October 25, 2009 Unique Relationship

Unique Relationship

 

If you think you feel ‘taken for granted’, consider your little toe on your left foot.  Although smaller, yet God fashioned it like the others, nail and all, only shorter, but no less important.  It arises at reveille every morning ready to do its part in moving your body through its paces.  And, it complains as loudly as the others when you stand on it too long.  God placed it there to speed your running and walking and for stability.  He knew you needed five toes with none more important than the others.  So it is with the body of Christ, as we see in the lesson below.

Each with a purpose in God’s plan

1 Corinthians 12.8-10, 28;             Romans 12.6-8;       Ephesians 4.11; and

1 Peter 4.11 list a variety of different Spiritual gifts.  We studied these in the Spring.

 

The Apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 12.7 that each of these is a manifestation of God’s Holy Spirit, the only One who has them.

 

Although He gives them uniquely to each believer in Jesus, every Spiritual gift is designed and intended to benefit every other believer; team work in its truest definition. 

See 1 Peter 4.10, also, for this picture.

  • Finishing this thought, Paul writes in Ephesians 4.12-13 that the gifts listed in verse 10 are ‘for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry’…‘till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ….’

 

  • Like the relay race, each runner takes the baton from receiving it to passing it to the one who has been assigned to run the next leg.

 

Best efforts or 80%?

  • You are responsible only for your leg.  Do you do your part as assigned or let the whole team down?  Winning or loosing may result from one runner!

 

  • Although you don’t run through a tape at the finish line or cross before the clock records your former personal best, what are God’s metrics for your performance?

 

  • Romans 12.6-8 say that your amount of faith is the measure.  Note the illustrations and finish each like the first, as follows: if your unique Spiritual gift is prophecy (telling about Jesus and/or things to come), prophesy ‘in proportion to [your] faith’; if teaching, teach ‘in proportion to [your] faith’; etc.  Spend time in the weight (faith) room!

 

  • In verse 8, Paul adds to ‘in proportion to [your] faith’ the attitude you must also display.  With what adjectives would you describe your best attitude when you are prophesying or teaching or ministering or exhorting?  This is peak performance!

 

 

 

  • You should especially note that the result of the use of every Spiritual gift is ‘that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ….’  Will 80% glorify Him enough?  Note Paul’s self analysis in 2 Timothy 4.7-8.

 

  • Be a good steward of the Spiritual gift given to you by the Holy Spirit!

 

I am glad that God does not use 80% in His dealings with me!  Ephesians 3.20-21!

October 18, 2009 Discipleship And The Image Of Christ

Discipleship and the Image of Christ

 

You were probably also asked the question as an adolescent, what do you want to be when you grow up?  Years of experience have taught me the best answer – Jeremiah 29.11 – whatever God wants me to become.  He knit me together in Carrie’s womb and planted interests in my mind that became passions that I express and enjoy today.  He did the same for you.  The Bible tells us that He has an ultimate goal for us that transcends what we have become and accomplished so far.  We deal with this in the following lesson.

 

What do you think it means to be a disciple of Jesus?  

  • A disciple is a pupil of a teacher. 

 

  • Pupils learn what the teacher knows. 

 

  • Pupils practice what they learn. 

 

  • Pupils express the worldview of the teacher.

 

  • Jesus is our Teacher.  (Who was His Teacher?  Read Hebrews 1.1-3.) 

 

 

 

 

  • We are to become conformed to His image (Romans 8.29), becoming just like Him.  The Apostle

 

 

 

 

  • What hindrances do you find keeping you from becoming a better disciple?

 

How should disciples act?

 

  • How can you implement this in your life?

 

  • The early church implemented this to strengthened discipleship in some practical ways, as are revealed in Acts 2.42-47. 

 

  • What three activities were their habits?  What results developed from these habits?

 

  • How can we change our lifestyles to become like them?

 

  • What hindrances will discourage the fulfillment of this?

 

How does this fulfill Jesus’ imperative in Luke 9.23-26?  This IS discipleship!

October 11, 2009 What You Do Is Worship

 What You Do Is Worship.

