May 24, 2009 Contexts for Christian Apologetics

Contexts for Christian Apologetics

What changed? The society in which I grew up is not the same society of today. Business no longer stops at noon on Wednesday so people can prepare for church that evening. In fact, businesses even now grub for every dollar on Sundays. Schools used to teach and measure reading, writing, and arithmetic. Now, more students must take remedial courses during their freshman year in college because their learning shifted in elementary and secondary education to tolerance and good feelings.

What will the world be like when my grand children are grown?

What has caused this change anyway?

Can it be reversed?

Where will it end?

People have been deceived out of some fundamentals of life: shame, reason, and meaning.

  • Listen to the Apostle Paul’s description of life in our day from 2 Timothy 3.1-9. What loss of shame, reason, and meaning do you identify?
  • Was Paul writing about his observations of society? Or, was he warning Timothy of things to come?
  • We can see these throughout history, illustrated in the following, beginning with Adam and Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3.5 shows clearly the steps of letting go of God’s hand in life.
    • ‘Your eyes will be opened’ resulted in their recognition of nudity (verse 7).
    • This led them know ‘good and evil’. Thus, they learned to question God’s pronouncements. Jeremiah 13.10 says such disdain leads to the pursuit of evil.
    • This led their children to tell God, ‘I can do it myself!’ Examine the consequences of one illustration; Joshua 9.14-15 resulted in 2 Samuel 21.1-14.
    • Without a compass, children interpret God’s word to rationalize their behavior. Notice how Eve added, in verse 3, to God’s instruction in Genesis 2.17. Examine Jeremiah 2.11-13, 17, 19; Jeremiah 4.18; and Isaiah 47.10.
    • Rationalizing behavior led the children to conclude that God is a liar because He does not agree with me. Eve and Adam believed the serpent’s lie to ‘be like God’ (Genesis 3.5).
    • Now, look at the mess we are in! No shame; no reason; no meaning!
  • You can read the same in Moses’ warning to the Hebrews in Deuteronomy 8.7-17, in Absalom’s rebellion against David in 2 Samuel 15.1-6, in Solomon’s lust for sex in 1 Kings 11.1-11, in the Pharisees’ lust for power in John 11.45-48, and in Paul’s encounter with seekers in Athens, Greece, in Acts 17.16-21.

So, how have people lost shame, reason, and meaning? By pursuing the philosophies and traditions of men, which are founded upon the basic principles of the world (Colossians 2.8). The present world-system is organized upon the principles of force, greed, selfishness, ambition, and sinful pleasure (Scofield’s note to Revelation 20.10). In coming weeks, we will consider secularization, pluralization, and privatization as environments against Christianity.

How can we change the world for the better? Jesus! Colossians 2.9-10

May 10, 2009 Impact Of The Resurrection (cont’d)

Impact of the Resurrection

 

What impact did Easter have on your week?  How did it change your perspectives of life and activities?  What changes did Jesus’ death for your sin and His resurrection make in the environment where you were?  Let’s look at how these events changed the disciples who followed Jesus on Earth and before Pentecost.

 

God’s miraculous sign in the resurrection. (See complete lesson notes at www.sozoclass.com.)

 

The disciples became more confident after Jesus’ resurrection.

  • They realized that every other word from God was true, for He had resurrected Jesus.
  • They realized that their lives had been forever changed and so must their lifestyles.
  • They realized that they would have Jesus’ power wherever they went.

 

