Introduction: Many Christians have one of two opposing opinions. They
think that salvation turns on their good works, or they think that
salvation is merely accepting grace and then continuing on their
normal way. Our lesson this week reveals a third approach: relying on
God in everything. This not only includes salvation, it includes all
of the problems and victories of life. Let’s dig into our study of
Matthew and learn more!

  1. John’s Doubts

    1. Read Matthew 11:1-3 and read Matthew 3:11-14. What has
      happened to John’s faith in Jesus? (Read Matthew 14:3-4.
      John is in prison when he sends his disciples to Jesus. If
      you look again at Matthew 3:12 John predicts that Jesus
      will “clear … [the] floor … with unquenchable fire.”
      Yet despite John’s expectations of power, Jesus does
      nothing to free him from prison. Matthew 14:10 tells us
      that John died in prison.)

      1. What does this teach us about being arrogant about
        the way we think prophecy will be fulfilled? (We need
        to be alert and keep our minds open to the Holy
        Spirit. The Jewish nation (apparently including John
        the Baptist) expected that Jesus would exercise power
        and overthrow His enemies at that time.)

    2. Read Matthew 11:4-6. How does this answer John’s question
      about why Jesus is not saving him? (Jesus’ answer shows
      that He is defeating Satan, not Satan’s followers. We need
      to remember that the real enemy is Satan and his demonic
      forces, not the people with whom we work and live.)

    3. Read Matthew 11:7-11. Explain how Jesus can say no human
      is greater than John the Baptist, yet the least important
      person in heaven is greater than John?

      1. What is the issue John’s disciples raised? (Who is
        Jesus? This is the key issue in life. Will you
        believe in Jesus and trust Him with all of your
        problems and challenges? John was showing a lack of
        trust. Those in heaven will be there because of their
        trust in God – not because of their works.)

      2. What does this teach us about reliance on Jesus
        rather than on yourself, other humans or money? (Even
        John the Baptist wavered. We need to beware.)

  2. War

    1. Read Matthew 11:12-14. Who are these forceful men?
      (Consider the context. John the Baptist did powerful
      things to prepare the way for Jesus. He was “Elijah.” But,
      Herod killed John. ( Matthew 14:6-11.) Satan brings human
      power against the Church when it is advancing.)

    2. Read Matthew 11:16-19. What does this tell us about having
      the wrong expectations? (We, like children, think God’s
      workers should conform to our ideas. We are self-centered.
      God says look beyond yourself and see what God is doing
      through that person. Consider how God is moving in the
      world – even as the result of people who do not meet your

      1. How many Christians do you know who are fighting each
        other, rather than fighting demonic forces?

    3. Read Matthew 11:20-24. We think of Sodom in connection
      with sexual sin. What does Jesus say is worse than that?
      (Ignoring the miracles that God has performed in our life.
      Think again about Samson. This fellow had a sex problem.
      Yet he is listed in the faith hall of fame ( Hebrews 11:32)
      because even in his last few moments of life he trusted
      God ( Judges 16:28-30).)

      1. Have you paid too little attention to the miracles
        God has done in your life?

    4. Read Matthew 11:25-26. Jesus was just criticizing His
      listeners by saying they were like “children sitting in
      the marketplaces” ( Matthew 11:16) and now He says God
      reveals to “little children” what is hidden from the “wise
      and learned.” Which is it, should we have an attitude like
      children or not? What, exactly, is the child-like attitude
      that Jesus commends? (In both places Jesus is calling
      children “simple.” They are simple in what they want and
      they are simple in their understanding.)

      1. Why is that good? (Jesus’ point seems to be that the
        call of the gospel can be understood by anyone as
        long as they are not too arrogant to be willing to
        accept it.)

      2. Do you think God is hiding the gospel from anyone?
        That hiding good news is for God’s “good
        pleasure?”(It would be hard to explain the great work
        of the Apostle Paul if it were true that God kept the
        gospel from the “wise and learned.”)

      3. Read Matthew 19:23-24. Why is it hard for a rich man
        to enter the kingdom of heaven? (This helps to
        explain the problem of the “wise and learned”
        understanding the gospel. Those who are rich, those
        who are smart, those who are highly educated have in
        common a tendency to rely on wealth, intelligence and
        education instead of God. This is the same point as
        Jesus made with John the Baptist. The central issue
        for John was whether he would trust Jesus in the
        midst of problems. The central issue for the rich,
        wise and educated is whether they will trust God or
        trust their money, intelligence or education.)

    5. Let’s go back and read Matthew 11:15. Who is able to
      understand Jesus’ message? (Everyone with ears!)

      1. What does that tell us about Jesus’ comments about
        the gospel being hidden from certain people? (This
        helps prove the point that we all can hear and
        understand, unless we choose not to understand
        because of our arrogance and self-reliance.)

    6. Read Matthew 11:27. To whom has God revealed the gospel?
      (To Jesus! Jesus reveals God the Father to us. This
      reinforces Jesus’ point that we must trust Him, we must
      put our confidence in Him.)

    7. Read Matthew 11:28-30. What practical advantage do we
      enjoy by putting our trust in Jesus? (He carries our
      burdens. He gives us rest. He is not arrogant and harsh
      with us. Instead, He wants us to succeed in life and to
      have eternal life.)

      1. Do you feel that life is a constant struggle? Why not
        rely on Jesus in everything?

      2. What do you think relying on Jesus would look like,
        as a practical matter? (It involves at least three
        things. First, asking Jesus in prayer to work out our
        challenges. Second, following the advice Jesus has
        already given us in the Bible. Third, looking for the
        Holy Spirit to guide us in the decisions we make.)

    8. Read Matthew 12:24. What is worse than relying on
      yourself, instead of relying on Jesus? (Thinking that
      Jesus relies on Satan.)

    9. Read Matthew 12:25-26. What do you think about this
      answer? (This is a very practical answer. I think Jesus is
      struggling against the problem He just identified, that
      truth is hidden from people who trust themselves.)

      1. What answer would be appropriate for those who rely
        on Jesus? (There is a war going on between Jesus and
        Satan. Why would Satan help Jesus? His goal is to
        destroy Jesus.)

    10. Read Matthew 12:27-28. Do you think that the Jewish
      religious leaders thought other Jewish religious leaders
      drove out demons by the power of Satan? (Of course not!
      Jesus says “Why would you judge Me by a different

    11. Read Matthew 12:29. What does this tell us about the
      reality of demons? (It tells us that Jesus not only
      believes in them, but he calls Satan a “strong man.”)

      1. What does this say about Jesus? (He is stronger than
        Satan. He can bind Satan.)

    12. Read Matthew 12:30-32. What is the peril of saying that a
      fellow Christian is performing healings through the power
      of Satan? (This is very dangerous.)

    13. Friend, you have a choice. Will you live your life
      trusting Jesus? Or, will you live your life trusting
      yourself, or worse, trusting demonic powers? Jesus offers
      to lift our burdens and give us rest. Why not accept His
      offer right now?

  3. Next week: Resting in Christ.