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Monday, July 28, 2008

Singing and Sacrifices

I attended the singing school in Wilburton, OK this past week. It was a very uplifting week. The last day, a thought was presented that I hadn't thought much about previously. It had to with our singing being a sacrifice to God. I know I've heard it said and have read it in the Bible but I had never really thought about what it meant to me as a Christian. The drive home from Wilburton (with everyone else in the car asleep except me) gave me a lot of time to contemplate the subject. Tomorrow night is our Ladies' Bible Class. We should be working on marking our Bibles like we've done all summer but I want to present this to them instead. The general information and outline came from a class taught by Glenda Schales.

When we read about sacrifices in the Old Testament (the first few chapters of Leviticus), the first thing that becomes apparent is the meticulous rules that were involved in offering sacrifices. God wanted the best of everything. He said that if an offering was brought from the herd it should be a male without blemish, if an offering was brought from the flock it should be a male without blemish. The phrase without blemish just keeps popping up. It is very important to God that what they offered to Him was perfect. Not just the best they happened to have but an offering that had no blemish.

Just think about that a minute. There must have been a lot of preparation involved to consistently produce offerings that were without blemish. These offerings were not just offered once in a while. There were sacrifices being offered to God daily. These perfect animals had to come from somewhere. The flocks/herds had to be tended with great care. They had to be bred with skill to produce enough lambs or goats or cattle that had no blemish. They had to be cared for so they would not become injured and thus not acceptable as a sacrifice. This must have been a lot of work.

To be pleasing to God, the Israelites could not just send little Johnny outside to grab a lamb on the way to the sacrifice. The lambs (or cattle) must have been chosen well in advance of when they would have been needed. They must have known exactly which of their animals were going to be used to sacrifice to God and which were to be left for the family to consume. They could not leave this most important service of God to chance. The shame of not being prepared with a proper sacrifice must have been something no one wanted to face.

The Israelites were not instructed to do the best they could. They couldn't say, "Well, I'm not very good at raising cattle so I'll just bring the best I can." God left no room for anything that wasn't perfect. The sacrifice must be without blemish. I'm sure it was a monumental task that was on the Israelites' minds all the time. They were always working towards the coming sacrifice they needed to offer.

Move forward a few hundred years to the days of King David (2 Samuel 24). David needed to offer a sacrifice to God but he was not home and had no place to sacrifice and nothing to offer as a sacrifice. The place and the offering were presented to David as a gift. David wanted no part of the gift. He said that he would purchase the land and everything he needed to offer the sacrifice. David did not want to offer a sacrifice to God that cost him nothing. He knew that for it to be a true sacrifice, he must give something up. He would not pass his responsibility on to someone else. He paid for it all from his own funds.

A sacrifice is giving something up. We sacrifice a lot of time and energy on our kids. That means we willing give up our time to help them grow to be the adults they need to be. In the same sense, we must sacrifice something to please God. In the Old Testament, the Israelites sacrificed the best of their flocks/herds. They gave God the best, no, not just the best, the perfect animals that they raised. In the New Testament we are instructed to sacrifice ourselves. We are living sacrifices (Heb 12). Our whole lives are to be lived as a sacrifice to God. We are to freely spend our money, our time and our talents to serve God. We are to give Him our hearts and our souls. We are to not hold anything back and we are not to give Him anything but the very best.

Look at the following passages:

Psalms 27:6 -- And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

Psalms 107:22 -- Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.

Psalms 119:108 -- Accept, I pray, the freewill offerings of my mouth O Lord...

Hebrews 13:15 -- Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.

Singing is a sacrifice, so....

Let's prepare ourselves. We know that God wants the very best from His people. Let's learn to give Him the very best. Let's not be willing to accept anything less of ourselves because He will not accept anything less from us.

God has asked us to sing praises to Him with the ultimate instrument -- our hearts/lips/voices. We must prepare our heart and mind to give the sacrifice of song. We must prepare our voice to sing our sacrifice.

Read Ephesians 5:19

speak to one another...
--We must both be there if we are to sing to one another. We can't sing to someone who is not there and if we are not there, we can't be sung to. This implies that at some point, we are going to get together and sing. We also must sing so that others can hear us. If we can't be heard, then we are not singing to one another.

in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs...
--We can't sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs if we don't know any. We must prepare ourselves by learning to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Thankfully, we live in a time when there are lots and lots of beautiful psalms, hymns and spiritual songs for us to sing but if we don't learn them, we can't sing them.

singing and making melody in your hearts...
--The instrument we use to sing is made by God. We don't sing a sacrifice to Him with an inferior instrument anymore than the Israelites would offer an inferior animal for a sacrifice in the Old Testament. The voice is a perfect instrument. Any other, whether used for accompaniment or used alone is far inferior to what God has made for us. The human voice can be used any and everywhere. We are not limited to our worship being in Jerusalem as they were in Bible times. We are told we can worship anywhere. Our voices are with us wherever we go. We are always able to offer a sacrifice of song to God.
--Making melody in your heart literally means to pluck the strings of your heart. This implies an emotion that goes hand in hand with the voice. Songs can be sung with the right words and be in tune, but if they have no emotion (come from the heart) they are not acceptable to God. God wants us to worship Him from the heart.

to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ...
--All of this is directed toward God. Our sacrifice of singing is to be used to give thanks to God. Other passages say we are to praise God. God wants us to acknowledge Him and recognize that all that we have, all that we are is because of Him. In Acts 17, Paul tells the people of Athens, "God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands, Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things...for in Him we live and move and have our being." We are to give God the glory for all things. One way He has instructed us to do this is in song.

How can we improve our sacrifice of singing?

Think about the words. The song God Is So God is a good one to look at. Read the words and really think about what they are saying. Many times we sing songs and spend so much time concentrating all the notes and musical notations that the words tend to be an after thought. If we familiarize ourselves with the words, we can worship God with all our hearts.

God is so good,
God is so good,
God is so good,
He's so good to me!

Jesus is real,
Jesus is real,
Jesus is real,
He's so real to me!

He saved my soul,
He saved my soul,
He saved my soul and
He made me whole!

I praise His name,
I praise His name
I praise His name,
He's so good to me!

It's important that we learn the style of music we sing. God didn't specify that we sing in four part harmony. In fact, the early church did not. Their singing was probably very different from ours. God left the specific style to our culture. Different parts of the world will use a different style than we do in the US.

Our western style of music is made up of rhythm, tone, tempo, etc. We have an 8 note scale that most of our music is based on. It can seem daunting to try to learn, but with much work can be mastered beautifully. Don't forget the Israelites and now they had to produce perfect animals to sacrifice to God. If we are to sing a sacrifice it is going to take some work on our part.

Read the song again and this time try to feel the rhythm. Pretend like your rocking a baby as you read. The rocking motion when you rock a baby is the beat of the music. That is the rhythm. It's not hard to find the rhythm, it's just hard to read the notations we've come up with to let us know what the rhythm is. For now, just read the words and feel the rhythm.

Sing the melody (for those who have the Hymns For Worship it is song number 47). It is a very simple melody that fits very easily with the words. The first phrase just uses 3 notes. The next phrase moves those 3 notes up a step and so does the 3rd phrase. Then on the last phrase the music flows back down to the starting note. Anyone who really wants to improve their singing sacrifice should take the time to read the music. It is challenging, but can be done.

The other thing we need to do to improve our singing sacrifice is to learn what the song leader is doing. We have song leaders so we can all sing decently and in order. The song leaders style will vary greatly depending on the group he's leading and his own ability. There are a couple of things any song leader should do. First, he should let you know what note you're going to start on. If he doesn't, he's going to be singing the first couple of measures by himself and you'll miss out on giving God that part of the sacrifice. We need to learn to listen for the beginning note.

The next thing any song leader should do is give you a beat pattern. The most important part of this beat pattern is getting everyone started. If he's going to give the beat, the only way we'll be able to start with him is if we are looking at him. We must look up and be prepared to sing with the song leader. This goes back to learning some psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. The more we know, the better our worship will be.

What can you do on your own to improve your singing sacrifice? You can listen to CDs with the music you're wanting to learn. We live in a great time when these are readily available. Listen as your driving in your car, as your working in the house or wherever. Before you know it, you'll be singing along and even singing on your own. Sing with others whenever possible. If you hear of a singing in your area, go to it. If you are having a singing in your home congregation, go to it. If you hear of people just getting together in their homes to sing, go with them. Have people in your own home to sing. Last of all, learn from others. If you have a weak area in singing, ask someone that can to help you. Take every opportunity to improve your worship to God. Never be satisified with mediocrity. God expects the very best and we all need to give it to Him.

Now let's sing God Is So Good to each other and to God.

How did you feel after singing the song?
Did you feel you had offered a sacrifice to God?
Did you talk to each other in song?
Did you feel encouraged?

One last scripture to encourage us all:

Psalms 47:6-7:

Sing praises to God, sing praises!
Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the king of all the earth;
Sing praises with understanding.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Defining the Law

This quarter is coming together rather slowly. I don't know if it was because we just finished the VBS or because I can't seem to get a handle on the individual lessons. The kids in my class have just been promoted from a class that was studying Jonah last month. Now, they've got to switch gears and start learning about the law. Next week should be easier to teach them, but I'm going to be out of town and miss it.

Today's lesson is supposed to be Defining the Law. We will continue with our discussion on Worship. We'll also talk about obedience and how God told the parents to teach their children (Deut 6). I wrote a new song for the section on worship. You can see/print/hear it here.

We'll start making little books on pleasing God. Each week they will color a picture that pertains to the application part of the lesson. Then they will glue their picture into the little book. This isn't quite put together yet. I hope to have it finalized by next week. Today, we'll color a picture of a daddy reading the Bible to his little boy. The picture have all come from Thru-the-Bible Coloring Pages. These coloring books have excellent pictures of kids doing things with their family, friends and by themselves. There are also excellent pictures of major Bible stories.

Lesson Plan:

Review: We'll use the worship cards to review what we've learned about worship. I'll probably introduce the song (We Worship God) here.

Read Bethany Learns about Preaching The Gospel

Read from the Bible: Deut 6: 5-6. Talk to them about what it means. This will be the memory verse for most of the quarter.

Color sheet: I'm not usually big on coloring in Bible class, but these pictures seem to really help them get the idea I'm trying to get across. I have reduced the color sheets down to fit on a half sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 paper. These are the pictures that will be glued into the little books. This one is about parents teaching their children about God and is a picture of a daddy reading the Bible to his little boy.

Review OT books. We have just gotten up to the first 5 books so far. They had been working on these in their other class, so I know they can say more. I need to add the next 5 today.

Attendance charts

Sing: We Worship God
I Am... The I Am wall is still up from VBS. If there is time we'll sing the song and let them go to wall and point out all the I am's there.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

More On the Levitical Priesthood

Tonight I will be subbing for the other teacher of 5/6 year old class. We follow the Amplified Bible Curriculum. All of our classes beginning with the 5/6 year old class on up to adults are following the same schedule. Wednesday evening classes study the same thing as Sunday AM. The teachers can divide up the material anyway they see fit. Tonight, we will continue talking about worship. We'll also introduce the idea of a high priest and talk about some of their duties and what their clothing looked like.

Thanks to Evie who left a comment on my last entry, I now have an excellent memory verse for the quarter. I won't start it tonight because we have so much to do, but starting Sunday AM we'll be learning Deut 6:4-8.

Lesson Plan:


Review: Review lessons from Moses' life using pictures from Beginner's Bible Cards.

High Priest -- Show picture of high priest (from same cards as above). Talk about some of his duties and point out the interesting parts of his clothing. Put together paper doll of the high priest. The paper doll was given to me by the other teacher. I'm not sure where she got it, but it is really neat. Make ephod for children to take home. The ephod is basically a piece of 5"x5" yellow card stock with holes punched at the top for a string to go around the neck. The students will glue 12 different gems in neat rows (hopefully) on the ephod. We'll talk about the stones representing each of the 12 tribes.

Worship: Using the worship cards from last week, review the different things we do to worship God. There are now enough sets of cards for each student to have his own. Let them tell me about the Lord's Supper (we read the Bethany book last week). Then read Bethany Learns About Prayer.

Review behavior in worship using the cards we used last week.

Old Testament Books: Go over the 1st 5 books of the OT. See if they can put their own sets in order. I made a large "Bible" to go on the wall. It is a black poster board with white felt glued to the center cut in the shape of pages of an open book. I put velcro on the back of a small set of OT cards. The students will get to see if they can put the 5 books in order on the large "Bible". If their interest is high, I'll add a 2 or 3 more books.

Play memory with 2 small sets and as many books as we got to tonight.

Put a grape on their attendance chart.

Let the students choose a song or 2 to sing.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Wilderness Wanderings -- The Levitical Priesthood

I've had 6 months off of my teaching duties. Sunday I started back again with the 5/6 year old class. It is going to be a small class (2 regular students) plus whatever visitors come our way. We are blessed to be at a congregation that has many visitors. Yesterday, we had one in class.

We are starting off learning about the Wilderness Wanderings. One of the downfalls of us studying a different series of lessons in the pre-school class is that when they move up to the 5/6 year old class, they are stepping right into the middle of something they aren't familiar with. Last week they were studying Jonah, this week they are studying about the Levitical Priesthood. That's a challenge. I decided to spend most of class time talking about our worship today. I will be subbing for the Wednesday night teacher this Wednesday and plan to get more into some of what they did back in Moses' day.

My objectives for this quarter are:

*Memorize the Old Testament books
*Be able to tell in detail who the following people are: Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Caleb, Balak, and Balaam.
*Learn about and understand the following character traits: Obedience, trust, thankfulness, respect for authority...
*I know there will be a memory verse, I just haven't come up with it yet.

Since I forgot to write out a lesson plan, I'll just record what we did in class.

Lesson Plan:

Review: I reviewed a little about Jonah, then briefly discussed some things about Moses that I knew they had studied several months ago.

We used worship cards I made by scanning appropriate color sheets from Thru-the-Bible Coloring Pages, coloring them, resizing them to about 5" square to review what we do during worship. There was a picture of a family walking into a church building, a picture of children singing from songbooks, a picture of a family praying, a picture of little boy putting a coin in the collection plate, a picture of children listen to the teacher read from the Bible and a picture of the Lord's Supper table.

I read Bethany Learns About The Lord's Supper.

We used the picture cards I bought years and years ago to discuss behavior in worship.

We reviewed the first 5 books of the Old Testament. We have a picture card for each book. There is a large set for class use and then each child has trading size cards for individual use. I laid the large set out (5 cards in all) in front of them on the table in order. They then took their 5 smaller cards and tried to put them in order.

We played memory with the smaller cards. I took 2 of the sets of small cards and turned them upside down on the table. The kids loved matching the 2 that were alike.

Our attendance chart this quarter is a bunch of grapes. Yesterday, it was just a wooden stem with a couple of leaves. Every time they come to class, they'll get to add a grape to their picture. Both of the regulars are very regular. They should have quite a nice size bunch of grapes when we're through.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Marking Your Bible -- Other methods

I came across this webpage while surfing the internet this morning. I thought some of you might enjoy reading it. It gives several different methods of marking your Bible that can be used independently or together. I thought it was very interesting. The methods it describes are:

1.Chain Reference
2.Color Code
3.Cross Reference
4.Number Reference
5.Highlighting or Underlining
6. Subject Lists

If you're interested in reading more, you can visit the web page here: Bible Marking

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Marking Your Bibles -- Salvation -- Part 1

Monday night was our ladies' Bible class. We continued marking our Bibles. This time we used a red pen and marked a series of passages that would help us teach someone about salvation. We got half way through the passages and will finish them next time.

In the section on salvation, there are 7 specific topics to be discussed:

Obedience
Unity
Faith
Repentance
Confession
Baptism
Conversions

The last passage of our series on Authority was Romans 15:4. To maintain a continuous flow for your study, go to Romans 15:4 and mark (with your red pen) Matthew 7:21-27. So I would know which topic I'm about to switch to, I put Obedience in parenthesis. This will allow you to be aware that you're through with authority and are getting ready to talk about obedience.

This study may be a continuation of the original study (on the same day) or you may have taken a break from studying and are now meeting at a different time. If that is the case, you need to do a quick review. You need to remind the person you're studying with that since God made everything, He alone has authority to do whatever He wants. He chose to give all authority to Christ who then sent the Holy Spirit to tell the apostles what we needed to know who then wrote it down. So, whatever is written down in the New Testament is our final authority.

One more thing before we get started here. There are a few very long passages in this study. It may be tempting to just summarize these passages and go on. It's important to remember that this is a Bible study. It would be very appropriate to read large portions of it. Of course, you'll have to make a decision on just how much the person your studying with will tolerate, but don't underestimate their desire to hear the Bible being read. That's why they are there. If they didn't want to know what it said, they would be somewhere else. In other words, read the long passages with feeling, stopping only occasionally to make a point here or there. Let God's word speak for itself.

