The mission of the Avenue Baptist Church Sunday school is to enable equip and edify the Believer to be able to carry out the mission of the Great Comission at the direction of the Holy Spirit.
The Avenue Baptist Church is the primary ministry for carrying out most effectively the teaching ministry of Jesus Christ. it reaches all ages and is essential for empowering the Saints for productive ministry through the organized study of the Word of God.
Operating as usual
A Necessary Faith…..
To get into the Professional Football hall Of Fame you must be the best of the best….Deion “prime time” Sanders, Tony Dorsett and Earl Campbell made the list. The professional basketball Hall of Fame has lofty requirements as well, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell made it too. Wilma Rudolph, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Florence Griffith-Joyner’s exploits propelled them to the pinnacle of track and field. Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods dominated the world of Golf with their prodigious talent and steely nerves for decades...both are in the World Golf Hall of fame, They all punched their ticket with exceptional play and, clutch performances that overwhelmed the opposition, thrilled the fans, and set the world ablaze with the legendary exploits of their chosen professions. It would be considered an honor to be inducted into the hall-of-fame. To be chosen out from a fraternity of the cream of the crop, as one of the greatest is certainly a desirable thing for most people.
There is another Hall of Fame, the records attained are not kept it Canton Ohio, There is no Green Jacket, Your picture won’t be on the Wheaties cereal box. Although there are many in this hall of fame, they didn’t make a lot of money. They didn’t receive lucrative endorsements, in fact many died with barely the clothes on their back. There were no crowds to look at their trophies, marvel at the tapes of performances, or adoring fans to cheer them on. No one will buy your jersey.
But to make it to this Hall of Fame is more desirable than all the others combined. It is the hall of faith in Hebrews chapter eleven. ‘Oh to be mentioned among the heroes of faith”, the roll call of the faithful, to be spoken of by God himself is the honor of honors. Every other honor pales in comparison to Gods hall of fame. The roll call of the faithful which is located in Hebrews chapter 11 gives us the short tour of the Heavenly hall of fame.
WHAT IS IT?
Faith is an attribute, it comes from God (Eph 2:8-9). It is essential to the life of the Christian, but is difficult to put just one simple definition on it. Rather we will look at the effect of it upon the believer in a particular passage in the scripture. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing, by the word of God” (Rom 10:17).
To see God you must have faith, If you are going to see heaven you must have faith, to obey God you must have faith. To please God you must have faith. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb 11:1).
The word “substance” helps us with the context of what the writer means, we will look into that shortly, after we set the stage for the lesson. For the sake of discussion, let us discuss the visible and the invisible. Faith is of course invisible, and we understand that the framework of the universe was constructed by the word of God (Gen 1). And that it is made of that which did not exist beforehand invisible (Gen 1:2). God made the visible universe out of that which is invisible to us. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen...Now the important word is substance, “hypo-stasis” in the Greek, “hypo”.. means low, or below the surface and “stasis” meaning stability. Rewriting the verse to read….Now Faith is the firm foundation or underlying stability of what we hope for..the evidence of things not seen. Look at it this way…
If I were constructing a house or a building then I would say that Faith is the substructure the concrete foundation, the beams of the house, that you cannot see. You can’t build a house without a foundation, not a good one anyway.
If I were building an automobile I would say to you that Faith is the frame beneath the bodywork that you cannot see, you cannot build an automobile without a frame. Even a go-cart, has a frame.
If I were in the medical field. I would say to you that Faith is the skeletal structure, the bones. You can’t imagine the human body living without bones...can you.
Faith gives you the basic ingredient for trusting in God, and without it “it is impossible to please God” (Heb 11:6). just like without a foundation, you have a badly constructed house not fit for occupation. Or a terribly flimsy automobile that you would not want to take to the grocery store. You wouldn’t accept that and neither does God. Not to be argumentative or dismissive but many have defined this substance as “assurance”. That is correct, but it will appeal to only the seasoned bible student and harder to define or give an example to support the verse. Also, faith and hope are linked together. They are linked together because they work together in the christian. We need to avoid the trap of pigeonholing a certain definition of faith being used only in a certain way. I’ve heard people argue that “You step out on faith”, be “bold in your faith” implying that if you are not making some overt, bold action, sweeping the people off their feet with your gift... then your faith is lacking. If you examine the examples in the hall of faith, you will see the error.
