Jesus the Good Shepherd Sunday School Lesson Topic Discussion

1.The people of Jesus’ day had to deal with Pharisees as thieves and rubbers. Do the “thievesand robbers” that challenge your own spiritualvitality tend to be specific people or are theymore likely to be various temptations? How doyou counteract them?
All Christians have unseen treasures worthprotecting. These treasures include our reputa-tions, our friendships, and, ultimately, our spiri-tual destination. People and temptations candestroy these treasures, if we allow them to.We all know people who “drain our batteries”in a spiritual or an emotional sense. They’re ex-hausting to be around! A certain balance isneeded: our task is to try to help them withoutbecoming spiritually contaminated in the process(Jude 23). Falling into temptation is more likelywhen fatigue levels are high.
2.Caller ID is a helpful invention! But per-haps you ignored important messages by not responding to the ones marked “caller un-known.” What was a time when you were con-fused about whether or not it was God who was trying to speak to you through a circumstance or situation? How did you sort things out?
Getting to know God’s voice is a matter of staying connected to Him. God definitely speaks through the pages of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16,17); we stay connected by reading His Word(Psalm 119:105).
We also recognize God’s ability to channel our activities through open and closed doors of opportunity. Recognizing which is which takes spiritual discernment. Having a godly consciences important (Hebrews 13:18), but an untrained conscience is dangerous (1 Corinthians 8:7).
3. The people listening to Jesus were confused by His figures of speech. What subjects in the Bible still cause you confusion? How do you get about getting help to clarify those issues?
We sometimes say we look forward to being in Heaven where Jesus can explain all things tee us. Until then we need to be able to sort through the traditions, the cunning speakers with personal agendas, and the mistaken interpretations to determine what Jesus is truly expecting us to know.
This requires personal discipline in studying, cross-referencing interpretations with other related teachings in the Scriptures, and prayer for understanding. Listening to respected speakers and reading commentaries can help. But these will not excuse us from the personal responsibility we have for building our own understanding of God’s Word. The old saying is important:”Read all the books upon the shelf, but do all your thinking for yourself.”
4.Christians often fill their lives to the brim with activities and duties. Churches may be partially responsible for this hyperactivity. Howls this different from what Jesus meant by having an abundant life? What corrections do you need to make?
Some would suggest that our abundant life comes after we die, in eternity. But it should start when we give ourselves to the Lord. Cutting back on activities in order to have time to read the Bible, pray, etc., can be difficult. In some churches it seems that the only way to give up certain long-held jobs is either to move or die! Feelings of guilt at the prospect of cutting back on activities can be a hindrance. Receiving counsel from a spiritually mature Christian may help.
5.Jesus distinguished between shepherds and hired hands. How do we use this distinction to help us discern between those who have good and had motivations for being in leadership roles in the church?
Examining the motives of others is tricky. Jesus cautions us about passing judgment (Matthew 7:1), but He also challenges us to discern good teachers from bad through examining the fruit of their labors (Matthew 7:15-20). We have all known of those who donate many hours tithe Lord and His church. They willingly put their own comfort or plans second. That’s good fruit!
Such people become an embodiment of what Christ was trying to teach. Perhaps they don’t even wish to see themselves as “shepherds,” but their example serves this purpose. They probably will be the last to want attention, but they need to be commended for their efforts.