December 22, 2013 God’s Gift of Power for You at Christmas

God’s Gift of Power for You at Christmas

So far, you have opened the first two gifts you received at Jesus’ birth: the Holy Spirit (who knows the mind of God and tells you His thoughts and plans; 1 Corinthians 2.12-13; Jeremiah 29.11-13; John 3.27; www.sozoclass.com study 131208) and the wisdom of God (defined in 1 Corinthians 1.30 and valued in 2.6-8; www.sozoclass.com study 131215).  The third gift you received at Jesus’ birth was the power of God.  What is this gift?  Why were you given it?  What are you to do with it?

Strategic Power Points from God

  • Most of you are familiar with Power Point Presentations.  Man only discovered what God had been using for eons.  Consider the following slides showing His power.
  • Genesis 1.1: ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’  The rest of the chapter describes what God spoke into existence.  Paul used Hebrews 11.3 to introduce the reality of Hebrews 11.6.  Just how much power was needed to create the seen from the unseen?  What power did He use to create things unseen?  Only omnipotent God!  Think about Exodus 24.15-16, 33.9-10, 34.29-35.  How?
  • Luke 1.26-38 records the supernatural visit of messenger Gabriel to Mary and his announcement that she would be impregnated by the Holy Spirit with God’s Son, Whom she was to name Jesus.
  • Luke 24.1-7 records the resurrection of Jesus.  Verse 5 ask the supernatural question.  Why, indeed?  Think and see from the spiritual, not the physical.
  • Pentecost witnessed the coming of the promised Holy Spirit; John 14.15-17, Acts 2.1-4.  He is the giver of your talents and abilities, as Paul wrote about in 1 Corinthians 12.1-11.  Consider how John the Baptist’s words in John 3.27 fulfilled Isaiah 40.3-5, spoken centuries earlier.
  • From these slides evidencing God’s power in the past, be assured of, at least, four coming events, as follows.  1 Corinthians 15.51-54 gives you confidence of being ‘called away’ (Revelation 4.1; the Rapture; Philippians 3.20-21).
  • 2 Peter 3.10-13 tells you of the end of the earth and heavens, as you gaze into them now.  How much power will be needed to cause this destruction?  Only God has that much power!
  • But, note 2 Peter 3.13 where a new heaven and new earth are promised.  With how much power and from what materials is the New Jerusalem being constructed, as described in Revelation 21.9-27?  You can read more detail about the Temple in Ezekiel 40.1-44.3; hear God’s reassurance in 43.5-7a.
  • Sadly for some people you may know, Revelation 21.8 also shows the power of God. Plead with them now!  You don’t know when Jesus will call you away.  It will be too late then.  Romans 1.16-17!  Are you?

You have His power within you for His purposes.

  • In Ephesians 1.13-14, Paul reminded believers that the Holy Spirit of God dwells within you.  Your body is His temple (1 Corinthians 6.19); God bought you at satan’s slave market (verse 20) of abused and oppressed slaves, without hope.  A high price!
  • Let God work through you to accomplish His purpose, like John the Baptist said in John 3.27.  Be assured of the reality of 1 John 4.4b.  You need His help.
  • Jesus illustrated this in His life, which was driven by two things: John 5.19-20 and 12.49-50.  Therefore, Romans 12.1-2 and Hebrews 12.1-2 are for you!
  • Jesus also assured you of the fulfillment of His prayer in John 17.18 and 23 when He gave the Great Commission.  Read it in Mark 16.15-20, noting especially verse 20.
  • Thus it was when Peter and John went to the Temple for afternoon prayers and stirred up the people, in Acts 3.1-10.  Whose power healed the paralytic through Peter’s words?  Whose power knew that the man had faith in Jesus’ name to receive healing (Acts 3.16, 4.12)?  God, only!

How powerful is God?

