Bible Study

This is a copy of the Sunday School Lessons presented to an adult class each Sunday.

Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina, United States

Retired, Lobbyist in Washington,DC - Management - BS Chemistry and various continuing education courses

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Bible - Unstoppable (2) - Unstoppable Message - Acts 2:22-24, 32-33, 36-38 - Octobeer 23, 2016

Bible Study – Unstoppable (2) – Unstoppable Message – October 23, 2016

This is lesson two (2) in our series entitled “Unstoppable Gospel.”

Our focus scripture is Acts 2:22-24, 32-33, 36-38.

JESUS died for our sins, rose again and reigns as LORD.

October 23 is our eldest son’s birthday. Ted went home to be with our LORD JESUS on August 1, 2012. We miss him mightily but what a comfort it is to know that our family will be reunited one day in Heaven as each of us will pass through the portals of physical death into the waiting arms of our risen Savior JESUS. Our daughter, Allison, exclaimed “YES!” when at Ted’s funeral our pastor, Dr. Neely stated, “No more sickness, sorrow or death.”  Christians will spend eternity with their loved ones who have experienced the miracle of rebirth by placing their faith in JESUS, The CHRIST and GOD. Eternity is the destination of all humans. Will it be Heaven for you? The only way to Heaven is through faith in JESUS.

JESUS stated in John 14:6:

6 Jesus told him (Thomas), "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Those who think there is another way to the One True GOD know this, that kind of thinking is Satan’s lie. There is only one way to GOD. JESUS came to earth to tell us and to give HIS sinless life that all who place their faith in HIM will be born-again, in their spirit, into GOD’S family and receive eternal life.

Let’s explore the coming of the promised Holy Spirit.

Let’s read Acts 2:1-21: (Introduction)


1 When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place.

JESUS had told HIS disciples and others to wait in Jerusalem for the arrival of the promised Holy Spirit. HE did not give them a specific day but told them to wait. They waited and as they were waiting, they were praying and their praying brought about unity among them. Their number had grown to 120 people. Their waiting showed their obedience to JESUS’ command and prepared them for what was about to take place.

The day of Pentecost came fifty days after the celebration of the offering of the barley sheaf at the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Pentecost comes from the Greek word meaning “fifty.” What is unique about this specific time? Let’s read Deuteronomy 16:9-12:

The Festival of Weeks

9 "You are to count seven weeks, counting the weeks from the time the sickle is first [put] to the standing grain.

10 You are to celebrate the Festival of Weeks to the Lord your God with a freewill offering that you give in proportion to how the Lord your God has blessed you.

11 Rejoice before the Lord your God in the place where He chooses to have His name dwell-you, your son and daughter, your male and female slave, the Levite within your gates, as well as the foreign resident, the fatherless, and the widow among you.

12 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt; carefully follow these statutes.

Pentecost was a unique time when the harvest was complete and all were invited to celebrate the seventh week or 7 weeks times 7 days equals 49 days then celebrated the next day which equals 50 days. Everyone was invited to this celebration. GOD’S timing is precise and so beautiful. The harvest had been completed. JESUS, The promised Messiah, GOD’S only SON, had come to earth as prophesied in the scriptures. HE had given HIS sinless life, by the shedding of HIS blood, for all who will place their faith in HIM. The scriptures had been fulfilled. The shed blood of JESUS covered every person who asked JESUS to forgive him or her for his or her sins. This covering allows GOD to reside within each person who places his or her faith in JESUS. The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, resides within the human body of each person of faith. GOD dwells within each Christian. Faith is more than believing a fact but knowing. In essence, the harvest was complete. GOD’S plan of salvation was fully revealed.

