

To Abraham, it didn't make a lot of sense that, at age 100, he would be the father of a great nation when he didn't even have a son by his wife Sarah. But he still believed God.

About 20 years ago when the Lord prompted me to start our church website, I knew very little about the programming language of websites. In fact, I was amazed when anything at all went right on our site.

One day, I saw this rippling water effect which led me to try to put it on our church website. I finally got it to work on my computer but it wouldn't work on the Internet where it counted.

I tried for three days to find a solution but nothing worked and so I asked God for a solution when I prayed before bedtime. The next morning a solution came to me but it didn't make any sense. It was very similar to simply changing a file type to an incorrect file type.

I tried it on my computer and it failed to work locally, as I expected. But this was a time that my faith took over.

I went ahead and uploaded the files to the server anyway even though it did not work locally. The rippling effect appeared on the Internet on the main page of the church website as if it was a miracle. It continued to work until years later when we redesigned the whole site and went to a different look.

Even though I later completed many courses in web design, I have never been able to understand why or how that solution which was revealed to me worked. It is still a mystery to me. It was a gift from the Lord and was put on the Internet by faith only.

Our lesson for today indicates what our approach to faith should be based on our story about Abraham. The first thing we need to know is what God wants us to do.

To know this, we must be attuned to God by praying for guidance from the Holy Spirit who indwells all believers.

Secondly, we must trust God for the direction He is sending us.

Thirdly, we must obediently follow His direction even if it doesn't make complete logical sense to us.

If we do what we truly believe God is telling us to do, we will get credit for putting our faith in Him into action. When Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son because of faith in God he did the following:

  1. He Listened to God
  2. He Trusted God
  3. He Obeyed God

These three steps (listen to, trust, and obey God) comprise our roadmap for having faith like Abraham had. What does faith in the Lord mean to you in your personal life?

The Bible lesson link (at the beginning of the lesson) is for the King James Version. You may also wish to read the New Living Translation Bible Version of Romans 4:1-12 NLT

The key verse: Romans 4:3b (NLT) - "Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith."

July 25 – Justification through Faith

Alternate Title – Peace with God

Alternate Title #2 – Jesus Died for My Sins

Bible Lesson:
Romans 5:1-11 KJV

The key verse:
Romans 5:1 (KJV) - "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:"

(Pop-up references come from The New Living Translation courtesy of Faithlife Reftagger)

What shall we learn from this lesson:

In our last two lessons and to this point in Romans, Paul's conclusion is that we are not justified by our works but by faith. Justification (being made right with God) comes from God and not from something earned through our works.

So far, we can understand that justification is given by the grace of God through our faith in Jesus Christ and what He has done for us. It is by the grace of God through Jesus Christ that our sins are forgiven and by His grace that we shall be saved. It is a gift from God.

This points to why being a Christian is so important to our present and our future; ultimately eternity. Just as Abraham's faith in God put him in right standing with God (he was considered righteous), our faith in Jesus Christ also gives us right standing with God.

Jesus gave his life on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins so that all those who believe in Him could have right standing with God; all sins are forgiven. This is an undeserved privilage; granted to us by God's grace through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:2).

God loved us so much that He sent His son, who was holy and
sin-free, to die as a sacrifice in our place, even though we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).

Now, we have an opportunity to spend the rest of our earthly life being transformed by God to be more and more like Christ. Part of this process involves trials and challenges in our life that will help us to mature as Christians.

This is one of the reasons why Paul said that we rejoice in tribulations. This is because tribulation helps us develop patience (Romans 5:4 KJV). From patience, we will gain experience, and from experience we will gain hope.

What does this mean? It means by trusting the Lord we will learn to not worry so much about the problems of life because we know that He knows what we are going through and He loves us greatly (Romans 5:5).

In fact, when God puts us through a trial, we should understand He is doing it because He loves us and wants us to be better. Because of this fact, we should rejoice when it happens. The trial means God has not forgotten us.

By being patient and waiting for His help we will be more confident when new problems arise. Sometimes things may not work out exactly the way we want them to, but part of maturing as Christians is believing that God's solution is the way it should be. He knows best and we will continue to trust in Him, regardless.

When we mature as Christians we will get used to handling the problems of life with the help of the Holy Spirit.

