After the hurt, then what?

 

The church sat right on the street, beckoning any who walked by to come inside, sit in the cool air, relax and get calm. Not her! There was no way she was going to enter a church again in her life. All that it stood for was a lie, she was certain of that. For a second, as she walked past the glass windows, she saw her reflection; it took her breath for just an instant. Not that she didn’t know what she looked like, but goodness, that was a sour-faced middle-aged woman looking back at her. How can you feel fifteen or twenty inside looking out, and yet the evidence shows you’re getting past the blush of youth? She hurried on.

The memories, oh, do they never end? How many decades does it take for them to stop overwhelming you? The church had re-opened a cavern where blackness in her soul was usually kept locked. The old questions came flooding back. What must it be like to have been raised by a mom and dad, with happy siblings, with love in the home? To come inside and know that everything bad was being held outside because the door had shut? She had had that for a little while, but the loss of that life still affected everything she did.

She had to sit on a bench for a moment, because she could feel the heaviness of those old memories begin to suffocate her–as they did every once in a while. Breathe. It was like a movie you’ve seen too many times, and it won’t quit. Her mother and father had tucked her in, but they hadn’t gone to bed; there was no yelling, nothing to indicate everything wasn’t good within her family. But when she woke in the morning, Dad was gone, his clothes were gone, his car, and Mom was crying as if she’d never stop. An aunt came by to take her to school, but she could hardly concentrate, wondering what had happened. They were a great family! She was her daddy’s Princess–he always said so. He bragged on her, held her, took her for walks, bought her presents, took her to church–he loved her. He had taught her about God! Now he was gone, and without saying goodbye. The pain was too great to understand.

She worked through the problem: Mom was still there, and Grandma and Gramps, but she could see they were hurting just like she was. Eventually Mom told her the truth: Dad had found another family, another woman to be his wife, and he had left. The woman had children: that meant he would have a new princess, and the tears from the pain of that worked their way out until she was sobbing as if she could never stop. Everyone was still the same, but Dad wasn’t there anymore. And the conclusion she finally came to gave a target for her anger and hate: God was the one at fault, for He could have stopped him. If there really was a God, especially one who loved children, He would not have let Dad go. So, either there wasn’t a God at all, or He didn’t love, because He didn’t stop bad things from happening. She was so young, but she shut her heart that day, and it had never been opened again.

Now, as she sat on the bench, the memories slowly began to ebb, just as they always did. She had reached the same conclusion as decades before. The idea of a loving heavenly Father was a myth for weak people, and she hated Him. She didn’t think about the paradox of hating someone who didn’t exist–she just knew she hated Him. She is one of millions who can’t get past the hurt to understand that God has chosen to give people the free will to make bad choices, and the innocent suffer. Would that she had turned to a Bible, and started writing down all that is said about God, His patience, His love, and how much He hurts when sin and Satan triumph over good. How much Satan has gloated at the hate in the heart of the child who has become a woman. And how ready God is to take her in His arms, and sooth away the pain, and heal the heart.

Sunday, May 21, the congregation at Thomas Road Baptist Church heard from the Scriptures as Jesus stated who He is. To believe that He is, you have to hear about Him, either through someone telling you, or reading about Him. To reject Him without checking any of the evidence is not even giving Him a chance. How about clicking on the sermon link, http://www.trbc.org/sermon-archive, and hitting play on “Not My Jesus: Who Did Jesus Say That He Is?” Join Charles and the choir from LCA as they lead in worship, then listen to the message as Jesus emphasized His deity–to men who hated Him with a hatred so violent they were going to take His life. Grab your notebook, a cup of coffee or tea, and sit back, join the worship service, and then do the study below. Without a doubt, you know someone who is intimately hating Jesus Christ because they have been hurt. They badly need Him back in their life. You may be the one God has chosen to help them!

Not My Jesus: Who Did Jesus Say That He Is?                                                                                                                                                                                                 Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Open:

Many people are skeptical of facts presented to them unless they can see for themselves they are hearing the truth. Can you give an example from your own life?

This week we continue to look at what the Scriptures say about Jesus Christ: that He is, indeed, God, who left His glory in heaven to come in the flesh to the earth. We have looked at the doubts surrounding His being the only begotten Son of God, even when He Himself declared that He was the Messiah. Let’s study what Jesus said about His deity to determine if He was a fraud, a prophet or whether “truly, this Man was (is) the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39).

Focal Passage: John 8:12-58

Think About or Discuss:

The Light of the World

  1. Read verse 12. What did Jesus claim in this verse? Where does this light lead?
  2. Read Isaiah 9:2. How did Jesus fulfill this prophecy of Isaiah? How does He dispel the darkness that is in one’s soul prior to salvation?

God Incarnate

  1. In verse 23, where was Jesus saying He was from?
  2. John 1:14 gives what fact?
  3. Read John 14:9-11. How much plainer could Jesus have spoken?

The Messiah

  1. Read verses 25-28. Jesus knew He was going to be killed because of His claims. Would He have made such statements if He were not the Christ? Why?
  2. Read John 4: 25, 26, and Matt. 8:28,29. Are these two accounts valid? Why?
  3. Why did the religious leaders want to kill Him?

The Word

  1. Read John 1:1-4. Who is being referred to in this verse, and how do we know?
  2. Read Col. 1:15-17: How do these verses about Jesus Christ back up His claims to have been the Creator God?

The Sent One

  1. Verse 42: What does Jesus state to the religious leaders here? Again, did He know His life was on the line with these statements?

Close:

One of the greatest debates in all of history is one simple question: is Jesus Christ who He claimed to be: the Son of the living God? If a person will read the Bible, making notes of the facts it presents, they will find that it states He left heaven to be born of a virgin as a baby, who was fully God and fully man, who grew to adulthood to take on a ministry, healed every kind of disease, raised the dead, taught, lived a sinless life in order to pay the penalty for sin for any who would accept the free gift of grace, was crucified, buried and rose again; was seen by many witnesses after the resurrection, and returned to heaven to wait until it is time for Him to return for believers. That is a lot of facts to reject! Especially so, considering there were witnesses to almost all of it. And yet, people want proof. The Pharisees and Sadducees had followed Him as He did miracles, but they still asked for a “sign”! (Matt. 16:1). As we learned early in this series, no true historian rejects the evidence that Jesus lived. But was He the Son of God, a good man, a prophet, or a fraud? The biggest reason unbelievers reject Him is because they cannot reconcile that He is love, and yet allows evil to exist—or at least to touch them! But proof—which is something that is seen—is not faith, and “without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6). In the final analysis of a study of Jesus, it comes down to a decision: will the reader believe that Jesus knows who He says He is—the great I AM—or will they reject Him because life has dealt some hard blows? The biggest proof there will ever be is a wretched soul who turns their life over to Jesus, and sees a new life emerge. What more proof could anyone ask than the complete healing of a soul? Do His bidding: seek those who are lost and introduce them to the Savior!