On page 101 of the Advanced Bible Study, fall 2016, published by LifeWay, One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234-0175, Dr. Warren McWilliams wrote:

[The event in Acts 2 could be the Jewish Pentecost since it actually happened on the Jewish holy day. A “Samaritan Pentecost” happened when converts in Samaria received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17). The “Gentile Pentecost” was when Cornelius and other Gentiles received the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44-46). A “Baptist” or “Ephesians’ Pentecost-type event” was when the followers of John the Baptist in Ephesus received the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1-7). Although these four Pentecost-type events are dramatic and memorable, the Holy Spirit was active in many other ways in the early church.]

I had not considered these other manifestation of the Holy Spirit as unique to a certain people group. To me it underscores the fact that the Holy Spirit is not unique to a certain event but is available to all throughout the ages.

I think that many of us, as Christians, have relegated the Holy Spirit to a certain time and we are missing out on the manifestation of the Holy Spirit through our lives. Many think if they are filled with and led by the indwelling Holy Spirit they will turn into some religious freak. Is doing the will of GOD and allowing GOD to work through HIS children freakish? No! But it is all about being in right relationship with GOD and knowing GOD as HE is and not as we think HE ought to be. Our notions must be dispelled and our wills brought into unity and harmony with HIS. This is a process with step one being filled with the Holy Spirit. Christians must be in a personal, intimate, loving relationship with GOD. Let’s continue.

2 Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying.

Sound gets your attention and results in a person looking for the source of the sound.

3 And tongues, like flames of fire that were divided, appeared to them and rested on each one of them.

Once those hearing the sound looked they saw what appeared to be tongues, looking like flames of fire. Fire is generally considered cleansing. Do you recall when Moses saw the burning bush that was not consumed? GOD spoke to Moses and let him know that he was standing upon Holy Ground.

4 Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability for speech.

Those who saw were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in known languages. This was an attention getter and revealed that something unique was taking place.

5 There were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.

6 When this sound occurred, the multitude came together and was confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language.

7 And they were astounded and amazed, saying, "Look, aren't all these who are speaking Galileans?

8 How is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?

9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites; those who live in Mesopotamia, in Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

11 Cretans and Arabs-we hear them speaking in our own languages the magnificent acts of God."

12 And they were all astounded and perplexed, saying to one another, "What could this be?"

13 But some sneered and said, "They're full of new wine!"

Some thought the people speaking these known languages were drunk.

Peter's Sermon

14 But Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed to them: "Jewish men and all you residents of Jerusalem, let this be known to you and pay attention to my words.

15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it's only nine in the morning.

Peter cleared up the thought regarding the physical condition of those speaking in these known languages which were not native to them.

16 On the contrary, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28-32):

17 And it will be in the last days, says God, that I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.

18 I will even pour out My Spirit on My male and female slaves in those days, and they will prophesy.

19 I will display wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below: blood and fire and a cloud of smoke.

20 The sun will be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and remarkable day of the Lord comes;

21 then whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Peter knew from the scriptures the meaning of this outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s read Acts 2:22-24: (The Apostle Peter’s gospel message.)

22 "Men of Israel, listen to these words: This Jesus the Nazarene was a man pointed out to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through Him, just as you yourselves know.

Peter reminded those who were seeking the coming of the promised Messiah that JESUS, who taught in many places including the temple in Jerusalem, fulfilled all of the attributes as recorded in the scriptures regarding the Messiah. Peter told them that many hearing his voice had witnessed these miracles, wonders and signs.

23 Though He was delivered up according to God's determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail Him to a cross and kill Him.

GOD had planned this before the foundations of the world. GOD allowed lawless people to crucify JESUS and kill HIM.

Notice in 1 Corinthians 2:6-8 the mystery of the cross was hidden:

God’s Wisdom Revealed by the Spirit

6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.

7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.

8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

GOD keeps secrets to serve HIS plans and purposes.

24 God raised Him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it.

The “pains” of death are related to birth pains. Death did not want to give up but JESUS prevailed and conquered eternal death. The resurrection of JESUS resulted in eternal life for those who place their faith in JESUS. JESUS is the firstfruits of those who place their faith in JESUS and are born into GOD’S family. JESUS ended the pains for each person who places his or her faith in HIM from having to go through the pains of rebirth in the Spirit to defeat eternal death.

