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Sabbath School Lessons on Discipleship
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 5: Discipling the Sick *
Introduction: Would you like more members in your church? That is the
current topic of discussion in my church! People have ideas for
outreach, but my thought is "Let's heal some sick people!" Have you
ever considered what a great approach that is to bringing new people
into your church? That was Jesus' approach, right? Or, was it? Did
Jesus heal people to bring more crowds to hear Him, or did He heal
people because He had compassion on them? If you are healing people
to attract others to the gospel, isn't that showing compassion? Let's
dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn about how
to deal with sickness!
- Hearts and Healing
- Read 1 John 3:16-18. How many of you prefer to love with
words? (It costs less, takes less time, and is less of a
- How does the Bible call us to love? ("With actions
and in truth.")
- What does "in truth mean" in this context? (It
means that doing something makes your words of
- Read 1 John 3:19-20. What does it mean to have "our hearts
condemn us?" (It means to feel guilty.)
- What is the Bible telling us in these verses that we
have just studied? (We need to show our love with
more than just words. We will feel good about helping
people who are in need.)
- What do these verses suggest about the questions I asked
in the introduction? If we could make healing a part of
our gospel outreach, should we do it? (Yes! Whether you
are healing to attract crowds to hear the gospel, or
healing those already attracted to the gospel, you are
showing concern about both sides of the person - the
spiritual and the physical.)
- Read 1 John 3:21-22. Have you seen healing in your church?
- If not, what does this text suggest? (That we can ask
- Is this offer conditioned on anything? (It says we
can receive anything we ask if we obey God.)
- Read 1 John 3:23. What kind of obedience are we talking
about? (Believing in Jesus and loving others. This
suggests that we need to pay greater attention to prayer
for healing (believing in Jesus) on behalf of specific
people (loving others.)
- Read 1 John 3:24. How do we live in Jesus and have Him
live in us? (This is a very specific reference to the Holy
Spirit living in us and us living a life in tune with the
Holy Spirit. This is very important.)
- Let's be very honest for a few minutes. What makes helping
others a pain? I just said that helping others makes us
feel good. Is it both?
- Can you point to situations in which helping others
felt good and situations in which it was a pain? What
makes the difference? (Fixing the problem for a
grateful person feels good. A perpetual, unresolved
problem involving an ungrateful person is a pain.)
- How did Jesus handle the problems of people who came
to Him? (He fixed the problem instantly. Let's look
next at an example.)
- Jesus and Healing
- Read Mark 2:1-3. Are the people coming for words or for
healing? (Both. But it sounds like more are coming for
- Read Mark 2:4. If you were speaking to a crowd, how would
you like someone digging in the roof above where you are
- How would you like a person being lowered between you
and the audience? (It would be very distracting.)
- Read Mark 2:5. Whose faith is Jesus referring to? (It
sounds like group faith, not just the faith of the sick
guy, because it says, "their faith.")
- Put yourself in the place of one of the four helpers.
Is Jesus saying the words you were hoping to hear?
(No! My guy is paralyzed. I would not have needed to
drag him up the roof and then down through the roof
for forgiveness of sins. I wanted Jesus to heal
- Is it possible that Jesus is talking about the
sin of interrupting His presentation?
- Read John 9:1-3. What does the question of the disciples
reveal about the thinking of the people about sin and
sickness? (The two are related.)
- Does Jesus dispute this popular belief? (Only in this
case. He does not respond, "What, are you guys nuts?"
Instead, he says that neither the sins of the parents
nor the son contributed to the problem here.)
- What do you think about the reason Jesus gave?
- Recall the story of Job and his friends? Job's
friends told Job that he was suffering because
of his sins. Is the answer Jesus gives about
the blind man applicable to Job's situation?
- Let's get back to our story about the roof-man. Read Mark
2:6-8. Are the teachers right? (Yes, it is God who
- If the teachers are right, why should Jesus question
them? (Because this is the critical issue for the
ages - is Jesus God?)
- Read Mark 2:9-12. Let's revisit some questions that we
raised earlier. Why did Jesus perform this healing? (The
main reason seems to be to prove He is God.)
- If we asked the Holy Spirit to heal people so that we
could bring people into the church, would that be a
valid reason? (We want to convert people so that they
know that Jesus is God.)
- What other reasons does the story suggest for this
healing? (Look again at Mark 2:5. Jesus was motivated
by their faith.)
- What does this teach us about a plan to use
healings to promote the gospel? (We need to
have faith. We need to pray about it.)
- Based on this story, do you think we could do
this in our church? Could we heal if we had
the Holy Spirit in power? (Traditional thinking
may be a trap. Consider the non-traditional
approach of the friends. They did not say to
their friend, "We can't do this today, the
crowd is too great." Instead, someone
suggested, "Let's climb up on the roof and cut
a man-sized hole in it so we can interrupt
Jesus' presentation by dropping you in front of
Him. I think Jesus will reward us for this!"
That is faith, not logic.)
- Read Deuteronomy 28:15 and Deuteronomy 28:20-22. Were the
people right to think that there is a connection between
sin and sickness? (Yes, of course. I see at least three
main reasons for sickness: a) We live in a sinful world;
b)our own failures; and, c)to bring glory to God.
Sometimes all three seem to apply.)
- Healing and Outreach
- Read Luke 9:1-2. If there is a connection between sin and
sickness, are we "healing" people by converting them?
- Is this a way to promote the church? (We show
creative thinking when we promote the church by
saying that if you follow Jesus you will be
healthier, and your life will be better.)
- One of the great things about me teaching at Regent
University is that many of the professors and students are
part of what I call the "Pentecostal Holiness" segment of
Christianity. These are Christians who take obedience to
God and the power of the Holy Spirit very seriously.
Notice that Luke 9:1 is addressed to the "Twelve"
disciples. Is healing limited to them or their time?
(Read John 14:12-14. This says "greater things" are
possible for "anyone who has faith in Me." In the next few
verses ( John 14:16-17) Jesus promises to send the Holy
Spirit to live in us. It is through the power of the Holy
Spirit that healing is possible.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:8-9. What does this teach us? (Two
things. Healing is a spiritual gift. Second, God is
sovereign. He decides to whom He will give the gift and
who will be healed.)
- Read Revelation 21:3-4. What is the ultimate promise for
healing? (Those who are saved will live in the earth made
new, where death, pain and sickness are a thing of the
past. Praise God!)
- Friend, God may give you the spiritual gift of healing,
but even if He does not, you have the ability to tell
others about Jesus. A relationship with Jesus helps us to
avoid bringing sickness on ourselves and gives us the
promise of a world free from sin and sickness. Why not
share this with others today?
- Next week: Discipling the "Ordinary."
* Copr. 2014, 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.