Bible Studies

Content of Studies 

1. Bible study; Listening to God

2. Grace

3. What does it mean to please God?

4. Persecution

5. Training yourself to be Godly

6. Slander

7. The Holy Spirit

 

1. Bible study; Listening to God

Assisting Christians to become rooted in consistent and productive personal Bible study is one of the top priorities of those leading or discipling them in Christ, as it is the WORD that changes us. Only in this way will we be able to take our stand against Satan and his schemes, wielding the “sword of the spirit” Ephesians 6:18. Moreover, abiding in the word of God is the surest safeguard against discrimination and sectarianism. While not fostering independence of spirit, let us carefully call each man and woman in Christ to an independent, personal study of the word of God.

Introduction

Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. ’ ’”

“Every word” Comparable to physical bread, therefore essential. If you don’t stay in the word, you won’t stay in the faith.

Work at your Bible Study

2 Peter 3:15-16 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

It is possible to distort scriptures to your own destruction. There is a tremendous responsibility on us personally to stick to the truth. Some passages are difficult to understand but not impossible.

2 Corinthians 1:13 For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that,

We need to strive to comprehend them yourself first, before asking others what they mean.

2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Developing competence in studying with people. Becoming a well-equipped workman

2 Timothy 3:17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

Equip yourself for evangelism, not just bible knowledge, but being able to answer questions, studying technique etc

James 1:22-25 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.

Useless to study the bible without applications to our lives, expect yourself to change from it and others.

Practical suggestions.

A. Have a set time to study your Bible (ideally just before your pray)
B. Write down the convicting points and pray about them
C. Do well in church classes, teaching programs.
D. If reading the Bible for the first time, don’t try and read it straight through. Focus on the New Testament until you are quite familiar with it, then Venture out into the NT
E. Get into the habit of reading an entire book of the Bible at a time, don’t skip all over the scriptures.

Advanced suggestions.

A. Read bible through in chronological order.
B. Make lessons from your bible studies.
C. Study words such as Grace, peace.
D. Go through a book highlighting a theme, e.g. How Jesus treated women in one of the gospels.

Other Suggested Scriptures

Joshua 1:8 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.

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Psalms 1:2-3 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Ezra 7:10 For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.

Isaiah 66:2b “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.

1 Corinthians 10:11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

2 Timothy 2:7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

Psalm 119 entire Psalm.

 

2. Grace

The understanding of grace is the foundation for a love motivated relationship with God, rather than one that is works motivated. People from a religious background or having grown up in the church can struggle with having a Pharisee mind set, knowing the requirements of Christian life, but missing the heart motivation.
Similarly, overachievers (in the world or the Kingdom) are valued by others and themselves based on their performance.
The purpose of this study is to build security, self- esteem and worth based on God’s forgiving love and not on their Christian duty or perfect performance.

Introduction:

1. What is grace?

A. Undeserved forgiveness & unmerited favor.
B. An “in-spite-of” kind of love.
C. Acceptance even without perfect performance.
D. Real Love

Share examples from own life.

2. Where does grace come from?

A. A Christian receives the substitution of Jesus’ righteousness for their sinfulness.
2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

B. After baptism, the blood of Jesus covers over my sins allowing me to be justified: ” just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned”
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

INPUT = OUR PART.                                          OUT = GOD’S VIEW

Sin.                                        G.                            Forgiveness
R
Imperfection.                          A.                            Perfection
C
Filthy heart.                            E.                            A sinless heart

Bottom line: Grace is almost too good to be true, but it is! The goal of this study is to help you see the real God who loves you and how valuable you are to him. He valued you at the cost of his son, who he gave up so that there could be grace to forgive your sins and restore your relationship with him.

3. How does God actually treat us?

Psalms 103:8-10
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

Q: What are some of the sins in your life?
Q: What do you deserve for them?

A. Punishment, what sort? removal of privileges, gifts of God, jail, blessings taken away.
B. Not to be trusted by people?

Bottom line: God sees everything that we do and think, and he knows what we deserve, yet, it is his grace that gives us forgiveness rather than punishment.

Romans 8:1-2 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

Q: What does “no condemnation” mean?

