“A Part, Not Apart”
Click below to download the Cornerstone Connections leader’s guide and student lesson. This week’s resources also include two lesson plans and a discussion starter video which offer different ways of looking at the topic. Each lesson plan includes opening activities, scripture passages, discussion questions, and real-life applications.
Unlikely Leaders - Ch. 46
Paul Is Free Once More
Unlikely Leaders - Ch. 47
Pauls Final Arrest and Imprisonment
God provided comfort and companionship to Paul through the loving-kindness of other believers while he was imprisoned. The church today is also meant for that type of unselfish love.
This lesson will look at the legacy that Paul wants to leave, and how important it is to him that the next generation knows the important treasure they carry.
BORDERS OR NO BORDERS
Supplies needed: Ping pong balls or other light round objects. (A ball of paper might work in a pinch if you are reading this Sabbath morning! Don’t worry we’ve all been there.) You will also need something to make a border with. Maybe some chairs or rope; feel free to be creative. Have a starting line and then a finish line for your race course. Have students blow (or if Covid-19 is a concern use fans made from paper) to move the ball from the start to the finish line.
Make sure to time them. Run the race a few times to help them perfect it.
Next, have them do the same race but without worrying about keeping things in the borders. Time this as well.
Today we are going to be talking about the church. We will also be talking about the Church. Notice the difference between the little “c” church, which for our discussion is the local church that you are attending today, and the big “C” church, which is the whole entire movement created by Jesus’ disciples with the help of the Holy Spirit.
In our game we had one version of the race with walls and another version without walls.
BIBLE STUDY GUIDE
In the New Testament the person that probably started the most churches that we know about is the Apostle Paul. Everywhere he went he started a church in that town. Now church didn’t look like the church we go to now. It usually took place at a person’s house and it was a few centuries before we started seeing buildings of worship similar to the ones we see today. The churches that Paul started probably didn’t even have a pastor, but they still continued to thrive and Paul often speaks of them like they are his children. That makes sense because Paul himself wasn’t married, so he didn’t have kids of his own, and these converts and believers were truly like family to him.
The book we are looking at today is 2 Timothy. Many scholars agree that this is Paul’s last letter. It was written from a Roman prison. Paul probably also saw the writing on the wall that the end of his life was near and that there is a sense of wanting to make sure that important things are heard by Paul’s friend and mentee Timothy. If there was such a thing as a local church pastor in Paul’s day, Timothy was pretty close. Today let’s focus on two things.
Paul shares two wonderful challenges to Timothy that I think all of us can do well to follow. They are the advice that our older faithful leaders in churches across the world would echo.
Read 2 Timothy 2:22-26.
22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
The second passage from Paul is even more revealing that this is a person who knows the end is near and who wants to make sure that his final words are heard clearly by the ones he loves.
Read 2 Timothy 4:1-8.
1In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
There’s a third point that really stands out from today’s Bible study: The church doesn’t always need to exist in the walls of a building. In fact, when we put up those walls of our church campuses perhaps we are missing out on a big part of doing ministry. Most ministry happens outside of churches—it happens wherever you are!
Read 2 Timothy 1:16-18.
16 May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. 17 On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 18 May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.
We don’t know much about Onesiphorus. (In fact, few of us can even say his name correctly.) However, Paul dedicates a good part of his greeting to this one person who wasn’t afraid of the Romans or their prisons and willingly looked after Paul who was near the end of his life. He made effort to do so! (For more background look at Acts 19:21-41.)
Read together the official Seventh-day Adventist statement of belief about the church.
“The church is the community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. In continuity with the people of God in Old Testament times, we are called out from the world; and we join together for worship, for fellowship, for instruction in the Word, for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, for service to humanity, and for the worldwide proclamation of the gospel. The church derives its authority from Christ, who is the incarnate Word revealed in the Scriptures. The church is God’s family; adopted by Him as children, its members live on the basis of the new covenant. The church is the body of Christ, a community of faith of which Christ Himself is the Head. The church is the bride for whom Christ died that He might sanctify and cleanse her. At His return in triumph, He will present her to Himself a glorious church, the faithful of all the ages, the purchase of His blood, not having spot or wrinkle, but holy and without blemish.”
For a Relational Bible Study (RBS) you’ll want to get into the Scripture passage and encourage the youth to imagine participating in the story while it’s happening. Then you will be able to better apply it to your own situation today.
You will need to ask God for the Holy Spirit to be present as your small group discusses the questions (no more than 3-6 people in a group is recommended). Start with the opening question. It is a personal question and the answer is unique for each individual. There is no right answer and nobody is an expert here, so don’t be surprised when you hear different responses. You are depending on the Holy Spirit to be present and to speak through your group. Say what God prompts you to say, and listen to what others share.
