Leading Question: Are rich and powerful people less likely to respond to the Gospel?
Scripture Focus: 2 Kings 5:1-19; Daniel 4; Matthew 19:16-22; John 3:1-12, 19:38-42
The Big idea: God is interested in the salvation of all people, including those who seem to be secure and successful.
- Last week, the Adult Sabbath School Lesson focused on mission to the needy. This week the focus is on mission to the rich and powerful.
- Is it helpful to label people as “needy” or “powerful”? Aren’t all people the same in terms of their need for Jesus?
- Are there fundamental spiritual differences between rich and poor, powerful and powerless? If so, what are those differences?
- In most settings today, Christianity seems to be spread most easily among those who are less educated and less affluent. Why do you suppose that is the case?
- In Daniel 4 and in 2 Kings 5, we find the stories of Nebuchadnezzar and Naaman. Both men were not descendants of Abraham, yet they came to believe in the God of Israel.
- In both cases, their conversion was directly connected to a supernatural event. In other words, they came to believe in God because of a miracle (a vision for Nebuchadnezzar and a healing for Naaman). What can we learn from this? Are acts of divine power especially important for people of power?
- What role did humans play in their acceptance of the God of Israel?
- Research suggests that today, approximately 80% of Muslims who come to faith in Jesus as their Savior say that a miracle was a key part of the process. Do you know of anyone who has come to faith in Jesus because of a vision, a dream, an exorcism or a dream?
- In the Old Testament, it was possible to come to believe in God as Sovereign over all and still not become a Jew. What are the implications of this?
- In several of the scripture passages for this week, the one coming to faith does not seem to fully and openly “change religions” as a result of their conversion. After his healing, Naaman clearly accepts the God of Israel as the true God, yet he asks for permission to continue to lead his master into the temple of the pagan god Rimmon and bow there with him (2 Kings 5:18-19). In the New Testament, Joseph of Arimathea is called a disciple of Jesus, “but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders” (John 19:38).
- Joseph was a secret disciple out of fear. How should we understand this? Should fear keep us from openly confessing Jesus as Lord?
- Should those in positions of influence be allowed to “cut corners” in terms of their practice in order to maintain their positions of influence? Could a devout SDA become president of the United States, or would that position require too many compromises?
- Naaman’s bowing to Rimmon seems to contrast with the three Hebrews who refused to bow to the gold image set up by Nebuchadnezzar. Whose example should we follow?
- In your opinion, what is the best way to reach powerful people with the message of Jesus?