Introduction: Have you given anything more than a superficial look at
the “Great Controversy” idea? On the surface it is the battle between
good and evil, between Jesus and Satan. Drill deeper. Isn’t the great
controversy about understanding the nature of God? Isn’t that what
the “controversy” is about? Our study this week suggests this. Let’s
jump into our Bible study and learn more!

  1. The Rock of Love

    1. Read Matthew 7:24-27. We all understand the problem with
      building a house near water on a foundation of sand. How
      does this point apply to our Christian life? (Jesus says a
      solid foundation for life is putting His words into

      1. Which words are those? (We need to explore the
        context because this seems very important.)

    2. Read Matthew 7:21-23. If I asked you, “Is it God’s will
      that you prophesy, drive our demons and perform miracles,”
      what would you say? (Yes!)

      1. If fact, doesn’t your life fall short of those
        Christians who do these great things?

      2. If you could do just one of those things, would you
        think the Holy Spirit was with you in power?

      3. Let’s contemplate this context a little bit. If the
        putting the words of Jesus into practice is not these
        powerful works, and putting the words of Jesus into
        practice is the key to a proper Christian foundation
        in life, what is “doing the will” of God? (Knowing
        God – or at least God knowing you.)

    3. I’m still having trouble sorting this out in my mind. Re-read Matthew 7:21 and Matthew 7:23. The first text speaks
      of doing God’s will and the second text speaks of God
      knowing a person. What do you think “doing” God’s will
      means as a practical matter? (It must be knowing God.)

      1. Is that what you are doing at this very moment when
        you study the Bible? (This is an important way to get
        to know God better.)

    4. We still need more context. Let’s move further backward in
      this chapter. Read Matthew 7:7-8. Do you believe this

    5. Read Matthew 7:9-12. Why does Jesus argue that we should
      believe that God will give us the good things for which we
      ask? (Jesus says even parents give their children good
      things. Think about your attitude toward your own
      children. That understates God’s attitude toward you.)

      1. Remember that we started out learning that “doing”
        God’s will was knowing God – or at least realizing
        that God knows us. How does the comparison of God to
        parents help us understand what it means to know God?
        (I think I get it! The solid foundation for a
        Christian life is knowing that God loves you and
        gives you good gifts. It is not performing great
        deeds. Jesus says those great acts do not show that a
        person knows God as a loving parent.)

    6. Read Matthew 7:15-20. Against what is Jesus warning us?
      (False prophets. People who appear to be servants of God
      but whose teaching and life do not reflect that fact.)

      1. Given what we just learned, what kind of teaching and
        life are “good fruit?” (A ministry that promotes the
        picture of a loving God whose attitude is the same
        toward us as loving parents have toward their

    7. Since we are walking backwards through this chapter, lets
      read Matthew 7:1-5. Why should we avoid being judgmental?
      (We are judged by our own standard.)

      1. Why is this true? What does it have to do with
        knowing God? (If God’s attitude toward us is the same
        as a loving parent, then a judgmental attitude
        misrepresents God. It is like the false teacher who
        produces bad fruit. If we know that God is like a
        loving parent, then we will not focus on the “speck
        of sawdust” in the eye of our fellow church member.
        How many loving parents focus on the positive aspects
        of their children rather than the negative? Loving
        parents are positive.)

  2. The Yoke of Love

    1. Read Matthew 11:27. We just decided that the solid
      foundation for our life in Christ is knowing God and
      understanding His loving concern about us. How hard is it
      to understand this? (This text says God’s nature is only
      revealed to those “to whom the Son chooses to reveal

      1. Should we be surprised that most people view God as
        being harsh, and misunderstand what is most important
        in the life of a Christian?

    2. Read Matthew 11:28. What is the nature of this burden?
      (The Bible does not say. But it seems to be the burdens of
      life. Perhaps it is also the burden of not understanding
      God’s will for your life, not having a solid foundation.)

    3. Read Matthew 11:29. Would you like to wear a yoke? (A yoke
      combines the efforts of two oxen to make it easier to pull
      a cart.)

      1. Is any cart mentioned here? (We discussed having a

      2. This yoke provides rest. How can that be? (I think
        Jesus is teaching us that He helps pull us along
        through our problems in life. This gives us “rest”
        from trying to do it alone. Jesus holds out a hand
        for us to grasp.)

    4. Read Matthew 11:30. Is this a different burden than the
      burden spoken about in Matthew 11:28? (It must be. The
      earlier burden makes us weary. We need rest from it. But,
      the later burden is “light.”)

      1. Why is the second burden so much easier? (We are
        teamed with Jesus.)

      2. Let’s go back to what we learned: God’s attitude
        toward us is like our attitude toward our children.
        Would good parents do everything for their children?
        (No. The child will not learn if the parent does
        everything. The mental picture of a “yoke” is that
        Jesus works with us to deal with the problems of

  3. Mercy

    1. Read Matthew 12:1-2. Why did the disciples pick and eat
      grain on the Sabbath? (Because they were hungry.)

      1. Are the Pharisees being judgmental? Re-read Matthew
        7:1-3. (Yes.)

    2. Read Matthew 12:3-4. Why would Jesus use an example which
      He admits is “not lawful?” (Isn’t this the perfect
      illustration of God’s attitude as a loving parent lifting
      a burden from His children? David and his men are hungry.
      Jesus’ disciples are hungry. Jesus says I’m putting the
      needs of my followers before the rules.)

      1. At this point you might be getting concerned about
        the rules. The rule in question was working on
        Sabbath ( Exodus 20:10). Why didn’t Jesus say, “What
        my disciples are doing is not work?” Why did He seem
        to admit it was work and argue instead, “David did

    3. Read Matthew 12:7-8. I don’t think we should stop with
      “David did it.” What is the real reason Jesus says this is
      appropriate? (Because it shows mercy. God’s rules are for
      our benefit. Because the Pharisees did not know God,
      because they did not understand the love of God, they
      preferred the rule over mercy. Jesus says “I desire mercy,
      not sacrifice.”)

      1. Does this mean that “love trumps rules?” If so, why
        did God give us the rules? (We begin to better
        understand God now. The purpose of the rules is to
        improve our lives. Normally, the following God’s rule
        is the best way to enjoy a life free from unnecessary
        problems. But, there are times when the rule
        conflicts with the love a parent would show to a

      2. Notice that Jesus says, I am “Lord of the Sabbath.”
        What does that mean? (It means that Jesus gets to say
        how the rule should be applied.)

        1. Are we authorized to say, “Get rid of that rule
          because it conflicts with love?” (There is a
          fine, but important line here. God made the
          rules, we are not at liberty to nullify them.
          On the other hand, Jesus warns against being
          judgmental. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to
          guide our minds when it comes to situations
          where the application of the rule does not
          reflect God’s love.)

    4. Friend, do you understand God’s attitude toward you? Do
      you know that in every situation He will do for you, if
      you let Him, what loving parents will do for their child?
      Will you decide today to trust and reflect God’s love?

  4. Next week: Comrades in Arms.