:) Finally had some time! Next week should be fun... we're heading into some messianic prophecies... :)

Happy studying!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Galatians Chapter 6

vs. 1-3 (Your brother's keeper)

- If another believer has been overcome by sin, we are to GENTLY and HUMBLY help them back to the right path... Don't get in their face and yell “You're sinning! You'll never make it! You're going to hell! God will hate you forever if you don't change!” That's not the way to make progress... fun fact- If a herd of sheep are forcefully herded in one direction... they will either scatter or run the opposite direction... Sheep must be led... not driven... hmmm how like us...

- James 5:19-20

- While you're helping your brother out of his sin... be careful not to fall into the same trap... Part of the reason that God warns against unequally yoked marriages is because the unbeliever's lifestyle etc. usually rubs off... if you hang out with someone long enough... their personality, behavior, and sometimes even hobbies etc. rub off on you... It's the same when you're trying to witness... they keep telling you how great this is, and when things start to go downhill in your life, or you just happen to have a stressful day... Satan's right there with a crowbar in the door of your mind prying and poking and shoving ideas through the mail slot. And the next thing you know... you're in the same place your brother is... or a worse one because you knew better.

- I John 5:16-21

- The point is, you have to put checks on yourself. Always pray before you go talk to your brother about a temptation or a sin they're dealing with. Take another believer with you if possible. And after the fact, pray some more... maintain that steady communication with God. Pray for the protection of your mind and your thoughts. And don't go into situations where you know you may be walking into a place that you'll be tempted in such a way that you'll fall. (A former alcoholic should not go into a bar to witness if he is tempted by alcohol.) Know your strengths and weaknesses and let God help you where you're weak... and sometimes where you think you're strong as well...

- II Corinthians 13:5-10

- Share each other's burdens. It's always important to reach out a helping hand to those who need it. If only to sit and talk... maybe they need financial help, or maintenance work in their home, or car, or maybe they need a ride, or some groceries... could be anything... Always be willing to help.

- Who helps you when you fall?

- This morning in Sunday school we were talking about the gifts and how the church as a whole has gifts... There are some that we have naturally, and there are some... that some of us need to work on... Some people are just gifted with encouragement. They just have this way that regardless of situation, they just encourage in whatever they say or do. Other people... in the words of our Sunday School teacher, have the gift of DIScouragement... : ) (in reference to himself... which is not at all true...)

- So, what are your gifts? Do you encourage? Or discourage... Do you have a ministry of helps? How do you reach out to your brothers and sisters?

- footnote- “No Christian should ever think that he or she is totally independent and doesn't need help from others, and no one should feel excused from the task of helping others. The body of Christ—the church—functions only when the members work together for the common good. Do you know someone who needs help? Is there a Christian brother or sister who needs correction or encouragement? Humbly and gently reach out to that person offering to lift his or her load. ”

- James 5:13-18
- John 13:34-35

- Never put yourself higher than your brother or sister... but for the Grace of God... you would be in their shoes... and maybe even will be someday... never know...

- The end of verse 3 in my versions says “You are not that important”. I can't help but laugh when I read that... The other day a friend of mine sent me a thing on the planets and how big earth was in relation to the sun and the other planets, and then later, in relation to stars... and by the end of it... the biggest of the planets was just a spec in relation to a star... and we are not the biggest planet... so... in relation to all that God has created... what are we?

- James 4:14-17

vs. 4-10 (Responsibility)

- We are all responsible for ourselves. No one else can take the blame for our actions. So watch your work... your workmanship is dependent on you and you alone... you can't blame mom or dad or the spouse or whomever... your conduct, your work ethic if you will, is all on you.

- I gave my 5th graders another lecture the other day... they're supposed to practice 15 minutes a day for 5 days a week and fill out a practice chart on which I take weekly grades. Well, they haven't done it. They won't take the time to fill out the sheet even if they do practice, and most of them won't even take their instruments home to practice during the week... I've called their parents more than once this year asking that they please make sure they practice and fill in the charts... since it's a GRADE! : ) So to make a long story short, as of this week, we're not performing for their graduation because they're not ready... They're really upset about that and blaming anybody and everybody else... parents, basketball, homework, me especially, but you know? I can only lecture so many times. I can't follow them home and make them practice. And I can't fill in their charts for them. They have to step up and take responsibility for those things. And in the end... as much as they might blame any and everything else except themselves... really they only have themselves to blame...

- We are the same... God can't do everything for us, nor can He make us do what He wants without voiding free will. We have to take responsibility for our grades. The work that is required of us, we have to attend to. If we don't... it's our witness and our walk that suffers. It may effect our brother's walk a little, but only if they let it...

- We will always reap what we sow... If you sow bad seeds, your fruit will be bad. Remember, last week, we talked about the Fruit of the Spirit and how the fruit that we bore would be evidence of our hearts...

- footnote- “It would certainly be a surprise if you planted corn and pumpkins came up. It's a natural law to harvest what we plant. It's true in other areas too. If you gossip about your friends, you will lose their friendship. Every action has results. If you plant to please your own desires, you'll harvest a crop of sorrow and evil. If you plant to please God, you'll harvest joy and everlasting life. What kind of seeds are you planting?”

- Paul says that “those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit”

- Who are you satisfying today?

