ABN Sunday school commentaries – August 18 & August 25

August 18, 2019

Explore the Bible

Living with integrity

Titus 2:1-15 (HCSB)

Believers are to live lives of spiritual integrity that bring honor to Jesus. Pastor and author Andy Stanley said, “Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching.” Paul was charging Timothy to be a person of integrity as an example to others (Titus 2:7). 

The Greek word for “example” is tupos. Tupos is literally a mark or imprint left by the stroke of a pen or hammer. It came to mean “a pattern.” In Paul’s day it was used figuratively as a pattern or mold that was a reliable precedent or example for others to follow. The Greek word for “integrity” means “to be pure” and/or “to be without corruption.” Timothy was to set a pure example for others to follow. As an example, he must also teach others with sound doctrine (Titus 2:1). This was directly contrary to the behavior and teaching of the false teachers.

Paul addressed five groups as defined by age, gender and social status. Each person’s life must be adorned with the teachings of the Lord in such a way that their behavior does not lead to the slander of God’s message (Titus 2:5, 10).

Older men must be self-controlled, reverent, sensible, sound in faith, loving, and patient (Titus 2:2). The older women must be reverent, truthful, have self-control, teachers, and encouragers of younger women (Titus 2:3-4). Younger women must love their husbands and their children, have self-control, be pure, be good homemakers, and be submissive to their husbands (Titus 2:4-5). Young men must be sensible, a good example, sound in doctrine and speech (Titus 2:6-8). Servants must be submissive, pleasing, polite, principled, sincere and praiseworthy (Titus 2:9-10).

Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, said, “The Church is being shaped by secular culture more than by sacred Scripture.” Paul reminds us that we are “to deny godlessness and worldly lusts” (Titus 2:12). We are “to live sensible, righteous, and godly” lives while we wait for Christ to return (Titus 2:12-13). Spiritual integrity begins with living God’s Word.

Bible Studies for Life

Remember God’s faithfulness

2 Chronicles 16:1-13 (HCSB)

People were migrating from Israel to Judah because Judah was experiencing a revival under King Asa. Baasha, king of Israel, wanted to stop his people from going to Judah. He seized Ramah and built a defensive blockade to put a stop to the migration. 

To remove this threat, Asa did not seek God but turned to an old ally, King Ben-hadad of Syria. Asa secured Ben-hadad’s help by giving him gold and silver from his palace and items from the temple treasury. 

This was a turning point in Asa’s life. Seeking Ben-hadad’s help indicated a lack of faith in God. Asa removed items from the temple treasury that had been dedicated in service to the Lord God. This showed his disrespect for God. 

Ben-hadad invaded Israel, and Baasha had no choice but to abandon his Judean campaign to deal with the Syrian king. Asa went to Ramah and took all the timber and stones to reinforce his own defenses. Asa’s strategy was very successful, but God had something to say about it.

Hanani the prophet was sent by the Lord God to tell Asa that since he did not trust in the Lord, the army of Aram had escaped. Hanani reminded Asa that when he trusted the Lord, the Lord gave him the armies of the Cushites and Libyans. Hanani told Asa, “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to show Himself strong for those whose hearts are completely His” (2 Chron. 16:9). God is looking for individuals who will have faith and trust in Him. Asa demonstrated his faithlessness by his actions.

The next part of the story should have been confession and repentance, but it was not. Asa became angry. He placed Hanani in prison and oppressed his own people. Asa developed a progressive foot disease and still did not consult God, but he sought physicians. Two years later he was dead.

Remembering God’s faithfulness in the past will give us the courage and strength to trust Him now and in the future.

August 25, 2019

Explore the Bible

Living to do

Titus 3:1-11 (HCSB)

Paul said in Ephesians 2:8-9 that we are saved by grace through faith and not by works. With that settled, he said in verse 10, “For we are His creation – created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). The Greek word for “walk” means “to live.” As believers, we live to do good works as acts of worship.

This is what Paul was teaching Titus and the churches. Paul charged Titus to remind the believers in Crete to be ready for every good work and be devoted in doing them (Titus 3:1, 8, 14). Paul reminded Titus and the church that God did not save them by works of righteousness but through regeneration (Titus 3:5).

We are not saved by works but saved to do works. 

Believers need to be ready to do every good work (Titus 3:1). Paul gave principles to be employed to “live to do.” They must be obedient, be ready, not slanderous, not fighting, be kind, and be gentle to everyone (Titus 3:2). This is in stark contrast to how they once were before being saved. Before their conversion, they were “foolish, disobedient, deceived, captives of various passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, detesting one another” (Titus 3:3). 

Charles Spurgeon, in a sermon on good works, said, “Do not let me talk about these things this morning while you listen to me without feeling. I want you to be turning over the pages of your old life and joining with Paul and the rest of us in our sad confession of former pleasure of evil.” Introspection can be revealing. When we turn these pages over in our minds, we can see opportunities missed to do good works for God. These missed opportunities are missed opportunities to serve and worship our Heavenly Father.

Although good works do not save, they have transformational potential to make us more like Christ and to draw others to Christ.

Bible Studies for Life

Leave a legacy

2 Chronicles 17:1-13 (HCSB)

James Hudson Taylor was a missionary in China for more than 50 years. His efforts resulted in more than 18,000 conversions. Some consider him a great man who left an amazing legacy of missions and evangelism. Taylor said, “All God’s giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on God being with them.” 

Second Chronicles 17:3 says, “Now the LORD was with Jehoshaphat.” Jehoshaphat, son of Asa, was one of the godliest kings to occupy the throne of Judah. When he first came to the throne, his reign included the building of fortified cities, promoting devotion to God and building up his military. 

Jehoshaphat prepared for any military aggression by implementing military strategy and spiritual strategy. He fortified the city of Judah and the cities of Ephraim to protect Judah from any aggression from Israel. Jehoshaphat also made spiritually strategic moves. First, he obeyed the Lord (2 Chron. 17:3-6). His obedience included walking in the ways of David, seeking God, keeping God’s commands, and not practicing idolatry like Israel. Second, he removed idols of false worship from the land (2 Chron. 17:6). Third, he sent teachers out with the law of the Lord to teach the people (2 Chron. 17:7-9).

Jehoshaphat’s strategy paid off. The Lord established the kingdom (2 Chron. 17:5). He received tribute, riches and honor in abundance (2 Chron. 17:6). All the kingdoms around Judah feared him so they did not wage war against him (2 Chron. 17:10). The Philistines brought tributes of gold and silver, and the Arabs brought flocks, rams and goats (2 Chron. 17:11). Jehoshaphat obtained massive wealth and created a formidable military (2 Chron. 17:12-13). His early reign left quite a legacy.

We talk much in our church about making an impact now and leaving a lasting legacy. Our actions can have a negative or positive impact. We need to remember people are watching us. Our walk with Christ will either have a negative impact or a positive impact. What legacy will you leave?

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