< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: February 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mark 3:28-30

Mark 3: 28 – 30 28"Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin"-- 30because they were saying, "He has an unclean spirit."

Jesus exposes here what the scribes were really saying. That He was the devil. The unforgiveable sin is the rejection of the work of the Holy Spirit as He bears testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ.

John 16:7-10 tells us that the Holy Spirit came to help us. To live inside of us. An unlimited, internal influence. He brings conviction of sin and our need for a Savior to us.

There is one reason and one reason only that people perish in Hell, and that’s because they don’t believe in Jesus’ work of salvation. The unforgiveable sin is rejecting the Holy Spirit’s prompting and therefore rejecting Jesus.

John 3:18 18"He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

As Christians we can take great comfort in the first part of this passage. That ALL sins shall be forgiven believers!

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Mark 3:20-27

Mark 3: 20 – 27 And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. 21When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, "He has lost His senses."
22The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, "He is possessed by Beelzebul," and "He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons."
23And He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan? 24"If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25"If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26"If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished!
27"But no one can enter the strong man's house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.

Jesus “came home” to Capernaum, where He spent most of His ministry days. As always, massive crowds came to surround Him. His people, His family, had traveled from Nazareth to take Him back because they thought He had lost His mind! At that time, except for Mary, His family didn’t believe in Him. They didn’t understand His mission. Jesus was focused on magnifying God and sharing His love with others. Loving, blessing and teaching the truth. He didn’t take time for personal rest or even meals sometimes. He spent His time on the task of redemption.

In verse 22, the scribes, who were the law experts and often Pharisees, had traveled down from Jerusalem. (No matter what direction you were going, you always came “down” from Jerusalem because it’s on a mountain.) They said he was inspired by Beelzebul, which was a pagan name for the devil.

The scribes could not stand His authority! They refused to submit to Him and had to come up with a reason to dispel His authority. There are many people on earth today who feel the same!

The two groups of people in this passage either felt like Jesus was deranged or of the devil! When WE see what He’s doing we need to ask ourselves, “Am I interested in being like Jesus Christ? Glorifying God with our obedience and by sharing the gospel with a single minded focus?” If we have a genuine love for Jesus Christ, shouldn’t we have a genuine passion for His ministry?

John 5:17 says that God is working even now to accomplish His redemption. We need to be doing that too. That is OUR work. Every single Christian is called to a life of active ministry. Jesus set the example and we follow Him.

In the next verses Christ asks the question, how can Satan cast out Satan? In verse 27 He uses the image of a strong man. In the story Satan is the strong man and Christ is the one who comes into the house, binds him and makes him powerless. The property in Christ’s story of the strong man are the souls of men.
All unbelievers are under the power of the devil and their own sinful impulses. But Jesus controls the devil every time! If you notice in the Bible demons obeyed Him everytime!

Hebrews 2:14 – 15 14Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mark 3: 13-19

Mark 3: 13-19 13 Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons. 16 These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter), 17 James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder”), 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Verse 13 says that Jesus called the ones He wanted! Even though they were so very ordinary! We see often in the Bible that they had doubts, they lacked faith, they ran when He was betrayed and they were afraid.

Just like us.

But Jesus can take these early vessels and change them! In Acts they became bold.

Acts 4:13 13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

They could tell these men had been with Jesus. WE can tell who spends a lot of time with Jesus!

Luke 6:40 says that once we have been fully trained we fill be like Jesus. We need to draw close to Him. Let Him train us! Let Him fill whatever we lack.

1 Peter 2:21 says that Christ is the example. We follow in His footsteps. The way He did things is the way we do things!

There’s a popular Christian song out now which says, “Where You go I will go, who You love I will love, how You serve I will serve.”

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Mark 3: 7-12

Pastor Kurt Gebhards continued his sermon series on The Gospel of Mark this week and I'm splitting my notes over the next 4 posts.

Mark 3:7-12 7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. 8 When they heard about all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. 9 Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him. 10 For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. 11 Whenever the impure spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12 But he gave them strict orders not to tell others about him.

This large crowd probably consisted of thousands of people! They would have been pushing and shoving to get right up in His face because they were desperate to be healed. And these were all kinds of people: Jews from Judea and Jerusalem, mixed races from Idumea and even pagans. People had heard of Jesus’ miracles and healings and they wanted help too.

Some of the people who came had unclean spirits in them and they fell down before Him. What’s so astounding about the demons is, every time they talk to Jesus they tell the truth. They believe, but they don’t worship. They do tremble because of the judgment that is due them.