25 For David says of Him: I saw the Lord ever before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

26 Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced. Moreover my flesh will rest in hope,

27 because You will not leave my soul in Hades, or allow Your Holy One to see decay.

28 You have revealed the paths of life to me; You will fill me with gladness in Your presence.

29 "Brothers, I can confidently speak to you about the patriarch David: he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.

30 Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn an oath to him to seat one of his descendants on his throne.

31 Seeing this in advance, he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah: He was not left in Hades, and His flesh did not experience decay.

Some Bible scholars believe that between the death of JESUS and HIS resurrection, HE went to Hades to announce that HE was the promised Messiah as recorded in 1 Peter 3:18-22:

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

19 After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits—

20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water,

21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. 
It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

Let’s read Acts 2: 32-33, 36:

32 "God has resurrected this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this.

The Apostle Peter confirmed his eyewitness account and the eyewitness of others regarding the resurrection of JESUS. This included HIS presence upon earth for 40 days after HIS resurrection and HIS ascension into Heaven, as Peter continued.

33 Therefore, since He has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He has poured out what you both see and hear.

Being exalted to the “right hand of GOD” and receiving “from The Father (GOD) the promised Holy Spirit is final confirmation that all authority has been given to JESUS The CHRIST. Being at the “right hand of GOD” is the ultimate position of power and authority.

34 For it was not David who ascended into the heavens, but he himself says: The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at My right hand

Peter was dispelling any notion that the person who ascended was King David but uniquely JESUS The Only Son of GOD. JESUS was linked to the ancestral line of King David but King David was not speaking of himself. This was to dispel any notion of JESUS being the physical ruler of Israel.

35 until I make Your enemies Your footstool.'

GOD is in charge and is at work bringing matters upon earth into conformity with HIS plan and purpose for the final dispensation and complete rule of GOD upon earth in HIS new heaven and earth.

36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah!"

GOD made JESUS both “Lord” (GOD/Yahweh) and “Messiah” (CHRIST, The anointed One).

Let’s read Acts 2:37-38:

Forgiveness through the Messiah

37 When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: "Brothers, what must we do?"

The Holy Spirit brings conviction to those who hear the Word of GOD and seek to know HIM and establish a personal, intimate, loving relationship with HIM. Those who heard wanted to know “brothers what must we do?” Peter responded. Those listening recognized them as fellow Jews.

38 "Repent," Peter said to them, "and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Repent means to stop going in the direction you are going and turn around and go in the opposite direction. To show publicly that their decision was genuine they needed to be baptized. The Greek word “baptizo” means to be completely immersed. Baptism has no saving power but it is a graphic illustration of dying to our old life before CHRIST and being resurrected to walk in our new life with CHRIST. It is a symbol of obedience.

The words “for the forgiveness of your sins” could be confusing. “For” can be rendered “on the ground of” or “on the basis of,” thus “on the basis of” your faith in JESUS your sins are forgiven and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The shed blood of JESUS atones for our sins.

We, as Christians, have received salvation and are empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit which came upon us at the moment of salvation. 

Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit at the instant of salvation. There may be moments after salvation that we commit our lives or release more of our will to GOD and it can manifest itself as a second anointing of the Holy Spirit. When in actuality, it is us removing more of our old life and allowing the Holy Spirit to control more of our will and purpose. It is a part of dying to self and part of the process of sanctification.

39 For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call."

The promise of salvation is open to all and not just for the Jews. A new dispensation has entered the world, which is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in to the lives of those who place their faith in JESUS CHRIST.

Keep in mind that the gift of the Holy Spirit is different from the “Gifts of the Holy Spirit.” The “gift of the Holy Spirit” happens at the instant of salvation and is eternal life. You will receive one or more “gifts of the Holy Spirit” which are manifested as Christians obediently serve our LORD JESUS as directed by the Holy Spirit.

