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Sunday School Lessons - December 2011, January, February 2012 Table of Contents Lesson 1, Prepare the Way of the Lord ................. ? Lesson 2, Jesus Heals Body and Soul ................... ? Lesson 3, The Strong Man Bound ......................... ? Lesson 4, Christ Incarnate ..................................... ? Lesson 5, Parables of the Kingdom ....................... ? Lesson 6, Christ Confronts Legion ....................... ? Lesson 7, Christ Shows Compassion .................... ? Lesson 8, Christ Confronts Legalism .................... ? Lesson 9, Fruit of the Heart ................................... ? Lesson 10, Belief Makes Things Possible............. ? Lesson 11, The Mark of Greatness........................ ? Lesson 12, A Salted Sacrifice ............................... ? Lesson 13, The Bread and Cup of Communion .... ? Daily Readings Introduction The Gospel of Mark provides most of the lesson scriptures for this series of lessons. John Mark was not an apostle but was closely associated with Peter. Mark‟s record of the life of Jesus is most likely based on what he learned from Peter‟s personal testimony. John Mark later accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey. Mark‟s account of the ministry of Jesus is the most concise of the four Gospels. He presents Jesus in action in a series of vivid and moving episodes. These deeds and actions of Jesus reveal His identity as the promised Messiah, the Son of God. The Gospel of Mark also portrays Jesus as a servant, and He instructs those who would be His disciples to be lowly in spirit. “If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all” (Mark 9:35). Interspersed with the accounts of Jesus helping and healing those in need are His teachings. We will study the nature of the kingdom of heaven, the power of Jesus to bind Satan in our lives, fruits that come from men‟s hearts, what it is to be great in the eyes of God, and other important truths. To learn through the deeds and words of Jesus is always a blessing to those who love Him. May we study these lessons with open and eager hearts and learn from Him. Prepare the Way of the Lord Lesson 1 December 4, 2011 Background Scripture: Isaiah 40 Lesson Scripture: Mark 1:1-11; Isaiah 40:3-8
Introduction The Son of God was soon to begin His ministry. A new and better covenant would be offered to God‟s chosen people, requiring a change in their way of thinking. Many of the people‟s hearts were not in tune with the heavenly Father, so God sent a messenger to help them get ready. Our human nature is opposed to God. We need help to open our minds and hearts to His will. His faithful messengers will help prepare the sinner to receive salvation and prepare His children to keep the new covenant. Key Verse Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people (Isa. 62:10). Lesson Scripture Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; 2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 And John was clothed with camel‟s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; 7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. 8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. 9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. 10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: 11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Isaiah 40:3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: 5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. 6 The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: 7 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. 8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever.
Studying the Lesson In the beginning, God created man without sin. After Adam and Eve fell, He promised them a redeemer. The justifying covering of the Redeemer‟s blood was made available to the people of the first dispensation through their faith in God and their obedience to Him. We have record of those who found grace and lived holy lives. Finally only Noah and his family were faithful among the multitudes of that day. The first dispensation came to an end because the people turned away from God. They were warned of their sin but refused to repent. Because they refused, God removed them, together with their sins, from the earth in the great flood. God soon chose to separate a people unto Himself. He gave them the moral law, which more clearly defined sin and offered greater opportunity to relate to God. The ceremonial law taught them about the coming Messiah. As this era continued, many fell away and no longer accepted God‟s covenant. Finally, the faith of His covenant people degenerated until many were ignorant of God‟s righteousness and endeavored to establish their own righteousness (Rom. 10:3). At last the promise of the Messiah came to fulfillment. Would the people understand and receive this wonderful Redeemer? Isaiah prophesied of a road being made in the desert for God‟s purposes. In former years, when a king planned to visit a city, the citizens prepared for his arrival by building or rebuilding the road he would travel so that nothing would hinder his travel. Roads deteriorate with use and holes develop. If these holes are not repaired, travelers will go around them. Soon the roads are crooked as travelers move over and begin a new path beside the original. Many of God‟s people at this time in history had left the holy path. They needed to straighten the crooked places and smooth out the rough spots. The King of all kings was coming to visit. It had been prophesied that God would send a messenger to prepare the way before Jesus. John the Baptist was that messenger. John was filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother‟s womb. The events at the time of John‟s birth brought about fear in the people. They wondered, “What manner of child shall this be?” God was preparing their hearts so they would respect and listen to this great messenger. John the Baptist did not go to the temple to preach because the gospel of Jesus Christ was not going to follow the pattern of the law. A new and living way was to be introduced, so John went into the wilderness to share his message. Something drew the people to listen to him. Was it a vacuum in their hearts? Was it curiosity to learn of this strange man who ate locusts and wild honey and wore clothes made of camel‟s hair? Was it an excitement that became like a fire and grew in intensity? Probably all of these caused the people to flock to hear John‟s message. As the people listened, they were convicted of their sins and began to confess them. Surely it was highly unusual for people to humble themselves and publicly confess their sins. Their hearts were being prepared to receive the Savior of the world. The people who repented were baptized by John. This baptism was symbolic of their cleansing through repentance and also signaled a commitment to leave their sinful life. Likely the people wanted to make John the Baptist their leader, but John understood the purpose of his ministry. He told them one more important than he was coming. In fact, He was
so much greater that John was unworthy to even untie His shoes. John told the people that the one who was coming would baptize them with the Holy Ghost. One day as John was preaching and baptizing, Jesus came to be baptized. John did not feel worthy to baptize Him, but Jesus said He needed to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness. The Spirit like a dove descended upon Jesus and the people heard the voice of God saying, “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Now they were introduced to the Messiah and were prepared to be taught by Him. Practical Truths for Today Many people no longer understand the way of salvation. Many crooked ways have developed. The cause for much of this has been the desire for self-exaltation. An unwillingness to deny self has caused many to depart from the truth and follow new doctrines. An intellectual faith that gives no grace to forsake sin is promoted. Many are disappointed with the emptiness of religion. God‟s people today are examining their paths. Are they straight? Have we moved the path to conform to our own ideas and desires? We must make a highway in the desert for our God. As we return to the original road, we will be able to help one another. We will cause those around us to thirst for a living way that brings peace, joy, and fulfillment to the heart. We can tell them of the blessings we have received. Preparation is needed if we would understand the voice of the Holy Spirit. As we tell our children how the Lord called us from sin, they will recognize the need in their own hearts. They will know the Lord is calling them to repentance. Conviction and the burden of their sin will cause them to seek the Lord and beg for His forgiveness. In our communities, in towns and cities, and in foreign lands, messengers are needed to prepare the way of the Lord. As the truth is presented, the Holy Spirit will bear witness in people‟s hearts, and they will become convinced of their need. They will come to know that the debilitating sins and vices in their lives can be forgiven and they can stand justified before God. They will enjoy the highway of grace, overcoming power, and holiness that stretches through the desert of this world. Questions 1. What are the defining features of the heavenly highway today? 2. What does it mean to exalt the valleys and bring the mountains low? How can this be accomplished? 3. How can we be faithful messengers to prepare the way? 4. How important is it to maintain the original highway? Jesus Heals Body and Soul Lesson 2 December 11, 2011 Background Scripture: Matthew 8:1-17, 28-32; 15:21-31 Lesson Scripture: Mark 1:23-42; Acts 8:6-8
and cast out many devils. What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits. beseeching him.5 Introduction When Adam and Eve sinned. death was pronounced upon man. 33 And all the city was gathered together at the door. saying. with James and John. 35 And in the morning. . Today. and saith unto him. when the sun did set. 32 And at even. and anon they tell him of her. and they do obey him. and kneeling down to him. All men seek for thee. 41 And Jesus. that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. Let us alone. 25 And Jesus rebuked him. 27 And they were all amazed. 38 And he said unto them. 4:15). This is still man‟s condition today. thou canst make me clean. Lesson Scripture Mark 1:23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. 31 And he came and took her by the hand. and them that were possessed with devils. 36 And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. and touched him. because they knew him. If thou wilt. and there prayed. I will. Our lesson heading. and suffered not the devils to speak. saying. and departed into a solitary place. insomuch that they questioned among themselves. they brought unto him all that were diseased. be thou clean. in a positive statement. Eternal life for the soul was replaced by eternal death unless God would heal and forgive. 24 Saying. when they were come out of the synagogue. and come out of him. 30 But Simon‟s wife‟s mother lay sick of a fever. 34 And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases. he came out of him. they said unto him. as He walked among men. yet without sin (Heb. 37 And when they had found him. became subject to sickness and death. they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew. and immediately the fever left her. moved with compassion. Key Verse For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. 28 And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee. reveals the power of Jesus and the hope He brings to fallen man. Their bodies. rising up a great while before day. and he cried out. 29 And forthwith. 26 And when the unclean spirit had torn him. the Holy One of God. and cast out devils. we can feel His compassion just as the people did who walked with Jesus. and saying unto him. thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art. Hold thy peace. was God‟s expression of love toward His fallen creation. healing body and soul. fashioned and created by God. and cried with a loud voice. and lifted her up. 39 And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee. but was in all points tempted like as we are. Let us go into the next towns. he went out. what have we to do with thee. and she ministered unto them. put forth his hand. 40 And there came a leper to him. Jesus.
Jesus‟ compassion and power were passed on to His disciples. and other unclean spirits are cast out as man repents and the Holy Spirit moves in. Demons with their tremendous power were preying on these individuals. He came to a nation in bondage to idolatrous Romans and oppressive religious rulers who ignored the needs of the soul. Jesus encountered a man with an unclean spirit. men are saved as the gospel message reaches their hearts. During His wilderness experience. young and old. and he was cleansed. The spirit made a final effort to destroy the person. and death. the man‟s life was spared. pride. engulfed in darkness and fear. who faithfully took up the work of healing the sick and preaching salvation. 7 For unclean spirits. presumption.6 42 And as soon as he had spoken. were healed. Often God guides the surgeons‟ hands during a delicate surgery. anyone can accept the story of Jesus and ask God for forgiveness and healing of the soul. The people. As God hears . disease. polluting and distorting their minds and ruining their health. He had not come to serve Satan‟s whims but to deliver people from his grip. Our bodies are prone to sickness. thy sins be forgiven thee” (Mark 2:5). His power to perform miracles proved to many people that He was indeed the Messiah. came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies. and even death were subject to the power of the Son of God. “Son. We live in a world with much sin and sadness. As we learn to trust God. their only hope. He knew His touch would heal and His sovereign work would save the soul. Jesus began His ministry with power and authority. God hears all these prayers and is honored when His children bring all their anxieties to Him. His care for the soul was shown when he told the palsied man. and that were lame. Many prayers for healing ascend to the throne of grace. Acts 8:6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake. Jesus only healed those whom He met or for whom someone interceded. Evil spirits. Throughout the world. we can come to Him with all our needs. and personal ambition. crying with loud voice. Our lesson text portrays Jesus as a compassionate person. Today. immediately the leprosy departed from him. His heart is touched as He sees each of us with our own particular need. were waiting for a promised redeemer. Lust. Practical Truths for Today How would we have felt if we had watched Jesus cast out an unclean spirit or make a leprous man‟s skin whole again? We may never witness such a miracle. The cry of this unclean spirit was not a voice of adoration but a cry of desperation. Jesus rebuked Satan and his temptations of distrust. The spirit knew his doom was sealed and his power over man was broken. With compassion Jesus reached out to the sick. Many have experienced physical healing after asking God for help. but we know what it is to have the burden of sin and guilt removed and to feel the peace of God. covetousness. 8 And there was great joy in that city. not only those of God‟s chosen race. Studying the Lesson Jesus‟ ministry on earth was beginning. but also beyond their borders. but since Jesus was carefully watching. His mission was to reach out to as many as possible. sickness. hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. offense. Early in His ministry.
