Read Luke 4:20-22
In Luke 4:22; it is said that those who heard Jesus’ sermon identified Him as Joseph’s son”. Obviously, they did not understand the basic facts of Jesus birth. What mistake were they making?
Now read Jesus first recorded sermon in the Bible in Luke 4:23-27.
I would think that after many years of friendship with Jesus, the people of His home town would appreciate him all the more. After all, they knew His life just like our neighbors know ours.
As you already know, just the opposite was true. What was the attitude of the people of Nazareth toward Jesus. Read Luke 4:24.
Similar things happen often. Those who have the most advantages appreciate them the least. Jesus finished His sermon in Nazareth with a warning to His friends and neighbors about the dangers of taking their everyday blessings for granted.
In the Nazareth Sermon, Jesus used two examples from the Old Testament about under privileged people who valued their blessings.
The first was visited by Elijah the prophet. Read Luke 4:26. The widow from in .
The second visited the prophet Elisha. Read Luke 4:27. Naaman the .
Neither the Widow of Sidon nor Naaman the Syrian were born in Israel.
It is worth remembering that the Jews who live in Palestine today call their country Israel.
The root sin of the people of Nazareth was despising their many spiritual privileges as Jews. We must also be careful not to fall into this sin. Christians are often guilty of taking their spiritual privileges for granted. Since we have been given the special privilege of studying the Word of God we must be more careful than others to take our spiritual blessings seriously. The people in Nazareth rejected Jesus because they knew Him so well, or at least they thought they did. Be careful not to become so familiar with the Word of God that you do not pay any real attention to what it is saying about your own life.
Read Luke 4:28-31.
What did they do to Jesus?
What did Jesus do?
Un-confessed sin does not stay the same all the time. It will result in a fruit of it’s own and lead to even worse sin: bitterness and moving away from the Lord.
Ephesians 4:30 says that this is “grieving the Holy Spirit”.
What are the “put-offs” in Ephesians 4:31?
What is to be “put-on” (verse 32)?
So then, a Christian can expect that un-confessed sin will lead to even greater sin if it is not taken care of through confession. This in turn will lead to grieving the Holy Spirit.
Look up each of the Bible references in the chart below and write down the “put-offs” and the “put-ons” found in each passage in the right space in the chart. The first Bible reference has been done as an example.
Verse Put-off Put-on
Matthew 23:12 Exalting yourself Humbling yourself
1 Timothy 6:9-11
1 Thessolonians 1:9
1 Peter 3:9
Ever get a song on your mind?… It happened to me last week…. I found myself listening to what Watts wrote over two centuries ago:
Alas! and did my Savior bleed? And did my Sovereign die? Would he devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?
I frowned as that last line faded away. “A worm”? Does God see people as “worms”? When Christ died did He “devote that sacred head” for worms? Now, obviously, Watts wanted to portray a vivid illustration of sinful mankind – lost, undeserving, spiritually worthless, wicked within. Dipping his brush in Job 25 and Isaiah 41, the hymnist painted such a picture, using the very term Scripture uses – worm. He was biblical and therefore justified his choice of terms for the text. Frankly, we were worm-like when our righteous God found us – lowly, wandering, dirty, unattractive, grubby creatures.
But that doesn’t mean we work hard at making ourselves into worms now. A child of God is not a worm. If God had wanted you to be a worm, He could have very easily made you one!… When Watts wrote of worms he was merely using a word picture. Many others, however, have framed it as a model to follow, calling it humility. This “worm theology” creates enormous problems.
And therin lies the ugly sin: PRIDE.
Heretical though it may sound, no one who actually hates himself can adequately share the love of Christ. Our Lord taught that we were to love our neighbors as we love ourselves….
But a worm? Useless? Unimportant? Spineless? Meaningless? No, not that God declared us righteous. He lifted us out of miry clay and set us upon a rock. He invites us to approach him with boldness. And he means it!
(From Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life by Charles Swindoll)
Man cannot be compared with God. God’s immensity cannot be measured. Although God has vast power, he still cares greatly for his children. Remember that God never forgets who you are and what you are facing.
The starting point of a discussion is sometimes difficult. Often, each member waits for the other one to speak first. The role of a starter is to break the silence in order to begin the discussion. Everyone in the group should learn how to fulfill this Role (of course, taking turns).
