29 May 2017

The Downward Spiral

Theme: The cost of disobedience

Scriptures: Judges 2:1-23

Objectives (from the D6 Fusion lesson book)
Know: The Israelites failed to fully obey God’s commands, which led to a downward cycle of idolatry and disobedience.
Think: Be conscious of my tendency toward disobedience and keep my focus on Christ.
Do: Fully obey God’s Word each day.

Notes and questions:
B1 Some basics about the book of Judges
C1 It is accurate history.
C2 It was written by God, but the human author is unknown. It is reasonable to believe that Samuel the prophet wrote this in the 11th century BC.
C3 It approximately covers the time from 1405-1050 BC. This is from the conquest of Canaan to the crowning of King Saul, from the death of Joshua to Samuel the prophet.
C4 It shows the on and off love of the people for God and His ways, their obedience and disobedience, the victories and defeats, and when they lived according to God’s ways to disregarding His ways. It also shows God’s steadfast faithfulness for His love for Israel, punishment for sin, chastening actions to bring repentance, mercy and forgiveness, and how and when He blesses or chastens them.
C5 It shows how a king arose in Israel, because Israel rejected God’s leadership for man’s leadership.
C6 A common verse is In those days [there was] no king in Israel; everyone did [what was] right in his own eyes. (Judges 21:25, NKJV)
C7 The list of God’s appointed judges: Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah and Barak, Gideon, Abimelech, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, Samson, Eli, and Samuel.
C8 Chapters 1-16 lists the various judges, the conditions that Israel faced, their prayers for help, God’s mercy and deliverance, and the downhill spiral into rejection of God. Chapters 17-25 deals with some situations in more depth.
C9 The revolving wheel/cycle of Israel. Source  
C10 Some other sources for an introduction to the book of Judges
D1 Bible.Org on Judges
D2 Precept Austin on Judges
C11 Questions
D1 Why do our lives sometimes take this same cycle?
D2 How can we avoid it?
D3 How is God our deliverer?
D4 How does God use others to help us?
D5 How can we be used of God to help others?
C12 A comment from Ray Steadman
Ray Stedman - Judges is essentially the story of a deteriorating nation, and as such, it is a picture for us of deteriorating Christian life… "These things," as the apostle Paul says, "were written down for our instruction." (1Corinthians 10:11) God retraces in our lives the very circumstances, the very battles, and the very conflicts that we find Israel going through. In Joshua, the land of Canaan is the picture of the Spirit-filled life… (In Judges) The principle that always meant defeat in the lives of the nation of Israel is given to us in the very last verse of the book. If you miss that, you miss the key to the book: In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes. (Judges 21:25) Notice that it does not say, "Every man did what was wrong in his own eyes." These people were not trying to do wrong. They were not essentially rebellious people determined to thwart the will of God in their lives. At this stage of Israel's history these people were very determined to do right, but they were trying to do what was right in their own eyes. The pattern of peril in this book of Judges can be simply put this way -- they were given over to the folly of consecrated blundering. They were consecrated, dedicated blunderers -- meaning to do right but ending up all wrong. I can tell you that no pattern repeats itself more frequently in my counseling sessions than this. Many, many times I have heard people say, "Oh, I don't know what went wrong. I meant to do right. I did what I thought was best. But everything seemed to go wrong."… The great lesson of this book, then, is that we must take God seriously about the enemy. Jesus Christ has come to save us from our sins -- not to allow us to settle down to live all our lives with them. He has come to drive them out from us and to separate us from them. If we do not take God seriously about these things that we call trivial we will experience an inevitable sequence, taking us step by step away from the intervening grace of God, onward to a course that brings us at last to moral collapse. I think this is the answer to those sudden moral collapses of men and women who have apparently been outstanding leaders for God, who present, on the outside at least, a fair and happy prospect that looks as though their spiritual life is strong. Then suddenly we read of some terrible moral collapse. What has happened? There has been an inward deterioration, exactly along the pattern of the book of Judges. (Overview of Judges- The Pattern of Defeat - Recommended)
B2 Outline
C1 Success of Judah and Simeon Judges 1:1-20
C2 Failure of Benjamin Judges 1:21
C3 Success of the House of Joseph Judges 1:22-26
B3 Contrast between obedience and disobedience

