Does “Everyone” Include Satan?

July 21, 2017 at 10:01 am | Posted in Q&A | Leave a comment
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Question: We were telling our children that God loves everyone, but then they asked, “Does God love the devil?” What should I tell them?

Answer: First of all, you are correct in telling them that God loves everyone “in the world” (John 3:16). Of course, we also need to let our children know that God loves in greater ways than we do, and that God is so much greater than, and different from us, that it is possible for Him to harmonize His will and His feelings in ways that are not possible for us. In other words, God’s feelings are perfectly controlled, and are more holy than ours, so it is possible for Him to love His enemies (Romans 5:8) and hate His enemies (Psalm 5:5, 11:5) at the same time.

When it comes to the devil (and the angels for that matter), the Bible does not give us specific information on God’s “feelings” about them. He created them, and the angels obey Him, which must please Him, and He is love (I John 4:8), so it is possible that He loves them, but the Bible never really emphasizes that, as far as I know. Satan and his demons, on the other hand, disobeyed Him, and He cast them out, and He has not devised a plan of redemption for them the way that He has for us fallen human beings, so it is probably reasonable to say that God does not love them in the same way that He loves us (if He loves them at all).

What I would emphasize to children is that the devil made a horrible choice in trying to make himself equal to God (Isaiah 14:12-14) and he paid for it. Still, he does not want to be forgiven. He hated God first without a cause, and that will never change. Our first ancestors, Adam and Eve, committed the same sin: disobedience and self-idolatry (and, sadly, we still do it too, every day). But the fact that God was still willing to die for us, and forgive us, shows how great His love for us truly is. Meanwhile, no matter what His feelings toward Satan are, because He loves us, He will one day imprison Satan forever and ever in order to protect us from him (Revelation 20:3-10).

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God’s Wrath: Attribute or Reaction?

June 28, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Posted in Q&A | Leave a comment
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Question: The Bible makes it clear that God does get angry. Is the anger of God something that resides in him by nature, or is His anger only a provoked response to the existence of sin or evil?

Answer: I am not aware of a Bible verse that indicates that God’s anger is merely a provoked response, although I believe if we took a poll of Bible commentators, that would be the majority view. Let’s start out by affirming what the Bible does affirm, though: God is love (I John 4:8). Also:

The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

Deuteronomy 7:-7-8

These verses do show that the attribute of love is something inherent in God’s divine character, but they do not rule out the possibility that wrath is one of God’s divine attributes, also inherent to His character or nature. Love and wrath existing in the same being are not logically contradictory, and, while it is true that the Bible does portray God’s wrath as being EXPRESSED against sin or evil, the Bible does not state that the entrance of sin and evil into the world CREATED God’s wrath or provoked something which did not exist in Him before. I believe the Bible teaches that all human emotions were originally given to man as a part of the God’s Imago Dei creation, so that they existed in God before being communicated to His creatures, but that the entrance of sin into the world warped these emotions in us, so that they are often expressed sinfully by us. If God had chosen not to allow sin to enter His creation, His attribute of wrath/anger would have still existed, only it would be expressed by us as righteous indignation or “holy wrath,” rather than as the loss of control or temper. For example, the serpent’s twisting of God’s words should have (and could have) made Adam and Eve angry and wrathful toward the serpent, and that anger would not have been sinful. It would have been an obedient and worshipful expression of God’s wrath. In fact, one reason why God allowed such a thing as sin in the first place might have been to show His righteous wrath, thereby demonstrating the glory of the full spectrum of His attributes for all eternity.

The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

Proverbs 16:4

What Can I Do for God?

February 18, 2015 at 11:48 am | Posted in Matthew | 4 Comments
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Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 5:16

The point of doing “good works” is not to impress other people with how “good” we are. Nor is the point to impress God, in the sense of gaining or earning His favor. However, the Bible does say to live your life before the eyes of God (I Kings 15:5; I Samuel 26:24). Many years ago, when I first started actively serving as a member of a local church, I was not sure what I would be able to do. The church had a gym, and it was in need of painting, so, as part of a big group project, I was assigned to paint a large section of the walls. I had done plenty of painting growing up, but this was special. In my mind, I wasn’t doing this for the church, or for the approval of the pastor or other church members. I was doing it for the Lord. I don’t think I’ve ever painted with such care and effort. I wanted to do a good job for my Lord.