 

Live in the present with the future in mind.  This maxim about the choices we make in the contexts of our lives has a spiritual meaning as well.  Notice the perspective of Hebrews 11.13-16.  Do these verses describe you?  Are you living for the present or the future?  The Apostle Paul expresses a future focus in 1 Corinthians 2.9. 

He seems to have been reflecting upon Isaiah 64.4 and 65.17.

 

C. S. Lewis describes the benefit of such reflection in Mere Christianity (page 118): “The Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next…It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.  Aim at Heaven, and you will get earth ‘thrown in’; aim at earth and you will get neither.”

 

David’s perspective should challenge your perspectives.

  • In Psalm 24.1, he declares the ultimate truth: everything was made by and for God.  David reflects on God’s assignment for man in Psalm 8.4-6.  Another psalmist (115.16) helps our understanding of the relationship of man to God.
  • These Psalms are devotional thoughts about Genesis 1.26-28 and 2.15.  God made the Earth habitable for animals during the first four days of Creation.  He, then, made the animals in the next two, capping His Creation with man – made in His image and to rule in His stead.

 

How does your submission to God’s design and purpose constitute true worship?

  • Note the same demeanor among the following men when they experienced God in

Genesis 24.26-27                Exodus 3.6               Isaiah 6.5                  Acts 9.4

What was each doing when he entered into worship?

  • How do John 3.27 and Jeremiah 29.11 cause you to reconsider your attitude toward your daily responsibilities and contexts?  How should Isaiah 55.5 figure into your thinking?
  • How does the following definition of true worship express these points: true worship is the realization of God wherever I am and in whatever I am doing?
  • How is this definition found in Colossians 3.17?  Why do you need to work and produce?  In what ways is work a spiritual exercise?
  • Also enjoy reflecting on

2 Chronicles 16.9    Hebrews 11.6    Isaiah 66.2    Matthew 6.33

 

Why do you think people tend to confuse activities that lead to worship with the true worship of giving themselves to God?

  • Note the order of giving in Paul’s example in 2 Corinthians 8.1-5.  Which gift was most important?  Hebrews 11.4 and Jude 11 tell us that God rejected Cain’s offering because he did not do this most important thing first.
  • Paul instructed the believers in Rome that changing their thinking had to precede their acts of worship.  See Romans 12.1-2.
  • Abraham’s example in Genesis 22.12-14 is one you may consider extreme.  But, how do his words in Genesis 22.5 illustrate a transformed mind?  Read what the writer says about this in Hebrews 11.17-19.
  • How does the story of the woman in Matthew 9.20-22 illustrate renewal?

 

Recall a time of worship when you were completely changed. 

  • Live in the present with the future in mind!
  • Worship and Praise God!

 

October 4, 2009 All Of It Is His

 

 All of it is His”

 

Sermon Notes:         He Made it

Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”

         

          1. It’s His, not ours. Before the beginning, there was nothing.

         

          2. God created everything that is.

         

          3. He is in charge of it all and has an agenda for it all.

 

Table Talk Questions:

            1. What does the order of creation—the heavens and heavenly bodies, dry land, vegetation, animals, and man—say about God’s care for us and for you personally?

         

          2. Your friend believes that creation came about entirely without God, but you believe that God created everything. How will those different views be revealed in the way you live your life?

         

          3. Why is it so important to recognize God as Creator/Owner? What are the practical implication of acknowledging His ownership of everything and everyone?

 

Creation His – All His!

Background passages          Genesis 1:1-28   Revelation 4:11   Psalm 19:1-4

 

Lesson Passages:     Genesis 1:1-3a   Revelation 4:11   Psalm 19:1-4   Genesis 1:26-28

 

1.  What does the phrase ‘in the beginning’ say to you?

 

2. When you read Psalm 24:1, do you believe the statement the psalmist has made is relevant today? 

          Note a few reasons why this statement is or is not relevant to your life?

 

3. Read Psalm 8:6. Why do you think God would designate man, including you, as “lord over the words of (His) hands”?

 

4. In what ways are you equipped to do this work, and what does being lord over all His created works look like in your everyday life?

 

5. This study naturally takes us back to the time when God created the heavens and the earth

          (Genesis 1: 1-3).     When you think of creation, what are the first thoughts that come to your mind?

