csibiblestudy


Blessed are Those with Power Under Control!
September 2, 2017, 9:22 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , ,

“Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) The third in a series of “blessed” at the beginning of the greatest sermon ever preached uses a term that seemingly emphasizes weakness. Googling the word meek results in a definition or explanation like this “the adjective meek describes a person who is willing to go along with whatever other people want to do, like a meek classmate who won’t speak up, even when he or she is treated unfairly.” One definition even tells us that a meek person is overly submissive or spineless. Not exactly a characteristic that you want for your child, is it? How many of us teach our children to stand up for what you believe, even if you stand alone. Fight for what is right. Have a strong determination, get a backbone! So how can a meek person be blessed?
One way to discover the Biblical meaning of the word is to explore the Greek word. Transliterated, the Greek word is “praus”. In non-biblical writings, the word for meek was used for bringing a spirited horse under control. It was applied to wind that was brought under control and made useful. Drugs were considered meek when given in proper doses making it useful. A workable definition for meek is “power or strength under control”.
When I was a boy, my dad was a tremendously strong man, due to the work he did. His hand strength was amazing. So he would play a game with me called “Mercy”. I loved it because I wanted to be as strong as my dad. We would lock fingers and apply pressure. Eventually one of us would “give up” because the pressure of the other would overcome our strength. It was always me. But I was determined to one day beat my dad. Dad never applied full force, and he sometimes would let me almost win. But in the end, he never wanted me to win because he let me. He wanted me to win because I won. As I grew, I began involved in athletics and a part of what I did was weight lift. My strength grew, especially in my hands and arms. Our contest became more competitive and eventually I won. I was so happy and so was dad. As the years passed, I could beat dad anytime I wanted. His hands grew weaker and he was unable to beat me. So now I had this overwhelming strength but I controlled it so we could play the game. As dad aged, he struggled with remembering things. So he wanted to play the game, showing me that he could win. Knowing my dad’s condition, I would put up a fight, and then surrender to him. Even though I had superior strength, it was strength under control. Winning wasn’t as important to me as it had been before I knew I was the strongest. In the Old Testament, the greatest leader of Israel, Moses, was called a meek person. In the New Testament, the most powerful God-man, Jesus, was called meek. Power to win, under control. So Jesus is saying, Blessed is the person who is powerful, or who is right, or who was control but puts it under control so that another is not destroyed. When we are controlled by the Holy Spirit, the fruit includes meekness. James talks about a meek and humble readiness to be taught the Word of God. Galatians 6:1 shows us that when we deal with a person is caught in any sin, we who are spiritual should work to restore him or her, when a spirit of meekness. We have the right to throw the book at them, to disown them, to dress them down, but we put that right or power under control.
Jesus shows what this looks like in John 8:1-11. While teaching in the Temple, the scribes and Pharisees drag in a woman guilty of committing adultery. While in the act of sex, she was grabbed and brought to Jesus. Most likely, she wasn’t fully dressed when she was forced to stand in front of Jesus. Imagine her shame was those listening to Jesus now turned their attention on her. Can’t you see her head bowing and her eyes looking at the ground as she sobbed in fear and shame. Hearing the Pharisees tell Jesus that she had been caught having sexual relations with a man who is not her husband was bad enough but then hearing the sentence “the law of Moses commands that we stone every woman who does this to death” broke her. What hope did she have? John tells us that they were doing this as a test for Jesus. The woman was just a pawn in the game. You know the response of Jesus. He bends down and begins writing in the ground with His finger. What He wrote is a mystery. We aren’t told. As the Pharisees continued to ask what verdict Jesus would pass, Jesus said these famous words, “let him who is without sin among you throw the first stone!” Bending down, writing once again in the ground, Jesus must have heard the sound of sandals leaving the Temple area. Then the One Man who met the requirement to throw the first stone stood up. Jesus, the God-man, had never and would never commit a sin. He would never be guilty of breaking God’s holy law. Then as God, He had written the law! He alone had the power, the authority, the right to cast the first stone. But Jesus shows us how to be meek in the right way. Using my imagination, I can see Jesus standing to His feet and getting the woman to look Him in the eyes asked her where her accusers were? Looking around, she saw no one but then looked into His eyes. Such righteous eyes revealing a righteous Man who had every right to pick up a stone to hurl at her, bringing death. As God, He knew her sin, or should I say SINS! And then Jesus covered her sin with GRACE! “Neither do I condemn you, go, and from now on sin no more!” The command to “sin no more” means to leave your life of sin or stop practicing sin as a way of life. Here’s what I love, Jesus forgave her, and then enabled her to live a life of following Him.
So, I guess my point is this. We all have failed God. My violations of the standard of God would fill a large book. I am condemned. Praise God for the Meek! My God had every right to destroy me. But He showed grace! So as I follow Him, I have to become a Grace-giver! Blessed are the meek! God, help me to become meek! Help to to restore! Help me to show grace!

