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Sabbath School Lessons on Matthew
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: Last Day Events *
Introduction: One of the wonderful advantages of writing this lesson
is that it forces me to study the Bible. Major goals in writing these
studies are to improve the quality of the Sabbath School and help
students better understand God's will. However, when I study the
Bible I'm always thinking about the impact of God's word on my life.
This week some of Matthew's statements are so connected to my life
that I apologize in advance for injecting myself so much in the
lesson. Let's dig in and see if you, too, feel a special connection
to our Bible study!
- Glory Hogs
- Read Matthew 23:1-4. When you decide that someone is a
hypocrite, how do you treat that person's teaching? (The
general attitude is to reject the hypocrite's teaching.)
- Why does Jesus say to obey these hypocrites? (They
"sit in Moses' seat.")
- What does that mean, and why is that so
important? (I think it means that they teach
the law given by God through Moses.)
- I recall several famous religious leaders who had
prominent sins. My reaction was that they succumbed
to sin - which is true for all of us. How can we
distinguish between those religious leaders who "sit
in Moses seat" and those who are leading us astray?
(A main reason why each of my series of questions
starts out with a Bible text is because we cannot (I
trust) get too far astray if our point of focus is
God's word. The most important question is whether
the leader is teaching the Bible or something else.)
- Read Matthew 23:5-7. Be honest. Do you love to have the
place of honor, the best seat? Do you love to be greeted
by people who respect you? (If you say "no," I think you
have just broken the Ninth Commandment. We all love to be
- How do we avoid being just like these religious
leaders? (Look at verse 5 again, "everything they do
is done for men to see." If everything you do is
motivated by your own glory, as opposed to giving
glory to God or showing love to another person, then
you are in trouble.)
- Read Matthew 6:2. What does "they have received their
reward in full," mean? Does it mean that the "full reward"
is personal glory - which would exclude heaven? (I love to
preach, I love to teach, and there is no doubt that part
of my reason is that I want people to better understand
God. But, another part is that I like people to say, "he
does a great job." When I read about these religious
leaders whose only reward is here, I get concerned. Dr.
William H. Shea is one of the most extraordinary
Christians I've ever known. He is extremely smart and
extremely humble. I asked him, "Do you enjoy the honor of
preaching and teaching?" He said, "yes," that is part of
it. That put my heart to rest on this issue.)
- Read Matthew 23:8-12. One of my former students used to
call me "rabbi" and my wife often calls me "the
professor." My children call me "Dad." The students in
the law school call me "Professor Cameron." Should I tell
all of them to stop it?
- Read Exodus 20:12. The question is one of honor for
the religious leaders. This text tells us to honor
our parents - and that would include calling my
father "Father" or "Dad." How would you explain the
apparent conflict in the Bible?
- Remember the context. What honor are the religious
leaders improperly stealing? (They are claiming the
glory that belongs to God. They do everything for
their glory, not God's glory or the love of others.
Notice that in Matthew 23:8-10 the point of reference
is God. My children, my wife, my students do not
think I'm God and I'm not trying to confuse them on
- Let's skip down to Matthew 23:37-39. What was the most
fundamental problem with the religious leaders in
Jerusalem? (They rejected Jesus. Notice that the "title"
discussion is part of rejecting Jesus. Jesus now says that
the end has come for them. They are unwilling to accept
Him or give Him glory.)
- The Destruction
- Read Matthew 24:1. Why do you think the disciples asked
Jesus to look at the temple buildings? (They were
undoubtedly beautiful. I've read Josephus' description of
the temple and it was glorious.)
- Read Matthew 24:2-3. This is undoubtedly shocking news.
Why would the disciples come to Jesus "privately" to learn
- How many questions do you find in these verses? How
many questions do you think the disciples thought
they were asking Jesus? (I think they were asking at
least two questions, but I think they thought they
were asking just one. No doubt they thought the
temple would not be destroyed until Jesus came at the
"end of the age.")
- The End
- Read Matthew 24:4. What is Jesus' first concern? (That we
avoid being deceived.)
- Read Matthew 24:5-14. Jesus refers three times to "the
end" in these verses. What end is He discussing, the end
of the temple or the end of the world?
- Read Matthew 24:15-20. What do you think is being
discussed here? (It is common that prophecy can have more
than one fulfillment, but this seems consistent with the
destruction of Jerusalem. Many Christians fled the city
and were saved before the absolute destruction of the
temple by the Romans.)
- Read Matthew 24:23-27. What is being described here?
(Jesus' Second Coming.)
- What is the specific concern about Christians being
deceived? (False Christs will appear - and their
signs and miracles are extremely persuasive.)
- How can we avoid being deceived? (No one will have to
tell us about Jesus' Second Coming. All will see it
at once. I've avoided some of the more complex issues
in Jesus' message because I might be wrong. However,
the simple part of the message is very obvious - you
will know when Jesus comes!)
- Why, then, does Jesus warn us that we should
avoid being deceived, and that the deception to
come will be powerful? (We have the potential
for being deceived by those fakers. If you are
involved in a debate about whether someone is
Jesus, that is absolute proof that person is a
fake and is not Jesus!)
- Read Matthew 24:30-31 and Matthew 24:40-41. What other
absolute proof will we have about Jesus' Second Coming?
(The saved will be taken to heaven!)
- What is the "loud trumpet call" about? (Read 1
Corinthians 15:51-52. Those who died trusting in
Jesus are raised in an instant at the sound of the
- Let's review all of this so that you cannot be deceived.
What will happen when Jesus comes again? (It will be like
lightening around the world - everyone will see it at the
same time. The dead in Christ will be raised from the
grave. The living saved will be gathered to heaven. You
will not be confused about this event. If you are not
being lifted up to heaven, that is very bad news.)
- Read Matthew 24:42-44. Wait a minute, we just learned that
Jesus' Second Coming will be obvious to everyone. Why are
we warned about keeping "watch" and about problems with an
unexpected return? I could be sound asleep and not miss
Jesus' Second Coming! (The thief is not breaking into
Jesus' house in this parable. The thief is breaking into
your house. The warning is not about the ambiguity of
Jesus' coming, but rather whether you are ready!)
- Read Matthew 24:45-46. What should you be doing in
anticipation of Jesus' Second Coming? (Your job -
"feeding" Jesus' servants. We need to continue to work to
advance the Kingdom of God!)
- Friend, what was the problem with the religious leaders
that we discussed at the beginning of this lesson? It was
that they were working to advance their own glory. What
does Jesus call us to do while we await His return? To
advance the Kingdom of God. What are you doing these days?
Advancing your glory or the Kingdom of God? If you don't
like the answer, why not repent right now and ask the Holy
Spirit to show you a better way?
- Next week: Jesus' Last Days.
* 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.