Memory Verses: John 8:12: “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’” through whom also He made the worlds.”

Study: Take some time at home to look up passages on “Light,” and find out how many times Jesus is spoken of as the light. Go to www.biblegateway.com or www.blueletterbible.org and find passages that will make the study on Jesus come alive for you! The deeper you go, the more you will want to learn!

Email: sdayfarm@aol.com

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LOVE LIFE AND SEE GOOD DAYS…

Math. Either there was just a collective groan, a sigh, or something in between–like okay, what now? Well, there isn’t much I remember from those “good ol’ days,” but as far as I know, I’ve never used the multitude of stress placed upon me to pass Trig class, or even Algebra; I’ve never dissected a frog or used a Bunsen burner. But one thing I remember well: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Or maybe it wasn’t math, maybe it was Science–but no matter, the lesson  is the same. 

I say this because I have had a crisis too big too handle, and something had to go from my time allotment: sleeping and eating were rather necessary, so that left writing, cleaning house, and “life.” For that, I feel I owe (the opposite reaction to letting it go), an apology. I think I hoped that some would actually click on the latest service at Thomas Road and listen.

Yesterday, which you’ll hear if you haven’t already, it was made plain to the congregation that a change is coming. Not something we (the members) would have chosen, but one lesson was made plain, and it fits here. When God speaks to your heart, only a very foolish person would ignore the King of the universe. That is not happening within our staff, because the person desires a holy and obedient life, and truly, the sorrow over losing one whom we love is outweighed by the fact that God has chosen to send him elsewhere. And in tying that together with my own life, I had decided, based on internal situations that seem out of my control, to stop this blog. I felt a failure for not being able to do it twice in over a year. Fifty two (plus) weeks, and I was going to let it quit because I let Satan tell me I was a failure for not being able to do it last week. Shame on me.

 If you’re familiar with Thomas Road now, you know we feature a “My Road” video, where someone tells his/her story. Yesterday, answering my feeling of inadequacy, the person interviewed said that the person who was using social media to try to spread the gospel should NOT quit. That was a paraphrase, but it hit home. Was it God who had orchestrated that person to speak on a Sunday when I was going to throw in the towel? Without a doubt. Do I reach even one person who wants to know God better? I have no clue. But like our staff person, I would be a fool to quit when I have nothing more to claim than a lack of strength to continue. “To him who knows to do (something that is) good, and does not do it, to him this is sin.” End of story.  I was convicted, chastised, and will continue to strive to set out the sermon studies for Thomas Road, not knowing if anyone is encouraged by them. My email is at the bottom anytime anyone wants to write. And to add a final thrust, God chose the sermon to be on doing those things that bring happiness–not external through “things,” but internal through molding us into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Are you ready to settle back, get your notebook, and listen as the service is broadcast, with singing, with tears, with heartache, and with joy. Obeying God is always going to bring joy, no matter the tears. Remember the reaction? The tears of pain and separation will still result in joy by doing God’s will. We would not know joy if we did not know pain. My daughter pointed that out earlier: that only by knowing sadness can we recognize happiness. Let’s click on the service from Sunday, May 15 (Happy Mother’s Day to any mom reading this!), and see what God has in store for us this week. Joy, God promises, comes in the morning. That’s a promise! Let’s look for the morning.

Click on http://www.trbc.org/service-archive and select the main sermon from the series “Not My Jesus.” We continue to search our hearts to see that our lives are being transformed daily into who Christ wants us to be. If you have a Strong’s Concordance, it will be a special help for some of the words used in the focal passage. Get you a drink, a friend if possible, and let’s dig in, having a special treat of the children being part of the song service. May you be “blessed” as you watch and listen!

Not My Jesus: What Jesus Really Said                                                                                                                                  Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Open:

If you’ve heard of the Autobahn in Germany, you know it’s an open speed limit highway; that seems like a driver’s dream, doesn’t it? Especially days when you’re trapped behind cars going less than a stated speed limit and you can’t pass. Why would no speed limit seem so great, and do you think that’s the way it is in reality?

This week we want to carefully grasp some of the instructions for Christians to have a life blessed by God, from Jesus Himself. In this series, “Not My Jesus,” we’ve looked at the myths surrounding Jesus, the views the world has, Jesus’ own witness of who He is, and the witness of God the Father. Now we will look at several of His guidelines for happiness, apply those truths to our daily living and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal areas where we need to become more like Him!

Focal Passage: Matthew 5:1-12.                                                                               Video: Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr., 1975

Think About or Discuss:

The Humble in Heart

  1. Read verses 1-3. Why does the Bible specifically say, “He opened His mouth and taught them”—does anyone remember?[i]
  2. What characterizes someone who is “poor in spirit”? Why would they attain happiness?

The Mourners

  1. In verse 4, what type of mourners did Jesus mean?
  2. Read Luke 18:13, and 1 Tim. 1:15, 16. How do these two passages illustrate the need for people to mourn their sinful state, and what does God do to comfort them?

The Inheritors

  1. What do you think of when you hear the term “meek”? What are some of the Biblical meanings of meek? After discussion, or writing, did you have the meaning correct?[ii]
  2. When you think of something being “inherited,” what comes to mind? How or why would these meek people inherit the earth? Someone read Phil. 4:11-13. How does being content within your circumstances give you blessings?

Those Who Hunger and Thirst

  1. Verse 6: When is the last time you were truly hungry, or extremely thirsty? How can you develop your spiritual appetite so that you desire God’s word daily, meditating on it even “in the night watches” (Psa. 63:6,7)?
  2. Read Job 23:12b. How does this passage illustrate verse 6 of Matthew 5? What will change in your life if you desire God’s word with the same craving you exercise in your food life?

