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Sunday, May 12, 2019

Genesis 6: Four Interesting Insights

Please read Does God Change His Mind: Genesis 6 as an introduction to this study.

In Genesis 6, everyone on earth became so evil that “everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil” (verse 5).   

So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. And the LORD said, 'I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth.'” (verses 6-7)  

This passage expresses God’s great sorrow, and it reveals some interesting things about God and man. 

1. God has incredible perseverance with mankind.
God knew the events of Genesis 6 when it was still Genesis 1. He knew how evil mankind would become but He still created us. That says something about God's love and commitment to rebellious humanity. 

Psalm 103:8-18: The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.

See God's Gracious Love.

2. Man has an incredible propensity for evil.  

Genesis 6:5 isn't exaggerating when it says that “everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil.” It's hard to imagine that kind of evil and how much it must have hurt God's heart. 

We need to realize that without God's Spirit all of us have the ability to do great evil:
Jeremiah 17:9The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? 

This describes the entire world when God destroyed mankind with a flood, and it describes much of the world now:
Romans 1:21: For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 

See Living in the Midst of Deception.

3. God's mercy has limits. 

Daniel 8:23 says that God waits to destroy nations until their rebellion has reached its full measure. But He does not wait forever. 

Nehemiah 9:30: For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you warned them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you gave them into the hands of the neighboring peoples. 

This is also true for individuals. God will eventually condemn men to Hell for rejecting His offer of salvation. For Scriptures on Hell, see What Jesus Said about Hell

4. God's plans always provide redemption for the godly.

Genesis 6:7-8: So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

Even though God carried out His plan to destroy all the wicked people on earth, He had a plan for saving a godly line through Noah. 

See Crushing Satan's Head.

Studying these Old Testament stories gives us wisdom and hope:

"Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope." Romans 15:4

Does Genesis 6 give you inspiration to persevere in your faith? I pray it does.

This Bible study is part of the Bible Love Note's series: "Does God Change His Mind?"
To read others in the series:
Does God Change His Mind: Nineveh  
Does God Change His Mind: Hezekiah
Does God Change His Mind: Polygamy

copyright, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com 

Bite Size Bible Study

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Is It a Sin? Evaluate It with Scripture

These 7 questions can help you determine is something not specifically mentioned in Scripture is a sin in your life. #Bible #GodsWord #Biblestudy

This Bible study is based on the 1-minute devotion, Is it a Sin?

If something is condemned in Scripture, it’s wrong. 

But how do we judge behavior not specifically mentioned in God's Word?

If we're open and honest with ourselves, God's Spirit will convict us of sin (John 16:8; John 16:13), but our environment, culture, and experiences can affect our discernment. 

So let's look at 7 ways to judge behavior not specifically mentioned in Scripture

1. Does it violate a scriptural principle?
Scripture doesn't specifically mention every form of murder (e.g. abortion, suicide, poisoning, etc.). Scripture doesn't address every addiction (recreational marijuana, smoking, caffeine, etc.). Scripture doesn't mention every possible sexual sin, every form of pride, every type of occult activity. But that doesn't mean these things are approved by God.

2. Does this activity involve lack of self-control

"Self-control ('temperance' in the KJV) is, of course, the ability to control oneself. It involves moderation, constraint, and the ability to say 'no' to our baser desires and fleshly lusts. One of the proofs of God’s working in our lives is the ability to control our own thoughts, words, and actions." (Got Questions

Galatians 5:22-23: "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!" 

These 7 questions can help you determine is something not specifically mentioned in Scripture is a sin in your life. #Bible #GodsWord #Biblestudy
Taking lack of self-control a step further: Is the behavior addictive or controlling

See How a Christian Should View Addiction

1 Corinthians 6:12: "'I have the right to do anything,' you say--but not everything is beneficial. 'I have the right to do anything'--but I will not be mastered by anything."

2 Peter 2:19: "people are slaves to whatever has mastered them."

3. Does the activity do physical harm to body, soul, or spirit

1 Corinthians 3:16-17: "Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple."

1 Corinthians 6:19-20: "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies."

4. Does the activity harm others

If we're harming others, the behavior is wrong. Period.

Matthew 7:12: "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."

Romans 13:10: Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.  

Romans 14:7: "For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone."   

These 7 questions can help you determine is something not specifically mentioned in Scripture is a sin in your life. #Bible #GodsWord #Biblestudy
5. Is there any positive benefit in the activity

Sometimes an activity in and of itself is not ungodly, but it's a waste of time. 

Does it keep us from fulfilling other responsibilities? Does it keep us from developing meaningful relationships with friends and family? Does it keep us from spending time in prayer and Bible study?

1 Corinthians 10:31: "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

1 Corinthians 10:23: "'I have the right to do anything,' you say--but not everything is beneficial. 'I have the right to do anything'--but not everything is constructive." 

6. Is it interfering with our walk with the Lord

Because we live in a fallen world, we will be around ungodly people and ungodly influences, but we shouldn't choose activities that unnecessarily put us in these situations.

Romans 12:1-2: "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 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."

1 Corinthians 15:33: "Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.'"   

See 4 Types of People God Tells Us to Avoid.

7. Is it legal

Christians should never disobey government laws unless those laws require that we break God's laws. For more on this: God Wins all Wrestling Matches.

But it's also important to note that God does not approve of everything that is legal. If it's legal but violates any principle in Scripture, it's "illegal" for the Christian.

Romans 13:1: "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." (1)Please note:
I encourage you to test things in your life using these 7 criteria. May God give us wisdom and grace -- and hearts that fully seek Him!

copyright, Gail Burton Purath, 2019, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

Bite Size Bible Study

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Practical Helps for Overcoming Sin

Practical ideas and resources for overcoming sin in your life. #Bitesizebiblestudy #Bible #Biblestudy

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 8:5-6.12-14Those 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. 

4 Practical ideas and additional resources for overcoming sin in your life. #Bitesizebiblestudy #Bible #Biblestudy
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 Captive2 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