A. No punishment.
B. Not feeling “in the Dog house”
C. Not feeling like God or others are looking down on you.

Bottom Line: We can never earn Grace. Grace comes through Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins and frees us from the condemnation that we deserve because of our sins.

Galatians 3:26-27 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Q: What does it mean to be clothed in Christ?
Q: What are we without Christ? Naked before God?

Analogy of putting on shirt over leprosy so that your able to talk without distraction.

Bottom line: We are never good enough, healed enough to come and talk to God, yet we always can unless we take off the clothing of Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:9-11
For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them –yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

Q: What is Paul because of Grace?

A. A forgiven man.
B. A Christian.

Q: What effect did God’s grace have Paul?

A. He worked hard for God
B. He lived his whole life for Christ.
C. He was a very grateful man.

Bottom line: When we get Grace, it completely changes our lives (Analogy do net under Golden Gate Bridge)
There is no fear in grace and there is incredible security.

Q: What should God’s grace produce in you? Does it?
Q: How should you respond to God’s grace? Will you?

Challenge:

Write a one page letter to God expressing your understanding of his grace and your gratitude for his grace. What you will change and why.

 

3. What does it mean to please God?

What does it mean to please God?
Ephesians 5:10 and find out what pleases the Lord.

Pt 1. How can we do that?

A. By looking at Jesus’s life.

John 8:29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”
John 5:30 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.

B. Learning from more spiritual people – discipling

1 Thessalonians 4:1  As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.

Pt 2. What stops us from pleasing God?

A. Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

People pleasing as opposed to please God

1 Thessalonians 2:4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.

B. Romans 15:3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”

Pleasing self

C. Romans 8:5-8 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

Our Sinful nature

Pt 3. What pleases God

A. Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Having and living by faith.living in such a way that we are relying on God’s word to be true rather than relying on our self or what we see. Trusting in God’s loving character.

B. Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

Pleasing your parents. Is there an age limit to this as a child?(no)

C. Proverbs 15:8 The LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Through Prayer. How’s your prayer life, God loves to hear from you, he loves it when you love others by praying for them, he wants you to be like him in having a loving heart.

D. Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

Romans 14:17-18 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.

The way you live your life.

E. Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Doing Gods will for your life not yours. Giving up your dreams for your life and taking on his dreams for your life.

F. Philippians 4:18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.

Giving money to support people in the full time ministry wholeheartedly and willingly. As opposed to reluctantly or half heartedly (Malachi 1:6-14)

G. 1 Timothy 5:4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.

Looking after parents and grandparents in their old age.

H. Psalm 19:14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Psalm 104:34 May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD.

Proverbs 22:18 for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips.

Keeping God’s word in your heart, bible study and memory scripture

I. Romans 14:18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

2 Corinthians 2:15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.

Being and staying saved

J. 1 Chronicles 29:17  I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.

Having integrity, in the small and big things in life.

K. 1 Kings 3:7-12  “Now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours? ”
10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.

Hebrews 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Selflessness

L. Psalms 69:30-31 I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. 31 This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hoofs.

Singing to God and giving him thanks in song and prayer.

Pt 4. The benefits of pleasing God

A. Exodus 33:17 And the LORD said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

1 John 3:21-22 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.

He answers our requests and prayers

B. Numbers 14:8 If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us.

Deuteronomy 28:63 Just as it pleased the LORD to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you. You will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess.

He makes our life go well

C. Ecclesiastes 7:26 I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare.

We escape many traps and pain in our life. It is not worth thinking about where our lives would be as non Christians

D. Ecclesiastes 2:26 To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

God gives us wisdom, knowledge and happiness!

E. Galatians 6:8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

We gain eternal life, we live for EVER!

Conclusion:

2 Corinthians 5:9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.

We must set our minds and hearts to pleasing God, it will not come naturally, it is a decision that leads to feelings, not the other way around.

 

4. Persecution

Persecution
Pt 1. The Warning of PersecutionMatthew 10:16-28 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
17 “Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
24 “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!
26 “So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

John 15:18-20 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master. ’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.

John 16:1-4 “All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4 I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you.

