Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Destructive Patterns

Theme: God can use flawed people

Scriptures: Judges 16:1-31

Objectives: (From the D6 Fusion lesson book)
Know: Samson’s patterns of sin and lust led to the Spirit leaving him, taking away his strength. God later used Samson again when he cried out to God.
Think: Maintain a mindset of humble obedience and dependence of God.
Do: Stay in close fellowship with God by confessing sin daily and avoiding sinful patterns.

Notes and questions:
B1 Basics
C1 Images: Source

C2 Samson
D1 What were Samson’s strengths?
D2 What were Samson’s weaknesses?
D3 Why did God use this fellow as His judge?
D4 Did Samson always love God the way he should have?
D5 How does this verse apply to Samson? “If you love Me, keep My commandments. (John 14:15, NKJV)
D6 How does Samson compare with Moses? By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, (Hebrews 11:24-25, NKJV)
D7 Did Samson live this verse? LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart; (Psalms 15:1-2, NKJV)
D8 Did Samson repent? See Judges 16:28
B2 Judges 16:1-3,
C1 Why is Samson in Gaza?
C2 Samson sinned, but he was still able to lift the gates to the city with its bars and posts and carry them off to the top of a hill. Why did God still give Samson strength?
C3 A quote on Samson and the gate: The Gaza gate would have consisted of two thick doors that could be barred, and the side posts probably turned in stone sockets. Many of the ancient gates were also covered with metal or at least reinforced with metal bands. Samson pulled up the barred gate with the side posts attached and carried the whole thing off. It was as if he pulled a flower out of the ground, yet Dr. William Barrick computed the weight of the gate and posts to have been between five and ten tons (“Samson’s Removal of Gaza’s Gates,”, n.d.) And Samson carried the gate to Hebron, which was 36 miles away and 3,200 feet higher in altitude!
B3 Judges 16:4-17
C1 Love This word describes a serious love. It is used
D1 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only [son] Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” (Genesis 22:2, NKJV)
D2 “Nevertheless the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam, but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you. (Deuteronomy 23:5, NKJV)
D3 By night on my bed I sought the one I love; I sought him, but I did not find him. (Song of Solomon 3:1, NKJV)
C2 1100 pieces of silver from each Philistine lord.
D1 Five lords each giving 1100 pieces of silver equals 5,500 pieces of silver.
D2 Thayer believes that a silver piece used to pay Judas the Betrayer was a tetradrachm.
D3 A tetradrachm weighed about 0.5 troy ounces.
D4 0.5 troy ounces equals 15.55 grams.
D4 A gram on today’s silver market is worth about $0.53. (20 Jun 17)
D5 It is believed that one silver piece was worth about $8.24.
D6 1,100 pieces of silver would be worth approximately $9,065.65.
D7 The 5,500 pieces of silver would be worth about $45,328.25.
D8 The buying value of that probably was a lot more than that. The 30 pieces of silver given then returned by Judas the Betrayer bought a field for a cemetery. But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.” And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, “and gave them for the potter’s field, as the LORD directed me.” (Matthew 27:6-10, NKJV)
C3 A withe in the culture of that day was probably a small rope made from green tree bark. The Hebrew word suggests a small rope or cord.
C4 A tow would be similar to a wick or thread.
C5 The new ropes would have been made from seasoned materials, not green.
C6 “That he told her all his heart, and said to her, “No razor has ever come upon my head, for I [have been] a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak, and be like any [other] man.” (Judges 16:17, NKJV). What was the source of his strength?
D1 It is not long hair.
D2 It is his dedication and vow as a Nazirite.
D3 According to the ISBE article on Nazirite, the conditions are:
E1 The strictest abstinence from wine and from every product of the vine
E2 The keeping of the hair uncut and the beard untouched by a razor
E3 The prohibition to touch a dead body
E4 Prohibition of unclean food (Judges 13:5-7; Judges 13:6)
D4 As long as he kept his vow, God was with him. Thus, he had to obey to have God’s blessing.
C7 Why did Delilah love money more than Samson?
C8 What was wrong with Samson that he could not see what she was really after?
C9 How do we deal with weaknesses, our failures to stand true to God’s rules? It was a moral weakness that took Samson down to defeat. How do we stay true to God? How do we avoid sin ruining our character and testimony?
C10 Why is sin so appealing to the flesh?
C11 Will a little compromise lead to more compromise?
B4 Judges 16:18-31,
C1 What is the significance of the words: But he did not know that the LORD  had departed from him. (Judges 16:20, NKJV)?
C2 What happens when we sin and have moral or other downfalls? So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. “However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also [who is] born to you shall surely die.” (2 Samuel 12:13-14, NKJV)
C3 While the Philistines were praising dagon, they were soon to find out that dagon was not able to protect them from their enemy.
B5 Steps in downfall
C1 Each human Romans 1:18-32
D1 Everyone knows there is God.
D2 God shows Himself through creation. This is part of prevenient grace.
D3 Truth is deliberately suppressed. This is resistance to God’s grace.
D4 Unrighteousness is how people suppress truth. This is the unrighteousness that comes from the heart, the inner person. “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. (Matthew 15:18-19, NKJV). People do not live in thoughts, words, desires, or deeds that way God wants us to. There are no excuses as, “I didn’t know.”
D5 They resisted glorifying God and thanking God.
D6 The consequences of this leads to a change in thinking (it becomes futile, that is, starting to think their unreasonable thoughts are the truth). It also leads to the heart becoming darker, that is, there is less light from God to know truth.
D7 Self deception comes next, for they believe they are very wise, but in reality, they are fools.
D8 They start to worship an other god, usually themselves and whatever is comfortable for them.  This has consequences leading to uncleanness. This is spiritual but also physical, not the dirt of hard work but the dirt of sin. They wanted freedom, but they became slaves of sin. Compare: knowing this, that our old man was crucified with [Him,] that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. (Romans 6:6, NKJV)
D9 This leads to God removing His grace even more, so that now they desired, lusted, for things that God disapproves of. Dishonor their bodies refers to mistreatment of our body in any way, especially sinful ways.
D10 People leave God’s truths for lies, then worship and serve those lies. We are addicted to sin.
D11 They turn to unnatural sin practices of all and any types in words, thoughts, desires, and deeds.
D12 This has consequences and affects the body.
D13 Still rejecting God and His ways, God allows them to have a debased mind, a reprobate mind. It is the mind that rejects good and chooses evil. Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20, NKJV)
D14 Now, it seems, there is no stopping of the flood of evil that people do. Among these are...all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. (Romans 1:29-31, HCSB). They not only do them but are filled with them.
D15 Finally, they are recruiters of others to do evil, even though they know the punishment of God.
C2 To sin (James 1:13-15)
D1 God does not tempt. God cannot be tempted.
D2 Our hearts choose to lust after something evil. This builds, sometimes for years. We are tempted to sin.
D3 So then (sadly) we often decide to do evil (...desire has conceived).
D4 We sin.
D5 We die. This would be our testimony, our prayer life, often our family, our____.
B6 Remember
C1 We must know what God wants. We must read and study the Bible daily.
C2 We must pray for God’s deliverance and protection. So we must avoid sin.
C3 If we sin, we must repent, confess, and ask forgiveness.
C4 We are in this together. Pray for one another.
C5 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours; yet he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the land. Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land produced its fruit. (James 5:16-18, HCSB)
C6 [Let your] conduct [be] without covetousness; [be] content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The LORD [is] my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”  (Hebrews 13:5-6, NKJV)
C7 Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7, NKJV)
B7 Next week:
C1 Pleasing God
C2 Theme: Walking in Godliness
C3 Scriptures: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

Thursday, June 15, 2017

We Are Looking for the Rapture, not the Antichrist

I found a concise summary of this topic.

