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The Supernatural Realm. AG Adult Sunday School Manual

 

Memory Verse: James 4:7
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (KJV).
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Central Truth
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Christians are set free from the power of Satan through victory in Jesus Christ.
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The Lesson Outline
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1. Utilise Spiritual Weapons
A. Mighty Through God
2 Corinthians 10:1-4

B. A Spiritual Battle
2 Corinthians 10:5-6
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2. Authority and Power of Christ
A. Complete in Christ
Colossians 2:9-10

B. Evil Spiritual Powers
Disarmed
Colossians 2:11-15
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3. Submit to God: Resist the Devil
A. Humble Yourselves
Before God
James 4:4-10

B. Resist the Devil
1 Peter 5:6-10

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Learning Objectives
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At the end of this lesson, students will
be able to:

1. Find comfort in the promise of Scripture that Jesus is mightier than all evil powers.

2. Recognise that evil powers are defeated only through Christ.

3. Give glory to God for the victory they have in Christ
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Introducing the Lesson
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When we are saved, everything changes. However, everything does
not change immediately; some things change in due course, amid
inevitable challenges. Certainly, Christians are new creatures in
Christ. The Holy Spirit creates a new nature in us when we are born again. One result of this new creation is the
inevitable conflict that exists between our new nature and our old one. Such conflicts will exist throughout our lives. But we will emerge victorious as we are careful
to satisfy the desires of the new and refuse the desires of the old.

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The Holy Scriptures
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2 Corinthians 10:3. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

4. (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

5. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

6. And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Colossians 2:9. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

10. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.

13. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses.

14. Blotting out the handwriting of
ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.

15. And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them
openly, triumphing over them in it.

James 4:6. But he giveth more grace.
Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the
proud, but giveth grace unto the
humble.

7. Submit yourselves therefore to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

8. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners;
and purify your hearts, ye double-minded.

9. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning.
and your joy to heaviness.
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Commentary and Application
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1. Utilise Spiritual Weapons
A. Mighty Through God
2 Corinthians 10:1-4

 

As a matter of background, Paul began 2 Corinthians 10 by communicating on a personal level. His appearance of meekness (rooted in following Christ) led his enemies to accuse him of being weak and lacking boldness in his communication (see 2 Corinthians 10:1). Note how Paul corrected this notion: His tone and approach in their presence reflected the meekness and humility of Christ, not the attitudes of the world. Paul made it clear that he preferred meekness over boldness.

 

 

One definition of meekness is strength under control. In meekness, Paul strongly urged them to correct their ways. Otherwise, he would demonstrate boldness in his next visit. His attention to proper responses offers a good example of
how Christians should interact in conflict.

Paul used the military to illustrate the importance of his meek approach. Believers have spiritual battles in this world, but they must not fight those battles using worldly tactics and worldly weapons, but spiritual tactics and spiritual weapons.

 

There is an important observation to be made from verses 3-4. We must recognize, as Paul stated, that the weapons of spiritual battle are unique. We do not gain
spiritual victory by asserting our own bold declaratíons or actions. Such victory is not a matter of winning arguments by human reasoning, nor does it come through personal charm. We are, in fact then, rather passive in the matter of winning. The victory comes from the Lord, for the battle is won through “God’s mighty weapons” (verse 4, NLT).

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Questions for Application
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Why do you think Christians can be taken captive by human philosophies, even when such philosophies stand in opposition to the gospel?

How can Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 1 shape the way we respond to people who mock us or bring our beliefs into question by attacking us?

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B. A Spiritual Battle
2 Corinthians 10:5-6
While Paul does not specifically identify the weapons of spirituál warfare in 2 Corinthians 10:5-6, he does address them elsewhere in his Corinthian epistles (1 Corinthians 1:17-25; 2:1-5; 2 Corinthians 4:1-6). Spiritual weapons find their foundation in the message of the gospel.

 

The gospel has the power to destroy worldly arguments against the knowledge of God (that is, the gospel). Human philosophy and reason cannot stand against divine truth. Such philosophies appeal to the flesh and are limited by the imagination and abilities of the flesh, for they are human creations. Godly truth pulls down these obstacles to truth. Furthermore, such teaching is rooted in human pride, which is utterly at odds with the humble, selfless submission to God that ought to characterise believers. This is why God’s people must view the proclamation of the Word as a spiritual battle. Rebellion must be replaced by obedience to Christ, and such life change only comes through spiritual transformatíon.