The demonized people falling down and crying out in loud voices would have added greatly to the mayhem.

In spite of the chaotic scene, Jesus never lost His patience. He never rebuked them for coming to Him. He suggested the boat to create a little space so that He could give them what they needed even more than physical healing: spiritual healing. He wanted to teach them.

Many of us have to be desperate to come to Christ. To literally have nowhere else to turn. And God will use the broken.

2 Corinthians 4:7 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

We are the jars of clay and the treasure is knowing Christ. Our lives are frail. We need Christ. We are mere vessels that allow His works and message to pour through us. All the surpassing power of our lives is attributed to God.

But 2nd Corinthians goes on to say in verses 8 – 10, 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

Christianity is always dying daily so that Christ can fill us with His life. So that His life is manifested in our bodies.

Everyday we should ask Jesus, “How can I draw near to you so you can teach me Your precepts?” Desperation strips us of pride. And that’s a good thing!

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

John 3:16

Best. Love. Ever!

Happy Valentine's Day!

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Don't be a Speed Bump!

We are so blessed at Harvest Bible Chapel, Hickory to have a pastor who teaches us the Bible and convicts us to follow God's Word. Today's post is from Pastor Kurt Gebhards' sermon today, continuing in his study from the Gospel of Mark:

Mark 3:1-6 1 Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” 4 Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. 5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

So far in the Gospel of Mark the Pharisees have attacked Jesus 4 times. This is the
5th. The Holy Spirit uses repetition to teach us a lesson. And this lesson is that the Pharisees were hard hearted, but we are to have soft hearts that can be shaped by His instruction.

The first time they attacked Him they said He was blasphemous. The second time, that He was a friend of sinners. The third time, that He was different from their laws and the fourth, that He was a Sabbath breaker.

This time, He is a renegade healer!

The Pharisees showed their hard hearts by constantly looking at Him with a critical eye. They were always judging Him because of their pride. They were always looking for a reason that they might accuse Him. In fact Jesus rebuked them in Matthew 23 by telling them that they were so focused on the little bits and pieces, but totally missing that God’s work for His people is giving Him their hearts; fully and freely.

The Pharisees wanted to destroy Him. They were so blinded by their self-righteousness they couldn’t see that what they were trying to stop was healing, love, mercy and grace!

There is reason to believe that this might have been a set up. Usually a man with a withered hand, or any physical defect, would have kept away from the synagogue. At the very least he would have hidden his hand. Yet Jesus knew immediately what was wrong with the man.

They hated Him for the question He asked, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save a life or to kill?” Of course it’s right to do good and not harm. How could they answer any differently? But the reason they were silent and angry was because while the first half of the question (about doing good or harm on the Sabbath) had to do with healing the man with the withered hand, the second part (about saving a life or killing) had to do with their plotting to kill Him. He knew what they were thinking and He let them know He knew!

The Pharisees reacted the wrong way. When the Word of God exposes our heart, we must step in to it in humbleness. Proverbs 12:1 says, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid."

We need to receive the wisdom of the rebuke!

This passage also teaches us more about Jesus. That He is merciful and felt grief. Jesus could have healed this man on another day. But, in His mercy He healed him right then. His mercy cost him. Just as His mercy for our salvation cost Him His life on the cross! We worship a God who is merciful to the point of personal cost!

But the funny thing is. He didn’t break the Pharisee’s Sabbath law because He didn’t lift anything and He didn’t work! He merely said to the man, “Stretch out your hand” and when the man did his hand was restored! Just by Christ’s thought! That is His power!

But they hated Him all the more for it. When you are hard hearted, nothing satisfies. Our lesson as the church is: we must be merciful! We must be focused on Christ and His purposes. Individually we must ask ourselves, “Who can I bless? Who can I minister to? Who can I bring God’s kindness and His grace to?”

We also need to ask ourselves if we are helping others find God or are we speed bumps in their journey. The Pharisees were speed bumps! Jesus hated hypocrites. If we say we are for God, but don’t live like it, we are hypocrites. Serving with a bad attitude is hypocritical. Gossip, slander and dismissiveness all impede people from coming to Christ. We need to lay down our lives in humility, so that others are drawn to Christ.

Christians, if you take the name of Christ, are you acting like Him?

Don’t be a speed bump!

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

What do I say when I pray?

Pastor Chris Rollins of Coastal Community Church in Charleston, SC addressed this question in his weekly email to members. (I get the emails because we visited the church and signed the guest pad. And I enjoy reading them!)