Paul's second epistle to the Thessalonians was written as a response to a query that church had sent to the Apostle. The Thessalonians were troubled by a letter they had received, purportedly from Paul (but actually a forgery), alleging that they had entered into "the day of the LORD" (2 Thessalonians 2:2). They were troubled by this since Paul had previously taught them that the rapture of the Church would happen before the outpouring of God's wrath during the Tribulation period (1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:9); if this allegation...
You can read the rest here: Not Apostasy, but Rapture!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

When less is more

Theme: Trusting God’s Power

Scripture: Judges 7:1-23

Objectives: (from the D6 Fusion Sunday school lesson)
Know: God used Gideon and 300 men to miraculously defeat a vast Midianite led army.
Think: Be so mindful of God’s power that I confidently move forward when He leads.
Do: Step out in faith, trusting God to accomplish His will through you.

Notes and Questions:
B1 Some images
C2 Spring of Harod
B2 Some basics
C1 Gideon
D1 Youngest son of Joash
D2 Was of the tribe of Manasseh
D3 He had two nicknames--Jerubbaal and Jerubbesheth
D4 Joash, his father, worshipped Baal. He had an idol and altar to him.
D5 The Midianites were robbers and gradually took possession of the land. They kept most of the product of farming and animals for themselves. Many of Manasseh and Ephraim had to live in caves and dens.
D6 God commissions him to deliver Israel.
D7 He was rather timid and needed proofs of God’s call (the fleece).
D8 Went and did as God commanded.
E1 First, he destroyed the altar and the Baal. He, then, built an altar to Yahweh and offered one of his father’s bulls on that altar.
E2 Second, he called for Israelites to be in his army.
E3 Third, he reduced this army at God’s command. The army started out at 32,000 and was reduced to 10,000 after 22,000 left, because they were afraid. God still wanted more reductions and gave Gideon a sign to accept as soldiers only those who drank water as a dog did. The rest were sent home. This left 300.
C2 Outline
D1 Gathering the soldiers and the reduction of it Judges 7:1-8
D2 The Midianite’s dream and interpretation Judges 7:9-18
D3 Israel’s victory over the Midianites Judges 7:19-25
B3 Judges 7:1-8
C1 Why did God want to reduce the number of soldiers?
C2 Why did God NOT want Israel to glory in its power?
C3 What does God do to show that He is our victor every day of our life?
C4 What is the lapping that God gives as a test?
D1 Two views
E1 Those who are approved go down on their knees and drink water like a dog.
E2 Those who are approved bring the water to their mouths and lap that water.
D2 Judges 7:6 states, “And the number of those who lapped, [putting] their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people got down on their knees to drink water. (Judges 7:6, NKJV). Thus it is those bringing the water to their mouth.
C5 What might be the difference between the two types of soldiers?
B4 Judges 7:9-18,
C1 Why would Gideon be afraid? Are we sometimes afraid to do God’s will as revealed in the Scriptures? What can strengthen us?
C2 How was it possible for the Midianite to correctly interpret the dream? See Judges 7:10. The idea that a loaf of barley bread could topple a tent was ludicrous.
C3 Why did Gideon worship after hearing the interpretation?
C4 Why the strange method to fight an army (3 groups of 100 soldiers having a torch under a jar, breaking the jars, blowing trumpets, and shouting, “For Yahweh and Gideon)?”
B5 Judges 7:19-25,
C1 In Judges 7:20, why the sword of the Lord? Is this a real sword or does it signify something else? How does this apply to our Christian life? See Ephesians 6:17 and Hebrews 4:12
C2 Did the Midianites have great confidence in their ability to win? Why did they lose?
B6 Is God’s calling able to give strength to the weakest of Believers?
C1 Gideon was a timid man. He needed much encouragement. God gave a great victory.
C2 Some verses
D1 I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13 [GodsWord])
D2 In your strength I can crush an army;with my God I can scale any wall. (Psalms 18:29, NLT)
D3 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. (2 Corinthians 12:9, NLT)
D4 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit (Ephesians 3:16, NLT)
D5 Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; (Colossians 1:11, NKJV)
D6 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, (2 Timothy 1:12, NLT)
C3 Can God give what is necessary to accomplish His will? What has He called you to? He will give the strength and wisdom to do this.
C4 Since we are believers, He gives the strength, safety, and ability to live a Christian life.
C5 Can you give any examples in your life where God gave the strength to do something you never would/could on your own strength?
C6 Some specifics
D1 And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” (Luke 17:5, NKJV)
D2 “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.” (Luke 24:49, NLT)
D3 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death. (Hebrews 11:33-35, NLT)
C7 Does God give strength, wisdom, and ability if we disobey Him?
C8 After God helps us, what are we always to do? (Be thankful and give Him the glory).
C9 How will this passage change your life this week?
B7 Next week
C1 Destructive Patterns
C2 Theme: God can use flawed people
C3 Scriptures: Judges 16:1-31

