NBC Sunday School Manual For August 20, 2023 :Topic – BUILD UP ONE ANOTHER.
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR YOUR PREPARATION
NBC SUNDAY SCHOOL OUTLINE
Theme for the Month: GOD’S ETERNAL REIGN.
DATE: SUNDAY, 20TH AUGUST, 2023.
TOPIC: JUDGMENT IN THE KINGDOM.
Devotional Reading: Isaiah 41:1-14.
Background Scripture: 1 Corinthians 4:1-21.
Lesson Scripture: 1 Corinthians 4:1-6, 17-21.
“Therefore, judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:5.
By the end of the lesson, class members should be able to:
● Explain what Paul meant by ‘the secret things of God’ in verse 1.
● Give reasons why Paul warned believers not to judge others but leave judgment to God.
● Make a verbal commitment to remain faithful to God in order to avoid being condemned.
Multi-staff ministry – where pastors with callings in different aspects of ministry (like children, music, teenager, youth, and outreach), work together in a local church under a senior pastor, has yielded tremendous benefits in some churches though it has caused trouble in some others. A story was told of a pastor who led the church to call an associate pastor who was much younger. Although the associate was loyal to the senior pastor, after some time, majority of the church members, particularly the youths, began to have liking for the associate pastor because of his preaching style, eloquence, charisma and gifts. They failed to understand that every pastor is gifted differently. Soon, they requested that a roster be made for preaching for the senior and associate pastor. The stage was already set for crisis between the senior pastor and the associate pastor but for the wisdom of the senior pastor who handled the situation patiently and the humility of the associate pastor. The associate pastor acknowledged the sacrifices of the senior pastor over the years, which resulted in the growth of the church and therefore pledged his loyalty and unreserved support to him until his retirement.
Having defined the wisdom of God and the wisdom of the world, Paul decided to revisit the issue of division in the church at Corinth. He told them that quarrelling is evidence that they lack the understanding of God’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 3:1-4). He added that each leader has his own special ministry, and that all ministries are important. Today’s lesson centres on the need to respect the various gifts in the church and support individuals who exhibit them in prayer so that they can use their gifts to the glory of God and the edification of the church. We are admonished not to compare or judge between one gift or the other because every gift is meant to complement each other in building the body of Christ.
THE LESSON EXPLAINED…
A. PAUL’S ADMONITION:
[1 Corinthians 4:1-6]
Paul was concerned about the divisions that erupted among the Corinthian believers. Apart from the problems of immorality, lawsuits against their fellow Christians and abuse of Christian freedom, there was also personal attack on Paul to which he responded in the first few verses of the passage. According to him, they ought to know that they (perhaps Paul and his colleagues) are Christ’s servants, who have been entrusted with the secret things of God (v. 1). As stewards, they are expected to be found faithful in their service to their Master. Meanwhile, Apostle Paul was not bothered by being judged by human standard neither did he trust his own judgment of himself. He said in verse 4, “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord that judges me.” Thereafter, he warned in verse 5 that judgment should not be passed on anyone before the appointed time comes. The reason for his admonition was that final judgment belongs to God. When He comes, He will expose the dark secrets and the hidden purposes of the minds of people and everyone will receive their reward. Paul also warned the people against pride and disrespect for one another.
The secret things of God, which Paul made reference to in verse 1, may mean the gospel message of the Lord Jesus Christ which human wisdom cannot comprehend, but can only be revealed by God to those who know and understand it (Romans 11:25). Paul however told them that his letter was not to condemn them but to warn them as his dearest children (v. 14). Paul’s warning to the brethren in Corinth is a reminder to believers in Christ to be careful in passing judgment on their fellow believers for whatever reasons. After all, God did not make anyone a judge. God alone is the right Judge because He is Omniscient. The Scripture says, “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known” (Luke 12:2). At the appointed time, He will judge everyone according to their works, whether good or bad.
1. How should Christians respond to judgmental statements based on Paul’s explanation in verses 3 and 4?
2. Discuss some areas Christians easily pass judgment on their fellow believers, and the negative consequences of such judgments.
B. PAUL’S FINAL WARNING:
[1 Corinthians 4:17-21]
Some believers in Corinth challenged Paul’s authority over them. In response, Paul declared that he has become their father by bringing the Good News to them and therefore; begged them to follow his example (vv.15-16). He said, “For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church” (v. 17). Timothy was sent to remind them of the principles that Paul followed in his relationship with Christ Jesus, and also taught them. According to verse 18, he realised that some of the Corinthian brethren became proud (1 Corinthians 5:2) probably with the assumption that he would not be able to visit them again. However, he assured them that he would visit them again if God wills. He said, “But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have.” He affirmed that the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.
The qualities in Timothy, his son in the Lord is noteworthy. He was a colleague who travelled with him and helped in the ministry (Acts 16:1-4; Acts 19:22). He is described as faithful in the Lord (v. 17). This implies that Timothy had true, constant, and loyal support for Paul throughout his ministry thus; he was considered qualified to be sent to remind the people of the teachings they had received from Paul. It is most likely Timothy was to stay and ensure an end to the troubles before the arrival of Apostle Paul as he promised. According to verse 19, Paul would visit the people either with love and a gentle spirit if they repent or with a rod of discipline (v. 21). Apparently, Paul’s warning to the church in Corinth is a call to contemporary Christians to cooperate with leaders for the promotion of God’s work. We are reminded to avoid forming cliques and bringing unnecessary criticism against one another. We should avoid being proud and be ready to emulate Paul who saw himself as a caring father to his spiritual children. By so doing, the peace of God will continue to reign in His Church.
1. What did Paul mean when he said that the kingdom of God is not a matter of words but of power?
2. Discuss the best ways churches can settle misunderstanding in our contemporary time.
Fellowship and Ministry Building Activity:
● Let a volunteer share a practical experience of how a church was able to settle a disagreement amicably recently, and the reactions of those who were involved. Thereafter, they should pray for churches that are having crisis for God’s intervention.
Take Home: Write down some lessons you are taking home from today’s lesson:
● Make a commitment not to judge anyone because God alone is the right judge.
Happy Sunday in Advance.
Remain Inspired & Be Lifted!