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Bible Study: Are you included in God’s family

NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.

Bible Passages: Exodus 20, Exodus 32-34, Leviticus 16

Discussion Questions

  • When have you been particularly included or excluded?
  • Is inclusion good or bad? Is exclusion good or bad? Explain your reasoning.
  • Are God’s laws and expectations primarily inclusive or exclusive? Explain.

Food for thought:

All-inclusive is all the rage these days. Beach or mountain. Surf or snow. Cruise or resort. Decide what you want, and chances are you can find an all-inclusive option to match. Even our culture has adopted the concept. “All-inclusive” seems to be the mantra of our entertainment, our popular morality, our policies, and more and more our laws.

Exclusion has become a four-letter word.

But as theologian and author D.A. Carson stresses in The God Who Is There, “No community is completely inclusive. There are inevitably boundaries, inevitably inclusions and exclusions.”

However, “The God Who Legislates” has set out clear inclusions and exclusions for His people. The most well-known of these we refer to as the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20), where God designates behaviors and attitudes for His people to include, and other behaviors and attitudes for His people to exclude.

In addition to laws of a moral and ethical nature, God also legislated ritual laws, such as in Leviticus 16. Much of this legislation given to God’s people early in Scripture does more than merely spell out early worship ritual. It also stresses humanity’s universal need for reconciliation to God. It symbolically foreshadows God ultimately meeting that need in the person of Jesus.

As Carson points out, even as Moses was on the mountain receiving the rock-hewn version of the Ten Commandments, the people in the valley were in the process of breaking them. God “threatens to wipe out the entire nation and start over (Exodus 32).” Moses intercedes (Exodus 33). God makes a remarkable proclamation: “The God Who Legislates” inclusions and exclusions will make provision to forgive those who violate His laws, though there will be consequences (Exodus 34:6-7).

Are you, through the shed blood of His Son Jesus, included in His family and thereby forgiven?

MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at Lifeway.com/masterwork.

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  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources