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Smyth and Helwys Uniform Series Lesson Outline for July 27, 2014

Seek the Good of Others             1 Corinthians 14: 13-26

Focal Outline:           1 Corinthians 14: 13-19                   Clarity and connection matter

                                    1 Corinthians 14: 20-21                   It’s okay to grow up

1 Corinthians 14: 22-26                   Signs of God

 

Summary Statements: (To help you get a handle on the lesson truths.)

1. Paul encouraged the Corinthians to communicate the good news clearly. We should too.

2. Trends come and go. We should evaluate them and see if they advance the kingdom or merely distract.

3. Childlikeness can give the gift of open and honest thinking. Childishness has no place in God’s kingdom.

4. The worship service is one event that brings together the faithful. They are looking to God for a word.

 

Questions for Thought: (To help you think of some questions to challenge with a “So What?”)  

1. What are some specific ways in which we can be sure our message is clear to others?

2. What filters are in place to help us evaluate trends vs. helpful, creative new ideas?

3. How can I explore with clarity my own maturity as a person and as a Believer?

4. When do you most clearly hear the Gospel in your worship services? What tends to distract you?

 

Points to Ponder

[NOTE: These suggestions are to help your class be more interactive and discussion oriented. Using 3-5 different ideas will enhance your preferred teaching style and involve class participants. Build excitement and intimacy in your learners!]

 

How closely in tune with your own motivations do you tend to stay? For many of us– probably not as close as we might like. We are fairly aware of what leads us toward some options or choices. But, with others we may not stop long enough to really consider why we may have acted as we did. We can do some of the right things for all the wrong reasons. If no one else knows, we know and our God does too. Integrity can be a powerful guiding force when the Holy Spirit is allowed to accompany us.

Paul was speaking here about an issue that few of us relate to directly. Oh, I know what speaking in tongues is all about. But, in my tradition this practice is not emphasized at all. If you are like me, you could be tempted to tune out and struggle with how to connect this text with your class lesson on Sunday. Well, don’t check out too quickly. Paul’s teaching is for us, too: Seek the good of others!

Paul is concerned that the “secret” language that has emerged within the church has become a barrier to God’s work with those outside or new to the church. We, too, can have what some call “secret handshakes” that prove to be unintentional barriers to others. When something we are doing hinders others from being pointed toward God, we ought to consider the value of what we are doing. Are there barriers to God’s work within your well-intentioned practice of faith? Within your church? Paul has a clear word for us!

 

Introductory Thoughts (5-15 minutes – These are for discussion to introduce this week’s Lesson Ideas.)

1. What one element of worship tends to point you toward God even more than others? Why is that? Discuss this within your group, not advocating but instead celebrating the diversity of ways we can find God.

 

2. What is one of the most creative, entertaining tv commercials you have seen? Lead the group to share ones that really catch them! Now—how many of them can tell what product their favorite commercial promotes?

 

3. “Let all things be done for building up,” says the apostle Paul (v26). What are some acts of worship, and Church life in general, that most need to be tested by this standard? Why?

 

4. Take a look at “Beginning the Lesson” on p87 of your Uniform Teaching Guide. Have you ever experienced something like “tongues” in a worship setting? What does Paul think about that?

 

 

Studying & Discussing the Passage (20-25 minutes – See Brian Harbour’s Commentary for added insights and explanations.)

1.   Share an overview of the Lesson from “Locating the Text” (Teaching Guide ) and then examine the Focal Passage using a variety of teaching methods…

 

1 Corinthians 14: 13-19                   Clarity and connection matter

A word like “therefore” should always send us backward. What is Paul responding to in v13ff? How do v14-17 state the issue Paul thinks the church has? In v18-19, what does Paul suggest is best for all? Why?

           

            1 Corinthians 14: 20-21                   It’s okay to grow up

In Paul’s case, what purpose do v20-21 serve? What is he doing here to advance the point he is making? What does thinking like an adult mean, as used by Paul here?

 

            1 Corinthians 14: 22-26                   Signs of God

What important distinction does Paul make in v22? How do v23-24 support this? There are some positive outcomes that Paul feels better about in v25-26. What would you say they are? On p99, in the middle paragraph, our lesson writer says, “If no one understands, the message of Christ is not passed on.” Is this a good summation of Paul’s central point? If so, why? If not, why?