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Trust and Obey

Trust and Obey

Theme: Trusting God’s Plan

Scriptures: Judges 4:1-16

Objectives (from the D6 Fusion Sunday School Lesson book)
Know: Deborah the prophetess instructed Barak to lead an army against Sisera and the superior Canaanite army. God gave Barak victory.
Think: Live with the assurance that God will show Himself and His power through my life as I follow and obey Him.
Do: Trust God and obey His leading to experience victory.

Notes and questions:
B1 Names
C1 Deborah means bee.
C2 Barak means lightning flash.
C3 Sisera means battle array.
C4 Jael means mountain goat.
B2 Outline
C1 Israel’s disobedience Judges 4:1-3
C2 Deborah prophesies to Barak Judges 4:4-10
C3 Heber the Kenite Judges 4:11
C4 Barak fights Sisera Judges 4:12-16
C5 Sisera dies Judges 4:17-24
B3 Israel fails again
C1 Why are foreign gods so alluring?
C2 What do people not like about Yahweh?
C3 Why was Barak not willing to go and fight without Deborah with him?
B4 Trust and obey
C1 Trust has the meaning of confident rest in another’s ability, reliability, and faithfulness to do what they say they can.
D1 Negative illustration is
E1 Israel. Then the LORD will ask his people, ‘Where are those mighty gods you trusted? (Deuteronomy 32:37, GNB92)
E2 Israel. Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and who depend on horses! They trust in the abundance of chariots and in the large number of horsemen. They do not look to the Holy One of Israel and they do not seek the LORD’s help. (Isaiah 31:1, HCSB)
D2 Positive illustration is
E1 Asa. Then Asa called to the LORD his God, and said, “LORD, there is no one besides Thee to help [in the battle] between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in Thee, and in Thy name have come against this multitude. O LORD, Thou art our God; let not man prevail against Thee.” So the LORD routed the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. (2 Chronicles 14:11-12, NASB77)
E2 Hezekiah. Hezekiah trusted in the LORD God of Israel; not one of the kings of Judah was like him, either before him or after him. (2 Kings 18:5, HCSB)
C2 Obey has the meaning of doing faithfully all that God commands.
D1 Negative illustration is
E1 King Saul. And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you. For now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. “But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him [to be] commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.” (1 Samuel 13:13-14, NKJV)
E2 The unnamed prophet sent to King Jeroboam. Now it happened, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came to the prophet who had brought him back; and he cried out to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Because you have disobeyed the word of the LORD, and have not kept the commandment which the LORD your God commanded you, ‘but you came back, ate bread, and drank water in the place of which [the LORD] said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water,” your corpse shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.’ ” (1 Kings 13:20-22, NKJV)
D2 Positive illustration is
E1 Both are illustrated in Jesus’s parable. “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ “He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. “Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I [go,] sir,’ but he did not go. “Which of the two did the will of [his] father?” They said to Him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. “For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw [it,] you did not afterward relent and believe him. (Matthew 21:28-32, NKJV)
E2 Moses. “Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the door of the tabernacle of meeting and wash them with water. “You shall put the holy garments on Aaron, and anoint him and consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as priest. “And you shall bring his sons and clothe them with tunics. “You shall anoint them, as you anointed their father, that they may minister to Me as priests; for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.” Thus Moses did; according to all that the LORD had commanded him, so he did. (Exodus 40:12-16, NKJV)
E3 Noah. And Noah did according to all that the LORD commanded him. (Genesis 7:5, NKJV)
C3 Questions
D1 What increases trust?
D2 What decreases trust?
D3 What helps us to obey?
D4 What hinders us to obey?
D5 Why do people put their trust in a politician or expert or media?
D6 Why do people obey false prophets, false teachers, and false preachers?