- Romans 15:1-7

- Don't grow weary in well-doing. Sometimes I know it may seem like you're beating your head up against a brick wall with no progress...Sometimes you feel like Elijah in I Kings 19:9-18, you feel like you are the only one out there, all alone, but in reality God has 7000 others who have not bowed their knees to idols and are out there working too. .. And sometimes God's just waiting behind you. Waiting for you to turn and ask for help... Just like Gahazi we need to have God open our spiritual eyes and see that God is with us at all times to fight the battles we face for us. (II Kings 6:11-20)

- And sometimes... it's a learning and a growing experience... We were talking... I think in Sunday School last week, and someone made the comment that God never gave them more than they needed... and most of the time He waited until what seemed like the last possible second to come through... and the thought was... if God gave me everything I needed WAY ahead of schedule... I would take it for granted... as it is... God keeps me on my knees.

- And that's where our relationship with God grows... our faith grows stronger, our trust deepens... God's timing is hardly ever our timing... Things hardly ever go as YOU plan... good luck trying... : )

- So the point is... don't give up. Hang in there. Stay strong in the Lord. He'll always come through. And just at the perfect moment... we'll “reap a harvest of blessing” In Matthew 19:1&2, It says that Jesus went from Galilee to the coast of Judea beyond the Jordon which on my map was somewhere around one hundred miles. vs. 2 says that when they arrived in Judea beyond the Jordan that Jesus healed them there. Think of the people who were unable to get there on their own and someone had to carry or help them along. They didn't give up and kept encouraging their friend and when they finally arrive, Jesus heals them. AWESOME! Now think of the person who didn't have a friend like that or who got tired and gave up...they missed out on the blessings God had in store for them when they arrived. Too many of us are tempted to quit right when God is ready to answer our cries.

- Therefore- do good to everyone, especially those in the family of faith.

- vs. 6 talks about providing for your teachers. Doing good, staying obedient... Tithing faithfully so that the pastor has a regular salary and doesn't have to worry about whether or not the paycheck he gets is going to cover all the bills he has... making sure to take care of the needs within your own church as they come up. Maybe not monetarily, but in some way, there's always a need to be met...

- I Corinthians 9:11-18

vs. 11-18 (Boasting in the new Creation)

- Paul yet again has been bombarded with the Judaizers trying to make the Gentile Christians be circumcised. The last few verses honestly sound a little frustrated to me. He asks that no one trouble him with these things anymore...

- How many times have you felt like you were fighting the same battle over and over again? The same arguments from your family or friends against your faith. Or the same arguments for more leniency in our moral code. How many times have you ended up frustrated because you didn't feel like you were making any headway with them? I think that's kind of where Paul was at this point in this letter.

- Why were they teaching that you had to be circumcised? Because they were scared. They were afraid of the persecution they would receive from the Jews. Who were the Jews to them? Their family, neighbors, people they'd known all their lives...

- (People today do the same thing sometimes. They try and hide their new faith as long as they can. Or they try and still maintain their lifestyle for the most part except on Sundays. Or they have 2 sets of friends and they try and keep the 2 parts of their life as separated as possible. Trying to ride the fence... maintain a sort of balance between the two...)

- footnote- “It is easy to get caught up with the externals. Beware of those who emphasize actions that we should or shouldn't do, with no concern for the inward condition of the heart. Living a good life without an inward change leads to a shallow or empty spiritual walk. What matters to God is that we be completely changed from the inside out.

- II Corinthians 5:17

- Even those who advocated for circumcision and the law, didn't follow the law... so then why push it? Because then they could boast. “I got someone to believe me!” “I convinced _________ to become circumcised like us!” “Aren't I the greatest?” “I now have followers! I'm now a teacher equal to ________”

- They wanted to be able to be proud of their accomplishment as speakers and politicians. They wanted to lead. Be in charge. They were the mouthy pushy kids who always have to be the boss...

- I Corinthians 3:18-23

- Paul's answer was simple. We have no reason to boast. We have no reason to be proud... EXCEPT! In the cross of Jesus Christ. In that... we may boast. In that... we can have pride. In that... we can teach.

- “my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world's interest in me has also died.” If we start forgetting about the “world” around us. Stop worrying about what people think. Stop trying to ride the fence and be politically correct in our general conversations. Stop trying to please someone other than God... then their interest in us will also die. Eventually, they will stop nagging and stop trying to change you... it may take 20 or 30 years... but if you hold strong... they'll settle down.

- Paul says, it doesn't matter whether or not you've been circumcised. What matters is that we have been transformed in to a new creature in Christ. In other words... it doesn't matter how many laws you follow to the letter. It doesn't matter how many little old ladies you help across the street. It doesn't matter how much money you give to charity. What matters is your heart.

- When we are born, we are born into sin. We are automatically born with a heart compelled to sin. Part of the curse... So when Christ enters our lives... He changes that heart. We are no longer compelled by our nature to sin. We are tempted by Satan... and our old nature will want to rise again... but if the Spirit's in control... it'll be hard for Satan to get a foothold most of the time...

- So when Christ enters, we get a new heart. A new start. And our new heart, changes who we are. Changes our personality, our actions, our speech, our responses- both to people and situations. It probably won't be overnight. It's a work in progress... but that's what matters. We are allowing the Potter to shape the clay. We are allowing the Refiner to take out all the impurities. We are allowing God to make us into the creature He always intended us to be. The masterpiece the Artist saw in His mind before it could be physically conceived.

- Romans 6:1-14
- I Corinthians 2:1-12

- Last thing. Paul says he bears on his body the scars that show he belongs to Jesus. He has gone through the persecution and come out of it with his life. Maybe battered, beaten, and scarred, but he's still a child of the King and he's still fighting for the expansion and spread of the gospel.

- Don't lose heart. Stay strong. Fight the good fight. Never give up.

- II Corinthians 4

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