Sunday, 31 May 2015
Genesis and our Worldview
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After studying the book of Genesis, what implications have you noted for your life?  How has studying the book of Genesis affected the way you think (about yourself, God, other people, circumstances) or act?  If so, how?

The TRUST issue is paramount.  Are we going to believe God; are we going to trust what He has said and what He has promised.  John 3:16 tells us that God loves the whole world so much that He gave up His only begotten Son.  That's huge but the next part of the passage is critical-that whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life, in other words, whosoever decides to TRUST GOD.  If we decide to trust in the veracity of the Genesis narrative, we find answers to really big questions of life: how did we get here; why do we act like we do; where is all of this going? Now some may say, that's too simple; it can't be that simple.   Well, I think truth is very simple.  Here's the deal, like it or not: GOD IS IN CHARGE; He is in control of history; He declares the end from the beginning; He created everything and HE HOLDS IT TOGETHER.  He is in control of times, places and events and people; He knows what is going to happen; He knows what we are going to do.  It is critical that we understand that there is one GOD who created all things, brought everything into existence and most important, HE MAINTAINS IT; and that includes US.  Maybe some don't like that.  Well, that's the way it is.  In regard to the book of Genesis, it comes down to this: this is how our story began and that story has continued and it will end just as GOD has said it would.  One more thing, when Adam fell, mankind was changed, fellowship or relationship or contact with the One who created us was broken; we severed our lifeline, if you will, and guaranteed our ultimate utter destruction.  But God loves us so much….He promised to not let that happen.  SELAH!

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Posted on 05/31/2015 10:34 AM by Larry G
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Sunday, 31 May 2015
The Bottom Line: JESUS IS THE MESSIAH
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Lysias, Felix, and Festus all knew that Paul had broken no Roman laws (Acts 23:29, 24:22-27, 25:18-20).  Why didn't they free him?

I think there are several reasons why they didn't release him.  If they had released Paul, the Jews would have rioted and probably killed him.  The job of these men was to keep the peace; which meant they were to protect Roman citizens and keep things calm so that the Jews would keep paying taxes.  As political figures these men were responding in several directions.

What did Paul think was the issue for which he was being held prisoner (Acts 26:6-8)?

Acts 26:6-8

6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our fathers that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. O king, it is because of this hope that the Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?

I think it comes back to God promised to send the Messiah, who would die for the sins of the people and that God would raise Him from the dead.  Or more specifically, he was being held prisoner because he maintained that Jesus was the Messiah and this was validated by His resurrection.

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Posted on 05/31/2015 7:27 PM by Larry G
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Saturday, 30 May 2015
What is Faith?
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Hebrews 11 draws chiefly upon Genesis for models of faith.  What have Noah, Abraham and the rest taught us about faith?

When we read "By Faith" in regards to these people in the book of Hebrews, it is meant that they TRUSTED God; they trusted what He said.  They longed for a better place and they maintained their focus on the future, on what God had promised, not on current circumstances.  This is not to say that they were without sin or problems.  They were people, real people.

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Posted on 05/30/2015 10:31 AM by Larry G
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Saturday, 30 May 2015
Focusing on the Mission and being led by the Holy Spirit
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Should Paul have appealed to Caesar or trusted God to protect him in Jerusalem?  Why?

I think that Paul was correct for three reasons.  First, he had been told that he was to be God's witness in Rome.  Second, this was consistent with how Paul thought about the authorities which God had put in place.  Finally, Paul was being led by the Holy Spirit throughout all of this.  He was in God's will throughout this time.  

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Posted on 05/30/2015 7:22 PM by Larry G
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Friday, 29 May 2015
The Outward Appearance of things.
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God repeatedly overrode the custom of having eldest son inherit.  He chose Shem over Japheth, Isaac over Ishmael, Jacob over Esau, Joseph and Judah over their brothers and Ephraim over Manasseh.  What is the significance of this pattern?

