Zoom Sunday School Classes – 19 May 2024 at 09:00 AM EST

Meeting ID: 848-9423-0612
Pass Code: 669872
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84894230612?pwd=Zk1ESitzbGZwTlJyV21UZXY5aTVPZz09
Remaining Strong
(Reconciled to God)
Romans 5:1-11
Devotional Reading:
Mark 7:1-13
Background Scripture: Romans 5:1-11
(Rev Ralph Johnson Teaching)

Daily Bible Readings

 Monday: Trusting in God Brings Perfect Peace – Isaiah 26:1-11

Tuesday: The Penalty Has Been Paid – Isaiah 40:1-11
Wednesday: God’s Spirit Poured Upon All Flesh – Acts 2:1-4, 14, 16-24, 36
Thursday: The Firstfruits of Reconciliation – Acts 2:37-47
Friday: Brothers At Long Last Reconciled
Genesis 33:1-15
Saturday: May God Bless Us With Peace –
Psalm 29
Sunday: Peace With God Through Jesus Christ
– Romans 5:1-11

 

 

KEEP IN MIND:

"Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1, NRSV).

 

LESSON AIM:

CONTRAST Jesus’s concept of obedience to God with that of the Pharisees;

REPENT of offering lip service to Gog while neglecting to honor God inwardly; and

COMMIT to follow God wholeheartedly and not merely conform to outward religious traditions.

 

BACKGROUND:

The Gospel of Matthew records the birth of Jesus by Mary, who was a virgin; her subsequent marriage to Joseph; the wise men who came to visit the infant Jesus; and the flight of Joseph and Mary to Egypt after an angel of the Lord warned Joseph to take his family there for protection.  The Gospel of Matthew describes the birth of Jesus as fulfilling prophesy: “All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through hi prophet: ‘Look!  The virgin will conceive a child!  She will give birth to a so, and they will call him Immanuel.”’

Jesus taught His disciples and, through the Word of God, teaches us how to live and then how to share with others the way to become His followers.  “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

 

LESSON COMMENTARY:

The Question (Matthew 15:1-3, NRSV)

1Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.
3And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,

In verses 1 and 2, the scribes and Pharisees questioned Jesus’ authority because His statements and teachings contrasted with their interpretation of the Law.  They asked Him why His disciples did not ritually wash their hands prior to eating brad.  Jesus did not immediately respond, but instead asked them how they could justify not taking care of their parents, which is a commandment of the Law.  He turned their question about something minor into a larger question of faithfulness to the Law.

1.       Sometimes our religious tradition can make us blind to God’s demands of obedience.  Describe a time when you realized you were neglecting to obey one of god’s commands.

2.       Why do we have a tendency to focus on trivial matters and traditions versus larger issues of faithfulness?

The Confrontation (Matthew 15:4-6, NRSV)

4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
5and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

Jesus further elaborates on His question by pointing out their inconsistency.  He confronts them with the Word of God.  The commandments sat “Honor father and your mother” and “He who curses father and mother, let hi be out to death.”  What they were doing by not honoring their father was not trivial.  They were committing a capital offense according to the Law.  Although dishonoring one’s parents was a capital offense, tradition made it acceptable.

The “tradition” to which Jesus referred was called Corban.  A person who made a Corban vow was dedicating money to God’s Temple.  Unfortunately, some would make a Corban vow and then hold the money and continue to use it as they saw fit.  But they could refuse to help their parents, ostensibly because the money was “spoken for.”  Jesus pointed out that this was putting tradition above the Law to help one’s parents.  In following this tradition, one would be committing injustice against their own flesh and blood.

1.       Have religious traditions superseded the authority of the Word in our churches and personal lives?  Why or why not?

2.       How has hypocritical behavior amongst so-called “Christians” affected our ability to witness and develop positive relationships with those outside the church?

3.       How can personal beliefs cause us to disagree and argue about the proper interpretation of God’s Word?

 

The Condemnation (Matthew 15:7-9, NRSV)

7Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die.

8But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.
9Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God.