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To Judge or To Receive, That is the Question
July 26, 2017, 10:07 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , ,

“Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.” (Romans 14:1) This verse is a part of a passage that goes through verse 12. In that “Bible belt” of the early church the crucial issues were over what was to be eaten and what day was to be honored above others. It seems the issue that divided the church had to do with whether the Mosaic law was still to be followed. Surprisingly the more mature Christians saw that they were free from the law and, in the case of what was to be eaten, saw that they were free to eat meat that they could purchase that had been offered to idols. Their reasoning was simple, idols are pieces of wood or precious metals and nothing more. They were fake and didn’t exist. Just like the false gods of today. They are merely the creations of man’s imaginations and haven’t revealed themselves to man as God has. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, shows us what God is like in a personal way. So the stronger Christians took advantage of low prices for the meat offered to idols and eat it. The weaker Christians struggled with that choice. To them, honoring God involved not eating this defiled meat. So instead of being united together, the early church was divided over this issue. God gives instruction through Paul that is still practical today. Believers are God’s slaves. He is the One in charge of them. When we read the Bible, we are only doing one step in finding out what God is saying. We need to take the second step and interpret the Bible. What is God saying in this passage? This involves study, investigation, and time. It also involves something that we as Christians have abandoned, THINKING. So after studying and researching this section, we understand that when Paul writes, “but why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother?” we find that what God is asking through Paul, “why do you judge other Christians and why do you think you’re right and they are wrong?” God is our judge because He is our master. This passage commands us to “receive” or “welcome” all Christians, understanding that they aren’t necessarily right or wrong, and we aren’t necessarily right or wrong. They simply have different opinions and views on non-essential things. The questions viewed here have nothing to do with the fundamental teachings of the Gospel. They have to do things in which a Christian may have a different opinion. Perhaps the reason for this different opinion is spiritual growth, perhaps background differences, perhaps God has dealt with issues more important in that person first. But we are to receive and the basis for that is this principle – we all will stand before the judgment seat of God and then each of us will answer for themselves to God. So verse 13 tell us not to judge another any more, so that we don’t hinder them.
Now here is the final step, APPLICATION. Right now, in your life, do you have someone who is a Christian that is wrong about something? If the answer is yes, then pay attention to the passage: receive (v1), don’t judge (v13) and edify (v19). Instead of hurting a Christian because they are wrong, help them to grow. Pray for them first, sit down and learn from the Bible what God tells us, and then in a loving way, begin to share that truth. But while doing this always, always, always remember, I COULD BE WRONG! GOD IS THEIR JUDGE! MY RESPONSIBILITY IS TO RECEIVE IN LOVE.



My Dear Friend
July 3, 2017, 6:20 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , ,

3rd John is a very personal letter from the Apostle John to a dear friend, who is most likely a pastor. Personal letters are difficult at times but I think the number 3 can help with this letter. For example, this letter mentions 3 people, Gaius, Diotrephes, and Demetrius. One is a pastor, one is a problem, and one is a “postal worker” who delivered the letter. From each person we are challenged as to our character and conduct.
I also noticed 3 qualities that are emphasized in this epistle. John, as led by the Spirit, wants us to focus on love, truth, and faithfulness. I find it amazing that in our culture today, these are three issues with which Christians struggle. Being able to demonstrate true, unconditional love is difficult is a society which stresses competition and the desire to be the top dog in our little world. Children show the desire to be the favorite as they fight for attention from parents. That desire continues as we seek our classmates attention, to gain approval from our friends, as we seek promotion and recognition on the job. Putting that aside and pouring ourselves into the success of others is difficult, especially on a daily basis and especially toward those who are “lesser” than we are.
We also live in a world that truth is no longer truth. Absolute truth is rejected and the area between right and wrong is faded and vanished. Every event has a spin on it. Every person’s opinion is equally right, unless it is the opinion of someone who rejects relativism and believes that God has established truth because He is Truth. Fake news is a real thing and determining the truth from the false is left up to each individual But God gives truth that is absolute, eternal, and relevant to each person in every culture at all times.
The third element is faithfulness. The concept of doing something and doing it right all the time is no longer a part of our world. As a child of God, I am to do all things to the glory of God. That means being faithful in all areas of my life.
The third set of 3s is found in the use of the word “beloved” (v2, 5, 11). Beloved, or dear friend, prosper in life. Beloved, do what you do faithfully to all. Beloved, follow good not evil. We are challenged to live today in a world as overcomers, faithfully giving our all to do what is good and right in God’s sight, regardless of what others do.
Read the epistle and ask the Spirit to challenge you.



