March 31 – April 6, 2021 (Easter Lesson)
AIM: By the end of the lesson, we will: ARTICULATE our Christian beliefs and values as reflected in this lesson; REFLECT on the reasons why we should articulate our beliefs and values; and DEVELOP a strategy to share the Gospel with others.
Over 700 years before Jesus was born, Isaiah preached to what seemed to be a very religious people. They fasted, said prayers, celebrated Holy days, and brought their sacrifices to Jerusalem. Yet God rejected these practices. Why? These acts had value – the LORD Himself had prescribed them! Yet the people’s worship was not from the heart, and it was not accompanied by the personal holiness and social justice that God requires (Leviticus 19:13-17). The people of Judah had fallen into the trap of religious hypocrisy.
Religious hypocrisy can result from selective obedience, from lip service to God’s law without change of heart and life to back it up. People who parade their piety for others to see often have little desire to truly obey God. Many years after Isaiah, Jesus confronted this kind of hypocrisy in the Pharisees. He challenged them to be better doers of God’s whole revelation rather than just the parts that brought them acclaim (Matthew 23:1-36, especially Matthew 23:23). The Apostles Paul and James also distinguished between mere religiosity and true spirituality (I Corinthians 3:1-23; James 1:21-2:13). Jesus’ rebuke of the Pharisees also serves as a warning to us: we are not to be like them (see also Matthew 6:1-18; 1 Peter 2:1). Instead, Jesus calls us to be authentic before God and with others, to obey His entire word, and to go beyond mere formalities and appearances in our devotion to God.
But today, we still are plagued with religious hypocrisy! The church actively supported a man as leader of the free world even though he advocated discrimination against the poor, Blacks, women, aliens and any who did not look or think like him!
Paul was in prison in Rome when he wrote Second Timothy. He had already appeared for his preliminary hearing before the Supreme Court of Rome, before Nero himself. During his trial, no man stood with him. He had to face the charges all alone. Some were forsaking the faith, and others were publicly opposing Paul again. This was to be his last will and testament – the last words he would ever pen. We, too, need to face the reality that we could lose friends and family members because of serving Christ. But remember – If God is for us, no one can defeat us (Romans 8:31 NCV).
2 Timothy 2:8-16 (NCV)
8 Remember Jesus Christ, who was raised from the dead, who is from the family of David. This is the Good News I preach,
9 and I am suffering because of it to the point of being bound with chains like a criminal. But God’s teaching is not in chains.
10 So I patiently accept all these troubles so that those whom God has chosen can have the salvation that is in Christ Jesus. With that salvation comes glory that never ends.
11 This teaching is true: If we died with him, we will also live with him.
12 If we accept suffering, we will also rule with him. If we say we don’t know him, he will say he doesn’t know us.
13 If we are not faithful, he will still be faithful, because he must be true to who he is.
14 Continue teaching these things, warning people in God’s presence not to argue about words. It does not help anyone, and it ruins those who listen.
15 Make every effort to give yourself to God as the kind of person he will approve. Be a worker who is not ashamed and who uses the true teaching in the right way.
16 Stay away from foolish, useless talk, because that will lead people further away from God.
This Lesson points out five things we need to remember. . .
- Remember – The Deity of Jesus
Remember that. . .Jesus the Messiah was human and divine. Because He had a human nature, He knows. . .
- The sufferings of life
- The trials of life
- The temptations of life
- The problems and difficulties of life
- The sorrows and griefs of life
- The struggles and pains of life
Jesus knows exactly what we face in life. Therefore, He is able to carry us through all the trials of life!
No matter what the sufferings are, Jesus can deliver us through the sufferings and cause us to triumph over them!
John 1:14 (NIV) – The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Hebrews 2:17-18 (NLT) – 17 Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. 18 Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.
- Remember the Death of Jesus
- He was crucified for our sins
- He was nailed to a cross
- He was hung between two thieves
Isaiah 53:4-5 (KJV) – 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
John 19:17-18 (NASB) – 17 They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, carrying His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which in Hebrew is called, Golgotha. 18 There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between.
- He conquered death
- He is alive for evermore!
Luke 24:1-8 (KJV) – 1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. 3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: 5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8 And they remembered his words,
Acts 2:24 (NLT) – But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.
Romans 14:8-9 (NLT) – 8 If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.
- Remember – The Dynamics of the Gospel
John 3:16 (KJV) – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Matthew 28:5-8 (KJV) – 5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. 8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (KJV) – 13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
- Remember – The Deliverance of The Gospel
- Remember – the gospel carries one through suffering and assures the victory of one’s purpose.
- At this particular time, Christians were hated with a fierce passion by many throughout the Roman empire.
