Amazing Grace Bible Class – Lesson Thirteen – “Grow In Grace”

This article is part 14 of 20 in the series Amazing Grace Bible Class


* “THE SECRET OF GRACE IS IN ITS GROWING. (Like Leaven)(As a young plant)(It’s the nature of grace to grow.)(No limit or law on how much saturation, or growth.)(“It is for the sheer joy of it, the feeling of fulfillment, the fruit that is just natural to it.”)
* Orange trees bear oranges – joyfully/willingly/ gladly – Not their TASK – it is their NATURE – THE MORE THEY GROW, THE LARGER THEIR CAPACITY. They have no goals, no programs, FOR IT IS “FRUIT-BEARING” NOT WORK-DOING.”
* John 15:1-8
* Charles Hodge “Use your imagination. Imagine a cornstalk. COMMAND this cornstalk to make corn. It cannot! A CORN STALK CANNOT MAKE CORN! Only God can make corn. He bears corn on a cornstalk. This is fruit – not works. It is INTAKE not OUTPUT. A cornstalk of itself, cannot manufacture corn. A cornstalk will produce in direct proportion to what it has brought in. This is a simple LAW of nature – INTAKE DETERMINES OUTPUT. The cornstalk brings in to put out. A cornstalk needs soil, water, sun and minerals. The more the better. You do not blame the cornstalk during a drought. No farmer is angered with a cornstalk during bad conditions. The cornstalk is at the mercy of intake. Put it in and nature will put it out. So simple!” (“Amazing Grace”, 20th Century Christian Foundation, pg. 61).

1. COLOSSIANS – GROW IN GRACE
    (Apply what has been learned!)
    A. Vs. 1-4 “Raised with Christ” –
         1.) “Set” New focus/goals/aim
         2.) “For you died” (attended your own funeral) – Hidden in Christ – BOXES
    B. Paul reasons this way, YOU HAVE DIED TO SIN… RAISED UP WITH CHRIST…
        NOW SEEK/SET YOUR HEARTS (DESIRES) ON THINGS ETERNAL. YOU
        MUST PLOW THE GROUND BEFORE YOU PLANT THE SEED. MUST WEED
        AS PLANT GROWS!
        1.) Notice the BALANCE in Paul’s reasoning vs. 5-9
        2.) “Put to death” – An encouragement to keep on doing what was done at
              new birth!
    C. How does this phrase make since here… “INTAKE DETERMINES OUTPUT”.
         1.) Conversion is not MORAL REFORMATION (based on will power) IT IS
              SPIRITUAL REGENERATION.
                a.) Luke 3:15-17; John 3:3-5; 7:37-39; Titus 3:5-7 cf NIV and KJV
    E. Vs. 12-15 – (Put on) the new ways
          1.) cf. Philippians 2:12f; 2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in grace and knowledge”
                (“IN-TAKE DETERMINES OUT-PUT”)

2. GALATIANS – GROW IN GRACE
     A. Galatians 5:22-24
          1.) Paul did not say, ‘Grow in church attendance’, ‘grow in taking the Lord’s
               Supper’, ‘grow in adding more busses’, ‘grow by adding more elders or
               deacons’, ‘grow in having a larger number in Bible study’, or ‘grow in meeting
               you budget’… On and on we go with a list of DOING THINGS (none of which
               are wrong within themselves nor should be opposed or discouraged). THESE
               ARE NOT GRACES so much as they are duties and jobs, and organizations,
               AND THE RESULTS OF GROWING IN GRACE.
     B. The forgotten FIRST COMMAND (and second) Love God/Love others as self.
          1.) Division is not the product of growing in grace… it is the result of growing in
                pride!
          2.) Teach the truth of baptism and Lord’s Supper – but these can be done w/o
                growing in grace.
     C. 2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in grace and knowledge”

3. PETER  – “GROW IN GRACE”
    A. Graceless Simon – the worst disciple
         1.) Said/did wrong thing (foot in mouth)
         2.) If Simon can make it… anyone can make it.
    B. Simon was converted
         1.) First gospel sermon – Acts 2:14-40
         2.) Cornelius – Acts 10
         3.) Simon grew in grace and knowledge of the Lord.
     C. 2 Peter 1:3-10 Read
     D. Is this the same Peter
         1.) Luke 5:8 “Get away from me Lord, for you don’t know how many sins I’ve
              really got.”
         2.) Matthew 17:4 “Let’s build three tabernacles, one for you, one for Moses and
              one for Elijah.”
         3.) Matthew 16:22 “No Lord, you are not going to the cross!”
         4.) John 18 “I don’t know the man!!!”
     E. YES, this is the same man… but NOT the same man….
          1.) He grew and grew and grew and grew in grace….
     F. Peter’s encouragement, “Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior
        Jesus Christ…”
Conclusions:
Grace as opposed to law/works… simply enables and promotes the growth which many leaders are seeking in their congregations. The problem seems to be in the way leaders and preachers are going about trying to get their congregation to grow.
Grace is a motivator, liberator, and encourager… whereas law/works (check-list system) and the resulting efforts at ‘perfect performance’ and guilt for failure…does not promote growth. Growth will come as Christians grow in grace…. the results will be with joy, and love, and will be the natural fruit of the Spirit who lives within each and every Christian… This in turn will promote unity in the body of Christ. 

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That You Might Believe – “The First Disciples” (John 1:35-51)

   Everyone wants to be ‘first’ in line! Later on we see how the disciples were arguing over who would be the greatest (Luke 9:46-50). Now this doesn’t and shouldn’t surprise us, that brethren argue… but it was ‘kinda’ embarrassing because Jesus knew what they were thinking and ‘discussing’. Then Jesus uses an example of a child, and had the child stand in front of Him, and said, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.  For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.” Yes, everyone wants to be first…
   Now we are not dealing with this attitude which later developed among the disciples… we are dealing with Andrew… the one mentioned by John, who happens to be the first disciple of Jesus. 
   John the baptizer is of course the one who points others to Jesus. John says, “I must decrease… he must increase.” In other words… “Leave me and follow HIM!” His disciples did just that (vs. 35-37a).
   Jesus turns around and sees them following and asks them this question… “What do you want?” (“What are you looking for?”) They answer him and say, “Where are you staying?” Now there is no indication that Jesus turned them away!  He welcomed them, as He always does with everyone who wishes to follow Him. He will later say that he is “the way, the truth and the life” and that “no man can come to the Father” but thru him (John 14:6). He is the door to the Father, or if that is too big to ‘grab’, He is a good door knob… just open the door! The Saducees were busy looking for places of power, while the Pharisees were looking for some minor point of Law to trap Jesus on… The majority of the people were, just looking for peace with God. Jesus is always the key!
    What am I looking for?  A personal, intimate, relationship with God. This is a very timely lesson since mankind is looking today for this same personal relationship which people back then were seeking. Jesus is ‘The Rabbi’, The Teacher, The Great One… but as great as He is, He still cares for you and I individually.
   John could look back and remember the exact moment (month/day/year/second) when he met this Jesus… He could tell you exactly where it was that he stood (on the road or in the river) when he met this Jesus. This was the impact of Jesus, the Lamb of God.
 1.  ANDREW – Simon Peter’s brother. Andrew shows us the glory of the ordinary. He was just a disciple, a follower, a learner of John. Yet when he started following Jesus, things changed. Immediately, he went and found his brother Simon, and brought him to Jesus.
“Hey Simon! We have found the Messiah! You just have to come and meet him!” Now i don’t know what else Andrew said, but I can imagine he was pretty excited. Wouldn’t you do the same?! 
   Now not much is said of Andrew, he was just ordinary… right? What we do know if he brought someone to Jesus, who would later be part of changing the world!!!
2.  PETER – Notice a brief look at his life.
 John 1:42  And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called  Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
Matthew 16:15-19  “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17  Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood,  but by my Father in heaven.
18  And I tell you that you are Peter,  and on this rock I will build my church,  and the gates of Hades  will not overcome it.
19  I will give you the keys  of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be  bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be  loosed in heaven.”
Matthew 26:72-75  He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”
73  After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”
74  Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed.
75  Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Acts 2:14 “Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.”
1 Peter 5:1-5  To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed:
2  Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve;
3  not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
4  And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
5  In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
I Peter 5:10 “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
Peter, ‘the legend’ is just a man. Read now John 13:1-17
1 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
2  The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.
3  Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;
4  so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.
5  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7  Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8  “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
9  “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
10  Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean,  though not every one of you.”
11  For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
12  When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.
13  “You call me ‘Teacher’  and ‘Lord,’  and rightly so, for that is what I am.
14  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.
15  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
16  Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master,  nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
17  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them

Peter learned, made mistakes, walked, sank, denied, confessed, spoke up… grew in grace… and gave himself to Jesus, The Son of God! Jesus had transformed him and like Paul, by the grace of God, Peter was what he was. Later, tradition says Peter refused to be crucified as Jesus was, and insisted on being crucified upside down. Whether this is true or not… Peter had once for all, given his life to Jesus. (The one Andrew brought to Jesus!)
3. PHILLIP (John 1:43-44) He is found by Jesus, and begins his life of following the Master. He becomes a disciple.
4. NATHANAEL (John 1:44-51) Thus as in a ‘multi-level marketing businesses, each one finds one or two, and they find one or two and so on! Early disciples found others and brought them to Jesus. Nathanael is different in his response to the ‘call’. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” To this Phillip just says, “Come and see!” There was no reprimand regarding prejudice or racism… just “come and see for yourself!” sometimes this is the best way.
“BEHOLD I STAND AT THE DOOR AND KNOCK….” Jesus is still looking for followers. Understand that all who followed and follow Jesus, are simply people who are tired of their sins, and want peace and a relationship with God.
David sinned with Bathsheba (and lots of other times) but found forgiveness (Psalm 32; 51). Abraham was a sinner who lied, but he was considered righteous by God because of his faith, (Romans 4:6-8). Now, as then, and as always, Jesus stands at the door of your heart and asks to be let in.. This is an invitation to meet, greet, and know Him… and the Father.
Three thousand responded to the same invite in Acts 2, by repenting of sins, and being immersed for the remission of sins… Forgiveness was theirs… so was the gift of the Holy Spirit…

Who cares about being first or last to follow Jesus! Follow him and never look back! It’s worth it!!!

