Lesson for July 26th, 2014
As we consider Jesus’ saving work, we see both the basis of salvation and the results of it.
Paper, pens, a printed list of “pay it forward” ideas (do an Internet search), whiteboard, markers
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Have you ever worked really hard on an assignment (at work or at school) only to discover that you’d misunderstood the directions and accomplished the wrong task? Describe your feelings at that moment of discovery.
- When you plan your vacation, do you prefer to do things that require low energy and are relaxing or that need high energy and are challenging? Explain your thinking.
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- Do you personally see your local church as grace-oriented or legalistic? On a piece of paper, write your observation anonymously, fold the paper, and give it to your facilitator. Tally the results and then discuss: Why do you see your congregation this way and what—if anything—should be done about it? Be honest: How accurate is your perception on this issue?
- Thought Questions
In Luke 18:9-14, how do you think the Pharisee developed such a self-righteous attitude?
- He learned it from his family.
- He learned it in church school.
- Unless the Holy Spirit redirects our thinking, this is how humans actually are.
- Since this is a parable, Jesus used an example to make the point—nobody really prayed this way.
- It’s human nature to exalt ourselves and look down on others.
In Luke 15:3-10, what is the most meaningful aspect of the two parables?
- Even though the sheep and the coin don’t know they were lost, both were saved in the end.
- The sheep and the coin did nothing to be saved—their savior did everything.
- When one soul is saved, there is a big party on earth and in heaven!
- We can follow the Savior’s example, going to any and all lengths for our loved ones.
- Sometimes I am the one who needs the Savior to come looking for me.
What does it mean to be “free indeed,” as Jesus states in John 8:34-36?
- No matter what we do in this life, we can still go to heaven.
- We are freed from the shame of our past sins.
- We are free to live in obedience to God through the power of Jesus.
- We are like slaves who are not only emancipated but also adopted into the family of the Master.
- When we submit to Jesus, temptation no longer has any power over us.
Read John 6:33-35, 47-51. How is salvation like this bread?
- We believe that bread will nourish us when we eat it. We have faith that we are saved when we believe in Jesus.
- Bread tastes good, and a true understanding of salvation by faith in Christ tastes wonderful!
- Our salvation is contingent upon a correct doctrine, and the bread represents heavenly truth.
- We can’t fully understand the miracle that causes grain to grow, and we can’t fully understand the process of salvation—we accept both by faith.
- Assurance of salvation in Christ fills our spiritual hunger, like bread in the belly.
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: Look at the list of “pay it forward” ideas and think of opportunities you have to pay it forward to someone else in your community. Have each group member plan what he or she will do in the coming week. How is Jesus’ offer of salvation like paying it forward? Discuss.
- Option 2: On the whiteboard, list ways that you think people try to earn their salvation. What would you say about each of these attempts? Look for Bible texts to support your positions.
- Option 3: Discuss the concept of gifts: Do we ever really accept gifts freely or do we feel obligated to give something in return? What would happen if you received a birthday or Christmas gift from someone and never gave one (or even a thank-you card) in return? Can you think of one earthly example that approximates Christ’s gift of salvation to us?
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- Personally consider how well you accept Jesus’ offer of salvation. Is there any area in your life in which you feel you’re still trying to earn God’s love?
- In what ways can you show your gratitude to Jesus without slipping into a “works” mode?