 

At the root of Paul’s argument, then, there is much more than philosophical debates and arguments. Paul was intent on defeating all ungodly teaching (verse 6), and Would enact discipline upon those who put forth such teachings. Once the Corinthians showed
themselves willing to hear the truth, Paul would deal strongly with the false teachers.

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Questions for Application
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Do you think it is important for Christians to respond strongly to false teachings ? Explain. How do you define a strong response?

How do you think false teaching is defeated?
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2. Authority and Power of Christ
A. Complete in Christ
Colossians 2:9-10
There are many philosophies in
the world today that are very contrary to Christianity. A number of these are similar to-or even had roots
in -false teachings of New Testament times. One such philosophy was known as Gnosticism, and an early form of this was confronted by Paul in
Colossians. This false teaching promised special, secret spiritual
knowledge to those who would be “enlightened,” supposedly by God.
Note Paul’s staterment, in Colossians 1:9: “We ask God to give you
complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding” (NLT). In response to human philosophies (2:8), God gives us all we need in Christ.

The false teachings confronting the Colossians (as well as many believers today) depend upon human ideas and philosophies
rather than upon the revelation of
Scripture-even as these false teachings sometimes twist Scripture. Simply put, we will find all we need
for our new lives in Christ within the teachings of and about Christ-the
reality of His life, death, resurrection, and ascension.

Since Jesus Christ is all the fullness of the Godhead in bodily
form (verse 9), He is the source of everything the believer requires,
Believers are “complete in him” (verse 10, KJV): The word “complete” is rooted in a nautical
term. It can embody the idea of a ship fully rigged and equipped for a
voyage. This applies to Christians who are ready for the voyage of life.
We find everything we need in Christ, our Captain. We can rest in Him as our Source of life and Sovereign Lord. No power can snatch us from His hand.

Paul continued on with a
marvellous description of what it means to have this fullness or
completeness in Christ (verse 10). We have experienced the breaking
of the power of the sinful nature. As a result, while we struggle with
temptation, and will on occasion fall into sin, we are no longer slaves to
the power of sin. Through the Spirit we can live in victory. To further bring light to this, Paul referred to spiritual
circumcision and water baptism (see verses 11-12). Through salvation, his readers had discarded their old,
sinful lifestyles, Furthermore, sin had
been removed from their lives, a blessing which was depicted in the outward sign of baptism.
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Questions for Application
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What are some common ways people might be tempted to feel they need somnething other than Christ to complete their lives?

How does your life demonstrate that you are no longer in bondage to the sinful nature, even though you are an imperfect person?
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B. Evil Spiritual Powers
Disarmed
Colossians 2:11-15
Beginning with Abraham, we see circumcision to be a sign of God’s
covenant with His people (see Genesis 17:13), and this continued in the Law (see Leviticus 12:3).
Circumcision spoke to Israel’s relationship with God and their holy
status as a separate people who forsook the sins of the surrounding
peoples. Now, as New Testament Christians, Paul said that we have
undergone spiritual circumcision of the heart (see Romans 2:25-29).

Christians are a holy people, called to put off the sinful nature and
live in full obedience to the Lord. This can only happen by the power of God who lives within them. Itis the workof
the Spirit, but it requires the ccoperation of believers. Water
baptism, as it is mentioned in
Colossians 2:12, is a public declaration of the believer’s having
identified himself or herself with Jesus as the One who cleanses and
saves. It is an outward declaration of
the inner work of the Spirit. Christians declare that they have died, have been buried, and are now
raised with Jesus Christ to a new way of living.

We, as Christians, must see ourselves as having a new spiritual
identity as we seek to live out that identity. Water baptism does two
important things. It is a physical reminder of what it means to be a
new creation in Christ, and it is a public affirmation n of our desire to make Him the Lord of our lives.
The Cross is the means by which God
triumphed over all powers and authorities (verses 13-15). Through
the sacrifice of Christ, the guilt of our sins was removed and we can stand clean before God. Furthermore, the
powers of darkness that seek to deceive us and derail our spiritual
journey have been defeated. Jesus has triümphed over them.
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Questions for Application
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Why should we see baptism as an important part of the Christian life?

How would you describe what It means to have a new ldentity In Christ?
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3. Submit to God; Resist the Devil
A. Humble Yourselves
Before God
James 4:4-10
Throughout the Old Testament prophets confronted God’s people
with their spiritual adultery (Deuteronomy 31:16; Jeremiah 3:20). The people attempted to
divide their affections between the one true God and pagan gods.
James made it clear that a person cannot be friends with the world as
well as friends with God (James 4:4). A Christian cannot live a double life.
Either he will find contentment in God, or he will be dissatisfied with what God provides and seek fulfilment elsewhere.

