31 August 2016

Peril in the Last Days

I don't have the Sunday School lesson book yet, so this is a substitute lesson.

Peril in the Last Days

Theme:  Standing firm in the faith.

Know: The last days are going to be awful times. The last days are today.
Think: We need to be prepared to defend the faith by knowing the Bible, true doctrine, and are able to answer questions challenging our faith.
Do: Study the Bible and its doctrine, study apologetics, and pray to be prepared in wisdom and grace.

Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:1-9

Notes and questions:
B1 Paul is writing to Timothy. This is one, if not the last, of Paul's writings before he dies for the faith (~68AD). This was written approximately 65-67 AD. Timothy was pastor at Ephesus.
B2 Outline
  • Character traits of the last days people--2 Timothy 3:1-5
  • Actions of the last days people--2 Timothy 3:6-9
B3 Definitions
  • Lovers of themselves (G5367) They are narcissists. A Narcissist believes themselves to be superior to others and demands the attention that they are special.
    • Characteristics
      • DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features:
      • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
      • Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
      • Exaggerating your achievements and talents
      • Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
      • Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
      • Requiring constant admiration
      • Having a sense of entitlement
      • Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
      • Taking advantage of others to get what you want
      • Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
      • Being envious of others and believing others envy you
      • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner    Source
    • Development--often by parental over evaluation, in other words, lying about their ability, telling the child that THEY are special, more than other children. See the link below.
    • Self test See here
    • How parents raise a child to be a narcissist. See here, which includes a short test to check your parenting skills.
    • How did the Lord Jesus handle people problems? He tells them, us, and me the truth.
      • Nicodemus--over and over again the Lord Jesus spoke the truth to Nicodemus, even to the point of ignoring his question. John 3:1-21
      • The Young ruler--again telling the truth to the dismay of the young ruler. Matthew 19:16-22
      • The Pharisees and scribes--again telling the truth, which made them very angry. Matthew 23:29-33
      • Tax collector and Pharisee--told the people that the tax collector--hated by all--went home justified. Luke 18:9-14
  • Lovers of money--these put earning money above anything else in life. The have no empathy, sympathy, kindness, etc. This is avarice. Compare Luke 12:15, Romans 1:29, 2 Peter 2:14
  • Boastful--bragging about themselves. They have a hard time listening to others. See Jude 1:16, 2 Peter 2:18, Psalm 10:3
  • Arrogant--this is the motivator for being boastful. It was the first sin. It was the sin of satan. It is haughtiness. Proverbs 6:16-17, Psalm 10:4, Proverbs 8:14, 1 Timothy 3:6, etc.
  • Abusive--this may be verbal, physical, genital, financial, spiritual, etc. or any combination. Abuse of any type is the opposite of love as taught in 1 Corinthians 13. The word is blasphemy and the context shows that it refers to blaspheming anyone including God.
  • Disobedient to their parents--this doesn't refer to parental commands that are illegal as, "Go murder Jones." It refers to house rules and the commands given in the New Testament.
  • Unthankful--especially towards God. People not thanking others for a kindness are also becoming more and more common. Ezekiel 22:7, Romans 1:20-21.
  • Unholy--the word for holiness in Greek signifies a separation, both from what is evil and to what is good. Good and evil are defined by God in the Bible. These people then are the opposite. They are separated from what is good and to what is not good. Isaiah 5:20. See also Malachi 2:17.
  • Without natural affection--that is, without love for anyone other than themselves. The word suggests "without natural love." Natural love would be the love of family, children, etc. where one would think there would be kindness and love. I would think it could also apply to friends when they turn against their them. Matthew 10:21
  • Impossible to please--will not forgive or ask for forgiveness. Proverbs 30:15, 2 Peter 2:13-15
  • False accusers--telling lies about another person to hurt their reputation. Acts 6:11-15, Matthew 26:59-60, Matthew 15:19
  • Without self-control--do whatever they want and in many ways do not and cannot stop. 1 Samuel 20:30, Proverbs 16:32, 1 Corinthians 9:25
  • Brutal--the word suggests something fierce and savage. When they fight, they fight with everything they got. It goes with a lack of self-control. Causing pain in others is enjoyable. This is senseless violence.Genesis 4:8 (1 John 3:12-15), Luke 11:49-51, 2 Kings 24:1-4
  • Despise those who are good--they hate good, as defined by God, and thus will oppose God's standards and God's people verbally and/or physically. The idea is to be hostile, even to hate, good and good people. Isaiah 53:3, Luke 10:16, 1 Thessalonians 4:8, Luke 6:16
  • Traitors--this is someone you trust, you then turns against you as Luke 6:16. A traitor can be one who turns against standards, rules, doctrine, God, people, family, friend, etc. How does one become a traitor? Something replaces their first love. They loved God; now they do not. Matthew 10:21,
  • Reckless--impulsive, rash. It shows a disregard for others whether feelings or well being. These make decisions without thinking about the consequences. Acts 19:36. The opposite would be to think something out before acting or speaking.
  • Conceited--is to think we are better than others. It is a form of bias, racism, even hate. They are not being truthful about themselves and their abilities (or lack thereof). Daniel 5:20, Psalm 10:4, Esther 3:5, Mark 12:38-39
  • Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God--priorities do make a difference. Proverbs 21:17, Luke 8:14, 2 Thessalonians 2:12, Hebrews 11:26
  • Having a form of godliness--outward only. They are religious and spiritual, but there is no change in character. They just pretend to be godly. Matthew 23:27, Matthew 6:2, Mark 7:6
B2 As we consider these character traits, let us share how people displayed this trait to us, how we might have done this trait, why God is against these traits, and how to avoid them.
B3 The rule of the Holy Spirit concerning these is--"having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from these people turn away!" (2 Timothy 3:5, EMTV)
B4 2 Timothy 3:6, have you ever heard this type of "preacher?" These "preachers" promise easy forgiveness or positive agreements for the sin. This is the type of preacher who just dismisses sin, dismisses guilt, makes someone feel good and loved by God without repentance.
B5 2 Timothy 3:7, what is missing in these evil preachers? Truth
B6 2 Timothy 3:8, what 3 character traits are listed about these fakes? Why should we be the exact opposite of them? Why don’t they care about the truth? How did they corrupt their mind? Reprobate means they have rejected the faith, thus they are disapproved and worthless.
B7 2 Timothy 3:9, how will these fake preachers be outed, shown to be false, to all?