40 And with many other words he testified and strongly urged them, saying, "Be saved from this corrupt generation!"

Was Peter’s message effective? Read on.

A Generous and Growing Church

41 So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them.

It was effective and is still effective today!

Allow the Holy Spirit to rule and reign in your life by asking JESUS to forgive you for your sins and to come into your life believing that JESUS gave HIS life by the shedding of HIS blood for the remission of your sins. Now is your opportunity. Eternal life waits you. Yield to the urging of the Holy Spirit. Blessings!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Bible Study - Unstoppable (1) - Unstoppable Mission - Acts 1:4-8, 12-14 - October 16, 2016

Bible Study – Unstoppable (1) – Unstoppable Mission – October 16, 2016

This is lesson one (1) in our new series of study entitled “Unstoppable Missions.”

Our focus scripture is Acts 1:4-8, 12-14.

The Holy Spirit empowers us to spread the gospel.

We begin a new series of study for the next six weeks. Our scripture will be taken from the book of Acts. For the past six weeks we have studied the foundation of the Christian faith. In this next six weeks, we will study the application of what we have learned foundationally, as Christians, as the Holy Spirit gives us the opportunity to share the Good News of JESUS and salvation to others.

Satan will do all he can to discourage us from sharing our faith in JESUS. Just know that greater is HE (JESUS) that is in you than he (Satan) that is in the world as we read in First John 4:4:

4 You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One (JESUS) who is in you is greater than the one (Satan) who is in the world.

The Holy Spirit indwells every born-again Christian as written in Romans 8:14-17:

14 All those led by God's Spirit are God's sons. (And daughters)
15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father!"
16 The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God's children,
17 and if children, also heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ-seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

When Christians commit their lives to GOD to obediently serve HIM, expect opposition. Each Christian comes into contact with those in need of salvation, prayer, encouragement and so much more each day. We, who know the truth, are to let our light shine in this world of darkness. GOD will use you in a mighty way as you go through the day to minister to others. Look for those opportunities and the Holy Spirit will reveal them to you.

Let’s read Acts 1:1-3: (Introduction – Doctor Luke wrote the book of Acts. He also wrote the book of Luke. The book of Acts gives an account of the workings of the Holy Spirit in the lives of JESUS’ Apostles and other Christians after JESUS ascended into Heaven. Let’s explore!


1 I wrote the first narrative (The Book of Luke), Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach
2 until the day He was taken up, after He had given orders through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen.
3 After He had suffered, He also presented Himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

Let’s read 1 Corinthians 15: (The Apostle Paul was giving an account regarding those who were eyewitnesses of the resurrection of JESUS before HIS ascension into Heaven. This was before the coming of the promised Holy Spirit.

Then Paul (Known at that time as Saul, his Hebrew name) included his personal encounter with JESUS after HIS ascension into Heaven as he traveled on the road to Damascus. Keep in mind that Paul met with various Apostles after his conversion. Also, keep in mind that Paul was a Pharisee and knew the scriptures, as we see reflected in what he wrote in these verses. Paul had fact checked JESUS against the scriptures and eyewitness accounts. Thoroughly convinced that his experience was genuine, the rest of Paul’s walk with JESUS is history. Do you believe that JESUS is real and that HE died just for you? 
Accept JESUS as your Savior and allow HIM to lead and direct your life.)

3 For I (The Apostle Paul) passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4 that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
5 and that He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the Twelve.
6 Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time, most of whom remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.
7 Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
8 Last of all, as to one abnormally born, He also appeared to me.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10 But by God's grace I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not ineffective. However, I worked more than any of them, yet not I, but God's grace that was with me.

The Apostle Paul was documenting the time of JESUS during the 40 days after HIS resurrection from the dead, after HIS ascension into Heaven and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. During the days leading up to Saul’s/Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, Saul/Paul thought he was obediently serving GOD by rounding up all Christians and either killing them or throwing them into prison. Paul believed that this Christian movement called “The Way” must be stopped. Then JESUS revealed Himself to Paul and Paul’s life changed in an instant.

Now, back to our focus scripture. 

Let’s read Acts 1:4-5:
The Holy Spirit Promised

4 While He (JESUS) was together with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father's promise. "This," [He said, "is what”] you heard from Me;

5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

Obedience is critical. If they had disobeyed, they would have missed a mighty blessing. However, we read that those who heard the instructions from JESUS responded accordingly. That is still true today. When the Holy Spirit instructs us, as Christians, we are to be obedient.

Why do you think that JESUS did not tell them specifically when the Holy Spirit would arrive? Was it to test their trust in HIS Word? Was it for them to prepare their hearts to receive the promised Holy Spirit? Or both or was there something else?

JESUS stated that John the Baptist, baptized with water which was a sign of repentance and dedication to follow GOD.  But JESUS told them that they would not be baptized with the physical but baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. In a few days but JESUS did not give a specific day.

JESUS spoke of the complete indwelling and filling of the Holy Spirit in their lives. The Holy Spirit, the third part of the Trinity, would indwell them for the purpose of empowering, equipping, enlightening, comforting, assuring, walking with them, encourage, dispel fear, instruct and teaching them. The same is true for those who place their faith in Jesus today.

Let’s read Acts 1:6-8:

6 So when they had come together, they asked Him, "Lord, at this time are You restoring the kingdom to Israel?"

The followers of JESUS were still looking for an earthly ruler. It would take the filling of the Holy Spirit for them to understand the mystery of GOD regarding the establishing of HIS Kingdom being established in each person’s heart until it was established after the second coming of JESUS.

7 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority.

Why does GOD not give us a specific time when this will take place? Simply, what would each generation do if they knew it would not happen during their lifetime? You got it, nothing. But GOD’S plan, for those who know the truth, is to share the truth because people in each generation need to make a decision whether or not to accept CHRIST as their Savior. Christians are the light and the salt. We must reveal truth to those in our generation. People in every generation will die and go into eternity either having received the gift of eternal life through faith in JESUS or keeping their sentence of eternal death by rejecting JESUS. Which do you choose?

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

In the absence of the Holy Spirit such an assignment is overwhelming and impossible but the Holy Spirit provided the power to Christians to do the will of our Father, GOD. For us to be obedient first, we are to reach those with the Gospel where we live. GOD had promised that the Messiah would come first to the Jews. Jerusalem was the focal point for the Jews seeking a relationship with GOD. Then the next place where the Jews lived was Judea and then the most despised were the half-breeds, Jews who intermarried, Samaria; then to all others regardless of their nationality. The Gospel is for all. But first to those who had a base to build upon. The Jews had the scriptures and were taught the scriptures that revealed the coming of the Messiah. However, preconceived notions regarding the promised Messiah prevented many religious Jews from seeing the real truth as revealed in JESUS.

Christians, we have the truth and are indwelled by the Holy Spirit. Are we hiding the truth from others? Truth for the cure of eternal death must be shared. Let your light of CHRIST shine in this world of darkness. Those around you are eager for the light from above. Know that Satan will oppose you but keep in mind that “Greater is HE (JESUS) that is in you than he (Satan) that is in the world.”

Let’s read Acts 1:9-11:

The Ascension
9 After He had said this, He was taken up as they were watching, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
10 While He was going, they were gazing into heaven, and suddenly two men in white clothes stood by them.
11 They said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen Him going into heaven."

Once we have witnessed the miraculous, it is time for us to take action upon what we have been instructed to do. All who have asked JESUS to come into our hearts have the indwelling Holy Spirit and know the truth. We must share the Good News of salvation through faith in JESUS with others as GOD gives us opportunity.

Let’s read Acts 1:12-14:
United in Prayer

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olive Grove, which is near Jerusalem-a Sabbath day's journey away.

A Sabbath day’s journey is about three-fourths of a mile.

13 When they arrived, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.

These are the disciples of JESUS absent Judas.