Next: The Wedding Feast

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Responses To The Holy Spirit – An Outline

This article is part 7 of 7 in the series Holy Spirit

1. Conversion – Acts 2; 5:32; I Cor. 6:19-20

2. Grieve the Holy Spirit – (Rule not over-rule) – Eph. 4:30-32

3. Quench the Holy Spirit (Like putting green grass on a fire)(Smother)(Suffocate)(Extinguish)

4. Resist – Fight against (Kill – destroy) – Acts 7:51-60
(Sin against the Holy Spirit) – Matt. 12:31-32

5. Walk/Be led by the Holy Spirit – LIVE! – Galatians 5:16, 18, 25

6. Fruit of the Holy Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23

7. TOTAL REJECTION – 2 Peter 2:20-22; Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:25-26

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That You Might Believe – “Jesus The Lamb Of God”

Inexhaustible fullness, revealing God, witnessed by John (the baptist), the very Lamb of God… this is Jesus! 
In this study we will be looking at John 1:16-34. Jesus was only six months younger than John. A ‘junior’ in earth time, but eternal in ‘timeless’ eternity, caused John to admit the superiority of Jesus. John’s work was to prepare the way… and even though he was at ‘center stage’ for a time… when Jesus appeared, he had no problem with stepping aside. Other exaggerated as to John, because all were looking for the Messiah…. but it was not him. This passage goes on to say three things about Jesus:

a.) He is the FULLNESS (Gk. “pleroma”) the sum total of all that God is. Colossians 1:17; 2:9.
b.) He is GRACE UPON GRACE (grace instead of grace/ grace on top of grace/ wonder upon wonder). Limitless/ unmerited grace!!! (Romans 4:1-9). Thus there is no worry about ‘running out of’ grace, for His grace is as deep as His love for mankind.
c.) He is God (the Son) His mind/character/being… all the same as the Father and the Spirit. It may be hard to grasp, or wrap our arms around GOD… but since Jesus reveals GOD… it is easier for us to relate to and ‘wrap our arms around’ Jesus. He opens the door to our knowing God. Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life, NO ONE CAN COME TO THE FATHER BUT BY ME.”
  * Thus the importance of our Savior, our ‘doorway’ … ‘DOORKNOB’ (if that is easier) but He is our way to the Father!

1. IN JESUS – THE DISTANT, UNKNOWABLE, INVISIBLE AND UNREACHABLE GOD HAS COME TO MEN (A little boy was crying in the night, when his  dad came in to comfort him… “Can you stay with me dad?” he asked.” The wise father said, “God is always here my son… don’t be afraid”. The child looked up and said, “But dad, I just want a God with skin”.
2. THE WITNESS (vs. 19-28) Begins the story of the ministry/miracles of Jesus)
Recently I was ‘asked'(?) to be on a jury for a capital murder trial. During the trial, there were ‘witnesses’… people who had actually seen the event. Some were credible and some were not. Based on the evidence and witnesses who testified, we either believed the witnesses or not. Some were more credible than others…eventually a judgment was passed down.
Consider the following events:
   a.) Day one: vs. 19-28 – The witness of John – “I’m not HIM” (not Elijah, not THE prophet… I’m just a voice crying in the wilderness! John realized his reason, his purpose. So many today never see their purpose in life, or they think that if they are not ‘THE prophet’ or the one in the ‘limelight’ then  it’s not good enough. John was humble, bold and satisfied to serve in the shadow of One greater.
   b.) Day two: vs. 29-34 – The Lamb of God – Lamb/Sacrifice/Sin, these are connected by demand. It is the demand of justice. It is God’s greatest mystery… the saving of mankind. Paul teaches us in Romans 3:21-26 through the sacrifice of Christ God is declared JUST as well as the JUSTIFIER of those who have faith in Jesus. It is a salvation which is not based on law keeping, but on faith. It is in Jesus that we see IN is dealt with by the SACRIFICE of the LAMB of God.
   c.) Day three: vs. 35-39 – The ‘Following’ begins – John, saw Jesus… and realized, this is the One. He begins now to point people to Jesus… “There is Jesus… the One who was promised, the Lamb of God!!!” Those that had been following John, now began following Jesus. Mission accomplished! Well done John! Today we would do well to learn from john. Never seek to be followed, or be in the lime-light or be the ‘big man’… just point people to Jesus.   