25 August 2016

A Passionate Defense

Theme: Defending the faith

Know: The church leaders at Jerusalem confirmed that Gentiles did not have to be circumcised and keep the ceremonial Law of Moses in order to be saved.
Think: Live with the understanding that salvation is by grace through faith for all people.
Do: Defend the truth of the gospel, opposing those who teach that works are necessary for salvation.

Scriptures: Acts 15:1-35

Notes and questions:
B1 Outline
  • The Jerusalem Council Acts 15:1-21
  • The Letter of decision Acts 15:22-35
  • The disagreement between Paul and Barnabas Acts 15:36-41
B2 The question--
  • What is the Gospel?
  • How to be saved.
  • Is there a different Gospel for Jews and for Gentiles?
B3 What does circumcision have to do with salvation?
  • Different views among the Jews. Some ideas follows:
  • Sacrifice of the male with the blood from the circumcision accepted in its place.
  • Full covenant with God.
  • Identification of the male with God.
  • Fulfillment of the covenant, that is, makes them full Jews (without circumcision they are still Jews but not of the covenant).
  • In time of Acts 15 a proselyte was to be baptized and circumcised in order to enter the covenant.
  • Thus some taught that if no circumcision, then no salvation.
  • Barnes in his commentary on this passage writes: For,
    • (1.) it would be maintained that the laws of Moses were the laws of God, and were therefore unchangeable; and,
    • (2.) it would doubtless be maintained that the religion of the Messiah was only a completing and perfecting of the Jewish religion; that it was designed simply to carry out its principles according to the promises, and not to subvert and destroy anything that had been established by Divine authority. It is usually not difficult to perplex and embarrass young converts with questions of modes, and rites, and forms of religion; and it is not uncommon that a revival is followed by some contention just like this. Opposing sects urge the claims of their peculiar rites, and seek to make proselytes, and introduce contention and strife into an otherwise peaceful and happy Christian community.
  • Compare Genesis 17:14 and Exodus 12:48-49.
  • Compare
    • Romans 4:9-12 Does this blessing then come upon the circumcision, or also upon the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while in uncircumcision, so that he should be the father of all those that believe, although uncircumcised, so that righteousness should also be imputed to them, and the father of circumcision to those not only of circumcision, but also to those following in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while in uncircumcision. Romans 4:9-12 EMTV
    • Galatians 5:1-6 Stand fast therefore in the freedom in which Christ has made us free, and do not be loaded down again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who are justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we by the Spirit eagerly await for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love. Galatians 5:1-6 EMTV)
B4 Name some ways that people attack Christianity and the preaching of the Gospel?
B5 How was the Gospel attacked in Acts 15:1-5?
B6 Did this situation have legitimate questions and concern?
B7 Why was there "sharp dispute and debate?" Is it right for Christians to do this?
B8 Acts 15:6-11
  • The greatest words in this passage are "... for he purified their hearts by faith."
  • What was Peter referring to when he said, "God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us?"
  • Why is the Gospel ONLY by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone?
  • What is wrong with our "good works?" Why don't our good works help us into heaven? See Ephesians 2:8, Galatians 2:16, and Isaiah 64:6.
  • Name some ways groups and people teach are necessary in order to be saved?
B9 Acts 15:12-21
  • What did James do to confirm Peter's message? He quoted from Amos 9:11-12 (11) In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up its breaches; and I will raise up its ruins, and I will rebuild it as in the days of old: (12) That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the nations, who are called by my name, says the LORD that does this. (Amos 9:11-12KJ2000)
