Diligent - 2 Timothy 2:14-26

1.      What does the word “diligent” mean? (“Having or showing care and conscientiousness in one’s work or duties.” Diligent is an adjective referring to conscientious and attentive devotion.)

2.      What are some examples of diligence you see in the world? (We see it in the most common places as well as in special places. Diligence is seen in the person who is committed to caring for his/her family as they get up and go to work every day; the soldier, police officer, firefighter, nurse and so on.)

3.      What are some ways in which diligence is needed in the Christian life? (The things we remind ourselves of almost weekly: Bible study, prayer, fellowship with God’s people, worship, ministry, and so on.)

4.      If you were a teacher, what would you expect from your students to master a subject and excel in the classroom? (Good students don’t just come to class; they read the assigned texts and do their homework diligently. Students who approach a subject with curiosity and actively engage with the material not only master it faster but help other students in the process.)

Individuals who excel by diligence rather than innate brilliance serve as good role models for weaker students. Those who excel, no matter what barriers they must overcome to do so, encourage their teachers too and remind them why they became teachers!

 

Last week we discussed the value of enduring for Christ and remaining focused; today we’re going to discuss how Paul reminded Timothy of the importance of remaining diligent as a follower of Christ, giving careful attention to remain faithful to the truth of God’s Word.

 

Two Groups! Read 2 Timothy 2:14-19

 

The pronoun “them” may refer to the church as a whole but more likely points back to the faithful men Timothy was to train.

As we have learned, one of Paul’s primary motivations for writing these two letters to Timothy was to warn against false teachers and give Timothy some guidance as to how to deal with them. As the Christian stands up against false teachers, one result may be quarreling.

1.      Why did Paul warn against such arguing about words? (It was useless, accomplishes nothing good, but can cause harm.)

When people and churches get caught up in majoring on the minors or begin distorting the gospel, the result can be the ruin of the hearers. Churches that forget why they exist often wander, wither, and die. Our purpose is to reach the world for Jesus.

When Paul says “leads to ruin of those who listen” he might be referring to Christians whose effectiveness was lost in the confusion of unprofitable debate.

2.      How would you describe the best approach to confront false teachings? (We must use the Word of God with a gentle spirit and speak in love not harsh, condemning words. Our ultimate goal is to share the truth with them and have them accept Jesus. If we alienate them by our harshness they may never come to know, understand, and accept the truth.)

We must remember, we cannot transform anyone—we can’t even change ourselves—only the Holy Spirit can take truth and transform lives.

3.      What did Paul say was the prerequisite to being able to offer correct teaching of God’s Word? (Diligent effort in knowing God’s Word.)

4.      What do you see as the difference between a worker approved by God and one who isn’t? (The worker approved by God works in the power of the Holy Spirit rather than his own power.)

You may not formally teach biblical truth, but you have opportunities through both word and action to teach such truth daily. We are all teachers in some capacity, and it is important for us to be prepared.

5.      If God were evaluating you on your job performance, would you have reason to be ashamed (v. 15)?

Timothy was to avoid anything that detracted from the centrality of Scripture and teach those faithful men to do the same.

6.      What analogy did Paul use to emphasize the danger of “irreverent and empty speech” in the church? (“Their teaching will spread like gangrene.” It is deadly to the church.)

7.      What false teaching were Hymenaeus and Philetus spreading among the church members? (The resurrection had already taken place. See 2 Thess. 2:1-3)

By saying that this was “ruining the faith of some” Paul was not saying people were losing their salvation by this doctrinal confusion. Rather, the word picture Paul painted suggests the controversy was upsetting their understanding of the truth.

8.      I love the word “nevertheless” in verse 19. What does Paul remind us of in this verse? (“God’s solid foundation stands firm…”)

9.      What action must “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord” take? (“Turn away from wickedness.” That command is all encompassing; it means all kinds of wickedness!)

10.  How does faithfully studying the Bible help a believer avoid useless and false debates? (We cannot know the difference between empty speech and edifying speech without studying God’s Word.)

 

Two Vessels! Read 2 Timothy 2:20-21

 

Paul used the illustration of two kinds of vessels in a house to emphasize the importance of godliness. The bowls were gold and silver and designed for special use while other bowls made of wood and earthenware served the purpose for ordinary occasions. Similarly, some believers honored Jesus worthily by their behavior and belief while others dishonored Him by their lifestyle.

 

1.      What is the relationship between purity and service? (The blood of Christ ultimately purifies the believer. But believers participate in purifying by removing sinful matter from their lives. As such we are useful to the Master. Notice, the vessel is not useful in and of itself, but as it is employed by the Master. In His hands, we find purpose and value!)

2.      How does a commitment to studying God’s Word lead to practicing God’s Word? (As we approach Scripture with a pure, teachable spirit, the Word speaks to us and leads us in righteousness through the indwelling Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to live out what we’ve learned!)

Read 2 Timothy 2:22

 

Just because some of us are not young in age doesn’t mean that we are immune from “youthful passions.”

3.      What are some “youthful passions” we should flee? (Worldly attitudes, lust, cravings, things that take our focus off the mission of sharing the gospel.)

4.      What was Timothy to pursue, run after, and work toward? (Righteousness, faith, love, peace, and purity.)

5.      We are challenged to pursue righteousness. How would you describe “righteousness” to someone who wanted to pursue it? (Christlikeness. Obedience to God out of a heart of love for God. Moral uprightness in all areas of life.)

We don’t just flee from evil, we must run toward something. Timothy was to keep his focus on pursuing those things that would lead people, who are ensnared by the world and caught in Satan’s trap, to repentance and faith.

Our close companions should be those who pursue these things Paul listed here. Fellowship with like-minded believers would help Timothy, and us, run away from inappropriate passions and run toward holy virtues. It will also inspire us to be an honorable vessel, suitable for the Lord’s purpose.

 

Two Approaches! Read 2 Timothy 2:23-26

 

1.      What traits should characterize a servant of the Lord? (Not quarrelsome, gentle, able to teach, and patient.)

These traits are very important when confronting false teachings or trying to share the gospel with a lost person.

2.      How does a poor attitude discredit a person’s message? (Avoiding debate for debate’s sake eliminates the opportunity for division and conflict without good reason. While there are certainly times when the integrity of the gospel calls for a spirited defense, many arguments are moiré speculative and not earnest searches for truth.)

3.      What is needed for others to respect our witness when we are drawn into a discussion? (Taking a gentle, patient approach when sharing actually assists the learner to become more teachable.)

4.      Read Proverbs 15:1-2. What do we learn from this ancient proverb? (When in a disagreement speak with gentleness and avoid harshness. Make knowledge look attractive!)

Knowing the truth from studying the Bible helps protect us from the enemy and helps us share God’s Word with patience and urgency.  I read somewhere this week the following: “A man’s soul must be very valuable because God and Satan are both trying to win them.”

 

Summarize and Challenge!

 

·         Believers must continue to study God’s Word to avoid being led astray.

·         Believers must intentionally flee sin and pursue righteousness to be useful in God’s work.

·         Believers are to present God’s Word to others with love, respect and kindness.

 

Who do you regularly encounter who is antagonistic toward the gospel?

What principles discovered in this study can you follow when approaching this person in the future?

 

Sometimes we are called to do a health assessment. We also need to do regular spiritual health assessments. Based on today’s key points: passing on the faith, staying focused on the mission, teaching the truth, and living with gentleness and patience, how is your spiritual health?

If being strong in the Lord is your goal, what action is required?

 

Focused - 2 Timothy 2:1-13

An old Bulgarian proverb reads as follows: “God promises a safe landing but not a calm passage.”

1.      What are some ways we’ve seen this to be true in our lives? (One example comes right out of the book of Genesis. Joseph was sold into slavery but in the end recognized that what his brothers meant for evil God used for good.)

We’ve all been through difficult times in our lives and wondered how God could possibly use it for good. One example from my life: In 1987 I was part-time Minister of Music in a church in Lawton. I realized I could no longer in good conscience work with the pastor. I resigned my position and we moved our membership to a sister church in Lawton. There God opened up an opportunity to serve that would not have been there had I stayed at the other church. That opportunity led to full-time ministry just three short years later.

(Read the following paragraph out of the Personal Study Guide for this quarter page 73.)

“We all face seasons of disappointment. As followers of Christ we don’t receive an exemption card that allows us immunity from hardships and heartbreaks. The Lord assured us that we would face tribulation. He also promised that He would never forsake us no matter how menacing the tribulation. Every trial provides us the choice to focus on the problem or to focus on His empowering grace. The decision we make can make a difference between victory and defeat.”

2.      What factors contribute to a hardship sharpening or souring a person’s view of life? (Our focus makes all the difference in the world. If our focus is on ourselves our view will be sour, but if our focus is on God and His will for our lives we will be sharpened spiritually.)

Consider Peter and the other apostles in Acts 5:40-41.

Today we’re going to learn how God’s grace and the gospel help us face the trials of life and remain focused on living for Christ through all circumstances.

Future Focused! Read 2 Timothy 2:1-2

 

Paul ended chapter one by mentioning those who had deserted the faith. “Therefore” in verse 1 is saying, “In light of what I told you about them, you need to stand strong.”

1.      Why did Paul encourage Timothy to stay strong? (Because it is so easy to become weak in our spiritual walk, especially when we face trials and opposition. It takes intentionality to stay strong in our faith.)

2.      What is the source of strength to which Paul pointed Timothy? (The grace of the Lord Jesus. I heard a song recently that encouraged people who thought they had sinned beyond God’s grace to forgive. There is a phrase in the song that says, “There is nothing stronger than grace.” In other words you can’t out-sin God’s grace.)

Timothy’s strength would not be found within himself. Only because he understood and relied on God’s unmerited favor toward him would he succeed. Not only is our conversion a gift of God’s grace, but also our ongoing victory in living the Christian life.

Paul called on Timothy to pass on to others the things which had been taught to him, who will in turn also teach others.

3.      Why was it so important for Timothy to prepare another generation to lead? (As we mentioned last week, we are only one generation away from paganism.)

4.      What was Timothy to teach this next generation? (The truths that Paul had taught and preached, not only to Timothy but “in the presence of many witnesses…” Of course, we would expect Timothy to also teach the truths Paul wrote to him in his letters.)

5.      How would you describe the process Paul laid out for Timothy to follow? (Disciples making disciples who make disciples!)

6.      What were the character traits of those Timothy was to disciple? (Faithful men who would be consistent and able to teach the truths they were taught.)

7.      If our class started a new class every 18 months what would our Sunday School Department look like in ten years? (If each averaged 10 that would be another 70 people. That is what disciples making disciples looks like!)

Deciding early as Christians what kind of impact we want to have on our families and communities demands we order our steps accordingly. Without a plan for passing on the faith, the church decreases in power with each succeeding generation. Christians can’t complete their part in God’s redemptive plan without a strategy for reaching the next generation.

 

Mission Focused! Read 2 Timothy 2:3-7

 

Paul used three metaphors as symbols of the Christian life: the faithful soldier, the disciplined athlete, and the hardworking farmer.

These three illustrations show us, not simply a way to make a living, but a commitment to a way of life.

The reference to “recruiter” in verse 4 is a term that meant not only recruiter but commander. In Paul’s day, soldiers were everywhere you went in the Roman Empire. There were approximately 28 legions of some 6,000 troops each. Everyone knew what Paul was talking about when he mentioned what was required of a soldier!

1.      In what sense are Christians to be like soldiers? (The “Recruiter” and “Commander” is Jesus Christ, Himself. Our entire lives are to be centered on Him and His will for our lives, focused on the task, totally committed. Not a way to make a living but a lifestyle!)

2.      In what sense are Christians to be like athletes? (Disciplined, striving for the very best, trained, and being obedient to God—following the rules for a godly life.)

3.      In what sense are Christians to be like farmers? (They have an investment in the crop—their hard work. They must stay focused on the harvest and the rewards of the harvest.)

4.      How is discipline applied to the Christian life? (Just as we discipline our bodies for exercise, we discipline our minds and our actions to be obedient to God, to make Him our #1 priority. We must remember that the activities we call disciplines, like prayer, Bible study, worship, etc are not an end in themselves. They are all designed to help us know God and know Him more intimately. When we practice these disciplines, it should be from a desire to know Jesus better, not to simply mark something else off my checklist of religious activities.)

Timothy was to strive to see the truth of the illustrations: beyond warfare lives victory; beyond athletic effort lies a prize; beyond the farmer’s work lies a harvest. Because this message has been preserved, it applies to us as well.

5.      What insight did Paul give Timothy that can increase our focus of the mission? (Meditation on Scripture increases understanding. Think deeply rather than being satisfied with a shallow reading. Suffering and endurance are part of the Christian life, but we can lean on God for His guidance and grace.)

6.      What helps you remain focused on Christ’s mission, especially during difficult days? (Bible study, prayer and seeking God’s direction each day.)

 

Paul challenged Timothy to remain focused on Jesus and His resurrection. He explained that any hardship faced must be balanced with the potential of sharing the gospel with others.

Christ Focused! Read 2 Timothy 2:8-13

 

Remembering Jesus’ resurrection served as proof that He was fully God; remembering He descended from the lineage of David pointed to Him as the Messiah and fully man. Furthermore verse 9 reminds us that Paul saw the message of the gospel as something not to be bound. Then in verse 10, Paul counted the cost of obedience and remained faithful because the salvation of others was at stake.

Paul knew that God had chosen the proclamation of the gospel as His means to bring people to salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

1.      What was Paul’s situation as he wrote this letter to Timothy? (He was bound in chains like a criminal.)

2.      What was Paul’s assurance about God’s message he was bound for preaching? (God’s message was free to do its work. Can you imagine what it was like for the soldiers manning the jail, hearing Paul constantly sharing the gospel!)

3.      How can opposition serve as a means for sharing the gospel? (We have opportunity to speak the truth of God’s Word and it is living—see Heb. 4:12. If we but speak it, the Word will do the work.)

Read the four “if” statements in verses 11-13.

4.       How does focusing on Christ’s faithfulness to us help us persevere in faithfulness to Him? (We have assurance from God’s Word that He will be with us though whatever happens to us. God is faithful and cannot deny who He is!)

God continues to seek us, even when we are not faithful to Him!

Living and dying with Christ depends on both Jesus’ power and our acceptance. Likewise, rejection of Christ inevitably becomes a two-way street. When our humanity and fallen nature overtake us Jesus again steps in to save the relationship.

We must always rely upon the strength of Christ and His faithfulness as our main focus!

 

Summarize and Challenge!

 

1.      When it comes to living out your Christianity, what do you do to stay focused?

Focusing on the right things results in a strong, enduring, and others-centered faith. On the other hand, when we focus on the wrong elements, we’re more likely to end up as distracted, disillusioned, and wondering souls.

A focus on the future helps us do our part to evangelize and disciple the next generation of believers.

Unless we keep our minds on Jesus, we’ll lose heart; by His example we find fresh strength!

2.      Would you say that you’re focused on the right things?

3.      What are your goals for you Christian life this next year?

 

Whatever God leads you to do, stay focused on the task!

 

1.       Verse 12, 13. What happens if we disown Him? Is a backsliding Christian still saved?

This is a question that has been debated endlessly over the years. The word “backslider” or “backsliding” does not appear in the New Testament and is used in the Old Testament primarily of Israel. The Jews, though they were God’s chosen people, continually turned their backs on Him and rebelled against His Word (Jeremiah 8:9). That is why they were forced to make sacrifices for sin over and over in order to restore their relationship with the God they had offended. The Christian, however, has availed himself of the perfect, once-and-for-all sacrifice of Christ and needs no further sacrifice for his sin. God himself has obtained our salvation for us (2 Corinthians 5:21) and because we are saved by Him, a true Christian cannot fall away so as not to return.

