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Lesson 10: Paul and the Rebellion *

Introduction: How important is the church? I hear claims that being in nature is as good, if not better, than being in church. There is a real blessing in nature, but it is a different blessing than regularly attending church. We learn this week that we are all in sin together, and we need to be together in the battle against sin. Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. The Sin Solution


    1. Read Romans 5:12. Who is this "one man?" (Adam, as we will see when we read on.)


      1. Did you choose to sin? (Yes: "All have sinned." However, this suggests something more - that our sin decision automatically gave us death because of the prior decision of Adam.)


    2. Read Romans 5:13-14. What does it mean that "sin is not taken into account when there is no law?" (The rest of the text says that we died before the law was given, even those who "did not sin by breaking a command." Thus, this cannot mean that the penalty for sin was not taken into account. Instead, it must mean that sin was not labeled as such. Adam and Eve were given a specific command, and they violated it. Before the Ten Commandments were handed down, people died even though they did not have a specific command to break.)


      1. What is the practical lesson for us? (The Ten Commandments serve the purpose of identifying sin. They do not change the fact that we are sinners.)


    3. Read Romans 5:15-17. On a very simple level we can see that "the gift is not like the trespass" in that one plunged us into sin and death and the other "brought justification" from sin. What does the additional detail mean about "judgment followed one sin," but "the gift followed many trespasses." (We are victims of Adam's sin. His sin harmed us. But, we had already personally chosen to sin when Jesus fixed our sin problem by bringing us justification.)


    4. Read Romans 5:18-19. This seems to say that our righteousness is automatic through Jesus. Is that correct? (I think this should be understood to say that the availability of justification is automatic. Paul's argument is about how sin and grace mirror each other, and Paul noted that we personally sinned.)


    1. Read Romans 6:1-4. What does this add to the evidence about whether we need to choose grace? (It tells us that in baptism we enter into Jesus' death and His resurrection from the dead. We enter into new life. "We too may live a new life.")


      1. What do these verses teach us about community? (We are all in this together. We were in sin together and we are in grace together. Let's look at the practical side of that next.)


  1. The Church Solution


    1. Read 1 Corinthians 3:10. What "foundation" is Paul building? (Read 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 for the explanation. Paul is talking about the "building" composed of Jesus' followers.)


    2. Read 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. What does this tell those who work to improve the church? (That we should "be careful" about how we build and we should be careful to use the best materials.)


      1. Whenever I read this text I immediately think about teaching, and the need for me to strive to be a "gold standard" teacher. But, this is too narrow a view. Those who work with the children in church are builders, those who are involved in the praise service are builders, those who visit the sick are builders, those who attend to the physical requirements of the church are builders. The question is this, if you are a builder, are you always striving for "gold standard work?" Are you striving for excellence?


      2. Let's look at this from a different angle. Let's say a teacher is building with "silver" or a lesser material. Does that mean we should oppose them? (We need to be restrained in our criticism of those who might not have things exactly right (in our view). We need to continue to promote gold standard work because we don't want any to "burn," but we need to recognize that there are many other builders, even if their work is not gold-standard.)


    3. Read 1 Corinthians 3:16. What is God's temple, given the context we have been studying? (Our fellow Christians. It is the church.)


      1. Do you know people who are not even "straw builders," they are destroyers of the church?


        1. Who will fix this problem? ("God will destroy him.")


    4. Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-13. When I was growing up, there was my church denomination and the rest of the "unwashed" church denominations. Now that I've grown up and worked closely with other Christians, I realize that other Christians growing up in other denominations felt that same way about their church - indeed, my denomination may have been particularly suspect in their eyes! Who knew? What does this text say about this "them and us" attitude among Christians? (It says that we are "one body" in the Holy Spirit and we drink from the same "one Spirit.")


      1. What does this teach us about those church members who look down on other church denominations? (They have not yet been drinking enough from the Holy Spirit.)


    5. Read 1 Corinthians 12:14-17. My church has a special mission to promote the message of Revelation 14:6-12. Is it correct to consider this an "eye" message? Meaning, is it just a part of the overall message presented by each denomination in the greater Christian church?


      1. When I was young, I was taught that church denominations that were older than ours each had a special message, and each subsequent denomination added a further refinement until we came to my denomination, which was proclaiming the final refinement. Is there any Biblical basis for that view? Or, is a better explanation found in the chapter we are studying, that each "part" of the Christian church brings its own unique and important message?


      2. If my suggestion is correct, does this help make sense of all of the Christian churches? Instead of complaining that all of the denominations show a failure of unity, what if all of the denominations are part of the body of Christ, all with a special addition to truth? Can you imagine the foot saying, "We have too many body parts around here, it shows a lack of unity?"


    6. Read 1 Corinthians 12:18-20. Who is responsible for the special role of each part of the Christian church? (God is!)


      1. Consider this example: my grandfather, my uncle, and my cousin were ministers in the Salvation Army Church. Many of my relatives are members of that wonderful denomination. Does that Church have a special role in the body of Christ that you can identify? (Yes, it is known for its service to the poor and homeless.)


      2. When I was young, and ignorant, I used to pride myself on what I thought was a more refined understanding of theology than my uncle who was a minister in the Salvation Army. This is like the ear thinking it is superior to the nose! I don't think I'll ever reach the level of love and trust in God displayed in the life of my uncle. He was an astonishing man of God! What do you think you can learn from the members of other churches?


        1. How can we cooperate with them to advance the Kingdom of God, the body of Christ?


    7. Read 1 Corinthians 12:21-26. I've suggested that you should consider whether Paul's words apply to all of the different Christian denominations. How else might they apply?


      1. Would they apply to factions within our church denomination?


      2. Would they apply to the local church, your local congregation?


      3. If they apply to other denominations, factions within our church and your local congregation, how would you understand Paul's comments on parts that are "less honorable," and "unpresentable?" (When I read comments on the Internet by supposed members of my church, I sometimes think "I don't need you!" Paul corrects me to say that we "should have equal concern for each other.")


    8. Friend, we need to be in fellowship with other church members. We need those who have different spiritual gifts, different talents and different views. If you are not regularly attending church, why not commit to start this Sabbath?


  2. Next week: Peter on the Great Controversy.
* Copr. 2016, 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.

© 2017 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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