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Sabbath School Lessons on Teachings of Jesus
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 7: Living Like Christ *
Introduction: When I was a young, I read statements about the lofty
standards by which Christians are required to live. When I read the
requirements and attitudes involved, I said, "I cannot do this. Why
even try?" How did it make any sense to live a miserable life trying
to reach an unattainable standard? I should just reject the whole
idea because I was certainly destined to fail! Thankfully, it also
seemed impossible to live a life without Jesus. Later, I learned
about grace and was greatly relieved that I was saved by grace alone,
and the lofty standard set before me was the goal of a lifetime, not
a requirement for salvation. Let's dive into our study of the Bible
and explore the standard set before those who are saved!
- Good Samaritan
- Read Luke 10:25. Do you think that this expert thought
that he knew more about the law than Jesus? (Yes, he
intended to "test" Jesus.)
- Read Luke 10:26. Who is getting tested now? (The expert!
Jesus turns the question around.)
- Read Luke 10:27-28. Is salvation a matter of what we do?
- Read Luke 10:29. Why would the expert in the law want to
"justify himself?" (Wait! He asked Jesus what he must "do"
to be saved. When Jesus tells him, the expert decides that
he might not pass this test. He seeks a narrow definition
of "neighbor" in the hope that he will pass the test.)
- Read Luke 10:30. What kind of road is this? Would this
expert's neighbor travel on this road? (The answer is
absolutely yes. Vincent's New Testament Word Studies
tells us that part of the road passed through a wilderness
and was called "the red or bloody way." It was protected
by a fort and a Roman garrison. Barnes' Notes adds that
12,000 priests and Levis lived in Jericho, with the result
that they constantly traveled this road on their way to
- What kind of robbers are these? (Mean!)
- If you were thinking of helping the victim, what
would go through your mind? (The mean guys might
still be around!)
- Read Luke 10:31. Why does the Bible say this priest
"happened" to be on the same road? (This was not a rescue
- Read Luke 10:32. Why do you think that both the priest and
the Levi "passed by on the other side?" (They did not want
their consciences bothering them too much. They wanted to
ignore the problem.)
- What do you think these two said to themselves when
they saw this man? (That they had important temple
work to do. They needed to be about God's business.
Robertson's New Testament Word Pictures suggest that
they might have also become ceremonially unclean if
they had helped the victim - another interference
- Read Luke 10:33. When the expert heard Jesus say that a
Samaritan took pity on the victim, what do you think went
through his mind about the "neighbor" question? (This was
a bad bit of information. The Jews would certainly not
think that Samaritans were their neighbors. They detested
- How would you apply this bit of bad news to your
life? (You should be willing to help your foes:
people you do not like, and who do not like you.)
- Consider this entire story so far. The reason for the
question was that an enemy wanted to test Jesus. How
should Jesus answer? (Like the Samaritan answered the
call here. To genuinely try to help the expert.)
- Read Luke 10:34-35. The Samaritan not only shows
compassion, but he actually does something vital to help
save this fellow. The Samaritan risks his life and
health, detours from whatever his tasks were that day, and
gives his own money to aid the victim. Would you do this
for someone you disliked? Would you do it for someone who
disliked you? Would you do it for someone who had
foolishly traveled without protection?
- Read Luke 10:36-37. Notice how the expert answers the
question. He does not answer, "the Samaritan." Why? (It
was too painful to say that a Samaritan would be superior
to a priest or Levi.)
- Jesus tells the legal expert that he should do just
like the Samaritan. What do you think are the odds of
- Recall that the story started out with ( Luke 10:25)
"What must I do to inherit eternal life?" If the
expert fails to meet this standard, is he shut out
from eternal life?
- Rich Young Ruler
- Read Matthew 19:16. Does this question sound familiar? (It
is essentially the same question asked by the legal expert
in the Good Samaritan story.)
- Read Matthew 19:17. Is this a correct answer to the
question? Can we enter eternal life by obeying the Ten
- Read Matthew 19:18-22. Let's focus on the command that the
young man was not willing to obey. Would you, in the next
ten days, sell everything you own and give it to the poor?
If not (and I've never met anyone who thought this command
was meant for them), are you barred from eternal life?
(I've always taught that this story was about depending on
God. But, that does not change what Jesus actually said to
this young man.)
- Sheep and Goats
- Read Matthew 25:31-34. What is Jesus illustrating? (The
final judgment, how to get into heaven.)
- Read Matthew 25:35-36. What qualified the "sheep" for
- Read Matthew 25:41-43. What qualified the "goats" for
"eternal fire?" (Lack of deeds.)
- Serious Reflection
- We have two parables and one story spoken by our Lord
which say that the most radical love must be shown in
deeds to others to be saved. How is this consistent with
being saved by grace alone? It seems to directly
contradict the concept of grace!
- Let's go back to our Rich Young Ruler story. Read Matthew
19:23-25. The disciples heard the dialog, they heard
Jesus' summary of the matter. What reaction did the
disciples have? (They had the same reaction that you and I
have: "Who then can be saved?")
- Read Matthew 19:26. After considering these three
examples, I would expect Jesus to answer, "Concentrate.
Grit your teeth and you can do it." Instead, Jesus says
that God can do this, humans cannot. How do you understand
- Is Jesus saying that with God's help humans can meet
this impossible standard? Or, is He saying that only
God can meet this impossible standard, and therefore
grace is needed?
- Read Matthew 19:27. Is this true? Peter claims that
actually, now that he has thought about it, the disciples
have done the impossible. (John 21 suggests that the
disciples may have temporarily left their possessions, but
they had not sold their possessions, for we later find
them still plying their fishing trade.)
- Read James 2:8-11. James recites the same command with
which we started our conversation. What does James say
about keeping this command? (He, too, puts the most
radical spin on it. Just showing favoritism means we have
violated the entire Ten Commandments.)
- Read James 2:14. How would you answer this?
- Read James 2:18-24 and Luke 23:39-43. Luke records one of
the few cases where we know absolutely that the person,
here a bad person, was going to heaven. Did James not
know this story? (I hope that you are seeing a pattern
here. The thief on the cross was saved by faith alone -
just as we are saved by grace alone. But, true faith,
genuine faith, transforms our life. Faith, as James says,
is not a matter of mere words. It is a serious decision
that begins a change in our life. By the power of the Holy
Spirit, we lead a life in which the goal is absolute love
towards even those who detest us. This kind of attitude,
followed by deeds, is something possible only through the
Spirit of God.)
- Friend, will you commit today to ask the Holy Spirit to
start you on the journey to an attitude of absolute love
towards all of those who come within your sphere?
- Next week: The Church.
* 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.