Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Major Sins

Over the years I have gotten to know men, not a few, who were apparently outstanding Christians in their churches and cities who had major sins that no one suspected that they could have been guilty of. For some reason I found out and ministered to them, but was only partly successful with a few of them. The next few posts be on their sins. I do not think all of you are guilty but I know some of you are. If the church does not know, God knows and your wife and children probably know.

How Do You Treat Your Wife?

“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” (I Peter3:7)

You are to live with your wives

1. in an understanding way
2. as with someone weak, since she is a woman
3. So that your prayers will not be hindered.

Are your prayers hindered? Are you imitating Jesus?

“Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” (Colossians 3:19)

Are you bitter towards your wife? That is sin against God.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Ephesians 4:31)

Not only must you confess this sin, it must be gotten rid of. It does not happen any more.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"Be" and "Do" Commands in the Bible.

There are “Be” commands in the Bible. They are basic or precede the “Do” commands. We “do” out of what we “are.” God “did” out of what He “is.” “God is love,” (I John 4:8 and 16). God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. God loved out of what He is, love.

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Luke 6:45)

Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. Man speaks out of what he is. If our hearts are filled with good things they overflow with good things.

The “Be” commands are heart things. Here are a few of the “Be” commands:

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ʻBe holy, because I am holy.ʼ” (I Peter 1:15, 16)

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)


If we obey the “Be” commands the “Do” commands are a “piece of cake.”

Monday, October 20, 2014

When You Mean It

When I was a young man I had an emotional reaction to the Apostles Creed recited in churches. It was not because I did not believe it, because I did, and do believe it. On the contrary, that’s why I did not like to hear it. It was recited by rote and mumbled by people I assumed did not believe it, or if they did believe it they did not seem to care if they believed it.

Then one Sunday fifty some years ago I happened to be in the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant in Bala Cynwood, Pennsylvania on a Sunday morning. The congregation stood and shouted out:

“I BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY, MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH: AND IN JESUS CHRIST HIS ONLY SON, OUR LORD; WHO WAS CONCEIVED BY THE HOLY GHOST, BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY, SUFFERED UNDER PONTIUS PILATE, WAS CRUCIFIED, DEAD, AND BURIED; HE DESCENDED INTO HELL; THE THIRD DAY HE ROSE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD; HE ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN, AND SITTETH ON THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY; FROM THENCE HE SHALL COME TO JUDGE THE QUICK AND THE DEAD. I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY GHOST; THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH; THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS; THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS; THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY; AND THE LIFE EVERLASTING. AMEN.”

I still remember it. The same can happen with hymns. By asking questions I found why young people did not like hymns. They grew up in a church where they were sung like they were at a funeral.

More liars stand behind hymnals than any other place and they do not lie with conviction. At Bessie’s memorial service, four years ago, we sang many hymns an hour before the service started. It was a time of joy!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Group Bible Study Topic 3 - Faith

Three examples of people of faith have bee taken from that classic chapter on the subject, Hebrews 11. A good introduction to this topic would be to read that chapter through.

Since question 7 calls for a definition of faith, by studying the 8 passages of Scripture, you will finally have 8 definitions. There is certain to be some overlapping, but by keeping a record of the various definitions, you may be able to make a comprehensive definition at the end of the studies.

1. Genesis 6:1-22, Hebrews 11:7 - Noah
2. Genesis 15:1-6, Romans 4:16-25 - Abraham
3. Joshua 2:1-21, Hebrews 11:31 - Rahab
4. Jonah 3:1-10 - People of Ninevah
5. Matthew 8:1-13 - Centurion
6. Luke 7:36-50 - A woman
7. John 20:1-10 - 'The other disciple' (vs. 8)
8. Acts 27:1-44 - Paul (vs. 25)

From a study of each of the above Scriptures decide:

1. What were the circumstances or needs that called for the exercise of faith?
2. Were there obstacles or problems that made belief difficult?
3. Exactly what was believed? When possible, make a distinction between what was believed generally and what was believed specifically.
4. Try to determine what gave birth to faith. Consider whether the person believed as an act of desperation, as the result of a process of reasoning, because of the stimulant of another’s faith, or for some other reason.
5. How many people were involved in the decision to believe? In this connection, consider the effect on other people by the faith of the person who believed.
6. What was achieved by faith? Were the results temporary, permanent? And how far-reaching?
7. From the above answers, and from the particular Scripture under study, make a definition of faith.
8. Summarize what you have learned and apply it to yourself.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Group Bible Study Topic 2 - Leadership

The purpose of this type of study is to discover from the lives of actual people, whose story is recorded in Scripture, some of the principles of leadership. The subject is more difficult than previous subjects we have studied such as guidance and prayer; because the material is not in such concise form. The complete life of each individual should be studied, but since the time for study is usually limited, one incident or one part of the individual's life has been selected. In this way most of the outstanding qualities, conditions, and problems of Christian leadership will be revealed.


