C.A.C SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON. UNIT III: MAN’S RESPONSE TO GOD’S LOVE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, November 25, 2018. LESSON TEN: TOPIC – OVERCOMING SLAVERY WITH CHRIST’S LOVE.
C.A.C SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON.
UNIT III: MAN’S RESPONSE TO GOD’S LOVE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.
November 25, 2018.
OVERCOMING SLAVERY WITH CHRIST’S LOVE.
Peter stood vehemently for the separation of the gospel from enslaving the people. It was his love for God and His people that motivated this in him.
If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God? (Act. 11:17)
Peter made this wonderful and God-glorifying statement in the defence of his evangelistic visit to Cornelius and his household. God had revealed to Peter His Supremacy and Sovereignty by making him to go to the house of Cornelius against his wish and the belief that it is an aberration to have anything doing with the Gentiles (Jews considered it a contamination to deal with the Gentiles), not to talk of visiting them with the gospel. With serious conviction through trance, he knew that God wanted him to go and preach to Cornelius, a centurion and a Gentile. When he got there, the unexpected experience (how the Holy Spirit came down on the people as it was on the day of Pentecost) caught him unaware and further proved to him that God is the God of all, no disparity, sectionalism, tribalism and prejudice (John 3:16).
Peter couldn’t have resisted God, considering the wonderful heavenly vision, which coincided with the visit of the messengers and the dramatic outpouring of God’s Spirit on the people. Peter saw that there was no difference between when the Holy Spirit came upon the 120 brethren in the Upper room and how He graciously visited and came upon the Gentiles. This was the basis of his defence. The implication of this is that, we should always be ready to stand with God and for His truth in the face of any challenge and we should be ever ready to answer any one or any authority who queries our faith and hope in God (1 Pet. 3:15). Like Peter was too convinced about the manifestation of God among the Gentiles than to deny the reality of the fact that God has shifted ground, we should be large-hearted enough to know the wonderful work of God’s love in and for the whole earth and ready to express it to any length, without fear or prejudice. We shall be helped by the Holy Spirit to do just that to the glory of God, and for the benefit of His people in Jesus’ name. Amen
DAILY BIBLE READING
Mom. 19: Peter Manifested Inconsistency (Gal. 2:11-13)
Tue. 20: Paul Demonstrated Sincerity (Gal. 2:14-21)
Wed. 21: Who is a Jew? (Rom. 2:28,29)
Thur. 22: Counsel For All Christians (Col. 2:6,7)
Fri. 23: Cherish Your God-Given Freedom (Col. 2:8-12)
Sat. 24: Refuse Religious Enslavement (Col. 2:16-23)
1. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
2. Yes of course, prejudice, sectionalism, tribalism, schism as it affects the gospel of Christ, are things of the past, because in Jesus, God broke the wall of partition (hostility).
3. Hallelujah, all of us (believers) are now one, in Christ Jesus, we are brethren. Let us do all things to foster our brotherliness.
BACKGROUND SCRIPTURES: Ephesians 2:11-21
AIM AND OBJECTIVES
AIM: This lesson aims at revealing to us how the love of God through Christ puts an end to the hostility between the Jews and the Gentiles.
OBJECTIVES: At the end of this lesson, the learners would have:
i. understood that Christ’s love has permanently destroyed the separation between the Jews and the Gentiles;
ii. seen clearly the role Peter played to facilitate the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles as he stood vehemently for the truth;
iii. Known that Peter’s defence was done in love, meekness, humility and conviction no arrogance; and
iv. understood that it’s pertinent to allow the love of God to erode all our prejudices, biases and superiority complex or “holier than thou attitudes”.
TEXTUAL SOURCE: MATTHEW 8:15-17; 14:14; 15:32; LUKE 7:1-10; JOHN 11:35, 38; ACT 11:1-30; 13:1-5
We thank our God for another wonderful grace to enter His holy presence and partake in His holy, powerful and life-transforming Word, through the Sunday school. Our lives shall continue to witness refreshing, abundance and bountiful blessings of God in Jesus’ name. Last week we concluded lesson nine, Jesus Teaches How To Love. The lesson opened the last and the third unit of this Sunday school series. It availed us the opportunity to understand the mind of Jesus Christ as touching how we should demonstrated love to our holy and exceedingly loving God, and man, i.e our neighbours.
