Feelings, Facts and Faith
Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered. (Prov. 28:26).
Group discussion. How do you feel when:
- Worship music is playing?
- A superior is correcting you?
- You have achieved a goal?
- You discover you have procrastinated too long?
- The sun is out and the sky is blue?
Feelings and emotions are wonderful ways to respond to experiences in our lives. No one would want to live without them. But they can be fickle and can lead us to believe lies.
We need a standard that guides us when our feelings err. That standard is the Bible.
- Name three reasons you trust the Bible over your own feelings.
- The heart is that part of us which creates feelings. Here is what we know about our hearts, Jeremiah 17:9. Even a redeemed heart can return to old patterns.
- Can you think of a time when you felt that God was distant or that the Word wasn’t true? How did you overcome?
Faith over Feelings
- Is hearing the Word enough?
- What should a believer do who continually makes bad decisions based on feelings?
- If a close Christian friend were about to make a major life decision based on errant feelings (marry an unbeliever, become sexually active before marriage, take something from work that he believes he deserves but does not belong to him, etc…)
Commit your self to enjoy your feelings and emotions but to constantly evaluate them in light of God’s a Word.
Read the Passage
A disagreement is defined as friction, discord, or a lack of consensus about how two parties think. They are not “like-minded.”
As believers we have great reasons to choose to be like-minded.
- Name some reasons we should be “like minded’ from Philippians 2:1-4.
- Why would church unity bring such joy to Paul?
- If a disgruntled person came to you, how could you use this passage to help?
What was the mindset of Jesus?
- Philippians 2:5-7
- Matthew 9:36
- Is it even possible for us to have these qualities? How might it change our relationships to have the mindset of Jesus?
So, you have a disagreement with another believer. You have a chose to make. You can either:
- Never talk to them again or at least, stay distant.
- Meet with them to prove how right you are.
- Surrender and lay down like a doormat.
- Choose path that brings unity to the body of Christ. Discuss with your small group how you might follow this path of unity.
Conclusion: God included you into His family when He saved you from your mountain of sins. Will you commit to including others through a mindset of unity with those believers who think a little differently than you?
Friends are Encouragers
(Who must learn how to confront)
Ice-breaker: In a relationship series we must discuss confrontation. That is part of friendship. Discuss why it is hard to confront a friend.
Read Galatians 2:11-16
- What was the issue?
- If you ever wondered about the Apostles having conflict, this answers that! Who is Cephas and why would Paul’s rebuke of him seem so earth-shaking?
- Barnabas was known as the “encourager” (Acts 4:36). He lifted other people up and helped them achieve their full potential. What did he do wrong in this situation and what does that tell you about potential weaknesses in encouragers?
- Paul would be known as a “truth-teller”. The kingdom needs both truth-tellers and encouragers. Pick from the list of spiritual gifts below and indicate which falls on the “truth teller side” and which falls more on the “encouragement side”.
- Do you think we have more truth-tellers or encouragers in our churches? Which side do you tend to lean?
The Tensions of True Friendship
There are plenty of opportunities to lose friends today. David and Jonathan experienced those same tensions and yet retained a great relationship.
Tensions with parents (and authorities): Normally parents are the source of good decisions for the life of the child. They help children pick good friends and friends that are good for them! Sometimes they err. Read Ephesians 6:1 to determine the conditions under which the child must obey the parent. Was Saul following the Lord so that Jonathan should listen to him? 1 Samuel 18:10-17.
Jonathan chose a relationship with David even though his father hated him. This was a source of continual tension, 1 Samuel 20:30, 31. However, Jonathan made the right choice and reaped many rewards especially when David welcomed Jonathan’s son to his table after Jonathan died, 2 Samuel 9:1-7. (Often, new kings destroyed the family of the previous king because they feared insurrection. Because of his covenant with Jonathan, David blessed his son, Mephiboseth.)
The Tensions of Jealousy: Jonathan was giving up his right to the throne of Israel by embracing David as friend. It would mean that Jonathan would become second-in-command at best. Yet he saw in David the kind of leader he wanted to follow. Name one characteristic of the type of leader you are willing to follow.
The Tensions of Distance: Some friendships do not survive long separations. This one did! There were no cell phones and mail was slow. Relationships had to stay alive because of love and commitment.
- Jonathan helped keep David alive, 2 Samuel 20:32-34, even risking his own life by doing so. They did not need to see each other often to stay best friends.
- 2 Samuel 23:9, It is highly likely that Jonathan often sent messages to David about his father’s intentions so that David could escape while in the wilderness (a period of 7-8 years).
Rate yourself 1 – 10 on the type of friendship you have offered to others. How could you improve?
What Happened to Fatherhood?
Sermon-Based Bible Study
No matter how old you get, the hole in your heart created by a father’s absence still aches.
Hey “dad” I did it without you.
“I look for you everywhere I go hoping to bump into you but I never see you. You’re not there. You’re never there.”
Absentee fathers in America account for higher pregnancy rates among teens, higher poverty, lower scholastic achievement and higher suicidal ideation. We would do our nation a favor to help dads build a family and stay with it!
All of the fatherhood Scriptures require presence:
- Be your child’s primary teacher. Mothers help dads do their job as teacher. Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21
- Give daily encouragement to your children, Deuteronomy 6:6-9
- Teach compassion as a fatherly characteristic, Psalm 103:13. What happens to his sons if a dad is not compassionate?
- Discipline diligently, Proverbs 13:24
- Provide for your family, 1 Timothy 5:8
There is a huge amount of pressure for dads to flee their responsibilities. In most cases they lack vision for what family life can achieve. Even if a dad’s upbringing was horrible, he can turn things around in one generation by being present for his children.
If a man came to you wanting to leave his family what advice would you give him?
Sermon-Based Bible Study All Things New, Revelation 21
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5
Discussion: talk about how good it feels to buy/receive something new. When does it quit being new?
(Note: Jerusalem has been and always will be a geographical focal point of God’s activity. However, God doesn’t love the city as much as the covenant people it represents. In the new heaven and earth those people are the redeemed.)
In the new heaven and earth, it never stops being new!
- Something that won’t be there, verse 8 and 27. There will be no _______. That’s new!
- An angel gets a new assignment, verse 9 and 10.
- New names on the gates of the city, verse 12 What are they?
- New names on the city’s foundation, verse 14 What are they?
- A new beauty, verses 18-21.
- A new way to worship, verse 22.
- A new source of light, verses 23 and 24.
- A new description for “day”, verse 25. (Think of it. The “day of the Lord” will be 24 hours of light throughout eternity.)
Look up 2 Corinthians 5:17
You will be interested to know that the word “new’ used throughout Revelation 21 and in 2 Corinthians 5:17 means “of a new kind, unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of”. The radical newness of the new heaven and earth found in Revelation 21 lives in you right now. You are new through the new birth! (This newness is available no other way!) Nothing needs to happen once you are a true believer except for you to realize and walk in the beautiful new life Jesus has given you. Don’t you think you should take a moment to worship Him right now?
Please read the passage. How many times do you see the words “thousand years”?
A millennium is 1000 years. A pre-millenialist believes that Jesus returns with His holy ones (us), at the end of the great tribulation, to rule the earth in righteousness for a literal 1000-year period. During that time:
- Satan is completely immobilized (vs. 2 and 3) and then released at the end of the millennium for the battle of Gog and Magog (vs. 7-9). Afterwards, he is permanently placed in the lake of fire (vs. 10).
- All God’s people will rule and reign with Jesus as priests (vs. 6). This is the “first resurrection” which all believers enjoy. 1 Corinthians 6:1-3 and 2 Timothy 2:12.
- The first resurrection refers to our bodies being raised from the grave and changed into glorified bodies, 1 Corinthians 15:42-44.
- Old Testament passages like Isaiah 11:6-9 will be fulfilled during the millenium.
- The “second resurrection” is a raising of the bodies of the damned at the end of the millennium. They will be judged and condemned to the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15.
Other views of the millennium are non-literal interpretations of Revelation 20. In general, they teach that this chapter is about the current reign of Jesus through His church. Some of these views believe the world will get continually better until righteousness reigns under the rule of the church. What do you think?
Some challenges to those who are not pre-millenialists:
- In what way is Satan bound right now?
- How well has the church “ruled and reigned” so far?
- When did the first resurrection happen?
Pre-millenialists recognize that Satan and his dark kingdom were dealt a death blow at the cross, John 12:31. However, the effects of the cross are applied locally, sporadically and imperfectly by the church until Jesus returns.
Pre-millenialists confirm that believers operate in authority (casting our demons, healing the sick, etc… at a limited level until Jesus places us in specific places of rulership during the millenial reign. The amount of millennial responsibility given is proportionate to the faithfulness of the believer while on earth the first time.
Because of all this you can look forward to the millennial reign of Christ where His righteousness and peace will rule for 1000 years and you get to rule with Him!
Read the passage. The NIV has “cleansing rites” in verse two. This comes from the Greek “baptismos” from which we get our word “baptism”. This word is plural so multiple types of New Testament baptisms are being considered.
- We can be baptized in water by a minister (the Greek word for baptism, baptidzo means “immerse”)
- We can be baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit (1Corinthians 12:13)
- We can be baptized with/in the Holy Spirit by Jesus (Acts 1:4, 5).
Baptism in the Holy Spirit is an experience that occurs following conversion (although it can happen immediately after conversion). Jesus “baptizes” us in the Holy Spirit so that we are saturated, soaked, filled and overflowing with the Holy Spirit. When that happens, we are given the gift of speaking in tongues, which allows us to speak directly to God in spiritual languages unknown to us. (We acknowledge that some people may not immediately speak in tongues at that time, but we believe that all people are enabled to speak in tongues).
