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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Helping Loved Ones Find Christ

A short Bible study with Scriptures and resources that help us share with unsaved loved ones. #BibleLoveNotes #BiteSizeBibleStudy #Biblestudy

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.

2. Pray! 

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. 

Colossians 4:6: Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. 

It's best to avoid arguments and be patient. Self-righteous attitudes push people away from Christ, not toward Him.

A short Bible study with Scriptures and resources that help us share with unsaved loved ones. #BibleLoveNotes #BiteSizeBibleStudy #Biblestudy
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 
Name Droppers 
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

The Serious Consequences of Dishonoring Parents

6 Important Truths that should motivate us to be deliberate and serious about honoring our parents, even if they are annoying. #BibleLoveNotes #Bible #HonoringParents

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

6 Important Truths that should motivate us to be deliberate and serious about honoring our parents, even if they are annoying. #BibleLoveNotes #Bible #HonoringParents
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

6 Important Truths that should motivate us to be deliberate and serious about honoring our parents, even if they are annoying. #BibleLoveNotes #Bible #HonoringParents
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.
5. Rewards

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

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Creation and Evolution Don't Mix

Could God have used evolution to create?

Some Christians hold this view, but it's not compatible with Scripture.

It's important that we first establish the difference between microevolution (adaptations within species) and macroevolution (changes from one specie to another). Microevolution is observable in nature and is completely compatible with creation. It would be more fitting to call it "adaptation."

Microevolution is sometimes used as an argument for macroevolution, but it's an entirely different process from the theorized macroevolution. This difference is not only noted by creation scientists but by many evolutionary theorists as well (source).

Read more about this distinction: Microevolution and Macroevolution, What is the Difference?, Nylon-eating bacteria, "New Species".   

Now that we've made this distinction, let's address three major reasons evolution (macroevolution) is not compatible with biblical Christianity:

1. Evolution does not reflect God's character:

God's divine nature is seen in creation. Even in its fallen form, nature's complexity and beauty are evidence that our world and its inhabitants did not result from a cosmic accident.

Romans 1:20: "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." 

These are some specific ways that evolution does not reflect God's character:

A. Everything God does is perfect, but evolution is a process of mistakes.

Evolution claims that before man existed, there were millions of years of death, decay, mistakes, accidents, mutations, and non-viable creatures. Why would God waste time making inferior or non-functional things when He can instantly create perfection?

John 1:3: "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made."

Deuteronomy 32:4: "He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he." 

B. God speaks things into existence. He doesn't need a lengthy, tedious, process like evolution.

Read through the creation story and notice that God creates everything by His words. 

For example:
Genesis 1:24: "And God said, 'Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.' And it was so." 

Hebrews 11:3: "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible."

C. Evolution is actually more representative of Satan's nature than God's.

If Satan created the world, perhaps he would create it through the death, decay, and destruction of a process like evolution. And there's no doubt that Satan promotes the false belief of evolution because it steals glory from God:

John 10:10: "The thief [Satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

2. Death came AFTER the creation of man, not before.

Genesis 1:31: "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." 

But God gave clear instructions:

Genesis 2:17: "but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die."

When Adam and Eve disobeyed and ate the forbidden fruit, they didn't immediately die, but death entered the world. And creation also lost it's perfection.

Romans 5:12-17: "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned— 13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come. 15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!" 

Romans 8:19-23: "For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies." 

See also: 1 Corinthians 15:21.

3. God made man in his image with an eternal soul, set apart from the rest of creation.

Because being made in God's image doesn't mean we bear a physical likeness to God, some suggest that God could have created man through a series of lower life forms and then placed His image on that advanced life form. But Scripture doesn't say God gave man His image. It says He created man in His image.

Genesis 1:26-28: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:...27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them..."

Read more: Made in the Image of God

We shouldn't be surprised that evolution is so widely accepted. Scripture predicts it:

2 Peter 3:3-5: "Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, 'Where is this "coming" he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.' 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water." (Genesis 1:2)

Both creation and evolution are faith-based beliefs. Each person examines scientific evidence in light of their presuppositions. 
Nothing in nature contradicts creation.

Nobel prize winner, Dr. Francis Crick, discovered DNA. Although he remained an atheist, he had something interesting to say about evolution. Read more about Crick in this 1-minute devotion: The Honest See.

Let's study God's Word, enjoy His creation, and reject godless theories (Colossians 2:8).

copyright 2018, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

Bite Size Bible Study