Please join us for our next relationship conference on Saturday, November 7, 2009 from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon here at Akron Alliance Fellowship Church, 688 Diagonal Road, Akron OH 44320. This conference, A Foolproof Existence, will deal specifically with our interpersonal relationships with the difficult people in our life. Together we will look at how we are to seek God and live above the fray and fallout from the foolish behavior of those closest to you. You can truly overcome the pain, heartache and bewilderment from these difficult relationships with real encouragement from God’s Word and His promises! Admission is free and there will be a continental breakfast available. For more information, please call 330.376.4654 or 330.328.1385.
Category Archives: Bible Study
Today we discussed the origin of the law that we read about in the Bible. Reasonable discussion of this would conclude that the law originates from God Himself. How do we know that the law has a relevance and is importance to us? It starts with our awareness of the presence of good and evil and right and wrong from the fall of man (Genesis 3:1-19). In that passage, the evidence of the Tree of Knowledge and the reference that the serpent (Satan) makes to Eve about having knowledge of both good and evil confirms that there has always been a “right” and a “wrong,” which means that there has always been a law to distinguish between them. Adam and Eve had free reign of the garden of Eden as they worked and watched over it, but God had established that there was a rule that had to be followed or there would be a consequence. “And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die'” (Genesis 2:16-17). It was when Adam and Eve had actually eaten the forbidden fruit that they soon after realized that they had a conscience. They realized that they were naked and sewed together fig leaves to cover their nakedness (Genesis 3:7). They also hid from the Lord because they were afraid (Genesis 3:10). Their consciences were the result of their knowledge of the sin that they committed. The law defines what is sin in our lives in addition to defining right and wrong. Our conscience let’s us know when we have done something wrong. The law was not intended to be a restriction for mankind, but God also knew that without the presence of the law there would be no need for a Savior.
There are warnings within God’s Word about adding or taking away scriptural passages. “I testify to everyone who hears the prophetic words of this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book. And if anyone takes away from the words of this prophetic book, God will take away his share of the tree of life and the holy city, written in this book (Revelation 22:18-19).” Please note that some church denominations may take this verse and imply that it was not meant to reference the entire Bible because of the number of authors who wrote it over time and as to when its books were historically written. These actions are an effort to justify the additional texts found in some bibles (for example, the Apocrypha and the Book of Mormon). Note, however, that Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32 are also often included in this discussion about adding or removing scripture. The context of what Moses was referring to was more in line, however, with an admonition to the people to follow the Lord with a strict obedience and to rain focused on the attention that God has given to them. Proverbs 30:5-6 (“Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Don’t add to His words, or He will rebuke you, and you will be proved a liar.”) and Jeremiah 8:8-9 provide even greater insight to the false use of scripture (adding and removing meaning and interpretation) with dire consequences. The Bible admonishes those who intend to teach God’s Word deceitfully, and for all of us to be wary of false teaching.
In our discussion about what makes up a person’s religious beliefs, we noted that a person’s doctrines and convictions about areas of Scripture or even the development of other believers within the Body of Christ may bring about a difference of opinion, which can lead to conflict between believers. While we do not generally like when conflict occurs, it sometimes is a good thing when it does occur. God, in His infinite wisdom, works through all of these matters to accomplish His purpose and for His glory. We are advised in Scripture that conflict may separate believers to serve the Lord in different areas to reach others for Christ (Acts 15:36-41). It also may occur for the purpose of correction and reminding us what is most important (Galatians 2:11-21), and to remind us that, within the body of Christ, our faith is demonstrated by our actions (James 2:8-26). Even if it means churches split to separate from the body those who operate with selfish desires, conflict is good because it protects the true followers of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:26-28).
Have you ever been concerned about what others have thought about you? At times we are concerned about making a good impression when we make a presentation or have someone over for dinner. It is always good to prepare and put your best foot forward on such occasions, but is it really that important when it is compared to how God sees us? What does Jesus say is most important? He wants to see your devotion to Him. See Jesus’ visit to Martha and Mary’s home (Luke 10:38-41) for a refresher on this. We need to also remember that God sees and knows all about everything we do and say, whether it is public or private. Jesus warned His disciples to be on their guard against the religious hypocrisy of the Pharisees, who lived one way publicly and yet differently in privacy. Yet there was nothing that they did that was beyond God’s ability to know about it (Luke 12:2-3). We are to remember this same warning. God knows all about us, including the number of hair strands on our heads (Luke 12:7). He loves us and is concerned about us, but He also wants us to recognize that we are not to be concerned about those things that are temporal, but rather the things that are of God, namely acknowledging Jesus Christ and following Him with obedience to God’s Word. The following of Jesus Christ is where we make our best impression before God and with others.
Last week, we covered how Jesus had given His disciples guidance on the proper example of prayer and how are to continue to seek Him for answers (Luke 11:1-13). We looked this week at the same reference to these verses in Matthew 6:9-15; 7:7-8. In the verses representing prayer in Matthew 6 (as well as in Luke 11), forgiveness is an important element of the model prayer. It shows that God wants every believer to be mindful of how we are not to harbor resentment, anger, and bitterness if someone mistreats us. We are to forgive the other person who is guilty of the transgression. We are to do it every time and all of the time…even to repeat offenders (Matthew 18:21-22, Luke 17:4). The consequences of failing to forgive someone does more harm to yourself than it does the other party. God calls all of us as believers in Jesus Christ to live according to His example and in obedience to Him and His Word. He clearly states that He will not forgive us if we do not forgive others. This harms us because we are worse for the wear if our fellowship with God is hampered in any way if we are not putting aside the malice and bitterness that comes from an unforgiving heart. Forgiveness is the essence of what the cross represents to us…how much God loves us in spite of our sins (Romans 8:28; John 3:16). Repentance triggers forgiveness, and true forgiveness frees the recipient of grace. God’s love is a true example of love and forgiveness that we are to live by. These actions represent the true foundation of God’s greatest commands (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Matthew 22:37-40).