Lesson 4


(John 10, Acts 27 & 28, Luke 12)
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Introduction: Have you ever contemplated your life? What course is it taking? Where would you like it to go? With our jobs, television, the Internet, kids, housework, and errands, it is easy to be occupied with the "immediate" all day. If we get a moment to rest, we spend it on something other than just sitting and thinking. Meditation is probably something related only to yoga, as far as we are concerned, and not part of our life. Let's take some time and contemplate, through the words of the Bible, what it means to live. Let's consider what goals God has for you!

  1. The Blind and the Full

    1. In John 9 Jesus give sight to a blind man. That raised a ruckus with the religious leaders. Let's pick up the story at the end of John 9. Read John 9:39-41. Jesus says that He has come to the world for judgment. Did Jesus come to judge us? (Read John 3:17-18. Jesus came to save the world.)

      1. If Jesus did not come to judge the world, what kind of judgment is Jesus talking about in John 9:39?(We know that Jesus came to die for our sins. Thus, the judgment must at least in part be on Him.)

      2. What kind of judgment will allow the blind to see and those who see to become blind? (A God who is willing to heal us, a God who is willing to die for us, a God who shows compassion towards us opens our eyes to the nature of our God. A Devil who brings blindness, and who tortures and kills God, opens our eyes to the nature of the conflict between good and evil.)

      3. Now that we have seen Jesus, what is required of us? (Jesus teaches that once we understand the spiritual issues, we have a decision to make to avoid guilt - and judgment.)

    2. Read John 10:1-2. If I were looking at my neighbor's house, and I saw someone going in through a window at the back of the house, what should I think? (This is someone who does not have a key. This is someone without proper authorization.)

      1. What is the purpose of a house with a door and lock? What is the purpose of a sheep pen with a gate? (To protect the inhabitants, keep the right people in and the wrong people out.)

      2. What does this have to do with Jesus' conversation about blindness? (Jesus says that the Pharisees are blind - or at least they act like they are blind. Jesus tells us that there are some obvious truths in life - like truths about doors - for those willing to look.)

    3. Read John 10:3-6. Are you ahead of the disciples here? I understand what Jesus is saying about sheep pens - which we can compare to our homes - but how do we apply this to our lives? (Let's read on.)

    4. Read John 10:7. Now we are getting somewhere. If Jesus is the gate, what is the pen and who are the sheep? (I think we are sheep. The pen must be protection for our life. Jesus lets the right people in and keeps the wrong people out.)

    5. Read John 10:8-9. How would you apply this to life? (If Jesus is the authorized entry, and all means of entry are used by harmful people, this means that Jesus has the means to protect and enhance our life. Much like a secure house with controlled access.)

    6. Read John 10:10. If I said that I could give you a "full life," what you would understand that to mean?

      1. Jesus has been talking to us about access and protection, how does a full life relate to that? (If you live a life in accordance with the teachings of God (He is the only gate for what you let in)you have a fulfilling life.)

        1. Is this true? There are all sorts of television programs that teach me that a full and exciting life involves things other than what is approved by God. Is there another truth?

        2. What about people who decide that they will live life as they want now and get back to God later? Is there some truth to that?

    7. Read John 10:11-13. Why doesn't the hired hand do a good job? Are we not all "hired hands" when it comes to our job? (The hired hand looks at things rationally - it is not worth his wages to lose his life. If he gave up his life, what would he have then?)

      1. What is Jesus' point for our life? (Jesus is not in this for the money. He showed that He cared for us by giving His life for us.)

      2. What does this have to do with us having a good time right now by doing those exciting things we see on television? (All of the "good things" on television involve hired hands. The way of the world is to decide what is best for "number one." When push comes to shove others will just have to suffer.)

      3. What is the spiritual point to be seen here? (If we will look, and not be blind, we will see that God's instructions for our life flow from a love that is so great that He is willing to lay down His life for us. No one who produces the "truth" espoused by popular television programs cares about what happens to us. They care about making money from their programs. Whatever lessons in life we learn from them is not their responsibility - at least that is how they look at it.)

    8. Read John 10:14-18. Is Jesus forced to die for us? (No! Look at the point Jesus is making. He gave up His life for you. Why would He give you instructions that would harm you? Instructions that would limit living life to the full? He would not. But, the wolves and the hired hands don't care about you. Their rules for life reflect that.)

    9. If you were to meditate a few moments about your life and how you should live, what would be the selfish decision? (The decision to follow the One who was willing to die for you! If you wanted to do what was best for you, then you would reject the advice of those whose only interest was in themselves - not you.)

      1. Is this conclusion limited to spiritual matters? (No! Jesus used a business - sheep raising - as His example. This advice applies to all spheres of life as we will see next.)

  2. A Life of True Influence

    1. You will recall that when Paul was preaching the gospel he was imprisoned and he filed an appeal to Rome. He was placed, as a prisoner, on a boat with a bunch of other prisoners heading for Rome.

    2. Read Acts 27:10-12. What "spheres of influence" are involved in this story? (We have Paul, who represents God and spiritual interests. We have the owners of the boat, who represent business interests. We have the Centurion, who represents the government.)

      1. If you were Paul, and you wanted your life to influence business and government, what would you consider your odds of success at this moment? (He is a prisoner!)

        1. Is Paul's advice taken? (No.)

    3. Read Acts 27:14-20. What didn't work to preserve the interests of business and government? (Their own devices.)

    4. Read Acts 27:21-26. How does God work through Paul to influence business and government? What did Paul not do? (Paul did not say "God sent judgment on you." Instead, an angel came to Paul to give him a solution to the problem. Paul reminded business and government that he had previously given them correct advice.)

      1. If you want to influence business and government, what weapons do you possess? (God's angels! The Holy Spirit. God's control over circumstances.)

    5. Read Acts 27:30-32. Who now has charge over the operation of business and government? (God's man, Paul.)

      1. How long did it take to turn the situation from disregarding Paul's advice to following Paul?

    6. Read Acts 28:1-4. What kind of a day is Paul having? How does the world view him?

    7. Read Acts 28:5-6. What is the world's view of Paul now? How long did it take to make this change?

    8. Read Acts 28:7-9. Paul now encounters the Malta government. What kind of influence does he exert on the leadership of the government?

    9. What lesson does this story teach us about following Jesus' rules when dealing with business and government?

  3. Worry Free

    1. Read Luke 12:22-26. Look specifically at verse 25. What is the answer to this?

      1. What if I asked the question differently: who, by controlling his [diet, smoking, exercise, driving, anger], can add an hour to his life? How many of you would answer "yes," to that?

        1. What, then, is the point for living a worry-free life? (I don't think Jesus is telling us to go to sleep under our desks. Colossians 3:23-24 suggests otherwise. The key to a full and worry-free life is to follow God's rules and leave the rest to God.)

    2. Friend, consider how life would be if you decided that God's way was always the most enjoyable, the most pleasurable? Consider how your life could influence the highest levels of business and government. Serving God with all of your heart is the way to a worry-free, successful life of great influence! Will you choose God's way today?

  4. Next week: Revelation.

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