C.A.C SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR JUNE 18, 2023 : LESSON TWELVE: TOPIC – THE CHURCH THAT GROWS IN GOD’S GRACE
CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH Nigeria & Overseas
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
THEME: SOME CHARACTERS WHO GROW IN IN LORD’S GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE
JANUARY – JUNE, 2023
Unit Three: Spiritual Growth In The New Testament
June 18, 2023
LESSON : TWELVE
TOPIC: THE CHURCH THAT GROWS IN GOD’S GRACE
But as you abound in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us – see that you abound in this grace also (2 Corinthians 8:7).
Giving is a special God- given grace that every believer should possess. Pray for it; Practise it; themi Receive the blessings.
Here, Apostle Paul charges the Corinthians on the need to abound in this grace also-giving, just as they abound in everything. It was like the church was lacking in giving. Christians are expected to grow in the grace of giving, as they equally grow in other areas of their relationship and service to God-faith, love for others, diligence, obedience, etc. The Corinthian brethren’s giving attitude was far below that of the Macedonian brethren (1 Cor. 8:1), and this is a big challenge to us today. Characteristically, those Macedonians first gave themselves to God before offering Him their resources. No wonder they had a wholesome attitude to Christian giving. It is surprising today that many claim to have given their lives to Jesus Christ, but lack the grace of giving. Some go to church, attend house fellowships, lead prayers, and manifest diverse spiritual gifts, but scarcely honour God with their substances as they ought to (Pro. 3:8). The truth is, it is not possible to have truly surrendered oneself to Christ as one’s Saviour without the commensurate submission to Him as Lord of one’s life and possessions, i.e. stewardship of all things, including money. We are expected to follow the Macedonian example in giving, just like the Corinthian brethren were challenged to do the same. We should grow in the grace of giving, just like we have grown in other areas of Christian service, as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit.
DEVOTIONAL BIBLE READINGS FOR THE WEEK
Mon. 12: Goodness: Dorcas Impacts Her Community (Acts 9:36-42)
Tue. 13: Great Power In Jesus’ Name (Acts 3:6-10)
Wed. 14: God Gives Jesus, His Only Begotten (John 3:16)
Thur. 15: Giving Opens Doors (Prov. 18:16)
Fri. 16: Give Freely, Grow Divinely Blessed (Prov. 11:24-25)
Sat. 17: Grace Makes Sacrificial Giving Habitual (2 Cor. 8:7)
1. Our sacrificially attitude in doing God’s work is an indication of our spiritual growth and maturity in Him.
2. One of the areas that shows that we are really growing in the grace of God is the development of our attitude toward sacrificial giving. Faithfulness to stewardship reveals the state of our hearts with respect to God.
BACKGROUND SCRIPTURES: Exodus 25:1-7; 35:29-36:7
AIM AND OBJECTIVES:
AIM: To showgiving as a major attribute of the church that is growing in God’s grace.
OBJECTIVES: At the end of the lesson, the learners should:
* be able to point out characteristics of a growing church, from the comparison of Macedonian and Corinthian churches;
ii. be able to show that God wants His children to be sacrificial givers, like Himself, in the support of His people and work;
iii. be able to show from the lives of the Macedonian brethren, how we can excel in the grace of giving; and
iv. have become more committed to willing, cheerful, and regular giving of their resources to support God’s business.
TEXTUAL SOURCE: 2 CORINTHIANS 8:1-7, 8:9-9:15
We are grateful to God for the continuous release of His refreshing, reviving and transforming Word on regular basis. May we not be W found ignorant and abusive of this wonderful grace being lavished on our lives, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
The previous lesson, the eleventh in the series, CORNELIUS MAXIMISES GOD’S GRACE, reveals how Cornelius, a gentile, cooperated with the Holy Spirit, with his whole household, to become partakers of God’s unmerited and impartial grace. Without hesitation, they all received the precious gift of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and were not restricted from the baptism by immersion. That God is reaching gentiles is manifestation of His grace. May He be forever praised. Hallelujah!
This lesson marks the end of this Sunday school series (July-December 2022). It reveals the principles of how to grow in the grace and knowledge of God, corporately as God’s people, with special reference to the church that grew in grace, the Macedonian Church. Furthermore, the Corinthian church and the Church today are not to be exempted from imbibing the practice of the grace in fostering the gospel and peaceful co-existence and sustenance of the Church as a whole.