Close:

You’re probably wondering, how does the Autobahn illustrate our spiritual life? Many live their lives as if there are no rules or consequences, which isn’t the true reality. Yet the world assumes following Jesus is a life of do’s and don’t’s, and perceive it as taking away everything they think they enjoy—their “speed limits” if you will. The truth is, Jesus says following Him results in a life of being blessed (happy). In today’s sermon, we were so privileged to hear a forty-two-year-old message by Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr., as he reiterated that blessings come on the lives of those who live in a manner that pleases God. Just as we are pleased to give our approval to our children when they obey with a great attitude, so God chooses to bless us when we strive to live holy, sanctified lives. Is that something you desire, as Job did? After hearing the message, did you weigh your lifestyle against the message Jesus taught on living a life of peace with God? It’s never about rules: it’s about the heart attitude, and the desire to please the God who bought us with His own blood! This week, as you go about your daily routine, take your spiritual pulse often to make certain your heart is beating in sync with His. Share His love when the opportunity presents itself. What if God has placed you here for such a time as this?

Memory Verse: Matthew 5:1,2: “And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them saying.”

[i] It means “listen up!” “Pay attention!”

[ii] Meekness is “strength under control.”

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GIVING IN UNDER PRESSURE!

The child walked into the room, seeing her father getting ready to leave for the village market. She began jumping up and down. “Daddy! Daddy! I want to go! Take me!” she screamed. Dad looked back at his one and only child, who had him wrapped around her finger. “I can’t take you this time, Princess; I have to meet with the Prefect.” “No! Daddy, take me! I’ll be quiet while you talk!” The conversation went back and forth and time was getting short. He was going to have to ride a little faster now, and he was getting irritated. “Delilah! I cannot take you!” he raised his voice considerably, letting her know his frustration was reaching its peak. “Oh, please, Daddy,” she begged, softening her voice with much pleading. “I’ll be so good you won’t know I’m even with you!” He glanced back outside: the sun had risen and he was going to be late. “Oh, come on!” his anger showing the tension he felt at the last ten minutes worth of wasted time. On Delilah’s part, she grabbed her shawl, took her Dad’s hand, and for at least fifteen minutes made herself be quiet and meek. She had gotten her way–just as she did every time. It was a never-ending cycle, and her father didn’t have the will-power to battle his little daughter. 

She grew into a young woman, lovely to look at and sultry in her beauty. She always got what she wanted from anyone. All she had to do was beg, plead, and then soften as if giving up. Be meek. Be hurt. It always worked.

The day Samson came to town, she saw the gorgeous specimen of manhood. She knew from reputation who he must be! Many times she had heard of his strength, his unrestrained ways, and it was even said that he was very wealthy. She knew it was time he met her.

The time spent with Samson was worth it. Delilah’s jewels increased, and her sense of power over Samson became the talk of the village. One day the lords of the region made her a visit, bribing her with money to find out the source of Samson’s strength. For night after night she tried every weapon that had ever been used on her father’s will power, but Samson did not break. She wept, she cajoled, she threatened, she came up with new ideas. Finally, Judges 16:16 tells us that she vexed him so much night after night that she finally broke through his defenses; he told her where his enormous strength came from, and the rest–as is said–became history.

Are you a parent who can relate to this story? Go in ToysRUs sometime, or the toy aisle at WalMart and see how long it takes to hear a screaming youngster who wants a toy, and mommy has put it back. Follow them. Most will go back and get the toy: it’s called “the Price of Peace.” It’s also called giving in to someone stronger. It’s teaching a young child that he can be stronger than an adult. And when he grows to be a teen, he’ll be even stronger, both in his desires and his rule in the home.

This past Sunday, April 9, 2017, we heard a sermon on Pilate, the governor of Judea. Raised in a home that was used to ruling, he was appointed to his position by Rome in order to keep peace in Judea. Now would be a great time to get your notebook, something refreshing to drink, and settle in a chair to watch the sermon from Thomas Road Baptist Church as we lead up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Click on http://www.trbc.org/sermon-archive and choose “Outsiders: Pilate.” If you have time, sing along with the special guest, Meredith Andrews, and enjoy the praise time. If you have a friend who can join you, enjoy the service, and follow it with the sermon study below! It doesn’t have to be done in one sitting. If you want to make it last for a few days, it’s a great way to dig deep into God’s word. Look for the meat in the lesson, rather than the “baby food!” There’s much to be learned from Pilate, and you will be amazed at how like Delilah he was, and it just might open your eyes to the behavior of children you know! Keep your notebook handy to jot your thoughts down in.

Outsiders: Pilate                                                                                                                                                                                          Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Open:

Few things can probably aggravate us as quickly as someone’s child whining until they get their way! Can you think of an example, and why do you think it is so irritating?

This week we look at the third of four characters who were affected by the events that took place the week before the crucifixion, and their reaction to Jesus Christ. Pilate, the governor of Judea, had to listen to the Jews as they relentlessly sought his approval to put Jesus to death. Though Pilate gives in under pressure, he could have made a different choice. Can we identify with that?

Focal Passages: John 18:28-40; John 19:1-16.

Think About or Discuss:

Complacency

  1. As you read the focal passages, you see Jesus being brought before Pilate; what did Pilate keep repeating that seemed to indicate he wanted to avoid making the decision to kill Jesus?
  2. Last week we saw that the Jewish religious leaders were concerned their positions of authority would be lost if Jesus continued to draw followers. What did Pilate have to lose?
  3. How like parents who finally cave in from a child’s continual whining was Pilate as the crowd continued to cry out for Jesus’ death? Why did he do this?

Confusion

  1. Read verses 33-38. These verses serve to build God’s judgment against Pilate. How? He was confused, and kept asking questions, but did not seem to understand he was hearing truth as Jesus answered each question. Do you ever turn away from the truth of something because you are confused and just don’t “feel like dealing with it”?
  2. Pilate heard Truth from Jesus in these verses. If he had had any genuine interest, what options did he have as governor that he could have exercised at this time?

Compromise

  1. Read 19:6b-8 and 15b-16. Pilate knew there was nothing that warranted Jesus dying, yet he finally gave in. He looked for ways to avoid responsibility for His death, but how did God see his actions (verse 11)?
  2. Read verses 7 and 8 again, and Matt. 27:19. Why do you think Pilate was afraid after hearing these two statements?
  3. We can all see ourselves in the actions of Pilate, as we look at our own life when we get in a situation we don’t want to be involved in. Can anyone think of an example?