Take turns reading the chapter out loud. Follow that with giving the students some time to individually mark their responses to the questions (a PDF version of the handout is available as a download). This gives each person a starting point for responding when you start to share as a group. Next, begin the discussion by asking the students to share what they marked and why on each question as you work your way through. Feel free to take more time on some questions than others as discussion warrants.
Encourage each person in the group to apply what is discussed to their personal lives and to share with the group what they believe God wants them to do. Then ask them to pray that God will help each of them to follow through in doing so. Remind them to expect that God will show them ways to live out the message of this passage in the coming week, and that they are free to ask others in the group to help hold them accountable.
The final trial of Paul made it clear that Paul’s illustrious ministry was coming to an end. As Paul’s ministry came to a close, he made sure to take time to send final instructions and letters to those who had both supported his ministry and grown their own ministries because of it. One such individual was Timothy, a young man who was mentored by Paul and on many occasions called his “pseudo-son.” The book of 2 Timothy is Paul’s final letter before his execution, and it is characterized with final advice to Timothy in both his ministry and beyond, and a notable amount of affection resembling that of a final goodbye. In chapter 3 of 2 Timothy, Paul takes time to warn Timothy (and all other believers) of all the dangers and warning signs found in the last days. However, he does not stop there. Starting in verse 10, Paul gives Timothy a special charge: to remain strong in his faith and not fear persecution.
Using his own story as an example, Paul says that persecution is an unfortunate norm, and should not discourage Christians. Instead, he says, remain faithful to what we have been taught as children, because the word of God is the ultimate guideline for right and wrong. Timothy was a young man, just like the youth of our church today, tempted to be pulled away by the devil through the vices of the world and the fear of judgement. As we work towards our heavenly goal, we must keep in mind Paul’s word and use the Bible as our guideline to determine what is true and what isn’t. All the things that we have learned since we were children are applicable in our lives today, and we must keep them fresh in our minds. With the word of God leading us, there is no doubt that we will be youth fit for the Heavenly Kingdom!
Letter of Goodbye
What are the biggest fears you have when talking about your faith?
Read 2 Timothy 3:1-17.
1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.
A Final Charge to Timothy
10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God p may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The message Paul is sending in 2 Timothy 3 is starkly clear; beware of the devil’s tricks in the final days, do not be discouraged by your fears of judgement and persecution, and live your life according to the Bible, remembering all you have been taught. It is difficult being a young Christian in today’s world, seeing many of our peers bashing the things that are sacred, being superficial and selfish, and blatantly rejecting the truth. These actions turn them into cruel people who can persecute us, but when faced with this we have the comfort of going back to the Bible and seeing all the others who have faced the same or far worse. In fact, look no further than Paul! His life and experiences render his words of advice valuable to us as teenagers, and as we navigate the tumultuous waters of the final days, we have the reassurance of knowing that with the Bible in hand, we will make our mark on the world and be fully equipped to meet our Lord and Savior in the near future.
Paul’s warnings and words of advice to young Timothy are especially important to us as youth in this modern-day world. It is always a necessary part of studying to sit back and meditate on how a story applies to us today as youth. Below you will find three applications that can benefit the youth in your group and help them meditate on the word shared today. These applications work both individually and in a group.
As youth in today’s world, you have probably encountered various behavioral patterns by your peers that match Paul’s description of the last day people. Make a small list of these behaviors listed in 2 Timothy 3: 1-9.
Feeling as if you’re being judged or marginalized is a horrible feeling, and it is the primary cause of discouragement for many Adventist youth. So, how can we overcome this fear?
If you grew up in the church, you probably remember the fun ways you were taught about the Bible and all the children’s ministry events you attended. Learning about the Bible at a young age is a crucial part of shaping a little one’s mind.
All the Way Up
By Pastor Vandeon Griffin
This FREE download includes sermons and PowerPoint slide backgrounds for “All the Way Up,” the March 13-22 Week of Prayer for Youth Ministries. The theme verse is Colossians 3:2; “Let heaven fill your thoughts; don’t spend your time worrying about things down here.”
The sermon series is set up so that each youth department/youth director of the local church can access the sermons and share them with the young people who sign up to preach each night of the week.
Let’s prepare for “All the Way Up” with Jesus Christ!
1. Activity / Busy Bags for Kids
Help parents stay sane. Assemble bags with activities to keep small children busy.
Cost: Less than $5.00
2. Placemats For Meals On Wheels
Cheer up the homebound. Thoughtfully decorated placemats are a lovely extra to bring to meal recipients. If you’re able to laminate the placemats, all the better!
Cost: Less than $5.00
3. Deliver Meals For Meals On Wheels
Help fight hunger. Pick up and deliver meals to seniors and people with disabilities.
Cost: Less than $5.00