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Sabbath School Lessons on Reformation and Revival
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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 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 6: Confession and Repentance: The Conditions of Revival *
Introduction: What is your attitude toward sin? Are you mostly
concerned about what others will think about you? Or, are you
concerned about how your sin impacts God? When I was growing up, my
father would encourage good behavior by saying, "I don't care what
other boys do, you are Don Cameron's sons!" If my father's point was
that sin is a matter of personal reputation, that would not be good.
But, if he was standing in the place of my Father in Heaven, then his
advice was perfect. Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and
learn more about sin, confession and repentance!
- Attitudes Towards Repentance
- Read Acts 5:12-13. Would you want to join a group that
performed miracles? Would you like a miracle performed for
- Read Acts 5:14-16. These people want a miracle and they
join with the believers! What does this suggest about the
meaning of Acts 5:13? (Those looking for a miracle joined.
The common people had respect for the Christians, so this
must mean that those in positions of religious authority
did not dare to appear to believe in Jesus.)
- Read Acts 5:17. What makes these top religious leaders
jealous? (God is working through Jesus' followers. They
are working miracles and converting people. The top
religious leaders are jealous, and the leaders below them
are afraid to displease their jealous leaders.)
- Read Acts 5:18-20. If you face persecution for your faith,
what should give you confidence?
- In a clash between civil authority and God's
authority, who wins? (Skip ahead and read Acts 5:40.
The fact that God's authority wins, does not mean we
always have a smooth road.)
- Read Acts 5:21-24. What should come of this? If this were
a regular jailbreak, wouldn't these leaders know what to
do? (Of course.)
- So, why is the future cloudy here? (This is no
- Read Acts 5:25. Are the jailed apostles acting like
- Put yourself in the place of the highest religious
leaders. They are jealous about God's work through
the apostles. They see an obvious miracle showing
that their jail cannot hold the apostles. How should
- Read Acts 5:27-28. Consider the words of the High Priest.
What are the religious leaders really worried about?
- Read Acts 5:29-30. Does Peter apologize for putting the
religious leaders in a false light? (No! He makes the
charge that the religious leaders fear - that they are
guilty of Jesus' death. In addition, God opposes them
because He raised Jesus to life.)
- Do you think the religious leaders believed what
- Read Acts 5:31. We get to the heart of the matter. What
did these religious leaders need? (They needed to repent
and be forgiven of the "guilt of [Jesus'] blood" Acts
- What kept these religious leaders from repenting and
- Read Acts 5:32. Why does Peter need to refer to witnesses?
(One of the issues for the religious leaders was whether
they could believe what Peter said. They did not want to
- Why should they believe? (The witness of the apostles
and the miracles done through the power of the Holy
- How are the apostles and the Holy Spirit witnesses?
(Not only did the apostles see a risen Jesus, but
consider the jailbreak and the fact that the apostles
are out teaching again. The Holy Spirit not only
powered the miracles that made the religious leaders
jealous, but the Holy Spirit was working on the
hearts of the religious leaders!)
- Read Acts 5:33. How is repentance going? Why were they
furious? (Pride. They would have to confess that they were
wrong - and murderers!)
- Jesus and Repentance
- Let's go back and re-read Acts 5:31. How does Jesus "give
repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel?" Let's look
first at repentance. How does Jesus give us repentance?
- Re-read Acts 5:30. Are these also the charges against
you? (Jesus died for our sins. Our sins killed Him.
Just as a lamb was sacrificed for a person's sins in
the Old Testament, so Jesus died for our sins. See
- How does Jesus give us forgiveness? (Read Romans 8:1-4.)
- How do we receive repentance and forgiveness? Is it
automatic? (Consider the religious leaders. They had
the most powerful proof and they heard a clear
message, yet they refused to repent or be forgiven.
This shows repentance and forgiveness are gifts, but
they are not automatically received.)
- Guilt and Repentance
- Read Psalms 51:3. Do you feel like King David?
- Should the religious leaders we discussed in Acts 5
have felt like King David?
- Last week when I was teaching, a member of the class asked
whether guilt was good. What do you think?
- Let's look more deeply into King David's situation. Read
Psalms 51:1-2. How does David react to his sin? (He wants
to be free of sin.)
- Read Psalms 51:5-6. What is the human condition? (We are
born into sin, but God wants us to aspire to be free from
- Read Psalms 51:7. How does David think he can be forgiven?
(Completely. God washes him. God forgives him.)
- Read Psalms 51:8-12. Let's get back to the issue of
whether guilt is good. What have we read so far that makes
us think guilt is good? (King David says his sins are
"always before me." That is guilt.)
- What does David want to be? (Completely clean! Then
David says" "Restore to me the joy of your
salvation." Good guilt brings us to confession and
repentance. God's salvation brings joy!)
- What if you still feel guilt after repentance and
confession? (Read Zechariah 3:1-2 and Revelation
12:10. Post-forgiveness accusation is the work of
Satan. That guilt is bad.)
- Let's look at another text on this subject. Read 2
Corinthians 7:8-10. Would "guilt" be a good
substitute for "sorrow" in this text? (Yes. Guilt
brings sorrow. Good guilt "brings repentance that
leads to salvation." Worldly sorrow, the guilt from
Satan, "brings death.")
- Fake Repentance
- Read Psalms 51:4. I skipped over this text when we were
looking at King David's guilt and repentance. The context
here is David's adultery with Bathsheba. David caused the
death of her husband, Uriah, to cover-up his sin. How can
David say that he sinned "only" against God?
- Read Job 1:8-11. How does our sin impact God?
- If we combine David's statement about sin being "against"
God, and combine it with God's statements about Job, what
should we conclude about our personal sins and true
- To help put this into focus, let's discuss your
favorite sin. If no one would ever know about it,
would you continue to do it? (This helps us
understand true repentance. Our sins are against God.
God died for our sins. God is a holy God. God is
embarrassed by our sins because sin is rebellion
against Him. If we are focused on what our sin means
to God, rather than what it means to us, we have a
picture of true repentance.)
- Read Hebrews 12:4-6. Most of the time our sins do not
remain secret. What does our reaction to the results of
our sin say about the genuine nature of our repentance?
(The text says "don't ignore discipline and don't become
discouraged by it." Embrace it as a lesson from the God
who loves you!)
- Read Psalms 32:1-2. What comes from genuine confession and
repentance? (God forgives us and covers our sins. We are
blessed by God's forgiveness.)
- Friend, the Jewish religious leaders were concerned about
how their sin would impact them, not about whether Peter
and the apostles were telling the truth about them killing
God and impeding His work. Will you commit today to look
at sin in a new way? To look at sin as a break in your
relationship with the God who died for you, to look at it
as a barrier to the true joy of forgiveness?
- Next week: Unity: The Bond of Revival.
* Copr. 2013, 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.