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Lesson 4: The Son of God Among Us *

Introduction: We don't normally think of Jesus as a "missionary," but He is the greatest missionary of all times. As we continue our series of studies on great missionaries, let's consider Jesus' missionary work with sinners and what we can learn from Him in our mission to bring others into the Kingdom of God. Let's dive into God's word and see what we can learn!

  1. The Word

    1. Read John 1:1&14. Who is this "Word?" (Jesus. We know that John is speaking about Jesus because he says that "the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.")

      1. If Jesus is the Word, how can verse 1 say that He was "with God" and "was God?" Imagine saying that someone was "with Bill" and "was Bill." Does this make any sense? (This is an early introduction to the concept of the Trinity - in which three are one. In that sense you can be "with" the "person" that you are.)

      2. Why, of all things, would Jesus be called the "Word?" (Words communicate ideas. As the greatest missionary, Jesus came to communicate ideas to us about who He was and what He wanted from humans.)

    2. Read John 1:2. What point is John making about Jesus? How does this dispel the idea that Jesus is a created being like an angel? (When God existed, Jesus existed. God the Father could not have created Jesus the Son and still have this statement be true.)

    3. Read John 1:3. Who is the Creator of the world? (Jesus.)

      1. Is that important? If so, why? (It lends credibility to the gospel story. If Jesus created us, then it seems more logical that He would want to intervene into the affairs of humans to save us. If He created us, it seems more logical that He would love us absolutely.)

      2. Does the idea of Jesus as Creator give us another reason to call Him the "Word?" (Yes. Genesis 1 shows that God spoke the creation into existence. The "Word" captures that idea.)

    4. Read John 1:4. We have seen so far that Jesus constructed humans (and everything else), what is the relevance of telling us that "life" was in Jesus? (Jesus is not just an artist who can make things look pretty. Jesus is able to provide the spark that makes us alive!)

      1. Do you think that more is intended here than to say that Jesus provided the spark of life to humans at Creation? If so, what other meaning do you find?(The text says that Jesus' life was "the light of men." Read John 8:12. Light helps you see more clearly. Jesus gave humans a much better understanding of God.)

      2. Read Hebrews 9:14. In what other way does Jesus give us life? (Jesus is not simply our Creator, but He is our "Re-Creator" by paying the penalty for our sins and giving us the opportunity to have eternal life.)

    5. Read John 1:5. What is the "darkness?" ( Ephesians 5:8 suggests it means unsaved humanity.)

      1. What keeps "the darkness" from being dispelled by the light of Jesus?

      2. Would darkness have to "understand" light to be driven away?

      3. Read John 3:19-20. What does John suggest is the reason why light does not dispel darkness? (It does not want to be dispelled.)

        1. Surely some darkness wants to be dispelled. How did you and I come from darkness to light? (Some darkness is simply a matter of misunderstanding. If not, Jesus' work would be in vain.)

        2. Consider a personal question: Is there some part of your life that you want to remain "dark?" If you have a part of your life that you do not want exposed, have you let Jesus fully into your life?

    6. Read John 1:10-11. Why has John spent so much time discussing light and darkness up to this point? (He wants to demonstrate that the refusal of God's people to recognize or accept Jesus was a matter of willful ignorance.)

      1. What does this teach us about our missionary efforts?

    7. Read John 1:12-13. What is the result of the willful rejection of Jesus? (You lose out on becoming a child of God! You lose out on light and life.)

      1. How important a point is this to us in our missionary efforts?

  2. The Unpredictable Word?

    1. Read Luke 15:1-2. Why were the Pharisees unhappy about Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners?

      1. Who do you tend to eat with?

    2. Read Luke 15:3-6. What kind of attitude does this show that Jesus has towards sinners? (He pursues them. Think back to our lesson last week. Should our church services be geared towards the members or getting the "lost sheep" in the door?)

    3. Read Matthew 23:27-28. Why is Jesus running after the lost sheep and yelling at the lost Pharisees? One day Jesus likes sinners and another day He does not?

    4. Our series this quarter is about the great missionaries. The reason to study how Jesus was a missionary is to learn lessons about how we can be great missionaries. What lesson have we learned from Jesus about His missionary approach? When do we "romance" sinners by running after them and when do we speak harshly to sinners and call them names?

    5. Let's read Luke 15:7. Was this lost lamb which Jesus romanced simply confused? (No. The lamb "repented." The common goal is to have the sinner repent. Some sinners repent by being romanced, by being pursued. Other sinners repent by being yelled at.)

      1. How do you know which tactic to take with a specific sinner? (If you read the entire chapter of Matthew 23 you will see that the sinners Jesus yelled at are all religious leaders who think they are righteous. If you think that you are righteous you are not going to repent unless you get "hit" with the truth. The person who realizes that he is unrighteous does not need to be beaten over the head with the truth.)

      2. Should sinners always be pursued, either for a romancing or a beating? (Read Revelation 2:20-21. If someone is creating trouble in the church sometimes you just need to ask them to leave. Being asked to leave may be the "beating" that causes the person to repent.)

    6. Did Jesus love the Pharisees? When He was verbally beating them, was He still showing love? (Read Romans 5:8. Jesus died for the sins of everyone. The late, and unlamented comedian George Carlin was an enemy of the gospel. He would make fun of Christians who warned unbelievers that their destiny was hell, but who would add, "Hey, God loves you!" Parents understand the concept of love and discipline. As victims of sin, we long for the day when sin and death are destroyed. Sometimes love has to be "tough.")

    7. Friend, Jesus came to give us light. Will you share His light with those around you? Will you let the light into every part of your life?

  3. Next week: Jesus and His Disciples.

* 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.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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