Thursday, August 27, 2015

Matthew 7: Notes on Relationships

Matthew 7
Notes on Relationships

RELATIONSHIPS – We must judge our own hearts, but not judge the hearts and motives of others. (v.3,4) That is God’s job through the Holy Spirit. If you’re tough on others, they’ll be tough on you. You reap what you sow. This passage is eerily reminiscent of the rule in the Old Testament of ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’.

RELATIONSHIPS - The Golden Rule simply states to treat others like you would want to be treated. (v.12) This is also a good definition of love. The whole law and prophets is summed up in this rule because they are summed up in love. When we obey God, we truly show that we love God. When we prefer others over ourselves, we show how much we love them as well.

VERSES 15-23
RELATIONSHIPS – God told us to recognize who the people in our life belong to by observing their fruit. (v.20-22) We will recognize other Christians, not by what they claim to be, but by their fruit. This does not necessarily mean fruit such as prophecy or miracles (v.22) but the fruit of knowing God and having a relationship with Him. Without this, everything else that we do doesn't really matter to Him. God calls people like this evildoers.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Exodus 7: Notes on Sin

Exodus 7
Notes on Sin

SIN - The Egyptian magicians duplicated the production of snakes as Moses and Aaron had done for God. (v.11) Their secret arts were given the credit, but we know that magic is nothing more than a trick. They were able to make others believe they were divine, though they weren’t. Sin always tries to trick us into believing it is more important and special than it really is. Only God is Divine, everything else is just an illusion; God is the real thing.

VERSES 14-24
SIN - 1). God turned all of the waters in Egypt to blood. (v.19) Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, including canals, streams, and even water in people’s personal containers. Just as sin affects every area of our lives, God changed the water to blood in every area of Egypt. We must protect our lives from sin, because when it comes in it will spread to affect every area of our lives. 2). Once again, the Egyptian magicians imitated God’s miracle. (v.22) They used their secret arts to fool the people, making them think they could do the miraculous, and proving to the people that the God of the Israelites was nothing to fear. Though they silenced Pharaoh, who returned to his palace unfazed, the people must have undoubtedly been disturbed because of the blood everywhere disrupting their lives. Sin might look like the real thing, but it’s only a mirage and it will leave us wanting more.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Ephesians 1: Notes on Worship/Passion

Ephesians 1
Notes on Worship/Passion

PASSION - Paul mentioned saints, and those who are faithful. (v.1) These two are interchangeable. A proper definition of a saint would be one who is faithful. We can’t be a saint without faithfulness, and if we're faithful, then we are saints. Faithfulness is applaudable by God.

WORSHIP - 1). Paul praised God for His blessings in Christ. (v.3) He realized that the greatest gift ever given to men was the gift of Jesus. In Jesus, all of our spiritual gifts are found. God gave Him to us, and He is worthy to be praised. 2). We can also praise God for His grace. (v.6) It is His mercy which gives us the chance to live for Him. His grace, freely given, is worthy of our praise. We should often praise God openly for His grace. 3). God revealed His mysterious will to us through Jesus. (v.9) Jesus was the total completion of God's plan to redeem us. If we ever need to know God's will for us, we can always look to Jesus. Jesus is God's message of hope for the world. He still reveals His mysterious will to us today through His Word and the Holy Spirit. 4). The first Christians were saved for the praise of God's glory. (v.12) As the first Christians in a process of millions, they hold a great distinction in God's Kingdom. Whenever a soul is first saved, it brings glory to God. We should always be willing to praise God for even one soul that is saved from hell.
PASSION - 1). He chose us to be holy and blameless. (v.4) He wanted to look upon us as pure beings. We should strive to be holy since God chose us for that purpose; it should be our pursuit in life. If we want to stay in the sight of God, we must be holy. 2). We all have a choice. (v.10) We can choose to accept God's acceptance of us through redemption, or we can submit to His Lordship at the end of time. All will recognize Him as Lord; it's just an issue of how and when. 3). The Holy Spirit guarantees our inheritance of heaven. (v.14) God will bring us home to Him and He left a piece of heaven in us to remind us. We carry the glory of God through His Spirit everywhere we go. 3). We are God's Possession. (v.14) We belong to Him and are here to do His will. Our lives should be spent in pursuit of pleasing God in all that we do.

VERSES 15-23
WORSHIP - When Paul heard about the Ephesians faith he praised God. (v.15,16) He thanked God for them and prayed for them. When we hear testimonies it should stir up praise within us for our God. Testimonies and worship go hand in hand.
PASSION - 1). Paul had heard about the Ephesians faith in God and love for the saints. (v.15) News of their devotion as Christians reached Paul. When we are on fire for God, people will talk about it and our reputation as believers will spread all around us. The true character of a Christian can be revealed in what others say about him or her. 2). Paul prayed for the Ephesians to be given wisdom and revelation. (v.17) Wisdom would be knowledge based on human research. Revelation would be knowledge based on the supernatural dimension. Both are necessary for us to grow closer to God. We are closest to God when we work as hard as we can to know Him, trusting Him to do the same. 3). Paul also prayed that the eyes of their hearts would be opened with hope. (v.18) They didn't just need head knowledge, they needed heart knowledge. They didn't just need to know the truth, they needed to feel it and experience it as well. Our emotions are also important in our quest to grow closer to God.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

2 Timothy 1: Notes on God's Plan

2 Timothy 1
Notes on God's Plan

GOD’S PLAN - We have a great promise of life in Jesus Christ. (v.2) That life is both for now and for eternity. We will have life forever in heaven with God, but we also will have a life full of purpose and meaning as long as we remain on this earth. God truly gives live abundantly through Jesus.

GOD’S PLAN - 1). Paul prayed for Timothy and laid his hands on him when he received his gift from God. (v.6) God chooses to use us in His process of giving out gifts. When we pray for others and lay our hands on them, He empowers us to empower them. We become vessels that God uses to impart His gifts in others, and His plan unfolds accordingly. 2). God gave us a powerful spirit to think and love appropriately without fear. (v.7). This is a great memory verse to remind us that we don’t need to be afraid in this world. When we face great challenges and difficulty, we can rely on the Spirit that God has put in us to make us strong, help us think straight, and do everything with excellence for Him. 3). God saved us to be holy. (v.9) We didn’t deserve salvation but He gave it to us to provide a path to heaven. When we become saved, we immediately become called to holiness. God cleans us immediately and then assigns us to live clean for Him. It’s His grace that gives us the call to holiness, not a punishment as some might see it. By staying holy, it keeps us in God’s saving grace. 4). The greatest saving grace is the work that Jesus did for us on the cross. (v.10) His death and resurrection brought to light eternal life and immortality which we can achieve through commitment to Him. He has changed our futures and our destinies by making us new. When we follow Him in suffering, we will also follow Him in glorification.