Close:

Do you feel some empathy for Pilate as he was placed in the situation where he was asked to give the order to crucify a Man he felt was innocent? And yet in the end—just like parents whose children don’t give up—he folded when the Jews played their Ace, that Caesar was their only king (19:12). He knew if Caesar heard of the rioting, his own reign could be ended. Pilate was a politician, hired by Rome to keep peace in the region of Judea. Now, with Jesus, he had to choose between doing the right thing, or giving in to the Jews who wanted Jesus killed. Pilate heard Jesus’ answers, was told He called Himself the Son of God (19:7,8), and was afraid. He, like so many today, had received the truth and hit a fork in his life where he had a choice to learn more of Jesus, or take the world. How often do you find yourself taking the easy way out, because you have become too comfortable with the world or don’t want to deal with the continual frustration? Pilate didn’t want to deal with this problem and shake up his world! He seemed to think “washing his hands” would eliminate his responsibility. When we pass on an obligation that we know must be made, what do we call that? Passing the buck? We say we are “washing our hands of the responsibility!” Don’t pass the buck on making a decision that will determine your eternal destiny: if you have heard of Jesus but side-stepped the issue, make your choice and leave the world behind. His Truth could have set Pilate free (John 8:32)!

Memory Verse: John 18:37b: “…for this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

 

Did You Find the Rose Garden?

Once upon a time… someone was promised a garden of roses.

We thought that was how it worked, didn’t we? Raised on Fairy Tales that all ended “happily ever after,” it seemed life–once we were grown–was going to be full of love, joy and roses. Shall I break it to you? It doesn’t happen that way very often.

We prepared for marriage, and hoped to get someone who would always love us unconditionally; we prepared for jobs, and were so fortunate if we got one that paid well. There were some where we had to follow orders simply because we were employed–orders that we sometimes questioned, or felt uncomfortable with.

One, I recall, was a huge, financially sound corporation. A directive came down the line from the people who sat in the plush offices several states away, who had little “hands on” experience to know how their decisions would impact those very people who made them profitable. This was one of the largest banking firms in the nation. A meeting was called, and the employees, all titled, sat at the conference center desk as the President laid out new rules: there would no longer be renewals on loans that were on the books, unless the customer had the cash to back up the loan. We’re not talking about small credit card debt, but commercial loans that might range up to a few million.

As the customers came in when their loan was up for renewal, and found it wasn’t going to be automatically turned over, they were floored. “I’ve never missed a payment, have impeccable credit, and a value of twice what I owe! How can you do this?!” These were real people, people we knew people well, and as we looked into their faces, we knew how incredibly hard it was going to be for them to keep bankruptcy at bay, just because corporate had made a decision, and now it was going to be mandated. So many went under. Our souls were full of guilt: should we fight or flee? How badly did we need the job?

Have you found the working world–or even school–full of favoritism, double standards and politics? Perhaps discrimination when one student, team, employee or person is favored above everyone else for no reason you’re aware of? That’s life today, isn’t it? At least we tell ourselves it is.

That was life thousands of years ago, as well! “There is nothing new under the sun,” Solomon wrote, and while he may have not meant technological advances, the incredible strides made with each generation still blow you away! Kitchen strainers and tableware artifacts have been found that are thousands of years old–and look like they are yesterday’s items.

The sermon yesterday at Thomas Road Baptist Church picks up on an employee–a soldier actually–who was ordered to do his job, and went out to do it. He had no choice, or probably his own life would have been in danger. This amazing story leaves you wondering what happened at the end, how did it turn out, was there a sequel?! Nowadays we would expect a trilogy, or even more. Click on http://www.trbc.org/sermons and then click on “Outsiders: Jesus at the Center,” preached by Charles Billingsley on March 26, 2017. You’ll be enthralled every moment as Charles brings one of the characters to life, fleshes him out, and gives you a beautiful picture of the love of Jesus Christ for each of us. Get your notebook to jot answers to the study below, a drink, a comfy chair, and if you have a friend to share the time with you, worship and study together. It will be a meaningful time of fellowship and feasting on the Bread of Life. Most of all, remember to praise God for the wealth of great teaching that we have available, and the possibility of changing someone’s life for eternity!

Outsiders: Jesus at the Center                                                                                                                                                                                                      Charles Billingsley

Open:

Sometimes we can attend a function, meeting, or study that is really important, but sit there feeling very disconnected from the group for any of a number of reasons. Can you think of an example? Jot your answers down if you’re alone, so you can keep a record of your thoughts.

This week we begin a new series, looking for four weeks at people who were part of the crucifixion of Jesus, but did not recognize His deity, and yet were touched by His grace. Whether their heart was changed, we will not know until eternity. Is it possible we—or someone we know—could hear the story of Christ week after week, be touched by His power, but never open our hearts to Him? Let’s look at the story.

Focal Passage: John 18:1-11 Further Passages: John 10:17-18, Luke 22:49-51, 52,53; Matt. 26:53,54; Rom. 8:38, 39.

Think About or Discuss:

The Power of Jesus is Undeniable

  1. Read John 1:3 and Rom. 1:20. What is said of Jesus in these passages? In Romans, what gives evidence there is a Creator? How would you describe His power?
  2. Read John 18:1-7. When Jesus answered “I AM HE,” what was the significance of the words? We think of people falling backwards; what if the soldiers fell forward, or their legs gave out: what would be their posture? What Scripture would have been fulfilled in the lives of those men? (Rom. 14:11)

The Love of Jesus is Unconditional

  1. Read verses 8-9. Who was Jesus concerned for as the guards came to arrest Him?
  2. Read Col. 2:13,14. What kind of love would cause someone to die for persons so vile as to be “dead” in their sins?
  3. Read Rom. 8:38, 39. How would you describe unconditional love? Do you struggle with loving like that?

The Grace of Jesus is Indescribable

  1. Read verse 10. What was significant about Malchus’ position in Jewish hierarchy? What was Peter’s intent (probably)?
  2. Read verse 11. Who can tell what happened next (from Luke 22:51)? Why was Malchus not “deserving” of the grace of Jesus?
  3. Think: Does anyone owe you something—perhaps money? Does it bother you? How does that compare with the grace you received from God?

Close:

There are not enough words for us to describe the power of God, with our finite minds and vocabulary. How can we comprehend a universe where the stars alone exceed a number over 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000—and He knows them all by name? Such power is indescribable. The creation (Rom. 1:20) alone testifies to all men that there is a Creator, so no one who will stand before God has an excuse. When Jesus answered, “I am He,” He was using the words God used for His Name: the great I AM. It’s scary to think that perhaps we’ve become so used to going to church, talking about the Lord, singing, praying and even praising Him, that we have lost the awe and reverence of His power! Perhaps He is no longer  held in such high esteem that we, like Isaiah, would cry out, “Woe is me!” To be the recipient of the kind of love available to men by calling on His name is unfathomable. To have Him remove your vilest sins, casting them as far as the east is from the west, is incomprehensible, and yet we get upset or turn away when He does not answer our prayers, or give us what we want. Our knowledge is a drop in a bucket and His is as limitless as possible, and yet we often treat Him like a servant, or a genie in a lamp. We all need to fall to our knees and cry “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty!” Won’t you take the message of salvation you’ve been given and tell those whose hearts need to be changed by His love that it is available to them? It matters so much!