  • They realized that they would be changing people from the inside out.
    • People follow leaders; for example, Oprah and Buffett and Choptra.  These present popular ideas that answer questions to guide thinking.  Consider these cautions, however: Matthew 15.11, Jeremiah 8.9 and Jeremiah 13.10, Hosea 4.6, and Romans 6.16.  Jesus contrasted truth from lie in Matthew 7.13-14 and John 14.6.
    • Our job is ‘search and rescue’.  Jesus called Paul to retrieve the deceived from satan’s kingdom (Acts 26.16-18 and Ephesians 4.17-24 and Colossians 2.8-9).  These instructions are for us, too.
    • Note what Jesus said in Matthew 28.19-20.  Making disciples, essentially, is ‘making’ people into the image of Christ, as Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 3.18.  A disciple follows a discipline established by the teacher or master, like is described in Matthew 10.7-8. Notice that the challenge is to make disciples of ‘all the nations’, as Jesus repeated in Acts 1.8.  Finally, God would achieve His goal of Exodus 19.6.  Paul restated this in 2 Corinthians 5.20-21.
    • The Holy Spirit crosses our paths with those He is seeking (Isaiah 55.5).  He did this dramatically with Peter and John in Acts 3.1-26.  Faith in the name ‘Jesus’ had healed the paralytic.  The sight of him now walking drew the curious with questions.  Peter answered as Jesus had instructed in Matthew 10.7-8.  See Acts 4.12 also.
    • Signs and wonders convince people of the superiority of Jesus over the demons they have followed. See Acts 2.43 and 1 Corinthians 2.4-5. 
    • Again, in Matthew 28.19, Jesus said to baptize the disciples ‘into’ the ‘name’ of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  One ‘name’ – Jesus (John 17.6, 11-12) – God’s name!  ‘Into’ is best described by Jesus in John 17.20-23; Jesus ‘in’ God and us ‘in’ Jesus; us in God and God in us!  (Light through us into the dark world.) 
    • Baptize is an interesting word, with a deeper meaning than the traditions of most Christian denominations.  ‘Baptizing’ is baptizo, not bapto (Greek); that is, soaking thoroughly, not just washing the outside.  To illustrate, you wash a cucumber to get the dirt off; it becomes a pickle only by being left in vinegar until permeated.  Acts 19.1-7 explains this by illustration. 
    • People would be ‘soaked’ ‘into’ the ‘name’ by being taught to ‘observe to do’ everything Jesus had taught the disciples to do and teach.  Read all of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ words and deeds to understand what we are to teach by word and deed.  By such, the ‘sheep’ Jesus assigns to us are fed, do not fear, are not dismayed, and will not lack (Jeremiah 23.4).  Like us, they grow from being sheep to becoming shepherds of new sheep.  All of this by imitating Jesus; 2 Corinthians 3.16.
    • The inward change is seen in outward manifestations; see Acts 3.16 and Acts 4.12 and Acts 10.38.  Each generation of new Christians, thus, confirms the connection of Exodus 34.10 to John 15.24 to John 17.18.  And, God continues to be magnified!  See Colossians 3.16-17 and Ephesians 3.20-21.

 

Questions for contemplation and discussion:

How can I let Jesus live through me?  See John 5.19-20 and Colossians 2.6-10.

May 3, 2009 Impact Of The Resurrection (cont’d)

Impact of the Resurrection

What impact did Easter have on your week?

How did it change your perspectives of life and activities?

What changes did Jesus’ death for your sin and His resurrection make in the environment where you were?

Let’s look at how these events changed the disciples who followed Jesus on Earth and before Pentecost.

 

God’s miraculous sign in the resurrection

Exodus 34.10     John 15.24     Acts 2.22

Matthew 10.7-8  John 17.18     Acts 26.16-18

Acts 2.32-36       Acts 17.30-31

 

The disciples became more confident after Jesus’ resurrection.

They realized that every other word from God was true, for He had resurrected Jesus;

Luke 24.44-53        John 14.26

 

They realized that their lives had been forever changed and so must their lifestyles;

John 20.30–John 21.25    Mark 1.16-18    John 21.22

2Corinthians 15.7                1Corinthians 13.11              Jeremiah 29.11

 

They realized that they would have Jesus’ power wherever they went;

Matthew 28.18, 20      Mark 16.20            1 Corinthians 2.4-5

Jeremiah 45.5          Acts 1.8                     Mark 16.17-18, 20

Acts 10.38                 Matthew 10.7-8       Luke 10.17

Luke 4.17-21            Isaiah 16.1-3            Ephesians 2.10

John 17.18                John 5.19-20 Acts 2.22

Philippians 2.11       1Corinthians 2.4-5

 

They realized that they would be changing people from the inside out;

Matthew 28.18-20      Acts 4.12          Acts 10.38

Mark 16.17-18          Exodus 34.10    John 15.24

2Corinthians 3.18        Exodus 19.6          2Corinthians 5.20

John 17.6, 11-12, 20-23                             Jeremiah 23.4

Acts 3.16                   Acts 4.12                   Acts 10.38

Ephesians 3.21         Colossians 3.16-17

Questions for contemplation and discussion:

Do I realize each of these things, as the disciples of Jesus did?