friends.7 our special prayers. 1 John 1:5-10 Introduction A retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer described his work in the organized crime unit in a major city. sorrow will bring us closer to God and to one another. A heart filled with sorrow longs for comfort. He may heal illness. 2011 Background Scripture: Matthew 12:24-37 Lesson Scripture: Mark 3:22-30. “Which takes more faith: to be healed and be happy or to remain in this wheelchair and be happy? Today the friends of this couple report that they have something in their hearts that shines forth. If we were more focused on eternity. and bank accounts. or death. handicaps. When interceding for others. or congregation? 2. The unclean spirits often tormented the person in whom they lived before they were cast out. cars. and God‟s children are able to comfort those who grieve. If only we allow it. Even if the individual did not receive a lengthy prison sentence. Though our fragile body suffers. he lost the power and influence he had built up and was greatly hampered in resuming his criminal activities. If God chooses not to heal. or absence of a loved one. or make pain bearable. Then a son was accidentally killed. God does not heal every physical ailment in life. he would arrive dressed as a service man. He wants us to look forward to heaven where there will be no sickness. Then inner healing can take place in spite of adversity. They have accepted their lot in life. In heaven all healing will be complete. The authorities would then seize properties that were obtained with the proceeds of criminal activity. would it alter the requests we make of God? The Strong Man Bound Lesson 3 December 18. extend life. A friend suggested that he pray for healing. The paralyzed man asked. Questions 1. After Lazarus died. . Is there always a battle when a foreign spirit is cast out? 3. He wept with them. Praying about a situation brings us closer to God. the frequency of prayer. When he was certain there was no one in the home. Do we best touch the heart of God by the humility of our prayer. Jesus met Mary and Martha. our soul can remain at peace. A few years later the father had a mishap which left him a quadriplegic. Looking for better medical help. open the door without arousing suspicion and place listening devices throughout the home. The information gained was often enough to bring about a conviction. He gives grace to patiently bear the affliction. or by our feeling of helplessness? 4. including homes. handicap. they relocated with their two healthy children. is there more power when larger numbers pray? Is it helpful to involve one‟s family. Illustration A young couple lost several children in infancy. He would keep surveillance on the home of a person suspected of criminal activity.
he felt it being restored to the same strength and usefulness as his other hand. and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness. as the man obeyed. and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. we have fellowship one with another. 26 And if Satan rise up against himself. but hath an end. and in him is no darkness at all. The people were asking. and actions.8 When the Holy Spirit enters our hearts. How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself. the devil (Heb. as he is in the light. 10 If we say that we have not sinned. 28 Verily I say unto you. he cannot stand. Then Jesus instructed the man to stretch out his hand and. that house cannot stand. He takes away the guilt in our hearts and sets us free. “Is not this the son of David?” The Pharisees under- . and then he will spoil his house. he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him. and declare unto you. He even stated that He was Lord of the Sabbath. we deceive ourselves. Jesus taught “as one having authority” (Matt. and walk in darkness. He hath an unclean spirit. When we accept His judgment on our sin. we make him a liar. physical infirmities. 27 No man can enter into a strong man‟s house. 2:14). He hath Beelzebub. 1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him. and the truth is not in us. 7:29). All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men. that is. and spoil his goods. This binds Satan‟s power over our thoughts. and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Key Verse Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood. but is in danger of eternal damnation: 30 Because they said. 23 And he called them unto him. attitudes. and the forces of nature. except he will first bind the strong man. that kingdom cannot stand. and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. Jesus took note of him and challenged the Pharisees by asking if it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath day. and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light. and said unto them in parables. Studying the Lesson The beginning verses of Mark 3 give the account of a man with a withered hand who was present in a synagogue on a day when Jesus was also there. that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death. and his word is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins. that God is light. 25 And if a house be divided against itself. Lesson Scripture Mark 3:22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said. we lie. His miracles showed His authority over unclean spirits. 8 If we say that we have no sin. he also himself likewise took part of the same. He reveals all the activities of Satan in our lives. He waited for an answer that did not come. regarding them with anger and being grieved at the hardness of their hearts. and be divided.
The apostle John also gives a sobering call to walk in the light. For others. Christian life is all about showing that you can have all the fun and all the toys that the world loves and still be a child of God. and of the use of pornography is not much different from that among unbelievers. Jesus then gave a solemn warning against the blasphemy of attributing the works of God to Satan. He has led some Christian leaders to abuse the authority vested in them and other Christians to reject any form of authority. we can be cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ and walk in the light. Now here was this man. and others to be merciful and charitable to the extent of excusing sin. and we believe that Satan has been loosed. Ultimately he leads them to a very fuzzy notion of what it means to have a relationship with God. often seemingly contradictory. When we allow the light of God‟s presence to illuminate all the darkness within us. His light reveals our sinfulness. He has used many tactics. This stark fact must be the starting point as we consider today‟s lesson. coupled with the rise of immorality and crime. We see this decline of true Christian faith in our society. Jesus told of a Pharisee and a publican who went to the temple to pray. but pointed out the folly of believing that Satan was working to overthrow his own kingdom. Jesus agreed with this belief. loves. The Pharisees insinuated that the power manifested by Jesus came from the prince of the realm of darkness. Satan has undermined all of society. they found themselves almost hopelessly ensnared by the craftiness of Satan. Satan will be bound for us. He leads some to take a stand for truth and righteousness that almost excludes mercy and charity. . the rate of divorce. and activities that Satan has claimed.9 stood that Jesus‟ claims were a direct challenge to their authority. There have been periods in history when the number of people who read the Bible and tried to govern their lives by it was large enough to be a significant influence for moral purity and upright living to the society around them. There He spoils Satan‟s schemes and delivers us from his power. Jesus revealed the deception in this conceit. Jesus can enter into the areas of our thoughts. Today. whose words and actions manifested a supernatural authority they could not deny. Christian life is all about rigorously maintaining an outward appearance that clearly differentiates them from the society around them. but by undermining their faith in their churches. The messengers of Satan know our weak points and will come in many guises to tempt us. But do we understand how Satan has led our society to this point? Satan did not accomplish this by first tempting people with specific sins. their pastors. The Pharisee believed God was pleased with him because there was no open sin in his life. It is not the fault of government that this influence has been seriously weakened. among those who profess to be born-again Christians. for they held that they alone were qualified to speak in the name of God. Many have thought they could toy with sin for a time and then return to God without great consequences. To some. The power of the kingdom of Satan could only be subdued by someone who was stronger than Satan. Jesus. and the Word of God. Self-righteousness and pride may well be the most dangerous sins of all. Practical Truths for Today We are no match for Satan and his messengers. of premarital cohabitation. There is no darkness in God. By undermining Christianity and the Bible. Their accusation shows that they believed in a unified kingdom of evil that opposed all that was of God. If Jesus lives in our hearts. Our safety is found in staying near to the One who is stronger than Satan. Before they realized what was happening.
after that ye have known God. but is earthly. glory not. One day he was very agitated. or rather are known of God” (Gal. but it also reveals the greatness and the goodness of God. and lie not against the truth. Then we can experience the peace that results from the binding of Satan. “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Cor. His goal is to gather all His sheep into the safety of the sheepfold. For where envying and strife is. and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Matt. His mental state was so disturbed that some questioned whether he was able to grasp the help that was offered. Our enemy would like nothing better than to have us focus our attention on the temptations we face and on our own sins and weaknesses to the point that we despair of ever being able to lead an overcoming Christian life. Is it possible for one to lead an outwardly consistent Christian life. “I don‟t want to go anywhere else but this church or listen to any other ministers than the ones right here. If such a person feels a longing to be restored to the grace from which he has fallen. It is not God who torments man with such terrifying thoughts. and hatred. Are doubts and fears evidence that Satan is not really bound in our lives? 2. that is the Holy Ghost calling him to repentance. This wisdom descendeth not from above. 12:30). but sometimes these spirits do just the opposite. “But now. even today. 4:9). Sometimes. “He that is not with me is against me. he was calm and at peace. He was confused and bewildered by the many tragedies that had befallen him and was asking for help. mistrust. It is safe to conclude that forgiveness and mercy are still available to him if he truly and thoroughly repents of his sin. Questions 1. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to impress these words on our hearts and use them to identify the working of Satan in our lives. saying again and again. It is a spirit of darkness that makes our problems so big and God so small. Sometimes it may appear that the kingdom of Satan is divided. “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts. Soon he was baptized. fear. devilish. but kept returning to this congregation. jealousy.10 Sincere Christians expect spirits from the realm of darkness to minimize sin and make it seem inconsequential. These words of Jesus illustrate the difference between the working of the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan: Jesus is the Good Shepherd. “Those ministers had no right to talk to me like they did!” He would go to other churches and other ministers for help. Illustration An older man began to attend services in a certain congregation. It is the very nature of that kingdom to create an atmosphere of suspicion. Satan will taunt him that he has committed the sin against the Holy Ghost and there is no more hope for him. but let us not be deceived. in the lives of true Spirit-filled believers. Are we sometimes too ignorant of the devices of Satan? 3. but which pointed him to the bonds by which Satan had ensnared him and to the only One who could release him from those bonds. he did not seem like a weak and foolish old man anymore. there is confusion and every evil work” (James 3:14-16). sensual. Satan‟s goal is to scatter the sheep by leading each one to distrust all the others. How can we know if Satan is truly bound in our life? In the life of someone else? . He had been given counsel that was painful. 2:11). and yet not be known of God? 4. when a Christian has been overcome by temptation and fallen into sin. He can be bound. After several years. The light of God reveals sin. there came a day when he said.” After this.
and they shall call his name Emmanuel. before they came together. 20 But while he thought on these things. He was God in human form. 21 And she shall bring forth a son. He was the One promised to Adam and Eve after sin had separated them from God. and to reunite God and man. and without him was not any thing made that was made. He was conceived in Mary by God through the Holy Ghost. 5 And the light shineth in darkness. and shall bring forth a son. which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. Lucifer. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. behold. John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word. 1:15). 23 Behold. God with us. and the life was the light of men. 24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him. As the Son of man. saying. their father. . saying. 2011 Background Scripture: Luke 1:26-80 Lesson Scripture: Matthew 1:18-25. thou son of David. Lesson Scripture Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph. and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 4 In him was life. she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Jesus had come to bruise the head of the serpent. the firstborn of every creature (Col. and not willing to make her a publick example. the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream. 19 Then Joseph her husband. and took unto him his wife: 25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.11 Christ Incarnate Lesson 4 December 25. 9-14 Introduction Christ incarnate. that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet. and the Word was with God. Key Verse Who is the image of the invisible God. not a union of divinity and humanity. 3 All things were made by him. and the Word was God. the Son of God. and the world was made by him. a virgin shall be with child. Joseph. which being interpreted is. 9 That was the true Light. and the darkness comprehended it not. and the world knew him not. 22 Now all this was done. the promised Redeemer had come to earth. 10 He was in the world. was minded to put her away privily. being a just man. John 1:1-5.
Sin had separated or estranged men from God. even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born. 2:5-8). By sending the Redeemer.” The Son of God was God in human form (Phil. “which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. the Word. trusting in God. Tracts and other gospel literature bring God‟s Word to many. 12 But as many as received him. but of God.12 11 He came unto his own. and dwelt among us. He is eternal. and the Spirit are One. His shed blood could not have atoned for the sins of man. and on earth peace. God has preserved the Bible. first given to Adam and Eve. given in Matthew and Luke. to them gave he power to become the sons of God. Even though it was somewhat difficult for Joseph to grasp the full meaning of the dream. Christ the Lord. Jesus came to a world that was in spiritual darkness.” Without Christ. (and we beheld his glory. had been born. good will toward men” (v. the Holy Spirit is present to interpret the Word and will give light to his seeking soul. God reached out and drew sinful man to Himself so peace could be restored between them. was to be a very special event. God the Father. Studying the Lesson The details of the birth and childhood of Jesus. “Glory to God in the highest. The peace of which the angels spoke is a precious gift to fallen man. help us to understand His life and purpose. Through the ages. Mary was a godly young virgin who yielded herself to do her part in fulfilling God‟s plan. Many parts of the world have access to the Bible. God. all humanity would have been destined for eternal punishment together with Satan. The coming of the Messiah. “Which were born. the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. and his own received him not. The apostle John brings out the fact that God‟s Son. Then a multitude of angels appeared and said in unison. nor of the will of man. not of blood. through the creation and the human conscience. he was a humble man and ventured forth. telling them the long awaited Savior. 14 And the Word was made flesh. The life of Jesus on earth glorified God. His written Word. and He and the Father created the universe. Christ Jesus. 14). After Christ came. nor of the will of the flesh. An angel appeared to the lowly shepherds with good news. but had His flesh been of Mary or mankind. the people who have accepted Jesus Christ in their hearts have also been a glory to God. was not a created being. but of God” (John 1:13). “That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. nor of the will of man. nor of the will of the flesh. God‟s people (with the exception of a few) came into the kingdom by natural birth. Practical Truths for Today The beautiful promise of a redeemer. not of blood. revealed to Joseph how it was to take place. With Christ there is light and hope. Romans 2:14-15 tells us that God. gives light to the gentiles and those who do not know His Word. Like His Father. He brought the true light. The angel told Joseph. until today. the most important since the creation of man. Before Christ came. . through a dream.) full of grace and truth. the way was open for all people to come into the kingdom by accepting Jesus as the Christ. Man could not redeem himself. “Jesus Christ is come in the flesh” (1 John 4:2). which is the central theme of the Old Testament. lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12). The sign or the way to recognize Him was that He would be “wrapped in swaddling clothes. When a person who does not know God reads His Word with a desire to know the truth. had come to fulfillment.
Do we do enough for those who are lonely in this season? 3. People read us by our attitudes. It seems they know how a Christian should live. They wanted deliverance from their enemies. Our lives should help to enlighten this dark world. ill will. should not the atmosphere be the same as when we commemorate His death? We should ponder His humiliation with deep thankfulness and joy. “He came unto his own. speech. Being at peace with God brings peace in the home between husband and wife. Many of the Jews did not accept Jesus as the Son of God. there will be room in our hearts for Jesus. It is inspirational to read that Simeon and Anna recognized Jesus as the promised Redeemer. When we commemorate the death of Jesus and think of how He suffered to give us the hope of eternal salvation. They despised people who were not Jews and condemned those whom they considered sinners. Questions 1. It creates peace in the brotherhood. parents and children. When we commemorate the birth of Jesus. pride. Their hearts were hard and cold. Jesus told the Pharisees they were “like unto whited sepulchers” (Matt. and brothers and sisters. and was made in the likeness of men” (Phil. Do we recognize the price Christ paid at the time of His birth? “But made himself of no reputation. we have deep joy with sobriety. How should ours be? Parables of the Kingdom Lesson 5 January 1. They needed deliverance from the influence Satan was wielding over them. but the greater need was in their hearts. Jesus‟ lifestyle was lowly enough that the poor could feel comfortable in His presence. and business dealings—by our way of life. How is it with us? Do we allow the light that Jesus brought into the world to illuminate our hearts? Are we experiencing victory over our enemies (self. It causes us to be at peace with our neighbors. 23:27). 2012 Background Scripture: Matthew 13:3-35 Lesson Scripture: Mark 4:21-34 . He left His glory to come to earth. nor receive the light that He brought. Our lives need to be without shadows so the light that Jesus brought may shine through us. Adam Clarke says this does not mean descending deep into the literal earth or Hades but rather illustrates the depth of His abasement when He came to earth. To what exent is the use of Christmas color schemes and greenery to decorate our homes in accord with the Spirit of God? 2. and took upon him the form of a servant. Ephesians 4:8-9 speaks of His descending into the lower parts of the earth. and worldly attitudes) or are we comfortable coexisting with them? If we allow God to deliver us from our enemies. 2:7). Christians bring a peace witness to the communities in which they live. May the Spirit of Christ fill our hearts this season. They had little respect for the Roman government. and his own received him not” (John 1:11).13 Nothing is more satisfying to the soul of man than to be at peace with his Creator.
“the true Light. So is the kingdom of God. and the seed should spring and grow up. and shooteth out great branches. it groweth up. and rise night and day. chose to reveal the spiritual secrets. but which the Holy Ghost teacheth. Studying the Lesson The light that Jesus brought into the world brought to an end a dispensation of types and shadows and spiritual obscurity. but that it should come abroad. It was time to take the light from under the bed and set it up on a candlestick “that they which enter in may see the light” (Luke 8:16). 2:13). 34 But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone. Finally. as they were able to hear it. 30 And he said. Jesus. 28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself. so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it. when it is sown in the earth. kept from the foundation of the world. neither was any thing kept secret. after that the full corn in the ear. comparing spiritual things with spiritual (1 Cor. first the blade. Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed. from him shall be taken even that which he hath. 29 But when the fruit is brought forth. 26 And he said. Surely He did not intend for us. freeing men from the strongest chains as it did for Peter (Acts 12:5-11). to find an application for every detail of His parables. 25 For he that hath. 23 If any man have ears to hear. not in the words which man‟s wisdom teacheth. Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel. Lesson Scripture Mark 4:21 And he said unto them. it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. which shall not be manifested. Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete. those who live in this brief span of time. because the harvest is come. and becometh greater than all herbs. 24 And he said unto them. That light would shine into the darkest corners. immediately he putteth in the sickle. with parables. he knoweth not how. who can see all time as one day. 33 And with many such parables spake he the word unto them.14 Introduction Parables are meant to convey spiritual truths and reveal the mysteries of God‟s kingdom. even prison cells. May we find time alone with the master Teacher and allow Him to expound truth to us. 27 And should sleep. Because of this light. then the ear. which. let him hear. after centuries of anticipation. outward . or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick? 22 For there is nothing hid. as if a man should cast seed into the ground. which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” had come (John 1:9). to him shall be given: and he that hath not. is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: 32 But when it is sown. he expounded all things to his disciples. as we are “able to hear it” (Mark 4:33). Key Verse Which things also we speak.
” Jesus. He answers all our questions. think. We are privileged to be living in this gospel era of full light. from the earliest stages of development to the ripening of the fruit. God can begin to reveal Himself to us. facilitating the Israelites‟ deliverance from bondage in Egypt. Jesus‟ disciples asked why He spoke to the multitude in parables (Matt. Unlike the white and black mustard varieties which grow in the temperate regions of North America. “It is given unto [us] to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. grows into a tree-like herb. the variety that Jesus referred to grows 12-15 feet high. Many seeds of character and habit (good or bad) are planted in children. Jesus often reminded His disciples. Divine revelation will precede comprehension. 14:20). Alone with God.” When we sit at the feet of Jesus. Likewise. Verses 26-29 of our lesson scripture recount a parable found only in the book of Mark. Yet. whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26). Jesus promised. at length he becomes incapable of hearing the still small voice. It carries within itself the genuine kernel of life. and shall not understand. Later. asked. Later. the world forbidden. Webster‟s dictionary defines a parable as “a comparison. “A man can receive nothing. though it starts in the heart as a very small seed. If we have a prayerful attitude. the fact remains that. or from spiritual discussions with fellow believers. It teaches how seeds germinate unobserved. 13:10). one of the smallest seeds. Jesus. from the Bible. and bring all things to your remembrance. If one neglects to follow the Spirit‟s gentle promptings. „With what shall we compare it?” He then eloquently likened it to a grain of mustard with its potential for growth. Therefore. and the Spirit will depart from him. other seeds fall from sermons. 9:7). and seeing ye shall see. Another reason for Jesus‟ use of parables is that they cause us to stop.15 ceremonies would be replaced with inward experiences. Increase is the very essence of the gospel: “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end” (Isa. Jesus‟ parables were a revealing light to some and a confounding darkness to others. and shall not perceive” (Matt. whom the Father will send in my name. One reason might be that those individuals who refuse to appreciate the truths which are presented to them would fail to comprehend their meaning. which when placed in the proper environment. “The Holy Ghost. a short story dealing with ordinary life from which a moral message or religious truth is taught. except it be given him from heaven” (John 3:27). 13:11). 13:14). and meditate on what God is saying. Jesus thanked the Father for hiding “these things” from the high-minded while revealing them unto “babes” (Luke 10:21). With the great knowledge revealed to us comes a great responsi- . John the Baptist said. Practical Truths for Today “God‟s perfect will there lies before me. taught in parables. has potential to grow. “Take heed what ye hear” (Mark 4:24). A mustard seed. considering how to best introduce the kingdom of God. This cloud imposed a separation between opposing forces. he shall teach you all things. In the background scripture we read. When I am thus alone with God. To 1 hold with Him communion sweet. the gospel. the revelation of God‟s will. “By hearing ye shall hear. and in Him hidden. The effect was like the pillar of the cloud which came between the camps of the Israelites and the Egyptians (Exod. Jesus told His disciples that many prophets and righteous men had desired to see and hear what they were witnessing but had not been granted that privilege. O blest retreat! Alone with God. Likewise. Alone with God. the soil of the heart will produce fruit which will be harvested. produces growth. Jesus was reiterating Isaiah‟s prophecy regarding the Jews‟ rejection of His teachings.
the light of the world. Early in Jesus‟ ministry He gave Judas. Jr. 2012 Background Scripture: Matthew 12:43-45. Even that which he thought he had. Activities and habits can become so binding that people cannot help themselves. and whosoever hath not. This is the harvest for which God plants. He waits for abundant fruit to develop and mature. Today‟s lesson tells of a man who was bound . is it I?” Later that night. “You are my child. 10:1). knowing that their purpose was to arrest Him and ultimately kill Him. It seems that all grace had been taken from him. When Jesus announced that one of His disciples would betray Him. Judas tried to make restitution by returning the money he had received.” and our hearts fill with praise and devotion to Him. but often his pursuits run counter to the teachings of Jesus. had been taken from him! Questions 1. asked. Judas Iscariot‟s life illustrates this truth. “Master. Then an inordinate desire for gold and silver began to motivate him. Are we living in a full-light era? Have all the mysteries and truths of the parables been revealed? 3. “For whosoever hath. finding no release. he boldly guided a multitude of officers to Jesus. He fills that longing. alas. to him shall be given. power over unclean spirits (Matt.. from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have” (Luke 8:18). he went and hung himself. but men were often powerless to follow it. What really made Judas hang himself? 1 Johnson Oatman. Judas went straightway to Jesus and saying. “Alone with God” Christ Confronts Legion Lesson 6 January 8. Our lives become a reflection of Jesus. Jesus taught and exemplified a better way. along with the other disciples. smitten by conscience. master. for then He is able to use us. He confessed. “Let your light so shine before men. Illustration In explaining His use of parables Jesus said. Luke 8:26-39 Lesson Scripture: Mark 5:1-20 Introduction Mankind‟s deep desire is for a better way of life. When our inner being yearns to know God‟s will for our lives. With gentle care. “Master. and nurtures. Later. knowing the truth.” betraying Him with a kiss. Judas was also entrusted with the money of Jesus and the disciples. “I have sinned” (Matt. Satan influences people to pursue selfish desires. that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt: 5:16). But. 27:4). He quietly assures each of us. Judas witnessed the heartbeat of love in the Prince of Peace for three years. Judas. Are all thought patterns and conditions of the heart so universal to mankind that Jesus knew His parables would be understood and applied in the same way throughout the ages? 2.16 bility! Jesus commands. This humbles us and glorifies God. prunes.
doctors are quite successful in alleviating disease and pain. Lesson Scripture Mark 5:1 And they came over unto the other side of the sea. and also concerning the swine. saying. 13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. Jesus had victory over Satan throughout His ministry. and hath had compassion on thee. immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. and see him that was possessed with the devil. and clothed. no. Today. sitting. Go home to thy friends. . 18 And when he was come into the ship. and in his right mind: and they were afraid. not with chains: 4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains. and in the country. that thou torment me not. And the unclean spirits went out. Come out of the man. but saith unto him. and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea.17 in spirit. into the country of the Gadarenes. Jesus.) and were choked in the sea. 11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. saying. and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel. and it is only through Him that a person can be set free from the bondage of the devil. (they were about two thousand. and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee. What is thy name? And he answered. that he might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). he was in the mountains. and cutting himself with stones. and said. crying. Send us into the swine. My name is Legion: for we are many. 5 And always. and told it in the city. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested. Key Verse He that committeth sin is of the devil. 19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not. 7 And cried with a loud voice. and no man could bind him. but the effects of evil spirits are beyond their help. he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God. 12 And all the devils besought him. 15 And they come to Jesus. unable to help himself. 3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs. 8 For he said unto him. What have I to do with thee. 9 And he asked him. 16 And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil. 20 And he departed. 14 And they that fed the swine fled. that we may enter into them. for the devil sinneth from the beginning. he ran and worshipped him. and the chains had been plucked asunder by him. And they went out to see what it was that was done. 2 And when he was come out of the ship. 17 And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. 10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. night and day. thou unclean spirit. 6 But when he saw Jesus afar off. and had the legion. and in the tombs.
