Sunday School Lesson for 6/17/18:
Returning To God’s Way
A. The History
1 John 1:9 (KJV)
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Ezra 9:1-10:20 (KJV)
9 Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.
2 For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass.
3 And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied.
4 Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice.
5 And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God,
6 And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.
7 Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day.
8 And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage.
9 For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.
10 And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments,
11 Which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness.
12 Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever.
13 And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this;
14 Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping?
15 O Lord God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.
10 Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore.
2 And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra, We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the land: yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing.
3 Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.
4 Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee: we also will be with thee: be of good courage, and do it.
5 Then arose Ezra, and made the chief priests, the Levites, and all Israel, to swear that they should do according to this word. And they sware.
6 Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Johanan the son of Eliashib: and when he came thither, he did eat no bread, nor drink water: for he mourned because of the transgression of them that had been carried away.
7 And they made proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem unto all the children of the captivity, that they should gather themselves together unto Jerusalem;
8 And that whosoever would not come within three days, according to the counsel of the princes and the elders, all his substance should be forfeited, and himself separated from the congregation of those that had been carried away.
9 Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered themselves together unto Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month; and all the people sat in the street of the house of God, trembling because of this matter, and for the great rain.
10 And Ezra the priest stood up, and said unto them, Ye have transgressed, and have taken strange wives, to increase the trespass of Israel.
11 Now therefore make confession unto the Lord God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives.
12 Then all the congregation answered and said with a loud voice, As thou hast said, so must we do.
13 But the people are many, and it is a time of much rain, and we are not able to stand without, neither is this a work of one day or two: for we are many that have transgressed in this thing.
14 Let now our rulers of all the congregation stand, and let all them which have taken strange wives in our cities come at appointed times, and with them the elders of every city, and the judges thereof, until the fierce wrath of our God for this matter be turned from us.
15 Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahaziah the son of Tikvah were employed about this matter: and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite helped them.
16 And the children of the captivity did so. And Ezra the priest, with certain chief of the fathers, after the house of their fathers, and all of them by their names, were separated, and sat down in the first day of the tenth month to examine the matter.
17 And they made an end with all the men that had taken strange wives by the first day of the first month.
18 And among the sons of the priests there were found that had taken strange wives: namely, of the sons of Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren; Maaseiah, and Eliezer, and Jarib, and Gedaliah.
19 And they gave their hands that they would put away their wives; and being guilty, they offered a ram of the flock for their trespass.
B. The Situation
“When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.4 For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.
C. Ezra and Judah’s Response
The Gospel of John
John 1:1-5 (KJV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
Immediately in the first couple of verses, John makes it clear who Christ is, His eternal nature, and His divine nature. He has no beginning and no end just like the Father.
He is the incarnate Word of God, “made flesh to dwell among men”, destined to die and be resurrected for our sins. He was both God and man and now dwells at the right hand of the Father, interceding for you and me.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.”
“All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
“In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
Introduction To The Gospel of John
“The disciple whom Jesus loved”
The book of John could be explained or described as having two main purposes. These purposes can also be found in John 20:31, which are to highlight Christ by His teachings and miracles and to show who Christ was. Secondly, it was to encourage mankind to accept eternal life because of their “faith in Him.” John was also a family business man and fisherman by trade.
There is a consistent pattern of numbers and key phrases found throughout the book. The numbers eight and seven appear either directly or are represented in number. There appear to be eight key words, eight signs of Jesus’ power, and eight “I AM” statements made by Jesus in this gospel. John never seems to mention himself by name, however due to the wording, timing of the writings, phrases he uses, and events he remembers about Jesus in great detail; it is obvious who the author of John is. He chooses to refer to himself in terms such as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Greater than any man’s name could ever be, is the love that the one true Christ could have for such a person as John.
8 Key Words of John
“Believe”or a similar form is found around 38 times and “life” is found around 36 times.
John seems to prefer “belief” over “faith” due to its consistent activity. Continuing to believe is to continue having life. To John, “believing” is the same as any essential element to life and expresses this in his gospel. It is the same as eating (6:35,51), drinking (4:41), or even walking (8:12).
The word “love is also used 80 times in John and the Epistles. Signs, which is used 17 times to emphasize the eight miracles of Jesus in this gospel, are heavily emphasized. This is to bring attention not only to Christ’s deity and authority, but also his compassion and grace. The Septuigint uses this word to express the idea of a heavenly symbol (Gen. 1:14), a pledge (Gen. 17:11), a protective mark (Gen 4:15). It is even used to express a miracle, memorial, sample of divine power (7:11) and a signal.