Christians do sin (1 John 1:8), but the Christian life is not to be identified by a life of sin. Believers are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). We have the Holy Spirit in us producing good fruit (Galatians 5:22–23). A Christian life should be a changed life. Christians are forgiven no matter how many times they sin, but at the same time Christians should live a progressively more holy life as they grow closer to Christ. We should have serious doubts about a person who claims to be a believer yet lives a life that says otherwise. Yes, a true Christian who falls back into sin is still saved, but at the same time a person who lives a life controlled by sin is not truly a Christian.

What about a person who denies Christ? The Bible tells us that if a person denies Christ, he never truly knew Christ to begin with. 1 John 2:19 declares, “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.” A person who rejects Christ and turns his back on faith is demonstrating that he never belonged to Christ. Those who belong to Christ remain with Christ. Those who renounce their faith never had it to begin with. 2 Timothy 2:11–13, “Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” — Got Questions Ministries, Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2002–2013).

 

 

Confidence - 2 Timothy 1:1-14

1.      Is self-confidence a good or bad thing? (It depends on the context in which it is used. Confidence in the abilities and gifts God has blessed us with is good as long as we remember that God is the Source and not ourselves.)

2.      Does our culture over emphasize self-reliance?

3.      How does our culture foster or impede trusting in God opposed to ourselves? (Our culture often stresses reliance on self and our own abilities without regard to any thought of God.)

Paul writes his second letter to Timothy while in prison in Rome the second and final time. Most scholars believe Paul felt his death was near so this letter is most likely the last letter Paul wrote. He wanted to encourage Timothy and urge him on to preach/teach the truth of God’s Word with assurance and boldness.

 

Read 2 Timothy 1:1-2

As we look at 2 Timothy and understand its context, we can begin to recognize how Paul sought to demonstrate the work of the gospel in believers. It begins with how we learn to have confidence, not in ourselves, but in Christ!

 

Heritage! Read 2 Timothy 1:3-5

 

1.      What was it that made Paul so thankful to God? (“When I constantly remember you—Timothy—in my prayers night and day.”)

Paul was saying that anytime he was praying Timothy came to his mind and he lifted him up in prayer.

2.      How would it make you feel to know the Apostle Paul was praying for you on a regular basis—day and night?

3.      What was it that Paul remembered about Timothy? (The tears that were shed at their last parting; and Timothy’s sincere faith.)

4.      What was Paul’s spiritual heritage? (Paul remembered his ancestors who served God with a clear conscience, and now Paul was doing likewise. He could be making reference to his immediate family but more likely to his Jewish ancestors—Abraham, Isaac, Moses and so on.)

5.      What spiritual heritage did Paul recall for Timothy? (Timothy’s father was most likely Greek and not a Christian, but that didn’t stop his mother and grandmother from having a tremendous influence in his spiritual life.)

A recent Barna Group study cited the following statistic. “If a child becomes a Christian it may impact his family for Christ 31% of the time. If the mother becomes a Christian it may impact the family for Christ 48% of the time. However, if the father becomes a Christian it may impact the family for Christ 84% of the time.”

Of course, it is important for everyone to accept Christ but when we reach the man of the house we have a greater opportunity to reach virtually the whole family.

6.      What impact does experiencing and leaving a godly heritage make within a family structure? (It leaves a godly witness to the next generation as well as the culture around you.)

7.      How is a person’s spiritual growth impacted by the lives of others? (We see the result of lives that are live for God’s glory and those lives that do not honor God. The difference in the peace and joy reflected in those lives witness to God’s grace.)

8.      Paul demonstrated the value of investment in the body of Christ. How does the investment by others in our lives help us to model sincere faith? (The investment others make gives us encouragement as we live our lives for God. There is also a sense that our life of faith would also be an investment in their lives. This mutual support and encouragement builds the faith of the entire Christian community.)

9.      Can you name some specific people who have impacted your life for Christ?

Our challenge is to emulate the example our mentors have been to us and share our faith with our own children and grandchildren.

 

Just as Timothy demonstrated sincere faith that came through the investment of prior generations, Paul encouraged Timothy to use his gifts to follow the Lord and keep the fire of ministry burning brighter. Perhaps because of his youth and the sharp criticism Timothy was getting from the older false teachers Timothy’s fervor had lost momentum. Paul wanted Timothy’s ministry at Ephesus to be stirred into a blazing flame of godly leadership.

Gifted! Read 2 Timothy 1:6-7

 

1.      What are the dangers of relying on our own strength and abilities to complete a God-given task? (We will ultimately fail without God’s strength.)

2.      How can we tell the difference between relying on our own strength and God’s strength? (In our own strength we quickly grow weary and see little results. In God’s strength we may not see fantastic results immediately but we will be energized through utilizing the spiritual gifts God has showered us with.)

The giftedness of believers begins at our conversion. All believers are gifted and are responsible for the discovery and use of their gifts to benefit the body of Christ.

Paul’s reference to “laying on of my hands” was most likely at Timothy’s ordination service mentioned in 1 Tim. 4:14. There the elders placed their hands on Timothy recognizing God’s call on his life to the ministry.

3.      Why do we often fear doing what the Lord calls us to do? (It is beyond our capabilities and our faith is weak. We are looking at ourselves and not God to accomplish the task.)

4.      Based upon these verses, with what does the Lord promise to replace our fears?

God has given us power, love, and sound judgment. One commentary explains these three qualities as follows: “These three qualities given by the Holy Spirit are complementary. Power that is exercised without love and sound judgment can become tyranny. Without power, love can lack strength. Power and love without sound judgment can be misguided. Only power exercised with love and sound judgment can accomplish God’s purposes in His churches.”

 

Paul’s final word of encouragement to Timothy in this letter was for him to remain unashamed of the call to share the gospel.

Unashamed! Read 2 Timothy 1:8-12

 

1.      To get a clear understanding of why Paul endured suffering we need to look at verse 12. What had been entrusted to Paul? (The privilege of sharing the mystery of the gospel as a “herald, apostle, and teacher.”)

2.      When Paul says “until that day” what is he talking about? (Either Christ’s return or Paul being called to his Heavenly home, whichever comes first.)

In Paul’s perspective, his suffering was part of his call to share the gospel. And the thing that made the suffering bearable was his reliance upon the power of God. Furthermore, Paul provided an interlude describing how we rely on God for salvation.

3.      Why do Christians need reminders that we shouldn’t be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ? (As Christians, we’re at odds with the secular culture, which tries to belittle, bully, and stigmatize our choices in order to minimize our impact and influence. Too often we ignore the persecution of other Christians when we aren’t directly affected; however, sharing in Christ’s suffering also means supporting fellow believers through trials.)

4.      How is God’s plan for redeeming His creation tied to a person’s purpose? (God’s ultimate purpose for every Christian is to be used to spread the gospel so others will come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior just as we do! Our spiritual gifts are different but the goal is the same: sharing the gospel with the lost.)

Paul exhorted Timothy in verse 8 not to be ashamed. Paul wasn’t just giving Timothy a pep talk; instead, Paul was able to share his own personal experiences and knowledge that the Lord would be with him and give him peace and joy in pursuing Christ in his life.

5.      What is the relationship between confidence in the gospel and one’s willingness to share the gospel? (We must believe that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. We are only responsible for sharing the gospel, God does the rest!)

Read Romans 1:16. The truth of the gospel should instill confidence in the believer!

6.      How does our attitude toward suffering dictate our abilities to withstand it? (Although we glory in the cross, when we’re in the midst of suffering it doesn’t feel or look particularly glorious. Embracing the big picture of suffering helps us to bear up under it. Understanding that God is the ultimate guardian of our faith empowers us to do our parts. We stand up under pressure as people protecting a sacred trust.)

Read 2 Tim. 1:8-10

The gospel was in God’s plan through grace before time began! Even though God knew we would sin, He had a plan to redeem us by giving His Son as our Sacrifice to conquer death and the grave. That is the mystery of the gospel!

 

After we reflect upon our call to share the gospel, we also realize there is the need to take the gospel to the next generation of believers.

Loyal! Read 2 Timothy 1:13-14

 

Paul commands Timothy to “Hold to the pattern of sound teaching” and “Guard...that good thing entrusted to you.”

Paul encouraged Timothy and the church not to get caught in things that can distract the church from sharing the gospel. Instead, he encouraged them to be loyal to Scripture and to the gospel.

1.      Why is it so important for believers to remain faithful in sharing the gospel? (We are never more than one generation away from paganism.)

2.      What are some things that get in the way of believers freely sharing the gospel with others? (Fear of rejection. Fear that we don’t know enough. Fear of persecution. We simply don’t have the mindset to share the gospel. In other words we never even think about sharing the gospel!)

 

Summarize and Challenge!

 

The main point of our study today: We’ve been called to be confident in the gospel in all circumstances.

·         The confidence we have comes from the godly heritage that has been provided by other believers, the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given us to be used sharing the gospel, and knowing that suffering builds confidence in the Lord.

·         We are to pursue the call to hold and guard the gospel in its truth.

Based on what you have heard today, what does confidence in the gospel look like in your life?

 

Read 2 Timothy 1:15-18

What could you do today to refresh someone?

 

Close with prayer!

Lasting Investments - 1 Timothy 6:6-19

A strong desire for material things seems to permeate other cultures around the world just as it does in the United States. One foreign missionary described his own family’s struggle with the temptation of materialism in a parable. He said, “When we answered God’s call to missions, we thought we were prepared to give up everything. We promised the Lord that we would be satisfied with a single donkey and a grass hut if we were in His will. Then we arrived on the mission field. We looked around and noticed that other folks had two donkeys and a two-story grass hut. We began to feel discontented with our one little donkey and small grass hut. Before we knew it, we started complaining that we deserved two donkeys and not just a two-story grass hut but also a detached garage on the side.”

 

1.      How would you describe the word “contentment”? (“A state of happiness and satisfaction.” “Quiet joy we feel when everything is going well.” “A state of peaceful happiness.”)

2.      What does it take to make you content?

In our study today Paul talks about people who have nothing; the trap the temptation for things lays out for us; and finally he talks about people who are wealthy. In the middle of our passage Paul challenges Timothy to fight the good fight!

 

True Contentment! Read 1 Timothy 6:6-10

 

1.      What equation did Paul present in verse 6? (Godliness + contentment = great gain.)

2.      How would you define godliness? (God likeness; being Christ-like.)

Here Paul is urging us to have a reliance on God that leads to a sense of satisfaction no matter the circumstances.

Read Philippians 4:11-13

3.      How was Paul able to be content regardless of the situation in which he found himself? (He trusted in Christ alone.)

Notice the context of verse 13. This verse is taken out of context many times. Here Paul is talking about being content and he has learned to be content no matter his situation because he draws strength from Christ! Notice this is a learned behavior. The sooner we learn it the better off we will be!

4.      What do you think the “”great gain” refers to in verse 6? (Fruit of the Spirit: love, peace, joy, gentleness, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control; pleasing to God; spiritual blessings; life with purpose; reflecting Jesus to others; etc.)

5.      Why is material wealth often a stumbling block to godliness? (Our priorities are just backwards. When godliness is our first priority we will find contentment in our situation. Not that it is bad to strive to better our financial situation but that isn’t our top priority.)—the Rich Young Ruler from the Bible is a good example! Matt. 19:16-30; Mk 10:17-31; Luke 18:18-30.

6.      What happens to those people who have a deep desire to be rich in worldly possessions? (See verse 9: ruin and destruction.)

Paul didn’t state that money is evil. (Read verse 10). Having money isn’t the same as loving money; however, Paul warned that loving money is a trap that plunges people into destruction. Therefore, believers must be careful not to fall into this temptation.

7.      What signs in a believer’s life indicate that money is becoming an idol? (Debt, especially accumulated for unnecessary things, may be an indicator. Well-paying jobs that regularly take us away from church and the community of faith may be a sign that we love money.)

8.      Note that the “love” of money is the root of all kinds of evil. What kinds of evil come to your mind that love of money might lead to? (Lying, stealing, cheating, placing money before God, my family and others, etc.)

Wealth and possessions can actually lead a person away from the faith. Godliness, not material gain, should define all of us as believers. It is more than correct teaching; it is living life according to that teaching. When it comes to godliness and contentment, money and material possessions are not bad; they are just irrelevant. Ecclesiastes 5:10 tells us that those who love money are “never satisfied.” Finding a place of contentment means we can live with less instead of more.

Love of money has led to the destruction of scores of marriages and families when someone chases wealth instead of relationships.

 

True Riches! Read 1 Timothy 6:11-16

 

Paul not only warned Timothy to flee from a love of money but also told him what to pursue instead.

1.      What significance do Paul’s descriptors of running and fighting tell us about the goal of achieving true riches? (Running and fighting, even the good fight, imply proactive effort, not just sitting back and waiting for it to come to you.)

While salvation isn’t earned by our good works, taking hold of eternal life suggests that we live with an eternal perspective as we resist the false teachers and live with purpose!

2.      What was Timothy to run from? (Those things that might ensnare him in materialism. He is to live in contrast to the false teachers.)

3.      What are the dangers of focusing only on restrictions (what to flee from) and not studying what God wants us to pursue?

4.      How can guidance on what to pursue help a believer avoid temptation? (See Matthew 6:24

Earlier in this chapter Paul mentioned envy, quarreling, slander, evil suspicions, and constant disagreements. In Galatians 5:19-21 he lists a few more evidences of not being under the Holy Spirit’s control: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and so forth!

5.      What qualities did Paul exhort Timothy to “pursue” or run toward? (Righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.)

6.      How can we live our lives filled with these qualities? (Keeping our focus on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Matt. 6:33 “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.”)

7.      How much of yourself have you yielded to Jesus’ control?

Although we don’t know exactly what Paul meant by the command in verse 14, we can clearly see the persistence and the faithfulness of Jesus are expected of Timothy—and of us!
Be faithful to the end. As is typical of Paul, when he began to think about the God who will bring salvation to completion at Christ’s appearing, he broke out into a doxology of praise!

 

Stewards of Good Works! Read 1 Timothy 6:17-19

 

While verses 6-10 warn against a pursuit of wealth, verses 17-19 give instructions on how to use the wealth one has. Both, however, warn against putting your hope and security in wealth instead of in God.

 

While many of us might not consider ourselves to be rich, most Americans are indeed rich, relative to the rest of the world. God is our only certain hope in the world, and He is the Source of all that we have.

1.      How would you summarize Paul’s instructions to those who were rich? (Use what God has given you to bless others. God expects all of us to share with others regardless of our level of wealth.)

2.      Rather than be arrogant, conceited, or greedy, what are we to do? (Do what is good; be rich in good works; and be generous, willing to share.)

3.      What is the result of that kind of lifestyle? (Life that is real with meaning and purpose. We are purchasing things that will go with us into eternity. We can’t take those material things with us, but good works and generosity will follow us into eternity. Good works and generosity can’t earn salvation but it is clear evidence of a changed life.)

4.      What are some ways you can be rich in good works with what you have?

There is nothing wrong with pursuing a high-paying career and a believer should work to be as successful in his or her career as they possibly can. 1 Cor. 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

5.      In what ways can a person leverage his or her financial resources to spread the gospel and strengthen the church? (Through our tithes and offerings. Helping those who are in financial need, when God leads us to do so.)

 

Summarize and Challenge!

 

How does your budget show trust in God?

·         Prioritizing good works above worldly success will please God and point others to Him.

·         Calculating how you spend your time will help you determine your priorities and what might need adjustment.

·         Tracking your expenditures over time can reveal whether you’re pursuing wealth at the expense of godliness. When do you have enough?

·         Rating yourself when it comes to sharing and generosity will reveal where your heart is.

 

Our attitude toward money speaks volumes about our walk with Christ. Which concerns me more: how much money I have or how much of me God has?

 

Prayer.

Being Responsible - 1 Timothy 5:1-21

For the last several weeks we have dealt, for the most part, with Paul’s challenge to Timothy and the church at Ephesus to deal with false teachings and false teachers.  This week we change our focus and talk about the church’s responsibility in caring for widows who have no means of support. We will also talk about the church’s responsibility in regard to taking care of pastors.

 

1.      Think for a moment about some memorable families from television or movies. What are some that come to your mind? (Father Knows Best; Andy Griffith Show; The Partridge Family; Everybody Loves Raymond; I Love Lucy; The Sound of Music; The Middle; The Crosby Show; All in the Family; etc.)

2.      Are there any of these families that you would like to join? Why or why not?

A Google search revealed many more shows about families than I listed, but most of which I was not familiar with. Families aren’t made up of perfect people and neither is the church.

3.      Do you believe that there is an expectation that the church can function with less conflict than a typical family?

To run smoothly, a family needs mutual respect among its members. While we may not have experienced this ideal in our own families, we can understand its importance. In providing instructions on how to treat fellow believers, those in need, and those in leadership within the church, Paul compared the church to a family.

The importance of relationships and how we deal with them properly cannot be overstated within the family as well as the church!

 

Key question to consider today: What role should the church play in caring for the needs of people in the community?

 

Consider 2 Thessalonians 3:7-10.

 

Respect All! Read 1 Timothy 5:1-2

 

1.      How would you describe the different ways Paul counseled Timothy to treat the members of the church of different gender and different ages? (Treat them as he would his own family members, each with the respect, honor and purity due them.)

Choosing encouragement as the method for urging older men in righteousness respects their age and experience and prevents a younger leader from falling into the trap of arrogance. The implication here is that if an older man needs to be corrected on an issue it should be done in private with encouragement.

2.      What role do church leaders have in the spiritual care of others? (Defining the church as a family relationship implies an inherent and equivalent structure to the home where love, care, and respect for one another take precedence.)

Consistently treating women like mothers and sisters entails a level of courtesy and respect that naturally creates harmony and dispels suspicion.

3.      How does the way we approach a person impact his or her willingness to listen?

4.      How can a person balance sternness and love? (ALWAYS speak with respect and love—even when it is difficult.)

 

People have a responsibility for caring for those in their family. In the following verse, Paul explained how this responsibility applied to both the traditional family and to the church family when it came to caring for widows.

Although our English word widow refers to a woman whose husband has died, the Greek word for widow describes a woman who may have lost her husband by death, incarceration, or desertion.

Care for Widows! Read 1 Timothy 5:3-8

 

Paul outlined requirements for which widows should receive support from the church.  Paul was establishing the case for discernment and wisdom in utilizing church resources for widows. To support a widow who clearly traveled the path of self-indulgence would not only represent unwise stewardship, it would also enable the widow to continue in her sin.

1.      Why do you suppose Paul spelled out such detailed instruction for the care of widows? (The plights of widows, especially aging women who do not have the earning power to be self-sufficient, remains a crisis of care for those who find themselves in that situation.)

The directions for widow care is more evidence of God’s compassion for the underdogs of this world and should be a warning to be careful how we treat them.

When there is a widow in need, rather than accuse God of being cruel, thank God for the opportunity and the means to be a blessing to others.

2.      What principles should be followed today for the care of widows? (God holds family members accountable to serve as the first responders in caregiving for widows. Leading the church to accept responsibility to help care for faithful widows who have no family is a demonstration of God’s compassion.)

3.      How can the leadership of the church determine the best use of resources while also extending grace and mercy to those in need? (Here in our church care given to individual widows is kept very private and confidential to avoid any embarrassment. While at the same time verifying the need is a genuine need.)

4.      What do the stern words Paul reserved for negligent family members tell you about how seriously God takes these relationships? (When we ignore the needs of our family whom God has entrusted to our care, our failure ranks with denying a dying Christ on the cross. Not accepting obligations of care puts us on the same level as unbelievers, who may be ignorant of their moral obligations.)

5.      Where is the line between family expectations and church responsibility?

6.      How can they partner in a way that is fair to both?

To fail to take care of our aging parents is to be disobedient to the 5th Commandment—“Honor your father and mother.”

In 1 Timothy 5:9-16 Paul gives some specific qualifications for widows to receive assistance from the church.

Care for Pastors! Read 1 Timothy 5:17-21

 

1.      Why would Paul include pastors as a special class of people who are entitled to the care of churches? (Hard work deserves its reward. For pastors called to full-time ministry, the church provides for him and his family. They are essentially “on call” 24 hours a day and spend their time studying and preparing for their teaching and preaching assignments. All the while ministering to the church family. They have dedicated their lives to serve the church and usually haven’t had other opportunities to amass financial support.)

2.      Do you believe it is more difficult or easier to lead a church today than it was thirty years ago? (The answer to this question is dependent on the congregation and the longevity of the pastor to some extent. Our society is certainly more difficult to reach today than it was 30 years ago.)

Paul discussed three areas of care for our pastors: financial support and respect; rejection of unsupported accusations; rebuke and fair discipline for supported accusations.

3.      When dealing with church leaders, what specifics did Paul give about the unique pastoral role? (1-Refusing to entertain unsupported accusations prevents the leader from being needlessly derailed by false accusations or determined critics. 2-Discipline that’s warranted but redemptive serves as an example to others and a striking reminder that not one is above God’s laws, and we all have a way back into God’s favor.)

By taking to heart Paul’s reminder to avoid prejudice and favoritism, we stand a much better chance of avoiding church-wide conflicts and managing our relationships with our leaders.

 

Summarize and Challenge!

 

How can we know we’re meeting our obligations to the people whom God entrusted to our care?

-Paying attention to the special classes of people that Paul highlighted in this passage helps us respond appropriately with the care that God expects us to provide

-Reviewing our relationships inside and outside of the church and looking for signs of neglect, indifference, or division will help us focus on those who need attention.

-Having concern for those who should receive special considerations for care will help us meet our spiritual obligations.

 

Review your obligations to others, especially in the church.

1.      Do you treat them as Paul directed Timothy?

2.      Think about the widows you know, especially church and family members. How can you and the church further provide for their care?

3.      How can your church effectively honor and support your pastors?

 

Close in prayer, thanking God for the godly leadership of our church. Ask God to encourage and protect them in their ministry.

Staying on Course - 1 Timothy 4:1-13

(Lesson Prepared by John Black)

   Last Sunday Paul affirmed those who wanted to be leaders in their local church, particularly the men who desired to be overseers, or pastoral leaders. Paul listed the qualities required of those wishing to serve as pastors. Then he listed the qualities required of those wishing to serve as deacons. Those who serve well gain respect and approval from the believing community. They display a spiritual confidence before God and before people. This is reflected as bold service to God’s people and others.

 

   Today Paul explains that false teachers will rise in the last days and will cause some to fall away from the faith. Paul reminds us that the things forbidden by false teachers are the things created by God for us and with a God-honoring purpose. We will see Paul challenge Timothy (and us) to be disciplined in our lives. As Christians, we are to focus on teaching the gospel and be the Christian example so others will want to have the same godly life we live.

 

Fruits, vegetables, and lean meats vs fried or junk foods?  Which are best? Which are more tempting? Which puts us at risk? Some foods appear healthy at first glance but may be full of preservatives that have their own detrimental effects. How does our diet compare to spiritual food? A healthy diet of fresh foods provides energy, strength, and preserves physical lives in the same way that God’s pure Word energizes, strengthens, and preserves our spiritual lives. A junk food diet leads to an unhealthy lifestyle just as false teachers of the Word lead us to unhealthy spiritual living.

   Let’s see how Paul stresses to Timothy the importance of living with the proper spiritual diet.

 

Read 1 Timothy 4:1-5 “Be Aware”

   Paul did not indicate the means by which the Spirit revealed the warning, whether by Scripture or prophetic revelation. The means does not really matter as Paul believes the message was clear. “In later times” refers to the period between Jesus’ ascension and His second coming, also known as the church age. In Paul and Timothy’s time this was a period of spiritual conflict with the enemies of Christ. I think you will agree that this struggle is just as relevant for today’s believers as it was for Christians in the first-century.

   How did Paul describe false teachers and false doctrine? Paul said they were deceitful spirits and demons. They were liars with their consciences seared.

   Why should we take the misdirection of false teachers seriously? The desire to pervert God’s teachings stems from something much more sinister than simple confusion or doubt; it is the byproduct of those who have rejected the faith and been led astray by the demonic.

 

 

 

   How can we distinguish false teachings from truth? Get your bible, know the bible, and believe the bible. False doctrines often apply additional, unnecessary burdens to God’s laws. If a teaching contradicts the bible, it is false. They may contradict God by compelling the rejection of God’s good gifts, beginning with the commonplace, such as certain foods, but ending with matters of eternal consequences, salvation.

   How is verse 4 tied to warnings about false teachers? Paul reinforced the stipulation that God’s gifts (which included foods) were not to be rejected by His people but rather received with thanksgiving. Paul’s argument was against false teachers who demanded ill-advised dietary restrictions for improper reasons. Neither eating nor abstaining from eating in itself draws people closer to God (1 Cor. 8:8-9). Marriage was another area that Paul viewed as a God-given relationship that was to be enjoyed and honored. Because God is good, He dispenses good things from His hands. Instead of being controlled by fear of false teachers, we control things as we accept God’s gifts with thanksgiving and prayer.

   So, with these verses, Paul explains that false teachers will rise before Jesus’ second coming and will cause some to fall away from the faith. He also reminds Timothy that the things forbidden by the false teachers are things created by God with God-honoring purpose.

 

Read 1 Timothy 4:6-10 “Be Disciplined”

   Paul warned Timothy about false teachers in verses 1-5. Now he encourages Timothy to focus on growing in godliness. Doesn’t this apply to us in our world today? We must stay clear of false or speculative teachings and focus on godliness and the gospel.

   What practical steps should we take to counter false teaching? In order to identify and discard false teachings we must have a methodical, regular study of God’s Word. It seems that there are always new foolish ideas proclaimed as spiritual truths, so we should know enough true Gospel to avoid them.

   What is Paul telling us by comparing spiritual growth to body building? We know Paul uses sports analogies many times in his writings. Perhaps he is thinking of the “no pain”, “no gain” of athletes to living out the gospel with long-term goals for spiritual health. To recognize and avoid the new foolish false teachings we must have a regular regimen of God’s Word just as athletes have regular regimens of exercise.

   Here, Paul called on Timothy to be disciplined in his life and challenged other believers to do the same. Instead of turning to speculative teachings, believers are to focus on godliness and the gospel.

 

Read 1 Timothy 4:11-13 “Be an Example”

   Can the Word of God convince and thrive without godly examples? No. Without a godly example and left to our own choices, we would probably choose the ways of a sinful world. The Word of God thrives because someone presented us with a godly example and we were convinced to follow that particular life style. We are, in turn, to be that godly example for those who follow us.

   

 

 

   What did Paul instruct Timothy to do? He was to focus on teaching the gospel and as others saw the godly life he lived, they would want to hear and learn more. Some say Timothy was in his thirties about this time. The advantages of youth might be fresh, strong voices while the more mature resonate with life experience, but all may share in the gospel. Just as Timothy was set apart, God has anointed each of us for purposes He expects us to fulfill.

   Paul is guiding Timothy to make spiritual progress, so how should we measure our spiritual progress today? Be self-aware. Your spiritual progress affects more than just you; it has a ripple effect that spreads to everyone in your direct sphere of influence as well as to unknown people and touchpoints. Pay attention to feedback from others. When others ask for your counsel or thank you for encouraging words, they have observed your life and been impacted by it.

 

Summary: Believers must be nourished on God’s Word so we will know the truth.

·         We must be aware that false teachers will try to lead us astray.

·         We must be disciplined in our lives, seeking to honor God though living out the gospel.

·         We must remain focused on God’s Word to be an example of godly living.

Setting the Example - 1 Timothy 3:1-13

1.      What qualities do you value in leaders? (Include leaders from all sectors: political, business, work, sports etc.)

2.      Consider the most effective or healthy church that you’ve personally experienced. What were some characteristics of the leader (pastor)? (They not only assume responsibility for leading the church’s ministries and mission, but the pastor serves as an example of a well-lived Christian life.)

3.      How are the requirements for church leadership similar and different from other leadership positions?

4.      Should church leaders be held to different standards than other leaders? Why or why not?

The impact of godly pastors goes far beyond the church body to reach an observant community.

Paul specified high standards for church leaders knowing that their influence would go beyond the local body of believers they served.

 

A Pastor’s Heart! Read 1 Timothy 3:1

 

Paul is saying here that what is to follow is trustworthy and a non-negotiable truth. The word “overseer” is synonymous with “pastor,” “elder,” and “bishop” in the New Testament. Certainly Paul isn’t talking about selfish ambition but one who strongly feels the leadership of the Holy Spirit calling him to such a ministry.

(Distribute Pack Item 9—Models of Church Structure.)

There is a link between godly pastors and healthy churches!

1.      Because pastors are held in such high regard, does that mean every Christian should aspire to join the ranks of church staff? (The understanding that the church achieves maximum impact under visionary, faithful leaders can be a powerful reason to consider whether God is calling you to be a pastor. Discerning that God has placed a call on your life for pastoral leadership demands that you respond in obedience.)Why is it important for every believer to seriously consider the role God wants him or her to fulfill in His work? (We are all called to serve in the Body of Christ—the Church. Each person should seek the leadership of the Holy Spirit in finding their role in the Kingdom.)

 

A Pastor’s Character! Read 1 Timothy 3:2-7

 

Paul has a lot more to say about the character of a pastor than he does about the actual job of being a pastor.

Notice how Paul begins and ends this passage: “He must be above reproach…” and “he must have a good reputation among outsiders…” This doesn’t mean he is sinless but his overall character is one that is highly thought of throughout the community. Paul framed his list here in 1 Timothy and in Titus 1:6-9 with statements about a church leader’s reputation.

(Hand out the list of qualifications for church leaders attached at the back of this lesson plan. Cover the list for pastors with the class.)

1.      Why is it so important that the church call godly qualified pastors? (God has deemed the position of pastor as one to hold both honor and responsibility; the stakes are too high for casual commitment. Carelessness in the pastorate may result in great damage within the church.)

A church in the hands of an untrustworthy pastor opens the gospel to scrutiny and doubt by the community it’s supposed to serve. Meanwhile, the eternal salvation of people is at stake.

2.      What insights may we gain from the detailed list of qualifications for being a pastor? (Although every person can be deemed a sinner, being “above reproach” means the pastor can’t be labeled or defined by a certain kind of prevalent sin but instead exhibits ongoing sterling character.)

Some of the qualifications point to a practical skill set that serves pastors well in ministry: able to teach, a friendly and generous host, a capable manager. A good family manager has learned to prioritize marriage and parenting faithfully. The church is often compared to a family; therefore, someone who manages a family well will have insights into managing a church.

 

3.      What impact does the reputation of a church leader have among unbelievers? (If a church leader has a bad reputation among unbelievers the gospel suffers and the church will not reach people in the community. A bad reputation is talked about among the community much more than a good one. The Devil sees to that!)