To say it another way, we can quote from "The Book of the Holy Spirit: Joyful Living." There we find these words:

“In my life, the Holy Spirit did not solve every problem but He conditioned me to approach life with more confidence and contentment. He brought joy to my
living. (pg 4)"

"The Lord is more interested in changing us and how we meet the challenges of life, than to simply change or fix the challenges themselves. (pg 29)”

Joyful living is a peace that comes from our faith that God truly cares about us. Because we believe this, worrying is gone and is replaced by confidence in the Creator of all that exists.

Just knowing God cares for us and is directing our life can change our perception of what happens to us on a daily basis. This new confident perception is what is meant by Joyful Living.

In other words, we can rejoice because we are now friends with God. He is acting as our friend and our Father and is training us to be the best we can.

Paul put it this way in Romans 5:11 (NLT):

"So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God."

The Bible lesson link (at the beginning of the lesson) is for the King James Version. You may also wish to read the New Living Translation Bible Version of Romans 5:1-11 NLT

The key verse: Romans 5:1 (NLT) - "Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us."

August 1, 2021 – Salvation for All Who Believe

Alternate Title – Salvation Available for All

Alternate Title #2 – Jesus Died for My Sins

Bible Lesson:
Romans 10:5-17 KJV

The key verse:
Romans 10:13 (KJV) - "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:"

(Pop-up references come from The New Living Translation courtesy of Faithlife Reftagger)

What shall we learn from this lesson:

The beauty of this lesson is its acceptance of the Mosaic Law as God's standard of our behavior while, at the same time, recognizing that faith in Jesus is the direct path to being made right with God. To have this faith is not a fantasy or an impossible mission ... it is freely available to those who want it.

We don't have to travel to heaven to bring Christ down to earth or travel down to the place of the dead to bring Christ back to life. No, this is not an impossible mission. He is already here for those who have faith in Him and faith in who He is (Romans 10:8 KJV).

All believers have Christ in their heart for His representative, the Holy Spirit, indwells all believers and is with us all the time (1 Corinthians 3:16 KJV). It is our faith in Him that gives us salvation (Romans 10:9 KJV).

The last few verses of our reference Scripture allude to our responsibility as Christians to spread the Good News about Christ to others. We find the following in Romans 10:14 NASB:

"How then are they to call on Him in whom they have not believed? How are they to believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?"

In the quote above, it appears that the process of salvation starts with "the preacher," and guess who the preacher is in the context of this Scripture. Each of us believers is "the preacher" in that we spread the Good News about Christ. We spead it not only with words but also with our living example.

The Bible lesson link (at the beginning of the lesson) is for the King James Version. You may also wish to read the New Living Translation Bible Version of Romans 10:5-17 NLT

The key verse: Romans 10:13 (NLT) - "Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us."

August 8, 2021 – Meaning of Faith

Alternate Title – A Necessary Faith

Alternate Title #2 – We Need Faith to Please God

Bible Lesson:
Hebrews 11:1-8, 13-16 KJV

The key verse:
Hebrews 11:1 (KJV) - "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

(Pop-up references come from The New Living Translation courtesy of Faithlife Reftagger)

What shall we learn from this lesson:

The word "faith" is use in many ways. Some people may refer to a person as a "person of faith" meaning he/she thrives of spirituality. This way could be considered as a generic word referring to any religion and any belief in a supreme being or beings.

The word "faith" could be construed by some as meaning a person's belief that everything is going to work out for the best. This is a person who is optimistic in nature but, again, in a generic way. He has faith in karma or faith in the fairness of life. "What goes around comes around" is a statement which had its birth in this kind of faith.

The word "faith" could mean what a person has that makes that person believe he/she can win the lottery and thereby overcome the dismal odds against that happening.

Instead, the type faith we are referring to has to do with the only true Supreme Being: the one true God. In order to abide by this type faith, the most important requirement is that we must first believe that God exists and what He has promised us will be fulfilled.

For, if we do not even believe that He exists, how can we hope to please Him? In Hebrews, we find these words:

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6

This is the fundamental basis of our religion. If we don't even believe that God exists and is in control of our existence, how can we worship Him? How can we seek His forgiveness or His favor?

Faith is an action word. When we live by faith, we are led to do something as a result of this belief. When we have faith in God's existence and faith in who He isthe one who created and controls allwe are led to do as He desires.