If you are a father and you’ve ever taken a small child to a public playground, you have probably experienced this: There will almost always be young boys there with their mothers or some other female caregiver. They are happy playing by themselves until they see you (the only grown man) there. Almost immediately, they will begin showing off, vying for your attention, hanging upside down from the monkey bars, jumping off the highest part of the slide, turning a back-flip off a swing. “Hey, hey, look at me – look what I can do!” There is something inherent in boys that makes them want to please their fathers (or in the absence of their fathers) some male authority figure. It’s not exactly the same thing with God and His children, but there is a sense in which we should be striving to please our Heavenly Father.

On the other hand, though, we must be careful not to make an idol of our accomplishments when they appear noteworthy. We have a tendency to feel content as Christians when we accomplish all our spiritual “chores:” when we have read our Bibles, said our prayers, witnessed faithfully, advanced in our sanctification. When we have a day like this, we might secretly, perhaps even subconsciously, believe that God loves us “more” than on the days when we lose the battle to temptation, fall into sin, shirk our spiritual duties, and regress into the flesh. I call that type of of thinking “idolatrous” because, when that happens, we have become the source of our own “blessedness” – our own peace and contentment.

There is a difference between striving to fulfill every rule of law and living to please God – of being motivated by His greatness and goodness on one hand, versus being motivated by the false belief that I am somehow adding something to Him, on the other hand.

We like to think that God has no other hands than our hands, no other feet than our feet, no way of speaking but by our mouths, but this is not true. God is not dependent upon His children, and there would be no place for us in the Kingdom of Heaven if it was a place only for those with great faith, tireless devotion, and unfailing, continual, never-sliding-back progress in sanctification.

Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?

Isaiah 66:1

The idea that God doesn’t need us might make some folks mad, but it makes me very, very happy. God can raise up a rock to do anything I can do – and do it better than me! It’s not the world’s version of the “great ones” who rule with the King in the Kingdom of Heaven.

But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

Matthew 19:30

For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:17

Yes, we shall reign in life, but not by our own righteousness. It shall be by the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Catechism Question 14

December 1, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Posted in Children's Bible Catechism | 4 Comments
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Question 14: What has God done for you so you can have eternal life?
Answer: He sent his Son.
Prove it.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

God came into this world in the Person of His Son, Who became a man while remaining fully God. He started out His earthly life by being born of a virgin, and then growing into manhood, all the while living a perfectly righteous and holy life, never sinning.

He purchased eternal life for all who would believe on Him by taking our sins upon Himself on the Cross, paying for them fully as He died, then rising from the dead.

Other verses to consider:

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 1:14

But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

Galatians 4:4

Catechism Question 9

July 18, 2014 at 9:40 am | Posted in Children's Bible Catechism | 3 Comments
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Question 6: What is wrong with you?
Answer: I was born a sinner, and I have sinned against God.
Prove it.
Psalm 51:5

Question 7: What is sin?
Answer: Sin is violating God’s law.
Prove it.
I John 3:4

Question 8: What is the punishment for sin?
Answer: The punishment for sin is death.
Prove it.
Ezekiel 18:4

Question 9: Since you are a sinner, how does God feel about you?
Answer: Even though I am a sinner, God loves me.
Prove it.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

When you ask question nine to your child, what you are hoping for here is an amazement – almost an incredulity that God could love a wicked sinner like me. You want your child to think or ask, “How can He forgive me when He has promised to punish all who sin?” You know you’re on the right track if you are getting those kinds of questions.

Do not gloss over the wickedness of sin. HOWEVER, you must not gloss over the richness of God’s love, either. Dwell on it here.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

II Peter 3:9

Four-Dimensional Love (Part 2)

July 3, 2013 at 9:40 am | Posted in Biblical friendship, Uncategorized | 8 Comments
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For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Ephesians 3:14-19 (emphasis added)

In Part One I mentioned the height, the breadth, and the length of Christ’s love, but now I want you to see the depth – the “roots.”

Rooted love is not complacent about its depth. “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge…” (Ephesians 3:19) In the love of Christ we have the potential to know the unknowable! To know what can only be known in Christ – and can never be known apart from Christ. How deep is the love of Christ? It is eternally deep – we will never get to the bottom of it. My relationship with other human beings who I love – even my relationship with my wife – when it comes to its depths, its richness – is dependent on my knowledge of God.

