Sunday, April 14, 2019
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!"
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."
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
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