8 Signs of Jesus’ Power
Another significant word John uses in this gospel is “witness” John intends this book to be viewed as actually historical fact. In order for this to happen, according to Jewish law and tradition, he must have evidence from at least 2-3 witnesses for matters to be confirmed as seen in Deuteronomy 19:15.
8 Signs of Jesus’ Power
John was very observant of Jesus. He recorded many events, actions, and emotions in great detail. Out of 879, something like 237 of the verses covers the last day (24 hour period) with Jesus.
“Father, the Father, or My Father” is used 80 times. It is significant as it signifies the relationship and coexistence with God the Father.
John was also very selective in his wirings, emphasizing Christ’s deity. He excluded the birth, baptism, and temptations of Jesus, most likely due to their coverage in other writings at the time being that many believe John wrote his gospel 60 years after the events of Jesus death, burial, and resurrection. It may also be due to the emphasis he wished to place on Christ. The gospel of John is the only gospel that includes Jesus involved in active ministry prior to John the Baptist’s imprisonment. Five of the seven key miracles are unique to this gospel. Even though there were some events omitted by John, this gospel includes a lot of narrative detail such as when Jesus was with Nicodemus.
Even though the book may have been written 60 years later, John remembered events in great detail such as the times and numbers of certain events. Th8ings such as in 1:39 where he says he met Jesus at 4 p.m. and the Samaritan woman leaving her water pot at the well. He also remembered there were 6 water pots at the wedding in Cana (2:6).
Above all these small characteristics regarding the gospel of John, we must remember that John wrote selectively under the influence of inspiration from God. God is the author of the book of John, while John himself is a mere penman.
The House of Mercy
John 5:1-15 (KJV)
5 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?
7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.
8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.
11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.
12 Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?
13 And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.
14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.
In the first verse here in chapter five we see that Jesus was on His way to a Jewish festival in Jerusalem. Of course, this would only be sensible considering this is where He was headed because Jesus was still Jewish and was “about His Father’s business.” This would include Jewish festivals, ceremonies, observed holidays, and so forth. It was also because this is where He would find the largest gathering of lost people, fellowship, and worship to the Father that was necessary for the ministry that He brought. This festival would be full of lost individuals following a system of legalism and blindness to nowhere. After all, Jesus was the Savior of the world. But, isn’t it just like Jesus to be distracted by great need and suffering?
Verse two starts out by explaining that there was this pool or some type of body of water which was located near a sheep gate, some say sheep market. Some claim to know which pool this was and where it was located, but these claims are theories and difficult to prove. We do know that it was called in Aramaic, “Bethesda.” This also means, “House of Mercy.” It also tells us in the Scripture that it has five porches or covered areas.
This verse shows us there were many people present. The Word tells us there was a “multitude” of handicapped or disabled people waiting for the “moving” of the water. I want to remind you today that you don’t have to wait on a pool of water any longer, but let the fresh spring of the Holy Spirit touch your body today. Whatever these people were facing, they had a lot of “stuff” going on with them physically and spiritually. If you have things going on in your life, come on down to the Rivers of Living Water in God and get your deliverance right now.
Verses 4 & 5:
This section of the Scripture shows us that our chosen blessing may come in a season, just as this angel would come down for a season to stir the water that brought healing. Whatever the problems or issues you have in your life, God wants to grant you a season of deliverance, a year of Jubilee. However, we must be prepared and ready for this season so it will not pass us by as it did many times for this man. The fifth verse tells us that there was a man there who had suffered 38 years with his disabilities, which was most likely most of his life. His whole life had been spent battling this issue in his life. I can somewhat relate to this man because prior to giving my life over to Christ and serving Him, I had spent my whole life battling the issues brought on by sin in my life. Some of the issues I battled may have been the product of my environment such as some of the issues for this man, but many of our issues are brought on by ourselves.
This man may have been disabled for 38 years, but what he didn’t know is that there was a man in town named Jesus! Jesus was “the” Man, the Son of Man, the Messiah, and the Savior of all mankind. Jesus looks at the man and asks, “Wilt thou be made whole?” He was saying, “Do you want to get well?” What the man didn’t truly understand was that Jesus wasn’t just talking about his physical body, but be “made whole” would also save his spirit as well.