1 Samuel 16:7

 7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. MAN LOOKS AT THE OUTWARD APPEARANCE, BUT THE LORD LOOKS AT THE HEART." 8×

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Posted on 05/29/2015 10:29 AM by Larry G
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Friday, 29 May 2015
Paul's View of Authority
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On Paul's view of the Law (Acts 25:8) see Romans 7:12, 8:3-4; 1 Corinthians 9:20.  On his attitude toward Caesar, See Romans 13:1-7, 1 Timothy 2:2.

Acts 25:8

Then Paul made his defense: "I have done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar."

Paul apparently felt that the Law of the Jews, the Law of the Temple and Caesar's or Roman law were to be obeyed.

Romans 7:12, 8:3-4

12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good….3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

Apparently he thought that the Law itself was good, proper and holy but it could not in itself enable people to obey it.  Because life through the Law depends on people who are actually driven by a sin nature which is in opposition to the Law, it is actually powerless.  But God sent His son, Jesus, to cleanse us of that which prevents us from fulfilling or living by the Law; so that He, God the Holy Spirit might dwell in us and consequently truly enable us to live out the Commandments or Law.  So the bottom line, is that the Law is good but it has no power of itself to make people obey.  Only those who are empowered by God can obey or live out the commandments.

1 Corinthians 9:20

To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.

For a believer, obeying the Law should be done for several reasons, one of which is because it serves as a witness to others.

Romans 13:1-7

1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Here Paul tells us that all governing authorities have been instituted by God.  It may be surprising that this even means such rulers as Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Josef Stalin and Hitler were put into power through God's will.  I guess the way to look at this is that God gives a country what it needs to survive and creates circumstances where an environment will be created where people can search for Him, if they so choose.  By and large, Paul thinks that the governing authorities which God has put into place are actually for our good and they should be honored and obeyed.

1 Timothy 2:2.

For kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

This maybe kind of curious but maybe Paul sees most kings and authorities as necessary for our protection and actually being enablers for the Christian life.

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Posted on 05/29/2015 7:16 PM by Larry G
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Thursday, 28 May 2015
Thinking about the people God Uses
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The Family of Abraham was far from perfect; deception, violence, and rivalry were frequent.  Why is it important that God chose to bless the world and send the Savior through such a family?

Ephesians 2:8-9

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

God does the job of saving the world; we don't save nothing.  God sent or gave us His Son, Jesus, whose name means: "God saves".  It's all about Him and what He had done and will do.  This is actually, from a human perspective, something that is impossible.  But God is the One who restores souls, who gives us new hearts.  1 Corinthians 1:27-31 tells us this:

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

 

 

 

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Posted on 05/28/2015 10:24 AM by Larry G
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Thursday, 28 May 2015
It wasn't about Paul --It's about Jesus
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Paul allowed Jason to pay bond to release him from jail (17:9), but he refused to pay a bribe to be released by Felix (Acts 24:26).  Why do you think the first was acceptable but the last was not?

In the first instance, the bond may have been paid as it would be today, to ensure attendance at a future trial.  But in Paul's case this was not the case, the bribe that Felix wanted wasn't a surety for Paul's presence at a future trial, it was meant to actually buy his release, to obtain an acquittal.  In paying the bribe, Paul would have actually implied his guilt to the crimes he was accused of.  Also in the situation mentioned in chapter 17, the person's arrested were Jason and some others, not Paul.  Jason paid the bond because it was he who would go on trial and answer to the charges.  Another thing to consider is that Paul has been charged by Jesus to be his witness before kings, governors and to the entire world; it was his job to stand and testify about Jesus.  The issue wasn't his guilt or innocence but his testimony about Jesus.

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Posted on 05/28/2015 7:11 PM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 27 May 2015
God's Covenants with Mankind
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What is a covenant?  Explain the covenants God made with Noah and Abraham.  What covenant has He made with Christians?

Covenant is a contract or agreement between two parties

Berith (Hebrew) to cut, i.e., to cut a deal.

