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Lesson for November 29th, 2014

One Lawgiver and Judge

Scripture Focus

James 4:11-17; Acts 17:11; Hebrews 4:15, 16; Luke 12:13-21; Ecclesiastes 2:15-19; Titus 2:14

Concept

Our view of the law depends greatly on the attitude we have toward the Lawgiver.

Materials Needed

Individual printouts of “dumb laws” (www.dumblaws.com) from your state, paper bag, pens, paper, printed news story of a recent injustice

Connecting with the Scripture Topic

  1. If you grew up with brothers or sisters, who got in trouble more often: the one who pushed the buttons to start a fight or the one who responded and then got caught? Which one were you?
  2. When the traffic cop lets you off with a warning, are you more likely in the future to obey the law you were breaking? Or do you figure you can always get away with it from now on?

Sharing and Receiving Scripture

  1. Have each person take a “dumb law” printout from the paper bag. One by one, defend the validity of your law in 20 seconds. The other group members will rate each one from “I’m a firm believer now,” to “It’s still a dumb law.” Then discuss what impact the endorsement of a trusted lawmaker has on your acceptance of a quirky statute. How does God’s stamp of approval impact your view of Old Testament laws that make no sense today?
  2. Thought Questions

Read James 4:11, 12. How is it that by judging someone, we are actually judging the law—and by inference, the Lawgiver?

  1. When we judge someone, we put ourselves in God’s position—in a sense, setting God aside.
  2. By doing this, we assume that we know everything about the person and the situation.
  3. We may be able to discern right from wrong; however, the problem comes when we try to determine the correct punishment.
  4. This is applicable only when we condemn the innocent; it’s not evil to speak truth about the guilty.
  5. It’s better to always err on the side of mercy and let God do the distasteful work of judging.
  6. Other...

What do you think would happen if human judges today behaved according to Hebrews 4:15, 16?

  1. Fewer people would be sentenced to prison, and more would go to rehab, mental health clinics, etc.
  2. I would know that I am being judged fairly.
  3. Too many criminals would take advantage of grace and mercy and continue in a life of crime.
  4. The crime rate would go down because the courts would focus on rehabilitation rather than on retribution.
  5. People would disrespect the law and view legal authorities as being weak and impotent.
  6. Other...

Read Luke 12:13-21. How can self-reliance and arrogance be forms of judging?

  1. It’s tempting to try and determine (judge) my own future course.
  2. The rich man decided he could make better use of God’s blessings by hoarding rather than sharing.
  3. In most cases, a person who judges struggles with envy and covetousness.
  4. The arrogance of this man resulted in him despising those he thought were beneath him.
  5. In verse 13, the man decided that he was right and his brother was wrong without presenting his case to Jesus for consideration.
  6. Other...

Read Titus 2:11-14. Why is grace so vital in helping us become non-judgmental, law-abiding Christians?

  1. When we come to the foot of the cross, we are so overwhelmed with gratefulness to Christ that we can’t see another’s sin.
  2. Grace doesn’t just save us; it teaches us how to live godly lives.
  3. When we focus on Christ as the Lawgiver, we truly learn to love the law.
  4. It’s pretty hypocritical to freely accept Christ’s grace without also extending it to others.
  5. Grace preps me for Christ’s second coming where I will finally become non-judgmental and law-abiding.
  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: List the top 5 criminals that you can think of in the world’s history. Now imagine that you see each of them resurrected and taken to heaven at the Second Coming. What questions will you want to ask God when you get the opportunity?
  • Option 2: Read the news story. How do you think Christ would address this situation? List Bible texts to support your thoughts. What do you think God will do in the final judgment to rectify the injustice?
  • Option 3: Is there some local statute that seems dumb to you? What is the proper procedure to address it or possibly get it changed? What Bible principles would you employ in your quest? If possible, begin your pursuit of justice in the next few days and report your results back to the group next week.

Valuing Scripture in Your Life

  1. For the next few minutes, reflect on the following questions: Do you tend to view the law through the filter of the Lawgiver or do you judge the Lawgiver by your evaluation of the law? Is this the right way to see things?
  2. Take a few minutes and review your own personal witness. Are you showing the beauty and wisdom of God’s law to others by how you live, or do they see you attempting to skirt the law?

Next Week's Scripture Focus

Matthew 5:17-19; 5:21-44; 5:31, 32; 19:16-22; Mark 7:9-13; John 14:15; Romans 10:3; 8:3, 4

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