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 MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passage: Revelation 3:7-13
Discussion Questions: How does it make you feel to know that God knows your deeds? Why do we often find it so difficult to remain faithful while waiting for God to work? Denying God’s name means more than saying we don’t know Him. How might Christians be tempted to deny His name?
Food for Thought:
Let’s take a journey to the city of Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. No, not the one famous for the Liberty Bell, Benjamin Franklin, cheese steak sandwiches, and poor behavior at sporting events. Not the one located in Pennsylvania, but the one located in Asia Minor and referenced in Revelation 3. Let’s make a quick trip to that Philadelphia. Specifically, let’s drop in on the first-century church there.
What we find is a small group of believers — small in several ways. Their numbers do not seem to have been overwhelming. The community around them would have concluded that they had little visible impact in their society. The believers we find gathered as part of this group were likewise seen as small people. They came from the lower, less influential class, from the “other side of the tracks” in Philadelphia. As we look at the church, we might be tempted to conclude that they mattered very little. Even they could have questioned their significance as a body of believers.
But we might want to be careful about the conclusions we draw, for the church in Philadelphia is one of only two of the seven churched in Revelation 2-3 that did NOT receive a rebuke from Jesus. Regardless of what we or they conclude about their significance, Jesus saw enough in them to withhold any rebuke. Instead, He commended them for their deeds, for their obedience to His word, and for faithfully refusing to deny His name.
Our circumstances might not suggest greatness or impress the people around us. They might fail to see us as significant; we might not matter to them. But God doesn’t solicit peer reviews with which to formulate His evaluation of us. He doesn’t form His opinion based on how we grade out in the eyes of others. He does weigh our deeds against His expectations. He does review our obedience to the words He has spoken to us. And He does look to see whether we deny His name.
The church in Philadelphia might not look impressive, but we could learn a good deal from them!
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at www.lifeway.com/masterwork.
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.