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Lesson for February 13th, 2016

Jesus and the Great Controversy

Scripture Focus

Matthew 7:1-5, 21-27; 11:28, 29; 13:3-8, 18-23; Romans 4:1-6; James 2:17


Though the great controversy between good and evil is a grand theme that explains history, it plays out in our everyday lives. Jesus' teachings help us in this battle.

Materials Needed

Paper, pencils, coloring crayons, Bibles

Connecting with the Scripture Topic

  1. Have you ever purchased a practical tool that didn’t cost much but made a world of a difference in completing a specific task? If you feel comfortable, share your experience with the group.
  2. Draw a toolbox with a few tools inside. Now identify a tool that symbolizes an area of your life in which you would like to grow. For example, a measuring tape could represent your desire to stretch your faith to greater lengths.

Sharing and Receiving Scripture

  1. What is the simplest, most practical tip you've ever been given to help you in your Christian walk?
  2. Thought Questions

Read Matthew 11:28, 29. Who is Jesus addressing when He calls to those who "labor and are heavy laden"?

  1. Workaholics - people who are obsessed with their jobs to the detriment of their family and health
  2. The persecuted - people being abused and oppressed and who need rest
  3. Religious addicts - church members who are attempting to earn their salvation by looking good in front of others
  4. The codependent - perhaps like the people who were trying to please the Pharisees
  5. The tired - people who are physically, emotionally, or mentally exhausted for any reason
  6. Other...

Read Matthew 13:3-8. Discuss the different types of soil and what they represent in this parable.

  1. Seed that fell by the wayside represents God's Word falling on hard hearts.
  2. Seed that fell on stony ground illustrates those who make a shallow commitment to God.
  3. Seed that fell among thorns speaks of those who are still tangled up in the cares of this world.
  4. Seed that fell on good soil tells of those who work to prepare their hearts to receive the gospel.
  5. How might we till the soil of our hearts to increase a crop of righteousness?
  6. Other...

In Matthew 7:21-27, read Jesus' parable of the two builders. What does this parable teach us about practical Christianity?

  1. Saying that you're a Christian doesn't necessarily mean you really are a Christian.
  2. Acting like a Christian doesn't necessarily mean you are a Christian.
  3. In the parable, both men built a house. Building a house wasn’t the key point of the story.
  4. The difference between the two builders was the foundation on which they built.
  5. Jesus' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount takes the keeping of the law to a much deeper level: our motives.
  6. Other...

Read Matthew 7:1-5. How should we practically apply this teaching in the church?

  1. We should never confront another person about the sin in his or her life.
  2. This isn't about church discipline; it's about having a critical attitude.
  3. There's a time and place to discuss a problem with another person - after checking our hearts.
  4. If a person focuses on a "speck" in another's eye, it shows that they have a picky mindset over trivial issues.
  5. Those who are quick to judge others are often blind to their own faults, making them incapable of having spiritual discernment.
  6. Other...

Applying the Message of Scripture

Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Then report back to your group when your facilitator says time is up.

  • Option 1: One day your neighbor says to, you, "Life is exhausting. It seems that all I do is work, work, work! How do you find time to take a whole day off to rest?" How would you respond?
  • Option 2: Read Matthew 13:3-8 and then role-play the parable of the sower and soils. Have a narrator read the passage while different group members silently "act" the various parts of the story: a sower, seed by the wayside, birds, seed on stony ground, the sun, seed among thorns, thorns, seed on good soil.
  • Option 3: Make a list of as many songs or hymns as you can think of which highlight building on the rock of Jesus Christ (For example, "My Hope Is Built").

Valuing Scripture in Your Life

  1. Reviewing what you learned in this week's study, which lesson was most practical and useful to you? How might you apply it to your life this coming week?
  2. Gather in groups of two or three and pray for God to help you apply Christianity in a practical way as you face the daily conflicts of life. Conclude with prayer.

Next Week's Scripture Focus

Luke 5:6-8, 11; Matthew 8:23-27; 20:20-28; Mark 3:14; 4:35-41; 9:33-37

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