In our day we hesitate to say that one is possessed by an evil spirit. Man alone is no match for the spirits of darkness once they have moved into his heart.18 Studying the Lesson After Jesus was baptized and the Spirit had descended upon Him. or. The man could hardly speak for himself since the unclean spirit had such a firm grip on him. would be possessed by a devil or an unclean spirit. intended to be the dwelling place of God. Spirits have a certain nature or characteristic about them. however. When Jesus returned from the wilderness. Satan plays upon our areas of weakness. but all that changed when he entered the sanctuary of God. his desire now was to be with Jesus and to worship God. can be very subtle. When Paul commanded the spirit. Part of Jesus‟ conversation was with the man and part of it was with the legion of spirits. for Jesus had accomplished with words what they could not do by force. As a person allows an evil spirit to work in his life. There was no longer an air of terror or destruction about him. they went berserk and destroyed themselves in the sea. The change in this man stands as a perpetual testimony of what God can do in a person‟s life. There he realized that the prosperity of wicked men is short-lived at the best. Jesus‟ purpose for going to the country of the Gadarenes was. The man among the tombs was out of control and could not help himself. and they asked Jesus to depart from their country. Those acquainted with the man were astonished at the change. The dramatic events of the day caused a fear to come over the people. . The legion of spirits quickly identified Jesus as the Son of God. Three Gospels record the account of Jesus‟ meeting with the man among the tombs. we may say. The man wanted to worship Jesus. apparently. This battle between the spirits of good and evil began in heaven and is now being waged on the earth in the hearts of men. and yet she was in bondage. The girl of whom we read in Acts 16 recognized the men of God. No one could restrain or reason with him. He turned his devotion to the Lord and wanted to be with Him. and that the presence of God in one‟s life is worth more than all else. Psalm 73 tells of a man who was envious of the wicked when he observed their lives. the nature of that spirit becomes evident. they found the dead swine in the sea and the man clothed and speaking in his right mind. He was led into the wilderness to confront the devil. It is terrible to think that a human body. in the name of Jesus. The man was immediately in control of his words and actions. Evil spirits. was to set at liberty those who were bound (Luke 4:18). When the legion of spirits entered into the swine. her masters were very displeased. He seemingly was determined to destroy himself. When the people came out of the city to see what had happened. but the spirits wanted nothing to do with Him. he came to Nazareth and announced that His ministry. Jesus told the man to return to his people and tell them what great things the Lord had done for him. They may be able to identify the good and yet hold a person in bondage. but the Son of God was able to overpower and cast out those spirits in the man of Gadara. Practical Truths for Today The evil spirits of darkness come to a person with many different suggestions and seek to enter his heart and to control him. to confront the spirits which bound this man. James 1:14 teaches that a person is drawn into sin by his own evil desires. to depart from her. in part. The way a person thinks has much to do with how he lives. the spirits of darkness and evil. We rather try to analyze a person‟s behavior.
We will often need to call upon God and ask others to pray for us if we are to find deliverance from the evil that plagues us. To what degree might wayward souls be set free by the prayers of believers? 3. The flesh is inclined to separate a person from God. We understand from this that ailments may be caused by spirits. 5:17). Some people seem to have many infirmities which plague them and are a hindrance to productive life. He sat where we sit. Through the power of the Spirit of the Lord. Is it a sign of spiritual bondage when a person will not communicate with believers? 4. The great change experienced by the man among the tombs can be ours today. Our carnal nature strives against the Spirit and the Spirit against the carnal nature (Gal. They feel unable to attend church services or to invite people to their homes. Questions 1. but the real problem is that spirits of selfishness and unwillingness have found a home in their heart. 4:15).19 Jesus met a woman who had a “spirit of infirmity” (Luke 13:11-12). Matthew 9:36-38 Introduction Compassion is feeling sorry for the sufferings of another person combined with the urge to help. Others feel justified to declare a lack of talent when they are asked to fill some responsibility. and the opening of the prison to them that are bound (Isa. it is possible to find freedom and fruitfulness. Christ is in heaven interceding for us. He invites us to bring every burden to Him and find relief. 61:1). to proclaim liberty to the captives. but was in all points tempted like as we are. They may excuse themselves from social activities and church work projects. This compassion took Him to Calvary for you and me. Man greatly influences the order of his life by the choices he makes. . All these excuses may seem very reasonable to the individual. Does a repentance experience deliver a person from a tormenting spirit? 2. 2012 Background Scripture: Luke 15:11-32 Lesson Scripture: Mark 6:30-44. rest. Key Verse The spirit of the Lord God is upon me. or are they just victims? 5. yet without sin” (Heb. Are individuals responsible for their own bondage. and a safe refuge. Can the prayers of the righteous help a person who is unwilling to change? Christ Shows Compassion Lesson 7 January 15. Christ came to earth to show by His words and actions the Father‟s great love and mercy. he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted. He pities every soul in every kind of trouble. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He listens to our distresses. Today. He walked where we walk. because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek. saying they do not feel able to participate.
44 And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men. Their fainting and distressed hearts touched Christ. 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest. and were filled. and said. He did not move in frustration nor let anyone think they were a bother to Him. and into the villages. and rest a while: for there were many coming and going. Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread. and by fifties. Five. The people‟s diseases were healed. The disciples became anxious about feeding all the people. by hundreds. Christ satisfied the physical hunger of the crowd of five thousand men with two fishes and five loaves. 37 He answered and said unto them. but the labourers are few. and brake the loaves. and what they had taught. 31 And he said unto them. because they fainted. his disciples came unto him. and blessed. as sheep having no shepherd. and came together unto him. and hope was renewed in their spirits. 35 And when the day was now far spent. His teachings fed their spiritual hunger. Seeing the disciples‟ fatigue. And when they knew. that they may go into the country round about.20 Lesson Scripture Mark 6:30 And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus. Jesus saw the confused people. and gave them to his disciples to set before them. God sent Jesus to this world. and were scattered abroad. and they reminded Him of bewildered. He was the remedy for each one. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments. He told them to rest their weary bodies. saw much people. And they say unto him. and give them to eat? 38 He saith unto them. that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. He was moved with compassion. 42 And they did all eat. 33 And the people saw them departing. 39 And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. and ran afoot thither out of all cities. but Christ calmed their worry by performing a great miracle. and now the time is far passed: 36 Send them away. Christ‟s compassion touched everyone He met. 41 And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes. they say. and the two fishes divided he among them all. scattered sheep. and they had no leisure so much as to eat. Many heard the . 40 And they sat down in ranks. both what they had done. and outwent them. and of the fishes. and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat. Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place. Studying the Lesson To show humanity His great love. How many loaves have ye? go and see. The harvest truly is plenteous. and was moved with compassion toward them. and two fishes. because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. With Christ there is enough for all. 34 And Jesus. when he came out. and told him all things. Matthew 9:36 But when he saw the multitudes. Give ye them to eat. and many knew him. he looked up to heaven. This is a desert place. 37 Then saith he unto his disciples. 32 And they departed into a desert place by ship privately. he was moved with compassion on them.
The burden of sin need not be carried any longer. “For he knoweth our frame. and I will give you rest” (Matt. 5:16). How may I show compassion? The essence of compassion is to show people we care about them. His love flows through us. their efforts will be blessed. “Growing children need a father and a mother to mold and direct them by proper counsel and discipline to a useful and honorable life. “There go I but for the grace of God.” Today Jesus looks into the depths of each heart and knows exactly what is there.” Many heard the soothing words. No one. “Be not afraid. When we catch a glimpse into a hurting heart. but the parent who remembers should be moved by compassion and should discipline with understanding. struggling seaman along the shore? May our lamps burn brightly with the oil of love and send a gleam . that they may see your good works.” we will speak words of comfort and direction. He told them to be a light as a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. Practical Truths for Today The Lord told His disciples that when He went back to His Father. but are we willing to be moved with compassion to go and help? Will we be His hands. our heart can be calm like still waters. words that come from our kind Shepherd. He instructed them to tell people everywhere about Him. needs to remain weary or downtrodden. 103:14). Compassion does not overlook sin but points people to the remedy. “What will it cost me?” An understanding of all that Jesus has done for us will lovingly draw us to the side of the road where our brother or fellowman lies wounded and left to die by the evil one. he remembereth that we are dust” (Ps. “Thy sins are forgiven. “Be of good cheer.21 hopeful words. He understands the longing of each heart. “Come unto me. the Savior. and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. but the parent has once sat where the child sits. The kind Shepherd wants to lead His sheep beside the still waters.”1 Are the bright beams of our Father‟s mercy shining through us to the fainting. to do a golden deed. As we realize. Christ is looking for compassionate workers who will put love into action. His feet. We have the privilege of sharing the love of Christ wherever we go. Christ wants all to come to Him and find rest. Teaching the truth simply and with love leads people to peace and security. Too often the child smarts under the cold rod whereas the warmth of a compassionate hand will be much better understood and more effective. He would send the Holy Spirit to empower them to be witnesses. Even though the worries and stresses of life rage around us. We cannot keep it to ourselves.” Some heard the comforting words. Nehemiah was so deeply burdened by the ruin of Jerusalem that he wept (Neh. He hears the shouts of bitterness and the sobs of despair. He wants to feed us with the strength of His Word. 1:4). “Let your light so shine before men. If Father and Mother can find that grace with God to remember that at one time they sat where their child sits today and then move with compassion. all ye that labour and are heavy laden. Many times child and parent are on different wavelengths and do not understand each other. In no way shall compassion displace needed discipline. The child has not yet sat where the parent sits. or to fervently pray. When our first love is set upon God. the gentle Spirit of Christ will move us to speak helpful words. Does the compassion of Christ move us to alleviate the suffering around us? Are we too ready to let our words suffice as an attempt to comfort someone? We are willing to pray. laden with mistakes or sin. It is not likely that the child will be moved by compassion toward the parent. Then he moved to remedy the situation. 11:28). His compassion will flow through us also. and His heart? Do we worry that the needs will become too involving and we will not know how to unhook from them? Do we ask.
May this lesson help us understand the subtle way the evil one would like to lead us into legalism and thereby take to ourselves the glory for what God has done. And from your heart His love is shed. We often look at them with a critical eye. how can I fill my place without feeling overwhelmed? 1 Reuben Koehn. p. not recognizing the propensity in each one of us for the same. 611 2 Author unknown. But in the most unconscious way Is Christ expressed. For me ‟twas not the truth you taught To you so clear. What a joy it is to help rescue! Illustration How Christ Is Expressed Not merely in the words you say. Selected Editorials. But when you came to me you brought A sense of Him.2 Questions 1 Is there any merit in helping someone out of duty? 2.22 across the wave to encourage a poor sailor. Till I lose sight of you and see The Christ instead. . Not only in your deeds confessed. Knights Treasury of Illustrations Christ Confronts Legalism Lesson 8 January 22. 2012 Background Scripture: Matthew 15:1-20 Lesson Scripture: Mark 7:1-13 Introduction Some of the strongest language Jesus used while on earth was reserved for the scribes and Pharisees when He addressed their hypocrisy and legalism. With the need of compassion so great in the world. to me so dim. And from your eyes He beckons me. Today we perceive them as the greatest perpetrators of this sin.
Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites. and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men (Isa. 7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me. Thus the Jewish leaders created a climate of fear and bondage. and certain of the scribes. except they wash. and those failing to comply were excommunicated from the synagogues. the Pharisees were offended that the disciples ate with unwashed hands. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God. he shall be free. Lesson Scripture Mark 7:1 Then came together unto him the Pharisees. 3 For the Pharisees. They were surely . as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 4 And when they come from the market. as the washing of cups. but their heart is far from me.23 Key Verse Wherefore the Lord said. holding the tradition of the elders. Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth. Basic commandments relating to cleanliness and decency were expanded and made so complicated that it was difficult for the common man to comply. as it is written. by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me. 9 And he said unto them. brazen vessels. If a man shall say to his father or mother. One of the ways they attempted to preserve their influence was to take an ordinary and otherwise wholesome custom or practice and make it a commandment. and pots. These traditions or practices were integrated into their religion. 5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him. that ye may keep your own tradition. 10 For Moses said. Full well ye reject the commandment of God. and of tables. His teaching was a distinct threat to their desire to maintain authority over the people. teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Studying the Lesson The scribes and Pharisees had traveled eighty or a hundred miles. they found fault. and with their lips do honour me. but have removed their heart far from me. 29:13). Did the disciples already understand the freedom of the gospel that Jesus was teaching? Or was it common for the people to look past the onerous burden imposed upon them by the rulers and practice common sense? Whichever it was. 13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition. but eat bread with unwashen hands? 6 He answered and said unto them. And many other things there be. This people honoureth me with their lips. let him die the death: 11 But ye say. 2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled. The disciples surely knew the law and were aware that the scribes and Pharisees would find fault with them for their failure to observe it. eat not. apparently with the very purpose of opposing Jesus. Honour thy father and thy mother. that is to say. that is to say. 12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother. which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. with unwashen. Whoso curseth father or mother. and all the Jews. ye hold the tradition of men. which came from Jerusalem. except they wash their hands oft. and. Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders. which they have received to hold. they eat not. a gift. hands. It is Corban.
