C.A.C SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR APRIL 30 & MAY 7, 2023 : LESSON EIGHT: TOPIC – SOME WOMEN WHO ENJOY AND ALIGN WITH GOD’S GRACE
CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH Nigeria & Overseas
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
Unit Two: Spiritual Growth Before Christ Came
April 30 & May 7. 2023
SOME WOMEN WHO ENJOY AND ALIGN WITH GOD’S GRACE
By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace (Hebrews 11:31).
Despite being females, the grace of God was extended to Rahab and Ruth; they
recognised and aligned with the grace, and they never regretted doing so. What’s your attitude toward the grace of God?
Our God is impartial. He extends His graciousness to mankind e regardless of gender, position, race, socio-economic status, etc. Gods grace does not discriminate; it is available for everyone who is willing to accept and not misappropriate it. Since the God of all grace is impartial, and doesn’t see as man sees (1 Sam. 16:7), both men and women, old and young, black and white, rich and poor, have access to Him, and receive abundantly from Him,in accordance with their levels of relationship with Him.
Rahab and Ruth are two examples of women who enjoyed God’s grace to the fullest. Or, how else can one explain the extension of God’s grace to a harlot who misused and corrupted herself to make a living? It is only God’s unimaginable grace that answers that. Ruth, on the other hand, was a Moabitess whom God compensated greatly for her loyalty, humility, perseverance and desire to know and follow YAHWEH. In spite of her pagan background, God’s grace found her, and she also didn’t turn down the grace bestowed on her. The grace of God is exceeding It sustained and helped this determined daughter-in-law in her resolve to follow her mother-in-law and serve her God, YAHWEH. We must embrace the dignity of the human soul and shun looking down on anybody, gender and vulnerability, notwithstanding. God doesn’t give up on anyone till the end. He loves everyone alike. Do not act differently.
DEVOTIONAL BIBLE READINGS FOR WEEK ONE
Mon. 24: God’s Grace Makes Deborah (Jdg. 4:4,5)
Tue. 25: God Speaks Through Deborah (Jdg. 4:6,7)
Wed. 26: Grace Makes Deborah A Brave Woman (Jdg. 4:8-10)
Thur. 27: God’s Grace Locates The Samaritan Woman (Jn. 4:5-9)
Fri. 28: God’s Grace Encounters The Woman (Jn. 4:10-15)
Sat. 29: Grace-Filled Confession Of The Woman (Jn. 4:16-26)
2. DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS
1. God is the God of all genders. He has graciously made available His unfailing grace to men and women alike.
2. God’s exceeding grace is in place for all, regardless of sex, age, race, position belief, or status. Confess your faith in Him, and do not misuse the opportun He bestows on you through Christ. Who places you in a vantage position enjoy His blessings.
BACKGROUND SCRIPTURE: Philemon 1:8-17; Luke 15:11-32
AIM AND OBJECTIVES
AIM: To show God as the impartial Father who cares and loves everyone equally, irrespective of gender or status’ differences.
OBJECTIVES: At the end of this lesson, learners should:
i. be able to show how God is the impartial Father of all, gender or other differences, not withstanding;
ii. be showing signs of having come to terms with the need to accommodate and love everyone the way God has made or allowed them to be;
iii. have stopped judging and condemning others for whatever reasons; and
iv. be more committed to evangelism and soul-winning based on the conviction that we shouldn’t lose hope on any sinner.
TEXTUAL SOURCE: JOSHUA 2:1FF, 6:17FF; RUTH 1:1-16; 3:1-4:22 W e ascribe all glory to God Almighty for the grace we received to have gone through seven lessons in this series. The 2-week lesson we concluded last week, GOD’S GRACE IN THE ERA OF JUDGES, sheds light on some judges who mercifully received and utilised God’s grace to the glory of God and for the benefit of their generations. Likewise, we saw among them a judge, who was a very bad example, and wasted God’s grace deposited in him. We will not waste God’s grace and resources bestowed on us, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
This week and the next, we are on lesson eight, which is titled: SOME WOMEN WHO ENJOY AND ALIGN WITH GOD’S GRACE. This lesson, being the last in unit two, is out to open our eyes to the fact that no one is cast out of God’s redemptive plan and programme. Rahab, a gentile harlot, was used, abused and rejected. The same with Ruth who was also a gentile. She had her hope dashed, and her life devastated. However, the gracious God, the Restorer, gave both women hope and remarkable histories in life. Neither your present, past condition, nor background can stop God from helping you to fulfil His purpose for you, because His purpose supersedes man’s failure. Just that you must cooperate with Him. May the Holy Spirit assist us to meet His targets for us. Amen.
