the church

Retreat Epilogue: The Holy Spirit in Ephesians

In our recent three-day retreat in Pennsylvania, we laid a foundation of what the Scriptures teach about the Holy Spirit. In this follow-up lesson and in light of those foundational teachings, we look at Paul's letter to the Ephesians in perhaps a new light, as Paul has much to say about the Holy Spirit, and its role and importance in our lives as Christians.

The Spirit of Wisdom: Staying Strong without an Ideal Local Fellowship

On Saturday evening of our 2019 Retreat, several brothers taught on different topics in a session entitled The Spirit of Wisdom. In the first session, brother Mahlon Fisher spoke about Staying Strong without an Ideal Local Fellowship, providing key principles that have helped him continue to grow as a Christian over the past years.

On Christmas and the Birth of Christ (Matthew 1 & 2)

What should Christians do with Christmas? Some desire to embrace the season, some focus on Jesus, some ignore the season completely.  How do we maintain unity in the church with different opinions regarding Christmas? This lesson tackles these questions and provides insights for us related to the events surrounding the birth of Christ, including the significance of Jesus' name, the background of the magi, the role of Herod, and a prophecy about the star.   

1 Corinthians 14:34-39 - Women Speaking in Church

In this passage, Paul instructs the church in Corinth that their women should keep silent in the church, that they are to be submissive, and they are to learn from their husbands. He goes on further to state that it is shameful for women to speak in church. Does Paul really mean this? Was this instruction only for the church in Corinth at that time? What does Paul mean by "being silent"? We tackle these questions by looking at this and related Scriptures that speak to the Biblical role of men and women, and God's love, heart, and expectation for both.      

1 Corinthians 14:1-33 - The Gift of Tongues and the Church Meeting

1 Corinthians 14:1-33 includes two somewhat controversial issues: speaking in tongues and what it was like when Christians came together for worship. The lesson addresses three questions in regards to the gift of tongues: 1) What is speaking in tongues? 2) What was the purpose of speaking in tongues? and 3) Is speaking in tongues available to the Church today?  We are also asked what we can learn from this passage as to what Church should look like when we come together as Christians. 

The Wheat and the Tares

This lesson tackles a foundational and often misunderstood teaching of the Kingdom of God revealed in many of Jesus' parables, including the parable of the wheat and the tares (weeds). God will ultimately separate the good and the evil at the last day.  This lesson addresses our responsibility as individual Christians to strive to be wheat, good fish, wise virgins, and properly attired guests at the Kingdom banquet. The lesson also addresses our responsibility to address sin in the Church.   

1 Corinthians 11:17-34 - The Lord's Supper

In this passage, Paul tells the Corinthian Church that some of them are weak, ill, and spiritually asleep (dead) because of their failure to properly celebrate the Lord's Supper. He then explains how the Lord's Supper can bring life.  This lesson is divided into three parts: 1) Paul's rebuke of the Church (with specifics as to what they were doing wrong), 2) Paul's instruction on the Lord's Supper, and 3) Practicals we can glean from the Scriptures in regards to celebrating the Lord's Supper. 

For Further Study

What the Early Christians Believed About Communion by David Bercot

1 Corinthians 6:1-11 - Christians and Law Suits

In 1 Corinthians 6 Paul speaks the truth in love, calling out the church in Corinth for bringing law suits against each other, instead of resolving their disputes internally.  This lesson addresses whether Christians should ever bring law suits, as well as what a Christian should consider before making a decision to resort to the courts.  We learn from Scripture that God expects his children to resolve disputes in obedience to Christ's teaching and example, a far higher standard than that used by the world's courts.   

1 Corinthians 5 - Sexual Immorality and Expelling an Immoral Brother

In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul turns to a new and serious matter: the church's failure to expel from the congregation a brother involved in sexual immorality.  This lesson covers the Biblical definition of sexual immortality, Paul's and Jesus' admonition and example of dealing with Christians who refuse to repent of serious sin, the reasons why most churches disobey Paul's clear instruction, and the consequences for failing to do so. 

1 Corinthians 3 - Examples from Daily Life for a Stronger Church

PDF of Lesson Outline

In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul uses four examples from daily life to instruct his listeners on church unity, peacemaking, Jesus Christ as the only foundation of the Church, how we will be judged (and rewarded) by God as to how we build the Church, honoring God by how we care for our physical bodies, and the importance of the Holy Spirit.