God’s standard--1 Peter 1:14-15
Men's standard--Proverbs 2:14
OT example--Joshua 11:15
OT example--Genesis 3:6
NT example--Acts 26:19
NT example--Mark 14:10
Obedience is love--John 14:15
Disobedience is no love--John 14:24
Obedience is faith--Hebrews 11:8
Disobedience rejects faith--1 John 5:10
C1 Verses
as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, [as] in your ignorance; but as He who called you [is] holy, you also be holy in all [your] conduct, (1 Peter 1:14-15, NKJV)
As the LORD had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the LORD had commanded Moses. (Joshua 11:15, NKJV)
Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, (Acts 26:19, NKJV)
If you love Me, keep My commandments. (John 14:15, NKJV)
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. (Hebrews 11:8, NKJV)
So when the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food, that it [was] pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make [one] wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:6, NKJV)
Who rejoice in doing evil, [And] delight in the perversity of the wicked; (Proverbs 2:14, NKJV)
The one who does not love me does not keep my words, and the word that you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me. (John 14:24, LEB)
(The one who believes in the Son of God has this testimony within him. The one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony God has given about His Son.) (1 John 5:10, HCSB)
C2 Questions
D1 Why don’t people believe?
D2 Why do some believe?
D3 Why did you believe?
B4 Drift
C1 Defined Source
D1 To go from one state to another without realizing it
D2 To do something or to happen in a way that is not planned
C2 A verse: Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. (Hebrews 2:1, NKJV)
D1 How do Christians drift away?
E1 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. (James 1:14-15, NKJV)
E2 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8, NKJV)
D2 What happens to truth when we drift?
E1 The devil has no truth, so we need to avoid his ways. “You are of [your] father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own [resources,] for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44, NKJV)
E2 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, (Romans 1:18, NKJV)
E3 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1:25, NKJV)
E4 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness–indignation and wrath, (Romans 2:8, NKJV)
D3 What is the solution?
E1 My son, let them not depart from your eyes– Keep sound wisdom and discretion; (Proverbs 3:21, NKJV)
E2 “But the ones [that] fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep [it] and bear fruit with patience. (Luke 8:15, NKJV)
E3 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;  (Hebrews 12:5, NKJV)
E4 For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. (2 Peter 1:12, NKJV)
E5 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:16, NKJV)
E6 What other things can you think of?
F1 We need each other for: Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth? (Galatians 4:16, NKJV)
F2 Do not hinder the truth: You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? (Galatians 5:7, NKJV)
F3 Let us love truth: and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:10, NKJV)
F4 Do not stray from the truth: who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. (2 Timothy 2:18, NKJV)
F5 Avoid the temptation to have preachers who always speak “loving things:” For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, [because] they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn [their] ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4, NKJV)
F6 Practice the truth: If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. (1 John 1:6, NKJV)
C3 What happens when a preacher, teacher, husband, wife, anyone starts to drift away or lead us away?
C4 If we drift away, how does that affect our church, our family, our witness, etc.?
B5 If we sin one time, does God smash us to pieces, wounding us, destroying us, abusing us, or is He the loving, Shepherd Father who encourages us, leads us gently along, and yes, punishes us if we do not turn, repent?
B6 How does God award, reward, bless our obedience?
B7 What has helped you when drifting, turning away, rebelling against God’s ways?
B8 Some quotes: John Wesley, Sermon 37 "The Nature of Enthusiasm" Beware you are not a fiery, persecuting enthusiast. Do not imagine that God has called you (just contrary to the spirit of Him you style your Master) to destroy men’s lives, and not to save them. Never dream of forcing men into the ways of God. Think yourself, and let think. Use no constraint in matters of religion. Even those who are farthest out of the way never compel to come in by any other means than reason, truth, and love. [Bold--ed]
B9 Next week:
C1 Trust and Obey
C2 Theme: Trusting God’s Plan

C3 Scriptures: Judges 4:1-16

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