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Lesson 13: A Community of Servants *

Introduction: I'm sure that at some point you have been a new employee. What is the first thing your new employer did? Most likely, your employer gave you some sort of orientation. You needed to understand your role in the company and your specific job. Of particular importance is knowing what you are supposed to be doing and what you are not supposed to be doing. Our Christian walk is like that. As we finish the last in our series on "the least of these," let's review the nature of our work by plunging, once again, into the Bible!

  1. The Spiritual Body

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-13. What is our role in the Christian church? (We form "one body" in Jesus. Our baptism forms us into one body.)

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 12:14. What is our specific job? (The body of believers has many parts, just like your own body. Each of us is a specific part, meaning we have a specific job.)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 12:15-17. Do these body parts have the same role? Are each essential? (They are all essential and all different.)

    4. Read 1 Corinthians 12:18. Who ordained that we should have different roles? (This is God's decision. He decides what role we should play.)

      1. Who does not decide our role? (Re-read 1 Corinthians 12:16. We are not the one who decides.)

      2. Read 1 Corinthians 12:31. Do we have a role in the decision? (We are told to "desire the greater gifts.")

      3. Have you faced this sort of problem in your church - members who demand a role for which they are not fit?

    5. Read 1 Corinthians 12:28. How would you apply this to our study this quarter? Are certain members more involved in helping the least of these?

      1. Do you recall our past discussions about providing different kinds of help? I suggested that we should desire to heal people of whatever makes them "least," rather than just help them limp along each day. What do these verses suggest about that? ("Healing" is a different job than "helping.")

      2. Do you recall that I suggested that in some situations (like seeing the Prodigal Son on the pig farm) leaving them to their difficulty is the best way to help them?

        1. How do we know when to keep our hands off and when to help? (Notice that "guidance" is another position in the church. Some have better insight than others.)

    6. What is the key to knowing our specific role in the church and how to perform our job? (Re-read 1 Corinthians 12:13. This is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit.)

    7. Let's turn next to understanding what makes our job different than God's job!

  2. The Shadow Law

    1. Read Hebrews 10:1-2. How is the Old Testament sacrificial system described? (It is a shadow "of the good things that are coming.")

      1. What is wrong with the shadow? (It never makes perfect those who practice it.)

      2. What does this suggest about the real thing? (That it does make perfect those who "practice it.")

    2. Read Hebrews 10:3. What good is the shadow? (It reminds people of their sins.)

      1. How often were they reminded? (Once a year.)

      2. What do you think about that time interval for being reminded of your sins?

        1. Should you slip a note to your pastor about this?

    3. Read Hebrews 10:4-9. Jesus sets aside "the first to establish the second." What is the first and what is the second? (The first is the temple service in which animals were sacrificed for the sins of the people. The second is Jesus sacrifice for our sins.)

    4. Read Hebrews 10:9-10. What results from Jesus' one sacrifice? ("We have been made holy.")

    5. Read Hebrews 10:14. How long are you made perfect if you accept Jesus' sacrifice on your behalf? (Forever.)

      1. If this is done at once and lasts forever, why does this verse also refer to "those who are being made holy?" (You have been made perfect in the eyes of God through Jesus. However, you and I know that our lives are not perfect. Sometimes we are far from it. We need to grow. This accounts for the reference to being made holy. Our walk with God, our role in this "job," is one of increasing obedience. But, this is apart from what Jesus has done for us - He has made us perfect.)

    6. Read Hebrews 10:15-18. What role does the Holy Spirit have in this? (The Holy Spirit "testifies" to us that what we have just read is true. God does not remember our sins any more. His Spirit comes into our hearts and minds to create an understanding and a desire to do God's will.)

      1. Do you see the central importance of the Holy Spirit in both your role (your job) in the Church and in a correct understanding of your salvation?

  3. The New Confidence

    1. Read Hebrews 10:19-22. Read Matthew 27:51. Compare Leviticus 16:1-2. Before Jesus' sacrifice, what happened if you entered the Most Holy section of the temple? (You would die.)

      1. Look again at Hebrews 10:22. Do you have a guilty conscience? What has Jesus done for that?

    2. Read Hebrews 10:23. What is the first order of business after we understand what Jesus has done for us? (Hold on to that hope! Know that we can enter the presence of God.)

    3. Read Hebrews 10:24. What else should we do? (This brings us to the subject matter of this quarter. We need to engage in good deeds and encourage love for others.)

    4. Read Hebrews 10:25. What else should we do? (Make meeting together a habit. Make encouraging each other a habit.)

      1. As you think of these directions for life, where does helping the least of these rank? Consider this in the context of our prior "body parts" discussion. (It is one of the things that we all should do. But, depending on our "body part" job, it may not our major assignment in the Church body. Building our understanding of God, encouraging love and help, meeting with fellow believers, and performing our specific task in the Church is a picture of our total Church life.)

    5. Read Hebrews 10:26-27. How can this be? Did the writer of Hebrews just tell us in Hebrews 10:14 that we have been made perfect forever? Is the writer saying two completely different things?

      1. I suspect that there is not a single honest reader who did not consent to sin at some time in the last week. Thus, if "deliberately" means "consent," then we are all lost. There is no reason to even describe in Hebrews 10 how Jesus has made us perfect forever. How would you resolve this apparent conflict?

      2. Read Numbers 15:30-31. The Popular New Testament Commentary suggests that "deliberately" ( Heb 10:26) should be understood as "willfully." And "willful" should be understood like "defiantly" in Numbers 15. Does this better fit Hebrews 10?

    6. Let's look more closely at the Numbers 15 text. Read Numbers 15:28-31 for the context. Does this help us to better understand Hebrews 10?

      1. Notice that the problem is "blaspheming" God. What does that mean in this context? (This is a challenge to the authority of God. Applied to the New Testament time, it is a rejection of what Jesus has done for us!)

    7. Read Matthew 12:31-32 to see what Jesus says about the forgiveness of sin. What does "blasphemy" mean in this context? (Rejecting the Holy Spirit.)

      1. When you add the Hebrews 10 comment about "deliberately" or "willfully" with the comments about blasphemy in Numbers and by Jesus, what do you conclude? (Consenting to sin (as we all do) is not final. The fatal problem is rejecting God as the only source of our salvation. We must acknowledge God's job!)

    8. Friend, will you ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to your specific role in the church, to help you understand the nature of your salvation, and to guide you in daily living? Why not do that right now?

  4. Next we begin a study of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.
* 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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