Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bible Study
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Reference:  Romans 12:2

Topic:  “Digging for the Truth”

The power of scripture cannot be experienced until the believer learns to apply “the word” to his/her life.  The dept of a believer’s knowledge of the scripture can be measured by their use of the word (wisdom) in their everyday life. (Read – John 5:39; Matthew 22:29)

The lesson aim is to establish a path to true transformation.  More importantly, we, the believer, must understand that the word of God is our greatest asset and weapon in the battle for the mind.  (Read Ephesians 3:3-5)

Paul reveals the most significant aspect of the Christian journey in Romans 12:2.  Being
“transformed by the renewing of your mind” has become the backdrop for the battle for the mind.  Many saints have yet to grasp the importance of embracing this process.

Romans 8:1 (verses 2-6)
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (KJV)

Key Words:

Condemnation –

Flesh –

Spirit –

The Three Conditions of the Mind:

Carnal –

Spiritual –

Natural –

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Bible Study
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Reference:  I Corinthians 9:24-27

Topic:  “Mind over Matter”

The concept of “mind over matter” originated in the 1960s and early 70s.  The definition has varied in interpretation.  But the overall thought is that the mind has more power than the body.  If used properly, the mind will help you overcome bodily aliments.  It takes a strong person to endure pain and persecution for the sake of glorifying God. 
(II Tim 2:3 – “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”)

Endure - sugkakopatheo (soong-kak-op-ath-eh'-o):

The lesson aim is to encourage believers to stay strong.  More importantly, we must walk the walk as we talk the talk.  We must be clear on what our goals are as runners for
Christ.  Each believer will be held accountable to the LORD for his/her actions.
(Read Luke 16:1-2)

Account – logos (log'-os):

Steward - oikonomeo (oy-kon-om-eh'-o):

Thus, we have the responsibility to condition our hearts and minds for the challenges we will face as disciples of Jesus Christ.  We must use our training to help us in our performance.  Paul presents the same motivation to the church at Rome. (Romans 12:1-2)

Paul uses the example of runners participating in a race to describe the course of action one must take as a soldier for the Lord.  Ultimately, Paul encourages the church to run the race with winning in mind.  Just as athletes must prepare for the race so must the believer.  We must condition ourselves mentally to obtain our incorruptible crown.  We must learn to resist the temptations that come when trying to “do the right thing”.    If we’re going to win this race and fight, we must follow Paul’s example in verse 27:

“I keep under my body”

“Bring it into subjection”

Paul’s concludes his ministerial career on a high note that embodies these instructions to the church: 2 Tim 4:7-8 – “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Paul’s final statement to the church focuses on the misunderstanding of how we struggle to maintain control of our thoughts. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bible Study
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Reference:  Romans 12:2

Topic:  “A Change Must Take Place

How long does it take for change to occur?  Many still marvel at the change that butterflies go through.  Metamorphosis is still a mystery.  It takes a caterpillar three weeks to be transformed into a butterfly.  Transmutation is “change into another nature, substance, form, or condition”.  A great example of this amazing occurrence is the butterfly.  As believers we go through a spiritual transformation.  However, no one can really determine how long this process takes from start to finish.

The lesson aim is to identify the phases of transformation.  More importantly, we must be willing to complete the process and fulfill our God-given purpose.  (Hebrews 12:1-3) 

Each time we revisit this text a deeper understanding is revealed by God.  There seems to be a misunderstanding regarding the process of spiritual transformation.  We , the believer, must submit ourselves to the course of action designed to rescue us from bondage.  The first phase of the transformation process is to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God”.  (Read: Romans 6:13, 16, 19)

Key word: servants- doulos (doo'-los) a slave (literal or figurative, involuntary or voluntary; frequently, therefore in a qualified sense of subjection or subserviency):

The second phase of the transformation process is to “be not conformed to this world”.  (Read: II Corinthians 6:14-18; Ephesians 2:2-3)

Paul challenges the church to consider moving away from their ways of living.  He charts a course to transformation by transitioning from “doctrine to duty”.  Transformation requires a willing spirit on the part of the one being transformed.  (Matthew 26:41)  Of course there is no timetable associated with transformation.  But, we must remember Paul’s testimony to Timothy, II Timothy 4:7 – “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”  Paul concludes if we’re going to complete this process we must be intentional and focused.

