ASSEMBLIES OF GOD NIGERIA
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS|JANUARY-JUNE, 2023
UNIT 3: Jeremiah And Ezekiel
LESSON 16: April 16, 2023
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TOPIC: SIN, PUNISHMENT, AND PROMISED RESTORATION
Memory Verse: Jeremiah 31:33 – This shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people (KJV).
Lesson Bible Text:
Jeremiah 8:4-17; 31:31-34.
Lesson Central Truth:
God calls people to live in obedience to Him.
INTRODUCING THE LESSON
In this week’s lesson, we will explore Jeremiah’s message of judgement against the nation of Judah for violating its covenant with the Lord. As we read this week’s passages notice how severe the judgements are, and how personal the tone is. This is because a covenant is rooted in bonds of personal loyalty and obligation. To break a covenant is not just to break the law, but to violate a relationship. The people of God rejected His Word and there were severe consequences for it. But, God, according to his unfailing mercy and never ending love, promised them a new covenant. We are to recognize that rejection of God’s commands has eternal consequences and live according to the new covenant. As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we enjoy the benefits of this new covenant of blood, mercy, love, and grace even now.
1. GOD’S WORD REJECTED
A. They Follow a Self-destructive Path – Jeremiah 8:4-6
B. They Listen To False Teach – Jeremiah 8:7-9.
2. CONSEQUENCES OF REJECTING GOD’S WORD
A. Misled With False Hope – Jeremiah 8:10-14
B. A Grim Future – Jeremiah 8:15-17.
3. NEW COVENANT PROMISED
A. A New Covenant – Jeremiah 31:31-32
B. A NeW People – Jeremiah 31:33-34.
1. GOD’S WORD REJECTED
The Lord, through Jeremiah, warned Judah of the consequences of their sin repeatedly, only to find that his words of warning were rejected. At this point, God asks Israel, “will you fall and not get up?” Note that if a baby learning to walk falls down, the baby is encouraged to get up and try again. If someone falls, he gets up and goes on often with greater determination. But in the case of this people during the time of Jeremiah, they refused to rise up or turn away from their sinful lifestyle. This is the situation of many Christians today – they follow a Self-destructive path rather than God’s righteous path. As a church, when a believer is down, our duty is to help him or her rise up. Don’t be like Christians who seem to be in a perpetual backsliding. Those who have fallen into sin yet are making no efforts to get up again. Those who are refusing to return to God. Those who know they are wrong yet have no interest in making the due corrections. In short, like Judah, they also refuse to repent! Beloved, when you fall, rise up, dust off yourself and turn away from those sins that weighs you down. For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes (Proverbs 24:16).
Jeremiah pointed to a variety of birds as examples of wise behaviour, which the people of God should have recognised, but had not. The birds Jeremiah mentioned know when it is time to migrate and when it is time to return from migration. But the people of God do not know what is required of them at a given time. Even the animals—the donkey and the ox—know their owner and appreciate his care, but not my people Israel. No matter what I do for them, they still do not understand.” (Isaiah 1:3). Likewise, the people of Judah needed to open their eyes, see their desperate situation, and know that the only wise thing to do would be to return to God. But sin was blinding them, keeping them from seeing the danger of their situation. Still today, sin blinds people and keeps them going in the wrong direction. Today, I terminate and put an end to any sin that has blinded our eyes from showcasing the glory of God in our lives in Jesus Name.