The legalist will behave much like the Christian. Sanctification. Justification is a pronouncement of one‟s standing with God. Instead Jesus proceeded to vindicate His disciples and incriminate the Pharisees for their hypocrisy of pretending to honor God while actually promulgating their own doctrine of law and legalism. They had adopted a practice whereby a man could consign his estate to the priests and thus absolve himself of any obligation to his parents. Do we realize the seriousness of it? Do we view our legalistic tendencies as an aid to upright living and therefore feel comfortable with them? Is an attempt to earn salvation by works any different from what the scribes and Pharisees were doing? Legalism has been defined as seeking to achieve forgiveness. But the letter of the law of obedience supersedes faith in his life. justification. When he is asked about his standing with God. it would be impossible for Him to forgive our sins if it were not for the atonement brought about by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Jesus Christ alone was worthy to turn the wrath of a Holy God away from our sinfulness. so walk ye in him” (Col. Jesus pointed out how they had digressed from the biblical commandment to care for one‟s father and mother. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord. This development of the image of Christ in a Christian‟s life is only possible by faith in Him. This pretense of religion was an obvious travesty of God‟s natural and fundamental law.24 hoping that Jesus would take their side and rebuke His disciples. Justification is an instantaneous act of God in which He declares us to be righteous in His sight. 2:6). on the other hand. He believes that man must be obedient to God. It is evidence of justification. or acceptance of God by the things we do. which was wholly by faith. Practical Truths for Today The evil one would like to sidetrack us today from the gospel‟s purity and simplicity. is a process of growing in the grace of God. sanctification is a work of God‟s grace in our lives. This is not something He does on a whim. We will never be more justified than we were that first moment when by grace we trusted in the person and work of Jesus Christ. While we may not be caught up in the same details of legalism the Pharisees were. . It is not done by degrees. the snare Satan presents is just as perilous and very subtle. He forgives our sins and bequeaths Christ‟s righteousness to us. Any attempt to achieve salvation by our works is in direct contradiction to the nature of our conversion experience. It is a continuing commitment by the Christian to allow God‟s grace to cleanse him from impurities and keep him from the world. Our pride leads us to believe that God is morally obligated to forgive and accept us because of our good works. The desire to work out our salvation by our own merits is basic to our fleshly nature. It is accomplished by God alone and only accessible to man by means of our faith in Him. thus reinforcing their power. Without a proper concept of the source of our justification. To properly understand the sinfulness of legalism and why it is so distasteful to God. our efforts for righteousness can actually become an insidious attempt to gain recognition and acceptance with God. Because He is a just and holy God. we must have a good understanding of justification and sanctification and their relationship. he will begin to review his performance and judge himself accordingly. but this maturity in Christian life will never be the foundation for one‟s justification. Like justification. and thus we are inclined to legalism. It is self-centered because it takes the glory of our salvation and attempts to give it to man instead of God.
it becomes the work of pride and humanism. We cannot fill it by doing good things and trying not to sin. True self-denial begins with the realization that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves from God‟s wrath against sin. or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit. go I. however. Tradition. When we follow it only because we know it is expected of us. of itself. they can become a very deceptive tool of the evil one. He alone is our defense against evil and our hope for good. The true Christian has had a change of heart and desires to obey God. But worldliness is anything that is anti-God and His plan of salvation. proceed from the grace of the Holy Spirit and not from self-effort. is worldliness. by human effort.25 This idea of securing salvation by complying with the law of God is very appealing to the flesh. Once again we are endeavoring to earn our salvation by our works. It is casting all confidence of our own strength down at the feet of Jesus and trusting Him to save us. Because he understands the cost of his salvation. We have a vacuum in our heart that can only be filled by God Himself. and gauge our spiritual health by our adherence to tradition. If we can accept this simple path. we enter the path of being led by the Holy Spirit. If these efforts are not linked in the believer‟s mind with the righteousness only God can give. It focuses on me and my efforts. Legalism often finds fulfillment in traditions. Jesus becomes the Rock upon which our flesh falls and is broken. and good works are clearly taught by Jesus and the apostles. both in the home and the church. but for the grace of God.” Illustration Do you want God? Is He the object or purpose of your worship? Do you desire to be in Him and have Him in you? Do you want to be humble and godly? Righteous and holy? These seem like very noble goals. He fully believes that Jesus is Lord. custom. together with faith. It is an established pattern of thought. We tend to think of legalism as being opposite from worldliness. we are guilty of legalism. is not sinful. are you now made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal. the disciplinarian must be tempered by the gentle spirit that reminds. are identifying characteristics of a Christian. to produce the fruit the Holy Spirit would work in us. and his faith is proven by his obedience. They. Legalism can be a serious hindrance to effective discipline. he is willingly obedient. “This only would I learn of you. Our part is to behold God and live in Him through Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul writes about being bewitched by it and then asks. being a way of circumventing God‟s plan for justification by faith. and one must make an effort to bring his flesh into subjection to the will of God. When we try. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law. Self-denial. or behavior that is often handed down by example from one generation to another. “There. who alone was worthy to turn the wrath of a holy God away from our sinfulness. When we accept the narrow gate (Christ). crossbearing. . Dressing in a conservative way because I think it contributes to my holiness is also worldliness. It is very difficult to be willing to receive only and not generate. 3:2-3). The true essence of holiness eludes us because the author is not God but rather man and man‟s effort. obedience to God. Following that pattern because we are motivated by our love for Christ is right and good. Following Christ does not always come easily. He understands that obedience does not bring salvation but is a result of it. Legalism. But do you desire God? Is the path to Him through these desirable traits? The narrow path that leads to God is Jesus Christ. Even when an error is obvious. They should.
and will produce good fruit visible to those around us. covetousness. that defileth the man. that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him. murders. complying with a conference decision). pride. At the end of life there are only two destinations. and understand: 15 There is nothing from without a man. so is he” (Prov. blasphemy. lasciviousness. Is the temptation of or tendency toward legalism greater in a person who comes from a long lineage of Christians? Fruit of the Heart Lesson 9 January 29. 22 Thefts. purging all meats? 20 And he said. 17 And when he was entered into the house from the people. how can I determine if my motivation is legalism? 3. That which cometh out of the man. Is there any difference between self-righteousness and legalism? Is it possible to have one spirit and not the other? 2. but into the belly. 19 Because it entereth not into his heart. 18 And he saith unto them. he said unto them. 2012 Background Scripture: Galatians 5. adulteries. Lesson Scripture Mark 7:14 And when he had called all the people unto him. Hearken unto me every one of you. let him hear. proceed evil thoughts. an evil eye. fornications. . Salvation. or do is an expression of the heart. deceit. 7:17). that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man. and the condition of our spiritual heart will determine which is ours.26 Questions 1. is the remedy for sin. When the judgment of an issue at hand is obvious (for example. but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit (Matt. 23:7). Let us make an honest appraisal of the fruit of our heart and strive to draw closer to God. Jeremiah 17:9-10 Introduction Everything we think. “Yet man is born unto trouble. his disciples asked him concerning the parable. it cannot defile him. 21 For from within. say. “For as he thinketh in his heart. Deep within our spiritual man the fruit of our life is determined. evil fruit (sin) is inevitable. 16 If any man have ears to hear. Key Verse Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit. wickedness. Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive. out of the heart of men. and goeth out into the draught. Ephesians 4 Lesson Scripture: Mark 7:14-23. as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7). With man‟s sinful nature. those are they that defile the man. by the grace of God.
as humans. a shrub with small narrow-ridged leaves. Selfish by nature. In today‟s age it . had been expanded to include many details which they called oral traditions. Jeremiah teaches us that it is difficult to understand the heart because of its deceitfulness. Jesus is the answer. their hearts were far from Him. But what drastically different results are obtained when the heart is right with God. Our heart then resorts to deceit to get that way. even to give every man according to his ways. What a beautiful picture! Which would you rather be? May we allow the Lord to search our deceitful hearts for any unwanted fruit. This law. Certain Pharisees and scribes asked Jesus why His disciple did not follow the tradition of the elders because they ate with unwashed hands. I try the reins. so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26). “Are ye so without understanding also?” (Mark 7:18). but only those things which came out from within a man. “For as the body without the spirit is dead. desolate desert. Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things. Many people believe that as long as the heart is right. Far better it is to face our sin now than wait until the judgment day. Those who trust in the flesh will become as the heath. nothing else matters. Its massive trunk is able to withstand the storms of life. One wonders how many understood this new doctrine. How many times could this be said of us? Can we comprehend that our defilement comes from within? Jesus made it very clear that all sin proceeds out of the heart of man. After speaking so plainly to the scribes and Pharisees. God spoke to the people of Judah about trusting in the arm of flesh or trusting in Him (Jer. but Jesus called them hypocrites. and according to the fruit of his doings. He conceded that what they said sounded good but. the disciples did not. we cannot avoid sin. growing in a hot. we want our own way. Jesus informed them that they had rejected the commandments of God in order to hold to the traditions of men (Mark 7:9). They appeared pious. which ultimately means eternity in hell. we cannot have a living faith without it becoming visible by good works. and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10 I the Lord search the heart. Our nature tends to blame everything but ourselves for evil fruit. Piercing to the very core of the issue. He looked beyond the works and into the heart. 17:6-8). Widespread limbs offer shade and protection to the weary travelers of life. Studying the Lesson Jewish law required the people to wash themselves often for the sake of ceremonial purification. These leaders were trying to prove by their works that their spiritual condition was honorable and their relationship with God was intact. A large tree with deep green leaves is growing beside a gently flowing river. Sin is a problem because it always separates us from our Creator. Good works and righteous attitudes will not gain salvation for us. Practical Truths for Today What do I do with the sin issue? After studying God‟s Word we understand that. The Jewish leaders of Jesus‟ day were still practicing the law. On the other hand. however. Some of these were revered more highly than the original Law. Jesus called the common people to Him and explained that the things outside the body could not defile a man. and defile the man.27 foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within. in reality.
pure speech and thought—these are the results of a heart washed in the blood of the Lamb. There are thoughts commonly voiced as wise proverbs. to discern between the thoughts and motives of the heart. the Word of God. It would rather have the tendency to spread that particular type of plant. Saul forsook the counsel of the Lord . We also need our brethren to help us prove the fruits of our life. We have opinions and judgments. He longs to graft us into the true vine. The Lord wants the whole tree dedicated to bearing good fruit. What is our motive? In North America we have more money and material goods than we really need. 8:13). It also brings a change in the way we live. the heart is not right. God has created each one of us uniquely. If in these things we express and gratify self. we now delight to do the will of God. 7). What did he have in his heart that produced hope after thirty-eight years? His healing was the fruit of his faith and patience. Within us God has put two elements that are important to salvation. Are we really pilgrims and strangers. If we are to judge the fruit of our life. otherwise the former spirit will come back with more and stronger spirits and take up residence again (Matt. We have likes and dislikes. attitudes. “For if ye live after the flesh ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body. Jesus. what do we do with it? Just lay it on the ground around the tree? One purpose of the fruit is to protect and nourish the seeds of the plant. We cannot get around the fact that God has put us in the world and we must use the “things” of it to survive. Plucking the fruit does not take care of the plant.” “We can‟t fit everyone into the same mold. Jesus. One is the soul that desires fellowship with its Maker and the other is the power of choice. vacations. we may not be. we must be willing to take up our cross and follow Christ daily. encouraging one another in the Christian way. As Christians. Loving our enemies. 12:43-45). The new birth brings peace and rest because one‟s will is fully surrendered and one‟s sins are forgiven. Our sinful nature is so corrupt that it will subtly lead us to believe that we are right. not just when it suits us. and driving habits are fruits of the heart. To prevent the spread of undesirable seeds requires either destroying the root of the plant or grafting in a new plant. speech. “And Saul died for his transgression” (1 Chron. Where once we followed self. Both ways take the hands of the gentle gardener. dress.” “It‟s okay to dress so that I feel good about myself. The good fruit now growing in our lives should be just as evident as the bad fruit used to be. conduct.” It makes our flesh too uncomfortable. It takes the keen sword of the Spirit. seeking another country? Lifestyles. If we ourselves take off the fruit. Illustration How many people have the patience to wait thirty-eight years to see their hopes realized? The man whom Jesus healed at the pool Bethesda (John 5:1-9) did just that. ye shall live” (Rom. we must have the help of the Holy Spirit. It is not enough just to try to decide if the fruit is good or bad. A teachable attitude is one fruit of a changed heart. “Quality saves money. Plucking the fruit does not get rid of the seeds. businesses. 10:13). thinking of others.” If I use this advice to satisfy my flesh. they are sin.” “Do it right the first time. Jesus taught that after a heart is cleansed it must be filled with the Holy Spirit and His fruits. we must decide if we will follow the desires of the soul or the desires of self. Because of the power of choice. Either choice will produce visible fruit.28 has become too painful to confront and judge “things. but consider his heart‟s cry (v. You may say he did not have a choice because he was lame. homes. we must let Jesus prune out all the old selfish roots. vehicles. We have a self and a soul.
