NBC Sunday School Manual For June 16, 2024 : Topic – HOPE AMIDST DIFFERENCES.

NBC Sunday School Manual For June 16, 2024 : Topic – HOPE AMIDST DIFFERENCES.

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Theme for the Month: “EXPERIENCING HOPE.”



Devotional Reading: Philippians 2:1-13.

Background/Lesson Scripture: Romans 15:1-13.

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5-6

By the end of the lesson, class members should be able to:
i. Define the word ‘hope’ in the context of the passage;
ii. Identify ways believers can help one another to carry their burdens;
iii. Resolve to always be a source of encouragement to someone who is struggling with the challenges of life.

What is ‘hope’? Where and how can believers find hope, particularly amid suffering and differences within the same community? Some Christians easily lose hope when things are not working according to their plans. Paul’s letter to the brethren in Rome provides answers to some of these questions above. The early church experienced a clash of culture because the Gentile Christians and pious Jews differ in their perspectives about the worship of God. The Christians who considered some days more important than others and some food ritually unclean (Romans 14:2) criticised those who had contrary opinion. Consequently, those who were strong in faith looked down on the weak. When Paul learned that some of the Jewish Christians in Rome were determined to enforce Jewish habits on Gentile Christians, he was moved to write to both groups encouraging the strong in the faith to help the weak to carry their burdens (v. 1). The book of Romans was written around AD 56-57, near the end of Paul’s missionary journeys, which took him all the way from Jerusalem to Illyricum; he wrote the letter from Corinth. Though he longed to visit the church in Rome and take the Gospel further to other places, he was prevented from doing so (Romans 1:13-15; 15:22-24). The letter centres on Christian living in loving relationship with others. He discussed such themes as service to God, the duty of Christians to the state and to one another, and questions of conscience. Precisely, chapter 15 consists of Paul’s exhortations and instructions on ideal Christian living including service to God, one’s obligations as a citizen of the state, and the necessity of accepting one another when there are differences within the community, regarding acceptable behaviours.


[Romans 15:1-6]

Having encouraged them not to judge one another or make one another fall (Romans 14), Paul admonished the believers in Rome to be ready to please others rather than themselves. In chapter 15 verse 1, he said, “We who are strong in faith ought to help the weak to carry their burdens. We should not please ourselves.” (v. 1) Spiritual strength should not be something to use to please self but to serve the other brother or sister who is considered “weak”. Paul repeated the admonition in verse 2 that each of them should please their neighbours for the purpose of building them up. After all, the Scripture says that Jesus Christ did not please Himself; rather, He took upon Himself the insult of other people. Presenting Jesus as the ultimate example of sacrificing for others, Paul admonished the believers to look to the examples provided in the Scripture for hope and encouragement (vv. 3- 4). Paul’s prayer in verses 5 and 6 is that God who gives endurance and encouragement will give the Corinthian believers the same attitude of mind that Jesus had, for each other so that with one mind and voice, they will glorify God. Paul’s prayer for this attitude to be established in the Roman believers shows that it is something critical to attain and is the work of the Holy Spirit to do in us as we surrender to Him.

The encouragement to care for others for the purpose of building them up is something today’s believers should also pay attention to. We can build one another up through prayers, counsel, meeting one another’s needs, fellowshipping together and showing concern for one another’s welfare. In spite of our differences, we should remember that we have an obligation to build one another up spiritually (Philippians 2:4).

1. Discuss the benefits of building up one another, especially during these days when many are depressed and weary due to life’s challenges.
2. Suggest ways we can bear one another’s burden as Christians and state what effects this will have in the body of Christ.

[Romans 15:7-13]

Paul called on both Jewish and Gentile Christians to accept one another just as Christ accepted them. The premise of Paul’s admonition is that in Christ, God has abolished every form of barrier that separated people. He urged them to accept one another just as Christ has accepted them for the purpose of bringing praise to God. Christ was sent to the Jews for the confirmation of the promises made to the patriarch, though the Gentiles were not excluded so that they too may glorify God for His mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing the praises of your name.’ Again, it says, ‘Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.’ And again, ‘Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; let all the peoples extol him.” (vv. 9b-11). Isaiah prophesied about the coming of a descendant of Jesse who will rule the Gentiles and they will put their trust in Him (v. 12; cf.
Revelation 5:5). In verse 13, Paul prayed that the God of hope will fill them with joy and peace, as they trust in Him through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus did not come to the world for a particular set of people (John 3:16) – He came for people of every tribe and tongue, so that all will be saved and together they can glorify God. God’s plan of redemption was for everyone. Though this began with the nation of Israel, the Gentiles had always been part of the plan (Genesis 12:3). In Christ, we have hope that we can overcome whatever divides us and unite to bring glory to God. We have a responsibility to gladly accept one another as members of the same family, as Jesus Christ has accepted us. This will remove the problem of colour, race, gender, status and other differences that sometimes hinder us from accepting other people. The testimony we have is that God has removed every obstacle that hinders our unity. Therefore, we should be ready to relate with one another as children of God wherever we find ourselves. This is God’s standard for all His children.

1. Discuss some prejudices that sometimes prevent us from accepting one another as Christians.
2. Give a detailed explanation of how we can live to glorify God, despite our differences as Christians (Romans 12:6- 10).

Fellowship and Ministry Building Activity
Let class members discuss some practical steps they will take to build up somebody this new week.

Take Home: Write down three lessons you are taking home from today’s lesson.

Commitment: Based on today’s lesson, make a personal commitment to promote love and unity in the body of Christ.

Happy Sunday in Advance.

Remain Inspired & Be Lifted!

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