Guests: and

Leading Question: Which is the greater danger—that we isolate ourselves from ungodly people and leave them unreached, or that we mingle too closely with them and are ourselves led astray?

Scripture Focus: 1 Kings 11:1-6; Matthew 4:23-2, 8:10, 13; 15:22-28; Mark 7:24-30; Acts 10:34-35

The Big Idea: Faith is found in unexpected people and in unexpected places, so don’t be afraid of the city or the people who live there.

Discussion Questions:

  1. The Adult Sabbath School lesson presents the need to reach out to people of other cultures and religions. Yet, in 1 Kings 11, we see a potential danger. King Solomon marries hundreds of women, and many of them are from different countries and religions. As a result, “his wives turned his heart after other gods” (vs 4).
    1. How do we navigate the tension between reaching out to people of different faiths while at the same time protecting ourselves from being negatively influenced by their false gods?
    2. Is it always wrong to marry someone of a different religion, or are there times when such a marriage is actually evangelistic in nature?
    3. In most marriages, which is the greater likelihood: that the believing spouse will win the unbelieving spouse, or that the unbelieving spouse will lead the believing spouse astray? Why?
  2. As noted previously in these discussion guides, a majority of world lives in an urban setting. Those of us who grew up in the SDA church may remember Ellen White’s warnings about living in the city. Interestingly, her few statements about the dangers of the city have been widely republished in a variety of compilations, giving the impression that true believers will nearly shun the city. However, a review of all her writings will show that Ellen White actually has much more of an emphasis on the need to work on behalf of the many people in the cities!
    1. Why do you suppose SDA compliers have chosen to focus on the dangers of the city rather than the need of the cities and the opportunities for witness there?
    2. What are the dangers of working in the city? What are the dangers of living in the country?
  3. In Matthew 15 and Mark 7 there is a record of a fascinating interaction between Jesus and a “Canaanite”/”Syrophoenician” woman who has a daughter that is demon possessed.
    1. What are the key lessons we learn from this interaction?
    2. Does someone need to believe Jesus is the divine messiah in order for him to heal them?
    3. In the first couple of centuries after the resurrection of Jesus, exorcism was an expected part of preparing someone for baptism. Was this a misplaced emphasis? How significant of an issue is demonic harassment in the world today? Why do we seem to ignore it in much of our evangelism, at least in the western world?
    4. Jesus describes the woman as having “great faith” (Matthew 15:28). This would have challenged Jewish views. They would not have expected that a Gentile would be commended for great faith. So, what about us? Have you ever encountered “great faith” in an unexpected person—perhaps someone from a different culture or faith tradition?
  4. The Adult Sabbath School Lesson says, “The Holy Spirit can help us to overcome our prejudice and bias in order to complete our mission to the cities.” But how? Is it just a miracle, or are there things we can do to overcome the prejudice we may have for others?
  5. In Acts 10:34-35, Peter declares that God doesn’t show favoritism in his acceptance of others, even if they come from another “nation” or people.
    1. Does this means that everyone has equal access to salvation?
    2. If so, why do we need missionaries?
    3. The lesson includes this quote from Ellen White: “God has jewels in all the churches, and it is not for us to make sweeping denunciation of the professed religious world . . .” (The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Jan 17, 1893). Have we heeded this advice?

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