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Lesson 8: Keys to Family Unity *

Introduction: I'm reading an interesting book that presents a new theory on how our brain functions. The book suggests that our brain handles the input for sight, touch, sound, and smell in much the same way. Most scientists (including the writer of my book)seem unable to grasp the obvious - that this points to a Master Designer with a master design. Master designs are also found in the spiritual world. If God's creation is a series of repeating patterns, why should we be surprised that God uses overarching patterns or theories of life (laws)to guide our day to day life. Let's charge into our study of the Bible and explore these laws!

  1. One In Jesus' Love

    1. Read Ephesians 2:11-13. What has Jesus done for the Gentiles?

      1. How did He do it?

    2. Read Ephesians 2:14-16. What was the dividing wall that separated Gentiles from Jews and humans from God? (The law.)

      1. How do you explain that the great law of God could separate Jews from Gentiles and humans from God? (The Jews used the law as a basis for considering that they were superior to all other humans. The law separated humans from God because the law showed our sinful nature before a perfect God.)

        1. How did Jesus "fix" these problems? (By fulfilling the requirements of the law for everyone who accepts Jesus as their Savior. Jesus both made us perfect in the sight of God and eliminated the basis for pride among those who "obeyed" the law.)

    3. Let's analyze this for just a minute, just as if we were scientists. What overall theory of life (law of life) has Jesus put in place? (Jesus has shown us that reliance on Him gives us the gift of acceptability. We are sufficient if we rely on Him. Personal pride goes out the window because what Jesus has given us is more than any of us could "earn" by keeping the law.)

    4. We started out saying that God has "theories of life," which we call "laws" which apply to different aspects of our life. Wasn't the law which separated Jews from Gentiles a "theory of life?"

      1. Did one law replace another law?

      2. Let's look at a couple of texts. Read Matthew 5:21-22 and Matthew 5:27-28. What is Jesus teaching here about the Ten Commandments? (They reflect deeper principles.)

      1. Read Matthew 22:37-40. What does this teach us about the Ten Commandments? (It summarizes the deeper principles.)

      2. What do you say now: Did Jesus replace the Ten Commandments with a new theory of life? A new law? (I think the correct answer is that the Ten Commandments were simply ten applications of the fundamental theories of life. They were not themselves fundamental theories of life.)

  1. One In The Church

    1. Now let's apply fundamental theories to the church. How appropriate are feelings of superiority or inferiority? (People should be respected for the role that God has given them in the church, but the idea of inferior and superior members is alien to the "fundamental theory" that reliance on Jesus alone makes us all sufficient.)

      1. When I was young, my parents pointed out to me in this small church that we visited all of the "professionals" sat on one side of the church and all of the "laborers" sat on the other. Did the members of this church understand the fundamental theory that reliance on Jesus makes us all sufficient?

    2. Read 1 John 3:16-18. What theory of life do we find here? (We started out saying that reliance on Jesus makes us all sufficient in God's eyes and in each other's eyes. We became sufficient because Jesus died for us. The idea that we owe an obligation of love to others because Jesus loved us is another overarching theory of life.)

    3. How does John say this fundamental theory of life should apply in the church? (Since Jesus loved us enough to die for us, we should love each other in the church with deeds, not just words.)

  2. One In The World

    1. Let's take our theories of life outside the church. Does this same rule (that our worth comes from Jesus) apply to society in general? Does it apply even to people who do not believe in Jesus? (A candid book, The Bell Curve, revealed that a person's income and "professional" status are generally a predictor of intelligence. Thus, certain levels of intelligence are necessary for certain jobs. We often "rank" people in the world according to their money and position. What person chooses their own intelligence? Relative intelligence is a gift from God, it is not the result of personal choice. Thus pride should, once again, go out the window.)

      1. If intelligence is not based on a choice, and thus not a basis to "rank," on what basis should we rank people? (Loving others is a choice. The extent of our ability to love is not something determined at birth. If we want to rank people we should rank them according to their love for others.)

    2. Read Hebrews 13:5-6. We discussed how our reliance on Jesus levels the playing field when it comes to salvation, pride and status. What other benefit comes to us from following the theory of life of reliance on Jesus? (Jesus will be with us in the practical challenges of life. We can rely on Him and put away our worries.)

      1. Why does Hebrews speak of "love of money" and being "content?" What has that to do with relying on Jesus? (Humans rely on their wealth to protect them from the world. The Bible says, "The wealth of the rich is their fortified city." Proverbs 10:15. Jesus says that He is better than wealth for protection against the problems of the world.)

        1. Have you found this to be true in your life?

    3. Read Philippians 2:3-4. Is this a new fundamental theory of life? Or, is it simply a reflection of one of the fundamental theories that we have already discussed? (It reflects the fundamental theory of loving others as much as we love ourselves. It reflects the fundamental theory of reliance on Jesus for both our self-worth and for solving problems in our life.)

      1. How can we ever get ahead in the workplace with this kind of attitude? (Read Philippians 2:6-9. This teaches us that true success in life comes from the actions of God in our life.)

  3. One In The Family

    1. Let's apply these theories of life to our family. Parents are entitled to respect. But, are they entitled to believe that they are superior to their children?

      1. I've seen situations in which the father was jealous about the success of his son. What fundamental theories of life does that violate? (It hardly seems to show self-sacrificing love. It does not recognize that value comes from reliance on Jesus.)

      2. What about jealously over the success of a sibling? (If we love our children, if we love our brothers and sisters, we want them to succeed. If we realize that we are all sufficient in Jesus, then there is no need for competition in the family. If we are content in Jesus, then competition fades away.)

    2. Does this theory of life apply between husband and wife? (Yes, this gets back to one of my favorite texts in the Bible: Ephesians 5:28, "He who loves his wife loves himself.")

    3. Friend, making Jesus the center of our life, recognizing the theory of life that reliance on Jesus makes us sufficient and provides protection against the problems of life, alters our perception of others and the world. Will you try to apply the fundamental theories of life to your everyday experience?

  4. Next week: Homes of Peace and Healing.
* Copr. 2006, 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.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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