Next, Jesus follows up with a condemnation of their actions.  He not only condemns them, but He uses the prophet Isaiah for support.  The Pharisees are people who “draw nigh” with their mouth and honor “with their lips.”   In reality, they are far from God.  They teach their own traditions as law and violate the Law of God.  This is a supreme form of idolatry as it uses what is supposed to be good as a way of avoiding obedience to God.  Traditions are good, but they are sometimes in opposition of the right thing to do.

Many times, it’s easier to go along with “how we have always done things” than to pursue what is just and right.  Jesus holds a mirror up to this hypocritical attitude and shows us that if our traditions obstruct justice and human flourishing, then they are worthless.  God is only pleased with our obedience to Him, not man-made rules.

1.       What can we do to ensure we are fulfilling Jesus’ commands and not following empty traditions?

2.       How can we discern between a positive and negative tradition?

3.       Jesus confronted the religious leaders on their traditions.  Does today’s church have traditions that have a negative impact on pursuing justice for others?

 

The Reconciliation of God Leads to Our Joy (Romans 5:9-11, NRSV)

10For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life.
11But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

In these final verses of our text, Paul continues to expound on the benefits of our justification.  We are justified and therefore saved from wrath.  We have atonement with God which gives us joy.  We have been reconciled to God and therefore saved by the life of Christ.  In verse 9, Paul uses the phrase “much more,” and again in verse 10.  Then in verse 11 he adds, “And not only…”  He piles one benefit upon another.  He is overcome with the positive nature of our standing in Christ!  Our justification through Jesus’ blood has moved us from helplessness to being reconciled, no longer under His wrath but now sharing His life, which leads to our joy.

Here Paul makes an extraordinary statement.  God’s love reconciled us through Christ.  In contrast to the heresies that state that the Father was vengeful and appeased by Jesus who alone loves, God’s love brought about our salvation through His Son.

1.       When was a time that your reconciliation with someone bore similarities with how people are reconciled with God? What did you learn from this experience?  (Regarding who made the first move in reconciling (Matthew 5:24), regarding how the first move was received, regarding the permanence of the reconciliation)

2.       What can we do to put aside the felt need to “even the accounts” with other people?  (At work, in marriage, with a sibling, on the freeway)

 

LESSON IN OUR SOCIETY:

Many young people are pursing justice through organizations outside the church.  The question then becomes, has the Black church lost its prominence on issues?  Are there traditions within our churches that keep us from connecting with young people as well as actually pursuing justice?

Jesus knew that man-made traditions were not as important as obeying God’s Word and walking in righteousness.  Many things are minor and we as humans have a tendency to make them major.  It is our responsibility to examine ourselves and see whether we have let less than important traditions become idols that keep us from pursuing God’s heart.  Justice for all trumps traditions that benefit a few.

 

NEXT WEEK’S LESSON: 26 May 2024

Hearing and Believing

(Who Has Believed)
Romans 10:1-17
Devotional Reading: Deuteronomy 30:11-20
Background Scripture: Romans 10:1-21
(Rev Ralph Johnson Teaching)

SOURCES:

Achtemeier, Paul J. Harper's Bible Dictionary. 1st ed. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1985.

Biblical Studies Press: The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press, 2006.

Brown, Raymond E., S. S., Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S. J.; Roland E. Murphy, O Carm. The Jerome Biblical Commentary. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968.

Dummelow, J. R., M.A. Rev. The One Volume Bible Commentary. New York: The Macmillan Company Publishers, 1961.

Dunn, James, D. G., Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 38a, Romans 1-8. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1988

Gaebelein, Frank E., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans - Galatians Vol.11, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishers, 2007.

James Orr, M.A., D.D., International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Electronic Edition, Parsons Technology, Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa 1998.

Keck Leander E., The New Interpreter's Bible Commentary, Volume X: Acts, Introduction to Epistolary Literature, Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, New York: Abingdon Press, 2015

Morris, William, ed., Dictionary of the English Language, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1981.

Mounce, Robert H., New American Commentary: Romans, An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture, Volume 27. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995.

Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Hrsg.): The Pulpit Commentary: Romans. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2004

Strong, James, Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries, Electronic Edition STEP Files, QuickVerse, a division of Findex.com, Inc., Omaha, Nebraska. 2003.

Vine, W.E. Vines Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. Edited by Merrill F. Unger and William White Jr., Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1996.