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Sabbath School Lessons on The Spiritual Life - Experiencing Jesus Christ as Lord
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 37 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 7: Lord of Our Relationships *
Introduction: How many of the regrets in your life have to do with
fractured relationships? How much of the joy in your life comes from
good relationships? This week we learn that having good relationships
with others comes from spiritual growth. As we grow spiritually, we
should make fewer mistakes in our relationships with others. Let's
plunge into our study!
- Building Up to Relationships
- Read 2 Peter 1:1-2. Peter wishes grace and peace to those
to whom he writes. What do you think he means by grace and
peace? (Adam Clarke's Commentary tells us that "grace" is
God's favor and "peace" is the result of God's favor
manifest in our life by spiritual and physical blessings.)
- What effect does our relationship with others have on
- Read 2 Peter 1:3. How does Peter say that divine power
comes to us? ("Through our knowledge of Him.")
- How important is faithful Bible study? (Peter seems
to say that studying the Bible, which helps us to
understand God better, is the conduit by which divine
power comes into our life.)
- Read 2 Peter 1:4. "Through these," Peter says, we can
"participate in the divine nature and escape the
corruption of the world." What are the "these" to which
Peter refers? (Look at 2 Peter 1:3 again. He is referring
to God's "own glory and goodness.")
- How will God's glory and goodness help our behavior?
( 2 Peter 1:3 teaches us that God's glory and goodness
"called us." By learning of God's glory and goodness
we are drawn to a better way of life. This what
brings us to the point where we ( 2 Peter 1:4)
participate in God's divine nature and escape the
corruption that is around us.)
- Read 2 Peter 1:5. So far, Peter has sounded rather
abstract in what he has been teaching us. What specifics
does he give us in this verse? (He says you believe in
Jesus? You want to escape the corruption of the world?
Good. Try to do good things and learn more about God's
- Read 2 Peter 1:6. If you go into a gym to do muscle
training, they will take you to the various exercise
machines and tell you to use each to benefit a certain
part of your body or aspect of your health. Does Peter
have a similar approach? (It sure seems that way.)
- Can our Christian life be improved by focusing on
certain aspects of our character - and doing a little
"character muscle training?"
- How is this compatible with righteousness by
faith? (Notice that Peter started his list (2
Peter 1:5) with faith. In building up to this
point, Peter told us that knowledge gave us
"divine power." ( 2 Peter 1:3). We start with
righteousness by faith, but then by knowing God
better, we understand the areas of our life
which need a "work-out.")
- Okay. You go first to your spiritual exercise machine
that develops self-control, then the machine for
perseverance and then the machine for godliness. How
would you do this, as a practical matter? (If we
review 2 Peter 1:3-5 Peter stresses knowledge of God
and the promises of God which will help us to
"participate in the divine nature." Bible study and
the Holy Spirit alert us to the problems in our lives
in the areas of self-control, perseverance and
godliness. We then rely on the promises of God to
help us "add" these qualities to our life.)
- Read 2 Peter 1:7. What are the last things to be added to
our Christian life? (Brotherly kindness and love.)
- What impact do brotherly kindness and love have on
good relationships? (They should be the key to good
- Our lesson this week is about making God the Lord of
our relationships. Is Peter saying that it a long
road to having the right Christian relationship with
others? Some important character traits are required?
(Yes, I think so.)
- If we understand Peter correctly, why are proper
relationships ("brotherly kindness" and "love)
at the end of this list? (For example, self-control is critical to having a proper
relationship with others. Just looking and
working on these various aspects of our
character should make us more tolerant and
loving towards those who have not yet "seen the
light" on self-control, perseverance and
- Read 2 Peter 1:8. Are you despairing? Will we be able to
have proper relationships with others only when we are
mature Christians? (It is a long road, but we should not
say, "I cannot have proper relationships because I'm not
yet a mature Christian." Although Peter tells us to "add"
( 2 Peter 1:5) each of these qualities to the one before
it, 2 Peter 1:8 refers to possessing each of these
qualities "in increasing measure." We should not only
partner with the Holy Spirit to add the character traits
we lack, but we should also strive to build all of these
traits at once. Brotherly kindness and love should be a
goal from day one. In our spiritual gym, we should be
working on all of these "spiritual muscle groups.")
- Marriage Relationships
- Read Genesis 2:24. What does it mean for a "man to leave
his father and mother?"
- Does this only apply to the man? Should the woman
leave her father and mother too? (The result is "one
flesh," therefore logically, she should leave too.)
- Would "leaving," refer to geography, relationships or
both? (Marriage is not like foot-ball or "tag-team"
wrestling. It is not a team sport. The newly-wed man
and woman should live by themselves and reconcile
their differences without the "assistance" of members
of the family "team." If the problems are faced by
the couple "one on one," then they are both motivated
to compromise. But, if "mom" or "dad" join the
dispute on the side of their "child," the child will
have no reason to compromise and the other spouse
(now outnumbered) will become bitter. Love your
parents, but toss them out of your disputes.)
- Read Ephesians 5:28. Is this just advice for men? Is this
just advice for marriage? ("He who loves his wife loves
himself" is one of the most important divine insights in
the Bible. This is the kind of knowledge which Peter told
us gives us divine power. Showing kindness and love should
begin with your spouse, continue with the family and
extend to those around you. If you are harsh and selfish
with your spouse, you will get that back. If you are kind
and loving to your spouse, you will get that back.)
- Family Relationships
- Read Ephesians 6:1-3. Is this an instruction to obey all
parents? ("Parents" has an important modifier: "in the
Lord." This assumes the possibility of ungodly parents
and godly children. In that situation, if the parent is
giving commands which contradict God's commands, obedience
is not required.)
- Why would obedient children live longer and have
better lives than disobedient children? (The parents
described here have two important advantages in life.
First, they have an understanding of God's will.
Second, they have the benefit of experience. Since
godly parents love their children, they will give
them directions that are intended to make their
children's lives better.)
- Have you seen the truth of this text played out
in the lives of others? (I see this all the
time. The obedient child has a better, less
- Read Ephesians 6:4. What obligation is placed upon
parents? (To teach and model God's will.)
- How could godly parents exasperate their children?
(By going beyond the will of God. Deuteronomy 4:2 is
one example where God tells His followers not to add
or subtract from God's commands. Parents need to
teach all of God's instructions to their children,
but should not try to represent their own preferences
as God's requirements.)
- Community Relationships
- Read Deuteronomy 5:21 and Deuteronomy 23:25. What do these
texts teach us about private property rights within the
- Read Acts 2:41-45. How did the early Christians treat
- Is there a common thread that can be traced between the
texts in Deuteronomy and the actions recorded in Acts?
(The poor have no personal claim on the goods of the rich.
However, a converted heart holds goods "lightly.")
- Friend, we have learned that if you want to improve your
relationships with others, you have to improve your
knowledge and relationship with God. Will you commit to
daily study of God's word?
- Next week: Lord of Our Resources.
* Copr. 2005, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.