In ignorance the man replies to Jesus telling Him that he had no one to help him into the pool, failing to realize the Healer stood directly before him. His focus was on how every time he got ready to be healed, he was beaten by someone quicker. I want to ask you and myself, “what excuse are we giving Jesus today as to why we haven’t sought our deliverance after He has already won the victory for us?” What kind of lame excuse do we have for missing our own deliverance and anointing? Maybe you feel like this man, watching as every new believer or even unbeliever keeps getting their blessing, jumping in line ahead of you, even though you been waiting for nearly 40 years for yours.
In verse eight, Jesus just gets blunt (He may be tired of hearing excuses from people by this point) and tells the man, “Rise, take up thy bed and walk.” “Get up! Pick up your man and walk.” The Word tells us that “immediately he was healed” and he got up and walked. There were a couple of issues here. First, the man never mentions his faith in Christ and doesn’t even know who he is yet as we see in verse 11. The other issue is that the healing happened on a Sabbath day and rather than confronting the hypocrisy and allegations against Christ, the man helps to identify Jesus to the Jewish leaders.
In verse 13 we see that Jesus didn’t stick around to receive the glory for the healing. He had “slipped away into a crowd.” Sometimes when we do a work for the Lord or in service to others, we don’t need to stick around for the glory, but rather slip back into the crowd. We should go right back to our pastures just like David did before he was king as he played the Harp at the palace for King Saul. Afterwards he would go home quietly back to his pasture to shepherd his sheep. We should serve God, then quietly go back to our lowly places so the God gets the credit. One day we will see our reward, not here, but in eternity.
Later on in verses 14 and 15, we see Jesus returns again, knowing this man seeks to know who He is. He comes back to the healed man to help him recognize his “wholeness” gifted to him and to warn him against backsliding saying, “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” Unfortunately, the Scripture does not explain much of anything good coming from this conversation for the man other than his healing, but tells us that the man goes right back to the Jews after the warning from Jesus (effectively turning his back on Jesus) telling them who healed him.
The symbolism in this text is rich, especially when you begin to examine it from the perspective that the Word only talks about this pool at this point when Jesus arrives. Here is verse two we see, not only a pool of water, but five porches or small “house or apartment” type dwellings where people could stay. This represents the five books of Moses symbolizing the law where men were currently under. These men were waiting for the moving of the water, but more than that, men were also awaiting the arrival of Jesus and later on the Holy Ghost. The Benson Commentary mentions, “As the word rendered angel means also messenger.” John the Baptist was God’s messenger for the preparation and arrival of Jesus, baptizing people in the wilderness and calling for repentance. In the midst of all this in verse five, there is a man with an infirmity and situation that he could not be healed/saved from in this old law system due to his handicap which to me represents man’s handicap of sin. When Jesus arrives, bringing with Him the Kingdom of Heaven, salvation is now offered. The first person in the water was healed in the old system, but today Jesus is the “first and the last”. Now, this man who was previously always last is made first in the Kingdom of Heaven. The old system has now been fulfilled and in comes the new system of grace and mercy.
Jesus heals this man regardless of his faith in Him as Lord as He died for us on the cross regardless of if we decide to accept it or not. This is the grace of God that He would offer His salvation and eternal life even though we do not know that this is what we seek from within. As Jesus tells him to “rise, take up thy bed, and walk” I can’t help but notice how we as Christians must take up our cross and carry it with us everywhere we go, proclaiming our testimony of our salvation in Christ. We used to be handicapped and chained by our sin, situations, and debt, but now we are free! Notice that the man was “made whole.” He did not keep an infirmity of the arm or of the leg, but was healed completely. However, just like in the days of Jesus we have those who doubt the faith and prefer their ways of legalism whether through standard religion or the lack thereof. It wasn’t even the fact that a man who was lame for 38 years was healed that made them emotional, but rather their anger was sparked by the fact that this man violated a man-made law which required him to not lift over a certain weight or item on the Sabbath day. Their priorities were so out of line, that instead of the purpose for the Sabbath being made for man as it was intended, was now placed over man as an idol. Even though this story ends with the man healed and a life changed, much like him many of us turn right around in a short time and stab Jesus in the back (many times unknowingly). Even though He has saved us and made us whole, we continue to put our faith and trust in the systems of mankind. Let us not give leverage to the Pharisees and legalists of our day by lacking trust in Christ, but let us believe with our entire hearts and minds for our eternal life which comes for us on the Day of the Lord!
The Christian Family: The Family of God
Ephesians 3:14-19 (KJV)
14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Matthew 12:46-50 (KJV)---From Text
46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.
47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.
48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
This text shows us not that we should dishonor or disrespect our family, but sometimes there are priorities such as the Kingdom’s work, which take precedence over sister, mother, brother, father. Sometimes our own families can be distracting to our calling and purpose.
