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Sabbath School Lessons on Religion in Relationships
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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 40 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 13: Embracing the World *
Introduction: This is our last study in our series about religion and
relationships. When Christians speak of "the world," aren't they
referring to sin? Should we embrace sin? What kind of relationship,
if any, should we have with the world? What is God's mission for us
in the world? Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and find out!
- The Purpose
- Read Mark 2:15-16. Jesus is mingling with the "world" and
the teachers of the law see it. What question do they
- Why do you think they asked this question?
- What answer do you think Jesus' disciples should
- Let's read Mark 2:17 to find the answer Jesus actually
gave. What do you think about Jesus' answer?
- Would this answer also apply to the issue of whether
you should "embrace the world?"
- Perhaps they never heard of "preventative medicine"
back then. Should we only work with the "sick?" (I
hope not. GoBible is aimed at people who already know
something about God's word. I guess this is a study
for the "recovering.")
- To what extent did Jesus "embrace" the world in this
situation in Mark?
- In, But Not Of ....
- John 17 contains Jesus' prayer for His disciples just
before He was arrested and crucified. What a wonderful
insight into our God! In this difficult time of His life,
Jesus is thinking of His disciples. Let's read John 17:12.
Jesus protected the disciples and kept them safe from
- When Jesus says He kept them safe "by that name you
gave me," what name is that? (The New Bible
Commentary says that the "name" refers to God the
Father and the "natural understanding" of the Greek
is that being safe by the name means to act in
accordance with the character of God.)
- Read John 17:13-14. Why does Jesus say the world hates His
disciples? (They are not of the world.)
- What do you think it means to be "not of the world?"
(Not a participant in its character.)
- According to verse 14 Jesus gave His disciples a
special gift. It seems it is a new gift of
protection. What is it? (The gift of God's word -
God's directions for life.)
- Read John 17:15-16. Jesus seems to be saying that "the
world" is a dangerous place. Why not take them out of the
world? Why not remove them physically? (Jesus gave His
disciples the word of God. It is now the mission of the
disciples to pass this word unto the world. This is
exactly like Jesus' mission to the "sick.")
- Read John 17:17-19. Sharing God's word with the world
seems to have an effect on the disciples. What is it? (The
truth that they have sanctifies them too. It seems
sharing the truth of God's word with others has a
sanctifying effect on us. The world is a dangerous place,
but sharing God's word with the world makes us better
- Read John 17:20-21. Is the goal for us to become one with
the world? (No. The goal is for us to become one with
those who are rescued from the world, those who believe
- Read John 17:25-26. As we get to know God better, what
happens to us? (God's love grows in our heart.)
- How can you explain the contrast between John 17:14 &
26? The world hates the followers of God even though
the love of God is in the followers. How is that
possible? (The world hates the followers of God
because they are not part of the character of the
world. On the other hand, as someone learns more
about God, God's love fills their hearts. It appears
to be a process in which those coming out of the
world become more like God and are filled with more
of His love.)
- What do you conclude from John 17 is the key to
winning over the world? (Teach the world about
God. Give them His word. Teach them about His
- The Prod
- Read 2 Corinthians 5:10-11. What do these verses suggest
is an important part of fearing God? (Realizing that God
has a judgment and that we will be judged.)
- What is the result of knowing about God's judgment?
(Verse 11 says that we "try to persuade men" about
the fact of the judgment. This is a "prod" to bring
us to action.)
- Is this how you like to relate to the world? "Let me
tell you what awaits unless you make changes in your
- In John 17 we learned that God fills us with His
love. Is it love to tell people they are going to
burn up? (If you warn a person driving a burning car
that their car is on fire - that is love.)
- Recently, I was in a book store looking over a new book by
Tony Campolo. Some of Tony's teachings are troubling to
me, and so I was skimming over the chapters to see what he
was up to. One section of the book discussed the final
judgment and Seventh-day Adventists. It said that most
Christians believe in a judgment of an eternally burning
hell for those who are lost. Adventists, Campolo noted,
believe that judgment for the wicked involves burning -
but being burned up - eternal extinction. Campolo
suggested people fear the total loss of identity, total
extinction, more than an eternally unpleasant life. What
do you think about presenting to the world the message of
a judgment of personal extinction?
- Read 2 Corinthians 5:12. What is the attitude of the
world? In what does the world take pride? (In what is
seen. The world lives for self by accumulating those
things that can be seen. This gives the world pride.)
- If the attitude of the world is to take pride in what
they can show to others, how terrible a fate is total
extinction? (The attitude of the world is "I am
important. Look at me." Total extinction should be
the worst thing for that kind of attitude. Christians
have the way out of total extinction.)
- Our Tools
- If we have the opportunity (and obligation) to engage the
world to persuade them to believe, what tools do we need?
Read 1 Corinthians 2:1-2.
- What is not necessary? (Eloquence or superior
- Why is "Jesus Christ and Him crucified" such a
powerful tool of persuasion? (Look back at the
motivation for our message: a coming judgment. Jesus'
life, death and resurrection on our behalf is the way
out of being condemned in the coming judgment. This
is the central "word" that Christians have for the
- Read 1 Corinthians 2:3. Is this how you feel about public
speaking? About sharing the gospel?
- Should fear and trembling deter us from sharing God's
word? (Look at what a great witness Paul was - yet he
confesses to weakness, fear and trembling. When I was
first arguing a case before a court an older lawyer
told me something I have never forgotten: "Being
nervous is normal." In fact, having some nervousness
makes me a sharper speaker.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 2:4-5. What is more important than
wise and persuasive words? (The power of the Holy Spirit.
The power of our message comes not from man, but from
God's Spirit. I was reminded the other day of the
inadequacy of my own powers of persuasion. I like to think
that, as a lawyer, I have the power of persuasion. Each
week the GoBible lesson goes to at least 15,000 people.
Yet, I have trouble witnessing to my neighbors. I've lived
by one neighbor for 20 years. He is getting old. Recently,
I determined that I must make a specific effort to share
the gospel with him. One night I went over to speak to
him. He is my friend, but the conversation went terribly.
How can I speak to thousands each week about the gospel
but be unable to adequately speak to my neighbor? The
answer must be that my "talents" are not what determines
the outcome of this kind of conversation.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 2:6-7. If we don't need real sharp
brains and real sharp tongues to share God's word, does
that mean that we do not have an intelligent message?
(Paul tells us that we are sharing the most important
wisdom: the secret wisdom of God!)
- Friend, we have a secret to share with the world. A secret
which will give the world true wisdom. Are you willing to
be "of, but not in" the world to share God's word?
- Next week: We start our study of the book of Daniel.
* Copr. 2004, 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.