   d.) Day four: vs. 40-42 – Andrew Simon Peter’s brother – What began here, is still going on today, with Andrew, an ordinary fisherman who saw Jesus, heard Jesus, and was so touched by Jesus, that he brought his brother Peter. The rest is ‘His-story’ as more and more were brought to Jesus. Has it stopped? Of course not… ordinary people are still bringing other ordinary people to the Someone who is not Ordinary. Because He is not ordinary… people seek Him out. People follow. They don’t have to… not coerced to… they just see in Jesus, Someone who has the answers to life and eternity, Someone who loves them. May this same joy and excitement of finding Jesus, be with you in your life.
   e.) Day five: vs. 43-51 – Phillip and Nathanael – Met Jesus….Not much is said of them, accept that they followed Jesus! That’s enough! (Although we know there was more!)
All in all we see…
   a.) John affirms Jesus is the Christ
   b.) John tells of the rejection of Jesus by the Jewish leaders.
   c.) Pharisees (Sanhedrin) are looking for false prophets
   While many others came to love, believe in, and follow this one called Jesus of Nazareth… the Son of God!
The ‘religious elite’ were asking questions of John… Who are you? (Messiah?)(Elijah?)(Prophet?)… all were answered with a firm, “NO”. Jesus later would ask the disciples the question, “Who do men say I am?” Various answers came, but the one that counted, the one Jesus wanted was “Who do you think I am?” Peter answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of God.” (“You are the one we have been looking for and the one with the answer to life’s problems. You are the one and only Messiah!”) (Matthew 16:13-16). Malachi speaks prophetically of the Messiah as the “messenger”. Not just any messenger, but THE MESSENGER. The prophet is so excited, because times were hard in this prophet’s day. The bright ‘light’ … “He is coming” He is the “smelter” and “purifier”. Like a “refiner’s fire” and laundryman’s soap. Of course there is a ‘cleansing coming’ when He comes. Sure, the picture of Jesus cleansing the temple comes to mind, but there is more… cf. Luke 3:15-18! Then notice Malachi 4:4-6… as with all other Old Testament prophecies, they all point forward… to Jesus. 
Who are you John? He knew who he was not… he knew who he was. His was a special place at a special time… Preparing people for the coming Christ was his life, and he gave his all to it.
3. WHY DID JOHN BAPTIZE?
Read Mark 1:4-8! John was a rough, tough man. A wilderness preacher that “preached a baptism of repentance FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS”. So were people forgiven when they were immersed by John? Sure! This seems to give some people problems, but that’s what the Book says. Everyone was going out to hear John speak, and ‘obey the gospel he was preaching’, but it was also in preparation for the coming Christ, and the preparation of those of Israel who would be ready for the Messiah. Did these need to be re-baptized later in the name of Jesus? Of course. Since Jesus was to be crucified, and ascend to the Father and then send the Holy Spirit… The church was still to be established. Just as in Acts 19, these disciples had not heard that there was even a Holy Spirit, so they were immersed again. We shall look more at being born again in John 3, but John’s immersion was temporary, but accomplished it’s purpose… it pointed all who would come, to the King. According to Zech. 13:1, the chosen people had to be cleansed… prepared for the coming King (Jesus).
4. THE LAMB OF GOD – vs. 29-34 – (Cf. Isaiah 53:1-7)
“Passover” the word was rich in meaning since the days of Moses and the deliverance from Egypt. The lamb that was to be slain for each family, in remembrance of the deliverance from slavery (representing sin for us), was spotless, no bones broken, and perfect…. Jesus is the Lamb (used 29 times in Revelation) of God! Perfect, spotless, and the “once for all sacrifice” given to perfect salvation for all who come. He is our sacrifice.
Jesus is our “AMNOS” – which gives us the word ‘amnesty’… God’s great Lamb!
Our great propitiation, God’s satisfaction… our great salvation. PRAISE GOD!

