2 The Controversy – Discussion Starters

Memory Text
“The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came
by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

1. A better covenant. Imagine standing between the Old and the New Testaments. Looking back on the Old Testament, where did all of those covenants and rituals point? Without changing your position, look to the New Testament and ask yourself, what was the crucial issue facing God’s people at that time? If the Old Testament looked forward to the coming of the Messiah, what is the challenge of the New Testament? We are no longer living in Old Testament times, so why should we spend valuable time studying the values and conflicts of God’s people in those days?

2. Jewish Laws and Regulations. What are the elements of the moral law as given to God’s people in the Old Testament? What about the ceremonial law? Should we set that aside now that we have Christ as our example? Why? or Why not? Then there are the health laws. What is their significance to us today? Have you ever read through the whole book of Leviticus as you lesson suggests, sorting out those regulations that are not practical for life today? Or are there any in that category?

3. The Custom Of Moses and the Circumcision Dispute. Once again we look at the role of circumcision in the plan of salvation. Why? Can you imagine being a Jew firmly rooted in Jewish customs and trying to reach out to fellow believers in the new church? Wouldn’t you want the new converts to follow the rites that helped you understand the role of God’s Word in your life? What role did Paul play in relation to the church facing the issue of circumcision at that time? As a loyal church member, do you ever feel like waving your hand or beating your chest to get your points across? What should be your highest priority when you have strong feelings about what your church should do? How did the early church resolve this issue?

4.  The Gentile believers. Do you see the Jerusalem Council as an early example of the General Conference? Why or why not? How did the Council rule in the case of whether or not circumcision should be required in the church? What other requirements were clearly explained to the Gentile converts as not being required of them? What do you think kept the Council from ruling that the Ten Commandments were also no longer required?

5. Paul and the Galatians. Some believers didn’t agree with the Council. Wasn’t that their right? What did Paul see in this lack of agreement that disturbed him greatly? Did Paul proclaim or merely suggest that the believers should follow the decision made by the Council? Imagine having a discussion with a non-member who feels strongly that Paul was proclaiming that faith alone and not the keeping of the moral law, including the Fourth Commandment, is not binding on Christians. What reasons would you give for upholding the Law of God as expressed in the Ten Commandments?   






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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons