"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" (John 8:58)

Behold The Man!

Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, "Behold the man"! (John 19:1-5 KJV)

Krystal Meyers - The Beauty of Grace



Philippians 4:1-5 (Monday and Tuesday)
“Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends! I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” (NIV)
1) Have you ever had the awesome experience of being responsible, even in a small way, for someone’s coming to Christ? It’s okay if you’re not sure, sometimes we won’t know until we stand before the Lord—and, then I think we’ll all be in for a big surprise! In these passages, Paul is telling us that the very people we have loved and prayed for, those who through much perseverance we have helped wrestle away from the very arms of satan, have now become our joy! This is confirmed in 1 Thessalonians 2: 19-20! Let me tell you how the noun “joy” is described in Webster’s: the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: delight; bliss; the expression or exhibition of such emotion; a source or cause of delight! Dear one, those you have prayed into God’s glorious kingdom have actually become the outward expression of your heart’s joy and they are your great delight! They are the physical possession of what you hoped for, the source or cause for your happiness in Christ Jesus! Now, let’s put a little spin on this, who was responsible for your coming to the Lord? Yes, you are their joy! Now, get ready for this, not only are those in Christ our joy, but they have actually become our crown and/or our reward! The word crown here is meant as a type of wreath that was placed upon the victor’s head or around his neck upon winning a major event. Today’s equivalent would probably be an Olympic gold medal! At the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10 and 1 Corinthians 3:12-15), those we have lead to Christ (yes, this passage is also talking about our good works and what better work than to introduce someone to the Lord!) will come through God’s discerning fire as gold, silver and precious jewels! Oh, beloved, it gets better! On that day, no, even now, it all comes full circle! Glory to God—Christ has become our Joy, our Delight and our exceedingly great Reward (Genesis 15:1 and Psalms 43:4!) You are someone else’s joy and reward, and someone you have loved has become your joy and reward! I think this was one of the things that Jesus was trying to tell us in John 15:1-12! This is complete joy and we will never find it seeking after things, we must seek Him and love others, as He has commanded us—this is seeking after His kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:25-33!) Stretch forth your tents (Isaiah 54:2-3!)
2) Joy and rejoicing is always a choice! We need to learn to see the unfolding events in our lives with spiritual eyes (Ephesians 1:18), view them through transformed minds (Romans 12:2), and love each other with renewed hearts (Psalms 51:10!) It’s probably been said a million times, but happiness is the product of our circumstances, and depending on what’s going on around us, our mood for the moment, our feeling of contentment, or discontent—it can be temporary and fleeting. Joy comes from our inward spiritual man, and we can tap into our source of joy regardless of our circumstances (Habakkuk 3:17-19!) Joy is not natural—it can’t be found in the things of this world because it doesn’t come from this world—it comes directly from the heart of our Father, God (Nehemiah 12:43; Acts 14:17 and Romans 15:13!)
a) We are commanded to always be joyful (1 Thessalonians 5:16!)
i) We lay claim to our inheritance of continually being filled with God’s joy by:
(1) Holding firm to our hope and testimony in Christ Jesus (1 Peter 1:8 and 1 John 1:1-4!)
(2) Patiently enduring suffering and awaiting His provision (2 Corinthians 7:4-6; Hebrews 12:2; James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 4:13!)
(3) Remaining faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12 and Colossians 4:12!)
(4) Always and in everything giving thanks (Philippians 4:4-7; Ephesians 5:20 and Colossians 1:10-12!)
(5) Setting our hearts and minds on the things of Christ (Philippians 4:8 and Ephesians 5:19!)
(6) Offering praise to Him who is worthy (Psalms 28:7 and Psalms 40:3!)
b) We are each given a full measure of joy (John 17:13!)
c) No one can take away our joy (John 16:22!)
d) Now, our joy is meant to be shared! We actually impart a portion of God’s joy into the hearts our brothers and sisters in the Lord through:
(1) Encouragement and fellowship (Philemon 1:7, 2 John 1:12!)
(2) Obeying and submitting to those in authority over us (Hebrews 13:17!)
(3) Continuing to walk in the truth of Jesus Christ (2 John 1:4; 3 John 1:2-4!)
