Lesson 10

Following Jesus in Everyday Life

(Luke 12 & 19)
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Introduction: Do you want others to have a high opinion of you? I do. When I've made mistakes, my main concern was about my reputation. During my years of Bible study, I've learned that I should be more concerned about God's opinion of me. Part of being concerned about what others think is good, if the goal is to influence others towards God. But, this week I had a conversation with a Godly man who told me that he was worse than I thought. I'll bet you would say the same thing - you are worse than your reputation. What does that say about your concern regarding God's opinion of you? Let's explore what the Bible teaches us about this!

  1. No Fear


    1. Read Luke 12:4-5. Who is this person who can throw us into hell? (I think Jesus is speaking of God.)


      1. Who can only "kill the body?" (Other humans.)


      2. What is Jesus' point? (We should fear God more than we should fear humans.)


    2. Read Luke 12:6-7. Does God know you? (Yes! God does not forget even the sparrow. He knows how many hairs are on my head!)


      1. Why would Jesus tell us to fear God who can throw us into hell, and then tell us "don't be afraid?" (Jesus is building an argument against fear. He says that if we are going to fear anyone, it should be God. But, God loves and cares for us.)


    3. Let's go back and pick up Luke 12:1-3. Who knows what we have said in the dark and in the inner rooms? (God!)


      1. Why is hypocrisy so foolish? What does this have to do with fearing humans?(Hypocrisy is saying one thing in public and doing another thing in private. Jesus' argues that this is foolish because God knows how we live. Why would we hide it from other humans - those who cannot send us to hell, but be content to have God know?)


      2. One answer is that it feels good to have other humans think we are better than we actually are. What does Jesus say to that? (The bad things will come out.)


    4. Read Luke 12:8-9. Let's revisit the last question. If it feels better to have other humans falsely think we are better than we are, who are we saying is most important: God, other humans or us? (Other humans and us.)


      1. If I think that I am more important, and the opinion of humans more important than the opinion of God, how does this relate to Jesus' statement that we should acknowledge God before humans? (I think Jesus' point is that our priorities are backwards.)


    5. Read Luke 12:9-10. Do you recall times in the past when you did not speak up for God because you did not want to be embarrassed? Is that "disowning God?"


  2. The Right Fear


    1. Look again at Luke 12:10. Can you see the pattern of Jesus' argument? Hypocrisy is preferring the opinion of humans over God's opinion. Disowning (or failing to acknowledge) God is putting the opinion of humans before God. This mind set shows that we fear humans more than we fear God. Jesus teaches that this attitude is irrational. Is Luke 12:10 a warning or a comfort? (If you find, as I do, that Jesus' comments speak to our sins, the good news is that Jesus says that can be forgiven.)


      1. Is there any warning? (Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven!)


    2. Read Matthew 12:30-32 and Mark 3:28-30. What do you think it means to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? (I think Jesus is saying that certain attitudes are hopeless. In Luke, the problem is thinking that the opinion of others is more important than the opinion of God. In Matthew and Mark the problem is calling the work of the Holy Spirit the work of Satan. I don't think Jesus is drawing a line in the sand and saying "If you step over this, you can never be forgiven," rather, He is saying, "If you have everything reversed, you have no hope of arriving at the right answer.")


  3. Greed


    1. Read Luke 12:13-15. What if the brother is violating this fellow's inheritance rights? (Jesus says this is not the main point - He is here to save our souls not our pocketbooks.)


      1. Is this another one of the "upside down" views of life? Our focus is on things and not God?


    2. Read Luke 12:16-20. Is being rich wrong? Should we prepare for our retirement? (Deuteronomy 28 and the heroes of the Old Testament suggest that being rich is related to right living. Numbers 8:23-26 suggests that God believes in retirement.)


    3. Read Luke 12:20-21. What is the problem? (If this rich fellow dies that night, he will have lost everything for which he worked and planned.)


      1. What does this have to do with hypocrisy and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? (I think this is another example of having things turned upside down in our mind. This fellow is more concerned about his financial future than his future with God. It is appropriate to be concerned about what others think, it is appropriate to fear humans, it is appropriate to prepare for old age, but we must have the right attitude: God's opinion is the most important. Fearing God (who loves us) is the most important aspect of life. This means our relationship with God is the most important part of our plan for the future, not our relationship with money.)


  4. Capitalism


    1. Read Luke 19:11. Were the people right about what would happen? (Jesus was present, but the Kingdom of God was not appearing immediately.)


    2. Read Luke 19:12-14. Why does Jesus add this detail about the subjects hating the future king? What has this to do with the false expectations of the people about the Kingdom of God? (They wanted Jesus to assert His power, overthrow the Romans, and establish the Kingdom of God.)


      1. Anything about upside down thinking seem familiar here? (Once again, the people are focused on the wrong thing.)


    3. Read Luke 19:15-19. Is Jesus a capitalist? Why didn't he say to the ten minas fellow that he should give 2.5 minas to the five minas fellow so that they would have the same amount: 7.5 minas?


    4. Read Luke 19:20-23. What complaint does the one mina man have about the king? (He complains that he is a capitalist and that he is afraid of the king.)


      1. If this is a parable about God, does this fellow fear God? (Yes, but this is the wrong kind of fear.)


      2. Notice that he carefully kept the mina in a cloth. What does this suggest?


    5. Read Luke 19:24-25. Do you agree with the objectors?


      1. Notice that the successful guy is entitled to the money of the one mina guy who does not handle his money properly. How can you reconcile that to the story of the rich fellow (we just studied) who has decided to retire and enjoy his wealth? The rich guy would enjoy his own money.


    6. Read Luke 19:26-27. Here is a story! The lazy guy who hates capitalism has to give his money to the very rich. The enemies of the king are brought in and killed. Not exactly what you are used to Jesus saying, right?


      1. What is a mina? (It is money according to Luke 19:15. It is about three months wages.)


      2. Do you think this parable is about money?


      3. Who do you think are the king and the enemies in the parable? (Jesus appears to be the King and the Jewish people His enemies. They thought Jesus would overthrow the Romans, and when He did not, they became the enemies of what He had in mind. Note that Jerusalem was destroyed a few decades later.)


    7. Let's see if we can put this together. If Jesus is the King, and those who rejected Him are His enemies, do minas truly represent money? (I think they might. But, I don't think that is the main point. They represent talents used to advance the Kingdom of God.)


    8. Friend, can you see how the different stories in our study have a common point? The most important aspect of life is our relationship with God! Will you determine today to develop your talents to advance God's Kingdom?


  5. Next week: The Kingdom of God.

Discussion

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