NBC Sunday School Manual For February 12, 2023 :Topic – Trust And Encouragement
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SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR YOUR PREPARATION
NBC SUNDAY SCHOOL OUTLINE
Theme of the Month:
GOD’S CALL AND ITS RESPONSIBILITIES.
SUNDAY, 12TH FEBRUARY, 2023.
TOPIC: TRUST AND ENCOURAGEMENT.
Devotional Reading: John 15:1-14.
2 Timothy 1:3-14.
“What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching with faith and love in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 1:13
By the end of the lesson, class members should be able to:
● Discuss the relevance of parental and spiritual mentoring in the home;
● State the reasons why people are ashamed to witness Christ, today;
● Make concrete decision to faithfully pass on the Gospel to the next generation.
It was another Easter celebration and the church decided to organise a special programme for the teenagers. An aspect of the programme was titled “Mimic Your Parents.” Two young boys walked up to the front of the class and sat down to mimic their father. The older one acted as the father, and the younger as the son. The son walked up to the father to inform him of his plan to return to school the next day. The father adjusted his seat and said to him, “Remember the son of who you are, as you go.” As many times as the boy sought his father’s permission to go out, the same proverb was repeated. Thus, they nicknamed their father “Remember the son of who you are”, even in their playlet. However, by and by, the saying became a permanent value that was regularly communicated to the children in the family, whenever they are leaving home. The son testified about how they were guided, both at home and throughout their school days, with no record of misbehaviour. Without doubt, it is one of the ways of mentorship that occurs when a mentor provides guidance to a mentee, sharing experiences and building trust and confidence in them.
Mentoring is a relationship in which a more experienced or knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced person in attaining success in life or personal goals. It is a learning and development partnership. The mentor offers counsel, gives information/support, encouragement, and builds trust in the mentee. The relationship between Timothy and Paul was like a mentor and a mentee, an old practice that is gradually fading away in the society. After a lifetime of service and suffering for Christ, Paul was put in prison and death became imminent. He was not ready to leave Timothy without guide. Therefore, he wrote and encouraged Timothy, his spiritual son, to keep what he had heard and learned from him as the pattern of sound teaching with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Today, many Christians suffer and fail God during times of persecution because they lack counsel, encouragement, spiritual guide and mentorship. The lesson of today calls our attention to the fact that the Christian journey is sometimes associated with persecution, difficulties and challenges, which bring untold hardship to Christians. This is the reason believers in Christ should endeavour to encourage and intercede for one another, as exemplified in Paul’s letter to Timothy.
THE LESSON EXPLAINED…
A. PAUL’S PRAYER OF REMEMBRANCE:
[2 Timothy 1:3-5]
Paul’s introduction is similar to some of his other letters, as he declared his apostolic title according to the will of God (v. 1). Although, he was under house arrest and separated from Timothy, he constantly thanked God and prayed for Timothy, his dear son, night and day probably for success in ministry, as his mentor. Particularly, Paul recalled two specific things for which he thanked God.
Timothy’s tears (probably the time Timothy left him for Macedonia), so he desired to see him face to face so that his joy will be full. Paul usually found it difficult to leave people with whom he had deep spiritual connection, in the course of his missionary journeys. He often expressed a longing for those he discipled (Philippians 1:8; 2:26-28; 4:1) and sometimes, he was moved to tears at the point of separation (v.4).
Timothy’s sincere faith. According to the passage, Paul attested to Timothy’s sincere faith, which he inherited from his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. Although Timothy’s father was a Greek, i.e. Gentile (Acts 16:1), his faith and trust was first shaped by his mother and grandmother who were converted Jews, during Paul’s second missionary journey to Lystra (Acts 16:1-5). His spiritual maturity and devotion to the ministry points us to the importance of parental mentoring of our children.
The exemplary lifestyle of Timothy’s mother and grandmother stresses the relevance of parental and spiritual mentoring in the home. Christian parents and grandparents-are, therefore, expected to pass on spiritual and eternal legacies to their children and grandchildren. Believers generally should endeavour to communicate the Christian faith to their children, family members, friends, acquaintances and neighbours and be sure they see the love of Christ in them through their actions, like Lois and Eunice did to Timothy from his childhood. Eventually, he grew and became spiritually mature and a true follower of Jesus. When this is done, our children will grow to know the Lord and be devoted to Him.
1. Discuss why some parents pay more attention to the educational attainments of their children at the expense of their spiritual growth.
