Smyth and Helwys Uniform Series Lesson Outline for May26, 2013
Hope in the Day of the Lord 2 Peter 3: 1-15a
Focal Outline: 2 Peter 3: 1-7 God remains
2 Peter 3: 8-10 God is patient
2 Peter 3: 11-15a So then…
Summary Statements: (To help you get a handle on the lesson truths.)
1. Believers should live their lives in a way so that our days truly matter.
2. While not popular to admit, false teachers and false prophets do still exist today.
3. God’s eternal timing remains difficult for Christians to understand.
4. Some moments in life feel like they simply will not end—in those times our faith can lend perspective.
Questions for Thought: (To help you think of some questions to challenge with a “So What?”)
1. Guided by your understandings of Christ, what kind of living could add value to your days?
2. How might we know the difference between genuine Christian teaching vs. false teachings?
3. How do God’s senses of time, timing and timeliness differ from our own understandings?
4. What kinds of perspective for living can your faith lend to you? What perspectives have you already drawn?
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!]
Today, we will be urged to live in such a way that—in the end—our lives will matter. Our lesson writer calls up a vivid illustration from the movie The Bucket List. If you saw this Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman classic, you know how much punch there is in this opener! However, from here to the end we’ll need to live discerning lives. We need to live lives that use well the time, talent and gifts that God has endowed humanity with. And, we will need to watch out for those things that can so easily knock us off track.
One element of our lives that we all must monitor is distraction. Just this morning, my assistant and I plowed through some requests made by a bride. They have made some music requests that are outside our comfort zone, our tradition and our conviction. We tried listening to their songs, but only confirmed that they fell outside our written wedding policies. What we realized is that we were now wasting time that we will never get back. This distraction was leading nowhere.
Unpopular though our culture may find this, there really is false teaching. And, false prophecy. When a Christian chases false pursuits, they might end up growing in their faith. Philosophically, one could make that argument. However, I am convinced that just as often one result is distraction. Wasted time, resources and possibilities. So, how will you answer the scoffers that exist in your world? How will you respond to those who tell you that your faith is outdated, irrelevant or otherwise limiting? That is not just a 2 Peter issue. That is your issue and mine. Every day. Watch out for time wasters. Live your life in ways that matter!
Introductory Thoughts (5-15 minutes - These are for discussion to introduce this week’s Lesson Ideas.)
1. As our culture attempts open mindedness, the terms “false prophets” or “false teachers” are not normally used. So, do they still exist today? Why? Why not? Talk this over within your group.
2. Has someone ever convinced you of something that later turned out to be untrue? Share within your group, especially identifying what was so convincing about their teaching/presentation/case.
3. For Believers, what might a spiritual and lifestyle practice of wholesome thoughts be like? Pushing past mere Pollyanna behaviors, what can this really mean for our very real and everyday living?
4. Take a look at “Beginning the Lesson” on p20 of your Uniform Teaching Guide. Notice that in the end, this exercise wants you to focus on a more eternal perspective that helps us to focus.
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 Peter 3: 1-7 God remains
So, why is this letter being written (v1)? Whose thoughts and insights is v2 claiming? What warning (perspective) is v3-4 giving to the believers? (scoffers will cast doubt) In v5-7, what evidence for hope in God does our scripture offer?
2 Peter 3: 8-10 God is patient
How does v8 offer a helpful perspective? How does v9 fill in yet more perspective to those who are feeling tired? According to v10, how much can we really predict?
2 Peter 3: 11-15a So then…
In v11-12, how should we wait? What “new” standard will be a hallmark of God’s resolved world? What more can we do, in v14-15a? How can our living matter more, in light of what God is working toward?
2. On p26 (reg. print ed.) our lesson author says, “These scoffers, who focused on personal satisfaction and happiness, encouraged the new believers that only the ‘here and now’ mattered.” How does this description match up with today’s culture? How does this text inform our own living today?
3. How does Ac 1: 11 relate to this passage? How about 1 Co 3: 11-15?
4. On p30 our lesson author says “Some moments in life feel like they will never end…In those moments, the best gift we can give ourselves is to step back and get perspective.” How does this text aid in that perspective?
What else about your faith gives you helpful perspective?
5. In the Uniform Commentary, Brian Harbour opens with a powerful story of optimism and hope! See p20: if God’s promises are certain, then why is God so slow in fulfilling them? On p21, what are two meanings we can gain from the “thief” metaphor? See p22 for understandings here of holy and of Godly.
Applying the Lesson (10-20 minutes - Choose one or two questions to encourage action plans for the coming week!)
Discuss any of the following questions…
- a. Since Jesus’ ascension, Christians have been waiting for His return.
b. Spend time this week praying for help in understanding God’s eternal timing.
- Most of us keep some form of to-do list. How do especially your long-term goals shape your approach to living? How should God’s long-term to-do list affect our living?
- Take a look at “Applying the Lesson” on p31 of the Uniform Teaching Guide. The discussion portion can facilitate your group in applying the notion of more meaningful life.
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 2013 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 - firstname.lastname@example.org
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