Bible Study Guide - 45 Lessons | Born Again | Gospel Of John


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Compiled by Ate Nessie

Bible Study Guide: Volume 1

Introduction A Word to the Bible Study Leaders LESSONS FOR LIVING Lesson 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Reference Title

Luke 12:13-21 Luke 19:1-10 John 4:1-30, 39-42 Luke 18:35-43 John 9:1-41 John 3:1-18

What Am I Living For? A Corrupt BIR Agent Surrenders Living Water “I Want To See!” Eyes Fully Opened The New Birth (Life): God‟s Plan For Salvation John l4:1-11 The Glorious Hope: The Way To God John 1:29-34; Hebrews 9:11-15 Lamb of God Mark 5:1-20 Jesus Frees The Demon Possessed John 10:1-18 The Christian Life: Secure With The Loving, Caring Shepherd Genesis 13:1-17 Priorities Genesis 16:1-16 Man‟s Way Vs. God‟s Way Psalm 1 The Victorious Christian Life Jonah 3 & 4 Lessons From Jonah Genesis 22:1-19 Faith And Obedience l Samuel l5:10-23 Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice Luke 5:1-11 To Know Jesus More Deeply Deuteronomy 8:11-20 Overcoming Complacency Judges l4:1-3,16:1-24 Playing With Temptation

20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42

Genesis 39:1-23 Matthew 5:21-30 Luke 15:11-32 Psalm 51 John 8:1-11 Numbers 22:1-22 Daniel 4:28-37 John 21:1-14 John 21:15-25 Revelation 2:1-5 Matthew 20:1-16 Exodus 14:10-14 Acts 12:1-19 1 Peter 1:1-9 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a 1 John 3:13-19 Luke 10:25-37 John 13:1-17 John 15:1-17 Luke 7:36-50 Luke 10:38-42 Joshua 1:1-9 John 6:1-15

43 John 1:35-51 44 Isaiah 6:1-8 45 Acts 2:40-47

Overcoming Temptation Sins Of The Mind Repentance (The Prodigal Son) Prayer Of Repentance “Does No Man Condemn You?” Our Hidden Desires God‟s Chastisement Usurping God‟s Glory Backsliding And Its Remedy The Love Commitment To Follow Christ Forever Generosity And Jealousy Fear And Anxiety What To Do In Times Of Crisis Suffering Yet Rejoicing What Is True Love? Love That Is Practical Love In Action Jesus Kneels To Love The Fruitful Life: Abiding In Christ Loving Service Hungering After Christ The Servant Vs. The Service The Man God Uses Sharing: Giving Of Our Substance Sharing Our Faith True Worship The Vibrant, Growing Church

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Bible Study Guide: Volume 1 A WORD TO THE BIBLE STUDY LEADERS 1. Principles of Bible Study: The outlines contained in this study guide are intended for use in a small group discussion setting. It uses the inductive Bible study method as follows: · Observation A careful look at what the Bible actually says. We ask questions like who, what, where, when, how, etc. · Interpretation After observing the passage carefully, we try to understand what it means. We ask questions like, “Why did he say that?”; or “What is the significance of this action?” etc. · Application: Having understood what the Bible says and what it means, we should learn how to apply it to our lives. Unless we let the Word of God affect our attitudes and our daily lives, all our efforts will have been wasted! 2. Your Use of the Guide: As a wise leader you should regard the guide as a servant, not a master. First, make the study your own, hearing God speak to you and your situation. Then prepare with the group in mind. The questions should never be used mechanically, but flexibly. They are intended to stimulate thoughtful, personal investigation of the Bible. You should feel free to adapt the questions to the group‟s level and needs. Reword them to suit your personality, using your own dialect if possible. 3. How to Lead the Bible Study: (Adapted from Neighborhood Bible Studies by M. Kunz and C. Schell) a. Have the Bible portion read silently by the group. Then have it read aloud by paragraphs. The reading aloud should be done by paragraphs, or thought units, and not verse by verse. Then discuss the questions regarding the paragraph. It is not necessary for everyone to read aloud, or for each person to read an equal amount. b. Good Bible study leaders are not lecturers or preachers. They are more like shepherds who guide their flocks to green pastures to feed for themselves. So don‟t talk too much as a leader. The discussions should move back and forth between members. c. Encourage everyone to contribute to the discussion. Ask questions like, “What do the rest of you think? “ or “Is there anything else that can be added/?” d One of your basic responsibilities as leader is to watch that this discussion is based on the text. If it is based on subjective opinion only, you could refer members back to the Bible by asking, “Where did you find that in our passage? “

e. Don‟t be afraid of pauses or periods of silence. People need time to think through the meaning of the passage. Rephrase your questions if the pause is too long. Perhaps they do not understand what you are asking. f. Watch quiet and shy members who, through their facial expression or by the way they sit, express that they have something to say. Give them a nod or call their name to encourage them to speak.

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Bible Study Guide: Volume 1 g. Discourage monopoly of the discussion by one or two talkative members by specifically directing the questions to other members of the group. h. Throughout the study seek to maintain an atmosphere of love and openness, expectancy to learn from God, and humility to learn from each other. At the end it is good to give a short, clear conclusion, summarizing the message of the passage and its relevance to the group. 4. Prayer Throughout: Do not presume upon God‟s help, even though it is true that He is more eager than we that we understand His Word. Prayer opens up our lives to Him personally and directly. Prayer for our friends helps to bring divine wisdom in how to relate and communicate Jesus Christ to them.

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Lesson 1: What Am I Living For?

Luke 12:13-21 Research before the Bible study: One week before the scheduled Bible study, assign each of your group members to ask somebody the question “What are you living for? “ Aim for thoughtful answers. At the Bible study, the members report. Then the whole group studies Luke 12:13-21. Compare the teachings of Scripture with the answers of the researchers; look for conflicts and agreements. Bible Readings Luke 12:13 Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” 15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one‟s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” 16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 “And he thought within himself, saying, „What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?‟ 18 “So he said, „I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 „And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid

up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”‟ 20 “But God said to him, „Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?‟ 21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. The Love Of Money (vv. 13-20) 1. What is the practical problem this passage begins with? Do you know of family problems over money? In what way was the attitude of this man wrong? 2. In the parable, what was the rich man living for? What did he think was his security in life? What was the wonderful future he dreamed of? 3. What are some of our securities? (job, friends, families . . . ) Are they really secure? Why or why not? What are we striving for in our lives? 4. How did God evaluate the rich man‟s achievements and values? What was his future in God‟s eyes? Imagine yourself to be the rich man. You have worked so hard and accumulated so much. You feel so secure. Now comes God‟s judgment. How do you feel? What are your thoughts? How does knowing this in advance affect the direction of your life from here on?

B. The Right Reason For Riches (vv. 15-21) 1. Is it wrong to accumulate wealth and be rich? When is it

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Lesson 1: What Am I Living For? wrong and when is it not? (Notice that the rich man in the parable was condemned not because he accumulated wealth, but because of the reason he accumulated wealth [v. 19]. In other words, it is wrong for a person to accumulate wealth for himself only and to think that possessions are all that matter.) From verses 17-19, write down every “I”, “me”, “my”, etc. to discover what the rich man was living for. How then should we regard possessions” 2. What key principles did Jesus lay down in verses 15 and 21? What does “rich toward God” in verse 21 mean? 3. How can a person “live for God”? What does it mean and what does it involve? Sometimes we say that we are living for God, but our actions show otherwise. REFLECTION 1. Do I spend most of my time and energy accumulating money/ honor/position for myself? 2. What occupies my mind more often. God and how I can please Him, or myself and my problems and needs? CONCLUSION Today‟s world measures man‟s success by the amount of money he earns or possesses. For this reason, possessions and how to accumulate even more—have become an overpowering priority in place of pleasing God. May we, as modern Christians, be found and called “rich toward God” rather than later be condemned by Christ as “rich fools.”

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Lesson 2: A Corrupt BIR Agent Surrenders

Luke 19:1-10 If a person truly encounters Jesus, he can never be the same again. Today we will study just such an encounter. Bible Readings Luke 19:1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. 7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a „sinner.‟” 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (NIV)

DISCUSSION A. Zacchaeus - The Despised Tax Collector (vv. 1-7) 1. Describe Zacchaeus, looking for clues in w. 1-7. 2. Why would Zacchaeus want to see Jesus? What dissatisfaction and longings would such a man as Zacchaeus be likely to have? We may not be tax collectors like Zacchaeus. But in what ways do we cheat people? In what ways do we cheat God? 3. How did Zacchaeus show his eagerness to see Jesus? (He ran ahead, climbed, watched - w. 4, 5) Are we just as eager to see Jesus? How do we show our eagerness? 4. Zacchaeus overcame hindrances in his desire to draw near to God. What hindrances do we meet in our desire to draw near to God? What have we done -to overcome those hindrances? B. Jesus - Lover Of The Despised (vv. 5-7) 1. What did Jesus do when He saw Zacchaeus? (Paid attention to Zacchaeus. Called him by name.) What does Jesus‟ reaction teach us about God and the way He relates to us? (God knows us intimately by name. We cannot hide anything from Him. He is never too busy to give us personal attention.) 2. Why did Jesus seem to intrude so boldly into Zacchaeus life? Do you think he saw a deep need in Zacchaeus? What was that need? In Jeremiah 29:13 God made a promise. How is that promise fulfilled in Zacchaeus‟ life? 3. How do we usually treat people who are “sinners” and despised? (v. 7) How does it contrast with the way Jesus treated Zacchaeus? (vv. 5-10)

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Lesson 2: A Corrupt BIR Agent Surrenders Zacchaeus did. C. Zacchaeus - The Repentant Cheat (vv. 8-10) An interval of time obviously passed between verses 7 and 8, when Jesus explained to Zacchaeus how he and his family could be saved. 1. What was the change in Zacchaeus after meeting Jesus? Was the change primarily external or internal? Why? 2. How did Jesus describe Zacchaeus‟ changed situation? (Zacchaeus was saved.) What is “salvation” in verse 9? Is it only for the distant future, or also for the here and now? (Note verse 9, “Today salvation .. .”) How can we experience it? (See Lesson No. 6 of this study guide - The New Birth.) 3. Is it possible for a man who is saved to remain basically unchanged? Why? REFLECTION 1. Have I encountered Jesus in my life? 2. Has my life changed as a result? 3. As I grow to know Jesus more fully, has my life continued to change, or has it become stagnant? CONCLUSION It is amazing how much we can learn from a passage which at first looks very simple. Today we have seen what happened when a man who was eagerly seeking, encountered Jesus. Although Zacchaeus was burdened with sin and despised by the people, Jesus loved him, accepted him spent time with him and saved him. Zacchaeus received Jesus joyfully and was dramatically changed. May all of us respond to Jesus like

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Lesson 3: Living Water

John 4:1-30, 39-42 BACKGROUND: The pureblooded Jews despised the Samaritans whose Jewish ancestors had intermarried with foreigners about 700 years before, thus deviating culturally and religiously. In other words, the Samaritans were “mestizos” looked down upon by the Jews. Samaria lay between Judea and Galilee, and orthodox Jews took a longer detour across the Jordan River to avoid “contamination” with Samaritans. Bible Readings John 4:1 Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), 3 He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. 4 But He needed to go through Samaria. 5 So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob‟s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of

God, and who it is who says to you, „Give Me a drink,‟ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 “Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” 13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” 15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, „I have no husband,‟ 18 “for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” 19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the

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Lesson 3: Living Water Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” 27 And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?” 28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him. (NKJ) John 4:39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His own word. 42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. Overcoming The Barriers (vv. 1-9) 1. What did Jesus do when He sat down at the well and the Samaritan woman came? 2. What barriers or prejudices did Jesus overcome by starting a conversation with her? a. Racial - Jews vs. Samaritans b. Social - respectable teacher vs. adulterous woman c. Religious - Jews and Samaritans have different beliefs. 3. How do we apply Jesus‟ example in our lives? (Christians should not have prejudices. We should not hesitate to be friends with people whose beliefs, customs and way of life are very different from ours.) B. The Living Water (vv. 10-20) 1. How did Jesus, step by step, cause the woman‟s attitude to change? In verses 10-15, Jesus spoke of the living water. To understand what this means, let us draw an analogy from ordinary water. Why do we drink water? (To quench our physical thirst.) In our lives, we also thirst or look for many things. What are the things people usually thirst for? (Money, power, friends . . .) Assuming that they get what they want, does it quench their thirst? (Man is never satisfied. For example, if he wants to have P10,000.00, after he gets it, he will next want P100,000.00. After he gets that, he will want still more.) Why is man this way, and how does the living water resolve this? Man has a basic need. He may not know what it is, but the need is there and he feels it. Some think it can be satisfied by earning more money, or fame, or power, or education, etc. But after having these, they still feel their need has not been satisfied. Hence people like Marilyn Monroe, who had money, fame, etc. committed suicide. Man cannot really be satisfied until he finds God. It is because man, whom God created in His likeness, was made to enjoy God‟s company.

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Lesson 3: Living Water When man sinned (rebelled against God) he was separated from God and became the enemy of God. He became spiritually dead. Hence man is now not complete. He is not what he was meant to be. Hence his basic need. Cure: The living water. (To be reconciled to God, through Jesus). Did the woman understand what Jesus meant, at this point? How did Jesus explain it to her? (vv. 13,14). 3. Why did Jesus bring up the matter of husband? (v. 16) (Because before a person can drink of the living water, his sins have to be acknowledged and dealt with.) 4. Why do you think this woman had 5 husbands? Is there any relationship between this fact and the need for the living water that Jesus was speaking of? (vv. 17-18) (Her having 5 husbands shows that she had a need which she could not satisfy. She kept on changing husbands in the hope that she would eventually find someone who could satisfy her. What she really needed was the living water.) 5. What is the significance of the woman‟s statement in verse 19? (This is the first step in her awareness of who Jesus is. She now knows He is more than just a man.) C. Revealing His Identity (vv. 21-30) 1. Here Jesus explained what true worship is (vv. 21-23). What is the meaning of worshipping the Father “in spirit and in truth”? (The place and form of worship are really not so important. It is the essence of worship that counts. We should know God personally in order to worship Him in spirit. We should worship Him in truth, and not put on a show to let people think how pious we are. As long as a certain form of worship helps us to worship God better, it is good. Some other forms may be helpful to others. We as Christians should try to appreciate the beauty and relevance of our form of worship so that we can truly worship God in spirit and in truth.) 2. The woman seemed well versed in religious matters (vv. 25-26). In verse 12 she mentioned Jacob; in verse 20 she discussed wors=2; in verse 25 she mentioned the Messiah (the Christ). (“Messiah” was the Hebrew title given to the Savior whose coming was promised by the Hebrew prophets. The Greek word “the Christ” has the same meaning.) Although all along Jesus had been speaking with her, she did not yet recognize Him as the Christ. What lesson can we learn from this? (Many of us are well versed in religious matters. Many of us have attended church services since childhood and taken catechism classes. But do we really know Jesus? Have we partaken of the living water? Can we share Jesus with others?) 3. It is strange for a woman of bad repute to go to the city and declare to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did” (vv. 28-30). Why did she do it? (Her experience of meeting Christ was of such importance that she could not keep it to herself. Her natural desire was to share it with others.) D. Result Of The Woman’s Testimony (vv. 39-42) 1. What was the result of the woman‟s testimony? a. The Samaritans came out to see and hear Jesus. b. Many believed because of her testimony. c. Many more believed because of Jesus‟ own words. (Note that they could not have heard Jesus‟ own words if the woman had not aroused their interest.) 2. How do we apply verse 42 to ourselves? Many of us may believe in Jesus because of what our priests/pastors say, or

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Lesson 3: Living Water because of what our Christian friends say. But we should proceed from there and meet Jesus personally. We should talk with Him ourselves, hear Him ourselves, accept Him as our Christ, our Savior and Lord. 3. Are we bearing witness to Christ? Have other people come to know Him through our witness? CONCLUSION All of us thirst for the living water. Jesus Christ Himself is the living water. Our thirst will never be satisfied until we let Jesus come into our lives and transform us.

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Lesson 4: I Want to See!

Lesson 4: “I WANT TO SEE!”
Luke 18: 35-43 Many of us feel lost in this world, finding no meaning or direction in our life. Somehow, we know that there must be more to life, but cannot “see” what it is. Today we will study why we feel this way and how we can really “see.” Bible Readings Luke 18:35 Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging. 36 And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant. 37 So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. 38 And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, 41 saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And he said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.” 42 Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God. (NKJ) DISCUSSION

A. The Blind Man Looks For Jesus (vv. 35-39) 1. What did the blind man do when he heard Jesus was passing Why do you think the blind man called out to Jesus? a. He knew He was blind. b. He wanted to see. c. He knew Jesus could heal him. d. He believed Jesus would heal him (v. 42). 2. Do you think this is the first time the blind man heard of Jesus? Why? (He must have heard of Jesus before, of how Jesus healed many people. That is why he cried out to Jesus for mercy.) The blind man‟s cry was for mercy. What is mercy? Why did the blind man need it? 3. Most of us take our sight for granted. Let us spend some time to consider what it means to see. Ask each of your group members to cite one difference between a blind man and one who sees. Although we may not be physically blind, we may be so, spiritually speaking. What is spiritual blindness? How did we get to be spiritually blind? How did it become a problem/dilemma for us? Compare spiritual blindness with physical blindness. What similar effects are present when our spiritual eyes are opened? PHYSICAL a. See the wonders of God‟s creation. b. Become sensitive to light. c. If we have dirt on us we become aware that we are dirty. d. Know people more fully. In addition to hearing and touching them, we can see what they are like and do things with them which a blind person cannot (like running together, etc.).

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Lesson 4: I Want to See! e. Be a guide to other blind people. SPIRITUAL a. Become aware of the greatness and majesty of God. As a result, we learn to worship God. b. Become sensitive to the leadings of the Holy Spirit. c. Become aware of our sinfulness. d. Know God more fully. Be fore, we only used to hear people talk about God. Now we can “see” Him, know Him, experience Him, do things with Him. e. Share the Good News of God with other people. B. Eye Contact With Jesus (vv. 39-43) 1. As discussed earlier, several reasons prompted the blind man to call out to Jesus. (Review answers to question 1.) Let us apply them to ourselves in the spiritual sense. Why is each factor important for our eyes to be opened? a. We must know/acknowledge that we are spiritually blind. Some people never admit that they are blind. That is why they cannot be healed. b. We must want to see. Some people know that they are blind, but prefer to stay that way. c. Unless we truly believe Jesus can heal us, we will not cry out to Him. d. Unless we believe Jesus will heal us, we will also not cry out. 2. What did the people around the blind man try to do? (v. 39) (Prevent him from getting to Jesus.) What did the blind man do then? (He persisted and finally was healed.) How does this also happen in our case? What should be our reaction to hindrances? (In our search for God, some people may try to hinder us our friends, family, etc. But if we are earnest in our search, if we persist and cry out to Jesus, He hears us and heals us. Also, note that Jesus „stopped‟ for this blind man. He found time for him, as He has always stopped for every sinner who is willing to come to Him. No one is too insignificant for Him; no burden of ours is too trivial for Him.) REFLECTION 1. Am I spiritually blind? 2. Do I want to see? 3. Have I cried out to Jesus? CONCLUSION When we come to Jesus and cry out earnestly to Him, He heals our spiritual blindness so that we can truly “see.”

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Lesson 5: Eyes Fully Opened

John 9: 1-41 Any of us blind? “Not I,” you say. Don‟t be too sure. Blindness can have more than one meaning. Today we will study an encounter of a blind man with Jesus and see how his healing can be ours too. Bible Readings John 9:1 Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. 4 “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. 5 “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. 7 And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing. 8 Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?” 9 Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.” He said, “I am he.” 10 Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and

anointed my eyes and said to me, „Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.‟ So I went and washed, and I received sight.” 12 Then they said to him, “Where is He?” He said, “I do not know.” 13 They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. 14 Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 They said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.” 18 But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. 19 And they asked them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 “but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” 24 So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.”

