The Sunday School Corner

Happy New Year’s to you all! This month, the Sunday school lessons are focused on the blessings and promises of God.  My first thought was, what is the difference between the two? The difference between a blessing and a promise is that, a blessing is some kind of divine or supernatural aid, or reward; while promise is an oath or affirmation, a vow. The Union Gospel Press is reminding us of the blessings that God has bestowed upon us. The Standard Lesson Commentary is declaring the promises that God made to us.  Being in Christ affords us the opportunity to reap the benefits of His blessings and His promises; and give us new and abundant life. As we begin this new year, let us hold fast to the confession of our faith in Christ Jesus our Lord, and reap the benefits!

Union Gospel Press:                                      The Blessings of the Gospel

Jan. 1 – Blessing of Reconciliation               II Cor. 5:11-21

Key verse: “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things ae passed away; behold, all things are become new.” v. 5:17

Christ desires for us to be reconciled back to Him.  Christ’s death unlocked the door for us to be restored to a right relationship with Him.  Reconciliation means restoration of friendly relations; the action of making one’s view compatible with another. We are unable to reconcile without the presence of Christ and the power of His Holy spirit.  A blessing is God’s favor and protection; a beneficial thing for which one is grateful and brings forth well-being. Christ reconciles us so that we can be reconciled with others. Without this blessing, our well-being would be at stake. Relationships would be destroyed; families would devasted; businesses would be dilapidated; and churches would be demolished, if we were not blessed with the spirit of reconciliation from God. We are new creatures in Christ and He has given us the spirit of reconciliation.

Jan. 8 – Blessing of Forgiveness and New Life   1 John 1:1 – 2:5

Key verse: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” v. 1:8

Forgiveness is one of the quintessential things that Christians struggle with. Most of us struggle with the art of forgiveness because of the hurt and pain associated with the person or the act of offense. This lesson reminds us that forgiveness is not about the other person or the act; however, it is about our desire to remain connected to God.  If we are not forgiving, we will not be forgiven. We all fall short, and need to be forgiven; therefore, we must forgive. Forgiveness is a conscious and deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance. Mostly, it is designed to restore broken relationships! We are required to confess our sins so that we can be forgiven. Once you are forgiven, you will, more than likely, forgive others. When we confess our sins, God forgives and cleanses us from all of our unrighteousness. 

Jan. 15 – Blessing of Intercession                       Heb. 4:14 – 5:10

Key verse: “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.”  v. 14

Christ sits on the right hand of God, interceding on our behalf.  As ambassadors of Christ, we must intercede on the behalf of others. Intercession means praying and pleading on someone’s behalf; to serve as a go-between.  Jesus and the Holy Spirit intercede for us; while we intercede for others. Jesus is our great High Priest forever; yet, he learned obedience by the things he suffered and was perfected. We cannot allow the struggles of this world to hinder or distract us from the Ministry of Christ.  Therefore, we should come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and grace.  Mercy is a compassionate treatment in distress; the fruit of compassion.  Mercy means price paid. Grace is God’s life, power, and righteousness given to us by His unmerited favor. It is a reset! The blessing of intercession resets our mind and spirit to obey the Holy Spirit and to be pleasing in God’s eyes.

Jan. 22 – Blessing of Liberty in Christ                      Gal. 5:1-17

Key verse: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”  v.1

Because of the blessings we have received from Christ, we are freed! Paul is encouraging us to stand. Moreover, to stand fast in the liberty of Jesus Christ.  As we come to the close of the discussion of blessings, we are informed that there is liberty through being in Christ Jesus.  Liberty is the ability to fulfill one’s destiny, to function in terms of their ultimate goal. In other words, we have been freed from the shackles of this world, to become who we are created to be! The warning is that we are to no longer be entangled, with the yoke of bondage.  To be entangled is to be caught up or twisted up in something that is not good; it is the process of mental, moral, and spiritual confusion and enslavement. Paul says, do not be entangled again. The yoke of bondage refers to the habitual sin of selfishness, greed, sexual immorality, drunkenness, and so on. We have the liberty of resisting the devil, and causing him to flee!

The Standard Lesson Commentary Version

Unit 2 – God’s Promises

Jan. 1 – God Promises to Hear and Forgive                                  2 Chron. 7:12-22

Key verse: “If my people which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will hear their land.” v. 14

Jan. 8 – God Promises to Restore                                                    Isa. 43:1-4, 10-12

Key verse: “Thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not; for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” v. 1

Jan. 15 – God Promises to Guide                                                     Isa. 48:1-4, 8a, 17

Key verse: “Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.” v. 17

Jan. 22 – God’s Promises Light                                                       Isa. 58:6-10

Key verse: “If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday.” v. 10

Jan. 29 – God Promises His Presence                                             Joel 2:1-10

Key verse: “Ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your god, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.” v. 27

God promises are a declaration of what He will do for us! However, we must petition Him with our confession, repentance, prayer and supplication. If we turn from our wicked ways, He promises He will hear us, forgive us, and heal our land.  He wants to guide us and cause us to profit and tell us which way we should go.  If we pour out ourselves to those that are hungry and in need, then our light will rise and our darkness will be gone away! He is in the midst of it all, He is our God and we will not be ashamed.

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