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Sabbath School Lessons on Luke
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 2: Baptism and Temptations *
Introduction: Have you wondered how you should share the gospel with
those around you? Jesus calls us to tell others about Him, but
exactly how is a challenge. Hold on to your hat as we study the
approach of John the Baptist! How do you deal with temptation in
your life? We are also going to look at how Jesus and the Holy Spirit
teamed up to defeat Satan's temptations. Let's dig into our study of
- John the Baptist
- Read Luke 3:1-3. What is unique about this introduction
regarding the time and location that John the Baptist
began his ministry? (Remember that Luke told us he
intended to write an "orderly account" ( Luke 1:3)? Luke
is being very clear about when and where John began his
- Read Luke 3:4-6. Why bring Isaiah into this? (Luke shows
us that John is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy
- a prophecy about the preparation for the coming of the
- Read Luke 3:7-9. Have you heard the phrase "seeker
friendly?" What do you think about an outreach that has
this kind of tone and feel?
- For those of you who are familiar with this
reference, does this sound like a Westboro Baptist
- Does John have righteousness by faith confused? He
says "produce fruit in keeping with repentance." Why
not "repent and be saved by grace?"
- What does John say about the value of being children
of Abraham? (It is as valuable as being a rock.)
- What accounts for all of these insults? (Notice
something very important here. John is not reaching
out to traditional sinners. He is not seeking the
"unchurched." This is his approach to those who
believe they are saved. These are people who are
proud of their righteousness. This is an address to
those who have been in the church a very long time -
and are confident of their proper living.)
- Read Luke 3:10-11. How does this approach work? (Well!
The crowd wants to know how they should change.)
- Consider John's response. Again he fails to mention
grace, he plunges right into works. Why?
- Look again at Luke 3:8. Is this a missed opportunity
to share grace? (What I see is an assumption of
righteousness by the people, and John says, "Your
works do not match your claims. You do not act like
- Read Luke 3:12-14. Wait a minute! These don't sound like
those confident in their relationship with God. Are my
previous assumptions wrong? (It says tax collectors "also
came" - which indicates they are not part of the original
- Apply this kind of advice to your life. Whatever is
your sin, whatever is your selfishness, whatever is
your failing, I tell you "Stop it right now. Do what
is right." What is your reaction - assuming that you
want to be saved?
- Read again Luke 3:4. What is John the Baptist's role in
life? (To prepare people for Jesus.)
- How do you think John is doing in his assigned role?
(It is a universal truth that you must be willing to
admit your sins if you are going to turn away. You
must admit your inability to overcome sin for you to
desire God's grace. All of these insults and calls
to works makes perfect sense to prepare for the One
who gives us grace! Praise God!)
- How, then, should we approach sinners? (It depends!
If they believe they are righteous, then the "viper"
approach may be right. If they believe they are
righteous, then the "how do your works line up with
your faith" approach may work. If they are broken
sinners, "a bruised reed He will not break, a
smoldering wick He will not snuff out." Isaiah 42:3.
Ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom.)
- Read Luke 3:15-17. How did John compare himself to Jesus?
(Jesus was more powerful.)
- What does John mean when he says Jesus will "baptize
you with the Holy Spirit and with fire?" (Clearly,
Jesus was introducing the people to the Holy Spirit
in power. "Fire" is clarified in Luke 3:17 to mean
that Jesus is also bringing judgment.)
- Read Luke 3:21-22. Why would Jesus get baptized? (Recall
that last week we discussed why Jesus had no hotel room,
why shepherds greeted Him - all things that seemed beneath
a King. I think that all of this, including His baptism,
says to humans "I am one of you.")
- Why do you think the Holy Spirit took the form of a
dove? Why not fire? (Don't doves seem peaceful? This
seems to be a picture of quiet assurance.)
- What does heaven say about Jesus? (He is God. He is
- The Challenge
- Read Luke 4:1-2. Why would the Holy Spirit lead Jesus into
the area where He faced temptation? Isn't this just the
opposite of the Lord's prayer ( Luke 11:4)"lead us not into
- Read Luke 4:3-4. How long do you think Satan and his
confederates spent planning this temptation?
- How skillful is this temptation?
- How would you compare it to Genesis 3:1-4? (I think
the approach to Eve was much more cunning than the
rather primitive "Prove you are God by creating
- If you agree with me, why is Satan "off his game?"
Meaning that he is below his normal performance
standards. (This is what I think the Holy Spirit is
doing - bringing Jesus to Satan before Satan is fully
ready. Satan came to Eve in his own time. The Holy
Spirit chose the time for Jesus to meet Satan's
- Read Luke 4:5-8. What was Jesus' mission on earth? (Part
of it was to win back the world from Satan.)
- What, then, is the nature of this temptation? (To
take a short-cut that would avoid all of the pain and
- How would Satan use that temptation in your life?
- Read Luke 4:9-12. How did Jesus respond to every
temptation? (He cited the Bible.)
- What is unique about this temptation? (Satan quotes
- What is the lesson for us? (Temptation may come
in a religious context. We should be students
of the Bible so that we can better understand
- Did you notice that this temptation started just like
the first temptation: "If you are the Son of God."
What is Satan's strategy? (He challenged Jesus to
prove His worth, to prove His claim.)
- Would it be fair to say this is an appeal to
pride? If you say, "yes," what is the appeal in
Genesis 3:5? (It seems very similar - an appeal
to Eve's pride. Her desire to be like God.)
- If we see a pattern here, what temptation does
Satan bring to you that appeals to your pride?
- Read Luke 4:13. Is Satan permanently defeated? (No.)
- For what is Satan waiting? ("An opportune time."
This adds further evidence for my thinking that the
Holy Spirit brought the fight to Satan before Satan
was ready. But, it is also a warning to us that
Satan's confederates will tempt us when we are most
- Read Luke 4:14. What is consistent through all of these
temptations? (Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit!)
- Friend, do you want to have victory over the sins in your
life? Pray for the Holy Spirit to come in power and thank
Jesus for His victory over temptation. His perfect life
and sacrifice allow us, by grace, to become righteous.
Why not repent, ask for the Holy Spirt, and accept Jesus'
grace right now?
- Next week: Who Is Jesus Christ?
* Copr. 2015, 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.