Adult Sunday School

The Fear of the Wicked, the Hope of the Righteous

(From the Adult Sunday School class, 9/25/16)

Proverbs 10:24 - “It is the fear of a wicked person that will come upon him, but the desire of the righteous will be granted.”
This proverb tells us that wicked people and righteous people will not share the same fate. Because of their wickedness, wicked people are destined for something fearful. On the other hand, righteous people can expect good things. This is not simply about karma, or some impersonal mechanic that is built into the cosmos. This is not saying, “What comes around goes around.” Proverbs has some points in contact with the Hindu and Buddhist doctrine of karma, mainly that our actions are meaningful in determining our destiny. But for the Hebrews and for Christians, destiny is not something that structures our lives impersonally, like in a Greek tragedy. Nor is destiny something that we have the power to shape by our skill or virtue or work ethic. What did Proverbs 10:22 say? “It is the blessing of the LORD that makes one rich, and hard labor adds nothing to it.” Proverbs 16:9 likewise says, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” For the Hebrew and the Christian, destiny is something shaped above all by God. (more…)

By Kerry Lee, ago
Adult Sunday School

“By the Works of the Law No Flesh Will Be Justified”

Part 6 of our Galatians series ...

Galatians 2:11-16

(11) When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was condemning himself. (12) For before some from James had come, he had been eating with the Gentiles. When they came, however, he drew back and separated himself, fearing those of the circumcision. (13) And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. (14) But when I saw that they were not walking correctly in view of the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of all of them, “If you, being a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” (15) We who are Jews by nature and not Gentile “sinners” (16) know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faithfulness of Jesus Christ, and we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faithfulness of Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no flesh will be justified.

Paul Confronts Peter

In the first half of Galatians 2, Paul tells us that the gospel message that he had come to by the guidance of the Holy Spirit was essentially no different from that proclaimed by Jesus’ original disciples. In fact, not only did the pillars of the Jerusalem Church not have anything to add to Paul, but Paul himself had even one time been in a position where he had had to correct one of those pillars, Peter, when Peter had begun compromising in precisely the way that Paul had refused to with the “pseudo-brethren” in Jerusalem. Not only does this vignette put the final nail in the coffin of the false accusation that Paul is only interested in pleasing people with his man-made and too-easy gospel, but it also leads into the substance of Paul’s counter-argument against the Judaizers, and thus the real substance of Galatians. (more…)

By Kerry Lee, ago
Adult Sunday School

When Compromise Compromises the Gospel

Part five of our Galatians series ...

Galatians 2:3-5

(3) But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was not compelled to be circumcised (4) because of false brothers smuggled in (who slipped in to spy out our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus in order to enslave us), (5) to whom we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.

Paul Refuses to Compromise on Circumcision

In the first two chapters of Galatians, Paul has so far been concerned to show that his gospel message and his apostolic commission are directly from God rather than mediated through humans and thus subject to the almost inevitable corruption of human interest. He also has made a point of showing that in his time serving Jesus he has actually avoided easy and obvious opportunities to ingratiate himself with Church leadership in Jerusalem. It would have made sense for him to spend more than two weeks in Jerusalem and to more intentionally rub shoulders with Church leaders, but he didn’t. If he had wanted to move up in the organization’s ranks, he probably should have spent more than just two weeks in Jerusalem during the first 15 or so years of his Christian life. (more…)

By Kerry Lee, ago
Adult Sunday School

“The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.”

Our Sunday morning adult class on 9/11/16 focused on Proverbs 10:22, which in the KJV says, "The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it." The first part of this proverb tells us that material prosperity is connected to the blessing of the LORD. All things are the LORD’s. He is the creator and owner of the whole universe, therefore all things are at his disposal. So if someone is prosperous or successful, ultimately it is because God has allowed it or caused it to happen. (more…)

By Kerry Lee, ago
Adult Sunday School

“False Brothers Smuggled In”

Part 4 of our Galatians series ...

Galatians 2:3-10

(3) But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was not compelled to be circumcised (4) because of false brothers smuggled in (who slipped in to spy out our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus in order to enslave us), (5) to whom we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. (6) And from those who seemed to be something (what they were at that point matters nothing to me; God does not show partiality)—those who seemed to be important added nothing to me. (7) Rather, seeing that I have been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter to the circumcised (8) (for one working in Peter in his apostolic mission to the circumcised worked also through me to the Gentiles), (9) and perceiving the grace that was given to me, James and Cephas and John, those who seemed to be pillars, gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. (10) They asked only that we remember the poor, which I myself was eager to do.

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By Kerry Lee, ago
Adult Sunday School

Why Paul Went To Jerusalem

Part 3 of our Galatians series ...

Galatians 2:1-2

(1) Then after fourteen years again I went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking along also Titus. (2) I went up according to revelation; and presented to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles (I did this privately with those who appeared to be important), lest somehow I was running or had run in vain.
(more…)

By Kerry Lee, ago
Adult Sunday School

The Divine Origin of Paul’s Gospel

Part 2 of our Galatians lesson series.

Galatians 1:11-24

(11) I am letting you know, brothers, that the gospel proclaimed by me is not of human origin. (12) Nor did I receive it from man, but through a revelation of Jesus Christ. (13) For you heard about my conduct when I was in Judaism, that I persecuted the church of God to an extreme degree and I was trying to destroy it, (14) how I advanced in Judaism beyond all my contemporaries, being extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions. (15) When the one separating me from my mother’s womb and calling me by his grace was pleased (16) to reveal his son in me so that I might proclaim his good news among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, (17) nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and then again returned to Damascus. (18) Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit with Peter, and I remained with him 15 days. (19) I did not see any other of the apostles, except James the brother of the Lord. (20) These things I write to you, behold before God I am not lying. (21) Then I came to the regions of Syria and Cilicia. (22) I was unknown by face to the churches of the Jews who were in Christ, (23) they were only hearing, “The one who once persecuted us now proclaims the gospel he once tried to destroy,” (24) and they glorified God on account of me.
(more…)

By Kerry Lee, ago