Friday, May 2, 2014

Church of the Living God
Bible Study Lesson
Presenter: Overseer Ennis F. Tait

Date:   Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Series: Spiritual Reformation
Reference Scripture:  Acts 1:1-5

Today’s Discussion:    “Spending Time with Jesus”

The key to a healthy relationship is intimacy.   As believers we are expected to develop and maintain a personal relationship with the Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our relationship with Jesus will be the basis and foundation in our quest to take back what the devil has stolen from us. As we mature in our relationship there should be visible evidence that we belong to Christ.  (Read: Acts 4:13)

·         Boldness – [par-rhay-see-ah] – all out-spokenness, i.e. frankness, bluntness, publicity; by implication, assurance:

The lesson aim is to reinforce the need for a personal relationship with Jesus. More importantly, all who walk, talk, and live for Jesus must know HIM.  Our primary objective is to preach, teach and testify of HIM. (Reference: John 5:39; 15:26; I Corinthians 1:21-23)

Dr. Luke writes a personal letter to Theophilus regarding his experience with Jesus through the life and ministry of the Apostle Paul.  His opening statement in this particular letter sets the tone for remainder of the letter.  Dr. Luke directs his readers to imagine what it was like for the apostles in the days and weeks following the resurrection of our Lord and Savior.  Let’s dig for treasure?  Acts 1:1-5
“the former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: 4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.  5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”

Each believer will have an encounter with Jesus.  How you spend that time will impact your life forever.

What does one do while in the presence of Jesus?
Listen – (Read: Luke 10:38-39, 42)

What does Jesus do for those what choose to spend time with HIM?
Teach – (Read: Matthew 7:28-29)

The most valuable tool we have for kingdom building is teaching.  Teaching is essential for TRANSFORMATION. In addition teaching opens our understanding of scripture. (Reference: Luke 24:27, 32, 45)

Church of the Living God
Bible Study Lesson
Presenter: Overseer Ennis F. Tait

Date:   Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Series: Spiritual Warfare
Reference Scripture:  Romans 5:1-5

Today’s Discussion:    “Power Up!”

If things don’t workout the way we envision, we tend to give up on whatever it is we’re trying to accomplish.  So many believers have started on this journey to spiritual maturity.  Unfortunately, not everyone has the “will” to finish their course.   The difficulty of the journey can either discourage or inspire the believer. (Read: Galatians 6:9)

·         Weary – [ek-kak-eh-o] – to be (bad or) weak; to fail (in heart)
·         Reap – [ther-id-zo] – to harvest (in the sense of the crop) – theros/thero – to heat, i.e. summer
·         Faint – [ek-loo-o] – to relax

The lesson aim is to encourage believers to walk, live and flow in the transforming power of Jesus Christ. More importantly, we must be willing to embrace, confront and overcome the challenges associated with God’s army of believers. We have been chosen by God to build HIS kingdom. (Read: II Timothy 2:3-4)

Paul says Jesus was “raised again for our justification”.  Justification - [dik-ah'-yo-sis]
is defined as “the judicial act of God, by which he pardons all the sins of those who believe in Christ, and accounts, accepts, and treats them as righteous in the eye of the law”.  Paul uses this passage of scripture to open the way for the “believer’s walk of faith”. In addition Paul provides the believer with an outline for a life of joy.  There are several spiritual blessings in the text that Paul uses to empower each believer to stay on course:
·         Peace with God – we are declared righteous by God, thereby cancelling out condemnation (Reference: John 3:16-18)
·         Access to God – we must breakdown the spiritual barriers that prohibit believers from having a healthy relationship with God (Reference: Ephesians 2:4-8)
·         Glorious Hope – Because of Christ we have the opportunity to live a life of joy (Reference: Romans 8:24-28)
·         Christian Character – the experiences we will have and the challenges we will face are designed to make us stronger. (Reference: John 16:33)
·         God’s Love – provides strength, comfort, power and direction (Reference: I Corinthians 13:4-8a)

James presents his revelatory exposition of the believer’s journey to a life of joy in James 1:2-4 – “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (KJV)
Church of the Living God
Bible Study Lesson
Presenter: Overseer Ennis F. Tait

Date:   Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Series: Spiritual Warfare
Reference Scripture:  Mark 9:23-24

Today’s Discussion:    “If You Believe, Great Things Will Happen”

Do we really know how to walk in victory?  Not if we don’t believe. Can we be victorious while we are engaged in spiritual warfare? (Read: II Chronicles 20:20)

