Sunday School lesson overview: Jonah 4

(A brief overview for Sunday School teachers and Bible study leaders, of a potential lesson plan for teaching Jonah Chapter 4:1-11. Many Southern Baptists will be teaching this lesson on Sunday October 9, 2022)

SAMPLE INTRODUCTION:  “What’s something in your life that you probably care TOO much about, that you really shouldn’t?”

For example, I’d say one of them for me might be OU (University of Oklahoma) football. I’ve watched it since I was a boy, and I get so nervous watching the games; and really almost “live and die” by how well they do — or not! The Lord’s been teaching me some lessons about that in recent years, and I *think* I’m getting better about it. But it’s just a game. It’s not life and death. (LOL I wrote this earlier in the week, before OU’s big loss Saturday!)

Maybe you’re like that with your team, or maybe a certain food, or the stock market/your retirement fund, what other people think; maybe you care way too much how some particular thing is done, or something else. You and your class can talk about things like that, that are not REALLY that important, but that you tend to care too much about. 

And then you could say: This morning in our study of Jonah 4, we see something that Jonah cared too much about; that took too big a place in his life. God brought this to his attention, and showed him that there was something more important that he should care about!

OR, for a more “classic” introduction, you could use this:  In Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities he tells of the Marquis St. Evremonde, an extremely rich man who entertained himself by racing his carriage through the narrow streets of Paris and watching the peasants dive out of the way. But while the Marquis was driving, suddenly there was a thud; the carriage stopped. People were screaming and crying. Evremonde’s carriage had hit a child. The Marquis was upset also: “Why is he making that abominable noise? How do I know what injury you have done to my horses?” He tossed out a gold coin to the child’s father, and sped away. 

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“Your Spiritual Armor” (Ephesians 6:10-20 sermon)

One of the things I have appreciated about living here in Angleton is the cooperation between the local police and the pastors of the town. We have regular lunches with the police and first responders and talk about various issues going on here. It’s just healthy for our community. One thing I was glad to see at a recent meeting, was that the chief said that some of the officers had just received some new body armor — and he had one of the officers stand up and show us that he had it on. 

It’s good to see that our police have that armor. They need it. They put their lives on the line for us every day — and we need to be praying God’s protection for them — as well as provide whatever physical armor we can for protection. 

The Bible also says that every Christian has a kind of “armor” available to us — not the kind of amor you can “see,” like that police officer had on — but a “spiritual armor” that we need even more than physical armor, to fight the spiritual battles we face every day. Let’s look at what Ephesians 6 tells us about Our Spiritual Armor.

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Lifeway “Explore the Bible” Jonah 1:15-2:10 “No Escape”

(A brief overview for Sunday School teachers and Bible study leaders of Lifeway’s “Explore the Bible” lesson of Jonah 1:15-2:10 for Sunday, October 2, 2022, with the title, “No Escape.” A video version of this overview is available on YouTube at:

INTRO: The Teacher’s Book actually has a pretty good introduction to this lesson, but let me give you some more specifics on it. Joe Louis, the famous boxer, faced Billy Conn in June of 1946. Conn was 25 pounds lighter than Louis, and had faced him before, so his strategy was going to be to dodge and run, and not trade punches with Louis. Sportswriters asked Louis how he would deal with Conn, and Louis famously said, “He can run, but he can’t hide.” And he was right — Louis knocked him out in the 8th round of that fight!

That wouldn’t be a bad title for this lesson: “You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide.” That is definitely true of our relationship with God. And that’s definitely something the lesson this week teaches us. Jonah could run, but he could’t hide from God — and neither can we!  

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Teachers’ Overview of Lifeway “Explore the Bible” lesson: Amos 9:5-15, “Hope in God”

A brief overview, for Sunday School teachers and Bible study leaders, of Lifeway’s “Explore the Bible” lesson of Amos 9:5-15, for Sunday, September 25, 2022 with the title: “Hope in God.”

A video version of this overview is available at:

INTRO: One way you could begin the lesson this week, would be to share the true story one of my former church members sent me a week or two ago; he said he was in the hospital for something, and the hospital chaplain had a prayer time over the public address system for all the patients. He thought that was really neat — until the chaplain prayed: “God, we know You’re doing doing the best You can …”.   When he sent me that, I was like, “Oh my.”  You could talk with your class about, “What was wrong with that prayer?” The answer, of course, God is not some “pitiful” figure who’s up there “just trying to do the best He can”! He’s Almighty God, the Lord of the Universe, and there is NOTHING too difficult for Him.  We need to better realize just Who He is, and what He can do — and that we are accountable to Him, which our lesson for this week talks about.  

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“Where’s Your Glory?” (Jeremiah 9:23-24 sermon)

It’s football season, and many college football fans virtually live and die on the success of their football teams. Fans wear their team’s colors on game day, and get excited when they win, and bask in the glory of that victory for a day or two — OR get really depressed when they lose. In a very real sense, it can be said that football fans “glory” in their team.

That sense of “glorying” in a football team like that, helps us to understand the heart of the meaning of Jeremiah 9:23 when it says, “let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches, but let him boasts, boast of this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD …”.

The word “boast” that is used throughout this verse is the Hebrew word “halal,” we get our word “Hallelujah” from it. It means “to praise, to glory, to boast” in something — like many people today do their favorite sports team. What you praise or glory in says a lot about what’s really important in your life. And God has a word for us here in these verses about what we SHOULD and should NOT boast or glory in: 

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Teachers’ Overview of Lifeway Explore the Bible: Amos 5:4-15

A brief overview for Sunday school teachers and Bible study leaders, of Lifeway’s “Explore the Bible” lesson of Amos 5:4-15 for Sun. Sept 18, 2022, “Seek God.”

A video version of the overview is available on YouTube at:

INTRO: You could ask your class: “What is something you spent a lot of time looking for, and why?” One of the “sad” stories of my childhood, is that I had a favorite little Matchbox car, and I treasured it so much, that I dug a hole in the back yard, and buried it there. But when I went back the next day, I couldn’t find again the place where I had buried it! I looked and looked and dug and searched, but I couldn’t find it! I searched diligently for it because it was my favorite, so I put a lot of time into it — though sadly I never found it.

We all have stories like that; If you have one, share it yourself, and encourage your class to share theirs too. Why they spent a lot of time seeking something, and why it was so important to them.

And then you could say: today our lesson from Amos is on Seeking GOD. HE is the most important One we can ever seek — and we need to more into seeking HIM, than into seeking anyone or anything else.  

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Teachers’ Overview of Lifeway Explore the Bible: Amos 4:1-13, “Turn to God

(A brief overview for Sunday school teachers and Bible study leaders, of Lifeway’s “Explore the Bible” lesson of Amos 4:1-13, for Sunday, September 11, 2022, with the title, “Turn To God.”

A video version of this overview is available on YouTube at:

INTRO: I might ask my class: Did you ever discipline a child, or an employee, to get them to stop a certain behavior?  If we think about it, most of us have:

I remember when we were at our first church in OKC, our oldest two sons were little, and we lived by a very busy street. We told them there was a line in the front yard (at a certain tree) that they were not to cross, because it took them too close to the street, where they could be hit and killed. If they crossed that line, they would get a spanking. And we made sure we observed that rule every time. It was not that we just “enjoyed” spanking them; we were trying to get them to obey us in this crucial thing. Their lives may have depended upon it! So there was a purpose in the pain were inflicting on them.  

You/your group will have stories like this that you can share. Most of us don’t just “get a kick” out of disciplining our kids, or employees, or whomever — but we do it because there is some behavior we are aiming for them to change. 

THEN I would say: this is what we see GOD doing in our passage for today.  We will see here that God sent a series of calamities upon Israel, but He was doing for a specific purpose: to get them to return to Him. (If you don’t use this in the introduction, you might use it in Pt. III below …)

OR you might open class by talking about “warnings.” 

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“What God Wants From Us” (Micah 6:8 sermon)

Both the public schools, and our Angleton Christian School have resumed classes now. And I’m sure as classes began, most teachers shared with their students their expectations, right from the beginning: here’s how we need you to act, in your conduct; here’s what is required of you, assignment-wise, to get a certain grade. And that’s good; it’s good to know what the expectations are, going in.

And we might say the same thing is true in our relationship with God. What does God want from us? What does He expect of me? What does He care about — and NOT care about! Maybe you’re here at First Baptist Angleton for the first time — or maybe even any church for the first time — or for the first time in a long time. Or maybe you have come today because you’re seeking God in a special way at this time in your life. As you seek to come to Him, what does He want from you? It’s good to know, right?  

Well, that’s what our passage for today shows us. Verse 6 says, “With what shall I come to the Lord?” In other words, what does God want from me? Verse 8 answers the question: “He has told you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you.” And He shows us here what He wants, both in our vertical relationship towards Him, and in our horizontal relationships with other people. So let’s look at what God’s word says He wants from us today:

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Teachers Overview of Explore the Bible Amos 2:4-16, “Listen To God”

(A brief overview for Sunday school teachers and Bible Study leaders of the Lifeway Explore the Bible lesson of Amos 2:4-16, for Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022, “Listen to God.” The video version of this overview is available on YouTube at:

INTRO: I might spend a little time introducing: THE MINOR PROPHETS, the 12 books that finish out the Old Testament. 

I’d emphasize they are not “minor” in importance; only minor in SIZE. 

But they have a powerful message.

Unfortunately, because they are small in length, and tucked away at the end of the OT, they often don’t get their due.

ONE EXERCISE you could do at/near the beginning of this lesson:  have a handout sheet with the 12 minor prophets listed, and see what your members can write down about each of these 12: do they know what that book is about; do they have a verse memorized in it, etc? OR instead of doing it individually, you could all chip in together calling out what they know, while you write it on the Dry Erase board or whatever you have.  I think what we ‘d find is that many of us just don’t know these 12 “minor prophets” very well — maybe Jonah or another 1 or 2 — but God has a lot for us in these books. 

We are going to be looking at FOUR of these “minor prophets” this quarter: Amos, Jonah, Hosea, and Micah. Starting with Amos today.

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“The Spirit In Us” (Romans 8:9-17sermon)

In Acts Chapter 19, the Apostle Paul is on his way to Ephesus, and he comes across some disciples. He asked them: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They said to him: “No, we have not even heard whether there IS a Holy Spirit.” Paul said to them: “Into what then were you baptized?” (Because Jesus commanded us to be baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.) You can kind of “read between the lines” and hear the shock and surprise in Paul’s voice: “You haven’t heard about the Holy Spirit? Into what then were you BAPTIZED if you haven’t heard of the Holy Spirit!” 

Sadly, you could be in a number of churches today and not hear anything about the Holy Spirit for a long time. But it shouldn’t be that way. The doctrine of the Trinity is one of the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith: that God exists eternally in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God with us; He is Jesus in us. He is vital to the Christian life, as we shall see, and every genuine Christian has the Holy Spirit inside of them. 

Romans 8 is one of the greatest chapters in all the word of God, and it was our privilege to read it this week. One of the things we saw in it as we read, is that it repeatedly refers to the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives as believers. Let’s review briefly what Romans 8 tells us about the work of the Holy Spirit in us as God’s people: 

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