We hereby pray that this one-week lesson, which ends this grace series will bring about an increase in our knowledge of Christian giving as a grace of devotion and gratitude to God.
INTRODUCTION TO EACH DIVISION: This lesson contains one division with a further subdivision into, A and B.
DIVISION I: THE CHURCH THAT GROWS IN GOD’S GRACE
This lesson has only a division aimed at showcasing the grace of giving among the Macedonian brethren. Also, it shows how this grace invariably affected their attitude towards giving to the Lord, His people and work And it draws out lessons from how it was used to challenge the Corinthian church regarding their unwholesome attitude towards giving that signalled their deficiency in spiritual growth and development. It is also meant to challenge and correct today’s church’s giving disposition.
I. THE CHURCH THAT GROWS IN GOD’S GRACE
A. THE MACEDONIANS EXCEL IN GIVING
B. THE OTHERS SHOULD FOLLOW SUIT
Jun. 18 1. THE CHURCH THAT GROWS IN GOD’S GRACE.
Children develop various qualities as they grow. One of the proofs that we are growing, amidst other qualities, is our abilities to give sacrificially to God, for the expansion of His business here on earth. Our giving attitudes picture a whole lot about our spiritual maturity.
A. THE MACEDONIANS EXCEL IN GIVING (2 Cor. 8:1-7)
Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia (v.1).
i. v. 1: In Paul’s ministerial itinerary, he noticed an uncommon grace of God in the churches in Macedonian. And he was bold to tell it, and draw others attention to it. This church had God’s grace to give exceedingly (cf. Acts 20:35).
ii. vv. 2-3: …and beyond their ability, they were freely willing. To give according to your ability is acceptable, but giving beyond your ability becomes humbling, especially when it happens…of their own free will (v.3b GNB).
iii. They were exceptional in the grace of giving; as they gave without being coerced or cajoled, yet they didn’t withhold whatsoever they had (cf. Exo. 30:15; Psa. 112:9; Jn. 3:16). Giving should be sacrificial and wilful. No one should use means or gimmicks to siphon the Bride of Christ.
iv. v. 4:…imploring us that we would receive… implies that they pleaded for the privilege to have part in helping God’s people in Judea. God’s kingdom furthers when believers grow in His grace to an extent that they show concern and eagerness to help others overcome their challenges.
v. v. 5:…but they first gave themselves to the Lord (vv. 5). The first and most acceptable thing God demands from us is our heart (Prov. 23:26). Only when done have we given meaningfully (cf. Gen. 4:1-8).
vi. vv. 6-7: See that you abound in this grace also. Here, Paul emphatically charged believers everywhere to abound in the grace of giving. Of course, true discipleship involves growing in the appriopriate use of our God- given resources, including money (cf.Exo. 16:18; Deut. 8:18; Prov. 11:24-26). vii. God demonstrated His love to us, by giving His only Son. Thus, it is an act of insincerity to claim love for God, yet hold back what He gives us for the purpose of propagating His Kingdom.
B. THE OTHERS SHOULD FOLLOW SUIT (2 Cor. 8:9-9:15). But as you abound in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us-see that you abound in this grace also (8:7).
i. 8:9-15: Unlike the Macedonian churches, the churches in Corinth were buoyant, but vacillating in giving, most likely, they hadn’t experienced growth in that grace. We must experience all-round growth (Eph.4:11).
ii. v. 7: Like the Corinthians, it is possible to have grown in other areas, but our pockets have not really experienced growth. That is not Christlike. He wants us to grow in all ramifications (1 Pet. 3:18).
iii. vv. 8-15: Paul urged us to strive to fulfil our financial commitment to our churches; give to others in need, and as a response to Christ, not for what you can get from it (Matt. 6:3). He also advocated giving in proportion to God’s blessing.
iv. Your attitude in giving matters to God than the amount you give. Sacrificial giving must be valuable and responsible, i.e. the need of the givers’ dependants (families, workers, etc.) must be met as and when due.
v. vv. 13: Generosity proves that our hearts have been cleansed of self- centredness, occupied with the Spirit of Jesus, and we are really growing in Christ’s grace and knowledge (Phil. 2:5). The result is, God is praised and glorified (1 Pet.2:9,11-12).
vi. vv. 18-21: God gives us resources (graces) to use and invest for Him (Rom. 8:32; 1 Tim. 6:17). Mismanagement is detrimental, and can be avoided, if standards are put in place in our churches (cf. 1 Tim. 3:15). vii. Whatever we have, is given to us by God, for His glory, our blessings, and the benefits of others. As Christians, our growth is not complete without corresponding maturity in giving. The Macedonians showed they were more mature Christians with good giving disposition. Don’t resist positive change of mentality, or orientation at this point.
