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Lesson No. 40—Study the messages of the books as well as of texts.

LESSON THEME:— THE FOUR GOSPELS

Luke 2:41-52.

  • KEY WORD—”CHRIST.”

  • KEY VERSEJohn 20:31

  • KEY PHRASE—”A FOURFOLD PICTURE OF CHRIST.”

Home Readings.

As the four gospels give many aspects of Christ, read a different aspect each day.

NAME, NEW TESTAMENT. Means the “New Covenant” of grace which God made with man in Jesus Christ, in contrast with the Old Covenant of law given through Moses.

LOGICAL ORDER IN THE NEW TESTAMENT:—

  1. In the Four Gospels the Divine Christ enters the world, and dies for the world after founding His church.

  2. In Acts, Christ is preached in the Power of the Holy Spirit, and the doors of the churches are thrown open to all believers.

  3. In the Epistles, life in Christ is revealed in all its fullness, and the doctrines, ordinances and practices of the churches are set forth.

  4. In Revelation, profound interest is shown by Christ in the spiritual state of the churches, and their glorious future as His bride as foretold.

Each division of the New Testament has also a relation to the experiences of each individual Christian.

  1. In the Gospels, Christ comes to the Believer to redeem him.

  2. In Acts, Christ fills the Believer with spiritual power for service.

  3. In the Epistles, the believer has blessed and exalted communion with Christ.

  4. In Revelation the believer comes with the returning Lord, that he may reign with Rim, and share His eternal glory.

NAME—GOSPEL. Means God’s message of salvation through Jesus Christ, and when we speak of The Gospel according to Matthew we mean Matthew’s story of salvation.

WRITERS—The gospels were written by the men whose names they bear, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

ORDER OF THE GOSPELS—While some scholars think that Mark’s gospel was written first, yet many others agree that they were written in the order that they stand, with Matthew as the Genesis of the New Testament, containing within itself the beginning of all New Testament truths.

SYNOPTIC GOSPELS—The first three are called synoptic gospels, because they give the same general view of the life and teachings of Jesus, in contrast with the fourth gospel which deals especially with the divinity of Christ, and the deep spiritual meaning of gospel facts.

PURPOSE—To give a picture of who Christ was, how He wrought, and what He taught, how He died to save us from our sin, and how He rose again for our justification.

THE WORLD PREPARED FOR CHRISTIANITY—The gospel could never have spread with the speed it did, but for three important world-wide events.

  1. The conquest of the world by Alexander the Great, and the spread of the Greek language, which made it possible for the gospel to be preached in a language which was understood in every land.

  2. The rise of the Roman Empire, with its good laws, and well-organized government, which offered protection to those preaching the gospel.

  3. The scattering abroad of the Christians, through persecution in Palestine, which spread their influence over the known world, and made their meetings rallying places for those who longed for something better than paganism. We thus see how providence prepared the way for grace to triumph.

GREAT FACTS:—

Christ as:—

  1. King.

  2. Servant.

  3. Man.

  4. God.

Great Fact I. Christ as King of the Jews.

In Matthew. Key Verse:—

Matthew 2:2.

The Old Testament assured the Jews again and again that a Messiah should come who would be the King of the Jews. They therefore looked forward with passionate longing and patriotism to the coming of that King in pomp and power. Matthew proves that Christ was truly that King.

  1. While Luke traces Christ’s descent back to Adam to link Him up with man, Matthew traces it back only to David and Abraham to show His royal descent.

  2. Only Matthew records the visit of the Wise Men to the Christ-child, because these royal visitors with their royal gifts help to prove the royalty of Christ.

  3. The Sermon on the Mount is given fully only in Matthew, because it gives the divine constitution for the righteous government of the earth in the kingdom age, when its teachings will be literally carried out. On the other hand, the spiritual application of its teachings is for all ages and all men.

  4. A king speaks with authority, therefore, this gospel records how Jesus with kingly authority uttered woes against those who rejected His claim. Matthew 23:13-25.

  5. The Kingdom of Heaven is a key phrase in Matthew, and occurs 32 times here, and nowhere else in the New Testament. It means the rule of the heavens over the earth, through the presence of the King.

  6. Christ was crucified for many reasons. In John the reason given is because He claimed to be the Son of God, in Matthew the reason given is because He claimed to be King of the Jews, Matthew 27:37.

LESSON—With fervent loyalty we should yield our hearts, minds and wills to Heaven’s glorious King. A young man wore a ring with three words engraved on it that he made the slogan of his life, “Make Jesus King!” What a noble ambition! Be it ours to be true-hearted, whole-hearted, faithful and loyal to the King, and to seek to extend His reign throughout the earth.

Great Fact II. Christ as the Servant of Jehovah.

In Mark. Key Verse:—

Mark 10:45.

