C.A.C SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR MAY 14 & 21, 2023 : LESSON NINE: TOPIC – GOD’S GRACE IN JESUS AND HIS APOSTLES
CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH Nigeria & Overseas
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
THEME: SOME CHARACTERS WHO GROW IN THE LORD’S GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE
JANUARY – JUNE, 2023
Unit Three: Spiritual Growth In The New Testament.
May 14 & 21.2023
LESSON : NINE
GOD’S GRACE IN JESUS AND HIS APOSTLES
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men (Luke 2:52).
Jesus is an embodiment of God’s grace; He also allowed His Apostles to enjoy this grace. His grace is still available to you too. Don’t joke with it.
Of course, all men are born babies, but no man must remain a baby, or babyish. There is beauty in starting small, but there is also a joy that comes with steady growth. Growth is constant to life, and that is why, God Ο has designed living things with the capacity to grow. Growth has to do with increase in size, height, age, etc. When a baby is born, there is usually joy, because somebody has been born to the world. But this joy may soon disappear, if the baby remains “a baby” after sometime. In the same way, God expects us to grow to maturity, after we have been born into His kingdom through the redemptive work of Christ on the Cross. Just as it gladdens God to see His children grow from infanthood to adolescence, then to adulthood and fully mature soldiers, it makes Him very sad when, His children, on whom He invests so much grace, refuse to change levels, positively. Therefore, like our elder brother, Jesus Christ, the First Born of the Saints, God expects that we all grow, not just physically, but spiritually, as well as in wisdom, grace and knowledge of Him, like Jesus did (Lk. 2:52). This growth is however meant to be progressive in nature, till we come to the full stature of Christ, who is the image of God, the Father (Eph. 4:13; cf. Rom. 8:29). Don’t cut off this eternal process in your life, until you reach heaven. Selah.
DEVOTIONAL BIBLE READINGS FOR WEEK ONE
Mon. 8: The Child Jesus (Lk. 2:39-40)
Tue. 9: The Adolescent Jesus (Lk. 2:41-47)
Wed.10: The Lord In His Adulthood (Lk. 4:18)
Thur. 11: The Spirit-filled Jesus (Acts 10:38)
Fri. 12: The Saviour, Jesus Christ (Mat. 1:20-21; 1Jn. 2:2)
Sat. 13: The Resurrected Lord (Jn. 11:25-26)
1. If Jesus Christ our Lord required grace and all-round growth to fulfil His mission here on earth, you need nothing less. Keep growing.
2. It is an aberration for any Christian to be a mediocre, because Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, was/is never one, likewise His first apostles. Who will you resemble then, if you settle for mediocrity?
3. BACKGROUND SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:1-52
AIM AND OBJECTIVES
AIM: To bring out copious lessons from how Jesus and His disciples responded to the divine grace made available to them.
OBJECTIVES: At the end of this lesson, learners should be able to:
i. show from the life of Jesus on earth that growth in all spheres is indispensable
ii. discuss the different stages of spiritual growth;
iii. show how the lives and experiences of Jesus Apostles confirm the indispensability of pursuing genuine spiritual growth and maturity; and
iv. discuss how the lives of the Apostles show that we must regularly be with Christ for sanctification, growth and maturity.
TEXTUAL SOURCE: MATTHEW 10:1FF; 18:16-20; LUKE 2:1-52; 3:21-4:44; 10:1-21
We bless the name of the Lord for the previous lesson, in which God expressly reminded and enlightened our hearts about SOME WOMEN WHO ENJOY AND ALIGN WITH GODS GRACE. We were made to see such women as Rahab and Ruth, who received God’s grace, and their personal responses to it, based on their knowledge of the grace. We have been able, by God’s grace, to see also what and where their responses led them in destiny and divine eternal redemptive programme.
Lesson 9 is the first in the third unit of this series, and examines GOD’S GRACE IN JESUS AND THE APOSTLES. This is to further illuminate and enlighten our hearts as to how our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, while on earth, grew all-round in God’s grace, as well as the gradual growth of His disciples and Apostles. It is therefore essential for all Christians, to grow and keep growing from a dimension of grace to a greater dimension of same, even in the knowledge of our Lord. If Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the entire world, and the Apostles needed to grow, then who should be exempted from growing? No one has, or will ever attain a “perfect growth status”, here, such that would not need to grow anymore, spiritually.