Jeremiah also accused Judah of rejecting the Word of God. They claimed to be wise in their own wisdom by rejecting God’s Word. Though they professed themselves to be wise, the nation of Judah had become fools. When we reject God’s Word, we become like Jeremiah’s generation. Note that many today profess to be wise, profess to know the law of God, but most times, it just a head knowledge. Beloved, without the heart knowledge, you can know all the Bible you want, have all the religion you want, but until you accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal Saviour, the Bible likens you to a fool! And without Christ, that’s what we are, fools headed for Hell! The door of repentance is wide opened through Christ. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
2. CONSEQUENCES OF REJECTING GOD’S WORD
Jeremiah’s contemporaries persisted their sins despite his warnings. They were even encouraged to do so by the prophets and priests of Judah. Jeremiah confronted these men for leading the people astray, thus preventing repentance by promising them “Peace when there is no peace. Their false teaching was like a drug that deadened them to the reality of the symptoms without removing the underlying illness. So, that sickness of sin grew worse while the “patient” was unaware that the medicine he thought would help him was, in truth, a cup of deadly poison. There are many similarities between the problems of Jeremiah’s day and the problems of ours. Today there are individuals who are willing to ease people’s consciences for a price. Instead of preaching a message designed to lead people to repentance, they preach a gospel of personal improvement designed to make people feel better about themselves. When they should be exhorting people to repent and “flee from the wrath to come” (Matthew 3:7), they soothe consciences by telling people that they are fine just as they are. They preach a kind of “cheap grace”; that is, grace without the Cross and without repentance. Because false teachers do not preach the whole gospel, people adopt the attitude that they are entitled to God’s forgiveness without any response on their part. This is a deadly delusion! Don’t be misled by false teachers with their false hope that lacks God’s pardon and mercy. Total repentance is the key for God’s restoration.
False preachers will not escape God’s judgement. They will be held accountable for their false teachings and leading people astray. After dealing with the religious leaders, God turns His attention to Judah and their judgment proclaiming that Judah and Jerusalem would be consumed for their sin. The primary crops around Jerusalem were vineyard and fig orchards. When the judgment of God fell via the Babylonians, the crops of the area would be stripped by the invaders and whatever crops were stored away in barns would be taken as well. Judah faced complete desolation; certain and complete economic destruction. No sinner shall go unpunished. God’s judgement is imminent upon all that rejects His Word. Note that righteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34).
3. NEW COVENANT PROMISED
Jeremiah proclaimed that God would establish a new covenant, which will succeed where the first one fell short. He wrote that the new covenant “will not be like the one I made with their ancestors” (Jeremiah 31:32). The old covenant was written in tables of stone, and resulted in the Israelite’s having stony hearts. This time, God will write a new covenant with new laws inscribed into a fleshy heart. The Old covenant was broken by the people. God had poured everything into taking care of this people. Jeremiah envisions a new covenant between God and humans. The new covenant is not based on blind obedience to a set of rules. Instead, the new covenant is based on the quality of one’s relationship with God. So, this new covenant is relationship-oriented instead of rule-based. “They broke that covenant of mine, although I was a husband to them, declares the LORD”. They paid Him back by breaking His heart. The new covenant is established through Jesus’ sacrifice unlike old covenant which had stipulations for each motive. Jesus finished it all on the Cross and had completed our salvation through His blood.
The fault with old covenant was not with the covenant itself, but with the sinful nature of the people to whom it was given. Jeremiah prophesied that, under the new covenant, the law of God would be written on human hearts, not on tablets of stone. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, the Holy Spirit resides in our hearts, making God’s law a part of our very being. Note that Paul wrote that the just requirements of God’s law are “fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow the Spirit” (Romans 8:4). When believers walk in the Spirit, they naturally are drawn to seek, obey and please God. The fact that the new covenant is not based on works or human achievement does not mean that it is lawless or unholy. New covenant believers seek to obey the greatest command of Scripture: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5; Mark 12:30). In doing so we fulfil thr true intent of the law.
Lesson Action Word
Restoration is taking something from the waste bin and making it into a beautiful piece. God can restore the years that the palmerworm ate, the broken hearted, the joy of the Lord, and He can restore us in righteousness. God restored Israel, and He will restore us!
Lesson Prayer Point
Father, forgive us of all our sin of disobedience and rejection of your Word. Restore us in your mercy and love 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.
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ASSEMBLIES OF GOD NIGERIA SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS 16April 16 2023