Saturday, 30 November 2013
The Grace of God
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Why is it important to us that God’s land grant to Abram did not depend on his obeying any laws (Romans 4:13-17)?

Romans 4:13-17

13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. 16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring--not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations"--in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 

The promise that God gave regarding the Promised Land had nothing to do with what Abram/Abraham was going to do; it was totally dependent on what God was going to do.  It was contingent on “God’s Grace”—his unearned favor toward Abram.  Also if the promise was contingent on Abram’s obeying the law unerringly, it would not have involved trusting God; and by the way, Abram failed. Therefore, he and his descendants would not have inherited the land, if the promised had depended on what Abram did.

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Posted on 11/30/2013 10:24 AM by Larry G
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Saturday, 30 November 2013
Significant Details of the Early Church
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What other significant details of the early life of the Church do you observe in 2:42-47?

Acts 2:42-47

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

I think the phrase “Everyone was filled with awe,..” is interesting.  Now everyone is united in thought, in purpose and more importantly, they are in tune with what is going on.  They are paying attention to what God is doing in their lives.  They are actually living their lives together; their lives are now intertwined and they are actually happy.  

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Posted on 11/30/2013 10:13 AM by Larry G
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Friday, 29 November 2013
Why Pray for Others?
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Why should you devote yourself to prayer with other Christians?

We are instructed to become involved in each other’s lives.  We are to put others ahead of ourselves.  It’s hard to stay concerned with others by our own will.  We often don’t want to deal with other people; we would rather just go off to our own corners.  But maybe the question should be “Why should you devote yourself to prayer ABOUT other Christians?”  We need to pray about what’s going on with other Christians.  But we need help maintaining a focus about them, about others.  Left to ourselves, were not concerned.  But if our prayer is that we have concern for others; if our prayer is that we can offer ourselves as a living sacrifices to God, to the Holy Spirit to use, then as He is concerned with others, we are concerned also.  It has a lot to do with fellowship, communion.  Prayer empowers us to be concerned with others, it focuses us; it enables us.  

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Posted on 11/29/2013 10:11 AM by Larry G
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Friday, 29 November 2013
Understanding and Knowing the LORD
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How is Genesis 15:1-6 a model for us?

It is worthwhile to consider that God doesn’t really expect us to be totally blind as we follow Him; we don’t just lay there like a lump doing nothing.  We can see that God wants us to go to Him with our concerns, with our doubts, with our anxieties and when we do that, He helps us to see the situation from His viewpoint.  It all comes down to this: the more we communicate with Him, the more we get to know Him, the more we know Him, the more we trust Him and the more we trust Him, the more we love Him.

Jeremiah 9:24

“...but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD." 

 

 

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Posted on 11/29/2013 12:15 PM by Larry G
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Thursday, 28 November 2013
The Importance of the Apostle's Teaching
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How important to you are the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer?  Is any one of these less important to you than the others?  If so, why?  We need to talk with God about this.

I think that following their lead has become more important, particularly as the days go on.  Becoming more aware of what the message really is, what the gospel really is, these issues are becoming paramount.  What did they really teach?  The Gospel message is really so simple:  Jesus the Messiah died for our sins according to the Scriptures; He was buried and that He rose again according to the Scriptures.  We can make things so difficult, attach so many side issues.  But it’s actually simple.  Their teaching puts everything into perspective.  I see a lot of things in a different light, particularly communion.  It’s so much more than a monthly ritual.  If we love Him, we obey Him.  But it’s not just a once a week, a once a month shot.  Wow!  Everything is related and intertwined.  

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Posted on 11/28/2013 10:06 AM by Larry G
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Thursday, 28 November 2013
Why was Abram Righteous?
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Why did God account Abram righteous (Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:18-22)?

Genesis 15:6

And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. 

Romans 4:18-22

18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told,"So shall your offspring be." 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. 20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was "counted to him as righteousness."

Abram’s righteousness rested on his trusting God.  At this point, he rests from worrying about who is going to be his heir.  At this point, Abram decides to let God handle the situation and he watches to see what is going to happen.  It is interesting to note that when Abram decides to trust God, he then does the right things; he acts righteously.  The more we trust Him, the easier it is to follow Him and obey Him; and obeying Him is what causes us to act righteously.  

