Daily Bible Study Notes

Wednesday June 20, 2018

God Knows You Inside Out

 

Wednesday June 20, 2018

Read Luke 12:6-7.

Isn’t it a wonderful thing to hear of The Lord’s love for us? We have a wonderful saviour, who not only values us highly, but also knows us so intimately that He knows the number of hairs on our heads. Truly knowledge of God is a blessing to us in mind, and soul. For the more we know Him, the more we know of Him, the more lovely He appears to us and the more we see His love for us worked out in our entire life.

 

God has his eye over all of creation. Not just over you and I, but over even the seemingly insignificant parts of creation? What value does a sparrow have to you? Some of us may want to own one for a pet, but they are common birds and so would not be expensive even for that purpose. Yet God, in His perfect knowledge knows every single sparrow ever. Let that sink in for a moment. God who is infinite and the creator of all things, God. The LORD who resides in the heavens and who could not even be contained in the temple in Jerusalem, who is the king of kings, the lord of lords. God, self existing, I AM WHO I AM, God. God knows every one of the Sparrows. None of them are forgotten. I don’t even get the names of my own children right every time.

 

How much more does He know us, the ones who were created in His own image? It brings to mind the first part of Psalm 139. He knit us together in our mother’s womb. He knows us because He created us. But He didn’t just start us off and sit idly by while we grew. He knows the number of hairs you have on your head right now. Even if that number is zero, He knows that too! God witnesses us change as we grow and age. He is a God who is with us. Even when we cannot see Him.

 

And because of our value to God, we should not fear. Actually, the topic we are hearing of is death. We shouldn’t fear those who can kill us, because, so what? Death hurts? Only a little bit in the grand scheme of things. It’s not really a thing to fear because it pales next to what happens after we die. After we die, we either get welcomed into heaven or sent to hell. Either way, death seems small next to those. If we get welcomed into heaven then death is but a blip in eternity and the pain of death is surely drowned out by the joy received upon coming faced to face with our saviour. If we are sent to hell, our death is but a fraction of the eternity of pain and punishment we have stored up for ourself in our rejection of God in our life. So, don’t fear the ones who can kill the body. Fear the one who can throw you into hell after your death. Yes He is the one to fear.

 

But He is only the one to fear if we do not take Christ as our saviour. So valuable to Him is God’s chosen people that He sent His only begotten Son to die so that we might have eternal life. I’ll repeat that. So valuable to God are His people that He sent His one and only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not die but have eternal life. We truly are more valuable than many sparrows. God sent no bird to die to save sparrows. He didn’t give sparrows His image. Those things He reserved for mankind. Those things He kept for humanity.

 

Let them praise the name of Yahweh, for He commanded, and they were created. He set them in position forever and ever; He gave an order that will never pass away. Praise the LORD from the earth, all sea monsters and ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and cloud, powerful wind that executes His command, mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, creatures that crawl and flying birds, kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all judges of the earth, young men as well as young women, old and young together. Let them praise the name of Yahweh, for His name alone is exalted. His majesty covers heaven and earth. He has raised up a horn for His people, resulting in praise to all His godly ones, to the Israelites, the people close to Him. Hallelujah!

Psalms 148:5-14

 

Prayer:

Adoration:

God as Omniscient – Our God knows all things, sees all things. There is nothing in all of creation, in all of time that God does not, has not, shall not, know. His knowledge is vast and deep. So vast as to know every sparrow, and so deep as to know the deepest things of our heart. Praise God.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God that he acts on His perfect, accurate, up to date, knowledge, and that He acts for the good of those who love Him

Thank God that He chose to send His Son to save us despite His perfect knowledge of us and our hearts.

 

Supplication:

Pray for opportunities to share the knowledge of God in your week

Pray for Christlife and all of the programs is runs to spread knowledge of God through Toowoomba

Discuss

 

1.Can you think of times when you clearly saw God at work in your life?

2.How amazing is it to know that God has arranged everything for your good?

3.How can you help people see their value before God in this coming week?

 

 

Tuesday June 19, 2018

 

Power To Send You To Hell

Read Luke 12:4-5.

Fear is an emotion that cripples us, especially when it comes to evangelism. We perceive some threat to our existence, even if it’s our social existence and we clam up. We picture possible scenarios and give quickly way to fear. But as Seneca said over 2,000 years ago, “We suffer more from imagination than we do from reality.”

The following scenario plays out in many different ways across our continent among Christians. A particular Christian is going about her daily life when an opportunity for sharing Christ Jesus arises. It could well be at work or at university. It could be among the family gathered at the festive table as they celebrate someone’s birthday. Either way, that Christian thinks to herself, “I know I should say something, but what? What if I stuff it up? What if I get it wrong? What if I can’t answer? What if I look like a dummy? What if my friends defriend me?”

In other countries around the world, Christians are faced with same dilemma but the consequences are far more serious and wide reaching. Their thoughts might be something like, ‘If I speak of Jesus, this person might be the secret police and I could go to gaol. If I speak up now, I could be driven out of my village and may family will starve to death in the jungle. If I tell this man about Jesus, his tribe will come and beat me or possibly kill me.”