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Lesson 5: Eyes Fully Opened 25 He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?” 28 Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses‟ disciples. 29 “We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.” 30 The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! 31 “Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. 32 “Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. 33 “If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.” 34 They answered and said to him, “You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?” And they cast him out. 35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” 36 He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” 37 And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.” 38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshipped Him. 39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.” 40 Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, „We see.‟ Therefore your sin remains. (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. The Setting (vv. 1-5) 1. What did Jesus mean when He said He is the light of the world in verse 5? Why does the world need “light”? In what ways is the world in darkness? (sin, ignorance of spiritual truth) In verse 5, Jesus says, “But while I am still here in the world, I give it my light.” Now that He is no longer in the world, does it mean the world has no more light? (We Christians have the responsibility of being the “light of the world,” Matthew 5:14.) B. The Healing (vv. 6-12) 1. Why did Jesus go to the trouble of mixing mud and spittle and asking the blind man to go and wash? Could He not heal him by saying a word? (Jesus wanted to test his faith and obedience.) 2. What is the significance of Jesus using mud and spittle, which are seemingly worthless, to heal a man‟s eyes? (Jesus can use the most ordinary and worthless thing to do wondrous things.) Application: Do you often feel you have no special talent? Do you feel you don‟t have the ability to communicate Jesus to others? If you are willing to place yourself in Jesus‟ hands, He can do wondrous things through you. 3. What was the “suit of &e blind man‟s faith and obedience? 4. Let us see what effects the healing had on the formerly

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Lesson 5: Eyes Fully Opened blind man himself and his neighbors. a. What reactions did his neighbors have? (They noticed he was changed. They wanted to know how it happened.) b. What reactions did he himself have? (He knew it too and admitted it.) Application: Blindness here can have a two-fold meaning: physical blindness and spiritual blindness. (1) What is spiritual blindness” Are your spiritual eyes opened? Do you notice the change in yourself? (2) When you receive Jesus into your heart, is it possible to have no change in your life? What will the effects be on yourself and on your friends? (Your friends will surely notice the difference, and you yourself will know that Jesus is in you.) C. The Pharisees’ Reaction (vv. 13-23) 1. What reactions did the Pharisees have? When they investigated, did they really want to know the truth, or did they have other motives? Why were they always trying to find fault with Jesus? 2. Why did the healed man‟s parents not dare speak the truth? (v. 22) Application: In what ways are we like the healed man‟s parents? (Often we are afraid to bear witness to Jesus among our friends, for fear of being considered “queer” and ostracized.) D. The Second Confrontation (vv. 24-34) 1. Since the Pharisees were so authoritative and much more educated than the healed man, why was the healed man so courageous in arguing with the Pharisees? (Because he had the experience of personally being healed by Jesus). Application: How do we apply the above in our lives? (In our conversation with others regarding spiritual matters, there may be many theological questions which we may not know how to answer. But if we have personally received Jesus into our lives, if we have experienced His love and Spirit in our lives, then we can bear witness to that fact. If and when some of us go to college, and if some professor who appears to be very learned and authoritative ridicules our faith, we can always stand on solid ground by pointing to our personal experience with Jesus.) 2. Contrast the answer of the healed man with that of his parents. What caused the difference? (His parents did not dare tell the Pharisees what really happened because they were afraid and the experience to them was “secondhand,” while to the healed man it was a “first-hand” experience.) Application: In our spiritual lives, what is a “first-hand” experience and what is “second-hand”? (Some of us may go to church only because our parents or friends want us to go. They may be real Christians but our association with Christ through them is only a second-hand experience. We need to receive Jesus into our own hearts to have a first-hand experience.) 3. Although the healed man gave a courageous testimony about Jesus, what happened to him? (v. 34) What do we learn from this? (Real Christians are often persecuted.) E. Eyes Fully Opened (vv. 35-41) 1. Why did Jesus come and look for the healed man? a. Concern for his well being. b. To fully open his spiritual eyes. 2. Trace the various stages of the man‟s understanding of who

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Lesson 5: Eyes Fully Opened Jesus was from verses 11,17, 38. (A “man”, a “prophet”, and “Lord.”) What is the significance of this, and how does it apply in our lives? (It shows that the man was progressing in his knowledge of Jesus. For us, it is also natural that we pass through several stages in our knowledge of Jesus. Each of us should ask ourselves in what stage we are, and whether our knowledge of Him is still growing.) 3. Verse 39 seems difficult to understand at first glance, but it is really the key to the whole passage we are studying today. What does verse 39 mean? (It means those who admit that they are blind will be healed by Jesus just as the blind man was healed. But those whose spiritual eyes are blind but do not admit it and still claim that they can see (like the Pharisees), will remain blind. Hence verses 40 and 41.) 4. After our spiritual eyes are opened, is it still possible for our sight to be impaired? If so, what are the causes? a. spiritual pride b. non-use of our spiritual eyes c. sin in our hearts CONCLUSION Today we see the encounter of Jesus with a blind man. The “blindness‟ can have a two fold meaning—physical and spiritual. And though none of us may be blind in the physical sense, it is important to examine ourselves to see if our spiritual eyes have been fully opened by Jesus.

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Lesson 6: The New Birth: God‟s Plan for Salvation

Lesson 6: THE NEW BIRTH (LIFE): God’s Plan For Salvation
John 3: 1-18 One of the most basic truths of the Christian faith involves “salvation” and being “born again.” Sometimes one uses these terms without fully understanding their meaning. Today we will study a passage that helps us understand better. Bible Readings John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother‟s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 “Do not marvel that I said to you, „You must be born again.‟ 8 “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So Page 6 - 1

is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?” (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. The New Birth (or Being “Born Again”) (vv. 1-7) 1. When Jesus was conversing with the Jewish religious leader Nicodemus, He said unless a person is born again, he cannot get into the Kingdom of God (v. 3). What is meant by “born again”? (During our first birth, we were born with a physical body with its old nature. We need to have a new birth, so that God‟s life, God‟s nature will be in us). Why do we need this new birth? This new nature? (For us to understand the contrast between the two kinds of nature, let us look at a pig and a cat. It is a pig‟s nature to like to be dirty. Even if we give it a bath, pretty soon it wallows in mud again. On the other hand, it is a cat‟s nature to like to be clean. A cat is constantly washing itself with its tongue. If it accidentally gets dirty it will stop and clean itself at once. So a pig and a cat behave differently because they have different natures. Looking at ourselves, we were born with a sinful nature. There are many things which we know are wrong, yet we still do them (like lying, cheating, hating, etc.). We do not have the power not to do them. Sometimes we resolve to change for the better, specially during New Year‟s day, but after a few days we are back to our old selves. This is because of our sinful nature. When the first man, Adam, sinned (disobeyed God), his nature became corrupted and sinful. We inherited this sinful nature and have been following our own ways, our own desires, which actually are controlled by Satan. The only way to change all this is to be born again into a new kind of life - the life

Lesson 6: The New Birth: God‟s Plan for Salvation of God.) 2. How can one be “born again”? a. Born of water and the Spirit (v. 5) (The Holy Spirit is the one that initiates our new birth, not something we can do by ourselves). b. Believe . . . and have eternal life (v. 16) c. Receive . . . to become children of God (John 1:12) NOTE: “Believe” here does not only mean mentally saying, “It is true.” (Satan also believes Jesus is the Son of God, but obviously he is not saved.) It is believing in Jesus with all our heart, repenting of our sins and receiving Him as Savior and Lord. We turn over our lives to Jesus Christ to control. The center of our lives is no longer ourselves, but God. 3. Sometimes we meet non-Christians who live better lives than Christians. Do they need to be saved also? Yes. None of us are perfect in God‟s sight. Since God‟s standard is perfection, none of us are acceptable in God‟s sight. Illustration. Suppose all of us are required to swim from Manila to Cavite. Some jump off the seawall and sink right away. Some may reach halfway, and then sink. Some may even nearly reach Cavite, but 10 meters before reaching shore, run out of strength and sink also. So none of us reach Cavite. In the same way, none of us reach God‟s standard, even though some may live very good lives (say 95% good). The reason Christians are acceptable in God‟s sight is because Jesus Christ is perfect and we come to God through Jesus Christ. (In our illustration we can reach Cavite if carried on the back of an Olympic swimmer.) B. The Working Of The Holy Spirit (vv. 8-12) 1. What major point did Jesus illustrate in talking about the wind in verse 8? (We may not know where the wind comes from or where it is going, but we can hear it, and see its effect on things. Similarly, we may not fully understand hors the Holy Spirit gives us the new birth, but we know he does it, by observing its effect on people.) 2. What simple thing did Jesus want Nicodemus to do in verses 11 and 12? (Accept . . . believe). Are you willing to accept Jesus and believe His words? Verses 13-16 give several reasons for taking that step. C. Why We Believe In Jesus (vv. 13-18) How could Jesus demand the faith and confidence of Nicodemus or of any other person? Think about this as you make a list of everything, which verses 13-16, tells us about Jesus. a. Jesus came down from heaven (v. 13), so He is qualified to tell us of heavenly matters. b. Verse 14 refers to an incident recorded in Numbers 21:4-9. Jesus‟ explanation and reference to Himself through this illustration speaks about the totality of His work: God becomes man, dies on a cross and is raised again. Thus Jesus‟ death on the cross brings about the reconciliation between man and God. Anyone who looks to Jesus by faith can be cured of the deadly disease of sm. c. Verse 16 is an excellent synthesis of the Gospel. What does it say regarding God? Regarding Jesus? Regarding you?

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Lesson 6: The New Birth: God‟s Plan for Salvation REFLECTION Do I want to have the Spirit act in my life? Do I want to be born anew? CONCLUSION The apostle Paul explains the meaning of the new birth in these words: “Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come! ... for our sake He (God) made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:17, 21).

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Lesson 7: The Glorious Hope: The Way to God

Lesson 7: THE GLORIOUS HOPE: The Way To God
John 14: 1-11 BACKGROUND: Time and place where conversation took place: During the Last Supper, before the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus by the soldiers. In John 13:21 Jesus said one of the disciples would betray him. In verse 33 He said He was going away, to a place where the disciples could not yet go. Hence chapter 14 verse 1 where He said, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” Bible Readings John 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 “In My Father‟s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 “And where I go you know, and the way you know.” 5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. 7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” 8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Page 7 - 1

9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, „Show us the Father‟? 10 “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11 “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. Heaven (vv. 1-4) 1. What is the place that Jesus is referring to in v. 2? 2. What is your idea of heaven? (Let several members give their idea of what they think heaven is.) 3. What do we learn about heaven from this passage? a. “Many homes” or “rooms” (big enough for all Christians) (v. 2) b. Specially prepared for us by our Lord (v. 2). c. God is there, and we will always be with Him (v. 3). 4. Will we be happy the”? How do you know you will be happy them? If you do not enjoy living with Jesus here on earth; if you do not enjoy praying and “acing the Bible and worshipping Him, do you think you will be happy living with Him in heaven? (NOTE: For those who really do not enjoy praying and reading the Bible, but would like to know how, please see Lesson 13 of this study guide.) 5. What promise did Jesus make to His disciples in v. 3? REFLECTION 1. Are you happy living with Jesus he” on earth? Do you really think you will enjoy being in heaven? 2. Do you really believe Jesus is coming again?

Lesson 7: The Glorious Hope: The Way to God Do you look forward to His coming again? What preparations have you made for His Second Coming? B. Jesus Is the Way, the Truth and the Life (vv. 5-6) 1. Thomas was an apostle of Jesus and had been following Jesus for three full years. How was it that he still did not know where Jesus was going and the way there? Was his question answered? Application: a. In what way are we like Thomas? (Many of us call ourselves Christians from early childhood onwards. We go to church regularly. But many of us really know so little about basic spiritual truths.) b. In what way can we learn from Thomas? (He was not ashamed to ask when he did not understand. Likewise we should not pretend we know everything. His questions were answered by our Lord in person. Our questions will be answered through His Word—the Bible. That is why we are having Bible studies.) 2. What did Jesus mean when He said He is the way? Why did He not say „l will show you the way”? Why did He not say „I am one of the ways to heaven”? Why did He say, “No one comes to the Father except through me”? (Since Jesus comes from the Father, He is the only one who can bring us back to the Father. Since Jesus is the one who died for our sins, it is only through Him that our sins are forgiven, that we can be holy and acceptable in the sight of the Father.) Nowadays many people are saying that all religions are essentially the same that they lead to the same God. How do we refute this kind of statement? 3. What did Jesus mean when he said He is the truth? How is this statement relevant in the light of present confusion regarding different moral standards, different ideologies, different goals, etc.? 4. What did Jesus mean when He said He is the life? Are we not already alive, even without Jesus? What is “everlasting life”? If it means that we will be resurrected, does it mean non-Christians will not be resurrected? What is the difference? To understand all of this we should understand what death is. What is death? (Death means separation. When we die physically, our soul is separated from our body. Spiritual death means our soul is separated from God, who is the source of life. We are like a plant, which has been uprooted. When God created man, His plan was for man to love Him and enjoy His presence. But man sinned and rebelled against God. Hence he was cast out from God‟s presence, meaning, he became spiritually dead. But man is not meant to be separated from God. Man is now incomplete—hence his feelings of emptiness and aimlessness. But God still loves us and has provided a way for us to come back to Him. That is through accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Then we become spiritually alive again. Jesus now lives in us. That is why Jesus said He is the Life.) C. Knowing God (vv. 7-l 1) 1. Why did Jesus say, “If you know me, you know the

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Lesson 7: The Glorious Hope: The Way to God Father”? In what way can we know Cod? (Our human minds are very limited. How can we, the creature, comprehend God, the Creator? Is it not through seeing and hearing, and then understanding from what we see and hear? We “see” the Father and “know” the Father by seeing what Jesus did—healing the sick, teaching people, dying for people; hearing what Jesus said—as recorded in the Bible. Moreover, we know Him by interacting with Him personally.) 2. How can we know for sure that Jesus‟ claim that He represents the Father is authentic? (v 11 ) REFLECTION 1. Has Jesus manifested Himself to me personally? 2. Do I have a living relationship with Him? CONCLUSION Our Lord gives us a glorious hope. He has prepared heaven for us, and will be coming back to bring us there. He can do so because He is the way, the truth and the life.

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Lesson 8: Lamb of God

Lesson 8: LAMB OF GOD
John 1: 29-34; Hebrews 9:11-15 During the Holy Communion service we often hear the phrase: “Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world ....” Many don‟t know what it means. Today we are going to study a portion of Scripture, which lets us understand its meaning. BACKGROUND: In Old Testament Times, when an Israelite sinned, and repented of it, he offered a lamb as a sacrifice to take away his sins. Bible Readings John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 “This is He of whom I said, „After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.‟ 31 “I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.” 32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33 “I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, „Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.‟ 34 “And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” Hebrews 9:11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good

things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. What does “Lamb of God” Means 1. What testimonies regarding Jesus did John give? (vv. 29,30,33,34) 2. What is the meaning of Jesus being the “Lamb of God”? Read Hebrews 9:11-15. (The blood of a lamb in Old Testament times could not really take away the sins of man. It only represented „ -_ Christ, the perfect Lamb of God, who came to die for our sins.) 3. Why was the sacrifice necessary? What is the effect of our sins? (Our sins cause us to be separated from God; they make us spiritually dead - Romans 6:23, enslaved to Satan. That is why we need Jesus Christ to pay the penalty of sin on our behalf to free us from the effects of our sins.)

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Lesson 8: Lamb of God B. The Only Qualified Sacrifice 1. What qualified Jesus to be the Lamb of God? Suppose I am willing to die for your sins, would I be qualified? (No, because I have to die for my own sins, so I cannot die for somebody else. Jesus was sinless, and He was willing to die to take our place.) 2. Since Jesus came to die for all men, are all our sins automatically forgiven? How then can we receive the forgiveness of sin? (We need to confess our sins to God before He can forgive us. See 1 John 1:9.) 3. What does it mean to you that Jesus not only forgives your sins but also takes them away? (We often hear the saying, “I will forgive you, but I will not forget the offense.” That is not true forgiveness. When God forgives us, He also forgets. Jesus has already taken our sins away.) APPLICATION 1. Have your sins been taken away by the Lamb of God? 2. When you partake of Holy Communion, where or on what is your attention focused—the wafer and wines or the Body which was broken for you and the blood which was shed for you? And the reason why His body had to be broken and his blood sheds Does His love overwhelm you? 3. Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” How can we share this love? a. We should love others the way Christ loves us. Give examples. b. We should let others know God loves them this way— which in effect is evangelism. CONCLUSION Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He gave His own life as a sacrifice so that we can be reconciled to God.

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Lesson 9: Jesus Frees the Demon Possessed

Mark 5: 1-20 Demon possession is a subject that is troubling many Christians nowadays. A lot of confusion and fear surrounds the subject. Many questions are being asked, such as: Are there really demons? If a person is possessed by demons, is his condition hopeless? If not, how can he be healed? What should be our attitude towards fortune-tellers, spiritistas, mediums etc.? Is it harmful for us to visit them? Is it harmful for us to play “Spirit of the Glass”? Today, we are going to study a case history of demon possession, and will find the answers to the above questions. Read Mark 5:1-20 Bible Readings Mark 5:1 Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles Page 9 - 1

broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. 7 And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.” 8 For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” 9 Then He asked him, “What is your name?” And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 10 Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country. 11 Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. 12 So all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.” 13 And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea. 14 So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. 15 Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 16 And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. 17 Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region. 18 And when He got into the boat, he who had been demonpossessed begged Him that he might be with Him. 19 However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go

Lesson 9: Jesus Frees the Demon Possessed home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” 20 And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled. (NKJV) DISCUSSION A. Reality Of Satan’s Power (vv. 1-5) 1. What are the characteristics of the demon-possessed man? a. Had extraordinary strength (v. 4) (shows Satan‟s power) b. Wandered day and night among the tombs (v. 5) (lonely, aimless) c. Screaming (v. 5) (sad, in despair) d. Cutting himself (v. 5) (reflection of struggle and conflict within his heart, resulting in self-destruction.) 2. What are the contrasts between a demon-possessed man and one who is filled with the Holy Spirit? a. Lonely and aimless versus fullness of life in Jesus, and having purpose in life. b. Sadness and despair versus joy. c. Inner conflict versus inner peace. Application: All of us are influenced to some extent by either demons or the Holy Spirit. Rarely do we meet a man who is totally possessed by demons or totally filled with the Holy Spirit. Most of us are somewhere in between. As you reflect on the above characteristics, ask yourselves this question: Am I influenced more by demons or by the Holy Spirit? B. Reality Of Jesus’ Power (vv. 6-13) 1. Was the man‟s condition hopeless? What were his reactions when he saw Jesus? (v. 6) (Although the man was possessed by demons, he longed for deliverance. [Conflict again!] So he saw Jesus, ran to meet Him [shows eagerness], fell down and worshipped Jesus [shows humility and reverence]). 2. Did the demons inside him like it? What was their reaction? (v. 7) 3. Why did the demons have to beg Jesus? (Shows Jesus has power and authority over demons) 4. Did Jesus succeed in casting out the demons? Application: a. Should we fear the demons? (We should realize that demons are powerful, and that we should not play around with them. In that sense we should fear them. But we should not have an obsessive fear of demons thinking that nothing in the world can stand up to the power of the Devil. Our Lord is more powerful than the Devil, and can keep us safely in His arms.) b. What should be our attitude towards fortune-tellers, spiritistas, mediums, etc. or playing “Spirit of the Glass”? (We should never visit them nor play any game associated with the Devil. Read Deuteronomy 18:10-12. If we violate this clear cut command from the Bible, we will have to suffer its consequences - being more and more influenced by the Devil.) c. What should we do with a man who is possessed by demons? (Cast out the demons by the name of Jesus. But again, we should not do this lightly. Read Acts 19:13-16. Not all Christians are empowered by Jesus to cast out demons by His name. It should be one who has been walking closely with Jesus in his daily life. After much

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Lesson 9: Jesus Frees the Demon Possessed prayer, confession, maybe fasting, and after he is clearly led by the Holy Spirit to go and cast out the demons, he should do so.) C. Different Responses To Jesus (vv. 14-20) 1. What changes had come to the man? 2. What were the reactions of the herdsmen and townspeople? (vv. 14,15) 3. Why were the people frightened and why did they ask Jesus to go away? (It may have been a combination of the following: a. They had just lost a herd of pigs. If Jesus stayed around, they might lose other things too. So they valued their possessions more than Jesus. b. They may not have wanted to change their old ways. They knew that accepting Jesus meant changing their lives.) Application: In what ways are we like the herdsmen and townspeople? (Oftentimes we want God to leave us alone. We don‟t want Him to interfere with our lives. We feel God might want us to give up this thing or that thing, do this or that, alter our system of priorities. In other words, we want ourselves and not God to run our lives.) 4. After they asked Jesus to leave them alone, what did Jesus do? (Left them alone!) What lesson can we learn from this? (Someone has commented that God is a “gentleman.” He will never force His way into our hearts if we don‟t want Him. How true! Rut it is we who are the losers if we react this way.) 5 What was the natural desire of the man who was healed by Jesus? What did Jesus tell him to do instead? Did the man obey? What is the characteristic of a man who truly accepts Christ? (Obedience) What was the result of this man‟s obedience? (God was glorified ) CONCLUSION Jesus is more powerful than demons. He is able to free any person possessed by demons if that person comes to Him for deliverance. Let us have nothing to do with Satan and his cohorts, but stay firmly by the side of our Lord.

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Lesson 10: The Christian Life: Secure with the Loving, Caring Shepherd

Lesson 10: THE CHRISTIAN LIFE: Secure With the Loving, Caring Shepherd
John 10: 1-18 The deepest needs of man today show in his insecurity, fear and loneliness. The reason man is always trying to earn more money, win more friends, etc. is because of these basic needs. Christians don‟t have to be caught in this “rat race.” Today‟s passage shows how this problem is solved, and paints a beautiful picture of the Christian life: secure with the loving, caring Shepherd. Bible Readings John 10:1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 “But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 “And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 “Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. 7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.

8 “All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 “But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 “The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 “As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. 17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. Cared For By A Loving Shepherd (vv. 1-15) 1. How did Jesus describe the relationship between the shepherd and his sheep? a. The shepherd calls his sheep by name (v. 3) (knows each one individually). See also v. 14.