He wrote:

I've discovered over the years that many people simply "don't know what to say" during their prayer time. That's okay. Usually it's because no one has ever taught them how to pray.

I always start off by telling people that prayer is simply a conversation between best friends. You don't need to talk to God in a special voice or a special language. He simply wants you to talk to Him like you would talk to anyone else.
But then people want to know what exactly do you talk to God about? The short answer is - everything. But sometimes, like a lot of conversations, it's good to have a general plan.

Here's an easy plan to follow for your morning quiet time:

1. Relax. Be still. Be quiet. Slow down. Prepare your heart. Take a couple of deep breaths. Ask God to open your heart and your mind and to speak to you. Tell Him that you are listening and will do whatever He asks of you.
2. Read. Read a section of scripture. Follow a systematic plan, in a modern, readable, understandable translation.
3. Reflect. It's not about how much you read, but what does God say to you from this passage. So, take a moment, think about what this passage means to your life and then even write down your thoughts. How does it apply to your life? What will you do?
4. Pray. A simple prayer plan that literally thousands of Christians have used over the years is: ACTS

• Adoration - spend a few minutes just praising God for who He is, His character. You might have read something in your Bible reading that stands out about God's character - His love, His grace, His power, etc.
• Confession - spend a few minutes confessing your sins. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal every sin. Confess each sin specifically. Make restitution when possible. By faith, accept God's forgiveness.
• Thanksgiving - similar to adoration, but this is more about what God has done and all we have to be thankful for. You might even consider making and keeping a Thanksgiving List to record the blessings and good things God has done in your life.
• Supplication - this is praying for needs: yours and others. What needs do you pray about? Absolutely every one of them. There is nothing too great for God's power to take care of and there's nothing too small for His concern. Pray for family, friends, people you know that you'd like to see become Christians, your spiritual leaders, government leaders. And of course, yourself.

I hope this helps. Remember, prayer really is an ongoing conversation. Share your heart with God all throughout your day. He is always there wanting to hear from you!

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Sunday, February 06, 2011

Mark 2:23-28

Pastor Kurt Gebhards covered Mark 2:23-28 in his sermon today:

Mark 2:23-28 23 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”
25 He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”
27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Christians know that what is required of us is to love and worship God and love other people. The Pharisees worshipped the law more than they did God. They took God’s law and added to it and then they judged everyone on how they were keeping their law. Their hearts were filled with criticism because their hearts were filled with pride.

They spent much time spying on Jesus, and this passage is His response.

Sabbath is the Hebrew word for 7. God created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th day. He gave the 4th commandment which said we should remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Moses said we shouldn’t work or be burdened.

The Pharisees added 39 laws on top of this describing what people might do that would be considered work or a burden. Meals had to be made specifically for the Sabbath ahead of time as they weren’t allowed to cook. They weren’t even allowed to carry anything heavier than a dried fig. All of this they made up. And it made them judgmental, critical and bound to the law. The law of their making.

God’s law was given to show us we could never keep it on our own and so point the need to Jesus. In turning to Him and accepting His gift of salvation through the repentance of our sins and His work on the cross we are free!

Jesus used the illustration of when David, after being anointed King, but still fleeing for his life from Saul, needed to find food for his men who were starving. It’s a story from 1 Samuel 21:1-6. He knew that there were always 12 loaves of bread in the temple that were meant to symbolize the 12 tribes. They were huge: made with 6 and a quarter cups of flour each! And they were replaced weekly.

While he lied to the priests saying that the King had need of the bread, the Pharisees didn’t blame him because; a – he was the anointed King and b- human need superseded the law. Jesus knew the Pharisees thought this way. So He pointed out that He is the anointed Son of God and could break any of MAN’S laws. That He was Lord over man, the laws and even over the Sabbath!

Romans 10:3-4 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

God’s righteousness is Jesus Christ! Our work is to believe in Him. Not being obedient to the law. This belief is a total and complete life reliance on God. Handing our lives over to Him.

Romans 8:1-3 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh,

The law of sin and death is Moses’ code. The commandments! The Pharisees laws! Romans 13:10 tells us that love is the fulfillment of the law.

Jesus says man is more important than the Sabbath. The Sabbath, time for worship and rest, was made to bless man. In Matthew 12:1-7, which is the parallel passage to this Mark passage, verse 7 says, “I desire mercy.”

It’s all about our heart, not our works. Not following the law. We honor Him with our hearts. God doesn’t need us to keep all the laws; He needs us to show compassion. Then we have a spirit of profound gratitude not egotism.

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