INTRODUCTION TO EACH DIVISION:
This is a 2-week lesson, with two major divisions, I and II. Each is further subdivided into parts A and B respectively.
DIVISION I: RAHAB, THE GENTILE HARLOT
This division is a discourse of how Rahab came in contact with God’s grace, and aligned with it. She heard about the greatness and goodness of YAHWEH. Surprisingly, this gentile woman, a harlot for that matter, aligned with it, i.e. maximised the opportunity she had to come in contact with the grace. She didn’t go divinely unrewarded. The grace saved her. How these happened as well as the implications for our Christian living in this generation are our focus of this division.
DIVISION II: RUTH, NAOMI’S GENTILE IN-LAW
In this second division of the lesson, we are putting into consideration, how Ruth, a gentile woman, encountered YAHWEH and followed Him, with attendant blessings. She came to know about YAHWEH through her mother- in-law, Naomi. Her determination and resilience in following her mother-in-law back to the land of the people of YAHWEH is worth commendation. No wonder she remains a major figure, a woman for that matter, in the genealogy of our Lord Jesus.
I. RAHAB, THE GENTILE HARLOT
A. KNOWS AND ALIGNS WITH GOD’S GRACE
B. SAVED BY GOD’S GRACE
II. RUTH, NAOMI’S GENTILE IN-LAW
A. FOLLOWS YAHWEH THROUGH NAOMI
B. FLOWS WITH THE MESSIANIC TREND
Apr. 30 I. RAHAB, THE GENTILE HARLOT (Joshua 2:1ff, 6:17ff). When Then grace manifests, failures become winners, the rejected are accepted and embraced, and the condemned are discharged and acquitted. Only grace will vindicate a sinner, just as it happened to Rahab, a harlot by profession. In that obnoxious trade, she came in contact with the grace of God, unlimited and irresistible. And before long, a gentile and a harlot, turned a saint in Zion. What a gracious God we serve!
A. KNOWS AND ALIGNS WITH GOD’S GRACE (2:1ff)
And said to the men: “I know that the LORD has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you” (v.9).
i. v. 1: So they went and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there. The men arrived to spy the land of Jericho. Why did they choose to lodge in the house of a harlot? Not for immorality. God’s grace was at the background with Rahab’s salvation in mind.
ii. vv. 2-3: The Gentile Rahab who hadn’t been taught God’s Law, lied, trying to spare the lives of the spies. God was in action working everything out for their good (Rom. 8:28).
iii. v. 7: A Gentile harlot hid the Israelite spies. Instead of giving them up to the king’s servants, she damned the consequences. Grace helped her. No wonder she too was preserved by grace.
iv. vv. 9-10: I know… indicates her personal belief and confession about the incomparability of God’s power. She confessed, believed, trusted and
aligned with God of Israelites (cf. Rom. 10:9-10)
v. vv. 10-11: We heard… She wasn’t the only one who heard about YAHWEH’S exploits, but she alone with her household positively responded to the available grace. Faith comes by hearing God’s Word (Rom. 10:17). How often do you read and hear it?
vi. Rahab had faith in God, as she was rest assured of being saved from the destruction of Jericho, even with the scarlet cord at the window. Your level of faith reveals what you have done with grace (cf. Heb. 11:1). vii. When we accept God’s grace, we have the opportunity to enter God’s plan through our faith in Christ Jesus, and inherit a joy-filled and productive life.
B. SAVED BY GOD’S GRACE (6:17ff) Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that were sent (v. 17)..
i. vv. 17: Only Rahab was asked to be spared from the calamity that befell Jericho. Why? She aligned with YAHWEH. Grace helped her.
ii. Note that Rahab wasn’t selfish with her discovery of YAHWEH’S salvation. She kept it not to herself alone, but sought for the salvation of others, especially her household. If you have truly found grace, you cannot be selfish (Jhn.1:40-42; cf. Matt. 28:18ff; Mk. 16:15; In. 4:28ff).
iii. God’s grace that saved her, made her to show good knowledge of God, as if she had been a worshipper of YAHWEH before then (Heb. 11:30-31). What a wonderful saving grace of God she enjoyed!
iv. Through the grace of God, Rahab found herself in God’s eternal plan and her name was written in the human genealogy of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:5; Heb. 11:30).
v. The rejected, used, and abused woman found mercy and grace in God.