14 All these were continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.

Notice that JESUS’ brothers or HIS half-brothers were present. The crucifixion of JESUS and HIS resurrection was a life-changing event in the lives of JESUS’ brothers (half-brothers).

Let’s read John 7:1-5: (JESUS’ brothers do not believe in HIM before HIS crucifixion, death and resurrection but after HIS passion were their hearts changed?)
1 After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him.
JESUS time had not come. GOD’S timing is precise. 
2 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near,
3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do.
4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.”
5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.

Before the passion of JESUS, JESUS’ brothers were chiding HIM because they did not believe that HE was the promised Messiah.

But notice those present in the upper room waiting for the promised Holy Spirit. This was after the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of JESUS! It was none other than HIS brothers who chided HIM before HIS passion. The death of JESUS was one thing but HIS resurrection changed their hearts from unbelief to belief.

As Christians, we serve a risen Savior. GOD’S proof that JESUS paid, in full, the penalty for sin and that HE conquered eternal death is the resurrection of JESUS from the dead the third day. The person placing his or her faith in JESUS is Spiritually born into GOD’S family as HIS Son or Daughter with all the rights and privileges of being a child of GOD.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 3:18-21:

18 For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
19 Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things,
20 but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
21 He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself.

Christians are in the process of being transformed by the renewing of their minds as written by the Apostle Paul in Romans 12:2:

2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

The indwelling Holy Spirit renews our minds once we have placed our faith in JESUS through the process of sanctification. It is the process of those in CHRIST to embrace their new birth by taking off their old clothes or humanness and putting on their new clothes of righteousness as written by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:20-24:

20 But that is not how you learned about the Messiah,
21 assuming you heard Him and were taught by Him, because the truth is in Jesus:
22 you took off your former way of life, the old man that is corrupted by deceitful desires;
23 you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds;
24 you put on the new man, the one created according to God's [likeness] in righteousness and purity of the truth.

As a Christian have you have taken off your old way of life and put on your new way of life. If not, now is that time. Place your life into the hands of JESUS and become all that HE desires for you to be as HIS brother or sister through the miracle of rebirth.

We are upon earth at this very time for a purpose. Let’s read Acts 13:36:

36 For David (King David), after serving his own generation in God's plan, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and decayed.

Each person is born physically upon earth at just the right time to obediently serve GOD according to HIS plan and purpose. We, as humans, have freewill to choose to accept JESUS as our Savior and obediently serve HIM or to reject HIM. Each person is not upon earth by accident but by design. Do you realize the astronomical odds of you being born as a human? Life is a gift from GOD. Choose JESUS and receive eternal life. That is GOD’S original intent for you!

Notice in verse 14, they were in one accord, unity and harmony with each other and their numbers grew to 120. Blessings!!! 

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Bible Study - Unvarnished (6) - One Great Task - 2 Timothy 2:1-10 - Octobeer 9, 2016

Bible Study – Unvarnished (6) – One Great Task – October 9. 2016

This is our sixth and final lesson in our series entitled “Unvarnished Truth: Life’s Greatest Story.”

Our focus scripture is 2 Timothy 2:1-10.

Each Christian must share the gospel, as led by the Holy Spirit.

This series, to me, has been one of the most profound series. The very heart and foundation of GOD’S unfailing love for us as humans is made known. We have explored the extent GOD has gone to reveal Himself to all humans and how HE established HIS plan of reconciliation and redemption for all who will place their faith in HIS only Son, JESUS.

Just as Adam and Eve had free choice in the Garden of Eden, we, as their off-spring have free choice to accept JESUS as our Savior, thus restoring eternal life to each who accepts JESUS as his or her Savior or to reject this free gift and be condemned to judgment and eternal death.

The Apostle Paul wrote Second Timothy to the young pastor Timothy. Timothy had gone with Paul on missionary journeys. Timothy was now a pastor in Ephesus and this is Paul’s final letter to him. Paul referred to Timothy as his son. Paul was Timothy’s mentor in the Christian faith. It is a letter to encourage Timothy and all Christians everywhere. The letter was written about 66 or 67 A D.