and they . thou shouldest see the glory of God? (John 11:40). 18 And wheresoever he taketh him. and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out. Discuss. today‟s lesson offers a foundational tenet tried and proven. were greatly amazed. Can I have a teachable spirit. The fruit of his heart was death. and the scribes questioning with them. impatient heart. I have brought unto thee my son. What is the standard by which I judge the outward things in my life? 5. 2. Master. 15 And straightway all the people. belief or faith does indeed make things possible. 16 And he asked the scribes. Luke 17:1-10 Lesson Scripture: Mark 9:14-27 Introduction In a world laced with cynicism. Mark 14:32-36. he saw a great multitude about them. Have we prayed that we could see the fruit of our life just as God sees it? Are we afraid to face who we really are inside? God knows us and loves us and wants to help us whatever our need. he teareth him: and he foameth. Let us place our confidence in God and set our face like a flint against these unfounded thoughts. How do I keep my heart full of God‟s love so there is no room for evil? 6. which hath a dumb spirit. Questions 1.29 and took matters into his own hands. When Jesus has control of our heart. For the babe in Christ and the seasoned warrior alike. 2012 Background Scripture: Matthew 19:23-30. when they beheld him. yet allow self to be expressed in outward things? Belief Makes Things Possible Lesson 10 February 5. What question ye with them? 17 And one of the multitude answered and said. what is wrong if my life is portraying both good and evil? 3. we gave Satan an advantage by allowing a stray doubt to flicker through our mind. Perhaps. even as we read the title of this lesson. Unwilling to repent. good fruit will be produced abundantly. he ended up taking his own life. and running to him saluted him. In the light of James 3:11. but if the outward things look wrong the heart cannot be right. Said I not unto thee. Are we afraid to examine the fruit of our lives in the light of eternity? 4. Key Verse Jesus saith unto her. if thou wouldest believe. that. Outward things can look right yet the heart can be wrong. trying to satisfy his troubled. Jesus came to this world and died so that we could have victory over sin and live a more abundant life (John 10:10). Lesson Scripture Mark 9:14 And when he came to his disciples. and gnasheth with his teeth.
his days of sorrow had been many. In one touch. come out of him. The people want answers. all things are possible to him that believeth. and enter no more into him. A crowd has gathered and emotions intensify as the scribes ask their divisive questions and murmur about the disciples‟ failure to cast the spirit out of the child. glimpsing a ray of hope in a dismal existence. and he arose. and came out of him: and he was as one dead. He is dead. saying unto him.”1 Surely. 23 Jesus said unto him. Then. Jesus kindly yet firmly confirmed His preeminence with the father of the child. He offered help if the father would believe in His power. help thou mine unbelief. and wallowed foaming. How many of the crowd turned away. Are we humble enough to use it. and rent him sore. Jesus perceived the unbelief that lurked in the crowd and rebuked it as such. That a crowd of people would turn as one and run toward Jesus indicates a traumatic event. the authority with which Jesus rebuked the evil spirits is effective today. Studying the Lesson What a heartrending scene unfolds in our lesson text! We can almost feel the anxiety as the distraught father brings his demented son to Jesus‟ disciples. Thou dumb and deaf spirit. The father. Instinctively they know where to go for help. Why is it that so often we become slaves to the cowardice of unbelief? A hymn we often sing says. . tore at the child. 22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire. How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said. knowing its reign of terror was over. The spirit. he loved his child so much that. 0 faithless generation. he rebuked the foul spirit. Jesus ordered the evil spirit to leave the child. repulsed. leaving him nearly dead. and saith. 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out. I believe. then he always quickly flees. 21 And he asked his father. I charge thee. and help us. If thou canst believe. straightway the spirit tare him. We yearn with the father of the possessed child as he pleads with Jesus for a healing touch. as today. Of a child. 20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him. Complete restoration flowed through His kindly grasp as the child looked into the face of the One who loved him. to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing. Without a doubt. 26 And the spirit cried. and lifted him up. 25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together. or would we rather fight on our own? We will always lose if we fight our own battles.30 could not. realizing the subversive pride of his heart and its whispered doubts. He conveyed the living power of heaven sent to earth. cried out for help. and said with tears. have compassion on us. 19 He answereth him. succumbing to unbelief? The furtive glances of the crowd disappeared as Jesus extended to the ravaged child the same hand He extends today. and he fell on the ground. he earnestly sought any help there might be for his child. 27 But Jesus took him by the hand. “When the shield of faith he sees. Lord. every prop of human reasoning had to be submitted to God if God‟s power was to be made available. Surely. They turn to Jesus. how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. and into the waters. The boy needs help. insomuch that many said. In the charged silence.
We must leave to God‟s discretion the way by which He chooses to heal or help. What does faith make possible? First. only the learned believers would find access to the throne of God. but we do want the benefit of our self remaining intact should the situation turn out differently than we had planned. If it were not simple. How does unbelief come into our lives? Unbelief often begins with the smallest seed of pride. a root of rebellion begins to grow in our hearts. If our righteousness cannot touch God. We would not call God a liar. what can? Only faith can. relighting the candle. 64:6). traveling on the incense of prayer to ignite our candle (Ps. . We feel there are things we can figure out on our own. it brings forth the fruits of the Spirit in our lives in a way that man could never duplicate. Another grace of a living faith is the absence of doubt and fear. 18:28). and all our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isa. Deep within us smolders a spark of hope. We feel secure because God owns us. we thought of miracles or outstanding answers to prayer produced by a living faith. Our life becomes an unconscious witness of mercy and grace. ascend from that spark of our hope. 3:20). This is an “evidence of things not seen” (Heb. and the Lord shall raise him up. hoping for a connection while we comfortably tuck away. in our hearts. infused with the power of Heaven. More quickly than the eye can trace. God‟s healing power falls from heaven. our horizons can expand significantly to include others. As our prayers. Faith consists of submitting our will totally to God and turning our eyes toward Him. We can cover it and still appear right on the surface but. God hates unbelief because in essence we are saying He has made a mistake or that He is not to be trusted. a few reservations about the outcome. The inner peace and joy that now radiates from our lives was made possible only by a living faith. we have no need for the childlike trust we once knew. Or it may start with a question subtly placed by Satan. Faith often eludes us because we turn our eyes toward God. Jesus often used children as examples because of the simple faith they manifested toward Him.31 Practical Truths for Today Faith is simple. May we never minimize what God has done for us. and may we never be guilty of selfishly asking such favors. Let us never forget that the foremost mission of faith is to heal our spiritual man. Our faith only connects with God when we completely submit our will and believe that He alone “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. and we no longer think primarily about ourselves. As we yield to this thought. Perhaps. 11:1). Our faith has become a living faith. So it is with us. This question may be as simple as wondering if a church guideline is really important. as we read the title of our lesson. we need to come boldly to the throne of grace and grasp the promise that “the prayer of faith shall save the sick. mixed with faith. As a result of this freedom. What else can we do? Isaiah reminds us that we are all unclean. the flame from the match descends along the smoke vapor. they shall be forgiven him” (James 5:15). Only heaven will reveal to what extent living faith has worked in and through us and spilled into the lives of others. Illustration An interesting phenomenon occurs when a lighted match is held a few inches above a candle that is no longer burning but from which the smoke still ascends. When we or our loved ones need healing. and if he have committed sins. since we now lack submission in some areas.
How do we know when we have begun to trust in our works? 3. the same shall be last of all. Luke 22:23-30 Introduction The gospel that Jesus came to proclaim was very different from what the Jewish people expected. saith the Lord: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest (Jer. receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me. and servant of all. To possess true riches. 45:5). and saith unto them. Was their lack of power because of unbelief in their hearts or was it unbelief in the heart of the father? 4. Lesson Scripture Mark 9:33 And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them. 35 And he sat down. What part do fasting and praying have in a living faith? 2. I will bring evil upon all flesh. Jesus pointed out that true greatness in His kingdom does not seek to be noticed or need the approval of man. Jesus‟ disciples could not cast out the evil spirit from the child. “I‟ve Enlisted in the Service” The Mark of Greatness Lesson 11 February 12. Philippians 2:1-11 Lesson Scripture: Mark 9:33-37. 2012 Background Scripture: Matthew 8:5-13. Our nature desires recognition and honor. the yoke of Jesus must be borne. How serious are doubts and fears? 1 William J.32 Questions 1. behold. To find freedom. everything must be given up. and called the twelve. It dealt with the condition of one‟s heart and appeared to have many paradoxes. If any man desire to be first. but rather seeks God‟s approval. Henry. 37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name. And. and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms. Luke 22:23 And they began to enquire among themselves. he said unto them. which of them it was that should . To have eternal life. but him that sent me. How contrary that is to the thinking of our flesh. to be great. Unbelief is a serious sin because it calls God a liar. one must become a servant. receiveth not me. 36 And he took a child. who should be the greatest. as our lesson points out. What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? 34 But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves. May this lesson inspire us with the desire to be a childlike follower and servant of Jesus Christ. self must die. Key Verse And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for.
The disciples again quarreled among themselves during their last supper with Jesus. 26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you. Although they believed Jesus was the promised Messiah. like their . Jesus‟ resurrection. A true servant has no personal agenda. humble child? It would take power and strength to be able to rule. All honor received for his work belongs to the master. and he that is chief. Later. He told them that He was among them as “he that serveth. their eyes were opened and they understood what Jesus had wanted them to know. just a short time later. What a transformation this brought. Jesus did not rebuke them for their lofty desires but rather used the opportunity to gently teach them a lesson. and they coveted important positions for themselves in it. They desired not only to wield authority. Studying the Lesson Although Jesus‟ disciples had spent much time with Him. 29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom. Taking a child in His arms. scourged. as he that doth serve. 30 That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom. His responsibility is to carry out the wishes of the one he serves to the best of his ability. and finally crucified. They. they were still unable to understand that the kingdom He was introducing was a spiritual kingdom. let him be as the younger. No more were they vying for position or concerned with what their fellowmen thought about them. were looking for a Messiah who would deliver them from the yoke of foreign rule.” A servant is to fulfill his duties in a way that is largely unnoticed. like most of the Jews of that time. leaving them unwilling even to be associated with the One they had so recently desired to sit beside as He ruled. or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. as my Father hath appointed unto me. Jesus‟ own life had been an example of service to others. How their hopes and dreams must have been crushed when. mocked. They were unable to understand. What must they have thought? They desired positions of authority that people might look up to them. To be given authority would bring power and honor. rekindled their hopes. 28 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. he that sitteth at meat. 25 And he said unto them. which of them should be accounted the greatest. The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them. He instructed them that those who were as this small child would be part of His Father‟s kingdom. Fear scattered them. and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. Although the disciples were unaware of what the next hours would bring. and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. however. They had a story to tell! They. their Master was arrested. Jesus was pointing them to what God would desire from them. but they secretly wanted to occupy the most important positions. their hearts were filled with a love for God and the souls of men. Even his own identity is intertwined with that of his master. they were expecting Him to establish an earthly kingdom. Jesus once more patiently pointed them to a life of service. Why did Jesus not tell them to emulate some learned rabbi or perhaps the high priest? Why should one become like a lowly. as they were filled with the Holy Ghost.33 do this thing. Instead of love for themselves. 27 For whether is greater. 24 And there was also a strife among them.
honestly weigh our motives. for their happiness. someone else is in the spotlight. being in the form of God. True greatness is not in being noticed. Practical Truths for Today We are all born with a proud nature. We can only do this effectively as the love of God fills our hearts. or having power or prestige. even if only in a very small circle. most importantly. The void in their hearts urges them to find a way to leave their mark. We should be willing to express appreciation for a message from our minister. a song brought in humility. We should recognize that this stems from the pride of our depraved nature. Very soon. how vain and fleeting it all is. scourged. People want to be winners. or an act of kindness that spoke to our heart. At a young age. It is humbling to realize that God uses mere mortals to help in His great work. we sometimes feel the same desire to be noticed and have people think well of us. they sacrifice their health. Illustrations Between Michigan‟s lower and upper peninsulas stretches a mighty bridge. We will need to guard our thoughts. and sincerely desire the grace of God if we are to keep our hearts pure. As we realize that any talent we possess is from God and not of our own doing. The unregenerate human heart desires greatness. How contrary is this way to Jesus‟ teaching. In their quest for fame. it is a marvel of engineering and construction. who is the giver of talent and inspiration. That should be the desire of every Christian‟s heart. Even if they succeed. At times. Parents must be diligent to help their children recognize wrong actions and teach them not to draw attention to themselves. With His own life He taught us to serve mankind. the bridge crosses nearly five miles of the straits of Mackinac. As adults. and became obedient unto death. and even to give their lives in service to their Lord. but rather in giving of ourselves to reach out to others. and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man. children say and do things to attract attention. Even though conversion and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit will give power to overcome. and took upon him the form of a servant. Paul sums it up very well in Philippians 2:5-8: “Let this mind be in you. thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation. all of us sometimes need encouragement in our endeavors. he humbled himself. we find it a challenge to use the gifts God has given us in true humility. Many different men with diverse skills labored for a number of years to construct this . this part of our sin nature will need to be recognized and dealt with throughout our lives. It was pride that caused Lucifer to lift up himself in heaven. it will help us. their families. their security and. and it was pride that Lucifer awakened in the heart of our first parents.” Jesus‟ real concern was for others. Sometimes it is good to offer our compliments in a way that points back to God. their salvation. and sometimes even their own lives. Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount that men should see our good works and glorify our Father. imprisoned. Though praise for a job well done may become a hindrance to the one receiving it. Some people spend much time daydreaming about doing great things while others with more talent expend tremendous amounts of time and effort to seek recognition.34 Master. were willing to be mocked. Beautiful to behold. This seed of sin will never be eradicated as it is the core of our depraved nature. They had become true servants. even the death of the cross. Built fifty years ago. which was also in Christ Jesus: Who.