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Posted on 11/28/2013 12:10 PM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 27 November 2013
Christian Partnership
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In what enterprise are Christian partners (Philippians 1:5)?  How do you live in light of this fact?

Philippians 1:3-11

3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

When we heard and accepted the Gospel we were all given a part to play in the Great Commission.  We all have a function and as we grow more and more, as we mature, we come to better understand our function and its importance to the furtherance of the Gospel.  I guess on a day to day basis, it means that we should be willing to accept responsibility to care about others.  Maybe it means that we are supposed to be more attuned to opportunities for service.  This gives every day more meaning and purpose.  We are meant to bear fruit.  We have an individual purpose and responsibility and God is preparing and equipping us to function within the body.

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Posted on 11/27/2013 7:48 AM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 27 November 2013
Cast All Your Cares On Him
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The vision of Genesis 15:1 prompts Abram to ask why the promise of offspring  (Genesis 12:2, 13:16)  has not yet been fulfilled (Genesis 15:2-3).

How does God respond to Abram’s question (Genesis 15:4-5)?

Genesis 15:1-4

1 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great." 2 But Abram said, "O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?3 And Abram said, "Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir." 4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: "This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir."

God tells him point-blank, that Abram’s servant is not, I repeat not going to be your heir.  YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE YOUR OWN SON!

Was Abram’s question faithless or faithful?

Abram was not being unfaithful.  When we consider the following passages we see that trusting God, involves spending time with Him, communicating with Him.  He wants us to go to Him with our concerns, our anxieties; He is vitally interested in how we see things and when we go to Him in prayer with these things, they become opportunities for us to get to know Him better, to trust Him more, to Love Him more.

Philippians 4:6-7

6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Matthew 6:25-30

25 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Matthew 6:6-13

6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

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Posted on 11/27/2013 12:04 PM by Larry G
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Tuesday, 26 November 2013
Remembering What God Has Done
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Reflect on what the Lord said about Himself (Genesis 15:1).  What did each statement mean?  What implications should it have had for Abram’s actions?

Genesis 15:1
After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great."

-- I am your shield (Genesis 12:12, 17, 14:20)

Genesis 12:12
12 and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' Then they will kill me, but they will let you live….17 But the LORD afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife.

Genesis 14:20
 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!"And Abram gave him a tenth of everything. 

It would appear that Abram’s biggest challenge in this instance, when he was afraid that God would not fulfill His promises, was to step back and remember that in the past it was God who had protected him, who had shielded him from harm.

-- I am…your very great reward (Genesis 13:12, 14:22-23)

Genesis 13:12
Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom.

Genesis 14:22-23
22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have lifted my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I would not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours, lest you should say, 'I have made Abram rich.' 

What God is telling Abram here is that the ultimate good is not going to be his having descendants, but the ultimate good would be actually Abram knowing God and having a personal relationship with Him based on trust.  That in itself, would be Abram’s reward and it would be great.

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Posted on 11/26/2013 2:35 PM by Larry G
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Tuesday, 26 November 2013
Real Fellowship
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How is fellowship more than just friendliness on Sundays or getting together midweek?  What else does it include?

Fellowship that is restricted to just Sunday and a few hours during the middle of the week isn’t fellowship at all.  We experience fellowship with God as we experience fellowship with each other.  If we are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices continually, this involves every day, every moment.  Only in our being servants can we be in fellowship to one another and with God.  If we only want to be involved with others for a few hours each week or month, what are we involved in the rest of the time?  What are we really devoting ourselves to?

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Posted on 11/26/2013 7:45 AM by Larry G
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Monday, 25 November 2013
No Hope Except in God
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God told Abram not to be afraid (Genesis 15:1).  What was Abram tempted to be afraid of (Genesis 13:14-16, 15:2-3)?

Genesis 15:1
After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great."

Genesis 13:14-16
14 The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, 15 for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted.

