Introduction: Whether someone has shared a secret with you, or you
have some unique knowledge or skill, you feel special when you know
things others do not. Some secrets are not to be shared, but sharing
knowledge or skills is one of the greatest blessings in life. You are
able to improve the lives of others by teaching them important things
they do not know. The gospel is like that. God entrusts His message
to you. What a blessing it is to share eternal life! Some of the
message is understood without your help, but other parts rely on your
explanation. Let’s wade into our study of the Bible and learn more
about sharing the law and gospel!

  1. Teaching Natural and Moral Laws

    1. Read Romans 1:16-17. Why would it cross Paul’s mind to be
      ashamed of the gospel? Why does he feel the need to
      protest that it is not shameful? (Our God came to earth
      and lived as a human. He died like a criminal at the hands
      of the government. Our God gave up Himself that we might
      live. For a god, this takes some explanation to help
      others understand.)

      1. What else is unusual about our faith? (Our
        righteousness comes from faith, not works. I cannot
        speak regarding all cultures, but my culture believes
        that work is essential for success. My father taught
        me to work harder and better than those around me.
        Thus, work is part of my basic attitude in life.)

      2. What should we conclude from the two points we just
        discussed? (We have unusual religious beliefs. Our
        God is self-sacrificing. Our righteousness does not
        turn on how hard we work. These are counter-intuitive.)

    2. Read Romans 1:18-20. What does this say about the logic,
      the intuitiveness of our God? (This says that God’s power
      and nature can be clearly seen from those things which
      surround humans. Humans have no excuse for ignoring God.)

    3. Let’s consider these two concepts a minute. Paul says
      God’s power and nature are clear and understandable to
      all. On the other hand, other aspects of the way our God
      operates are not so clear and understandable. What does
      this say about the relationship between natural law and
      moral law? (A great deal of natural law can be understood.
      We see it operating every day. But, the intersection with
      the entire moral law might not be so clear.)

    4. Let’s re-read Romans 1:16. What does the reference to
      “Jew” first and “Gentile” second suggest? (The context is
      believing the message of our salvation. The Jews were the
      first to be given this message and now Gentiles have been
      given this message.)

      1. Re-read Romans 1:18. Who else do we have? (Truth

      2. What does this suggest about your life? (You might be
        a truth suppressor instead of a truth teacher.)

    5. Read Deuteronomy 30:15-18. What are the choices in life?
      (Life and prosperity or death and destruction.)

    6. Read Matthew 7:24-27. What difference does obedience make
      to the way your life turns out? (Again, this is a promise
      and a warning. Following God’s moral law brings a better

    7. Are we (Gentiles) now the source of God’s message about
      His gospel to the world? Are you charged with being a
      truth teacher as opposed to a truth suppressor?

      1. If you say, “Yes, I will be a truth teacher,” how
        would you start? (I would start with the obvious –
        the power and nature of God. Then I would move to the
        less obvious, the self-sacrificing God that we serve
        who saves us by His grace.)

    8. Let’s discuss some very practical questions. I recall
      church meetings in which the question was “How should our
      church share truth with our neighbors?” Some said, “Let’s
      share a tract about the Sabbath.” Others wanted to pass
      out a big book about the history of the conflict between
      good and evil. Still others wanted to pass out a book
      about the love of God. Look again at Matthew 7:24-27 and
      Deuteronomy 30:15. What do these suggest about our
      approach? (God’s approaches us by saying He has the secret
      to a better life. He has the secret to building a life
      that will endure the storms. I think we should take the
      same approach.)

  2. John’s Example

    1. Read John 1:1-5. How does John start his instructions
      about Jesus? (He starts with the natural. See the
      creation? Jesus did that.)

    2. Read John 1:10-11. What is not so obvious about Jesus?
      (The world did not recognize Jesus as the Creator! “His
      own,” meaning the Jewish people, did not receive Him. They
      did not accept His message.)

    3. Read John 1:12-13. Who did Jesus go to next? (“All who
      receive Him.”)

      1. What is the special secret about accepting Jesus as
        Creator and Savior? (We become the children of God!)

      2. Think about your own children. Do you have your
        child’s best interests in mind? (Yes! If you are a
        normal parent, you want to be a great blessing to
        your children. That is our God’s attitude towards us!
        Praise Him!)

    4. Read John 1:14. What is the key belief here? (God became
      human and lived with us.)

      1. What does it mean that Jesus was “full of grace and
        truth?” (Grace, of course, refers to the gospel –
        that Jesus lived, died and rose again to save us from
        sin and give us the promise of eternal life.)

      2. What is the “truth” part of Jesus? (Jesus revealed
        the true nature of God.)

      3. Can you see that John is following the same pattern
        we discussed before? When you want to share the
        message, start with things which are known to all,
        those things which reflect nature and the natural
        law. Then move to the teachings which are less
        obvious, God took on human nature and died to give us
        eternal life.)

    5. Read John 1:16-17. Why does it say that the law was given
      “through” Moses? (God gave Moses the Ten Commandments.
      Exodus 24:12. This was not Moses’ idea.)

      1. Let’s go back to the concepts from Deuteronomy 30 and
        Matthew 7. These are the texts about how obedience
        makes your life better. Is this part of the “natural”
        aspect of the gospel message? Should this be obvious
        to all? (Yes. It should be obvious that if you avoid
        killing and stealing your life will be better.)

      2. If God is the Author of the Ten Commandments, and
        they are part of the “obvious” it follows that
        leading with them would be consistent with this plan.
        How, for example, would you lead with the Sabbath
        (the fourth commandment)? (I would not start out with
        “this is what God says,” but rather “Would your life
        be better if you took off work and spent one day a
        week with your family?” “What if this was God’s will
        for you so that you never felt guilty about not
        working on Sabbath?”)

  3. Paul’s Example

    1. Read Ephesians 2:1-3. How does Paul start his argument?
      (He does the same thing. He starts with the natural.
      Instead of holding out the promise of blessings, Paul
      says, “Your life used to be pretty lousy, right? You used
      to find yourself colliding with natural law and it was not

    2. Read Ephesians 2:4-7. What is Paul’s next argument? (He
      goes next to how Jesus loved us, saved us, and gives us
      the promise of heaven. This is the part that is not
      obvious. This is the secret we get to share with others.)

    3. Let’s revisit John 1:17. Grace and truth came “through”
      Jesus. The law was given through Moses and grace and truth
      through Jesus. Why does John set up the two “through”
      statements in this way? (This is a summary of our gospel
      message. God gave us the law – and it makes sense to both
      the wise and to those who have already banged their head
      on the natural law. And, God gave us the less obvious, the
      tremendous gift of Jesus which shows us the grace and love
      of God. We cannot keep the law. We cannot earn salvation.
      But, we can have faith in Jesus’ grace, and we can show
      intelligence by living a life in accord with God’s law.)

    4. Friend, will you show wisdom in sharing the gospel with
      others? Why not start with the obvious, and then share
      the secret of our great God’s love and salvation?

  4. Next week: Christ, the Law and the Covenants.