  • Brian Williams, a pastor living in Buffalo, NY area, writes, "Peter was very deliberate in his speech to make it clear that this evangelism of the Gentiles was the work of God and not man. According to Peter, God made a choice (Acts 15:7), God knows the human heart (Acts 15:8), God cleansed their hearts (Acts 15:8), and God made no distinction between them and Jewish believers (Acts 15:9). The implication is that the Gentiles had been saved by faith alone, apart from being circumcised. Any attempt then at requiring the Gentiles to be circumcised would have two results. First, they would be testing or provoking God, and second, they would be putting on the followers of Christ an unbearable yoke (Acts 15:10). As the Jews typically viewed themselves as being the original recipients of God's favor, Peter turned this around in verse 11 (Acts 15:11) by stating that they (the Jews) would be saved by grace alone, just as the Gentiles were."
  • What are the things that Gentiles who believe are NOT to do, and what are they to do?
  • Do these 4 things have any authority for today's believers? Give some examples of application for these 4 rules.
B10 Acts 15:22-29 speaks of the decision to write a letter and who will deliver it to the Gentiles in Antioch. It also is the letter itself.
B11 Acts 15:30-35, what was the response of the believers in Antioch?
B12 Acts 15:36-41 speak of the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas concerning John Mark.
B13 Give some examples of false gospels you have heard preached at funerals, meetings, TELevangelists, on the radio, read, etc.
B14 How would we tell these people the truth? Will we be believed?
B15 How to we deal with false converts?
B16 Is it worth disagreeing with people over what the Gospel is or is not?
B17 What are some things (doctrinally) that we cannot compromise?
B18 What are some things (practically or culturally) that we can allow differences?

18 August 2016

Sent into the world

Theme: Spreading the Gospel

Know: Under the direction of the Spirit, the church at Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas to take the gospel to the Gentiles.
Think: Be conscious that is has always been God's plan that the gospel be taken to all people.
Do: Share the gospel at every opportunity, realizing that some will listen, and others will not.

Scriptures: Acts 13:1-52

Notes and questions:
B1 Is the number of Bible believing Christians increasing or decreasing? (In western cultures/countries the number and percent is going down, while the "nones" are increasing).
B2 The Gospel is spread by people who preach to other people.
B3 What are we to do when the area is saturated with preaching of the Gospel?
B4 Acts 13 outline
  • The call of Paul and Barnabas to minister Acts 13:1-3
  • Their ministry on Cyprus Acts 13:4-12
  • Their ministry Perga Acts 13:13 (This is when John Mark deserted them).
  • Their ministry in Antioch of Pisidia. Acts 13:14-52
B5 Who are these people? "Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul."
  • Barnabas is the well-known Bible character who introduced Paul to the Apostles.
  • Simeon is unknown with some suggesting that he was Simeon of Cyrene.
  • Lucius is thought to be one of the evangelists of Acts 11 (Then those who were scattered because of the tribulation coming about over Stephen, went about as far as Phoenicia, and Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews only. But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, entering into Antioch spoke to the Greek speaking Jews, preaching the good news of the Lord Jesus. (Acts 11:19-20 EMTV, and possibly Paul's relative (Timothy, my fellow worker, and Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my relatives, greet you. (Romans 16:21 EMTV)).
  • Manaen had been brought up (as a foster brother) of Herod the Tetrarch, Herod Antipas. The grew up together, were educated together, and had many privileges together, but one was an evil king and the other a teacher.
  • Saul, that is, Paul, the famous Apostle.
B6 Acts 13:2, if we minister (pray and worship in song) to the Lord, will we receive revelation, "The Holy Spirit said...?" No, there were prophets there in the service. There are no prophets today. People may call themselves prophets, but they are not. Qualifications of being a prophet.
"The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, according to all you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, 'Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.' "And the LORD said to me: 'What they have spoken is good. I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him. But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.' And if you say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?'— when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:15-22 NKJV)
  • God speaks a message to that person who in turn tells the people.
  • What the prophet says must 100% come true.
  • Speaks in the name of another so-called god.