1. Exodus 3:1-18, 4:1-20 - Moses
2. Joshua 1:1-18, 3:1-6 - Joshua
3. Samuel 14:1-23 - Jonathan
4. Nehemiah 1:1-11, 2:1-20 - Nehemiah
5. Acts 27:1-44 - Paul
6. Matthew 8:5-13 - Centurion
7. Acts 3:1-16, 4:1-20 - Peter

In studying each of these Scriptures, come to a conclusion regarding:

1. What were the circumstances in which leadership was shown?
2. What was the particular assignment, and how much depended on this assignment being fulfilled?
3. In relation to God, what qualities did the leader have?
4. In relation to other people, what qualities did the leader reveal?
5. Summarize the difficulties, personal or circumstantial, encountered by the leader and decide whether these could have been overcome by his own unaided efforts.
6. What supernatural resources were made available to the leader by God?
7. Summarize the reasons for the leader's success or failure.
8. Apply the principles discovered to yourself.

SEPARATE STUDY

From Matthew 10:1-42, consider Christ as a leader. Some of the above questions do not fit this unique example. In place of those that are unsuitable add:

1. What methods of leadership did Christ use?
2. What special qualities of leadership did He show on this occasion?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Group Bible Study Topic 1 - Miracles

The Next three posts will be on bible study topics. They were designed by Bill Pape in the 1960s in Japan. If you do all of them there will be 23 studies.

MIRACLES

By faith we leave the realm of human impossibilities, and enter the area of divine possibilities. We pass from the ordinary to the extraordinary. The purpose of this study is to discover the principles governing miracles. God's ways astonish men, but they are never haphazard. There is a vital difference between a miracle, and what is commonly known as 'good luck.'

In making your conclusions, do not read into the Scriptures what is not there. The Bible is not a mirror of your own ideas, but a revelation of the mind of God. On the other hand, do not miss what is in Scripture, and which diligent search will bring to light.

If you do not have time for all the questions at one session of study, select those you feel to be most important, but always include the last.

1. Exodus 14:1-31 - Dividing the sea
2. 1 Kings 17:1-16 - Feeding Elijah
3. 2 Kings 5:1-19 - Healing of Naaman
4. Daniel 3:1-30 - Deliverance of Shadrach etc.
5. John 6:1-15 - Feeding 5,000
6. John 11:1-46 -Raising Lazarus
7. Acts 3:1-4:22 - Healing lame beggar
8. Acts 12:1-19 - Peter's deliverance

For each of these Scriptures alone, decide:

1. What constituted the need for the miracle:
a. As it affected people.
b. As it affected God's purposes.

2. Could these needs have been met in any other way?

3. Was the miracle entirely God's doing, or was human co-operation required in any way? Define the human co-operation if present.

4. What were the consequences of the miracle upon:
a. those who directly benefited by it.
b. other people.
c. men's subsequent attitude to God.

5. Do you consider that a similar miracle done in modern times would have similar effects upon people?

6. What was the primary purpose for which God did this miracle?

7. From the above answers, summarize your conclusions regarding the principles according to which God works miracles.

8. Apply these principles to your own situation.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fear

Fear is an emotion that is happening now about the future. It is a future that is negative and it is always false. It is a lie from the enemy.
It is a temptation.

Hope is also an emotion that is happening now about the future. It is a future that is positive and sure to happen. It is true. It is based on the promise of God. Hope is not “iffy” as in “I hope I pass the exam.” Hope is a glad anticipation of something that is sure to happen. “We have this hope as an anchor of the soul firm, and secure.”

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.” (Hebrews 6:19)

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)


God made woman to need love, provision, protection, and security. God provides them but he also made men to provide them for the women.

All fear is a subset of the great fear of death. And God has delivered us from the great fear.

“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” (Hebrews 2:14-15)

To summarize:

1. Fear is not from God
2. Fear is from the enemy
3. It is based upon a lie
4. God has given us love, power, and discipline
5. Perfect love casts out fear
6. God has given us hope

Immerse yourself in:

1. The promises of God
2. The love of God
3. Marriage (Philippians 4:4 and 4:6, 7)

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Memorize 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Meditate on them.
An order of events:

1. Rejoice
2. Thank God
3. Peace of God will guard your heart

When the Lord Jesus said, “Your will be done” He was surrendering to the known will of God, not to the unknown. In James 4:15, “Instead you ought to say ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’” This is positive planning conditioned on the Lord’s will. We do not have a negative future in the Bible except when a prophet is pronouncing future judgment because of sin.

There are many passages on the fear of the Lord. They are much different from your fear. Your fear is not the fear of the Lord. Your fear is sin and should be confessed. The fear of the Lord adds length to life, it is pure, it teaches wisdom, it includes love for God, it avoids evil, it is a fountain of life, it is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge, it delivers us from the terror by night, from evil, it delivers me from all my fears.