Tag Archives: free Christian education resources

Ephesians Study: Sons & Daughters

[Ephesians 1:1-14]

  • 4-5 – Predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ
    • He knew before the foundation that we would be separated. (1 Peter 4:20)
    • He predestined us for adoption.
    • Everyone who believes through faith is a child of God. (Galatians 3:26, John 1:12)
  • 11 – Obtained an inheritance
    • This inheritance is ALREADY ours through Jesus Christ.
  • 13 – Sealed with promise of inheritance
    • The Holy Spirit is our guarantee

Adopted Children of God:

  • Receive New Rights (Galatians 4:4-7)
    • Identical legal rights as blood child
    • All riches in Christ & citizenship in heaven
  • God will care for us
    • Adopted parent is granted full rights & responsibility of natural father
    • Complete authority over child
    • Legal role as caregiver
  • Relationships will change
    • Our relationship with God changes
      • God the Father – not only judge, Loving Father
      • God the Son – not only Lord, Savior and Brother
      • God the Holy Spirit – not only calls & sanctifies but Spirit of adoption within us
    • Our relationship with others changes

1 John 3:1-2 – “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” [NIV]

Romans 8:14 – “All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons.” [HCSB]

Bible Study Questions:

  • Verses 4-5 speak of predestination. The Bible says that before the foundation of the world, God knew that we would need Jesus Christ. What does this term predestination mean?
  • Ephesians 1:10 says, “As a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” What is this fullness of time? What does this mean?
  • In verse 11, the passage says we “obtained and inheritance.” How is this different from an inheritance we may receive from our earthly family?
  • God has sealed us with a promise it says (v. 13). The Holy Spirit is our guarantee of an inheritance. But this guarantee is not like a normal promissory note that you hold until the time of the collection. What benefits to we have the Holy Spirit?

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:

1- Sons and Daughters

2- Immeasurable Greatness

3- God’s Workmanship

4- Our Cornerstone

5- Least of the Saints

6- Love of Christ

7- Abundantly More

8- Unity of the Body

9- Anger Management

10- Exposed by the Light

11- Submission

12- Prepared for Battle

Advertisements

Philemon Study: True Forgiveness

[Philemon]

  • Paul wrote letter to Philemon while he was in jail.
  • Philemon’s house may be where the Colossian church met (v. 2).
  • Philemon had a slave Onesimus (v. 16).
  • Onesimus means “useful” or “beneficial.”
  • Onesimus was useless to Philemon – slave who stole money and ran away.
  • Paul converted Onesimus.
  • Onesimus is now useful to Philemon and Paul. (v. 11).
  • Though Onesimus was helping Paul while he was imprisoned, Paul sent Onesimus back to Philemon with this letter to appeal for forgiveness for Onesimus. Roman law required this to happen.
  • Philemon owes Paul his life – his very soul— salvation in Christ (v. 19)
  • Paul asks Philemon to charge all that is owed by Onesimus to his (Paul’s) account (v. 18). He offered to pay for Onesimus’ sins against Philemon.

Friendship – Forgiveness – Reconciliation

Ephesians 4:32 – Forgive as you have been forgiven

Forgiveness comes through Jesus. Through Christ alone we have forgiveness and reconciliation to God. Reconciliation means “coexist in harmony” or “restore friendly relations.” We only have the ability to forgive others because of the Holy Spirit.

Forgiveness has a cost. Paul offered to pay the cost. Onesimus could have been punished – even with death. Our cost for forgiveness was paid by Jesus Christ.

Forgiveness is always necessary. Paul asks Philemon to do the right thing. He could have punished Onesimus or he could forgive him and receive him as a partner. The word used means “fellowship.”

Forgiveness from God lasts forever. When we are transformed, becoming a “new creature” in Christ, the Spirit changes us from the inside out – just like Onesimus. This is forgiveness and transformation that lasts forever. The board is wiped clean.

Bible Study Questions:

1) Paul mentions in verse 14 that he preferred to do nothing without consent in order that Philemon’s (fih-LEE-muhn) goodness be of his “own accord.” What does this mean?

2) Paul wrote in verse 21 that he was confident of Philemon’s obedience. How could he be so confident that Philemon would forgive and do even more than asked?

3) Forgiveness, Paul notes, will take Onesimus (o-NEH-sih-muhs) from position of bondservant to beloved brother. Was he asking for Philemon to free his slave Onesimus or does this beloved brother mean something else?

4) Read Colossians 4:7-9. Onesimus was sent along with Tychicus (TIH-kih-kuhs).

How was he described?

Why do you think Paul had Onesimus go along with Tychicus to deliver the Letter to the Colossians as well as the      Letter to Philemon?

