Introduction: I’m sure that at some point you have been a new
employee. What is the first thing your new employer did? Most likely,
your employer gave you some sort of orientation. You needed to
understand your role in the company and your specific job. Of
particular importance is knowing what you are supposed to be doing
and what you are not supposed to be doing. Our Christian walk is like
that. As we finish the last in our series on “the least of these,”
let’s review the nature of our work by plunging, once again, into the

  1. The Spiritual Body

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-13. What is our role in the
      Christian church? (We form “one body” in Jesus. Our
      baptism forms us into one body.)

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 12:14. What is our specific job? (The
      body of believers has many parts, just like your own body.
      Each of us is a specific part, meaning we have a specific

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 12:15-17. Do these body parts have the
      same role? Are each essential? (They are all essential
      and all different.)

    4. Read 1 Corinthians 12:18. Who ordained that we should have
      different roles? (This is God’s decision. He decides what
      role we should play.)

      1. Who does not decide our role? (Re-read 1 Corinthians
        12:16. We are not the one who decides.)

      2. Read 1 Corinthians 12:31. Do we have a role in the
        decision? (We are told to “desire the greater

      3. Have you faced this sort of problem in your church –
        members who demand a role for which they are not fit?

    5. Read 1 Corinthians 12:28. How would you apply this to our
      study this quarter? Are certain members more involved in
      helping the least of these?

      1. Do you recall our past discussions about providing
        different kinds of help? I suggested that we should
        desire to heal people of whatever makes them “least,”
        rather than just help them limp along each day. What
        do these verses suggest about that? (“Healing” is a
        different job than “helping.”)

      2. Do you recall that I suggested that in some
        situations (like seeing the Prodigal Son on the pig
        farm) leaving them to their difficulty is the best
        way to help them?

        1. How do we know when to keep our hands off and
          when to help? (Notice that “guidance” is
          another position in the church. Some have
          better insight than others.)

    6. What is the key to knowing our specific role in the church
      and how to perform our job? (Re-read 1 Corinthians 12:13.
      This is only possible through the power of the Holy

    7. Let’s turn next to understanding what makes our job
      different than God’s job!

  2. The Shadow Law

    1. Read Hebrews 10:1-2. How is the Old Testament sacrificial
      system described? (It is a shadow “of the good things that
      are coming.”)

      1. What is wrong with the shadow? (It never makes
        perfect those who practice it.)

      2. What does this suggest about the real thing? (That it
        does make perfect those who “practice it.”)

    2. Read Hebrews 10:3. What good is the shadow? (It reminds
      people of their sins.)

      1. How often were they reminded? (Once a year.)

      2. What do you think about that time interval for being
        reminded of your sins?

        1. Should you slip a note to your pastor about

    3. Read Hebrews 10:4-9. Jesus sets aside “the first to
      establish the second.” What is the first and what is the
      second? (The first is the temple service in which animals
      were sacrificed for the sins of the people. The second is
      Jesus sacrifice for our sins.)

    4. Read Hebrews 10:9-10. What results from Jesus’ one
      sacrifice? (“We have been made holy.”)

    5. Read Hebrews 10:14. How long are you made perfect if you
      accept Jesus’ sacrifice on your behalf? (Forever.)

      1. If this is done at once and lasts forever, why does
        this verse also refer to “those who are being made
        holy?” (You have been made perfect in the eyes of God
        through Jesus. However, you and I know that our lives
        are not perfect. Sometimes we are far from it. We
        need to grow. This accounts for the reference to
        being made holy. Our walk with God, our role in this
        “job,” is one of increasing obedience. But, this is
        apart from what Jesus has done for us – He has made
        us perfect.)

    6. Read Hebrews 10:15-18. What role does the Holy Spirit have
      in this? (The Holy Spirit “testifies” to us that what we
      have just read is true. God does not remember our sins any
      more. His Spirit comes into our hearts and minds to create
      an understanding and a desire to do God’s will.)

      1. Do you see the central importance of the Holy Spirit
        in both your role (your job) in the Church and in a
        correct understanding of your salvation?

  3. The New Confidence

    1. Read Hebrews 10:19-22. Read Matthew 27:51. Compare
      Leviticus 16:1-2. Before Jesus’ sacrifice, what happened
      if you entered the Most Holy section of the temple? (You
      would die.)

      1. Look again at Hebrews 10:22. Do you have a guilty
        conscience? What has Jesus done for that?

    2. Read Hebrews 10:23. What is the first order of business
      after we understand what Jesus has done for us? (Hold on
      to that hope! Know that we can enter the presence of

    3. Read Hebrews 10:24. What else should we do? (This brings
      us to the subject matter of this quarter. We need to
      engage in good deeds and encourage love for others.)

    4. Read Hebrews 10:25. What else should we do? (Make meeting
      together a habit. Make encouraging each other a habit.)

      1. As you think of these directions for life, where does
        helping the least of these rank? Consider this in the
        context of our prior “body parts” discussion. (It is
        one of the things that we all should do. But,
        depending on our “body part” job, it may not our
        major assignment in the Church body. Building our
        understanding of God, encouraging love and help,
        meeting with fellow believers, and performing our
        specific task in the Church is a picture of our total
        Church life.)

    5. Read Hebrews 10:26-27. How can this be? Did the writer of
      Hebrews just tell us in Hebrews 10:14 that we have been
      made perfect forever? Is the writer saying two completely
      different things?

      1. I suspect that there is not a single honest reader
        who did not consent to sin at some time in the last
        week. Thus, if “deliberately” means “consent,” then
        we are all lost. There is no reason to even describe
        in Hebrews 10 how Jesus has made us perfect forever.
        How would you resolve this apparent conflict?

      2. Read Numbers 15:30-31. The Popular New Testament
        Commentary suggests that “deliberately” ( Heb 10:26)
        should be understood as “willfully.” And “willful”
        should be understood like “defiantly” in Numbers 15.
        Does this better fit Hebrews 10?

    6. Let’s look more closely at the Numbers 15 text. Read
      Numbers 15:28-31 for the context. Does this help us to
      better understand Hebrews 10?

      1. Notice that the problem is “blaspheming” God. What
        does that mean in this context? (This is a challenge
        to the authority of God. Applied to the New Testament
        time, it is a rejection of what Jesus has done for

    7. Read Matthew 12:31-32 to see what Jesus says about the
      forgiveness of sin. What does “blasphemy” mean in this
      context? (Rejecting the Holy Spirit.)

      1. When you add the Hebrews 10 comment about
        “deliberately” or “willfully” with the comments about
        blasphemy in Numbers and by Jesus, what do you
        conclude? (Consenting to sin (as we all do) is not
        final. The fatal problem is rejecting God as the only
        source of our salvation. We must acknowledge God’s

    8. Friend, will you ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to your
      specific role in the church, to help you understand the
      nature of your salvation, and to guide you in daily
      living? Why not do that right now?

  4. Next we begin a study of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.