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Upcoming Adult Sunday School Lessons

A Synopsis of the Summer Quarter (September - November 2017) Sunday School Lessons.

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Fall 2017

Quarter At A Glance

 by Dougals Redford


The concept of a covenant-making deity was virtually unknown to pagan religions of the ancient Near East (see Get the Setting, page 4). The impersonal nature of their fictitious gods contrasts starkly with the personal nature of the true God, the one who declares, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). He demonstrates that love through the covenants He makes with humanity.

Signs from GodA characteristic of God’s covenants is His provision of signs to accompany them. Such signs, or symbols, serve as reminders or visual aids. As such, they keep people aware of both their privileges and their responsibilities under the covenant at issue. This is necessary; for while God has a spotless record as a covenant keeper, humans are just as consistent in being covenant breakers. God knows all too well our tendency to forget or to be distracted from pursuing His desires for us.

The covenant signs highlighted in our first unit of study are the rainbow, circumcision, Sabbath observance, and the presence of the Spirit. The presence of the rainbow (lesson 1) and the Spirit (lesson 4) point to obligations God has placed on himself. On the other hand, the signs of circumcision (lesson 2) and observance of the Sabbath (lesson 3) point to obligations that God placed on humans. An interesting difference!

Servants of GodOur second unit of study highlights God’s partnership with the obedient. Under particular consideration in that regard are Abraham (lesson 5), Moses (lessons 6 and 7), and David (lesson 8). They are key figures in the history of Israel, history that included a return from exile that only God could have orchestrated (lesson 9).

Sometimes the making of a covenant is accompanied by non-enduring signs—visual aids intended only for the original audience. For example, God’s covenant with Abraham featured a rather mysterious procedure in which God had him participate. This assured the patriarch that God would keep His promises.

Offering more examples are the two lessons concerning Moses as they note the sights and sounds of thunder, lightning, thick cloud, loud trumpet, smoke, fire, earthquake, thick darkness, and even the voice of God himself! All were meant to have a lasting impression on the Israelites in deterring sin (Exodus 20:20). But history reveals Israel’s failure in this regard, and the Jews of Nehemiah’s day had their personal experience of return from exile as a reminder to obey God.

Son of God

God has a spotless record as a covenant keeper.

Our third unit of study touches on some distinctive qualities of the new covenant in Jesus. The prophet Jeremiah (lesson 11) foresaw this covenant as he looked ahead to God’s intentions to “remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). The study from Hebrews 12 (lesson 12) notes how Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant. Fittingly, that lesson is followed by instructions on observing the Lord’s Supper. Christ instituted this visual aid as a way for us to remind ourselves of the basis of the new covenant under which we live.

When New Means BetterPersonal experience teaches us that something advertised as new does not always mean it is better than what is being replaced. But Hebrews 8:6 is our assured reminder that the new covenant in Christ is infinitely better than the old. How privileged we are to live under the better!



Unit 1: Signs of God’s Covenants


Lesson 1, September 3--The Rainbow--Genesis 8:20-22; 9:8-17

Lesson 2, September 10--Circumcision--Genesis 1:1-14   

Lesson 3, September 17--Sabbath Observance--Exodus 31:12-18 

Lesson 4, September 4--Spirit-Filled Heart--Ezekiel 36:22-32 




Unit 2: Called into Covenant with God


Lesson 5, October 1--God's Covenant with Abraham--Genesis 15:1-6, 17-21

Lesson 6, October 8--God's Covenant with Israel--Exodus 19:16-25 

Lesson 7, October 15--Obeying God's Law--Exodus 20:18-26  

Lesson 8, October 22--God's Covenant with David--2 Samuel 7:1-6, 8-10, 12-16   

Lesson 9, October 29--God's Covenant with the Returned Exiles--Nehemiah 9:32-38; 10:28, 29




Unit 3: An Everlasting Covenant


Lesson 10, November 5--Faithful God, Unfaithful People--Numbers 25:10-13; 1 Samuel 2:30-36  

Lesson 11, November 12--Promise of a New Covenant--Jeremiah 31:27-34

Lesson 12, November 19--Mediator of the New Covenant--Hebrews 12:14, 15, 18-29

Lesson 13, November 26--Remembering the Covenant--1 Corinthians 11:23-34

  Diligent study of these lessons will not only bless you spiritually, but also aid you in discovering God's plan for your own life.

-John Alva Owston

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