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Lesson 10: The Christian Life: Secure with the Loving, Caring Shepherd Application: Are you aware that our Lord cares for you as an individual? Do you have a sense of belonging to Him? How does this relate to your problem of loneliness? The sheep recognizes his voice and follow him (vv. 4,5). By constant association, the sheep learn to recognize which voice is the shepherd‟s and which is not. Application: Do you recognize our Lord‟s voice? How do you learn to recognize His voice? (By regular reading of His Word - the Bible. By prayer and meditation. By memorizing Bible verses and letting them become a part of you. By being eager to know Him. By being sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.) The shepherd protects and saves the sheep (w. 8,9). Who is the thief in w. 1, 8,10? (Satan and his followers). How do they attack us? What are our fears today? How does our Lord protect and save us? Note that not only is He willing to protect and save us, but He is able to do so. Why then do we still feel insecure? The shepherd provides the sheep with abundant life (life in all its fullness). (v.10) Application: What is the abundant life for us? (A life full of love, peace, joy . . . etc.) Are you experiencing the abundant life now? If not, why not? The shepherd loves the sheep and cares for them so much - to the extent of giving his life for the sheep (v. 11). Application: 1. Do you sometimes feel nobody in the world really loves you? Are you experiencing Jesus‟ love and care? In what ways? 2. How much do you care for the people our Lord has entrusted to you? Like the shepherd or like the hired man (vv. 12,13)? REFLECTION: Is Jesus truly my shepherd, and I His sheep? B. The Shepherd’s Flock (vv. 16-18) In verse 16 Jesus was referring to the non-Jews. In the Old Testament time, the Jews were the chosen people of God. Jesus was declaring that from that time on, even people who were not Jews would be able to come to God through Him. Christians, regardless of race, would be united in Jesus as one flock. Application: a. Among our brothers and sisters in Christ who are Filipinos, Americans or Chinese, do you feel the oneness in Christ? If not, why not? b. In verses 17 and 18, Jesus was saying He laid down His life for us, not because He had to, not because it was taken from Him, but because He wanted to. Because He loves us. He was setting an example for us to follow. How do we apply this in our relationship to God? In our relationship to other people? CONCLUSION Christians have peace and joy in their lives because they are secure with the loving and caring Shepherd.





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Lesson 11: Priorities

Genesis 13:1-17 All of us, consciously or unconsciously, have priorities. Our priorities affect the way we think and act. They determine the direction of our lives. Today we will study the priorities of Abram and Lot, and see how we compare with them. BACKGROUND: Read Genesis 12:1-10. (Let the whole group read it first before proceeding to read and discuss Genesis 13:1-17.) Bible Readings Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father‟s house, to a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” 4 So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother‟s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. 6 Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were

then in the land. 7 Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. 8 And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD. 9 So Abram journeyed, going on still toward the South. 10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land. Genesis 13:1 Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South. 2 Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. 3 And he went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, 4 to the place of the altar which he had made there at first. And there Abram called on the name of the LORD. 5 Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents. 6 Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together. 7 And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram‟s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot‟s livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land. 8 So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. 9 “Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go

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Lesson 11: Priorities to the right, then I will go to the left.” 10 And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. 11 Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. 12 Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom. 13 But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD. 14 And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from th e place where you are-- northward, southward, eastward, and westward; 15 “for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. 16 “And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. 17 “Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.” (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. Priorities And Actions (vv. 1-13) 1. Observe carefully and ask someone to summarize the events that transpired. 2. What were Abram‟s priorities? How did his actions reflect his priorities? a. His first priority was God - “He sought the Lord” (v. 4) Actions indicating the above: (1) The journey itself was an act of faith and obedience to God (v. 3). See Genesis 12:1. (2) The place where he chose to encamp was the place where the Lord had appeared to him before (vv. 3,4). See Genesis 12:8. (3) The altar was built by Abram and showed his devotion to God (v. 4). (Our daily quiet time before our Lord may be considered the present day equivalent of the altar in the Old Testament. Both are expressions of devotion to God, and both stress the importance of communication with our Lord.) b. His second priority was others - he valued love and social harmony (v. 8). Note also his humility (v. 9). c. Among his priorities, material possessions counted last (v. 9). He was generous. Application: Why can those who trust the Lord dare to be generous? 3. Because Abram was Lot‟s uncle, what should have been the proper response from Lot to the situation? What apparently influenced Lot‟s choice? (v. 10) What does this reveal about Lot‟s priority in life? How did it affect his lifestyle? (w. 12,13) What are the characteristics of a person whose first priority is material possessions (or self-gratification)? a. No desire to seek God. God gets crowded out. b. No social values. (Lot did not defer to his uncle.) c. A loose lifestyle. (Lot moved closer and closer to Sodom. Although he knew full well the wickedness of Sodom, he had no spiritual and moral strength to resist. He ended up living in Sodom. See Genesis l4:12.) Application: In what ways are we like Lot? Like Abram? Ask your members to give illustrations from their daily lives that reflect their priorities. (1) A good way to test what our priorities are is to analyze what we do with our “free time”—those

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Lesson 11: Priorities hours of the day after our working hours. (2) Also, we need to analyze how we spend our working hours. Are our actions during our working hours pleasing to God? Do we value our work more than our relationship with God or with our co-workers? Do we use deceptions or half-truths to clinch a deal? Do we make others look bad and ourselves look good in order to win a promotion? Are we obsessed with our work? What is the basis for our choice of jobs? Do we share God‟s love with others in our work environment? How do we show we care about others? (3) To conclude the application portion, let your members either reflect silently or write down how they would re-orient their priorities, and how they would re-adjust their actions to be in accord with them. B. The Reassurance (vv. 14-17) How did God respond to Abram‟s choice? What is the significance of God‟s promises in the context of what happened? (God reassured Abram. Abram had given up something. And after having made his decision he might have had misgivings or doubts such as, would he be cheated out of the good things in life? Or, was he really wise about setting priorities the way he did? God must have understood and reassured him and renewed His promise. He seems to be saying that those who make God their first priority will not lack anything. See Matthew 6:33.) CONCLUSION May each of us set our priorities right, and live accordingly.

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Lesson 12: Man‟s Way vs. God‟s Way

Lesson 12: Man’s Way VS. God’s Way
Genesis 16: 1-16 Often we are aware of what God‟s way is and what God wants. But sometimes we follow our own way instead. Today we will discuss why we do so, and what the consequences often are. Bible Readings Genesis 16:1 Now Sarai, Abram‟s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai. 3 Then Sarai, Abram‟s wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan. 4 So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes. The LORD judge between you and me.” 6 So Abram said to Sarai, “Indeed your maid is in your hand; do to her as you please.” And when Sarai dealt harshly with her, she fled from her presence. 7 Now the Angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur.

8 And He said, “Hagar, Sarai‟s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.” 9 The Angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.” 10 Then the Angel of the LORD said to her, “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.” 11 And the Angel of the LORD said to her: “Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has heard your affliction. 12 He shall be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man, and every man‟s hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presenceof all his brethren.” 13 Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” 14 Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; observe, it is between Kadesh and Bered. 15 So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram. (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. No Deadlines For God’s Promises 1. God, in Genesis 12:1-4, had promised to Abram that he would have many descendants. How long a time had elapsed from the time the promise was first given? (v.3) What action did Sarai suggest they take to have children? NOTE: Sarai and Abram‟s action was contrary to God‟s intention for marriage, but was in keeping with the practice

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Lesson 12: Man‟s Way vs. God‟s Way of that day. 2. Imagine the struggle in Abram‟s mind while deciding whether to follow God‟s way (and wait in faith for the promised son through Sarai), or man‟s way (and take Hagar as a concubine to bear his son). What were the factors he probably considered that caused him to choose the latter? a. He was 85 years old and without a son (v. 16). b. He had waited 10 long years for God to fulfill His promise (v. 3). c. The suggestion came from someone he loved. d. The suggestion was in keeping with the practice of that day (“Everybody is doing it.”) With all the above factors, can we say Abram was right in acting as he did? Why or why not? On what basis can we say whether what he did was right or wrong? NOTE: What Abram did seem only rational. However, faith is non-rational, though not irrational. In other words, faith is not against reason, but transcends reason. Application: Give examples from our daily lives when we use man‟s way instead of God‟s way. Cite especially those things that seem to become right just because “everybody‟s doing it.” 3. What could be the reasons we use our own ways? a. Don‟t know what God‟s way is - stems from lack of a close walk with God. b. Faith in the visible. (Example: going to „spiritistas‟ for quick healing instead of waiting for God.) Is God pleased? If we know God is not pleased, why do we still do it? B. The High Price of Human Solutions What were the consequences of Abram‟s choice of man‟s way? 1. Disharmony in the household (vv. 4-6). 2. Suffering for Hagar (w. 6 8). 3. Disharmony among descendants (v. 12). (The descendants of Ishmael are the Arabs. The descendants of Isaac are the Jews. They have been constantly at each other‟s throats. Even today, they still are.) APPLICATION Based on the examples given in section A(2) above, list the consequences that usually result from our choice of man‟s way. CONCLUSION God‟s way is always the best way, though we may not see for the moment. Let us walk with Him in faith, putting our trust in Him especially in these days of turmoil and unrest.

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Lesson 13: The Victorious Christian Life

Psalm 1 Every Christian wants to live a victorious Christian life. But some find it difficult. Today we will study a passage that shows us how to live and have victorious Christian life. Bible Readings Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish. (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. Discussion Before Reading Passage: 1. What is your idea of a “victorious Christian life”? a. A life pleasing to God b. Victory over sin

A fruitful life A life with direction, fulfillment, meaning, which is sustained. 2. Are most of us living a victorious Christian life? If not, what are the problems we encounter? a. Many of us feel close to God at one time or another, but seem unable to sustain it. b. We are unable to resist temptations. c. We forget God when pre-occupied with our daily routine. d. God gets crowded out of our hearts when we spend most of our time and energy in pursuit of our career/business/family. Hence our lives lose meaning and direction. e. Our lives seem to be unfruitful. f. Looking at other Christians‟ failures and letting them affect us. Let us now study the passage and try to find out how we can overcome these problems. B. Discussion After Reading Passage: 1. In verse 1, there are three don‟ts. Give examples of each in our daily lives. 2. Verse 2 tells us how we can sustain a Christian lifestyle. a. How can we “find joy in obeying the Law of the Lord”? Do we “study it day and night”? What is our attitude in our “acing of the Word of God? Do we read the Bible out of a sense of duty, or do we read it because we love Him and want to know what He wants to tell us? b. Share your experiences frankly. What do you usually do when you receive a letter?

c. d.

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Lesson 13: The Victorious Christian Life If we were to liken the Bible to a letter (God‟s love letter to us), would you have the same attitude? Does our attitude affect how much we profit from the Word of God? How? What kind of attitude should we have? c. How does studying the Bible regularly affect our Christian lifestyle? How does memorizing Scripture help in this regard? d. Is it possible for a Christian to study the Bible and not bear fruit? How and why? How important is obedience in this regard? 3. Verse 3 describes what happens when verses 1 and 2 are fulfilled. a. Why is a Christian likened to a “tree that grows beside a stream”? What is the “water” that a Christian needs? Contrast it with a tree planted in the desert. Application: Do you feel “watered” or do you feel “dry”? b. What is the “fruit” Christians bear? There are several kinds of “fruit”: 1) What we are (our character) - see “fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22 2) What we do (our actions) - acts of love, etc., e.g. being good Samaritans 3) People we lead to the Lord - Jesus has made us “fishers of men.” Application: Examine your life for a moment. How much fruit is there? If there is not much, why? NOTE: Verse 3 describes the tree bearing fruit “in its season.” In other words, regularly. Do you bear fruit occasionally or regularly? c. “They succeed in everything they do” is a tremendous statement. Why do we often fall short of this? What relation is there between the growth of our spiritual life and the success of what we do? (The ““holistic approach.” God is concerned with our total person: what we think, what we are, what we do, what our direction in life is, etc. He must be Lord of all areas of our lives. Then the success of what we do follows. Jesus made it more explicit in Matthew 6:33, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be given unto you.”) Regarding the term “success,” we should be aware that what is successful in the eyes of God may not always be successful in the eyes of the world, and vice versa. 4. Verse 4 describes the non-Christian. Is there anybody who feels like he is “drifting through life”? Like “straw that the wind blows away”? What is the solution? Contrast this picture with the tree that is planted beside the stream. What are the differences? (stability, water, fruit, purpose or meaning) 5. Verses 5 and 6 tell us the end of sinners. Who among us are not sinners? Just because we are somewhat better than our neighbors, can we claim to be “righteous”? If not, how do these verses apply to us? (Only through confession of our sins and acceptance of Jesus as Savior can we claim His righteousness as ours.) APPLICATION Now that we have studied the passage, how do we apply it to resolve the problems we cited in section A(2)? CONCLUSION

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Lesson 13: The Victorious Christian Life The key to a victorious Christian life is to be in total union with God, letting Him be the Lord of our lives. And the way to achieve that is to study His Word day and night and delight in it.

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Lesson 14: Lessons from Jonah

Jonah 3 & 4 Almost everyone has heard of the story of Jonah and the big fish. However, in addition to the traditional story there are also many other lessons we can learn from the book. (At this point, summarize chapters 1 and 2 to acquaint your group with the background. Then ask them to read chapters 3 and 4.) Bible Readings Jonah 3:1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.” 3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent. 4 And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day‟s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. 6 Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. 7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste

anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9 Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish? 10 Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. Jonah 4:1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. 2 So he prayed to the LORD, and said, “Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. 3 “Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!” 4 Then the LORD said, “Is it right for you to be angry?” 5 So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city. 6 And the LORD God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant. 7 But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered. 8 And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah‟s head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” 9 Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry

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Lesson 14: Lessons from Jonah about the plant?” And he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!” 10 But the LORD said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. 11 “And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left-- and much livestock?” (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. Nineveh? No Way? 1. Nineveh was a big heathen city - the capital of Assyria, which was the dreaded enemy of Israel. What possible reasons would Jonah have for not wanting to preach God‟s message in Nineveh? a. Perhaps it was patriotism. Jonah might have wanted the enemies of Israel to perish. b. Perhaps it was moral indignation. The people of Nineveh were really so wicked Jonah might have felt they deserved to die. c. Perhaps it was radar prejudice. The Assyrians were non-Jews, and despised by Jews. Anyhow, God‟s command to Jonah to go was specific. Yet Jonah disobeyed. 2. How would you describe Jonah? a. Disobedient, evaded God b. Lacking love for others c. Quick to anger d. Easily depressed e. Selfish f. Possibly having racial prejudice g. Possibly putting country above God

In what ways are we like Jonah? Jonah was not all bad. He had some good points too. In what ways should we be like Jonah? Honest before God. Admitting his wrong and then doing what was right. Giving thanks (inside the fish‟s belly). B. God Doesn’t Give Up What do we learn about God in the book of Jonah? a. Loving b. Patient (toward both Nineveh and Jonah) c. Forgiving of those who repent d. Willing to listen to our complaints and reason with us C. The Making Of A New Jonah 1. What finally motivated Jonah to preach God‟s message to Nineveh? (Jonah preached God‟s message reluctantly. He probably did it out of a sense of duty, not out of love for God or love for the people in Nineveh.) Application: For those of us who are serving God in whatever capacity, let us examine our motives in serving Him. Do we do it reluctantly, out of a sense of duty? Do we do it to get a reward or win God‟s favor? Do we do it so that people will look up to us? Or do we do it because we really love God and love those whom we serve? If our motives are not totally pure, how can we remedy this? 2. Jonah was a prophet of God, yet he had so many obvious

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Lesson 14: Lessons from Jonah faults. What lesson can we learn from this observation? (We should not be overly critical of the servants of God today. If the leaders of our church or the leaders of our fellowships are less than perfect, let us be reminded that they, like Jonah, have human weaknesses. Let us learn to pray for one another, especially for our spiritual leaders, that we might all become more and more like Jesus, as we grow in the knowledge and love of our Lord.) 3. After experiencing the miraculous deliverance from the storm and the big fish, and after seeing the spiritual revival of Nineveh, Jonah went into a depression. He sulked. Why? What did he do? (He bared his soul to God. He was completely honest with God telling Him his pent-up feelings, arguing with Him. And God answered Jonah. When we experience depression, the best solution is to bare our soul to God. Tell Him everything. Tell Him what is bothering us. Tell Him what we are angry about. Argue with Him. God honors our honesty, and His Spirit will give us the understanding we need. However, note that being completely honest with God does not imply that we forget who He is and who we are when we come before Him. He cares to listen in spite of who man is, not because man has any right to argue with Him.) CONCLUSION Ask your group members to each share one lesson they learned from today‟s passage and how it applies to their daily lives.

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Lesson 16: Obedience is Better Than Sacrifice

Genesis 22: 1-19 BACKGROUND: Maybe impatient in some occasions that we have previously discussed, but overall Abraham was a man of great faith. In fact, he was called the “father of faith. “ In Genesis 17:1-6, God promised Abraham that he would have many descendants, and would be the father of many nations. However, Abraham was already 99 years old and had no son. But God promised that next year he would have a son, and the promise was fulfilled. The son was named Isaac. When Isaac had grown to be a lad, the event we are going to study today took place. Bible Readings Genesis 22:1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 And He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will

come back to you.” 6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together. 9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” 13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, THE-LORDWILL-PROVIDE; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of The LORD it shall be provided.” 15 Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your

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Lesson 16: Obedience is Better Than Sacrifice son, your only son-17 “blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba. (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. God’s Command and Abraham’s Response (vv. 1-8) a. What did God command Abraham to do, and how did he respond? (w. 2,3) (Obeyed unhesitatingly. Verse 3 says “The next morning Abraham got up early . . . “) b. What lesson can we learn from the fact that God talked with Abraham? (God is a person and can communicate with us. He is not just a “Ground of All Being,” or an impersonal “Force.” He is alive and real, and interacts with us intimately. Although we do not hear His voice audibly nowadays, we can still communicate with Him through reading His Word and praying, while being sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.) REFLECTION: 1. Are my prayer dialogues or monologues? Am I really communicating with God? 2. How far was the place of sacrifice from home? (a three day journey) 3. a. What were the factors that made Abraham‟s obedience very difficult? (1) Isaac was his only son, whom he dearly loved. (2) He had hoped to be the father of many nations through Isaac. (3) The three-day journey was probably physically strenuous for an old man. (4) He had plenty of time to change his mind - three full days. b. Put yourselves in Abraham‟s situation. How would you have responded? Why? How do we show our obedience in the face of difficulties? What do you think was going on in Abraham‟s mind? Since God had promised Abraham he would be the father of many nations through Isaac, and now wanted Isaac sacrificed, do you think Abraham thought God was breaking His promise? How do you think Abraham resolved this conflict in his mind? (Read Hebrews 11:17-19. It is good to let your group know that the Old and New Testaments are inter-related). 4. a. What did Abraham tell his servants to do when he saw the place in the distance? (vv. 4,5) b. Why do you think he did that? (1) Probably he foresaw that the servants would try to prevent him if he really wanted to go through with sacrificing Isaac. This shows his determination to obey God‟s command. (2) Worship (v. 5) was to Abraham probably a very sacred and personal experience. What did Isaac ask Abraham, and how did he answer? (vv. 7,8) c. Who or what provision was Abraham referring to

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Lesson 16: Obedience is Better Than Sacrifice when he said, “God Himself will provide...”? (Isaac himself. Abraham had no way of knowing that God would later on provide the ram.) B. The Crucial Test (vv. 9-14) 1. What did Abraham do when they reached the place of sacrifice? (vv. 9, 10) 2 a. Why did Isaac allow himself to be tied up to be sacrificed? What does this show us about Abraham as a father? (Isaac probably had an inkling he would be the burnt offering (v. 7). But he obeyed up to the end. “Like father, like son.” Abraham must have been a very good father, teaching his son to fear and love God, obedience, etc.) b. In whet ways are we influencing members of our family and close friends? 3. a. What did the Lord do and say through the angel when Abraham took the knife? (w. 11-13) b. What is the spiritual significance of the ram taking the place of Isaac as the sacrifice?(The ram signifies Jesus as the perfect Lamb of God who took our place as a sacrifice for our sins. See Lesson No. 8 of this study guide.) 4. a. Why do you think God tested Abraham and let him go through all this?(Abraham had been walking closely with God. Then, at age 100 God gave him a son. When Isaac was growing up, you can imagine the time and affection Abraham bestowed on him. It may be possible that Abraham was gradually letting Isaac take the place of God in his life. God wanted Abraham to decide whom he would love more.) b. Who or what is first in our lives? Who or what are the “Isaacs” in our lives? (Money, position, degrees, loved ones . . . ) REFLECTION: Am I willing to sacrifice my “Isaac” to God? c. What does it really mean to “put God first” in our lives? What are the concrete manifestations of doing this? C. The Promise (vv. 15-19) 1. What did God do after the test? (vv. 15-18) 2. God‟s blessings are so numerous and abundant, they are often more than we could think or ask. Are you aware of God‟s numerous promises of blessing to you? Have you claimed them? CONCLUSION Faith and obedience are the marks of a true Christian. We often say we love God. But if we really love Him, we will trust Him and obey, just as Abraham did.

