A Bible Lesson in Patience, Love and Perseverance using Jesus Christ as our living example.
What you will learn in this bible lesson about Christian Outreach is 5 Powerful Ways from one passage in the Gospel of Luke how Jesus Christ dealt with strong adversity while doing God’s work; which are some of the very same stumbling blocks that you and I face daily in our own Christian Outreach efforts.
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Discover how you too can overcome the same problems our Lord Jesus Christ faced. Let’s study the account found in Luke 4:14-32 and see how Jesus Christ handled a difficult situation:
14) “And Jesus returned (from being tempted in the wilderness) in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.” Jesus became famous as word of his ministry spread.
15) “And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.” Jesus was well received and very well respected.
16) “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.”
17) “And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. (The Greek word for Isaiah.) And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, (The following passage is from Isaiah 61:1-2)
18) The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor (humble, meek); he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19) To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
20) And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister (attendant), and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.” Because they were ready to hear Jesus teach about what he had just read.
21) “And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”
The use of the word “began” denotes that he spoke a lot more than just this one sentence but for some reason the entire teaching is not recorded. He probably taught about what those verses meant and how that he is the promised messiah that is fulfilling those Holy Scriptures right now.
When Jesus taught in a foreign town, he was well received and respected. When he is teaching in his home town, Nazareth, the place where he grew up, the place where is known from, how do the people react?
22) “And all bare him witness, (i.e. to affirm that one has seen or heard) and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?” They may have been saying one to another things like, Did you hear what he just said? He said he’s the messiah, why did he say that? We know him, isn’t he Joseph’s son; one of us, another nobody?
23) “And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb (parable, or saying), Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.” In verse 14 it states that “there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.” So the people of Nazareth certainly must have heard of his good works and miracles. He was respected enough in their town to allow him to read from the sacred scroll and teach, but that seems to be the extent of their respect for him.
24) “And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. (In his own city, home town, among his people; family, friends, etc.)
25) But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias (Elijah), when the heaven was shut up three years and six months (drought, no rain fall), when great famine was throughout all the land;
26) But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.” God did not send his prophet to anyone in all of Israel except to a widow of another region, a gentile, one of low financial standing and with no social pull in her community.
27) And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus (Greek word for Elisha) the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.” Of all the sick and diseased people in all of Israel, none of them believed enough to be healed and cleansed. The only one who was healed was a commanding officer of a rival gentile nation!
28) “And all they in the synagogue (not some, all of them), when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, (a better translation is indignation: meaning a strong displeasure at something considered unjust, offensive or insulting)
29) And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.” They “rose up” as in attacked him in anger like the way Cain rose up against Abel, and thrust him out, forcibly removing him from the city. They did not simply laugh at him or ask him to leave. Or throw him out of the synagogue. They got really mad and forcibly thrust him out of the city… his own home town! They wanted him gone, completely. Led him to a cliff on the edge of the city and were going to throw him off head first. They were at the least trying to hurt Jesus and at the worst, kill him.
30) “But he passing through the midst of them went his way, (through a miracle of God because his time to die had not come yet, and certainly not by this method)
31) And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.
32) And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.” So Jesus left Nazareth behind, went back to Capernaum and resumed teaching those who accept him and want to hear his words.
There are Five Very Powerful Bible Lessons about Christian Outreach to be Learned Here
- A prophet is generally not accepted in his own country nor among his own people. Unfortunately, that usually means those whom you have known the longest, those whom you care about the most such as family, friends, school mates, co-workers... most of them will not acknowledge or respect you for your accomplishments above and beyond their vision for who they think you are, or who they once knew you to be. Even Jesus Christ with all his power, fame and accomplishments could not overcome this problem.
- Both the great prophets Elijah and Elisha could not do any good works for their people in their own country due to the nation's lack of faith in God and in his prophets.
- When the people of Nazareth rejected Jesus, he left. He did NOT go back into the city like the "Apostle" Paul frequently did, he did not try to fight back or reason with them, or even back down saying “Just kidding”. Nope. He knocked the dust off his shoes and left. Probably with the hope that someone else, someone they will trust and respect will come along and teach them what Jesus tried to, but this time believe it.
- He continued on with his good work. Jesus did not let what could have been a major emotional set back hinder him from doing what he had set out to do.
- He took his ministry outside of his comfort zone to preach to strangers. He reached out in other cities and made new friends. Why? Because his own people would not hear his words. How far would Jesus have gotten in his ministry if he had stayed in his home town? Not very far. Verse 28-29 proves that point very well.
Sharing the bible with your family and friends, those who are closest to you, is a great place to start. In most cases, it’s the right place to start. Just don’t let it be the place where you stop. If they won’t hear your words, if they reject you or are mean to you, do what Jesus did: move on down the road.
If Jesus Christ himself could not get through to the people in his home town, then don’t feel bad if you have trouble in that area too. Jesus Christ states in Matt 5:10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
WWJD in Christian Outreach Bible Lesson Summary
- Know that a prophet (or spokesperson for God) is not accepted among his own people. So don’t be surprised if you are rejected and don’t stress over it.
- No matter how much you pray or how hard you try, you can not do any good works for people who do not believe.
- If you are rejected, just leave. Sure it might be difficult emotionally, but it is best for everyone involved. Don’t be a punk and hang around because you won’t be able to do any good works there anyway.
- After you leave, continue working for God in your ministry. New people will be drawn to you, they will listen to your words and they will respect you.
- Reach out into new areas that you find uncomfortable or even intimidating. I’m not advocating that you step out into a physically dangerous situation or perilous environment that you are not prepared for. What I’m saying is to reach out and talk to people that you might not have thought about talking to before. Strike up a conversation with a stranger at a coffee shop or at a sporting event. Invite them in to your life and teach them about the word of God. It’s fun!
WWJD – Do What Jesus Would Do
Get out there and talk about the bible. Preach the Gospel. Reach out beyond your comfort zone into new areas. Be that shining beacon of hope to someone, that bright light of a witness for God in that one special area you excel in and people will be drawn to you. They will prosper for knowing you and God will bless you mightily for your efforts.
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WWJD - What Would Jesus Do?
A Bible Lesson in Patience, Love and Perseverance using Jesus Christ as our living example. On this 42 minute Audio CD you will learn 5 powerful ways from one passage in the Gospel of Luke how Jesus Christ dealt with adversity in doing God’s work, the same stumbling blocks that we each face daily, and how you can overcome them too.
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About the Teacher Daniel Sweet:
Daniel Sweet is the President and founder of God's Word First. He is an ordained minister, biblical scholar, teacher of the holy spirit and an expert author on the subject of Leadership. He and his wife, Debbra Sweet have overseen the growth and development of multiple in home fellowships all over the world and have been instrumental in helping many people come to the knowledge and truth of God’s Word.
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