  • The earth reached it winter solstice yesterday, producing the shortest daylight of any day of the year.  Now, it will return to the other limit set by God’s power in June with the summer solstice, or longest daylight.  Back and forth, for the seasons, for God’s glory!
  • The earth circles the Sun in 365 days, rotating completely at over 1,000 miles per hour. But, you can even drive the speed limit in the opposite direction from rotation!
  • Read Jeremiah’s exclamation about such in Jeremiah 32.17.  So, God can do anything.  He has the power, but you can limit His effectiveness, as was said about the people who should have benefitted from Jesus, in Mark 6.1-6. Does your faith limit His power?  Consider Acts 4.23-31.  Would you be among them?
  • Paul reminded the Corinthians of this reality in 1 Corinthians 4.20.  The church today is too much talk and not enough power!  (Is Paul talking about today’s church in 2 Timothy 3.5 and 4.3?)  Paul amplified this in 1 Corinthians 2.4-5.
  • Remember that the power of God through Peter brought the crowd to experience God, in Acts 3.1-10.  Note Paul’s encouragement to his protege in 2 Timothy 1.6-7; hear his words as for you.

Your assignment.

Praise God!!!  Copyright (c) by Maurice L. Painter, 2013.  www.sozoclass.com.

December 15, 2013 God Made Foolish the Wisdom of this World

God made foolish the wisdom of this world

The second gift that you received through Jesus’ birth was the wisdom of God.  The title quotes part of 1 Corinthians 1.20.  Apostle Paul asked some important questions for the people of his day that are just as relevant in the relative culture of the world generally and for younger adults more specifically.  With these questions in mind, how is God’s wisdom superior to that of the ancient and contemporary philosophers?  To the young scholars who have become qualified by repeating the teachings of those before them?  To the investigators of environmental impacts, gaseous causes of warm and cold temperatures, and other such topics that are the play of debaters and logicians?  How is God’s wisdom superior?  Note Paul’s fact and hyperbole in verse 25.

God’s wisdom is not founded in your abilities.

  • Verses 26-29 juxtapose finite man against omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God!
  • No Nobel laureate and no Olympic champion can hold their accomplishment to receive praise from God.  Neither can any Christian!
  • In Romans 4, Paul presents Abraham as your example.  Consider how Paul explains his point in verse 2 through the remaining verses of the chapter.  Why do you think God waited until Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 before fulfilling His promise of Isaac?  Compare your answer to verses 19-22.  Is your faith in yourself and others or in God’s abilities (to fulfill His promises…for you)?
  • Compared to God’s wisdom, your expertise and knowledge, competent and vast though it may be, is foolishness!  Read 1 Corinthians 1.19.
  • What, then, does that say about where you see yourself in Jeremiah 9.23-24?  Just who are you trying to impress?

God’s wisdom results in your salvation.

  • In 1 Corinthians 1.18, Paul wrote the better apologetic for post-modernism: the justice of God.  Jesus’ crucifixion was/is antithetical to worldly wisdom.
  • The cross of Calvary was the supreme act of God’s justice.  Mankind could never atone for his/her rebellion and its consequent expressions.  So, God did this for him/her at the cross of Calvary, as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5.21.
  • Paul defined God’s wisdom in 1 Corinthians 1.30 as your needs that you could never satisfy: righteousness (Hosea 14.9, Isaiah 26.9; His ways making you acceptable to Him), sanctification (Leviticus 11.44a, 1 John 1.7; your holiness and purity before Him), and redemption (Romans 3.24-25, 5.9; your ransom from the eternal penalty of rebellion).

God’s wisdom is no lie.

  • Islam is a lie, conceived by satan to keep adherents bound for the fiery lake.  Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4.3-4 about satan’s purpose.  He commented further on this in Colossians 2.8-10 and Ephesians 4.14 (illustrated by Jesus in John 8.30-47).  Jesus discussed this in His Parable of the Sower; see Matthew 13.18-23.  Eve and Adam were the first to be deceived by satan; see Genesis 3.1-6.
  • God cannot lie!  See Numbers 23.19 (contrasting God from man), Hebrews 6.18 (God cannot lie), and Titus 1.2 (Heaven is based on God’s veracity) .  God is the source of truth, as Jesus stated in John 18.38.
  • Consequently, you will know satan’s lie when you know God’s truth.  Study your Bible!

