SS 1-10-21 Ephesians Recap 1-3

Audio Version

SS 1-10-21 Ephesians Recap

Due to COVID and the holidays, we have taken a five-week siesta from meeting. So, let’s go over what we have covered so far about this wonderful letter to the Ephesians+.

  • Ephesians was probably intended to be a circular letter.
  • The first three chapters are doctrine (teaching of truth).
  •   The last three chapters are application.
  •   Chapter one sets up the framework of salvation:
    •  The framework-1:3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10
    •  The purpose- 1:13-14
    • The prayer- 17-18, 19-21, 22-23
  •   Chapter two, verses 1-10 tell us who we were and who we are now:
    •  Dead in sin- 2:1-3
    • Alive with Christ- 2:4-7
    • Grace and God’s masterpiece- 2:8-10
  • Chapter two, verses 11-22 tell us God’s overall plan for mankind:
    •  Bringing Jews and Gentiles together through the cross-2:14-16, 17-18
    • Members and stones- 2:19-22
  • Chapter three embraces the mystery AND the gospel—and here’s where we will park today.

Read Ephesians 3:1-6. What is this mystery? We get a better feel for it in 2:14-17. Read it. The two reconciled to God through the cross…WOW! Paul was a sharer of this truth. Read 3:7-9. Now, the question is, what is this gospel?

  • Read Luke 9:6. What gospel? Read Matthew 4:17, Luke 17:20-21 and 19:41-44. Paul preached to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. What do you suppose he was meant?
  • Read Ephesians 10-12. Who approaches God with freedom and confidence? WE DO!

Because of mystery and gospel, Paul prays this wonderful prayer for the church. It would be a great one to put on a card and read it every week.

 Around the tables:

  1. Why do we read the verses out loud?
  2. Why is it important that we know this material?
  3. Do you think that in the near future that someone may ask you to give an account for the faith you have?
  4. What good might the prayer in chapter 3 do us were we to ever be detained for our faith?

SS 10-18-20 Parable of the Sower

SS 10-18-20 The Parable of the Sower

Audio Lesson

Taken from Proverbs 17  10-17-20

In the parable (story with a point) of the Sower, we find four different soils: The path, rocky soil, weedy soil, and good soil. Let’s read.

 3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” Mark 4:3-8

What can we learn from Jesus’ teaching? He explains the parable later to His disciples:

14 The farmer sows the word [Gospel]. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

What it boils down to is does a person believe that God has revealed Himself through Scripture? If so, then we accept God’s own testimony about His Son, Jesus Christ.

Everything revolves around our willingness to trust
what He has said in His Word (whether we hear it or read it)
and to make every decision in our lives based upon the truth of His Word.

IF God inspired the writers to write down truth about Him and His Son,

IF God preserved those words throughout history to this present day,

IF the Spirit moves and speaks through those words as they are spoken or read,

THEN we can trust what the Scriptures say,

THEN we can hear Him speaking to us through them,

THEN what they say about the future is dependable,

THEN we will receive power to live according to God’s principles laid out in His Word.

What we can learn from the parable:

  1. Many people hear the message of God’s love and forgiveness, but because of the hardness of their hearts, which have been hardened by the lusts of their eyes, the lusts of their flesh, and their pride of life (1 John 2:16), they willingly turn away from the Truth.
  2. Many people hear the message about our Savior and it seems good to them, so they receive it. Notice that the decision was theirs in that there was no Holy Spirit-conviction. It was based upon an intellectual decision. The problem with a head-decision versus a heart-decision is that the Spirit does not transform the person, therefore, when hardship, persecution, or even just a conflict of wills comes, the person reverts to his old ways. “A dog to its vomit and a pig to its mud (2 Peter 2:22).”
  3. This soil is where most of the church today lives. We love Jesus, but we tend to ignore the rest of His title, which is Adonai (LORD) Yeshua (Jesus) Ha’Mashiach (King, Anointed One). We want the promise of heaven, but we also want wealth, health, comfort, pleasure, power, leisure, and everything else this world offers. Jesus said that a person that puts his hand to the plow (accepts the Gospel) and then looks back (desires what was) is not fit (is out of shape mentally, physically, and spiritually) for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62). The LORD Jesus is still waiting for His Church to give Him their entire lives. It makes me wonder if they really are born again–that’s not my call. If they say they love Jesus, then I will exhort them to love Him with all of their hearts, souls, minds and with all their strength. Eventually, maybe they’ll get it.
  4. This soil is where we want to be! Those who meet with the LORD Jesus daily in the pages of Scripture find true wealth: The JOY of His Presence (Psalm 16:11, 1 Peter 1:8-9), PEACE that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7), His LOVE abounding in our hearts for Him, for ourselves, and for others (Philippians 1:9-11), and His MERCY and GRACE in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16). Notice that they all come from Scripture.