·         Believe – [aw-man] – to build up or support; to foster as a parent or nurse; to trust or believe, to be permanent or quiet; to be true or certain
·         Prophets – [naw-bee] – inspired man
·         Prosper – [tsaw-lakh] – to push forward

The lesson aim is to encourage believers to reconnect to Christ through faith. More importantly, we have been commissioned by the LORD to remind the believers that “power comes from Faith”.  How do we obtain faith in God? (Read: Romans 10:17)

The text sheds light on the spoken words of the Lord Jesus regarding the believer’s struggle to increase their faith.  Most believers are engaged in some level of spiritual warfare.  If we hope to be victorious, we must increase our faith in God’s ability to solve our problems and calm the storms in our lives.  The lack of FAITH has become the main source of discouragement, disappointment, discourse in the church, and desperation of believers.  The church seems to be powerless against temptation.  To validate our premise we refer to Jesus’ indictment of the church to expose the source of their problems.
(Read: Matthew 6:30-34; Matthew 14:28-31; Mark 4:37-40)

Verses 19 and 20 reveal the truth of why the disciples were powerless against “this kind” of demonic spirit. Jesus responds, “because of your unbelief”.  Commentaries conclude that the disciples’ faith (power) may have been impacted due the absence of Christ or because of a lack of discipline to pray and fast to maintain their faith (power).

In verses 23-24 Christ pulls a reverse on this hurting father.  Rather than react to the father’s disbelief, Jesus challenges the father to activate the healing power of God through renewed faith.  Jesus unveils the solution to our problems.  Jesus crystallizes the promise of victory over the enemy.  The power to overcome lives in us and works through us and for us. 

What are the key factors in Jesus’ response?

Paul consummates his revelation of Abraham’s success in Rom 4:20 – “Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God.” (NLT) Faith is our access point to God’s awesome power.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Church of the Living God
Bible Study Lesson
Presenter: Overseer Ennis F. Tait

Date:   Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Series: Spiritual Warfare
Reference Scripture:  Jeremiah 1:4-10, 17-19

Today’s Discussion:    “Training Day”

We’re living in a day and time when the “church” has lost its impact on the world.  Consequently, believers have started to shift their thinking and consider other options to build their faith.  The work of growing the church has become very risky.
(Read: II Timothy 4:3-4)

·         Time – [kahee-ros] – an occasion, i.e. set or proper time
·         Sound – [hoog-ee-ah-ee-no] – to have sound health, i.e. be well (in body) to be uncorrupt (true in doctrine)
·         Doctrine – [did-as-kal-ee-ah] – Instruction (the function or information)
·         Shall they Heap – [ep-ee-so-ryoo-o] – to accumulate further, i.e. seek additionally

The lesson aim is to show believers that God wants to rescue the church.  More importantly, God has commissioned individuals to connect, unit and support the kingdom agenda. (Read: Ephesians 4:11-13)

God explains to the prophet the sovereignty of HIS call.  God doesn’t ask for or solicit our opinion about what to do for HIS people.  Through divine providence, God raises up leaders that are willing to go and face the enemy whether internally or externally.  Jeremiah’s assignment was to go and prepare God’s people for an ensuing battle.  He would face spiritual wickedness in high places; he would come against principalities; he would be confronted by the rulers of the darkness of this world.  Nevertheless, God does not allow him to escape his assignment because of inadequacies or indifferences. God gives Jeremiah specific details of his assignment.  In addition God provides the new recruit with support for his journey.

Jer 1:10
 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.  Jer 1:19
 And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee. (KJV)

According to the Manual for Spiritual Warfare, “spiritual warfare is multidimensional”, which means we engage in warfare “in different dimensions”.
·         A social battle between the believer and the world (St. John 15:18-27)
·         A personal battle between the flesh and the spirit (Galatians 5:16-26)
·         A supernatural battle between believers and evil spiritual powers

(Ephesians 6:10-27)
Church of the Living God
Bible Study Lesson
Presenter: Overseer Ennis F. Tait

Date:   Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Series: Spiritual Warfare
Reference Scripture:  Ephesians 6:13

Today’s Discussion:    “Hold Your Position” (Part II)

The most difficult task for believers today is patience.  We struggle with the idea of waiting on God to “do something”.  Because of our impatience we tend to become restless and breakout in a panic over attacks from the enemy.  Interestingly, Moses confronts the fears of the people by offering them hope in God’s ability to deal with the matter at hand.  (Read: Exodus 14:13-14)

