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Perfection or Deception

October 13, 2009 Leave a comment

“And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’; when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.”-Deuteronomy 18:21-22 (NKJV)

Satan is the ultimate counterfeiter. Where there’s something of spiritual value and benefit for God’s people, you can be sure that our adversary has devised a deceptive “stand-in” to lead us astray. Prophecy is no exception. The devil was hard at work during Israel’s infancy as he sought to infect the Israelites with false prophets who said they spoke “in the name of the Lord.” His agenda? To get God’s people off-track by convincing them to follow false prophets.

The problem with counterfeits, however, is that there’s always a test to reveal their true colors. When people are patient enough to apply the appropriate test, the deception will become evident and the deceiver will be exposed. God gave the Israelites a specific test when it came to the false prophets in their midst. It was really simple. If their prophecies came to pass, they were true prophets of God. If their prophecies didn’t go down as predicted, they were to be marked as false prophets and executed. No gray ground there!

By establishing this standard, God teaches us three things. First, there will be false prophets we need to watch out for. Second, true prophecy will always have a perfect track record. And last, any prophecy containing the slightest bit of error is part of the devil’s deception. When it comes to prophecy, it’s either a matter of perfection or deception, absolute acceptance or utter rejection.

This is the standard we apply to the Bible in determining it is God’s Perfect Word. There is not a single prophecy in the Bible that has proven incorrect or inaccurate in the slightest degree, and keep in mind that nearly one-third of it is prophetic in nature! This should produce a healthy appreciation in our hearts for prophecy. May we seek out opportunities to share about the Bible’s perfect prophetic track record.

Discuss an experience where you learned something was not as you had thought. How did God teach you through this?

Dig into Deuteronomy 18:15–22. What is the true test of a prophetic utterance? What was the penalty for the false prophet, and why do you think this was the case?

Decide as a group to enjoy the blessing of prophetic preaching. Set aside a time to meet together and listen to one of the messages from the Active Word archive. Choose from hundreds of messages found at ActiveWord.org.

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Free Video Sermons to Help You Grow

March 9, 2009 4 comments

Instead of a bible study this week I wanted to share with you a very new project we launched this week. We’ve created a little community where we and you can post our favor video sermons. We love video sermons because you are able to capture the passion, emotion and Spirit behind the words of the teacher.

Click here to visit the site.

The best part is you can upload video sermons you love or even share ones you’ve found on YouTube. Please share with us all so we can all grow!

Please know that we do hold each submitted sermon and it will not show up until we approve. We do this to prevent abuse of the system and so that no sermon is submitted that has questionable biblical doctrine.

Always Provides An Escape

January 29, 2009 Leave a comment

God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV)

“I couldn’t help it! There was no way out! I had no choice!” Have you ever found yourself leaning on these excuses after you’ve stumbled in a specific area of sin? It sounds OK at first, but deep down in your heart you know it isn’t true.

Here’s what is true: God always provides an escape for us when we’re tempted. If we sin it’s because we choose to, not because we have no choice but to. No matter what the conditions or circumstances, God always gives us the option of righteousness in the midst of sinfulness. Always.

“That sounds great and all, but if God is really giving me a way out, why am I always falling? I never seem to be able to find that fire escape.” Understand, God’s way of escape isn’t outside but inside of you. It’s the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit, who resides within each and every believer (Ephesians 1:13).

When temptations arise, we need to drop whatever we’re doing and ask God to strengthen us according to the power of His Spirit within us. “Lord, I know I can’t handle this. But I know you can. So please fill me with your strength so I can resist.” When we sincerely pray that prayer, we’ll find the strength to escape the sinful snares that tempt us (Galatians 5:18-25).

God always provides a way of escape for us, and it’s actually inside of us. But the question is whether or not we’re willing to use it.

Discuss, Dig, Decide

Discuss God’s plan for facing temptation. Talk about the patterns of behavior you see in most people who face temptation. How should it be different for a Christian?

Dig into 1 Corinthians 10:13. What does this verse tell you about God’s love and care for those feeling entrapped by the evil one? What is the responsibility of the person being tempted? How have you found this verse to be true in your own life? How are you relying on His Spirit to keep you from stumbling?

