Part of God's Family

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Chronicles 17, Matthew 6 & 25, 1 John 5)
English
Year: 
2023
Quarter: 
1
Lesson Number: 
1

 

Lesson 1

Part of God’s Family

(1 Chronicles 17, Matthew 6 & 25, 1 John 5)

Copr. 2022, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: http://www.GoBible.org. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

Introduction: Daniel Pink authored a very popular book named Drive. In it he explored what motivates us. You may be surprised to learn that the answer is not money. Money is important up to the point where we are comfortable - meaning that we have a decent home and we can afford to eat some meals at restaurants. After that point, what motivates employees is autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Jesus tells us in John 15:15 that God no longer calls us employees (slaves), but friends. More than that He calls us His sons and daughters. 2 Corinthians 6:18. Has Pink gasped a Biblical principle - that God’s system of motivation for His family is something other than money? Let’s plunge into our beginning study on the topic of money in the Bible and find out!

  1. Dominion
    1. Read Genesis 1:26. Treat this like a job description. What are your duties? (You are like God! In workplace terms, you are like the chief executive officer. You have dominion over all the animals.)
      1. What does it mean to have “dominion?” (You are in charge! God put you in charge.)
    2. Read Genesis 2:15. What other work responsibilities has God given you? (You are assigned to “work” and “keep” a perfect garden.)
      1. “Autonomy” is a critical motivator in Pink’s book. How much autonomy has God given to us? (We are given a huge amount of autonomy!)
    3. We know the Genesis story. Humans got in trouble for not obeying the rules. To what degree is our autonomy limited by God’s rules? (Read Deuteronomy 4:1-2. We are guided by God’s rules. But, interestingly, humans cannot validly add to God’s rules. This does a great deal to preserve our autonomy and dominion.)
  2. Family
    1. Read Ephesians 3:14-16. What does it mean to be “named” after God? (Do you know a powerful family? Would being a member of that family give you an advantage? Would it confer power on you? That is what is meant here. You are part of the family of God. His spirit dwells in you and gives you power.)
      1. Does this add to your “autonomy” and “mastery?” (Absolutely. You can do things others would be afraid to do.)
    2. Read Exodus 5:1. Can the most powerful people in the world successfully stand against your family? (No! Moses and Aaron invoked the name of their father, “the Lord God of Israel,” against the most powerful man in the world. We know how that confrontation came out.)
    3. Read Psalms 50:10-12. Add to your position that you are the richest family on earth! How does this impact your autonomy and mastery?
      1. How would this deeper understanding of your family affect your ability to get things done? To change things?
      2. How highly are you motivated to work in the family business?
    4. At this point you may be wondering what in the world happened to you? Why are you poor? Why are you in need? Do you feel like the black sheep of the family? What is the answer to the great practical conflict between what we have just learned from the Bible and your situation? (If you feel this conflict, let me ask whether you have ever looked at your life (your family) the way that we have discussed it here? If not, that might be the answer to the conflict.)
  3. The David Example
    1. Read 1 Chronicles 17:1-2. What do you think is in the heart of King David with regard to the Ark of the Covenant? (David wants to build it a home.)
    2. Read 1 Chronicle 17:4 and 1 Chronicle 17:11-13. What does this teach us about our ambitious projects for our Father or our family? (Even when you are part of the family of God, even when you are a King, you are still subject to the will of God. David had a great thing in mind, but it was not God’s will to have him do it.)
    3. Read 1 Chronicles 17:16-18. This is just the beginning of David’s responsive prayer to God. How would you characterize it? (David is grateful. He is humble in accepting God’s decision.)
    4. Read 1 Chronicles 29:12, 1 Chronicles 29:14, and 1 Chronicles 29:16. What is King David’s attitude about success and money? (He recognizes that all we have comes from God. David is anxious to give back to God. He wants to glorify God.)
  4. Law and Love
    1. Read 1 John 5:1. What does this tell us about loving others? (Loving God means that we love His children.)
    2. Read 1 John 5:2-3. What is the primary way that we love God’s children? (We obey God’s commands.)
      1. I have long argued in my Bible studies that God’s Commandments are not primarily meant as a tool to measure us for judgment, but rather as guidance to make our lives better. Should we apply God’s commands when we make decisions on loving others? Loving the poor? Loving family members?
        1. How would you factor into your answer the way Jesus loved us - He did for us more than what is fair?
      2. I read a book review today on the claimed inequality in the United States. The review cited the book as saying that those who do not work have about the same income as many of those who work. How is that possible? The non-workers receive money and benefits from the government. Money is taken by the government from those who work and given to those who do not. Is this consistent with God’s commandments? (It is not. God’s system for the poor required them to work. See, e.g. Leviticus 19:9-10. By encouraging the poor not to work, they can never improve their economic situation.)
    3. Matthew 25:14-18 contains a parable about a master who gave his servants property to handle while he was gone. One servant received five talents, another two, and the last one. Is the fact that one servant received five times more than another supposed to teach us something?
    4. Read Matthew 25:19. The verses that follow recite that all doubled the number of talents received except the one talent servant. Read Matthew 25:25-28. Are the “slothful” also “wicked?” Why give the talent to the richest servant? What lesson is being taught in this?
      1. Is this parable about money or salvation?(The entire chapter is about the coming judgment, and therefore I think the lesson is mostly about the contrast between those who accept Jesus as Lord and those who are afraid of Him. But, I think it has secondary lessons about how we should treat slothful people.)
  5. Moth Attack
    1. Read Matthew 6:19-20. Is this a prohibition on creating a retirement fund?
      1. What specific point is being made? (Wealth on earth is unreliable. Wealth in heaven is reliable.)
      2. Can you point to where I can open an account in heaven’s bank? What interest rate does it pay? (These simple questions reveal that the two are not equivalents.)
    2. Read Matthew 6:24. How does this reflect light on the two bank question? How do we deposit in heaven rather than on earth? (The point is whether you are focused on advancing God’s kingdom or whether you are focused on advancing your own financial well-being.)
      1. Notice a very odd part of this verse. It tells us that if we serve our finances we will hate God. If we serve God, we will hate money. Do you know anyone who fits either of these descriptions?
    3. Read Genesis 29:30-31. Did Jacob hate Leah? (No. Verse 30 reveals that he loved her less than Rachel. This is the point of Matthew 6:24. We should love money less than serving God. Why? Loving money is not a very smart long-term investment.)
    4. Friend, God has given you autonomy, mastery, and purpose. If you turn it into a drive for more money, you have made a very foolish decision. Not only is money temporary, but you have missed the most enjoyable things in life. Why not, right now, choose God over money?
  6. Next week: God’s Covenants With Us.