God does not tolerate divided hearts that crave carnal desires
(verse 5). Instead, He expects Our total commitment, and He will pursue a spiritual adulterer so that he or she might return. But He will not dwell in
them if they choose to pursue another source of satisfaction.

People who commit themselves to God will not immediately be free
from the desire to find satistaction in other a arenas. But God will give us the strength to stay committed to Him.

James went on to provide seven keys to aligning oneself with God and finding genuine, godly personal
fulfilment. The first key is to humble, or submit, oneself to God (verse 7).
As Christians, we are to wilfully submit to God, humbling ourselves
before Him, recognising His sovereign authority, and choosing to
live according to His will and purpose for our lives.

The second key is to resist the devil (verse 7). Throughout our lives
the devil will try to draw us back into his grasp. He will often tempt us in
areas of personal weakness –an
activity, thought, or ambition where
we have an especially strong desire. Resisting temptation can be difficult. But it is easier to resist if we have
submitted those areas to God and recognised that a relationship with God is more important than temporary personal fulfilment that is sought for the wrong purpose.

The third key is to draw near to God (verse 8). God promises to never leave or forsake believers (see Hebrews 13:5). If wayward believers will lay aside their desires and seek God, He will be there and readily receive them back into a right relationship.

Fourth, Christians are to
“cleanse (KİV; or “wash,” NLT) [their] hands” (verse 8). One might imagine a farmer in a field, with dirt sticking to his hands. They will need cleansing.
In the same way, when people seek fulfilment through worldly means,
some of that worldliness attaches to them. A follower of God must forsake sinful things, as well as surrender to
God the good things that have taken on an improperly high level of
significance in their lives.

The fifth key is to purify one’s heart –the seat of our affections
(verse 8). We cannot be double –minded when it comes to our loyalties. God does not allow us to
share our affections. We must follow Him only.

The sixth key is to grieve over sin (verse 9). James indicated that Christians must recognise how
double-minded ways impact their relationship with God. No one who
truly loves God can come to the recognition of how their acts of worldliness affect their relationship
with Him and not have
Sorrow.

The final key is to humble oneself (verse 10). Humility leads to
submission. Believers often feel that they know what is best for them. But humility acknowledges that God is wiser than us. Sincere humility demands genuine trust in God.
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Questions for Application
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What is wrong with attempting to serve God while also seeking undue satisfaction in relationships, status, or material objects?

Do you think true humility is difficult Explain.
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B. Resist the Devil
1 Peter 5:6-10
Peter also addressed the issue of finding victory in our spiritual walk.
He urged Christians to humble themselves before God, reminding
them that God would “exalt” them in “due time” (verse 6, KJV). Note the contrast. Humans seek exaltation;
God calls us to humility. Humans tend to want to see immediate
results. But spiritual growth takes time. God will indeed exalt us-lift us
up –in His timing.

Growth may produce
challenges, but we must not allow these challenges to turn us aside from the pursuit of Him. Rather, we must let go of worries, concerns, and problems that hold us back, placing them in God’s hands, for He calls us to spiritual growth –part of which is the realisation that we are under His care (verse 7).

As we live in submission to God, we must, through the power of the
Spirit, resist the devil (verses 8-9). Why? Because the devil is focused on our spiritual destruction. Intentionally pursuing spiritual
growth is an active pursuit. We must
stand firm for God, resolved to walk
with Him. Through it all, we find comfort in knowing that others have
successfully pursued the goal of spiritual growth as they faced the
same challenges we face. We have the assurance that our pursuit will be rewarded by God, who will make us
strong and steadfast in Him (verse 10).
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Questions for Application
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What does it mean to submit to God?

What is the biggest challenge to spiritual growth that you are now facing?
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Call to Discipleship
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Victory is possible, not because of our strength and ingenuity, but
because we serve a God who provides the weapons and power we need through the Holy Spirit to successfully fight the enemy of our souls.
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Ministry in Action
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Find a fellow believer who is facing a spiritual battle, and commit to
Supporing that person as he or she moves forward in Christ.

Take the initiative to tell a trusted Christian friend about your spiritual battles, and ask him or her to pray for and with you.

Pray that God will prepare you to face struggles in the future so that you might experience victory in Christ.

 

 

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