Sunday School Material 7-18-10: Chosen and Called
(II Thessalonians 2:13-17; 7/18/10)
Introduction: A key idea in today's Sunday School material is that believers are called to keep on living godly lives. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to keep on living godly lives.
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Read II Thessalonians 2:13-14
I. Thanksgiving. In this section of the Sunday School material Paul refers to the readers, the believers in Thessalonica, as his brethren and beloved of the Lord.
He is bound to give thanks for them because of the marvelous things that God is doing in and through their lives. The believers were chosen by God to be saved.
- Sibling love. Notice in vs. 13 of the Sunday School material that Paul refers to the readers as brethren. They are also referred to as beloved of the Lord.
One of the greatest measures of our Christianity is our love. We are commanded to love one another and be mindful that we are loved by God. Let's work on loving one another as Christian siblings should.
Christian love should be known for courtesy, support in the times of trouble, encouragement in the times of struggle, and even correction in the time of waywardness.
Christian love visits the sick, speaks words of comfort to the bereaved, and is present in the moments when words will not help.
- Called to salvation. Notice in vs. 13 of the Sunday School material the idea of being called to be saved. The only reason a person is saved from going to Hell is because God chose to save the person.
God saved us by giving us the faith needed to trust Jesus' death to be full payment for our sin. God saved us by the Holy Spirit's ministry of sanctification or setting us aside for holy usage. We can never save ourselves by our good works.
Let's live like saved people should live. Loving God, ourselves, and others are the fruit of the tree of salvation, not the seed. Good works are the product of our salvation, not the producer of our salvation.
- Our gospel. Notice in vs. 14 of the Sunday School material that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was so dear to Paul and his company that he referred to it as our gospel.
Paul believed in it so much and shared it with so much conviction that he called it his own. Let's work on sharing the gospel with so much conviction, based on our experience with it, that we think of it as our own.
A week should never go by that we don't invite and try to bring loved ones with us to church and Christ.
Read II Thessalonians 2:15
II. Exhortation. Paul wants the believers to stand fast and hold on to the traditions that they had received in this section of the Sunday School material.
Paul suggests that the tradition may have been passed to them by way of word or epistles from him or others. Tradition means teaching or doctrine, in this text.
- Being steadfast and holding on. Notice in vs. 15 that Paul urges the believers to be steadfast and to hold on to the traditions. Being steadfast had to do with continuing to live the Christian life.
To hold on to the traditions was to hold on to the doctrines and teachings, not simply doing what had been done for decades. They had not been saved for decades. Let's work on keeping our thinking and living right.
A key reason that our Pastor has us to review the Membership Orientation material so much is so that we can keep sound tradition and doctrine on our minds. However, the more we learn and review the more God expects us to obey.
After so much teaching, studying, preaching, and reviewing, we should be famous for our love of God (e.g., worship, giving, and Bible Study), love of ourselves (e.g., Black issues), and love of others (e.g., our ministries and the support of the ministry of others).
Read II Thessalonians 2:16-17
III. Benediction. In this section of the Sunday School material Paul bids the believers a blessing. He wants them to have comfort and stability.
He noted that they were already recipients of God's love, consolation, and hope through God's grace.
- Appreciation. Notice in vs. 16 of the Sunday School material that God had already been mighty good to the believers in our text.
God had given His Son, demonstrated His love for them, gave them everlasting consolation, and gave them hope - all because of God's grace.
Not only has God done all of this for them, God has done the same for us. We are recipients of God's Son, love, consolation, and hope. And we have all of this and more because of God's grace. Let's live with an attitude of appreciation.
It must sadden God's heart when He has given us so much and we yet spend so much time complaining and murmuring about lesser issues. There is so much power in rejoicing about the goodness of the Lord.
- Praying for one another. Notice in vs. 17 in the Sunday School material that Paul seeks blessings for the believers. He wants God to comfort them and give them stability in their words and work. Let's work on praying for God to bless one another.
Our praying should recognize that sometimes God doesn't deliver us from our troubles as soon as we want. But God can comfort us in the midst of our troubles. Our praying should be concerned with our staying strong in word and deed.
We must not allow trouble to change our doctrine and teachings. And we must not allow the devil to stop our good works.
Conclusion: Let's work on continuously living godly lives. God has much for those who obey His will.
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