Obedience

Matthew 7:21-27: Obedience is very important. There are many people today that do not obey Christ. They do what they want and say they are doing it in His name. Jesus is telling us in the Sermon on the Mount that those who are doing things in His name are not going to go to heaven unless they are actually doing His will (obeying Him). This is the passage of the wise/foolish man. Many people will be familiar with this because of the children's song that has been sung for years. It will probably be a breath of fresh air to someone to hear something they are so familiar with. I may also be a shock to realize the harsh words Jesus used just before it. Outline and write John 3:36 in the margin.

John 3:36: This is a clear statement of what will happen you believe in the Son and what will happen if you don't. Believe -- everlasting life...does not believe -- not see life. Outline and write Luke 6:46-49 in the margin.

Luke 6:46-49: This is a parallel passage with Matthew 7 above. Jesus asks the question: Why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say? That's a very legitimate question and one that we all need to ask ourselves. He then goes into the wise/foolish man again. Outline and write John 8:31 in the margin.

John 8:31: Here Jesus is talking to the believing Jews. He simply said, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed." To abide is to do, live by, obey. If we obey Him, we are his disciples (students, followers). Outline and write Acts 5:29 in the margin.


Acts 5:29: Here Peter after being given strict instructions not to teach about Jesus anymore is found teaching about Jesus. When asked by the high priest why they disobeyed, Peter said, "We ought to obey God rather than man." We need to be convicted enough to obey God even when it goes against the norm, goes against the civil authorities or goes against our peers. We must obey God. Outline and write Roman 2:8 in the margin.

Romans 2:8: Here, Paul tells the Romans what will hapen to those that seek their own will, and do not obey the truth: indignation, wrath, tribulation, anguish. He goes on to say that those who obey will receive: glory, honor, peace. Outline and write 2 Thess 1:7-9 in the margin.

2 Thessalonians 1:7-9: What will happen to those who do not obey the gospel? Jesus, with his mighty angels in flaming fire will take vengeance. They (disobedient ones) will be punished with everlasting destruction. Outline and write Matt 10:37-38 in the margin.

Matthew 10:37-38: In this passage, Jesus is requiring His followers to make a choice -- who will they love more -- father/mother? son/daughter? He's not asking us to hate our family, He's asking us to make a choice. Love Him more than these. That's hard for most people. It's hard to say I love something or someone more than my family. If we don't though, Jesus say we are not worthy of Him. Outline write Galatians 1:6-9

Galatians 1:6-9: Here is a warning against turning away from Christ, against turning to a different gospel. It's important to realize that there are people who will teach a "different gospel". We need to be so familiar with God's word that we know when someone is teaching something different. Paul plainly says, "If anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed." Accursed -- that's pretty harsh. We are to turn away from people that teach things contrary to God's will. Outline and write Joshua 24:15 in the margin.

Joshua 24:15: Here is Joshua's famous speech about serving God. We all need to be as convicted as Joshua was. We need to make a decision about who we are going to follow and stand firm. If we go through life just sort of being convicted, we will not stand firm when the going gets tough. We need to decide, right now, that we will only serve God. It doesn't matter what the neighbors (Amorites) are doing or what our family (gods which your fathers served) is doing, we must serve God. Outline and write 1 Kings 18:21 in the margin.

1 Kings 18:21: Here is another great man we should try to copy. Elijah stood by his conviction in the hardest of times. Here on Mount Carmel, he is talking to Ahab and his people. They have continually served baal and Asherah. Elijah asks them, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." Stop and ask yourself (and the person your studying with) who are you going to follow? After all the studying that we've done, you should be able to confidently say, "I will follow God." Outline and write John 17:20-23 in the margin. Write Unity in parenthesis.

Unity

John 17:20-23: Here, Jesus is praying to His Father. After praying for His apostles, He then goes on to pray for the rest of us -- those who believe in Him through their (apostles) word. He prays that we all may be one. He goes on to compare our being one to the Father and the Son being one. We are to have that same unity. Outline and write 1 Cor 1:10-13 in the margin.

