GET ACQUAINTED - Ask for volunteers to relate either what hindered them most in coming to Christ or one of their struggles as a Christian.


List the statements of fact and progression of events described by the verb forms in Mk.9:31.    Jesus was teaching His disciples that (1) He was going to be delivered to the power of men (2) who would kill Him and (3) He would rise from the dead.

Notice that the same facts are stated in Mt.17:22-23.
[Gk.-mello - a statement of fact, of certainty - "is about to, is going to, will, will certainly"]

In Mt.17:10-13, what did Jesus compare His sufferings to?
The treatment of John the Baptist [mello]

·        The Bible not only gives us truth (statements of fact rooted in history, subject to verification), it also gives us reasons (coherent explanations subject to the laws of logic).

What does Jesus describe as a "must" in Lk.9:22?
His own suffering, key events of the Gospel [dei - description of a stage in the way God's plans have to unfold for the program to continue.  It is comprehensible and cannot be otherwise for very good reasons - "It behooves us, it is necessary, we must"]

What points did the angels make to the women at the empty tomb, Lk.24:6-7?
(1) He is risen, (2) just as he told you, (3) It was necessary for the Gospel events (deliverance, crucifixion, resurrection) to take place

Later, on the road to Emmaus (Lk.24:26), How does Jesus put the rhetorical question to the disciples?
Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?

What does Jesus do after asking that question and how does he proceed (v.27)?
He shows them how the Scriptures refer to Him by going through the Old Testament from the beginning and correctly interpreting its history and teachings.

What was the disciples' response (v.32)?    Their hearts burned within them [not from seeing miracles] because they recognized that Jesus had truly opened the Scriptures to them and they saw the necessity of His death.

Describe what happened when Jesus later appeared to His disciples (v.44-45).    He reminded them that He had spoken to them of the necessity for everything written about Him in the OT to be fulfilled and He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

·        Lk.24 is one place where Scripture impresses upon us that the substantiality of our faith is rooted in and grows out of actual verifiable history, is logically understandable and sensible.

EXERCISE - Spend some time thinking through history as presented in the Bible and write out your observations related to the question, Why were Christ's suffering, death and resurrection necessary?    Being created in His image, we were made to correspond to God.  We were obliged to recognize His sovereignty over all things.  We rebelled and were sentenced.  God is holy (cannot dwell with sinners) and will do right (punish sin).  My only hope is that He will accept an appropriate substitute.  (see also Heb.2:8b-18)

Comment on the concept of necessity in Jn.3:1-15 at verses 7b and 14.
A new birth is necessary for anyone (me) to enter the kingdom of God.  Eternal life comes through believing in the resurrected Jesus.

Why isn't confession and forgiveness of individual sins enough?
Eph.4:22-24, "Put off your old self… put on your new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness."

Eph.2:3, By nature children of wrath

Col.3:10, New self renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator

Rom.8:29, Conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be firstborn among many brothers [all in the same family]

Our very nature is independent and contrary to God and therefore we are incompatible with Him.  There can be no union between God and my old man.  The human condition is that we are contrary to God in our very core.  He gives us a new nature compatible with His - "I will put a new heart within you" - "born from above" - "born again" - we become "a new creation"


How are we to view suffering because of our faith in Christ, Mt.5:10-12?
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

·        In God's plan, suffering was the path to glory not only for Jesus, but is also the path for those who follow Him.  Christians suffer persecution for identifying with Christ (following Him) in the practice of (1) calling themselves by His name, (2) witnessing to His glory, (3) living righteously unto Him.

Explain Lk.11:47-51.    Jesus condemns the generation rejecting Him by showing that rather than honoring the prophets [as they saw themselves doing], they were complicit with those who murdered them.  In fact that generation was liable for the prophet's blood shed by all previous generations.  Is this not what Stephen condemned the not-true Israelites for (Acts 7:51-53)?    Yes.