(4) Extending hospitality (Philippians 2:29; 2 Corinthians 7:13!)
(5) Extending love to one another (Philemon 1:7!)
(6) Sharing with one another (Romans 12:13; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5; 2 Corinthians 9:12-14; Ephesians 4:28!)
(7) Praying for one another (Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 1:4!)
e) One great and glorious day, Jesus Christ will present us to the Father, without fault or blame with great joy (Jude 1:24!) See, full circle!
3) Joy and peace are often mentioned together in Scripture (Romans 14:17, Romans 15:13 and Galatians 5:22!) Can you have joy without having peace, or vice versa?
Philppians 4:6-7 (Wednesday)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
1) Worry is like a cancer! It eats away at your joy! Perhaps the greatest incidence of worry in the Bible is found in Luke 10:38-42! Martha was doing a good thing! Opening her home to the Lord, preparing the meal, taking care of details! Where was Martha’s joy? What had replaced it?
2) I like the definition for worry given in this week’s Transformation—pulled in different directions! Would you say this is what happened to Martha?
3) Keep in mind that just a little over a week before coming to the house of Mary and Martha, Jesus had fed a multitude of 5,000+ people with five loaves and two fish (Luke 9:12-16!) This was a small community—word spread very quickly! You know these dearly loved friends of Jesus had heard of this and Jesus’ other miracles! Don’t you think that this may have already reached the ears of Martha? Food certainly did not seem to be a worry to Martha’s sister, Mary. There she sat, soaking up every word of Jesus! Do you think that food would have been a worry for you? Why or why not?
Philippians 4:8-9 (Thursday)
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (NIV)
1) We already spoke of the things we should fix our minds on if we truly want God’s joy in our lives. What are some things you can personally think of that bring you joy?
2) No, joy does not come naturally, not at all! We have to work at it and put it into practice! Can you think of some ways to begin putting good thoughts into practice?
3) Where does television, videos, radio play into this? How about movies? How about the company we keep? Etc.?
Philippians 4:10-20(Friday)
“I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
1) One other thing goes hand and hand with joy and peace—contentment (1 Timothy 6:6!) How did Paul learn the secret of contentment (2 Corinthians 11:23-29 and 2 Corinthians 12:1-10?) Paul learned that his only gain in life was Christ, whatever he suffered was for Christ and moreover, Christ was more than sufficient to meet all his needs (Philippians 4:19!) Yes, Christ and Christ alone had become Paul’s Sufficiency (2 Corinthians 3:5; Philippians 1:19-21 and 2 Corinthians 12:9-10!)
2) So, if you are experiencing just a portion of what Paul endured, then, you too, are learning! Hold on! Christ will also become your Sufficiency! Remember, he promises to daily supply our needs! Anything and everything above that is a blessing from your Father! In all these things, good and bad, give thanks and look for your Reward! He is our soon coming King (Revelations 2:16, 22:12!)


Follow God’s Example

Ephesians 4:17-19 (Monday)
“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.” (NIV)
1) Why do you think it is that a hardened heart loses all sensitivity for the things of God? What are some ways we might outwardly and/or inwardly express this lack of sensitivity? Pray God, that none of us would be counted among the unbelievers (in this case, another word for Gentiles!)
2) In previous lessons on “Being Holy in an Unholy World,” we studied how God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and the progressive steps that led to Pharaoh’s not heeding and not obeying God’s command to let His people go. Now, let’s look at the children of Israel—set free by God and being led by Him into their promised land!
a) Just what are some of the warning signs of a heart becoming hardened? Read Exodus 4:27-31! What does this say the children of Israel did when they heard from Moses and his brother Aaron?
b) God had promised deliverance, yet in Exodus 5:2-23 we find the children of Israel questioning the messenger of God! What kind of deliverance were they obviously expecting?
i) Point One: Questioning God and His ways leads to a hardened heart (Proverbs 3:5-6!)
ii) Point Two: Looking back with longing to our previous lives before Christ leads to a hardened heart (Exodus 14:1-12!) Remember Lot’s wife (Genesis 19:26!) Note again the reaction of the people in Exodus 14:31!