2. On p95 (lrge. print) our lesson author says, “Written messages are filled with acronyms and symbols like ‘IMHO’ and ‘LOL’…These shortcuts are great when everyone understands them.” What are some symbols, shortcuts or lingos that you just don’t understand? What might a newcomer not “get” about your church?

 

3. How does Dt 28: 49 relate to this passage?   How about Is 28: 11-12?

 

4. On p97 our lesson author says “It is easy for individual believers and entire churches to follow a religious trend. Certain approaches to faith are marketed as the next best things…” How does your church intentionally evaluate new ideas or approaches? How do you? What from the scriptures should guide us?

 

5. In the Uniform Commentary, Brian Harbour goes right to the central issues on p66! What’s all the fuss at Corinth? Was this really that big a problem? What disturbs Paul the most, as indicated by 1 Cor 12 and 13 leading up to this? See p67 for 2 different experiences with God that Paul identifies. See “Amen” on p67!

 

Applying the Lesson (10-20 minutes – Choose one or two questions to encourage action plans for the coming week!)

Discuss any of the questions…

1. a. Paul reminded the Corinthians to make mature thinking to be a primary part of their spiritual lives.

b. How does God want you to grow in this way? Who might you help to find a way into the Church?

 

2. What is the purpose of gathering together as God’s people? Who is intended to be at such a gathering? Paul would say that the church should be orderly and open, then. Pray on what you can do to open the church to all.

 

3. See “Applying the Lesson” on p91 in the Uniform Teaching Guide. What is Paul’s central theme here? Let’s evaluate our worship practices by the standard that Paul sets!

People go where they know they’ve been prepared for and are cared for!

Uniform 07-27-14

Smyth and Helwys Uniform Series Lesson Outline for August 3, 2014

Consolation Granted through Prayer   2 Corinthians 1: 3-11

Focal Outline:           2 Corinthians 1: 3-4             Sharing comfort and concern

                                    2 Corinthians 1: 5-7             Sharing in everything

2 Corinthians 1: 8-11           Sharing in God’s care

 

Summary Statements: (To help you get a handle on the lesson truths.)

1. The Corinthians were a congregation in need of comfort and peace. We still need those, too.

2. We receive what we need from God. But, not only for our good. We are to share our riches with others.

3. We are not called to keep to ourselves. We are to share with others; even our hurts and concerns.

4. Comforting friendships do not happen overnight. Mature, helpful relationships take time to grow.

 

Questions for Thought: (To help you think of some questions to challenge with a “So What?”)  

1. How would you assess the spiritual needs of your church? What do you need from God?

2. How are Christian churches responsible to other congregations?

3. Why would God want us to share with other believers, even in our fear and concern?

4. What are the best understandings of Christ that help to foster solid relationships?

 

Points to Ponder

[NOTE: These suggestions are to help your class be more interactive and discussion oriented. Using 3-5 different ideas will enhance your preferred teaching style and involve class participants. Build excitement and intimacy in your learners!]

 

We cross over into a new monthly unit of study with this lesson. “Bearing One Another’s Burdens” is our topic here. That theme will bind together our walk through Paul’s 2nd letter to the church at Corinth. The apostle will explore the shared causes and concerns that bind us together across God’s kingdom. He also calls up some nuanced uses of the abundance God has given to us. But, what about when we are scared or uncomfortable? What do we even have to share with others in our spiritual poverty?

Paul didn’t like the news from Corinth. The band of believers there had problems. Of course, none of their troubles—or shortcomings—were all that unique to them. Fact is, Paul himself was sharing in some of the same fears and needs that they had. In their woundedness and frailty, they still had a responsibility beyond themselves. When we can live, breathe and pray then we can still be of use by God!

The very God whose cause was subjecting Paul to his own sufferings still stood as his source of hope. His hardships were suffered primarily because of his ministry. Yet, the God he served was his consolation. Paul was convicted that in their weakness, Believers could strengthen one another. How about you? Does withdrawal and self-concern seem to go along with your times of struggle? Paul argues that rather than shutting ourselves inward, our ability to share with one another comes instead when we open our souls to one another. Read this text carefully. Search for the power and strength Paul will help us to find!