Which ever scenario we may be in, Jesus’ words provide a deep comfort and reassurance. Jesus says, “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.” While death may be a scary prospect, as Christians we know for certain that what lies after death is far better than anything in this life. Death is a gate through which we must pass to enter the glory and the brilliance of Jesus’ eternal presence.

The worst that mankind can do to a Christian is to kill his/her body and send him/her into the Lord’s presence. Mankind can do nothing to alter the eternal destiny of a believer.

From an earthly perspective, departing this world has scary implications. Who will look after my family? What about the kids? What about all the things I’ll miss out on? But the reality is that being with Christ is better by far. There really is no comparison. As we understand the beauty of eternity with Christ - where there is no more death or mourning or crying or pain– we will be able to cry out with the Apostle Paul, “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.”

Rather than fearing mankind, Jesus warns us, His friends, to fear Him who has the power to kill the body and send the soul into the eternal fires of hell. The persecutions of mankind can only ever be temporal and short lived. One day, they will come to an end. One day, all persecutions will come to a complete end. But, the punishment that God can bring lasts for all eternity. Rather that fearing mankind and disobeying or rejecting God, we are encouraged to fear God and to obey Him, even in the face of persecution and death.

As Jesus encourages us to fear God more than mankind, he is setting before us a choice. Even in the face of persecution, we are to choose to fear God and to obey Him, regardless of the threats made against us. Even in the face of death, we are to fear God and obey Him, rather than fearing mankind and capitulating to their anti-God demands.

Rest assured, Jesus is no ivory tower scholar. Jesus put into practice what He preached. He feared God and suffered for us, to set us an example. “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23).

And so, because Jesus has led the way and has purchased our salvation for us, we can confidently cry out, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Corinthians 4:17). Hence we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore God that He has the power to send people to hell.

Adore God that He longs for all people to come to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God that He has saved you through faith in Jesus Christ.

Thank God that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

 

Supplication:

Pray that courage would the hall mark of your congregation.

Pray that each person in your congregation would not let fear stop them from sharing the gospel. Pray for many conversions as the good news is shared.

Discuss

1.What does it mean to fear God?

2.What fears stop us from sharing our faith with non-believers?

3.What fears might stop a Christian in the middle east from sharing their faith?

4.How can we overcome fear?

Small Groups

Read Luke 12:1-12.

 

 

Sing praise and adoration to the Lord Almighty.

 

 

Having read Luke 12:1-12, discuss the following: How would you break up the passage into sections or blocks?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give each block a relevant title.

 

Show how the various blocks link to each other.

 

 

 

 

 

How does the fear of God help us NOT to fear mankind?

 

 

 

What is Jesus is saying about courage in these verses?

 

Having read Luke 12:1-12, discuss the following:

Why is hypocrisy considered so negatively?

Why is fear of mankind considered in such a negative light?

What unforgivable sin or sins are mentioned in the Bible? How does this change or modify your answer above?

 

How can we minister to those who have committed apostacy but are seeking forgiveness?

What about those not seeking forgiveness?

 

Going Deeper

 

 

Share together experiences from your own life. Tell short, snappy stories from your own life but also enjoy listening to the stories of others.

 

Share a time you were caught out by someone else’s hypocrisy. How did you feel? What was the outcome? How did you see God work through this?

 

Share a time that fear of mankind crippled you. How did you feel? What was the outcome? How did you see God work through this? Did you make a resolve to change?

 

Share a time when you were not afraid to acknowledge the Son of Man before mankind?

 

 

Share a time when God gave you the words to speak in a difficult situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having read the passage for this week, consider how you might pray in terms of

 

Adoration Confession Thanks Supplication:

 

 

Courage and witnessing for Christ go hand in hand. You really can’t have one without the other. Consider the following situations and you’ll catch on.

Situation 1: Marcus works in a factory and all the guys know he’s a Christian. One day the boss comes in and is rather surly. He calls a quick team meeting and starts the meeting with a derogatory word about Christ Jesus. If Marcus speaks up (albeit with gentles and tact)hiswitnessingtohisworkmateswillgaina

dimension of power it’s never had before. If he kicks the ground and pretends not to hear, both he and his witness to Christ will lose credibility.

Situation 2: Jackie grew up in a non Christian home. But later in life, she came to know the Lord and has been attending church for about a decade. Her family regularly ring her and organise family eventsfor Sonday mornings. Jackie is torn between love of family and love of church. If Jackie continues to put family above the Lord, they will probably never listen to her gospel presentation about Jesus. No one wants to worship a god that can’t be taken seriously by its adherents. If Jackie puts her foot down and puts God first, relationships might be strained at first, but her love for God will shine through and possibly open doors for sharing her faith inJesus.

Situation 3: Mediva worships in an underground church. Her family and her friends are all atheists, along state controlled lines of belief. Sharing Christ with them could be fatal. If Mediva never steps out and takes a risk for her faith, she may never see God do amazing things. She may end up living a nice, quiet and easy life. If, however, she does step out in faith and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, she could possible see great works and miracles wrought by God. She might even see many conversions to Christ through her witnessing.

Witnessing and courage go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. But how do we gain courage in witnessing? There is no simple formula to gain courage. But, if you deepen your walk with your Lord and Saviour, if you grow in Him, courage will grow in you. If you focus on Jesus and not the world, courage will grow in you. If you put obedience to God as your utmost priority, you’ll be a roaring lion, not a cowering chihuahua.