You received the wisdom of God when Jesus’ was born.  The world considers it foolishness because God’s ways are not man’s ways (Isaiah 55.8-9).  You use a weak and wrong standard when you compare relative to the world, justifying yourself (1 John 2.15-17).  Use truth!

Praise God!!!  Copyright (c) by Maurice L. Painter, 2013.  www.sozoclass.com.

 

December 8, 2013 The Holy Spirit as a Gift from Jesus at Christmas

The Holy Spirit as a Gift from Jesus at Christmas.

Have you ever thought about the gifts that God gave you through the birth of Jesus?  Salvation from God’s wrath on unbelievers (1 Thessalonians 1.10; Acts 17.30-31; Romans 5.9), eternal life in Paradise and Heaven with Him (Luke 23.43; John 14.2-3), and the presence of Jehovah now as your righteousness/tsidkenu (Jeremiah 23.6; John 14.6; 2 Corinthians 5.21), provider/jireh (Genesis 22.14; Matthew 14.19), healer/rapha (Exodus 15.26; Acts 10.38), guide/rohi (Psalm 23; Proverbs 3.5-6), protector/nissi (Exodus 17.15; Luke 10.19; Ephesians 6.10-11), peace/shalom (Judges 6.24; John 14.1), and abiding presence/shammah (Deuteronomy 31.6; Matthew 28.20b).  Among the other, many gifts are three found in 1 Corinthians 1 and 2: the Spirit of God, the power of God, and the wisdom of God…all for you…now!  Enjoy opening these gifts as you prepare to celebrate the virgin birth of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords this Christmas…Immanuel!

The Gift of the Holy Spirit.

  • The Apostle Paul unwraps this gift in 1 Corinthians 2.6-16.
  • What is ‘the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory’ (verse 7)?  This is Paul’s central thought.
  • This ‘glory’ is not the believer’s future in Paradise and Heaven, for the rulers (John 12.31, 14.30; Ephesians 6.12; 1 John 5.19; 2 Corinthians 4.4) would not have been concerned with believers not being on earth.  But, this glory was and is, now, a clear and present danger to them!
  • Five years later, in AD 60, he would explain this ‘mystery’ in Colossians 1.24-27: ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory.’  Christ is the source of your authority (Luke 10.19; Philippians 2.9-11; Revelation 12.11) and the fear of satan’s rulers (James 2.19)!
  • How is Christ in you?  Consider Jesus’ parting words in Acts 1.8.  Also, John 14.26, 1 John 2.20&27, 1 Corinthians 6.19, 1 John 4.4, Ephesians 1.13-14, and 2 Timothy 1.14.  The Holy Spirit.
  • In 1 Corinthians 2.8, Paul said that, if the rulers of Jesus’ day had ‘known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.’
  • Why? Because of what Jesus said in John 14.12.  The death and resurrection of Jesus prompted God to send the Holy Spirit to empower Christians to do what Jesus had done.  Thus, Jesus’ deeds were no longer contained but were expanded by the increasing numbers of believers!
  • Paul wrote about this in Ephesians 3.10.  That is, Christians living out Jesus’ words in John 17.18.  How does Mark 16.15-20 describe the fulfillment of Jesus’ words?  Is the Holy Spirit how verse 20 became reality?
  • See yourself as a gift of ‘rescue, deliverance, healing, prosperity, and completeness’ (the literal meaning of Sozo) to the people you meet (Isaiah 55.5), which is God-intended.  This is so because of Isaiah 11.1-2 and Zechariah 4.6!
  • Thus, Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 2.9 quoting Isaiah 64.4!

You have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2.16)!

Praise God!!!  Copyright (c) by Maurice L. Painter, 2013.  Studies at www.sozoclass.com