Next: “The First Disciples”

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The Work Of The Holy Spirit In The Life Of The Christian (An Outline)

This article is part 6 of 7 in the series Holy Spirit

Song by dad
Fill me with your Spirit Lord,
Fill me up today,
Come sweet Holy Spirit, Lord
Teach me what to say
Show me how to live today
Lead me on my way,
Fill me with your Spirit Lord,
Fill me up today.

* One of the greatest gifts/Christian = God’s Holy Spirit
* Holy Spirit which worked in O.T.
    – Othniel ( Judges 3:10)
    – Gideon (Judges 6:34)
    – Jephthah (Judges 11:29)
    – Samson (Judges 13:25; 14:6;16:20)
    – David (I Samuel 16:13)
    – Saul (I Samuel 16:14)
    – (Of course there are many other instances from Genesis thru Malachi)

1. (My premise) THE HOLY SPIRIT DWELLS IN HEART OF EVERY SINGLE
    BELIEVER
!
    A. Some have taught HS dwells in us THRU W/God! (Baptize s/one-give
        Bible/GOOD LUCK!
    B. Scared of being branded ‘Pentecostal’ (raise hands in praise song/Let’s have a
         word of praise?/”We don’t do that here.” WHY NOT?!
         1.) WE ARE IN GREAT NEED OF BALANCE/ Avoid extremes
    C. FIVE FINGER EXERCISE (Hear, Believe, Repent, Confess and be Baptized)
         whatever happened to the Holy Spirit? (Restoration Movement Barton W. Stone
         taught (Believe, Repent,Confess, Baptism, Receive the Holy Spirit).
    D. There is a difference in GIFT OF SPIRIT/GIFT FROM SPIRIT(Miraculous and non
          miraculous)Gifts (Romans 12)
        1.) Acts 2:38-39 ALL to receive
        2.) Acts 2:17-18 UNIVERSALITY OF THE PROMISE – “All”
        3.) Acts 5:32 “We are witnesses…so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to
             those who obey Him.”
        4.) Galatians 4:6 “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his
              Son….
        5.) 1 Corinthians 6:19 TEMPLE
        6.) Romans 8:9 Read-  IMPORTANT!
2. WE KNOW THE HOLY SPIRIT DOES NOT (as far as I know):
     A. Empower us to – Nor do we need to work miracles to CONFIRM THE WORD –
          DONE (John 20:30-31).
     B. Guide us in a miraculous way eg. Angel/visions (eg. Cornelius – Acts 10)
     C. Give us miraculous, (‘temporary’) gifts of the Spirit (I Cor. 12)
      D. Yet I do not claim to know it all, and if God chooses to perform miracles… it’s fine
           with me! I refuse to ‘put the Spirit in a box’ and tell Him what to do and not to do!
           (Amen walls)
3. WHAT DOES THE SPIRIT DO?
     A. Reveals Christ TO US/ Forms Christ IN US (the whole idea!)
         1.) Ephesians 1:17 Paul prays “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ ma y give
              you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.”
         2.) Galatians 4:19 “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is
              formed in you.”
         3.) 2 Corinthians 3:18 Read
         4.) Colossians 1:28 Read
     B. Holy Spirit gives us ASSURANCE (Once saved always saved?/Once saved never
         saved)
         1.) (“You Belong To Me”)
         2.) (Think on this!) IT IS EASY TO FALL FROM A CHECK LIST SYSTEM / HARD
              TO FALL FROM RELATIONSHIP. (Luke 15:11-32; Romans 8).
         3.) 2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5: Ephesians 1:13-14 (“arobonah” = Pledge/Down Pmt/
              Engagement ring)
    C. Holy Spirit UNITES US TO THE BODY OF CHRIST
        1.) Nicodemus – MUST BE BORN INTO THIS RELATIONSHIP – John 3:1-10
        2.) I Corinthians 12:13 “For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body…. and
             have been made to drink into one Spirit.”
        3.) Ephesians 4:2-4 “ONE”
    D. Holy Spirit HELPS US OVERCOME THE LUSTS OF THE FLESH (produce
         FRUIT)
         1.)  Romans 8:1-5… verses 9-10 IMPORTANT!
         2.) Galatians 5:16, 18, 25.
         3.) Orange Tree “It’s my nature”
     E. Holy Spirit RAISES US IN THE RESURRECTION AT HIS SECOND COMING.
         1.) Romans 8:11 READ!
4. NOTICE THE COMMAND: “BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT” (This is
     imperative/continuous)
     A. DIFFERENCE IN CAPACITY – “Child’s lungs” “Grown man’s lungs”
         DIFFERENCE = CAPACITY
         1.) Both FILLED – Both GROW IN capacity!!! (Same with being ‘filled’ with the
              Spirit.
     B. John 7:37-38 Thirsty believers WELCOME!   
     C. Ephesians 5:18-21 “WHAT IF EVERY CHRISTIAN understood/accepted/ HOLY
         SPIRIT = WITH USEVERY MINUTE, SECOND OF THE DAY?! WHAT
         DIFFERENCE / OUR LANGUAGE/HOME AND FAMILY?
Conclussion:
Relate the story of “The Gift” (Note articles which dad wrote for this story or get his book, “Fables”

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Amazing Grace Bible Class – Lesson Twelve – Romans 16, 15, 14.