·         Stand Still – [yaw-tsab] – to place (anything so as to stay); to station, offer, continue
·         Salvation – [yesh-oo`-aw] – something saved, i.e. deliverance; hence, aid, victory, prosperity
·         HE will shew – [aw-saw`] – to do or make, in the broadest sense and widest application
·         Shall Fight – [law-kham`] – to feed on; to consume; to battle (as destruction)

In order for Moses to stand before the people and command that they stand still he must have FAITH in God.  Sharing your FAITH is important; Living by FAITH is life changing. (Reference: Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:17; Hebrews 10:38)

The lesson aim is to remind believers to stay strong in the midst of their battles.  More importantly, we must remember to teach all believers that anyone that pursues God will be pursued by the enemy. (Read: I Timothy 1:18)

Paul exhorts the church to prepare itself to engage in spiritual warfare. (Verse 10)  He appeals to the church to consider a spiritual strategy versus an approach driven by emotions. (Verses 11-12)  Paul repeats his initial request for the church to clothe itself in the armour of God if the church hopes to survive in the “evil day”.  (Verse 13)  In many of his letters to the church Paul urges them to “watch out, the devil is coming after you”.

·         The enemy is pulling on you
Paul challenges the church to walk in the spirit and not “lust of the flesh”. 
What is temptation? (Ref: Matthew 4:1-3 (Luke 4:1-2); Revelations 3:10)

How do we resist temptation? (Ref: James 4:7)

·         The enemy is pushing you
Paul challenges the church to “be ye stedfast, unmovable”.  Don’t let the pressure get to you. (Ref: Luke 21:34)

·         The enemy is provoking you

Paul challenges the church not to allow the devil to stir up strife between them. (Ref: Ephesians 4:26-27)
Church of the Living God
Bible Study Lesson
Presenter: Overseer Ennis F. Tait

Date:   Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Series: Spiritual Warfare
Reference Scripture:  Ephesians 6:13

Today’s Discussion:    “Hold Your Position”

In 1865 a very famous hymn entitled “Onward Christian Soldiers” was written to inspire children as they walked from the Horbury Bridge to the Horbury St. Peter’s Church.  The musical piece was adopted by the Salvation Army in 1871.  In addition Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt used this same tune to open their peace meetings in 1941.  The origin of the hymn was drawn from Paul’s encouragement to Timothy as he prepared him for his pastoral assignment.  (Read: II Timothy 2:3-4)

·         Endure Hardness – [soong-kak-op-ath-eh-o] - to suffer hardship in company with:
·         Soldier – [strat-ee-o-tace] – a camper-out, i.e. a (common) warrior
·         Warreth – [strat-yoo-om-ahee] – to serve in a military campaign; to execute the apostolate; to contend with carnal inclinations.
·         Entangleth – [em-plek-o] – to entwine, i.e. involve with; a fix position; to twine or braid
·         Affairs – [prag-mat-i-ah] – a transaction, i.e. negotiation

Paul’s tenor in his message to the young pastor is strong.  He challenges Timothy to uphold a certain standard that God (through the Lord Jesus) has set for all those HE has enlisted (chosen to serve) in HIS army.

The lesson aim is to convey to all believers the seriousness of spiritual warfare.  More importantly, the “church” must be reminded that the spiritual battles in which we shall fight are not ours, but they are God’s.  Interestingly, there seems to be a misunderstanding on the part of the “church” as to who the real enemy is: (“for we wrestle not against flesh and blood”).  Paul warns the “church” of the evil forces that are operating in the “darkness of this world”. And as believers we are expected to stay “sober and vigilant”.   

In verse 13 the Apostle Paul issues a final command to the church regarding their involvement in spiritual warfare.  “Take unto you the whole armour of God” is the final clause in the rules of engagement warfare manual that commissions the soldier before he/she engage.  Paul warns the “church” stand strong in a time period that’s coming and filled with evil and difficulty.  (Read: I Timothy 4:1-3; II Timothy 3:1-7) 
According to the Apostle Paul, the “church” cannot afford to come unglued under the pressures of a worldly invasion.  There are battles inside the church that are in full array.  (Read: Romans 7:18; 23)  Thus, Paul uses the term “withstand” to expose the struggles we face to resist the temptations of the enemy. (Read: James 4:7; I Peter 5:8-9)  Paul tells them to “STAND”.  In addition Paul encouraged the church at Corinth “be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord”.

