Sunday, March 17, 2019
As an introduction to this Bible study, please read the 1-minute devotion Believing Both Verses.
Scripture tells us God is the only one who can change us spiritually, but we have an important role in that process:
Philippians 2:12-13: Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
Romans 8:5-6.12-14: Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. ... 12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
Below are some practical ideas to help us "work out our salvation" and fulfill "our obligation" to overcome sin. Read through them and ask God which you can apply to your situation.
1. Read, recite, memorize, or write Scriptures that apply to your sin problem.
God's Word is alive and it can help us understand our sins and overcome them.
2 Timothy 3:16-17: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Hebrews 4:12: For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Using Scripture to overcome sin is explained in I Can't Change. And you can find specific Bible verses to use in Scriptures and Resources for Conquering Anger and Scriptures for Developing Self-Control.
2. Start your day with Scripture promises.
Colossians 3:16: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
See Eight Statements Christians Should Make Each Day.
3. Don't let problems get you off course with the Lord. Process them biblically.
Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
See 5 Ways to Process Problems.
4. Start by transforming your thought life because sins usually start in our thoughts.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5: For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Romans 12:2:Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
See Take Your Thoughts Captive, 2 Steps to Sexual Sin, and Do You Have a Happiness Diary?
5. Avoid influences that cause you to sin.
Psalm 101:3: I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it.
1 Corinthians 15:33: Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character."
See What About Bad TV and 4 Types of People God Tells us to Avoid.
I pray that some of these practical suggestions will help you overcome sin in your life so that you can enjoy the freedom and grace of Christ more fully.
copyright, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
Bite Size Bible Study
Sunday, February 17, 2019
Please read When Loved Ones Aren't Saved as an introduction to this Bible study.
When we've experienced the forgiveness and salvation of our Lord, it's hard to know that some of our friends and family are not saved.
What can we do?
1. Believe what Scripture says about salvation.
It's important that we never forget that Jesus is the only way of salvation and no one who rejects him will be saved.
See Are there Many Ways to Heaven? and A Simple Misunderstanding.
Sometimes people with unsaved loved ones try to convince themselves that God will make exceptions. This makes us less serious about sharing our faith and leads to greater self-deception.
Colossians 4:2: Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Even if our loved ones don't want to hear about our faith, we can pray for them. Read the parable in Luke 18:1-8 about persevering in prayer.
3. Share the gospel whenever God gives opportunity.
Ephesians 5:15-16: Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Sometimes we think we need to push our faith on others, sharing everything at one time and expecting them to immediately repent and turn to Christ. While this can happen, it's rare. Coming to the Lord is usually a process.
So we can add a little "salt" to our conversations, offering to pray for our loved ones' problems, sharing how God is working in our lives, speaking about things we're learning in Scripture.
It's best to avoid arguments and be patient. Self-righteous attitudes push people away from Christ, not toward Him.
2 Timothy 2:24-26: A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.
For more about natural ways to share Christ with our loved ones, see:
4 Natural Ways to Share Christ
Pause and Listen
Jesus Asked Questions
4. Trust God's love.
God loves our friends and family more than we do, and He will give them every possible chance to follow Him into eternity.
1 Timothy 2:1-4: I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.
5. Draw closer to God.
God will give us wisdom, comfort, and peace no matter what happens. We need to take our fears and doubts to Him.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
6. Put Jesus first.
We can't let disappointments affect our love for God. We don't understand all that God allows, but we can trust His perfect wisdom and love.
Proverbs 3:5: Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
We should never blame God or pull away from Him if our loved ones continue to ignore His offer of salvation.
Matthew 10:37: If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine.
copyright 2019, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy
Bite Size Bible Study
Sunday, January 20, 2019
Please read Are You Losing Your Blessings as a good introduction to this study.
There is a serious problem in the body of Christ. A growing number of adult children are ungrateful, critical, and disrespectful toward their Christian and non-Christian parents.
They are magnifying their parents' faults and minimizing their parents' sacrifices and love.
They expect grace from their parents, but give very little in return. Unfortunately, many in the church are sympathizing with these fault-finders in direct contradiction to God's Word.
When we become adults, we take on adult responsibilities toward our parents. We no longer obey them, but we do our part to have a meaningful relationship with them.
God never excuses disrespect toward parents because disrespect toward parents shows disrespect for His commands and promises.
Even if your parents made some large mistakes, you can return good for evil and be blessed by God (Romans 12:21).
Six truths that help us understand the scriptural view of honoring parents:
1. The Death Penalty
In the nation of Israel, God commanded that children who curse their parents be put to death. This was a civil law for a period in Israel's history, not a permanent law of God. But it shows the emphasis God puts on our words spoken to and about our parents. The principle is not limited to verbally cursing a parent.
And if we doubt that this law reflects God's hatred for dishonoring parents, we need only read the words of Jesus who quotes this law in Matthew 15. Jesus applies this principle to people who neglect their parents while claiming to be spiritual.
Leviticus 20:9: Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. Because they have cursed their father or mother, their blood will be on their own head.
Matthew 15:4: For God said, 'Honor your father and mother' and 'Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.'
Read the full passage here: Matthew 15:1-9.
2. Cursing Parents
Cursing someone can mean speaking a verbal curse over them, but it includes more than that. The Hebrew word in this sentence means "to bring into contempt, accurse, despise."
This would include speaking negatively about your parents around your children so that your children form disrespectful views toward them. It can be appropriate to share parental difficulties with a few close friends or with a counselor, but we must use caution and ask ourselves how we are expressing our disappointments and why.
Proverbs 20:20: If someone curses their father or mother, their lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness.
Proverbs 30:11-13: Some people curse their father and do not thank their mother. They are pure in their own eyes, but they are filthy and unwashed. They look proudly around, casting disdainful glances.
3. Mocking Parents
We can also show contempt for our parents by making fun of them, looking down on them or speaking flippantly to or about them. The Hebrew word for "mocks" in the verse below means to "laugh, scorn, mock."
Talking about our parents in this manner is never appropriate.
Proverbs 30:17: The eye that mocks a father, that scorns an aged mother, will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley, will be eaten by the vultures.
4. The Elderly
Leviticus 19:32 commands people to stand in the presence of the elderly as a way of showing them respect and also showing reverence for God.
This command is not based on the character or importance of the elderly person, but on their age. God obviously thinks respect for the elderly is important.
Scripture considers respect for parents the norm. The verse below assumes that we speak respectfully to our own parents, something that often isn't true in this day and age.
1 Timothy 5:1: Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father.
God commands us to honor and respect different types of leaders, even secular government leaders, based on their age and position, not based on their character or integrity. We honor our parents because God says we owe them honor, not because they have "earned" it.
Romans 13:1: Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Why do you think the Fifth Commandment and the verse below promise blessings on those who honor their parents? Why would God give this command an emphasis He doesn't give the others?
Ephesians 6:2-3: “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: 3 If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”
6. "Unworthy" Parents
Luke 6:32: If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.
1 John 4:20: Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
I know people who love ungodly unbelievers enough to spend their lives sharing the gospel, but they place "boundaries" in their relationship with their parents because they find their parents annoying. That means they are picking and choosing which of God's commands to obey and it shows a lack of love for God as well as a lack of love for their parents.
John 14:23: Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them."
God will not simply look at their service to the gospel. He will also look at their obedience to the gospel.
copyright 2019, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
Bite Size Bible Study