Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – July 19, 2015
Theme: Responses to the Word
Topic: Admirers and Agreers
Main Texts: Mark 12:18-34; Luke 11:14-28
Key Verse: Luke 11:28 – “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” (NIV)
Last Sunday, we studied how Nicodemus – a Pharisee and member of the Jewish Ruling Council, challenged by what he had heard Jesus do, teach and preach, secretly went to Him for better understanding. We noted that:
- Although Jesus was teaching and preaching in public places, the Holy Spirit targeted Nicodemus, leading him to respond to what he heard by seeking better understanding
- The Holy Spirit is able to circumvent our intellect and enable us to have saving faith in Christ. Indeed, this has to happen especially with intellectuals
- Nicodemus risked his reputation and standing in the society by seeking Jesus Christ, and eventually becoming His disciple
- Despite his commitment to Jesus Christ, he chose not to leave the Jewish Council but rather remained as a voice for the Gospel. He remained a disciple and later publicly identified with Jesus by being directly involved in Jesus’ burial
Responding positively to God’s word could cost us our reputation, assets, and even our lives, but it is always the right thing to do.
This Sunday, we will consider the people we might call Admirers and Agreers. We will look at two characters that had encounters with Jesus Christ, admired Him, and even agreed with His teachings. However, these characters stopped short of the critical decisions – at least as far as the Bible records. The aim of the study is to make clear that admiration of Jesus, and even agreeing with the Bible teachings, do not amount to salvation, nor does agreement with other Scriptures deliver the benefits of those scriptures. Action is always required.
The Sadducees who did not believe in the resurrection had engaged Jesus Christ in an intellectual debate with the primary objective of proving to Jesus that the idea of the resurrection did not make sense. Jesus made them see the shallowness of their reasoning. An unnamed Scribe who had listened to the conversation was pleased with Jesus’ answer to the Sadducees. (Scribes believed in the resurrection.) Feeling good and perhaps wanting to feel confident about his standing with God, asked the question about which was most important commandment. Jesus summed all up the commandments into two simple commandments – love for God, and love for other people. The Scribe’s response showed that he had the right intellectual understanding of the Scripture. What did Jesus mean by “You are not far from the kingdom of God”? (Mark 12:34, NIV). Are you currently in this man’s situation, or was there a time you were in his situation?
In our second text (Luke 11), a crowd had witnessed Jesus cast out a dumb demon. We see three different reactions from the crowd. One group was simply amazed and perhaps full of admiration for Jesus. A second group, unable to deny what they had seen, chose to ascribe what they saw to the devil. A third group was simply insatiable – they wanted to see even more miracles but were not prepared to believe in Him. From the first group (“The Admirers”), a woman shouted, “Blessed is the woman who gave you birth and nursed you!” to which Jesus replied, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it”. (Luke 11:27-28). Many institutional leaders, including heads of governments often commend their audience to the person of Jesus Christ as a “good example” to follow. What do you think is the value of such adulations to the cause of the Gospel?
There are today varied responses to God’s word which may be good, but which do not necessarily benefit the respondent. Commending or congratulating a preacher for a “powerful” message is inadequate. Even agreeing with what the preacher says, or what we read in the Bible, is inadequate. When God said through prophet Isaiah that His word would accomplish what He sent it to accomplish (Isaiah 55:11), He did not mean any of these responses – He meant that things would happen in the lives of people, and in in the world, as a result of His word. Mention some statements of Scripture which most Christians agree with but which may not necessarily be true in the life of the Christian.
1. What challenges does Christian evangelism face in a society where there seems to be pervasive intellectual understanding of the Gospel message, and how can Christians handle these in evangelism?
2. Why do many people admire Jesus Christ but are not prepared to believe in Him with a view to being like Him?
Father, highlight to me aspects of my life and experience that do not align with what you say to me or about
me. Grant me the grace to be the person you meant me to be. In Jesus’ name, Amen.