Church of the Living God
Bible Study Lesson
Presenter: Overseer Ennis F. Tait

Date:   Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Series: Spiritual Warfare
Reference Scripture:  Ephesians 6:10-12

Today’s Discussion:    “The Dangers of Becoming Overwhelmed”

What happens when the light overcomes the darkness?  It creates a shadow.  (St. John 1:4-5; Romans 12:21; Luke 11:21-22) Jesus speaks power to the believer in John 16:33 to encourage him/her in their Christian walk, work and warfare: (Read St. John 16:33)

·         Tribulation – [thlip’-sis]; pressure; to crowd
·         Overcome – [nik-ah-o] – to subdue; conquest; the means of success (victory)

This verse serves as the premise for all the soldiers of God and their confidence in HIM. (Psalms 23:1-4; Daniel 3:17)

The lesson aim is to warn believers of the impending dangers of spiritual warfare.  More importantly, we must be aware of the traps and temptations the enemy has and continues to use against the church “to deprive us of heavenly blessings and to obstruct our communion with heaven”.     

The Apostle Paul summarizes the Christian struggle in three verses.  Paul’s words of exhortation are both warnings and encouragement.  Paul’s experience with the works of Satan gives him the credibility he needs to challenge the believers in the walk of faith.  Paul challenges the believer to “stand your ground” and fight the enemy.  But not according to the flesh, but in the spirit.  (Read Romans 8:1; II Corinthians 10:3)

So, here are the facts:
·         Satan is a spiritual enemy with a real agenda (John 10:10; I Peter 5:8)
·         We, the believers, are weak against the devil without the strength of Christ (verse 10)
·         We, the believers, are helpless against the stratagems of the devil without the power of God (verse 11)
·         Spiritual warfare is part of the Christian journey to maturity (II Corinthians 10:4)
·         We, the believers, cannot resist the temptations of the flesh if we walk outside the will and purpose of God for our lives (James 4:7)

The most important point in Paul’s message to the church is to stand.  If we allow the pressures of life to overwhelm us, we become vulnerable to the works of the flesh.  The flesh is very dangerous.  The flesh will cause us to step out of spiritual character and commit sins or acts of wickedness that we never knew existed. 

Remember the words of this great apostle recorded in Ephesians 5:15-17!
Church of the Living God
Bible Study Lesson
Presenter: Overseer Ennis F. Tait

Date:   Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Series: Spiritual Warfare
Reference Scripture:  Ephesians 4:24-32
Focus Verses: Ephesians 4:23

Today’s Discussion:    “Step by Step” (Precept by Precept – Isaiah 28:10-13)

God has outlined a course of life for all those that call on the name of HIS son, Jesus.  Once we accepted Christ as our personal savior, we were born into a spiritual life with God.  Now, we are expected to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (II Peter 3:18)  In addition Peter provides an example of our path to maturity: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” (I Peter 2:2)

·         Desire – [ep-ee-poth-eh-o]; to yearn; to dote upon, i.e. to intensely crave possession
·         grow – [owx-an-o] – to grow(“wax”), i.e. enlarge (increase)

The lesson aim is to encourage believers to submit to the will of God.  More importantly, we must be willing to make the necessary changes in our lives.  Paul’s letter to the Romans clearly establishes the protocol for initiating the steps toward spiritual maturity. (Read: Romans 12:1-2)  Likewise, Paul suggests that the renewing of the mind activates the Holy Spirit in us to start the process. (verse 23)  

The Apostle Paul’s describes these steps to maturity as a process.  If we hope to become spiritually mature, the process is essential and necessary.  We must learn to confront the negatives in our lives. (verse 22) 
·         “walk not as the other Gentiles walk”
·         “ putting away lying”
·         “Be ye angry, and sin not:”
·         “Neither give place to the devil.”
·         “Let him that stole steal no more: “
·         “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth”
·         “grieve not the holy Spirit of God”
·         “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:”

We must learn to embrace the positives that aid in our maturity: (verse 24)
·         “speak every man truth with his neighbour: “
“let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”
·         “but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”
·         “but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
·         “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Church of the Living God
Bible Study Lesson
Presenter: Overseer Ennis F. Tait

Date:   Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Series: Spiritual Warfare
Reference Scripture:  II Corinthians 5:14-17
Focus Verses: II Corinthians 5:17     

Today’s Discussion:    “A Change of Address”

We are anchored in God through our relationship with the Lord, Jesus.  There are three very important spiritual actions we must execute to draw on the power of God:
(I Corinthians 13:13 – “abideth” [men’-o] to stay (in a given place, state relation or expectancy)

·         Faith – [pis’-tis]; persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher) a reliance upon Christ for salvation
·         Hope – [el-pece’] – to anticipate, usually with pleasure; expectation or confidence
·         Charity – [ag-ah’-pay]; from the Greek word – agapao – to love, i.e. affection or benevolence; a love-feast

The lesson aim is to encourage believers to check and evaluate our place in God.  More importantly, we must conduct frequent “soul searching” evaluations.  We must also monitor the condition of our heart and mind.  As believers we are in the process of relocating to a permanent place in Christ Jesus. 