 

Monday June 18, 2018

Coming Up this Sonday June 24, 2018 Luke 12:1-12 The Difference Courage Makes.

This week’s memory verse Luke 12:2 (NIV84) There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.

 

Be On Your Guard!

Read Luke 12:1-3.

Way back in Luke 11:29, the crowd started gathering around Jesus to hear what He had to say. Now Jesus was surrounded by thousands of people. The Pharisees and teachers of the Law stood at arms-length from the crowds. As John 7:47-48 shows, they felt the crowds to be cursed because they knew nothing of the Torah. But Jesus stood among them and as he taught the disciples he indirectly showed the crowds what was required of true discipleship.

As Jesus taught them, he warned them, “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” The warning might well be a double edged sword. On the one hand, the disciples of Jesus were to be weary of being caught out, or off guard, by the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. As we often see in the Gospels, they would approach Jesus with a smiling face, yet with the full intent to bring him down and to eradicate Him completely. They would call him Lord or teacher. They would compliment Him on His teaching, but all-the-while secretly trying to trap Him or bring Him down. The disciples need to keep their guard up lest they be caught in the net. They need to keep watch against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.

On the other hand, the disciples need to make sure that they themselves don’t walk in hypocrisy as the Pharisees do. Their hearts and their minds need to beunilateral in serving God and walking in His commands and statutes. They need to be pure in heart and mind as they serve the Lord. Their motivations need to be singularly devoted to the Lord.

The Lord assures the disciples that all such hidden motives and hypocritical intents will be revealed. God will disclose the true purpose and intent of each person’s heart. We can assume that such a revealing will happen on the day of the Lord at the great throne of judgement. Nothing or no one will be able to escape from the all-seeing eye of the Lord.

Jesus warns the disciples to be on their guard against the yeast, the hypocrisy, of the Pharisees.

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore God that He is pure and perfect in every way. There is no shadow of hypocrisy with Him. All His ways are just and pure. All His Words are flawless and perfect.

Adore God that He knows the secrets of people’s hearts and sends the Spirit into the hearts of believers to bring purity, holiness and honesty.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God that you can trust the infallible and inerrant Word of God.

Thank God that you are able to walk in purity and holiness because of the power of God that is at work in you.

 

Supplication:

Pray that God would continue to grow and mature the CMTC students and that they would grow in knowledge of the Word, in wisdom and in application of the Word. Pray that God would continue to lead and guide them.

Pray that the Committee of Management would be wise in the way that tends to the funds of your church. Ask the Lord to give them a gospel heart and the ability to enable and energise the 5 year plan your church has adopted.

Pray that the giving in your church would rise to the needed levels so that the work of the Committee would be a great joy and blessing.

 

 


 

 

Saturday June 16, 2018

 

The Power of Repentance

Read Luke 11:20-36.

 

Interesting Note: “By the Finger of God” is an idiom for saying “By the power of God” and it occurs in Exodus 8:19 when the magicians tell the Pharaoh that Aaron transforming all the dust in the land into gnats is “by the finger of God”. It’s important to note that “the finger of God” is drawn in contrast to sorcery. The sorcerers and magicians in Egypt weren’t able to replicate the miracle performed by Aaron. By the same measure: Jesus is not casting out demons with sorcery, but rather He is doing it by the power of God.

 

Isn’t it amazing, the capacity we humans have for recognising and understanding that which is right in front of our face? Jesus has cast out a demon from a man who had been mute. He couldn’t speak. Jesus did his thing and then, the man starts to speak properly again. Yet Jesus has to remind the crowd that He is the opposite of sorcery, and, like Aaron, performs signs by the power of God. And then He needs to point out that the kingdom of God is among them and that was a sign.

 

This section in vs 21-22 is a little confusing, but it’s probably speaking about the man who defends his palace as a demon, and the one who is stronger being Jesus Himself, who wields the “finger of God”, to be able to lay waste to the demon who has taken up residence in a man. When the Holy Spirit works in our lives He comes and clears house of any demons who have taken residence in us. It isn’t a long and drawn out fight. It isn’t a battle which sways to and fro. God is more powerful than the demons. When He steps in, No power can avail them. Even though Satan should infiltrate the church, we shall not break

For the one we worship is the greater.

 

Which is why verse 23 is so important. We live in a war. Christians are warriors. If we aren’t enjoying God, we are enjoying not God. There is no neutrality. We fight a war of absolutes. It should be no surprise then, when Jesus says, “whoever is not with me is against me”. Remember that everyone is without excuse. If we are not working towards the glory of the kingdom, then we are destroying it.

 

We also need to be warned against complacency. This man who had once had a demon residing in him needed to guard his own house, so to speak. It does no good to cast a demon out and have a nice and empty house for him to come back to. We need to make sure we have God’s Holy Spirit taking up residence in us. He is the stronger man. He can defend us from demons and they shall not prevail against us. Even if they go and grab 7 of their friends to come and assault the palace walls, they will not enter in to it, for God is greater. Our God is higher than any other.

