I love Sunday School. I love the laughter. I love the learning. I love the parties. I love people. I love watching people blossom in the loving, learning environment of a small group. I love providing these lessons to help make groups better. I sincerely believe this is part of my calling from God. I need your help in making this possible. I need a core of people who will support this ministry on a regular basis so that I can spend the time necessary to make it a reality. My dream is to have the entire Bible online, and constantly improve the lessons based on feedback from live groups. If you use these lessons regularly, I want to ask you to make a regular contribution to this ministry. Checks can be made to Josh Hunt and mailed to 1964 Sedona Hills Parkway, Las Cruces, NM 88011 I really appreciate your consideration in this matter.
We often think of godliness with reference to behavior: doing good. This lesson addresses the fact that being like God also means feeling like God. Godly people get mad, sad and glad in the same way that God gets mad, sad and glad.
1. We have to know what the Bible says before we know what it means. Many people do not read all that well. They may be lost during much of the rest of the hour if we do not help them to clearly understand the situation. Take your time with this one; add background information from you reading. For resources to supplement this lesson, call 1 (800) 458 2772
2. One of the rules of interpreting the Bible is that the Bible is written in normal, everyday, non-technical language. It is written in the language of the street that is commonly understood by common people. It is not written in lawyer-speak. If we say, "Everyone in Atlanta loves the Braves," we do not take that to mean that every single person living within the city limits of Atlanta is a raving, crazy brave fan. We would accept that statement as true, in fact, even if there were some Yankee fans living in Atlanta. This is what is easily understood in common, everyday language. When Paul says, "Rejoice in the Lord always," he means that joy should characterize the Christian life. Joy should be our normal countenance. The Bible does not teach that there should never be a time when we are sad. Jesus himself was called a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.
By the way, there may come up in this conversation a certain line of thinking that I would challenge. Sometimes I hear believers say, "'Rejoice in the Lord' is not an emotion. It has nothing to do with emotions. It is a deeeeeeeeeeep abiding awareness of this and that." They say this with long faces and a growl. I don't buy it. I think when Paul said, "Rejoice in the Lord," he meant we ought to smile more than we frown.
3. Have individuals look up and read these verses:
James 4:9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.
Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
II Corinthians 7:10 - 11 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.
Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
John 11:35 Jesus wept.
Ecclesiastes 3:4 [There is. . .] A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.
4. We live in a sinful world. Sin grieves the heart of God and it should grieve our heart as well. We should be mournful with godly repentance over our own sin. We should also grieve over sins committed against us, in the same way that God grieves over sins committed against Him.