 

6. What does the simple statement “His, all His” mean to you?

 

7.  Do you believe most believers really think of everything as belonging to God? Explain why or why not.

September 27, 2009 In The Beginning Was The Word

In the beginning was the Word (John 1.1)

 

This beginning of John’s Gospel has been an interest of mine for many years.  He chose a theological introduction of Jesus, instead of the historical and relational of the other writers.  I agree that the ‘Word’ represents the God-Man, Jesus; see John 1.14 and Revelation 19.13.  The Greek word, ‘logos’, is used because it comprehensively includes what is ‘thought’ and ‘said’, implying the ‘reasoning’ or ‘motive’ behind.  In this lesson, I develop my belief, from the God-Man and the Greek, that the Word that John refers to is the name ‘Jesus’.  I will show you why this is important for you, as well.

 

Whose name is ‘Jesus’?

In Luke 1.31, the archangel Gabriel instructed the virgin, Mary, to name the baby, which she would conceive from the Holy Spirit, ‘Jesus’.  This was not Gabriel’s idea, for he was only delivering the message from God, Himself.  Mary’s fiancé, Joseph, was given this same instruction in Matthew 1.21.

The God-Man Jesus may have been told this as a child and probably was reminded of this by the Holy Spirit in the wilderness (Matthew 4.1).

In His prayer before going to the Cross, Jesus reveals Who first had the name ‘Jesus’. 

See John 17.6, 11&12.  He reminds God that He ‘manifested Your name’ to the disciples and ‘kept them in Your name which You gave Me’.  He asks that God ‘keep through Your name which You have given Me’ the disciples after He departs for Heaven.

‘Jesus’ is God’s name that He gave to His only begotten Son – and for our need today.  Thus, John 1.1 proclaims, ‘…the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’  ‘Jesus’ is the Word that was in the beginning!

King David did not know the name ‘Jesus’ but wrote songs in tribute to the Name;

see Psalm 118.10-12. 

King Solomon built the Temple for the Name; see 1 Kings 5.1-5.

Revelation of the Name to mankind was reserved for the Son, the ‘express image’ of the Father (Hebrews 1.3). 

John the Baptist was tasked with identifying the entrance of the Name through the God-Man as the Savior; see John 1.33-34.

 

Why did God introduce His name ‘Jesus’ into our world?

John 1.4-5 gives two answers.  First, ‘Jesus’ is life to all who receive Him as God’s Son and our God-given substitute for sin; see John 1.12, John 3.16, 36, and John 6.47. 

Life is ours because Jesus is in our hearts!  See John 3.18-21.

Second, ‘Jesus’ is light to guide us through the darkness of satan’s deceptions;

see Colossians 2.8-10, John 8.31&32 and John 14.6, and Acts 26.16-18.  Death cannot keep us from life here and when we leave Earth for Heaven!

The Apostle Paul includes ‘Jesus’ among his ‘weapons of our warfare’ in 2 Corinthians 10.3-6 through the ‘name above all names’ in Philippians 2.9-11. 

Think about it; every name of any disease or dictator or disaster or deficiency or disability or downsize is put down by the power of the name ‘Jesus’! 

Remember, we are above every principality and power of satan!  See Ephesians 1.19-23. 

Read the example in Acts 3.16 and Acts 4.12.

‘Jesus’ contains all the attributes of God. 

We see this by comparing John 15.24 with Exodus 34.10, thus identifying Jesus as the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18.18. 

The writer of Hebrews 1.3 said when you saw Jesus, you saw God (John 1.18 and John 4.24).  The name ‘Jesus’ was the power to accomplish the works; see Acts 2.22.

God wants us to know Him as best we can during our time on Earth and before Christians come to dwell with Him in Heaven.  Thus, He rightly focuses us in Jeremiah 9.23-24.  (But, God probably offers remedial classes during our freshman year in Heaven.)  We know God when we see Him teaching and acting through His Son.

 

We know God best when we experience the results of speaking His name ‘Jesus’ daily.

‘Help me, Jesus.’  ‘Save me, Jesus.’

In Revelation 12.11, the Apostle John writes these words that he hears from Heaven: ‘And, they overcame him [satan] by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.’

‘Jesus’ is the word of our testimony that overcomes the world!