How can my faith be strengthened by the resurrection? 

Ephesians 1.19-21               Ephesians 3.20-21

 

How can I keep from charging off in my strength or following someone else?

Isaiah 26.3, 12                  Isaiah 64.4

 

What ‘signs’ accompany my words?

Colossians 3.16-17, 23-24      Jeremiah 32.27

 

How can I let Jesus live through me? 

Acts 2.22              John 5.19-20

April 26, 2009 Impact Of The Resurrection (cont’d)

Impact of the Resurrection

What impact did Easter have on your week?

How did it change your perspectives of life and activities?

What changes did Jesus’ death for your sin and His resurrection make in the environment where you were?

Let’s look at how these events changed the disciples who followed Jesus on Earth and before Pentecost.

 

God’s miraculous sign in the resurrection

Exodus 34.10     John 15.24     Acts 2.22

Matthew 10.7-8  John 17.18     Acts 26.16-18

Acts 2.32-36       Acts 17.30-31

 

The disciples became more confident after Jesus’ resurrection.

They realized that every other word from God was true, for He had resurrected Jesus;

Luke 24.44-53        John 14.26

 

They realized that their lives had been forever changed and so must their lifestyles;

John 20.30–John 21.25    Mark 1.16-18    John 21.22

 

They realized that they would have Jesus’ power wherever they went;

Matthew 28.18, 20      Mark 16.20    1 Corinthians 2.4-5

 

They realized that they would be changing people from the inside out;

Matthew 28.19-20      Acts 4.12          Acts 10.38

Mark 16.17-18          Exodus 34.10    John 15.24

 

Questions for contemplation and discussion:

Do I realize each of these things, as the disciples of Jesus did?

How can my faith be strengthened by the resurrection? 

Ephesians 1.19-21               Ephesians 3.20-21

 

Do I wait for the Lord or charge off in my strength or follow someone else?

Isaiah 26.3, 12                  Isaiah 64.4

 

What ‘signs’ accompany my words?

Colossians 3.16-17, 23-24      Jeremiah 32.27

 

How can I let Jesus live through me? 

Acts 2.22              John 5.19-20

April 19, 2009 Impact Of The Resurrection

Impact of the Resurrection

What impact did Easter have on your week? 

How did it change your perspectives of life and activities? 

What changes did Jesus’ death for your sin and His resurrection make in the environment where you were? 

Let’s look at how these events changed the disciples who followed Jesus on Earth and before Pentecost.

God’s miraculous sign in the resurrection

The disciples became more confident after Jesus’ resurrection.

  • They realized that every other word from God was true, for He had resurrected Jesus; see Luke 24.44-53.  Jesus ‘opened their understanding’ of the Scriptures; verse 45.  He encouraged them to await expectantly the coming of the Holy Spirit to empower them (and us) for service; verse 49 and John 14.26.
  • They realized that their lives had been forever changed and so must their lifestyles.
    • See John 20.30-21.25.  There is no uncertainty when God leads; walk with confidence!  Jesus’ dialogue with Peter reminded him of His original call; see Mark 1.16-18.  Jesus’ words to Peter about His task for John remind us to keep our eyes focused upon Him, to fulfill His purpose individually; see John 21.22.
    • Change means we cannot go back.  Illustrations in life include joining the military, getting married, and having children.  In 2 Corinthians 5.17, Paul proclaims that we are ‘new creations’ when we accept Jesus as Savior.  In 1 Corinthians 13.11, he infers that we must ‘put away childish things’ and make Jesus Lord.
    • Such iterations of life are working out God’s plan for our lives; see Jeremiah 29.11.
  • They realized that they would have Jesus’ power wherever they went.
    • What gives you confidence?  Money in the bank; knowledge of facts and truth; superior position; close walk with Jesus.
      • See Matthew 28.18 and 20.  Jesus said that He had been given all authority and that He would be with them until the end of time.  Authority trumps power every time.  ‘Authority’ is with us wherever we go.  See God’s promise to Baruch in Jeremiah 45.5 and be strengthened to fulfill Acts 1.8!
    • In Mark 16.20, John reminds us of this reality and ‘authority’ of Jesus with us until the end of the age.  Jesus, actually, does the ‘work’ of the ‘word’ (Jesus) that He commissioned in verses 17-18.  Jesus said this would be His work, in Luke 4.17-21 (see Isaiah 61.1-3).
    • Remember that these ‘good works’ (Ephesians 2.10) were done by Jesus (Acts 10.38) and the Apostles (Matthew 10.7-8; Luke 10.17) and given for us to do (John 17.18).  How do John 5.19-20 and Acts 2.22 add to your understanding of this?
    • Jesus’ power would do the work through them to confirm His name by ‘accompanying signs’.  Paul’s confidence in this is expressed in Philippians 2.11 and 1 Corinthians 2.4-5.  This should be our declaration and lifestyle, too.  See Acts 3.6, 16, and Acts 4.12; 2 Kings 5.3 also.
  • They realized that they would be changing people from the inside out.
    • People follow leaders; for example, Oprah and Buffett and Choptra.  These present popular ideas that answer questions to guide thinking.  Consider these cautions, however: Matthew 15.11, Jeremiah 8.9 and Jeremiah 13.10, Hosea 4.6, and Romans 6.16.  Jesus contrasted truth from lie in Matthew 7.13-14 and John 14.6.
    • Our job is ‘search and rescue’.  Jesus called Paul to retrieve the deceived from satan’s kingdom (Acts 26.16-18 and Ephesians 4.17-24 and Colossians 2.8-9).  These instructions are for us, too.
    • Note what Jesus said in Matthew 28.19-20.  Making disciples, essentially, is ‘making’ people into the image of Christ, as Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 3.18.  A disciple follows a discipline established by the teacher or master, like is described in Matthew 10.7-8. Notice that the challenge is to make disciples of ‘all the nations’, as Jesus repeated in Acts 1.8.  Finally, God would achieve His goal of Exodus 19.6.  Paul restated this in 2 Corinthians 5.20-21.
    • The Holy Spirit crosses our paths with those He is seeking (Isaiah 55.5).  He did this dramatically with Peter and John in Acts 3.1-26.  Faith in the name ‘Jesus’ had healed the paralytic.  The sight of him now walking drew the curious with questions.  Peter answered as Jesus had instructed in Matthew 10.7-8.  See Acts 4.12 also.
    • Signs and wonders convince people of the superiority of Jesus over the demons they have followed. See Acts 2.43 and 1 Corinthians 2.4-5. 
    • Again, in Matthew 28.19, Jesus said to baptize the disciples ‘into’ the ‘name’ of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  One ‘name’ – Jesus (John 17.6, 11-12) – God’s name!  ‘Into’ is best described by Jesus in John 17.20-23; Jesus ‘in’ God and us ‘in’ Jesus; us in God and God in us!  (Light through us into the dark world.) 
    • Baptize is an interesting word, with a deeper meaning than the traditions of most Christian denominations.  Baptizing’ is baptizo, not bapto (Greek); that is, soaking thoroughly, not just washing the outside.  To illustrate, you wash a cucumber to get the dirt off; it becomes a pickle only by being left in vinegar until permeated.  Acts 19.1-7 explains this by illustration. 
    • People would be ‘soaked’ ‘into’ the ‘name’ by being taught to ‘observe to do’ everything Jesus had taught the disciples to do and teach.  Read all of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ words and deeds to understand what we are to teach by word and deed.  By such, the ‘sheep’ Jesus assigns to us are fed, do not fear, are not dismayed, and will not lack (Jeremiah 23.4).  Like us, they grow from being sheep to becoming shepherds of new sheep.  All of this by imitating Jesus; 2 Corinthians 3.16.
    • The inward change is seen in outward manifestations; see Acts 3.16 and Acts 4.12 and Acts 10.38.  Each generation of new Christians, thus, confirms the connection of Exodus 34.10 to John 15.24 to John 17.18.  And, God continues to be magnified!  See Colossians 3.16-17 and Ephesians 3.20-21.

 

Questions for contemplation and discussion:

April 5, 2009 Jesus is Coming Back (contd.)

