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Lesson 8


God's Way to Spiritual Greatness


I. Study Texts:  Matt 18:1-6; 23:1-12; Luke 9:46-49


II. Theme: The way to success is service and simple trust.  The desire to be successful is the engine that drives the

        ambitions of mankind. The pursuit of success is a search for personal significance. The person feels significant if

        he or she has power, or position, or money, or honor. Too much occurring in the church is success-driven rather

        than service-driven. Jesus' twelve disciples struggled with this problem. Many of Israel's religious leaders were the

        captives of this problem. It is no surprise that the problem still bothers the church today.


        The way to true success is through service. The one who serves is exalted, and the one who exalts himself will be

        brought down. We need to put away the things that interfere with our being servants, even if the amputation is

        very painful.


III. Questions and Application


        Matthew 18:1-6

            1. What question did the disciples ask Jesus, and why might they have asked it (verse 1)?

            2. Before Jesus answered the question, what did he do (verse 2)?

            3. Give Jesus’ opening statement (verse 3).

            4. Who would be greatest in the kingdom of heaven (verse 4)?

                    a. What would humility look like from a father, from a church leader?

                    b. Why do you think even we in the church confuse worldly greatness and kingdom greatness?

            5. Who is said to have received Jesus (verse 5)?

            6. What did Jesus say about the person who caused such believing, little ones to    stumble (verse 6)? 


        Matthew 23:1-12

            1. To whom did Jesus give this lesson (verse 1)?

            2. Where did the scribes and Pharisees seat themselves (verse 2)?

                    a. What does that mean?

                    b. What does that tell us about their position of knowledge and authority?

            3. Jesus instructed his audience to do something and not to do something (verse 3).

                    a. What were they instructed to do?

                    b. What were they instructed not to do?

            4. What did they “tie up” or bundle together (verse 4)?

                    a. What did they do with those bundles?

                    b. How did they personally react to the bundles they made?

            5. What was the motive behind their religious acts (verse 5, 6)?

                    a. What ought to motivate the servant of Christ?

            6. What four things did they love (verses 6, 7)?

            7.Why were disciples not to be called (verses 8-10):

                    a. Rabbi?

                    b. Father?

                    c. Leaders [teachers, masters, probably our equivalent of professor]?

            8. Who would be the greatest (verse 11)?

            9. Give Jesus’ statement about humility in your own words (verse 12).

IV. Conclusion: Jesus' lesson concerning children is best seen by contrasting them with the scribes and Pharisees. The

        believing, humble child was teachable. A trusting, unassuming nature had an open mind and heart. The arrogant,

        knowledgeable scribes and Pharisees were unteachable. They bound burdens on others instead of being helpful.


        What have you done this week that is like the Pharisees?  Like the children?


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