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

Friday, April 13, 2012

Bible Study - Foundation - Jesus Lives in Believers - John 15, Roamns 6 and Galatians 2 - April 15, 2011

Bible Study – Foundation – Jesus Lives in Believers – April 15, 2012

This is lesson three (3) in our series entitled “Foundations of Our Faith.”

Our scripture is John 15:1-5; Romans 6:1-7; Galatians 2:19b-21.

CHRIST in you the hope of glory. The Apostle Paul wrote these words to the Christians in Colosse – Colossians 1:27:

27 God wanted to make known among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ fCol 2:2 in you, the hope g1Th 1:3 of glory.

Many Christians do not know that CHRIST dwells in them in the presence of the Holy Spirit. When CHRIST gave HIS earthly life, GOD made HIM to be sin. Our sin was placed upon HIM and HIS righteousness was placed upon all who accept CHRIST as their Savior. The reference is 2 Corinthians 5:21 - 21 He (GOD) made the One (CHRIST) who did not know sin n1Jn 3:5 to be sin o Or be a sin offering for us,pRm 8:3; Gl 3:13; 1Pt 2:24 so that we (Those who accept HIM as their Savior) might become the righteousness of God in Him. Salvation is just the beginning of the life long process of sanctification. Since CHRIST gave HIS earthly life as the perfect sacrifice for sin, HIS shed blood purifies the human body of every Christian in order to house the Holy Spirit and the born-again Spirit of each believer.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:16 - 16 The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit kAc 5:32 that we are God’s children,
17 and if children, also heirs lAc 20:32; Gl 3:29; 4:7; Eph 3:6; Tit 3:7; Heb 1:14; Rv 21:7—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ —seeing that m Or provided that we suffer with Himn2Co 1:5,7; Php 3:10; Col 1:24; 2Tm 2:12 so that we may also be glorified with Him.

The indwelling Holy Spirit is our confirmation of the presence of the living CHRIST in us. The Holy Spirit is the security deposit or down payment GOD gives to every Christian as HIS guarantee that he/she belongs to HIM.

Our first scripture begins with the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Christians in Galatia. Some Bible scholars believe this was one of his earliest letters, if not the first letter he wrote to fellow Christians. Paul had a great concern for the Christians in Galatia because some legalists had infiltrated the Christian church and wanted to include the Mosaic Law as a requirement for salvation. They were rapidly adopting a salvation by works attitude. They were reverting back to the old system. The Jews considered “sin” and “Gentiles” to be one and the same. To be born a Jew gave them a leg up with GOD. Paul was setting this notion straight that faith in CHRIST was the answer for all regardless of a person’s birth.

Paul emphasized that GOD’S grace allowed the passion of CHRIST and faith in CHRIST to be the only path to salvation. GOD’S grace must not be considered as a license to sin more but as an expression of the love of GOD to see HIS children safely home with HIM.

Let’s read Galatians 2:16 - know that no one is •justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ. And we have believed in Christ Jesus so that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no human being will be justified.

Paul used the word “justified.” A person cannot be “justified” by his/her own efforts but a person is “justified” by the shed blood of CHRIST by faith in CHRIST. JESUS paid the price for sin. The word “justified” can be thought of as “just-as-if-I-never-sinned.” CHRIST justifies or makes Christians righteous before GOD. Christians can come into the presence of GOD 24/7 because they have been made righteous through their faith in CHRIST and HIS shed blood.

Yes, Christian’s sin but their sins are covered by the shed blood of CHRIST 24/7 by GOD’S gift of grace. The legalists quickly jumped on this, saying that such a notion of grace was a license to sin more. If a person has that thought then his/her heart has not been changed. Remember 1 John 1:9-10 - 9 If we (Christians) confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive sPs 103:3; Jr 31:34; Mt 9:6; 26:28; Col 1:14; Jms 5:15 us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say, “We don’t have any sin,” we make Him a liar, and His word tLk 8:21; Heb 4:12 is not in us.uJn 8:37

Let’s read Galatians 2:19b-21:

19b I have been crucified with Christ l Other textual traditions place I have been crucified with Christ in v. 20.
20 and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.mMk 10:38; 2Co 13:5 The life I now live in the body,n Or flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,oJn 5:19; Heb 1:2 who loved pJn 3:16 me q2Th 2:13 and gave Himself rTit 2:14 for me.sLk 20:38; Rm 14:8
21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law,tRm 7:5; 9:31; Gl 5:4; Php 3:6 then Christ died u1Co 8:11; Php 3:10 for nothing.

The Apostle Paul was writing to the Christians in Galatia to dispel any notion of salvation by works. No one can earn his/her salvation through good works or pious living. Paul stated that he had been crucified with CHRIST. He did not mean that he was literally crucified but figuratively. He stopped controlling his own life. He removed self from controlling and directing his life and put CHRIST in-charge of his life.  Paul considered himself dead to his old self or life but alive in his new self or life in CHRIST. He realized that CHRIST gave HIS life for him upon the cross and when CHRIST died, in essence he died with HIM. CHRIST did not just give HIS life for Paul but for all who will believe upon HIM as their Savior. In essence, every Christian died when CHRIST died and was resurrected when HE was resurrected. That moment purifies the body of each Christian to house the Holy Spirit. The human body of the Christian becomes the temple for the presence of GOD in the form of the Holy Spirit. That is an awesome thought to ponder.

Paul made it clear that righteousness comes only through CHRIST and there is nothing a person can do to earn righteousness. If a person could earn righteousness and be acceptable to GOD through his/her own effort, CHRIST did not have to give HIS life for those who will accept HIM as his/her Savior.

Paul mentioned grace. Grace is vital to salvation. Grace is a gift from GOD. A gift is not something that a person earns. First, GOD’S grace allowed CHRIST to come to earth to be born, live as a human, to be tempted in all ways as a human is tempted and give HIS life to pay the sin debt. GOD’S grace gives every human the opportunity to accept CHRIST as his/her Savior. Once a person accepts CHRIST as his/her Savior, GOD’S grace continues to cover the Christian throughout his/her life. GOD’S grace makes the Christian always accessible to GOD 24/7. Christians are not perfect and will not be perfect until they exit their earth suits and step into the presence of CHRIST. The instant they see HIM, they will be like HIM and they will be perfect. Paul wrote about grace in our next scripture. The legalist pooh-poohed the idea of grace by saying it was a formula for the Christian to sin more so he/she could receive more grace.  

Let’s read Romans 6:1-7:

The New Life in Christ

1 What should we say then?aRm 3:5 Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply?bRm 3:8; 6:15
2 Absolutely not!cLk 20:16 How can we who died to sin dRm 7:4,6; Gl 2:19; Col 2:20; 3:3; 1Pt 2:24 still live in it?
3 Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized eMt 28:19; 1Co 1:13-17; 12:13; Gl 3:27 into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?fAc 2:38; 8:16; 19:5
4 Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death,gCol 2:12 in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead hAc 2:24 by the glory of the Father,iJn 11:40; 2Co 13:4 so we too may •walkA term often used in a figurative way to mean "way of life" or "behavior" in a new wayj Or in newness of life.kRm 7:6; 2Co 5:17; Gl 6:15; Eph 4:23-24; Col 3:10
5 For if we have been joined with Him in the likeness of His death,l2Co 4:10; Php 3:10; Col 2:12; 3:1 we will certainly also be m Be joined with Him in the likeness of His resurrection.
6 For we know that our old self n Lit man; = the person before conversionoEph 4:22; Col 3:9 was crucified with HimpGl 2:20; 5:24; 6:14 in order that sin’s dominion over the body q Lit that the body of sin may be abolished,rRm 7:24 so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin,
7 since a person who has died s1Pt 4:1 is freed t Or justified; lit acquitted from sin’s claims.u 

Paul was writing to the Christians in Rome. He wanted them to be aware of the theology of grace. GOD’S grace and the shed blood of CHRIST are sufficient to cover all of a Christian’s sins forever – past, present and future. A Christian cannot out sin GOD’S grace. If that was true, the legalist in Paul’s day challenged him by stating that Christians needed to sin more so they could receive more grace. Paul made it very clear, if a person willfully sins, then there is a problem with his/her salvation. They have not died to self, which is a heart problem.

A true born-again believer is, in essence, has died to his/her old life. But dying to self is an act of the will. Christians choose who they put in-charge of their lives – self/flesh or GOD/Holy Spirit. Baptism symbolizes a Christian’s death to his/her old life. When a Christian is baptized he/she is placed under the waters of baptism. This symbolizes the new Christian’s death to his/her old life. The Christian is buried.  When the new Christian is raised out of the waters of baptism, it symbolizes his/her resurrection. The new Christian is raised from the dead to walk in his/her new life in CHRIST. The new Christian is alive by the power of CHRIST living within him/her through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Let me be quick to say that the Holy Spirit comes into the Christian’s life the instant he/she accepts CHRIST as his/her Savior. Some denominations believe that a person must be baptized in order to be saved. I find that hard to accept because JESUS told the thief on the cross who accepted HIM as his Savior and did not have the opportunity to be baptized, that he would be with HIM in Paradise. I had this discussion with a friend of mine who belonged to this other denomination and his response was, “We believe that the thief was baptized some time before he was hung on the cross.”

It is important for a Christian to die to self because a dead person has no feeling and cannot be tempted or fall into sin because he/she is dead to the lure of the flesh. Paul considered himself dead and so should all true Christians consider themselves dead to any influence of their old lives. Dying to self is impossible in our own strength. Christians have to die daily. Having the right relationship with CHRIST keeps the Christian connected to the true vine which is the source of vital nourishment to walk in the Spirit each day.