We have never seen God face to face but that's the whole premise of our beliefs. It takes true faith to have confidence in what we cannot see. This notion leads to the definition of faith in Hebrews:

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

As Abraham did (Romans 4:3), we believe God and what He has said to us. He speaks to us through His holy Word and the Holy Spirit. When this belief controls our responses to the challenges of the world, we have a living faith. Because we have confidence in the Lord, we are led to take confident action to please Him.

On the other hand, if our faith does not lead us to do something and take action, we have a dead faith. In James 2:26 we are told that faith without works is dead. But we want a faith that leads us to action .... a living faith.

The Bible lesson link (at the beginning of the lesson) is for the King James Version. You may also wish to read the New Living Translation Bible Version of Hebrews 11:1-8, 13-16 NLT

The key verse: Hebrews 11:1 (NLT) - "Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see."

August 15, 2021 – A Persevering Faith

Alternate Title – A Patient, Persevering Faith

Alternate Title #2 – Have Faith in God in Bad Times Too

Bible Lesson:
Hebrews 10:23-36 KJV

The key verse:
Hebrews 10:23 (KJV) - "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) ."

(Pop-up references come from The New Living Translation courtesy of Faithlife Reftagger)

What shall we learn from this lesson:

We will explore if the reference Scripture for today can be classified as an "exhortation." That's a long word which many of us seldom use in everyday conversation.

An exhortation can be defined as a speech or written address that advises, encourages, and incites us to achieve higher goals or a higher way of living; very much like what a sermon should accomplish.

For this and other reasons, some theologians believe the Book of Hebrews could have possibly been originally written as a sermon (or series of sermons) to a first-century Christian audience.

When we think of a good sermon, perhaps one that we heard in our past, we expect the words to inspire us to reach a higher Christian goal through advising, encouraging, and inciting us. And we expect this to be done with a sense of urgency; it tells of things that need our attention now. That is also the very essence of the definition of an exhortation.

Let's look at an example of what is considered an exhortation with which we are all familiar. Often times back in the 1950s and 1960s the term "inciting a riot" or "inciting violence" was used to retain or arrest Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other leaders of the Civil Rights movement even though he only preached non-violence.

Because of this, the word "incite" has at times been given a bad reputation. But in actuality, it is perhaps the most powerful aspect of an exhortation because it leads to action. With no action, we can't accomplish anything.

One of the greatest known exhortations was Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech during the 1963 March on Washington. That event and His message moved the people to take action. Laws were passed and general awareness of racial social issues was brought to the forefront.

The lesson Scripture for today is incitive in that it is designed to move people to action.

The action that we exhibit can be direct, like personally motivating each other to acts of love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24 NLT).

What better place to motivate and affect other Christians in this way than in a group meeting or a worship assembly? This question naturally leads to the next verse:

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:25 NLT

Another type action we could be incited to can be considered indirect like simply avoiding participating in sinful activities or choosing not to hurt someone's feelings just because they hurt ours.

But both the direct and indirect types are considered moving us to a positive action because they are accomplished with an admirable purpose in mind that requires or encourages deliberate behavior on our part.

The warnings in our reference Scripture could also be considered as part of our definition of an exhortation because the Scriptures seek to motivate us to leave behind our present sinful behavior and to go to a higher level of Christian conduct. In other words, we are moved to action. An example is Hebrews 10:26-27 NLT:

Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins.

There is only the terrible expectation of God's judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies.
Hebrews 10:26-27 NLT

These two verses incite us to action by warning us that unrepentant sinning (willfully sinning) has consequences if we choose to continue. At all cost, we must avoid having our appetite for sin completely destroying our love and respect for Jesus. We must not get to the point that we turn our backs on Christ and reject Christianity in favor of sin. If we sink to that level we must ask ourselves if we were ever true believers in the first place.

While this is all certainly true there is another consideration in play here. The second factor in play concerns the context of the early Jewish Christians who were tempted to turn back to pure Judaism, and leaving Christianity behind. This was spawn by the desire to avoid the persecution of Christians by the government and also because of the pressure from other Jews who wanted them to abandon this new religion.

If, after knowing the truth of Jesus Christ and becoming a part of that community, the person turns his back on Christ and rejects Christianity, these two verses especially apply to that person.

