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Sabbath School Lessons on Discipleship
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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 41 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: Preparation for Discipleship *
Introduction: In the last two lessons we learned that everyone is
eligible to be a disciple. What do we need to learn next to prepare
to be disciples? To prepare to lead? Let's dive into the Bible and
- The Chosen Twelve
- Read Mark 3:13-15. Can you imagine the scene in your
mind? Put it in today's terms. ("The Boss" calls your name
and you come out of the crowd and walk into His office.
He explains that He wants to promote you. This is exactly
what you think you want, so you agree to be an apostle.)
- What is the job description for being an apostle? (1.
Be with Jesus. 2. Be available to preach. 3. Have
authority to drive out demons.)
- Let's focus on this last aspect of the job for a
minute. Do you have to be authorized to do this
kind of work? (It is hard to read the text any
- What lesson do we learn for today from this account
of choosing the twelve disciples? (Many were
following Jesus, but He chose only a few to be in
positions of authority.)
- Choosing You
- It was pretty "black and white" how the twelve were
chosen. How are we chosen today by Jesus?
- A good place to start looking is Acts 1:21-26. Jesus
has returned to heaven, and the early church is in
the process of replacing Judas. Let's read this
account. What are the essential elements of the
choice? (The church uses its wisdom. It looks for
someone with the necessary experience. It chooses
two men. It prays for divine guidance and casts lots
- so that God will have the final say.)
- Should you be able to choose yourself for leadership?
I recall one man who studied so that he could be the
"Head Elder." He was ready and waiting to be chosen
by the church. When he was not, he dropped out of
church. Clearly, the church made the right choice. We
can (and should) all choose to be disciples of Jesus.
But, leadership positions should not be "self-chosen.")
- Read Romans 12:3-5. What does this teach us about our role
in the church? (We all have something to do. But, we do
not all have the same function. That is, we do not all
have the same job.)
- Do we have any role in choosing our function? (We
have a role in being realistic about our job. When
the Bible says "think of yourself with sober
judgment," it means be realistic about what you are
best fitted to do.)
- Aside from us being realistic, how are these
functions determined? (Read Romans 12:6-8. The "grace
given us" seems to refer to the blessings of God and
the power of the Holy Spirit. Consider what gifts God
has given to you. Where do you excel in His work?
That is your place in the church.)
- Considering what we have studied so far, what is the first
step in preparation for discipleship? (Figuring out your
role in the work. Your role may change over time, but the
essentials are the same: 1) Look for God's leading. This
can come through the gifts God has given you and the
leadership opportunities presented by the church. 2) Be
realistic about your gifts and talents.)
- The Job
- Read Matthew 10:1, 5-6. Are these instructions for us?
(Yes and no. We know the limitation on mission is not an
instruction for us because last week we learned that Peter
and Cornelius were clearly led by God to come together so
that gentiles would receive the gospel message. However,
the underlying principle is that we should be focused in
- What lesson should we learn from Jesus calling His
disciples "to Him?" (Preparation for being a disciple
requires that we draw close to Jesus. We do this by
Bible study and prayer.)
- What lesson is there in being given specific
authority to "drive out evil spirits and heal every
disease and sickness?"
- Adam Clarke's commentary says this: "He whose
ministry is not accompanied with healing to
diseased souls, was never called of God." Do you
agree? (I'm not sure whether Clarke means
exorcisms or conversions. If a minister never
converts anyone, that would be a problem. Going
down the "authority list" in verse one, most
ministers I know do not perform instantaneous,
- Read Ephesians 4:11-12. In this list "apostles"
(which are the twelve in Matthew 10:1) are
different than "evangelists" and "pastors." What
does this say about pastors having the same
authority as apostles? What does it say about
the necessity of them exorcizing and healing?
- Read Matthew 10:7-8. Which of these instructions do you
think applies to our preparation for discipleship? (The
message should be the same. If we are authorized to do the
rest, we should.)
- What does it mean "freely you have received, freely
give." (If God has given you a gift. If He has
authorized you with certain divine power, then use it
freely to help others.)
- Read Matthew 10:9-10. What does this mean? Is poverty part
of the preparation for discipleship? (Just the opposite.
Notice that they are leaving their money, suitcase, extra
suits, shoes and ties at home.)
- How does that make any sense? (Jesus says that those
who benefit from hearing the gospel should provide
those things for you!)
- What happened to "freely you received, freely give?"
- For at least the first five years of these lessons, I
bankrolled all of the expenses myself. All of the
translators volunteer their time and expenses. About
five years ago my son started running Google ads on
the web site with our lessons so that we could recoup
our costs. Should I be getting the money from you
instead of Google advertisers? (Not everyone followed
this rule. Paul supported himself. Acts 20:34.)
- Read Matthew 10:11-13. Let's start with verse 11. What
lesson for discipleship do you learn in this verse? (Your
base for mission depends in part on your work ("search"),
the willingness of a local to help ("some worthy person"),
and a continued partnership between the two of you ("stay
at his house until you leave"). I would not leave the
guidance of the Holy Spirit out of this, because Jesus,
another of the Godhead, is the one giving the
- What lesson do you find in verse 12? (Be respectful
and kind to the local family who is working with
- What lesson do you find in verses 13? (If they are
helpful, bless them.)
- Read Matthew 10:14-16. What should you do if people do not
listen to you? (Walk away.)
- Should this instruction about walking away guide our
evangelistic work today? How about our work for
former church members?
- If former members say "no," should we
never try again?
- Or, is this just an instruction for the
twelve disciples who have a huge task and
- Why do you think Matthew 10:15 is true? Just
refusing to listen is worse than being a
rapist( Genesis 19:4-5)? How can that be? (Read
Matthew 11:23-24. Barnes' Notes suggests this has to
do with the "light" available to you. Apparently Lot,
God's follower in Sodom, was not a very good
evangelist. The Sodomites did not have a very good
vision of God. On the other hand, the people being
sent out in Matthew 10 are the twelve disciples! Who
could better explain the gospel than one of them?
(Actually, as we studied at the beginning of this
series, the disciples understanding of their mission
at this point was not very good. Apparently, it was
much better than Lot's work!)
- When Jesus says "be shrewd as snakes and as innocent
as doves" what lesson does He want His disciples to
learn? (Use your common sense! Use your brains! Some
Christians complain about "seeker" services, about
using commercial techniques to market the church and
make it attractive to the world. Their view is that
the dusty, boring service they have is more spiritual
-- God will bring the right people in (never mind
that few, if any, have come in during the last few
years). Our Lord says when it comes to evangelizing
the world, be as "shrewd snakes.")
- Friend, will you take the steps to find your role as an
- Next week: Experiencing Discipleship.
* Copr. 2008, 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.