THE EXAMPLES OF FAITH
Abel is the first of eighteen people named; (v4)t was Abels sacrifice, given in total faith that gave him the credentials to make the list. (v5)Enoch “pleased” God to the point that he should not see death, he was taken away, for the walked with God, but he did not die (Heb 11:5). (7) Noah moved with Godly fear and prepared an ark to save his household, despite the jeers, criticism and lack of help (Heb 11:7). (v 8-10)Abraham obeyed God when he was called to go out to the place that he would receive as an inheritance in faith (Heb 11:8-10). By faith Sarah also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was well past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. In fact Abraham was considered as good as dead (Heb 11:12). We have but a few listed in the lesson, but the there are too many to mention (Heb 11:32)
THE HEAVENLY HOPE
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth (Heb 11:13). Abraham died without fully receiving the promise of God. He became the father of many nations (but not immediately), because he did not waver at the promise because of unbelief, but was strengthened in faith giving glory to God, even as he was far along in age, and Sarah too. (Rom 4:20). The scripture says that Abraham did not stagger (or waver) As for these saints. The scripture tells us that they were fully committed to a mindset as travelers looking forward to a place that they had never seen, a heavenly home, rejecting the worldly idea that the earth and its cities were their final resting place. They refused to look back to where they once lived and made their home. Forsaking the rewards of the present age for the glory that is reserved for those who place their faith in the one true living God. Not looking backwards to whence they came from, but looking forward to the place that God had prepared for them. A city and a place where the people are not ashamed of God. The Jew and Gentiles alike will be one family in this God prepared place. But it is a place of the faithful (Heb 11:13-16). Some people are homebodies, they crave the comforts of home, and the people of their home town. If they go on vacation or travel to another country they are counting the days until they return home. They say that southern California is an ideal place to live, considering the climate, the economy, the jobs, the natural beauty of the Pacific Coast, the gigantic California redwoods, the Monterey bay, and pebble beach Golf course, how could you blame someone for being partial to that area, but as beautiful as your hometown may be, we should not set our minds there, not on the here and now which is temporary, but we should look forward to see God in the there and then, where Jesus has prepared our heavenly home for all eternity. If you must be homesick, be homesick for heaven. And yet at times our faith can falter, God has placed times of testing and trial to prove our faith and to sharpen and strengthen it. James tells us to consider it “pure joy” when we fall into trials that the testing of your faith produces perseverance
and matures us, providing the evidence that our faith is real (James 1:2-4).
Are you like the patriarchs and those in the faith hall of fame? Have you been persuaded having not fully seen the promise up close but a great distance away? And have you embraced the promises of God, and committed them to your bosom hidden them away, to use them in your daily walk, and your daily talk, confessing them before men. This is what it means to have a necessary faith
A couple of observations concerning pride, both are one in the same, and inherently evil.....
Proverbs 16:18-19 "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud." (THE PRIDE OF MAN)
Ezekiel 28:17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. (THE PRIDE OF SATAN)
Now a quote from one of the finest minds of the 20th century
"As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on thing and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you." -C.S. Lewis. Mere Christianity
What About The Vaccine?
What would you do if you were walking in your neighborhood and you saw smoke coming from your neighbors back yard? A second look revealed a small fire behind their house in a wooded area? Would you call 911 immediately? Would you knock on the door and tell them of the small fire in their back yard? Another question comes to mind, would you wait until the house is enveloped by the fire, or the forest is blazing before you took action?
This is the situation that we are faced with concerning the “delta” variant of the covid-19 virus. Here in the United States over 600,000 people have died from the virus and many more have been hospitalized with thousands of others injured and recovering from damaged organs due to the virus. The good news….through the hard work of researchers, immunologists, medical scientists, doctors, and other health care professionals the rate of infections have been slowing, fewer people are being hospitalized. Because of the efforts of the medical community, business have opened, people are venturing back out, tourism is booming again and many are planning the summer excursions. The bad news…..during the last few months, despite warnings, many people have refused to get the vaccines, many of them are young people below the age of thirty years old. The virus remains prevalent in Louisiana and many other hot spots, and now has mutated into the more infectious “delta” variant. And now, many hospitals and clinics have reported statistics that indicate the total number of patients infected with Covid 19, are people that had not been vaccinated. In fact one clinic reported that the ninety-nine Covid 19 cases that were treated, none of the patients had received the Covid-19 vaccine. This is the crux of the problem; the longer the Covid 19 virus remains in a population of unvaccinated people, passing from person to person, the more that it mutates (changes into another different virus), possibly into a variation that the current vaccines are not effective in treating... putting us back where we were in march of 2020. the unvaccinated are the “wild card”, the longer they remain unvaccinated they provide the vector from which the virus jumps from person to person, becoming a new and more deadly variation of the original virus. They can spread the virus, quickly without becoming sick for 14 days after contact with an infected person. More bad news; much misinformation is being spread through the media, and word of mouth, causing doubt about the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine, discouraging people from getting the vaccine and thereby reducing the rate that covid-19 is spread, reducing transmission and squashing the chance of virus mutating into a more dangerous variant.
Which brings me back to the issue of people who wont get vaccinated against the covid-19. Consider this….No one who sees a fire, no matter how small, would waste any time without doing all they can to extinguish it. The fear of a fire becoming larger and endangering more lives, is enough for most of us to act to stop the flames from spreading, before it is too large to stop. People inherently know that a fire will become unmanageable if it grows to a certain size, and the best course of action is to quench it while it is still small. And so it is with the covid-19 epidemic here in the United States.
Think of the covid-19 as the “FIRE”, think of the Doctors, nurses, scientists and other health care workers as the “FIRE DEPARTMENT”. Now think of the Moderna vaccine (Pfizer/J&J vaccines) as the “WATER”. Think of the individual HOUSES as the Individuals in you neighborhood. The home is doused with water and is protected from destruction from the fire, The water prevents the fire from spreading from one home to another, it also keeps it from becoming a much larger fire, that would be much more difficult to manage than a small fire. If everyone that could be vaccinated received the vaccine, then the chance of it spreading drops dramatically. Please get the vaccine, so we can prevent needless suffering of those we love and those who have a weakened immune system. Be blessed.
