MAR. 19: WHAT IS REQUIRED?

By Charles D. Earl
Former Director of Missions, Holston Valley Baptist Assoc., Rogersville

Sunday School Lessons explore the bibleFocal Passage: Matthew 19:16-26

Our lesson title does not tell us what the “what” is talking about.  That is, what is required for what?  However, as we begin studying the text we soon discover that the “what” is discussing what is required to be saved. Verse 16 tells us that a man approaches Jesus and asks Him the question, “Good Master, what good thing must I do, that I may have eternal life?” Ah, that’s what the “what” wants to know. Let us examine the answer Jesus gives this man. [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

MAR. 12: IS JESUS FULLY GOD?

By Charles D. Earl
Former Director of Missions, Holston Valley Baptist Assoc., Rogersville

Sunday School Lessons explore the bibleFocal Passage: Matthew 17:1-13

Our text in Matthew 17 begins with the words that introduce to us one of the most wonderful and most inspirational events in the whole New Testament. This event in the life of Jesus happens after He has had many, many opportunities of teaching. He uses in these teaching periods probably His most favorite teaching tool which, of course, was telling parables. He also has worked several miracles, among which is the healing of the centurion’s servant, Jairus’ daughter.  Many who were blind had received their sight. During this interim period Jesus had also called His disciples and sent them forth to preach and to heal.   [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

MAR. 5: WHO IS JESUS?

By Charles Earl
Former Director of Missions, Holston Valley Baptist Assoc., Rogersville

Sunday School Lessons explore the bibleFocal Passage: Matthew 16:13-28

Since all of our lessons are taken from the Gospel of Matthew we need to look briefly at this man who wrote the book. The name Matthew means “gift from God.” Matthew, of course, was a Jew, and he identifies himself in Matthew 10:3 as “Matthew the tax collector.” On first blush it seems somewhat incongruous to us that a tax collector would choose to refer to himself as a tax collector of the Roman government.  [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

FEB. 26: REDEEMED AND SECURE

By Mark Proctor
Pastor, Highland Park Baptist Church, Columbia

Sunday School Lessons explore the bibleFocal Passage: Ruth 3:8-13; 4:13-17

I love the story of the traveler who pulled his car into a gas station in Kentucky and asked the attendant how far it was to Glasgow.  “28,465 miles,” was the reply.  “I didn’t mean Glasgow, Scotland.  I meant Glasgow, Kentucky!”  “So did I” said the attendant.  “In the direction you’re headed, it’s 28,465 miles.  If  you’ll turn around and go the other direction, it’s only 11 miles!”  The Bible teaches a more serious version of this story: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Proverbs 14:12 ESV). [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

FEB. 19: FAITH THROUGH TRIALS

By Mark Proctor
Pastor, Highland Park Baptist Church, Columbia

Sunday School Lessons explore the bibleFocal Passage:  Ruth 1:6-18

In seminary we learned to think in terms of “doctrines.”  When we studied a passage, we were asked, “what doctrine is being taught here?  Is the doctrine of God?  Perhaps of atonement?” It’s a helpful approach when studying Ruth 1. We often zero in on verses 16 and 17 with their forceful commitments and conclude that “God is love.” Of course that’s true but there’s a more resounding doctrine.  Ruth 1 tells us about the doctrine of sanctification — how God uses time, trouble, and tenacity to create in us a heart that can be used for His purposes.   [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

FEB. 12: COMPROMISED POTENTIAL

By Mark Proctor
Pastor, Highland Park Baptist Church, Columbia

Focal Passage:  Judges 16:4-6,13-20

Sunday School Lessons explore the bibleCornelius Plantinga wrote a delightful little book called Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be (Eerdmans, 1995) that every one of us should read. It’s about sin and sin’s opposite, shalom with God.  There, he states, “… shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness and delight — a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed … in other words … the way things ought to be.” God has a way things ought to be, a perfect order and a perfect peace. [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

FEB. 5: TIMID WARRIOR

By Mark Proctor
Pastor, Highland Park Baptist Church, Columbia

Sunday School Lessons explore the bibleFocal Passage:  Judges 6:11-16, 25-32

My wife Cynthia once was arranging a table decoration in the house and asked me, “Is this okay?”  It seemed a silly question because no one on the planet is less qualified to approve table decorations than me and she knows it. I’ve had a full decorating bypass. So how do we respond when asked to do something for which we are so clearly unqualified? We cower; we make jokes; we question the sanity and purpose of the one asking us in the first place. Quickly turning to glance behind me as if she were speaking to someone else, I replied to Cynthia, “Are you talking to me?” [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

JAN. 29: WILLING SERVANTS

By Mark Proctor
Pastor, Highland Park Baptist Church, Columbia

Sunday School Lessons explore the bibleFocal Passages: Judges 4:4-10, 12-16

Even a cursory examination of Israel’s history in the book of Judges will reveal a glaring theme:  Israel had been given the land, every inch of it, and “no man shall be able to stand …” (Joshua 1:5 ESV). This was God’s plan. And as is too often the case, mankind had a better plan. The closing strains of the book of Judges tell us what it was: “Everyone did what was right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25) even forgetting the Lord their God (Judges 3:7). They forgot God and did their own thing, with predictable results:  the enemy “persisted in dwelling” in the land God had given to His children (Judges 1:35).

And there is the classic struggle in the life of all God’s children. His way which results in promise and blessing or our way which results in constant battle with the enemy. Such was Israel’s existence, such is ours. How refreshing it is when God sends a willing human voice, bold and confident, to speak to us straight from God’s heart. When we first meet the prophetess Deborah in Judges 4 we know little of her background and less of her qualifications. But we know she is willing to go, willing to speak, sitting under the palm of Deborah judging Israel, getting up and going with Barak. Her speech and her actions all testified to her willingness. [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

JAN. 15: VALUE ALL

By Mark Proctor
Pastor, Highland Park Baptist Church, Columbia

Sunday School Lessons explore the bibleFocal Passage: Proverbs 24:10-12; Mark 10:46-49

The day comes for us all, the day we have to take a stand. Scrawny little Ted Newton had to take a stand against school bus bullies in the 1992 classic movie Beethoven. When enough finally became enough, Ted stepped off the bus, turned to face his rivals, and raised his little miniature fists only to see his enemies cower with fear and retreat. His bravery worked. In the midst of his self-congratulations for his prowess, he failed to see his hulking dog Beethoven who had been standing behind him all along. The bullies saw Beethoven but little Ted didn’t. And the bullies fled.

Our previous studies in Joshua reminded us over and over the command of the Lord, “be strong and courageous.” Courage and strength are commands for the faithful not for personal gain but for the glory of God. The precious texts in today’s study give us a practical application of that courage:  to “rescue those who are being taken away to death” and “… those who are stumbling to the slaughter” (Proverbs 24:11 ESV) and those who are cast away from society (Mark 10). [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail

JAN. 8: CHALLENGED

By Mark Proctor
Pastor, Highland Park Baptist Church, Columbia

Sunday School Lessons explore the bibleFocal Passage: Joshua 24:14-28

I have a treasured book in my study containing some of history’s greatest speeches. I often read them finding myself wishing that I could compose and deliver such stirring homilies. What made those speeches great was not the composition but the passionate soul of the speaker. In Joshua 24, we hear the passion of the retiring, elderly Joshua as he delivers one of his last lectures. “Choose. Choose today. You’ll worship something, with your time, your money, your eyes, and your heart. And you have plenty of options.  But you have to choose today just like I have.” [Read more…]

Facebooktwittermail