Sunday School Material 1-16-11: Reassurance for God's People
(Isaiah 48:14-19, 21-22; 1/16/11)
Introduction: A key idea in today's Sunday School material is that God will take care of His obedient people. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to work on being more obedient.
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Read Isaiah 48:14-16
I. God's Love. There is a call for an assembly to hear what God is saying. God will handle Babylon and make His servant prosperous. God's declaration is trustworthy.
- Assembling to hear God. Notice in vs. 14 of our Sunday School material that an assembly is called for the sake of hearing what God has to say. God is still calling His people to assembly themselves together, so they can hear what God has to say.
Worship, Bible study, and even church business meetings are assemblies that God uses to share with His people. In worship, we should hear God in our songs, prayers, and preaching. In Bible study, we should hear God in the explanation and encouragement to live by His word.
And in the church business meetings, we should hear God speak through the leadership that He provides through the Pastor that He has sent. It seems as if the greater problem of our day is not the silence of God, but it is our lack of assembling ourselves and then our lack of hearing what God is saying with a mind to obey.
If everyone on our active membership roster came to church, we would have a much greater attendance on Sunday. Too many don’t assemble. And when we do assemble, it seems that we seek more entertainment and serving of our needs than seeking God's message, so we can obey it.
The consequence of our behavior may be the continuance of our discomfort. Let's work on assembling with other believers to hear and obey God's will.
- The blessings of "Cyrus." Notice in vss. 14-15 of our Sunday School material that "Cyrus" enjoys the blessings of God because of His obedience. Cyrus is in quotes because there are some Bible scholars who doubt that he is being referred to in this text. The blessings included God's protection, calling, and prosperity.
Surely, since God blessed a Gentile under the Law for obedience, we can count on God to bless us, as believers, under grace. Let's work on obeying God like we believe that He will bless us.
At the core of obeying God are the issues of accepting Jesus as savior and lord. To accept Him as Lord means that we must work on loving God, ourselves, and others.
Read Isaiah 48:17-19
II. God's Liberation. God declares His identity. He teaches His people to profit. If His people had obeyed Him, they would have been so much further down the road.
- The profitableness of God's ways. Notice in vs. 17 of our Sunday School material that God teaches His people that which will be profitable for them. God is still as holy now as He was in the text. He is still redeeming those who will accept Jesus as savior by faith. And He is still teaching us that which is best for us.
Even though we may quickly agree with our mouths, our behavior seems to be contrary to this idea, too many times. Note the following examples: we say that God's way is best for us, but too many of us keep on being poor stewards of our health and wealth.
We say that God's way is best for us, but too many of us don't give our all to being godly spouses of singles. We say that God's way is best for us, but too many of us tend to be too inactive in making a positive contribution to our communities. Let's work on living like we believe that God's ways are best for us.
- Avoiding being cut off. Notice in vss. 18-19 of our Sunday School material the ideas of obedience leading to blessings and disobedience leading to punishment and being cut off. Life is challenging enough without God's punishment. Bills are too high, incomes are too low, health is too uncertain, and relationships are too unstable for us to have God add His punishment to our lists.
Let's live like we don’t want God's punishment or His cutting us off. As a child who keeps on coming in late and being punished for missing the curfew doesn't act like he wants to lessen the punishment in his life, we don't act like we want God's punishment to be lessened, when we keep on disobeying His word.
As a reminder, when we don't even try to invite and bring loved ones with us to church, when we don't worship God with enthusiasm, and when we don't work on loving one another, we are disobeying God's will for our lives.
Read Isaiah 48:21-22
III. God's Leading. God talks about His care for His people. There was not thirst in the desserts. There was water from the rock. But there is not peace for the wicked.
- No thirst and miraculous water. Notice in vs. 21 of our Sunday School material the reference to the blessings that come from obedience. This language is thought to be a figurative reflection, instead of a literal event. One should also note that the word "peace" means more like "well-being."
Again, we are reminded of the blessings of obedience. God can bless us in so many different ways, if we would simply obey. Let's work on obedience, so we can experience more of God's blessings.
- No peace for the wicked. Notice in vs. 22 of our Sunday School material Based othe idea of no peace for the wicked. That is, no well-being for the wicked. Furthermore, notice that this is a decree of the Lord. On one hand, we should make sure that we are not the wicked ones who will not have peace.
But on the other hand, we should thank God that those who have been wicked towards us and our loved ones will not have peace. Thus, saith the Lord. We don’t have to spend sleepless nights plotting revenge on the wicked.
If we would simply stay faithful, God will take care of His own. Let's live like we believe that God will handle the wicked. Such living should include peace of mind, instead of joy robbing bitterness.
Conclusion: Based on our Sunday School material, let's work on being obedient people of God. God has much for those who obey His will.
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