iii) Point Three: When difficulties arise, or when we are called to suffer for Christ’s sake, our grumbling, murmuring and complaining leads to a hardened heart (Exodus 15:22-24!)
iv) Point Four: When we begin believing things were actually better in our old lives leads to a hardened heart (Exodus 16:1-3!) Note: Who does Exodus 16:8 say we actually murmur against?
v) Point Five: Partial obedience, which is really not being obedient, leads to a hardened heart (Exodus 16:11-30!)
vi) Point Six: Repeated quarreling and grumbling against God leads to a hardened hear (Exodus 17:1-3!) Note: What were the people ready to do to Moses (Exodus 17:4!) Remember, the children of Israel were actually venting their anger towards God Almighty! Oh, don’t miss this! This is exactly what they did to Christ (except, they nailed Him to a cross!)
(1) Read Exodus 24:3-8. What did the people promise? What was Moses response?
vii) Point Seven: Full blown rebellion (Exodus 32:1-6!) Keep in mind that this rebellion happened after the children of Israel had personally witnessed the awesome miracles of God and after their continued profession to follow, obey and worship! They were without excuse! This is a dangerous place for one who calls him or herself after the name of Christ! What does Hebrews 6:4-6 say about this?
viii) Point Eight: Full blown rebellion, another name for sin, always brings death (Exodus 32:27-28; Romans 6:23 and James 1:15!)
3) They gave themselves over! Romans 1:18-32 puts this in a different light. Comments?
4) Have you ever experienced or know of someone who seems to have that “continual need for more?” How did it magnify itself?
Ephesians 4:20-24 (Tuesday)
“You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (NIV)
1) How did you come to know Christ? Ponder this and if you are comfortable, please share!
2) Put on! This phrase gives us gals a little added insight to what Paul is speaking of here! We all love the excitement of “putting on” something new! Something that makes us feel more attractive, even beautiful! One of our favorite things to “put on” is new clothing! I’m imagining something like, oh, maybe a new mink coat,! Okay, I’d settle for something that vaguely resembles cashmere! Anyway, putting on your new self is sort of like that! Believe it or not, this is not a new concept. No, it started way back with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden! They sinned and they tried to “put on” something to cover the shame of their nakedness—their sin against God! What was it? Why didn’t God find their covering of choice sufficient (Ephesians 2:8-9?) No, God had a much better plan, what did He clothe them with (Genesis 3, 3:21?)
3) The innocent slain to clothe the sinful! Imagine how this must have forever been stamped on their hearts and minds! They watched their holy and just God actually slay a living, breathing animal so their sin could be covered! Yes, I think spilt blood always leaves a lasting impression! God intended it to be so! You could say they “put on” the coat of that animal!
4) Don’t think for a moment that we get off any easier! No, we’re sinners, too! However, because of the grace and mercy of our awesome God, we have the extreme privilege of clothing ourselves, or “putting on” Christ Jesus (Romans 13:14!) The Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the earth (Revelation 13:8!)
5) A word of warning! Don’t attempt to “put off” anything, i.e., change your way of life, your attitude or anything else unless and until you have “put on” Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26-29!) It is an impossibility! Oh, you may cut this sin out, cut that sin out, but the sin of “the self, the natural man or the flesh” is burrowed—deep, deep, deep into the depth of your soul. The problem with the blood of animal sacrifice was that it only covered the sin—it could never cleanse it and wash it away forever! Only the blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ could do that (Hebrews 10:3-23!)
6) What spiritual benefits come with “putting on” Christ?
a) We now “put on” the armor of light, no longing walking in darkness (Romans 13:12!)
b) We can make the choice to “put on” our new self (yes, it is a conscience choice), which is made in the image of Christ Jesus (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:9-10 and 2 Corinthians 3:18!)
c) We have battle armor to “put on,” which enables us to fight the good fight of faith (Ephesians 6:11-18; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 and 1 Timothy 6:12!)
d) We can clothe ourselves, or “put on” compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience, forbearance with one another, forgiveness and above all these, love, which binds them all together (Colossians 3:12-14!)
e) We are to clothe ourselves, or “put on” humility (1 Peter 5:5!)