May God breathe upon His Word in our hearts for our all-round spiritual development, in Jesus name. Amen
INTRODUCTION TO EACH DIVISION:
This is a 2-week lesson, with two major divisions, I and II. Each is further subdivided into A and B.
DIVISION I: JESUS INCREASES IN GOD’S GRACE
This division explores the various all-round stages of both physical and T spiritual growth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It clearly points to the fact that growth (especially spiritual) is non-negotiable for any true disciple of Christ. If Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, and the Saviour of the world, was not spared, but subjected by God to growth, then, no one is left out. The issue is that, growth is highly imperative!
DIVISION II: JESUS’ APOSTLES GROW IN GRACE
This second division talks about how Jesus’ disciples grew by following Him and learning directly from Him. Being well-groomed by Jesus, they finally became mature enough to be sent to preach. As usual, the division is broken into A and B, THEY ARE CALLED AND GROOMED, and THEY GROW ON THE JOB respectively.
I. JESUS INCREASES IN GOD’S GRACE
A. AS A YOUNG BOY
B. AS A FULL-FLEDGE MINISTER OF GOD
II. JESUS’ APOSTLES GROW IN GRACE A. THEY ARE CALLED AND GROOMED
B. THEY GROW ON THE JOB
May 14: I. JESUS INCREASES IN GOD’S GRACE (Luke 2:1-52; 3:21-4:44) To increase is to become progressively greater in size, amount, number, or T intensity. It also implies multiplication. Jesus Christ grew in all ramifications. It took Him 30 years to build, grow, learn and develop, before coming out for His three-and-half-year most impactful, epoch-making and eternally relevant ministry. Whatever would have lasting legacy MUST pass through the due process of genuine growth.
A. AS A YOUNG BOY (2:1-52)
And the child grew and became strong in Spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him (v.40).
i. Like John the Baptist, His forerunner (1:80), our Lord Jesus had to grow in the Spirit and grace of God. There is dire need for growth in the Body of Christ today. Your growth determines your usefulness and fulfilment in God.
ii. vv. 1-20: Having come to us by God’s grace as a newborn baby, Jesus had to develop like any child would do, learning to eat, talk, sit, and walk. God forbid that a 3 to 4-year-old refuses to crawl or walk. This, is typical of a believer who is not growing.
iii. vv. 21-40: After all the announcements and celebrations that accompanied the birth of Jesus, there came the need to circumcise Him on the 8th day
(Jewish custom), a sign of Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 17:10-14).
iv. vv. 40,52: Jesus never stopped growing. He grew in the Spirit, filled with wisdom, and God’s grace was upon Him. This is all-round growth. You will have all-round growth when you grow in grace.
v. v.41: We immediately see the result of Jesus’ growth; He was in the temple at age 12 conversing with teachers, and His understanding amazed the people. Growth in the Lord cannot be hidden.
vi. vv. 42-49: Amazing! Strong spiritual growth made Jesus personalized Temple service as His “Father’s business”. How you see God’s things speaks volume of your growth level, spiritually. vii. v. 49: By the grace upon Jesus, even at that tender age of 12, He fulfilled Scripture (Psa. 69:9; 122:1; cf. Jn. 2:17). The more you know Him, the better prepared are you to consciously and unconsciously fulfil the Scriptures, positively.
viii. God desires to give divine revelations to His children, but our levels of growth, a direct indication of our spiritual capacities, determine whether we can be trusted with such, or not.
B. AS A FULL-FLEDGE MINISTER OF GOD (3:21-4:44)
Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli (3:23).
i. From Jesus’ birth to His circumcision in the temple, to His reasoning with the elders in the temple at 12, and later, the beginning of His ministry at 30 are signs of systematic growth.
ii. 3:21-22: He had grown to the point of going for water baptism, accompanied with heavenly confirmation. What a strong spiritual development!
iii. 4:15-17: Most synagogue services had readings from the Law and the Prophets, with expositions tying the texts together, by mature teachers. This practice gave Jesus the platform to declare the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy (61:1-2) in Himself.
iv. v. 22: Jesus Christ grew so much in grace that His words made all people marvel, so much that they couldn’t believe such gracious words of divine wisdom were heard from “Joseph’s son”.
v. vv. 18-19: Reading from Isaiah (61:1-2) was not a coincidence. He was deliberately declaring what the grace of God upon Him would be doing, since He had the Spirit of JEHOVAH God (4:1).
vi. 4:1-13: His spiritual growth occasioned by the Spirit in-filling, fortified Him against Satan’s onslaught and guaranteed His victory. vii. There is always a higher level of understanding, wisdom and responsibility The key to getting to the next available level is steady growth. Your level of growth determines the level of responsibility that you are given.
1. Any kind of growth without proper spiritual growth is no growth at all 2. Grace is both an energiser and protector of the sent. He, whom He calls, He fortifies, and also glorifies.
WORK TO DO
Grace is God’s ability in man to fulfil his divine mandate on earth. Discuss!
SUGGESTED ANSWER TO WORK TO DO:
* Of course, grace is God’s ability in man to fulfil his divine mandate on earth,
• All efforts to fulfil destiny without the grace of God would amount to futility.
* Grace is in stages, levels and measures. The higher the level of accomplishment, the more grace is needed, for more.
*By strength shall no man prevail; only by the grace and mercies of the Lord (Rom. 11:6).
* Man is what he is, and will be what he will be, only by grace.
* God gives divine mandates, and the much-needed grace to accomplish same. For every divine vision, there is an abundance of divine provision, available to as many as would cooperate with God for His help.
* If Jesus would bank on the grace of God to be fulfilled on earth, and the first disciples didn’t depend on their human abilities to succeed after Jesus, how much more are we? Don’t let your focus be shifted from God’s grace.
May 21: II. JESUS’ APOSTLES GROW IN GRACE (Matthew 10:1ff; 18:16- 20; Luke 10:1-21).
Jesus’ disciples didn’t just start doing exploit immediately they were called. They first went through the process of grooming, learning and first-hand discipleship from the Master Himself. This, coupled with active participation and carrying out the Master’s instructions, and divine guidance, culminated in their steady and reliable growth process. No one becomes, successful except he has first, been made.
A. THEY ARE CALLED AND GROOMED (Matt. 10:1ff; 18:16-20)
And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of disease (Matt. 10:1).
i. Matt. 10:1: The 12 disciples here were called Apostles. The word “apostle” emphasises delegated authority (Mk. 6:7, 1 Thess. 2:6); the term “disciple” connotes learning and following. Spiritual growth entails learning, following and grooming.
ii. vv.5-15: Since it was not possible to do and finish the ministry alone, the need arose that He called disciples whom He would groom and make to become Apostles. Discipleship is in the heart of spiritual growth.
iii. vv. 16-23; cf. Mk. 3:14-19: The disciples were meant to first be with their Master for years before He would confidently send them out. For there to be evident spiritual growth, the instruction, learn from me, (Matt. 11:29) must be taken seriously.
iv. Having certified that they had properly learnt the expected lessons, He
sent them out with specific instructions. Obedience to instructions is a sign of right spiritual growth.
v. 18:16,20: Jesus intended that His disciples grow. both individually and corporately, hence the inauguration of corporate steps towards helping one another to grow (v. 20). Our unity, collectiveness and cooperation are signs that we have experienced growth.
vi. The apostles really experienced growth. This is evident in the post- resurrection experience in the Upper Room (Acts 2:1ff), where they were in one accord, and received the Holy Spirit. We can only experience growth when the Holy Spirit manifests in our lives.
vii. It is important to be humble and patient under the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of grace, so that He can form you into what God intends for you. Don’t jump the process. The disciples never tried that. No wonder, they became competent to take the gospel to the uttermost part of the earth.