Loving Others Unless (2 John)
June 26, 2017, 9:31 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , ,

In 2nd John, we are once again reminded to love one another. But John issues a caution- Make Sure That Those You Love Aren’t Teaching The Wrong Things. True love is to be shown to those who are not deceiving others with lies. The early church faced a group of false teachers called Docetists who taught that Jesus didn’t really come as a man but only appeared as a human. 2nd John reminds us of an important truth, it is easy of Christians to get off track. Whether following a charismatic leader away from the truth or emphasizing the wrong teachings that take us away from Christ and to self-righteousness, we need to take steps to make sure that we always focus on following Christ and obeying Him as we love others. The message is clear, We, as God’s children, are to walk in the truth, obey God’s commandments, love each other, and guard the teachings about Jesus so deception doesn’t happen. As we walk with God, we follow His commands our obedience impacts those we come into contact with. Doing what God commands is an act of love in which we show how much He means to us.



To Whom Are You Showing Love Today?
June 21, 2017, 3:57 pm
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2 John 1 “The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth.” The term elder is from a Greek word that can either refer to a church office or someone of advanced age. Sometimes it is used for some church leader who is older. In the case of 2 John, John, who never mentions Himself by name in his writings is referring to himself, both a church leader and an older man. I love that he starts this passage telling the elect lady (which could be an actually lady or as some think “lady” is a metaphor for a church) that he loves her and her children. How consistent is John? He has written the first epistle talking about love and now he shows it into practice. This in my challenge for today- put loving others into practice. Not just by words, but by my deeds. Others know we are Christ’s because we love!



Who is in Charge?
June 19, 2017, 3:16 pm
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1st John 5:13-21. “Things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. and we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
John comes to the end of his first letter to the early church. In this letter, the Holy Spirit used John as He stressed the importance of love and truth in the midst of our journey of faith. Personally, this letter gives me evidence of my relationship to Jesus Christ that I can see in my own life. This is not a letter to critique others about their salvation but a guide to understand that being saved always results in a transformed life which is evident by our pursuit of truth and unconditional love for others. In simple words, John wants those of us who are saved to know and live like we are.
When we are pursuing God and following Him as both Savior and Lord, John teaches that prayers are answered because we are pursuing what God wants. So since we pray for what He wants, He is answering our prayers. John teaches us that pray can be spoken with a bold assurance that God is listening because we are in tune with His will.
Notice that God directs John to a specific example in which our bold praying can be see: praying for other Christians who are struggling with sin in their lives. Sin in the life of a Christian is a real danger. So John describes how God wants us to handle another’s sin, pray for our brother or sister.
In the midst of this passage there is a dilemma: there is a sin that ultimately leads to eternal separation from God. I think in this passage it has to do with accepting and following false teaching while rejecting Jesus Christ and God’s truth. The prayer for that is not the prayer in which we pray for a fellow believer. This person has never been saved because they have rejected Jesus.
A second difficult passage begins at verse 18. “we know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not”. Does that mean, anyone who is a Christian never sins? If so, I am not a Christian because I sin. Most likely you aren’t a Christian because you sin. So is anyone capable of not sinning? I think a little study reveals that this is referring to “practicing as a way of life, sin”. A Christian is not one who habitually as a pattern of life consistently sins willfully against God and His standards. This describes a person whose life is characterized by sin. There is not a change and there is no conviction for sin. I need to remind you that this passage is not a way of critiquing others, but a way of us seeing the evidences in our lives of a changed life. So if at this point, I am thinking about another person, I may have the problem myself. Is my life consumed about me doing enough for God to accept or approve of me? Do I live in a way that consistently involves me deceiving others? Am I know as a man of character or a character? Am I a grumpy old man, or a man of love and compassion? I guess we could use Paul’s two lists to determine the type of lifestyle I live. Is my life consistent with the works of my flesh or an example of the fruit of the Spirit. Maybe now is the time of a little self-evaluation, repentance and prayer. John describes our situation, we are godly people living in an ungodly world. John is such a bottom line person- if I am God’s He protects me from making sin a way of life. If I am not a Christian, then I am in the grip of the evil one, Satan. Each of us who are saved have the indwelling Holy Spirit, who reveals to us when we sin. His conviction is meant to bring us back to God. God please help me listen to You. We who know Christ are able to know that we are living in the truth, loving those who are of the truth, because we live in the Truth and in True Love.
John ends with what seems to be a warning to stay away from worshiping idols. But before you relax because you don’t have a little buddha in your room, think about our idols today. The biggest idol of today is us. We are the center of our universe and in some case, we extend that to the know universe. Just take a minute and watch how you drive. Is everybody else crazy because they make your driving experience more difficult? Do fast food places drive you crazy because you have to wait? Is everybody else at work lazy, stupid, favored, or promoted over you? Take a look at what your time, energy, money, emotions, and talk is about. Let’s make it simple: go look at your last 10 posts on social media. What were they about? What has your last 10 conversations been about? What were the last 10 purchases about? What about the top ten standards or values of life? Can you find them in the Bible and give the book, chapter, and verse and have studied it within the context of the passage? Found what you are worshiping yet? The idol we most need to keep away from is us. John reminds us to throw ourselves into the pursuit of God. All we need will be taken care of by Him. Seek first God.



What Love Looks Like
May 28, 2017, 5:18 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , ,

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10. Love’s definition and example is found in God sending His Son to become the atoning sacrifice for all our sins.