Memory Verse: John 3:17: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Thoughts to Take Away:

  • (Verse 3): The soldiers came with “lanterns and torches” against the Light of the World;
  • They came with weapons against the Prince of Peace;
  • (Verses 4-8): Jesus was in Total Control: He knew all things; He went forward; He took the initiative; His words took them to the ground in response to His majesty; He told them what to do;
  • Nothing can stop the will of God;
  • We are protected by His love; we are perfected by His love;
  • As trials come, will we flee or fight?

Quote: “For evil to flourish, it requires only for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke.

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WHAT DO YOU SAY WHEN SOMEONE HURTS?

The class went from jovial to somber in one moment.

Everyone had been laughing and talking, having a fun time of fellowship until it was time to call the class to order. It was a Sunday morning, and the ones gathered in the room were of every type: many mixed ages, some young, middle aged and elderly; some single, widowed, or married; mixed races with one God, and a time and place to worship Him. Prayer had been prayed for those with problems too big to carry alone, songs had been sung, and announcements of coming events. It should have been time for the teacher to start the lesson. Instead, one of the women went to the front.

It’s funny: we tend to look at how people dress, how outgoing they are, what positions of leadership they hold, and judge their Christianity by these things. In doing so, you would have said this lady had it all together–her ducks were all in a nice row! No book should be judged by its cover, right?

It was obvious from the stance that her normally outgoing personality was being tested and that she was in pain. As soon as she began to speak, you could hear a pin drop.

“You all know that often, as I’m running around town, I see you in shops, stores, or a variety of other places. Often my daughter will be with me. You know her well, and know that she is a student here at the Community College. The next time you see her, you will be asking yourself, ‘Is her daughter pregnant? It surely looks as though she is.’ Soon the rumor mill will be in full swing, and each will be calling someone else, so you can find out, or perhaps even “pray.” I want to tell you up front, yes, she is. We have just found out, and I cannot tell you much more than that, but it is not something I felt that could be hidden. If you have something to say, it is now out in the open, and we are trying to deal with the fallout in our home. I’m ashamed, and embarrassed that I feel the need to be open about this, but even some of you have been down this road and know what we’re going through; it isn’t fun, it is full of turmoil and pain, and sincere prayer for our being kind and understanding with our daughter would be appreciated.” She sat down.

Over the next few weeks, people did not know what to say. Should they say “I’m sorry”? Ignore her? Walk on the other side? Address the situation, or leave it alone? It’s a pain few can understand. Almost like a terminal illness, you want to ask how things are going, but are not quite sure it’s the right thing to do.

I think it is the only time I ever heard any one address such a thing in church. One doesn’t ordinarily have sin admitted publicly, addressed so that it takes away the gossipers, or seen the crushing pain of those involved. As I thought back to that Sunday School class, it made me think even more of the passage chosen this past Sunday at Thomas Road Baptist Church, as Jonathan Falwell spoke of the woman at the well in Samaria, and the reaction, not only of Jesus, but of the disciples and then of the villagers. I put “flesh and blood” on her, and made her the real person she probably was. Let’s look at her a moment before you click on the sermon!

She could have been any age, goodness knows! Since young girls became women of marriageable age by fourteen–or even earlier–she perhaps was between twenty and forty. She was probably reasonably pretty, but wouldn’t you think maybe not the cleanest person in the village? What were the men in Samaria like? Do you think they had a “pub” or a bar where they could get “strong drink” and forget they were married? Perhaps many weren’t, but were just passing through an area where the woman lived. They would go visit her for an hour, perhaps leave some money so she could buy food, and go their way. Some had married her; why do you suppose they left? Now she was living with someone, not married. How do you think the women of Samaria treated her?

I would hazard a guess that they walked on the other side of the street if they saw her coming. What might have been worse, a woman she might have passed could have been the wife of one of her clients! She wasn’t friends with any (or many), and was probably very lonely. What had caused this lifestyle? How do you not feel sorry for her?

When Jesus came along, He was so tired, but He came because He knew she would be coming to the well–and coming after all the well-reputed women had gone back to their home. Let’s pick up the story by clicking on http://www.trbc.org/sermons and choosing “Storytellers: The Story of a Servant” preached March 19, 2017. If you have a notebook, grab it so that you can keep a record of your thoughts, find your comfy chair, a cool drink, and if you have a friend who will join you, listen to the service together, then do the sermon study below. Think seriously about the questions asked: do YOU put yourself where sinners come? Do YOU initiate conversation about their lifestyles, and tell them how to be saved? Hopefully the message will inspire you to make changes in you life if you don’t. God bless you as you study His word!

Storytellers: The Story of a Servant                                                                                                                               Pastor Jonathan Falwell, with Dr. David Wheeler

Open:

Another week! What exciting story, game, or piece of information happened this week that you could hardly wait to share?

This week we finish the short series on the importance of sharing the story of our encounter with the living Christ. We want to focus on the story of someone who lived—more than likely—as a rejected woman, but ended up changing a village with her testimony. Is it possible our reputation could be any worse—and our testimony be any greater?

Focal Passage: John 4:1-30, 39-42

Think About or Discuss:

See the Worth of Every Person

  1. Read John 4:1-7. What were some of the reasons the trip through Samaria was unusual? How did the Jews view Samaritans, and women in particular?
  2. What was Jesus’ physical condition as He sat at the well (verse 6)? What would be “natural” in that moment?

See Them the Way Christ Sees Them

  1. Read verses 7-10. What did Jesus see as He spoke with the woman who came to the well?
  2. Read verse 11. What is significant about the lack of a dipper? How would you react if you needed to share a drink with someone who was “unclean”?

See the Value of the Message

  1. Read verse 10b. What was He trying to get her to ask for?
  2. Think: How much time each week do you intentionally put yourself in a place where you will meet people who need to hear your message?

See the Importance of Telling Them

  1. Read verses 28-30. What possibly took place within the woman’s heart that she would risk rejection by running back to town? If you could put yourself in her place, do you think her countenance had changed any, so as to be believed by the men of Samaria?

Do Whatever It Takes

  1. Read verses 40-42. What was the outcome of the extra time Jesus spent in Samaria?
  2. How often do you get out of your box to tell your story?        