This article is part 13 of 20 in the series Amazing Grace Bible Class

 
                  (HOW GRACE UNITES – A STUDY OF ROMANS 16 thru 14)
* One of most marvelous thgs. a/GRACE = promotes and enables UNITY. “being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is ONE BODY, and ONE SPIRIT, just as you were called in ONE HOPE of your calling: ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM, ONE GOD and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:3-6).
* Consider ‘unity’ of the body of Christ today… Do you see the “unity of the Spirit”? Is there a BOND OF PEACE? WHY? WHAT HAPPENED?
* Study GRACE – consider its REVOLUTIONARY NATURE. Revolutionary because:
   1.) It is bigger more marvelous than we thought…
        – Based on RELATIONSHIP with God thru Jesus, not PERFORMANCE
        – Resulting in ONGOING FORGIVENESS of all who live within, not continual guilt
        – Empowered by the HOLY SPIRIT which all who are ‘in Christ’ have
        – Entered thru the ONE BIRTH (baptism) of WATER and SPIRIT
        – Sustained by the ONE PERFECT, ETERNAL HIGH PRIEST – Jesus Christ
   2.) How can the Holy Spirit bring UNITY BY GRACE TO THE BODY OF CHRIST ?
* We have studied Romans 1-8…now jump to the end… In this study we will be looking
   at Romans backwards…
1. Romans 16   
     A. Vs. 17 “Now I urge you brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions
          and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you have learned, and turn away
          from them.”    
          1.) Strange place to begin a study on UNITY!
                a.) This verse is used many times by those WHO DIVIDE BRETHREN!
     B.  What is “…the teaching you have learned…”?
          1.) Romans 1-15! (Particularly ch. 14-15) which deals with HOW TO BE UNITED
     C. Application: STAY AWAY FROM THOSE WHO TEACH AGAINST PAUL’S
          TEACHINGS IN ROMANS. (What are some of the teachings of Romans?)
     D. No surprise that FALSE TEACHERS “cause divisions”. They disagree with Paul’s
          teachings on how not to divide! And now we know what “obstacles” they put in
          the way–they sow seeds of division: false doctrines that are obstacles to being
          united.
2. Romans 15
    A. HIGHLIGHT Vs. 7 “WHEREFORE Accept one another, then, just as Christ
         accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
          1.)  “Wherefore” refers back to immediate/general context.
          2.) “accept” – present tense/continual ACCEPTANCE
          3.) “accepted” – aorist – refers back to particular point in time.
          4.) THEREFORE “(Continually) accept one another, just as Christ has accepted
                (new birth) in order to bring praise to God.”
          5.) Good comparisons of ‘just as’
                a.) 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Be imitators of me, JUST AS  I am also of Christ.”
                b.) 1 Corinthians 13:12 “… but then I shall know fully JUST AS I also have
                      been fully known.”
           6.) Romans 15:7 Re-written! “Continually accept one another, then, (in the same
                way) Christ accepted you (when you were first re-born) in order to bring
                praise to God.”
           7.) Now ponder this one for a while. Paul says that acceptance of a brother or
                sister in Christ should be based on the very same test as whether one is
                accepted when they are redeemed! That test is simply faith, penitence, and
                new birth of water and Spirit.
               a.) Were early believers asked about their ideas of worship?
               b.) Were they questioned as regarding their beliefs on instruments, divorce
                     and remarriage, one cup or many, co-operation with other congregations?!
               c.) What if a member disagrees with me over an ‘issue’… can I / should I
                    accept him?  ON WHAT BASIS?
    B. Romans 15:5-6 Read
         1.) Where does UNITY come from? Who’s UNITY IS IT?!  Eph. 4:3 tells us this
              UNITY IS OF AND FROM THE HOLY SPIRIT!  IT’S A GIFT!
         2.) How have we tried to make UNITY TODAY? HAVE WE SUCCEEDED? WHY?
         3.) What is the solution? Repent and accept the unity of the Spirit which has been
              created and given.  
         4.) Phil. 3:16
    C. (Unity of the Spirit at work) Romans 15:1 Read IT’S THE “STRONG” THAT HAVE
         THE BURDEN…
         1.) Who are the weak?
         2.) How can the “strong” bear the burden of the “weak”?
3. Romans 14:17-19 Read
    A. Roman Christians disagreed at times (as do we).
         1.) ‘Doctrinal’ issues – WHAT TO EAT/DAYS TO CELEBRATE
               a.) Paul’s answer: THAT’S JUST NOT WHHAT THE KINGDOM IS ABOUT!
         2.) What is the kingdom about? DOING GOOD/LIVING IN PEACE/JOY IN THE
              SPIRIT
     B. IMPORTANT: LEARN TO APPLY THE PRINCIPLES!!!
         1.) Kingdom is not about rules over worship, church organization etc… yet we
              argue and have divided over these things and more!
         2.) What is the kingdom about? DOING GOOD/LIVING IN PEACE/JOY IN THE
               SPIRIT.
         3.)  The church today believes Romans 14 = about MATTERS OF
                INDIFFERENCE (color of carpet/which song book etc…) THIS IS WRONG!
          4.) Romans 14 is about what they considered (big deal) DOCTRINAL
               DIFFERENCES
               a.) Eat meats offered to idols vs. vegetarianism (Jewish custom vs. Gentile
                    custom) cf. (I Corinthians 8). Some “yes” some “no”…
                b.) Holy days to be kept (Sabbath) Some “yes” some “no”….
     C. Romans 14:1-4 Read (cf. 15:7)
     D. Romans 14:10
     E. A DISPUTABLE MATTER: a disputable matter is any issue over which we can
          dispute and still remain Christians. After all, how could we be disputing if the
          issue were beyond dispute?! Hence, faith in Jesus and the Lordship of Jesus (our
          obligation to obey) are not disputable. You cannot deny Jesus or rebel against his
          authority and remain saved.            

Conclusion: There is no doubt in my mind, that the UNITY OF THE SPIRIT WORKS BETTER THAN THE ‘UNITY’ OF MEN. It kinda frightens us because it challenges us to re-examine our ‘unity’ which seems to be ‘uniformity’. The danger (as I see it) of this is when brethren disagree, there is little ‘patience’, ‘love’… and ‘elbow room’ for growth… Too many times brethren who question, or disagree are told, “sorry, you just won’t be happy in this congregation”.
The Unity of the Spirit is all about the truth for sure. Yet it is all about how to deal with each other and growth in grace as well. The longer we force a false unity (uniformity) on the church, the more the chances of division if not over one issue, then over another.

 (My thanks again to Jay Guinn on his lesson “Romans studied backwards”. Which is a part of his study on Amazing Grace, oneinjesus,info).

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Amazing Grace Bible Class – Lesson Eleven – “Now That I’m Saved” Ist John

This article is part 12 of 20 in the series Amazing Grace Bible Class

* Now that we are saved… “How shall we then live?” This is what most of the New Testament is about anyway, right?
* False teachers then and now… make it always important for Christians to study and grow and be able to ‘stand’ and ‘withstand’… (Hebrews 5:11-14).
* I John is all about TESTING those who claim to be teaching truth and all through this letter, he is fighting against false teachers while encouraging the brethren to STAND!
* Key Verse (I John 1:7) “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.
   a.)  ‘blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin’  ““Purifies” is in the present tense, which in the Greek means “continuously purifies.” This is a promise of on-going salvation–but not a salvation that can’t be lost. He’s not teaching once saved always saved. But he is teaching that salvation should be continuous, not occasional. I Jno. 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
   b.) John does not define what ‘walk in the light’ is immediately, however he does present a number of tests which will help us understand what this is.

1. TEST ONE: ACKNOWLEDGING OUR SINS
    I Jno. 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and
                     purify (PRESENT TENSE) us from all unrighteousness.”
    A. Promise: CONTINUAL FORGIVENESS if we do this. (Not ‘once saved always
        saved’ but ON GOING).
    B. Difficulty: MISTRANSLATION of ‘homologeo’ (confess) which actually means
        “ACKNOWLEDGE”
        1.) John is not speaking of a legalistic requirement to come to front and confess
              each sin in order to be forgiven.
        2.) John is saying ACKNOWLEDGING OUR SINFULNESS and thus our
             continual need for His grace.    
        3.) Example: I John 4:2-3, 15; 2 John 7 “acknowledge”. “Homologeo” = never used
             of confessing sin in NT.
        4.) The word used for confession of sin is usually “exomologeo,” as in James 5:16
             and Matthew 3:6.
   C. Compare I John 1:8-10 The writer uses the term “claim” (“confess”) “claim”.
   D. The contrast is with refusing to admit that we sin. Thus the test is not whether we
        have confessed each sin, but whether we ADMIT, ACKNOWLEDGE that we are
        sinners… thus in need of God’s grace and mercy. So long as we refuse to do
        this… we are denied SALVATION.
2. TEST TWO: LOVE
    I John 2:3-11 Read
    A. Compare this with John 15:10-14 Read “My command is this…”
         1.) Jesus says, OBEY MY COMMANDS… His command = LOVE EACH
              OTHER!
         2.) Compare this with Matthew 7:12; Luke 10:25-28; Romans 13:3-10; Galatians
              5:14; James 2:8
3. TEST THREE: DOING RIGHTEOUSNESS
     I John 2:29 “If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what
                         is right has been born of him.”
     A. “What is right” = better translated as “righteousness” or even “justice”
     B. Amos 5:7-24 (especially verses 7, 10-12, 15, 21-24)
     C. John is not speaking of attending services, giving etc… he is speaking more
          about caring for people God cares about.
     D. John expands on ‘Doing righteousness’ which is opposed to a life of (practicing)
          sin. (cf. Romans 6:1-2)
          1.) I Jno. 3:3-6 Christians don’t continue in sin… we REPENT AND KEEP
               GROWING. WE NEVER DEFEAT SIN COMPLETELY, BUT WE KEEP
               GROWING IN GRACE, AND PUTTING MORE AND MORE SIN 
               BEHIND US.
          2.) I Jno. 3:10-11 Do what is right = really do righteousness. This connects loving
               each other with doing righteousness…. They are not two commands but ONE
               BIG ONE.
          3.) I Jno. 3:16-18 Love always requires action (the same as with faith!)
          4.) I Jno. 3:22-23 How can we truly believe and not obey?
4. TEST FOUR: THE HOLY SPIRIT
    I John 3:24 “Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is
                        how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.”
    A. I Jno. 2:20
         1.) “Anointing” is a reference to the Spirit (Acts 10:38; 2 Cor. 1:21-22). Luke
               declares that Jesus was anointed by the Spirit (Luke 4:18). Of course,
               “Messiah” and “Christ” mean “the anointed one,” referring most
               immediately to kingship and the oil of anointing ceremonially used in
               designating a man king.
          2.) Jesus was ‘anointed’ with the Spirit at his immersion… then his miracles and
               ministry began…
          3.) We are anointed at ours as we become a ‘royal priesthood’ (1 peter 2:9).
          4.) Cf. Ephesians 1:20-23; Ephesians 2:1-7; Revelation 1:6 (KJV)
          5.) I John 5:6-8 “truth” refers to truth about Jesus- the Gospel- (I Jno. 2:21-23;
               Jno. 14:6; 2 Cor. 11:10; Gal. 2:5; Heb. 10:26-27; Heb. 8:10-12)
          6.) It’s characteristic of our new life in Jesus that the Spirit indwells us and
               teaches us how to be more and more like Jesus–to have faith, to love in action
               and deed, and to do righteousness.
     B. John 3:8 tells us the Spirit works but the only way we can tell is by the effect seen
          in our lives.
          1.) I Jno. 4:2-3 Read
5. TEST FIVE: ACKNOWLEDGING APOSTOLIC TEACHING
    A. I Jno. 4:6
    B. In John’s way of thinking, there are only two kinds of people
         a.) SAVED                     b.) LOST
              Faith                              Deny Jesus
              Admit sinfulness           Deny sinfulness
              Love others                   Hate others
              Do righteousness          Don’t do righteousness
              Possess the Spirit          Don’t have the Spirit
              Purify himself               Continue in sin
              Acknowledge                Rejects the auth. Of apostles
              authority of the apostles
    C. John is speaking to Christians who understand that without His grace… they are
         lost in sin.
         a.) Phil. 2:12-13 “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only
                                     in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to
                                     work out (mine out/ dig deep) your salvation with fear and
                                     trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act
                                     according to his good purpose.”
               i.) Paul is encouraging Christians to “mine out” their salvation. ie Explore the
                  depths and grow. 

These are the five tests of First John by which he explains who is walking in the light.

                 (Special thanks to Jay Guinn for his study on Ist John in his study on Grace.)

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Amazing Grace Bible Class – Lesson Ten “Now That We’re Saved” (Hebrews)

This article is part 11 of 20 in the series Amazing Grace Bible Class


BALANCE is the goal not only in our study of  “Amazing Grace” but all scripture. Just how SECURE is a Christian?
* Hebrews = not usually studied in a class on grace. Incredibly important!
* Background:
   a.) Law of Moses – Constantly refers to TEMPLE AND ANIMAL SACRIFICES
   b.) Temple – Holy Place/Holy of Holies/Ark of Covenant
         (Cries of animals/trumpets/songs/incense/and praises to God)
   c.) Leviticus 1 – Sacrifice for atonement described
   d.) Only High Priest could enter Holy place and ONLY on Day of Atonement (Yom
         Kippur)
   e.) Holy of Holies = the Shekinah – “GLORY OF GOD”. Blood offered for sins of the
        people here by the High Priest once a year.
   f.) Lev. 16 The curtain (or veil) that blocked the entrance to the Holy of Holies was torn
        when Jesus was crucified, evidencing God’s opening of this Most Holy Place to all
        who’d be saved through Jesus. The tearing of the veil also means that God himself
        is no longer hidden from his people. After all, this is where God dwelt. Because the
        “mercy seat” was above the ark of the covenant, we can now approach the “throne
        of grace” with confidence.
    g.) Lev. 16:2 “mercy seat”
    h.) Hebrews 4:16 “throne of grace”

1. “ONCE FOR ALL” and “PERFECT FOREVER”
    A. Hebrews 7-9
         1.) Hebrews 7:27-28
               a,) Here the author contrasts Jesus’ once-for-all sacrifice with the constantly
                    repeated sacrifices of the priests at the Jewish temple, required by the Law
                    of Moses. Moreover, Jesus’ sacrifice made him “perfect forever.” No further
                    sacrifice will ever be required of Jesus.
         2.) Based on Hebrews 7:23-25 Read. (Jesus will never die = “save completely”
              Christians. His intercession for us is as unending as His life.
         3.) Now, we see that “forever” means for as long as Jesus lives. When he makes
              his followers “perfect forever,” that means for just as long as Jesus lives!
   B. Hebrews 9:11-12 Notice “once for all”
   C. Hebrews 9:25-28 “once for all” “to do away with sin”
        1.) Moses covenant = inferior because provided temporary salvation
        2.) After priest performed sacrifice/ sinner = forgiven until sinned again
        3.) Forgiveness was based on repeating the sacrifices
        4.) Forgiveness for Christian is continuous and unending.
        5.) Made perfect forever
    D. Hebrews 10:1-4 Notice …“it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly
         year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship…. Once for all….”
         1.) Hebrews 10:9-10, 12-14
              a.)  Here’s the gospel in a nutshell. Jesus offered one sacrifice which resulted
                    in the forgiveness of all those “being made holy” forever. Forever! Perfect
                    forever. Just as Jesus himself was made perfect forever by his obedient
                    sacrifice, so are his followers.We, of course, aren’t really perfect, but we
                    are counted as perfect. However, this assumes that we are yielding to
                    God’s efforts to make us holy in fact.
          2.) Hebrews 10:15-18
          3.) Hebrews 10:19-22
2. FALLING AWAY – Most severe warning in the Bible
    A. Hebrews 10:26-27 (cf. vs.18)
         1.) Baptized into Christ is ‘once for all’ no more …
    B. If we throw away salvation = no more sacrifice left.
    C. This is so bad, that Martin Luther questioned the inspiration of Hebrews!
3. Consider these things…
    A. This is only when we deliberately continue to sin…
    B. This is opposite of being penitent…
         1.) To be saved we must be penitent/ to stay saved… soft/penitent heart.
         2.) Practical terms: IF WE NO LONGER TAKE JESUS AS OUR LORD/TURN
              OUR BACKS ON HIM… OUR HEARTS BECOME HARD / WE ARE LOST
              AND CAN NOT COME BACK. (BEYOND REPENTANCE.)
    C. However, if a Christian has left the fellowship of the church, sinned greatly, and
         eventually repented and returns, then he cannot have fallen away (like the
         Hebrew writer refers to), because it’s impossible for those who’ve fallen away to
         repent. No more sacrifice for sin remains.
    D. Lk. 15 God is always ready to forgive…but if one comes to Jesus and receives his
         Spirit and then QUENCHES THE SPIRIT / TURNS AWAY AND REFUSES TO
         COME BACK… THERE IS NO MORE SACRIFICE.
         1.) I Timothy 4:2
         2.) 2 Peter 2:20-22
         3.) Hebrews 6:4-6
         4.) Hebrews 12:15; Dt. 29:18-20
              a.) Danger = relying on grace and think you are safe even though one persists
                   on going their way.
              b.) Falling away = the end of a bad path of rebellion, unbelief and 
                   disobedience. Dangerous because we can become INSENSITIVE to our
                   own sin.
              c.) Mark 4:18-19 “… the DECEITFULNESS of wealth…”
              d.) Hebrews 3:13 “sins deceitfulness”
         5.) THE DANGER OF SIN = THE DECEITFULNESS OF IT. GETTING FARTHER
              AND FARTHER AWAY FROM JESUS.
         6.) Just before the warning of Heb. 10:26ff the writer says, (Heb 10:23-25) “Let us
              hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24
              And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good
              deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of
              doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day
              approaching.

(Special thanks to Jay Guinn (oneinjesus.info) for his work on this lesson on Amazing Grace)


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