B. THEY GROW ON THE JOB (Lk. 10:1-21)
Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven (v. 20).
i. Lk. 10:1ff: The time came for Jesus to send His disciples on practicum. They needed to practise what He was teaching them, so that they could grow on the job.
ii. vv. 2-12: They were toeing an unfamiliar terrain. They needed guidance. Jesus gave them specific instructions, and empowered them to perform signs and wonders. They were growing. How long have you been in the church? Are you really growing? iii. v. 17: Good trainers leave trainees to do it all alone and learn in the process. On the disciples’ return, it was great joy; they were part of the success story. How involved are you in the things of God? You can hardly grow, if you draw back from participating in such things.
iv. vv. 18-21: Jesus commended and corrected them. They were learning. They must have known better where the Master’s passion lies (vv. 21ff) How available are you to learn and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, most especially, in your local assembly?
v. Another instance was when Peter decided to go afishing with his co- disciples following him, after Christ’s resurrection, at a time he should have given them quality leadership (Jn. 21:1-14). Peter must have learnt from the divine rebuke, correction and guidance that followed (vv. 15-19). Are you learning?
vi. You can’t jump the gun, and not be disqualified. Unlike others, Judas Iscariot
refused to grow and conform. He was disqualified, and lost his bishopric. Please, beware!
1. Intimacy with Christ, our Master, is the most valid key to growing in His grace.
2. The closer you are to Christ and more committed you are to Him, the better you become in Him, in all regards.
1. Jesus, as 100% God and 100% man, should not ordinarily require growth. Yet, He still grew in grace. Why?
2. How did Jesus’ disciples learn and grow on the job?
SUGGESTED ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS:
ANSWER TO QUESTION 1:
* Jesus Christ grew in grace so as to establish that growth is imperative for all.
* He laid examples of the lifestyle required of all men, if they would make it up to God. There was no better way to lay such examples, except by appearing as “man” himself. It is believed that to catch a monkey, one has to be humble enough and stoop so low to act like a monkey.
* Jesus Christ came and went through the stages of human growth, from foetus to adulthood. He confirmed the order for stages of proper growth. * The coming of Jesus Christ put an end to the era of the law and ushered in the dispensation of grace. Grace, being the new divine order, He had to first roll it out to mankind by actions and reality, else, man might not fully understand how it works.
* Man would not have known much about the dynamics of grace, if he does not have the templates already provided by the manufacturer (Jesus), since all man was used to, was “The Law”
ANSWER TO QUESTION 2:
• Jesus chose His disciples and made them to be with Him for tutelage/mentorship/discipleship (Mk 3:14,15). His disciples stayed with Him and inculcated His lifestyle through direct tutelage.
* They also “learnt on the job” by carrying out His commands and instructions, actively participating in what seemed like a practicum, or teaching practice modules. Eventually, after some times with Him, Jesus was confident enough to send them out. For instance, He sent them out two by two on what we can call
house-to-house evangelism (Lk. 10:1).
• They also learnt and grew by observation and sensitivity.
• They must have asked the Master some very strategic questions “in class”, which must have also facilitated their growth process.
An old song says “Read your Bible, pray everyday, if you want to grow.” As old as it is, that song remains valid for genuine spiritual growth, from generation to generation. Studying the Word, praying and fasting regularly, and attending Church and spiritual gatherings are keys to spiritual growth, both on personal and corporate bases. It is appalling today, how we satisfy our bodies with so much nourishment on daily basis, but starve our spirits, or under-feed them. Are you okay with the level you are, spiritually? Do not, because your best is not yet come. Rejoice!
This is the end of lesson 9. To God be the glory for revealing to us that growth T is one of the most constant things in life and that whatever and whoever stops growing starts groaning and dying, gradually. Therefore, do everything to grow deeper, wider, higher, broader, and wiser, and become better in all areas. Remain rapturous by His grace!
DEVOTIONAL BIBLE READINGS FOR WEEK TWO
Mon. 15: To Be With Him, First (Mk. 3:13)
Tue. 16: To Learn Directly From Him (Jn. 11:29) Wed. 17: To Be Sent Out For Exploits (Mk.3:14)
Thur. 18: To Bear Lasting Fruits (Jn. 15:16)
Fri. 19: To Make Other Disciples (Matt. 28:19)
Sat. 20: To Be With Him In Paradise (Jn. 14:1-4)