They say that loving human relationships (especially marriage) are hard work, but the real “work” of love should not be “toil.” It is joyous and exciting work. It is going down deep, but it is like digging for buried treasure, not digging a grave. If you have only a superficial experience of the love of God in Christ, let me plead with you to spend time alone – late at night if you have to – early in the morning if you have to – missing a meal or a nap if you have to – deep in the Bible – in Bible study and in prayer – getting to know God, and bringing up the treasures you find in His depths. Roots press down hard and deep, but they bring up sweet water and nutrients from the earth – up the trunk and down the branches – to strengthen the tree and make the fruit bountiful.

Most good Bible lessons contain warnings and comforts. The comforting part of this one is supposed to be that you now realize that the love of Christ is four-dimensional and that you can be rooted and grounded in it and it’s wonderful. But here is the warning part: Do not make the mistake of thinking that the reason to love your spouse or your friends is so that they will love you in return. The love of Christ is shed abroad in our hearts, but it is not given to us to be used as a manipulation technique. Its purpose is not to teach you to give so you can get. That’s probably the major error in many otherwise good books on marriage, love, and relationships. The theory is that your “love tank” is empty. You feel empty because the special someone in your life doesn’t speak your love language or you haven’t learned to speak his or hers. You are from Mars, and your spouse is from Venus, so you need to learn to be a good alien, so your spouse will treat you right in return. Therefore, you can transform your spouse by serving him or her.

No! Jesus talked about this all the time and it always made people mad. “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts…” “Even the sinners and the publicans and the unbelievers can do this…” These teachings of Jesus, which argue from the lesser to the greater, and contrast true love with superficial manipulation, have been adopted as principles for running businesses and winning friends and influencing people. “Be nice to others so they will be nice to you.” “Serve them and they’ll let you lead them.” When Jesus says that even the wicked understand the principle of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours,” He’s making a comparison, not setting the standard. You and I will get into big trouble if we take something good – service, self-sacrifice, selfless giving – and we use it as a means to get our needs met. News flash: You do have needs – but your spouse – or the person you care about – is not there to be manipulated into meeting those needs. Even if you are using very soft hands and very kind words in your manipulation, it is still selfish manipulation.

Your spouse or your loved one – by the grace of God – will one day make a very good spouse or best friend – and maybe they already do – but they are going to make a terrible Jesus. Your idols (the things or people you expect to meet your needs apart from God) will always let you down – and what you have idolized, you will eventually demonize.

As Christians, all our needs are met where?

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

Jesus showed the height of love on the Cross: He was “lifted up” so that He might draw all men to Himself. He showed the breadth: His arms were stretched out wide – open, inviting, welcoming. He spoke forth, showing the length of love: “Father, forgive them;” “Son, behold thy mother;” “It is finished.” He was nailed to a “tree” which was rooted to the Earth. He was both human and divine, and He wasn’t there suffering in order to evoke sympathy so they would come and take Him down. He was there to sacrifice, to love unconditionally, to love those of us who were not just undeserving but ill-deserving of God’s love.

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

I Peter 2:24

Four-Dimensional Love (Part 1)

June 12, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Ephesians 3:14-19

What is the most attractive part of a tree? Some people prefer the leaves, and they can certainly be beautiful.

https://i2.wp.com/dingo.care2.com/pictures/c2c/share/12/124/416/1241611_370.jpg

Some like the trunk – it’s sturdy and regal.

https://i2.wp.com/www.pxleyes.com/images/contests/bw%20tree%20trunks/fullsize/bw%20tree%20trunks_4b6283790291c.jpg

Children tend to favor the branches (for climbing!)

https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSrM2FA7hefSrHB6IIr47mT3Pb5b4wMJ95XLW_Y9LbQQjrKXCxu

But if we were playing Family Feud, where they supposedly survey 100 people to get the most popular answers, and the question was: “What part of a tree do you like the best?” I think the number one answer would probably be: the fruit.

https://i2.wp.com/i136.photobucket.com/albums/q190/AdrianaIris/Winter2012/chinotto.jpg

Fruit usually looks pretty, often tastes good, and it contains within it the seeds for another tree. I could argue that the fruit seems to be the whole reason for the tree. It is the “product” of the tree – what it “produces.” (Which is probably why you can buy it in the “produce” section of the grocery store.)

If the leaves, trunk, branches, and fruit are the most attractive parts of a tree, what is the least attractive part..? Did you say the roots? Here in hurricane country it is not at all unusual to see an overturned tree with the roots (formerly buried and out of sight) protruding up out of the ground. They are gnarled, dark, and just plain ugly from most people’s perspective.