1 Corinthians 1:10-13: Paul pleads with the Corinthians here to be unified. He tells them to "speak the same thing". He wants them to have "no divisions among" them. He wants them to "perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. Paul warns against them being followers of mere men. Outline and write Eph 4:3-4 in the margin.

Ephesians 4:3-4: This passage again stresses unity. Paul tells the Ephesians that there is one body, one spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. Notice the unity word -- one. Outline and write 1 Cor 12:12 in the margin.

1 Corinthians 12:12: Again, one is emphasized here. We are all many people (members) that make up one body. For more clarification on this passage, read the entire chapter 12. It goes on to say that we all can't be the same (hand, foot, eye). We all are part of the body and are all important to the body. Outline and write Matt 16:16-18.

Matthew 16:16-18: Jesus has just asked His disciples who they think He is. Peter correctly said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus says yes, and then goes on to say that upon this confession (rock) I will build My church. Note that He said, "My church." Not my churches. Jesus built one church and those who obey Him are part of His church. Outline and write Acts 1:6-2:47 in the margin.

Acts 1:6-2:47: This is the first of the really long readings. It talks about Christ's ascension into Heaven, the choosing of Matthias and the beginning of the church. Use your discretion on how much to read, but if at all possible, read it all. After reading the previous passage (Matt 16:16-18) where Jesus said He will build His church, this is the next logically place to go -- the beginning of His church. Notice that the question asked of Peter in 2:37 (Men and brethren, what shall we do?) was answered very simply, without any theological discussion, or clarification of beliefs, or alternatives to the original teaching. Peter simply said, "Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." He then goes on to say that those who were saved were added to the church. Note: He said, they were added to the church. He didn't say, now go join the church of your choice. Outline and write Romans 10:17 in the margin. Write Faith in parenthesis.

Faith

Romans 10:17: This is our first passage on faith. This passage teaches us that we get faith by hear the word of God. So, doing what you're doing, reading your Bible, studying what He wants you to do is going to give you faith. Outline and write John 20:30-32 in the margin.

John 20:30-32: Here at the end of John, John states why he wrote the book. All of the things written in this book were written "that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name." Do you want to believe? Read the book of John. Outline and write John 3:16 in the margin.

John 3:16: Here's another very familiar passage to most people -- For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. What will happen if we believe in the Son of God? We will have everlasting life. Outline and write John 8:24 in the margin.

John 8:24: What will happen if you do not believe in that Jesus is the son of God? Jesus says that you will die in your sins. Outline and write Eph 2:8-10 in the margin.

Ephesians 2:8-10: Paul tells the Ephesians that they were saved by grace through faith -- not works. They were not saved because they were so smart or skilled that they figured out how to be saved. They were saved because they believed in Christ which lead them to obey His good works. Outline and write Mark 16:16 in the margin.

Mark 16:16: A very simple statement by Jesus Himself: He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. Is belief important? Outline and write Heb 11 in the margin.

Hebrews 11: Here is another long passage. This is a wonderful passage that reminds the Jews and us about all the wonderful men of faith in their history. These men believed in God and were praised for it. Their belief was shown by the deeds they did. The reading is long, but if you can at all get by with it, read it aloud. The person you're studying with, if he's still with you, will probably enjoy it and definitely benefit from it. The 1st verse gives a definition of faith. Faith is what we hope for and what we cannot see. If we can't really hope for it, it's not of faith. If we can see it, it's not of faith. Underline verse 6. What if we don't have faith? "It is impossible to please Him..." Outline and write Gal 5:6 in the margin.

Galatians 5:6: This passage takes us back to our discussion on the importance of the old law versus the new law. Now, in Christ, circumcision doesn't matter. Neither does the lack of circumcision matter. What does matter is faith working through love. Outline and write James 2:14-24 in the margin.

James 2:14-24: Can we just have faith? James asks what faith profits without works? Can faith save? In verse 20 he says that faith without works is dead? He then goes on to remind us about Abraham and Rahab. Their faith resulted in their works. Faith works together with works making faith perfect (complete). We need to remember that when we talk about works, we're talking about the works of God, not man. We must believe in God and obey his commands, then we are complete. Outlien and write Luke 13:3-5 in the margin. Write Repentance in parenthesis.

This is as far as we got in our class Monday night. We'll pick up from here next time.