Introduction: Have you ever converted a very high status
person to belief in Jesus? The Old Testament has many
warnings not to cheat or abuse the poor, and to help them
when they are in need. For some reason I think that causes
Christians to focus on soul-winning for those who have
little power. That makes absolutely no sense from either a
practical or Biblical (Leviticus 19:15) point of view. If
you had a computing company, would you want to gather low
power calculators or the highest power computers? While
every soul has equal worth before God, powerful people have
a sphere of influence that a poor person would have great
difficulty matching. Let’s jump into our study of the Bible
and look at how God has used powerful people to advance His

I. Daniel

A. Read Daniel 1:1-2. What has happened to Judea? (It
has fallen to the Babylonians.)

B. Read Daniel 1:3-4 and Daniel 1:6. Was Daniel a
person of high status before Judah was defeated?
(Yes. He was either royalty or nobility. He was
smart and educated.)

C. The story of Daniel continues by explaining that
Daniel is given special training by the
Babylonians. As a result, Daniel chapter 2 reveals
that Daniel is among the group expected to be able
to reveal the contents and meaning of King
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Read Daniel 2:31-35. What
do you know about this dream? (If you read
Daniel 2:37-45 you will see that this dream maps the
future of the world including the Second Coming of

D. Read Daniel 3:1-2. What has happened to that dream?
(It is now imperfectly reflected in this huge image
that people from all over the kingdom will see.)

1. Assume that God gave this dream to a homeless
person and Daniel interpreted it for him. How
far would that have gone? (Most likely
nowhere. Because Nebuchadnezzar is the target
for God’s message, the king spreads it

a. Did you notice in this story a problem
with targeting the rich and powerful with
the gospel? What is that problem? (A
powerful person is likely proud. Because
of his pride, Nebuchadnezzar misrepresents
the dream by the way he makes the image.)

II. Naaman

A. Read 2 Kings 5:1-2. Who gave Syria the victory?
(The text says that God did.)

1. Who do we find in this text that reminds you
of Daniel? (The unnamed little girl.)

a. Is there any indication that this little
girl, like Daniel, was someone of high
intelligence and status? (No.)

B. Read 2 Kings 5:3-5. Why would Naaman believe this
little girl? (There must be more to this story.
While it could be that Naaman is desperate, this
little girl must have shown special qualities. One
being that she was reliable.)

C. Read 2 Kings 5:6-7. How did the King of Israel
receive the request from the King of Syria? (He
thought that it was an attempt to start a war.)

1. The King of Israel is an important and
powerful man. He would be the logical person
to share the knowledge of God with Naaman and
the King of Syria. Why not use him? Why use
this powerless girl?

D. Read 2 Kings 5:8-10. What is wrong with the King of
Israel? (He is not alert to opportunities to share
the gospel.)

1. What is wrong with Elisha? Why not use this
opportunity to evangelize a powerful man as
opposed to insulting him?

E. Read 2 Kings 5:11-13. Who saves the day for Naaman?
(His servants.)

1. What challenge do we again find in witnessing
to the powerful? (Their pride is a problem.)

2. Do you think that Elisha anticipated this and
made pride a test for Naaman? Is that why
Elisha did not greet Naaman?

F. Read 2 Kings 5:14. Does pride prevent you from
receiving more opportunities and benefits from God?

G. Read 2 Kings 5:15-16. What has happened that will
tremendously advance the Kingdom of God? (One of
the most powerful men in Syria now acknowledges the
true God.)

H. Read 2 Kings 5:17. What is going on here? Why does
Naaman make this strange request? (A popular idea
was that a god was sovereign over his specific
territory. Naaman now believes that the God of
Israel is sovereign over all, but he thinks that he
needs some dirt from Israel on which to properly
worship Him when he gets back to Syria.)

I. Read 2 Kings 5:18. What is Naaman’s concern? (That
he will appear to be worshiping Rimmon by bowing
down to that god.)

1. What does Naaman ask of Elisha? (He is asking
God, not Elijah, for forgiveness when he bows
down to Rimmon.)

J. Read 2 Kings 5:19. How do you understand Elisha’s
answer? Is he approving bowing to Rimmon? Is he
simply telling Naaman not to worry about it right
now, he will be able to work out the correct answer
in the future? (The Bible commentators are against
a reading that approves bowing down to false gods.)

K. Let’s step back from both our Daniel and Naaman
stories and consider how powerful men were
approached to learn of the true God. What lessons
do you learn? (These powerful men were not
approached by their peers. Rather, they were
approached by those who were slaves.)

1. How would you apply this lesson when working
to convert the powerful to believe in Jesus?
Should you start by converting their staff?

III. Nicodemus

A. Read John 3:1-2. When Nicodemus said, “we know,” on
whose behalf is he speaking? (It sounds like he is
speaking for the ruling class. Not too long ago I
read about an archeological discovery that
suggested the House of Nicodemus was a powerful and
wealthy family.)

1. Is this message a compliment?(Nicodemus must
have thought so. However, it was not the
message Jesus wanted. He was not from or with
God, He was God incarnate.)

B. Read John 3:3. What about a little informal talk
first? What about returning the compliment? How do
you think Nicodemus would understand Jesus’
statement? (Jesus says that Nicodemus could not go
to heaven unless he was born again. Likely,
Nicodemus thought this meant he could not go to

1. Let’s consider this. Nicodemus compliments
Jesus by saying that He is a teacher “come
from God,” and Jesus essentially responds,
“You are not going to heaven unless you
change.” Is that the way to approach the

C. Read John 3:4. Nicodemus tells Jesus this does not
make sense. Do you think Jesus intended for
Nicodemus to understand? (In John 3:5-8 Jesus
explains. Nicodemus probably understood the baptism
part, since this was a Jewish practice, but the
Holy Spirit birth was not understood.)

D. Read John 3:9-10. Nicodemus now says that he does
not understand and Jesus insults him. Why? (I
suspect no one insulted Nicodemus. This got his
attention. It made him think.)

E. Read John 3:11-15. What is Jesus asking Nicodemus
to believe? (That Jesus is the Messiah. He is God.
He is the “serpent” on which the people looked and

1. How would you describe Jesus’ approach to
Nicodemus? Is He deferential? (He is not. I’m
sure I don’t understand the cultural issues,
but Jesus seems insulting.)

2. Is this how we should approach the powerful?
(Keep in mind that we are not God. Elisha also
insulted Naaman. Romans teaches us to respect
and honor those who are due it (Romans 13:7).
Peter tells us to honor everyone
(1 Peter 2:17). Sometimes shaking a person’s pride of
opinion causes them to rethink their

F. Friend, do you have some new ideas about how to
share the gospel with the powerful? Since we are
not God, but the Holy Spirit is, why not ask the
Holy Spirit to give you the right approach when
witnessing to the powerful?

IV. Next week: Mission to the Unreached: Part 1.

Copr. 2023, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
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link: Pray for the guidance of the
Holy Spirit as you study.