2. Asking for Information
Probably the best type of question is that asked by a student who doesn’t understand something and asks for information. He often expresses the same doubt others have. Therefore, it is important that the discussion take place in an atmosphere where students can speak openly when they don’t understand something, without fear of being made fun of. Learning will take place if students are allowed to ask for information freely.
When studying the Bible, it is very helpful to compare any verse with other verses which teach the same truth. This also applies to concepts. Each student in the group will have something different to contribute to the discussion depending on his previous understanding of the Bible or his experiences.
In most discussion topics there are words or difficult points which need to be explained. One of the most important roles of those who teach others is to make any difficult or confusing points Simple and Clear. Therefore, it is important to practice identifying those points which may be difficult for others to understand and which need to be explained.
5. Giving New Examples
This role is perhaps the most difficult and the most important. One can answer a question from memory, without understanding his answer just as a parrot does. However, a parrot cannot give new examples of an idea based on his own knowledge and experience. Everyone should practice giving new examples to illustrate the points of discussion.
All Bible study is worthless if there is no Application of the teaching to our lives today. It takes much practice to be able to distinguish in each Bible passage between that which is a universal principle we can apply to our lives in present times. When studying the Bible we must identify universal principles and apply them to our lives. Encourage the members of the group to share any applications they may find with the others in their group.
Envision the Future
1. Determine what you want.
We suggest that you ask yourself this question: “Am I in this job to do something, or am I in this job for something to do?” Most probably your answer was: “To do something.” If so, “What I want to accomplish.” Now make a list of all the things that you want to achieve. After you have done that, for each item ask yourself: “Why do I want this?” keep on asking “why” until you run out of reasons.
By doing this exercise, you are likely to discover those few higher-order values that are the idealized ends for which you strive. Here are a few other questions that you can use as catalysts in clarifying your vision:
How would you like to change the world for yourself and your organization?
If you could invent the future, what future would you invent for yourself and your organization?
What mission in life absolutely obsesses you?
What is your dream about your work?
What is the distinctive role or skill of your organization?
About what do you have a burning passion?
What work do you find absorbing, involving, enthralling? What will happen in ten years if you remain absorbed, involved, and enthralled in that work?
What does your ideal organization look like?
What is your personal agenda? What do you want to prove?
2. Write an article about how you have made a difference.
Your responses to the questions above will give you some clues to what you would like to accomplish in your life and why. Now take it a step further. Imagine that it is the year 2025. Imagine that you have been selected to receive an award as one of the fifty people who have made a difference in this century. Imagine that a national magazine has written an article about the difference that you have made to your organization, family, and community.
When writing this article about your personal contributions, do not censor yourself. Allow yourself this opportunity to record your hopes and dreams, even if you find it somewhat embarrassing. The more comfortable you are in discussing your innermost wishes, the easier it will become to communicate a vision to others. Write that article.
3. Write a short vision statement.
Take all this information and write, in twenty-five words or fewer, your ideal and unique image of the future for you and your organization. We recommend that it be short, because you ought to be able to tell it to others in about three to five minutes. Any longer than that and others are likely to lose interest.
Once you have written it, you might try drawing it. Or, if you can’t draw, find a picture that resembles it or a symbol that can represent it. Pictures and symbols help in communicating it to others. Finally, we recommend that you create a short phrase of five to nine words that captures the essence of your vision. Phrases similar to Phil Turner’s “We uplift people’s spirits” and “We do not sell religion; we sell living” are what we have in mind. While your vision will be more involved and elaborate than a memorable phrase, these brief slogans are very useful in communication. They are not substitutes for a complete statement, but they do serve the purpose of helping others to remember the essential reason for the organization’s existence.
4. Act on your intuition.
I you are inspired to do something, go try it. Visions often take a while to take shape in your mind. They take even longer to formulate into an articulate statement. Instead of struggling with words, do something to act on your intuition. Write a short Motto, and a Action statement.
A few weeks ago, Roger’s family was shopping for groceries. As they rounded a corner, he looked down at his two-year-old daughter who was riding in the basket. She was holding the carton of eggs. The carton was open and revealed that several of the eggs were broken and others were cracked. His first thought was, “Let’s just put the carton back and get another. No one will notice.”
Sometimes the same temptation occurs when one stays overnight in a motel. Occasionally, the thought comes to mind, “Why not watch one of those late night cable channels? Who’s going to know?”
In both of these instances, and in countless others, it is helpful to ask yourself the question, “Who am I when no one’s looking? Am I consistent, or do I act differently? Am I the same person Monday through Saturday that I am on Sunday? Will i be blameless and holy when I meet the Lord?”