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20 NKJV)
  • Fruits, that is, the characteristics of a non-Christian life (Galatians 5:17-21)
  • No repentance
  • No desire to do what is right
  • No desire to please God
  • No love for God ("...if you love me, you will keep (obey) my commandments..."). No fear of God

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. (2 Peter 2:1-3 NKJV)
  • False doctrine (heresies), even heresies that hurt people and their faith
  • Might even deny Jesus Christ
  • Not interested in telling the truth
  • Deceptive
  • Covetous
  • Exploit, take advantage of, others

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. (1 John 4:1-3 NKJV)
  • False doctrine of Jesus Christ

“Then if any man tells you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or, ‘There,’ don't believe it. For there will arise false christs, and false prophets, and they will show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen ones.  “Behold, I have told you beforehand. If therefore they tell you, ‘Behold, he is in the wilderness,’ don't go out; ‘Behold, he is in the inner rooms,’ don't believe it. Matthew 24:23-26 WEB
  • May do false miracles
  • Lead astray from the one, true God and His truth
B7 Acts 13:1-3, who sends the missionaries? The congregation. The church...
  • Is both local and universal. The local church is the congregation. The church is all believers regardless of denominational tag. The church is the body of Christ.
  • Has a mission. This includes
    • A dwelling place for God (Ephesians 2:20-22)
    • Bearing witness to the truth (1 Timothy 3:15)
    • Showing God's wonderful, manifold wisdom (Ephesians 3:10)
    • Bringing glory to God (Ephesians 3:20-21)
    • Edifying, teaching, the members (Ephesians 4:11-13)
    • Disciplining members (Matthew 15:15-17, 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, 1 Corinthians 5:9-13)
    • Evangelizing, preaching, the Gospel (Matthew 28:18-20, Romans 10:15-18)
    • Worshiping together (Hebrews 10:25, compare Psalm 100:4, Acts 20:7, 1 Timothy 4:13)
B8 Acts 13:4-7, who shows up when the Gospel is preached? Do the false still show up today? Do you have any examples?
B9 Acts 13:8-12
  • Sorcerer--a person who "tells the future" using astrology, who uses divination, and who uses witchcraft. Basically a person who uses occult ways to know things, do things, and influence things.
  • "Filled with the Spirit"--The Holy Spirit helping the person with wisdom in action (Exodus 28:3, Exodus 31:3, Exodus 35:31, Luke 1:15, Luke 2:40, Acts 9:17, Acts 13:52),  or speech (Luke 1:41, Luke 1:67, Acts 2:4, Acts 4:8, Acts 4:31, Acts 5:3, Acts 13:9-11), and both (Ephesians 5:18). This is for something rare and special. The Lord Jesus had the Spirit without measure (John 3:34, Psalm 45:7, Isaiah 11:2-5) and "was upon Him" (Luke 4:18). There are many other passages as well. Personally I'm not convinced that Ephesians 5:18 is referring to people having leadings or experiences with God but rather do to with clear-headed and self-controlled worship without trances or signs/symptoms of possession.
  • What does a false prophet attempt to do? (Lead away from the truth).
B10 Acts 13:13, what happened to John?
B11 Acts 13:14-15, why did they usually go to a synagogue first?
B12 Acts 13:16-20, what is the main point in Paul's message?
B13 Acts 13:21-22, what is the main point here?
B14 Acts 13:23-25, what is the focus of this part?
B15 Acts 13:26-31, what is the summary of these verses?
B16 Acts 13:32-35, what is the importance of Jesus resurrection?
B17 Acts 13:36-41, what contrast is shown here? Why is this contrast important? How do we apply it to today's world?
B18 Acts 13:42-43, what effect did the Gospel have on these people? (Two different responses--one resisted and one did not resist).
B19 Acts 13:44-45, what is happening here? Why did the Jews get upset? How did they try to defeat the missionaries? Is that same method used today? How do we respond?
B20 Acts 13:46-48, why did some reject the Gospel? Why do people today reject it? What is the meaning of the words "...think yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life?"
B21 Acts 13:49-52, why is preaching the Gospel so offensive to some people? Are we to quit then? Why do they use verbal and physical abuse to try and stop the missionaries and the preaching of the Gospel?
B22 Why is knowledge of the Bible and Bible memorization important for the Christian?