29 May 2017

Know Them by Their Fruits


What does the phrase "...know them by their fruits" mean?


This statement comes from Matthew 7:16 and 20. The Lord Jesus is speaking about false prophets. 

How can we know they are false prophets? It is by their fruits. These would be by their prophecies (Deuteronomy 18:20-22 and Jeremiah 28:1-14), doctrine (Deuteronomy 13:1-5 and 1 Corinthians 14:37), life style (Isaiah 28:7,Jeremiah 6:13, Micah 2:11), and priorities, particularly what those people are in private, in persecution, and confrontation. See also Revelation 16:13.

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

25 May 2017

In His Likeness

Theme: Made in the Image of God

Scriptures: Genesis 1:27 and Romans 5:12-21

Objectives (taken from the D6 Fusion Sunday School guide)
Know: We were created in the image of God, but sin mars that image, Christ redeems us, helping to restore that image.
Think: Always be mindful of the impact of sin on my life and how Christ sets me free from sin’s control.
Do: Submit to Christ each day, allowing His Spirit to make me more like Him.

Notes and questions:
B1 Basics
C1 Man and Woman are created in the image of God. Genesis 1:27, etc.
D1 The word for image is  צֶלֶם tselem. It means representation, resemblance, or idol. It is most often used as idol.
D2 It does NOT refer to our body, our flesh. God is a spirit. Those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24 [GodsWord])
D3 Man and woman created in the image of God most likely refers to our characteristics and role in life. This would have been Adam and Eve in their sinless state before the fall. The true image was lost/forfeited when Adam sinned. Below are some of God’s characteristics.
E1 Characteristics of God
F1 Communicable--God and humans both have. A few examples would be:
G1 Anger
G2 Compassion
G3 Faithful
G4 Forgiving
G5 Giving
F2 Incommunicable--only God has. A few examples would be:
G1 Eternality
G2 Omnipotence
G3 Omnipresence
G4 Omniscience
G5 Omnisapience
E2 Leadership (under the authority of God)
F1 To manage the earth
F2 To manage himself, submitting to God
D4 The standard of the “image of God” is God himself. He is THE image of God. ...who being the brightness of [His] glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Hebrews 1:3, NKJV)
C2 In general what God wanted was for Adam and Eve and their descendants to maintain what God had created and enjoy God, fellowship with God, and the beautiful world He had created.
C3 How does that apply to people today? How does that apply to Christians today?
B2 Sin
C1 What is sin?
D1 Breaking the law, that is, God’s law. Everyone who commits sin also breaks the law; sin is the breaking of law. (1 John 3:4, HCSB)
D2 Fall short of the glory of God. Sin taints, makes us unclean in God’s sight. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23, HCSB). Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. (Psalms 51:2, NKJV)
D3 Knows to do right but does not. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. (James 4:17 [EMTV].  And that servant who knew his master's will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. (Luke 12:47, ESV2011)
D4 We know that the law is not meant for a righteous person, but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and irreverent, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral and homosexuals, for kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and for whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching based on the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was entrusted to me. (1 Timothy 1:9-11, HCSB)
C2 Original sin
D1 All have the taint of sin from birth. We are not born good, with a clean slate.
D2 The core of sin is ME, my way, my needs, my wants, my comfort, etc.
D3 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death passed to all men, because all sinned— (Romans 5:12 [EMTV]
D4 For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23, HCSB)
D5 Indeed, I was born guilty. I was a sinner when my mother conceived me. (Psalms 51:5 [GodsWord]
C3 Penalty for sin--death
D1 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23, HCSB)
D2  I also saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged according to their works by what was written in the books. Then the sea gave up its dead, and Death and Hades gave up their dead; all were judged according to their works. Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And anyone not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:12-15, HCSB)
C4 The remedy for sin
D1 Some things that can NOT
E1 Animal sacrifices--For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. (Hebrews 10:4, HCSB)
E2 Good works--But we are all like an unclean [thing,] And all our righteousnesses [are] like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6, NKJV). Different translation: All of us have been sinful; even our best actions are filthy through and through. Because of our sins we are like leaves that wither and are blown away by the wind. (Isaiah 64:6, GNB92). Even just one sin is enough to receive the punishment of eternal hell (For whoever keeps the entire law, yet fails in one point, is guilty of breaking it all. For He who said, Do not commit adultery, also said, Do not murder. So if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you are a lawbreaker. (James 2:10-11, HCSB)). If that seems wrong, consider that God has warned us. One sin, Adam’s sin, has blemished God PERFECT holy creation.
D2 Only one thing can--In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7 [EMTV]. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. (Hebrews 9:22 [EMTV]. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us, for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE," (Galatians 3:13 [EMTV]). There are many passages. Only Jesus Christ redeems from sin. His conditions for applying this to our lives is believe. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 [EMTV].
D3 For more information see Need God.
C5 For more information about the doctrine of sin see