Today, how about moving from soil #3 to seed #4? All it takes is turning to Jesus and giving Him your life for today, for right now, and then to read, thus allowing Him to speak to your heart. He CAN and DOES speak to us directly, but He has chosen to speak to us mainly through His written Word to us, the Scriptures, our Bible. Once we hide God’s words in our heart (Psalm 119:11), He REMINDS us of what we have read as we need to know (John 14:26) and interprets according to our circumstances.

Abba, I pray for my readers that they would comprehend the import of Your revealed message to us. The Scriptures are Your love letter to Your children! May we read them and understand Your love and passion for us. May we receive Your Plan as our plan, and Your will as our will realizing that You want only the BEST for us (sin destroys us). Each morning, I revel in this truth based upon Psalm 73:23-26: I am always with You, You hold me by my hand, you guide me with Your counsel as we walk, and one day You will take me home to be with You in glory. WOW! Whom have I in heaven besides You, O LORD? And this earth has nothing I desire besides You! My heart and my flesh fail me all the time, but YOU are the strength of my heart and my portion, my Choice, forever. Come live in and through me, LORD Jesus, I beg You. Amen.

Around the Table:

  1. Which Scripture grabbed your heart this morning? Share with the group and tell why.
  2. What’s the difference in being in love with Jesus and being in love with the idea of being in love with Jesus?
  3. What’s the difference between intellectual salvation and heart salvation? Which one are you?

SS 8-23-20 Submitting to the Sovereignty of God part 1

SS 8-23-20 Submitting to the Sovereignty of God

Our expectations of what should happen in any given circumstance depends upon what we have been brought up to believe. Most Baptists believe that God answers His children when they pray. There are several ways God answers our prayers depending upon what He is wanting to accomplish–which is usually more than just one thing. It is His very sovereignty of which we will speak today.

We begin with 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. Let’s read it:

3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

In order to wage war, we must know how to use the weapons God has given us. Let us pray:

Heavenly Father, we are in a world that is hostile to Your children. We do not think like they do nor do we fight like they do. The weapons You have given us are designed to break down the barriers that keep a person from recognizing their need for Christ. We take every thought captive so that we can focus on You and what You have in store for us today. Teach us to pray for others that their thoughts would be taken captive by Your Spirit so that all people would become obedient to Christ. Amen.

We need a biblical example of someone submitting to the sovereignty of God–His Father. Whom might that be? Jesus Christ! We begin by reading Philippians 2:5-11.

One of my favorite verses is John 17:24 because it reveals several things. Someone read it for us.

  1. God is His Father.
  2. God has given us to the Son (see verse 20).
  3. We will be where Jesus is, which is seated at the right hand of the Father (see Eph. 1:20).
  4. We get to see His glory, which was His before the creation of the world!

Let’s look at some of Jesus’ teachings and see if we can spot God’s sovereignty in them. For this exercise, we will go to the Sermon on the Mount. This mount is somewhere in Galilee, maybe even on the hillside outside Capernaum that goes down to the Sea of Galilee. We will take the Beatitudes one at a time:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

In each of these, God is assumed as the Initiator, Sustainer and Rewarder. Let’s look at the next two examples. Read Matthew 5:13-16.

The first example tells us that we are to keep pure from foreign (worldly) ingredients, meaning…?

The second example tells us that we are to live our lives so that they point to Jesus–by doing the first example. Is this example our goal in life? Are we walking with Jesus and living obedient lives to His Spirit so that we remain pure from the world and thus let our lights shine for Him? Are we attractive to people who are looking for God? Or, even something different than the world?

The biggest example of Christ’s submission to the sovereignty of God is found in Matthew 26:42, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may Your will be done.” We know that God’s sovereign plan was for Christ to die for us and be resurrected so that we, too, can be resurrected! Read the rest of the Plan in Ephesians 1:9-10.

