Sanctification, Sin, Sunday School

Obedience: Adam, Eve, Cain, and Babel vs. Abel, Enoch, Noah, and Job ~ Sunday School Lesson ~ 1-5-14

sunday school

These are my notes from my ladies’ Sunday School class this morning. I’ll be posting the notes from my class here each week. Click here for last week’s lesson.

This week, we started a new study. We will be reading through the entire Bible in 2014 using “Back to the Bible’s” chronological reading plan (reading Biblical events in the order in which they actually happened). Each Sunday’s lesson will cover a story(s)/event(s) contained in the previous week’s (Sun. – Sat.) reading.

Through the Bible in 2014 ~ Week 1 ~ Jan. 1-4
Genesis 1-11, Job 1-5
Obedience: Adam, Eve, Cain, and Babel vs. Abel, Enoch, Noah, and Job

What is obedience? (Deuteronomy 15:5) Obedience is simply doing what God commands. Bringing our lives/behavior/hearts in line with what God tells us to do.

Why are we to obey God? (John 14:15, 21, 23-24, 1 John 5:3) We do NOT obey God’s commands in order to get to Heaven or to balance out our sin. Our obedience shows that we are already saved because it springs from the love and gratitude in our hearts to Christ for saving us from our sin.

What can we learn about disobedience from…

Adam & Eve:
Flee from, don’t flirt with, temptation. (Genesis 3:1-5) Eve didn’t flee temptation, she stood around, had a conversation with it, and let it convince her.

Your disobedience doesn’t just affect you. (Genesis 3:6-24) Eve’s sin caused Adam to sin, which caused the whole world to sin for every successive generation. Your sin can have far reaching effects.

Sin snowballs. (Genesis 4:1-16) First Cain disobeyed God’s parameters (not stated in Genesis) for offerings. The root sin of this was rejection of God’s authority. God didn’t have the right to tell Cain what to do, he’d do it his own way.

This led to anger (not grief, shame, or repentance at his disobedience—anger) at God for rejecting his offering. His anger was rooted in the sin of mischaracterizing God as unfair or wrong. Anger led to murder, then murder led to lying to God to cover it up.

God graciously warns us about disobedience. (Genesis 4:7) He’s such a good God, that just as He warned Cain of the consequences of disobedience, and that he needed to avoid temptation, God gives us a Bible full of examples of the dire consequences of disobedience, culminating in the death of Christ to pay the penalty for sin.

We must obey God even if it’s hard, we don’t want to, or it doesn’t make sense to us. (Genesis 9:1,7; 11:1-9) After the flood, God told Noah’s family to spread out and fill the earth. 11:4- They wanted the exact opposite. They were supposed to bring glory to God’s name, but they wanted glory for themselves.

God is sovereign and will have His way despite our disobedience. (Genesis 11:8-9) Nothing, including our disobedience takes God by surprise or thwarts His plans.

What can we learn about obedience from…

Obedience isn’t always a grand gesture. Obedience in the “small” things is just as important to God. (Genesis 4:1-16) If it weren’t for Cain’s disobedience, we probably wouldn’t know about Abel’s obedience. How many times that weren’t recorded had he obediently offered a sacrifice? Abel’s obedience is the true hero of this story, yet he’s little more than a bit player. He simply and quietly obeys God, and God “has regard” for his offering.

Faith in Christ and love for Him are what motivate obedience that is pleasing to God. (Hebrews 11:4) Not fear of punishment, not grudging legalism.

Obedience is to be a day by day, continual practice. (Genesis 5:22-24) “I’ll obey when I feel like it, when it’s convenient, etc.,” is totally foreign to God’s definition of obedience. In some stories we see special “big” acts of obedience, but in Enoch’s life we see a steady, daily walk with God. That is the type of story most Christians will live out.

God rewards obedience. (Genesis 5:24, Hebrews 11:5) Possibly materially, definitely spiritually.

God requires our obedience even if everyone around us disobeys. (Genesis 6:5-8) Noah (and his family) was the only one on EARTH obeying God. Had he chosen a life of rebellion like the others, he would have died like the others.

The world will often respond negatively to our obedience. (Genesis 6:5, John 15:18) “…every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” That’s not a heart that loves and embraces the things of God. John 15:18: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me [Jesus] before it hated you.” Just as the world hates God, so, when we display His truths in our lives, they will also hate us.

Obedience and faithfulness does not guarantee health, wealth, or smooth sailing. (Job 1:8-19) Job was the most blameless and upright guy on earth, according to God, and for God’s own purposes, not to punish Job for disobedience, He took away all the good things in his life.

We obey God even in the most difficult circumstances (Job 1:20-22) Even in times of extreme difficulty, we worship, we obey, we don’t charge God with wrong. Because God doesn’t owe us material goodies or positive circumstances as payment we earn with our obedience, neither can we “quit our job” of being obedient when tough times come. God may be trying to bless us with something even more valuable: knowing Him more closely, feeling His comfort, maturing, leading someone to Christ, taking us home to Heaven, etc.

We are only servants, called to obey a kind and loving Master (Luke 17:7-10; Matthew 25:23)

Church, Ministry, Servanthood, Women

Sunday School Lesson ~ 12-29-13

I just noticed that I didn’t get last week’s Sunday School lesson posted. I have a good excuse, though. It was my 21st anniversary, and my husband and I went out to dinner :0) Please excuse my tardiness in getting this posted.

sunday school

These are my notes from my ladies’ Sunday School class this morning. I’ll be posting the notes from my class here each week. They will be in outline form, so if you have any questions or need more details, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Click here for last week’s lesson.

