NBC Sunday School Manual For Novenber 20, 2022 :Topic – Made Us For A Purpose
Read previous NBC Sunday School Manuals here
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON (NBC)
Week 3, November 20, 2022
TOPIC: MADE US FOR A PURPOSE
Devotional Reading: 1Timothy 2:1-8
Background Scriptures: Revelation 2:1-7; Acts 19; Ephesians 2
Lesson Scripture: Ephesians 2:1-10
GOLDEN TEXT: For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians. 2:10
Objectives: By the end of the lesson, class members should be able to:
I. Compare and contrast their past and present lifestyle.
II. Define the word ‘grace’.
III. Share some practical good works they will do this week in order to share God’s overflowing love with others.
A story was once told of ‘Cash Madam’ as she was popularly called by friends, neighbours and customers. She was a business woman and known in her community to be troublesome, irresponsible and callous in almost all her dealings. Worse still, she had no respect for either God or human beings no matter how highly placed. From time to time, she made jest of Christians, calling them different names because of their faith and bring disrepute to God. Unknown to her, one of her neighbours with whom she had made trouble several time was praying for her relentlessly for the salvation of her soul. After some years, “Cash Madam’ gave her life to Christ. She became a changed person; fervent in the Lord and soon she was baptized into the membership of a church. Every morning, she danced round the compound singing songs of praise to God for the gift of her salvation. One day, her neighbour who consistently prayed for her asked her the secret of her joy so much that she sings and dances everyday – praising God.
The woman simply replied, “I am celebrating God’s overflowing free gifts of His love and grace in my life. I am indebted to God because I am now a new person.” In fact, the story of ‘Cash Madam’ is a reflection of the richness of God’s mercy toward mankind. By human standard her actions can never qualify her for salvation, but by God’s mercy she was saved.
The body of Christ consists of people who have been saved from sin by God’s grace,and this is the demonstration of the kindness of God (Ephesians 2:3). Grace can be defined as unmerited favour or a gift given to someone especially when the person does not deserve it. The word ‘grace’ can also be an acronym for ‘God’s Riches At Christ Expense.’ Paul in this passage explains how humanity was saved from total destruction thereby bringing man into a new life and relationship with God. Today’s lesson emphasises the fact that we are God’s workmanship created for a specific purpose.
THE LESSON EXPLAINED
A. Dead through Transgression. Ephesians 2:1-3
Just like Paul explained in his letter to the brethren in Ephesus, human beings always like to make comparison between two things. We tend to prefer new things to old ones. According to the passage, Paul called their attention to their past lifestyle in comparison with the present. He acknowledged the fact that their former way of life was characterised by sin as they followed the standard of this world and obeyed the ruler of the air, the spirit who controls those who are disobedient (v.2). As a result, they became spiritually and morally dead – separated from God and destined to be punished by God. Similarly, in his letter to the brethren in Rome, Paul described the wrath of God that will be revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness, especially to those who suppress the truth (Romans 1:18).
Sin separates people from having fellowship with God. But the good news is that God’s mercy has been extended toward us because of God’s great love (John 3:16), and not on the basis that it is legally earned. However, anyone who continues to live in sin will be absolutely lost. They will suffer the wrath of God and be completely separated from Him. Therefore, to avoid separation from God and eternal punishment, we should jealously guide our newfound faith in Christ. We should not live our past life again but cherish the grace of God and His gift of salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. We should be on guard against the devices of the Devil to lure us into sin after we have been saved by the grace of God.
1. Discuss the consequences of sin in the life of a believer.
2. Why do some people find it difficult to exhibit godliness even after their conversion?
B. Made Alive with Christ. Ephesians 2:4-7
Having considered the sinful nature of the people, Paul further described the process of salvation for humankind through which we have been made alive with Christ. He said, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy made us live with Christ even when we were dead in transgression – it is by grace you have been saved” (vv.4-5). When we have cordial relationship with Christ on earth, we shall \reign with Him in heaven. The privilege of reigning with Christ is a demonstration of the extraordinary greatness of God’s grace (unmerited favour) and love, which is expressed through Christ Jesus who died for our redemption.
Furthermore, Paul helps us see that our works, no matter how good they seem, cannot earn us salvation. God initiated the plan of salvation for humankind without our benevolent activities, however meritorious. We are saved by the grace of God. Apostle Paul put it better when he said that we would have been miserable and spiritually dead but thanks be to God for His mercy towards us. We have been made alive spiritually because Christ lives in us. So, we have the privilege of sitting together with Him in His eternity. This is a great honour and privilege that we cannot earn through.good works. Christians are challenged to have good works not in order to be saved, but because they are saved (2 Corinthians 4:15). If only Christians will understand and appreciate God’s benevolence of salvation, our agitations, anxieties and doubt will give way for overflowing love towards God. More importantly, believers should respond to God’s overflowing love and grace through obedient faith in God.
1. Discuss the richness of God’s grace and mercy towards humans.
2. What is your understanding of the word ‘grace’?
C. Saved By Grace. Ephesians 2:8-10
It is a common saying that ‘repetition strengthened the memory’. Thus, as a matter of Paul repeatedly made it clear to the Gentile brethren in Ephesus that it is by grace alone they had been saved through faith; therefore, it is a gift of God. Out of this saving grace, he explained, flows our desire to “do good works,” for we have been created in God’s image and are His “handiwork.” God’s grace, as used in this context, is an unmerited favour, God’s kindness as the only means of being made right with God. By implication, human efforts, good works or strict observance of the law (Romans 3:21ff) cannot save us. For this reason, no single individual should boast or take credit for being saved according to his/her deeds. Paul also acknowledged that we are God’s handiwork; meaning that God has made us who we are. In our union with Jesus Christ, He has created us purposely to do good works according to what He has already planned for us.
For instance, we can take time to listen and share other people’s pains, help those in need, pray and encourage others. Although good works cannot save us, they are expected to follow naturally as we experience the love of Christ through salvation. Our testimony as Christians is that we have been saved only by the grace of God. Our faith in Christ Jesus is the channel provided by God through which we can appropriate our salvation. Salvation never originates throughthe efforts of people but out of the loving kindness of God as shown to us through Jesus Christ. Jonah and many others also proclaimed that salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9). Therefore, the gift of salvation should spur us to do good works for the glory of God and the benefits of humankind.
1. What is the place of good works in the Christian life if it does not lead to salvation?
2. Discuss some practical good works that we can do as God’s handiwork.
Commitment: Make a commitment to always give glory and praise to God in appreciation of the gift of salvation, adoption and redemption.
Fellowship and Ministry Building Activity:
Have a partner with whom you will celebrate your place in God’s family. Express your gratitude either by singing a song, reading/reediting a poem, meditating on a Psalm or writing a thank you note to God.
1. Pray for grace to cherish your salvation and live according to God’s will.
2. Pray that God will help you to live as one who is truly alive in Christ.
3. Pray for the grace to live according to the calling of God for your life.
State at least three main lessons you are taking home based on today’s lesson.