 

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:

Gospel Truth
Will of God
Lord of All
Ministry to Maturity
Foolish Philosophies
Men of Rules
Realities of Heaven
Taking Responsibility
Godly Living
Worship Work
Good Words
True Forgiveness

Colossians Study: Foolish Philosophies

[Colossians 2:1-15]

Fooled by fancy talk / persuasive speech / well-crafted arguments / enticing words / smooth rhetoric / nice-sounding words / wild-goose chase (v. 4) – speech adapted to persuade, speech to lead others into error

“Don’t let anyone fool you by using senseless arguments. These arguments may SOUND WISE, but they are ONLY HUMAN TEACHINGS. They come from the POWERS OF THIS WORLD and NOT FROM CHRIST.” [CEV]

captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy [NIV]

Captive – ignorant of TRUTH – of Word of God – sulagógeó “to carry off as spoil” like a predator carrying off prey

Remember:

  • You belong to Christ (v. 9)
  • Christ is over every power and authority (v. 9)
  • You have been raised to life through faith (v. 12)
  • Your sins have been forgiven (v. 13)
  • The charges have been wiped out (v. 14)
  • With Christ alone, we have victory (v. 15)

“What is the best safe-guard against false teaching? Beyond all doubt the regular study of the word of God, with prayer for the teaching of the Holy Spirit. The Bible was given to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). The man who reads it aright will never be allowed greatly to err. It is neglect of the Bible which makes so many a prey to the first false teacher whom they hear. They would have us believe that “they are not learned, and do not pretend to have decided opinions.” The plain truth is that they are lazy and idle about reading the Bible, and do not like the trouble of thinking for themselves. Nothing supplies false prophets with followers so much as spiritual sloth under a cloak of humility.”J.C. Ryle

Bible Study Questions:

1) Paul uses the term “wonderfully blessed” or “full riches” or “wealth” in verse 2:2. What is Paul saying gives us this wealth or full riches—why or how are we wonderfully blessed?

2) Paul used the term “mystery” and said that Christ was the key to God’s mystery (v. 2). This term “mystery” was used a lot by the false teachers at that time. Some people believed there was a high level of hidden knowledge one could achieve by particular actions. What does Colossians 2:2-3 say about Christ and this mystery?

3) Paul makes it clear that we are to never stand still. Read Colossians 2:6-8. What does this mean for us?

4) Other religions attempt to figure out what problems people have and then how to solve those problems. Christianity is different. The Gospel wisdom is backwards from the worldly wisdom. How?

5) Read Colossians 2:15. The verse uses the word “disarm” or “defeated.” What does this mean when it says Christ defeated or disarmed all powers and forces?

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:

Gospel Truth
Will of God
Lord of All
Ministry to Maturity
Foolish Philosophies
Men of Rules
Realities of Heaven
Taking Responsibility
Godly Living
Worship Work
Good Words
True Forgiveness

More Than a Story: Kingdom-Focused

[Matthew 13]

Contains EIGHT parables!! All of these parables speak about the kingdom of heaven.

  • Parable of the Sower
    • Readiness to hear and receive the Message of the kingdom of heaven.
  • Three parables about growth: Weeds, Mustard Seed, Yeast/Leaven
    • Parable of the Weeds – weeds among good seed, test between true disciples and others.
    • Parable of the Mustard Seed – seed into large tree
    • Parable of the Yeast – hidden in the flour till all leavened
    • Mustard Seed & Yeast speak about small beginnings. God’s work may appear unimpressive at first but appearances are deceptive. BE PATIENT. Little equals big when God is at work.
  • Three more parables: Hidden Treasure, Pearl of Great Value, Net
    • Parable of the Hidden Treasure shows wholehearted response to Kingdom of heaven—no sacrifice is too large and equals joy and fulfillment
    • The Parable of the Pearl of Great Value – when found sold all had and – similar to Hidden Treasure
    • The Parable of the Net – fish of every kind, sorted good in containers and threw out the bad
    • The Net is similar to the Weeds – sorting good & bad. The church will always be mixed until the final judgment.
  • Parable of the Householder / Master of the House – speaks of new treasures (the teaching of Jesus Christ) and old truths

Readiness

  • ready to hear and receive the Message (Parable of the Sower)
  • ready to give Jesus first place (Parable of the Hidden Treasure, Parable of the Pearl of Great Value)
  • ready for testing (Parable of the Weeds, Parable of the Net)

Faithfulness

  • faith to allow God to grow you into who He made you to be for greater things (Parable of the Mustard Seed, Parable of the Yeast)
  • faith to follow God’s leading and to adhere to God’s timing (Parable of the Mustard Seed, Parable of the Yeast)
  • faith to speak the Truth (Parable of the householder)

Bible Study Questions:

1) Looking at the Parable of the Weeds, why did the master want to wait for the harvest time to gather the weeds? What does this mean for us?

2) Let us consider leaven. In the Parable of the Leaven, the passage says that the woman puts a little leaven in the flour and then it all was leavened. She added some leaven and all was impacted. What does this mean for us?

3) The Parable of the Leaven speaks about inner growth, while the Parable of the Mustard Seed focuses on outside growth. Do you think one is more important than the other? Do you think they are related?

4) The Parable of the Hidden Treasure and the Parable of the Pearl of Great Value both talk about selling all that was owned for the field containing the treasure and the pearl. What is the risk in selling all you have? What might slow you down or keep you from doing this? What does this mean for us?

