SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR YOUR PREPARATION FOR AUGUST 2, 2020 : TOPIC – FAITH AND WISDOM.
NBC SUNDAY SCHOOL OUTLINE
Date: Sunday, August 2, 2020.
TOPIC – FAITH AND WISDOM.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5
Primary Learning Outcome/Indicators:
Learners will demonstrate the virtues of faith and wisdom and indicate achievement of this by:
Discussing the importance of perseverance in time of trials;
Explaining the role of faith in prayers;
Describing the relationship between faith and wisdom with a commitment to apply both in their daily living.
Brother Ese Esesebor is a young graduate from one of the renowned universities in Nigeria. He suffered a lot right from his childhood because of the demise of his parents. Having given His life to Christ during his university days, he began to imagine living a trouble-free life, little did he know that he would experience more challenging moments. He was confronted with the temptation of belonging to a secret cult before he could get a job. One day, he went to his pastor and shared his burden and the temptation to compromise his faith. The pastor patiently listened to his complaints and called his attention to the encouraging words of the first few verses of chapter one of the book of James. Particularly, the pastor reminded him of three important things: the inevitability of trials, the necessity of perseverance and benefit of endurance. At the end, Brother Esesebor went home with renewed faith, knowing that the testing of his faith will result into his spiritual maturity.
Faith and wisdom are two Important Christian Virtues that are needed in the journey of faith. The epistle was written by James who was probably ‘the Lord’s brother’ (Galatians 1:19). It was written to the dispersed brethren who were going through trials/persecutions as a result of their faith. He encouraged them to persevere with joy, regardless of the intensity of their persecution because according to him, trials develop perseverance, which results into producing mature Christians. The lesson focuses on the necessity of perseverance in times of trials and temptations and the reward of such perseverance.
THE LESSON EXPLAINED…
A. PERSEVERANCE: A MARK OF TRUSTED FAITH: [JAMES 1:1-4]
The epistle of James who was probably ‘the Lord’s brother’ (Galatians 1:19) was not addressed to a particular church or individual. It is a collection of practical instructions written to the brethren (especially the twelve tribes of Israel) who were scattered all over the world as a result of persecution because of their faith (v. 1). According to verse 2 and 3 he said, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” He added that perseverance must complete its work in them so that they can be mature and complete without lacking anything. In order words, they should consider themselves privileged when their faith is tested and they succeed in such circumstance. He also encouraged them to make sure that their endurance sustains them throughout the period of persecution without compromise. The reason for his counsel is stated in verse 4b; so that they will be perfect and complete without lacking anything. The exhortation to persevere in times of trial was also emphasized in verse 12. Those who are able to stand the test of time receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
James’ major concern for the persecuted brethren was to persevere, to stick to or be determined in God’s wisdom to continue to trust God for divine intervention in the midst of persecution. Of course, he knew that the fruits of perseverance will lead to perfection, completion and living in abundance. Apostle Paul corroborated this in his letter to the brethren in Rome. He said, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18) The Scriptures give examples of apostles (Stephen and James) who were persecuted to the point of death (Acts 6:8; 7:60; 12:1-2) without compromising their faith. James, therefore, encouraged the persecuted believers to persevere with joy, regardless of the intensity of their persecution. Christians are still being persecuted in this contemporary time, especially in the northern part of Nigeria. According to James’ admonition, they should persevere and not compromise their faith because through perseverance, the faith of believers will be certified to be mature and complete.
1. Discuss what makes trials the test of faith for believers. 2. Do you have any personal experience to share?
3. Mention some ungodly things believers do in times of persecution and the implications.
B. ASKING IN FAITH AND WISDOM: [JAMES 1:5-8]
James did not only admonish his recipients to endure suffering because it produces fruits of maturity and completion, he also identified faith and wisdom as important Christian virtues needed in the journey of faith. He said in verse 5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who give generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” However, he added that when we pray, we must have faith that God is able to do what we ask without any iota of doubt. The encouragement to have faith when we pray was necessitated by the fact that anyone who doubts in prayers is likened to a wave in the sea that is driven and blown about by the wind. Unfortunately, such people will not receive anything from God because they are double-minded and unstable in all their ways.
The summary of the lesson is the role of faith in prayer. According to James, true wisdom comes from God and He give generously to those who ask Him without wavering. He underscores the fact that unwavering faith that stands sure and unperturbed, despite the storms of life is a necessity for prevailing prayer; hence whoever asks for wisdom should have faith in the ability of God to grant the request. Jesus said that all things are possible to him who believes (Mark 9:23). Therefore, Believers need the wisdom of God to live, especially in this corrupt world and we can only receive it as we ask from God. Nevertheless, it should be noted that we cannot receive wisdom or anything from God if we lack corresponding faith in Him. The author of Hebrews says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exist and that Je rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
1. What are some consequences of doubting God? Give some biblical examples.
2. Lack of faith in God depicts lack of truth in Him. Discuss.
3. Members are to study the picture in their book and analyses the relationship between faith and wisdom in prayer.
C. THE POOR AND RICH ADMONISHED: [JAMES 1:9-11]
This section of James’ letter reflects both the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus Christ that God has special concern for the poor; therefore, He will exalt the lowly and will humble the mighty (1 Samuel 2:1-10; Luke 6:20,24). First, he admonished the poor Christians to be glad in their state of suffering or poverty because they will be exalted but the rich are cautioned to be humble because they can be brought down by God. He likened the life of the rich that fades away to the scorching heat of the sun that withers the plant and destroys its flower and beauty (v. 11). Apostle Peter substantiated this in his first letter when he said, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall…” (1 Peter 1:24.
It is most likely that in the days of James, there was disparity in the way people related with both the poor and the rich. Even in the church, the rich were honoured while the poor were despised. But according to James’ admonition, the financial status of members should not determine their relationship with one another. James made it clear that the position each believer occupies in Christ is not determined by their material wealth but their spiritual state. He thus admonished the believers who are not financially privileged not to demean themselves but to take pride in their spiritual state in God through Christ. Likewise, the rich should not boast of their riches but should live a humble life in Christ. They should be ready to bless the poor around them with the understanding that they are only stewards who should be faithful in the dispense of their resources.
1. Does God condemn riches according to James’ admonition in verses 10-11?
2. Discuss some of the ways the poor are humiliated and the rich exalted in our society today and how the church has contributed to it.
1. Pray that God will grant you the grace to endure trials without compromise.
2. Pray for God’s enablement to exhibit faith in time of prayers without giving up.
3. May I not miss the crown of life already prepared for me in heaven, in Jesus’ name.
Fellowship and Ministry Building Activities:
1. Identify some countries where Christians face persecution today and the role of other believers in such a situation.
2. Encourage class members to choose prayer partners with whom they will be praying for Christians who are being persecuted throughout the world.
Trials and temptations are inevitable in our Christian journey.
Believers should persevere in times of trials.
True wisdom comes from God and He gives those who diligently seek it.
Faith is an essential key to receiving answers to our prayers.
Wealth should not be yardstick to honour church members.
Everyone is equal before God, whether rich or poor.
Remain Inspired & Be Lifted!