The Apostle Paul’s opening statement in verse 14 reveals the source of his commitment to “the work of the ministry”.  He exclaims, “Christ’s love constraineth us”. (soon-ekh’-o: to hold together; to compress; or arrest; to compel, perplex, afflict or preoccupy)  Paul’s testimony to the church is significant and relevant.  As ambassadors for Christ we must draw from the purest source of strength known to all mankind, the Love of Christ.  Reference: John 3:16; Ephesians 5:25; Galatians 2:20)  Each of the subsequent verses support Paul’s commitment to the ministry through his understanding of the role of Christ in our lives.

Paul’s concern for the believer is that we present our new address to others so they will know we’ve moved.  Not in the physical sense of relocating, but in the sense of spiritual transformation.   There must be evidence of our “new walk”.  (Ref: Romans 6:4; 8:1) We must be able to distinguish the difference between the flesh and the spirit.  We must understand the three stages of the mind: natural (I Corinthians 2:14), carnal
(I Corinthians 3:1-3; Matthew 16:23; Colossians 1:21) or spiritual (Romans 12:2).  As believers we are expected to change how we view God, Christ, the Holy Spirit and ourselves.  According to Hebrews 11:6, FAITH plays a huge role in the transformation process.  FAITH, HOPE and CHARITY are essential to our transformation.  Each one of these spiritual behaviors is designed to bring us closer to God through our relationship with Jesus.  Thus, Paul’s statement in verse 17 serves as a starting point for those interested in going further in their walk with Christ.

List three old habits that were part of your past life?

List three new habits that are reflection of your new life in Christ?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Church of the Living God
Bible Study Lesson
Presenter: Overseer Ennis F. Tait

Date:   Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Series: Spiritual Warfare
Reference Scripture:  Joshua 7:19-21
Focus Verses: Joshua 7:21     

Today’s Discussion:    “A Fallen Soldier”

What are the main struggles of the people of God?  There are three in particular that outweighs them all:

·         Disobedience – [maw-raw']; a primitive root; to be (causatively, make) bitter (or unpleasant); (figuratively) to rebel (or resist; causatively, to provoke):
·         Temptation – [pi-ras-mos] - a putting to proof (by experiment [of good], experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication, adversity:
·         Covetousness – [khaw-mad']; a primitive root; to delight in:

The lesson aim is to show how Disobedience, Temptation and Covetousness (DTC) has caused many to fall.  More importantly, anyone that continues to struggle with DTC in the flesh will ultimately loss the spiritual battle.  There is biblical evidence that each believer will at some point or another struggle to maintain a life of true holiness.  DTC are real issues that work in the flesh to disqualify and destroy the believer by using an inward struggle to promulgate sinful nature. 

The tragedy of sin found in this text reveals the uncontrollable human nature of men and women of God.  God has to call to Joshua’s attention the root cause of the unexpected defeat at Ai.  Joshua has to pray to God for insight.  He is not privileged to know the spiritual ramification of Achan’s sin.  However, God uses this incident to set precedence for future cases. God shows great frustration in HIS response to Joshua.  Achan’s sin is the first act of DTC in the Promised Land.  Adam and Eve fell. (Genesis 3:23-24) King Saul fell. (I Samuel 15:26-28) Unfortunately, there will be others to fall to the same cause.

DISOBEDIENCE - “The Christian has no choice, therefore, but to engage in a kind of spiritual warfare against his own natural tendency to disobey God”
References: II Corinthians 10:5-6; Isaiah 3:8

TEMPTATION - The sufficiency of God’s grace is able to sustain us and keep us from yielding to the temptations of the flesh.
References: II Corinthians 12:8-9; James 1:12-14; I Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 4:15

COVETOUNESS - Covetousness is a very grave sin; indeed, so heinous is it that the Scriptures class it among the very gravest and grossest crimes.
References: Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; I Corinthians 6:10

What is our defense against DTC?  Obedience, Faith and Contentment are our strongest weapons.