Genesis 15:2-3
2 But Abram said, "O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" 3 And Abram said, "Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir."

Abram is afraid that God may not fulfill his promises.  It all comes down to whether or not Abram will have descendants.  God promised him earlier that he was going to give him the land of Canaan for him and HIS DESCENDANTS.  If he doesn’t get any descendants, the whole deal is off.

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Posted on 11/25/2013 2:30 PM by Larry G
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Monday, 25 November 2013
Meditating on God's Word
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Should we devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching and prayer alone as well as together?  If so, why and how?  If not, why not?  Support your view with scripture.

Joshua 1:9

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Psalms 119:11-16

9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. 10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. 12 Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees. 13 With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. 14 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. 15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. 16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

Matthew 6:5-15

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ‘ 14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

We are instructed to meditate on God’s Word to hide it in our hearts.  We see this in the Old Testament.  Meditation is an individual action.  We are advised to consider God’s laws and the psalmist is telling or advising us to do this as individuals to do this.   Jesus also went off to be alone and to pray and He gives us instructions for when we do the same.  We need to think individually about what we have been taught; what we’ve seen, what we’ve heard.  Then we are able to participate as a member of the group in an effective manner.

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Posted on 11/25/2013 7:33 AM by Larry G
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Sunday, 24 November 2013
Wealth isn't Everything
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Abram refused to accept a share of the booty, which would have indicated alliance, from the king of Sodom (Genesis 14:21-24).  What did this decision show about Abram (Genesis 12:2, 13:13, 14:23)?

Genesis 12:2, 13:13, 14:23
 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing……(chapter 13) 13 Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the LORD……(chapter 14) 23 that I would not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours, lest you should say, 'I have made Abram rich.'

Abram was not going to ally himself with wicked men for the purpose of lining his pockets, for material wealth.  In a sense, he was not going to allow his witness to be tainted by the stain of association with sinners.  He wasn’t going to allow anyone to be able to say that he prospered because of someone other than God.  

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Posted on 11/24/2013 2:25 PM by Larry G
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Sunday, 24 November 2013
The Importance of the Lord's Supper
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Why is the Lord’s Supper important (Luke 22:14-23; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, 11:23-26)?

Luke 22:14-23

14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” 17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. 21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him.” 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

1 Corinthians 10:16-17

16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Everything begins with Jesus and what He did.  The bottom-line is that He died for us!  We need to remember this.  Our faith, our hope, everything rests on this and unless we acknowledge that Jesus died for us and that His blood cleanses us from our sins, we will forget.  “And three things remain, faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love.”  Paraphrased this means, the only thing that matters, that we can ultimately depend on is our faith or trust in Jesus.  This is our only hope in this life and in the life to come.  And the foundation for this is God’s love for us shown by His sending His Son to die for us.  We need to remember this.

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Posted on 11/24/2013 9:23 AM by Larry G
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Saturday, 23 November 2013
Abram's choice of allies
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Abram was selective with his alliances in Genesis 14:18-24.  

Genesis 14:18-24
18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19 And he blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth;20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!"And Abram gave him a tenth of everything. 21 And the king of Sodom said to Abram, "Give me the persons, but take the goods for yourself." 22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have lifted my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I would not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours, lest you should say, 'I have made Abram rich.' 24 I will take nothing but what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me. Let Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre take their share."

Abram was NOT an ally to any of the combatants mentioned in this passage.  His actions were taken strictly to rescue his kinsmen.  He makes it clear that his allegiance and dependence is on the “LORD, God Most High.”

Why did he accept Melchizedek’s blessing and food and even tithe to him (Genesis 14:18-20, 22)?  What did this gesture demonstrate?

In serving and being led by the LORD, God Most High, Abram in accepting Melchizedek’s blessing is acknowledging the Most High God; this is an instance of a “lesser” receiving blessing from the “greater.”  God is the one who gave him victory, who gave him success; and when Abram gives tithes to Melchizedek, the “Priest of God Most High” he is by this gesture acknowledging the sovereignty of God in what has just happened. 

