We are in a spiritual battle against a powerful Enemy out to destroy us. In this lesson we study Satan's tactics and activities, so we are prepared for his attacks and wise to his ways. The Scriptures also provide us with the weapons for our battle and examples of spiritual heroes to inspire us to victory.
Worthy of the kingdom of God? Wait…I thought we are all unworthy of the kingdom! Yet when we take another look at the Scriptures, we find that all Christians are indeed called to live lives that are worthy of the kingdom. This opening message from our retreat weekend in Pennsylvania draws a sharp contrast between the message of the kingdom and the popular message heard in most Protestant churches today, and opens our eyes to the high calling that God has for our lives.
One of the great treasures of the Old Testament is how it helps us understand the true nature and character of God. There are many things that distort our understanding of God's nature: the character of our own human fathers, our tendency to make God into something He is not, and Satan's consistent attack, trying to deceive us to believe God is different than He truly is. Ezekiel 18 provides a beautiful picture of God, communicating His great mercy and kindness offered to all mankind. May this help us grasp God's nature in a deeper way, and transform how we view and treat others.
This lesson begins with a look at two very different versions of Christianity that we see today. Which version we choose will have a tremendous impact on how we respond to the harder teachings of Jesus and the apostles. Next, we tackle what the New Testament says about submission, a practical yet challenging topic. All Christians are commanded to submit to the governing authorities. Also, Christian servants are called to submit to their masters, wives to their husbands, and younger men to older men within the church. All of us are called to have a humble and submissive spirit. This is a practical lesson that addresses how we put these counter-cultural teachings into practice today.
John the Baptist identifies Jesus as "the Lamb of God". Why a lamb, and not some other animal? Does this simply mean that Jesus was meek and harmless, or is there more to it? How would John's hearers have understood this expression? In this lesson we look at what this would have meant to John’s hearers, and the profound implications for all those who want to follow Jesus today.
Does God treat everyone the same, or does He play favorites? James A. Harding, an inspiring Christian teacher and preacher, tackled this question in the early 1900's and provided a startling and unforgettable answer. That answer takes us to Scripture that teaches us much about the character of God, as well as what can be expected by those devoted to and treasured by Him.
(To learn more about Harding's inspiring life and convictions, see James A. Harding, Evangelist and Teacher by John Mark Hicks)
The Word of God is referred to as the sword of the Spirit and is to be our offensive weapon to overcome temptation and to understand the very heart and nature of God. Can it be said of each of us, that we are known for our diligent study of (and obedience to) the entire Bible? Can it be said of us, that our love for God's Word is so infectious that others are inspired to become serious students of the Scriptures as well? This lesson provides us several surprising images that have the potential of transforming our grasp and motivation to read and know the Word of God. The lesson also offers practical advice and inspiration to read through the Bible in a year.
This plan allows you to pick a start date and it will provide a customized plan to read through the Old the New Testaments in one year. (To work, you must download the file to your local drive.)
One of the reasons to study the Old Testament is to get to know the true heroes of the faith so we can imitate their lives. We can learn much by looking at the character of Joseph, who is an upward call for all Christian men....
Jacob’s twenty years in Mesopotamia was a time of great trial and suffering. There is much to learn from Jacob’s experience and how it transformed him, as well as the role suffering is to play in the life of a Christian....
Why is Biblical unity so difficult? Why do so many churches end up splitting apart, even churches comprised of Christians serious about following Jesus' teachings? This sad pattern is in stark contrast to early Christianity, where the church remained one for the first 200 years. Drawing on Scripture, examples from the early church, and his own spiritual journey and mistakes made, David identifies common problems that consistently lead to dividing the church. This hopeful message provides many gems to help restore Biblical unity and obliterate any sinful sectarian spirit within us.
[Lesson outline to be posted shortly]
The Scriptures call us to do two apparently contradictory things: 1) to become all things to all men, that we might by all means save some (1 Cor. 9:22), and 2) to keep ourselves unspotted from the world (James 1:27). Many churches focus on one command, while ignoring the other. One church is so relatable to the world, that it becomes indistinguishable from the world. Another church focuses on holiness and separation, but is ineffective converting lost souls. This lesson challenges us to follow all of Jesus' teachings as we strive to win a lost world with the same determination, commitment, and effectiveness of our Lord.
This message brings three additional lessons for us from the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, beyond what was covered in the prior message. We learn about the root sin of Sodom which Ezekiel later addressed, which goes well beyond the obvious sexual sin....
In this lesson, we look at the aftermath of the flood, including commands God gives to his people, the covenant he gives to Noah, and what this means for us today. We also look at what Peter has to say about the flood....
In these passages, we see the example of Noah, who in faith builds an ark out of obedience to God. We also see the devastation of the flood, which destroys the entire world, with only a few being saved. The story of the flood and the example of Noah....
There are many reasons Christians give for avoiding the Old Testament, which makes up three-quarters of the Bible. This lesson inspires us to dig into the treasures of the Old Testament, making the case that God has provided the Old Testament Scriptures for the benefit of Christians....
This talk was given in September of 2014. The message was taken from a study series entitled A Lifestyle of Compassion.
What is the single greatest obstacle to helping those in need? This lesson examines the obstacles in our lives that keep us from being compassionate and serving those in need, with a primary focus on the love of money, selfishness, and self-indulgence. The Scriptures call and inspire us to take inventory of our lives and to repent where appropriate, in order to fulfill God's plan to love one another as He intended.
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In this passage, Paul addresses specific issues related to those who are married in the church, including married couples fasting, sexual relations, and divorce and remarriage. This lesson covers Jesus' teaching on marriage, the foundation on which Paul builds. Jesus' teaching shocked his disciples, as it was a radical departure from societal norms. The challenge for us in understanding this (and any other) Biblical topic, is to ensure that all the Scriptures fit together without contradiction. This lesson puts forth the beauty and wisdom of God's plan for marriage.
Did Jesus rise from the dead, or didn't he? The Christian faith hangs on this question. What did Jesus have to say about the resurrection? What importance did the apostles place on the resurrection? What proof do we have that Jesus' resurrection took place? We tackle these questions....
In this lesson, we take a short break from our study in the book of Corinthians to look at the concepts of faith and grace, two of the most misunderstood and misused terms in Scripture. This lesson provides a Biblical definition of these terms, explains how they are used in the Old and New Testaments, and demonstrates why our correct understanding of faith and grace is critical to our walk with God and our very salvation.