(From A Dad’s Blessing by Gary Smalley and John Trent)
Do you act differently when no one is looking? Is your conscience clear? If not, ask God to forgive your sin and help you live a life of integrity. Tell a trusted friend of any problem areas. Ask that person to hold you accountable.
We live in a time considered to be a scientific and technological age. However, those teams do not do justice to all that people focus on today. For many of us (perhaps the majority), we have discovered that science and technology can’t give us all we are searching for in life. These disciplines can give us certain tools for living, but no direction for living. They can describe what is right in front of us, but come up empty in attempts to search the depths of who we really are, and how we are connected with the rest of life.
We are searching for more than science and technology ccan give us. Because we are searching in a society which has for so long denied the reality of anything beyond the physical, our hunger is especially intense. The only problem is, we are uncertain where to find it! Our increased hunger has driven us to seek answers in astrology, connection with the earth (in Native American religion), and an understanding of life beyond the physical (through New Age mysticism). While these avenues satisfy some, they leave many others confused and spiritually frustrated. many are beginning to believe that it is time to rediscover biblical Christianity and the importance of the spiritual dimension of our life.
Read John 3:1-21
The Bible story is about the difference between being religious and being spiritual.
Why do you think Nicodemus began by affirming that Jesus was “from God”?
What did Jesus mean when he said that one must be “born again” to see the Kingdom of God?
What would you like to be reborn in your spirit?
What do you think is the most important point in this passage for those who are seeking something more spiritually?
More than New Age.
Read 1 Corinthians 2:6-16.
Paul qualifies what he just said about his rejection of human wisdom (vv. 4-5). There is, in fact, a legitimate “message of wisdom” but it comes from God and is discerned only by those who have the Spirit.
How would you summarize the message of this passage/
For a person who is seeking spiritual truth, how important is wisdom from secular sources?
Who in your life has epitomized wisdom for you? What did he or she teach you that has remained with you?
How would you describe the “wisdom of this age”?
What helps you to discern between “the wisdom of this age” and God’s wisdom for the mature?
Although our Scripture says “no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him,” what would you most like to see God prepare for you in the future?
If God could renew something in your life today, what would you ask for? Finish this sentence: “I would ask God for…” Well do so now with a short time of prayer.
Senor Jose took me on a tour through his segment of the world. For thirty seven years he had plowed and tilled his two acres. It was obvious that he knew every hole and turn.
“I have no trouble believing in God. After I see what he has done on my little farm, year after year, it is easy to believe.” He smiled another toothless grin and yelled to his wife to bring out some beans.
As we drove home, I couldn’t help thinking about Senor Jose. Mu, what a simple life. No traffic jams, airline schedules, or long lines. Far removed from Wall Street, IRS, and mortgages. Unacquainted with Johannine theology, Martin Luther, or Christian evidences.
I thought of his faith, his ability to believe, and his surprise that there were some who couldn’t. I compared his faith with others I knew had more difficulty believing; a university student, a wealthy import-export man, an engineer. There was such a difference between Jose and the others.
It was easy for him to believe. I can see why. Someone who witnesses God’s daily display of majesty doesn’t find the secret of Easter absurd. Someone who depends upon the mysteries of nature for his livlihood doesn’t find it difficult to depend on an unseen God for his salvation….
God’s testimony. When was the last time you witnessed it? A stroll through Knee-high grass in a green meadow. An hour listening to seagulls or looking at seashells on the beach. Or witnessing the shafts of sunlight brighten the snow on a crisp winter dawn. Miracles that almost match the magnitude of the empty tomb happen all around us; we only have to pay attention.
(From No Wonder They Call Him the Savior by Max Lucado)
Be careful to avoid pride because of your status. Look around. What can you observe that speaks mightily about God’s care and concern, where you are, in nature, and in world events? Use your simple discovery in a conversation with a younger person this week. Help that person to build trust in God.
TES:Testimony of Peter Schissel
Saved while attending St. John’s
That’s right, I was saved while attending St. John’s University.
What was I saved from? Here’s my story, friend.
I was searching for peace. have you ever asked, “Does God love the
world?” or in a more personal way, “Does God live me?” Many people,
even the religious, in moments of despair or bewilderment have asked
these questions. I know that before I had been born again I asked these
very same questions, cursing God at times yet crying out to Him for
help. My church taught me that if I obeyed what it commanded I had a
good change of go to Heaven when I died. At times it was comforting.
