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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Three Warnings

Luke 9:57-62, Jesus asked him to follow, men say they will follow Jesus
In Luke 9:57-62, three men considered following Jesus. We read their words, but Jesus read their hearts. 

1. “I will follow you wherever you go.” This man's words were good, but Jesus reminded him to count the cost (Luke 14:25-34).  Jesus doesn't ask everyone to leave home and family, but following Jesus means denying our selfish goals in life (Matthew 16:24). 

2. “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus knew that this man wasn't simply asking to bury his father, he was focusing on "dead" worldly desires. Scripture is clear - we can't pursue worldly goals and still follow Christ (1 John 2:15-17). 

3. “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus sensed this man's hesitance to follow and reminded him that half-hearted, lukewarm faith was unacceptable (Revelation 3:14-22). 

I confess I sometimes have these attitudes toward my faith, but I commit (with God's help) to overcome them. Will you join me? 

Bible Study
The full Conversation:
Luke 9:57-62, Jesus asked him to follow, men say they will follow Jesus

Luke 9:57-62: As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 59 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”  

1. Take a few minutes to ponder the meaning of these words and ask God's help in denying yourself more fully.

Matthew 16:24-25: Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

2. Read the passage below and ask God if there are any areas of your life where you've set up worldly goals that interfere with His plans for you: 

1 John 2:15-17: Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.  

3. The following passage is written as a rebuke to the church in Laodicea, but we can learn from their failures. After reading this passage, ask yourself if you are storing up your treasures in heaven. Ask yourself whether your faith is "hot" or merely lukewarm. 

Revelation 3:14-22: “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. 21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
copyright 2016, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Twisted Scriptures

Seek God's Kingdom First, Avoid selfish interpretations of Scripture
Be careful because Satan twists Scripture!

For example:
God: Love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31).  
Satan: You can't love others until you first love (i.e. esteem) yourself. 
Error: Loving others doesn't mean admiring them. It means treating them as we want to be treated (Matthew 7:12). In fact, we're commanded to deny ourselves and treat others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3-4; Matthew 16:24). 

When we focus on God and others, we have a healthier self-esteem.

Another example:
God: Dwell on what's good (Philippians 4:8).
Satan: Dwell on what's good about yourself and you'll be a better person.
Error: The purpose of this verse is peace and gratefulness, not self-esteem (Philippians 4:9). We become better people by humbly admitting our sins, asking God's help, and being honest about our weaknesses (Romans 12:3; James 4:10). 

Satan tempted Eve by telling her she'd be like God, and selfishness has reigned in the human heart ever since (Genesis 3:5). 

Let's seek to honor God first and foremost and beware of selfish interpretations of Scripture (Matthew 6:33). 

Bible Study 

1. It's not only important to know Scripture. It's important to "handle it correctly." Satan twists words very convincingly (v.14). When someone is misled by one of Satan's twisted Scriptures, they are often resistant to discussion. We can try to explain the error and we can pray for the person, but we should avoid quarreling and godless chatter (v.14,16). 

2 Timothy 2:14-16: Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 

2. Satan comes to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10) but we must not think he does this in obvious ways. He appeals to our selfish human nature.

2 Corinthians 11: 4,13-15: if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough... For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. 

copyright 2016, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
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