Jesus is Coming Back

John 14.3       John 20.7

 

Jesus’ Final Return

Revelation 19.11-16            John 12.47-50   

 

Ephesians 6.17

 

Jesus’ Return for Us

1Thessalonians 4.13-18                 2Corinthians 5.8   

 

1Corithians 15.51-53

 

Jesus Arose From the Grave

John 20.1-18    Matthew 12.38-45    Luke 11.29-36    

 

John 15.24       Exodus 34.10                Luke 11.33-36

 

Isaiah 8.20        Psalm 119.105          Matthew 12.43-45

 

Jeremiah 13.10       John 21          

 

Jesus is coming back soon, He said in

John 14.3      

 

REJOICE!!!!!

March 29, 2009 Jesus Is Coming Back

Jesus is Coming Back

John 14.3       John 20.7

 

Jesus’ Final Return

Revelation 19.11-16            John 12.47-50   

 

Ephesians 6.17

 

Jesus’ Return for Us

1Thessalonians 4.13-18                 2Corinthians 5.8   

 

1Corithians 15.51-53

 

Jesus Arose From the Grave

John 20.1-18    Matthew 12.38-45    Luke 11.29-36    

 

John 15.24       Exodus 34.10                Luke 11.33-36

 

Isaiah 8.20        Psalm 119.105          Matthew 12.43-45

 

Jeremiah 13.10       John 21          

 

Jesus is coming back soon, He said in

John 14.3      

 

REJOICE!!!!!

March 22, 2009 Building The Footstool For Jesus’ Feet

Building the Footstool for Jesus’ Feet

Psalm 110.1        Matthew 22.44            

Mark 12.36         Luke 20.42-43

Acts 2.34             1 Corinthians 15.25    

Hebrews 1.13     Hebrews 10.13

What is a footstool?

A piece of furniture upon which to prop your feet off the floor.

It has either three or four legs for stability.  Without one leg, the footstool wobbles or falls and does not perform its function.

It symbolizes a person at rest.  So, we visualize Jesus at rest.

We rest upon the three truths of Christianity:

Jesus’ virgin birth      Luke 1.30-38

His atoning death     John 12.32-33

                                    Hebrews 10.12-13

His bodily resurrection     Luke 24.1-9

Thus, we rest upon Jesus for earthly and eternal salvation (Acts 4.12).

Who are Jesus’ enemies?

1 John 2.15-17 ‘lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life’

2Corinthians 4.3-4             John 14.6

Matthew 4.1-10                    Ephesians 6.17

Revelation 19.15               1 John 3.8b

Acts 10.38                        Colossians 2.15

How will Jesus’ enemies be made His footstool?

Psalm 110.2         Luke 10.19         

John 17.18                Revelation 12.11

Ephesians 3.10      Ephesians 1.22-23

God is depending upon you to build the footstool with the demons you overcome – sickness, poverty, contentions, etc.  So, overcome satan!!!!!

March 15, 2009 Free In Christ, So Why Go Back (contd.)

Free in Christ, So Why Go Back?

 

Let me frame this lesson with some illustrations of the title.

 

John 5.14 records Jesus’ words to the paralytic at the Pool of Bethesda He had just healed: ‘Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.’

 

In John 8.11, He repeats these words to the adulteress: ‘…go and from now on sin no more.’

 

For these, and us, the ‘game of life’ is tied after Jesus saves us from some deception of satan. 

This is the state of Israel in Isaiah 40.1-2.

 

God says, I give you double blessings for all the trouble that sin brought you.  Yet, Israel went back.  See Proverbs 26.11

 

Jesus explained His words to the paralytic when He addressed some Pharisees and scribes in Matthew 12.43-45.  

 

What made the ‘last state of that man…worse than the first’?

Note the last sentence of verse 45.  The moral: you should expect multiplied worse conditions if you return to the scene of the crime!  Don’t blame God; you asked for it!

 

Why do we go back?

satan never stops his deceptions!  he just waits for our weakness to be revealed! 

Jesus explained this is John 16.33.  See Matthew 10:22 also

 

satan will continue this until he is cast to the ‘the lowest depths of the Pit’ (Isaiah 14.12-15).

 

1 John 2.15-17 tells us that we love this life too much.  

 

What is missing when this happens?

 

Jesus prayed that you would be ‘in the world but not of the world’ (John 17.15-16).

 

Jesus illustrated this in Mark 7.20-23.  See James 4.1-4 and Romans 6.16.

 

Solomon illustrates this in Proverbs 4:14-17 and in Proverbs 6:12-19.

 

Who are your friends?

 

What are their habits?

 

God warned the wandering Hebrews about this in Leviticus 18.1-30.  Verses 6-23 read like scenes from television soap operas and comedies and motion pictures.  This is the love of the world!  Verses 1-5 and 24-25 are a warning and encouragement.

 

In Leviticus 20.1-27, God repeats the offense and its proper punishment.

 

God wants you to go back, but to be holy, like Him. 

See Leviticus 19.1-2 and Leviticus 20.7-8, 24, 26

 

You must conquer sin!

These were God’s words to Cain in Genesis 4.7. 

 

Sin greets you with every turn of our paths, for reasons explained above. 

 

But, God says you are to conquer it! 

Revelation 2.1-29   Revelation 3:1-22   Revelation 12:11

 

Don’t ask Him to do it! 

 

Remember Luke 10.19  

 

He wants you, too, to see the wake of satanic debris described in verse 17. 

 

Remember, also, Jeremiah 51.20-23.

 

Jeremiah 6.16 encourages you to stop when you sense satan offering a tantalizing morsel to a fleshly lust; don’t go there! 

 

Paul gives us thoughts to think in Philippians 4.8-9 and explains why in Romans 6.14 (and Romans 5.20-21).

 

Pretend that you are Solomon’s son/daughter listening to Proverbs 4:23

 

Note the last instruction in Psalm 110.1-2. 

 

Does God want to make His enemies His footstool through your conquering sin? 

 

Consider Ephesians 2.10 and Luke 19.13 (King James Version: ‘Occupy ‘till I come!’)

 

‘Free at last, free at last; thank God Almighty I’m free at last.’

(Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King)

 

I expect that Galatians 5.1 was a text for Dr. King’s statement.

 

What a declaration for us! 

Paul goes on to discuss ‘yokes’ which may ‘entangle’ you again. 

 

But, Christ has made you free! 

Could this have been a second intention of Dr. King’s statement?

 

What is the foundation that Jesus established for your freedom in John 8.31-32? 

See Psalm 119.45 also. 

 

Where does truth come from?  Romans 10.17

 

How do Jesus’ words in John 15.7 illustrate His statement about freedom? 

 

Is Deuteronomy 8.18 the same message?

 

The Apostle Paul, again, states your freedom in Romans 8.1-2. 

 

What shackle is thrown off when you become free? 

 

How important is that to you?

 

How do Jeremiah 23.28-30 and Psalm 119.99 give the same warning and encouragement regarding freedom?  Consider also Psalm 1:1-6

 

Is it true – no more struggles with sin?

Jesus seems to be stating this in Matthew 11.28-30. 

You struggle against satan and his sin in your own power and will fail. 

But, walking with Jesus results in freedom and rest, even while overcoming the enemies along your paths. 

Compared to the weight of sin, His ‘yoke’ and ‘burden’ are feathers!  (No bad after-taste and no harmful side-effects!)

I like Isaiah’s acknowledgement in Isaiah 26.3. 

 

How practical is Isaiah 26.12 for your daily life?

 

Jeremiah 9.23-24 and Matthew 6.33 say the same thing about your struggle with sin.  How will this change your life style and to conquer?

 

Free at last!  No going back!  Praise God!!!

March 8, 2009 Free In Christ, Why Go Back? [contd]

Free in Christ, So Why Go Back?

 

Let me frame this lesson with some illustrations of the title.

 

John 5.14 records Jesus’ words to the paralytic at the Pool of Bethesda He had just healed: ‘Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.’

 

In John 8.11, He repeats these words to the adulteress: ‘…go and from now on sin no more.’

 

For these, and us, the ‘game of life’ is tied after Jesus saves us from some deception of satan. 

This is the state of Israel in Isaiah 40.1-2.

 

God says, I give you double blessings for all the trouble that sin brought you.  Yet, Israel went back.  See Proverbs 26.11

 

Jesus explained His words to the paralytic when He addressed some Pharisees and scribes in Matthew 12.43-45.  