 

Introductory Thoughts (5-15 minutes – These are for discussion to introduce this week’s Lesson Ideas.)

1. Sharing our problems with others can be therapeutic. Each of us needs the occasional reminder that we have company on the journey. When is a time when a fellow Believer has “accompanied” you in life?

 

2. Who are some of the friends you can count on when you need someone most? Who helps you to feel God’s presence in life? Enjoy the sharing as your group tells about those who love them actively!

 

3. What are some occasions in life that begin with prayer? Discuss, having someone to keep track of participants’ responses. How does prayer help us to start life’s key moments better?

 

4. Take a look at “Beginning the Lesson” on p94 of your Uniform Teaching Guide. Where do you go for comfort and consolation? What might Paul teach us about our responsibilities in handling those?

 

Studying & Discussing the Passage (20-25 minutes – See Brian Harbour’s Commentary for added insights and explanations.)

1.   Share an overview of the Lesson from “Locating the Text” (Teaching Guide ) and then examine the Focal Passage using a variety of teaching methods…

 

2 Corinthians 1: 3-4             Sharing comfort and concern

In v3, what specific qualities of God does Paul affirm? Why might these be of interest (or need) for the Corinthians at that time? What possible good does Paul see coming from all this in v4?

           

            2 Corinthians 1: 5-7             Sharing in everything

In v5, what is Paul explaining about Christ’s sufferings and our own consolation? Discuss v6, being sure you understand (more plainly) what Paul is saying. How might this work between believers (and bodies of believers)? In v7, what hope does he speak of between the groups?

 

2 Corinthians 1: 8-11           Sharing in God’s care

In v8-9, of what hardship might Paul be testifying? Why does he offer this perspective? In v10-11, how does Paul make application of this life lesson? What form of help does he seem to indicate in v11 that could come from Corinth? What gives Paul hope here?

2. On p106 (lrge. print) our lesson author says, “The language of this prayer points to a God who gives us gifts and inspires us to share those gifts with others.” What are some of the kinds of gifts Paul reminds us of in the text? What does it mean, in practice, to share these gifts with others?

 

3. How does Mt 10: 8 relate to this passage?   How about Jn 13: 35?

 

4. On p108 our lesson author says “The concept of shared suffering is a proven way to comfort others. Afflictions have a way of growing when we try to bear them all alone.” When have you tried to bear something alone that was too big for you to carry? Who in your life is capable of being this supportive presence?

 

5. In the Uniform Commentary, Brian Harbour leads off with a story from the life of E. Stanley Jones. On p71, what is the resource Paul has confidence in? On p73, like Paul what did Corrie Ten Boom discover?   On p72 and 73 respectively, be sure to catch the meanings of the words consolation and despair!

 

Applying the Lesson (10-20 minutes – Choose one or two questions to encourage action plans for the coming week!)

Discuss any of the questions…

1. a. Praying that you can be used by God to comfort others is a mature request.

b. Praying that God will open you to being comforted by others is also a mature request. Pray for both.

 

2. Sometimes, we can share of our own stories at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons. But, at the right time/reason, God can use our stories of despair powerfully. Pray for wisdom and discernment to help others!

 

3. See “Applying the Lesson” on p99 in the Uniform Teaching Guide. Who do you know that needs the comfort that might best be delivered by compassionate Believers like you?

 

People go where they know they’ve been prepared for and are cared for!

 

Bo Prosser, series editor, is the Coordinator for Missional Congregations at CBF in Atlanta.

Charles Qualls, session writer, is Associate Pastor at Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church in Atlanta.

 

Copyright SS Helps 2014            All references to Smyth and Helwys literature are used by permission of the Publisher.

All materials used are available through Smyth & Helwys Publishing,www.helwys.com, 800-747-3016.

 

Send Comments to:        Center for Christian Education ATTN: Gail Prosser e-mail – gail24@comcast.net

2511 Summeroak Dr. Tucker GA 30084 phone: (770)493-6648

 Uniform 08-03-14