The Lesson: Light and darkness have never mixed well and never will. Christlikeness makes persecution inevitable.

2 Timothy 3:12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

Pt 2. The Progression of Persecution

Jesus himself was widely acclaimed and accepted in the early stages of his ministry. However, his life and teaching eventually prompted those in the darkness to kill him.
Similarly, the early church experienced an early acceptance followed by a progressive rejection.

A. Early favour – Acts 2:46-47; 5:12-16

Acts 2:46-47 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.

Acts 5:12-16 The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.

B. Persecution of apostles in Jerusalem – Acts 4:16-20; 5:27-29,40-42

Acts 4:16-20 “What are we going to do with these men? ” they asked. “Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name. ”
18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. 20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard. ”

Acts 5:27-29 Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood. ” 29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men!

Acts 5:40-42 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.

C. Persecution of disciples in Jerusalem – Acts 8:1-3

Acts 8:1-3 And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.

D. Persecution in other parts of the world – Acts 17:5-8

Acts 17:5-8 But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other brothers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, 7 and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus. ” 8 When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil.

E. Persecution everywhere – Acts 28:21-22

Acts 28:21-22 They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of the brothers who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect. ”

Pt 3. The Causes of Persecution

A. Family ties are threatened – Matt 10:34-37

Matthew 10:34-37  “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “ ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter- in- law against her mother- in- law – 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. ’ 37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;

B. False teachers and false teaching are threatened – 1 Tim 1:3-4, 2 Tim 4:2-4

1 Timothy 1:3-4 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work–which is by faith.

2 Timothy 4:2-4 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage –with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

C. Business and finances are threatened – Acts 19:23-34

Acts 19:23-34 About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. 24 A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in no little business for the craftsmen. 25 He called them together, along with the workmen in related trades, and said: “Men, you know we receive a good income from this business. 26 And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man- made gods are no gods at all. 27 There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited, and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty. ”
28 When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians! ” 29 Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia, and rushed as one man into the theater. 30 Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. 31 Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater.
32 The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there. 33 The Jews pushed Alexander to the front, and some of the crowd shouted instructions to him. He motioned for silence in order to make a defense before the people. 34 But when they realized he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians! ”

D. Worldly pleasures are threatened – 1 Peter 4:3-4

1 Peter 4:3-4 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do–living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you.

Pt. 4 The Response to Persecution

Attitudes to possess

A. Do not be surprised – 1 Peter 4:12-16

1 Peter 4:12-16 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

B. Realise that it could be worse as in the case of Jesus – Heb 12:3

Hebrews 12:3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

C. Understand the power of suffering for Christ in drawing people to him – 2 Cor 4:8-12, Col 1:24, 1 Peter 2:11-12

2 Corinthians 4:8-12 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.

1 Peter 2:11-12 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

D. Rejoice in anticipation of God’s reward – Matt 5:10-12

Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Actions to Practice 1 Peter 3:13-17

1 Peter 3:13-17 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened. ” 15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

A. Do not give into fear and back off of your convictions – vs14

B. Continue to make Jesus the Lord of your life and to share your faith boldly – vs 15

Revelation 12:11 They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.

C. Keep being gentle and respectful toward those who persecute you – vs 16

Romans 12:17-21 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. ” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

D. Always suffer for doing good and not for sin – vs 17

E. Finally , always trust God and do what he says – 1 Peter 4:19!

1 Peter 4:19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

5. Training yourself to be Godly

Training yourself to be GodlyThe purpose of this study is to help someone see their need to be self-motivated in their relationship with God and their pursuit of studying to either to become a Christian or grow as a Christian.
Hopefully they will come away with the confidence that they can mature in their character quickly.

Introduction:
Q: What is involved in training? (Athletic, spiritual)
A: Repetition, learning the basics……..

Q: How will you train yourself to be Godly?
A: Consistency, daily times with God in prayer and bible study.
A: Planning for those times to be effective, successful, a set time, study, place
A: Having self-control in challenging situations so that you can train yourself to react differently
A: Scripture memory
A: Create a personal study for yourself and your weaknesses to memorise

The goal of this study is to help you to see that your spiritual progress depends on your willingness and effort to build your relationship with God on the foundation that has been laid by others. God wants each of us to take personal responsibility to mature and grow.
To be Godly requires self-discipline and seriousness in heart and mind

Philippians 2:12-13 “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

Q: Who is responsible for your salvation?
A: Parents, leader, church, friends, me?