Now, that’s worth the wait and the work!

There was a picture at Mardel with the Scripture passage 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, which says,

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Robin and I discussed it and this is what we came up with: 

Giving thanks in all circumstances will result in rejoicing always as we pray continually. 

This is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus.

God’s plan for us is to be with Him–or, Him in us for now. Our obedience is us going in His direction! Submitting to the sovereignty of God is not a hardship at all. Rather, it is agreeing with God that what He says is best for us is, indeed, best for us; it is spending time in His presence and becoming like Him without ever realizing it; it is believing what He said/says and enjoying the pleasure of His company, finding all along that He is trustworthy. 

Next week, we will look at Paul, what he taught about the sovereignty of God and how he lived according to the sovereignty of God.


  1. Do you enjoy talking to God or would you rather do something for Him? 
  2. How do we relate to God in regard to the five Love Languages, i.e. Time, Words of Affirmation, Touch, Acts of Service, and gifts?
  3. In light of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, do you believe that God has us going through our circumstances for our good? 
    1. Do we sometimes cause our circumstances?
    2. Does God ever let us simmer in our circumstances?
    3. Does it ever take much longer for God to get us out than we expect?
    4. Does unexpected good ever come from bad circumstances?
    5. How easy is it for God to move us from our present circumstances to where He wants us to be? For instance, the Israelites on the shore with the Red Sea in front of them and the Egyptian army behind them: The waters part, and the Israelites move through. It seems that God had to let the circumstances get pretty grim before the Israelites were willing to trust Him in the matter. How about you? Have there been any grim circumstances in which trusting God was your only real option?

SS 5-17-20 The Spirit Within Chapter 2.5

Last week, we learned that Salvation is all about relationship: our relationship with Jesus Christ, who is God, through the Holy Spirit, who is God, also.

As a quick refresher, let’s read Ephesians 1:13-14 from the NLT.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.

We also learned that we are mobile temples who house God.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.                  

Today, we learn about sin, righteousness, and judgement. John 16:8-11

When he [the Advocate] comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

These verses give us a picture of all that Jesus did on the cross.

  1. He will now convict all people personally of their sin through His Spirit. Romans 1:18-19 18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 
  2. He, through His sacrifice, makes eternal intercession for us to the Father. Romans 8:26-27 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. 
  3. He sealed Satan’s fate. Revelation 20:10 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 

The next thing we need to know is found in 1 Corinthians 2:10-15.

10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.[c] 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments,

Let’s break it down:

  1. The Spirit shares God’s heart and mind with us. The Spirit is God, therefore, God shares His heart and mind with us. Proverbs 1:23 says, 23 Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make my heart known to you.
  2. The Spirit helps us to understand what God has freely given us. He speaks to us by way of our spirits, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.
  3. Without the Spirit, there is NO WAY to understand spiritual ANYTHING. In fact, spiritual stuff is just downright foolish to the worldly person. Indeed, he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned and he is dead in his trespasses and sins. We were, too, at one time.
  4. What we learn from the Spirit cannot be judged by man, nor can we be held accountable (judged) by what the Spirit says to each of us. I know this idea sounds crazy dangerous, but it is known as the priesthood of the believer. We all get to hear directly from God! We are accountable to Him. Just bear in mind that if what we say or think the Holy Spirit says to us conflicts with the Word of God, then we must go with the Word of God. It is the revealed will of God to mankind. It trumps experience and revelation.

The last verse of the chapter gives us a revelation that we need to unpack. “We have the mind of Christ.” What does that even mean?

  1. He speaks directly to us. “It’s not that I literally hear His voice–it’s much more than that.” – Jimmy Cox. We sense the rightness of it, sometimes the urging to do His will; sometimes the comfort of His love and His joy in our conversation. Sometimes it’s His peace that flows through us as we settle on the proper meaning of the text or circumstance. We KNOW when we are on track with Him.
  2. We see the world as He does. Once a beautiful world, now a fallen one. But, one day, Jesus will restore it to its former glory.
  3. We see people as He does. He sees people who are like sheep without a shepherd, who are being ravaged by wolves, lions, and bears (oh my). He sees us who are His brothers and sisters, co-heirs to the riches of heaven. He sees those who won’t ever come to Him, but also those who will! He uses us, mostly, to reach them.

How do we access the mind of Christ?