Decide to establish some accountability and encouragement among those in your group who are ready to get serious about eliminating sinful patterns in their lives. Define a “prevention plan” and an “escape route” to put into practice. Exchange phone numbers so that a timely call for support and encouragement can be made in the face of temptation.

Study by Pastor Bob Coy of The Active Word.

View more of our printable bible studies.

Always Willing To Forgive

January 15, 2009 3 comments

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. –1 Timothy 1:15 (NKJV)

Ever consider yourself beyond forgiveness? Have you ever done something so horrible, so heinous, so hideous that you can only shake your head and ask yourself, “What was I thinking?” It’s in these moments that a thought can begin to sprout in our minds, a notion that our sin has exceeded God’s grace and that He’s unable or unwilling to forgive us.

Paul’s life proves otherwise. If God ranked our sin, Paul’s would be a solid ten. The Bible tells us that prior to his conversion, he was completely committed to wiping out every trace of Christianity. He was there holding the robes of those who executed Stephen, the first Christian martyr, and soon he was rounding up Christians and throwing them into prison (Acts 8:1-3, Acts 22:20). He even forced them to blaspheme Christ (Acts 26:11) and killed those who would not renounce their faith (Acts 22:4).

So Paul isn’t exaggerating or being diplomatic when he identifies himself as the chief sinner. If there was ever a person who seemed worthy of being disqualified from God’s forgiveness, it was certainly Paul. And yet, the astounding truth is that God was still willing to forgive Him. In fact, Paul points out that God forgave him in order to demonstrate that anybody can find forgiveness:

However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. (1 Timothy 1:16 NKJV)

God is always willing to forgive, no matter what we’ve done or how far we’ve run from Him. That’s a truth that ought to embolden and humble us.

Discuss, Dig, Decide

Discuss forgiveness with your group. Would you agree or disagree that God is always ready to forgive us, regardless of our sin? What Scriptures support your position? Why do you think we find forgiveness so difficult?

Dig into 1 Timothy 1:12-16. How does Paul view the mercy and grace of God? Read Luke 19:10. How do these two passages reveal God’s heart to forgive? How have you experienced the truth of these passages?

Decide as a group to memorize some key passages that can be recalled as you face the accusations of the deceiver. Memorize verses like 1 John 1:9 and Romans 5:8-10. Learn the value of confronting lies with truth, and as a group, begin to exercise the Scripture memory muscles God gave you!

2 Timothy Bible Studies

Love Covers

September 24, 2008 2 comments

Love . . . bears all things . . . -1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NKJV)

President William McKinley was lovingly devoted to his wife, Ida. She was an unhealthy woman and would frequently suffer from seizures that would distort her facial features. Instead of keeping her locked away behind the White House doors, McKinley proudly brought her to the most glamorous social functions and dinners.

Inevitably, a fit would seize her, and it was then that McKinley’s love for his wife would shine. He would drop whatever he was doing, take his napkin, and quietly curtain her face until the seizure would subside. It was William’s love for Ida that led him to cover her flaws.

That’s the way love works. Notice how the Bible tells us that love “bears all things.” The original word here for “bears” can actually be translated “to cover something in silence.” Love’s natural desire is to do what it can to cover the faults of others, not draw attention to them. Even when a flaw needs to be exposed, love does so in a way that’s discreet and appropriate.
Love covers. Isn’t that essentially what the cross represents? Wasn’t it God’s love that led Him to cover our sinful shortcomings by allowing His Son to die on our behalf? And aren’t we thankful that this is how God has dealt with us?

So how do we react in the presence of other’s flaws and faults? Are we quick to shine the spotlight on their shortcomings? Do we gawk and gossip? Or is there something inside us that wants to spare people the pain of having these things unnecessarily exposed? That “something” is love, and it’s more concerned with covering shame than advertising it.

He who covers over an offense promotes love . . . (Proverbs 17:9 NIV)

Small Group Time: Discuss, Dig, Decide

Discuss with your group the power of love. Share a time when you have seen someone’s loving action cover up the shortcomings of someone else. What impact did this make on you? Can you think of a Biblical example of this?

Dig into 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and Proverbs 17:9. Check these passages out in different translations. What’s the point of this proverb? How has this truth been seen in your own life? How has God covered your offenses?