Q: What does it mean to “work out your salvation”?
A: Obedience to God, even when other spiritual people aren’t around
A: Obedience to God when other “spiritual” people aren’t being spiritual
A: Personal attention to your spiritual welfare
A: Fearing God

Q: What makes us feel like it is other’s responsibility?
Q: What are the consequences of us looking to others as opposed to ourselves to be responsible for our own salvation?
A: Bitterness, weakness spiritually, criticalness that defiles many, lost salvation

Bottom line: God puts the responsibility to work out your salvation on you. Then when you start working, he works in you to help you live out this purpose

1 Peter 2:2-3 “ Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”

Q: What does it mean to crave?
A: To have an intense desire, Can’t wait to get it.
Q: What examples can you think of that describe craving?

Q: What is “pure spiritual milk”?
A: The bible and prayer, things that make you grow
A: Godly advice from those around you
A: Godly relationships, time with spiritual people, Christ like examples

Bottom line: What we desire, we pursue. We must cultivate an appetite for a Godly character by “tasting” the goodness of the Lord through personal bible study and imitating Godly qualities in others

1 Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

Q: What areas do people of need to mature in (hint: in this scripture)
Q: How can a person mature in speech – let’s talk practicals?
A:
Q: What is an example of immature speech?
Q: What is an example of mature speech?

Q: How can a person mature in conduct – let’s talk practicals?
A:
Q: What is an example of immature conduct?
Q: What is an example of mature conduct?

Q: How can a person mature in love – let’s talk practicals?
A:
Q: What is an example of immature love?
Q: What is an example of mature love?

Q: How can a person mature in faith – let’s talk practicals?
A:
Q: What is an example of immature faith?
Q: What is an example of mature faith?

Q: How can a person mature in purity – let’s talk practicals?
A:
Q: What is an example of immature purity?
Q: What is an example of mature purity?

How does a good or bad example affect others when they see it?

Q: Does age equal maturity?
Q: What areas do you see that you need to mature in?
Q: What practicals could a person apply to their weekly lives to ensure spiritual growth in these areas?

Philippians 1:9-11 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 for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Q: How much does prayer influence yours or others growth?
Q: What are your personal feelings towards this statement “ Your righteousness and your prayers DO make a difference”

Practicals:
1. Keep a journal for your quiet times so that you can remind yourself of the things you are learning and growing in
2. Create a prayer list or book
3. Set 2 or 3 times a week to  A. Get with someone who will make you grow B. Read 3 books by the end of the year to help you grow C. Set up 2 prayers times a week with strong christians

Other scriptures for maturity:

Hebrews 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

2 Peter 3:18 – 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

Ephesians 4:11-15 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his 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 people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. 4 Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.

6. Slander
SlanderWhat is it?
“Words falsely spoken that damage the reputation of another; to charge falsely or with malicious intent; to attack the good name and reputation of someone; an abusive attack on a person’s character or good name.”
Typical slanderous statements start with “I feel, it seems to me, some people feel, there seems to be a feeling of” non factual statements, often justified as “it’s just my opinion, aren’t I allowed to have an opinion?”

No one should be slandered, absolutely no-one not friends, leaders, politian, bosses at work, other work colleagues, sports starts, other churches, family, enemies, fallaways, we must separate sin from individual or risk alienating those we want to save.

Titus 3:1-2 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.

Jude 1:9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you! ”

Pt 1. What must be our attitude towards it?

A. Slander is wrong and God hates it and so should we, “hate it”

Leviticus 19:16-18  “ ‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people. “ ‘Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.  “ ‘Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt.  “ ‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

B. We must get rid of it in our lives.

Ephesians 4:31-32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Colossians 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

1 Peter 2:1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.

C. See it as a blessing.

Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Pt 2. What are the consequences of it in our lives?

A. Consequences of it: It will separate you from God.

Psalms 15:1-3 Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? 2 He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart 3 and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman,

B. Stop you from going to heaven.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Unchecked can lead to murder, think of Cain and Abel.

Psalms 31:13 For I hear the slander of many; there is terror on every side; they conspire against me and plot to take my life.

Slander is a characteristic of Satan, therefore it is satanic in nature, in its rawest form it is lying – giving a non truth which send you to hell.

Revelation 12:10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.

Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars –their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. ”

Read Job chapters 1 & 2

C. It will isolate you from disciples.

1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

Proverbs 30:10 “Do not slander a servant to his master, or he will curse you, and you will pay for it.

You will build bad relationships that will come back and bit you

D. It makes look like and  into a fool, and you do not see it but everyone else does.

Proverbs 10:18 He who conceals his hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool.

E. It greaves the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 4:29-32 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Pt 3. Where does it come from?

A. Our evil hearts, therefore we must take responsibility for it when we do it, there is never a justification for it .
Luke 6:45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth
speaks.

Mark 7:20-23 He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean. ’ 21 For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean. ’ ”

B. It is often a result of undealt with hurt, good hurt like from a challenge or bad hurt such as insensitivity or sin, which leads to others want you to feel pain, this is malicious slander.

Ezekiel 36:3 Therefore prophesy and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because they ravaged and hounded you from every side so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations and the object of people’s malicious talk and slander,

C. From having too much time on our hands.

1 Timothy 5:13-15 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to. 14 So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. 15 Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.

Titus 2:3-4 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children,

D. From jealousy and insecurity.Slander is often rooted in people’s pride which is insecurity in themselves, wanting to feel or look better than others in the eyes of men than they really are.

Psalms 56:2 My slanderers pursue me all day long; many are attacking me in their pride.

E. Found very commonly in the religious, but unrighteous, or just unspiritual.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self- control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

Jeremiah 9:4 “Beware of your friends; do not trust your brothers. For every brother is a deceiver, and every friend a slanderer.

Romans 3:8 Why not say–as we are being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim that we say–“Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is deserved.

Pt 4. How should we respond to it when it happens to us.

A. Slander happens to all great men and women, David was slandered by his enemies, his King, Saul, his first wife, his son Absolam, his friends.

Psalms 31:13 For I hear the slander of many; there is terror on every side; they conspire against me and plot to take my life.

Psalms 35:15 But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee; attackers gathered against me when I was unaware. They slandered me without ceasing.

Psalms 38:20 Those who repay my good with evil slander me when I pursue what is good.

Psalms 41:6 Whenever one comes to see me, he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander; then he goes out and spreads it abroad.

Even if we were perfect! It would happen as it happened to Jesus, take for example in Matthew 11:19 when he was accused of being a “glutton and a drunkard”

B. How should we respond to it?

1 Peter 2:23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

Talk to God about it, our feelings about it, have peace in the fact hat God knows the truth, we do not need to tell everyone the truth about us or defend ourselves as God knows the truth.

When it happens we should read the bible, replace untruth with truth. Use Gods word to disciple our heart and our feelings.

Psalms 119:23 Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees.

Answer kindly, we must remove our personal feelings, our hurt and not take it personally, separate the sin from the sinner.

1 Corinthians 4:13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.

1 Peter 3:8-12 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. 11 He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. ”

C. Not be friends with people who have this characteristic.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self- control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

Of course if it is a Christian who is doing it we should challenge them.

Psalms 50:20-21You speak continually against your brother and slander your own mother’s son. 21 These things you have done and I kept silent; you thought I was altogether like you. But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face.

When dealing with it in people: Dig deeper as where there is slander there is often much more sin, ask the difficult questions.

Romans 1:28-32 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God- haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

2 Corinthians 12:20 For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.

If unrepentant withdraw all fellow ship from them.

1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

Conclusion:

We must deal with the sin of slander at a heart level.
Zechariah 7:10 “In your hearts do not think evil of each other”
We must deal with slanderous thoughts in our minds, treating them as evil thoughts.
Stopping them at thought level.
We must take our spoken words very seriously.

Matthew 12:35-36 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.

The solution.

Eph 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen”

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