Today, we want to look at, Overcoming Slavery with Christ’s Love. It is another wonderful lesson, the number ten in the series, and it is out to show to us how our Lord Jesus permanently and lovingly dismantled the barriers that have put asunder the Jews and the Gentiles and prevented the so called ‘foreigners’ from coming into the commonwealth of God. It also addresses most of the questions that might have been bothering our minds, as believers, on Christian liberty and freedom. The lesson would help us to see the matters that relate to our salvation, and those that may be peculiar to culture or, denomination. Let us proceed into the lesson and see how God used Peter and Paul to stand for Christ’s love, and the practical responses of some churches to the issue at hand, “Overcoming Slavery with Christ’s Love”
We shall be helped by the Holy Spirit to accept the love of Jesus Christ and be equipped to demonstrate this love that transcends all barriers — traditional, social, tribal, cultural, economical and religious in Jesus’ name. Amen.
INTRODUCTION TO EACH DIVISION
This lesson is divided into two sections, I and II, with further division into A and B respectively.
DIVISION I: PETER STOOD FOR CHRIST’S LOVE
The lesson of this division is taken from the book of Acts of the Apostles 11:1-8. Two major issues were discussed: 1 How Peter was queried for obeying God’s command 2. How he took time to explain the love of God-mandated visit to Cornelius and his household. When he was picked up by the other brethren on why he had to go against the tradition to enter into the house of the Gentiles (because they were ignorant of the current trend of God’s move), he took time to explain in love and humility, what he had known and experienced, which they were still ignorant of.
DIVISION II: PRACTICAL RESPONSES FROM SOME CHURCHES
This is the second division and it is captioned practical responses from some churches. Acts chapter 11:19-30 is picked from the text. In order to fully get the job of overcoming slavery with Christ’s love done permanently and perfectly, God involved some churches in the assignment as He is involving us today, and it forms the body of the second division. Let us proceed into the lesson proper.
1. PETER STOOD FOR CHRIST’S LOVE
A. QUERIED FOR OBEYING GOD’S COMMANDS
B. EXPLAINED THE LOVE OF GOD
2. PRACTICAL RESPONSES FROM SOME CHURCHES
A. LOVE TOOK THEM TO THE GENTILES
B. LOVE MOTIVATED THEIR ACTIONS
I. PETER STOOD FOR CHRIST’S LOVE (Act. 11:1-8)
Christ’s love is awesome and inexplicable. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He freely, and in obedience to his Father’s will, made Himself the propitation for the sins we committed. That is, a sinless man who decided to face the consequence of sin he never committed. Christ’s love is unconditional, non-sectional. He loved the whole world alike gave Himself a ransom for their sin. This is what Peter stood vehemently and boldly for when he realised it eventually.
A. QUERIED FOR OBEYING GOD’S COMMAND (vv. 1-3)
And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with, saying, “You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!” (vv. 2,3).
i. Slavery, manipulation, marginalization, domination, subjugation are characteristics of carnality. All of these are anti-gospel. Christians are called to received the truth and love of God which they must represent and demonstrate at all costs (Php. 1:29). We should be against slavery in all forms and manner (financial, mental, religion, or political).
ii. Acts. 11:1: The Apostles and brethren in Judea heard that the Gentles had also received the Word. Preaching and teaching were their primary responsibilities. It took persecution for them to go out (Act. 6). Peter was also compelled to go out. The news here called for celebration (sinners being saved) but watch their reactions. Are we different?
iii. Peter had been compelled to go and preach to the Gentiles (Act. 10:9-15). He almost rejected the divine instruction, calling the animals (men) anything unclean (10:14-16). However, some specific instructions came and he finally obeyed (10:19,20).
iv. He was queried by “those of the circumcision for going to the uncircumcised”. Possible reasons for the query: newness of the Move of the Holy Spirit, lack of understanding of the Scriptures (Mt. 28:18-20; Jn. 3:16) spiritual ignorance and arrogance, carnality, narrow – mindedness, etc. Instead of celebration and preparation for the next move, it was confrontation.
v. Queried for obeying the Lord’s command. The price for obeying God is higher. Consider these admonitions: do not suffer as a criminal (I Peter 3:13-18), be ready to be called names (LK. 11:14-20), tell the truth and stand for it and become enemies of many (Gal. 4:16; Php 1:29).
vi. Peter was queried (Acts. 11:2,3); Jesus Christ was queried on several occasions. Who are you not to be queried? But how do we react when faced with such situations?
vii. Whatever you do not know, is in no small measure greater than. you, hence, the need to always want to know. Peter’s antagonists here did so because they were ignorant of the work of God to the Gentiles, Peter who was privileged to have seen the light, is in the best position to make them see what they have not seen. Be ready to make people know what they do not know about Christ and His amazing love. This is love in action.