Let’s explore!

Let’s read 2 Timothy 2:1-2:

Be Strong in Grace

1 You, therefore, my child (son), be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Paul refers to Timothy as his child or in some translations as “my son.”

Then Paul stated to Timothy “be strong.” The word used for “strong” carries the idea of ongoing action. Paul instructed Timothy “to be strong in grace.”

What is “grace?” Grace is unmerited favor that GOD imputes to Christians at the instant of salvation. We do not deserve “grace” but GOD gives it. As such, we as Christians must also extend grace to others as they live their daily lives.

2 And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

In essence, Paul was saying to Timothy, what you have heard me teach, invest into fellow Christians.  The concept is for each one to teach one.

In other words, Paul was instructing Timothy to share the workload and train others to teach others. The word “commit” means to teach or to entrust to others the gospel. Entrust the message of CHRIST to “faithful” or those men or women who are dependable and trustworthy Christians.  

The Gospel of CHRIST is to be shared. JESUS admonished Christians to be the salt and the light as we develop relationships with those with whom we come into contact.

It has been amazing to me to ask many with whom I or my wife and I come into contact if there is something we can pray about for them. It could be if you pray to bless your food at a restaurant ask the waitress or waiter if there is something you can pray about for them. Those with whom you come in contact with during your daily routine ask them if there is something you can pray about later at home, church or prayer meeting. You will be amazed as to the needs of others, which leads us to our next verses.

Let’s read 2 Timothy 2:3-7:

3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

Christians are fighting a battle everyday along with GOD for the souls of the men and women with whom they come into contact. Christians are soldiers of CHRIST JESUS fighting in the spiritual domain. It is vital that Christians be prepared for battle as Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:10-18:

Christian Warfare

10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength.
11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.
12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.
13 This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.
14 Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest,
15 and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace.
16 In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God's word.
18 With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and stay alert 
in this, with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.

As a soldier of JESUS put on your Spiritual armor because you will be in a battle as you obediently serve the LORD JESUS. Christians are to suit up daily.

Paul then uses three illustrations to make his point to Timothy and to all who obediently serve as soldiers for JESUS, as we read on.

4 To please the recruiter, no one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of everyday life.

Paul admonished Timothy to stay focused because he was under the authority of JESUS. As Christians, JESUS is our recruiter. Timothy’s calling was to obediently serve GOD and not to get distracted or caught up in matters that would cause him to be diverted from his duty as GOD’S soldier. The message of salvation is eternal and vital to conquering sin and eternal death.

As the soldier of JESUS, Timothy had a vital job to do. He must stay focused. Satan will do his best to distract us from GOD’S work. Paul used another illustration.

5 Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.

Paul used the analogy of life as an athlete. An athlete can train and enter into the contest but he must obey the rules of the games. An athlete had to train for at least 10 months in order to qualify to participate in the games. Preparation is vital when Christians obediently serve the LORD JESUS. Christians must read and study GOD’S Word, pray and put into action what GOD leads them to do.

Christians are in a most important race to spread the Gospel of JESUS to those who are in need of salvation. JESUS is the coach of Christians. We are to follow HIS instructions and teachings as we prepare and run in life’s race.

6 It is the hardworking farmer who ought to be the first to get a share of the crops.

Paul used the analogy of the “hardworking farmer.” This analogy is precious. 

The hardworking farmer gets the first fruit of his labor, so does the person who studies and works in the field of harvest. Those who obediently work in GOD’S vineyard receive the joy of growing in relationship with GOD as they witness the hand of GOD at work in their lives and in the lives of others. As Christians work in GOD’S vineyard, they receive the benefits of obediently serving. As they till the ground, plant the seed of GOD’S Word, fertilize, water, clear the weeds and care for the plants that grow they are nurtured because in the doing they are building a stronger relationship with GOD through their relationship with CHRIST.     