If Christians are dead to their old lives, then how do they function in their new lives? Our next scripture addresses this.

Let’s read John 15:1-5:

The Vine and the Branches

1 “I am aEx 3:14; Jn 8:24,58 the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper.
2 Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes,bMt 3:10; 7:19; 15:13; Lk 3:9; 13:6-9; Jn 15:6; Rm 11:17,22 and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit.
3 You are already •cleanWhen something is clean, it is holy or acceptable to God. When it is unclean, it is unholy (such as an unclean spirit). The term can be used in a ritual sense to apply to moral standards for living.cPs 24:4; Tit 1:15 because of the word I have spoken to you.
4 Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.d Jn 6:56; 8:28; 1Jn 2:5
5 “I am the vine;eJms 3:12 you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit,fMk 4:8 because you can do nothing without Me.

These are the words JESUS spoke to HIS disciples preparing them for HIS crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. JESUS knew that HIS time was close and HE would be leaving them. HE was telling them what was important for them to do during HIS physical absence. This is a message to all Christians. It is easy for us to become passive or apathetic to our relationship with CHRIST. Christians can grow cold toward Spiritual things. Our Spiritual fires need to be rekindled. We need to come before our LORD and ask HIM if there is anything that has compromised our relationship or connection to the true vine.

Since Christians have died to their old lives, how do they function as born-again believers? The secret is being grafted into the true vine to receive Spiritual nourishment and life giving water. JESUS tells Christians that HE is the vine and that GOD is the vineyard keeper. GOD is in-charge of all things. HE planted the vineyard which gave birth to the true vine CHRIST. HE provides the nutrients, the tilling, the weeding, the fertilizer, the care, everything necessary to produce and maintain a healthy vine. The unhealthy vine was Israel. The healthy vine was CHRIST. CHRIST had fulfilled HIS mission and established the only way to GOD, which is through faith in HIM.

Christians are the branches that produce the fruit, but they can only produce good fruit if they are healthy branches. An unhealthy branch is pruned so it has the opportunity to become a healthy branch and produce fruit, even more fruit or it is cut off.

Notice in verses 4 and 5 the use of the word “remain.” Remain carries the idea of holding onto. Even though we are Christians and belong forever to GOD as HIS children, we still have the right to choose. GOD holds onto to us but in turn we need to hold on to HIM. Satan is our enemy and he will do everything he can to defeat and destroy us. We have to choose who we will serve, the flesh or the Spirit. GOD’S desire is for us to choose to serve HIM. HE gives us the power to resist temptation, when we look to HIM for strength.

JESUS used a wonderful example of having and maintaining an intimate relationship through the example of the vine and the branches. Being grafted in the vine is vital in order for Christians to be fully functional in their new life. Christians (the branches) can let blight (sin) come into their lives and damage their relationship with CHRIST (The True Vine). JESUS stated that when that happened it was time for pruning. The intent of pruning is to restore the functionality and productivity of the branch. GOD and CHRIST are always focused upon healthy relationships and restoring fellowship.

Some may ask, what is the relationship of the Christian during the times he/she (as a branch) needs pruning; what about grace? Grace is always present. If a Christian physically dies while in such a condition, grace is sufficient to carry him/her into heaven. But while a Christian remains upon earth, GOD’S desire is for him/her to be fully functional as a healthy branch bearing good fruit. HIS desire is for them to send treasure to the heavenly treasury in the form of rewards that will be revealed by HIM.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:13 - 13 I am able to do all things through Him p Other mss read Christ who strengthens me.q

The Apostle Paul acknowledged how vital a Christian’s relationship is with CHRIST. HE strengthens and empowers Christians, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, to obediently serve GOD. 2Co 12:9; Eph 3:16; Col 1:11; 1Tm 1:12; 2Tm 4:17

Christians sin and go down the wrong track. Some excursions are more blatant and visible than others. Often, GOD calls fellow Christians to reach out to those who have gone astray and to minister to them or encourage them to come back into relationship and fellowship with CHRIST. We, as Christians, must keep in mind 1 John 1:9-10 - 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive sPs 103:3; Jr 31:34; Mt 9:6; 26:28; Col 1:14; Jms 5:15 us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say, “We don’t have any sin,” we make Him a liar, and His word tLk 8:21; Heb 4:12 is not in us.uJn 8:37

CHRIST lives within each Christian and as Paul wrote in Colossians 1:27: 27 God wanted to make known among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ fCol 2:2 in you, the hope g1Th 1:3 of glory.

Ponder this miracle within. If you are not a Christian, now is the time to ask CHRIST to forgive you for your sins, believe that HE died for your sins and ask HIM to come into your life. When you do, thank HIM for coming into your life and tell someone that you have given your life to CHRIST. Keep in mind that CHRIST in you is what makes you a Christian and not the church or place of worship that you attend or join.



Post a Comment

<< Home