5) The Parable of the Net speaks about gathering fish of every kind. It also speaks about the net being full. What is the takeaway when looking at the gathering of the diverse fish? What are your thoughts on the net being full?

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

More Than a Story: Responsiveness

[Great Feast: Luke 14:15-24]

In Luke 14 we see that Someone is hosting a dinner – the person is “a ruler of the Pharisees”

  • Verses 1-6 speak about healing of a person with dropsy on the Sabbath
  • Verses 7-11 speak about the place of honor [[PARABLE OF THE AMBITIOUS GUEST]]
    • This parable was told to the Pharisees and the lawyers
    • Seating rank & distinction / more important guests arrived later / those less important would be moved if no room – Pharisees loved the best seats – Lesson of humility
  • Verses 12-14 choice of guests [[PARABLE OF THE FEAST / BANQUET]]
    • This parable was told to the “ruler of the Pharisees” – Lesson of hospitality
  • Verses 15-24 heavenly banquet [[PARABLE OF THE GREAT SUPPER / FEAST]]
    • The great feast is ALREADY PREPARED.
    • The INVITATIONS ISSUED BUT DECLINED.
    • House will be FILLED BUT NOT BY THOSE ORIGINALLY INVITED.

Way of invitation – the invitation went out earlier for people to accept and have time to prepare. Later they went out again to touch base with those invited and tell them it was almost time.

Excuses:

  • Bought a field & had to go see it (Livelihood / Career)
  • Bought 5 yoke of oxen & had to go examine them (Possessions / Property)
  • Got married (Social / Relationship)

The people were pleased to be invited but that’s it – the invitation did not result in attendance

The invitees did not desire fellowship

Excuses would have sounded pathetic to the group because of the way invitations worked

Truth – this is how they were treating God’s invitation – it had no influence on their daily lives

Lesson of self-examination – GOD’S INVITATION IS FULL AND FREE

“And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” – Revelation 22:17 [NKJV]

“If we give up and turn our backs on all we’ve learned, all we’ve been given, all the truth we now know, we repudiate Christ’s sacrifice and are left on our own to face the Judgment—and a mighty fierce judgment it will be! If the penalty for breaking the law of Moses is physical death, what do you think will happen if you turn on God’s Son, spit on the sacrifice that made you whole, and insult this most gracious Spirit? This is no light matter. God has warned us that he’ll hold us to account and make us pay. He was quite explicit: “Vengeance is mine, and I won’t overlook a thing” and “God will judge his people.” Nobody’s getting by with anything, believe me.” – Hebrews 10:26-31 [MSG]

Bible Study Questions:

1) The Jews were looking forward to the resurrection. They saw the resurrection as a great celebration in God’s presence. Read Isaiah 25:6-9.

What did the passage mention would be at the banquet? What does this mean?

What actions does this passage promise?

This passage ends by giving us a response. What should be our response?

How can we respond in this way?

2) Looking at tonight’s main parable, we read that there was a group invited first. These people initially accepted the invitation; however, they later did not join the banquet. Who were the people who rejected the invitation of God? They would have been on the receiving end of this message.

3) What did these people think about their salvation?

4) When the slave went out to get more people, he returned and said still there was room so he was sent out again. What does this say to us?

 5) Those originally invited made excuses for not attending. The excuses involved relationships, property / possessions, and livelihood. How can these things keep us from God’s invitation? What is your biggest road block?

6) God’s invitation is a daily invitation. How can you stop making excuses?

 

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

More Than a Story: Humility

[Two Men Who Prayed: Luke 18:9-14]

“Be humble or you’ll stumble.” – Dwight L. Moody

  • I am the least of the apostles – 1 Corinthians 15:9
  • I am the very least of all the saints. – Ephesians 3:8
  • I am the foremost of sinners. – 1 Timothy 1:15

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Luke 18:14 [ESV]

Humbles HimselfTapeinoó – humiliate, abase, bring low, humble self

Exaltedhupsoó – raise on high, lift up, set on high

“A person’s pride will humble him, but a humble spirit will gain honor.” – Proverbs 29:23 [HCSB]

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” – 1 Peter 5:6 [NIV]

We all fall short / Through Christ alone we are justified (Romans 3:23-24)

“Though I am righteous, my mouth will condemn me; Though I am guiltless, He will declare me guilty.” – Job 9:20 [NASB]

You cannot fake it / God knows your heart

“And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.” – Luke 16:15 [NASB]

“I believe the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I do not mean by humility, doubt of his own power, or hesitation in speaking his opinion. But really great men have a … feeling that the greatness is not in them but through them; that they could not do or be anything else than God made them.” – John Riskin

Bible Study Questions:

1) What are some of the positive attributes of the Pharisee who prayed?

2) What are some of the negative attributes of the Pharisee who prayed?

3) How would you describe the Tax Collector who prayed? What were his good points?

4) What gets in the way of your humility?

5) What are some things you can do to help you live a humble life?

6) Luke 18:14 says, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (ESV).

What does it mean to be justified?

What does it mean that everyone who exalts himself will be humbled?

What does it mean that one who humbles himself will be exalted?

 

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused