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Lesson 7: Living Like Christ *

Introduction: When I was a young, I read statements about the lofty standards by which Christians are required to live. When I read the requirements and attitudes involved, I said, "I cannot do this. Why even try?" How did it make any sense to live a miserable life trying to reach an unattainable standard? I should just reject the whole idea because I was certainly destined to fail! Thankfully, it also seemed impossible to live a life without Jesus. Later, I learned about grace and was greatly relieved that I was saved by grace alone, and the lofty standard set before me was the goal of a lifetime, not a requirement for salvation. Let's dive into our study of the Bible and explore the standard set before those who are saved!

  1. Good Samaritan


    1. Read Luke 10:25. Do you think that this expert thought that he knew more about the law than Jesus? (Yes, he intended to "test" Jesus.)


    2. Read Luke 10:26. Who is getting tested now? (The expert! Jesus turns the question around.)


    3. Read Luke 10:27-28. Is salvation a matter of what we do?


    4. Read Luke 10:29. Why would the expert in the law want to "justify himself?" (Wait! He asked Jesus what he must "do" to be saved. When Jesus tells him, the expert decides that he might not pass this test. He seeks a narrow definition of "neighbor" in the hope that he will pass the test.)


    5. Read Luke 10:30. What kind of road is this? Would this expert's neighbor travel on this road? (The answer is absolutely yes. Vincent's New Testament Word Studies tells us that part of the road passed through a wilderness and was called "the red or bloody way." It was protected by a fort and a Roman garrison. Barnes' Notes adds that 12,000 priests and Levis lived in Jericho, with the result that they constantly traveled this road on their way to Jerusalem.)


      1. What kind of robbers are these? (Mean!)


      2. If you were thinking of helping the victim, what would go through your mind? (The mean guys might still be around!)


    6. Read Luke 10:31. Why does the Bible say this priest "happened" to be on the same road? (This was not a rescue mission.)


    7. Read Luke 10:32. Why do you think that both the priest and the Levi "passed by on the other side?" (They did not want their consciences bothering them too much. They wanted to ignore the problem.)


      1. What do you think these two said to themselves when they saw this man? (That they had important temple work to do. They needed to be about God's business. Robertson's New Testament Word Pictures suggest that they might have also become ceremonially unclean if they had helped the victim - another interference with work.)


    8. Read Luke 10:33. When the expert heard Jesus say that a Samaritan took pity on the victim, what do you think went through his mind about the "neighbor" question? (This was a bad bit of information. The Jews would certainly not think that Samaritans were their neighbors. They detested each other.)


      1. How would you apply this bit of bad news to your life? (You should be willing to help your foes: people you do not like, and who do not like you.)


      2. Consider this entire story so far. The reason for the question was that an enemy wanted to test Jesus. How should Jesus answer? (Like the Samaritan answered the call here. To genuinely try to help the expert.)


    9. Read Luke 10:34-35. The Samaritan not only shows compassion, but he actually does something vital to help save this fellow. The Samaritan risks his life and health, detours from whatever his tasks were that day, and gives his own money to aid the victim. Would you do this for someone you disliked? Would you do it for someone who disliked you? Would you do it for someone who had foolishly traveled without protection?


    10. Read Luke 10:36-37. Notice how the expert answers the question. He does not answer, "the Samaritan." Why? (It was too painful to say that a Samaritan would be superior to a priest or Levi.)


      1. Jesus tells the legal expert that he should do just like the Samaritan. What do you think are the odds of that?


      2. Recall that the story started out with ( Luke 10:25) "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" If the expert fails to meet this standard, is he shut out from eternal life?


  2. Rich Young Ruler


    1. Read Matthew 19:16. Does this question sound familiar? (It is essentially the same question asked by the legal expert in the Good Samaritan story.)


    2. Read Matthew 19:17. Is this a correct answer to the question? Can we enter eternal life by obeying the Ten Commandments?


    3. Read Matthew 19:18-22. Let's focus on the command that the young man was not willing to obey. Would you, in the next ten days, sell everything you own and give it to the poor? If not (and I've never met anyone who thought this command was meant for them), are you barred from eternal life? (I've always taught that this story was about depending on God. But, that does not change what Jesus actually said to this young man.)


  3. Sheep and Goats


    1. Read Matthew 25:31-34. What is Jesus illustrating? (The final judgment, how to get into heaven.)


    2. Read Matthew 25:35-36. What qualified the "sheep" for heaven? (Deeds.)


    3. Read Matthew 25:41-43. What qualified the "goats" for "eternal fire?" (Lack of deeds.)


  4. Serious Reflection


    1. We have two parables and one story spoken by our Lord which say that the most radical love must be shown in deeds to others to be saved. How is this consistent with being saved by grace alone? It seems to directly contradict the concept of grace!


    2. Let's go back to our Rich Young Ruler story. Read Matthew 19:23-25. The disciples heard the dialog, they heard Jesus' summary of the matter. What reaction did the disciples have? (They had the same reaction that you and I have: "Who then can be saved?")


    3. Read Matthew 19:26. After considering these three examples, I would expect Jesus to answer, "Concentrate. Grit your teeth and you can do it." Instead, Jesus says that God can do this, humans cannot. How do you understand this?


      1. Is Jesus saying that with God's help humans can meet this impossible standard? Or, is He saying that only God can meet this impossible standard, and therefore grace is needed?


    4. Read Matthew 19:27. Is this true? Peter claims that actually, now that he has thought about it, the disciples have done the impossible. (John 21 suggests that the disciples may have temporarily left their possessions, but they had not sold their possessions, for we later find them still plying their fishing trade.)


    5. Read James 2:8-11. James recites the same command with which we started our conversation. What does James say about keeping this command? (He, too, puts the most radical spin on it. Just showing favoritism means we have violated the entire Ten Commandments.)


    6. Read James 2:14. How would you answer this?


    7. Read James 2:18-24 and Luke 23:39-43. Luke records one of the few cases where we know absolutely that the person, here a bad person, was going to heaven. Did James not know this story? (I hope that you are seeing a pattern here. The thief on the cross was saved by faith alone - just as we are saved by grace alone. But, true faith, genuine faith, transforms our life. Faith, as James says, is not a matter of mere words. It is a serious decision that begins a change in our life. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we lead a life in which the goal is absolute love towards even those who detest us. This kind of attitude, followed by deeds, is something possible only through the Spirit of God.)


    8. Friend, will you commit today to ask the Holy Spirit to start you on the journey to an attitude of absolute love towards all of those who come within your sphere?


  5. Next week: The Church.
* Copr. 2014, 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.

© 2014 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
Website by Blake Cameron, M.D.
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