Lesson 7 -- first quarter 2005
January 16, 2005
© Copyright 2004, Christian Light Publications
Probing Your Own Heart
Have you been with Jesus before starting to prepare for teaching lesson?
Do you understand that He has sent you to your class?
Building on Some Foundational Concepts
Jesus decides whom to call.
The call we each receive from Jesus is a personal call. He considers our need and our heart, and calls us according to His own will. That He decided to call me leaves me forever indebted to His love and grace. How can I not yield to His call?
He empowers those He sends.
The mission of redemption which Jesus undertook was difficult but He succeeded because of His overcoming power. The mission to which He has commissioned us is also difficult, but success is also possible because of His overcoming power. So let's go!
We need to be with Him.
We cannot learn to know Him and the power of His resurrection unless we are with Him. We cannot experience His grace unless we are with Him. Without Him we can do nothing but with Him we can do all things. Then why is it so easy to spend so little conscious time with Him? Because we live in the flesh. Only He can awaken and nurture in us our need of Him as well as our awareness of that need.
The message of the disciple is the same message as his Lord's.
"Repent!" John the Baptist delivered that message in the course of preparing the way of the Lord. Jesus presented the same message. He passed on that message to His disciples then as well as now. Accept it and then deliver it faithfully.
Questions and Responses
Does Jesus call everyone or just certain ones?
"The Lord is...not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). That reaffirms (not surprisingly, of course!) the truth of 1 Timothy 2:4 that our Saviour would have "all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." Therefore, God "now commandeth all men every where to repent" (Acts 17:30).
"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17).
"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men" (Titus 2:11). The visible manifestation of that grace was Jesus, who clearly declared, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32).
How can this be? Because "God so loved the world" (John 3:16)!
Why would Jesus call Judas, knowing he would betray Him?
Since the Scriptures do not answer the question directly, we can only consider what strike us a plausible answers. Despite knowing of the coming betrayal, Jesus nonetheless called Judas...because He loved him...because He wanted to redeem and use him...because He wanted to show that nobody is beyond His call...because He wanted all the chosen ones to know that even of them faithfulness is required.
Are we to curse those who will not accept our Gospel message?
The question comes because of this statement of Jesus to His disciples: "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city" (Mark 6:11).
To consider this as a curse called down by rejected evangelists is to misunderstand the fuller revelation of God. Jesus said we should love, bless, do good, and pray for those who oppose us (Matthew 5:44). Jesus and Stephen both called on God to forgive their enemies (Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60). The blood-stained steps of the Master as there for us to follow, committing ourselves "to him that judgeth righteously" (1 Peter 2:21-23).
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