2. What are some practical ways the church can exercise positive spiritual influence on the next generation?
B. PAUL’S ENCOURAGEMENT TO TIMOTHY:
[2 Timothy 1:6-10]
The passage consists mainly of personal encouragement and advice to Timothy, as a young colleague and assistant to Paul. Timothy had probably received a spiritual gift, during Paul’s second missionary journey when he called him to work with him and laid hands on him (1 Timothy 1:8; Acts 16:1-3). Therefore, Paul encouraged him to be faithful in the following areas: Fan into flame the gift of God. Paul expected Timothy to fully develop and make active use of the gift of God in him because God has not given him the spirit of timidity (lack of confidence) but of power, love and self-discipline. As a result, he must be faithful in the ministry, even in the face of persecution. Of course, Paul was talking from experience since he was already in prison, in Rome.
He should not be ashamed but continue to witness for the Lord, identify with him as a prisoner and be ready to suffer for the Gospel, by the power of God who has called us into holy living. Paul continually affirmed that God’s work of salvation, through grace in Christ Jesus, had been planned before the creation of the world. And now the revelation of the plan has been made real through the appearing of our Saviour, Jesus Christ the power of death has been destroyed and the power of the Gospel has revealed immortal life (v. 10). Paul’s encouraging words to Timothy to faithfully witness for the Lord and not allow low self-esteem and timidity to prevent him from speaking the truth was timely. It is sometimes difficult to preach and uphold Christian virtues in the face of increasing persecution for fear of death. However, we should rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to help us persevere and not faint. Thus, Paul encouraged Timothy to be willing to endure suffering for the sake of the Gospel. Verses 9-10 describe God’s salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Although, no one deserves salvation, God made it available to all who believe in Jesus Christ and destroyed the power of death through resurrection. It is praiseworthy to know that the gift of boldness can only be possible by the help of the Holy Spirit and this is evident when we serve God faithfully. Paul’s word of admonition is an encouragement to Christians who are being persecuted as a result of their faith in God. Instead of despair, they should affirm their absolute trust and confidence in God’s protective power (v. 12).
1. Discuss reasons why some believers are timid regarding witnessing for God.
2. How will you encourage a backsliding believer in your local congregation to fan his/her gift into flame instead of regress?
C. PAUL’S CONFIDENCE:
[2 Timothy 1:11-14]
Paul sincerely desired to see Timothy, his son in the Lord, succeed in ministry and he spent time to give necessary advice and encouragement to him to faithfully witness for Jesus Christ and the strategy needed (v. 13). He affirmed, in verse 11, that God had appointed him as an apostle and teacher purposely to proclaim the good news; hence he had suffered persecution. However, he was confident that God will keep him safe, despite the persecution and imprisonment until the day when Jesus will return. He commanded him saying, “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus” including the good things that have been entrusted to him through the power of the Holy Spirit (vv. 13-14).
Apostle Paul frequently talked about God’s original plan of salvation for humankind before the creation of the world, which the Old Testament prophets had written about (Romans 16:2526; Titus 1:2). Interestingly, God entrusted to him the ministry of proclaiming the same message about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles (Galatians 1:15), and he did it with zeal. Even though he was persecuted to the point of imprisonment, he had no regret because he was chosen specifically to make known God’s name to the Gentiles, kings and to the people of Israel. Of course, he was told how much he would suffer for the sake of the Gospel when he encountered Jesus on his way to Damascus (Acts 9:15-16). Unfortunately, today, some Christians are ashamed and they give flimsy excuses like time factor, fear, lack of the understanding of God’s Word, etc. for not witnessing for the Lord. Nevertheless, Paul’s confidence in the Lord to keep him safe from all his travails is enough encouragement for believers, especially those who are facing persecution to stand firm and not waver. Although the pain of the moment is heartbreaking, it cannot be compared with the glory that shall be revealed at the end of age (Romans 8:18).
1. Paul was confident of God’s protection in the face of persecution.
2. What lessons should believers learn from his boldness to continue to preach the gospel the gospel message? Who is an apostle, and what do apostles do?
Fellowship and Ministry Building Activity:
● Encourage class members to write a note of encouragement to a young believer they know, like Paul did to Timothy. They should continue to pray for them for grace to be firm in the faith, and not waver.
Take Home: State at least three main lessons you are taking home, based on today’s lesson:
Commitment: Verbalise their commitment to faithfully pass on the gospel message to the next generation.