4.      How can we help our pastor consistently achieve these good character qualities?

 

A Deacon’s Character! Read 1 Timothy 3:8-13

 

The word deacon means “one who serves.” This could include things like serving meals, caring for the needy, and freeing up apostles (or pastors today) to focus on prayer and preaching. Acts 6:1-7 records the first record of “deacons” being selected by the church for the specific reasons listed above.

A close examination of the character qualities listed for pastors and deacons reveals there is not a lot of difference in the two lists.

1.      Examine the list of qualifications for pastors and deacons and compare it with the expectations for every Christian. In what ways are the qualifications for pastors and deacons different from qualities for all believers?

2.      How are they similar?

3.      How would you say the references to the wives of church leaders should be applied in church life? (The command to be faithful in everything paints the portrait of a balanced, godly woman who maintains good relationships with her family, church, workplace, and community.)

While there’s room for debate on how to interpret the prerequisite that pastors and deacons should be the husbands of but one wife, that interpretation rightfully belongs to the local church to decide.

4.      How has your understanding of church leadership changed as a result of this study?

Godly behavior is to be expected of all church members, regardless of role or gender.

5.      Read verse 13. Matthew 20:28 tells us that Jesus did not come to be served but to serve. How does faithful service honor God?

Memorizing these verses will help us all remember the importance of service in God’s kingdom!

 

Summarize and Challenge!

 

1.      Understanding the focus these positions have been given in Scripture, how much attention should a church give when selecting leaders? (Due diligence requires that churches lovingly, but carefully, examine the lives of potential leaders before calling them. Knowingly compromising on any standards risks compromising the gospel in the eyes of other believers and unbelievers.)

Upholding the standards as they have been defined by Scriptures puts the church in a position of trust and safeguards its future.

2.      What are some ways we can encourage our pastors and their families? (Prayer. Words of appreciation and affirmation.)

3.      What do you need to do as a result of this study?

 

Personal challenge: Evaluate yourself on your own Christlikeness, and then through prayer ask God to evaluate you, too.

 

Pray for our church’s leaders and consider ways we can bless their faithfulness. Don’t forget their families as well; we can give them words of affirmation as well!

 

Qualifications for Pastors and Deacons

 

1 Timothy 3:1-13

·         Above reproach

·         Husband of one wife

·         Self-controlled

·         Sensible

·         Respectable

·         Hospitable

·         An able teacher

·         Not addicted to wine

·         Not a bully

·         Gentle

·         Not quarrelsome

·         Not greedy

·         Manages his own house hold competently

·         Having his children under control

·         Not a new convert

·         Must have a good reputation among outsiders

·         Worthy of respect

·         Not hypocritical

·         Holding the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience

·         First be tested, if blameless then they may serve

·         Wives must be worthy of respect not slanderers

·         Wives exercise self-control

·         Wives faithful in everything

 

Expectations for every Christian

 

Ephesians 5:6-18; Philippians 1:27; 2:14-16; Colossians 3:5-13

·         Don’t become partners with deceptive people

·         Walk as children of light

·         Walk in Goodness

·         Walk in Righteousness

·         Walk in Truth

·         Discerning what is pleasing to the Lord

·         Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness

·         Expose darkness

·         Walk not as unwise people but wise

·         Don’t be foolish; Understand what the Lord’s will is

·         Don’t get drunk with wine; Be filled by the Spirit

·         Live a life worthy of the gospel of Christ

·         Stand with one spirit and one mind

·         Working side by side for the faith

·         Do everything without grumbling and arguing

·         Be blameless and pure

·         Children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation.

·         Hold firmly to the message of life

·         Put to death your worldly nature

·         Put away sexual immorality; Put away impurity; Put away lust; Put away evil desire; Put away greed; Put away these for they are idolatry

·         Also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth

·         Do not lie

·         Be renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator

·         Put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

·         Accept one another and forgiving one another.

“Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.”    

Col. 3:13b

On Mission - 1 Timothy 2:1-15

            One of my favorite athletes is Bob Mathias. He was a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon. He won his first Olympic gold medal at the age of 17 in 1948. He repeated his feat four years later. At one point during the two-day event he began to notice the other athletes were watching him and doing what he was doing. So he started doing things like taking a drink of water every 10 minutes and watch as others would follow and do the same. They wanted to be like Bob.

            Whether or not we notice them, there are people watching us. As professing Christians others want to know if we are for real, or do we simply pay “lip service” to following Jesus as our Lord.

1.      What distinguishes a Christian from an unbeliever in the world?

·         A faith mind-set: Christians see the world through a spiritual prism that colors our thoughts and influences our ways.

·         Behaviors: Believers engage in a curious and peculiar mix of spiritual and religious rites. They go to church, worship, pray, tithe, and fast (at times for specific reasons).

·         Outward appearance: Our choices, for example, in clothing or entertainment often signify that we’re different.

Not only are our actions being watched but so are our attitudes and motives. People want to know if our Christian lives are real, so they watch.

2.      In what ways are Christians watched or judged differently than non-Christians?  (There are no expectations from the life of a non-Christian—there is no claim of faith or difference in their lives. Christians profess a faith in God and there are expectations of an upright, moral lifestyle from a Christian!)

In 1 Timothy 2 Paul gives instructions regarding how Christians are to represent God in this world!

 

Read 1 Timothy 1:18-20. Here now in chapter 2 is how you are to begin to engage in battle!

Through Prayer! Read 1 Timothy 2:1-7

 

1.      What do we learn about the content of prayer from these verses?

·         Petitions: Prayers of supplication, as they asked God to act.

·         Prayers: All types of requests being made to God.

·         Intercessions: A word that suggests coming before an authority on behalf of someone else.

·         Thanksgiving: Offer thanks not merely for God’s blessings, but for God’s involvement with the people for whom they are praying.

2.      How are these various aspects of prayer related to each other?

3.      What do these verses reveal about the role of Jesus in our prayer lives? (He is the Mediator between us and the Father. He represents us before the throne of God!)

Jesus as mediator is providing a connection between the perfect God and flawed man, whereas a legal mediator works to resolve a connection between two flawed and sinful humans. Generally between two flawed and sinful humans they reach a compromise. There is no compromise between us and God, we yield to His sovereignty.

4.      Why did Paul instruct them to pray for those in authority over them when much of their persecution came from those very leaders? (God can and does change hearts. We are commanded to pray for our enemies—Matt. 5:44!)

5.      How does praying for our leaders change our view of them? (By praying specifically for people in positions of authority, we release God’s power to influence the influencers and usher in peace and stability for all. Praying for those in leadership deepens our appreciation for the responsibilities they carry; we better empathize with those we attempt to understand.)

By calling on the authority of the Lord with humility, we wield real, personal influence over those in positions of power.

6.      Why is praying for others so strategic for God’s kingdom? (Just as God breathed life into humans and then planned a way to salvage those broken lives, breathing prayers for others offers them a lifeline to salvation.)

 

Led By Godly Men! Read 1 Timothy 2:8

 

In this verse, the word used for “men” refers specifically to males.

One of our writers for our commentary this week wrote: Our passion for Christ can be gauged by our commitment to His mission. Our commitment to His mission can be measured by our faithfulness in prayer.

1.      Do you agree with this statement or not? Why?

2.      How can anger influence a person’s prayer requests?

3.      How does anger get in the way of prayer?

The phrase “lifting up holy hands” referred more to purity of the heart than to posture of the body.

4.      What signifies a pure heart? (A heart whose prayer is to be clean before God, new and fresh daily by cleansing through confession and repentance.)

5.      What qualities of leadership does God expect faithful men to model? (God needs male prayer warriors, but initiative in prayer means more than being ready and willing to offer up eloquent words. God wants all men who confess faith in Jesus to display a godly temperament of love and unity.)

 

Supported By Godly Women! Read 1 Timothy 2:9-15

 

Note Concerning verse 15: “This verse appears to suggest that salvation for women comes through childbearing.  Keeping in mind that all Scriptures are consistent, this interpretation would be in conflict with countless passages dealing with salvation through Christ alone.”—Leader’s Guide. We may not know exactly what Paul had in mind but we do know there is only one way to salvation, that is through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

One scholar states: “Regardless of the intricacies of various views, the thrust of the apostle’s argument is perfectly clear. Yes, woman was deeply involved in the apostasy of the human family, by yielding to Satan’s temptations and falling into deception.

Further, one aspect of her penalty is that certain leadership roles under the Christian regime are denied her. Be that as it may, she is not to despair. God still has many noble and valuable uses for his daughters-the most fulfilling of which is represented in the domestic talents with which she has been blessed so richly and beautifully.”

1.      What directions did Paul give to women in these verses? (Dress modestly; not with elaborate hairstyles, gold, pearls, or expensive apparel. Their beauty is to come from good works as is proper for Christian women. Learn in submission from the leadership God has placed in the church. A woman is not to exercise authority over a man by teaching for God placed men in these roles within the church.)

Before God, men and women are equal however each has a different role within the church. Jesus is equal to the Father as part of the triune Godhead, but His role is in submission as the Son to the Father!

2.      What did Paul seem most concerned with?

3.      How does the historical background of Ephesus impact your understanding of these directions? (The culture was very pagan and immoral.)

4.      In your own words, what does God’s call for women to represent Him in the world look like? (By nature of their God-given sex and gender, women who follow God have unique responsibilities for dress and demeanor as well as distinctive powerful privileges, such as childbearing and influencing other women and children.)

Although men and women are created equally in the image of God, they have been assigned to different roles. Paul identified male leadership as important to the church, but women, maintain vital roles in reaching people for the gospel as well. Understanding one’s respective roles by trusting God’s directives means we represent God well to a culture that needs clarity about who God is and how He loves them.

 

Summarize and Challenge!

 

We discussed: (PSG pg. 27)

·         Believers are to pray with a focus on the lost.

·         Godly men are to set the example when it comes to praying for others.

·         Godly women are mindful of how their dress and actions impact the witness of the church.

Each one of these statements pertains to a missional mind-set.

1.      Have Paul’s words challenged you to think more about living on mission?

2.      How can we be more intentional in praying for the salvation of others?

3.      In what ways can we consistently pray for the lost in our community? (Focus on people you know or are at least acquainted with on your block, at work or those you run in to occasionally.)

4.      How might adopting a missionary mind-set enhance your ability to represent Christ? (Missionaries live with intentionality. They maintain an acute awareness that they represent Christ to a culture that may not yet know Him but still pays attention.)

Taking to heart God’s call to pray for others offers them God’s care and love.

 

Grade yourself on your ability to represent Christ.

·         Are you praying for others as your should?

·         Have you accepted the role God assigned to you for representing God and leading others to Jesus?

·         To what degree are you a reflection of Christ?

Whether you need to make major or minor adjustments, start with daily prayer. Start with yourself and then, just as Paul directed, pray for others in small and big requests with thanksgiving, including asking for wisdom, direction, and protection for those in authority.

 

Entrusted - 1 Timothy 1:1-17

I have a Bible that has been passed down on my Dad’s mother’s side of the family. There are birth and death dates recorded. There is a receipt for 40 acres of land purchased in 1920. Having been protected in that Bible for all those years it looks as if it were signed yesterday. This Bible is precious to my family and has been passed down for safe keeping.

1.      What family treasures or traditions have been entrusted to you?

2.      How does the fact it has been entrusted to you foster a greater sense of responsibility to other family members?

We, as believers, have been entrusted with the gospel. Having received God’s grace, we’re called to share the truth of the gospel faithfully with others—pass it on in a sense.

(Give class members copies of Pack Item 10 and Pack Item 12.)

Most likely Timothy had become a Christian prior to meeting Paul. Once they did meet they established a very close relationship, even to the point that Paul referred to Timothy as his “true son in the faith”. They had traveled together and, likely due to Paul’s teachings, Timothy had become well grounded in the faith. Paul loved the church at Ephesus and was very concerned about the false teaching that was there inside and outside the church. Therefore, Paul instructed Timothy to stay in Ephesus and help set things right. Timothy would have to be kind and gentle but firm in his stance on correct doctrine.

The culture of Ephesus was strong in pagan idolatry, sexual immorality, and greed surrounding the temple of ‘Artemis, known as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Paul called on Timothy to be strong and courageous in proclaiming the truth of the gospel in his cultural setting.

Read 1 Tim. 1:1-2

After his greeting, Paul got right to the point of his letter!

 

Accountable! Read 1 Timothy 1:3-7

 

1.      Why was Paul so concerned about what the false teachers were saying? (They were leading people astray. Christians could be misled into believing something that is false and non-believers could be led to depend upon their own works to save them.)

Briefly cover the three major heresies that were prevalent in Paul’s day. Legalism—adherence to the Jewish law makes one right with God. Antinomianism—Since we are saved by faith how we act doesn’t matter. We can sin all we want because we are under grace. Gnosticism—Special knowledge is more important than faith and there are different levels of Christians because some have received a divine spark as the elect of the good deity. They taught that a self-discovery experience that claimed to solve life’s mysteries and was enhanced by participation in rituals.

2.      From the verses we read what are the characteristics of each type of teaching—True Gospel Teaching and False Teaching?

Truth—goal is love; pure heart; good conscience; operates by faith. False—myths; endless genealogies; empty speculations; not God’s plan; fruitless discussion; they teach from ignorance.

Read Acts 20:29-30.

3.      How are the threats to the gospel message that Paul identified still risks today? (The desire to pollute the gospel by subtracting from it, adding to it, or inventing something entirely new appeals to everyone’s sinful natures. Getting sidetracked with intriguing ideas and speculative questions leads nowhere. Chasing different doctrines diminishes our wholehearted faith in the gospel message.)

I’m told experts are trained to recognize counterfeit currency by studying the real bills, not by looking at the false ones. If we know the true doctrine well enough we will easily recognize the false doctrine. That is why Bible study is so important from childhood through senior adulthood.

4.      Why is it important that we call out those who choose to teach a different doctrine? (Sound teaching depends on trusting in the complete authority of the Scriptures. Kindly and respectfully pointing out inconsistencies, misstatements, and errors is part of being obedient to speak the truth in love!)

5.      What responsibility does a teacher have to the people he or she teaches? (Study the Word, be properly prepared and teach the truth.)

6.      What responsibility does the person being taught have to the one teaching? (Study the passage before class and add to the discussion. Gently challenge any false teaching.)

 

In Light of the Gospel! Read 1 Tim. 1:8-11

 

The list of sins in these verses is not exhaustive. These are simply examples and finally in verse 10 Paul says and anything “else that is contrary to the sound teaching based on the glorious gospel…”

1.      What was the purpose of the law God gave? (To show us the holy life we were to live. But no one could live up to the law’s standards. Read Gal. 3:19-24; Rom. 7:7-14.)

2.      What does illegitimate use of the law look like? (The law may be used as a stumbling block when we use it to condemn others or fail to contextualize it.)

Tucked among the extraordinary sinners, such as murderers and kidnappers, are the petty, the irreverent, and the liars, which points back to the inclusive nature of a law that—outside of Christ—judges each of us as lawbreakers.

3.      How does the law point to the need for a Savior?

4.      How does Jesus provide what the law could not?

5.      Read 1 Cor. 15:20-22. How would you restate or explain the doctrine in one or two sentences? (What will happen to you when this body dies? The “default” setting is hell. You have to make a conscious choice to change it to Heaven by accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior!)