- Received the Holy Spirit and were born again in John 20:19-23.
- Were further empowered (Acts 1:8) by an immersion in the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:1-3.
In Acts 10:46-48 the people at Cornelius’ house received the filling of the Spirit as Peter was preaching. They spoke with other tongues and praised God. Peter’s response was, “Who can refuse water baptism to these who have received the Spirit just as we have?”
In Acts 19:1-7, Paul is concerned that the believers in Ephesus have not received the full package available to them thru Christ. Notice what happened when he laid hands on them.
Receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues is not needed to be saved nor is it a sign that someone is super-spiritual.
However, it is a:
- Promise from the Father, Acts 1:4, 5.
- A means of personal edification that Paul used often, 1 Corinthians 14:4.
- Way to be used by the Lord in a public service as the first half of prophecy, 1 Corinthians 14:26-28.
What keeps you from receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit?
Will you be open to using the gift of tongues to give a message of prophecy?
Pre, Mid, or Post?
This week we are getting familiar with end-times terminology. When you discuss the coming Great Tribulation and the rapture of the church with other believers you quickly find there are three main camps: the “pre-tribbers”, the “mid-tribbers” and the “post-tribbers”.
The Rapture is the sudden “catching up” of God’s people to be with the Lord, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17.
The Great Tribulation is the last 7-year period before Jesus returns with His people to end this age and set up His Kingdom on earth, Matthew 24:21 (and much of Revelation). It is a time of God’s wrath on the earth, Revelation 6:17.
The Pre-Tribulation View (the rapture takes place before the Great Tribulation)
- 1 Thessalonians 5:9, 10, believers are not appointed unto wrath because Jesus bore the wrath we deserved on the cross.
- The church is not mentioned in Revelation 6-18 which describes the Great Tribulation and that in Revelation 4:1 John is called to “come up here”.
- Hebrews 9:28
The Mid-Tribulation View (The rapture takes place in the middle of Tribulation)
- Daniel 7:25 and 9:24-27 indicate a clear shift at the half-way point of the Great Tribulation. This is when the 7 year period gets really ugly and the Lord removes His people to spare them.
- The last trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15:52 is the same as the last trumpet of 7 trumpets blown in Revelation, see Revelation 11:15.
- This view teaches that the apostasy (rebellion) cannot be complete, or the antichrist decisively known until he declares himself to be God, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4. This will take place at the middle of the Great Tribulation.
The Post-Tribulation View (The rapture takes place at the end of Tribulation)
- The church will meet the Lord in the air and return victoriously on the same day. This is a literal viewpoint of the word “day” in the phrase “the day of the Lord”.
- The church will be persecuted until Jesus returns, 2 Timothy 3:12, but will be spared God’s wrath during the Great Tribulation much as Noah and his family were.
- If Matthew 24 is read chronologically, the return of Jesus for His elect (vs. 29-31) comes after all the deception and destruction of the last days.
Where do you fit in? Are you “Pre”, “Mid”, or “Post”?
Can Persecution be a Good Thing?
On average, 100,000 Christians give their lives every year for the gospel’s sake.
World Christian Encyclopedia
In the past 100 years we have witnessed a resurgence of persecution against Christians and yet the church of Jesus continues to prosper and grow. Examples:
- China kicked out Christian missionaries in 1954 and banned Christianity. It now has over 60,000,000 Christians.
- South Korea which was 1% Christian in 1900 is now 29% Christian.
- Iran, where Christian have no rights, there are more Christians than any other Muslim country.
So, what about us? Share some ways Christians are persecuted in the United States. Does persecution benefit us in America?
Review Matthew 13:20, 21 and note why a perfectly good seed did not produce fruit in the rocky soil. What was wrong with the soil?
Two words used for persecution and tribulation in this passage need definition:
- Thlipsis (from the word for pressure) refers not to mild discomfort but to great difficulty.
- Diogmos literally, “the hunt to bring someone down like an animal”
- The persecution we face because of the Word in our lives is not easy.
Read 2 Timothy 2:11-13
- Apparently, the trend to give up on Christianity in the first century was significant enough to address its consequences. This passage became a creed of the early church just like the Apostle’s Creed is used today. What impact would reading this creed every week have on a local church today?
- Nero would require Christians to place incense on a fire before his bust as a form of allegiance. All Roman citizens had to declare “Nero is Lord”. Most Christians wouldn’t do this. They were persecuted.
- You might be interested to know that the New Testament Greek word for a “witness” was martus which is the word we get “martyr” from today. A witness was willing to be a martyr.
What should we do for those persecuted today? List three ways you can be a blessing to the persecuted church.