  1. Acknowledge Him as King of the universe and as your LORD.
  2. Open up your mind and will to Him (climbing up on the altar).
  3. Open up His Word and digging in.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness so that the person of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

God is looking for people who will fellowship with Him. Will you?


SS 5-10-20 The Spirit Within Chapter 2

Last week, we covered what it takes to be reunited with God through Jesus Christ:

  1. HE makes us aware of our sin and our separation from Him.
  2. HE Comes to us and asks us to give Him our sin and our lives.
  3. HE makes us realize that we cannot clean ourselves up. WE NEED HIM.
  4. WE repent by turning to Him and asking Him to make us His.
  5. HE DOES! We experience a oneness with Him, a closeness that includes love, joy, peace, hope and grace. It’s Amazing! We are truly “filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy!” 1 Peter 1:8-9.

We have begun a relationship with the God of the Universe! We now have His Son living in our hearts–HOW? That’s the big question that we are going to answer today.

Read Ephesians 1:13-14. 

  1. What happened when we believed? We were given the Holy Spirit. Just to clarify, the Holy Spirit is not an “it,” but a Person. He is the essence of Jesus. Hear Jesus’ own words in John 16:13-14. HE will guide us into all truth; HE will not speak on His own, but only what HE hears from the Father; HE will tell us what is yet to come; He will glorify Jesus because it is from Jesus that HE will receive what HE will make known to you. 
  2. The Holy Spirit was promised long ago: Read Isaiah 34:16, Ezekiel 36:26-27, Joel 2:28, and Zechariah 12:10. This is NOT a make-it-up-as-you-go plan. It’s always been Plan A; there’s NEVER been a Plan B.
  3. What is a guarantee? It’s assurance of something better coming. Want to know what’s coming? Read Ephesians 3:20-21. Now you know as much as I do!
  4. We are God’s possession. We now belong to Him. We are not our own anymore. Let’s read it: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

If we were to stop right there, we would have plenty to make us want salvation. Knowing and housing God–WOW! But wait, there’s more! We are clean inside, we are assured of missing hell, and we are promised heaven and all that goes with it! Have you ever thought that if heaven is where God is, and God is in our hearts, then heaven is in our hearts–we’ve already begun our eternity with Him! We have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We are His for eternity. Let’s just stop and praise Him now… “God is so good, God is so good…”

Three things we need to know:

  1. Searching the Scriptures daily is vital to a follower of Christ. The Thessalonicans received Paul’s teaching and preaching, but it was the Bereans who were considered more noble. Why? Acts 17:11.
  2. The Trinity lives inside of you–What?! God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have taken up residence in us. Read John 14:23, 15:26, and 16:15. Don’t ask me how He can run the universe from our hearts, but He does! I reckon it’s because of His Omnipresence and Omnipotence.
  3. We are mobile temples. Wherever God lives is His temple; He lives in us, so we are living, mobile temples. Consider this: When Jesus died, the temple veil was torn in two from top to bottom (Luke 23:44-46). Why? To let us in? Yes, but more than that: To let Him out! 50 days later, on Pentecost, tongues of fire came and… well, let’s read it for ourselves: Acts 2:1-4. We’ve already read that we are temples of the Holy Spirit. If the Spirit is God, then He resides and rules in our hearts.

When is the last time you have thanked Him for saving you? Have you thanked Him for coming to live in you? Do you acknowledge Him everyday? Listen to His direction? Consult His wisdom? If we only became Christians to miss hell, then we missed the point of Christ’s redeeming work on the cross! If Christ is important to you, then YOU WILL make spending time with Him a priority. I write out cards. The first one I read every morning as I begin my time with Him goes like this:

  1. Acknowledge the Lord as my Lord.
  2. Open myself up to His Spirit.
  3. Tune in to His voice.
  4. Have Him search my heart.
  5. I read, “Search me, O God, and know my [ugly] heart; test me and know my [every] anxious [and fearful] thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me [so that I can repent], and lead me in [Your] way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24.

I start off EVERY morning like this. If I need reminding, I have written in the corner: put off/put on entitlement-selflessness; pride-abandonment of self; vanity-humility; impatience-kindness; selfishness-self denial; sloth-diligence; anger-compassion; lust-captive thoughts; spite-forgiveness; rage-gentleness. I’m sure I will come up with more.

