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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 11: Discipling Spiritual Leaders *
Introduction: Consider Moses and the Apostle Paul. What traits did
they have in common? I think of them as highly intelligent and highly
educated men. Would you consider Jesus' disciples to have the same
traits? Why did Jesus pick disciples who were not highly educated? We
don't know how smart they were, but Jesus did call them
"dull"( Matthew 15:16). Moses and Paul were great leaders - but so
were the disciples. Something is going on with the training of the
disciples that might bless our lives. Let's dive into our lesson and
see what we can learn about the way Jesus trained future spiritual
- Picking Disciples
- Read Luke 6:12-13. What does this sequence of events
suggest about the way that Jesus chose His apostles?
(Serious prayer proceeded the selection. This suggests
that Jesus sought the aid of heaven in the selection.)
- What should we do before we choose spiritual leaders
in the church? (Pray!)
- Read Luke 6:14-16. What do you know about Jesus' choices?
(We know for sure that one of those chosen betrayed Jesus.
We have no information to indicate that they were current
spiritual leaders, educated theologians, or civic
- Why do you think Jesus picked a very limited number
of disciples to be His apostles? Shouldn't everyone
be treated equally? Shouldn't everyone have a turn at
leadership? (This fits our study of two weeks ago
where we learned that God is behind the structure of
government. Jesus believed in organization.)
- Read Luke 6:17-19. What else seems connected with praying
all night? (Power is streaming from Jesus. Just touching
Jesus resulted in healing.)
- Read Luke 6:20-21. Is there merit in being poor, hungry
and sad? (Read Proverbs 14:23 and Proverbs 19:15.
According to Proverbs, achieving that is easy: talk
instead of work, sleep too much, be lazy and shiftless,
and you will be poor and hungry.)
- If we put what Jesus says together with what Proverbs
says we find that the lazy who talk too much and
sleep too much to get any work done will be blessed
and satisfied in the Kingdom of Heaven. Does that
sound about right?
- Read Luke 6:22. Here we learn that being hated, insulted
and rejected as evil is also good. What is the most
important part of this verse? (The reason behind it:
"Because of the Son of Man.")
- Jesus says things that our common sense (and much of
the rest of the Bible) tells us is just plain wrong.
There is no merit in being poor, hungry, sad, hated,
insulted and rejected as evil. These are not goals.
If they are, unlike righteousness, they are easy to
achieve. All sorts of people who have done little
good, and a lot bad, achieve these goals. So, what do
you think "because of the Son of Man" means? How does
it modify the true meaning of what Jesus is teaching?
- Read Luke 6:23. Were the prophets lazy, shiftless, talkers
who failed to work hard? (No!)
- Read Deuteronomy 28:1-6 and Deuteronomy 28:15-20. By now,
you may be saying, "Bruce, you cite Deuteronomy 28 so much
I've got it memorized!" How do you explain what Jesus is
saying to His disciples? (He is telling them that their
life pattern will be different. They may be poor, hungry
and sad now because they are promoting Jesus. But, they
will be rich, satisfied and happy in heaven.)
- What does this say to us? Which outcome is true for
us, Deuteronomy 28 or Luke 6? (Look again at Luke
6:20-21. It says things will get better. The poor
"now" will own the Kingdom of God. Those who weep
"now" will laugh. In fact, Deuteronomy 28 parallels
Luke 6 in many ways.)
- Read Hebrews 11:32-38. God tells us that good things or
terrible things can happen to us in this world because of
being faithful. How can we reconcile this with what we
have discussed so far?
- Read Hebrews 11:39-40. Regardless of what happens on
earth, what is the ultimate certainty? (That God's promise
to His disciples will not be completely fulfilled until
heaven! This is the ultimate promise that things will be
- Let's circle back to be sure we have this connected to our
topic. What does this teach us about training future
spiritual leaders? (The near term economic side of things
is uncertain. The long term economic side of things is
- Read Luke 6:24-25. Wait! This, of course, on its face
completely contradicts Deuteronomy 28. How can we
reconcile the two?
- Read Luke 6:26. How does this help solve this apparent
conflict?(This is the key to solving this riddle. The
first group were poor, hungry and sad, but because they
were following Jesus they had a positive future. This
group is rich, well fed and happy. However, they have a
terrible future because they are like false prophets. This
group is betraying Jesus and portraying Him in a false
- Does what I am suggesting about these verses make
sense to you? If not, look again at Luke 6:24-25. If
being poor, hungry and sad are goals, these "woe"
people (the currently rich, well-fed and happy) are
on the road to meeting the goal! They are on the road
- Context is extremely important in the Bible. Ripping out a
single verse and studying it on its own can be deceiving.
What kind of apostles did Jesus choose - those who were
rich, well feed and happy? (No - at least not rich.)
- Is Jesus' continuing discussion an explanation of why
He chose the unlikely disciples that He did? (Yes! He
wants disciples (and this applies to us now) who are
more interested in promoting the Kingdom of God than
promoting themselves. He is interested in those who
choose faithfulness to Him over those who compromise
the message so that others will "speak well of you.")
- Read Acts 1:6-9. Did Jesus get what He wanted? Did the
disciples get the message that wealth and power was not
the goal? (It took a little time for Jesus' message to
sink in that the goal was not personal influence and
- Discipling Disciples
- We just saw that after all this time with Jesus, the
disciples did not have a very good grasp of Jesus' message
to them - a message He had been preaching from the time He
selected them. Read John 16:7-11. What is the essential
ingredient to getting Jesus' message right? (Having the
- Read John 16:12. What limited Jesus in His teaching of the
disciples? (They simply could not "bear" certain truth.)
- Who would bring them that truth, if not Jesus? (The
- What does that teach us about our own walk with
Jesus? (We need to remain open to the leading of the
Holy Spirit. Things we might not have been able to
"bear" at one time may be truth that the Holy Spirit
will reveal to us.)
- What does that teach us about discipling others? (We
should use discretion about what new believers can
- Does this mean that we should not require new
believers to accept all of the doctrines?
- Read Romans 14:1 and Romans 14:22-23. Read the entire
chapter if you want a fuller understanding. What does
this suggest about what new believers can "bear?"
(This suggests another view of what we were just
discussing. Here, the new believer is zealous over
some doctrine or teaching that those with stronger
faith know is not correct. When we put these two
ideas together, we learn to "take it easy" with
correcting new believers - both in what they don't
know and in what they think they know.)
- Read John 16:13-15. Who should be bringing the new
believers into line? (The Holy Spirit! All the more reason
to "take it easy" with new believers!)
- How can you explain the rapid growth in the disciples'
understanding when the Holy Spirit came upon them? (Read 1
Corinthians 3:16. The Holy Spirit lives in us. He can
continually teach us and lead us.)
- Friend, what do you think is the most important trait of a
disciple? Jesus teaches us that it is not wealth, good-eating or happiness. Instead, it is seeking to advance the
Kingdom of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. Will
you commit today to seek to advance God's Kingdom through
- Next week: The Harvest and the Harvesters.
* 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.