6.      How does this doctrine impact your understanding of 1 Tim. 1:8-11?

 

In Response to His Grace! Read 1 Timothy 1:12-17

 

1.      What did Paul think about himself compared to every other person on earth? (He was the chief sinner. His picture of himself is the same picture each of us should have for ourselves. Far too often I’m looking at some else thinking I’m not as bad as that person. No! I’m worse!)

2.      What in Paul’s past made him think so lowly of himself? (On the road to Damascus Jesus appeared to him and asked why Paul was persecuting Him. I don’t think Paul could ever put that image out of his mind.)

3.      What do we learn about Christ from these verses?

4.      How did Paul’s past influence his understanding of the gospel?

5.      What role did mercy play in Paul’s salvation?

6.      What role did grace play in Paul’s salvation?

7.      Do you agree or disagree that it is essential to your testimony as a believer to be open about your past struggles? (Details are not necessary but we must face our past struggles to help us and others see the victory Christ has won in our lives.)

8.      Read verse 15. Why is this considered a non-negotiable truth? (This is the gospel! Without this truth we are forever lost!)

9.      What are some other non-negotiable truths of the gospel? (Faith alone. Christ alone. Christ died for my sin and was resurrected on the third day to secure my redemption.)

10.  What are indicators that a person truly recognizes their depravity and sinful state? (They are broken hearted over it.)

11.  How did Paul’s life become an exhibit of God’s grace and mercy?

12.  Why is a personal testimony such a rich and powerful tool for communicating the truths of the gospel? (Personal testimonies are always unique to individuals, but God extends the same mercy and grace that He gave to Paul to everyone who believes.)

 

Summarize and Challenge!

 

1.      Because God has called us to act as guardians of the gospel, what can we do to live out that responsibility?

2.      Have you taken time to write your testimony or rehearsed it verbally?

Father, help us to “study to show ourselves approved a workman who need not be ashamed rightly dividing the Word of truth.”              2 Tim. 2:15

Prepares - Mark 14:3-11, 32-36

Name some words that are opposite the following words: large/small; dark/light; rough/smooth; generous/greedy; betrayal/devotion-loyalty-faithfulness.

Describe an act of devotion that impresses you: (Elderly spouses who speak kindly to each other; parents who develop respectful relationships with adult children; neonatal nurses who walk alongside the parents of their patients; caregivers who willingly do whatever is required to take proper care of their mate or perhaps another relative.)

In today’s session, two contrasting responses to Jesus will be examined as we see a woman shows her devotion by sharing an extravagant gift and a greedy disciple!

 

As we have already learned, the events recorded in Mark are not necessarily in chronological sequence, although these events we will study today could have been in the order in which they occurred. We are in the final days just before Jesus crucifixion.

Misunderstood! Read Mark 14:3-5

 

Mark provides a picture of almost unbelievable generosity. We find Jesus in the home of Simon the leper. Leprosy usually resulted in isolation from the community and the temple, so it’s assumed that Simon no longer had the disease and may have been cured by Jesus. The woman boldly approached Jesus with her gift and poured it on Jesus’ head. A denarius was about the same as a day’s wage, so the perfume would have been almost a year’s worth of wages.

1.      How do you suppose the woman knew to do what she did?

2.      What frustrated the disciples? Was it really about wasting perfume and giving money to the poor? (If this is the same anointing recorded in John, then Judas was the one who complained the most, and we know his heart’s condition!)

3.      Why is it so easy to criticize the way others show devotion to Jesus? (Selfishness. Either I can’t, or am not willing to, show my devotion in such a manner.  Focus is on the individual and not on Jesus, the One being honored.)

4.      Why is this dangerous? (Our own worship and devotion to Jesus is misguided, or not given at all, because we are jealous of what someone else did.)

5.      When do you find it easiest to be generous?

6.      How would you respond if asked to give a year’s wages?

 

Honored! Read Mark 14:6-9

 

1.      Why did Jesus defend the woman? (Jesus used appreciation and truth to honor the woman.)

2.      How did His words relieve the tension in the room? (He characterized her act as preparation for His impending burial.)

3.      What actions might a person take that would receive the same response Jesus gave to this woman? (It’s not the act it’s the motive behind the act.)

4.      What role does a person’s motive play in the value of a worshipful action? (A couple of weeks ago we saw Jesus give praise to a poor widow who gave only two small coins. Here Jesus praises this woman for her extravagant gift. This should remind us that it’s not size of the offering but the condition of the heart!)

“It is a beautiful thing when the worth of Jesus and the love of his followers match—when the value of His perfections and the intensity of our affections correspond.” —John Piper

 

Betrayed! Read Mark 14:10-11

 

As one of Jesus’ disciples, Judas traveled with Him but still was willing to betray Him for short-term gain. Perhaps Jesus wasn’t meeting the expectations that Judas had for the Messiah, or maybe by betraying Jesus He revealed His greed for money!

1.      What is the difference between knowing a lot about Jesus and knowing Him personally? (We may know a great deal about a well known person like President Trump but we don’t know him personally. The contrast is even starker when talking about Jesus because Jesus can actually live in us through the Holy Spirit! That is intimate knowledge!)

2.      How does betrayal hurt both the betrayer and the betrayed? (Betrayal is diametrically opposed to devotion. Many betrayals are not overt; they come through lack of action. Betrayals borne of refusing to stand up for someone are equally destructive.)

Mark 14:12-31. After participating in the Passover meal, Jesus led His disciples to Gethsemane for prayer.

 

Committed! Read Mark 14:32-36

 

1.      How would you describe Jesus’ emotions in His prayer?

2.      How did Jesus honor the Father in the midst of His extreme emotions? (Jesus is both fully God and fully human. He had no advantage compared to any other human—Heb. 2:17, and had opportunity to choose to do rightly just like any other person.)

Distress and grief aren’t sins.

3.      What can we learn from Jesus about how to express devotion to God in the midst of our distress and grief?

4.      Think about Jesus’ willingness to submit to God’s plan. What does this reveal about God? (His plan is perfect!) About humanity? (Humanity wants its own way always.)  About the nature of sin? (Sin fights God to the very end.)

 

In Mark 14:37-52 we find the disciples sleeping, Judas completing his actions of betrayal, and Jesus’ disciples deserting Him. Jesus’ response to the situation revealed Scripture being fulfilled.

 

Summarize and Challenge!

 

1.      What are some ways people today betray Jesus with words or actions?

2.      When have you betrayed Jesus by your words or actions?

3.      Who can you ask to hold you accountable so you can avoid making those mistakes again?

Jesus submitted willingly to the Father’s plan.

He was misunderstood and betrayed, but He still chose to do the right thing. You and I have eternal life with the Father because of Jesus’ willingness to be obedient to the Father’s will.

 

Our challenge today is: Take time to confess privately times you’ve said spiritual-sounding words instead of choosing the devoted action. Talk with Jesus about how to obey Him and delight in that process. That’s how we get to know Jesus more intimately!

Promises - Mark 13:1-37

1.      Have you ever made a promise and had to break it? (Hopefully if we have had to break a promise it was due to circumstances beyond our control.)

2.      Who do you trust to fulfill a promise made to you?

Although the word “promise” isn’t used in our Scripture text today the predictions Jesus made to His disciples (and thereby to us as well) amounted to promises.

The events in Mark 13 were timely in that they occurred just a day or so before Jesus’ crucifixion—an event that seemingly left the disciples with no hope. This is one of only two chapters in Mark where an extensive block of the Lord’s teaching centered around a single theme. The other was back in chapter 4 where Jesus taught parables of the kingdom.

Chapter 13 has been called “the eschatological discourse” or “the prophetic discourse” and some call it “the Olivet discourse” because He taught it from the Mount of Olives.

A comment made by the disciples concerning the temple buildings started this entire discussion.

The chapter could be outlined as follows:

·         Destruction of the temple predicted. Occurred in 70 AD

·         Signs of the end of the age.

·         Persecutions predicted.

·         The great tribulation.

·         The coming of the Son of Man.

·         The parable of the fig tree.

·         No one knows the day or hour of the Lord’s return.

Because the chapter covers such a wide range of time and events we have some difficulty in understanding exactly how it all fits together. Our focus today will be on Jesus’ promise to return and knowing He will keep His promise.

Many of the events Jesus tells His disciples about were prophesied in the Old Testament—Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Joel for example. Once again proof these prophets wrote under God’s inspiration! Later the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians deals with it also.

The promise of Jesus’ return gives us living hope! (I couldn’t help but to think about the Sadducees who don’t believe in the resurrection.)

 

Seen! Read Mark 13:24-27

 

1.      If you were to use just one word how would you say creation will respond at the end times? (Chaos! Complete disorder and confusion.)

Read Isa. 13:10; Ez. 32:7; and Joel 2:10, 31.

2.      What details can we learn about Jesus’ return from these verses? (Jesus’ return will be like nothing we’ve experienced; all people will see Him; Because we’ve never experienced it—similar to the disciples not having experienced the resurrection—we will certainly get some of the characteristics wrong.)

We need to focus on what we can know, such as even nature will change.

3.      Read Mark 13:26-27 again. How do you visualize the return of the Son of Man and what will happen upon His return?

4.      How would you contrast Jesus’ first coming (birth) with His second coming? (Poor-Ruler; Seen by few-seen by all; Birth announced to a few-proclaimed worldwide; Humility and service-great power and glory; etc)

5.      Read Daniel 7:13-14. Mark drew an example from Daniel to connect Jesus as the Messiah. How should His eventual return affect the way people live each day right now?

Verse 27 indicates that Jesus’ return will mean a time of restoration for the believer.  These events in the heavens announce the arrival of God’s righteous judgment.

 

Be Assured! Read Mark 13:28-31

 

1.      Why might Jesus have used a fig tree as an example? (Very common fruit tree in Israel. Everyone would understand exactly what He was talking about. The fig tree served as a reliable indicator of the seasons. Most of the other trees in the area did not lose their leaves in the winter, so the budding of the leaves of a fig tree promised that summer was approaching.)

In our area the blooming of the Bradford Pear tree might serve as a good example pointing to the onset of summer.

2.      What one thing can we be certain of from these verses? (Christians have been anticipating Jesus’ second coming since He departed the first time. No matter how long it takes, His Word is true and will come to pass.)

Verse 30 is a difficult verse to understand. Jesus said “This generation will certainly not pass away until all these things take place.” If He was referring to the destruction of Jerusalem, then He was talking about the generation of His disciples, but that is highly unlikely because it is so far removed in context. Some scholars believe He was talking about the “Christian Era.” The most likely and logical would be the generation living when the events of the great tribulation come to pass. Although a terrible time only that generation will have to endure those events.

3.      Because Jesus’ word and His return are certain, how should our behavior, attitudes, and words be impacted by His promise? (Even the way we speak to our spouses and kids will honor or dishonor Jesus. There isn’t an area of our life that will not be called into accountability.)

If love for Jesus doesn’t motivate us to do rightly, we should be motivated by the reality that we will bring before God both our selfish acts and our loving ones.

4.      Read Mark 13:31. How does this verse provide comfort for us today? (Regardless of what is going on around us Jesus’ words will come to pass. He is in complete control, even in the seemingly chaotic world we live in today!)

 

Stay Ready! Read Mark 13:32-37

 

1.      What key words do we find repeated in these verses? (“Be alert.”)

2.      Why would Jesus repeatedly remind His disciples to be alert?

Notice that when the master went away he gave his servants jobs to do.

3.      Do we ever have a job to do and put it off until it’s too late and we get caught short?

The message to the disciples is clear. They have a job to do before Jesus returns but they don’t know when He will return. Therefore, it is best to go about doing the Master’s will lest we get caught short.

4.      What would a day guided by watching and being alert look like? (We should live as though Jesus could come any hour, doing actions He would be proud of, but plan as though we’ll live on this earth until death.)

As Jesus shared with His disciples the need to stay alert, so we also must watch out and be alert!

 

Summarize and Challenge!

 

1.      What are some distractions that could keep a person from remaining alert and watchful?

2.      How can a person safeguard himself against these distractions?

3.      Think about challenges you’re currently facing. How does the promise of Jesus’ return give you hope when you face the identified challenges?

4.      How does the hope we talked about today provide comfort?

5.      How can you share this hope with others?

6.      What do you most anticipate about seeing Jesus come in His glory?

 

We all need to focus on our relationship with Jesus rather than getting hung up on details about what will happen first, second and third.

 

Even so come Lord Jesus!

Purifies - Mark 11:15-19; 12:41-44

1.      Have you ever backed out of your garage, driven about a block, and began to question whether you closed the garage?

2.      How many of you have gone back to check only to find that you had closed it?

3.      Has this happened more than once?

4.      Did you close your garage door when you left home today?

Sometimes actions become so automatic that we don’t even realize we’re doing them. It’s like our minds are on autopilot.

5.      When have you ever caught yourself going through the motions either at home, at work or during an important event?

6.      What makes simply going through the motions so dangerous? (The activity has lost its significance. There is no meaning to your actions.)

In today’s study some practices in the temple had become so commonplace that the people failed to see the problems and carried on business as usual with no thought as to its significance or true meaning. They were only concerned with what they were doing and not the impact their actions had on others and their worship.

 

Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Sunday. So the events we’ll focus on today occurred on Monday and Tuesday before Jesus’ crucifixion.

Cleansed! Read Mark 11:15-17

 

The court of the Gentiles was the entry point for Jews going into their main worship area, the only area open to the Gentiles, and a very high traffic area. It had become a place for trading rather than a place of worship. A place for personal gain rather than a place to honor God!

Remember, this is Passover week, so there were many more people in Jerusalem than would normally be there.

1.      What was actually happening in this area designed for Gentile believers? (Animals and doves were being bought and sold for sacrifice. For an animal to be used for sacrifice it had to be judged as perfect. Some scholars believe that as people brought their animals to be inspected by the priests they might be told it was not acceptable. In that case they would be offered the opportunity to purchase one that was acceptable. Especially this week, it was a very lucrative business.)

The money changers were there to exchange Roman coins for the Tyrian shekel. This was the coin required for every Jewish male to use to pay their annual temple tax.

2.      What words would you use to describe Jesus’ emotions? (Anger or righteous anger.)

3.      What did Jesus get mad about and how did He express that anger? (Anger at behavior that hurts people tends to be a godly use of anger. In this passage, Jesus stopped innocent worshipers from being taken advantage of.)

Jesus acted to stop wrongful behavior—stopping merchants from doing unfair business in the temple complex. It is almost like they had turned this area of worship into a stockyard!

4.      What gradual steps do you suppose contributed to this transformation? (The buying and selling was part of the worship process of bringing the right kind of financial and animal offerings. The placement of the merchants limited access to the temple, especially for Gentiles.)

5.      What did Jesus say was the proper use of His house? (Read Jer. 7:11 and Isa. 56:7. Remember Mark wrote his Gospel aimed at the Gentiles—“House of prayer for all nations.”)

6.      What are some ways we gradually move away from approaching God with reverence? (We use our Prelude music time as a time to visit with each other rather than preparing our hearts for worship. We get up and move around in our worship service like we are at a ball game.)

7.      Jews appeared to be going through the motions simply because they were Jews, not because they viewed the temple as a place set aside for worship. How might my “going through the motions” of worship hinder others from approaching God?

 

Feared! Read Mark 11:18-19

 

1.      What response did the chief priests and scribes have to Jesus’ actions?

2.      Why wouldn’t they do anything to Jesus at that time? (Jesus seemed to have the support of the crowd.)

3.      Why might the scribes have felt threatened by Jesus?

4.      What happens when someone begins to get into our “pocketbook”?

5.      What might motivate them to seek to silence Jesus and His message? (With the following of the people a revolt against the scribes and/or Rome could come about.)