Deuteronomy 7:6-11 (KJV)
6 For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
7 The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:
8 But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
9 Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
10 And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.
11 Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.
We know that this is the old covenant and we are under the blood covenant of Christ, but this gives us insight into what God desires from us. I am glad we don’t have to sacrifice animals anymore, stay outside the gates because we are unclean or be shunned because we have developed sickness. Thank God for some people that not being circumcised doesn’t keep you from going to heaven.
We see here that this covenant with Abraham was based on the covenant promise to him and his descendants from the chosen son. God had told Abraham in Genesis 7:14, “As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.” Regarding his offspring and descendants God told him In Genesis 22:17, “That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies---God wasn’t playing around saying He would give him just a family, God was giving him nations!
We just read what Deuteronomy 7:9 tells us that, “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; God always keeps his promises. We now know that God truly did keep His promise with Abraham. Even though the Holocaust decimated the millions and future generations of Jews that it did, we can still find Jews scattered throughout the world today. Many of us have a Jew or Jewish lineage in our family somewhere.
As the family of God, we should always keep His commandments, especially that which tells us to love one another.
Deuteronomy 7:12-16 (KJV)
Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the Lord thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers:
13 And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
14 Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.
15 And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.
16 And thou shalt consume all the people which the Lord thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee.
These are pretty strong words of encouragement for those who love God and they strike fear in those are not part of His family and despise Him. This is why the gospel is so offensive to many in the world. Your faith represents one of their biggest fears. Those who despise God and his people believe the lies because it is easier in their mind than letting God have control and being adopted into His family.
1 Peter 2:9-10 (KJV)
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
Notice the emphasis on “had not obtained mercy” or better yet, “had not received mercy”.
I remember when I was a “have not,” I remember when the Lord set me free, I remember the Lord never letting go of me despite my failures. That I might “shew forth the praises of him who hath called me out of darkness into his marvellous light” I am a “royal priesthood, a holy nation.”
Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
The Western World has forsaken the family of God. America, Britain, Spain, France, nearly every modern nation has forsaken the family of God today. We have lost sight of the family of God, we have also lost sight of God Himself. We no longer feel we need God.
We legalize murder through abortion. Here, nearly 4 out of 10 unintended babies are aborted. There are 3,000 abortions performed per day in America. That number makes gun violence at 13,000 per year look like a drop in the bucket compared to the over one million abortions performed every year. 45-50 million abortions are performed worldwide. This is all according to the World Health Organization… I didn’t make this up.
We as Christian under the covenant of faith and Baptism of Christ are a family structure because a family is harder to defeat than a loner.
1 Peter 5:8 tells us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
The whole philosophy of family is tied into our faith because to win a marriage to win that spouse, similarly you have to win for Jesus you have to have the faith to persevere. You have to have the faith that you are fighting for something better, winning for the kingdom. Winning for Christ
However, we are all materialistic, only wanting prosperity gospel. What is good? What’s in it for me? What can God do for me? It’s not about what God can do for you, but about what you can do for God by serving your family in Christ.
This selfish mentality is why we have fathers and mothers walking out on their families daily.
It’s even in the church! Selfish behavior in the church is reflected in our needs to be constantly babied, have our hands held, or consistently have urgent needs such as: special prayer every service, wanting the sermon to be custom to your wants and desires, wanting to be fed and never wanting to serve. These attitudes are selfish and are not reflected in the Word of God.
We have been hooking up with prosperity so long we are now hooking up with each other and treating Jesus the same way. Where is the love and passion for Christ that we once had?
All we want from Jesus is to hook up occasionally for an hour and go home.
We no longer live in the days that believers would go to churches in tents and listen to sermons on wood chairs in the middle of July. People do not have respect and reverence for the Lord any longer because they believe He is irrelevant. However, there will come a day soon when every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!
So How Do You Get Adopted In The Family?
Profess faith in Christ by words and heart
John 3:16 (KJV) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Romans 10:9-10 (KJV) “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
You Persue God as He Pursues You
Deuteronomy 4:29 (KJV) “But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.”
Proverbs 8:17 (KJV) “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.”
Matthew 5:6 (KJV) “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Acts 17:27 (KJV) “That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:”
Fellowship With Him and Your Family In Christ
Hebrews 10:25 (KJV) “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
James 4:8 (KJV) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (KJV) “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”
Matthew 18:20 (KJV) “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
Proverbs 27:17 (KJV) “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
Love Each Other As Your Family
Mark 12:30-31 (KJV)" And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”
Galatians 6:2 (KJV) “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
Hebrews 10:24 (KJV) “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works”
Matthew 18:20 (KJV) “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
Like the cells of a body (we are the body aren’t we?) we must continually duplicate or multiply.
