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Sunday School Lesson #4: Friends
by Josh Hunt www.joshhunt.com

 

 Notes to the teacher:

Introduction

  1. By way of introduction, I'd like to ask you to open the book of Proverbs to the chapter that corresponds to one day after the day of the month you were born. Look for any verses that speak to friendship. Share with the group what you find.(1)

Value Your Friends

Proverbs 10:12; 17:17; 18:24

  1. As we read these three passages, look for qualities of great friends. Share with the group what you find.
  2. Verse 10:12 says love covers all wrong. Can anyone share an example of an offense that was easy to overlook because you loved someone. Perhaps an example of when you were "young and in love."
  3. What does it mean, "A brother is born for adversity."
  4. Does Proverbs 18:24 teach against having lots of friends? What is it saying?
  5. Something to think about: How many friends do you have that you could call on in times of adversity? Are you OK with the answer to that question?

Avoid Gossiping and Quarreling

Proverbs 16:28; 26:21

  1. Anyone ever been the victim of a nasty rumor? If you can, tell us your story.
  2. What is so fun about gossip?
  3. Do you think gossip is worse than other sins?(2)
  4. Does it seem to you that some people like to quarrel? What joy could derive out of quarreling?
  5. Why do you think God is opposed to quarreling? What is so awful about it?
  6. What is the difference between a quarrel and necessary and honest difference of opinion?(3)
  7. How do you change from a quarrelsome person to a peacemaker?(4)
  8. On a scale of one to ten, where would you rate yourself where one is a quarrelsome person and ten is a peacemaker? Don't answer out loud. Is this an area you could stand to see some improvement in?

Act With Integrity

Proverbs 3:28 - 30; 25:9; 27:10a

  1. As we read these verses, let's make a list on the board of relational sins that are mentioned in these verses.(5)
  2. Which one of things on this list especially irritates you? Can you give a real life example?
  3. Why do people do these things that are so irritating? Why aren't people normal, like us? Why the attraction of telling your neighbor to come back tomorrow, of accusing a man for no reason, and so on?
  4. Now, let's look at the positive side. Help me write the opposite of the sins we wrote on the board a moment ago. Positively, what does 3:28 teach that we should do?(6)
  5. How do we become people of the right column rather than people of the left?(7)

Resolve Conflicts Wisely

Proverbs 14:9; 19:11; 29:11

  1. As we read these three verses, pick one that relates to you life, or one that you could put to work in your life this week.
  2. People sometimes talk about the need to, "Get something off their chest," or "blow off steam." Is this health?. See 29.11
  3. How does wisdom give a person patience? Can you give an example?
  4. Compare Proverbs 19:11 with I Corinthians 5:11- 13.(8) When is it our job to overlook a fault and when is it our job to confront?

Summary/ Application

Let's close with some summary questions on relationships.

  1. How important are relational skills to. . .
  2. Your happiness?
  3. Your home life?
  4. Your professional success?
  5. Your relationship with God?
  6. Your usefulness to God?(9)
  7. What are some of the biggest relational mistakes people in your world make?
  8. If you could improve your relational skills in one way, how would that be?

1. You might follow up from last week by asking if anyone has read the Proverb of the week. This lite accountability is important to the disciple making process. People have good intentions. We serve them well by reminding them that there are thirty one chapters of Proverbs. This makes a nice daily reading plan to read one chapter a day that corresponds to the day of the month.

2. This is a point of common misunderstanding with believers. Many will say, all sins are a like. This is true in the sense that any sin will separate us from God. However, I would rather you gossip about me than kill me. In this sense, gossip is not as bad as murder.

3. Much of it has to do with motive. If my intent is to destroy someone with agreement, that is quarreling. If I just don't care whether I destroy someone with my words, that is sin too. There must be a place, however, for the honest exchange of ideas and feelings. To some, "Don't argue," means, "Get in line with my opinion."

4. Perhaps the biggest step is admitting. Most people who are quarrelsome don't realize it or won't admit it. Being quarrelsome comes from something deep within. It is rooted in an unresolved bitterness or anger. We must resolve the "root of bitterness." Counting to ten simply puts a patch on an old tire. What we need is new tires.

5. Put them on one side of the board; we will put the positive opposites on the other side.

6. And so on with all these verses.

7. Here are some answers that are not right: try hard and just do better. If we could try hard and do better, we wouldn't need the cross. Another answer that is not quite right is, "Let go and let God." Total passivity is not right either. Walking by faith is both a trusting dynamic and a doing dynamic. The goal of all of teaching is to provide a clear answer to this question.

8. I Corinthians 5:11- 13 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."

9. One of the top predictors of your usefulness to God is your people skills.

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