How does the parable at Lk.20:9-19 dramatizes Israel's history of mistreating God's servants?    The leaders of the Hebrew nation are the tenants and the prophets are the servants sent to collect the landowner's portion of the crops.  The landowner, God, finally sends His own son, Jesus.  The tenants' treatment of the servants and son are completely unreasonable and makes no sense.

EXERCISE - Think through the history of the persecution of the Church and write out your thoughts.  Bring a specific or personal instance to share.    Many of the disciples were beaten, stoned and murdered.  Christians had to move to other areas to escape persecution [diaspora Acts 8:1, 3].  Throughout the years to this very day, believers in Christ have been harassed, jailed and murdered by family, neighbors, countrymen and governments.  They have been marginalized, hated, abused, ridiculed, intimidated, embarrassed, shamed, silenced, slandered, their property stolen and vandalized, etc.  For what? - doing good, believing in Christ, speaking truth.

If Christ suffered for me, why do I have to suffer?    Why is suffering part of God’s plan for His people?    Follow the argument in Rom.8:15b-39.    If we are God's children, then we are heirs [inheritors] (v.17a) "since we are suffering with him in order that we may also be glorified with Him" (v.17b).  ["Since", here commonly translated "if" or "provided that," means "since it is true that."  It does not state a condition, but a fact in a logically connected sequence of facts in which the truth of the first certifies the truth of all - you have been adopted by God the Father, given an inheritance with His natural son, Jesus, you are suffering with Him and you will be glorified with Him (v.15b-17).]  The present suffering (v.18) has to do with our struggles brought on by the conflict between our old and new natures (chap.6-8).  We have been raised and conditioned as slaves to sin, just as the Hebrews whom Moses led out of Egypt had been raised and conditioned as slaves in Egypt.  Because we are not mature and righteous, we suffer perplexity in how to understand our trials and pray about them (v.26).  "Since we love God and have been called [summoned and brought to faith by the Gospel] according to His purpose, we know all things work together for good" (v.28).  In fact, "we rejoice in our sufferings" (5:3a) … What?  Redemption gives personal meaning to suffering.  We discovered that suffering has a vital part in our new-life character development (5:3-5a).  The "good" that "all things work together for" is followed by another logically connected series of facts in which the truth of the first certifies the certainty of glorification (v.29-30).  The argument that follows establishes our place in our Father's love no matter what (v.31-39).

Come prepared to discuss one of the following passages.    Phil.1:27-30, Don't break under the pressure of opposition, but together exert pressure of your own by proclaiming the Gospel.  Understand that persistent opposition to the Gospel is a sure sign of their eventual destruction, and your courage is a sure sign of your salvation.  You have been granted the privileges of both believing and suffering for Christ.
1 Pt.4:12-19, "Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed."
Jn.15:18-21; 16:1-3, People of the world inevitably hate and persecute the disciples of Jesus because they recognize their foreignness [they don't belong].  His disciples are alien to [stand out from] those who do not know the Father or Jesus and will be persecuted as was Jesus.
Mt.10:16-39, Jesus' disciples will be persecuted for His sake because the Gospel causes division among people by exposing what men would keep hidden.  We must live unto and fear God in whose hands are all things.
2 Tim.3:10-14a, "In fact, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted [certainty]."
Acts 14:22, "Through many tribulations we must [dei] enter the kingdom of God."
Jn.16:33, "I have said these things to you that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world."
1 Thes.3:2b-4, "We sent Timothy…to establish and exhort you in your faith, that no one be moved by these afflictions.  For you yourselves know that we are destined for this."
1 Cor.10:1-13, The Israelites crossing the desert serve as examples for us.  "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape that you may be able to endure it."
1 Pt.1:6-7, "Now for a little while, if [as or when] necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith - more precious than gold…- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

Further Study    Recommended - cassette - "The Resistance Leader Knows What He's Doing" by Os Guinness