[Thought questions for The Christian Life December 12, 2012]
1. The Christian. What is a Christian? By that definition, are you a Christian? Are you saved by your faith as a Christian? or by your works? What did the apostle James think about faith compared to works in the Christian life? Was he a legalist? Why or why not? Read a few verses in 1 Timothy 1. When Paul says the law is not made for the righteous but for wrongdoing people (whom he describes in a list), what does he mean? How important is correct living in the Christian life? As Christians, are we more likely to over-emphasize the Christian life or to under-emphasize it?
2. Works of stewardship. How do you feel when you find out the pastor’s sermon is about stewardship? Do you grip your wallet a little tighter? Or sigh? Does Christian stewardship involve mostly or primarily our use of money or other assets God has placed in our hands? Should we as Christians also be concerned about our stewardship of the environment? How concerned should we be and how should we express our concern? What does Psalm 24:1 say about David’s view of the world and all it contains? How can the way we handle the talents and other gifts God lends to us reveal our love for God?
3. Tithe. Did you notice that the title for Tuesday’s lesson is “Tithe–A Mere Pittance?” Whether you make a huge amount of money each month or barely have enough to scrape by, is ten percent of your income ever a “pittance” to you? Why? or Why not? How did God’s church of the Old Testament give their tithes and offerings to the Lord? What is different today? At the other extreme, does ten percent of your worldly income even approach a pittance compared with the infinite wealth and blessings of eternity? More important, is tithe in any sense a payment? If not, what is it?
4. Self Responsibility. If you could gather 100 honest Seventh-day Adventists in one room and ask them, “What is your most troubling spiritual weakness?” what do you think the answer would be? Have you mastered the challenge of self control? Given His connection with the almighty God while living as a man on earth, was self-control a challenge that Jesus faced? How easy would it have been for Him to walk away from the cross? Instead, why did He assume full responsibility for our sins? Do you love everybody? How can you and I learn to live not for ourselves but for others? Is there joy in such a life?
5. Christian marriage. Today we have same-sex marriage, multiple-partner marriage, live-in families without marriage, and sequential marriage. Does the Bible approve of any of these? Why or why not? What is the ideal Christian marriage? How many fellow believers enjoy a Christian marriage like that? Is there such a thing as an ideal Christian divorce? If you believe there is, describe it. Some members believe there will be no marriage in heaven. Others say we don’t know. Is there any value in discussing such questions? Do you know two people in your church who seem to have a perfect Christian marriage? How do that man and woman witness of God’s love?
6. Christian behavior. Could we possibly settle all the questions about what constitutes Christian behavior in one day of study? What about at work? Do you ever grumble about your job or the people you report to? Or do others at work see a hard-working, faithful employee when they see you on the job? The lesson guide places civic duties on the list of Christian behavior. Are you involved in any way with your community? Or are all your friends members of your church? How can you change that and bring honor to Christ’s name? What about your church beyond the congregation you see each week? Should you support the church school? the academy? our colleges and universities? the ABC? Bible-based supporting ministries? your family?
7. Caring for your church. Isn’t enough to come to church and put dollar bills in the offering plate? What channels of caring are available to show a deep love for your church, its members, and its programs? Have you been able to be especially kind to a member who is in trouble with poor health, no job, or suffering from a recent loss of a loved one? What about new members? How do they find out what a loving, caring church they have joined? And visitors? Your lesson includes a bit of a reprimand from Ellen White about “idleness and needless visiting and talking.” What about “being too busy to visit or chat with those in need”? Is there a need for that, too?