Sabbath School Helps – Lesson 3 – 14 July 2017
Invite group members to tell the story of a time when they said one thing and did another.
Q. What is a hypocrite? (take a few answers)
Q. How is religious hypocrisy worse than general dishonesty? (It misrepresents God)
Q. When have you seen hypocrisy in yourself? (Tell one yourself! Then ask for more.)
Read Galatians 2:1-10
Why did Paul, Barnabas and Titus go to Jerusalem? See Acts 15:1-2 (To discuss circumcision)
Why did Paul bring Titus to Jerusalem? (living test case: Behold, an uncircumcised follower!)
To whom had they been preaching this law-free Gospel? Galatians 2:2 (gentiles)
How had word of this law-free Gospel got back to Jerusalem? Galatians 2:4 (false brothers)
Why call them false? Galatians 4:5 (the Gospel must be taught a preserved for others)
To whom did they present their views in Jerusalem? Galatians 2:2 (privately, leaders)
Why privately? What does this teach us about dealing with differences among us? (True believers seek to iron out differences within leadership circles. False brothers spread dissention among the young in the faith. This unsettles the community rather than leading from a united front with a clear gospel.)
After the leadership discussions were finished, who made the decision? Galatians 4:9 (Jesus’ inner three: Peter, James and John)
They concluded that circumcision was a dividing line not between disciples but between disciple-makers. All were sent out with the Gospel. Some to the circumcised, some to the uncircumcised.
How might this wisdom be useful in church today?
What was the non-negotiable requirement for church leaders? Why? Galatians 2:10
Read Galatians 2:11-14
Based on the decision above, was Paul justified in calling Peter (Cephas) out for being a hypocrite? Why? (Peter had taken the decision into his lifestyle but not his character!)
Where do we see this kind of two-sided living in our church? (examples of legalism)
Which side should we be living and defending? (law-free gospel!)
In 2 Kings 5 a story is told with a very similar ending to this New Testament circumcision discussion. Naaman, An unbelieving army general of Israel’s enemy Aram, is healed by acting in faith – dipping in the dirty waters of the Jordan River – at the prophet Elisha’s promise from God of healing. Coming up healed, Naaman returns and declares he will only ever worship Israel’s God (2 Kings 5:17) – even asking for dirt from the prophet’s front yard to build an altar upon. Naaman is a new believer! Cleansed! Committed!
Read 2 Kings 5:17-18
Naaman requests permission to enter the house of the false God Rimmon, to bow alongside the king. He asks for pardon for this false worship – prior to doing it. Planning to participate in false worship, Naaman asks for pardon. What is Elisha’s answer?
Read 2 Kings 5:19 (Go in peace)
How is this act of false worship not hypocrisy? (God knows Naaman’s heart)
Local Case Study:
Open communion is practiced in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The church manual states: “All who have committed their lives to the Saviour may participate” (SDA Church Manual, p122). Who do we stop? Why? What does this say about us? Jesus?
The Church manual continues: “Children learn the significance of the service by observing others participate. After receiving formal instruction in baptismal classes and making their commitment to Jesus in baptism, they are thereby prepared to partake in the service themselves” (SDA Church Manual, p122).
Is this truly open communion?
What does it say about our view of a child’s faith?
What did it say about our view of Salvation?
What does your church do? Why?
A Mormon friend invites you to lunch.
As you sit across the table, they open the discussion with a heart-felt question.
You’re an Adventist, I’m a Mormon. Will I be saved?
Having Jesus as you teacher, you answer with a question. What is your question?
Why did some early Christians first try to make someone a Jew before making them a Christian? (Some Jewish Christians believed non-Jews needed to understand the Jewish history, doctrine and practice to have Jesus.)
What did Paul think about this?
How do we do this to new believers? (Some adults believe young believers need to understand the Adventist history, doctrine and practice before they can truly believe in Jesus.)
What might Paul say to us?