B. EXPLAINED THE LOVE OF GOD (vv. 4-18)
But Peter explained it to them in order from the beginning, saying (v. 4).
i. Some of our godly actions may be challenged. It is not a new thing and we have examples of such, and are also being encouraged to be ready to give a defence to everyone who asks you for the hope that is in you, (how?) with meekness and fear (I Peter 3:15).
ii. Peter was queried (Act. 11:2,3) by believers in God, through Christ Jesus, but were yet to be purged of slavery to Judaism and tradition of elders. Peter could not have refused after the divine revelations (Acts 10:9-15) and the specific commands from God for 3 TIMES (Acts 10:16), yet he was queried.
iii. Peter must explain, and express his experiences. He stated his experiences with boldness, humility and fear of God — the divine instruction (10:9-15), the preparation (10:17-23), the family congregation (24-23), the ministration (10:34-43), and the Divine confirmation (10:44-47).
vi. From Peter’s explanation, we can see that the Only True God acts to time, the universality of God (for the Jews and the Gentiles), the impartiality of God’s love and the unstoppability of His programme. Peter had nothing to talk about self, but the love of God (Acts 10:47 cf 11:17).
v. It was not Peter’s message that did it, but God who works out His plans. Nevertheless, there must be people who have experienced His love who would boldly and humbly express it in ACTION OF LOVE. Unto these we are called (Act. 10:44,45 cf. 11:17).
vi. If the Jews and the Gentiles were converted, because they both heard the Word, believed and repented, and endorsement came from heaven (Acts 10:44,45; 11:7), should there be any spiritual domination for whatever reason (Gal. 3:29)? They were satisfied (Acts 11:18) that this was a move from God in heaven.
vii. Because of what we often consider as intimidation, threat, and persecutions many of us — believers — find it difficult to stand for God, especially where the gospel conflicts with our traditional and cultural practices and professional demands. God’s love and awesome wonders cannot be expressed in that way. Like the 3 Hebrews, receive the grace to stand tall for God, no matter what! You will no longer fail God.
1. We should be happy when after we have boldly obeyed God’s command in humility and with passion, we are challenged or queried. We should neither be scared nor discouraged.
2. Peter, in defending his actions of obedience and love, had no time for arguments and exaggerations; he courageously expressed and explained His experiences in God’s actions of love. God sent him, connected him with the people and confirmed by His actions of love for the Gentiles, the same way He had treated the Jews.
WORK TO DO
There is no way you would have experienced God that you would or want to express His love (Acts 4:19,20; 10:16) and there is no way you would demonstrate His love that you would not be challenged or queried. Discuss.
SUGGESTED ANSWER TO WORK TO DO
This question is two sides of a coin. It is not possible to have experienced Him. Likewise expressing His love is an automatic ticket for opposition, or persecution from those who have not really appreciated the wonders of the Cross and Love of God.
Paul is a very good example of what we are saying here. Immediately after his conversion, the Bible says he proclaimed Jesus, saying He is the Son of God (Acts 9:20). Right away, opposition arose against him from the Jews and that necessitated the disciples in Damascus to rescue him by letting him down by the wall in a basket (Acts 9:23-25).
Having such a dicey case, what do we do?
i. We should be overwhelmed by the experience of God we have encountered, no going back.
ii. Be more passionate about the expression of the wonderful love of God.
iii. Be more resolute and prepared to face any challenges that comes thereafter without fear and favour.
iv. Depend solely on God for sustenance and victory. Such opposition is the battle between light and darkness, which the outcome is forever settled and it is in the favour of light.
v. Also adopt the strategy of Peter as he took time to explain how the matter unfolded from the beginning. In defending the gospel, be bold, depend on the understanding of the Holy Spirit not your own knowledge.
vi. Be ready always to give an answer to anyone who asks you a reason of the hope that is in you. I Pet. 3:15.
vii. Know that God can’t fail you like he did not fail the three Hebrews (Daniel 3:24,25)