Right and Wrong #1
Good Questions: These Lessons Have Groups Talking
by Josh Hunt www.joshhunt.com
I have a bad habit of writing more material than anyone could possibly use. I do this, in part, intentionally. When I teach, I like to have more material than I can use. I am not a natural born talker and it gives me confidence to know that I have lots of material to work with in case one line of discussion goes flat. I also have a fascination with the Bible that makes it hard for me to ignore any little truth in one nook or cranny of the passage.
This week, however, you need to know that I have really over done it. I cannot imagine that you will be able to use all this material. In addition, I am sure that you have many insights of your own that you will want to add. In any case, the key to good teaching is focus. You may want to leave out some of these passages all together. The point is not to cover the material. The material does not need to be covered. In fact, the material has no needs at all. Your students have needs, but the material has no needs. Your goal is not to cover the material, or to ask all these questions. Your goal is to produce disciples who live rightly tomorrow and the next day. Teach with that in mind.
1. Genesis 3:1-6
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"
 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,  but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' "
 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman.  "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
2. It is the work of the devil, and not good men, to make the standard more strict than it is.
3. He questioned God and questioned the consequences of sin.
4. The great lie of the devil is that sin is the fun stuff. From the perspective eternity, sin is the stuff that will mess up your life. As long as it is seen as the fun stuff that we are not supposed to do because God is not particularly pro-fun, we will never have much victory. Your job as teacher is to counter act the work of the devil, who is trying to make the pleasure of sin big and the consequences of sin small. Your job is to impress people of how things really are: the consequences of sin are big and the pleasure of sin only lasts for a short time. I listened to a James Dobson radio program the other day where he was interviewing a father's whose teenage daughter became pregnant out of wedlock. It was a long story I will not go into, but in the end they made the point: What a price to pay for a few moments of sexual pleasure.
5. Isaiah 5:20-21
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.
 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
and clever in their own sight.
You have wearied the Lord with your words.
"How have we wearied him?" you ask.
By saying, "All who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and he is pleased with them" or "Where is the God of justice?"
6. I read recently of a CEO of a successful young coffee company from the Northwest. He had a chapter on the social responsibility of business. Happily, this is a trend in many businesses today. He was talking about things like fair wages for all employees, environmental issues having to do with their packaging, and giving money to support the third world countries that grow their coffee. All of these are things we would applaud. Also in the list of good things (from his perspective) they did was providing health benefits to same-sex life partners. Note, again, that this was in the column labeled "good things we do."
7. As we grow in the faith, we come face to face with the reality that the standard for Christian living is incredibly high. We are told to pray without ceasing. (Say what you will, I think that is probably praying more than I pray.) We are told to "never be lacking in zeal," and "not to be weary in well doing." We are told to "live at peace with all men." Anyone fall short of the bar? In order to deal with this, we tend to just ignore these issues, or paint them trivial in our mind. We don't typically hold to the reality that these things are sin. We call evil good, or, at least, not all that bad. The sad thing is, by doing this, we cut ourselves off from grace. The purpose of law is to make us appreciate grace. When we see ourselves as good old boys that are not all that bad, what is the fuss with needing grace?
8. Mark 10:17-31
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone.  You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'"
 "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy."
 Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
 At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!"
 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?"
 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."
 Peter said to him, "We have left everything to follow you!"
 "I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel  will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields--and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.  But many who are first will be last, and the last first."
9. By the way ff means "and following."
10. 1 Peter 1:13-16
Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.  As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.  But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;  for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
1 John 1:5-10
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
11. Again, we will never live a holy life unless we believe it is in our interest to do so. We must work on beliefs first-faith first, then actions will naturally flow.