- Paul was bound and in jail, but the gospel could not be bounded!
Romans 1:16 (NIV) – For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV) – So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
Jeremiah 23:29 (NKJV) – “Is not My word like a fire?” says the Lord, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?
- Remember – the gospel stirs one to endure all things. How? By results!
- When we preach and teach salvation in Jesus – salvation with eternal glory – God saves people!
- This is the only hope for people, and no greater hope could exist.
- We must proclaim the gospel – no matter the suffering and sacrifice.
- We must be willing to pay any price to see that people hear the gospel, for the gospel is the only way people can be saved and receive eternal life.
Philippians 1:12-14 (NKJV) – 12 But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, 13 so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; 14 and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
- Remember – the gospel assures eternal glory and eternal judgment.
- When the believer suffers and endures for Christ, he is assured of reigning forever with Christ!
Matthew 24:13 (NKJV) – But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
- But – if we deny Him, He will deny us!
Matthew 10:32-33 (NKJV) – 32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
Mark 8:38 (NKJV) – For whoeveris ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
John 3:36 (NKJV) – He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
John 8:24 (NLT) – That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.”
- Remember – There Will Be A Time of Great Deception
People will be. . .
- divided between the true church and the false church leaders
- divided between the sheep (who hear his voice) and the goats (who do what they want first)
2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NLT) – 1 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
- dark times means that the light must shine bright
Matthew 5:16 (NKJV) – Let your light so shine before men,that they may see your good works andglorify your Father in heaven.
John 1:5 (NIV) – The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Ephesians 5:13 (NKJV) – But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.
Ephesians 5:13 (NCV) – But the light makes all things easy to see
Psalm 112:4 (NIV) – Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
- Remember – You Are To Be Diligent
There are essentially three kinds of unprofitable talk that goes on among believers.
- First, there is the trivial talk that passes the time away, talk that fails to build up the believer
- Second, there is the talk that engages in criticism and gossip, talk that tears a person down.
- Third, there is the talk that enjoys discussing Christ and all He has done.
- Spending time getting into verbal challenges with those who subvert the truth of God in Christ.
- Worrying about those who often distort the truth.
- It’s at times like these that we know through and through that it was only by God’s power, by Christ’s efficacy that we could ever persevere forward into such darkness.
- We will know that it wasn’t of us, and our cleverness, but by God’s miraculous designs and mercies in time and space that the tide finally turned!
- Do not upset or tear down people with your words.
- Humanity wanted a world without God and we have had a glimpse of this world without God.
- Trump as the leader of the free world
- Economy shut down
- Rioting in the streets
- Police killing helpless people
- Storming of the nation’s capital
- Rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer
- People living on the streets!
- But in fact even now God still intervenes, refusing to allow our fatal destructions to be final.
- He still continues to hold out his hand to us and pull us from the muck and mire.
- He breaks our chains of sin.
- He pours out His love to us, and wipes the tears from our eyes.
- Study to be a true teacher of God’s Word.
- By study is meant to set your heart upon
- Be diligent, hurry, rush, and seek the approval of God
- Note it is to be the approval of God that is the believer’s concern!
- We are to study the word of God and rightly divide it! We are to accurately teach the Word of God.
- We are not to teach. . .our own ideas
- We are not to mishandle the Word of God: twist it to fit what we think it to say.
- Add to or take away from it.
- Any person who mishandles God’s Word is not approved of God.
PRAYER PRINCIPLE: Ask God to help you remember what He has done during times of doubt to avoid moments of ingratitude.
SOCIAL JUSTICE PRINCIPLE: Be ready to assist those that are experiencing difficulty by any means necessary to be a good representative of Jesus.
EVANGELISM PRINCIPLE: Reflect on what Christ means in your life, then inform some and help others experience a transformation in their lives.
STEWARDSHIP PRINCIPLE: Just as Christ gave, be willing to give consistently and willingly.
DISCIPLESHIP PRINCIPLE: When you’re faced with trials, situations and circumstances that seem beyond your means, always remember Jesus in your actions and your response.
NEXT WEEK’S TITLE: In Remembrance of Me
DAILY BIBLE READINGS: Exodus 12:25-28; Joshua 4:1-9; Luke 22:14-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 1:29, 36; Philippians 2:5-8; John 13:3-5; Luke 4:18-21; Luke 9:51; John 10:18; John 19:8-11; 1 John 3:1, 16; 1 John 4:9-10; Romans 3:23-24; Romans 6:23; Colossians 2:13-15; Isaiah 59:1-2; Ephesians 2:13; Acts 13:39; Romans 8:1; Ephesians 2:14b-18; Galatians 6:14; Colossians 1:22; John 11:25-26; John 14:1-3