Ephesians 4:25-32 (Wednesday)
“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. "In your anger do not sin" Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV)
1) Here’s another “therefore!” So, because we are now “new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17”) we can “put off” a bunch of stinky, smelling garbage (sins) that we have been carrying around with us (for some of us, for quite a while!) See Hebrews 12:1!
2) Boy, this portion of scripture really hits us (me) where it hurts—our anger! Mentioned first, no less! What are you angry about?
3) How does anger give satan a foothold in your life?
a) What is a natural result of anger (Hebrews 12:15
i) What fruit is produced out of bitterness (Genesis 49:22-23 and James 3:14-16?)
b) Anger and bitterness very well have been a major factor in murder (Genesis 4:1-8!)
c) Why is it important to settle or deal with your anger and disagreements before the sun sets (Matthew 18:15-17; Matthew 5:23-26—be perfect, like your Father in heaven is perfect—Lamentations 3:22-23!)
4) What constitutes “unwholesome talk?”
a) What is “filthy communication (Colossians 3:8?”) Hey, did you see that anger thing again?
i) What comes off our tongues and out of our mouths (Matthew 12:34-37; Matthew 15:11, 17-20; Romans 3:10-14; James 3:5-13; and 1 Peter 3:10!)
ii) Oh, if it would not for Jesus, this one would do me in (James 1:26!)
(1) Don’t be faint of heart about your mouths. No, the best thing you can do is to use your mouth and tongue to confess the Lord Jesus Christ and LIVE (Romans 10:8-13!)
5) Have you ever sought someone’s forgiveness and got absolutely no where? Please share!
Ephesians 5:1-8 (Thursday and Friday)
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” (NIV)
1) Doesn’t it just blow you away that before the creation of this world, God chose us (Matthew 4:18-22?) Sometimes we tend to forget or overlook that very important point!
2) Humanly speaking, predestination is a very difficult concept! Does everyone have a choice? We have to look at this question through the eyes of a sovereign God who knows all, sees all, foresees all, and before a word is out of our mouths, knows exactly what we are thinking (Psalm 139; Matthew 9:4; John 2:23-25; and John 13:11!) Don’t you suppose that God knew who would say, “Yes!” to Him and who would not? But, also consider last week’s lesson that dealt with God’s hardening Pharaoh’s heart! At one point, God told Moses He had raised up Pharaoh for the very purpose of showing His glory through his stubborn heart! So, God is above all and He alone is God! He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy (Exodus 33:19!) So, if you are one of His—rejoice! Were it not for His mercy and grace, where would we be?
a) He saves us (Romans 5:9!)
b) He brought us (1 Corinthians 6:19-20!)
c) He rescued us (Colossians 1:13!)
d) He redeemed and forgives us from sin (Galatians 3:14 and Ephesians 1:7-8!)
e) He alone provides our righteousness (right standing) (Romans 3:21-24!)
f) He alone has made us holy and blameless in His sight through Jesus Christ our Lord (Ephesians 1:4-6!)
g) He equips us to do of His good pleasure (Hebrews 13:20-21!)
h) God gives us the desire to do His will (Philippians 2:13!)
i) God provides the very works He Himself has planned for us to do (Ephesians 2:10!)
i) So, do we have any right to boast? What can we boast in (2 Corinthians 11:30; 2 Corinthians 12:5?) Why (2 Corinthians 12:9-10?) Oh, sisters! Let’s boast in our Lord (1 Corinthians 1:25-31!) To Him be all glory, honor and praise!
3) Do you feel as if you have been lavished upon with all wisdom and understanding? Well, you have! Count yourselves among the blessed in this world because the lost are without wisdom and understanding (Proverbs 1:22-32!)
a) Wisdom and understanding must be sought after (Proverbs 2:1-9!)
b) If you don’t feel like you are rich in God’s wisdom, ask (James 1:5-8!)