 

Let’s not also pretend that there is no battle happening. We may not see it, but we see the effects of it in people’s lives. When we give into temptation to sin we are scattering the kingdom of God.When we are not wearing the full armour of God we are exposing ourselves to the darts of Satan. And we can even see that in our lives. Is resisting temptation not easier when we have been hearing God’s word preached faithfully at church? When we build each other up in small groups with bible study do we not make each other stronger to fight the good fight, to finish the course?

 

We need to be filling ourselves with light. True light. The light of God. The light of the world is darkness, the light of Satan is darkness. Israel had filled its eyes with the light of the world which is darkness. It was no different, and so, even non-Israelite faithful would rise up and judge them with God. Do not put God’s word under a bushel. Do not put prayer under a bushel. Do not put His sacraments under a bushel. Focus on the light.

 

Prayer:

Adoration:

God as light – God is the light of the world. He guides our feet, He came into the darkness and it didn’t extinguish Him. In the New Jerusalem we will need no sun, because God himself will give it light. Spend some time adoring the God who is our light.

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God that He provides the church to be many many beacons of His light all over the world. Thank Him that even Demons cannot defeat the church, and that God, by His power, will sustain us until that day.

 

Thank God for the staff at church and all the work they do to make God shine brighter in all of our lives.

Supplication:

Ask God that He will continue to ignite our church, to make us shine brighter in Toowoomba so that His name and glory and joy will be known.

 

Ask God to be with those preaching this Sunday, that he will use them to shine His glory brightly into all of our lives.

Discuss

1.What are some other parts of the bible where God showed his power over Satan and the demons?

2.It can be hard to enjoy sometimes. Sometimes we don’t want to worship Him, but we want to enjoy ourselves. Do you remember how good it feels to enjoy worshipping God?

3.How much light are you filling your body with? Is it pure light or are you letting Darkness in? How can you spend more time making sure you are letting the right light in?

 

 

 

 

Friday June 15, 2018

 

Are Your Eyes Good?

Read Luke 11:34-36.

When Jesus spoke in parables and metaphors, He did so, at least in part, to sift people and to move them in a particular direction according to where there heart is at. People who were hard-hearted towards Jesus would hear a parable and deem it as ‘silly’ or ‘childish’. They would be confirmed in their hard-heartedness as they moved further away from Jesus. Those who loved Jesus would hear the true meaning of the parable and would be drawn even close to Jesus.

The parable of the eye being the lamp of the body is a parable which is hard to understand up front. It could easily drive people away from Jesus. There are many issues and problems with the parable from a worldly perspective. First and foremost, the eye is not a lamp as such. It lets light in and sees light. Secondly, light does not travel into the body but rather to the optic nerve and from there, to the brain for interpretation. Such issues could easily drive the hard-hearted away from Jesus, effectively confirming them in their condemnation.

But as we study the parable as believers, a depth of wisdom is revealed to us. When Jesus talks about the eye of the body, He is not necessarily referring to the physical eye. He could be referring to the moral eye or the spiritual grid through which we interpret the world around us.

If our moral eye or our spiritual eye is good, namely, if it is focused on Jesus, then our whole body is filled with the light. Darkness or sin, does not, and can not, reside within us. When our ‘eyes’ are good, we interpret the world through God’s eyes. We see the world through the Word of God. We love what God loves. We hate what God hates. We yearn for what God yearns for and so on.

Conversely, when our eyes are bad, that is, when our spiritual grid or moral eye is bad, our entire body is filled with darkness. We interpret everything from a selfish point of view and see “joy” and “fun” in sinfulness and sinful things. When a person’s body is full of darkness (a common metaphor in the Bible for sin) he or she cannot see the world through God’s eyes. They cannot, and do not, love what God loves, hate what God hates and yearn for what God yearns for. In fact, they are the exact opposite. They love what God hates. They hate what God loves and so on.

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, our eyes have been made good by His death and resurrection. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit causes our eyes to be good and fills our body with light. While there may be areas or patches of darkness, the Holy Spirit continues to work within us to dispel the darkness and to allow the light of Christ to shine in every area of our lives.

This is a process that occurs with our participation and cooperation. God will bring some area of darkness in our life to our attention. With the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, we then seek to right that wrong in our life. We seek to change so that glory and honour go to God.

As an example a Christian business man may love the money and power that He is making from his business. But one evening at Small Group he is challenged and confronted by Luke 16:13-15. He comes to the realisation that his love of money might be greater than his love for God. This business man, has to work at changing his heart so that he does not love money and so that he can have a godly and God-honouring view and use of money.

When Jesus spoke in parables, He did so in a way that sifted and sorted people. When believers are confronted with the Word of Jesus, they will be drawn by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, to loving obedience. Sometimes that movement may require much work, prayer and striving.

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit that each one is involved in our salvation.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God that because of the faith He has given you in death and resurrection of Jesus, you can be filled with the Holy Spirit.

 

Supplication:

Pray that the eyes of the youth in our congregation would be filled with light and that their entire bodies would be filled with light.

Pray that the youth leaders would be gracious and loving in the way they teach and disciple the youth.

Pray for growth in the youth group as they share the Word with their peers and as the peers repent and believe in Jesus.

