Lesson 1

Discipleship and Scripture

(Luke 4 & 16, Matthew 12, Acts 17)
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Introduction: How do you decide questions that you have about God, about how to live your life, and about how to bring others to Jesus? The answer should be "the Bible." Do you know enough about the Bible to make informed decisions? This week a controversy over one of the stars of a television reality program taught me that those in the media are ignorant about the Bible. The media showed a video clip of this star standing in church and preaching about homosexuality. The whole clip consisted only of a quotation from the book of Romans. Instead of criticizing the star, a proper discussion should have been about the Bible and what this Bible text meant. Let's dive into our Bible study and learn more about this topic!

  1. Bible Answers


    1. Read Luke 4:1-4. When it says that Jesus was "tempted," what does that mean? (Satan wanted Jesus to sin. He wanted Jesus to disobey God.)


      1. On what did Jesus rely to fend off sin? (Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 of the Bible.)


        1. Is that it - only the Bible? (No! We must not overlook the critical fact that Jesus also relied on the leading of the Holy Spirit.)


      2. Notice the Scripture on which Jesus relied - it says we don't live on bread alone. How is that an answer to Satan's temptation?


      3. Review Luke 9:12-17. Had Jesus created bread before? Did He do it in part to show that He was the Messiah?


        1. If so, why was it the right thing to do in Luke 9 and the wrong thing to do in Luke 4? (See how important the Holy Spirit is? This is precisely the kind of issue where we need to be guided, as was Jesus, by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.)


    2. Read Matthew 12:1-2. Are the Jewish leaders asking Jesus to follow the Bible when it comes to guiding His disciples? (Yes. Keeping the Sabbath is part of the Ten Commandments.)


    3. Read Matthew 12:3-4. On what is Jesus relying for His response? (The Bible.)


      1. Explain Jesus' Bible-based response. What is Jesus' argument?


      2. Is He saying that sometimes it is okay to violate the commands of the Bible and have regular people do what is lawful only for priests?


        1. If so, how is that relying on the Bible?


    4. Read Matthew 12:5. Are Jesus' disciples priests? If not, how is this relevant?


    5. Read Matthew 12:6-8. What is Jesus arguing? (Jesus teaches that we need to have a deeper understanding of the law. The whole point of the law is to bring attention to the need for Jesus, the need for a Savior, the need for mercy. Exceptions were made for the priests because their Sabbath work was to bring a knowledge of Jesus to the people. Now, Jesus, the High Priest of all time, the One this is all about, is present. Therefore, He is entitled to say how the law applies, and His disciples are His priests.)


      1. Is Jesus violating the rule of law? Is Jesus substituting the system in which the ruler makes the laws? (No. He is reconciling what His disciples are doing with the existing law. He is asking us to look more deeply into the law.)


      2. What is the lesson for us? That Jesus gets to bend the rules? (No! To properly understand the law requires great discernment - discernment that comes from above. Again, this is an argument for asking the Holy Spirit to help us understand the Bible.)


  2. Bible Authority


    1. Go back to Luke 4 and read Luke 4:5-8. On what does Jesus rely to reject temptation? (Again, Jesus relies on the Bible - Deuteronomy 6:13.)


      1. In the prior response to Satan, I thought Jesus' answer was a bit difficult to understand. Here, Jesus' answer is easy to understand. Why does Satan accept this answer without debate?


        1. Does this show that Satan accepts the Bible as the final authority?


        2. What does the fact that both Jesus and Satan accept the Bible as the final authority teach us when we have questions? (Satan is evil, but he is a very smart guy. If both God, and the anti-God, accept the authority of the Bible, how can we reject it in favor of our own feeble thinking? To decide that we are wiser than the Bible is foolishness.)


      2. This brings us to a practical problem. What do we do if the person we are trying to convert or counsel is foolish and does not accept the Bible as the final authority?


        1. If you cannot find an authority which you both accept, how can you persuade the other person that you are right?


    2. Read Acts 17:16-17 and Acts 17:22-23. What challenge did Paul face in making disciples of these idol worshipers? (They did not accept the Bible as authority.)


      1. What was Paul doing when he argued on the basis of the unknown God? Is that Bible-based authority? (This is a very important point. Paul was looking for a common ground of "authority." If we seek to convert those who do not accept the Bible, we need to find some common ground from which we can make our Bible-based arguments. Paul thought that he would argue that the god unknown to them was the true God of heaven.)


    3. Read Acts 17:24-25. What common ground is Paul arguing here? (The creation. Psalms 19:1 tells us that the heavens declare God's glory. Paul quickly moves to an argument based on logic and the creation. Why would a God who created the universe need to be made by human hands - like these idols?)


      1. What common ground have you used in the past to reach those who do not accept the Bible as authoritative? (One common ground is mutual life experiences. When we are dealing with those who do not accept the authority of the Bible, our testimony about what God has done for us in dealing with the problems of life can be a persuasive common ground.)


  3. The Bible Only?


    1. We earlier touched on Luke 9. Read Luke 9:10-11. We see Jesus teaching about the Kingdom of God. No doubt He based His teachings on the Bible. What other means did He use? (He healed people. He created food to fed the crowd.)


      1. In making disciples today can we duplicate Jesus' methods? (We certainly can feed people at our evangelistic meetings and help them with practical difficulties that they face.)


    2. Read Luke 16:1-7. What do you think about this manager? (He is a cheat. He embezzles funds from his master - which adds credibility to the accusation that he has been wasting his master's property.)


    3. Read Luke 16:8-9. Who is speaking here? (Jesus is not only speaking, but He is endorsing what the master said about his dishonest manager.)


      1. Why is Jesus complimenting a cheat and a fraud?


        1. And, what, exactly, is Jesus complimenting? (Jesus is complimenting the shrewdness of the dishonest manager.)


      2. Jesus tells us this story so that we will be "welcomed into eternal dwellings." What eternal dwellings are these? (Heaven!)


      3. Whoa! Is Jesus saying that if we are cheats and frauds we will go to heaven? (No! Jesus is saying that we should use our brains and the tools at our disposal to make disciples ("gain friends"). We should be as shrewd as the world is in making disciples for God.)


        1. Is the Bible teaching us to use the smart marketing and promotional programs used by the world in making disciples?


    4. Friend, the Bible is the key to knowing God and understanding His will for our lives. Will you commit to regular reading and study of the Bible? Will you ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand and accept its instructions?


  4. Next week: Discipling Through Metaphor.

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Lessons on Discipleship (2)

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