Honor God in His Church

Ephesians 3:14-21 (Monday and Tuesday)
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (NIV)
1) How, when and where did we derive our name from God? What was God’s purpose in having a people called by His name?
a) There are some very distinct purposes for God deciding to create earth and man. What do the following verses tell us about the desire of God’s heart?
i) “The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.” (Psalms 24:1-2!)
ii) "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Revelation 14:11 KJV!)
iii) “For the sake of your word and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made it known to your servant. "How great you are, O Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears. And who is like your people Israel--the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself, and to make a name for himself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt? You have established your people Israel as your very own forever, and you, O LORD, have become their God.” (2 Samuel 7:21-24!)
iv) "There is no one like you, O LORD, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears. And who is like your people Israel--the one nation on earth whose God went out to redeem a people for Himself, and to make a name for yourself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt? You made your people Israel your very own forever, and you, O LORD, have become their God. "And now, LORD, let the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house be established forever. Do as you promised, so that it will be established and that your name will be great forever. Then men will say, `The LORD Almighty, the God over Israel, is Israel's God!'” (1 Chronicles 17:20-23!)
(1) God’s ultimate purpose in all creation is to receive glory for Himself, to make a name for Himself throughout the entire world, and to redeem a people for Himself! Does this sound a little egotistical to you? No, sisters, feel very blessed and honored, because God loved us enough to make Himself known to us! He didn’t have to make us—He didn’t have to make anything! No, It “pleasured” Him deeply to so! He wanted to make His glory resound throughout the entire universe, but especially, to us—His redeemed—His beloved! He could have kept His glory all to Himself. God, the Father; God, the Son; and God, the Holy Spirit have always been One—The Holy Trinity, Three in One! One in perfect peace, love and harmony. Complete, joyful, happy (blessed) in and of Themselves! So, bare with me, and just for a moment, revisit the day of your greatest joy—did you keep it to yourself? Could you? No, you better believe you shouted the news to everyone and anyone who would listen! In creating earth and man, God’s in His rich mercy and grace was sending an wide open-door invitation to each and every one of us to witness and, even more, to participate in the awesome wonder of His glory!
(a) Read Exodus 33:11-23. Oh, show us your glory, indeed! Can you just imagine how that must have delighted the heart of God? A mere man, bold enough to stand in the presence of the Almighty God and to dare to ask such a thing of his Creator God!
(i) Have you ever been through an experience, had the assurance of God’s word deep in your heart, but it wasn’t enough—you just needed to somehow “see” His glory? You were thirsty for more! Explain.
(ii) God responded by hiding Moses in the cleft of the rock. Why?
1. Fallen man cannot see the face of God Almighty and live! Big problem for fallen man (Habakkuk 1:13!) No, we need a hiding place. God provided the hiding place! This Hiding Place remains the same today—oh, be safely nestled in the Rock!
2. Read Genesis 49:24. In giving blessing to his sons, here we see Jacob calling God by several names. Which is most fitting for this discussion?
a. Now read Exodus 17:1-6 and Numbers 20:1-9! What had to happen in order to quench the thirst of God’s people?
b. Who does 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 say was the Rock?
i. What kind of water does Jesus Christ offer the woman at the well in John 1:1-15? In John 7:37-39, Jesus again speaks of this “living water.” To Whom was Jesus referring? Oh, if you are thirsty, come to the Rock and be filled! I hope you didn’t miss this beautiful snapshot of our Lord and Savior, don’t miss the Rock! He is the glory of God, fully revealed (John 1:14!)
ii. Just food for thought. Why did the rock have to be struck or hit? Hint: Read Isaiah 52:6-15; Isaiah 53!
(iii) Oh, please don’t think these promises were only for the Hebrew children! What does Galatians 3:29 tell us about our position and standing with God in Christ Jesus?
2) Oh, I wish I could tell you that the world was all about following God’s plan in this matter, but no, man being what he is, wanted to make a name for, you guessed it, himself!
a) What was God’s direct command to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28?
i) What happens in Genesis 11:1-4? What two direct statements to these men make to themselves that are in direct opposition to God’s divine purposes in spreading His glory?
(1) Can you see any evidences of this in today’s world? Explain.
(a) Today, there are many that speak of a New World Order, a Unified World—the term can take on many spins. The day is coming, perhaps sooner than we imagine, when this world will again unite in order to set up a one rule government, with one ruler at its helm. It will not be the kingdom of our God and King, Jesus Christ! Please take time to carefully consider Revelation 13:1-18!
(i) Sisters, we are in a period of time that makes this demonic type of world government feasible! Many nations speak second languages, most common among them is English. Communication is at its highest point in history—with new technology bringing newer and bigger advances almost by the moment! We see entities formed i.e., the European Union, the United Nations—all working towards what is being presented to us as being for the good of mankind—all under a common language, common commerce, common laws. My goodness, we can see it today in our Supreme Court. Judges are using the rulings made by foreign courts on which to base decisions that affect us all! Be alert, be very alert, because at the same time, we are seeing right before our very eyes the elimination of God in every area of our lives! I’m not saying Christ is coming this very second, this day, this week, but, know, He is coming soon! Instead of scattering this attempt of man to establish himself as god, as God did at Babel, Jesus will utterly crush this world government under his feet (Genesis 3:15!) Hallelujah!
3) Again, we see mention of God’s “dunamis ” (dynamite) resurrecting, life changing power! How does this passage say we receive this power? What is the purpose of having this “dunamis” power in our lives (Ephesians 6:12?)
4) I like how this week’s translation from the (NLT) says the following, “And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in Him.” Then, the (NIV) goes on to pray that we be “rooted and grounded” in His love.” They go hand and hand, don’t you think? Would you have enough faith enough to walk down the aisle to wed someone you couldn’t completely trust and rely on! Well, Jesus is called Faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9!) He alone can be fully trusted, and what He asks you to trust in is His great, boundless, limitless love for you! You can’t fully love if you can’t fully trust! This is how Jesus proves His love for you:
a) God loves you so much, He calls you “saint” (Romans 1:7!) No canonization required!
b) God doesn’t let us lose hope, because God continuously pours out His love for us (Romans 5:5!)
c) While we were still out there sinning, Christ died to save us (Romans 5:8 and Galatians 2:20!)
d) Because He loves us so much, He makes sure that in the end, all things work out for our good (Romans 8:28!)
e) Nothing, absolutely nothing (and, yes, this includes even yourself!) can separate you from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35, 38-39!)
f) Because He loves us so much, He makes sure that we are more than conquerors in this world (Romans 8:37!)
g) I’m copying this one—it is so rich in how it speaks of God’s predestined love for you! “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” (Ephesians 1:3-6)
i) We already share in every spiritual blessing with Christ!
ii) We were chosen before the creation of the world (oh, read Psalm 139!)
iii) God has adopted us as sons and daughters through Jesus! In fact, this was His pleasure and will!
iv) God has given to us His grace (unmerited, unearned, undeserved, unsought after favor—grace!)
(1) Why, because He loves us!
h) Okay, this one, too! “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
i) God has made us alive, we who were dead!
ii) God has saved us by his gift of grace
iii) We’re not only blessed in the spiritual realms, but God has actually seated us there! Glory!
iv) You, dear sister, are now, and, yea, will be a great expression of God’s rich kindness, love and mercy! What a portrait and tapestry you will be! What a display of God’s love!
v) And, just so you won’t become bored, because God loves you so much, he planned in advance for there to be things for you to accomplish on this earth—things that will bring you great reward, and bring honor and glory to Him! See also, Jeremiah 29:11!
i) The greatest expression of God’s love for us is found in His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (Hebrews 1!) See how you find God’s perfect expression of His love for you and welcome Him into your heart by reading Revelation 3:20-21! Wow, with Jesus on His throne! Can’t wait to see you there!
5) Now, you have to know that you can’t experience God’s love in your head! It’s just not going to happen! No, you experience God’s love through relationship (See Genesis 3:8!) Oh, walk with Him in the cool of the day, in the heat of the day, in the storms of life, in the valleys and on the mountains tops! See how God sought out Adam and Eve? That’s what He desires with you, dear sister! Relationship requires that we learn all we can about our awesome God (2 Timothy 2:15—see this in the KJV) We need to know God’s ways and His commands by the reading of His word, walking with Him, talking with Him, and it includes having this same type of relation with the other children He has adopted into His kingdom (1 John 4:20-21!) If you don’t have God’s love alive and dwelling in your heart, then do what these passages plead with you to do—ask! Be like Moses! Be bold and dare!
