Sunday, January 19, 2014

On 1-26-14, Luke 16:19-31 will be our Adult Sunday School/Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson herein is my commentary. This lesson is known by some as Showing Compassion for the Poor or Jesus Teaches Compassion for the Poor

Showing Compassion for the Poor or Jesus Teaches Compassion for the Poor
Luke 16:19-31
International Sunday School Lesson
January 26, 2014

Jed Greenough
Again with the title this week, oy veh! 
I hate to pick on those who choose what to call our lessons but really, is the main thrust of all this compassion?  It can be a motivating thing for us to read about Lazarus and the rich man and be reminded to take care of the poor around us but is compassion going to bring us salvation?  You know that it is not!  Rather it is but one of the works of our faith and we’ll be getting to that in a couple weeks.
Rather isn’t it the last thing father Abraham says which is the point of this scripture?  Lazarus, though it was requested he go talk to the brothers, he would have been going as the rich man said as, “someone from the dead.”  Abraham was talking about someone “who rises from the dead”.  And who is that?  Jesus.
Even though Jesus rose from the dead, people then and ever since will not “believe”.  They still end up like this rich man.  Despite “Moses and the Prophets”, despite the Bible we have, despite missionaries, your witness or mine, “they will not be convinced”.
We know that God wants all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9) but we know not all are.  How does that make you feel and I don’t mean so much about their perishing but your role in it?
When we read that God wants all to be saved in those two places listed above, they are in scripture that is giving us as Christians instructions not non-Christians.
As it says in Romans 10:14, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”
If this lesson were about having compassion for the poor I would have a simple answer for you to resolve the problem, “Give to everyone who asks you.” (Luke 6:30) But I contend this is a gospel message but no less simple, give the message to everyone.
The way in which we do that isn’t as important as doing it.  Supporting missionaries, becoming missionaries, preaching, encouraging, witnessing, you know the routine.  Do not ignore your calling start there.  Do anything long enough and it will become a habit.
Lazarus and the rich man didn’t end up where they were solely based on their station in life.  There will be plenty of poor in hell and yes, there will be the former rich in heaven also.  But we cannot be a respecter of persons when talking of He who rose from the dead but we must talk about Him so they can choose.
For Discussion:
1.      Getting back to the poor…do whatever you can be it quarters or dollars or whatever you can to start giving to all who ask.  Make it a habit to always be able to give. Let God “sort out” those who are not truly in need rather like sharing the Gospel.
2.      Discuss why the rich man ended up where he did and Lazarus likewise.  Do you have enough information?  Do we ever?  Just like the poor and just like those who will or won’t come to faith.
3.      Discuss a class project to feed the poor.
4.      Discuss a class project to share the gospel.
5.      Does your class support a missionary?
6.      We each as you know have been gifted in different ways by the Holy Spirit.  Knowing for certain how you are gifted will embolden you to utilize that gift for the gospel message.  Do you know your gift?  Discuss.  Does your class mate?  Help and discuss.
Upcoming Lessons
1-26-14       Showing Compassion for the Poor or Jesus Teaches Compassion for the Poor, Luke 16:19-31
2-2-14         Hear and Do the Word, James 1:19-27
2-9-14         Treat Everyone Equally, James 2:1-13
2-16-14       Show Your Faith by Your Works, James 2:14-26
2-23-14       Control Your Speech, James 3:1-12

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved

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