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Bible Study: Jan. 17, 2016

NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the YOU curriculum.

Bible Passage: Colossians 3:8-17

Discussion Questions: What kinds of barriers still exist in your heart? Think about your daily and weekly routines. How can whatever you do on a daily basis become a platform for you to glorify God in your community?

Food for Thought:

The recent protests in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, Md., have revealed something we all knew. We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long, long way to go. While this Bible study lesson is not designed to analyze who was right and who was wrong in these difficult and tense situations, one thing is clear. Our communities are in desperate need of godly people and godly churches. We need peacekeepers in our community to work toward God’s kingdom and the salvation of the lost. In this week’s lesson, we will examine the attitudes and actions we need to put off and put on in order to be the peacekeepers our communities need.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “The time is always right to do what is right.” I think Paul the apostle would agree. Like most of his letters, Paul’s letter to the Colossians moves from the theological to the practical. Paul typically begins by writing about what Christians ought to believe. Then he transitions to explain how they ought to act based on what they believe.

In Colossians 3, Paul makes the transition and begins outlining the “right” things that Christians are to do. He begins in verses 5-6 by listing attitudes that once characterized the Colossian believers. They had been “worldly” (v. 5) in every sense of the word. In verse 8, Paul tacks on other attitudes that believers are to take off or set aside as they follow Christ.

No metaphor is perfect, but Paul uses this extended comparison throughout this passage. Christians no longer have any need for “anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language” (v. 8). These are what the “old” us looked like. The “new” us is supposed to resemble “the image of the Creator” (vs. 9-10).

The beauty of Christianity is that no matter how bad the “old” us was, each of us has been re-made into the image of the same person — Christ. The old barriers that used to divide us don’t matter. There is no place for discrimination and prejudice in Christ’s church because the only label that exists there is “Christ.”

How can you work for peace in your community? The better question may be “How can you not work for peace in your community?” Maybe you have a neighbor who doesn’t attend church. Maybe you have children in your neighborhood who need a father figure or a motherly influence. Maybe the leaders in your area need an energetic volunteer to take the reins of a program and begin meeting basic needs of the community. Whatever choice you make, remember that social change is the by-product of Paul’s command in verse 16, that we “let the message about the Messiah dwell richly” in our hearts. The Gospel message must be our message to the community. True and lasting peace comes from hearts surrendered to Jesus. Peacemakers are those who deliver that message.

Intentionally focused on urban and multicultural believers, YOU’s short, topical studies are culturally relevant with clear life-application components that challenge learners to live missionally as they connect, grow, serve, and ultimately be engaged in impacting the world for Christ. This flexible, non-dated 3-in-1 quarterly resource offers weekly Bible study for leaders and learners, devotionals and teaching plans, as well as articles on hot topics and missions. For additional online teaching resources, visit LifeWay.com/YOU.

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.

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  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources