Pages

Friday, January 23, 2009

Marking Your Bible -- The Church -- Part 2

The last session of our "Marking Your Bible" study will be a study of the worship an the work of the church. Continue using your orange pen to mark these passages. The last passage we marked during our last session was 1 Peter 2:9. Turn to that passage and mark (if you haven't already) Acts 4:24,31.

During this session we will be discussing and marking:

Worship

  • Prayer
  • Singing
  • The Lord's supper
  • Preaching
  • Giving


Work
  • Evangelism
  • Edification
  • Benevolence
Worship of the Church

God expects us to worship Him. Whether we choose to do so or not is up to us. Many people have chosen to worship God but they would prefer to do it their way. It's important that we understand that God is the one that is to be worshiped. He is the one to decide how we are to worship. The only thing for us to do is to worship Him according to His plan. We may think we have a better idea -- something that pleases us but God will not be pleased until we humbly submit to His will and worship Him His way. To learn how to properly worship God, we'll turn to His word and see what He has to say.

Prayer

God wants us to talk to Him. He wants us to realize that we are dependent on Him for our needs and He wants us to ask Him for whatever we need, thank Him for what He's given us and to praise Him. There are many examples in the Bible of people praying to God individually but our study is about worshiping God as a church. God also expects us to pray to Him when we are assembled together.

Acts 4:24 After Peter healed the man at the gate called Beautiful, they were threatened by the authorities and warned to not speak or teach of Jesus, they went to their companions and told all that had happened. The group that was gathered there "raised their voice to God with one accord" and prayed that God would give Peter and John boldness to speak His word. Verse 31 says that "when they had prayed the place where they were assembled together was shaken..." Here is an example of a group of people gathered together and praying to God. Write Acts 14:23 in the margin.

Acts 14:23 On their 1st journey, Paul and Barnabas were returning through the cities they had just been to. They were encouraging the new Christians to continue in the the faith. They also appointed elders in every church. Verse 23 says that after they appointed elders they prayed with fasting. This would be another example of a group of Christians gathering together and praying together. They were praying in this instance for the newly appointed elders. Mark Ephesians 5:19 in the margin.

Singing

God has told us that we are to sing praises to His name. We are to sing to teach and encourage each other as well. While we can sing by ourselves in the privacy of our own home, we are not edifying or encouraging anyone but ourselves. To follow God's command found in the scripture below, we must at some point gather together and sing to each other.

Ephesians 5:19 In this passage Paul tells the Ephesians that they are to speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. This is something that is to be done as group. Paul goes on to say that we are to sing. He doesn't leave us wondering what "sing" means either. He further tells us that our singing is done by making melody in our heart. We are to sing from the heart. He wants our singing to have meaning. He doesn't want us to mindlessly sing words that mean nothing to us. He wants us to use the ultimate instrument -- the human voice -- the instrument He made. Write Colossians 3:16 in the margin.

Colossians 3:16 Here, Paul tells the Colossians that they are to teach and admonish each other with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. We are to sing with grace in our hearts to the Lord. Our singing is to benefit our brethren as we admonish and teach each other. Our singing is to be to the Lord as we praise Him in song. Write Matthew 26:26-29 in the margin.

The Lord's Supper

God wants us to remember His Son and the sacrifice He made to save us from our sins. He tells us what we need to do and when we need to do it. He doesn't leave it up to us to decide these things. We must respect God's request if we are to be pleasing to Him.

Matthew 26:26-29 The night before Jesus was crucified He had one last meal with His apostles. During this meal He told them how to remember His death through a memorial feast. It is not elaborate. It is simply eating some unleavened bread and drinking some fruit of the vine. Each of these items are to represent a part of Christ's suffering for our sakes. Jesus tells His apostles that when He partakes of this with them again will be in "My Father's kingdom". We've already noted that the kingdom and the church are used interchangeably throughout the New Testament. So we understand this to mean that this is something that will be done once the church has been established. Write Mark 14:22-24 in the margin.

Mark 14:22-24 Here is Mark's account of Jesus telling His apostles what how He wanted them to remember His death. Write Luke 22:19-20 in the margin.

Luke 22:19-20 Here is Luke's account of the same event. The fact that 3 of the 4 gospels recorded this event tells us that this is something that is important. We need to listen and learn from it. Write Acts 2:42 in the margin.

Acts 2:42 I know we've been here before and the markings may begin to get a little confusing. It just goes to show how important this chapter is. Verse 42 states that they (new Christians) continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Not only were the Christians gathering together to pray, but they broke bread which, in context with the events surrounding it, should be understood to be the breaking of bread that Jesus told them would happen when the kingdom (the church) began. Since this verse was already marked pretty good, I underlined the words "apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Write 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 in the margin.

1 Corinthians 11:17-34 Here Paul is rebuking the Corinthians for turning the memorial of Christ's death (here referred to as the Lord's Supper) into an opportunity for merry making. Not only this but they were excluding some. They going off into their own little groups and enjoying each other's company not thinking about anyone else. Paul tells them that they have houses to eat and drink in. In other words, do your merry making at home. You've come to gether to remember the Lord's death. He goes on to repeat the story of how Jesus told them what to do in Matthew, Mark and Luke. verse 25 tells us the reason for the Lord's Supper -- in remembrance of Me. That's it . He tells the Corinthians that if anyone is hungry eat at home. Wait for one another when partaking of this memorial feast. Write Acts 20:7 in the margin.

Preaching

We are to always be furthing our knowledge of God's word. One way that we see this being done in the New Testament is through public speaking. The following passage is a good example of Christians gathering on the 1st day of the week to break bread and listening to the word of God being preached:

Acts 20:7 When Paul visited Troas, he and his travel companions stayed 7 days until the first day of the week. Why did they stay so long? That was when the Christians (the church) would gather together to break bread. We remember from Acts 2:42 that breaking bread refers to the Lord's Supper. Paul knew that the Christians would be gathering on that day so he waited until then so he would get the chance to meet with them. He not only spoke to them as a group that day, he spoke to them until midnight. They were all so eager to hear God's word that they were willing to stay until midnight to listen. write 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 in the margin.

Giving

God has given us the opportunity and the responsibility to help financially in other Christians' hardship and in spreading the gospel. Here again, he doesn't leave it up to us. He tells us how to do it.

1 Corinthians 16:1-2 Paul was gathering money together to help the Christians in Jerusalem during their time of financial hardship. He was going through telling all the churches he was visiting to do the same thing. On the 1st day of the week, that day they were to partake of the Lord's Supper, while they were together, they were to lay something aside. They were to do this so there would not have to be any collections when he came through again. He wanted everything to already be in one place so he would not be delayed. Each person was to give or store up as he prospered. Paul wasn't expecting everyone to give the same amount. He wasn't requiring a certain amount. He wasn't telling them to tithe. He told them to give as they prospered that week. Write 2 corinthians 8:1-12 in the margin.

2 Corinthians 8:1-12 Here Paul is again encouraging the Corinthians to give of their money. He reminds them how the churches in Macedonia gave even though they were not rich. They gave and gave joyfully. He reminds them that they have abounded in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence in their love for Paul and his companions. He wants them also to abound in the liberality of their gift. Write 2 Corinthians 9:1-15 in the margin

2 Corinthians 9:1-15 Paul continues to encourage the Corinthians to be liberal in the gift they are offering. He reminds them that when you sow sparingly, you reap sparingly. When you sow bountifully, you reap bountifully. He reminds them that they are not give grudgingly or because they have to but they are to give what they can based on their prosperity. He goes on to remind them that God loves a cheerful giver. Write Matthew 28:19-20 in the margin.

Work of the Church

Just like everything else God wants us to do, He has told us what we as a church are expected to do. He doesn't leave wondering and scheming our own plans. As is typical of God's plan, it is simple. It can be done by anyone and everyone just about anywhere. There is no need for fancy equipment, buildings, or organization (above that which God has already planned). God's plan is so simple that many people want to add to it. Once we add to God's plan, it no longer is God's plan. It then becomes our plan. That just is not acceptable to God.

Evangelism

God requires that we teach others about His word. He has planned that this be done through evangelism -- someone teaching another person. This is very simple but as God knew it would be, is very effective for those that want to learn about Him.

Matthew 28:19-20 We have already marked this scripture with green and red. Hopefully it won't get too confusing for anyone. It just goes to show how important this passage is.The command that Jesus gave his disciples before He left them was to "God therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. How are we to do this? Teaching. He says to teach them to observe all things that I have commanded you. So the disciples were commanded to teach others about Christ. Write Mark 16:16 in the margin.

Mark 16:15 Here Mark gives the same account of the story Matthew gave. Jesus tells His disciples to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature". Again, preaching is method that God chose. What exactly are the disciples supposed to preach? The gospel. The good news about Christ. They are to teach others that Christ came and died for them that they can live eternally with Him in Heaven. Write Revelations 22:17 in the margin.

Revelations 22:17 In the very last chapter of the very last book of the New Testament, John is told to write down what he sees and hears. This the invitation given to all men that they should come to Christ and he will receive the water of life and will never be thirsty again. Write Romans 10:11-15 in the margin.

Romans 10:11-15 Here we see who is to be preached to and what is to be said. God welcomes all -- Jews and Gentiles. "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved". This takes away any preference for the Jewish people. The gospel is now for everyone that will accept it. How are all these people going to find out about the gospel? They are going to hear it from a preacher. How will this preacher go to these people? He will be sent. Write Philippians 1:3-5 in the margin.

