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Lesson 10: Living the Gospel *

Introduction: Do you sometimes feel "harassed and helpless?" You hear all sorts of different points of view and they cannot all be right. Even if you think you have the correct view, there are all sorts of people who think you are obviously wrong. Even if you are confident that you have the right understanding, are you helpless to change things? Let's dive into our study of the Bible and see what it teaches us about properly living the gospel of Jesus Christ!

  1. Hope and Glory

    1. Read Romans 8:14. How does this suggest that we can be confident in our point of view? (Children of God are lead by the Holy Spirit.)

    2. Read Romans 8:15. When you think about helping the "least of these," does it make you cringe a little? Does it make you think that you should do this even though you do not want to?

      1. What do these verses suggest about our attitude? (The attitude that "I must grit my teeth and do this" is the attitude of a slave. These verses suggest that our relationship with God will cause us to want to help. We will not cringe.)

    3. Read Romans 8:16. Will God give us direction with what to think and who to help? (The Holy Spirit speaks to us to help us know when we should and should not help. My wife has some great stories about times when the Holy Spirit impressed her to give, and this was later confirmed.)

      1. These texts say that we are "God's children." Do children always get things right? (When I was in law school there was a student who wore the same ragged jeans every day and flimsy rubber soled shoes with no socks. As the weather got colder, I decided that I must buy some socks for him and, if I could also afford it, regular shoes. When I spoke to him about helping out, it turned out I was embarrassingly ignorant about fashion styles among the rich. His folks owned a nationally known company, he had graduated from Yale University, his rubber soled shoes were Sperry boat shoes - the kind you would wear on a yacht. His shoes cost more than mine!)

    4. Read Romans 8:17. What kind of "sufferings" are these? (Jesus' sufferings had to do with helping us!)

    5. Read Romans 8:18. What does God promise His children if they suffer as a result of following Him? (Glory.)

      1. Is this glory given only when we get to heaven? The text says, "will be revealed in us." Could that mean that the generous soul, or the self-sacrificing soul, will see glory here?

      2. What kind of glory is this? Is it having money? Honor? Or, it is better reflecting Jesus?

        1. Could it be all of these?

    6. Let me share my life experience and you decide. For many years I drove very inexpensive cars that God put in my path. (I like to walk and these cars were literally along my path.) Once I purchased a Honda for the price of shoes. I got it running and was convicted I should offer to sell it to a poor woman in the church for the same price I paid. She looked at it, and asked me why, as a lawyer, I would drive such a humble car? Then she turned it down! I drove that car to work for years, and ultimately gave it to relatives I thought could use it. A few years ago, I purchased a very nice car that was recently destroyed in an accident. My wife tells me that the "glory" of my recent car flows from "suffering" through my poor cars. What do you think?

    7. Read Romans 8:19-22. Some suggest that the creation is frustrated, suffering, and groaning because of our failure to adequately protect the environment. Is that what is meant here by the "bondage of decay?"

      1. Notice this decay is due to the "will" of some unstated being. Who is that? (I consulted two word studies and they suggest "the will of the one," is a reference to God. Humans sinned against the law of God, thus triggering the decline of everything. This is the impact of sin, not any specific environmental failure.)

    8. Read Romans 8:23. What will fix our suffering and our decaying world? (The Second Coming of Jesus.)

      1. What does this suggest about living the gospel? (The gospel is one of hope. Feeding someone who would otherwise starve is an important immediate need. But, giving a person hope for the Second Coming is the greater goal.)

  2. Balanced Teaching

    1. Read Matthew 9:35. How does Jesus model our "greater goal?" (First, Jesus does is "teaching" and "proclaiming the good news.")

    2. Read Matthew 9:36-38. What is the relationship between proclaiming the gospel and helping the hurting? (While Jesus is proclaiming the gospel, He sees hurting people and has compassion on them.)

      1. Undoubtedly, Jesus heals because He has compassion. But, the language of verse 36 attributes Jesus' compassion to something else. What is it? ("They were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.")

      2. What remedy does Jesus suggest? (Send out more workers into the "field" so they can "harvest."

    3. Look again at Matthew 9:36 and the statement that the people were "harassed and helpless." How are they harassed and helpless, and what should we workers do to fix that problem today? (Jesus does not seem to refer to physical problems so much as harmful religious teaching and a lack of proper leadership.)

      1. What do you see as harmful religious teaching? (The harmful teaching then is the same as the harmful teaching now. So-called shepherds are focused on minor matters, rather than justice, mercy, and faithfulness. This gives an undue emphasis to things that matter little, and ignores things that matter a lot. See Matthew 23:23. Jesus says everything matters.)

    4. Another story for you to consider. At a Bible retreat I was eating at a table next to a famous evangelist. A church member came up and showed me a condiment that was available for our meal. He thought it was unhealthy and should not be offered at a church meal. When he walked way, the evangelist said to me, "There are a lot of nuts in our church." I laughed in agreement. Our focus was on grace, not ingredients. Many years later, I was in a meeting with this same evangelist. He was still very overweight, and I could see that he was struggling with his health. It occurred to me that if he had paid a little more attention to health issues, his life would be better now. What do you think?

    5. Read Ephesians 2:8-9 and Matthew 7:3-5. I just wrote something negative about an evangelist who devoted his life to preaching the gospel. What do these texts teach us about our attitude towards others? (We need to accept that none of us is perfect. We should avoid being critical. Between the condiment "nut" and the unhealthy evangelist, I think the evangelist had the better understanding of the Bible. The Bible says that we are all flawed, and are saved by grace. No one should be boasting.)

      1. How would a "no boast about my works" attitude help us to advance the gospel? (It would focus the light on Jesus.)

    6. Read Galatians 3:24-28. This text is often cited, but I'm not sure it is clearly understood. Why was there formerly a distinction between Jew, Gentile, slave, free, male and female? (The law.)

      1. Why would the law create such a distinction? Normally the rule of law brings equality! (The Jewish people believed that they were superior because the law was given to them. They believed they better kept the law.)

      2. What is the great equalizer now? (Righteousness by faith in Jesus' work on our behalf.)

      3. What attitude should result from this? (We all need salvation. We all stand equal before the cross.)

        1. What is the status of those who do not accept Jesus?

    7. Friend, Jesus calls us to obedience in all things so our life will be better. But, our priority should be salvation by faith in Jesus and sharing that faith with others. Why not ask the Holy Spirit to work on your heart so you can move from feeling "harassed and helpless?"

  3. Next week: Living the Advent Hope.
* Copr. 2019, 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.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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