B5  Judges 4:1-3
C1 The word sold in Judges 4:2 can mean exchanged for money or can mean surrendered.
D1 Sell
E1 But Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright as of this day.” (Genesis 25:31, NKJV)
E2 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you [and] your sons live on the rest.” (2 Kings 4:7, NKJV)
D2 How does God sell? To whom does He sell?
E1 Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and He sold them into the hand of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the children of Israel served Cushan-Rishathaim eight years. (Judges 3:8, NKJV)
E2 So Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?” And he answered, “I have found [you,] because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the LORD: (1 Kings 21:20, NKJV)
E3 But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the LORD, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up. (1 Kings 21:25,
E4 ‘And if [one of] your brethren [who dwells] by you becomes poor, and sells himself to you, you shall not compel him to serve as a slave. (Leviticus 25:39, NKJV)
E5 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 [EMTV])
E6 A person who was in too much debt that could not be paid off, would sell themselves to someone. The person who bought this person paid that person’s debt. The debtor than worked in exchange for the debt that was paid. This is the meaning of Leviticus 25:39 and extends to other passages as Judges 4:2.
C2 Why did it take 20 years before Israel cried for help and the Lord delivered them?
B6 Judges 4:4-10
C1 Why gather the troops at Mt. Tabor?
D1 Picture
D2 Map
Mt Tabor Galilee.png
C2 What characteristic, attribute, of God is seen in Judges 4:7?
C3 Why did Barak insist that Deborah go with him?
C4 Barak was not to receive the honor of the defeat of General Sisera. Two verses:
D1 Therefore the LORD the God of Israel declares: I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever, but now the LORD declares: Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. (I Samuel 2:30 [ESV]. The honor given by the world system are temporal; the honor given by God is eternal. Consider: How can you believe, who receive glory from one another, and do not seek the glory which is from the only God? (John 5:44 [EMTV]
D2 and they withstood King Uzziah and said to him, It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD, but for the priests the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Go out of the sanctuary, for you have done wrong, and it will bring you no honor from the LORD God. (II Chronicles 26:18 [ESV]. Here the King does a good thing, but it is not lawful. God knows the King is disobedient and rebellious.
B7 Judges 4:11-16
C1 What if Barak had hesitated to start out to fight?
C2 What fights does the Christian have today? (A spiritual fight).
D1 Temptation
E1  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty by God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to avenge every act of disobedience, whenever your obedience is fulfilled. (II Corinthians 10:3-6 [EMTV])
E2  Because of this, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having accomplished all things, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; through every prayer and petition, praying in every season in the Spirit, being watchful to this same thing with all perseverance and petition concerning all the saints— (Ephesians 6:13-18 [EMTV]
D2 Persecution--from the Bridgeway Bible Dictionary (2004) on Persecution: Those who love evil rather than good will inevitably want to persecute those who desire to live godly lives (John 3:19-20; 2 Timothy 3:12). Christians should not be surprised when they suffer persecution. If they show themselves to be Christ's people, they can expect the sort of opposition that Christ suffered. They should consider it a privilege to suffer for Christ's sake (Matthew 5:10-11; John 15:20; Acts 5:41; 2 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Peter 4:12-13).
Both Jesus and the New Testament writers taught Christians that they should pray for their persecutors. Certainly they should not try to return evil upon those who attack them. God's people should have confidence in him that, when they are persecuted, they will know how to act and what to say (Matthew 5:44; 10:17-20; Romans 12:14; 1 Peter 2:21-24; 4:14-16).