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Lesson 16: Obedience is Better Than Sacrifice

1 Samuel 15: 1-23 We often talk about how important it is to serve the Lord. Today we are going to discuss something even more important than service or sacrifice. BACKGROUND: Read I Samuel 25:1-9 Did Saul totally or partially disobey God? Is there any difference? What is God‟s standard for obedience? What does that mean to us Christians today? (Saul disobeyed God partially, but the effect was the same as disobeying Him totally. Elsewhere in the Bible it says if we break one of God‟s commandments we have broken all— James 2:10. As Christians we seldom disobey God totally, but very often, partially. To apply this passage of Scripture to ourselves does not mean we are to go around killing people in our Lord‟s name, but to obliterate totally those things and attitudes in our lives that are displeasing to God). Bible Readings 1 Samuel 15:1 Samuel also said to Saul, "The LORD sent me to anoint you king over His people, over Israel. Now therefore, heed the voice of the words of the LORD. 2 "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. Page 16 - 4

3 'Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.'" 4 So Saul gathered the people together and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men of Judah. 5 And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and lay in wait in the valley. 6 Then Saul said to the Kenites, "Go, depart, get down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them. For you showed kindness to all the children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt." So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. 7 And Saul attacked the Amalekites, from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is east of Egypt. 8 He also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 9 But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed. 10 Now the word of the LORD came to Samuel, saying, 11 "I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments." And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the LORD all night. 12 So when Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul, it was told Samuel, saying, "Saul went to Carmel, and indeed, he set up a monument for himself; and he has gone on around, passed by, and gone down to Gilgal." 13 Then Samuel went to Saul, and Saul said to him, "Blessed are you of the LORD! I have performed the commandment of

Lesson 16: Obedience is Better Than Sacrifice the LORD." 14 But Samuel said, "What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?" 15 And Saul said, "They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice to the LORD your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed." 16 Then Samuel said to Saul, "Be quiet! And I will tell you what the LORD said to me last night." And he said to him, "Speak on." 17 So Samuel said, "When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the LORD anoint you king over Israel? 18 "Now the LORD sent you on a mission, and said, 'Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.' 19 "Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the LORD?" 20 And Saul said to Samuel, "But I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and gone on the mission on which the LORD sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21 "But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the LORD your God in Gilgal." 22 Then Samuel said: "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he also has rejected you from being king." (NKJ)

DISCUSSION A. Caring For A Lost Brother (vv. 10-16) 1. Was Samuel trying to find fault with Saul or was he genuinely concerned for Saul? How did he show his concern? a. He was deeply moved and cried to the Lord all night for Saul. Application: Have we ever cared enough for a brother in Christ who has gone wrong to pray for him all night? b. He rose up early the next morning, then he went to look for Saul Application: When a brother sins, do we just pray for him and do nothing? Do we wait for him to come to us? Suppose he does not come? c. Samuel told Saul what God had said. (v. 16 ff) Application: When we counsel a brother who has sinned, sometimes we beat around the bush and do not dare get to the point. The most important thing is to tell what God says in His Word. 2. Notice that Samuel went to see Saul only after the Lord told Samuel about it (v. 10). What can we learn from this? (When a brother sins, we should not immediately go and correct him, based on our own impulse. Instead, we should be sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and go if bidden by Him, and only after much prayer.) 3. When Samuel found Saul, what was Saul‟s reaction? (Saul lied.) When Samuel pressed him what was Saul‟s second reaction? In what ways are we like Saul when we have sinned and are being confronted? a. Lie b. Shift the blame to somebody else

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Lesson 16: Obedience is Better Than Sacrifice c. Try to rationalize, produce alibis, make excuses, etc. 4. Why did Saul say in verse 15, “the Lord your God”? (May signify that Saul had lost his relationship with God). B. Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice (vv. 17-23) 1. After Samuel repeated God‟s command, what was Saul‟s reaction? How does sin eventually affect our reasoning and thinking, our defense system? 2. What were the possible reasons Saul disobeyed God? a. Love for worldly things - keeping the oxen, etc. b. Pride - keeping Agag as a trophy c. Trying to please men instead of God (v. 21) d. Wrong view of God - maybe he really thought God preferred his sacrifices to his obedience (v. 21) e. As king, he wanted to do what he pleased, not other people‟s bidding. Contrast with v. 17. We should also beware of our spiritual pride. 3. How do we apply verse 22 in our lives? (Ask your members to give examples.) What sacrifices do we usually offer to cover up our disobedience? What does God think of such sacrifices? 4. Since Saul was a human being, and all human beings inevitably sin, why was God seemingly so harsh in dealing with Saul (v. 23)? a. Saul was king at that time; the higher the position, the greater the responsibility. “To whom much is given, of him shall much be required” (Luke 12:48). b. When confronted by Samuel, Saul repeatedly insisted he did not do wrong. Contrast this with King David who committed adultery and murder, but when confronted by the prophet Nathan, immediately confessed, and asked God‟s forgiveness. 5. How can we learn to obey God moment by moment?

APPLICATION 1. What are the reasons we disobey God? Are these reasons valid? Why do we often persist in disobedience even if we know it is wrong? 2. What lessons do we learn from today‟s study? (If feasible, ask each of your members to cite one lesson.) CONCLUSION All of us should be like Samuel—genuinely concerned for a fallen brother, bringing God‟s Word to him. All of us are like Saul. We often obey God only partially, with certain areas in our lives which we don‟t want to turn over to God. May each one of us ask ourselves: What is the “Agag” of my life? In what ways am I trying to offer sacrifices to cover up my disobedience, May each of us learn the main lesson of today: Obedience is better than sacrifice.

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Lesson 17: To Know Jesus More Deeply

Luke 5:1-11 Many of us have been Christians for a long time. But how deeply do we know Christ? How can we know Him better and serve Him more? Today we will consider these questions as we study Luke 5:1-11. BACKGROUND: About a year had passed since Jesus met Peter and his fellow fishermen. Peter had ample opportunity during that year to hear Jesus and observe His works. But so far, there appeared to be little personal commitment on the part of Peter to Jesus. Bible Readings Luke 5:1 So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, 2 and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. 3 Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. 4 When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." 5 But Simon answered and said to Him, "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net." 6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. 7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come

and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!" 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men." 11 So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him. (NKJ) DISCUSSION A Some Busy Fishermen (v. 1) 1. What were the possible reasons for the crowd's eager interest in Jesus? By contrast, what was the attitude of Simon Peter and his friend? (Peter and his friend appeared somewhat indifferent to Jesus. They went about washing their nets while the crowd pushed their way up to Jesus to listen to what He had to say. They might have thought, "Oh, I have heard that before.") Application: What is your attitude to God and His teachings? 2. Note how Jesus moved from the crowd to the fishermen and then to one man. Why do you think Jesus chose Peter‟s boat to teach from? (Jesus wanted Peter to know Him more deeply and experience Him more fully. His singling out Peter showed Jesus wanted to minister not only to the masses but to each of us individually also.) 3. Compare the two requests Jesus made of Simon Peter in verses 34. What do you observe? What did Jesus know

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Lesson 17: To Know Jesus More Deeply about the fishermen‟s problems? How did Peter probably feel when Jesus asked him to do these things? Why did he obey anyway? What was Jesus teaching him through these commands? (A carpenter teacher was telling a professional fisherman how to fish. But Peter obeyed. Obedience is the key for us to know Jesus more deeply and experience Him more fully.) B. An Astonished Sinner (vv. 7-10) 1. Describe the results of Simon Peter‟s obedience. What new things did Peter realize as a result of the miracle? In which way do you think his exclamation was logical and expected? In which way was it not? (As a fisherman, Peter should have been very happy about the big catch of fish. But he knew the experience involved much more than fish. He had come to know Jesus as a much greater person with greater powers than he had thought. And immediately he saw by contrast his own sinfulness, and felt unworthy to be in the presence of Jesus.) Notice his change of title for Jesus from verse 5 to verse 8. REFLECTION: Have there been instances in your life when the Lord asked you to do something which you felt was not “logical” in the world‟s eyes? Did you obey? What was the result of your obedience? C. Fishers Of Men (vv. 10-11) 1. What did Jesus mean by “fishers of men”? 2. What was the response of Peter after he acknowledged Jesus as Lord and Master of his life? Application: a. How well does each of us know Jesus? As Teacher? Savior? Friend? Master and Lord? How does our knowledge of Jesus affect our response to Him and His commands? b. What about Jesus should convince us to value Him more than anything else in our lives? What are the hindrances to your personal commitment to our Lord? How can these hindrances be overcome? c. How important is obedience to a deeper knowledge of God? How obedient have you been to His commands? d. Christ (as in the Scripture passage), meets both our physical and spiritual needs. In light of this, what should be our attitude as we face the petty little worries of everyday life? e. Following Christ entails leaving the “old life” behind and a total change of lifestyle. What used to concern Peter before (catching fish) no longer concerned him now. Having encountered Jesus, do we have a new purpose/new goals in life or are we much the same? Are we still “catching fish” or are we “fishers of men” for His Kingdom? CONCLUSION We should desire to know Jesus more deeply and experience Him more fully. For this to happen, we must be willing to obey, and obey, and allow Him to become the Master and Lord of our lives. Only then can we fulfill our commission to be fishers of men.

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Lesson 18: Overcoming Complacency

Deuteronomy 8: 11-20 Sometimes in our Christian life we may feel we are not growing. Or, if we do not feel anything at all, we actually may be stagnant or even sliding back. One possible reason may be complacency. If a church has many people who are complacent, then that church is really in trouble. We will study today what causes complacency and how to overcome it. In this passage, Moses gives his last words to the Israelites just before he died. Before studying the passage, discuss the following questions: What are the symptoms (or signs) of complacency? a. We forget God. b. We lead a loose lifestyle and fail to keep His commandments. c. We feel lukewarm towards spiritual matters—no burning desire to seek God or serve Him. d. Stagnation in our spiritual growth. e. Our time/energy/attention is spent mostly on career/family/business. Now read the passage. Bible Readings Deuteronomy 8:11 "Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, 12 "lest-- when you have eaten and are full, and have built

beautiful houses and dwell in them; 13 "and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; 14 "when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 15 "who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; 16 "who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end-17 "then you say in your heart, 'My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.' 18 "And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19 "Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the LORD your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. 20 "As the nations which the LORD destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the LORD your God. (NKJ)

DISCUSSION A. Signs and Causes of Complacency (vv. 11-14a) 1. Against what sin did Moses warn the Israelites? What signs would indicate complacency on the part of the Israelites? a. Forgetting God (vv. 11, 14) b. Not keeping His commandments (v. 11)

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Lesson 18: Overcoming Complacency 2. What could cause their complacency? a. Basic needs met (v. 12) b. Everything running smoothly and prospering (v. 13) REFLECTION 1. How is my spiritual growth and my relationship with God? Do I love Him as before, or have I drifted away from God? 2. Is it because everything is running smoothly in my life? Because my career/business/family, etc. are prospering? Is it not ironic that when our Lord blesses us with prosperity, instead of drawing nearer to Him with praise and thanksgiving, we become complacent and forget Him? Why is this so? B. The Remedy (vv. 14-20) How did Moses exhort the Israelites so that they would not become complacent? 1. The Israelites were to recall the following: a. That they were previously slaves in Egypt (v. 14) b. That they were rescued from Egypt by the Lord God (v. 14) c. That they were led through the vast and terrifying desert by God (v. 15) d. That God met their needs for water and food in the wilderness (w. 15, 16) e. That the testing and blessings were all from God (v. 16) f. That all their wealth and prosperity were purely God‟s grace, that on their own they could do nothing (vv. 17,18) 2. The Israelites were warned very sternly (w. 19, 20) which should shock them out of their complacency. APPLICATION 1. In applying the above, point by point, to our lives, what can we do to avoid falling into the sin of complacency? a. We should remember that we were formerly under the bondage of Satan, that the wages of our sin was death. b. We should remember that our Lord Jesus Christ came to save us from eternal damnation and gave us eternal life. 2. Verse 19 mentions “other gods.” What other gods do we have in our lives? (Our business/position/ family, etc. can become our gods, displacing the true God from the center of our heart.) CONCLUSION All of us should beware of complacency creeping into our lives. When everything is running smoothly, we should not forget God. Instead, let us remember how He has saved us, fed us and blessed us. May all glory and honor be given to Him!

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Lesson 19: Playing with Temptation

Judges 14:1-3, 16:1-24 Many of us do not realize how dangerous it is to play with temptation. Today we will study the case history of Samson— how he played with temptation, and how it caused his downfall. It is the tragic record of the weakest “strong man” of Scripture. BACKGROUND: Samson was born under special circumstances, like Samuel and John the Baptist. (See Judges 13.) In verse 7, he was to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth to the day of his death. (For the Nazirite vow, see Numbers 6:2 ff. The practical application of this vow was denial of se) and separation unto God. The word “Nazirite” itself means “dedicated or consecrated.”) God also gave Samson extraordinary strength. Bible Readings Judges 14:1 Now Samson went down to Timnah, and saw a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines. 2 So he went up and told his father and mother, saying, "I have seen a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore, get her for me as a wife." 3 Then his father and mother said to him, "Is there no woman among the daughters of your brethren, or among all my people, that you must go and get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?" And Samson said to his father, "Get her for me, for she pleases me well." (NKJ)

Judges 16:1 Then Samson went to Gaza and saw a harlot there, and went in to her. 2 When the Gazites were told, "Samson has come here!" they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the gate of the city. They were quiet all night, saying, "In the morning, when it is daylight, we will kill him." 3 And Samson lay low till midnight; then he arose at midnight, took hold of the doors of the gate of the city and the two gateposts, pulled them up, bar and all, put them on his shoulders, and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron. 4 Afterward it happened that he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5 And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, "Entice him, and find out where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to afflict him; and every one of us will give you eleven hundred pieces of silver." 6 So Delilah said to Samson, "Please tell me where your great strength lies, and with what you may be bound to afflict you." 7 And Samson said to her, "If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings, not yet dried, then I shall become weak, and be like any other man." 8 So the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings, not yet dried, and she bound him with them. 9 Now men were lying in wait, staying with her in the room. And she said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" But he broke the bowstrings as a strand of yarn breaks when it touches fire. So the secret of his strength was not known. 10 Then Delilah said to Samson, "Look, you have mocked me and told me lies. Now, please tell me what you may be bound with."

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Lesson 19: Playing with Temptation 11 So he said to her, "If they bind me securely with new ropes that have never been used, then I shall become weak, and be like any other man." 12 Therefore Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them, and said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" And men were lying in wait, staying in the room. But he broke them off his arms like a thread. 13 Delilah said to Samson, "Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me what you may be bound with." And he said to her, "If you weave the seven locks of my head into the web of the loom"-14 So she wove it tightly with the batten of the loom, and said to him, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" But he awoke from his sleep, and pulled out the batten and the web from the loom. 15 Then she said to him, "How can you say, 'I love you,' when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and have not told me where your great strength lies." 16 And it came to pass, when she pestered him daily with her words and pressed him, so that his soul was vexed to death, 17 that he told her all his heart, and said to her, "No razor has ever come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man." 18 When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, "Come up once more, for he has told me all his heart." So the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hand. 19 Then she lulled him to sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. 20 And she said, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" So he awoke from his sleep, and said, "I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!" But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him. 21 Then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the prison. 22 However, the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaven. 23 Now the lords of the Philistines gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice. And they said: "Our god has delivered into our hands Samson our enemy!" 24 When the people saw him, they praised their god; for they said: "Our god has delivered into our hands our enemy, the destroyer of our land, and the one who multiplied our dead." (NKJ) DISCUSSION: A. The First Incident (14:1-3) 1. What happened in vv. 1-3? Why did Samson do as he did? “For she pleases me well” (v. 3) This is the key to his weakness - self-pleasing. 2. Application: There are three kinds of pleasers: a. God pleasers b. Men pleasers c. Self pleasers Which kind are you? Give examples from our daily lives of how we act like each of these. 3. Is it always wrong to please ourselves or men? When does it become wrong? (The three kinds are not mutually exclusive. We can be all

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Lesson 19: Playing with Temptation three at the same time. What is important is which has highest priority. Example: When we take a glass of soft drink or coffee, we are pleasing ourselves. This is not wrong. But when we drink 20 glasses of coffee in a day to please ourselves, we harm our body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. By pleasing ourselves in this case, we fail to please God, when He should be our priority.) B. The Second Incident (16:1-3) 1. In this second encounter of Samson with a woman, did Samson do anything wrong? (He committed adultery. Although not condoned by God, in the Old Testament times, a man was allowed more than one wife. However, having sexual relations with a person who was not his wife was considered adultery. The seventh commandment in Exodus 21:14 said, “Thou shall not commit adultery.”) 2. Since Samson committed adultery in this incident, why was the extraordinary strength given to him by God still with him? (This shows God‟s mercy and patience with men. If God were to be strict with us and deal with us as we deserve, who among us could stand until nightfall?) Application: a. Are we aware of God‟s mercy and patience in our lives? b. Do we tend to abuse His mercy and patience? Give examples. C. The Final Straw (16:4-24) 1. What temptations did Samson face? a. To commit sexual sin b. To reveal the secret of his strength to the enemy 2. 3. (Remember that the Israelites and Philistines were enemies, and God had commissioned Samson “to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines”—13:5) Was Samson aware of what the temptations were? Why? Did Samson show any resistance? How long did Samson stay with Delilah? Many days (v. 16). Contrast this with what Joseph did when he was tempted by the wife of his Egyptian master. Joseph resisted and fled from temptation. Samson was a Nazirite with a vow of self-denial and separation unto God. He knew he was being tempted. Yet he spent many days with Delilah, and finally succumbed. Why? (He was playing with temptation.) What were the possible reasons he played with temptation? a. Perhaps he was over confident, felt that the temptations were harmless, that he could always escape. b. Perhaps he was abusing God‟s patience. In the previous incident, God did not deal with him right away, so he might have thought he could get away with it again, even if he sinned. c. Perhaps his overriding concern was to please himself, as we saw earlier. d. Perhaps his relationship with God was not close. He was far from God. What were the results of his playing with temptation? a. “The Lord left him” (v. 20). His loss of strength was evidence of this. b. He was captured, blinded, chained and thrown into prison to do forced labor (v. 21). c. He caused God‟s name to be blasphemed (v. 24). (Bad testimony)



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Lesson 19: Playing with Temptation APPLICATION (NOTE: Spend more time of your Bible study session in this section.) 1. When faced with temptation, do you play with it? 2. How do we play with temptation? Give examples. 3. Why do we play with temptation? Give examples. 4. What are the results when we play with temptation? Relate to the above examples. 5. What should we do when faced with temptation? a. Resist the temptation. b. Flee from the temptation. c. “Keep watch and pray, that you will not fall into temptation” (Matt. 26:41). This signifies a close walk with God. By daily communication with Him, we will not be easily swayed when temptation comes. CONCLUSION Samson was a man mightily used by God. But he played with temptation, and this caused his downfall. Let each of us then examine our life and beware of playing with temptation.

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Lesson 20: Overcoming Temptation

Genesis 39:1-23 We often meet temptations in our daily lives. Temptations in themselves are not sins; it is only when we say “yes” to them that we sin. We want our lives to be pleasing to our Lord, but we fail Him again and again. Today‟s study shows how we can overcome temptation in the face of overwhelming odds. Bible Readings Genesis 39:1 Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. 2 The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3 And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand. 4 So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. 5 So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had in the house and in the field. 6 So he left all that he had in Joseph's hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate. And Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. 7 And it came to pass after these things that his master's wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, "Lie with me."

8 But he refused and said to his master's wife, "Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. 9 "There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" 10 So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her. 11 But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, 12 that she caught him by his garment, saying, "Lie with me." But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside. 13 And so it was, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and fled outside, 14 that she called to the men of her house and spoke to them, saying, "See, he has brought in to us a Hebrew to mock us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. 15 "And it happened, when he heard that I lifted my voice and cried out, that he left his garment with me, and fled and went outside." 16 So she kept his garment with her until his master came home. 17 Then she spoke to him with words like these, saying, "The Hebrew servant whom you brought to us came in to me to mock me; 18 "so it happened, as I lifted my voice and cried out, that he left his garment with me and fled outside." 19 So it was, when his master heard the words which his wife spoke to him, saying, "Your servant did to me after this manner," that his anger was aroused. 20 Then Joseph's master took him and put him into the prison,

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Lesson 20: Overcoming Temptation a place where the king's prisoners were confined. And he was there in the prison. 21 But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. 23 The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph's authority, because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made it prosper. (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. Overview (vv. 1-6) 1. Briefly relate the background. 2. Describe Joseph. B. The Temptation (vv. 7-12) 1. What were the various stages in the temptation of Joseph? How did he handle the temptation? 2. Was the temptation easy or difficult to resist? Why was it difficult to resist? a. Fleshly pleasure b. Repeated temptation (v. 10) c. Perhaps the woman was beautiful What possible excuses could Joseph have made and yielded to the temptation? 3. The above shows how great the temptation was for Joseph. But he overcame it. Why did he resist the temptation? a. He was responsible to man (vv. 8,9) b. He was responsible to God (v. 9) Are we just as aware of our responsibilities towards man and God? Give concrete examples of how our falling into temptation affects our responsibilities towards man and God. 4. How was Joseph able to overcome the temptation? a. He had a close walk with God (v. 3). b. He resisted the temptation at every stage. Note his responses in verses 7-9,10, 12. (1) He used his mind - reasoned out (v. 8) (2) He used his will - refused (w. 8,10) (3) He used his body - avoided her (v. 10) - ran (v. 12) APPLICATION What kind of temptations do we continually encounter? How do we usually react to them? How can we learn to overcome them, like Joseph did? Case 1: Suppose your weakness is drinking. You are unable to control it, and sometimes you get drunk. How do you apply the above? a. Use your mind - Read the Bible to see what it says about drinking. While it does not prohibit drinking, Ephesians 5:18 says, “Do not get drunk with wine, which will only ruin you ....” Also, doctors will tell you excessive drinking is harmful to the body. And since “your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit” (I Corinthians 6:19), you should not do anything to harm it. b. Use your will - Make a decision to stop drinking. While other people may be able to drink moderately, you know you are unable to control it. So use your will to stop drinking altogether. Pray to the Lord for strength. c. Use your body - If your friends start drinking, and you know you cannot control yourself if you remain with them, then get away from there. Flee like Joseph.