C6 Views of the effects of Adam’s sin on humanity
D1 Pelagian
E1 God created every soul (in contrast to the traducian view that the body and soul come from our parents).
E2 Every soul is innocent and pure from sin.
E3 Adam’s effect on the rest of humanity was from his bad example, not imputed.
E4 Humanity died because people die from the law of nature not from the law of sin (their sin). Thus Adam would have died even if he had never sinned.
E5 Humans can choose on their own will to come to God for salvation.
E6 Compare what the Scripture states:
F1 What then? Are we better [than they?] Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;  There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.  They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”  “Their throat [is] an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps [is] under their lips”; “Whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet [are] swift to shed blood;  Destruction and misery [are] in their ways;  And the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:9-18, NKJV)
F2 Indeed, I was guilty when I was born; I was sinful when my mother conceived me. (Psalms 51:5, HCSB)
D2 Bible view (the view of Reformed Arminians as the Free Will Baptists)
E1 Adam brought sin into the world.
E2 All are born sinners.
E3 All are totally depraved and do not seek God.
E4 No one can come to God on his own initiative.
E5 God must initiate salvation with prevenient grace.
E6 Our wills are then freed, and we can resist or not resist the conviction brought about by the Holy Spirit.
B4 So God created man in His [own] image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27, NKJV). We learn:
C1 We were not animals without a soul outside the Garden of Eden. Then the time came when God breathed the life soul into the animal, and the animal became human.
C2 Humans are created as humans, not by an evolutionary advance by random, goalless, unguided processes of nature.
C3 The who that created--Yahweh.
C4 Created in His image as was discussed above.
C5 It is emphasized by repeating the thought. God did create man in His image.
C6 Male and female are both created in the image of God.
C7 How does knowing these things affect our lives in the world, the church, and the family?
B5 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned– (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift [is] not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. And the gift [is] not like [that which came] through the one who sinned. For the judgment [which came] from one [offense resulted] in condemnation, but the free gift [which came] from many offenses [resulted] in justification. For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) Therefore, as through one man’s offense [judgment] came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act [the free gift came] to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:12-21, NKJV). We learn:
C1 Sin--rebellion, lawbreaking, bad attitude keeping--came into the world from Adam’s sin.
C2 Death is the punishment for sin. This includes physical death, soul death, and spiritual death.
C3 Sin is serious. Just one bite of a piece of fruit resulted in death.
C4 Even though there was no written law at that time, people still died, because of natural law that was written on their hearts.
C5 The Gospel is a free gift, not of works, lest any should boast.
C6 All died because of sin, except Jesus, who, being sinless, died as the perfect sacrifice for sin.
C7 Those who meet God’s conditions for salvation benefit from that one sacrifice.
C8 Salvation and righteousness (in God’s sight) are a gift from God, not something earned.
C9 There is a reigning in life. This is through Jesus Christ. The term reign does not refer to being a king or queen, but rather they refer to the effect upon the lives of people. Death reigns because of sin. Life reigns because of Jesus. As one translation has it: It is true that through the sin of one man death began to rule because of that one man. But how much greater is the result of what was done by the one man, Jesus Christ! All who receive God's abundant grace and are freely put right with him will rule in life through Christ. (Romans 5:17, GNB92)
C10 The Law (the Ten Commandments, etc.) reveal the sin as it gives God’s standard of right and wrong.
C11 God wants people to be saved from sin and its effect.
C12 Without Jesus Christ and only Jesus Christ is this offer of grace given. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12, NKJV)
C13 Why was the Law not given to Adam and Eve? Why wait until Moses and the children of Israel?
C14 How does the Law convict people of their sin?
C15 Why do people refuse God’s offer of salvation even knowing the penalty?
B6 What are the consequences of breaking God’s law in regards to the environment, health, science, thinking, family, etc.?
B7 The Ten Commandments are the summary of the laws of nature written on everyone’s heart.
C1 The first 4 commandments deal with sins against God and His person of all types in thoughts, desires, words, and deeds. The 4 categories: sins concerning any God except for Yahweh, concerning any type of idol, sins concerning any type of blasphemy (spoken words, written words, thoughts, desires, words, deeds about Him or His character), and sins concerning worship (a time for rest from us and our life so that we will have time to fellowship with God).
C2 The last 6 deal with sins against God and humanity. They are in 6 categories: sins against parents and authorities, sins regarding hate (without cause) up to and including murder, sins concerning sexual sins, sins of stealing (all types), lying and giving false testimony (slander, libel, etc.), and all types of covetousness.
C3 God’s design is to NOT do any of these.
C4 How and why do people excuse their sin?
B8 Why is living a Christian life as defined by the New Testament rarely taught and followed today?
B9 Next week:
C1 The Downward Spiral
C2 Theme: The Cost of Disobedience

C3 Scriptures: Judges 2:1-23