Don’t keep condemning yourself. God is very much available to receive you, if you are willing to come to Him (Matt. 11:28-30).
vi. v. 17:…because she hid the messengers that were sent. Yes, you don’t work for grace (Rom. 11:6), yet, you must work to appropriate grace.
vii. We are saved by the grace of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Therefore, we have to appreciate God for this provision, and continue to cooperate with Him, even after we have come to Him through the knowledge of Christ Jesus.
1. Rahab feared God, and that opened her eyes to see the greatness of God showcased in the victory of God’s people.
2. Only the grace of God could bind up His eternal plan for His people in a woman with a bad past, like Rahab the harlot.
WORK TO DO
While one does not need to work to obtain the grace of God, there is the need to work to appropriate it. Discuss in the light of Rahab’s experience.
SUGGESTED ANSWER TO WORK TO DO
* Grace is an unmerited favour of God. The free gift of God through Jesus Christ has brought salvation to us by faith.
* By her confession, Rahab, a harlot and a gentile, activated the grace of God, and she became a member of God’s family (Rom. 10:9-10).
* This woman risked her life, by hiding the messengers of God (spies); a deed that attracted her to YAHWEHS grace, the more.
* Although, you don’t work for grace, but in grace, you are expected to work to keep it alive in you. This woman cooperated before and after she received God’s grace. Don’t turn away from God’s grace at any point in your life.
* The grace of God is made available for all, for salvation. Take step in activating it, by your response to the call of salvation-that is the work that you have to do.
May 7 II. RUTH, NAOMI’S GENTILE IN-LAW (Ruth 1:1-16; 3:1-4:22). Ruth was a pagan and a Moabitess. She defied her background to follow the not one great Messiah by her work or right, but by the grace of God bestowed on her. Her choice differentiated her from her counterpart, Orpah, who returned to her people and god, without anything to write home about afterwards.
A. FOLLOWS YAHWEH THROUGH NAOMI (1:1-16) Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God (1:16).
i. vv. 1-5: Ruth, a Moabitess/pagan must have heard and known about the God of Israel from her husband and in-laws, especially Naomi, her mother-in-law. Grace brought both Ruth and Orpah in contact with the Living God, affording them opportunity to respond to His invitation (cf. Tit. 2:11ff).
ii. vv. 14-16: Be sensitive to see God in action, even in distress. Orpah had the same opportunity with Ruth, but she unfortunately ignored the grace that could have saved her. Beware of spiritual blindness and insensitivity.
iii. vv. 17,18: The tragedy that befell Ruth was enough to have led her back to her people, and made her despise all she had known about YAHWEH, who after all, didn’t stop the death of her loved ones. But she forged ahead in her knowledge of YAHWEH. Was she put to shame? No!
iv. v. 16: Here is a powerful confession of conviction and determination as regards the Lord. She followed her mother in-law who was her model in faith, and believed in the saving grace and power of YAHWEH.
v. vv. 8-15: The words of Naomi were convincing enough to make the daughters-in-law return (vv. 8-14), and Orpah indeed left. The fact that Orpah returned (vv. 14,15) should have discouraged Ruth as well. Rugged determination kept Ruth glued to YAHWEH in Naomi (cf. Rom. 8:35ff).
vii. Where you started may not really be the issue, but where you end matters. Ruth started as a pagan, because she was born as such without her own input. However, God’s grace came to the fore as she ended with YAHWEH and His people. What a turn around!
B. FLOWS WITH THE MESSIANIC TREND (3:1-4:22) Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “There is a son born to Naomi.” And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David (4:17)
i. 3:1-5: Naomi’s godly desire to provide a suitable and lasting home for Ruth so that she didn’t miss God’s purpose came out of God’s grace, and it paid off.
ii. That Ruth, a Gentile, would eventually become a matriarch of the Messiah (Matt. 1:5) is nothing but grace-favour for the undeserving. Thank God she didn’t abuse it.
iii. vv. 6-9: The opportunity also came to Boaz that he could have abused the vulnerable woman, but he chose not to misuse the grace. This is a case against those who abuse vulnerable children in their care. God’s grace teaches and helps not to abuse those at one’s mercy.
iv. 4:1-6: Boaz didn’t immediately jump at the prospect of redeeming Ruth. He patiently explored the right protocol to ensure that the grace wasn’t abused in any way. Grace never covets others possessions (Exo. 20:17).
v. vv. 7-17: God’s grace ensured that Ruth did not fall into wrong hands (vv. 7-12). Ruth brought her shame and affliction from her native land to the God of Israel, who restored her hope. Naomi, the old, childless, bereaved widow still embraced her grandchildren. Wonderful grace of God!
vi. vv. 18-22: In God’s eternal plan, they became the grand parents of King David, and by extension, our Lord Jesus, the Messiah. That Ruth flowed with God’s grace gave her a lasting legacy. Don’t joke with that grace. vii. Was Ruth aware that she was gradually becoming part of the agenda of God to bring the Messiah when she took that decisive decision for God? Her choice indeed made her one of the greatest fulfilment of the grace and truth of the Messiah. The decision to follow Jesus is always the best decision one can ever make in life.
vil. Eventually, Ruth was privileged to have indelible impact in eternal redemptive programme of God by becoming the great grandmother of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, because she chose YAHWEH above all else. No one follows the living God and regrets.
1. Grace and its appropriation usually help us to become what God purposes for us.
2. When we cooperate with the God of grace, and grow well in His grace, we cannot but meet His target for us.
1. God’s grace differentiated Orpah from Ruth. Explain.
2. Briefly explain the development of Ruth as touching the grace of God.
SUGGESTED ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS:
ANSWER TO QUESTION 1:
* Yes, the grace of God differentiated Ruth from her fellow Moabitess, Orpah.
* Let us consider God’s grace in this context, as the ability to see beyond the ordinary and present situation.
* Both women had the same opportunity to follow God through their mother- in-law, but only Ruth made judicious use of that opportunity (v. 10).
* God didn’t favour one above the other. After all, they were of the same sex, language and religion, but choice separated them. God is never impartial!
* While Orpah went back after the subtle persuasion from their mother-in-law, Ruth tenaciously cleaved to this hopeless widow. She was too determined to be stopped by any circumstance.
* You need determination and decision to follow God all the way.
* Like Orpah, Ruth did not have anything that she hinged her decision on, except the love for her mother-in-law, and the knowledge of YAHWEH that she was becoming passionate about.
* You can’t seek God and regret doing so. God’s grace had made Ruth to see beyond the present circumstances into a glorious future. Thank God she cooperated. Do not act otherwise.
ANSWER TO QUESTION 2:
The grace of God was fully enjoyed by Ruth, as she determinedly followed her mother-in-law to the land of Israel, through whom she cleaved to Yahweh.
* Her connection and marriage to Boaz was a function of the grace of God.
* She was eventually married and became a mother (A change of status). This is another work of grace.
* The grace of God made her the channel through which the promised Messiah and the Saviour of the world came.
* The grace of God made her to enjoy the covenant of the God of Israel. A pagan for that matter.
* Sketch the work of grace in your life also, and see that God is faithful and gracious.
There were three friends who wanted their fortunes to be changed for the T better. They went out in search of job, but none of them was employed by anybody. As they were returning home, they met someone who introduced Christ to them. Two of them, precipitated upon their predicament, lambasted the one who preached to them, but the third person willingly accepted Jesus. He joined a Bible-believing church, and God connected him to a business owner in that church; he was employed and began to live fine in the Lord. Nothing was heard of his two friends who rejected Jesus, since that day, because that occasion separated the three of them. Choosing Jesus is the greatest thing that can ever happen to a man.
We have come to the end of the eighth lesson in this powerful Holy Spirit- inspired series. We have been able to see that God does not discriminate, and that there is no sinner that is too bad to enjoy His grace for salvation. The most important thing is, one must accept His offer of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. May the grace of God that located and helped both Rahab and Ruth to be relevant in the redemptive history locate and assist every reader, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
DEVOTIONAL BIBLE READINGS FOR WEEK TWO
Mon. May 1: Her Accusers Approach Jesus (Jn. 8:1-3a)
Tue. May 2: How She Was Caught In Adultery (Jn. 3b-4)
Wed. May 3: Their Law Condemns Her (Jn. 8:5-6a)
Thur. May 4: The Accusers Are Convicted (Jn. 8:6b-8)
Fri. May 5: The Convicted Walk Away Guilty (n. 8:9)
Sat. May 6: The Lord Clears, But Warns Her (Jn. 8:10-11)