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Despite the fact that we find the roots of a tree not very aesthetically pleasing, I think that God might disagree. It may very well be that God finds the roots to be the most attractive part of a tree, because, when it comes to being “rooted in love,” Ephesians 3:17 and 18 say that rooted love is four-dimensional love.

First, the love that we get from being rooted in Christ is a love that reaches up – up to God. This dimension is called the “height.” Most of the time we limit our lessons on love to the horizontal plane, but loving God Himself is the best assurance of true salvation. No one can truly love God without first receiving Christ. It is impossible to truly love someone else without loving God, and it is impossible to truly love God without knowing Christ. To know the height of the love of Christ in your relationships with others, you must first have trusted and received Him as Savior.

The love of Christ not only extends upward to God, but it also reaches out to the sides. This is the “breadth” of which Ephesians 3:18 speaks. Love that is rooted in Christ is wide love. It covers the best and the worst. It covers good times and bad times. Do you love when you are loved first? Even the world shows this kind of counterfeit love. Anyone can greedily receive good things and respond with some degree of reciprocity. The real question is whether you look to spread out the love you receive from Christ no matter how far the person you love strays to the right or to the left. The love we receive from Christ needs to provide cool and refreshing shade for those who don’t feel loved. Everyone with whom we come into contact ought to feel peace and comfort and a welcoming influence as they pass under the shade of Christ’s outstretched love which radiates from us.

Love that is rooted in Christ also reaches out into the third dimension – toward others (the “length” referenced in Ephesians 3:18). True love – rooted and grounded in Christ – is never just passive. It is active. It extends toward others. The Bible knows nothing of “withdrawing love.” If you love something (or someone), so they say, set them free – and if they don’t come back, it was never meant to be. That is nonsense. Christian love pursues. Pursue those that the Lord has placed within your sphere of influence. Win their hearts. Imitate God: if you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you. If you draw near to others, then Christ in you may very well draw them near to you.

Are you satisfied with your capacity to love? Don’t be. Ask yourself, “To whom am I reaching out?” God so loved us that He sent… Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost… He went after a bride

Next time, we will look at the “fourth dimension” of Christ’s love.

Discipleship Lesson 1: Salvation

October 15, 2010 at 10:38 am | Posted in Discipleship Lessons, Salvation | 28 Comments
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Discipleship Lesson 1 is on salvation.

SALVATION

I. The two spiritual families

A. The devil’s family

The way to get into the devil’s family is simply by being physically born. Every human being comes into the world as a member of the devil’s family, since we have been conceived in sin and born in corruption. Not everyone likes to use the terminology of being a “child of the devil.” I am not implying that the devil creates human beings. He is a created being himself and lacks the power to create a living soul. It is also correct to say that we are born into this world as sons of Adam, and to say that we are born as children of wrath and children of disobedience. But all unsaved people are slaves to sin, and therefore slaves to Satan.

In one sense, the “children of the devil” are those who believe they are religious, but base their attempts at righteousness on a lie.

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

John 8:44

You enter the devil’s family by birth through your physical forefather, Adam.

And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:

Genesis 5:3

Adam’s image and likeness after the commission of sin and the “fall” in the Garden of Eden, is that of a fallen sinner.

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 5:12

We inherited our sin nature from our “father,” Adam. Therefore, we are sentenced to die. We have to be “born again” because, up until then, we’ve only been born once – physically. We are dead spiritually before salvation.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:23

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

I Corinthians 15:22

B. God’s family

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 1:12-13

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:3

As a result of your new birth, you have inherited eternal life.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

John 6:47

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 3:36

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

I John 5:12

II. There should be a “family resemblance.”

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

I Corinthians 6:19

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

II Corinthians 6:14-18

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

II Corinthians 5:17-18

III. There is a “Father – son” relationship.

A. Fathers discipline and forgive their children; children love their fathers and desire to be forgiven when they have offended them.

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

I John 2:1

B. Fathers protect their children spiritually.

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Matthew 6:18

C. Fathers provide for their children.

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

D. Fathers protect their children physically.

[To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth.] God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Psalm 46:1

E. Fathers teach their children.

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 14:26

F. Fathers care about their children.

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

I Peter 5:7

G. Fathers love to give gifts to their children.

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Matthew 7:11

IV. A saved person will still sin.

A. God commands His children not to sin.

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Colossians 3:5-10

Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

II Corinthians 4:14-18

B. God has broken sin’s power over His children.

I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Romans 7:25

C. God chastens His children in love.

And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Hebrews 12:5-11

D. God forgives His children when they confess their sins to Him.

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

I John 1:6-10

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

Proverbs 28:13

V. Questions

A. How does someone enter God’s family?

By receiving Jesus as his Savior and being born again.

