Lesson 7

Worship in Education

(Mark 7, Psalms 78, John 4)
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Introduction: My brother is a commercial loan broker. I recall that about fifteen years ago, before the beginning of the real estate crash, he told me that he was seeing changes in loan applications that he thought spelled trouble for the future. Do you work in an industry where you have insider knowledge that might alert you to trouble ahead? My litigation on behalf of public school teachers put me in contact with the material sent out by our nation’s largest labor union, the National Education Association. It promoted materials hostile to Biblical values. Would teachers block this kind of material from getting to the students? My worry was well-founded. The education the union promoted found its way to impressionable young people and we are seeing the consequences today. What can we do to promote God in education? The obvious answer is church schools. But, many graduates from church schools also reject Biblical principles. Let’s explore what the Bible has to say on this important topic!

  1.         True Education

  1.         Read Mark 7:1-4. What were the Pharisees teaching about sanitation? (They were in favor of washing everything.)

                                                                        

  1.         Does this sound like a great teaching to you? (I favor careful washing.)

  1.         Read Mark 7:5-6. On the face of it, I’m with the Jewish leaders - let’s be hygienic! Look carefully. What is Jesus’ actual criticism? (The leaders are not serious about what they teach. They say one thing and believe another thing.)

  1.         Read Mark 7:7. What specific charge does Jesus make here? (Human ideas are promoted as God’s commands.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 4:2. What does this tell us about merging good ideas with God’s commandments? (It is just as wrong as telling people they do not need to obey God’s commandments.)

  1.         Think about this for a minute. How many good ideas are passed off as commands of God under the general argument that because our body is a “temple” we must take care of it?

  1.         I often write that I’m a vegetarian. I’ve been one for 57 years and this has turned out to be a great decision I made as a young man.  I also wear a seat belt when I drive, regularly exercise, and I refrain from using tobacco. These are all great human ideas. Can you give me a single text in the Bible that tells me that any of this is a command from God? (With regard to be a vegetarian, God specifically said in Genesis 9:3 this was no longer required. Daniel chapter 1 and Romans 14:2 mention the issue of eating vegetables, but neither say it is commanded by God. Thus, if anyone tells you that you must be a vegetarian, this is good health advice. But, it violates Deuteronomy 4:2 to say that God commands it.)

  1.         Read Mark 7:8-9. What greater educational error does Jesus point out here? (It is not just passing off human ideas as God’s ideas, they do not honor God’s commands.)

  1.         Is this still happening today? Can you give an example of this? (The most extreme example is the teaching that any kind of discrimination is wrong. The Bible teaches that Christians must discriminate between good and evil. When the doctrine of non-discrimination causes a person to toss out a Biblical basis for discrimination, then the precise wrong Jesus describes here has taken place.)

  1.         Read Mark 7:10-13. Jesus gives us an example from His time. Let’s try to understand it. What is “Corban?” (Mark provides a parenthetical which tells us that it is something “given to God.”)

  1.         The claim is that if you give money to God’s work, then you don’t have to use that money to support your parents, right?

  1.         Doesn’t Jesus say in Matthew 10:37 that if we love our parents more than God, we are not worthy of God? Isn’t that a powerful argument for Corban? (Once again we need to borrow a useful tool from American law. Two laws contradict each other only if there is no way to follow both. God told us to honor our parents. We love God when we obey Him. Thus, loving our parents is loving God.)

  1.         If you were considering the “Corban question,” is it clear to you that one of the options is clearly evil? (That is the problem. They both have good arguments to support them.)

  1.         Can you see why it is so important to carefully consider how we educate our young people?

  1.         Education about Power

  1.         Read Psalms 78:2-3. How should we view old teachings? (Sometimes we look for the new without considering whether it is better. Old teachings have stood the test of time.)

  1.         Read Psalms 78:4. What should you tell your children and grandchildren about God? (Tell them what He has done for you. When God has helped you, when God has done “glorious deeds” and “wonders.”)

  1.         Read Psalms 78:5-7. What is the goal of this kind of teaching? (Our descendants will “set their hope in God.”)

  1.         Mystery in Education

  1.         Jesus and His disciples are crossing through Samaria to get to Galilee. Jesus stops at a well to rest while the disciples go into town to buy food. Read John 4:7-9. Is Jesus’ request unusual? Does it get the attention of this Samaritan woman? (Yes. This is very unconventional because a Jewish man would not have any kind of interaction with a Samaritan woman.)

  1.         Read John 4:10. Put yourself in the place of this woman. Does Jesus’ comment make any sense? (Read John 4:11. The woman is respectful, but she questions the logic of Jesus’ statement.)

  1.         Is there a lesson on education here? Keep in mind that these are not two people who you would expect to be discussing anything. (Jesus creates mystery. He causes her to be curious. If we draw students in through curiosity and mystery it increases their desire to learn.)

  1.         Read John 4:12. Do you sense a note of hostility from the woman? (She is pushing back. I think she senses that this Jew is claiming to have special powers that exceed that of Jacob. She has passed from being curious to thinking that there is nothing credible here.)

  1.         Read John 4:13-15. Is Jesus backing away from His incredible claims? (No. He presses them even harder.)

  1.         Is the woman convinced? (If she is not, she is at least challenging Jesus to prove His claim.)

  1.         Consider the claims of Christianity and the understanding of the pagan world. Do Christians have claims that are incredible to pagans?

  1.         The answer to the previous question is a clear, “yes.” What does Jesus’ example teach us about educating others about the incredible claims of Christianity?

  1.         Read John 4:16-19. What is Jesus’ doing? What aspect of education is He putting forward?

  1.         Is this something that we can do? (Jesus is showing superior knowledge, which is something that is possible for us. But, His superior knowledge comes from a special connection with God. I think this is also possible for us today through the power of the Holy Spirit.)

  1.         Read John 4:20-21. What is Jesus doing here? What teaching technique is He using? (He finds common ground with the woman. He agrees with her as much as possible.)

  1.         Read John 4:22-24. Does Jesus compromise the truth that “salvation is from the Jews?” (No. He finds common ground, but does not compromise truth.)

  1.         Read John 4:25-26. Why didn’t Jesus just say this at the beginning? (She would not have believed Him.)

  1.         What lesson on teaching do we find here? (Changing minds is a careful process.)

  1.         Read John 4:28-29. How does this woman approach bringing her people to Jesus? (She also starts out with a mystery - how could a stranger know these things? She also challenges them to answer the question of whether Jesus is the Messiah.)

  1.         Read John 4:39. The woman is a successful missionary. What is the secret to her success? (She told her story. It is easy to tell others what Jesus has done for you.)

  1.         Friend, when we teach, we need to be careful to distinguishing between good ideas and the commands of God. Once we have the truth, we should consider, with the leading of the Holy Spirit, how to most effectively educate others. Will you commit to this right now?

  1.         Next week: Education and Redemption.

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Lessons on Education

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