1. We are to give our lives and resources to God out of devotion and reverence for Him. This is highly rewarding, immediately and ultimately.
2. When we give cheerfully and willingly, we show to God that we are grateful for His grace at work in us, as we minister to humanity on His behalf.
1. Describe the giving of the Macedonians, and draw out lessons for your
local assembly, as well as yourself.
2. In the light of Proverbs 11:24-26, describe the Corinthians’ giving attitude, and proffer solution.
SUGGESTED ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS:
ANSWER TO QUESTION 1:
* The Macedonians were excellent in giving because the grace of God was developed in them. This, no doubt, helped them to develop positive and right attitude to giving.
* They first gave their lives to God, before their substances.
* They gave selflessly and sacrificially to meet the needs of the saints.
* Their giving was beyond their abilities; they were unreserved in their giving to honour God and bless His people. Grace enabled them to give beyond their means, and they even pleaded to give more. What a right mentality in giving?
* They gave, despite being poor and persecuted.
* They developed a wholesome attitude to giving, which pushed them to consciously and deliberately seek to help and support the gospel and its carriers.
Lessons to our local assemblies:
* Members must be taught that giving is acceptable and rewarding, when it comes from a life that has been given to Christ. * We must ask the Holy Spirit for the enabling power of God, to help us grow in this particular grace.
* Churches and membership must consciously desist from stingy mentality, which has eaten deep into our fabrics and closed the door of blessing on us.
* Fundraising efforts should be planned, conducted responsibly and used appropriately. Ministers of God have the responsibilities to teach the people the act of true Christian giving.
* They should not fail in this, even if the members resisted at first. Their resilience, prayerfully using the Scripture, will help the church to grow in the grace of giving, rather than resorting to using gimmicks, means or lies, to collect money from the members.
ANSWER TO QUESTION 2:
* They were the first to show desire to give, yet they vacillated. It is not enough to desire to give, you must back your desire by real action. It was obvious they did not grow in this grace.
* The Corinthian church abound in many things in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in the love for God’s servant – but refused to grow in giving.
* They were blessed abundantly, but their lack of sacrificial giving mentality turned them to stingy Christians, like many of us today.
* How many of us are not used to feeling very irritated when the issue of donating money crops up in the church?
* Yet, we want the church to look like paradise, but we are not ready to facilitate any of the developmental processes. What a shameful and stingy orientation?
• We ask for blessings, but both laity and clergy have refused to do the work of blessing. Have you forgotten that if you don’t lose, you can find? (Matt. 10:39).
* The Corinthian church refused to completely act on their initial desire to collect money for the Jerusalem church.
* In the light of proverbs 11:24-26, anyone who is stingy will suffer lack while he that gives sacrificially will abound with much blessings. It is a natural principle; prayer may not be able to settle that. When you give, it comes back to you…(Lk.6:38).
* When one is truly born again, his pocket or purse will be born again. Your stinginess may negate your claim that you are born again. So, let your pocket be born again as well.
* The grace of giving should be asked of the Lord, Who gives voluntarily and willingly.
* The desire/good intention/promise to give, though important, is not the same as the act of giving. Back your desire by action.
• Everyone should give accordingly, in proportion to what God has given to them.
* God gives us resources, gifts and talents to use and invest for Him.
* Our worth/value does not consist in the abundance of materials we have.
* Our joy/happiness must not be hinged on how much material resources we have or the wealth we amass.
If you are a sacrificial and cheerful giver, who committedly gives to God and others, you will be like the farmer, who decides to sow some grains in the soil, rather than eating them and after some months began to reap bountiful harvest, because practically, the few grains hidden into the soil will come out as cobs of corn, with innumerable grains. This is in tandem with the parable of the sower as he successfully planted in a good and well cultivated land (Matt. 13:1-9). Don’t be like the Corinthian church who preferred to eat their grains, rather than sowing them like the Macedonian Christians. The result has never been the same.
This is the end of the twelfth lesson in this series of the Sunday school. Glory T be to God, Who through His grace, has seen us through the whole of the lessons, and we have been undoubtedly blessed through His wonderful Word. May we be able to reproduce and reciprocate all that the God of grace has invested in us through these lessons in Jesus’ name. Amen.