6.      Do we ever try to silence Jesus’ message to our hearts?

 

Observed! Read Mark 12:41-42

 

1.      What are some feelings and motives the worshipers in these verses may have had? (Notice there is nothing here that indicated any negative feelings or motives. They may very well have had pure motives and genuine feelings of worship and gratitude to God.)

2.      How might the contrast between the rich people and the poor widow be deceiving to others watching?

3.      What are some ways people might use religious practices to gain recognition?

4.      Giving includes attitude, action, proportion, and motive. What else might be included in giving?

Some people give because they feel they “have” to give and don’t have a choice. Others feel they “get” to give to show their love and adoration for and to the Lord.

 

Commended! Read Mark 12:43-44

 

1.      Why did the widow put more into the treasury than all the others? (Often believers use their personal lack of wealth as an excuse for not giving an offering to the Lord.)

Notice Jesus didn’t say anything negative about what the rich people gave. We don’t know how Jesus knew they were rich other than perhaps the clothes they wore.

2.      What things do people trust for security?

3.      How might those things get in the way of them trusting God?

4.      What two tips would you share for giving in ways that honor the principles God’s Word teaches? (Tithe proportionally; give sacrificially; ask God what offering you should give.)

5.      How much of your income belongs to God? (All of it. He gives it to us and we should use it in ways that honor Him in every way. How we spend is as important as how we give.)

Sacrifice in our giving isn’t measured by how much we give but how much we have left!

 

In cleansing the temple Jesus removed the money changers so that they were no longer a distraction for worship. In sharing with the disciples, Jesus revealed that the sacrifice of the widow showed a heart for worship much more than the rich people giving out of their surplus.

 

Summarize and Challenge!

 

1.      What would Jesus clean from my temple?

2.      What thoughtful actions in everyday life would Jesus call attention to as acts of worship?

 

Worship goes far beyond one hour a week but is a giving of our lives, as described in Romans 12:1-2.

 

What might Jesus call attention to in you—not to tell others but to continue that thoughtful deed as an act of worshiping Jesus!

Serves - Mark 10:35-45

1.      When you think of the word “leader” what images or names come to your mind? (President; boss; commander; Mayor; head of civic organizations; etc.)

2.      When you think of the word “servant” what images or names come to your mind? (Helper; custodian; someone lower in terms of importance; housekeeper; etc.)

We almost always think of a leader as being out front, a person of prestige, and importance.

3.      How do you think you would respond if you went for an executive job interview and you were handed a broom as part of the interview?

4.      What would your attitude reveal about your understanding of leadership?

5.      Have you ever been asked to do something that you thought was “beneath” you—even though you said nothing?

Today in Mark 10 we’ll see Jesus again in the role of teaching Messiah. In this chapter Jesus teaches about the permanence of marriage; the blessing of children and childlike trust; the barrier to the kingdom for the rich young ruler; possessions and material wealth; His third prediction of His death and resurrection; suffering and service and finally the healing of a blind man.

These incidents may appear to be somewhat disconnected. Yet, each was not only part of Jesus’ ongoing ministry but also served as an object lesson for the disciples. They needed to grasp Jesus’ example of One who did not come to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for all who believe in Him.

It appears that His disciples, like many today, were struggling to understand what discipleship was all about and the true cost of discipleship.

 

The Request! Read Mark 10:35-38a

 

1.      In your words, what was their request? (Next to Jesus, they wanted the top positions in His kingdom when it was established.)

2.      How did James and John go about making their request? (In modern day terminology—“would you do us a favor?” They wanted a commitment from Jesus before they asked the real question.)

How do you picture the scene? Did they pull Jesus aside? Try not to be heard? Make sure they were overheard? Had they been thinking about it because Jesus’ tone had changed since they headed for Jerusalem? Maybe He was going to establish His kingdom in the very near future and, if so, we want to ask before anyone else thinks about it. 

            In Matthew’s account, the mother of James and John approached Jesus with them to make the request, while Luke didn’t identify who made the request. James and John, along with Peter, were members of what has been called “the inner circle” and may have assumed they had a higher position. They began their request by acknowledging Jesus as their Teacher (not Lord) but appeared to have forgotten His recent prediction concerning His death and resurrection. They were bold in approaching Jesus and desired a guarantee before they made the request.

3.      How would you describe what motivated James and John to make the request?

4.      What does the request reveal to us about their understanding of leadership?

5.      What did the request reveal about their assumption about Jesus’ kingdom?

6.      How is that same understanding expressed today?

It’s unclear how long James and John thought about their response to Jesus’ question in verse 38, but their stories show us they would sacrifice much more than they had intended, at least at this point in following Jesus!

7.      What would you say to your younger self about something you previously misunderstood about following Jesus? (Even with Jesus right there, or teaching us clearly today through the Bible, we can let our own ideas muddle what Jesus teaches!)

Life has a way of humbling us and showing us God’s truth! The cup Jesus was about to drink included dying for our sins, while the baptism is a reference to their completely identifying with Jesus and being willing to face suffering for His sake!

8.      What costs might be associated with following Jesus today?

9.      What does the confidence expressed by James and John say about them? (Not unlike Peter the night before Jesus’ crucifixion, they were confident they would follow Jesus!)

10.  In whom do they trust more, in themselves or in Jesus?

 

The Reaction! Read Mark 10:39b-41

 

The text doesn’t say how the other disciples discovered the request, but our actions seldom stay completely secret.

1.      How would you describe the reaction of the other 10 disciples? (Indignant: “Feeling or showing anger or annoyance at what is perceived as unfair treatment.” Perhaps they felt those positions should be theirs.)

2.      How do you think you would have responded? (As believers, we need to constantly examine our motives for service. Do we follow Jesus because we want something from Him? Do we serve out of ambition hoping He will reward us with special privilege or compensation? Do we serve sacrificially with the goal of obtaining merit in His eyes? The only appropriate motive for serving Jesus is our love for Him.)

3.      How did Jesus remain focused on the Father’s plan for Him? (Constant communication through prayer! Numerous times in the Gospels we find Jesus alone praying at all times during the day! If He needed constant communication with the Father, how much more do I need it?)

 

The Ransom! Read Mark 10:42-45

 

Notice how Jesus didn’t rebuke anyone but used this situation as a teachable moment for all of the disciples!

1.      What are some qualities of a good leader that you most appreciate? (Leads by example. Unquestionable integrity. Puts the organization above self. Treats others as he would want to be treated. Shows respect to everyone. Willing to do whatever needs to be done, no matter how menial the task.)

2.      Jesus challenges us to characterize our lives by serving well. What are some every day examples of serving well? (Changing a diaper. Mowing the lawn for a sick neighbor. Preparing meals. Grocery shopping. Serving at the Soup Kitchen; Community Food Pantry; Choir; orchestra; deacon; teacher—all ages; SS leader; visit shut-ins; prayer room; etc.)

Mark 9:33-35 tells us the disciples were arguing about who would be the greatest.  Jesus tells them that “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” Evidently they weren’t paying close attention!

 

Summarize and Challenge!

 

1.      Name some words that describe Jesus? (I found over 150 names and titles for Jesus and all are important. But as an example for us to follow in this life “Suffering Servant” gives us perhaps the best example for us to follow.)

2.      How might being a humble servant to all of those around us help lead someone to Jesus?

3.      What tips would you give for actually being selfless?

4.      What temptations pull the attention back to self?

We point to Jesus when we selflessly serve others. But some people unwittingly serve to get attention.

5.      What does counting the cost of discipleship look like in your life right now?

6.      Where have you fallen short?

7.      What steps can you take to make it right?

8.      Where is perhaps the hardest place to be a servant?

 

Thank you, Father for Jesus’ teaching on how to relate to others. May we seek opportunities to serve others and let our lives more effectively point to Christ.

 

Saves - Mark 15:27-39

Last Sunday Jesus interrupted an argument to find out that a man had approached some of the disciples, asking them to help his demon-possessed son. The man explained that the disciples were unable to help his son. Jesus reprimanded His disciples for their unbelief and then called for the demon-possessed boy to approach him. The father appealed to Jesus’ compassion, asking that Jesus do anything He could to help the boy. Jesus noted the man’s waning faith, who then confessed his unbelief, and asked Jesus to help him grow in faith. Jesus commanded the demon to leave the boy forever and with a shriek, the demon left, and the boy lay motionless. Jesus took the boy by the hand, raised him, and the boy stood whole. Jesus was willing to help this boy, in spite of the level of belief found in others. From this lesson we saw the disappointment of placing belief in the wrong person or people. As believers, we must refresh our belief in Jesus to maintain spiritual vitality.

 

(Write on board)  Do you believe in Easter? Yes, No, Why? This was an email closing line I used years ago and one response I received was: “I believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ but I do not believe in the pagan rituals and commercialization so common today.” I was impressed with such a frank and honest answer from a colleague.

   It so happens that our lesson today is about the death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We have jumped ahead to Mark 15 for this Easter passage but we will return to Mark 10 next week.

 

Read Mark 15:27-28 “Crucified” Read from your KJV bible as v.28 is not in your quarterly.

   Some modern English Bible translations move verse 28 out of the text and into a footnote because the verse does not appear in a number of Greek manuscripts. The KJV includes v.29. “And He was numbered with the transgressors.” Read Isaiah 53:12. Centuries earlier the prophet Isaiah predicted that the Messiah would die among the rebels.

   Here, just as Isaiah forecast, we see Jesus innocently crucified between two criminals. As we know, crucifixion is one of the most tortuous punishments ever invented. I cannot imagine hanging on a cross until death comes.

Why would Jesus face death, particularly crucifixion, for us? To show His love for us by dying for our sins. God reaching down to us is a distinction between God and false religions. World religions try to reach the Almighty, but God has already come to us.

What is Christianity? A religion or a relationship. Relationship.

    

Read Mark 15:29-32 “Mocked”

   Three guys hanging on crosses and near death, what are the audience and those passing by doing? Lots of cruel insults and mocking. The Jewish leaders had successfully stirred up a mob mentality among the many citizens and Passover visitors to Jerusalem.

   What was the taunt “would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days” referring to? Jesus had told His disciples, concerning the temple, that one day “not one stone will be left upon another-all will be torn down.” More to the point, Jesus had also spoken of destroying and raising up “this temple” in reference to the crucifixion and resurrection of His body. The mockers did not have a clue as to what he was talking about and used the phrase as an insult of His powerlessness.

   Did the people really want to believe in Jesus? Why or why not? The Jewish leaders certainly did not but maybe some of the folks had given thought to believing Jesus. It seems the Jewish leaders used Jesus’ claim that He was the Messiah and King of Israel not only to mock Him but to show the crowd that Jesus could not possibly be the long awaited Messiah. Many of the taunts were misquotes of Jesus’ words intended to challenge Him to prove His claims of deity.

   What do today’s critics of Jesus say about Him? Out of date, behind the times, accepts good deeds but no need of repentance, does not answer prayers, does not hold to accountability, and sin is not a big deal.

   What do these critics of today have wrong about Jesus? Pretty much everything. Like the religious leaders that accused Jesus of saying He was God, without even considering that He was God. Sin is still sin and a big deal even if legislative actions say it is legal.

 

Read Mark 15:33-36 “Forsaken”

   What are three actions that happened in these verses? (1.) Darkness came over the whole land, (2.) Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (3.) Some were waiting to see if Elijah would miraculously come take down Jesus. Can you close your eyes and visualize this scene? Dirty, smelly old hillside, three men dying on three crosses, the crowd shouting mocking jeers and then total darkness. Total darkness! No torches would have been burning at noon, the street lights would not have been on at noon. I think it would have been an eerie darkness.

   What is the significance of the darkness? Darkness fell over the area for three hours in the middle of the day. It was noon, Jesus had already been on the cross three hours. Perhaps there is a connection between the darkness and the Passover event. God sent three days of darkness as one of His plaques against the Egyptians. This plaque was followed by death of the firstborn. Here, darkness preceded the death of God’s only Son, which by the way, made redemption possible for everyone. Whatever the significance, the absence of light was a supernatural act of God in reaction to what was happening at the cross.

   What is the significance of Jesus’ plea to God? One view of Jesus’ cry emphasizes that in this moment of Jesus’ life, the sins of the world’s people, past, present, and future bore heavily on the sinless Lamb of God. As the Just One took on Himself the full wrath deserved by sinners, the Father turned away from looking upon the scene. Mark records only this one sentence from Jesus while on the cross. However, Luke records Jesus’ last words in Luke 23:46, “Father, into your hands I commit My spirit.” Those words indicate that Jesus did not believe His Father was absent. Rather, His cry was a prayer for the Father to draw near and give Him help to endure until victory came.

   What was the significance of the people waiting for a miracle from Elijah? The people misunderstood Jesus’ cry of “Eloi.” They thought Jesus was calling for Elijah to help Him. Many Jews believed that the Old Testament prophet Elijah would come to life again to prepare for the Messiah’s appearance. The guy who offered Jesus a drink likely was not trying to help Him. Rather, he wanted to see if Elijah would come to take Jesus down from the cross. Perhaps this person had heard about Jesus’ miracles and hoped to see something spectacular.

Read Mark 15:37-39 “Victorious”

   How was Jesus death far-reaching both at the cross and beyond? The curtain in the sanctuary was torn from top to bottom, the centurion who witnessed Jesus’ death confessed that Jesus really was the Son of God and Jesus’ death ultimately gives life today.

   What changed when the temple curtain was torn? The wall of separation between God and sinful humanity was torn away. Now, every person can come directly into the presence of God, rather than just the high priests. The Pope became a Baptist.

   Was the centurion saved that day? Some believe that he was simply recognizing Jesus as an extraordinary human being who refused to lash out at scoffers and died the cruelest death with remarkable dignity. A more likely understanding is that the centurion confessed more than he knew. He had limited understanding of who Jesus was, but what he saw and heard of Jesus during the crucifixion proved that this One who was said to be the King of the Jews was not merely a son of gods but was the Son of God. Having been stationed in Jerusalem, he may have heard the accounts of Jesus’ compassionate, miraculous works. He may have become convinced that Jesus was exactly who He claimed to be. If so, the centurion’s confession was the beginning of a new road of faith for this Roman soldier. It can be the same way for all who open their hearts and minds to the power of Jesus’ atoning death for their sins.

 

Summary: Jesus’ death bridges the gap between God and humanity caused by our sin.

·         Jesus willingly faced death on our behalf.

·         Jesus ignored challenges to His identity and power so He could provide our salvation.

·         Jesus endured God’s wrath as our sin-bearer.

·         Jesus’ death gives all who believe in Him access to the Father.

 

Pray, giving thanks to our Heavenly Father for Jesus and ask that You would give us the strength to be the example You would have us be so others can be led to know Jesus.

Commands - Mark 9:14-27

1.      What different roles do you play each day in relationship to others in your life? (Spouse, parent, grandparent, child, sister, brother, employee, employer, friend, co-worker, church volunteer, community volunteer, neighbor, etc.)

2.      On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being all the time, how often do you let Jesus affect each role you play?

3.      Does how much control you allow Jesus to have in each role, impact the lives of those around you for Jesus?

Beginning in Mark 8:27 we see a shift in Jesus’ earthly ministry. Here He begins to focus on preparing His disciples to carry on His mission. Jesus has now moved north from Bethsaida toward Caesarea Philippi. As Jesus walked along with His disciples He asked them what people were saying about Him. Then He asked them what they believed about Him. Peter blurts out, “You are the Messiah!” Then Jesus began to teach them about His coming death and resurrection. He is trying to help them understand what being the Messiah really meant. They struggled with the concept of a suffering Savior. Note that the transfiguration recorded in Mark 9:2-12 points specifically to Jesus’ divinity and fulfillment of the Law and prophets.

