csibiblestudy


To Judge or To Receive, That is the Question
July 26, 2017, 10:07 pm
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“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
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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
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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
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“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.



The Value of Grace!
May 22, 2017, 5:32 pm
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In the final verse of Colossians 4, Paul writes “The salutation by the hand of me, Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.” To Paul, grace was a serious issue, not to be ignored by Christians. As a former Pharisee, Paul knew what a life built on a graceless foundation looked like. His judgmental attitude led to a crusade on Christians. His pharisaical worldview didn’t contain the word “grace” and so he interpreted the acts of grace as signs of weakness, rebellion, and denial of the truth of God’s Word. Paul, in his desire to do the right thing for God, ordered Christians imprisoned or put to death because it was what the Pharisee version of justice demanded.
As we begin to read verse 7 to verse 18, names of individuals and groups of believers at specific cities and regions are mentioned. Each has a special story and a unique journey to and in the Lord. But I want to focus on two. Although vastly different in many ways, these two men shared a common bond; they both had failed. First is Onesimus, a slave returning home after running away. From what we learn, Onesimus was a slave belonging to a wealthy Christian named Philemon. Some think Onesimus may have stolen from Philemon, but one thing is certain: Onesimus ran away to Rome. While in Rome, he was placed into the same prison as Paul and evidently when hearing the Gospel, Onesimus became a changed man. He changed from a worthless slave to a man of whom Paul praised for his value.
The second man is Marcus, or John Mark. Known more today for the second gospel, Mark had originally been introduced as a member of Pau’s first missionary trip. Likely Mark had been included more as a favor to Barnabas on the first trip than for the value he added to the missionary team. Something went wrong, and Mark quit during the trip. While no reason is given for Mark’s departure, Paul’s reaction when Barnabas suggested Mark for the second journey indicates that Paul though Mark was a quitter who had abandoned them. So, whereas Onesimus was a lost slave who was transformed by salvation, most likely John Mark was a believer who failed.
Yet we read both names here included along the list of Paul’s choice helpers. While we know that God transformed the two failures, we also see how God had changed Paul. So many times, when others fail, we’re done with them! No second chance, not an ounce of grace can be found. This is especially true if we have been affected by the failure.
But look at what was true. Paul rejoiced to see the change that had occurred in Onesimus as well as what had happened to Mark. But maybe the biggest celebration was over the change that had occurred in Paul’s heart.
The penalty for a runaway slave was death, let when we read Philemon, we see Paul putting himself as the “spiritual dad” of Philemon. He even took the responsibility for the money owed by Onesimus to Philemon. Let you never read of a lecture Paul gave to Onesimus and a list of what would happen if he blew this.
Mark was not limited by restrictions on how he could serve God. Paul isn’t in judgmental court, passing sentences on Mark. He welcomed Mark as a servant of God and used him.
That’s because of GRACE. Believers are being in Christ and because of that, the failures had been removed as far as the east is from the west- an act of grace. John Mark and Onesimus were involved in serving God in ministry- an act of grace. There is therefore NOW NO CONDEMNATION to them that are in Christ Jesus- an act of grace. So, Paul could forgive Mark- an act of grace, and then have the freedom to ask Philemon to forgive Onesimus- an act of grace. Philemon is thought to have hosted the Colossian church, so the entire body of believers knew of Onesimus’ failure, and yet Paul was sending him back and seeking the church to forgive and forget- an act of grace. Remember how Paul ends this letter? “Grace be with you. Amen”
Is grace with you? Doesn’t it make sense that if it is, then grace is shown? The showing of grace to those who honestly don’t deserve it is exactly what grace is. If it is deserved, then it is not grace. Showing grace is one way to love others. Today, what one person in your life is the most undeserving of forgiveness? – is grace with you? Show that person grace, God’s grace. Remember the Lord’s discussion with the woman at the well. Jesus has the conversation with her at the sixth hour, or about noon. The woman would have to descend about 100 feet in the well to get water and then carry it back up, with the large jug balancing on her head. Why was she there, in a hot part of the day, alone? Many think she an outcast, rejected by the women of the city because of her relationships with five men or husbands. No wonder she is startled that a Jewish “religious” person would talk to her. Yet Jesus shows grace! He wasn’t assuming what she was or what was true,