Paul’s final statement to the church is to “be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind”.  The renewing of the mind is third phase of the transformation process. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bible Study
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Reference:  Romans 7:21

Topic:  “Practice What You Preach”

Do you know anyone that practices the “law”?  Attorneys, judges and other legal practitioners are expected to obey the very same law they have vowed to uphold.  Those who practice or enforce the law, but disregard the same law are considered “hypocrites”. (hupokrites (hoop-ok-ree-tace'); an actor under an assumed character (stage-player), i.e. (figuratively) a dissembler ("hypocrite").  Every medical professional has taken an oath to “practice medicine honestly”.  The “Hippocratic oath - requires a new physician to swear upon a number of healing gods that he will uphold a number of professional ethical standards.  Thus, we have adopted best practices that safeguard our commitment to do the right thing.  However, how does this same commitment solidify our vow to obey God’s Word?

The lesson aim is to reaffirm and reevaluate our understanding of “the law of God”.  More importantly, can we articulate with clarity the ongoing struggles we face as HIS “witnesses”?  Paul’s experiences have brought him to this conclusion, “for I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not”.  Paul goes a step further and describes his struggle as a war between his flesh and his mind. (7:23; Gal. 5:17-18)

Paul’s overall concern for the Roman congregation is that they hadn’t identified the biggest hindrance that impedes their progress and growth in the Lord.  The presence of Evil!  Rom 7:21: “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. (KJV)  Rom 7:21-22 – “I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. (NLT) Rom 7:21-22 –“It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up.” (from THE MESSAGE)

As a result of their lack of understanding Paul testifies about his personal struggles and experience with the same issue.  However, his confession serves as an bails bondsman to free him from the bondage sin creates for those that are “ignorant”.
(agnoeo (ag-no-eh'-o) - not to know (through lack of information or intelligence); by implication, to ignore (through disinclination)

There are several passages of scripture that connect Paul’s observation in verse 21 that provide clarity to the saints in Corinth. (Is 6:5-8; Zech 3:1-4)  In verses 24 and 25a the apostle presents a solution to his personal struggle that can be adopted by current readers of this epistle: “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (NLT)

Paul’s final statement to the church focuses on the misunderstanding of how we struggle to maintain control of our thoughts. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bible Study
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Reference:  Romans 7:14-21
Focus Verses: Romans 7:

Topic:  “I Wouldn’t Do That If I Were You”

Many of us are afraid to admit we have struggles.  What we define as struggles may be misconstrued as day to day troubles and trials.  Job confirms, “man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble” (trouble: (ro'-ghez); commotion, restlessness (of a horse), crash (of thunder), disquiet, anger:) Thus, we engage in daily battles to do the right thing and make the best choices.  Our primary goal should be to do what’s pleasing in God’s eyesight.

The lesson aim is to acknowledge the challenges we face to do what’s right.  More importantly, we must be transparent in our testimony regarding the fight to live a life that “holy and acceptable unto God”.  Paul tries to explain how the flesh and the spirit are in constant battle for control over our minds. 

According to the text, Paul educates the church on the realities of living in Christ.  Moreover, Paul reveals the impact and results of sin in the life of a believer.  Paul uses himself as an example to show that the real struggle is in the mind.  The real battle between our flesh and the spirit has a tendency to bring out the best and worst in all of us.  Paul is not specific as to what he shouldn’t have done, but he points to the origin of his challenges.  In Romans 8:3-5 Paul also connects our struggle in the flesh to the redemptive work of Christ.

As Paul builds the bridge from the Old to the New Testament he concludes that breaking the “law” was common practice. In verse 14 Paul defuses the argument that sin has more power over him than the spirit. (read verse 14 and highlight the key words)

[Law – (nom-os); to parcel out, through the idea prescriptive usage, regulation, used by Moses and the Gospels, a principle.]

[Spiritual (pnyoo-mat-ik-os'); non-carnal, i.e. (humanly) ethereal (as opposed to gross), or (daemoniacally) a spirit (concretely), or (divinely) supernatural, regenerate, religious:]

[Carnal (sar'-kee-nos); similar to flesh, i.e. (by analogy) soft:]

What are your current struggles?  How are you fighting the temptations in your life?  Is God pleased with your lifestyle?

Paul’s final statement to the church focuses on the misunderstanding of how we struggle to maintain control of our thoughts.