Discuss

 

1.Restate Jesus’ parable in your own words so that the true meaning is brought to the fore?

2.How does the parable of the light and of the eye being the lamp of the body relate to the earlier section about the Son of Man being a sign to this wicked generation?

3.In verse 35, Jesus tells us to see to it that the light within is not darkness. How do we do this?

 

 

 

 

Thursday June 14, 2018

 

What’s a Light For?

Read Luke 11:33.

In Christian speak, we often talk about shining the light. We might even pray that our particular church would shine brightly. As we stop and consider the phraseology of light and shining brightly, what do we really mean? What are we really praying for?

Jesus has challenged the crowd to repent and to believe in Himself. He changes tac but continues to press the issue of repentance and faith in Himself. In verse 33, Jesus declares, “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.”

As the people listened to the parable they would have agreed with the absurdity of lighting a lamp and placing it where it will be hidden or under a bowl where it can not shine any light. Light is meant to be visible. Light is meant to help us to see. Hiding light is contrary to its function and purpose.

Contextually, Jesus’ preaching is the light. It is not meant to be hidden or covered. It is meant to shine brightly in a dark and dismal world. Jesus preaches and calls people to repent and to believe in Himself.

Churches that shine the light and shine brightly are the churches that are faithfully and clearly expounding the Word of Jesus, the Word of God. Unfortunately though, there seems to be a prevalence of giving the Word a very low priority. This low priority is evident by the fact that many churches like to read only a couple of verses of Scripture. Anything else is deemed far too burdensome. Many churches too are forgoing the preaching of the Word, opting for a song or a drama presentation, a children’s spot or a short ‘homily’ rather than a “sermon” per se. Some churches have simply dropped the Word and preaching all together.

If we as individuals and we as a church are going to shine brightly as a church, it is imperative that the Word of God is central in our souls and our services. Anything less is an abomination before God. Colossians 3:16 spells it out clearly. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. Effective teaching, admonition and even singing and praise occur when the Word of God dwells richly within us.

Christians can be proactive in allowing the Word to grow richly within us. We do not have to be passive, waiting for something to happen. How then, can we allow the Word of God to dwell richly within us? Here are several suggestions:

Read the Word regularly. Set yourself the goal of reading a sizeable chunk of Scripture each day. 1 chapter would be a good start.

Study the Word regularly. Rather than just reading the Bible and then putting it down and racing off with your own life, make time to study the Word. Immerse yourself in the Word and learn it intimately.

Memorise as much as possible. It’s hard at first but it’s possible to learn great chunks of the Bible over time. Brother Yun memorised the entire book of Matthew as ayoung Christian and went onto memorising many other whole books including the Psalms.

Learn Bible verse songs that allow you to sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.

When you meet with other Christians, talk about the Word and what impact it is having in your life.

Pray and seek to make opportunities to share the Word with non-believers.

All believers know that Jesus is the light of the world. Contextually though, Jesus is talking about preaching the Word and bringing people to repentance and faith through that Word. The church and the individual Christians that let the Word of God dwell richly within them are the ones that will be shining brightly for Jesus.

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore Jesus that He is the pure light of the World and that He brings salvation to all who turn to Him in repentance and faith.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank Jesus that no one who turns to Him in faith will ever be pushed away.

Thank Jesus that when a person comes to Him in faith, nothing or no one can snatch them out of His hands.

 

Supplication:

Ask the Lord to grow an assurance of salvation among every believer in your church.

Ask the Lord to grow courage and boldness in evangelism and ministry from this growing assurance of faith.

Discuss

 

1.In what ways have you seen individual believers seeking to hide the light of Christ Jesus?

2.In what ways have you seen churches seeking to hide the light of Jesus?

3.Can a person be saved if they are seeking to hide from the world, the Christ light within them? Consider this carefully before you answer. Use other Scriptures to help you answer.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday June 13, 2018

 

The Queen of the South

Read Luke 11:31-32.

A big deal is made about how salvation is opened up in the New Testament to people of all nations, but, it’s easy to forget about the gentiles of the old testament who were saved as well. Rahab, who is from Jericho eventually became the great grandmother of David and is even mentioned in the honour roll of the faithful in Hebrews 11:31. Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, and the grandmother of David, and the two mentioned in these verses as well. The “Queen of the south” and the Ninevites. They were all foreigners to whom salvation was extended. And not just as an offer, but effectively. God saved these gentiles despite the fact that they weren’t born Jews.

 

It’s a big deal and not enough noise is made about it, that the mission of the Jews was to be a blessing to the whole earth (Genesis 12:3). Not just to each other. And, eventually they were, but despite them more than because of them. They became a blessing to the nations through Jesus who was a Jew, yet, at the same time, faithful to the mission given to the Jews back in Genesis 11.Israel did not put into practice being a missionary nation. They neglected to be a blessing to all the nations and instead tried to be a conquering nation and rule the nations. The Israelite conception of mission was one in which the nations came to them and received blessing by becoming Jews, but they didn’t go out into the nations so that the nations could hear about the good news to come to Israel and receive blessing from God in the first place!