Types of Covenants

  1. Two-sided covenant occurs between human parties who both agree.GOD NEVER ENTERS INTO SUCH A COVENANT OF EQUALITY WITH MEN.

  2. One-sided covenant the disposition is imposed by a superior party.

  3. GOD'S SELF-IMPOSED obligation, for the reconciliation of sinners to Himself.

 

The terms "Testament" and "Will" signifies a specific form of covenant, the bequest; and it well describes God's old testament "Berith", because apart from the death of Christ, the old testament saints "should not be made perfect" (Hebrews 11:40)

The covenant then constitutes the heart of all God's special revelations when put into writing, the "Book of the Covenant", the objective source for man's religious hope (Exodus 24:7).

The Noahic covenant was made to preserve the seed of the woman or humanity and all creation.

The Abrahamic Covenant granted blessing to the whole world through Abraham's family

The covenant He has made to Christians has two stages:

  1. Present new covenant with Christ which is internal, "in their heart," reconciling us to God (as always "I will be their God."; it is direct, " They will all know Me;"and will furnish atonement: "For I will forgive their wickedness."

  2. A future covenant of peace:when our internal salvation will reach out to embrace external nature (Ezekiel 34:28), when we will have direct spiritual communion that will be "face to face" (Ezekiel 20:35, 37:27), and when divine forgiveness will achieve the goal of peace among all nations (Ezekiel 34:28).

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Posted on 05/27/2015 10:14 AM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 27 May 2015
The Effect of the Resurrection on lives
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How did his expectation of resurrection and possible judgment affect Paul (24:15-16)?

Acts 24:15-16

15 and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.

How did this idea affect Felix (24:25)?

Acts 24:25

25 As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, "That's enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you

Why do you think the prospect of judgment affected these men so differently?

Paul was concerned and afraid of the consequences of the resurrection and judgment for others.  Felix was afraid for himself.  I think both were reacting to a situation of moral or spiritual clarity.

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Posted on 05/27/2015 7:07 PM by Larry G
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Tuesday, 26 May 2015
The description of God in Genesis
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How would you describe God as revealed in Genesis?

  • Personal a person 

  • Absolutely powerful

  • Kind and Compassionate
  • Wise the source of all wisdom

  • Outside time declares the end from the beginning

  • Absolutely truthful

  • Emotional He loves, He grieves, He gets angry
  • Sees everything and knows everything and everybody

  • He is love personified.

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Posted on 05/26/2015 10:09 AM by Larry G
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Tuesday, 26 May 2015
Talking to People
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Put yourself in Paul's place in Acts 24:23-26.  Would you have tried to raise money to buy your way out of prison, or would you have preached to Felix?  What does this tell you about Paul and yourself?

The more I learn about Paul the more I realize the importance of being focused on Jesus and the Gospel and on being a witness.  Would I have preached to Felix?  No, but I don't think Paul "preached" to him either.  Paul "talked" with Felix; he reasoned with him and brought him to a moment of moral clarity.  Paul talked to people; he listened to people; he knew about people.  Somehow I don't think I would have tried to raise money to get out of prison; but then again, I'm not Paul and God called him to witness in this situation, not me.  However, there are plenty of situations where God has called me.

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Posted on 05/26/2015 7:02 PM by Larry G
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Monday, 25 May 2015
God's Plan of Redemption -- Here's how it's going to happen!
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Summarize God's plan to redeem man from the effects of the Fall, to the extent that the book of Genesis reveals the plan.

Man's predictament was and is that we are separated from the One who gave us life and that separation is something that we impose on ourselves.  It is caused by that defect to our inner most being, known as sin, which manifests itself in our murdering each other, stealing, lying, and all of the other terrible acts that we commit daily.  But God promised to bless the entire world, to give the entire world an opportunity to experience His goodness; and that blessing would come through a descendant of Adam, through Shem, through Abraham, through Isaac, through Jacob and finally, through Judah.  God would take care of this problem of ours which has its ultimate cause in Satan, by sending someone who would be the sacrifice for all people, who destroy the works of Satan/the Serpent.  We learn in Genesis, chapter 3 that this "seed of the woman" would destroy Satan.  This person, the Messiah, would eventually rule the world, all nations with justice and righteousness.

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Posted on 05/25/2015 10:05 AM by Larry G
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Monday, 25 May 2015
Christ-centered Self-control
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 "Self-control" (24:25) was one of the highest virtues according to the Stoic philosophers, so aristocrats paid lip service to it.  Paul used a term that Felix knew and had to profess to believe in, but he put it into a Christian context.  What are some virtues and values that people in your culture pay lip service to?  How can you use them in explaining the gospel?

Self-control in the world, means controlling one's own destiny.  It has to do with doing what one wants to do; sort of, being the master of one's own ship.  I determine my circumstances and make things happen.  It reminds me of taking a hammer and making things fit.  Self-control in the world has to do ultimately with taking care of one's self.  It is me-centered.  It has to do with getting what you want.  In the Christian context "Self-control" is not me-centered; its purpose is not to get something.  It is equated with sober thinking or being able to see clearly, specifically to be able to see reality as it is.  This is interesting because it brings to mind the term visualization, which the world defines as seeing things how you want them to be, but taken in a Christian context it would mean seeing things as they really are.  People talk about compassion but also talk about kicking you to the curb in the next breath; they value honesty but only as they are the recipient, understanding but only in regards to you understanding them.  In all these instances the world or people look at these values or virtues only as a means to get what they personally want.  The virtue of "being hard-working" is really abused.

Matthew Arnold commenting on Galatians 5: "And as the apostle had chiefly named works of the flesh, not only hurtful to men themselves, but tending to make them so to one another, so here he chiefly notices the fruits of the Spirit, which tend to make Christians agreeable one to another, as well as to make them happy."

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Posted on 05/25/2015 6:55 PM by Larry G
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Sunday, 24 May 2015
The Genesis Solution
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The flood proved that total destruction was not going to be God's solution to the fall (Genesis 8:21).  Let's trace His solution as far as Genesis reveals it.

Genesis 3:14-24 The serpent is now cursed-but not out of the picture.  The seed of the serpent will be at enmity with the seed of the woman.  And some specific "seed" of the woman would destroy the serpent.  For mankind, there will now be pin and toil.  Man is made specifically responsible for the woman.  He and the woman and all mankind will now die; they are now mortal.  Each individual's life will now be cut short.  However, it seems that this is actually a way to limit the damage each man does.

Genesis 5:32 Noah is not given children until he's 500 years old; and then he has three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.

Genesis 9:26, 11:10-27 Noah acknowledges that God, Yahweh, the Creator is the God of Shem and consequently, Shem will be blessed.  The promised deliverer, the "seed of the woman" will come through Shem's line, through Shem's descendants.  We see this played out as we are told the lineage of Shem down through Abram/Abraham.

Genesis 12:1-3 God tells Abram/Abraham (Shem's descendant), that all of the nations of the earth will be blessed through him.

Genesis 15:12-21 God promises to give Abram/Abraham and his descendants, all of the land of Canaan.  He tells him about the time of slavery that his descendants will endure in Egypt; and he also tells him that a deliverer will arise who will bring the people out of their slavery.

Genesis 17:1-16 God confirms His covenant with Abram/Abraham.  He promises him that he, Abram will become the father of many nations (name changed to Abraham).  God's covenant with Abraham will also extend to Abraham's descendants.  God the Creator, Yahweh, Jehovah, WILL BE ABRAHAM'S GOD AND THE GOD OF HIS DESCENDANTS.  This is actually a one-sided promise, it represents what God alone is going to do; it doesn't presuppose any reciprocal action on the part of Abraham or his descendants.  God reaffirms the promise to give the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants.  God tells Abraham, that Sarai, his wife will now be called SARAH and she will miraculously bear a son through whom God's blessing would come.

Genesis 22:2, 8, 14 Abraham, when he takes his son Isaac to Mount Moriah as directed by God to be a sacrifice, acknowledges that God will provide the sacrifice for the offering, which does happen.  God once again reaffirms that Abraham's descendants will be as numerous as the sand on the seashore.  Because Abraham obeys God, all of the world will be blessed.

Genesis 26:1-5 God reaffirms to Isaac the promise He had made to his father, Abraham, and tells him, Isaac, that this promise now applies to him.

Genesis 28:10-15, 35:11-13 God reaffirms Jacob the promise given to Abraham and Isaac.  He tells Jacob that the promise now applies to him.  God promises Jacob that He, The Most High God/The Creator/Yahweh/Jehovah will always be with him, Jacob.

Genesis 45:4-13 Joseph is used by God to baring Jacob and his family down to Egypt to save them from the famine and allow them to grow into a great nation.  This is the fulfilment of an earlier prophecy made to Abraham.

Genesis 46: 1-4 God once again, reaffirms to Jacob, the promises that He made to Abraham, Isaac and now to him.  He reaffirms that He will make Jacob into a great nation in Egypt.  He also tells Jacob that He, God, will be with him and He, God, will bring Jacob (i.e. Jacob's descendants) back to the promised land of Canaan.

Genesis 49:9-12 God tells Jacob that the Messiah, the one will rule the nations will come through his son Judah.

Genesis 50:24-25 Joseph reminds his brothers that God will come to their aid and bring them back to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

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Posted on 05/24/2015 10:00 AM by Larry G
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Sunday, 24 May 2015
The Inevitability of the Resurrection
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On the resurrection of the just and unjust (24:15), see Matthew 25:31-46, John 5:28-30, Romans 2:5-8, 2 Corinthians 5:10, 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17.

Acts 24:15

and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.

Matthew 25:31-46

31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' 37 "Then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' 40 "The King will reply, I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' 41 "Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' 44 "They also will answer, Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' 45 "He will reply, I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' 46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

John 5:28-30

28 "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out-those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. 30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

Romans 2:5-8

5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God "will give to each person according to what he has done." 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

2 Corinthians 5:10

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

1 Thessalonians 4:14-17.

14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

Daniel 12:10

Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.

Revelation 22:11

Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy."  

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Posted on 05/24/2015 6:49 PM by Larry G
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Saturday, 23 May 2015
The Truth about Righteousness, Self-Control and Judgment
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What do you think were the truths about righteousness, self-control, and judgment that Paul discoursed upon (24:25)?  WHAT ARE THESE TRUTHS?

Felix came with his wife Drusilla. This woman, a Jewess, was the daughter of the Herod who died miserably at Cæsarea ( 12:23 ), and the sister of King Agrippa and Bernice ( 25:23 ). She was very beautiful and very profligate, had been the wife of Azizus, the king of Emesa, but had left him and married Felix. Perhaps the interest she felt in Paul was due to the fact that her father had been a persecutor of the Christians, had died a singular death, and this had been pronounced a judgment. As he reasoned. They, no doubt, expected that he would speak of doctrine, but instead he spoke of the life that ought to be lived, with special reference to those who sat before him in such state and glory. When he spoke of righteousness, he spoke of justice to a judge who held this office only for the sake of gain and who took bribes. When he spoke of temperance, he rebuked the unbridled sway of the passions and of lust. When he spoke of judgment, he pictured the judgment scene when the unjust and impure of earth shall be called to account. With such power he spoke that the stern Roman trembled before the poor prisoner in his power. Go thy way. Felix does not resent; he is too powerfully moved, but he puts off. Thus thousands destroy their souls. He hoped that money. Almost every Roman governor took a province in order to enrich himself, and hence would welcome bribery and every species of corruption. Felix was no worse than the average official of his time. (Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology)