 

In today’s study we see Jesus as both a miracle-working Messiah and a teaching Messiah. Following the mountaintop experience with His inner circle of disciples, Jesus became immediately involved in a spiritual battle.

 

Powerless! Read Mark 9:14-18

 

These verses don’t explicitly explain the dispute between the disciples and the scribes, but past examples in Mark would indicate that the scribes consistently looked for ways to discredit Jesus and His disciples. When Jesus asked about the argument, the person with the greatest need stepped forward. Jesus would’ve already known the problem, but He wanted the person with the need to come forward and explain the situation.

1.      What are some possible reasons that the disciples were unable to drive out the demon? (Remember when Jesus sent them out two by two they had been given authority over demons and had, in fact, cast out demons. Perhaps their lack of faith; the father’s lack of faith; the boys lack of faith; perhaps they were actually acting in their own power; etc.)

For whatever reason, the disciples were powerless to help in this situation. Their inability to act probably led to the dispute with the scribes and the crowd.

2.      When we feel powerless, what do we tend to do first? Then next? And finally? (Solving powerless situations isn’t once-and-done but requires repeated efforts, steady attitudes, and deliberate calmness—all guided by Jesus.)

Put yourself in the apostles’ shoes; they were trying a new ministry venture, being confronted by powerful religious leaders, and unable to heal a man’s child as Jesus had sent them to do.

3.      How can placing trust in someone other than Jesus to solve a problem in your life lead to frustration and disappointment? (We can have faith in faith but that won’t solve the problem. Our faith must be in Jesus. We can place a lot of trust in our pastor or a trusted counselor but our faith to resolve the issue must be in Jesus.)

4.      How can we return to a better path if we’ve made mistakes or poor decisions? (We falsely label ourselves as failures, when the more likely reality is we simply need more training or practice. God’s grace allows us to reorient our trajectory. He will even use our mistakes for His good when we surrender them to Him!)

Not all illnesses result from demon activity. We must be careful not to attribute demonic activity in Scripture to simple mental illness.

 

Hopeless! Read Mark 9:19-21

 

1.      How would you describe Jesus’ response when told the disciples were unsuccessful in driving out the demon?

Read verse 19 again.

Even though Jesus seemed to express frustration about the disciples’ actions, He still felt compassion for the father and moved to action.

2.      What situations produce a sense of hopelessness?

3.      How could Jesus make a difference in those situations?

4.      What do Jesus’ words in verse 21 teach us about His treatment of people? (Put yourself in Jesus’ shoes, not Jesus in your shoes. Include the compassion, attention to the father’s needs, the boy’s needs, and care for others without a hidden agenda.)

These questions help us wrestle aloud with what we sometimes wonder within our minds.

5.      How did the demon respond to Jesus?

6.      What does this teach you about how to respond to Jesus?

7.      What conclusions can we draw from the demon’s behavior? (Even the demon recognized Jesus’ power. The demon knew he would have to surrender to Jesus’ power! Sometimes we fight rather than listen to Jesus, and Jesus has the power of Almighty God!) 

 

Faithless! Read Mark 9:22-24

 

1.      How would you describe the father’s response?

2.      Did the father question that Jesus could help his son?

3.      Was Jesus mocking the father when He said, “If you can”?

4.      What can be helpful when we have doubts or gaps in our faith? (We need Jesus’ help to believe. Jesus will help us serve, believe, and honor Him. He attends to even the minor details of our lives.)

 

Faithful! Read Mark 9:25-27

 

In these verses we see Jesus’ authority with two commands. First, Jesus commanded the demon to leave the boy. Secondly, He commanded the demon to never return. Both in this situation and in Mark 5:35-43, where Jesus healed Jairus’ daughter, a father was challenged to believe and had to overcome the doubts of a skeptical crowd.

1.      What are some examples of Jesus’ working in a situation that seemed beyond reasonable hope?

2.      How can these situations become opportunities to share His power, mercy, and grace with others?

3.      What does this passage teach about how to treat evil? (Evil is seldom as obvious as this demon. Typically it’s sneaky and maybe even uses church words. To show how insidious evil is, generate a dozen ways evil manifests itself, such as an adult being cruel to a child, selfishness, saying the right words and  doing the wrong thing, manipulation, whining, procrastination or overspending.)

 

Summarize and Challenge!

 

1.      What tips would you give to new believers for expressing belief in Jesus? (Express faith in God’s Word by living it out in your daily life. Right living produces right results in our spiritual lives. We must trust that the way God directs us to live is the way to peace!)

Belief is more than a set of words or a once-and-done decision. As we instruct new believers we are instructing ourselves!

2.      Are you having trouble believing Jesus for right now?

 

Some areas of our life may be experiencing strong faith while in other areas we need help with our unbelief! Cry out to God as this father did: “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!”

 

Prayer!

Includes - Mark 7:24-37

Since our study last week Mark records Jesus feeding the 5,000 with five small loaves of bread and two fish; then Jesus coming to His disciples walking on the water; next He performed more miraculous healings; then He confronted the Jewish elders about some of their traditions they held to be more important than Scripture at times.

Our study this week certainly contains the ideas that Jesus was inclusive in His work and ministry. Although not all are included in our passage, the Gospels record Jesus ministering to Jews and Gentiles, men and women, rich and poor as well as those who were accepted by society and those rejected by society.

            If we aren’t careful we can lose sight of a deeper message the Scripture has for us. Jesus was trying to teach His disciples, and thereby us, that our main mission has priority over all else.

 

1.      What would you say is our lead Pastor’s number one priority concerning our church? (To lead us in the direction God wants us to go! While there are three primary areas He must lead in they all enable Him to accomplish that top priority. Those three areas are Administration, Ministry and Preaching. While all are important no one area can be allowed to consume all of His time.)

2.      What is your number one mission from God?

We all have many sub-priorities in our life that we cannot allow to hinder us from accomplishing our main, God-given mission!

 

To accomplish our mission may call on us to move outside our comfort zones to include people different from ourselves. This can often be a great challenge. In chapter 7 Mark relates two healing stories that reveal Jesus’ love and compassion for people who might have been considered outsiders.

(Point out the region of Tyre and Sidon on a map. Also point out this is where Jesus came to try to escape the crowds.)

 

The Humble! Read Mark 7:24-30

 

1.      Why might the people coming to Jesus here be considered outcast?

2.      Jesus clearly did not want the people to come to Him. That sounds strange to us. Why might He feel that way? (Once again we find perhaps they needed their physical rest.  His primary mission was not to cast out demons and heal the sick. But in doing so He was fulfilling Scripture—Isa. 35.)

3.      What are some risks Jesus took in ministering to these individuals?

4.      This is a non-Jewish woman approaching Jesus to heal her daughter. In verse 27 this is without doubt a harsh reply from Jesus. Why do you suppose Jesus answered her as He did? (The way Jews referred to Gentiles was understood by both groups, so she understood her position! He may have been trying her faith. Jesus came as the Jewish Messiah and that had to be His primary focus. Children are not less important to Jesus that adults!)

5.      What could we learn from this woman about how to respond to challenges? (This woman’s humility and persistence earned Jesus’ respect and action.)

6.      How do ethnic and religious differences serve as barriers for expressing compassion? (We have to be careful that we don’t make the one receiving compassion feel inferior and watch for pride in ourselves. It would help us to know about the other person’s culture so we wouldn’t unknowingly insult them.)

7.      How can faith in Jesus help a person look beyond these barriers? (In these circumstances the best expression of faith is through love, which is an action word. So faith put into practice is best done by showing love to all people.)

Throughout His ministry, Jesus made it clear that Israelites were His principal ministry focus, but Jesus found tremendous faith in her response. This reinforced the fact that faith is not limited to a privileged few!

8.      What does verses 29-30 say about the woman’s faith? (It was complete. When Jesus told her the girl was healed she left for home and experienced victory through her faith!)

The Outsider! Read Mark 7:31-35

 

1.      What reasons would people, especially the Jews, have to consider this man an outcast? (He was most likely a Gentile. Because of his handicap he was considered unclean. They may have even thought he was deaf and slow to speak because of some sin he had committed.)

2.      What does the matter in which he came to Jesus indicate others were concerned about him and his condition? (It seems some of his friends brought him to Jesus like the four brought the paralytic earlier in Mark.)

3.      How are individuals with physical disabilities treated like “second-class” citizens today? (We generally try to avoid them, if possible. We may even pass them on the street or in a store and never speak to them. To be fair though, some of us go out of our way to speak to them and make them feel welcome.)

4.      What can the church do to serve as an advocate and break down barriers for them? (Where possible integrate special needs individuals into standard classes. Have a class or department, as we do, for special needs. If needed, during worship services have someone sign the message. Volunteer in special needs homes and ministries around the community.)

5.      What similarities and differences do we find in the two miracles we’ve seen today? (One was healed from afar by Jesus just speaking; the other was healed when Jesus touched him.  Each concern was brought by someone other than the one in need. Faith of a mother and the faith of friends led to spiritual victories in another person’s life. The second healing, for whatever reason was done in private.)

6.      Too often we see people with physical challenges as outsiders to minister to rather than contributors to ministry. How is this ultimately cruel? (All believers have a place in God’s kingdom! As believers, they are part of the body of Christ also and need an outlet for service whenever possible.)

 

The Exuberant! Read Mark 7:36-37

 

1.      Why do you think people talked about Jesus’ healings even after He commanded them not to tell anyone? (Encountering God’s power and majesty will cause us to become awestruck. Refrain from condemning the people who didn’t contain their astonishment.)

2.      How does Jesus’ acts of compassion motivate us to show compassion that won’t be stopped by any obstacle? (We see the change that can be brought in someone’s life and want to be a part of that kind of love in action.)

3.      Why do your caring actions speak love so much more powerfully than your caring words? (Words mean nothing unless they are followed by actions.  Loving actions show God powerfully. Examples?)

4.      What risks do we take when we choose to act on someone’s behalf?

Mark makes it clear that people couldn’t keep the news of their healing a secret. The crowds recognized that Jesus does all things “well.”

 

Summarize and Challenge!

 

1.      What single word best summarizes the exuberance found in seeing Jesus changing a life?

2.      What does a person’s response communicate about what and who they value?

3.      To move toward acting upon the truth, think of times you’ve shown compassion—or tried. What works? What doesn’t work?

4.      How do we keep our ministry priorities straight? We must first know what our primary mission is that God has given us. Then we must guard our time carefully to be sure we don’t allow a secondary ministry consume our time and energy.

While Jesus came for the whole world, in a sense His primary mission was first and foremost to the Jews. He is their King and Messiah. He was to prepare them to take His message of salvation to the world. Generally, Jesus ministered to the Jews first then to the Gentiles. See Acts 13:46 and Romans 1:16.

A Jewish woman was cleansed then a Gentile woman asked for her daughter to be healed. A paralytic Jew was healed then the one deaf and slow to speak was a Gentile. Jesus fed the 5,000 Jews then the 4,000 Gentiles.

Ironically, the Gentile crowd recognized that Jesus met the expectations of the Jewish Messiah (Isa. 35:5)

 

From Jesus’ own ministry, we can learn a very important, two-fold principle for Christian ministry: the primary mission or calling that God has placed on our lives must inpact the decisions we make—and even good things can distract us from God’s purpose.

 

In Jesus’ case, He chose not to engage in widespread public ministry with the Gentiles because He had a greater mission. It was not wrong or inappropriate for Him to minister to a Gentile person, but He could not allow their immediate needs to outweigh the importance of His obedience.

 

In the same way, we believers need to be focused on the mission God has given us, both general and specific. And we need to take care to organize the many commitments and obligations in our lives in a way that moves us toward accomplishing whatever we have been called of God to do.

 

Father, help we focus on the primary ministry you have for me. Help me to not get distracted on lesser important tasks!

SENDS

Tell about a time you got a message to someone when you couldn’t personally deliver it.

Why did that message matter to you and to the one who would receive it?

 

Mark 6:7

Jesus sent His Apostles out in pairs to minister in His name to the surrounding communities.

Why did He send them in pairs?

Jesus gave them the authority over unclean spirits.

What were the dangers if they went in their own authority?

What was the significance of Jesus giving them his authority?

Why would Jesus instructions in verse 7 increase reliability of the message delivery?

 

Mark 6:8-11

Jesus instructed the twelve to take minimal provisions as they went out in his name, trusting that God would provide through the means of a host in the towns they were sent.

What instructions did Jesus give, and what were possible reasons for each directive?

What needs were met by the host homes where the disciples stayed?

 

Mark 6:12-13

The twelve preached and ministered in Jesus’ name extending His ministry. They freed people from demons and healed others from illness.

How can we communicate the need for repentance to someone we know well?

How about to someone we don’t know well or; at all?

 

Mark 6:30-32

The twelve reported to Jesus all that had happened as they went out, celebrating what had happened. Then Jesus led them to a place where they could rest and reflect on their experiences.

Why is taking time for rest important?

How does it help to share both victories and frustrations as you minister in Jesus’ name?

 

Summarize and Challenge

Jesus expects His followers to be a part of His ministry.

Jesus empowers His followers to preach and act in His name.

Jesus has a message for all believers to deliver.

 

Personal Challenge: Think of messages you deliver to those around you. Use Jesus’ instructions to deliver those messages and other messages Jesus gives you.

Restores - Mark 5:21-43

1.      What gives life on this globe we call earth value? (First and foremost life has value because God gave it to us when He created the universe. He is the only One who can give life. On a recent television program a doctor made the following statement when talking about his role in helping a couple conceive: “I created that life, not God, it was me!” I realize it was a TV program but I cringed at the danger that man was placing himself under God’s judgment.)

2.      Why is healing important to us?  (God created us with a desire to continue living in this physical life and keep our family and friends here with us as long as possible. As long as we are somewhat healthy, we desire to live here on earth.)

3.      Why is healing important to God? (Healing is ultimately an expression of God’s power. It truly is godly to enjoy our lives while on earth.)

 

As we think about our Scripture text today we find a parent desiring that his daughter be healed. Wrapped inside the overall text is a woman who had suffered 12 long years doing all she knows to do to be healed. In this passage, Jesus demonstrated His authority and encouraged those He touched not to fear, but believe. It is one thing to believe one can be healed, but quite another to believe someone can be brought back to life.

In the greater context of Mark 4:35-5:43 Jesus exercised His power over nature by calming a storm on the Sea of Galilee; His power to drive out evil spirits from a man in the region of the Gerasenes; and His power over death by bringing a dead girl back to life.  As Jesus demonstrated throughout His ministry, He had ultimate power over all creation!

Jesus is now among a Jewish population.

 

Willing! Read 5:21-24

 

1.      What do we learn about Jairus from this passage?

(Jairus was one of the synagogue leaders; had a very sick daughter; willing to humble himself at Jesus’ feet; expressed faith in Jesus; as a leader he would have been a respected and influential member of the town’s society. Does Mark’s mention of Jairus by name suggest that he was later known to the apostles as a follower of Jesus?)

2.      How would you describe Jairus’s level of confidence in bringing his need to Jesus?

3.      What might hold a person back from confidently approaching Jesus?

4.      Is it possible that Jairus’s attitude toward Jesus changed when his daughter became deathly ill?

5.      What words in these verses illustrate Jairus’s desperate call for help? (“Urged Him insistently.” This indicated his sincerity as well as his grave need.)