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Lesson 20: Overcoming Temptation Case 2: Suppose your weakness is sex. You like to read dirty books and see “bold” movies. You often have unclean thoughts and know it is not pleasing to the Lord, but you cannot stop. How do you apply the above? a. Use your mind - Read the Bible to see what it says about unclean thoughts. Read Matthew 5:27-28. (Please refer to Lesson No. 21 of this study guide for a full discussion of this.) b. Use your will - Make a decision not to read any dirty books or see “bold” movies. Decide to shut off a TV program that can pollute your mind. Pray to the Lord to give you strength. Occupy your mind with more wholesome activities. c. Use your body - Throw away any dirty stuff you have at home. If you walk down a street where a “bold” movie is being shown, cross the street before you come to it. If you say, “I will just look at the advertisements and not go inside,” you are fooling yourself and before you know it, you will be inside. C. The Unexpected Results (vv. 13-23) 1. What happened to Joseph as a result of his refusal to yield to temptation? How did Joseph react when he was framed and placed in prison? Was he bitter? If you were in his situation, would you have been bitter? Why, then, was Joseph not bitter? (Joseph accepted what had happened to him. In spite of the unfair treatment he received, he believed that God was still in control, and had a plan for his life.) How do we apply this in our lives? How can we make the most of whatever circumstances we are in? (We should be ready to suffer persecution and face unjust accusations. No matter how unbearable our circumstances seem to be, we should be aware that God is still in control. “His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, His ways are higher than our ways” [Isaiah 55:8,9]). 2. Did God forsake Joseph? Why, then, did he land in prison? How do we know God was still with Joseph? (Not only was Joseph successful in everything he did in prison [v. 23], but through his contacts in prison he was also brought before the king, and later became the governor over all Egypt. See chapters 40 and 41.) CONCLUSION Joseph was a human being like us, with weaknesses and often faced temptation. But he was able to overcome temptation by trusting in God and using his mind, will and body. May each of us do likewise and live a life pleasing to our Lord.

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Lesson 21: Sins of the Mind

Matthew 5: 21-30 Matthew 5, 6 and 7 are usually called the “Sermon on the Mount.” Many precious teachings of our Lord are contained in them. Today we are going to study a small portion of it which deals with the most basic part of us— our thoughts. Bible Readings Matthew 5:21 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder,' and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment. 22 "But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 "leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 "Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you are thrown into prison. 26 "Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny. 27 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.'

28 "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 "And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. Hatred ant Murder ( vv. 21-22) 1. What was the old definition of murder? Did Jesus contradict this old definition? If not, what did He do to it? 2. What is wrong with anger and insult? Why do they receive such heavy punishment? (Killing a person is a natural extension of the hatred within. If we hate a person to the extent of thinking, “I hope lightning strikes h m dead, or “I hope a car runs over him,” we have actually killed him in our minds. The reason we do not carry out the murder is because of the restraints of society.) What is the difference between “anger” and “hatred”? (Anger is usually short-lived. When one nurses anger over a long time, it usually develops into hatred.) B. Make Peace Before Making A Sacrifice (vv. 23-24) 1. What is the problem in verse 23? What is the remedy? What are some examples of our “offering a sacrifice to God”? (Serving in the choir in church, giving contributions, etc. Ask your members to mention as many as possible,

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Lesson 21: Sins of the Mind relevant to their lives.) 2. Note here Jesus says “ . . . and suddenly remember that a friend has something against you,” not, “you have something against a friend.” What is the difference between the two? (Sometimes after quarreling with somebody, you may say “Well, I have forgiven him, I am not angry at him anymore.” But Jesus is saying here that if he is still angry at you, you should approach him and make peace with him.) Why is it so difficult to apologize to someone who has something against you? C. Make Peace Before It’s Too Late (vv. 25-26) Bad relationships tend to progress from bad to worse. How do verses 25 and 26 illustrate this? D. Mental Adultery (vv. 27-28) 1. Why is adultery wrong? 2. What is mental adultery? Can you commit it by reading “Playboy” or watching “bold” movies? 3. What about green jokes? 4. What practical steps can we take to avoid committing mental adultery? E. Seriousness Of Sin (vv. 29-30) 1. Does sin matter? Should we resist it? 2. Where does sin lead to? See Galatians 5:19-21. 3. Is this command of our Lord to be taken literally or symbolically? (It can be taken literally. When our right eye sins, it should really be taken out. The reason we don‟t take it out is because Jesus bore the punishment for us already. So when we sin, and are forgiven, we should not treat it lightly, thinking “Well, I can always be forgiven again if I sin again.” We should bear in mind that every time we sin, it is as if we crucify our Lord once more on the cross.) CONCLUSION Today, we have studied a passage relating to our thoughts. Our Lord is very emphatic that sinning in our thoughts is equivalent to sinning in our actions. Let us ask Him to keep our minds pure and acceptable to Him.

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Lesson 22: Repentance (The Prodigal Son)

Lesson 22: REPENTANCE (The Prodigal Son)
Luke 15:11-32 Repentance is a very important part of our Christian life. Not only do we have to repent when we initially forsake our sins and receive salvation, but there are times we need to repent as we follow Christ and realize we have sinned in some ways. Today we will study a passage, which, though familiar, is still full of meaning. Bible Readings Luke 15:11 Then He said: "A certain man had two sons. 12 "And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.' So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 "And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 14 "But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 "Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 "And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. 17 "But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 'I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, Page 22 - 1

19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants."' 20 "And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 "And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.' 22 "But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 'And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 'for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' And they began to be merry. 25 "Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 "So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 "And he said to him, 'Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.' 28 "But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 "So he answered and said to his father, 'Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 'But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.' 31 "And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 'It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for

Lesson 22: Repentance (The Prodigal Son) your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.'" (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. Who’s Hurt When I Sin? 1. The parable of the prodigal son is applicable both to a sinner receiving salvation for the first time and to a Christian who has sinned. Today we will look at the parable as portraying a Christian who has sinned. 2. What happens when a Christian sins but has not yet repented? a. He feels miserable. In fact, he feels more miserable than a non-Christian. While a non-Christian feels emptiness in his life, he does not know what is lacking. A carnal Christian on the other hand remembers what it was like to taste and enjoy the love of God and the sweetness of His fellowship, which are now lost because of his unconfessed sin. His spirit is now literally starving. b. The Father is grieved, and longs for the son to repent and come back to Him. After we sin, the thought that prompts us to repent is usually the fear of punishment, right? How often do we care that we have grieved our Heavenly Father? Which is more important? Why? (When a person becomes a true Christian, his center of attention should no longer be himself, but rather his Lord and Master. He should not keep on thinking about how to make himself happy, etc., but rather how to please his Heavenly Father, how to love Him., how not to cause Him grief.) B. Steps To True Repentance (vv. 17-20) What are the steps in true repentance as portrayed by the younger son‟s actions in the parable? a. He came to his sense (v. 17). (Realized the situation he was in) b. Confessed (v. 18) c. Got up and started back to his father (v. 20) Very often after we have sinned, we feel guilty, but then do nothing. Unless we take all these three steps, we have not truly repented. REFLECTION: When I have sinned, do I just feel guilty and do nothing? Are there still unrepented sins in my life? C. The Waiting Father (vv. 20-24) How do verses 20-24 illustrate the love of our Heavenly Father? Do we really believe it? If so, why are we still sometimes reluctant to repent when we sin? The beautiful thing about the story of the prodigal son is that he came home to find his father waiting for him. How different it would have been had the son decided to go home but his father was not there—it would have been a different story. “Faith is man‟s response to God‟s initiative.” The father had always been there, waiting for the prodigal son to make the proper response that of coming back. D. Guilty Of The Same Crime (vv. 25-32) In what ways are we sometimes like the elder brother? What was his main problem? (His main problem was lack of love—towards his brother and towards his father. He did not rejoice when his brother

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Lesson 22: Repentance (The Prodigal Son) repented and came home. He had worked for his father all those years, probably not out of love but out of duty.) Some of us who have been serving God for many years need to reexamine our attitude. Do we serve out of love for our Father? For our brothers and sisters? Or out of a sense of duty? Do we need to repent of our attitude? CONCLUSION We should be aware of how much we grieve our Heavenly Father when we sin, and how we only put ourselves in a miserable state when we do. After coming to such a realization, we should confess our sins and ask forgiveness from our Father. He is loving and patient and very willing to accept us again into His arms, no matter how much we have sinned.

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Lesson 23: Prayer of Repentance

Psalm 51 BACKGROUND: (II Samuel 1 1:1 -27, 12:1-24) This is a prayer of confession by David. After he had committed adultery with Bathsheba, God sent the prophet Nathan to confront him. When David realized how dreadfully he had sinned, he confessed and asked forgiveness from God. This Psalm shows how deep his repentance was, how he cried out to God, how much he valued the forgiveness of God. Bible Readings Psalm 51:1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight-- that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge. 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. 6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice.

9 Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You. 14 Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. 15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise. 16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; you do not delight in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart-- these, O God, You will not despise. 18 Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; build the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering; then they shall offer bulls on Your altar. (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. True Repentance (vv. 1-6) 1. a. What was David‟s reaction after realizing that he had sinned? (v. 1) b. Some people do not ask for mercy from God after they have sinned. Instead what do they try to do? (1) Some blame others. (David could have blamed Bathsheba for tempting him.) (2) Some give all sorts of excuses, or try to cover up

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Lesson 23: Prayer of Repentance their sin. (3) Some try to avoid God. (David could have tried to avoid God by refusing to see the prophet Nathan.) (4) Some try to give offerings to God, hoping to take away God‟s anger; like giving more contributions, etc. David did not do any of the above. A true child of God has only one recourse and that is to cry out like David, “Lord, have mercy on me.” REFLECTION: How do I usually react when I realize that I have sinned? 2. a. What are the prerequisites for one to be forgiven? (vv. 34) (l) He must know that he has sinned (v. 3). (2) He must confess the sin he has committed (v. 4). b. Against whom did David say he sinned? (v. 4) What is sin? Against what standards do we measure our selves when we say we have or have not sinned? c. What are we usually thinking of after we have sinned? (1) Some are very conscious of what other people will think or say. (2) Some are afraid of the punishment that comes with sin. (3) A true child of God is more concerned with grieving His Heavenly Father against whom he has sinned. Do we feel this way every time we sin? d. Why can we be confident that we will be forgiven if we acknowledge and confess our sins? (Jesus Christ‟s work on the cross; God‟s promise in I John 1:9) REFLECTION: As I stand before God now, what specific sins should I confess? B. Results Of Being Forgiven (vv. 7-12) When a man‟s sins have been forgiven, what are the results in his life? a. He is cleansed (v. 7). b. He hears the sounds of joy and gladness (v. 8). c. The bones which God has broken rejoice (v. 8). What does this mean? (When we have sinned, we feel burdened as with a heavy load. We feel depressed and tired. We feel as if our whole body is aching, as if our bones are broken. Once our sins are forgiven, however, the heavy load is lifted, we feel free and our “broken bones” once more rejoice.) d. His sins are hidden from God‟s face (v. 9). Sometimes, even after God has forgiven us, we still have not forgiven ourselves. We keep on thinking, “Why did I do that? How stupid of me!” How can we learn to forgive ourselves? e. A right spirit is renewed within him (v. 10). What does this mean? f. He is not cast away from God‟s presence (v. 11). g. He has the joy of salvation (v. 12). REFLECTION: Have I experienced the liberating effects of being forgiven? If not, why not? C. What We Do After Being Forgiven (vv. 13-19) 1. What should we do after we are forgiven? a. Help other sinners repent and turn to God (v. 13). b. Sing aloud the righteousness of God (v. 14). Some people keep on sinning, thinking that God will

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Lesson 23: Prayer of Repentance always forgive them if they confess their sins. How can we prevent this from happening in our lives? (Remember that God forgives sins, but He is also a just and righteous God. Forgiveness does not come cheaply. Jesus Christ had to pay the price on the cross.) c. Our mouth shows forth God‟s praise (v. 15). Do we praise God only when we gather for worship once a week? Let us learn to praise Him every day ourselves, especially when we realize His greatness and love in forgiving our sins. d. Offer sacrifices to God. (vv. 16-19) REFLECTION: Have I done all of the above? If not, why not? 2. What kind of sacrifices does God delight in? What are the conditions for God to accept our offerings? (God does not desire our sacrifices when our sins remain unconfessed. We cannot hope to “buy” God‟s favor by offering sacrifices instead of confessing our sins. It is only after we have come before Him with a broken and a contrite heart, after we have cried out to Him for forgiveness, that God can begin to accept our other sacrifices. After all, the best sacrifice we can offer is a broken and contrite heart.) 3. Although forgiveness is available whenever we repent and confess our sins, we may have to suffer some consequences of our sins due to existing natural laws through which God operates. Cite examples. (a) A man commits adultery with a woman, out of which a child is born. When he repents and confesses, God forgives him of the sin of adultery, but the man is still responsible to support the child. 4. How important is it to be honest before God? How important is it to be honest before men? (For the growth of our spiritual life. For the growth of our character—humility, etc. For the growth of our personal relationship with God, and also with other people) Remember: The higher our position, the deeper our humility should be. CONCLUSION Whenever we sin, our only recourse is to confess and cry out, “Lord forgive me.” No amount of excuses or alibis can ever be acceptable. What our Lord wants is a broken and contrite heart. Then he restores within us joy and a right spirit.

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Lesson 24: Does No Man Condemn You

John 8: 1-11 In our daily lives we often criticize and judge one another. It is easy for us to point out what is wrong with somebody else, but difficult to realize what is wrong with ourselves. Today we will study a passage that deals with this very subject. BACKGROUND: The Jews at Jesus‟ time were under Roman occupation, like the Philippines was at one time under Japanese occupation. The laws being administered were Roman laws, and under Roman law, adultery was not punishable by death. Bible Readings John 8:1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. 3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, 4 they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 "Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?" 6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. 7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first."

8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" 11 She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. The Sly Trap 1. The Scribes and the Pharisees were sure this time that they could trap Jesus. What were the only answers they thought Jesus could have to their question? How did they hope to trap Him in each case? (If Jesus had answered, “Stone her to death,” the Pharisees would report to the Roman authorities that Jesus said a woman should be killed contrary to Roman law. On the other hand, if Jesus did not advocate stoning her to death, the Pharisees would say Jesus was not upholding the Law of Moses, thus discrediting Him in the eyes of the Jews.) 2. Try to put yourself in the woman‟s place and describe her feelings in each succeeding verse as the narrative progresses. How would you feel standing before Jesus if the most shameful thing in your life had suddenly been made public? B. The Attitude Test 1. a. What was the people‟s attitude towards the woman? b. What was Jesus‟ attitude toward the woman? c. Why did they not also bang the male partner?

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Lesson 24: Does No Man Condemn You d. What did it show about society at that time? e. How about our society today? 2. Observe the steps by which Jesus directed His accusers‟ thoughts towards their own guilt. (a) What do you see about His method? What did their reaction to Jesus‟ challenge tell us about what was happening within them? (b) Why did the old leave ahead of the young? 3. After all accusers left, why did the woman not run away? What did it show about her realization of the person of Jesus Christ? 4. Did Jesus condone her sin? What then did He do? (Condoning sin means saying “never mind” without paying the cost. Here Jesus was not condoning her sin, but forgave her, and paid the price for it by dying on the cross.) APPLICATION 1. Why do we often criticize and judge people? 2. Should we judge people and criticize them negatively? Since we know we should not, why do we still criticize and judge people? 3. What is constructive criticism? 4. What should be our attitude towards our own sins? (strict) 5 What should be our attitude towards other people‟s sins? (Hate the sin but love the sinner) 6. How do we hate sin but love the sinner? REFLECTION In the past few weeks, have I judged people and criticized them negatively? CONCLUSION None of us has the right to judge others and criticize them negatively. But we often do. Let us remember how our Lord treated the woman caught in adultery, and adjust our attitudes accordingly.

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Lesson 25: Our Hidden Desires

Numbers 22:1-22 We Christians profess to follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Master. We read His Word, pray and seek His will in order to do what He wants us to do. But sometimes our hidden desires which are not in accordance with His will show through. Today we will study how to spot such hidden desires, and how to deal with them. Bible Readings Numbers 22:1 Then the children of Israel moved, and camped in the plains of Moab on the side of the Jordan across from Jericho. 2 Now Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3 And Moab was exceedingly afraid of the people because they were many, and Moab was sick with dread because of the children of Israel. 4 So Moab said to the elders of Midian, "Now this company will lick up all that is around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field." And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time. 5 Then he sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is near the River in the land of the sons of his people, to call him, saying: "Look, a people has come from Egypt. See, they cover the face of the earth, and are settling next to me! 6 "Therefore please come at once, curse this people for me, for they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat

them and drive them out of the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed." 7 So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the diviner's fee in their hand, and they came to Balaam and spoke to him the words of Balak. 8 And he said to them, "Lodge here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, as the LORD speaks to me." So the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam. 9 Then God came to Balaam and said, "Who are these men with you?" 10 So Balaam said to God, "Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me, saying, 11 'Look, a people has come out of Egypt, and they cover the face of the earth. Come now, curse them for me; perhaps I shall be able to overpower them and drive them out.'" 12 And God said to Balaam, "You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed." 13 So Balaam rose in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, "Go back to your land, for the LORD has refused to give me permission to go with you." 14 And the princes of Moab rose and went to Balak, and said, "Balaam refuses to come with us." 15 Then Balak again sent princes, more numerous and more honorable than they. 16 And they came to Balaam and said to him, "Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: 'Please let nothing hinder you from coming to me; 17 'for I will certainly honor you greatly, and I will do whatever you say to me. Therefore please come, curse this people for me.'" 18 Then Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, "Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to

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Lesson 25: Our Hidden Desires do less or more. 19 "Now therefore, please, you also stay here tonight, that I may know what more the LORD will say to me." 20 And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, "If the men come to call you, rise and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you-- that you shall do." 21 So Balaam rose in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab. 22 Then God's anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the LORD took His stand in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. The Setting (vv. 1-6) What did the King of Moab fear, and what did he do? B. The Message and Response (vv. 7-14) 1. Was Balaam clear about what Balak wanted? 2. What was God‟s will and command concerning the matter? (v. 12) Was it definite? In other words, was there any ambiguity as to what God‟s will and command was? (none) 3. How did Balaam respond? (v. 13) C. The Second Try (vv. 15-22) 1. How was the second try more difficult for Balaam to resist than the first? (w. 15,16) Application: Ask your members to cite instances in their lives similar to this. a. Sometimes we give way to persistence, even when we know it is not the will of God. Example: a non-Christian suitor. b. Sometimes prestige and pressure are involved, making it more difficult to resist. Example: moving to a more prestigious place to work, when you know God wants you in another place. 2. Did Balaam resist? (In words only.) What was Balaam‟s hidden desire? (Money. See II Peter 2:15) 3. How did his hidden desire show through his actions? a. He asked the messengers to “stay here this night” (v. 19). (Contrast this with what Joseph did when his master‟s wife tried to seduce him: Joseph fled.) b. He wanted to ask God again to see what more the Lord will tell him. (v. 19) (Since the answer of God in verse 12 was definite enough, Balaam‟s action was not really to seek God‟s mind, but to bend God to his own will.) 4. Since God gave Balaam permission to go (v. 20), why was God angry with Balaam when he went (v. 22)? (God was angry with Balaam because He knew the hidden desire in Balaam‟s heart, that Balaam had already set his mind to go, contrary to God‟s wishes. God permitted Balaam to go, not to curse the Israelites, but to bless them, and to teach Balaam a lesson in the process.) NOTE: The Bible study leader should summarize the remainder of the story (up to end of chapter 24) for the group members, so that they can have a complete picture of the incident.

APPLICATION 1. Give examples from our daily lives wherein what we do

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Lesson 25: Our Hidden Desires and what we say do not agree, where our hidden desires show through. Example 1: We say God is first in our lives, but spend most of our time and energy making more money for ourselves. Example 2: We say all glory is God‟s, that we seek none for our own. But deep inside we want glory and praise and do our best to obtain them. 2. Give examples from our daily lives where we are clear about what God wants. Yet we ask Him again and again about the same matter, hoping to bend His will to our own. Examples: Choosing a life partner, profession, choosing where to serve . . . choosing our

3. Why do we often have such hidden desires that conflict with God‟s desires for us? If we become aware of these desires, how can we deal with them? (Discuss based on examples cited.) CONCLUSION Our hidden desires are bound to show through one way or another, like Balaam‟s. Let us be totally honest before God, asking Him to dig out all our hidden desires and replace them with His own character.

