MAR. 26: VICTORIOUS FAITH

By Mark D. Proctor
Pastor, Highland Park Baptist Church, Columbia

Sunday School Lesson Bible Studies For LifeFocal Passage: Hebrews 11:1-6

Curious, isn’t it, that the book of the Bible that encourages believers to have faith based on evidence of things not seen is itself evidence of an author not known? The writer of Hebrews uses tactile terms to give believers hope that true faith — concrete faith — pleases God and writes this passage to show that while we enjoy its benefits, concrete faith is mixed, poured, finished, and cured by God.

Engineers know that the key to strong concrete is getting the right recipe — the mix of cement, aggregate, sand, and water. It’s called slurry. The right slurry, poured into well-constructed forms, and finished and cured correctly results in strong concrete.  [Read more…]

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MAR. 19: VICTORY OVER SIN

By Mark D. Proctor
Pastor, Highland Park Baptist Church, Columbia

Sunday School Lesson Bible Studies For LifeFocal Passage: Romans 6:4-14

Sin might be rendered powerless. Dead to sin. Sin will not rule over you. Treat yourself to a study of Romans 6 by picking out phrases such as these that let you off the hook. What if sin couldn’t touch you? What if Satan the great puppeteer could pull the strings but the marionette didn’t dance? Paul describes just such a life — a life married to Christ so completely that our everyday actions are not governed by Satan, not even by us, but by the power of Christ.  But how? “How” is the reason pastors’ counseling calendars are filled to overflowing with those seeking freedom from the day to day slavery to secret sin. How do we escape? [Read more…]

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MAR. 12: VICTORIOUS HOPE

By Mark Proctor
Pastor, Highland Park Baptist Church, Columbia

Sunday School Lesson Bible Studies For LifeFocal Passage: Matthew 8:5-13

Hope. Everyone craves it. The little leaguer says, “I hope we win the game” but has no way of knowing the outcome. Hope to this little hitter is little more than a dream.  But a believer’s hope is broader and wider still. Isaiah prophesied 700 years before Christ that, “… the gentiles will trust in his name” (Matthew 12:21). And in the story of the healing of the centurion’s servant in Matthew 8, we see that very thing — a gentile, the centurion, trusting in Christ’s name and authority and willingness to heal. And he demonstrated that hope with his feet, his ears, and his lips. [Read more…]

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MAR. 5: JESUS, OUR VICTOR

By Mark Proctor
Pastor, Highland Park Baptist Church, Columbia

Sunday School Lesson Bible Studies For LifeFocal Passage:  Revelation 1:12-20

What does Jesus look like in your church?  Some might picture a benevolent lover of children, with a large lap and a tender heart.  Others might envision a healer, frequenting the hospitals, or a teacher, majestically ensconced in the pulpit.  The apostle John was “in the spirit on the Lord’s day” while on Patmos and got the chance that you and I have never had — he got to see Jesus.  He gives us two accounts in Revelation of Jesus, one in chapter 19 of the millennial king Jesus — a future Jesus — and this one in chapter 1 of the present day Jesus, the Christ of the Church.  [Read more…]

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FEB. 26: GIVING WITH JOY

By Justin Randolph
Pastor, Zion Hill Baptist Church, Sevierville

Sunday School Lesson Bible Studies For LifeFocal Passage: Philippians 4:10-20

More is the word that perhaps best characterizes our society — more wealth, more luxury, more significance, more gizmos, and more love.  Sometimes we do not even know what we need more of, we just know we want more. It seems we are always in search of contentment, but never quite finding it.   [Read more…]

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FEB. 19: PRACTICING JOY

By Justin Randolph
Pastor, Zion Hill Baptist Church, Sevierville

Sunday School Lesson Bible Studies For LifeFocal Passage: Philippians 4:4-9

Do you worry excessively about things you cannot control? Is there a cure to worry? In the conclusion of his letter, the Apostle Paul turns to practical living. His desire is that they move toward holiness in their walk with the Lord. He knew worry would hinder them in this pursuit. He also knew their faith would be tested as they lived and worked in this predominantly Roman colony during the reign of Nero when persecution of the church was reaching a fever pitch.  Therefore, in these verses, he diagnoses the problem that would steal their joy; he prescribes a cure, recommends a recovery program, and makes them a promise they, as well as you and I, can count on. [Read more…]

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FEB. 12: GROWING WITH JOY

By Justin Randolph
Pastor, Zion Hill Baptist Church, Sevierville

Sunday School Lesson Bible Studies For LifeFocal Passage: Philippians 3:12-21

How beautiful, sweet, and innocent is a newborn baby. For many, we would keep them as babies perhaps for a little longer, and yet we take them to their first doctor’s visit hoping that their measurements and weight indicate growth. Later in life, as their physical maturity increases, the hard work begins of helping them develop their emotional and intellectual maturity. But, the goal is always growth and upward movement.  And, the reward is in the maturity of the child. In fact, life’s greatest moments of celebration regard this maturation process. The first word, their first step, Pre-K graduation, Kindergarten, high school graduation, driver’s license, and college graduation — each is a milestone in the joy of maturity. [Read more…]

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FEB. 5: FOLLOWING WITH JOY

By Justin Randolph
Pastor, Zion Hill Baptist Church, Sevierville

Sunday School Lesson Bible Studies For LifeFocal Passage: Philippians 2:1-11

There once was a slave in ancient Rome who heard his master was on the liquidation list. Upon learning this news, he quickly put on his master’s cloak and quietly awaited the arrival of the political assassins. When they finally arrived, they killed the slave because he was dressed like his master. In the same way, Jesus Christ took upon Himself the cloak of humanity to pay for your sins and mine upon the cross. His death was no accident. It was planned by God and set into motion before the foundation of the world. Such love demands a response, does it not? In light of His amazing grace, what should our response be?   [Read more…]

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JAN. 29: SHARING WITH JOY

By Justin Randolph
Pastor, Zion Hill Baptist Church, Sevierville

Sunday School Lesson Bible Studies For LifeFocal Passage: Philippians 1:12-21

Wouldn’t it be great if all the lessons of life we needed to learn could be learned without difficulty? I have often pondered in watching my children grow and learn, as well as in reflecting on my own journey, why we so often have to do things the hard way and why we are not naturally bent to learn things in seasons of comfort and relative convenience. Why does it seem that we must experience adversity in order for some lessons to ever be learned?

In the same way, God often uses adversity to mold us and shape us into the people He has called us to be.  Philippians is a prison epistle which means Paul wrote this letter while in chains. Therefore, we must understand that the “prisons” of our life can often provide us with the greatest opportunities and chances for ministry. [Read more…]

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JAN. 15: CREATED FOR A PURPOSE

By Justin Randolph
Pastor, Zion Hill Baptist Church, Sevierville

Sunday School Lesson Bible Studies For LifeFocal Passage: Jeremiah 1:4-10

What makes a person valuable? Is it how they look or, perhaps what they wear? Is it found in their education or abilities? Is it tied to physical acumen, language, or culture? Of course, the answer is found in none of the above. Instead, God has placed a high value and significance on life itself. In other words, if you have breath, you are valuable. Your value is not determined by what others think of you, or what you think about yourself. Your value is defined in the creative act of God in forming you and allowing you to have the gift of life.

In these verses in Jeremiah, we see the calling of the prophet Jeremiah. He was not called based on lineage or personal merit, but on God’s divine election. Therefore, these verses give us insight into God’s design for all humanity. A careful study of them will lead us to conclude that life has value and meaning for three very distinctive reasons.   [Read more…]

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