 

Look at the Ninevites. See the success God had when an Israelite went out to another nation and preached God to them? Jonah barely even preached the gospel, just their destruction. Even that was enough for the men of Nineveh to repent and put their faith in God. Imagine what the world would be like now if the Jews had actually gone into the world preaching the gospel! Maybe Christ wouldn’t have had to be so busy trying to evangelise them if they had actually practiced evangelism like they were supposed to.

 

And the Queen of the South. In the Old Testament there is a Woman who is called the Queen of Sheba who appears in 1 Kings 10:1-13 She is this “Queen of the South”. She came to Solomon’s courts and heard about his God and mentions that “not even half” was told to her. And then proceeds to praise God. When she leaves Solomon, she takes the good news of God back to Sheba with her. The Israelites had been doing such a poor Job of evangelising and following their mission to be a blessing to the nations, that the Queen of another nation wasn’t even able to get the good news brought to her, but rather she had to go, leave her nation, and meet with the Israelite king to hear in fullness the word of the LORD.

 

So Jesus, Now, finally carrying out the mission of the Israelites, has to evangelise the Israelites. And He reminds them of how readily even the Queen of Sheba and the Ninevites received the Gospel of God. Foreigners who had not been raised to know God, to be a part of the Nation of God, His kingdom, had more love for their God than they did! What a terrible indictment on God’s people! Nineveh and the Queen of the South hadn’t even had Christ, God-in-flesh, before them, talking with authority, and performing miracles. And yet Israel had. And He had needed to retreat to Galilee for fear of being called before the right time! These people who claimed to love God, who claimed to be His people, had little or no love for their creator. They had no friendship with their shepherd. They hated their king and ended up killing Him.

 

Those faithful, even from other nations, are regarded as so holy, that they will rise up on judgement day, in the general resurrection, and judge the nation of Israel. Israel’s national identity was tied up with God, It was that they were God’s nation. Yet, it is those who are faithful who are the true Israel. The Faithful are the true nation of God. And Israel had so little collective faith that we, gentiles, will rise up with God and Judge those people who claim to be his nation.

 

Prayer:

Adoration:

The LORD as immutable (or: unchangeable). Our LORD is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. He has always desired the salvation of the whole world and not just one bloodline of people. He will always work towards the salvation of His beloved and will never deviate from that path. Even when we neglect our given mission, He will not deviate from it. Spend some time worshipping our God who does not, will not, shall not, change.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

Thanks:

Thank God for the workers He has placed in Christlife to aid you in the fulfilment of your mission and who work every day to that end.

 

Thank God that He remains steadfast even when we neglect His mission and forget to glorify and enjoy Him in our lives. Thank Him that He is so glorious, that even if the church did not praise, the rocks would cry out and that already all of creation declares His glory

Supplication:

Ask God for help in fulfilling His great commission. Ask for someone to speak to, to tell about Him.

 

Ask God to care for Christlife, that we will be able to continue to support all of our outreach programmes and the staff and volunteers who participate in them.

Discuss

 

1.Does the idea of a nation based on faith rather than bloodline sound like a familiar theme of the bible? What are some other parts of the bible which talk about that?

2.Is the church that we live in today in a better or worse or similar state to the state of Israel at this time?

3.Are you and Christlife living up to the mission to be a blessing to the nations? Or are you acting like Israel and waiting for the nations to come to you?

 

 

 

 

Tuesday June 12 , 2018

 

As Was Jonah

Read Luke 11:30. 

The wicked generation standing before Jesus demanded a sign from Him. They wanted to weigh up whether or not He really was the Prophet or who He claimed to be. They wanted to see something miraculous, something extraordinary.

In the face of their incessant demands, Jesus resolutely declared, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.”

What was the sign that Jesus was talking about? There are several possibilities. In a sense, we need not necessarily be reductionistic and look for just one sign. Perhaps it could be a combination or all of the possibilities mentioned.

The Apostle Matthew described the same event in his gospel. He added the words of Jesus, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Jesus’ death and resurrection would be the sign for this generation. This sign would prove beyond a doubt that Jesus is the one to be adored and worshiped.

Another possibility is that Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites in that he preached repentance to them. In Jonah 3:4 we find Jonah finally obeying God and marching around the city, which took 3 days to traverse, preaching, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” According to verse 5 of the same chapter, the Ninevites repented and believed in the Lord. In the same way, the Son of Man is calling the current generation to repent and to believe in Himself.

The following dictum by Jesus fits well into this possibility. If they refuse to repent and to believe in Jesus, then judgement will come upon them. Indeed, the Queen of the South and the Ninevites would stand against in the day of judgement for one greater than Solomon and Jonah were present before them.

The third possibility picks up on the contextual situation of Jonah and the Ninevites. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, the arch-enemy of Israel. That in itself was enough to dampen Jonah’s enthusiasm and desire to preach there.

After a whale of a time, Jonah Himself repents of his desire to avoid God’s call and preaches to the city. Lo and behold, the city, through the King, repents and believes in God. God would soon use Assyria as a rod to punish Israel. The prophet Isaiah had described Israel’s crimes. He had shown clearly thatpunishment would come from Assyria. God would use Assyria to humble and punish his people, Israel (see Isaiah 10:5-6).

And so, considering this 3rd possibility, Jesus would be a sign to the current generation in that if they rejected him, like the Israel-of-old rejected God, they too would face judgement by a foreign nation. A foreign people group would repent and believe in Jesus while the “people of God” would face judgement and ruin.