Too Strong for God…
During the period of the divided kingdoms there was king of Judah named Uzziah (Azariah) the son of Amaziah. He became king at the age of sixteen and ruled for twenty-six years. Uzziah proved to be both industrious and intelligent. Early in his reign he sought out the will of God (2 Chr 26:4-5). Because of his obedience he led the kingdom of Judah to prosperity and success. He was victorious in war against the Philistines, even building cities in Philistia. Because of God’s help as he fought against the Ammonites and the Arabians, he grew exceedingly strong. He built towers in the desert and dug wells for livestock in the low country (2 Chr 26:9-10). He strengthened the army to over 300,000 soldiers. He built advanced weapons that fired large stones and arrows to defeat the enemy forces. His fame spread throughout the land.
But because of all these accomplishments he became strong in his mind, pride swelled up within him and his heart was lifted up. He transgressed against the Lord by going into the temple and burning incense upon the altar (He was not a priest, nor had he been consecrated to go into the temple to present an offering, 2 Chr 26:18). When the priests confronted him, He became very angry with them when they attempted to take him away from the temple. Immediately he was struck with leprosy on his face. The priests declared him as one with leprosy and accordingly he was sent out of the city to a place where he remained until his death. Uzziah started out doing Gods will as a good king, but because he waxed strong in his own mind. His accomplishments filled him with pride and he became drunk with confidence and arrogance at his own doing. The tragedy is that he is not remembered for all the positive accomplishments, but as a bad king who defiled the temple and eventually died as a l***r and separated from society and his loved ones.
You too can become too strong, for God. Not that you will rival God in any way. But when you have accomplishments, fame, accolades you become prideful and self reliant. When you become “too big” or “too strong” you no longer follow the direction of the Holy Spirit, you rely upon your own understanding (Prov 3:5). You become too strong to be useful for Gods plan for you. You are choosing your accomplishments as your god, but the one true and living God is pushed into second place. God is a jealous God and he does not like competition (Deu 5:9). You should remain humble no matter the situation, so that you can hear and obey the will of God (Acts 5:32). Don’t get too big, too strong, too independent for God to use you as he sees fit.
Upcoming Sunday school lessons"
July 18.....Faith of Abraham...Romans 1:8-17
July 25.....Peace with God....Romans 5:1-11
Aug 1.......Salvation Available for All Romans 10:5-17
UNIT 3: FAITH GIVES US HOPE
Aug 8......A Necessary Faith.....Hebrews 11:1-8, 13-16
Aug 15....A Patient, Persevering Faith......Hebrews 10:23-36
Aug 22....A Conquering Faith.......1 John 4:2-3, 13-17, 5:4-5
Aug 29....An Eternal Hope..........2 Corinthians 4:16-5:10
Unclean, Unclean part 3
You may wonder why the disease of leprosy was talked about so much. It is referenced almost forty different times in both the old and new testaments. Jesus himself interacted with l***rs on more that one occasion, healing them of the disease in each instance. Besides it being a progressively debilitating, disfiguring and devastating disease. It was contagious which caused widespread fear and panic in the communities. Individual with leprosy were isolated to the outskirts of town, forbidden to live near the community in general (Lev 13). Whenever a person came near, the l***r had to shout "Unclean!, Unclean!" to warn others that a l***r was nearby. But in addition to contributing to the Biblical record of the prevalent diseases, there is another element to consider. Leprosy is a graphic illustration of sins destructive power. A word picture of sin. In the biblical days it was not viewed as just a physical issue, but as spiritual defilement.
When afflicted with the disease the victim, was forced away from communion with other people, forbidden from entering the temple and participating in temple activities....therefore being cutoff from God and man. Like sin, Leprosy:
IS DEEPER THAN THE SKIN....it attacks the nervous system, which is unseen damage.
IT SPREADS THROUGHOUT....like sin, It defiles or makes unclean every part it touches, even the garments must be burned, to have leprosy (sin) in any measure, defiles the entire human.
IT ISOLATES...the communion with God and righteousness is severed. IT MUST BE ATTENDED TO BY GOD....The priest attended to the l***rs diagnosis of leprosy, and offered sacrifices when healed of leprosy. IT IS THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST...The priest offered the sacrifice for the l***rs sin offering. Unlike in the biblical days, with the medical advances in modern medicine, leprosy is for the most part a curable disease. However sin is and will always be the corrosive, damaging, contagious, divisive plague on humanity as it always has been. And just like in the bible days, so that we will not be unclean, but be cleansed by the sacrifice and blood of Jesus Christ our Holy Priest to restore communion and relationship with God. Be Blessed.
The Avenue Baptist Church Sunday School is the primary ministry for carrying out most effectively the teaching ministry of Jesus Christ. it reaches all ages and is essential for empowering the Saints for productive ministry through the organized study of the Word of God.
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