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Sabbath School Lessons on The Bible and Human Emotions
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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 4: Relationships *
Introduction: At the very beginning of the Bible we find God saying
"it is not good for the man to be alone." Genesis 2:18. In that
statement God seems to vote in favor of relationships. However, how
many times do you find that having relationships with others, not
being alone, creates most problems? What does the Bible teach us
about relationships? Does God's statement about humans not being
alone have a deeper meaning? Let's dive into our study and learn
what the Bible teaches about relationships!
- The Road to Honor
- Read Luke 14:7. Would you like to be honored? Is honor
one of the goals of your life?
- If these people were eating alone, there would be no
- Put yourself in the place of one of the guests. The
fact that you pick a place of "honor" says what
about your attitude about some of the other guests?
(You think they are less important.)
- When it comes to business, do you seek the highest
- Does that mean you are the most qualified person, or
do you seek the highest position for other reasons?
- What does the world suggest about seeking dignity,
honor and success?
- If you do not seek honor, dignity and success are
you lazy? Do you lack motivation?
- Read Luke 14:8-9. What is the logic behind taking the
least important seat? Just because you are not the most
important person does not mean that you are the least
important person at the wedding feast, right?
- Read Luke 14:10. What good thing do you think Jesus is
trying to do for us? (He is giving us tips (inside
information) to help us avoid being humiliated. He is
giving a roadmap to honor.)
- If we were not told that taking the least important
seat was the "secret path" to honor, would anyone
other than an obviously unimportant person do that?
- How would a person logically decide where to sit?
(You would have to measure yourself against others.
Jesus tells us to consider the needs of others first
- not put our claims first.)
- Do you actually think that in real life the host
cares about where you sit and would come and elevate
you? (Our God is the Host, and He cares.)
- Read Luke 14:11. Why is this true? (Exalting yourself
shows a primary concern about self. Being humble shows a
primary concern about others.)
- If you are paying attention and taking notes about
Jesus' tip because you want to enjoy honor, because
you want to be exalted, does that show that you are
- Is Jesus suggesting that we should look humble,
but not actually be humble?
- Read Ephesians 4:1-3. What do you think Paul means when
he tells us to be "completely humble?" Would a
completely humble person have the hidden plan to be
honored and exalted?
- Read Romans 2:7. What is the goal of the people mentioned
here? (Glory, honor and immortality!)
- Read Romans 2:8. If you seek glory and honor, are you not
- Read Romans 2:9-11. What does this suggest about whether
we should desire to be honored? (Having a desire for
glory and honor is not inconsistent with being a
Christian. If it were, Jesus and Paul would not mention
them as a reward. The question is, how do we go about
achieving glory and honor?)
- All Hat, No Cattle
- Read Matthew 23:5-7. If I told you that you could receive
honor by having a wide "phylactery" and a long "tassel,"
would you know what you should do? (A phylactery is a
little pouch containing a writing from the Bible. The
tassels were to remind people of God's words in the Bible
(see Numbers 15:39). A long tassel suggested that a
person was really paying attention to God.)
- Many of you are reading this on the "GoBible.org" web
site. Are the big phylactery, long tassel people not
promoting the Bible? Isn't that the essence of "GoBible?"
- What would be the modern equivalent to a big phylactery
and long tassel? (A large, flashy Bible.)
- What about a big, dusty family Bible sitting
prominently in a home?
- Are these kinds of people giving honor to God's
word? (They are advertising that they are more
concerned about the Bible than others.)
- Is that bad?
- What would be better? (Showing you cared about the
Bible by obeying - putting others first. They were
about appearance (hat), not substance (cattle).)
- Read Matthew 23:8-12. What is the path to being exalted?
(You earn it by humbly working for others, not taking the
best seat, adopting an exalted name or having a flashy
- Hebrews 5:4-5. Think back to our first story about the
wedding banquet host calling you to a higher place. What
is our role in seeking glory and honor? (Glory and honor
are consistent with Christianity. Claiming glory and
honor are inconsistent with Christianity. If we humbly
serve others, God will call us to be honored.)
- Have we gotten badly off-topic? How does this
approach help with relationships? (You are not in a
struggle with co-workers, friends and family members
for glory. You are in a struggle with others to see
who can be the most helpful!)
- Read 1 Peter 3:8. How is this consistent with humbly
serving others? (It tells us to be humble. But, more
importantly, sympathy, compassion and love show that we
put our selfish interests aside and focus on the needs of
- Let's go back to the introduction just a minute.
When God said "it is not good for the man to be
alone" ( Genesis 2:18) was he just talking about
marriage? (No. If we are alone, we think only about
our own needs. When we are in a relationship, we
think about the needs of others.)
- Read 1 Peter 3:9 and Leviticus 24:19-20. Has God changed
His mind? He says in Malachi 3:6 that He does not
change! (I don't think God is teaching us about justice
in 1 Peter 3, He is teaching us about relationships.
Concern for others comes ahead of justice. Justice is
essential for society ( Romans 13:3-5), but when it comes
to personal relationships justice takes a back seat.)
- Read 1 Peter 3:12-13. If we have this self-sacrificing
attitude about relationships, will we suffer injustice?
(This text gives us two assurances. First, God opposes
the wicked. Second, the nature of things is that if you
are eager to help, people are nice to you.)
- Read Luke 17:1-4. When it comes to opposing sin, where
should we start? (With us! Jesus says "watch yourself!")
- How does Jesus suggest that we reconcile "no
payback" and forgiveness with continuing sin?
(Unselfishly seeking the good of others does not
mean that we are silent about sin. Notice the
forgiveness procedure: 1) Rebuke sin; 2) The rebuked
person repents; and, 3)You forgive - without limit.)
- Read Matthew 5:23-24. Who is the person who is holding a
grudge? (The person not at the altar!)
- How should we understand this - we need to be
reconciled with people who do not like us?
- Years ago this text caused me to try to reconcile
with someone who seemed to hate me because I was
rebuking sin. Is that what this text means? (It was
a painful process. I learned to look at things from
the rebuked person's point of view. The rebuked
person hated me less, but was still unwilling to be
my friend. The benefit of my effort was that family
members now saw the facts more clearly and were
drawn closer to me and the church. I now think that
this text is directed to the situation where the
person at the altar has done something wrong.)
- Friend, I hope that by now you see the Bible teaches that
unselfishness, seeking the good of others first (rather
than your own good), is the key to great relationships.
Will you confess and repent of your selfish attitude and
ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with a spirit of
- Next week: Guilt.
* Copr. 2011, 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.