July 5, 2009
It’s been a long weekend since we had our bible study but here are the scriptures the Lord led us to and what the Lord was saying to his Body. Ephesians 4:1-16, John 5: 16-47, Matthew 13 1:23, and Galatians 6:2
To recap last week’s bible study we learned that evangelism is simply speaking to others at the appointed time what God has done in our lives. God gives the “breath” or life and he is in control.
Ephesians 4 1-16: We are all one in the Body of Christ and God holds the body together (vs.6). We each have different gifts in dealing with people and we must work together to be the most efficient. It’s time to mature and not be children anymore in the things we believe. Speak truth to one another in love and remember again that God is in control.
This scripture spoke to us of who we are and the gifts God has given to each one of us for the purpose of building others up in the Lord to strengthen the Body. It was the overview of what God was speaking.
John 5:16-47 were words spoken from Jesus concerning the work that he was doing. We found it very interesting that in verses 19 and 30 Jesus tells the people that he can do nothing by himself but that it is the Father working through him. If Jesus can do nothing by himself then surely we ought to have the same attitude but often we think we can just handle things on our own.
The Father was in complete control even of the Son. The Father and the Son both give life and raise the dead. There are two kinds of dead people. Verse 24 says (NIV), “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”
The first kind of dead are those who are walking around who have not heard the word and believed in Christ. They are dead men walking. They have not crossed over from death to life. You must be one who is not in the grave to hear and believe. Jesus goes on to tell the people that “… the time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” (Vs.25 NIV)
Jesus is speaking to the people right then about himself but as we will see some heard (or understood) what he was saying and some didn’t. Jesus goes on to tell the people that he is the one who judges who will receive and have life and who won’t. That sure blows the “God box” doesn’t it?
Jesus continues his teaching about the other kind of dead in verse 28 and he says “…for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and COME OUT!” (Emphasis mine). WOO HOO! This is my personal favorite kind because Danni will be coming with them!! HALLELUIA!!
So, in order to hear up to this point what God was and is saying is simply this…we who are “alive to Christ” have gifts and a job to do to encourage those who are in Christ and speak the gospel to those who are with us as “dead men walking”. It is God who is control and does the work and he decides who, what, when and where. We just need to have an understanding of the challenge we are faced with and a willing and obedient heart.
The Holy Spirit went on to teach us in Matthew 13: 1-23 about the different ways that people receive or don’t receive the gospel and why.
In verses 3 & 4, a farmer is sowing seed and some of it falls on the path and gets eaten by birds. Jesus explains in verse 19 that these are people who hear but don’t understand the word and Satan comes and steals it from them.
Verse 5 & 6 says that the seed falls on rocky places where there isn’t much soil but it springs up only to be scorched by the sun because the soil is shallow and the plants don’t have any roots. Verse 20 sheds light on the deeper meaning of this verse speaking about the person who receives the word with joy but because the seed doesn’t take root his enthusiasm for God lasts only a short time.
Verse 7 talks of the seed that has fallen into thorns and is choked out; the meaning of this comes in verse 22. These are people that the worries of life and their wealth stop them from growing in their knowledge and understanding of the word.
The last is who we all want to be (vs. 8) the good soil multiplying a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown into it. The answer comes in verse 23, “… is the man who hears the word and understands it.” This man is promised a bumper crop! It is a done deal! These are laws and principles of the Kingdom of God.
There are promising and warning words that Jesus speaks to his disciples in verse 12, “Whoever has will be given more, and he will have abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” Here again Jesus is asserting his control as he is the “judge” of these things as we learned in John 5. As a side note, further down in Matthew 13 is the story of the mustard seed and I encourage you to take some time and think about this parable and verse 12 together.
Jesus quotes Isaiah 6:9-10 in this passage citing people who close their ears, eyes and hearts not wanting to hear or see what God wants to speak to them. Doing this causes their hearts to become calloused over time so that they can barely see, hear or understand God’s words to them. One more time Jesus conveys his control over the matter telling the disciples that these things were being revealed to them but not to others. (Vs.17).
I can see how God is building from the last bible study to now and I greatly anticipate hearing his voice again next week. I want to acknowledge that it is the Holy Spirit who is guiding us as I have no virtue within myself and I thank him for his great grace that he so freely gives to us, the Body of Christ.
God is not one to play favorites and the same Holy Spirit that was in Jesus, John, Peter, Paul, and the list goes on is the same Holy Spirit in you and me teaching and training us for what is to come. I am humbled to sit and learn more about him from him.
July 5, 2009