After Matthew’s picture of Christ’s kingly majesty, Mark pictures His lowliness. and would have us see His simple garb, worn sandals, and unshorn hair, Mark 10:44,

  1. No line of descent is given in Mark as no one wants to know the family tree of a servant, but they do in the case of one claiming to be a king.

  2. He is never called Lord in Mark before the resurrection.

  3. The four parables of Mark are all parables of service.

  4. The word “Straightaway” occurs forty-one times in the book, showing this gospel to be a vivid picture of the earthly acts of Jesus.

LESSON—Christ is our example in humility and service, Mark 10:45. Although He was God in the flesh, He was willing to live in humble circumstances to labour hard and to obey his inferiors. His wonderful life was made up of simple acts of love. We can best show our love of God by serving our fellow men. On the walls of a Sunday school was a picture of an ox standing between an altar and a plough, with the words underneath, “Ready for either!” The ox stood ready to be laid on the altar, or to be yoked to the plough, although the altar meant suffering and the plough meant service. So we should, like the Master, be ready for either. Our lives will be poor withered things, unless we serve our own generation faithfully for Christ’s sake!

Great Fact III. Christ as the Son of Man.

In Luke. Key Verse:—

Luke 19:10.

  1. In Luke, Christ’s line of descent is traced back to Adam, the father of the human race, to connect Him up with the whole race, and not merely with the Jews.

  2. While Matthew referred 65 times to the law and the prophets, to show that Christ fulfilled the law, Luke omits all such references, and unfolds a full and free gospel, not for a certain race or class but for all men. Christ is the saviour of all mankind.

  3. In Luke, Christ’s tender human sympathy is seen all through it. He is bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. He is touched with the feelings of our infirmities. He wept over Jerusalem, healed the wound caused by Peter in the Garden, Luke 22:51, and shows compassion to the thief on the cross, Luke 23:43.

LESSON—Christ has tender sympathy for us in all our experiences, because as Man, He was tried by toil and temptation, hunger and pain, sorrow and death. Sometimes it seems hard to make even your doctor understand what the pain is like. Words do not seem to convey it, and after you have explained the best you can, you still feel that the suffering is not fully understood. But Jesus went through all our feelings, and fears and troubles, therefore He is able to succour all that are tempted, Hebrews 22:18.

Great Fact IV. Christ as the Son of God.

In John. Key Verse:—

John 1:1.

Matthew wrote for Jews, Mark for Romans, Luke for Greeks, but John for all Christians.

  1. In this gospel Christ’s line of descent is traced to God. He is declared to have been in the beginning with God, and to be God the Son.

  2. Over thirty times in John there are statements by Christ in which He claims to be divine, 4:25-26.

  3. John taught that Christ was divine,

    1. Because He was a perfect teacher,

    2. He set a perfect example,

    3. He was a perfectly sinless man,

    4. All prophecies were fulfilled by Him,

    5. HE wrought the works of God in His miracles,

    6. He arose from the dead.

All the gospels, give an account of Christ atoning death, resurrection, and of His commission to the churches to evangelize the world.

LESSON—We shall not be saved b) obeying the Sermon on the Mount of the King of Jews as set forth in Matthew Nor by imitating the humility and service of Christ as set forth in Mark, nor b] trusting to the sympathy of Christ as set forth in Luke, but we may be saved by believing in Christ the Son of God, as set forth in John. Only the sacrifice of the divine Lamb can take away the sin of the world. A king made a law, the punishment for breaking which was to be the loss of both eyes. His son, the heir to the throne, was the first to break it. Here was the supreme test. How could the king be just and spare his son? First he bade the officer burn out with the hot iron his own right eye, and then that of his son. So the law was honoured and atonement made. Only through God the Son bearing our own sins in His body on the cross, can God’s holy law be honoured, and the sinner saved.

Questions on the Lesson.

  1. Give the key word and key verse.

  2. What the meaning of the name New Testament?

  3. Show that there is a logical order in the New Testament.

  4. Show that each division of the New Testament is related to the Christian’s experience.

  5. What is the meaning of the name Gospel?

  6. In what order were the gospels writ ten? What is Matthew?

  7. Why are the first three called synoptic gospels?

  8. What the purpose of the four gospels?

  9. What three ways was the world prepared for Christianity?

  10. Name the great facts.

  11. Give six points showing that Jesus was King of the Jews.

  12. How can we make Jesus King?

  13. Give four points showing that Mark presents Christ as servant of Jehovah.

  14. Give illustration showing that we should be ready for sacrifice or service.

  15. Give three points showing that Mike proves Christ to be the Son of Man.

  16. Tell of Christ’s sympathy for us in all our experiences.

  17. Name the people for whom the gospels were written.

  18. Show that John wrote to prove that Christ is the Son of God.

  19. Of what do all the gospels give account?

  20. Show that neither the Sermon on. the Mount, nor service, nor sympathy can save.

  21. Give illustration showing that the death of Christ alone can save.

  22. Have you read the Home Readings?

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