The combined skills and effort created a functional bridge that has carried millions of vehicles safely across the strait. Consider Psalm 50:5: “Gather my saints together unto . The church of God is also beautiful to behold. string the cables that suspend the bridge. Our desire should be only to bring honor to God. All of these abilities are to be used by the church to point men and women to the Savior and to provide a brotherhood that will help mankind securely cross the straits of time. which is Christ. a “word fitly spoken” is more effective than a sermon. We are not all called to be the head. Leviticus 2:11-16 Lesson Scripture: Mark 9:38-50 Introduction Many scriptures speak of sacrifice. As we are willing to be used with no desire for credit. For a busy mother. God will have something we can do. it may mean giving up some social activities to offer security and understanding to her children. However each one has a necessary place to fill. In the church of God. As one drives over the bridge or admires it from the shore. We will be willing to simply be a tool. Members of the church are directed by the head. or put the many rivets in place. God assigns us. through the unction of the Holy Spirit. Nearly all these workers are forgotten and unknown to all but their close families. All the tools and workers were a part of the whole and were needed to bring the project to completion. Paul teaches how the body is to work. illustrates very well a working brotherhood. Many different tools and pieces of equipment were used. Some will fill places that are more visible. or will God use other means to fill the lack? A Salted Sacrifice Lesson 12 February 19. 2012 Background Scripture: Matthew 5:13-16. no individual comes to mind as the builder. and carries out tasks. Engineers and specialists from various fields of construction were consulted and contributed to its design and construction. Others may go unnoticed by their fellowmen. At times.35 bridge. we are simply to be tools. as it works. used by the Master. Love in our hearts will motivate us to fill whatever task. How can we give a compliment that encourages without fostering pride? 2. Designed and directed by God. Could someone be lost because of another person‟s neglect. the whole body is weakened. Questions 1. In 1 Corinthians 12. When illness or injury affects one part of the body. None of the tools are remembered or honored that were so necessary to drive the caissons to bedrock. small or great. What are the attributes of true greatness? 3. neither are we all asked to be hands. Someone‟s place will be to plead for a prodigal or to pray for a minister or missionary. it is comprised of many different brothers and sisters possessing unique gifts and talents. A healthy natural body. Many people are longing for a listening ear and an understanding heart. communicates.
and he were cast into the sea. 41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name. and the fire is not quenched. Much to their embarrassment. A saint is one that has made a covenant with God by sacrifice. . than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: 48 Where their worm dieth not. saying. along with other instructions concerning sacrifices. than having two hands to go into hell. 49 For every one shall be salted with fire. wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves. because ye belong to Christ. with the emphasis placed on various offenses. he shall not lose his reward. Who was he? Next is an exhortation on walking carefully as Christians. those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. who was doing miracles in Jesus‟ name. May God use this lesson to further instruct us about the sacrifice and the seasoning. and have peace one with another.” This is the Spirit of God speaking. not to the multitudes who thronged Him nor to the self-righteous ones who opposed Him. and the fire is not quenched. 50 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness. 4:6). Master. and he followeth not us: and we forbad him. First we read about some unnamed person. it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck. 39 But Jesus said. not an apostle. seasoned with salt. How does it all fit together? It is helpful to realize that Jesus spoke these words. than having two feet to be cast into hell. This includes a very sober description of the realities of hell. that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man (Col. the people were told that salt should always be included with their offerings. hand-picked disciples. because he followeth not us. Jesus had just caught these men disputing about which of them would be greatest in Christ‟s kingdom. Lesson Scripture Mark 9:38 And John answered him. Key Verse Let your speech be alway with grace. cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed. 42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me. Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name. and He defines what a saint really is. cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life. 40 For he that is not against us is on our part. verily I say unto you. and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.36 me. that can lightly speak evil of me. Last are some comments about salt. 45 And if thy foot offend thee. Our lesson text for today should be considered a part of our Lord‟s earnest response to the self-exaltation that revealed itself in His disciples. we saw one casting out devils in thy name. 43 And if thy hand offend thee. pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye. into the fire that never shall be quenched: 46 Where their worm dieth not. He was speaking to His twelve closest. Who makes the sacrifice—we or God? In Leviticus. and the fire is not quenched. these thirteen continuous verses from the gospel of Mark may almost appear unrelated. Studying the Lesson At first glance. 47 And if thine eye offend thee. into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dieth not.
is offending me. We can invite them or . 5:13). Yet we choose which thoughts to listen to and which to resist and reject. the church. and with the leading of the Holy Spirit. What is our life? It is the sum total of all we think and do. Do we find in ourselves a tendency to put a “guilty” judgment on someone who is not doing just the way we do? We may think that someone outside the church cannot really be a Christian because of something we notice about his life. The body has authority from God to judge those who are within it. Not all are pure. Could Christ have used any stronger language to show us how seriously He looks at those things that cause others or ourselves to err? If our relationships are to be as God desires. especially someone who is without. and we can deny them and cry out to God. and opportunities that come our way will vary greatly from individual to individual but. “Guilty. Jesus is also talking about some of our relationships. certain carnal impulses will come from our fleshly nature. each one of us is constantly exercising that native power of choice. “Ye” is plural. through it all. meaning the body of Christ. Paul expressed this clearly in 1 Corinthians 5:12. Our spiritual foe is very real and active. difficulties. I have no authority of myself to judge someone else‟s salvation. We have the power to judge these feelings. “But them that are without God judgeth” (1 Cor. The circumstances. The church has been given authority to judge her members and those who apply for membership. That is why we “must be born again” (John 3:7). whatever it is. May God help us to remember that we all found grace outside the walls of the church. The word “offend” stands out. relating to them as God desires. and many come unbidden. then he is not really saved. We are all sinners who came out of the world. that thing that I allow. Practical Truths for Today How do we relate to someone who does not seem to be walking the Christian pathway that we walk. we generally use the word “offend” to mean hurting someone‟s feelings. meaning just me. Today.” “Have salt in yourselves. I have offended him. The same is true of our feelings. Keeping a right relationship and attitude toward those that are without. Someone who is offended is one who is carrying a grudge. or said something that has caused another to stumble in his Christian life. is having salt within one‟s self. If I have done. He is pointing us to some ways in which we deal with others and how we deal with ourselves. either. and some of our thoughts came at his instigation. permitted.” said Jesus. there needs to be something in our dealings that Jesus refers to as “salt. or not in the same way that we walk it? Does a certain judgment want to rise up in our mind? We as individuals have not been called to judge other people. we can and should be judging our own lives. We are not responsible for every thought that goes through our mind. As long as we are in this mortal flesh. Judgment has been committed to the church as a body. can we embrace him and call him “brother‟ when we see something about him that is questionable and we don‟t know how his Christian walk really is? Is it our place to give him a stamp of approval when we do not know if he has met God‟s requirements? It is not for us as individuals to declare that someone is “not guilty” either. No one was born into this life as a Christian. By God‟s grace. If I am allowing or doing something that is causing me to lose grace.37 In these verses. “For what have I to do to judge them also that are without [outside the church]? do not ye judge them that are within?” “I” is singular. If he is not really a Christian. Jesus‟ teaching asks us not to look at someone else‟s Christian walk but to look at our own.” By the same token. A judge basically declares someone guilty or not guilty. The older. deeper meaning of the word is to cause someone to stumble. or we can feed them and nourish them.
and gracious words that will help and not hurt. If something offends. Grace is the difference between a wise virgin and a foolish virgin (Matt 25:1-12). and we will not have trouble and heartaches in equal measure. would be that grace that can only come from the Holy Spirit of God. Will the things. as he or she has chosen to be. We will not all be wealthy. “It is safe to follow me. We probably are not aware of making such a conscious decision. We spend as much time in prayer and with God‟s Word. . Someone has said that our sincerity is the only thing that we can give to God. and beyond all measure of value. to have gracious thoughts that keep us from sitting as little judges. 2. The choices we make. being fed and strengthened. in leisure. To be sure. eternal.” Grace is the difference between godliness and a form of godliness (2 Tim. He enables us to live gracious lives. The sacrifice must be with salt. We choose our attitude and spirit. examples of the believers. A Christian is as consecrated and sanctified. either to one‟s self or others. Whether or not we like to admit it. 3:5). we become part of the circumstances of other people‟s lives. Everyone who experiences the forgiveness of past sins begins life anew with a clean slate. “Every one shall be salted with fire”? (Mark 9:49).38 we can deny them. To enter into God‟s covenant. Grace in our lives is that salt which will make our sacrifice have a good savor to God and to our fellowmen. If we are not genuine in our Christian commitment. does He really have our heart? God‟s covenant sacrifice is settled. feelings. We can cherish them or crucify them.” We are responsible for our own faithfulness. and the person we are because of those choices. “And whosoever shall offend [cause to stumble] one of these little ones that believe in me . or history—things personally satisfying—but little time for reading that which pertains to godliness? Do we find time for social activities but find it easy to miss a church service or Bible study? Is it difficult to resist the temptations of improper communications? Does an Internet connection on phone or computer bring coolness to our relationship with God? In business. Salt. but our consecration is also the sum of what we choose to think and do. are an influence and an example to others. then. Jesus said to cut off whatever would cause us or others to stumble. even as I follow Christ. life has many inequalities. in vehicles. cut it off—let us eradicate its troubling influence from our lives. if we are not sincere. novels. . we must sacrifice our selfishness and our contrary will. It is through His grace that our lives illuminate and illustrate the path to heaven and say. Jesus called a small child to Him and held that child in His arms. that whosoever believeth in him should not perish” (John 3:16). or will I offend myself? Will I cause my own stumbling? Today‟s lesson sounds a warning about offenses. we will not all be healthy. . or as casual and lukewarm. In the verses just previous to our lesson text. in attire. We can feed them or starve them. and thought patterns that I allow myself draw me closer to God. We then begin writing our new life story on that slate. that he gave his only begotten Son. “God so loved the world. and it also provides the solution. our life should declare that we are humble Christians. What did Jesus mean when He said. The lesson text warns us about our influence on God‟s children. Do we find time to read news. in everything. We talk about giving Him our heart. possessions. The world has many alternatives to godliness that clamor for our time and attention. But we can all be humble and sincere—as humble and sincere as we want to be. as we have chosen. How literally should we take Jesus‟ instruction to cut off an offending member? . Questions 1.
they sacrifice to devils. Luke 22:8-20 Lesson Scripture: Mark 14:22-26. and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. This is my blood of the new testament. he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. 1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless. What is meant? The Bread and Cup of Communion Lesson 13 February 26. 26 And when they had sung an hymn. This was written long after these cities were destroyed. Verily. One of the daily readings. so also Christ used bread and called it His body. Some deny this. and of the table of devils. 25 Verily I say unto you. I say unto you. ye have no life in you (John 6:53). 2012 Background Scripture: Matthew 26:26-30.”1 Key Verse Then Jesus said unto them. that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice. until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. but it is the only interpretation that can be proven by the scripture. 24 And he said unto them. Isaiah 1:10-17.] it was customary to use signs and symbols to which were given realistic names to teach realities and truths. and brake it.39 3. and when he had given thanks. 23 And he took the cup. wine signifies the blood of Christ. they went out into the mount of Olives. is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we being many are one bread. is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break. was addressed to the rulers of Sodom and Gomorrah. eat: this is my body. or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? 20 But I say. 21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord. How do we obtain grace? 4. 18 Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19 What say I then? that the idol is any thing. and wine and called it His blood. and gave to them. and drink his blood. and said. Jesus took bread. 22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he? . [In Jewish culture. Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man. I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine. What does it mean to make a covenant with God? 5. Take. Lesson Scripture Mark 14:22 And as they did eat. and blessed. 1 Corinthians 10:16-22 Introduction “Bread signifies the body of Christ. which is shed for many. and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord‟s table. and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. verily.
He will not permit us to worship Him with a divided heart. the spotless Lamb of God. which is Christ. holy and blameless. Later. God was free to deal mercifully toward fallen humanity. Because we sin. the Israelite nation celebrated their deliverance from the death angel. He let them know that a reconciling bridge had been provided. Yet God‟s heart of love reached out to them. 10:3-4). When His created family on the earth sinned in the garden of Eden. Any other cause of death would not have been good enough. their relationship with God was broken. To then drink of the cup of the Lord and to partake of the world is not permissible. we are subject to the sentence of the Law. The blood of the New Testament is the blood of Jesus Christ. He did not die from pain or agony. The breaking of bread symbolizes the broken body of Christ. offer forgiveness. the Communion of Christ. The shedding of the blood of animals prophesied of a better sacrifice that was to be offered some future day. While it is true that the Jewish leaders conspired against Jesus and the Romans crucified Him. members of the church. In our lesson text. a broken heart. God was very displeased. He did not die from exhaustion. It usually exists only when two or more people are bound together with a common goal. He loved His only begotten Son.40 Studying the Lesson It was a monumental moment! Christ and His disciples were celebrating the Passover feast for the last time in the Old Testament era. are one bread and one body. He was scourged. and fill our hearts with peace. and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (1 Cor. the apostle Paul is bringing a teaching to the New Testament church. was being instituted. Paul strengthens that truth by writing. The Israelite people “did all eat the same spiritual meat. which is . They were commanded by God to do this: “Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year” (Exod. our bodies are inclined toward sin and death. the church of the living God. This pointed to the anticipated coming of their Messiah and the shedding of His blood. That bridge was Jesus Christ. 13:10). Yes. How could the God of heaven be a God of love if there were no one to love? First. We. the ultimate “passing-over” of their sins. It suggests the uniting of the body of believers. Because of the shedding of Jesus‟ blood. A new sacrament. and the cup of devils. Practical Truths for Today Love is a relationship. He was sent to provide a sacrifice for our sins. a crown of thorns was placed on His head. The blood of the Lamb is of great significance because only a blood sacrifice could save the people from their sins. This celebration commemorated their deliverance from bondage in Egypt. those who are partakers of the broken body of Christ. Now a new ordinance was being instituted—Christ‟s Communion. The blood of the Old Testament was only symbolic. or from being mishandled. “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord. Then His love found expression toward the holy angels. He died because He willingly laid down His life.” God is jealous of our affections. He died so His blood could atone for the sins of the world. was to be slain the next day. The era of slaying a year-old lamb for the sins of the people had passed! The Lamb of God. nailed to the cross. We find it impossible to keep the holy law of God in its perfection. when they turned to idolatry. The bread also reminds us of another body of Christ. for we are all partakers of that bread. Once a year. and His side was pierced. Those who drink of the cup in a Communion service commemorate the shedding of Jesus‟ blood for the atonement of their sins. In one dreadful day.
there is a lump in its consistency. Our love for God extends to our brothers and sisters of the faith. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you. while we were yet sinners. and the church. and there is evidence that the Holy Spirit directs our lives. The “double cure” is forgiveness for sin. “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily. I feel I am at peace with God. If. Is there a difference between a “communing spirit” and being worthy? 3. and support the doctrines of the Word as interpreted by the church. How would one drink the cup of devils? 1 John Holdeman. we need to know that disobedience has been dealt with and that we are at peace with God. To truly be one with our brother. can I partake of Communion. sister. “But God commendeth his love toward us. Prepare the Way of the Lord . we declare that the need of our soul has been met. We have no reason to look elsewhere. As much as possible. embrace. we declare we have found complete fulfillment in Christ. Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). In essence. 11:29-30). However. and many sleep” (1 Cor. p.41 death. and then for power over our sinful inclinations. and yet it is not. We maintain we are one with the brotherhood. If. In partaking. but my brother has a need and I have not shared with him. “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. or would I also be unworthy? 2. To partake of the Communion of the Lord worthily. we live a lie. in my heart. His blood is the answer for all the needs of the soul. we partake in untruth. Questions 1. first of all. We do not properly discern the Lord‟s body when we partake of Communion unworthily. “Greater love hath no man than this. The Lord‟s Supper is a commemoration of the great love that God has toward us. the hunger of our soul is not satisfied. we all need to embrace the same doctrine. signifies just that! They are symbolic of the complete rest we have found in Christ. and yet the very fiber of the bread is not mellow or smooth. in truth. Is our love toward God imperfect if there is fear in our hearts when we think of taking part in Communion? 4. the shedding of the blood of Jesus was not only for the forgiveness of sins committed. 7:24-25). The Lord‟s Supper. 125 Daily Readings Lesson 1. There is a settled feeling in our hearts. In Him our spiritual appetite—our hunger and thirst for righteousness—is completely satisfied. that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Mirror of Truth. It was also shed so we could rise above our sinful natures. We find through Christ complete satisfaction and complete rest. in that. we should be at peace with our fellowman. We need to believe. the bread and the cup. not discerning the Lord‟s body. It was love that moved the mighty God to send His only begotten Son as a sacrifice for our sins. eateth and drinketh damnation to himself.
........ Christ Confronts Legion Jan................... 13T Resist the devil . 24 S God‟s care. 2 F Dec....... 2:11-15 Dec... 14W Certain which trusted in themselvesLuke 18:9-14 Dec. 23 Lesson 3......... 10:7-20 Dec....... Ps. 30W Dec.... Christ Incarnate Dec... 19:7-14 Preparing to cross River JordanJosh....... 10 S The elders to pray for the sickJames 5:11-16 Dec.. 2:5-12 Dec... Matt 2:1-10 Dec.... 4:34-37 Lesson 6. 9 F Jesus heals and forgives .. 31 S The unction from the Holy One1 John 2:20-29 Jan.1 Cor....... 12:7-10 Dec... 4:3-7 Dec.... 12:1-9 Dec. Parables of the Kingdom Dec. 22T Worshiping God‟s Son...... 1 T Dec.. 28W Light of the knowledge of God2 Cor. 6 T God understands us . 3:5-16 Prophesy of John and Jesus .. 53 Dec....... 5 M Compassion for old and youngLuke 8:41-56 Dec........42 Nov... The Strong Man Bound Dec... Jesus Heals Body and Soul Dec.. James 4:1-10 Dec.......... 26M Deep things of God revealed1 Cor.... 8 T Jesus intercedes for us ... 8:31-39 Lesson 4..... James 3:13-18 Dec.. 12:24-31 Dec... 27T Freely ye have received... 17 S Whom resist .. 7:10-16 Dec. 20T A God-given sign . 23 F The great dragon‟s wicked schemeRev.. 19M A root out of dry ground... 52:7-10 Necessity of the gospel .. 4 S Preparing to return to JerusalemEzra 8:21-30 Sanctification to receive the LawExod......... 29T Nov.. 25 S Sacred account of Jesus‟ birthLuke 2:1-19 Lesson 5.......... 28M Nov...... Mark 2:1-12 Dec.... Rom 10:8-17 Lesson 2.. JesusMatt... 1 S Comprehending the eternal kingdomDan... 18 S If God be for us. 2:16-23 Dec... 12M Wisdom from above . 16 F Grieved for the hardness of heartMark 3:1-7 Dec.. John 3:25-36 The messenger‟s beautiful feetIsa. 3:1-6 John‟s testimony of Jesus ... 7 W Our weakness and God‟s strength2 Cor. 2 M Dumb spirit confronted ...... 3:3-10 Dec. 3 S Dec.. 30 F God gives the increase .... 15T He that gathers not with meMatt......... Matt.. 11 S God will care for us ..... Isa...... 29T Conditions of fellowship .. Ps. John 17:9-20 Dec. Rom..... 21W Following the star ... 5:1-11 Dec..... Mark 9:17-29 ...... Isa.............. 103:1-14 Dec... 1 Pet. freely giveMatt.. 1 John 1:3-10 Dec. Mal.
12 T Compassions new every morningLam.... Fruit of the Heart Jan. 11:32-40 Feb. Deut... Deut. 4:6-11 Feb.... 11:13-18 Jan............. 1 W Mordecai and Esther‟s faithEsther 4:10-17 Feb.... 2 T Job‟s humility and trust ..... 4 Jan. James 1:21-25 Jan..... 23 M Making the flesh our guide...... Acts 15:5-12 Jan... 28 S Obeying brings results ... 30:8-14 Jan... 17 T An unbearable yoke . Christ Confronts Legalism Jan......... 30 M David‟s faith in God‟s deliverance1 Sam.. 17:44-51 Jan.... 8:11-20 Jan... 10:1-10 Jan....... Heb... 31:1-7 Jan.. Neh..... 3 Jan... 11 W Love in deed and in truth .. Luke 10:29-37 Jan. 3:22-33 Jan. Job 13:6-18 Feb..... Ruth 1:8-18 Feb. Luke 13:11-17 Men cannot cast out spirits Acts 19:13-20 Power cannot be bought ................. 15 S Nehemiah wept .......... Acts 15:13-29 Jan.... 13:18-23 Lesson 10. 10 T Have compassion one of another1 Pet 3:8-12 Jan.. Acts 16:16-20 Devils subject to disciples Luke 10:17-20 Lesson 7... 3:1-11 Jan...... 1 John 3:16-24 Jan............ 5 S Faith and works ......... 26 T Blessings of obedience . Titus 1:9-16 Lesson 9....43 Jan... Belief Makes Things Possible Jan..... 19 T Righteousness which is of faithRom........ 2 Kings 5:1-6 . 13 F The unmerciful servant ...... Gal.. 29 S Abundance of good fruit. 16 M Lord of the Sabbath ..... 18 W No greater burden ... Deut. 14 S The good Samaritan............ 25 W Tragedy of forgetting God ......... 21 S The tradition of men .... 15:21-28 Feb........ Matt.. 5 Jan.. Acts 8:5-24 Power through Jesus . Christ Shows Compassion Jan. 9 M Giving in His name.. 31 T Ruth‟s confidence unshaken . 2:4-10 Jan. Col. 24 T Doers of the Word ......... 6 Jan. 22 S Commandments of men..... Luke 5:4-11 Jan... 8 T W T F S S Devil in the synagogue .. James 2:14-22 Lesson 11.. 18:23-33 Jan.2 Cor.. Matt.... 6 M Of God and not of us ...... 20 F Bewitched by the law . 27 F God‟s will not hidden . Matt..... 7 Jan...... The Mark of Greatness Feb.... 7 T Concern for the master .......... 25:34-40 Jan.. 3 F Submission joined with faithMatt......... Isa.... Luke 4:33-37 Spirit of infirmity.. 4 S Heroes of faith . 1:1-9 Lesson 8. Luke 6:1-10 Jan....
. 12 S The Lord looks on the heart1 Sam.. Gal.. 21 T The Lord smites the firstbornExod... Matt. 5:13-16 Faithfulness recognized . The Bread and Cup of Communion Feb. 20M Preparation for the PassoverExod..... 5:12-19 Feb. 8 W Feb.. 1:10-17 Feb...... 50 Feb... 19 S Christian example . 5:13-16 Feb..... 10 F Feb............... Phil..... Mal.. 12:29-36 Feb. 2:11-16 Feb...... Rom... Ps..... John 6:5-13 Greatness through giving.1 Cor...... 15W God‟s covenant sacrifice ... 26 S Let a man examine himself1 Cor.. 5:21-26 Feb. Matt... 3:16-18 Feb.. 25 S Free gift unto justification ........ Matt........... 16:4-13 God multiplies . 3:12-21 Lesson 13... Luke 2:40-50 Feb. 12:21-28 Feb. Mark 15:20-37 Feb.. Gen... 17 F Salting the offering .. 11:28-34 .... 26:6-13 Motive for serving . 24 F Youthful Jesus at the feast .......... 11 S Feb. 22W They that feared the Lord .... 9 T Feb.. 14 T Sacrifice according to God‟s lawLev. 18 S Unsalted sacrifices ..... Isa.... 23 T Purge out the old leaven .....44 Feb...... A Salted Sacrifice Feb...... 16 T Our covenant sacrifice ... 5:6-13 Feb. 13M Christian influence ... 41:37-44 Lesson 12....
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