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RCCG SUNDAY SCHOOL STUDENT’S MANUAL
SUNDAY 17TH OF SEPTEMBER, 2023
LESSON THREE (03)
TOPIC: THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
BIBLE PASSAGE: Isaiah 1:18-20
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
MEMORY VERSE: But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8.
INTRODUCTION: There are diverse views, both within and without, about the Christian faith. Some call it a religion, while others say it is a way of life. In some quarters, it is believed that it is a personal relationship with God. What exactly is the tenet of our faith as Christians and how does it compare with other faiths? Is it a religion or a relationship?
1. A CALL TO A RELATIONSHIP
2. MORE THAN A RELIGION
1. A CALL TO A RELATIONSHIP
Simply put, religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman – with controlling power, especially a personal God or gods (Exodus 34:14). In that respect, Christianity can be classified as a religion. However, practically speaking, Christianity has a key difference that separates it from other belief systems that are considered religions. Most religions are man-centred. They are built upon the concept that man can reach a higher power – God, through his efforts – good works, sacrifices, rituals, etc. In that regard, Christianity is not a religion.
Just as the Jewish leaders made a religion out of a relationship with God, many people do the same with Christianity. They follow the way of the Pharisees in creating rules not found in Scripture (Mark 7:8). Some who profess to follow Christ are merely following man-made religion in the name of Jesus (Colossians 2:8). While claiming to believe Scripture, they are often plagued with fear and doubt that they may not be good enough to earn salvation or that God will not accept them if they do not carry out some ritualistic activities or perform to a certain standard (Ephesians 2:8-9). The leaders of religious sects add many of their own rules to make it even more cumbersome (Matthew 15:9). They pride themselves on their ability to keep the Law – at least outwardly. This is religion masquerading as Christianity: it is one of Satan’s favourite tricks (Matthew 23:1-7).
CLASS ACTIVITY 1: Students should mention other reasons why the Christian faith is more than a religion.
2. A CALL TO A RELATIONSHIP
The Christian faith is a relationship that God has established with His children. The Bible states clearly that there is nothing man can do to make himself right with God (Isaiah 64:6). God did for us what we cannot do for ourselves (Colossians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Our sin separates us from His presence, and sin must be punished (Romans 6:23). However, because God loves us, He took our punishment upon Himself (Isaiah 53:5). All we must do is to accept God’s gift of salvation by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The grace-based relationship between God and man is the foundation of Christianity and the opposite of religion (Titus 2:11-14). We love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
Holiness and obedience to Scripture are important, but they are pieces of evidence of a transformed heart, not a means to attain it. God desires that we be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). He wants us to grow in grace and the knowledge of Him (2 Peter 3:18). We do these things because we are His children and want to be like Him. God wants us to know Him, draw near to Him, pray to Him, and love Him above everything. That is not religion; that is a relationship.
CLASS ACTIVITY 2: Mention encounters you have in your faith that shows you clearly that you are in a relationship with God.
CONCLUSION: Christianity is not about signing up for a religion. Christianity is about being born into the family of God (John 3:3).
* What is religion?
* Explain the Christian faith.
ASSIGNMENT: Write five differences between the Christian faith and other faiths. (2×5=10 marks).
*SUNDAY SCHOOL HYMN*
1. O Sunday School, on the Lord’s day,
O how I love Thee well,
I am happy, it makes me glad
To rejoice at Thy birth.
2. O Sunday School, on the Lord’s day,
Thy friend friendship suits me well,
Both young and will sing Thy song,
We long for Sunday School.
3. O Sunday School, on the Lord’s day,
Christ was Thy first teacher,
The Holy Spirit, great teacher,
Does manifest in thee.
4. O Sunday School, on the Lord’s day,
This testimony is sure,
That God, the Father Almighty,
Poured His blessing on Thee
5. O Sunday School, on the Lord’s day,
Though the sun be so bright,
Or if the clouds be black with rain,
I’ll be in Sunday School.
6. O Sunday School, on the Lord’s day
I rejoice to see Thee,
Will thou pass over me today?
Without my being blest?