ACTION APPLICATIONS:

  1. Everyone matters to Jesus! Be intentional in going to places where you will find the lost.
  2. Be willing to share not only your story, but also minister to needs; would Jesus have drunk from her dipper, had she gone ahead and gotten Him water?
  3. He gave her respect, even though she was a woman of low virtue; He “valued” her.
  4. Be willing to inconvenience yourself if you have an opportunity to share your story with more people, because of the one.
  5. Pray that God would put you in a pond where there are many fish!

Close:

As you watch a movie or read a book, do you get caught up in the story line, and live the situation? If so, you’ll be able to envision and empathize with the woman who went to the well. She probably waited until the other women had come and gone—after all, it was possible she had been intimate with several husbands in the village—and she was not a popular person. The only ones who showed her attention more than likely were the men who used her. Yet as she approached the well, there sat a Jew, who, with compassion in His eyes, spoke to her as if she were of value, and asked for water. The conversation is not all recorded, but He must have made such an impression that she ran back to the town to tell those whomever would listen that it was possible the Messiah was in Samaria! She had a story that changed the lives of a town. If you would go outside your comfort zone, would you find a group who needs to hear your story, that there is Someone who loves them, died to pay for their sins, and is not willing that any go to hell, but can receive forgiveness and eternal life? Pray God will use you to share your story!

Memory Verse: John 4:10: Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.”

 

 

Is HE All You Need? You Decide!

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Years have passed, but it doesn’t take much for me to remember how their house looked: it was thrown together with pieces of unused particle board, old shingles, scraps of barn wood, and any other haphazard materials her father could find, held together with a nail here and there. How they kept from being evicted from such a dwelling is (even now) beyond my understanding. It was, in effect, a third-world shack in modern America.

My mom tried her best not to complain when I wanted to spend the night, but, looking back, I know she must have cried many tears for my safety. For some reason, it didn’t bother me: my friend lived here, and she was not responsible for what her folks provided for them to live in. My mom was looking at the situation with eyes trained to see what she thought a family should have, while the dad probably figured he had a roof (such as it was) over his family’s head, and food (such as it was) on their table. The difference between desirable wants and basic needs. I don’t even recall if there was indoor plumbing!

I’ve often wondered what happened to the family. You possibly have friends in your background like that as well. You can’t imagine that they turned out well, but more than likely they did! It’s part of God’s mercy to bless both the honorable and dishonorable; those who deserve blessings, but also those who do not. Goodness knows, most days I don’t deserve half of the blessings He gives me, beginning with calling me His child.

Maybe you have it all together! I surely don’t. I can purpose in my heart to do a thousand things right this day, and one step out of line and I’ve blown it. You would think the Christian life would get easier with each passing year. Okay, maybe the knowledge increases, but sin gets more rampant, persecution gets stronger, profanity seems to cut deeper, and it’s easier to get discouraged! Add all that together and we can see why there’s so much in our lives that needs to be removed.

Have you been with us during this sermon series as we seek to eliminate the undesirable hangups in our lifestyle, freeing us to become the children God would have us be? We began by getting our finances in a position where we control them, and not the incorrect, upside-down, them-controlling-us way! We looked at the ravages anger leaves in our lives, especially when we don’t seek to forgive the person who has caused us mental harm, especially if it’s done intentionally; and as the weeks have gone by, hopefully you have felt release from burdens that have caused you pain! I know I have! Just making a budget was one of the most freeing things I have done in eons.

Get your notebook, something to drink, perhaps a friend, and click on the link for the sermon preached at Thomas Road Baptist Church, Sunday, February 26, 2017, and enjoy the entire service if you have time. Then go below and study the topic, taking the action points at the end to better internalize the sermon! If you have someone to discuss the answers with, you’ll be blessed. In any case, enjoy going deeper into God’s word! Click on http://www.trbc.org/sermons, and select February 26, 2017!

Overflow: He Is All You Need                                                                                          February 26, 2017                                                                                                                  Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Open:

If you could eliminate one item from your life that you think would lower your stress level, what would it be?

For several weeks, we have been looking at Hebrews 12 and 13, trying to identify the “weights” or sins that keep us tied to this world, and which take our focus away from living an abundant Christian life. This week we want to dwell on the wonder that the God who created the universe still stoops to give sinners His grace for redemption and a wonderful life by being all we need.

Focal Passage: Hebrews 13:20, 21; Romans 12:2

Think About or Discuss:

He Is Our Peace

  1. Read Hebrews 13:20a. God is called the God of “peace.” What is the greatest peace God offers?  What really comes to your mind when you think of the word “peace”? If you are with someone who can discuss your answers, that is great; otherwise, keep a notebook handy to write in.
  2. These early believers were being persecuted for their faith, and were questioning their commitment to Christ. Can you think of a time when your faith was challenged to the extent you wanted to quit?
  3. Read Jas 1:2, 3 (NAS, if possible). James also was encouraging believers who were having their faith tested. What other types of peace (besides salvation) does God give?

He Is Our Shepherd

  1. Read verse 20b and Matthew 9:36. How are people like sheep?
  2. What are some qualities of a shepherd? Why is God called your Shepherd (Psa. 23)?

He Is Our Deliverer

  1. Read verse 20c. It is hard for us to identify with a religion of daily sacrifices; for this reason, the NT provides many verses that lay background for the amazing sacrifice of the crucifixion. Why did Christ want to shed His blood for you?
  2. Read Col. 2:13-15 (NAS, if possible). What has He delivered you from?

He Is Our Provider

  1. Read verse 21a. What are some of your daily needs? What does God assure you in this section of the verse?
  2. What is He equipping you for? Why is that such an important point to grasp?

He Is Our Hope

  1. Read verse 21b. What does God wish to produce in you? How will He do this? Read Heb. 6:18, 19. What are some of the areas listed as provisions of God’s hope?         

ACTION  APPLICATIONS:

  1. Take the first steps: identify any thing, person, or activity in your life that is replacing God;
  2. Be committed to walking away from whatever or whomever you listed in #1;
  3. Pray over your commitment every day;
  4. Share your burdens with Christians who have your best interests at heart; don’t walk this journey alone!

Close:

We have learned so many things over the past several weeks—things that, when put into practice, will begin to relieve the daily levels of stress that we seem to carry on our backs. Taking those first small steps toward getting freedom from debt, forgiving those against whom we have held grudges, discarding habits or companions that pull us down: all these and more begin to give us freedom to live as Christ would have us live, and to do so in His power, with His presence, and with our hand in His! Hopefully you have made the action points for the past several sermons into daily prayer practices, so that you keep making progress. Be sure you pray for those who are fighting battles just as you are, and if possible, meet with them for a time of encouragement, even if it is not long.  And soon you will be able to say with Paul, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39). Amen!