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Lesson 26: God‟s Chastisement: Usurping God‟s Glory

Lesson 26: GOD’S CHASTISEMENT: Usurping God’s Glory
Daniel 4:28-37 God is love. But He also abhors sin, especially the sin of pride. As such, He exercises discipline over His children. God‟s chastisement can be swift and terrible. Today we will study such a case. BACKGROUND: Read Daniel 4:1-27 as background. Bible Readings Daniel 4:1 Nebuchadnezzar the king, To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you. 2 I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me. 3 How great are His signs, and how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation. 4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace. 5 I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts on my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. 6 Therefore I issued a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream. 7 Then the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers came in, and I told them the dream; but they did not make known to me its interpretation. Page 26 - 1

8 But at last Daniel came before me (his name is Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god; in him is the Spirit of the Holy God), and I told the dream before him, saying: 9 "Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, because I know that the Spirit of the Holy God is in you, and no secret troubles you, explain to me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and its interpretation. 10 "These were the visions of my head while on my bed: "I was looking, and behold, a tree in the midst of the earth, and its height was great. 11 The tree grew and became strong; its height reached to the heavens, and it could be seen to the ends of all the earth. 12 Its leaves were lovely, its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, the birds of the heavens dwelt in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it. 13 "I saw in the visions of my head while on my bed, and there was a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven. 14 He cried aloud and said thus: 'Chop down the tree and cut off its branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts get out from under it, and the birds from its branches. 15 Nevertheless leave the stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, in the tender grass of the field. Let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let him graze with the beasts on the grass of the earth. 16 Let his heart be changed from that of a man, let him be given the heart of a beast, and let seven times pass over him. 17 'This decision is by the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones, in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men.' 18 "This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. Now you,

Lesson 26: God‟s Chastisement: Usurping God‟s Glory Belteshazzar, declare its interpretation, since all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able, for the Spirit of the Holy God is in you." 19 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished for a time, and his thoughts troubled him. So the king spoke, and said, "Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation trouble you." Belteshazzar answered and said, "My lord, may the dream concern those who hate you, and its interpretation concern your enemies! 20 The tree that you saw, which grew and became strong, whose height reached to the heavens and which could be seen by all the earth, 21 whose leaves were lovely and its fruit abundant, in which was food for all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and in whose branches the birds of the heaven had their home-22 it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong; for your greatness has grown and reaches to the heavens, and your dominion to the end of the earth. 23 And inasmuch as the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, 'Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze in the tender grass of the field; let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let him graze with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him'; 24 this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king: 25 They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses. 26 And inasmuch as they gave the command to leave the stump and roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be assured to you, after you come to know that Heaven rules. 27 Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity." 28 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. 30 The king spoke, saying, "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?" 31 While the word was still in the king's mouth, a voice fell from heaven: "King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! 32 And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses." 33 That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles' feathers and his nails like birds' claws. 34 And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: for His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. 35 All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; he does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or

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Lesson 26: God‟s Chastisement: Usurping God‟s Glory say to Him, "What have You done?" 36 At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down. (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. The Warning (vv. 1-27) 1. God‟s chastisement is usually preceded by a warning. The Bible is full of God‟s warnings to us. Are we aware of them? If not, why not? 2. In spite of the fact that Nebuchadnezzar was warned, he still committed the sin he was warned against. Why? AK we like him in this “yard? B. The Sin—Usurping (Stealling) The Glory Of God (vv. 28-30) Most of us are proud in one way or another. Instead of acknowledging God to be the source of our gifts and blessings, we tend to give the glory to ourselves. Give examples from our lives: 1. Having a nice voice/beautiful face/ .... 2. Special skill in: playing ball/arts/ computers . . . 3. Having a bright child 4. Earning lots of money REFLECTION: Have I been usurping the glory of God? If so, I must ask for forgiveness.

C. The Chastisement (vv. 31-33) 1. a. What chastisement came upon Nebuchadnezzart Why did God chastise Nebuchadnezzar? What is „chastisement‟? How different is this from punishment? (Punishment is what is due us when we commit a wrong act. Chastisement is a disciplinary measure aimed at correcting a wrong behavior.) b. What possible forms can chastisement come to us? c. What should be our attitude when we a” chastised? 2. In Nebuchadnezzar‟s case, the chastisement came immediately. In our case, it may not have come yet. Why? How is God‟s sovereignty seen in Nebuchadnezzar‟s case? our case? D. Repentance and Restoration (vv. 34~36) 1. Did Nebuchadnezzar repent? How? a. “Lifted my eyes towards heaven” (v. 34). b. Acknowledged that God is ruler over all (vv. 34, 35). (Notice that Nebuchadnezzar‟s repentance came in two stages. First, he lifted his eyes towards heaven, signifying his turning towards God. Then his reason returned, and with it, he was able to fully repent and acknowledge God‟s sovereignty. Some of us may have minds clogged with sin and controlled by Satan, but none of us is beyond redemption. If we really want to repent, God enables us to do so, even in stages.) 2. What changes came to Nebuchadnezzar, especially his attitude towards God and glory, before and after his chastisement? 3. a. Was it Nebuchadnezzar‟s “right” to be restored after he repented? If not, why was he restored? b. After we repent, can we “expect” God to restore to us

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Lesson 26: God‟s Chastisement: Usurping God‟s Glory what He has taken away? Is the expectation of restoration sometimes the secret reason why we repent? c. Is this kind of repentance genuine? (We can desire and expect to be reconciled to God after repentance. This means the restoration of our broken fellowship and rejoicing in God‟s presence. But to expect to get back those blessings or gifts He has taken away is to prostitute our repentance, making our repentance not genuine. God may or may not give these back. It is His prerogative. It is His grace.) E. His Testimony (v. 37) 1. Happy is the man whom God chastises and who learns his lesson well. REFLECTION: How do I react when I arm chastised? 2. Love and judgment seem incompatible. But throughout this whole episode, God‟s mercy and love are shown alongside His judgment. How? CONCLUSION We have often usurped God‟s glory, just like Nebuchadnezzar. Sooner or later God‟s chastisement will fall on us, sometimes in unexpected ways. But His judgment is tempered with mercy. It is for us to lift our eyes to Him and be restored to fellowship with Him.

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Lesson 27: Backsliding and Its Remedy

John 21: 1-14 Many of us have encountered Jesus at one time or another. We may have experienced a “spiritual high.” But somehow, the excitement subsided. Then we went back to our old ways. Old habits. When we do this we feel so far from our Lord. Sometimes we would like to come back to Him, but feel ashamed to do so. Today we will study a passage dealing with this problem. Bible Readings John 21:1 After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We are going with you also." They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any food?" They answered Him, "No." 6 And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It

is the Lord!" Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. 9 Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have just caught." 11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. 12 Jesus said to them, "Come and eat breakfast." Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, "Who are You?"-- knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish. 14 This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. Sliding Back 1. Jesus had resurrected and appeared to the disciples several times (vv. 1, 14). What were the disciples doing when Jesus saw them this time? In John 20:21, during the second appearance of Jesus to the disciples, He specifically sent them to preach the Gospel to the world. Peter and his companions had in the past given up their fishing careers and followed Jesus (Luke 5:11). But now, instead of going and preaching the good news of salvation, they had gone back to fishing. 2. What are the possible reasons they did so?

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Lesson 27: Backsliding and Its Remedy a. Some may say that it was out of necessity to meet their daily needs. But during the past two years or more, they had followed Jesus full time and had not engaged in fishing, yet they had enough to eat. God provided for them, apparently through other followers of Jesus. After Pentecost, they also preached full time without fishing. b. One likely explanation is that they had backslidden— forgotten their commitment to our Lord to serve Him full time; followed old ways, and attended to their daily routine only. 3. In what ways are we like them? B. Marching Forward 1. Did Jesus forsake or rebuke them? 2. What was Jesus‟ attitude towards them? a. Loving and humble - instead of waiting for the disciples to go to Him. He went to them (vv. 1, 4, 5). b. Gentle and caring (vv. 5, 6, 9, 11 ) c. Patient - going to so much trouble just so that they could learn one lesson. Jesus seemed to tell them: “If fish is what you want, I will give them to you. But is this what you really want?” C. Helping The Backslider 1. What is often our attitude towards a brother who has backslidden? a. Condemnation and criticism b. Disgust/frustration c. Avoidance of him 2. What should be our attitude? 3. What should we do? Share your experiences. (The best way to help a backslidden brother is not to immediately talk about going to church/fellowship/Bible readings/prayers. First, be a friend to him. Visit him. Let him know you care for him whether or not he comes to church. Gradually, as he feels more and more accepted by other Christians, you may begin to talk about church/fellowship/Bible readings/prayers.) 4. Let us put ourselves in the situation of a person who had backslidden. What usually are our feelings and actions? a. Shame and guilt b. Trying to avoid God - not praying, not reading Bible c. Trying to avoid other Christians 5. What should be our attitude and response when we have backslidden? (Aware that our Lord still loves us and is patiently waiting for us to come back to Him—that He will accept us. Then drop to our knees and really return to Him.) CONCLUSION Our Lord loves us very much. Even when we have backslidden, He still loves us and patiently waits for us to return to Him.

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Lesson 28: The Love Commitment: To Follow Christ, To Care for New Christians

Lesson 28: THE LOVE COMMITMENT: To Follow Christ Forever To Care For New Christians
John 21: 15-25 Our Lord was very patient with the disciples who had gone back to their old pursuits (w. 1-14). When they could not find fish He told them how to catch so many the net almost broke. In effect He was telling them—”If you want fish, I will give you fish. But is this what you really want?” This is the setting for the conversation that follows. Bible Readings John 21:15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed My lambs." 16 He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My sheep." 17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep. 18 "Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird

you and carry you where you do not wish." 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me." 20 Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, "Lord, who is the one who betrays You?" 21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, "But Lord, what about this man?" 22 Jesus said to him, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me." 23 Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?" 24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. 25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen. (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. Loving The Lord And Caring For His Sheep (vv. 15-17) 1. What was Jesus referring to in verse 15 when He said “these”? (It may refer either to Peter‟s fellow disciples, to the boat, nets, fish and Peter‟s fishing career. In the context of what happened in verses 1-14, it probably referred to the latter.) Application: What are the things we sometimes value more than our Lord (perhaps not consciously, but we show by our actions)? (Money, fame, sensual pleasure, etc.) What do we really want?

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Lesson 28: The Love Commitment: To Follow Christ, To Care for New Christians 2. What was our Lord emphasizing again and again in His questions to Peter? a. To stress that the most important ingredient for Christian service is love. See 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. REFLECTION: Am I serving my Lord out of love, or because of duty, reward, other people‟s urgings . . .? b. If we really love our Lord, we will naturally want to feed His sheep and tend His lambs. Who are the sheep? the lambs? REFLECTION: In what ways are we feeding His sheep and tending His lambs? (Not only should we encourage and help them to read the Bible, pray, meditate, bear fruit, etc., but should also care for them in the context of our church. We should encourage them to pin the worship services, and fellowship meetings, know and interact with other members, participate in other areas of church life. If someone is not yet baptized, by all means encourage him to be. We should realize we are all members of one Body, and we cannot exist alone. We should not be always asking what we can get out of church life, but what we can give.) NOTE TO LEADERS: Jesus said, “Feed My lambs.” In other words, He is the true Shepherd, we are only His assistants. See John Z 0:11-13. He provides the food, we just give the food to the lambs, with loving care. Some of us think of ourselves as the shepherd, and that if we go away things will collapse. Humbug! We should prayerfully bring the sheep, including ourselves, to His presence and feed on Him. B. Following Christ Forever (vv. 18-25) 1. Note verses 18-19. This was not the first time Jesus called Peter to follow Him (see Matthew 4:19 and Luke 5:10, 11). Why did Jesus have to call Peter so many times? How do we apply this to our own lives? (Commitment to follow Jesus is not a once-in-a-lifetime decision only. When we receive Him as Savior and Lord, that is only the first step in following Him. We have started in the right direction. We do not need to receive Him as Savior and Lord again and again, because the new birth is only once. But there are times when we need to recommit our lives to Him, especially if we have backslidden. Verse 19 indicates that Peter once again committed his life to the Lord.) 2. In verse 20 who was the disciple Peter saw following them? (John. Since John was the one writing this account, he did not want to mention his own name directly. So he used two phrases to identify himself: (a) „The disciple whom Jesus loved;” (b) and “the one who had leaned .... “) What was Peter really asking when he said, “Lord, what about him?” (In vv. 18 and 19, Jesus was telling Peter he would one day die for God‟s sake. Then Peter saw John, and he seemed to be asking, “How about this one you love? Will he also die as a martyr?”) 3. When Peter was called by our Lord to follow Him, and he tried to compare himself with John, what did our Lord answer? What can we learn from Jesus‟ answer? (Very often when we serve our Lord, we like to compare ourselves with other people. We may grumble, “How come I am doing all this work and he is not?” Our Lord‟s answer shows that it is not our business to ask such questions. Each of us is responsible to Him for ourselves only.) CONCLUSION

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Lesson 28: The Love Commitment: To Follow Christ, To Care for New Christians We have been studying God‟s Word for many weeks. How much have you grown? Are you willing to make the love commitment - to follow Christ forever, and to care for new Christians? Instead of waiting for other people to feed us, are you willing to start feeding other people? Remember, the best way for us to grow is to help other people grow. NOTE: Baptism is an important sacrament in the Christian church. It is declaring before the world that “from now on I am forsaking Satan and all his works. Now I belong to Christ and will follow Him forever. “

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Lesson 29: Regaining Our First Love

Revelation 2: 1-5 BACKGROUND: Read Revelation 1. Author : The apostle John, under the command of God. When : During his old aye, at his exile on the island of Patmos (v. 9). What : John saw a vision, and God told him to write to the seven churches (v. 11). Each church had both its strong and weak points. Application: We should not keep on grumbling and complaining that the church we are in is like this and like that. Let us thank our Lord for our strong points, and ask Him to remedy our weak points. Now study chapter 2:1-5. Bible Readings Revelation 2:1 "To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, 'These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 "I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 "and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary. 4 "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent

and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place-- unless you repent. (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. Losing Our “First Love” (vv. 1-4) 1. a. What were the strong points of the church of Ephesus? b. What was its weakness? How did this single weak point weigh against the strong points? c. Is this true of our church today? In what ways? 2. What are the characteristics of “first love”? Apply first to human lovers. Then extend to man and God. a. Between human lovers - Enthusiasm, excitement, trying to please each other, desiring to talk and be with each other, knowing each other‟s thoughts, oneness, having joy and interest in each other, willingness to sacrifice for the other, commitment to each other, etc. b. Between man and God - Apply above. In describing first love, usually enthusiasm and excitement come immediately to our minds. Although emotional feelings are important, commitment is even more important. What does commitment to our God mean? What does it involve? (Choosing Him and no other, God having highest priority in our lives; loving Him with all our heart, mind, strength; obedience to Him; following Him through trials and suffering even though we do not understand why at the moment . . .) What does it mean to lose our “first love” for God? REFLECTION: Was there a time when I really loved God? What was it like? What about now? Do I love God as I did at first?

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Lesson 29: Regaining Our First Love 3. Some of the characteristics of the church of Ephesus (like being hardworking and patient) seem like evidences of love. Why, then, did the Lord say they had lost their first love? (They might have been exhibiting the outward motions without really having love in them. Activity is not equal to spirituality. Being an officer, an active civic worker, etc. does not make one spiritual. The Lord knows the heart of man, and no facade can fool Him. We fool ourselves by thinking activity/service is good enough.) 4. What are the reasons we lose our first love? a. Crowding out God with other things or persons b. Sin c. Laziness d. Ambition e. Pre-occupation with activities Give examples of each from our daily lives. B. Regaining Our “First Love” (v. 5 ) 1. How can we regain our first love for God? a. Be aware that we have lost our first love. b. Recall, or think of where we fell and how far we have fallen. c. Repent, or turn away from our sins. d. Do what we did at first. 2. Why must we regain our first love? 3. What if we do not? What is the meaning of the candlestick being removed from its place? (Cannot glorify and witness for God. Lose our chance to serve Him. Cannot be effective even if we try to serve.) REFLECTION What are the reasons I have lost my first loves Ask for forgiveness. Ask for strength to return to Him. CONCLUSION In the life of a Christian as in the church of Ephesus, something can go badly wrong if one is not watchful. The earnest service may be there; the gallant endurance may be there; the unimpeachable doctrine and conduct may even be there—but the enthusiastic commitment to and warm love for God are gone. Let us not wait for God to sadly say, “Because of this I come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” Rather, as Christians, let us constantly desire and commit ourselves to sustain our first love for God.

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Lesson 31: Fear and Anxiety

Matthew 20:1-16 This parable, told by Jesus, deals with a very common human problem —jealousy. Contrast it with God‟s generosity and the meaning of pure grace. Bible Readings Matt 20:1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 "Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 "And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 "and said to them, 'You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went. 5 "Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. 6 "And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, 'Why have you been standing here idle all day?' 7 "They said to him, 'Because no one hired us.' He said to them, 'You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.' 8 "So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, 'Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.' 9 "And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. 10 "But when the first came, they supposed that they would

receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. 11 "And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, 12 "saying, 'These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.' 13 "But he answered one of them and said, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 'Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. 15 'Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?' 16 "So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen." (NKJ) DISCUSSION verses 1-2 What was the agreement made between the owner and workers hired early in the morning? verses 3-7 What was the agreement made between the owner and the workers hired later? verses 8-15 How were the men paid? What were the reactions? Why were the early laborers grumbling? If you had been one of them, would you have done the same? Why? Did the owner fulfill the agreements? Were the “rumblings justified? A. Man’s Jealousy (vv. 1-15) 1. What causes jealousy (envy)? Is it because we want more, or because we want more than others? How is it related to pride and self-centeredness? Should a Christian have pride (ego)? What is the difference between pride and

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Lesson 31: Fear and Anxiety self-respect? In the parable, was the owner obligated to pay the late comers that well? What do we learn about God‟s character from this? (His generosity) What is pure grace? What should be our attitude when we receive grace? Our attitude when others receive grace? How can we learn to be contented? (Grace is something we receive which we do not deserve. Of course we are very happy and thankful when we receive grace. If others receive grace, we should be happy for them, too. But often our reaction is the opposite. We are unhappy and jealous [envious] because “they do not deserve it.” But that is precisely the meaning of grace. When we stand before God, none of us deserve anything. All that we receive is pure grace from God‟s generosity. God does not owe us anything. When we fully realize this, it is easier for us to be contented and not be jealous or envious.) Ask your members to give illustrations from their daily lives when they have experienced feelings of jealousy (envy), and discuss how to deal with those feelings. Very often, we tend to compare ourselves with other people—our difficulties, struggles, trials, etc.; or in terms of the work we do. Who should be our standard? To whom are we accountable? They trusted the owner to give them what was right (v. 4). They trusted the owner‟s character. What kind of worker are we in God‟s vineyard? 3. What is the meaning of verse 16? What warning or teaching does it give us? (Many of us want to stand on our rights. We think that since we came to know the Lord and started serving Him much earlier than many others, we would naturally be more “spiritual than they.” We become complacent. But the fact is, many late comers who hunger after God‟s Word, who loves Him fervently, overtake the earlier ones.) CONCLUSION Our Heavenly Father is loving and generous. All that we are and have are gifts from Him, which we do not deserve. Let us always be thankful for His grace and not be jealous (envious) of others who also receive His grace.





B. God’s Generosity (vv. 15,16) 1. The main point of this parable is God‟s generosity. As God‟s children, we should also learn to be generous. Cite examples from our daily lives on how we can be generous. 2. Note that there are two kinds of workers in the parable: a. The men who were hired early but would not work until they knew how much they would make. b. The men who were hired later but had no contract.

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Lesson 31: Fear and Anxiety

Exodus 14: 10-14 Many of us are troubled by fear and anxiety and do not know how to deal with them. The more we think about them, the tighter our fear and anxiety grip us. This may distort our minds and immobilize us Today we will look at how God wants us to deal with them. BACKGROUND: Read Exodus 14:1-9 God, through Moses, had manifested His power throughout the land of Egypt by sending plagues again and again until Pharaoh agreed to let the Israelites go. When the Israelites were at the edge of the Red Sea, Pharaoh changed his mind and sent his army after them. Hence this incident. Bible Readings Exodus 14:10 And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD. 11 Then they said to Moses, "Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? 12 "Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, 'Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians?' For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness." 13 And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will

accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 "The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace." (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. Demolished By Fear (vv. 10~12) 1. What was the cause of fear among the Israelites? a. The threat - Pharaoh‟s army was approaching near, ready to kill them. b. No escape (feeling of hopelessness) - Their back was against the Red Sea. c. No way to resist (feeling of helplessness) - They were no match for Pharaoh‟s army. Application: Ask your members to share instances in their lives when they were troubled by fear and anxiety. Analyze the common elements of threat and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. What other things are causing them fear and anxiety now? 2. How did the Israelites express the fear that gripped them? How had this fear distorted their minds? a. Cried out to the Lord (v. 10) b. Blamed Moses (v. 11) c. Regretted being delivered from Egypt (v. 12) NOTE: Fear had distorted their minds. Although they had already seen the mighty acts of God when they were led out of Egypt, they still felt helpless and abandoned when faced with the threat of Pharaoh‟s army. Instead of being grateful for having been delivered from slavery, they regretted it.

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Lesson 31: Fear and Anxiety If you had been one of the Israelites, what would have been your reactions? In the instances given in Section 1, what were your natural reactions? In what way are fear and trust related? B. Delivered From Fear (vv. 13-14) 1. What was the solution to their fear? a. Stand fast - v. 13 (signifies trust in the Lord) b. See the salvation of the Lord - v. 13 (instead of looking at Pharaoh‟s army approaching) Application: How do we apply this? The more we look at our difficult circumstances, the more it will generate fear and anxiety in our hearts. When we fix our eyes on our Lord Jesus and His promises, remembering how He has blessed us and carried us in the past, our fears and anxieties will dissipate. Keep silent - v. 14 (instead of fretting and blaming others) FOR THE LORD WILL FIGHT FOR YOU (v. 14) 2. Ask your members how they can best deal with the sources of fear and anxiety cited earlier, based on what they have learned from this Bible study. 3. Note that the Israelite‟s fear and anxiety were lessened when Moses assured them of God‟s intention. How do we apply this in our lives? (Appreciate the value of Christian fellowship and godly counsel. Find strength in mutual encouragement and uplifting.) 4. We are at times very much like the Israelites. We think that if what God has promised is something good, then there should be no obstacles, no hardships. The moment difficulties arise, we fret and complain. 5. The journey was but a transient episode between what had been slavery, etc. and the better things to come—the land of Canaan. A Christian‟s life is very much like a journey. This world is not our home, we are sojourners. Canaan lies ahead. What is a Christian‟s Canaan? APPLICATION In light of this, how should we view trials and suffering? How does putting things in proper perspective help us deal with the sources of our fear and anxiety? CONCLUSION The solution to our fear and anxiety is to let the Lord fight for us. He is able, He is willing, and He is faithful to His promise. Our part is to stand fast, keep silent, and see the salvation of our Lord.