Philippians 1:3-5 Paul thanks the Philippians for their "fellowship in the gospel". They had given him what he needed to preach the gospel. They had fulfilled his material needs while he went about the business of preaching. He is thanking them for it. This is an example of one church supporting a preacher. Write Philippians 2:25 in the margin.

Philippinas 2:25 Here Paul further comments on the help they gave him. Epaphroditus had been their messenger and had worked hard for the cause of Christ. Even to the point that he was sick and nearly died. Paul wants the Philippians to accept him back joyfully because of his service and sacrifice for the work of Christ. He supplied what was lacking in the service of the Philippians to Paul. Write Acts 11:22 in the margin.

Acts 11:22 Here is an example of the church in Jerusalem sending a preacher out to another place. Barnabas is the one being sent, Jerusalem is the one sending him, Antioch is the place he is being sent to. One church sending (supporting) a preacher to preach in another place. Write 2 Corinthians 11:8-9 in the margin.

2 Corinthians 11:8-9 Here Paul is reminding the Corinthians that he did not take any support from them while he was with them. He received support from other churches (I robbed other churches) instead of taking anything from the Corinthians. He did not want to be a burden to them. Here is an example of churches supporting a preacher. Write Ephesians 4:11-16 in the margin.

Edification

Another work of the chuirch is to edify its own. We are to encourage and admonish each other. We are to build each other up so we can all be stronger and bolder servants of God.

Ephesians 4:11-16 God gave each of us different talents and roles in the church. We are to use these talents and roles to edify the body of Christ. We are to work towards each of being stronger, loving each other more, working together so that the as a whole we accomplish the great task of sharing the gospel of Christ to others. Write Acts 2:44-45 in the margin.

Benevolence

God has given us the responsibility and privilege of giving financial to help fellow Christians and to help spread the gospel. Below are examples of this being done in New Testament times.

Acts 2:44-45 Here was a situation where people had come from all over the world to observe Pentecost. While there, they learn about Christ and what He did for them. They are hanging around town to be near the exciting event. They had not planned on being there that long and so there was need amongst the new Christians. So, all those who believed (the Christians) stuck together and shared what they had. Even to the point that those who had possessions, sold them to give to those who needed help. Here is an example of Christians helping Christians. Write Acts 4:32-35 in the margin.

Acts 4:32-35 Even in Chapter 4, the Christians are still sharing with each other. As was mentioned in chapter 2, those who had possessions sold them and gave to those who needed things. They even sold their houses or lands to help out those that were in need. Another case of Christians helping other Christians financially. Write Acts 6:1-8 in the margin.

Acts 6:1-8 By chapter 6 it seems that there is a group of women (Hellenists widows) that are not being helped as they should be. The apostles told the people to pick 7 men from among them to take charge of the situation and see to it that these women were cared for. Another example of Christians helping Christians. This time there is a more unified effort being made to accomplish the task. Write Acts 11:27-30 in the margin.

Acts 11:27-30 In preparation for the great famine that would soon be affecting the world, the disciples in Jerusalem determined to send relief to brethren in Judea. They sent this relief to the elders. It was delivered by Barnabus and Saul. Here is an example of a church sending relief to another church. Write 1 Corinthians 16:1-3 in the margin.

1 Corinthians 16:1-3 We talked about thise passage when we discussed giving. Now we'll look at who was actually doing the giving and who was on the receiving end. Paul was going about to all the churches of Galatia, requesting that they give a financial gift to the Christians in Jerusalem because they were experiencing harship due to the famine. Here is an example of several churches sending a financial gift to one church. Write 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 in the margin.

2 Corinthians 8:1-5 We've already been here as well when we talked about giving. Paul is telling the Corinthians how generous the churches in Macedonia had been to give to those in Jerusalem.. They gave beyond their ability and did so freely and willingly. This is an example of churches (churches in Macedonia) helping another church (church in Jerusalem). Write 2 Corinthians 9:1-2 inthe margin.

2 Corinthians 9:1-2 Again, Paul is reminding the Corinthians how generous the churches on Macedonia had been to the church in Jerusalem. Write Romans 15:25-32 in the margin.

Romans 15:25-32 Paul is telling the Romans about how the churches in Macedonia and Achaia gave to the poor saints in Jerusalem. Another example of churches helping a church.

This is the end of the Marking Your Bible lessons at this time. There may be some more added later on different topics but I'm not going to promise. I do intend to post the hand outs I had for my class. They were 3 bookmarks that had all of the scriptures that we marked on them. I hoped that they would be something the ladies found useful in their own study and nice little cheat sheet when it came time to study with someone else.