Lesson 13

Partnership With Jesus

(Mark 1, Matthew 6 & 25, Proverbs 11)
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Introduction: Have you noticed that you acquire attitudes and habits from your friends and co-workers? If you are wise, you just appropriate those which are good. Sometimes it is just a small thing you adopt, but it makes you a better person. For about twenty years, Rex Reed was my boss. One day I saw Rex pick up some trash laying on the floor of the office bathroom. We paid people to clean the bathroom. Probably it was some slob who threw the trash on the floor. Why should the Executive Vice-President of the company pick up bathroom trash? Guess what? Since then I've been picking up trash in the bathroom - even though that is not part of my job description! What if we looked to Jesus as our example in life? What wonderful changes might occur then? Maybe it would help us to toss out some of the trash in our life and bring in some new righteous habits. Let's explore that idea by diving into our Bible study about Jesus as our partner in life!

  1. Prayer Priorities


    1. Read Mark 1:32-37. Why do you think "everyone" was looking for Jesus? (They wanted to be healed of diseases or demons.)


      1. Step back a minute. How much of a difference would it make in your life to have Jesus heal you of a disease or to cast out the demons that ruin your mental health?


      2. What choice did Jesus make in this story? (He chose between healing people and going off by Himself to pray.)


        1. Is Jesus being selfish?


        2. What lesson do we find in Jesus' example for our prayer life? (No matter how busy we are, no matter how great and important our work, we must set aside time for solitary prayer and contemplation.)


    2. Read Matthew 6:6. Should we follow Jesus' example of being homeless? (This is encouraging. He expects us to have at least a room with a door on it!)


    3. Read Matthew 6:7. How do you organize your prayer? Do you repeat the same things over and over again? If you are a "babbler," you know the order of your prayer!


      1. What does Jesus say about mindless babbling?


        1. Ask yourself if you would like to be the one listening to your own prayers?


        2. If you were the listener, would you think your prayers were sincere?


    4. Read Matthew 6:8. Now the secret is out! God already knows my needs. What should I conclude from this? That if He knows, why am I taking my time to verbalize my needs?


      1. Is Jesus teaching us that we do not need to spend prayer time asking for things?


    5. Read Matthew 6:9. How does Jesus teach us to structure our prayer? (We start by giving glory to God. We do not start with our list of needs.)


    6. Read Matthew 6:10. What should be the next subject covered in our prayers? (That Jesus will reign over both heaven and earth. We want Him to come again to earth to be in charge. We want Him to reign now in our life.)


    7. Read Matthew 6:11. What does this teach us about verbalizing our needs? (It is third in order of importance, but Jesus recommends that we verbalize our needs to God. He knows our needs, but He wants us to share them with Him.)


    8. Read Matthew 6:12. Why is sin forgiveness so low in the order of prayer priorities?


      1. On what is our forgiveness conditioned?


        1. How are you doing in the "forgiving others" department?


      2. Does this "forgive to be forgiven" requirement make any common sense to you? (A study in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that lower stress, heart rate and blood pressure were associated with forgiveness. It blesses you to forgive.)


      3. Compare what you have to forgive others with what Jesus is forgiving you. Your sins were part of the cause of Jesus' painful death!


    9. Read Matthew 6:13. On what note does Jesus recommend that we end our prayers? (A note of encouragement to avoid temptation and give us deliverance from future sin. Barnes' Notes explains that the word translated "temptation" can also mean "trial," "affliction" or anything that "tests" our virtue. This adds the concept of asking God to save us from suffering and trials.)


  2. Church Priority


    1. Read Luke 4:16. What was Jesus custom regarding church attendance? (He attended a synagogue each Sabbath.)


    2. Read Hebrews 10:24-25 and Revelation 5:11-13. What is one of the main reasons to attend church? (We encourage each other in our Christian walk. We join in the universal praise to God. Remember that the first element of prayer is praise. Praise should be an important part of our group worship.)


    3. How important to your spiritual life is your church attendance? (I have spent decades defending the religious liberty of employees. In each of these cases, I must prove the religious sincerity of my client. Based on my experience, I now have a rule that I will no longer represent religious objectors who are not part of some local group of believers. Why? Because there are too many sincerity problems with those are not part of a regular body of believers.)


  3. Service Priority


    1. Read Proverbs 11:24-25. Is there a relationship between generosity and mental health? (The Bible says that the person who "refreshes others" will himself be refreshed.")


      1. How do you feel after you have helped someone else?


        1. Used?


        2. Happy?


      2. Have you ever tried to make an effort to be kind and friendly to everyone you meet that day? If so, what was the result? (One day this week I was in an office where people did not know me and I did not know most of them. When I was friendly and kind to these strangers, they were friendly and kind to me. My kindness to them refreshed my attitude.)


    2. Read Matthew 25:34-36. Why doesn't Jesus say, "Come, enter into the kingdom of heaven because I died for your sins?"


      1. Read John 5:24. Why doesn't this text say something about service before you cross over into life?


      2. Read 1 Timothy 5:9-12 and Ephesians 2:8-9. Are Jesus and Paul in conflict?


        1. What is Jesus asking us to do when He asks us to believe? (He is asking us to choose Him and His will for our life. That means we must have an attitude of service towards those around us. ( Matthew 22:37-40.) Sometimes being of service to those around us means we say "no," or at least we say, "I've got a better idea.")


  4. Closing Philosophy


    1. Read Romans 12:12-13. What gives us joy in life? (The hope of our salvation! The pleasure of a life lived in step with God's plan for us.)


      1. What attitudes does this text suggest are critical to positive emotions? (Patience in affliction - because we know it will end. Faithfulness in prayer - something we discussed above. Helping others.)


    2. Friend, we have spent weeks discussing what the Bible teaches us about human emotion. Will you decide today to accept these principles into your life?


  5. Next week: Garments of Grace: Clothing Imagery in the Bible.

Discussion

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