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Lesson 32: What To Do in Times of Crisis

Acts 12: 1-19 Christians are sometimes confused in a time of crisis. Should we only pray? Or should we try to do something more? Today‟s passage gives us some guidelines regarding this. Bible Readings Acts 12:1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. 2 Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3 And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. 4 So when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover. 5 Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. 6 And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. 7 Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, "Arise quickly!" And his chains fell off his hands. 8 Then the angel said to him, "Gird yourself and tie on your sandals"; and so he did. And he said to him, "Put on your garment and follow me."

9 So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. 11 And when Peter had come to himself, he said, "Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people." 12 So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying. 13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 When she recognized Peter's voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. 15 But they said to her, "You are beside yourself!" Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, "It is his angel." 16 Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, "Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren." And he departed and went to another place. 18 Then, as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers about what had become of Peter. 19 But when Herod had searched for him and not found him, he examined the guards and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judea to Caesarea, and stayed there. (NKJ)

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Lesson 32: What To Do in Times of Crisis (1) Family crisis - broken family, parents quarreling. (2) Having a broken heart (3) Being on the verge of emotional breakdown (4) Having an economic crisis c. How does this principle differ from the saying, “God helps those who help themselves”? (This latter saying is only the first part of the principle. A person who follows this saying has a tendency to act and act and act. When he cannot do anything anymore, he starts to worry, because there is nothing else he can do. We should rest in the promise of God that what we cannot do, He will do for us.) d. Do we worry a lot? Why? How can we experience the peace that God has promised at all times? 4. Peter now has “hindsight” (v.11). What is “hindsight”? Why is it just as important as “foresight”? B. No Small Miracle (vv. 12-19) 1. What happened afterwards? (w. 12-19) The disciples had been praying for Peter (vv. 5, 12). Now that their prayers had been answered, what was their reaction? (v. 15) 2. Why was it so? What does this show us regarding their expectations when they prayed? Ask your members to compare their attitudes and expectations when they pray. When have they shown a similar lack of faith? How de we correct this lack of faith? (Pray seriously. Pray with an expectant heart. Allow the Holy Spirit to transform our mind and attitude to conform to His will. When prayer is answered, remember to give thanks.) CONCLUSION

DISCUSSION A. No Small Crisis (vv. 1-11) 1. From verses 1-5, describe the background of the story. What happened to Peter? 2. From verses ~10, how was Peter delivered from prison? From what happened, we can draw the following principle: “What we can do, we are expected to do. What we cannot do, God will do for us.” 3. How does each part of the incident illustrate the above principle? a. Peter was chained. He could not do anything about it, so the angel broke the chains for him (v. 7). b. Peter could put on his sandals and coat by himself. This he was expected to do for himself (v. 8). c. Peter could not open the iron gate. The angel opened it for him (v. 9). d. Peter could walk down the street by himself. So the angel left him (v. 10). Application: What do people usually do when they meet a crisis? a. How do we apply the above principle when we get terribly sick? (We should consult a doctor and take medicine, because it is expected of us to do what we can. But after taking medicine, we should commit ourselves to God for healing. Some people take medicine but continue to worry. This is not applying the second part of the principle.) b. Ask your members to think of the problems or crises they face and how the principle could be applied to them. For example:

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Lesson 32: What To Do in Times of Crisis When we meet a crisis, always remember: “What we can do, we are expected to do. What we cannot do, God will do for us.”

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Lesson 33: Suffering Yet Rejoicing

1 Peter 1:1-9 Many of us cannot stand suffering. We worry, we fret, we complain. But what should be our attitude as Christians? Today we shall study a passage that shows how we can cope with trials and suffering. Bible Readings 1 Pet 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see

Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith-- the salvation of your souls. (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. To Refresh With Hope (vv. 1-5) 1. Who wrote this letter and how did he describe himself? 2. In verses 1 and 2, how did he describe the people to whom he wrote? How did each way he described them meet a need they probably had as refugees? a. What identity did these people have? (v. 1) Who chose them? b. What destiny did these people have? (v. 2) How does this give meaning to their lives? To whom should they be loyal and obey? In what ways are we also like refugees, and in what ways do the above apply to us? 3. In verses 3 to 5, how did Peter describe the salvation of Christians? What was his attitude? Describe the blessings/inheritance reserved for Christians. How are they different from the earthly riches that people aim for and strive for? B. To Refine Like Gold (vv. 6-8) 1. Verses 6 and 7 address the subject of suffering directly. a. Why do we meet trials and sufferings? (1) Trials come to test our faith (v. 7). Through them we are being purified like gold. (2) When our lives have undergone testing, they bring praise and glory and honor to our Lord Jesus Christ (v. 7).

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Lesson 33: Suffering Yet Rejoicing (3) The greater the suffering, the more we see God‟s greatness manifested in our lives if we allow Him to work in our lives. Application: During times of trials and suffering, does our faith endures Do we bring praise and glory and honor to our Lord? Why or why not? b. How do we usually react when we meet trials and suffering? What are the consequences of such attitudes? ATTITUDES CONSEQUENCES (1) We blame God or keep on (1) We become far from God. asking why. Feel bitter. (2) We feel hopeless or (2) We may seek other means depressed. of help, like going to psychic healers or „spiritistas‟ thus compounding the problem. 2. From the text that we are studying, what should be our attitude when we meet trials and suffering? (Rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy-vv. 6 and 8.) 3. What are the consequences of such an attitude? a. God is glorified. b. Others who have heard or seen how God has worked in our lives will be strengthened and edified. c. Our own faith will be strengthened. C. To Rejoice In Pain (vv. 8, 9) 1. How can we rejoice when we meet trials and suffering? Verse 8 mentions love. When we truly love a person, it is easier for us to endure suffering for his sake. Give examples from our daily lives to illustrate this point. a. Because a mother loves her baby, she does not mind cleaning his wastes and soiling her hands. b. Because Jesus loves us, He willingly gave His body to be broken and His blood shed for our sake. REFLECTION: 1. How much do I love my Lord? Am I really willing to suffer for His sake? Or am I usually thinking of myself and my problems, and not of Him and how to please Him? 2. What is said about a Christian‟s past, present and future in verses 3-9? If we are already saved, why do we still “hope for salvation”? Salvation has three tenses. a. We were saved from our sins and from condemnation by God when we first became Christians. b. We are being saved everyday, as we struggle and fight against sin and Satan in our daily lives. c. We will be saved on the Last Day, when we shall be totally changed into His likeness. (See also II Corinthians 1:10) 3. In verses 3-9, what sustains us when we meet trials and suffering? a. Hope (vv. 3,4,5,9) b. Faith (v. 7) c. Love (v. 8) These are the three great pillars of the Christian faith (I Corinthians 13:13). How are these three inter-related? CONCLUSION Christians are not free from trials and suffering. These are actually good for us, for they test our faith and result in glory to

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Lesson 33: Suffering Yet Rejoicing our Lord. As we love God more and more, being sustained by the glorious hope He has given us, we will be able to rejoice as we suffer for His sake.

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Lesson 34: What is True Love

1 Corinthians 13:1-8a Everybody likes to speak of love. But love means different things to different people. “True love” in the romantic sense often turns out to be not so true after all. The best definition of love anytime, anywhere is still found in the Word of God. Bible Readings 1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. The Importance Of Love (vv. 1-3) 1. What are the things that usually impress people, that people Page 34 - 1

usually consider important? a. The ability to speak well (v. 1) b. Much knowledge and wisdom (v. 2) c. Faith that can move mountains (v. 2) d. Dramatic gestures/sacrifices (v. 3) 2. Why is love more important than the above? What does the supreme position given to love show about the person of God? (God is love. His greatest commandment is that we should love one another - John 15:12. Everything else pales in comparison.) B. What True Love Is (vv. 4-&) 1. Illustrate by examples from daily life each of the different characteristics of love listed in this passage. (If possible, ask your members to take turns giving examples. It is important for them to relate the true qualities of love to their lives. The discussion on this section should be the main activity for today.) REFLECTION: Reflect on your own life and experience. Where are you strong? Where are you weak? How can you show this kind of love to others? 2. Do the people in our church show this kind of love to one another? How do we help each other have this kind of love? CONCLUSION Loving others totally the 1 Corinthians 13 way is not just difficult; it is humanly impossible! But this is true love. First,

Lesson 34: What is True Love love is a matter of choice. It is easier not to love (especially obnoxious offenders) but we can will or choose to love. Second, as we choose to love, trust that God (who is love) is our constant source not only of this kind of love but also of the capability and power to model it. Note: Supplementary materials on love: 1. The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis makes a comprehensive study on love. 2. Love can also be differentiated as follows: a. Love because of (love with a reason) - Because you are beautiful, I love you. Because you are . . . I love you. b. Love if (love with a condition) - If you buy me chocolates, I will love you. c. Love in spite of (unconditional, sacrificial love) - In spite of the fact that we are sinners, God still loves us. (Needless to say, this is the kind of love God wants us to have.) In spite of the fact that you have hurt me, I still love you.

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Lesson 35: Love That is Practical

1 John 3:13-19 In the previous study, love is seen essentially as an attitude. Today, we will study how to translate it into action. Bible Readings 1 John 3:13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 19 And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. Equipped To Love (vv. 13-16) 1. Who is the apostle John addressing when he says “my brothers”? (Real Christians) 2. Why do the people of the world hate real Christians? (Satan is constantly at war with Christ. The people of the Page 35 - 1

world are under the control of Satan, while real Christians belong to Christ. So we are all involved in this great spiritual warfare.) 3. What is the mark of a real Christian? (Those who have left death and come over into life - v. 14. And because we have the life of Christ in us, we will love our brother v. 14.) Application: Each of us should ask ourselves: Do I have the mark of a real Christian? Verse 15 sounds pretty strong. It equates hatred with murder. Please note that our Lord Himself says the same in Matthew 5:2122. For a fuller discussion on this, see Lesson No. 21 (Sins of the Mind) of this study guide. 5. Psychology tells us that a child who has never been loved is unable to love. Why is a Christian able to love his brother? (v. 16) Do you really know the love of Jesus? Do you really feel loved by Jesus? If not, why not? B. Not With Words Alone (vv. 17-19) 1. How do we “give our lives for our brothers”? Is it not giving what we hold precious in our lives to our brothers? What do we consider most precious in our lives? a. Money b. Time c. Talent d. Attention 2. In connection with verses 17 and 18, read James 2:15-17. People often criticize Christians thus: „You Christians pray and read the Bible all day long. But we haven‟t seen what your love is like.”

Lesson 35: Love That is Practical How true? We should not only look after the “souls” of people, but after their other needs as well. 3. How do we show a love that is practical? a. The poor - how do we help them? 1. Some people say, “Think of all the poor in the world. They are so many it is useless trying to help them all.” Is this right? 2. Is it right for us to throw extravagant parties and have extravagant clothes when so many people in our society live below the poverty line? b. How do we look after widows and orphans] c. Do we visit prisoners? the mentally retarded? the sick? The elderly? d. How do we help flood victims? e. How do we care for the sorrowful in heart? f. The Boy Scouts have a motto: “One good deed every day.” How about us? APPLICATION How can we become more sensitive to the needs around us and respond in love? CONCLUSION Since love is the most important ingredient in a Christian‟s life, let each of us examine our life to see whether it is filled with love; whether we love only with words, or with deeds also.

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Lesson 36: Love in Action

Luke 10: 2-37 Christians like to talk about love. We know all about love— different kinds of love, why we should love, how we should love, etc. But do we really do it? Today we will study a passage, which will prick our conscience. Bible Readings Luke 10:2 Then He said to them, "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. 3 "Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves. 4 "Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road. 5 "But whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this house.' 6 "And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you. 7 "And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house. 8 "Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. 9 "And heal the sick there, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' 10 "But whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, 11 'The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off

against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.' 12 "But I say to you that it will be more tolerable in that Day for Sodom than for that city. 13 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 "But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 "And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be thrust down to Hades. 16 "He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me." 17 Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name." 18 And He said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 "Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven." 21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. 22 "All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." 23 Then He turned to His disciples and said privately,

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Lesson 36: Love in Action "Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see; 24 "for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it." 25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" 26 He said to him, "What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?" 27 So he answered and said," 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and 'your neighbor as yourself.'" 28 And He said to him, "You have answered rightly; do this and you will live." 29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 30 Then Jesus answered and said: "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 "Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 "Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 "But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 "So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 "On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.' 36 "So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?" 37 And he said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. The “Experts”’ Kind of Love (vv. 25-32) 1. What was the concern of the teacher of the law? (v. 25) 2. How did Jesus respond to him? Love for God and love for man go hand in hand (v. 27). Why? 3. Who were the priest and the Levite? Did they see the hold-up victim? What possible reasons could they have had for not stopping and helping? Why do you think Jesus used these particular characters in His story? Application: Levites were people serving in the Temple, helping the priests. They correspond to the people serving in our church today. We know about love and talk about love. But sometimes a situation arises wherein we should put love into action—but we draw back. Can you think of some such instances? They don‟t have to be dramatic events everyday happenings are just as relevant. Examples: a. A little brother needing tutoring for his exam b. A friend who got sick c. Someone having emotional problems d. An accident victim e. A newcomer in church or the fellowship 4. What are some of the reasons we give to justify our lack of

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Lesson 36: Love in Action action? How sound are these reasons? B. The Despised Samaritan’s Love In Action (vv. 33-37) 1. a. List the actions of the Samaritan. What sacrifices did he make? Why did he do it? What is “compassion”? b. If you had been the Samaritan, would you have done the same? c. Would you put that person‟s needs ahead of „your‟ business? 2. a. How do we apply verse 37? b. Who is my neighbor? How can we develop an increasing love for our neighbor? How can we remedy our lack of action? Making a conscious effort to show love makes a lot of difference. The Boy Scouts have a motto: “One good deed a day.” Can a Christian do less? REFLECTION How often am I putting love into action: Once a day? Once a week? Once a months Think of your different roles in life. Example: as a student, son (daughter), brother (sister), husband (wife), friend. List down at least three specific things you can do immediately to show your love. enough to know about love and talk about love. We must show it in our everyday lives.

CONCLUSION Our Lord gave a vivid picture of love in action. It is not

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Lesson 37: Jesus Kneels to Love

John 13: 1-17 In our society we are used to the idea of the rich and powerful ordering people around, and the lowly people are the ones who serve. Today we will study how Jesus Christ, through His example, changed this standard. BACKGROUND: Jesus was nearing the time of His death. His disciples had just been arguing who of them would be appointed to the highest cabinet posts in Jesus „ coming government. (See Luke 22:24) It was the Jewish custom of those days that whenever guests came to dinner, the house slave would wash the guests „feet which were dirty from the dusty roads. In this incident, there was no slave present, and apparently none of the disciples had offered to wash the feet of the others. Bible Readings John 13:1 Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2 And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.

5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, "Lord, are You washing my feet?" 7 Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this." 8 Peter said to Him, "You shall never wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." 9 Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!" 10 Jesus said to him, "He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you." 11 For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, "You are not all clean." 12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? 13 "You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 "For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 "Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. (NKJ)

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Lesson 37: Jesus Kneels to Love DISCUSSION A. The Feet-Washing (vv. 1-11) 1. Imagine yourself as one of the disciples when Jesus arose, took off His outer garment and put on the slave‟s towel. What would be your reaction? Why do you think none of the disciples had taken the initiative to wash the others‟ feet? 2. The disciples had been following Jesus for three years already. They had heard Jesus preach innumerable times about love and humility. Why were they still quarreling among themselves about who should be greater, and why was no one willing to humble himself and wash the others‟ feet? (They probably found their feelings of pride and animosity hard to overcome. Their sinful human nature was still very much a part of them. Also, they were “slow learners.”) Application: In what ways are we like them? (Many of us have been Christians for many years already, yet our character are far from being Christlike. Many of us are also “slow learners.”) 3. If you were Simon Peter, what thoughts would have flashed through your mind as Jesus approached you? What feelings would have flooded over you? Why would you not want Jesus to wash your feet? Then why would you ask Him to give you a complete bath? 4. How did Jesus respond to Simon Peter‟s apparent embarrassment and confusion? How do we apply Jesus‟ reply in verse 10 that “he who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but he is clean all over”? (In those days, the people wore sandals. When arriving at a house after walking the dusty roads, all they had to do was wash their feet and they became clean again. There was no need to bathe the whole body. In the same way, when we Christians commit sins in our daily walk, we need to come to God for forgiveness; then we are cleansed. We do not however need to accept Him as Savior again and again.) 5. Assuming that the disciples did not want to wash each others‟ feet for fear of being looked down upon, why did not one of them volunteer to take the place of Jesus or at least assist Him when Jesus started to wash their feet? Especially Peter, this seeming leader of the disciples? (Again, they were “slow learners,” even when their Master had shown the way.) In what ways are we “slow learners” too? Give examples. How can we begin to overcome this? B. What the Feet-Washing Meant (vv. 12-17) 1. Several reasons prompted Jesus to wash His disciples‟ feet. What was the obvious reason? What was the symbolic reason? What was still another reason? a. Obvious reason - Their feet were dirty and needed washing. b. Symbolic reason - Jesus wanted to teach them humility and love. Another reason - As their Lord and teacher, Jesus wanted to set an example for them to follow. 2. What motivated Jesus to do this and how do we apply it? (Jesus did it out of love (v. 1). When we humble ourselves and serve, it should not be out of a sense of duty, but out of love). Application: What practical examples from our everyday lives can you give where Jesus‟ example should be followed? 3. What reminder does verse 17 give us? (To know these truths concerning humility, unselfishness and service is but one thing. The real value and blessedness

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Lesson 37: Jesus Kneels to Love lie in doing them.) CONCLUSION Our Lord Himself set an example for us to follow—humility and love. Whoever is great shall be the servant of all.

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Lesson 38: the Fruitful Life: Abiding in Christ

Lesson 38: THE FRUITFUL LIFE: Abiding In Christ
John 15: 1-17 We learned in Lesson 10 that the Christian life is one that is secure with the loving, caring Shepherd. We learned in Lesson 7 that we have a glorious hope. But what is our responsibility in our Christian life? This will be discussed in today‟s passage. Notes on text: verse 4 - “Abide in me” can also be interpreted as “stay constantly with me” or “live in me. “ verse 6 - This verse should not be interpreted as relating to salvation, as if a person will lose his salvation if he disobeys God and sins. Rather, it refers to our fellowship with God and our usefulness. When we are separated from God, we can do nothing and are useless, like a useless branch that is cut off and burned. (We should realize that all analogies have limitations and usually illustrate one main point only, so we should not carry an interpretation to its extremes.) verse 16- “You did not choose me, but I chose you. “ This verse emphasizes the sovereignty of God. How do we reconcile it with man‟s free will? Perhaps we can say, “Whoever wants to choose God, God will choose him. “ But we should realize God is not a passive God who sits around waiting for us to choose Him, but an active God who initiates His love, who prepared the plan of salvation and invites us to choose Him. Christianity is God-centered, not man-centered. Page 38 - 1

Bible Readings John 15:1 "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. 9 "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. 11 "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's

Lesson 38: the Fruitful Life: Abiding in Christ life for his friends. 14 "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 "These things I command you, that you love one another. (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. Abiding In Christ (vv. 1-4) 1. How are we related to the Father? 2. What is meant by “fruit” throughout this passage? a. Fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Galatians 5:22) love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. b. Fruit of our labor when we share our faith with others. How many persons have come to know Christ personally because you cared enough to share? c. Good works such as acts of kindness, helping people, etc. Give specific examples. How often do you do good works? Christians sometimes overemphasize “salvation by faith,” and neglect good works. How can this be corrected? Among the above three kinds of fruit, which do you have more of, and which less? Why do you have less of some? 3. How can we bear much fruit? a. By at least trying, and bearing a little fruit, because our Father will “prune” us to bear more fruit (v. 2) b. By being cleansed by the Word of God (v. 3) c. By abiding in Christ (living in Him) (v. 4) B. Reasons We Abide In Christ (vv. 5-11) 1. Why should we abide in Him? a. Because apart from Him, we can do nothing (v. 5) Application: Many of us feel we are so weak spiritually. We like to serve Him, like to share our faith with others, but do not seem to be able to do so. Why? b. So that our prayer will be answered (v. 7) c. When we bear much fruit, our Father is glorified (v. 8) Note: Christianity is God-centered, not man-centered. Although it is true a person usually becomes attracted to Christ because of his personal needs and problems, once a person accepts Christ as Savior and Lord, his attention should shift from himself to God. From then on he should not always be thinking, „What can I get out of this,” but rather, “How can I please God?” He should be the center of our thoughts, our emotions, our actions. We will want to glorify Him for His name‟s sake. Application: How often have we thought of glorifying our Father through our daily lives? Or are we still always thinking of ourselves? d. Because of His love (v. 9) He loves to be with us. Talk with us. Do things with us. Do you love to do so with Him too? e. That our joy may be full (v. 11). Do you have this joy? If not, why not? C. Love - The Central Ingredient (vv. 12-17)

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Lesson 38: the Fruitful Life: Abiding in Christ Our Lord reiterated once more that love is the central ingredient in a Christian‟s life. He commands us to love (vv. 12,17), shows us how to love by His own example (v. 13), and makes us His friends instead of slaves or servants because of His love (v. 15). APPLICATION Is love the central ingredient in your life? Think back on this past week—all that you have done and said. Was it because of love? How much fruit have you borne? Have you glorified our Father? CONCLUSION Christians have a responsibility to lead a fruitful life. But we cannot be fruitful unless we abide in Christ. Because apart from Him, we can do nothing.