B. Find three verses that promise you eternal life.

John 6:47; John 3:36; I John 5:12

C. After salvation, God deals with you as:
a. a sinner
b. a son
c. a partner

Answer: a son

D. True or false?

1. Everyone must earn his or her way to Heaven. (F)
2. Sin must be confessed to a Christian leader in order to be forgiven. (F)
3. Each person can choose his or her own path to Heaven. (F)

VI. Memory verses

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 5:12

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:3

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I John 1:9

Next time: Discipleship Lesson 2: Everlasting Security

Blowing Your Nose

August 16, 2010 at 9:20 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments
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Fill your lungs with air, and hold your breath. Now, see how long you can go without breathing. The average person can hold his or her breath for no more than 40 seconds. The longest possible period a person could go without breathing – due to specialized training or unnaturally slow heartbeat – is between 8 and 15 minutes.

Holding the breath in your lungs is one thing. Human lungs can hold a relatively large amount of air. But how about your nose? How much air can you hold in your nostrils? According to the Bible, the answer is: not much.

Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?

Isaiah 2:22

The word “cease” in this Verse is a command from God. It tells His people to stop honoring, accounting for, respecting, fearing, and loving men in the place of God. This is emphasized by the strong reminder that the life of man is nothing more than a “noseful of air.”

How differently would we live our lives if we remembered that, the next time we blew a breath of air from our nostrils, we would have no hope of drawing in another breath if not for the power and grace of our loving and almighty God!

Careless Love – Part 3

April 21, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Posted in Bible Studies | 3 Comments
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The heart of Christ races when we show our love for Him – not because we deserve it – but because of His grace.

But look what happens. The king goes to knock on the door, to visit the bride, and she says:

I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night. I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?

Song of Solomon 5:2-3

How often does the Lord want to spend time with me? How often does He knock on my door and and find me too “tired” (really, too lazy)? I think, “I’ve done enough for You today, Lord – I’m having ‘me’ time now.”

I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.

Song of Solomon 5:6

If I were this king, and my bride was making me call her down – making me plead with her just to spend time with me – I would say, “Just forget it! I’m the king – I’m the master of the universe. If you want to run around and play your games – apart from me – go ahead… You come to me – I don’t come to you. I’ll find another one – I’ve got every woman in Jerusalem who would love to marry me.”

The sovereign God could be justified in saying that about us: “You think you’re special? You want me to woo you? Try to win you? I made you! There’s a million more just like you – I’ll just say “next” – and you’ll be finished.”

The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love. What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us?

Song of Solomon 5:7-9

Are we so careless with God’s love that others will think, “What’s so special about your God? You don’t even spend time with Him. Why should we want to? You claim there’s something special about being His disciple or His bride, but you wouldn’t even get out of bed to come to the door when He knocked!”

There should be some evidence of time spent alone with the Lord – some evidence that you are anxious for Him to notice you, that you desperately want to be in His presence.

A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.

Song of Solomon 4:12

We must be a bride who has shut the door to many things. Even things that aren’t necessarily “bad” to us, when evaluated, are things that won’t attract our King.

Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.

Song of Solomon 4:16

The greatest wish of this young bride-to-be was that the wind would blow upon the garden she had planted, and that her fiancé would come and find it pleasing. Our garden should be enclosed – not necessarily seen by the outside world. But it should be a place ready to be filled at any moment by the presence of God. It makes me sad to hear people sing: “More love, more power, more of You in my life,” to claim they want to be “filled” with His Spirit, but they are so full already of other things that there’s no room for Him. Remember how “empty” of worldly belongings and passions and attitudes Jesus was on the Cross? Do you have a garden prepared for your King? Does it still seem empty without Him in it?

We have to be careful with our words. When this heresy begins circulating that our relationship with God is completely broken when we, as true Christians, sin, it can be very discouraging. We do the work of the devil when we call conviction “condemnation” and drive people further away from the Lord. He’s saying, “You’re wrong – I love you – come back to Me.” That’s conviction, not condemnation. He will even protect us as we wander, and try to call us back.

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