7 Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

Consider means to contemplate. Paul is telling Timothy to pause and think about what I am writing to you. Christians need to make pausing and pondering a way of life. Check with GOD to make certain that you are still preaching truth and obediently serving as GOD leads you. GOD will give you understanding and of course if correction is needed, HE will reveal that as well. Understanding is the ability to use knowledge to discern spiritual matters.
Those who serve the LORD need a sabbatical to renew their relationship with GOD and take a step back from the routines of life.

Being an obedient servant of the LORD has the benefit of having GOD as your teacher. When you run into a problem go to your source of wisdom, GOD, and HE will reveal truth to you through the indwelling Holy Spirit. GOD gives understanding in everything.

Let’s read 2 Timothy 2:8-10:

8 Keep in mind Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descended from David, according to my gospel.

In essence, Paul was saying, Timothy don’t deviate from the truth – JESUS descended from the ancestry of King David just as GOD stated through HIS prophets in the scriptures. JESUS CHRIST was born as a human, lived as a human, tempted as a human, yet remained sinless. HE was crucified, died, buried, and raised from the dead by GOD on the third day, according to the scriptures. All was revealed and recorded in the scriptures long before it happened. HE walked upon earth for 40 days, ascended into heaven and took HIS seat at the right hand of GOD. GOD gave HIM complete authority and HE asked the Father to send the Holy Spirit to indwell all who place their faith in HIM. The Holy Spirit came upon those who placed their faith in JESUS at Pentecost in a mighty way and continues to indwell all who place their faith in JESUS.  The indwelling Holy Spirit confirms and assures each Christian that he or she is GOD’S Son or Daughter. (Romans 8:16)

9 For this I suffer, to the point of being bound like a criminal; but God's message is not bound.

Paul, in essence, was saying, Timothy, I preach this message of salvation. It resulted in me being treated like a criminal. Although I was physically bound, GOD’S message to the lost is never bound, therefore, stay true to the message of JESUS CHRIST. If you suffer hardship do not let that discourage you from preaching and teaching the truth because GOD’S message transcends physical circumstances. Satan uses these physical situations to discourage you and bind the message of salvation. But keep your eyes upon JESUS crucified and resurrected. That is, Christians must not think that just because they are Christians they are free from trouble from an earthly viewpoint.

Christians can bind GOD’S message to others by not sharing it.

10 This is why I endure all things for the elect: so that they also may obtain salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

Again, Paul, in essence, was saying, Timothy, I do not focus on the physical because I know that GOD opens the hearts of those HE knows will receive salvation. I, Paul, “endured all things” for the sake of those GOD knew would receive the message of salvation through faith in JESUS, the elect. Paul made it clear that salvation did not come through Paul’s suffering but because Paul knew the truth. Salvation is in JESUS CHRIST alone. Paul counted it joy when he suffered for JESUS. He knew the unspeakable joy that those receiving salvation would experience when they experienced the miracle of rebirth.

Paul wanted Timothy to know that he personally could not save those in need of salvation. His calling was to present JESUS and GOD would work within the hearts of those who would receive salvation. Salvation is personal and based upon freewill. Christians can point the way and live accordingly but GOD saves.

Salvation is obtained in the physical through the miracle of rebirth in the spirit and will be fully realized when Christians meet JESUS face to face. The message of salvation is for the present and carries a person into eternity, which is eternal glory.

Are you secure in JESUS? If not, why not? Ask JESUS to forgive you for your sins and for HIM to come into your life now believing that HE died for your sins and GOD raised HIM from the physically dead as proof that HE conquered both sin and eternal death.

If you did ask JESUS to forgive you and asked HIM to come into your heat, then welcome to the family of GOD. Now read and study the Bible, talk to GOD (prayer) and act upon what the indwelling Holy Spirit reveals to you. Ask GOD to bring you into contact with fellow born-again Christians. Get involved in a Bible believing and teaching church to learn more about JESUS and obediently serve HIM. Blessings!!!