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Lesson 39: Loving Service

Luke 7: 36-50 Different people serve Jesus Christ for different reasons. Today we will study how two persons served Jesus—the how‟s and why‟s, and then compare our own service with theirs. BACKGROUND: The Pharisees were members of a Jewish religious party which prided itself in strict observance of the Law of Moses and the hundreds of traditional interpretations added to it through the centuries. Most of them were openly hostile to Jesus. But Simon was sympathetic enough to invite Jesus to dinner. Bible Readings Luke 7:36 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee's house, and sat down to eat. 37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, "This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner." 40 And Jesus answered and said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he said, "Teacher, say it."

41 "There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 "And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?" 43 Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said to him, "You have rightly judged." 44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 "You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46 "You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47 "Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little." 48 And He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." 49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" 50 Then He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace." (NKJ) DISCUSSION: A. Two Kinds Of Service To Jesus (vv. 36-39) 1. What gave the woman boldness to enter a Pharisee‟s house uninvited? What was her only concern? In what ways did she demonstrate this? 2. How did the woman serve Jesus? What did her actions reveal about her? (She served Him with her tears—signifying repentance. She wiped His feet with her hair and kissed them—signifying humility and

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Lesson 39: Loving Service love. She anointed Him with perfume—giving her possessions. In other words, she gave herself totally, because of her love for her Lord.) 3. How did Simon react to the woman‟s actions? What difference do we see in the woman‟s attitude towards herself and Simon‟s attitude towards himself? 4. Did Simon serve Jesus? In what way? What was lacking in his service? (Yes, Simon did serve Jesus— he invited Him to dinner. But he did not extend to Him the usual courtesies of a host—washing of feet, anointing with oil, greeting with a kiss, etc. This showed Simon‟s lack of dedication. Probably Simon thought he was already doing Jesus a favor by inviting Him to dinner.) B. Reasons For The Difference In Service (vv. 40-50) 1. What was Jesus essentially saying to Simon in His short parable? 2. In applying the parable of Jesus, why was the service of the woman so different from the service of Simon? (The woman acknowledged herself to be a sinner. Having been forgiven, she had great love for our Lord. But Simon did not think of himself as a sinner. Or rather, at most, a “lesser sinner” than others. Hence less need for forgiveness. Hence less love.) 3. Some people are puzzled by this parable. They ask, “Does it mean we have to go out and commit a lot of sins, so that we can be forgiven much, so that our love for our Lord can be much?” How do we respond? (No. Actually, all of us are already bad sinners. All of us have already committed a lot of sins—in our minds, actions, attitudes. In the text, Simon probably was as great a sinner as the woman in God‟s eyes. It is how we look at our sins that makes a difference in our attitudes.) APPLICATION 1. Are we more like Simon or more like the woman in our attitudes? Do we often feel that we are “okay”? Or, at least “not like so-and-so”? Or do we acknowledge that we are sinners, needing God‟s grace and God‟s forgiveness? Do we have the love that motivated the woman‟s service? 2. In our service to Him, are we more like Simon or more like the woman? Do we exert just a little effort, yet feel like we are doing God a favor? Or do we give our all, and feel that God is doing us a favor by accepting our meager offering? 3. How are our attitudes and our service to the Lord related? CONCLUSION The way we serve is a reflection of how much (or how little) we love our Lord. This in turn is determined by how we view ourselves before God. May we be constantly aware of His grace, and be motivated by love in our service to Him.

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Lesson 40: Hungering after Christ: The Servant vs. The Service

Lesson 40: HUNGERING AFTER CHRIST: The Servant Vs. The Service
Luke 10: 38-42 Many of us have been Christians for many years, and have even served God for some time. But some of us feel our spiritual lives are not growing. We wonder why. Today we will study a passage which shows how important it is to hunger after Christ, and see the proper relationship between the servant and the service. Bible Readings Luke 10:38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. Qualified To Serve? 1. Who are the characters in this passage? Where did the incident happen? What happened? 2. Mary and Martha both loved the Lord. In what ways did each sister show that she cared about Jesus? From their actions, what did each consider more

important? How did Jesus evaluate their actions and priorities? What about us? What do we consider more important? B. The King - or The Kingdom? 1. How is “quietly sitting at the feet of Jesus” (v. 39) translated into our lives? (Meditation, prayer, Bible reading, listening to messages, seeking counsel from godly people, being sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, worship.) Why is it more important than service? Why is it essential for our growth? 2. a. We are often busy running around. Our Lord told Martha, “You are anxious and troubled about many things” (v. 41). What are the things we are anxious and troubled about, which distract us from quietly listening to our Lord? (Studies, work, trying to be more popular, trying to win friends, preparing for service, etc.) b. When do legitimate concerns become distracting preoccupations? C. The Right Kind of Service 1. Some people may decide: “From now on, I will not serve any more. I will just sit quietly and listen to the message.” Is this right? How can we maintain a balance between quiet worship and practical service? (Our Lord wants us to serve also. But only after having been inwardly strengthened by listening quietly to Him. Otherwise, our service will be harried and not pleasing to Him. A person who listens quietly to Him, who loves Him, will naturally end up serving Him with a glad heart.)

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Lesson 40: Hungering after Christ: The Servant vs. The Service 2. Notice the attitude of Martha. Was she serving with a glad heart? Why? (She complained. She was harried. She compared herself with others. Because she had not learned to sit quietly at the feet of Jesus.) REFLECTION: When we serve, is our attitude like Martha‟s? Do we complain and compare (“How come he is not doing as much as I am “)? Are we harried? 3. Did Jesus condemn Martha for her attitude? What do we learn about Jesus from His reply? (From the way Jesus addressed her, He was not condemning her, but was full of compassion and love for her in spite of her error.) REFLECTION: How is my love for my Lord expressed? Am I loving Him as He wishes me to? Is my spiritual life growing? Am I truly hungering after Christ? CONCLUSION Our Lord is more concerned with the worker than the work. He is more concerned with the servant than the service. We should continue to hunger after Him. Then serve Him.

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Lesson 41: The Man God Uses

Joshua 1: 1-9 Most of us would like to be used by God. But there are certain requirements that we have to meet before God can use us. Today we will study how Joshua came to be used by God, and see how we can be used too. Bible Readings Joshua 1:1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, it came to pass that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, saying: 2 "Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them-- the children of Israel. 3 "Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. 4 "From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory. 5 "No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. 6 "Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 "Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the

left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. Required Qualifications (vv. 1-6) 1. From verse 1, what kind of preparation did Joshua have, and why was it essential to his being a leader at that time? (He had been trained for quite some time by Moses. A potential leader must be humble enough to first learn from others.) 2. For what task was Joshua called by God (v. 2)? Imagine Joshua‟s feelings at the death of Moses and the weight of his ensuing responsibility. Why was such a calling necessary? As we serve today in our various capacities, do we know the calling of God? Are we sensitive to His leading? Or are we doing it “on our own steam “? 3. What was God‟s promise for the Israelite nation? (He would give them the land of Canaan.) What did God want Joshua to do regarding His promises to the Israelites? (v. 3) (Claim them.) Unless Joshua would actually arise and walk through the land and claim it for the people, the promises would remain just promises. Application: There are many promises in the Bible for us. Do you know them? Which of them are not yet being

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Lesson 41: The Man God Uses fulfilled in your life? (For example: peace, joy, love.) Why is this so? (In order for the promises of God to be fulfilled in our lives, first we must know them, and then claim them.) What promises did God give to Joshua personally in verse 5? Why were these essential for the task God gave him in verse 6? Application: How can we experience God‟s presence with us today? (We must have a vital, living relationship with Him. By reading His Word, communicating with him through prayer, regular worship, being sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, seeking Him earnestly, completely obeying Him, etc., we can experience God‟s presence in our lives.) B. “Success” Formula (vv. 7-9) 1. The secret of success and prosperity is the place that God‟s Word has in the heart and life of the believer. In verses 7 and 8, what were the specific commands God gave Joshua regarding this? a. Obey God‟s laws (vv. 7, 8) b. Memorize God‟s Word (v. 8) c. Meditate on it (v. 8) d. Act on it - obey (w. 7, 8) 2. What were the promised results? a. Prosperity and success (v. 8) b. God‟s presence (v. 9) REFLECTION a How do I treat God‟s Word? b. Do I feel His presence? 3. What should be the attitude/character of a man whom God uses? a. Strong and of good courage (vv. 6,7,9) b. Not frightened or dismayed (v. 9) How can he be so? (The Lord God is with him - v. 9) CONCLUSION God wants to use us. He wants us to claim His promises, and lead other people to Him. But we must first treasure His Word and obey it. We must be strong and of good courage. We can be, because the Lord God is with us.

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Lesson 42: Sharing: Giving of Our Substance

Lesson 42: SHARING: Giving of Our Substance
John 6: 1-15 In learning about practical Christian living, one of the most important areas is to learn how to share. Today we will study a passage that shows what happens when we are willing to share what we have. Bible Readings John 6:1 After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased. 3 And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples. 4 Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. 5 Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" 6 But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. 7 Philip answered Him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little." 8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, 9 "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?" 10 Then Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number

about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost." 13 Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world." 15 Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone. (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. Philip’s Test (vv. 1-7) 1. What is the setting of this event? What did Jesus ask Philip and why did He ask it? 2. What lesson can we learn from this? (Our Lord is all knowing and all powerful. When he tests us, it is to make us grow. So we should thank Him for the trials and tests that we meet, instead of blaming Him and grumbling.) If you were one of the disciples, how would you have felt? What would you have done? B. Giving of our Substance (vv. 5-14) 1. What are the main lessons of the feeding of the five thousand? a. The boy had only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, but he was willing to share what he had and gave them to Jesus. Jesus accepted his gift and made it enough. Application: How do we apply this in our lives with

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Lesson 42: Sharing: Giving of Our Substance regards to sharing our material things, talent, time, etc.? b. Jesus is able to meet our needs. Very often we focus our eyes on our problems and feel helpless (like Philip), whereas Jesus is waiting for us to turn to Him to provide. 2. What do you think motivated the boy to share what he had? (It was not for recognition or fame or praise, because his name was not even mentioned. He must have been motivated by love for Jesus and others.) Application: What usually motivates people today to share? What should motivate us to share? Peter was the leader of the disciples. But note that it was Andrew, not Peter, who found the boy who was willing to share. What lesson can we learn from this? (Andrew was quieter, but he did his part. He was more observant, more sensitive to people, more helpful. So he was able to notice the boy and lead him to Christ.) How do we apply this in our church today? Usually, we look up to the “leaders” to do things—those who can speak well, sing well, etc. But more often than not, it is the “ordinary” members who contribute more to the growth of our church. Are you one of them? Do you realize what you can do? 3. Did the people have enough to eat? How much was leftover? (v. 13) What lesson can we learn from this? (Jesus not only fed the people, He gave them more than enough. Today some of our churches seem to be so poor, both materially and spiritually. Why? Is our Lord not the same Lord? Often we blame others—”That fellow gives so little” . . . “She does not want to serve” . . . etc. How about ourselves? Notice that the boy did not mind whether others gave or not. He simply did his part.) 4. What did Jesus instruct them to do with the leftovers? (v. 12). What lesson can we learn from this? (Never be wasteful.) Application: In what ways are we wasteful nowadays in our daily lives? C. Giving of Ourselves To God (v. 15) 1. What did Jesus do after this incident? 2. What can we learn from what he did? a. Humility of Jesus. b. Importance of withdrawing regularly to a secluded place for intense prayer. Notice the term “withdraw again,” meaning He had the habit of withdrawing to the mountains for prayer. Why is it important to do so? CONCLUSION The true Christian naturally wants to share what he has, out of love for his Lord and other people. Unconditionally, and without comparing what he gives with what others give. Let us be sensitive to what others need, and share what the Lord has given us.

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Lesson 43: Sharing Our Faith

John 1: 35-51 A person who loves our Lord will naturally want to introduce others to Him. Today we will study a passage, which shows us how to do it. Bible Readings John 1:35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God!" 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, "What do you seek?" They said to Him, "Rabbi" (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), "where are You staying?" 39 He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour). 40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, "You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas" (which is translated, A Stone). 43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, "Follow Me." 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and

Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote-Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." 46 And Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!" 48 Nathanael said to Him, "How do You know me?" Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you." 49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" 50 Jesus answered and said to him, "Because I said to you, 'I saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe? You will see greater things than these." 51 And He said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. Telling The Good News (vv. 35-46) 1. Who are the people in this passage that shared their faiths to whom? a. John the Baptist to Andrew and another disciple. (vv. 35, 36) b. Andrew to Peter (v. 41) c. Philip to Nathaniel (v. 45) 2. What was the result of their sharing? (Their companions followed Jesus.) 3. What made them qualified to share their faith? (They themselves knew Jesus first.) Application: How do we apply this in our lives? (Before we

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Lesson 43: Sharing Our Faith can share our faith with others, we must know Jesus personally.) How real is He to you? What is your relationship with Him? 4. How did they share their faith? (They pointed their companions to Jesus. Shared what they knew about Jesus. Brought their companions to see Jesus.) Application: a. How do we apply this? (Many try to share their faith by arguing, by presenting a system. But the only way for us to effectively share our faith is to point to Jesus. Our belief is in a Person, not a system or organization.) NOTE: However, once a person has come to know Jesus personally, he should be brought into the fellowship of the church because the church is the Body of Christ. b. Since “actions speak louder than words,” can we evangelize by just living a good life? (If we keep silent and just live a good life, people may attribute it to our natural goodness and not to God. If we evangelize with words but live a life dishonoring to God, people will not believe what we say. So both action and words are needed.) 5. Although the passage is not explicit in this, why do you think they shared their faith? a. They recognized man‟s problem - sin b. They know of God‟s plan - salvation through Jesus. c. They loved their companions - unless saved, they would perish. Example: Suppose all of us are suffering from a deadly sickness. Unless a cure is found, everyone will die within a certain time. Then you find a doctor who is able to cure you. If you love your friends, you will want to introduce them to him too. REFLECTION: How much do I care for people around me who do not know Christ? Am I really convinced that they need Christ? B. Chain Reaction (vv. 35-51) Notice that there is a chain reaction in the sharing of faith from John F the Baptist to Andrew (w. 35-40) and from Andrew to Peter (vv. 41-42). How do we apply this? (You now know Christ because someone shared his faith with you. You should in turn share your faith with others.) Are you willing to share your faith with others? Share your experiences. If you have tried in the past, but encountered difficulties, what were those difficulties? How can they be overcome? What should we keep in mind when we share our faith in Christ? (God is in charge. Let us just be faithful in sharing, and leave the results to the Holy Spirit.)

CONCLUSION The best way for us to share our faith in Jesus Christ with

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Lesson 43: Sharing Our Faith others is on a person-to-person basis. Let them know who Jesus is, how wonderful He is and how He has changed us. A changed life is the best evidence of His presence in us.

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Lesson 44: True Worship

Isaiah 6: 1-8 We worship God every Sunday. Do we really? Let us compare our worship with a Scriptural passage that illustrates what worship really is. Bible Readings Isaiah 6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!" 4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 So I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged." 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me." (NKJ)

DISCUSSION A. The Essence Of True Worship (~. 1-5) Read verses 1-5 several times to let the picture and thought sink in. 1. Describe Isaiah‟s experience. What predominant elements in Isaiah‟s experience made it true worship? (God‟s majesty and holiness, and man‟s response.) a. Objective fact - God‟s majesty and holiness (vv. 1-4) b. Subjective fact - “I saw the Lord . . .” (vv. 1,5) - “I am unclean . . .” (v. 5) So, what is true worship? (True worship is seeing with our spiritual eyes God in His majesty and holiness, and responding to Him, realizing our unworthiness and sinfulness.) NOTE TO LEADER: This passage should be taken as a whole. Do not go into discussion of each detail, like: What is the meaning of the robe filling the Temple? Or, why did the angels cover their eyes and bodies with their wings? etc. If you get bogged down in details, the picture of God „s majesty and holiness tends to get lost. 2. Let us examine our worship: a. Are we able to “see the Lord” when we worship? (1) Before the worship service starts, how do we prepare our hearts? What really are our expectations? Do we expect to “see the Lord” or are we there just to fulfill our obligation to attend church? (2) During the service, what is our predominant thought? Our minds should be filled with God‟s majesty and holiness.

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Lesson 44: True Worship We should meditate on who He is, what He has done, how His love is expressed. b. What are the factors that detract us from true worship? (1) Feeling sleepy (2) Preoccupation with other thoughts (3) Critical attitude towards sermon, choir, other churchgoers, etc. (4) Mumbling the prayers and wondering why we pray the same thing week after week. c. How do we remedy this? (Ask your members to go through the different parts of their worship service and discuss how each part is designed to help us focus our attention on God— whether it is the lighting of candles, the opening hymn, prayers, Scripture readings, chants, etc., up to the benediction.) d. Every time we worship, do we fully realize our unworthiness and sinfulness? What do we need to do? (Consciously examine our lives and confess our sins one by one. A general prayer of repentance is too general.) B. Results Of True Worship (vv. 6-8) What are the results of Isaiah‟s worship experience? 1. He was cleansed. Sins forgiven. (vv. 6,7) What does this mean in our lives? (God wants to “burn off” our uncleanness. A person who is not willing to be cleansed cannot participate in true worship. Perhaps that is why many of us do not find worship meaningful. If we are unwilling to let God purify us, we do not expect cleansing and hence cannot “see God.”) 2. He became sensitive to God‟s leading (v. 8). 3. He was obedient (v. 8). Application: Are we sensitive to God‟s leading? Are we willing to obey? Is it possible to participate in true worship and not heed God‟s commands afterwards? Why are so many of us disobedient in many areas of our lives? C. Worship In Review Review the whole passage, describing the progressive stages in Isaiah‟s experience. 1. Saw the Lord in His majesty and holiness 2. Realized his own sinfulness 3. Experienced forgiveness 4. Became aware of God‟s leading 5. Became willing to obey May each of us experience all of the above every time we worship. CONCLUSION True worship puts our relationship with God in the right focus. We see God‟s majesty and holiness and our own sinfulness. But He is merciful. He cleanses us and guides us. We cannot but be obedient to such a wonderful, majestic and loving God.

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Lesson 45: The Vibrant, Growing Church

Acts 2: 40-47 All of us want our church to-be vibrant and growing. How can it be so? Today we will take a look at the early church, and analyze the factors that made it so. Bible Readings Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. (NKJ) DISCUSSION A. The Early Church (vv. 4~47) 1. What was the early church like? 2. What elements were present in the early church as

enumerated in verses 40 to 47? B. My Church Today How does our church today compare with it? a. Baptism (v. 41): What is the significance of baptism to us? Is baptism to our people today as meaningful as it was to the early church? Or do we regard it as a custom only? b. Apostles‟ Teaching (vv. 41, 42): Are the people in our church being fed properly with the apostles‟ teachings? Are they growing spiritually? In what ways can this be enhanced? (Invite good speakers. Encourage Bible studies ....) c. Fellowship (v. 42): The early Christians did not just form a “fellowship” and meet once a week or once a month. There was real interaction among members, real concern and love, bearing one another‟s burdens, caring for each other‟s needs. Can we say this of our church today? What‟s lacking? Why? What can be done so that there will be real fellowship among members? d. Breaking of Bread (v. 42): What is the meaning and significance of Holy Communion? Are the people of our church taught this? Every time we approach the Lord‟s table to partake of His Body and drink of His Blood, are we overwhelmed by His love? Are we aware of why His body was broken for us and why His blood was shed for us? If not, why not? How can we make it sot e. Prayer (v. 42): How meaningful is prayer in the lives of our members? Do they feel that they are communicating with God?

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Lesson 45: The Vibrant, Growing Church How can we help enrich their prayer life? How is our church‟s prayer life? How is my own prayer life? Love and concern for each other (vv. 44, 45): Though we do not do exactly what they did (selling all their possessions) because we are in a different historical context, do we have this common love for each other? How is it expressed (or not expressed)? How can we learn to become more sensitive to the needs of others? Instead of waiting for others to start, what can I do in this regard? Oneness in spirit (v. 46): Does our church have oneness of spirit? Do we have a common vision? Do we have a sense of working together towards a common goal? How can this be achieved? In the early church, sacrifice was a way of life, and unity went beyond having a common Savior. It was a unity that made them one. Today‟s church seems to have too much of „self‟ to make this possible. How can this be remedied? Worship (v. 46). Praising God (v. 47): Worship should be a strong point of our church. Are all our spirits lifted up to God when we attend worship services? Good testimony in public (v. 47): What is the public impression of our church today? Are they attracted to Christ because of us? Or have we become a “mutual admiration society” which has lost contact with the world? What can we do? C. The Growth Factor (v. 47) 1. Verse 47 says “And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Is this happening in our church today? If not, why not? 2. How does this relate to what we discussed in Sections A & B? (If our church has all the elements of the early church, we will naturally be vibrant and growing, as in v. 47. On the other hand, if our church is not growing, we should examine which elements are missing.) CONCLUSION Let us not put all the blame on others. After all, you and I are part of the church, and should share some of the responsibility. Even if we cannot expect others to change immediately, we can ask our Lord to change us, so that our small group can start to function like part of the early church. And we can pray that eventually our whole church will become vibrant and growing like the early church.





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