Memory Verse: Hebrews 13:21: “(May God) make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Quote: “The only place you cannot fail is when you are in God’s will!”

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HAS SOMEONE HURT YOU?

dreamstimefree_3437005He sat with his eyes fixed on the judge, the right amount of dignity, honesty and humility showing on his face. He was under oath, and his expression indicated nothing but the truth would come from his lips.  His answers were slightly hesitant, as if he were making certain the facts were presented correctly, and only those who knew him knew this was the biggest act he had ever put on. Well, perhaps the second biggest: the first had been several years before, when he had embezzled something from his employer, and he had fought for his freedom by trying to sway that judge. Experience in this area really helped.

The ones in the courtroom listened as he told lies, one after another. The woman’s attorney tried to gets the facts straight, but the judge was so gullible that he took each spoken sentence as if it had been in the Holy Writ. She could see the handwriting on the wall, and knew he was destroying her family as surely as if he had a smoking gun in his hand. Who wouldn’t believe that baby face? And she knew, just like she had known several years before when he had lied to the previous judge, that it wasn’t about truth, or caring about people, or any other of the myriad of possibilities: it was about HIM being in control, able to have their lives in his hand, to do with as he desired.

He won. The judge couldn’t see through the lies, and swallowed each one. She was left out on a limb, trying to appear as if this was what had been expected. Justice is not served in the courtrooms of America very often anymore, and she knew it.

As I heard this incident, suddenly Scriptures regarding Satan and his dominance here on earth began to flood my mind. He, the father of lies, had been thrilled with the testimony of the person who sat before the judge, tearing a family apart. It would be so easy to get caught up in the anger, hate and bitterness against someone, when it’s really Satan we’re fighting against (Eph. 6).

Satan comes as an angel of light. And just as the judge believed everything the man’s modest demeanor said under oath, it looked like light. Satan is not red, with a pitchfork and long tail: he was made with such beauty that, after a while, he wanted to be given the majesty, honor and glory that belongs only to God. Do you really think he could have persuaded one-third of the angels created by God to fall, unless he is exceedingly able to sway the powers who rule the world?

Are you one of those who has endured pain, agony, possibly the death of someone you love, at the hands of another? Has gossip touched you, tearing down your life? Perhaps a lie was told, believed, and friends left you? Whatever someone has done to destroy you, you probably cannot fix. The only control you have is your own reaction. It’s easy to desire revenge! It’s WORK to rise above the hurt and forgive, pray for salvation for the perpetrator, or move past their actions, back into a right relationship with God.

The sermon preached at Thomas Road Baptist Church on Sunday, February 12, 2017, was aimed directly at the hundreds in the congregation who have been hurt, seen their family torn apart, relationships damaged to the point of being unable to mend them, and countless other indignities–and undoubtedly it hit a good portion or those attending. For certain, many of us struggle with discouragement because of those who have hurt us deeply, wronged us, or verbally shot us and left us for dead! Do you want to overcome that discouragement? Rise above the anger and let God restore you to a position of joy in your Christian walk? Click on http://www.trbc.org/sermons and pick the last posted sermon (2-12-17) and settle in for a time of searching your heart for any sin that would keep you from a beautiful walk with your Lord. Get your notebook, some friends if possible, and watch the sermon. Listen–if you have time–to the song service, as a special guest blessed everyone with praise focusing on the love and power of God to bring good out of every trial! Then, do the study below, learning what steps can be taken in order to forgive those who have sinned against you. Only by the active, intentional choice to give everything to God, can we gain holy living!

Overflow: Making Room for Life: Forgiveness, Holiness and     Peace                                                 Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Open:

There is probably no one who has not been hurt by the actions of someone else—some very severely, with life-long consequences. Can you think of an example, and how you handled or are handling the situation? If you are by yourself, write your thoughts in a notebook.

Discouragement is a burden that can suffocate our spirit. Last week we looked at that depression which we bring on ourselves, and how we could change our perspective. Today we want to look at the discouragement that comes as a result of actions someone else has initiated toward us, as we choose to take steps to free ourselves from the anger through forgiveness. We want to lay aside the despair, getting our joy and peace back.

Focal Passage: Hebrews 12:14-29

Think About or Discuss:

Forgiveness

  1. Read verses 14-17. What does the word “work” indicate? What other verbs are in these verses? Who is implied as doing the working and watching?
  2. What is the consequence of unforgiveness in 15b? What steps can you take to forgive those who have hurt you? (The Action Points at the end may help).
  3. Read Matt. 6:14,15. What is another result of unforgiveness?

Holiness

  1. Read 14b. What are some evidences of living a “holy life”? What is the consequence of unholiness?
  2. Read Eph. 1:13, Heb. 12:15 and 1 Pet. 1:16. What does God expect of us? What is the verb in 14b? The Greek word meant to go after something in such a manner as to attack it! Is that how you “work” to be holy?

Peace

  1. Read 15a. What are you to strive for? What things are you doing at present to “live peaceably with all men” (Rom. 12:18)?
  2. How does this apply to those who have wronged you?

Bitterness

  1. Why is it so hard to forgive those who have hurt us (verse 15b)?

A matter of the heart

  1. Read verse 28. What has God prepared for us? What does God deserve from us? Why?

ACTION  APPLICATIONS:

  1.  Make a list of those whom you need to forgive;
  2.  Put them in order as to the length of time since it happened, or the greatest in pain;
  3. Do whatever is necessary to actively forgive that person; if you no longer know where they are, ask God to bring them to you, praying for their salvation daily, and sincerely repent and realize you are cleansed;
  4. Seek to live a holy life, putting the past behind you (Phil. 3:13,14);
  5. When a new hurt comes along, take care of it immediately;
  6. Always keep in mind that, as God has forgiven you, so you must forgive others;
  7. Move on with joy!

