Relevant Verses: Luke 2:52; Acts 8:4-24
Leading Question: If there is a biblical “”World View,” where did the other one come from? Or is there more than one?
As the word suggests, “world view” is a way of looking at the world. There are many different world views, but our lesson this week simply focuses on the Christian world view as seen in Jesus and those who follow him. Initially, the lesson looks at the formative years of Jesus’ childhood, quoting Luke 2:52 (NIV): “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
The official study guide notes how these four aspects cover “all the basic dimensions of human existence”: wisdom (mentally), stature (physically), in favor with God (spiritually) and man (socially). Then the official study guide moves on to Matthew 4:23 and asks how Jesus’ three-fold ministry (teach, preach, heal) can be carried on by Jesus’ followers today. That’s a tall order! And the official study guide continues to stress the importance of our example, citing 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 (“your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit”) and 1 Cor. 10:31 (NIV): “So whether you eat or drink, or what ever you do, do everything for the glory ofGod.” In short, the official study guide is emphasizing not so much world view as personal holiness!
Manipulating the Spirit.
Acts 8:4-24 relates a remarkable story of how a “reformed” sorcerer attempted to manipulate the Spirit of God:
Acts 8:4-24 (NIV): A man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, 10 and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” 11 They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. 12 But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.
14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
24 Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”
Comment: Scripture doesn’t say what actually happened to Simon. The story ends with his request for prayer that the stark judgments threatened by Peter not come to pass.
Preparing vs. being prepared for Jesus’ return. The official study guide poses an important question about the difference between preparing and being prepared. The quarterly’s response is worth quoting: “Often the notion of an ongoing preparation for the Second Coming becomes an excuse for procrastination. This notion can easily lead one to relax under the evil servant’s assumption, ‘My master is delaying his coming’ (Matt. 24:48).”