Decide as a group to cover over offenses with love. Schedule a visit to your local jail or prison. Challenge your group to share the love of God with those there who desperately need hope. This simple act can make a life-changing difference!

http://www.activeword.org

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Married Couples Bible Study

Forced to be Quiet

Fireproof Your Marriage

Seeker Sensitive

September 10, 2008 1 comment

Luke 15:1-7Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’  I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

When Jesus tells this story he is drawing from the Old Testament passage found in Ezekiel 34:11-12  ” ‘For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.

This passage makes it clear that God seeks lost sheep. When a sheep goes missing, who seeks who? Does the sheep seek the shepherd? Or the shepherd, the sheep? Obviously it’s the shepherd who seeks the sheep. That’s why David says in Psalm 119:176 I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek me.

God still seeks lost sheep, he seeks through human beings who share his concern. Those whose concern will outweigh the inconvenience (to put a sheep on your shoulders is heavy, a sheep can be between 70-90lbs.) Who can seek while also carrying responsibility for what they’ve been entrusted (to go seek a sheep, the shepherd would need undersheperds to assist with the 99.)

Cool story, when Muhammad ed-Deeb found the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran Cave I, he was a shepherd boy looking for a lost sheep. He counted his sheep and when he discovered that he was missing one, he left the 55 with two undershepherds and then in his search found the Dead Sea Scrolls, probably the greatest impact of any archeological discovery on Biblical study.

Who embrace the joy of finding the lost. (Some of those listening to Jesus would know the joy of finding lost lamb after searching like mad in the dangerous wilderness.)

I find it interesting that Jesus said that it brings more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. The question is, how many people don’t need repentance? The righteousness who need no repentance only exist in their own mind.
This has me thinking, what does it really mean to be seeker sensitive?

Is ‘seeker sensitive’ being attentive to visitors and guests who come to our church on Sunday? Or does it mean that we tune in our hearts to heaven everyday? Being receptive and responsive to the great SEEKER and His prompts to join Him. Today I want to be seeker-sensitive; to be aware and perceptive of what the SEEKER is up to. God invites me to co-labor with him, be a co-seeker in finding the lost sheep.

This requires that: I share his concern. To be disturbed in my soul for another person. That I realize the gravity of the person’s need. I am willing pay the cost of inconvenince. To share in God’s concern and seek with him will cost me personal time, money, sleep, reputation…what else will it cost me? If I share his concern and join in the seeking then I will get to share in the joy when one person is found.

It helps me to remember that there is not one person on the planet who God is not already pursuing. God is at work in every life. We just have to be sensitive to the SEEKER and find out how he’s working.  

View more studies from Pastor Kevin Queen at http://www.kevinqueen.com

Follow the Leader

September 2, 2008 2 comments
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 (NKJV)
 
Yesterday we saw that Jesus not only possesses ultimate power and authority, but also that He is the ultimate Servant. But let’s take it one step further. Jesus didn’t just wash the disciples’ feet and call it a day. He followed up by calling them to follow His lead in serving:
 
“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” (John 13:14-15 NKJV)
 
Who Jesus is ought to determine what we do. And as the ultimate Servant, it only stands to reason that His followers should be servants as well. Our actions and Christ’s example ought to harmonize. If they don’t, then we’re no longer following Jesus in the truest practical sense. We are disciples in word-but not in deed.
 
Which begs the question: Do our actions resemble Christ’s example in this particular area? Are we others-oriented and servant-minded? Do we wash the proverbial feet that cross our path? Can we point to people who have been changed because we served them?
 
If we can’t answer “yes” to each of these questions, we need to change our spiritual course. We need to ask the Lord to show us and teach us how to become more effective servants, because it’s in kneeling down and washing feet that we truly walk as He walked.
 
He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:6 NKJV)

SMALL GROUP TIME: DISCUSS< DIG < DECIDE

Discuss the value of having an example. Share with the group something you have learned from following an example. How did following the example help you to accomplish your goal?
 
Let’s dig into 1 John 2:6. What does this verse say to you? What does it mean to abide?
Dig deeper into John 15:1-5. How does Jesus model abiding? In what areas of your life are you not abiding? How are you changing your course to walk more like the Master?
 
Decide to walk in a way that others may see you and follow your example of faith. Make a list of five people who are watching the pattern your life. Decide to serve them by providing a pattern of faithfulness. Memorize Matthew 5:16, and commit to making this verse a reality in your life.
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