Close:

As Paul tells us in Romans 17, our sinful nature is at war with our new nature in Christ! It is not natural for us to easily forgive those who hurt us, or worse, hurt those we love most—it takes “work.” Not forgiving leaves us open to the enemy, giving Satan a foothold in our lives, and we can become bitter, which then defiles others. It is imperative that, just as we have been forgiven, so we must forgive those who have sinned against us. It takes prayer and a heart that truly desires a close relationship with God to live in peace with all men. As you saw in the opening verses of this passage, the Christian life is not passive but active; it is not easy, it is “work!” It is not natural, it is godly, and comes from a yearning to be holy. Pray for those on your action list, that they would be saved, coming to a right relationship with God. The more you pray for them, hopefully the more you will find love growing in your heart, and a desire to see them as a repentant Christian brother or sister. Pray for yourself, as well, that you will be the example that others can point to as a follower of Jesus Christ.

Memory Verse: Hebrews 12:14: “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.”

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GETTING CONTROL OF DISCOURAGEMENT!

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There was something wrong about the contents of the small drawer that I pulled out from the buffet in the dining room. Any mystery writer will show their PI’s, detectives, or Fed agents always pay attention to a women’s “sixth sense!” Carefully I removed the things in the drawer, and saw, hidden at the back, a small, valuable Depression Glass bowl, broken into pieces. The thought of my young daughter was instantly rejected, but her slightly older brother definitely fit the role of a Person of Interest!

Bringing him into the room and showing him the open drawer confirmed my suspicions. It wasn’t so much the broken bowl that disturbed me as it was the fact that he had hidden the evidence, thinking, I’m certain, that he would be buying himself time, or possibly I would never see it! Wrong. Mom’s are about 80% Superwoman and 20% normal, functioning women.

Discipline had to be meted out, but the cover-up of the accident (I knew it had to be) was my main concern, and the issue that would have to be addressed. Afterward, I’m sure the discipline yielded the peaceable fruit of righteousness, and he was sorry he had tried to get by with not telling me (I would have understood that accidents are a part of growing up). I was sorry, as the bowl was a family heirloom, and the consequence of his action was that it could not be replaced.

Now, many years later–too many to count–I’m in the same position again, with the children of either the daughter or that same little boy, now a dad! I found (to my discouragement) a beautiful Delft lamp stuffed into a waste bag in the den. It was in tons of pieces. I figured my husband was a little old to hide the evidence, but 7 grandchildren who are often down there certainly became POI’s!! I now have to take them one by one, addressing the issue, not of the breakage, but of hiding the evidence. Doubly so since someone younger may have been cut badly had they stepped on one of the smaller pieces overlooked on the floor. Again, a consequence that means my lovely lamp cannot be replaced.

Now is a good time to get your notebook, a hot drink, cookies, and maybe a friend (or several!) and watch the sermon from Thomas Road Baptist Church, preached Sunday, February 5, 2017. Click on the link http://www.trbc.org/sermon-archive and select the right date. This sermon on actions, consequences and how to rise above them will really hit home if you have things in your past that scream “Unworthy!” at you as you try to live the Christian life. Invite others who may benefit from the wisdom in the message, and let God do a work in your life as you continue with the sermon study below. If you have time, watch the entire program, as LU Praise presents a song of worship!

Overflow: The Biggest Connection to the Right Direction                                                     Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Open:

Inevitably, as a human being, we will sin. That sin may eventually result in consequences that can cause us to be discouraged because of the pain it caused. Can you think of something you can share? If you are doing this on your own, write your answers in a notebook.

Today we look at Hebrews 12, focusing on laying “aside the sin that so easily trips us.” We want to examine the first of two types of discouragement: one that results when our own sinful choice or action causes consequences that may result in our becoming depressed. (The second—caused by others—will be looked at next week). The discouragement can be a tool Satan uses to rob us of our joy as a believer, crowding out our effectiveness.

Focal Passage: Hebrews 12:1, 5-13

Think About or Discuss:

All sin has consequences

  1. Read Rom. 3:23. What sin is specified here? How does God view sin?
  2. What about the consequences of sin—can they differ? How?
  3. Read Heb. 12:5 If sin is continued, or left unconfessed, as a loving Father, what must God do?

Those consequences can leave us discouraged if we don’t see their value

  1. Does confession to God eliminate the consequences? Think of examples.
  2. Read verse 6. Why is it important to examine the consequences to see their value?

God’s discipline is a clear picture of His love for us

  1. Read verses 7-8. Why must you be disciplined because of sin?
  2. Read Prov. 3:11-12 and 14:34. Why should these verses bring you comfort?
  3. If God does NOT discipline you for sin, what may this mean?

This discipline will ALWAYS make us better

  1. Read verses 10-11. What is the purpose of God’s discipline? In verse 11, what should be the result?
  2. Don’t allow these moments to get you down; let them raise you up
  1. Read verses 12-13. What is the picture this passage paints of the effect of discouragement on the physical body?
  2. How can Satan use discouragement to rob you of your usefulness to Christ, and your joy as a Christian? Read Phil. 3:13-14. How can you apply this verse to yourself?

ACTION  APPLICATIONS:

1) Make a list of consequences you are facing, or have faced, as a result of bad decisions or sin;                                                                                                                                                           2) Evaluate each one from the viewpoint of what you learned from those consequences; 3) If you can’t find something you’ve learned, take some time to determine what you should learn;                                                                                                                                             4) If there is unconfessed sin that is part of this, confess it and ask forgiveness;               5) If you need to seek forgiveness for something you’ve done to others, do so.                                                                                                                                                                 6) Is there an action you need to take to move past it?                                                                 7) Move on!

Close:

Discipline! Not a word we really like, as it indicates a certain action has been done and is going to have a “reaction.” If someone has a child who begins doing something that can have dire consequences if continued, the parent will want to stop it before it becomes a habit, and institute a punishment to change or correct the behavior. God also has standards for us, and when we violate those standards with our living, He must discipline us. The comfort found in God’s discipline is that He only does this to those whom He calls His children. (To be sinful but see no discipline should cause you to closely examine your life to make sure you are saved.) And often our actions have consequences that may go on for the rest of our lives. If we are not careful and intentional, we may find the discouragement of long-standing consequences can ruin our joy, rob us of being useful Christians, and affect our health. Don’t let Satan “devour” you by telling you that you are worthless, but pray constantly that your life lines up with the biblical standards God has given. “Lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares you,” and run your race with strength!

Memory Verse: Hebrews 12:11: “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

Thought: Sometimes, when we are in sin and discipline does not come immediately, we may feel we have “gotten away with it.” This is addressed in Romans 2:4 when Paul writes, “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” God may extend His patience and mercy, allowing us time to realize how badly we are hurting Him, but not at all ignoring the sin. To continue without discipline should bring us to our knees even more quickly, as His goodness should lead us to an even greater repentance! If not, we may be despising the “riches of His goodness” and incur even greater wrath.

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