We can do it, but we must give up our arrogance and pride and come humbly to Christ everyday. We need His daily bread; we need HIM.


SS 4-26-20 The Story of the Three Briskets

There once was a woman who went to her deep freeze and pulled out a brisket to cook. She put it in the frig overnight and got it out the next morning. She put it on the counter and waited for it to cook. When she returned a couple of hours later, she stuck her cooking thermometer into it and–lo, it was room temperature. It had not cooked a bit!

She then pulled out a roasting pan and placed the brisket in it. She put it in the oven and set the timer for two hours. When she returned, she pulled out the brisket and checked the temperature. Again, it was room temperature. It had not cooked even a little bit.

So, she reached over and turned on the oven; she set the temperature on 350°, and walked away. Several hours later, she came back and checked its temperature. IT WAS PERFECT! It was now ready to serve.

Even though there was only one brisket, there were three methods used. Let’s compare them to the Christian life and see what we can learn.

The Brisket on the Counter- This brisket closely resembles a cadaver–wait! It IS a cadaver! Or, at least, part of one. The point is that the brisket represents a dead body. Before Christ raised us from the dead, we were cadavers. The best illustration is Lazarus. We will pick up the narrative at the tomb. Read John 11:38-40, 41-44.

  1. Where was Lazarus? He was in the tomb.
  2. What was Lazarus’ condition? He was dead and wrapped. Read Ephesians 2:1-2. Us, too.
  3. Why did he come out? Jesus called him. Read Ephesians 2:4-5
  4. What happened after he came out? They removed his graveclothes. He was bound by strips of cloth, much like an Egyptian mummy, but with his arms wrapped to his sides. If his legs were wrapped, too, then he might have had to hop to get out! After Jesus raised us from the dead, we began the process of having our graveclothes removed. Read Ephesians 4:22-24 and Romans 6:11-14. It’s a process. Read Revelation 7:9-10 and 19:14. One of these days, we will receive a robe of white, which represents sonship (girls, you, too) and purity. Galatians 4:6 says it best.

The Brisket in the oven- This brisket was in the right place, but it still didn’t get cooked. Why not? Because the oven had not applied heat to it, which would have transformed it into a delicious roast. Our salvation is not brought about by anything we can do. Remember: We are cadavers. Without the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, we cannot be brought back to life. Read John 3:5-6. Our flesh is still alive, but our spirits are dead. The Spirit of Christ quickens us and gives us life. We are born again! Read 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14. Jesus called us to come out of our graves! His Spirit gives us life! Again, Galatians 4:6. No Spirit? No life. We are just walking cadavers.

The Brisket with the oven on- This brisket gets transformed by the heat of the oven. Over time, it turns into a delicious dinner ready for the table. The Spirit within us works just like the heat in that oven. Over time, we are transformed into the image of our Savior. Read Romans 8:28-29, 2 Corinthians 3:6-9, 10-13*, 14-18. Conformed and transformed. The law was like the oven that wasn’t turned on. It had no power to transform the brisket. Neither does the law have the power to save us. We need Christ not only to save us, but to transform us as we move from glory to glory. This process is called Sanctification. Eventually, we are glorified as we step into His presence!

Next week, we begin a new time and a new study, “The Spirit Within.” Go to and look under “About Salvation.” It’s there! Our new time, tentatively, is live at 4:00 on Thursday. It will be posted.

*The Jews are God’s chosen people to show the world His love. As I understand it: Right now, we are in the Times of the Gentiles, but that window will close–possibly, soon–and God will once again focus on the Jews, and the veil mentioned in 2 Corinthians 3 will be lifted. Their interest in our Savior, Yeshua Ha’Mashiach, is of great importance to us, because it signifies the closing of the Times of the Gentiles and the immanent appearance of our LORD.

SS 4-19-20 Being Like God

We are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26). We have body, soul and spirit. Many think that the soul and spirit are the same, and there is a biblical basis for that belief. I believe that the body and soul are two halves of the same part. I see the soul as a place-holder for the Spirit of God, a glove for the Hand. We are nothing without value, like zeroes without a number. Jesus fills that place; He is our Value, our Number. With Him in us, we can become like God–in fact, we are as much like God as we can be while on this earth in these bodies.

Actually, being like God is simple. All we have to be is good. And kind. And patient. And loving. And sacrificial. And a servant. How do we know? Because He told us in His Word:

  • Goodness- Galatians 5:22-23
  • Kindness- 1 Corinthians 13:4
  • Patient (long-suffering)- 2 Peter 3:9
  • Loving- 1 John 4:16
  • Sacrificial- Hebrews 7:27, 9:26
  • A Servant- Matthew 20:28

We must be filled with the fullness of Him. Read Ephesians 3:16-19.

  1. How are we strengthened? Where are we strengthened?
  2. Dwell means ________, ________, ________.
  3. Where will He dwell? How will He dwell?
  4. What is it that Christ wants us to grasp? With what does He want to fill us?
  5. “Filled to the measure of all the fullness of _____!

 Read verses 20-21.

  1. How much more?
  2. According to whose power? Where is it at work?
  3. In whom does God receive glory? When?
  4. Do you see us in this statement?
  5. Do you catch the significance of “forever and ever?”

Ephesians is a great book. If you haven’t read it, then IT’S TIME! God has something to say to you that you will only hear when you read His Word for yourself and listen for His voice.

There’s one more way we are already like God. Read 1 Corinthians 2:10-12, and the last line of the chapter. “But we have the mind of Christ.” Access. We need to learn to access the mind of Christ. How do we access the mind of Christ? We ask the Spirit to show us, to reveal it to us, to teach us, and to do verse 13, “This is what we speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.” Folks, we only get that two ways. One is reading His Word and the other is in prayer. Think about it this way: 

  1. We pray every time we read the Bible because it’s God speaking His words to us; 
  2. As we read, He opens up our minds to His truths and spiritual realities, which causes us to pray; 
  3. When we pray, we pray based upon what we know from God’s words expressed to us by His Spirit, which ignites a hunger in us for His Word, so we read (repeat the process).

Let’s choose to be like God today; let’s think like Him. He will trust us more and we will trust Him more.

SS 4-12-20 Beyond the Resurrection

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone and the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

This verse encapsulates what Christ did on the Cross. He fulfilled the sacrificial system with His own life. He created mobile temples. He implants a virus (if you will) into a person that eventually transforms the person into part of the God-hood. I use this term very specifically: We are part of God as His children, which makes us part of the “hood,” the family of God. Let’s look at each of these statements.

Christ fulfilled the sacrificial system with His own life. 

  1. Read Hebrews 4:14-16. Let’s start with the end. This relationship of faith, empathy, purity, confidence, mercy and grace is what Christ gives to His children. Us!
  2. Read Hebrews 7:23-27. Since Jesus is God, He lives forever. Since He lives forever, He forever acts as our Intercessor to God–not through words, but by His blood that is on the altar. We read about it in Isaiah 6:6-7. How can that be?! Read Revelation 5:6-7, 13:8. See?
  3. Read Hebrews 9:11-12, 13-14. His blood is all we need! He Is the FINAL SACRIFICE.

He created mobile temples. 

  1. Read Luke 23:44-45. This act allowed regular worshipers into God’s presence.
  2. Acts 2:1-4. This act allowed God into every worshiper’s presence.

He implants a virus into a person that eventually transforms the person into part of the God-hood. 

  1. Read Romans 8:29. What is the action word used here?
  2. Read 2 Corinthians 3:18. What is the action word used here?
  3. Read Colossians 3:9-10. What is the relative action word used here?
  4. Read 1 John 4:16-17. What is the key phrase used here?
  5. Read Proverbs 4:18. How does this verse apply to the previous verses?
  6. Read 1 John 3:1-3.
    1. What are we? What has God lavished on us?
    2. We don’t know exactly what we will be. Are you comfortable with this?
    3. When Christ appears, how shall we be then?
    4. We have this hope, therefore, we work at purifying ourselves to be like Him.

Our present state is transitional. We transition to heaven and then back to earth, or Christ returns and we transition in the air on our way to serve/reign with Him in Jerusalem (Pre-Persecution Rapture? Possibly). Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus, His current reign while God makes all His enemies His footstool (Psalm 110:1), and His imminent RETURN even as we work to purify ourselves to be like Him. “Look, I AM coming soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done [ with Me].” Revelation 22:12


SS 4-5-20 Palm Sunday

The Sunday before Easter is called Palm Sunday. Why? Let’s read it. Matthew 21:1-3, 4-8, 9-11. The account is also in Mark 11:1-10, Luke 19:29-38, and John 12:12-15. So, the answer is that people waved palm branches as Jesus came into Jerusalem. Is that all? Let’s look deeper.