 

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Posted on 11/23/2013 2:14 PM by Larry G
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Saturday, 23 November 2013
Following the Apostle's Teaching
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How can we devote ourselves to “the apostles’ teaching” today?

Obviously the apostles devoted a great deal of time talking about what Jesus had done, what He had taught them and about His crucifixion and resurrection.  They made it a point to gather together.  We devote ourselves to their teaching, if we do what they did.

Why is it important to do this together? (Optional: See Romans 12:3-8, Ephesians 4:1-16, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.)

Romans 12:3-8
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Ephesians 4:1-16
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit--just as you were called to one hope when you were called-- 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men." 9 (What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions ? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

We are all part of Christ’s body.  We all have a specific function and the overall goal or purpose is to build the body, to nurture it so it can grow and be healthy and eventually mature to the fullness of Christ.  Everything or everyone must work together.  

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Posted on 11/23/2013 9:13 AM by Larry G
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Friday, 22 November 2013
Jesus and Melchizedek
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How is Jesus like Melchizedek?  See Genesis 14:18-20 and Hebrews 7:1-10.
 
Genesis 14:18-20 
18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19 And he blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth;20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!"And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
 
Hebrews 7:1-10

1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. 3 He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever. 4See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils! 5 And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, though these also are descended from Abraham. 6 But this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7 It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. 8 In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. 9 One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, 10 for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.

Melchizedek like Jesus is a high priest of the Most High God.  Melchizedek has no earthly beginning or end and Jesus is eternal, being with God in the beginning.  Melchizedek is called the king of righteousness and peace; these are also descriptive terms for Jesus, the Prince of Peace and Our Righteousness.  Jesus like Melchizedek is also a high priest forever.

 
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Posted on 11/22/2013 9:23 AM by Larry G
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Friday, 22 November 2013
A Partnership in Christ
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How can you devote yourself to “the fellowship”?  How can you share and participate with other Christians as partners? Think of some specific ways.

The big thing that we need to remember is that we are not individuals in isolation from each other.  We need to take every opportunity to work together to share in each other’s lives.  By doing this, we come to understand what the other person is going through, what their challenges and trials are, what their joys are.  In doing this we can share with each other; we can encourage each other, help each other and build each other up.  We need to recognize every opportunity for service as an opportunity to be built up and to build up.  Working together to give to the poor, going to Bible studies, singing together, sharing burdens, sharing victories, praying for each other, talking about Jesus, what He did and what we’ve learned about Him, all of these are important for fellowship.

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Posted on 11/22/2013 9:20 AM by Larry G
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Thursday, 21 November 2013
Assurances in God's Promises
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How did God respond when Abram accepted his destiny to wander in Canaan (Genesis 13:14-17)?

Genesis 13:14-17
14 The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, 15 for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. 17 Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you." 

He promises Abram that He, God, is going to give him all the surrounding land that he could see.  This land would become the permanent homeland for Abram and his descendants who be without number.  Essentially, he promises Abram that everything is going to work out for him.

What might have been the point of this response?

Abram was, according to the current wisdom of the day  not making a good choice in following God.  However, God in an effort to reassure Abram of the wisdom of his choice, shows him the magnitude of blessing that will come to him as a result of following God.  

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Posted on 11/21/2013 9:06 AM by Larry G
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Thursday, 21 November 2013
Fellowship is Critical
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Why is it so crucial for us to nurture fellowship? (See, for example, 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, Philippians 2:1-11, Hebrews 10:23-25.)

1 Corinthians 12:12-26

12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Philippians 2:1-11

1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Hebrews 10:23-25

23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Fellowship (definition):

Those who believe the gospel of the resurrection are united in the Spirit through the Son to the Father. The relation leads to the reality of relatedness and thus to an experienced relationship (a "communion") between man and God. And those who are thus "in Christ" (as the apostle Paul often states) are in communion not only with Jesus Christ (and the Father) in the Spirit but also with one another. This relatedness, relationship, and communion is fellowship.

Communion (definition):

This is an experienced relationship between man and God and between individual believers.

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Posted on 11/21/2013 8:36 AM by Larry G
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