As Jesus stood before the crowd, he declared them to be a wicked generation who demand a sign. But Jesus would not bemanipulated or forced into any particular course of action. He stood firm and declared the truth to them.

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore God that He deserves to be adored and worshipped.

Adore God that He is all powerful, all sovereign and that He demands to be worshipped by all.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness

 

Thanks:

Thank God that He has called you to worship Him through Christ Jesus.

Thank God that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved and will join the anthem of praise being lifted up to Him from among mankind.

 

Supplication:

As we move towards the election of elders, pray that we would choose wisely and put into leadership the men that God has raised up for those positions.

Pray that our Small Groups would be growing in love and fellowship.

Pray that our Small Groups would be growing in number as well.

Pray that the smaller groups, who are struggling to attract members, would grow and stabilise.

Discuss

 

1.Which Old Testament narratives are referred to in this passage?

2.What does this passage teach us about Jesus’ opinion of the Old Testament?

3.How should this affect our own opinion of the Old Testament?

4.What application do you glean from this passage for the modern day church?

 

 

 

 

Small Groups

 

 

 

Spend time in adoration and praise, singing glory and honour to your Lord.

 

 

 

Having read Luke 11:29-36, discuss the following;

Jesus called the generation wicked in v29. What makes this generation wicked?

 

Why are they demanding a sign from Jesus?

 

 

What was the sign of Jonah?

 

What point is made by the reference to the Queen of the south and the men of Nineveh?

 

What is the main point of Jesus’ words in vv29-32? What is Jesus saying in vv33-36?

In what way is the eye the lamp of the body?

 

How do we know if our eyes, and hence our body, is full of light or darkness?

Having read Luke 11:29-36, discuss the following;

 

Why did Jesus refuse to give the people a sign?

 

In what way does this apply to believers?

 

 

What does vv29-32 say about a/. Our Saviour?

 

b/. Saints? c/ Sinners?

Explain the meaning of vv33-36.

 

 

In what way do these verses apply to believers?

Jesus refused to give a miraculous sign to the demanding crowd. Several people have used these verses to argue that miracles will not occur today?

 

Explain whether Christians should or should not see miracles today.

 

 

 

 

 

What does the passage teach us about judgement and condemnation?

Wadicus Marsala has been checking out a church for quite some time. He’s regular and wants to know more aboutJesus.

As you connect with Wadicus, he asks you some deep questions. Discuss how you would answer his questions.

 

Why don’t we ever see miracles? If I saw a miracle I would become a believer immediately.

 

 

 

Why can’t I continue with my previous religion and follow Jesus as well? Our religion welcomes others and even Jesus’-followers can join us.

 

 

Jesus claims exclusivity. I just can’t see it. I can’t understand how He can say that He is the only way to God the Father. And he makes demands upon His followers that are far too rigorous and demanding. Help me to understand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having read Luke 11:14-28, consider how you might pray in terms of

 

Adoration Confession Thanks Supplication:

Spend time in prayer as a small group.

There are many people in churches today demanding more hell, fire and brimstone from the pulpit. A return to the good old days of pulpit thumping condemnation is called for. “Scare the hell out them,” is really what they want.

But, 1 Peter 3:15-16 reminds us that while we are always to be prepared to answer those who ask us

about our hope, we are to answer them with gentleness and respect. Our hope in our Lord and Saviour, not in the destruction and condemnation of the wicked. Like the Lord, we should take no joy in seeing the wicked perish.

Unfortunately, though, it’s possible to go too far the other way. If all we ever talk about is the love of God, the blessings of God and so on, people will not understand what they are being saved from. Salvation through faith in Christ can easily become a ‘feel-good affair or a ‘what’s in it for me’ approach.

People have to understand the condemnation that is coming upon them. We need to preach the full gospel to people, including condemnation and hell.

People say you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. But manure is far better for fly catching! Honey doesn’t really work either. The gospel needs to be sensitively and tactfully shared with people we are in relationship with. We need to open the entire gospel to people so that they can make an informed choice about their eternity. We cannot make that choice for them. We can only share the good news and plead with them, and pray for them, to make a wise choice.

Monday June 11, 2018

Coming Up this Sonday June 17, 2018 Luke 11:29-36 The Difference Repentance Makes

This week’s memory verse Luke 11:30 (NIV84) For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.

 

Should We Expect Miracles?

 

Read Luke 11:29.

Having personally witnessed many miracles and having had many discussions about miracles with other believers, I find it hard to be sympathetic to believers who quote Luke 11:29 as an argument in favour of Christians not seeing miracles.

The argument often runs something like this: Jesus said that this generation wants to see a miracle but none will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Jonah has been and gone so we cannot and should not expect to see any miracles because of Jesus’ words in this passage.

Such an argument, however, has more holes than swiss cheese. Jesus, we are told, is speaking to the crowds and calls them, in no uncertain terms, ‘a wicked generation.’ Jesus is not speaking to believers who pray or ask in faith for a miracle. The passage should not rightly be applied to believers at all.