After all, I was trying my best. What more could God want? I took the
sacraments and confessed my sins regularly. I was afraid if I didn’t
that too much sin would build up on my soul and this would result in my
going to Hell.
But as a young man in my teens it became sadly clear that I was
unable to keep God’s Law. No matter how much I would confess sin and
ask God’s forgiveness, I would go out and sin again, many times the
same sin. I was miserable and for long periods of time tried not to
think about it.
At the age of 22, while going to St. John’s University, my searching
led me into a nearby city to seek out a church where the Gospel was
preached. (Let me point out here that no church can ever save anyone;
only Jesus Christ can save. John 14:6 – “Jesus saith unto him, I am the
way, the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by
me.”) Over the years I had been reading the Bible and became convinced
of its authority and truth. I distinctly remember reading the words of
Christ in Matthew 4:4 – “It is written, Man shall not live by bread
alone, but by ever word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” My
confidence in church tradition dwindled. I believed the answer to
getting right with God was some how wrapped up in the Person and Work
of Jesus Christ.
Because I wanted a church that preached and practiced only the
Bible, it wasn’t long before God led me to a fundamentalist Baptist
church. I determined to be discerning and critical, so I asked many
questions and even took notes. I heard evangelical messages before, but
never with such clarity and directness. During these few weeks I recall
my mind drifting back to my parochial school days at St. Raphael’s. It
was there I first learned that one could never have the assurance of
salvation (this is still part of the church’s official teaching). Most
of my life I accepted this and felt that those who said there were
“saved” were blasphemously boasting before God. The Bible says
something different, however; these verses in particular made an impact
on me: John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but
have everlasting life”; Romans 10:13 – “For whosoever shall call upon
the name of the Lord shall be saved”; 1 John 5:13 – “These things have
I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye
may know what ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name
of the Son of God.”
I finally believed! After all those years of trying to gain eternal
life by good works, I learned that the criteria for salvation is faith
– complete trust and confidence in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For
by grace are ye saved through faith’; and that not of yourselves, it is
the gift of God – not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Yes, what a wonderful thing that salvation is a gift (grace) through
Jesus Christ. Romans 6:23b – “…the gift of God is eternal life
through Jesus Christ, our Lord.” However, salvation is expensive to God
because it was bought with Jesus’ precious blood which He shed for our
sins when He died on the cross. Ephesians 1:7 – “In whom we have
redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the
riches of his grace.” Furthermore, don’t be deceived by your own
righteousness. Titus 3:5 – “Not by works of righteousness which we have
done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of
regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Those who have not
accepted Christ as their own personal Lord and Savior are Hell bound
sinners before a Holy God (2 Peter 2). The Bible describes Hell as a
fiery lake of eternal torment (Luke 16:23-24; Revelation 21:8). It is
an awful place and not to be ignored. You may say, “God is too loving
to send anyone to Hell.” I answered that statement by asking, “If
sinners were not in danger of going to Hell, WHY THEN DID CHRIST SUFFER
ON THE AGONIZING DEATH ON THE CROSS?” Do you recall my first question
at the beginning of this tract? “Does God love the world?”
Jesus’ death on the cross answers that question. God sent His Son to
die on the cross for our sins. Romans 5:8 – “But God commendeth
(showed) His love toward us in that, which we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us.” By this act God’s love to the world is magnified
immeasurably to everyone. 2 Peter 3:9b – “…[God is] not willing that
any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Man’s sin
nature and the devil cause many men to reject that love and go their
own way. The misery, evil and heartache of the world go on and will
continue to go on until Christ comes again in glory (1 Thessalonians
But God has given a new birth to the Christian by the Holy Spirit;
he need not fear the penalty for sin. Instead, there is victory in
Jesus and a joyous assurance of eternal life in Heaven.
The night I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, January 1, 1982,
I have never regretted. The road I’ve walked has not been easy at
times; the world and the devil hate the Christian (John 15:19). But my
Savior has always been there and He has promised never to leave me or
forsake me (Matthew 28:20).
How abut you, friend? Jesus died for you and right now He stands at
your hearts door knocking. Revelation 3:20 – “Behold I stand at the
door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will
come in to him.” Have you asked Jesus Christ to save you? Why not do so
right now? “Behold, now is the accepted time, now is the day of
salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2)
Peter Schissel, 1984
the Salvation Online Network