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9. Matthew quoted this verse. Why a donkey?

Look at Isaiah 62. It’s about the coming of Messiah, but not the first coming, but the second coming!

  1. In verse 2, Israel will be called by a new name–little did/do they know that that name will be the Bride of Christ.
  2. Messiah will change their name from Desolate to “My delight is in her” and by Beulah, which means “married.” Hence, the Bride of Christ. Verse 5 confirms it.
  3. Verses 6-7 talks about watchmen posted on Jerusalem’s walls that will never be silent. Who are these watchmen? When, considering that Jerusalem was torn down in 70AD? I love this exhortation, “You who all on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give Him no rest till He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.” Has this happened, yet? No. Could we be the watchmen?
  4. Verse 8 specifically says “never again” twice, and verse 9 speaks of the courts of the sanctuary, which hasn’t been built yet.
  5. Verses 10-12 speak of preparation of Messiah (John the Baptist), and the proclamation made, “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your Savior comes! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.’” Names like, “the Holy People,” and, “Sought After,” which is a marriage term, and “the City No Longer Deserted,” are used. When? Well, it couldn’t have been between 71AD and 1948 nor to the present, so it must be in the future.

But, why a donkey?

    1. Donkeys are beasts of burden. They are known for being gentle, if not stubborn. Look at Jesus’ claim about Himself, 
      1. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.


  • Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. 2 He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. 3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. Isaiah 42:1-3
  • Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17
  • When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. Mark 6:34

Why did most Jews miss the Coming of their Messiah? Because they were looking for His SECOND Return and not His first. Had they paired Isaiah 62:11, “See, your Savior comes!” with “lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey,” they would have recognized that Messiah had to come and be their Ultimate Sacrifice first. John the Baptist said it like this, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29.

Matthew 21:9 quotes Psalm 118:26-27. Let’s read it.

Look at verses 22-24. Heard them before? Let’s look:

  1. Isaiah 8:13-14
  2. Matthew 21:42-44 (also in Luke 20:17-18)
  3. Luke 2:34 (Simeon)

It’s an important passage. A Messianic passage–and the people were quoting it. No wonder the Pharisees were upset!

Did you know that most Jews don’t know Jesus was Jewish? Did you know that they have never read Isaiah 53? It’s not in their prayer books and they don’t read the Scriptures for themselves. Sound familiar? How better to control the masses?! When people read the Bible for themselves, they get talked to by the Spirit! Amazing!!!

Two more passages:

  1. Romans 9:30-33
  2. 1 Peter 2:4-10

As we go into this holy week, let’s read for ourselves the story of our salvation. Here are some things to observe:

  1. Jesus knew why He came and what He had to do. He was committed to the cross for our sake.
  2. No one else knew what He was about until AFTER the resurrection.
  3. He fulfilled the Law (the sacrificial system) as represented by Moses and the Prophets (of His coming) as represented by Elijah, both present on the mount of transfiguration.
  4. When the veil was torn, we were allowed access to the Father–and He became available to us through the Holy Spirit! The primary mission of Jesus was to reunite us with God the Father through Himself (God the Son) by way of God the Spirit.




1. What went wrong-Sin


Show video

Genesis1:1 God created. We either believe or we don’t. Evidence is moving more and more toward Creation as science catches up with truth, but we interpret information according to what our bias is. As Christians, we really have no choice but to believe in Creation,:

A. If no creation, then there is no original sin

B. If no original sin, then there is no need for salvation

C. If there is no need for salvation, then there’s no need for Christ

D. If no need for Christ, then Christianity has no foundation

Points of Interest

-a night and a day is a literal 24 hours

-the earliest fossil layer reveals an explosion of life, complex life

-the fossil record only works in sedimentary rock that was once liquid and then hardened (sounds like a flood to me) ex. Grand Canyon and the rock which the layers flowed around

-mankind is different than the rest of creation because we have a spirit; it’s actually a holding place for the Holy Spirit, like the number 0

-mankind had dominion over all creation

-the rib of Adam is the same word that is used to describe a ship’s ribs, which is an integral part of the ship

Next week:

The Fall-

The tree of Desire- a chocolate tree? 😆

The week after:

The Curse- we all inherited it