When the duplication of cells ends, the body begins to age and die. When our bodies age, it is because the cells no longer duplicate like they once did. When we develop wrinkles in our skin, it’s because our skin cells no longer reproduce and repair like before.
Matthew 16:18 KJV
“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
To fulfill this, we must continue to grow just as the physical body grows. God will always maintain at least a remnant until His return.
Just as the organs of our bodies need others to keep going, the body of Christ needs you to do your part in the family. For the heart cannot pump blood without the nutrients that the stomach gets from food and neither does the body of Christ grow without the faithful servants to disciple that Christ has called out. Do your part, sow your seed. Be obedient to Christ and His body will help sustain you.
We must remember that as we go out in the world and profess to be a follower of Christ, people are watching us. Are we really part of a family of God as we say we are or are we a miserable person who is just afraid of going to hell? If you are a follower of the Christ that I follow, you will have some joy. There might not always be days of happiness and everything might not be alright every day, but joy overcomes in the end.
We are lift each other up in prayer and positive words, we should step in to help where the family of God needs a hand, we should due or part to up-build the Kingdom of the Lord. Don’t ever leave a soldier behind! Jesus didn’t leave you behind! When a brother or sister falls, help lift them up!
Bill Johnson in California has said something that really has impacted my view of family. He said, “When King David restored all of King Saul’s son Jonathan’s wealth over to Mephibosheth, David gave him enough to do whatever he needed to do in order to have all the best cooks himself and eat at his own palace. However, Mephibosheth was lame and could not walk. He was dropped by a servant early on and was then lame the rest of his life. However, this story is significant because David wanted Mephibosheth to sit with him. This is because when Mephibosheth come to sit at the table of David’s family, the table of the Lord, his lameness was covered.” Isn’t it awesome how being in the presence of the family covers our lameness, our weakness, our weariness? Embrace your family today church, cling to your spiritual family and never forsake the assembling of God’s people no matter the hurt you go through. Find a brother, sister, family in Christ and go through these trials with them. Let the Lord cover you with his love through His family!
I pray that you have the covering of cross this morning in your life. If not, today would be a fine time to make that decision. Don’t delay as there might not be another opportunity for you. Become adopted today in the family of God!
In Romans 15:2, Paul encourages "Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up." Often, good leaders naturally like to please people. How can we best ensure that we are doing so for their good and to truly build them up?
To understand the application of Romans 15:2, we must first understand the previous verse which states, “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves." That phrase “obligation to bear with the failings of the weak” carries with it the whole moral of the story which is, to help or prevent the fall of another brother/sister. The same word “neighbor” used in verse two is the same type of reference used in Luke 10:36, which points out that this person is not just a worldly neighbor, but one who shares a common bond with us such as a fellow church member. Our “obligation” here is to remind our fellow brethren of the love of God in their life. We are to remind them of the grace and mercy of God which allowed them to be saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Spirit. This “obligation to bear” carries with it a responsibility, not how we have seen modeled in the churches around our country today, but to walk with this fallen comrade through the trenches of their spiritual warfare and restoration.
“Bearing” with the failings of our brothers and sisters requires us to have our walk with God in order. Our lecture mentions that, “Importantly for the Christian leader, each model must be approached with Christian ethics and a Christian worldview firmly in place.” The same principles are required when dealing with the restoration of a fallen comrade or the assistance to avoid their fall. We must be rooted in the Word and live a lifestyle worthy of our testimony in order to assist others who have fallen. The following verse two tells us to “please his neighbor for his good, to build him up." When we see this word in this context today, we assume that this means to make our neighbor happy or to satisfy them by their flesh desires.
I am sure our neighbor would be happy and pleased for us to throw them a backyard cookout. However, this is not the context in which this phrase is used in this verse. If our brother is having an issue with sexual immorality, throwing him a backyard cookout and inviting many friends to come over wouldn’t be the solution to his problem. This phrase is meaning to make them spiritually “pleased” by assisting them to get out of their backslidden state. In this context, to please him would sound something more like inviting him to a twice a week men’s Bible study focused on the topics of what it means to be a man for God’s will and purpose. Whatever the situation and your means of being a good “neighbor”, it should assist with restoring that person’s relationship with God and set a Christ-like example for them to follow.