It comes down to this-there is an absolute moral standard.  We've all been given a conscience that speaks to us about right and wrong.  God has established the universe and all that is in it.  He determines how it will work, what the parameters will be, and the laws both physical and spiritual.  Somehow I don't think that Paul got in Felix's face.  I think he reasoned with him about behavior in such a way that it was evident to him from what he knew about the world, people and himself.  He probably talked to him about how everyone really knows what is right and wrong and our inability to control our decisions.  I think he related this all to the Gospel and our need for it.  We have a problem that drives us away from God, who is the one who gave us our life and maintains it.  Everything we do is driving us toward a final character development; we are moving to a final destiny regarding what we will be.  At that time we will be judged for what we are and that will be evident by our actions.  Unless we accept Jesus as the Messiah, as our savior, and allow Him to literally wash us clean of that which drives us from God, we are destined for destruction, for condemnation, to a situation where all who look at us will judge us by our actions as being worthless. 

How should these truths affect your attitudes and actions?  How are these relevant to the decisions currently facing you?  Talk to God about this.

All individual decisions  have a bearing on our final outcome; there are no insignificant thoughts, actions, etc.  Without Jesus living inside me and guiding my way, I cannot control anything; I have no hope of controlling me.  I would steadily careen out of control.   Without Jesus guiding the way I would inevitably move toward my destruction and that destruction would come.  

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Posted on 05/23/2015 6:41 PM by Larry G
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Saturday, 23 May 2015
Looking at the Reality of Man
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Summarize what a human being was meant to be and is according to the book of Genesis.

Meant to be mankind was made in the image of God, with a free will, emotions, and creativity.  Made to fellowship and walk with God the Creator, the One who gave us life and maintains it.  We were to have dominion over all the earth.  We were to be fruitful, to have children.  WE ARE NOT ANIMALS!  God made man and woman as a complementary team; each completes the other.  God provides a continual blessing for mankind.  Or in other words, He continually provides us with opportunities to experience His goodness, compassion, mercy and providence. 

What man is We are in continual rebellion against God; we avoid fellowship with the One who gave us life and maintains it.  Apart from the God the Creator, we are on a path of destruction.  We are violent, jealous, liars, murders, unfaithful to each other.  We devote ourselves to ultimately doing evil, even though, we can see that following this course of avoiding our creator will inevitably lead to our destruction.  Our inner being is damaged beyond hope.  We are so damaged that only God can restore us.  But here's the good news:  "FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOSOVER BELIEVES IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH.."  God promised to send someone to restore our inner most beings, our souls and He has come a first time to do this; and He is coming a second time to physically take control of the world.

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Posted on 05/23/2015 9:35 AM by Larry G
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Friday, 22 May 2015
Paul's Attitude
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Describe the attitudes and emotions Paul seemed to have as he defended himself.  What do you learn about him that is worthy of imitation?

Paul remains in control of his emotions; he remains focused on his assigned task.  That is what allows him to stay calm.  The part of his defense when he says this-"Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?"-strikes me as significant.  This is the bottom-line.  Everything rests on this.  I would not say that Paul did not feel fear.  Actually, I think he did.  But his decision to trust God allowed him to put that behind him moment by moment.  Another thing that seems to anchor Paul is truth; he sticks to the simple truth of what he has seen, what he had heard, what he has done.  This also anchors him in calmness and allows him to control the situation.  If we take any lesson from this, it is that the most important thing we can do is remain focused on Jesus and the Resurrection.

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Posted on 05/22/2015 6:36 PM by Larry G
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Friday, 22 May 2015
The Babel Crisis
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What did the Babel crisis show about God and man (Genesis 11:1-9)?

God HIS NAME IS THE NAME THAT IS IMPORTANT!  Not ours.  He is watching over what man is doing.  He knows that all of our inclinations are evil and that's why He separated us-for our own good; left to our own devices we would destroy ourselves.

Man We are basically wicked; our inner most beings are hopelessly corrupt and there is nothing we can do to change it.  We only care about our reputations which up to this point is nothing to talk about.  We have been mangling and destroying each other and the world for the last couple of thousand years.  When we unite, the only thing that mankind does is find greater and more effective ways of doing evil-of destroying ourselves.

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Posted on 05/22/2015 9:31 AM by Larry G
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