**WARNING - due to the disturbing nature of the subject, this lesson may not be suitable for children**
The Old Testament contains some things that are difficult for us to reconcile: oppression of women, brutal violence, indifference toward the helpless, and even genocidal wars. Perhaps the most disturbing story of them all (containing all of these elements) is the account of the Levite and His Concubine, in Judges 19-21. In this lesson we tackle that story, to see if we can find anything redeeming in it; and uncover some surprising things in the process.
[PDF of Lesson notes to be posted shortly]
Hidden in plain view, in the famous story of the Exodus from Egypt, we find a detailed map of the Christian journey of faith. The connection is suggested in one of the psalms, but revealed by insights from three books in the New Testament and by early Christians. This is an unforgettable, faith-building lesson that sheds light on a number of foundational teachings: on sin, eternal security, baptism, Satan and the goal of our faith.
As we start the New Year, it is a great time to take inventory of our spiritual lives, including our own personal righteousness. To help us we have the prophet Ezekiel, the example of Job, and the instruction of James. This lesson encourages us to understand the heart of God, who loves all people and is waiting to forgive those who turn to Him and to show favor to those who walk in His ways. We are called to leave behind any baggage of guilt and regret of the past, as well as to finish our lives strong, imitating the righteous men and women who have gone before us.
This lesson tackles a foundational and often misunderstood teaching of the Kingdom of God revealed in many of Jesus' parables, including the parable of the wheat and the tares (weeds). God will ultimately separate the good and the evil at the last day. This lesson addresses our responsibility as individual Christians to strive to be wheat, good fish, wise virgins, and properly attired guests at the Kingdom banquet. The lesson also addresses our responsibility to address sin in the Church.
The prophet Jeremiah compares God and His people to a potter and clay. With great purpose, care, and patience, God will use even pagan kings to discipline, shape, mold, and prepare God's people - that they may devote themselves wholly to Him and be made useful for His purposes.
There are many tremendous lessons to learn from the life of Joseph. This sermon looks at two of them: 1) Joseph's high standard of purity and 2) his ability (through years of mistreatment) to see God's hand work good out of evil, to save the lives of many people. We are called to imitate Joseph's example of righteousness and faithfulness, without growing bitter or resentful during difficult times.
A defining mark of men and women we find in the Bible is their understanding of God's faithfulness. Those who grasped this attribute of God lived in a way that brought God great honor and accomplished His purposes. Those who did not grasp God's faithfulness turned to sin and failed to accomplish God's will....
The story of Esther has many lessons to encourage us in times of adversity, to inspire our faithfulness, courage, and love, and to give us hope in God's great power to accomplish His will. This lesson covers the entire story of Esther, looking at the characters of Mordecai, Esther, and Haman and what we can learn from each.
In this passage of Scripture, Paul warns the Corinthians of sins that can destroy their relationship with God and disqualify them from the ultimate prize of eternal life. Paul uses four examples, including the story of the Israelites escaping from Egypt and wandering through the desert, to teach us to persevere to the end. Paul's instruction gives us hope to overcome temptation and endure hardship, in order to win the ultimate prize of being with God forever.
Today we take a spiritual detour from our 1 Corinthians study to talk about being refined by God through testing. Many Christians are taught that God is eager...