For those who are serious about following Jesus' commands, the Enemy has many tactics to seek to destroy us. One of those is to get us to focus on external things that we can see and measure, which is easier than dealing with the condition of our hearts. God's Word has much to say on this topic to help us embrace all of His commandments, focusing on the greatest, without neglecting the least.
In Matthew 5 Jesus tells us that unless our righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Fortunately the Scriptures provide us with many examples of men and women who lived righteous lives, which instruct, convict, and inspire. This lesson looks at the example of Job, so that we can take inventory of our own lives.
The Jews are wrestling with the question of whether Jesus is the Christ. On the one hand, he is performing miracles and teaching powerfully. On the other hand, the prophets had written that the Christ would come from Bethlehem (in Judea, in the south); however it appeared to them that Jesus was from Galilee (in the north). In this lesson we look at how Jesus fulfilled prophecies that speakboth about Bethlehem and Galilee: the great king to come who would also bring light into a dark world.
What a marvel to listen to Jesus teach the crowds! In this passage, Jesus uses the Old Testament to confront hypocrisy, reveal His identity as the Christ, and promise the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. His enemies were confounded; others were convinced and began to follow Him. There are lessons here for us as well, including God's provision of "rivers of living water," which alone can quench our spiritual thirst and satisfy our souls.
[Our apologies! We forgot to hit the record button today. Attached are the notes from our study. May they serve as a starting point for your study on the Temple of God!]
In the book of 2 Samuel, God tells David that from David's seed will come a king who would build a house for God's name and establish a kingdom that would reign forever. David's son Solomon would go on to build the temple, about which much is written in the Old Testament. But was Solomon the fulfillment of this prophecy? Understanding the temple in the Old Testament provides important insight into Jesus' and the apostles' teaching, and the implications of these teachings on our lives today.
Do the New Testament teachings on submission apply to Christians today? Or are they culturally relevant, only applying to those who lived during Jesus’ and the apostles’ time? This lesson, the first of a series on Biblical submission, examines what the Scriptures teach on submitting to the government authorities we happen to find ourselves under, whether friendly or hostile to our faith. We also consider God’s and Satan’s roles and authority over the governments of this world, and are challenged by Peter’s life and teaching.
If Jesus came into the world to demonstrate God’s love and grace, why would He be hated? Jesus says He was hated by the world, “Because I testify of it that its works are evil.” If we grasp this aspect of Jesus’ character and ministry, it will have profound implications for our own lives and our churches. When you follow in His steps and do not cave in to modern culture, be ready to be hated by the world.
In John 6 Jesus tells his followers that whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood will have eternal life. This teaching offended many of Jesus' followers and many "walked with him no more." Why was this teaching so offensive? What did Jesus mean by it? Certainly, this was meant figuratively and not literally, right? This lesson also examines the Lord's Supper, what one early Christian called "the medicine of immortality."
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.
One of the secrets of the Kingdom life is to work diligently on our hearts and inner life. During this talk at our retreat in Pennsylvania, David Bercot makes the case that a strong devotional life is the key to living a strong Kingdom life. With humor and candor, David shares lessons from his own prayer and devotional life, giving many practicals to help us develop our inner lives as individuals and families.
See this attached list of devotional classics referred to in this lesson to supplement your devotional times with God.
Secrets of the Kingdom Life (the book this lesson originated from)
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.
Jesus is challenged to show a sign like Moses did, to provide bread from heaven (recalling the manna story from Exodus). Jesus counters by teaching that He is the true bread who came from heaven, who gives life to the world. In this lesson we look at the significance of this important teaching, and also consider how two passages within this text have been taken out of context by Calvinists and many evangelical Protestants, with tragic consequences.
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.
If you feel like you are under spiritual assault, maybe it is because you are. In this practical lesson we pull back the curtain on the unseen spiritual battle for our souls, being waged by the forces of evil. Coming out of Ephesians chapter 6, we look at the spiritual war: the forces of evil arrayed against us, the protective armor God has given us, and the offensive weapons at our disposal.
As we come to the end of our study of Genesis, our story concludes with the deaths of Jacob and Joseph. This final chapter provides the opportunity for us to reflect on extremely important topics of the Christian faith, including death, forgiveness, the sovereignty of God and our role in His plan and purposes, Biblical faith (as seen in the final instructions of Joseph), and the resurrection of the dead. May we take great encouragement from the heroes of the faith whom we have met in our Genesis study, and may they inspire us to never shrink back, but to perserve and endure till the very end!
In the first part of John 6, Jesus feeds 5,000 men (plus women and children) and then walks on the water, calling Peter to do the same. The first miracle caused those who witnessed it to proclaim that Jesus was the Prophet foretold in Deuteronomy 18; the second caused Jesus' apostles to proclaim Jesus as the Son of God. These stories are filled with important lessons for us, including what we are to do today with such miracles, foreshadowing of these miracles in the Old Testament, how Jesus handled adversity, and teaching on (and a vivid example of) saving faith.
Jacob, on his deathbed, calls in his twelve sons and tells each one what will happen to his descendants in days to come. To his fourth son, Judah, he utters one of the most detailed and explicit prophecies about Jesus in all the Bible. Early Christian writers such as Justin Martyr used this prophecy as powerful evidence to convince unbelievers of the faith. In this faith-building lesson we explore facets of this prophecy about the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah”: his reign, divinity, death, resurrection; and that the Gentiles would look to Him. This lesson includes insights from Christians in earlier ages that will equip us to prove the faith to unbelievers today.
Click here to go to previous lessons in the Genesis Series
After healing a man on the Sabbath, Jesus’ enemies want to kill Him for violating the Law of Moses. Instead of speaking to defend himself, Jesus points to five witnesses who will testify on His behalf, beginning with John the Baptist. His last witness is Moses, of whom Jesus declares “he wrote about Me”. In this lesson we consider the testimony of the five witnesses to support the claims of Jesus and the Christian faith.
Jesus spoke in John 5 about the physical resurrection of the dead (bodies coming out of the graves). This was an extremely divisive subject among the Jews. Jesus and Paul maintained that it was plainly taught in the Old Testament; but where? Here we answer that question and continue a deep discussion on the resurrection begun in the previous message. This is a lesson that illustrates God’s power, challenges our faith, and reveals the importance of our bodies (and what we do with them).
In John 5 Jesus’ enemies accused him of “working” on the Sabbath in healing a paralyzed man. In His response, Jesus “doubles down” and puts himself on the same level as God. Jesus also tells his opponents that the Father has committed to Him, the Son, the role of judging all men. In this lesson, we take a look at an aspect of Jesus many prefer to avoid: Jesus, the great Judge of all men on the Last Day. This carries important implications for several areas of our lives. Here Jesus also introduces teaching on the resurrection of the dead: considered a foundational teaching in the early church, yet commonly misunderstood among Christians today.