 

What made the ‘last state of that man…worse than the first’?

Note the last sentence of verse 45.  The moral: you should expect multiplied worse conditions if you return to the scene of the crime!  Don’t blame God; you asked for it!

 

Why do we go back?

satan never stops his deceptions!  he just waits for our weakness to be revealed! 

Jesus explained this is John 16.33.  See Matthew 10:22 also

 

satan will continue this until he is cast to the ‘the lowest depths of the Pit’ (Isaiah 14.12-15).

 

1 John 2.15-17 tells us that we love this life too much.  

 

What is missing when this happens?

 

Jesus prayed that you would be ‘in the world but not of the world’ (John 17.15-16).

 

Jesus illustrated this in Mark 7.20-23.  See James 4.1-4 and Romans 6.16.

 

Solomon illustrates this in Proverbs 4:14-17 and in Proverbs 6:12-19.

 

Who are your friends?

 

What are their habits?

 

God warned the wandering Hebrews about this in Leviticus 18.1-30.  Verses 6-23 read like scenes from television soap operas and comedies and motion pictures.  This is the love of the world!  Verses 1-5 and 24-25 are a warning and encouragement.

 

In Leviticus 20.1-27, God repeats the offense and its proper punishment.

 

God wants you to go back, but to be holy, like Him. 

See Leviticus 19.1-2 and Leviticus 20.7-8, 24, 26

 

You must conquer sin!

These were God’s words to Cain in Genesis 4.7. 

 

Sin greets you with every turn of our paths, for reasons explained above. 

 

But, God says you are to conquer it! 

Revelation 2.1-29   Revelation 3:1-22   Revelation 12:11

 

Don’t ask Him to do it! 

 

Remember Luke 10.19  

 

He wants you, too, to see the wake of satanic debris described in verse 17. 

 

Remember, also, Jeremiah 51.20-23.

 

Jeremiah 6.16 encourages you to stop when you sense satan offering a tantalizing morsel to a fleshly lust; don’t go there! 

 

Paul gives us thoughts to think in Philippians 4.8-9 and explains why in Romans 6.14 (and Romans 5.20-21).

 

Pretend that you are Solomon’s son/daughter listening to Proverbs 4:23

 

Note the last instruction in Psalm 110.1-2. 

 

Does God want to make His enemies His footstool through your conquering sin? 

 

Consider Ephesians 2.10 and Luke 19.13 (King James Version: ‘Occupy ‘till I come!’)

 

‘Free at last, free at last; thank God Almighty I’m free at last.’

(Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King)

 

I expect that Galatians 5.1 was a text for Dr. King’s statement.

 

What a declaration for us! 

Paul goes on to discuss ‘yokes’ which may ‘entangle’ you again. 

 

But, Christ has made you free! 

Could this have been a second intention of Dr. King’s statement?

 

What is the foundation that Jesus established for your freedom in John 8.31-32? 

See Psalm 119.45 also. 

 

Where does truth come from?  Romans 10.17

 

How do Jesus’ words in John 15.7 illustrate His statement about freedom? 

 

Is Deuteronomy 8.18 the same message?

 

The Apostle Paul, again, states your freedom in Romans 8.1-2. 

 

What shackle is thrown off when you become free? 

 

How important is that to you?

 

How do Jeremiah 23.28-30 and Psalm 119.99 give the same warning and encouragement regarding freedom?  Consider also Psalm 1:1-6

 

Is it true – no more struggles with sin?

Jesus seems to be stating this in Matthew 11.28-30. 

You struggle against satan and his sin in your own power and will fail. 

But, walking with Jesus results in freedom and rest, even while overcoming the enemies along your paths. 

Compared to the weight of sin, His ‘yoke’ and ‘burden’ are feathers!  (No bad after-taste and no harmful side-effects!)

I like Isaiah’s acknowledgement in Isaiah 26.3. 

 

How practical is Isaiah 26.12 for your daily life?

 

Jeremiah 9.23-24 and Matthew 6.33 say the same thing about your struggle with sin.  How will this change your life style and to conquer?

 

Free at last!  No going back!  Praise God!!!