6.      Do you believe Jesus is still willing to help all those who approach Him in faith? (Yes, but perhaps not in the way we expect.)

 

Now it seems that Jesus gets distracted and Jairus, I’m sure, became frustrated. But Jairus had no one else to turn to for help.

Read Mark 5:25-34

 

Undeterred! Read Mark 5:35-40

 

1.      Do you think Jairus’s heart sank as he heard the news of his daughter’s death?

2.      What instructions did Jesus give to Jairus after hearing the girl had died?

3.      What experiences had Jairus had with death that would cause him to lose faith? (Healing the sick is one thing, restoring life, another!)

4.      In what situations today might Jesus challenge a person to continue to believe?

5.      What roadblocks might a person face that could cause them to doubt or give up?

6.      Why do you suppose this became a private healing? (People were weeping and wailing. Some laughed at Jesus, not amused but scornful. But Jesus is not deterred nor bound by unbelief.)

7.      How does Jesus’ walking with us through a dark time impact our relationship with Him? (I can watch you go through a difficult time but to experience it myself builds my faith and strengthens our relationship.)

 

Able! Read Mark 5:41-43

 

Jesus touched the young girl even though He would’ve been considered ceremonially unclean, and immediately she got up and walked.  As was the case with the woman with the issue of blood, Jesus makes the unclean clean!

 

1.      How does Jesus bring life to His creation? (Speaking! He is the Living Word of God!)

2.      What can be pointed to as proof that Jesus gives life today?

3.      Why was it important for Jesus to command the people to provide a meal? (Jesus’ healing is both effective and practical. The girl needed nutrition after being ill for a period of time.)

4.      Why did Jesus give strict orders to the family not to tell what had happened? (Jesus knew many people wanted to force Him into a Messianic role that fit their own interpretation, not God’s plan. He sought to avoid that kind of attention so He could focus on what really mattered.)

 

God’s Timing!

 

God’s timing doesn’t always coincide with our schedule. In fact, most Christians would confess that God, more often than not, acts unexpectedly. He may move quickly and suddenly to bring about a resolution to our circumstances or an answer to our prayers, or He may delay to test our faith or deepen our willingness to persevere. Whatever the reason, it’s always true that God acts according to His purpose, and His timing is always a perfect match for whatever He is working to accomplish.

 

            In Lamentations 3:25-26, we learn,

           

            The LORD is good to those who wait for him,

            To the person who seeks hm.

            It is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD.

 

Although we prefer God’s more immediate answers, we need to enjoy His delays. When God waits to act, it tests our trust in Him and stretches our ability to rely on Him alone for what we need. When we fail to wait on Him, the inevitable result is that we search for answers or solutions elsewhere, and in so doing, we sometimes forfeit God’s blessing.

The dilemma is that we want God to work in the way we think best benefits us, but we desire this without knowing the full picture of what God is trying to accomplish. In John 11, for example, Mary and Martha called upon Jesus to come to the village of Bethany and heal their brother, Lazarus. Rather than leaving immediately for Bethany, Jesus tarried for two more days in the place where He was staying. Before He departed, Lazarus died. When Jesus arrived in Bethany, Mary and Martha were greatly saddened because their brother was dead. They spoke to Jesus and told him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died” (v.21). Clearly, they were upset because their request had not been answered in the way they desired. However, Jesus had a greater purpose for growing their faith through this crisis. He allowed Lazarus to die so that He could exercise His power over death and raise Lazarus to life again, knowing that His display of power would solidify their belief in Him as the Messiah.

Like Mary and Martha, we often want God to work things out on our time lines. But sometimes He has a greater purpose in our circumstances. Let us not trade our own desires, however good they may be, for God’s best. His timing is always perfect.

Quicksource, page 26 “Dig Deeper”

 

Father, may we not settle for good when we can have Your best!

Unites - Mark 3:22-35

1.      Do you favor either one of your parents?

2.      What characteristics are most prevalent in your family?

Although it isn’t always true we can generally identify people who are of Native American heritage—and proudly so!

 

In all families, proud parents of newborns look for family resemblances that identify the child as theirs; so too our relationship with Christ identifies us as part of His family. The church directory is a representation of part of our spiritual family.

Most of us have children and grandchildren. Some have adopted children and many times as those children grow their habits and mannerisms mimic their adopted parents.

 

3.      What are some physical characteristics you share with your biological family?

4.      What are some ways you try to reflect your relationship with Christ? (Actively involved in the local church. Obedient to the Father. Live by the truth of God’s Word.)

 

In the last session we saw a demonstration of Jesus’ authority over sin as He healed the paralyzed man and said that his sins were forgiven. That action stirred up conflict between Jesus and the scribes. In today’s session the scribes continue to try to discredit Jesus. At this point in Jesus’ ministry, there was growing animosity from the religious leaders as He redefined the rules and threatened the establishment.

Since last week in Mark 2:12 we see Jesus call Matthew to follow Him; Jesus dining with sinners; questions raised about fasting; a lesson on Lord of the Sabbath; Jesus healed a man with a paralyzed hand; we find Jesus ministering to the multitude; and a listing of the twelve apostles!

 

Undivided House! Read Mark 3:22-27

 

Beelzebub: Name for Satan in New Testament spelled differently in Greek manuscripts. The term is based on Hebrew Baalzebub, “lord of the flies.” Regardless of its exact meaning it is clearly a reference to Satan!

Notice Jesus called the scribes over to Him so He could confront their charges against Him!

1.      In verse 23 Jesus asks, “How can Satan drive out Satan?” How does Jesus’ introductory question refute the argument presented by the scribes?

2.      In verses 24-26 what does Jesus use to clarify His initial question to them?

Read Matthew 12:25-28.

3.      What additional information do we find Jesus providing in these verses? (These verses indicate that internal strife would produce chaos rather than unity. To further illustrate His point, Jesus shared another parable. Read Mark 3:27 again.)

4.      How does Jesus’ explanation offset the accusation of the scribes?

Jesus’ enemies were specifically charging Him with blasphemy, but in the next verses Jesus refuted the charge.

Read Mark 3:28-30

5.      What was Jesus trying to do by using the phrase “I assure you?” (What was about to follow was very serious! This passage contains what is sometimes referred to as the unpardonable sin!)

6.      What are at least two truths we can glean from these verses? (People can be forgiven a multitude of grievous sins! There is no forgiveness for a person who “blasphemes against the Holy Spirit.”)

7.      What does it mean to “blaspheme against the Holy Spirit”? (Jesus was indicating that God is willing to forgive even the most grievous sin directed against Him personally if repented for. However, nowhere in Scripture is there any suggestion that divine forgiveness for the impenitent is ever granted! In other words, rejecting the wooing of the Holy Spirit to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior can never be forgiven!)

8.      How would you explain the unpardonable sin to others?

9.      What ramification does this teaching have for believers today?

10.  Why do people wrongly assume that certain actions are unforgivable? That they have crossed the line and they can’t turn back? (If you are still feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit, you have not crossed the line. If your heart has grown calloused, and you have rejected the Holy Spirit to the extent that you no longer feel conviction for sin, you are in dangerous territory!)

The religious leaders were hardening their hearts with the promised Messiah standing right before them. It’s dangerous to attribute God’s work to Satan, hardening our hearts to the Spirit. Surely there were some of the Scribes who at least thought for a moment, like Nicodemus, “Maybe Jesus really is the Messiah” but rejected the wooing of the Holy Spirit’s urging!

 

In addition to the charges of the scribes, Jesus’ own physical family misunderstood His words and actions.

Misunderstood by Family! Read Mark 3:31-32

 

1.      What did Jesus’ mother and brothers want? (Jesus’ earthly family may have wanted to rescue Him, correct Him, or help Him. Like the disciples, it took them time to understand Jesus and His mission. Perhaps they feared for His life since the scribes’ opposition to Jesus was growing stronger daily.)

2.      How would you respond if your family didn’t understand your commitment to following Jesus?

3.      How do we make it harder for those closest to us to follow Jesus? (They tend to see more of our worst selves! Generally it is perhaps most difficult to be at our best when we are at home—we like to “let our hair down” so to speak.)

4.      What can we do to make it easier? (We can instead show our best to the people we live with—we have more opportunity to show love to them than to others.)

 

United by Purpose! Read Mark 3:33-35

 

1.      Why could “whoever does the will of God” include Jesus’ mother and siblings? (We know that at least one of His brothers became a believer and leader in the church in Jerusalem and wrote the letter titled James in the Bible. Some believe the book of Jude was also written by one of Jesus’ brothers. But most likely they did not fully believe and understand until after the resurrection.)

Jesus is not being rude or neglectful of His family here. He is simply stressing the fact that our spiritual union is much closer that our natural family relationships. Jesus arranged for His mother’s care from the cross (John 19:26-27).

2.       How can we respond when there’s a conflict between what we believe God wants for us and what our family members expect from us? (Jesus was teaching here that the nature of the spiritual family means obeying God!)

3.      How does being members of God’s family affect our daily lives?

4.      What can believers do to truly live out their relationships as children of the King? (Stay connected to the Family and remain obedient to the Father!)

 

Summarize and Challenge!

 

In today’s study Jesus refuted the charge of blasphemy, continued to reveal Himself as Messiah, and expanded the concept of a spiritual family. As believers, we are integral parts of two families.

1.      When has your commitment to Jesus put you at odds with members of your family?

2.      How did that experience draw you closer to Him?

3.      How did it help you minister to your family more effectively?

Having a strong commitment to God isn’t an excuse for not caring for your family. In fact, the more obedient you are to God the better you take care of your family! We should be seeking God’s will in all of our relationships!

Challenge: Write a family member a letter, thanking that person for showing you how to honor God with your actions and words.

 

Forgives - Mark 2:1-12

1.      Indicate yes or no with a thumbs up or thumbs down. Has a message you’ve sent ever been misunderstood?

2.      Have you ever regretted words said in haste?

3.      Have you had to apologize for words hastily crafted?

 

With today’s social media tools, it’s easy to respond quickly to messages, but our speed of response may keep us from considering carefully our words. The limitation of the number of characters we can post might send a message we didn’t intend. Our responses can make people wonder what gave us the right to say what we said.

 

Jesus never had to back down on His words even if they led to controversy. What some considered outrageous He knew as true. Today we will see some of the religious leaders questioning Jesus’ authority.

 

After Mark’s record of Jesus calling four of His disciples that we finished with last week Jesus drove out an unclean spirit; healed several more people in Capernaum; preached in Galilee; and healed a man with a serious skin disease. Jesus told that man to tell no one but he proclaimed to everyone what Jesus had done. The crowds became such a problem that Jesus went out in deserted places but people would come to Him from everywhere.

 

Faith Expressed! Read Mark 2:1-5

 

Jesus’ authority had already been demonstrated through His teaching, calling of his disciples, exorcising of demons and healings.

1.      What draws people to at least consider what Jesus teaches? (Unlike the religious teachers of His day, Jesus taught as one having authority—Mark 1:22. No one had ever taught as Jesus—John 7:46. He not only spoke with authority He healed and cast out demons.)

2.      What actions did these four men do to help their friend meet Jesus? (First, they believed Jesus could help him. The man may have believed also, but could not come without help. Second, they brought their friend to Jesus. Third, went upon the roof and tore off part of the roof to let their friend down to Jesus.)

3.      What risks did these four men take? (Tore through someone’s roof! They were willing to remove obstacles to get to Jesus. Why couldn’t they wait until Jesus stopped speaking and then approach Jesus, after the crowds are gone?)

An important issue comes up here that we do not want to pass up: Here Jesus connected faith and forgiveness!

Hebrews thought sin and illness were connected. Sometimes they are simply illnesses (Matt. 5:45). However, sin and illness were connected in some way for this man with paralysis. Did Jesus have to forgive him in order to heal him?

4.      What did it cost the friends to bring their friend to Jesus? (Time. Energy. Risk of being criticized. Etc.)

5.      How did these friends show love for this man? (Since God is love, we’re never more like Him than when we meet a real need in a way that truly helps another.)

6.      Faith is something we do, not something we have or hold. How do expressions of love show faith? (Putting yourself in another person’s shoes—or showing compassion and empathy—is central to love expression.)

7.      How might a person show faith in a tangible way today? (We give as an expression of worship and faith. We pray, in faith.)

Doing the right thing is an expression of faith because we trust that Jesus is right. We trust Him so much that we act.

Jesus could forgive sins because He is God. Pause to talk with Him privately about some sins for which you need forgiveness.

8.      What need of this man was most evident to the four men as well as the crowd? (Physical healing. Forgiveness or spiritual healing wasn’t even on their “radar”.)

 

Authority Questioned! Read Mark 2:6-7

 

1.      What was the reaction of the scribes in the crowd?

Jesus saw the spiritual need as more important than the physical need of the paralytic, and He challenged the status quo with His words about the forgiveness of sins.

2.      How were the scribes right and wrong at the same time? (Right, only God can forgive sin. Wrong, thinking Jesus couldn’t forgive sin. He is also God! One writer points out that the scholars of Jesus’ day didn’t believe the Messiah could forgive sin because they did not see Him as God, only a political leader.)

3.      How do you think you would feel if you were expecting a very important person, but only met a few commoners, only to learn later that one of them was the person for whom you had been waiting for in great anticipation, but didn’t recognize?

4.      What are some facts about Jesus that challenge our ability to understand?

5.      How is sin like paralysis?

 

Power Proclaimed! Read Mark 2:8-11

 

“The scribes were likely using the law as a type of litmus test to evaluate Jesus’ teaching. Jesus presented them with a different kind of litmus test—a test of authority.” (PSG, p. 25)

 

Reread verses 10-11. This is the first time Jesus referred to Himself as the “Son of Man.” This is the first of fourteen times this title is used in Mark to emphasize both the humanity and deity of Jesus.

(Hand out Pack Item 12: The “Son of Man” in Mark.”)

As you study this week read these and reflect on the significance of the term “Son of Man.”

 

1.      How does accepting the teaching that Jesus is God affect other beliefs a person may hold? (If you believe Jesus is God then all other beliefs must be measured by what the Bible has to say. If it agrees with the Bible it is true; if it doesn’t it is false!)

2.      How did Jesus’ actions here further demonstrate that He is God? (He knew what they were thinking. He showed divine authority to forgive sins. Jesus commanded the paralyzed man to stand and carry his pallet home! Jesus is beyond a doubt God.)

3.      What did the others who were listening—the man, his friends, and the crowd of onlookers—learn about Jesus’ character and authority? (Jesus had courage as He spoke the truth to the scribes. No common Jew spoke to the scribes that way. He spoke truth!)

We should speak the truth of God boldly when sharing God’s Word! Not in a boastful way but humbly speak truth!

 

Authority Demonstrated! Read Mark 2:12

1.      How would you describe the way people responded to the healing of the paralytic?

2.      Who responded with praise to God? (Evidently even the scribes were moved to praise God.)

3.      Do people respond with praise to God more about a physical healing or when a sinner is born into the Kingdom of God? Why?

4.      Complete this sentence: Forgiveness of sin can only be granted by __________!

This was only the beginning of the questioning of Jesus’ authority by religious leaders of His time, and continuing today we see people questioning Jesus’ authority.

 

Summarize and Challenge!

1.      Jesus still offers forgiveness to all who approach Him.

2.      How does this statement affect your life?

3.      In what areas should you seek forgiveness to clear the way for God to work in and through you?

4.      Are you sending a clear message to others seeing and hearing from you in relation to the authority of Jesus to forgive sins?

5.      As we approach our planned Revival meeting, who is someone you can help find Jesus?

Pray about who God would have you be concerned and pray for!