Godly Womanhood – God’s Role for Women in the Church Part 2- Opportunities to Serve

Titus 2

Last week, we talked last week about the “forbidden fruit” in the Garden of women’s service in the church. This week, we’re talking about all the other fruits God has lavished on us.

Titus- Background: Titus is a pastoral epistle written by Paul to Titus circa A.D. 62-64. Titus had worked with Paul at the church in Crete and was left there by Paul to continue pastoring that church. Paul instructs Titus on structure in the church (Ch. 1- qualifications for elders, Ch. 2- mentoring and teaching) and emphasizes the importance of Christians living godly lives. (Ch. 2-3) in order that God’s word may not be shamed and that it may attract people whom God wills to save.

Titus 2:

1- Who is “you”? What does it mean to “teach what accords with sound doctrine”?

“You” refers to Titus specifically, and pastors in general, though it applies to everyone who teaches God’s word. (Of course, it would not make sense that pastors are to teach sound doctrine, but others can teach false doctrine!) “Sound doctrine” means biblical teaching that matches God’s word in context.

2-3- How are “older men/women” to conduct themselves? 

“Likewise…reverent” refers back to the list of characteristics in v. 2. “Older” generally means those 60+ who no longer had (for women) child-rearing responsibilities. We are all older than someone and should be working towards this little by little as we age.

When have children still home, our primary mission/teaching field is those children. God does not want us neglecting our families in order to train/serve others. However, it is important for children to see a godly example of service to church/others. Children can even be included in some acts of service (making meals, visiting elderly, etc.). There has to be a balance with our families coming first (another important reason for men not to shirk leadership duties- women don’t have to do all the church work AND all the child rearing).

“Empty nesters” and single women have the blessing of being able to devote much more time and energy to serving the church.

Anna (Luke 2:36-38)– Anna was a good example of godly older single woman and how she served in the “church”. Contrast Anna’s “giving thanks to God and speaking of Him” to Titus 2:3’s “slanderers and slaves to much wine”

“Teach what is good”– “Good” goes back to v.1- sound doctrine. We are to teach younger women to fulfill the special roles only women are uniquely created/crafted/shaped by God to fill. These things are “good” and also necessary, or Paul would not have mentioned them. They are not to be scorned in favor of the forbidden fruit of instructing men.

4- Why do younger women need to be trained to love their husbands and children? (Luke 9:23, Matthew 22:39, Luke 10:25-37) Somehow, we have the misguided notion that love is a simply a feeling and that it comes naturally. But, we are to love like Christ. We are to deny ourselves and take up the cross daily, love neighbor (family) as self, and be a Good Samaritan to our nearest neighbors- our families. It is a huge responsibility and sphere of influence.

5- Self-control in all areas: anger, modesty lust, selfishness, etc. Purity in thoughts/deeds: self-righteousness, selfish motivations. Working at home: making a peaceful, gospel-centered home where Christ is honored. Hospitality to the lost, ministering to church/neighbors out of your home, mentoring younger women- showing them an example of a godly home, and more.

Why are we to teach/learn to be self-controlled, pure, etc.?  That the word of God may not be reviled. The world is watching. Live in obedience to God’s word as living testimonies to its truth in all aspects, but especially the gospel. Uphold the beauty and truth of God’s word by living it.

Other ministry opportunities for women:
This is not an exhaustive list, just some things that class members have asked about, things suggested by Scripture, and common areas of church service that are not in conflict with God’s role for women’s service in the church as specified in 1 Timothy 2:12 and other Scriptures.

1. Raising up the next generation of godly men and women, and teaching children in the church (1 Timothy 2:15).

2. Correcting false or inaccurate Bible teaching (Acts 18:24-26) Notice: 1.) Priscilla does this in a support role to her husband, 2.) They take him off to the side, alone, not in front of others, or in a church service 3.) This is a temporary, needed at the moment, situation, not an ongoing office held by a woman. Ideally, a godly man will step up and handle situations like this, but in some cases a man is not available. Certainly women are to teach other women sound doctrine and to denounce false teachers, male or female.

3. Missions and evangelism (Matthew 28:18-20) The Great Commission is not limited to men. Women missionaries to women are needed, especially in Muslim countries in which women aren’t permitted to talk to men. Male missionaries to men are needed in these countries for the same reason. Married couple mission teams are also needed.

4. Hospitality and ministry support (Romans 16, Acts 16:15) Paul mentions several women he is thankful for who served in the church. Churches met in their homes (which was dangerous at that time), and they took in traveling missionaries/pastors (also risky). V. 13- Rufus’ mother was a “mother” to Paul (probably housed and fed him, did his laundry, etc.) Today, this could mean the same (taking in traveling minister) or serving your own pastor/his wife- type up the bulletin, babysit for pastor’s family, cook for them, etc.

5. Ministering to widows, orphans, the sick, the poor, and those in prison (Matthew 25:34-40) Food pantries/clothes closets or just giving of your abundance to those in need, working at orphanages/foster care, food/comfort for the bereaved, visiting in the hospital/housework while someone is sick, visiting at the women’s prison.

6. Financial support of others’ ministries (Luke 8:1-3, Acts 16:14)

7. Music (Ephesians 5:18-19)

8. Prayer (Acts 16:11-15) There were not 10 Jewish men (heads of household) in Philippi required to establish a synagogue, so the women were meeting out by the river to pray/worship.

9. Building and grounds upkeep.

10. Committee work and administration. As long as male leadership is not usurped, there are many committees women can serve on and some they can even chair.

11. Disaster relief

12. Special projects. Fundraising, dinners, collections for military care packages, outreach, VBS, etc.

Lots of areas of service in the church are biblically open to women, many of them needful of a woman’s special touch. Women’s service in the church is vital. It is not less important just because it does not include teaching and holding authority over men.