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ASSEMBLIES OF GOD NIGERIA
ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS|JULY-DECEMBER, 2023.
UNIT 4: Christian Discipleship
LESSON 17: OCTOBER 22, 2023.
TOPIC: UPSIDE-DOWN LIVING
Memory Verse: Matthew 5:14 – Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid (KJV).
Lesson Bible Text:
Matthew 5 and 6
Lesson Central Truth:
The kingdom of God stands in stark contrast to the kingdom of man.
INTRODUCING THE LESSON
As we have seen over the past two weeks, becoming Christ’s disciples calls for complete surrender of ourselves to Him and a commitment to follow Him. It is a total change, not only of how we view life, but how we live. It is, in a sense, “upside-down living.” Jesus’ teachings helps us see that God’s plan permeates our lives, touching everything that we say or do. Discipleship is transformational, and it impacts every area of life. Upside-down life is a Christ-like lifestyle which is completely different from the worldly character, nature and norm. As Christ’s disciples, our lifestyle must pattern after Him. If we are citizens of God’s kingdom, then we need to live a life that is countercultural and upside-down to the way the world thinks or do things. Do not go with the flow of this world and its ways.
1. UNSUAL BLESSINGS
A. Blessing From God – Matthew 5:1-9
B. Immeasurable Reward – Matthew 5:10-12.
2. CALLED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
A. Preserving Agents – Matthew 5:13
B. Active Light – Matthew 5:14-16.
3. DO RIGHT FOR RIGHT REASON
A. Don’t Give To Be Seen – Matthew 6:1-4
B. True Prayer – Mathew 6:5-9.
1. UNSUAL BLESSINGS
Jesus gave a sermon on the Mount of Olives, famously called the Sermon on the Mount. It’s where He revealed a higher law of love and taught the Beatitudes: spiritual characteristics we can aspire to even today. The Beatitudes help us better understand the blessings God has in store for us and what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Being Christ’s disciples is the right step in the right direction because our blessings comes from God and not men. Jesus begins the beatitudes by saying that those who are blessed by God and belong to His kingdom are poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are meek, those who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers and thos who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
Those who live this kind of life will be comforted, inherit the earth, be satisfied, receive mercy, be called children of God, inherit the kingdom of heaven, and see God. Your reward is great in heaven. This way of living is the only way to happiness. This way of living is the only way to true life, true joy, and true satisfaction. It is hard to live the upside-down life when we forget the reason why we should.
Amid whatever trials the believer might face, however, God is present. Note that Jesus’ Words in Matthew 5:10-12 are in the present tense. In the midst of persecution, God is present and blessing. Even as mocking, persecution, and slander come against the Christ-follower, God is present and blessing. Jesus said this of His faithful ones: “For the Kingdom of Heaven are theirs.” Rather than response of gloom or despair, He called for believers to respond with happiness and joy as they long ahead heaven’s immeasurable reward.
What God has in store for us is truly beyond our ability to imagine. The reward is exceedingly great. God is truly generous! We have been given exceedingly great and precious promises. We have much precious promises. We have much to be thankful for, much to rejoice about, much to celebrate as His disciples.
2. CALLED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
“Salt” is often used by Jesus a number of different times to refer to the role of His followers in the world. Salt had two purposes in the ancient world. Because of lack of refrigeration, salt was used to preserve food, especially meat, which would quickly spoil in the desert environment. Believers in Christ are preservatives to the world, preserving it from the evil inherent in the society of ungodly men whose unredeemed natures are corrupted by sin. Salt was also used then, even as now, as a flavour enhancer. In the same way that salt enhances the flavour of the food it seasons, the followers of Christ stand out as those who “enhance” the flavour of life in this world.
Christians, living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in obedience to Christ, will inevitably influence the world for good, as salt has a positive influence on the flavour of the food it seasons. Where there is strife, we are to be peacemakers; where there is sorrow, we are to be the ministers of Christ, binding up wounds, and where there is hatred, we are to exemplify the love of God in Christ, returning good for evil. Salt can lose its taste when it contains chemical impurities. In the same vein, we can lose our saltiness when we live in sin.
Salt is known by its flaour and when it loses its taste, it becomes useless. May we never lose our saltiness. We are salt of the world.
In the analogy of light to the world, the good works of Christ’s followers are to shine for all to see. Light of the world means that we are not only light-receivers, but also light-givers. We must have a greater concern than only ourselves, and we cannot live only to ourselves; we must have someone to shine to, and do so lovingly.
The presence of Christians in the world must be like a light in the darkness, not only in the sense that the truth of God’s Word brings light to the darkened hearts of sinful man, but also in the sense that our good deeds must be evident for all to see. As light to the world, we don’t hide ourselves. We must shine forth and show the light to the darkened world. We are actually light in the Lord. Just as God takes away our sin and puts His righteousness, He takes away our darkness and puts His light into us.
When we are saved, He lights the lamps of our hearts. Note that you are city that is set up on hill and whose light can not be hidden. When light shines darkness automatically disappears. In this month of Kingdom enlargement campaign, we must shine the light of the gospel to the world. People will glorify God and not us when we keep letting our light of good works to shine.
3. DO RIGHT FOR RIGHT REASON
As Jesus continued teaching the crowd, He focused on the subject very close to the heart of everyone in the audience–their motivation. Fallen human beings are by nature supremely selfish. Even something done for the benefit of someone else, if not motivated by the Holy Spirit, can become an exercise in ego-building. Even as we live in the age of social media where people can’t give without letting the whole world to know about, believers in Christ are to give for God’s glory and not for praises of men.
Charitable deeds is actually the wonderful word righteousness. Jesus tells us not to do righteous things for the sake of: display, show off or praises of men. Doing good for Christ’s sake comes with a great reward, while giving for show purpose has no reward from God.
Do you blow trumpet for people to see who and who you have helped? Desist from such selfish lifestyle and embrace selfless lifestyle of giving. What is your motive of giving? Do you give for praises of men or for His glory? Always check your motive and give selflessly.
The first thing Jesus encourages His disciples to do before they pray is to know what to do when they pray, rather than to know what to say when they pray: “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites…” How do hypocrites pray? They prayed not to be heard by God, but to be seen by men.
This is a common fault in public prayer today, when people pray to impress or teach others instead of genuinely pouring out their hearts before God. Is Jesus forbidding all public prayer in Matthew 6:5? What Jesus is trying to emphasize here is that prayer must be done for God’s glory and never for self-glory.
We should never make prayer a spectacle of piety in order to puff ourselves up in front of others. Instead, our hearts must be seasoned with humility when we come to God in prayer and we can display our attitude to God most fervently in the privacy of our bedrooms. Prayer is the means by which we plead with God to give us more of Him, and He is all the more glorified when His people yearn for more satisfaction in Him. He gives Himself generously when we approach Him in humility and meekness, not seeking the approval of others. God desires our prayers to be genuine and sincere not for the purpose of being seen by others. The right kind of prayer is to seek for His glory and not for praises of men.
Lesson Action Word
The Holy Spirit empowers us to live an upside-down life that bears witness to Jesus Christ as Saviour, Lord and King.
Lesson Prayer Point
Father, help us to live out our lives as salt and light in this world in Jesus Matchless Name. Amen!
Remain blessed as you join us in our Sunday school both online and at any Assemblies Of God Church close to you as we study together under the Feet of the Master.
Share your contribution and as well ask your question from the lesson.