Persecution tests the genuineness of a person's faith, but true believers will endure it, knowing that God will not forsake them (Matthew 13:21; Romans 5:3-5; 8:35; 2 Corinthians 4:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:4). The early Christians proved the reality of God's presence with them when they suffered persecution, much of which was at the hands of the Jews (Acts 4:29-31; 5:17-21; 7:54-56; 18:9-10; 2 Timothy 4:17).
C3 Who gave the victory?
B8 Victory for the Christian
C1 The fight is in temptation and persecution. Tempted to sin, rebell, deny Christ, to lose faith, etc. Persecution because we love God and His ways. Our Master was persecuted and not believed, so it happens to us. Sometimes the persecution is physical but also emotional and spiritual.
C2 Victory
D1 Temptation
E1 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God [is] faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear [it.] (1 Corinthians 10:13, NKJV) The way out would be to resist (Luke 4:1-13, Hebrew 11:25, James 4:7) and/or to flee (1 Corinthians 6:18, 1 Corinthians 10:14, 1 Timothy 6:11, 2 Timothy 2:22).
E2 [then] the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, (2 Peter 2:9, NKJV)
E3 If tempted, turn away. If tempted to steal, leave. If tempted to lie, say nothing or determine to tell the truth.
E4 We have to have knowledge of God’s ways. There are over 1,000 in the New Testament for Christians. Consider just a few:
F1 Children, obey your parents as you would the Lord, because this is right.
F2 Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise, so that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life in the land.
F3 Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
F4 Slaves [employees today--ed], obey your human masters with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ.
F5 Don’t work only while being watched, in order to please men, but as slaves of Christ, do God’s will from your heart.
F6 Serve with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that whatever good each one does, slave or free, he will receive this back from the Lord.
F7 And masters [employers today--ed], treat your slaves the same way, without threatening them, because you know that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with Him. F8 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. F9 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. (Ephesians 6:1-11, HCSB)
E5 It is by God’s grace that we can win against temptation.
E6 If sin, repent.
D2 Persecution
E1 With lies: All Your commands are true; people persecute me with lies — help me! (Psalms 119:86, HCSB). The solution is to depend on God’s help and know the truth.
E2 For no reason (other than we are Christians): Princes have persecuted me without cause, but my heart fears only Your word. (Psalms 119:161, HCSB). The solution is to fear God, that is, respect, trust, and obey.
E3 Because we want and do live God’s way: Blessed [are ]those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10, NKJV). The solution is to continue steadfastly knowing God is helping (2 Corinthians 10:14). We are blessed if this happens.
E4 Because we worship and serve Jesus Christ. “You are blessed when they insult and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12, HCSB). The solution is to remember those who have gone before us and those today. There is a reward. We are to pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44, Romans 12:14). It may be that we have to leave the area (Matthew 10:23).
E5 We live a godly life: In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2 Timothy 3:12, HCSB). God encourages and helps us: But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be disturbed, (1 Peter 3:14, HCSB)
E6 The devil is our main enemy. He will fight us with bad dreams, bring to memory our failures and past, accuse us of being evil and not forgiven, remind us that we are failures, so that we might as well give up, etc. Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. (1 Peter 5:8, HCSB). The solution is to remember these things of persecution do NOT separate us from the love of God.
F1 As it is written: Because of You we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord! (Romans 8:36-39, HCSB).
F2 Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, (2 Peter 2:9, HCSB)
F3 You might be helped by reading Psalm 37.
B9 Remember:
C1 Why is obeying God important? (“If you love Me, keep My commandments. (John 14:15, NKJV) and what else)?
C2 Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5, HCSB)
C3 It might be helpful to read Psalm 118.
B10 Next week:
C1 When less is more
C2 Theme: Trusting God’s Power
C3 Scripture: Judges 7:1-23