20/20 Sunday School Lesson – Connected to God’s Family – wk 2

Categories: News

Connected to God’s Family

Key verse

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:24, 25

The goal of this lesson

Fostering community by guiding people into Christ-centered fellowship.


Have you ever worked diligently on a puzzle, only to find out toward the end of completion that you’re missing a piece of the puzzle? Can anything in life be more aggravating than that? It’s disappointing because you’ve worked diligently and see the potential of a completed picture, but know it will never happen because a piece is missing.

In our culture, we have warped the idea of Christianity so much so that we often believe that we can follow Christ alone, and separated from a local church. Now…this misunderstanding displays itself in a variety of ways in our Christian culture. All of these end up making the body of Christ weaker than it should be.

On the far end of the spectrum, we meet people who claim to love Christ and follow Him, yet see absolutely no need in any type of “formalized religion”. In other words, the need for church attendance is not seen and the need to be involved in a local church isn’t deemed necessary. They may attend a church occasionally, but it doesn’t have to be the same one. Or, they may must watch a church service on the internet and consider themselves to have “gone to church”.

The following two paragraphs hit a little closer to home. Some see the meeting together of believers in small groups or Sunday School as unnecessary for them to follow Jesus. They value a worship service and attend in a consistent manner, but never see the need for personal involvement in a small group. Christianity is an individualized process in their thinking. We often call these people silos because they exist out on their own.

More close to home, we have many that see Sunday School as optional. It isn’t necessary for them, or their family. They come when it is convenient, but any excuse not to come is valid. (As Bro. Tom used to say, “Any excuse will do, if you’re looking for one.)

All of these result in the weakening of the church’s ability to accomplish ministry and missions and hinder the sanctification of every believer in the church.


Our goal for discussion this week is for our classes to realize

That they are a valuable piece of the Sunday School puzzle.
That Sunday School is both needed and beneficial for them.
I. Small groups provide a great foundation where God moves among his people and grows His Kingdom.

Acts 2:1-6 – Notice the context in which this amazing outpouring of the Spirit and this great movement of God occurs.

“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.”

I don’t think it’s coincidental that such a huge movement of God begins in the context of everyone being “all together” and “in one place”.

ALL of them TOGETHER and…

IN ONE PLACE (physically & spiritually).

Some didn’t stay home because they viewed meeting together as unnecessary or optional. Some didn’t stay home to watch on the internet. They realized the importance of being together.

This isn’t saying that God can’t work on a one on one basis. Sometimes He does. In Acts 8, we see an Ethiopian eunuch’s conversion through Philip being obedient to heed the call of God, but His purposes often have the most influence, when done in a group context.

Think of it this way. Can a builder build a bigger, stronger building on a foundation that is 10’x10’ or one that is 200’x200’? Listen to this sentence from Rick Warren’s famous book, The Purpose-Driven Church, “The foundation determines both the size and the strength of a building. You can never build larger than the foundation can handle. The same is true for churches” (p. 86).

What is the foundation for growth and strength at our church?

Other than God’s Word, which is an obvious answer, it is Sunday School.

II. Small groups provide the environment and resources to accomplish God’s agenda.

The chapter ends the same way it begins. “All who believe were together.”

Acts 2:42-47

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

The portrait of the church in Acts 2:42-47 is one of a (1) healthy and (2) growing church. Students have long agreed that the church is healthy and growing because of what they are accomplishing – TOGETHER.

In Acts 2:42-47 these five facets of health are mentioned: They fellowshipped, edified each other, worshipped, ministered, and evangelized. As a result, verse 47 says, “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

The Five Dimensions of a Healthy Church

Churches grow warmer through fellowship.
Churches grow deeper through discipleship.
Churches grow stronger through worship.
Churches grow broader through ministry.
Churches grow larger through evangelism.
Church growth is the natural result of church health. But church health can only occur when our foundation is correctly built. The place in our church where all 5 of these aspects can happen most effectively is in the midst of a small group/Sunday School class that desires to be all that it can be.

I like the verses in Proverbs 27:17 and Ecclesiastes 4:12 that says respectively, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” And, “though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him – a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Small groups provide us with the place where we can grow healthy together and accomplish God’s Kingdom work.

III. There is danger in spiritual isolation.

I love to watch nature shows. You know the ones where the lion is attacking a baby antelope or sickly water buffalo. A gruesome picture, but very entertaining. The bible uses the same metaphor to warn believers about Satan’s attacks on us.

1 Peter 5:8

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Peter is telling us several spiritual concerns in this verse. Some of these are obvious…Be spiritually diligent and alert…Satan is our adversary…Satan is a schemer…He’s seeking to destroy the people of God… However, there is something here in this verse that is a little more subtle, but is a grave warning for the people of God. Satan, much like a lion, picks off the weakest of the herd. Believers who are isolated. The word “someone” is a singular word. It refers to an individual. A silo.

May we listen carefully to the warning of Hebrews

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:24, 25

Sunday School/Small Groups are the place where we meet together to “stir up one another to love and good works”…(and)…where we “encourage one another”. For us to be biblical Christians, it is an absolute necessity.

It is how we keep from “wavering” in our faith, because we see through the lives of other believers that “he who promised is faithful.” (Heb. 10:23).
It aids our sanctification to keep us from “sinning deliberately”. (Heb. 10:26).

Author: Michael Lawson

Pastor of Disciplemaking and Pastoral Care Mount Gilead Baptist Church