To reject the Christian faith with full knowledge of Jesus' sacrifice is to treat Him and His gracious Spirit with contempt and will result in a fearful judgment by God. A person such as this is called an "apostate" and his sin is that of apostasy that is the abandonment of the Christian faith.

When the apostate turns his back on Christ, he is subject to God's fearful judgment, as verse 29 warns below:

For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. And again, "The LORD will judge His people." Hebrews 10:29 NKJV.

Our reference Scripture tells us that it is God Himself who will do the punishing of such a person who has rejected Jesus even though he had full knowledge of who Jesus is and what He has done:

For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:30-31 NKJV

These consequences have eternal implications: "We may fall to God's judgment and the raging fire." The action that these verses inspire is for us to stop willfully sinning or to stop rejecting Christ, with the latter being the most urgent of all. When we reject Christ, who represents the only path to the Father, how can we hope to gain eternal life?

Additionally, all warnings that remind us of the consequences of acting sinfully are also considered to be in the "advice" category of this exhortation. All of us at one time or another have ignored the advice of our parents, teachers, or wise friends to only suffer the consequences later.

Some of us are still suffering from those consequences and that suffering may last a lifetime. Mistakes made in the past oftentimes don't remain in the past. They dog our life until we die.

We can see that our discussion thus far has included two of the three elements of an exhortation: to advise and to incite. The third and final element is encouragement. Let's see how that element is accomplished in our reference Scripture.

God has given us the hope that when it's all over for us on the earth we can go and stay with Him for eternity. That is why it is so important that we hold tight to the profession of our faith in Jesus Christ because He, that promised our salvation, is faithful and will keep His promises.

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
Hebrews 10:23 KJV

What is our encouragement in this verse? Our encouragement is knowing we have a wonderful eternal home waiting for us when things end for us on the earth.

The writer of Hebrews reminded the readers of the sacrifices they have made for the cause of Christ and encouraged them to not give up but patiently wait for the reward that they are destined to receive:

"You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever.

"So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you!

"Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that he has promised." Hebrews 10:34-36 NLT

As we are being Sanctified by God through the Holy Spirit in our daily living, our reference Scripture reminds us that we are also in a deadly battle with evil forces bent on destroying our resolve. We must hold tight to our faith in Jesus Christ so that our all-important faith will persevere.

There may be times when we will stumble and fall; times when we will make a wrong turn; but the Holy Spirit who indwells all believers will help us rise again and point us in the right direction. That is why we should not neglect to ask God for the guidance of the Holy Spirit each day when we pray.

The most important thing we can get from the lesson today is to not give up on Christ for if we turn our backs on Him and reject Christianity, we will lose our only hope of salvation and can only expect a horrific end to our eternity.

Our lesson Scripture for today contains all the elements of an exhortation. The words encouraged, advised, and incited us to hold fast to our faith in Jesus Christ because that faith is not only what controlls our living, it controlls our eternity.

The Bible lesson link (at the beginning of the lesson) is for the King James Version. You may also wish to read the New Living Translation Bible Version of Hebrews 10:23-36 NLT

The key verse: Hebrews 10:23 (NLT) - "Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise."

August 22, 2021 – A Conquering Faith

Alternate Title – God Spirit Lives in Us

Bible Lesson:
1 John 4:2-3, 13-17; 5:4-5 KJV

The key verse:
1 John 4:16 (KJV) - "And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."

(Pop-up references come from The New Living Translation courtesy of Faithlife Reftagger)

What shall we learn from this lesson:

The synopsis of this lesson will be posted on or before Monday August 2, 2021.

The Bible lesson link (at the beginning of the lesson) is for the King James Version. You may also wish to read the New Living Translation Bible Version of 1 John 4:2-3, 13-17; 5:4-5 NLT

The key verse: 1 John 4:16 (NLT) - "
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them."

For access to all chapters of the King James Version Bible in audio and visual formats, visit the web site.

For other versions (NIV, New Living Translation, etc.) of the Bible in audio and visual formats, visit the World Wide Study Bible page of Christian Classics Eternal Library site. Also visit the New Living Translation web site.

Some information on this page may be referenced from the NLT Study Bible, the Standard Lesson Commentary, and Commentary by David Guzik, and Frederick L. Marsh is the commentary author of the information contained in this page. He is the author of the book: "The Book of the Holy Spirit: Joyful living." The opinions expressed on this page are his alone.

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