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Sabbath School Lessons on Missionaries in the Bible
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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 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!
- The Word
- 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.")
- 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
- 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.)
- 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.)
- Read John 1:3. Who is the Creator of the world? (Jesus.)
- 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
- 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.)
- 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!)
- 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
- 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.)
- Read John 1:5. What is the "darkness?" ( Ephesians 5:8
suggests it means unsaved humanity.)
- What keeps "the darkness" from being dispelled by the
light of Jesus?
- Would darkness have to "understand" light to be
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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
- 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
- What does this teach us about our missionary efforts?
- 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.)
- How important a point is this to us in our missionary
- The Unpredictable Word?
- Read Luke 15:1-2. Why were the Pharisees unhappy about
Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners?
- Who do you tend to eat with?
- 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?)
- 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?
- 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
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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
- 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
- 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?
- 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.