Added to this, the context makes clear that the believers are asking for a sign that they might weigh up Jesus and decide whether or not to believe in Him. They are seeking a sign with evil intent. Again, such a context cannot and should not be applied to believers.

The sign of Jonah is adequate for the generation that Jesus is speaking to. Jonah came and preached to the Ninevites and even without miracles, they repented and turned to God. The current generation have someone greater than Jonah before them, namely Jesus. They have heard his preaching and have failed to repent and believe. The demand for a sign is the demand of an evil generation hell-bent on not believing in Jesus. Again, this cannot and should not be applied to believers.

Whether or not you believe that Christians should see miracles today is ultimately between you and God. We respect your decision. But there are several passages that should weigh into the decision. Consider these passages in their own context and prayerfully bring the matter to God.

Matthew 21:21–22 (NIV84)

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

John 15:7 (NIV84)

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.

1 Corinthians 12:7–11 (NIV84)

7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore God that He is a God of love and compassion.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God that He gives His Spirit to all believers and that the Spirit leads and guides us.

 

Supplication:

Pray that our CMTC students would grow in love for God, in knowledge of the Word and in their ability to teach the Word, to share the Word an to reach out to the lost with the Word.

 

Discuss

 

1.A good case can be made for Christians seeing miracles today and also for not seeing miracles today. Outline the arguments on both sides of the debate. You may need to do some research.

2.What in the passage makes you think Jesus was talking to hard-hearted non-believers?

3.Why would no sign be given to this particular group of people?

 

 

Saturday June 9, 2018

 

Willing Shepherds

Read 1 Peter 5:1-4. 

What an interesting character Peter was. First he was a coward who denied Christ and who was not good with words, but a simple fisherman, then he preached before thousands. He was the rock upon whom Jesus built his church, yet he counted himself equal to and no greater than the elders among the church he was addressing in this letter. There is a saying that Peter was “first among equals”. He was specifically given special commands from Jesus, and given special honour by Jesus, but yet, he regards himself as equal to the elders in a church he oversaw. A fellow elder even with the elders we have here at Christlife. It’s striking when you think about this in relation to the Roman Catholic Church who regard him as the first pope and esteem his office above any other except the office of Christ Himself! Yet, not even He regarded himself at such lofty heights. Instead he perceived himself as an equal even to the elders we have at Christlife, a little congregation in a small(ish) country town on an island thousands of miles and years away from him.

 

And it follows then, in Peter’s humility, that he would echo the special commission He received from Jesus after his resurrection to “feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17). He did not regard it his own job to be the sole feeder of Christ’s flock, but rather that it is the role of all elders to feed the flock. I always find it funny that the role of shepherd is used to describe the role of leaders in the church. It isn’t the type of person one usually finds circulating in high society. In fact, it is a very lowly role. And you need to be hardy as well, to be able to fend off rustlers and wild animals. They are often dirty, poorly fed, and probably pretty smelly too. But they always need to remain faithful to their role, vigilant like I said, or the flock they herd will be damaged. It just goes to show again the humility of Peter, that even though He was one of Jesus’ inner circle, and should therefore be honoured highly, he regarded himself as a shepherd still, and not even the shepherd above all other shepherds, but rather a fellow shepherd.

 

Likewise our elders should be humble. Not desiring a position for monetary gain, or for political and social power, but for a greater opportunity to feed the flock. Our elders should love serving us. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give up His life. There is little or no earthly glory (deserved though it may be) in being a servant of all.

 

Neither should they be overbearing. But, in serving us, they should remain humble and loving and lead us by their own example. The church is not a feudal kingdom, Esa is not our baron and the elders his vassals, but rather, we are all servant of our king and saviour Jesus Christ. Our elders are there to support us and aid us in our relationship with and love for God. To make Him loom large before our faces in all of our life, more than just on Sunday morning.

 

In fact there are pretty harsh words for those shepherds to abuse the flock Look at Ezekiel 34:10This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them. God has little patience for those who would plunder his flock and exploit them for their own personal gain.

 

Though there may not be an earthly blessing to being a servant, and there is definitely no reward for those who abuse the position of elder in the church, our LORD has made certain heavenly promises. In Matthew 20:16 Jesus promises that the last shall be first in the kingdom of God and in this passage we see God promising that those elders who lead well shall be rewarded when Christ returns. What a glorious reward that shall be! And truly more evidence of how highly esteemed our elders will be in the kingdom of heaven for their faithful work. What a greater joy it is to serve God’s people when you have that to look forward to at the end of days!

 

Prayer:

Adoration:

God as rich – Jehovah alone is able to offer such rewards as an unfading crown. And He alone is able to provide any blessing, whether it is rain for flocks or the finest or jewellery, Our LORD is able to give generously and in abundance. Take some time to adore the wealth and richness of God.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God for installing the elders we have at Christlife

Thank God that He promises to reward the elders of His church for their faithful service

 

Supplication:

Ask God to raise up elders for our church to fill well the role. That they will be humble and loving and not abuse the flock.

Ask God for wisdom in electing new elders, that we will choose the right people for the role.

Discuss

 

1.Who are some commendable shepherds of the flock that you look up to either in the bible or in your life?

2.How well are you being a servant of all in your life?

3.Is there something you can be doing to serve the church?

 

 

 

 

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