Introduction: One of the wonderful advantages of writing this lesson
is that it forces me to study the Bible. Major goals in writing these
studies are to improve the quality of the Sabbath School and help
students better understand God’s will. However, when I study the
Bible I’m always thinking about the impact of God’s word on my life.
This week some of Matthew’s statements are so connected to my life
that I apologize in advance for injecting myself so much in the
lesson. Let’s dig in and see if you, too, feel a special connection
to our Bible study!

  1. Glory Hogs

    1. Read Matthew 23:1-4. When you decide that someone is a
      hypocrite, how do you treat that person’s teaching? (The
      general attitude is to reject the hypocrite’s teaching.)

      1. Why does Jesus say to obey these hypocrites? (They
        “sit in Moses’ seat.”)

        1. What does that mean, and why is that so
          important? (I think it means that they teach
          the law given by God through Moses.)

      2. I recall several famous religious leaders who had
        prominent sins. My reaction was that they succumbed
        to sin – which is true for all of us. How can we
        distinguish between those religious leaders who “sit
        in Moses seat” and those who are leading us astray?
        (A main reason why each of my series of questions
        starts out with a Bible text is because we cannot (I
        trust) get too far astray if our point of focus is
        God’s word. The most important question is whether
        the leader is teaching the Bible or something else.)

    2. Read Matthew 23:5-7. Be honest. Do you love to have the
      place of honor, the best seat? Do you love to be greeted
      by people who respect you? (If you say “no,” I think you
      have just broken the Ninth Commandment. We all love to be

      1. How do we avoid being just like these religious
        leaders? (Look at verse 5 again, “everything they do
        is done for men to see.” If everything you do is
        motivated by your own glory, as opposed to giving
        glory to God or showing love to another person, then
        you are in trouble.)

    3. Read Matthew 6:2. What does “they have received their
      reward in full,” mean? Does it mean that the “full reward”
      is personal glory – which would exclude heaven? (I love to
      preach, I love to teach, and there is no doubt that part
      of my reason is that I want people to better understand
      God. But, another part is that I like people to say, “he
      does a great job.” When I read about these religious
      leaders whose only reward is here, I get concerned. Dr.
      William H. Shea is one of the most extraordinary
      Christians I’ve ever known. He is extremely smart and
      extremely humble. I asked him, “Do you enjoy the honor of
      preaching and teaching?” He said, “yes,” that is part of
      it. That put my heart to rest on this issue.)

    4. Read Matthew 23:8-12. One of my former students used to
      call me “rabbi” and my wife often calls me “the
      professor.” My children call me “Dad.” The students in
      the law school call me “Professor Cameron.” Should I tell
      all of them to stop it?

      1. Read Exodus 20:12. The question is one of honor for
        the religious leaders. This text tells us to honor
        our parents – and that would include calling my
        father “Father” or “Dad.” How would you explain the
        apparent conflict in the Bible?

      2. Remember the context. What honor are the religious
        leaders improperly stealing? (They are claiming the
        glory that belongs to God. They do everything for
        their glory, not God’s glory or the love of others.
        Notice that in Matthew 23:8-10 the point of reference
        is God. My children, my wife, my students do not
        think I’m God and I’m not trying to confuse them on
        that point.)

    5. Let’s skip down to Matthew 23:37-39. What was the most
      fundamental problem with the religious leaders in
      Jerusalem? (They rejected Jesus. Notice that the “title”
      discussion is part of rejecting Jesus. Jesus now says that
      the end has come for them. They are unwilling to accept
      Him or give Him glory.)

  2. The Destruction

    1. Read Matthew 24:1. Why do you think the disciples asked
      Jesus to look at the temple buildings? (They were
      undoubtedly beautiful. I’ve read Josephus’ description of
      the temple and it was glorious.)

    2. Read Matthew 24:2-3. This is undoubtedly shocking news.
      Why would the disciples come to Jesus “privately” to learn
      the details?

      1. How many questions do you find in these verses? How
        many questions do you think the disciples thought
        they were asking Jesus? (I think they were asking at
        least two questions, but I think they thought they
        were asking just one. No doubt they thought the
        temple would not be destroyed until Jesus came at the
        “end of the age.”)

  3. The End

    1. Read Matthew 24:4. What is Jesus’ first concern? (That we
      avoid being deceived.)

    2. Read Matthew 24:5-14. Jesus refers three times to “the
      end” in these verses. What end is He discussing, the end
      of the temple or the end of the world?

    3. Read Matthew 24:15-20. What do you think is being
      discussed here? (It is common that prophecy can have more
      than one fulfillment, but this seems consistent with the
      destruction of Jerusalem. Many Christians fled the city
      and were saved before the absolute destruction of the
      temple by the Romans.)

    4. Read Matthew 24:23-27. What is being described here?
      (Jesus’ Second Coming.)

      1. What is the specific concern about Christians being
        deceived? (False Christs will appear – and their
        signs and miracles are extremely persuasive.)

      2. How can we avoid being deceived? (No one will have to
        tell us about Jesus’ Second Coming. All will see it
        at once. I’ve avoided some of the more complex issues
        in Jesus’ message because I might be wrong. However,
        the simple part of the message is very obvious – you
        will know when Jesus comes!)

        1. Why, then, does Jesus warn us that we should
          avoid being deceived, and that the deception to
          come will be powerful? (We have the potential
          for being deceived by those fakers. If you are
          involved in a debate about whether someone is
          Jesus, that is absolute proof that person is a
          fake and is not Jesus!)

    5. Read Matthew 24:30-31 and Matthew 24:40-41. What other
      absolute proof will we have about Jesus’ Second Coming?
      (The saved will be taken to heaven!)

      1. What is the “loud trumpet call” about? (Read 1
        Corinthians 15:51-52. Those who died trusting in
        Jesus are raised in an instant at the sound of the

    6. Let’s review all of this so that you cannot be deceived.
      What will happen when Jesus comes again? (It will be like
      lightening around the world – everyone will see it at the
      same time. The dead in Christ will be raised from the
      grave. The living saved will be gathered to heaven. You
      will not be confused about this event. If you are not
      being lifted up to heaven, that is very bad news.)

    7. Read Matthew 24:42-44. Wait a minute, we just learned that
      Jesus’ Second Coming will be obvious to everyone. Why are
      we warned about keeping “watch” and about problems with an
      unexpected return? I could be sound asleep and not miss
      Jesus’ Second Coming! (The thief is not breaking into
      Jesus’ house in this parable. The thief is breaking into
      your house. The warning is not about the ambiguity of
      Jesus’ coming, but rather whether you are ready!)

    8. Read Matthew 24:45-46. What should you be doing in
      anticipation of Jesus’ Second Coming? (Your job –
      “feeding” Jesus’ servants. We need to continue to work to
      advance the Kingdom of God!)

    9. Friend, what was the problem with the religious leaders
      that we discussed at the beginning of this lesson? It was
      that they were working to advance their own glory. What
      does Jesus call us to do while we await His return? To
      advance the Kingdom of God. What are you doing these days?
      Advancing your glory or the Kingdom of God? If you don’t
      like the answer, why not repent right now and ask the Holy
      Spirit to show you a better way?

  4. Next week: Jesus’ Last Days.