NBC Sunday School Manual For June 11, 2023 :Topic – GOD’S KINGDOM OF PRAISE.
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR YOUR PREPARATION
NBC SUNDAY SCHOOL OUTLINE
Theme of the Month: THE PROPHETS PROCLAIM GOD’S POWER.
DATE: SUNDAY, 11TH JUNE, 2023.
TOPIC: GOD’S KINGDOM OF PRAISE.
“But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.” Isaiah 65:18.
By the end of the lesson, class members should be able to:
● Describe the nature of the new creation tario according to the passage.
● Enumerate God’s promised blessings to the inhabitants of the new creation.
● Make a personal commitment to pray and act for the restoration of the church and the nation.
An elderly woman who is probably a pensioner, walked into her pastor’s office with an expression of grief about her only and disobedient son who was in his final year in the university. While she was weeping and stammering, she said, “Pastor, imagine, my son who I love so much does not seem to understand my affection for him and all the struggles I have gone through to give him the best education and other good things since after the death of his father. I devote the best of my time to him and personally instruct him in the way of the Lord. Unfortunately, he does not appreciate the sacrifice, love and care I show to him with my meagre monthly pension. What he only offers me is disloyalty, disobedience, truancy, blackmail, and the likes. Because of my affection for him, I have determined to do some other things for him, only if he will change his attitude and accept my offer. Pastor, what should I do with this young man?” If you were the pastor, what will be your response? Will you convince the woman to keep loving him with the hope that he would change one day or that she should give up on him?
The story of the Israelites can be likened to the young man whose mother complained about in the above story. Despite God’s love for them and His miracles from the time they were in Egypt to their departure and throughout their journey in the wilderness, they failed to respond to God in obedience. Instead, they abandoned God and began to worship other gods even when they knew that it was against God’s command. In spite of the inconsistency in their relationship with God, He still loved them. God declares that He would recreate or bring into existence, a brand new heaven and a new earth, which would be so glorious and comfortable such that the present earth and its troubles would no longer be remembered (Isaiah 65:17-18). There would be great joy for God’s people and that God Himself would rejoice that a new heaven and a new earth have been created. However, these new creations would not come into existence until the second coming of Christ, who will reign and rule the kingdom for, at least, 1,000 years before the final judgment. It shall be a kingdom of praise, peaceful, secure and more beautiful than anyone can imagine on earth when Christ comes. Although sin and death will later be destroyed, the new earth, however, shall be characterised by peace and great blessings for the benefit of those who will endure till the end.
THE LESSON EXPLAINED…
A. THE PROMISE TO DO A NEW THING:
We have previously learnt about how Prophet Isaiah rebuked the nation of Israel several times because of their unfaithfulness to God. We also learnt about his prophesy and how he declared God’s judgement upon them before they eventually went into exile (Jeremiah 7:34; 25:10). In today’s passage, Isaiah pictured a God-initiated future, which will be characterised by the restoration of a new heaven and a new earth (v. 17). This implies that God is going to do a new thing for His people in such a way that the difficult times they had would not be remembered anymore. Instead, they will have reasons to be glad and rejoice forever. Specifically, God promised to make Jerusalem a delight and its people a joy. Furthermore, there will be joy in Jerusalem once again because weeping, fear, and mourning will be banished (vv. 18a-19; Jeremiah 33:10-14). Ultimately, they will forget all their past miseries and grief. Hitherto, there have been sounds of wailing in God’s city because God’s people had disobeyed God and so, He did not delight in them anymore. Conversely, because God has promised to do a new thing, joy and gladness were going to replace weeping and wailing because God would once again look favourably on them.
Sometimes, people try to envisage what the future holds, especially in the midst of suffering. The good news is that one day, suffering will end. The present earth that is characterised by all kinds of wickedness like kidnapping, oppression, incessant killing, robbery and hardship shall be replaced by a new one which God Himself has promised to create and the people would experience peace and abundance. In fact, it shall be a perfect world free of suffering unlike the old. This is enough encouragement for believers, especially those who are suffering, languishing in jail unjustly, including those who have been held captive. Contemporary Christians should have confidence that these promises are also for us as we believe Him for a glorious tomorrow. At the end, the future of the church will be gloriously different from what it was before and what it is now as God has promised to make everything new (Revelation 21:5).
1. What roles can Christians play in ensuring that peace returns to the earth like the days of old?
2. Did Israel actually merit the restoration God promised them? Why do you think so if your answer is yes?
B. BLESSINGS IN THE NEW EARTH:
The plan of God for His people after much affliction in exile was total restoration. He declared that:
● There shall be no death in infancy because people will live out their life span.
● There shall be renewal of age because those who have lived a hundred years will be considered young.
● There shall be peace and the people will build their houses and live in them instead of others.
● They shall plant and enjoy the harvest.
● There shall be longevity of life.
● The work they do shall be successful and their children will not suffer any disaster.
● They shall receive quick response to their prayers.
● The wolf, lamb and snakes (harmful creatures) shall no longer be harmful instead; they shall feed together (v. 25).
These promises suggest that while the Israelites were in exile, they would have suffered, had misfortune, and be unproductive. Their children would have also suffered pain, ruin, tragedy and death. More so, their unfaithfulness would have hindered their prayers from being answered (Isaiah 59:1-2). However, it is obvious that God’s promise to restore them would be opposite of what they experienced while in exile. This is to tell us that peace, safety and security can only be found in Christ. Although, like sheep, we live in the midst of wolves and serpents; but the saints of the new earth shall be safe and unhurt because God will break the powers of their enemies and change the order of nature to suit His purpose.
1. What can believers do to enjoy the promises of the new earth as discussed in the passage?
2. Does God’s promise come to pass automatically and immediately you give your life to Christ? If not, what must you do to make the promises come to pass in your life?
Fellowship and Ministry Building Activity:
● Let members discuss the roles that humankind can play in actualising or destroying God’s plan for the new earth.
Take Home: State at least three main lessons you are taking home, based on today’s lesson:
● Make a commitment to pray and act for the restoration of the church and the nation at large for the benefit of humankind.
Remain Inspired & Be Lifted!