Monthly Archives: September 2022

Encouraging the Church

Sunday Lesson Notes from September 18, 2022

Read 1 Thessalonians Chapter 1 to Chapter 5

  • What is the main purpose of this letter?
    • Encouraging the disciples in the church to focus on God’s promises of the future blessings to come since they were suffering and going through many hardships and persecution
    • Encouraging the church to live purely, avoid sexual sins and to work and be productive in their lives and take care of each other
    • Paul also reminded them that God showed up and saved them
    • Paul communicated that he had an intimate relationship with the church, like a mother caring for her child and children with their parents. He really cared for their well being.
    • He acknowledged their hard work as Christians and lifted up TImothy as well. He sent Timothy to them to encourage them in their faith since he was delayed in his return although longed to see them
  • Where do you see Jesus’s teaching in these passages?
    • Jesus taught his disciples to love God and to love one another the way he loved us. He reminded them that others would know they are truly following Him, Jesus, if they loved each other. Paul reminded the Christians in Thessalonica to persevere in their love for each other and reminded them of his own love for them.
    • Jesus taught that disciples would suffer for being followers of Jesus. Here Paul reminded the Christians that they were facing hardship because they were following Jesus’s teaching. 
    • Jesus taught his disciples to pray, to ask, to seek and to knock. Paul reminded the Christians in this passage to pray continually.
    • Jesus taught that he was the bread of life. His teachings would sustain us forever. Paul reminded the Christians to continue to read and obey the scriptures. 
    • Jesus prayed for his disciples everywhere to be one with each other in unity. Paul reminded the Christians to be unified. Paul reminded them that he was longing to be with them in person to continue to build unity. 
    • Jesus taught that he would return in the clouds to claim his own one day in the future. Paul reminded the Christians that Jesus was coming back in the same way to claim his own. (Daniel 7). Paul also reminded them that Jesus would resurrect those who were already dead when he returned if they belonged to him. 

  • What are some other points of encouragement in this passage?
    • We should remember to pray and rejoice always. There is always something to be thankful for in our lives even if we are facing personal challenges. Jewish people learn in their early childhood, hundreds of prayers to give God thanks for everyday items and experiences in their lives. The Jews of this time were also known to pray to God and to give blessings to God rather than asking for stuff from God. 
    • Paul reminded the Christians that he practiced what he taught them and encouraged them to do the same. 

Jesus, the good Shepherd

Sunday Lesson notes, September 11, 2022

Read Ezekiel 34:1-6;11-12 and 20-24

  • Who is the shepherd of your life? Who are you following?
    • Some possible answers: Jesus, your boss, friends, politicians, co-workers, singlers, athletes, famous people, popular ideas
  • What happens when a shepherd does not take care of his sheep?
    • They wander off and get injured or killed; they have no natural defense system and will follow aimlessly and blindly
  • Have you been taking care of God’s sheep in your life?
    • Do you watch out for your family and friends or your neighbors and co-workers or do you just remain silent as you observe them going astray?
  • Jesus was the ultimate shepherd. He watched out for God’s sheep. Do you allow Jesus to shepherd your heart?
    • Do you read your bible and obey the words that you read? Do the changes in your life reflect that you follow Jesus?

Read John 10:1-18

  • Jesus is an amazing Shepherd. He laid down his life for his sheep.
  • His sheep know his voice, he has a personal relationship with them.
  • What is your relationship with Jesus like right now? Would you be able to recognize Jesus’s voice? How do you know it is his voice and not your own?

Please think of a  scripture that encourages you to follow Jesus and why. Here are some that were discussed:

  • Romans 13:8- reminds us to love people the way Jesus did
  • Psalm 51 and Psalm 23: God is with us as we follow Jesus
  • Leviticus 16:16 and Hebrews 10:12-14: Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. He is amazing in that he has all the power to save us and was still willing to die for our sins.

Read John 6:52-69

  • Why was this a hard teaching?
    • It was hard for them to connect that he was their manna from Heaven now. He reminded them that God provided manna from heaven for their ancestors in the wilderness when they left Egypt, so that they would not starve and be saved. His role was now to be their “manna” so that they would be saved and enter into eternal life. 
  • How do you know if you are no longer following Jesus?
    • Hint- not reading his word and trying to obey it perhaps
  • Jesus was very clear and precise when he explained what was required to follow him. Some people do not like the boundaries that he sets. Do you? Are you willing to follow?
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