Ephesians 4:1-6 (Wednesday)
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit-- just as you were called to one hope when you were called--one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (NIV)
1) In this passage, Paul is telling us that we are now called to unity in Christ, each of us fitting perfectly together as one body, the church! Now, we all know that there are many denominations to which we are called into fellowship. Here, Paul is speaking of a great mystery that had not yet been revealed (Romans 16:25-27 and Ephesians 5:22-32!) God’s people, those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, those who are filled and sealed with His precious Holy Spirit, now comprise and form one body—Christ’s church! We all have one Lord, Jesus Christ, we all have one saving faith (hope in the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ which alone atones for all our sins and promises us everlasting life,) We have all been baptized with one baptism (Matthew 3:11) and we have all been called out, set apart (called holy) by the One who is above all, God the Father who, dwells richly in each of us!
a) We have spoke of Jesus Christ who is the smitten Rock of God—glory! He is also called the “Cornerstone or Capstone” (Isaiah 28:16; Psalms 118:17-23; Mathew 21:33-44!) I want you to go back and read Matthew 16:13-19! What was it that Peter boldly declared? What did Jesus change Simon’s name to? Then, Jesus says, “Upon this rock, I will build my church.”
i) Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God! That is the same declaration of faith that seals our own salvation! Did Peter come up with this revelation by himself?
ii) Jesus then calls Simon—Peter! Well, that’s nice, but, let’s see what this new name means! Peter is translated from the Greek word “Petros,” which means “a piece of a large rock!” Hang with me! Then, Jesus says, “Upon this “rock” I will build my church.” The word rock could better be translated bedrock because it is from the root word, “petra,” meaning a mass of rock, or in our modern terminology—a huge boulder! So, the church was not going to be built on Peter, who was but a mere man, but rather, on the truth behind Peter’s declaration regarding Christ, whom we have learned is, of course, the massive and mighty ROCK!
iii) See how scripture is using the image of rocks or stones here. Well, remember, God once dwelt among His people in temporary dwellings such as the tabernacle (Exodus 25:8-9 and Exodus 40:33-38.) Notice how the glory of God fell and lifted? The Israelites travels were dependent on the appearance of God’s glory! Trouble was, God’s glory came and went! Later, God’s glory filled the temple (which, incidentally, was built of stones!) See 1 Chronicles 22:17-19; 1 Chronicles 23:25-32; 2 Chronicles 5:1!) Now, read 1 Kings 5:17-18; 6:7 which tells us the foundation the temple was built upon. These stones were “hewed” stone—cut, carved, squared or engraved away from the presence of the temple—they could not be brought to the temple until the work on them was completed! (Sidebar: We can’t come into the glory of God’s temple either, unless we have been cut from the Rock! Prior to that, we outside of God’s glory!) Imagine the ingenuity of the Israelites at that time! Every piece fit precisely! Do you think this was coincidence or by divine plan or design? Explain.
iv) Two dwelling places for God’s glory to be among the people—the tabernacle and the temple. Don’t fail to note the limitations of each! The tabernacle was limited in that the people could only move out when they saw the glory of the Lord had been lifted! With the temple, the people were bound in worship and service by a location! Do you think that either was what God had in mind when He promised in Exodus 25:8 to dwell among His people? No, God’s true heart can better be interpreted in Matthew 1:23! Emmanuel, God with us—Jesus Christ, God in flesh!
v) It is very important that we realize that in each dwelling place, only the priests were allowed to enter or serve in the sanctuary of God! Limiting, indeed! Although, we have to remember it was always God’s heart that Israel (every single last person, be a priest (Exodus 19:4-6!) Isn’t God good? It gets better!
vi) Oh, let’s see a picture of Christ’s church! Please turn to 1 Peter 2:4-10!
(1) Who is the living Stone?
(2) What does God call us in 1 Peter 2:5. See the difference—Stone, stones!
(3) Together, as living stones, what are we being built into? Oh, see Ephesians 2:19-22!
(4) And, what are we called in 1 Peter 2:9? Glory, glory! You are a priest, you can enter into God’s most holy place, sister! Right before His throne!
vii) What is the most obvious difference in these three dwelling places of God? Remember, Christ now is dwelling in you (1 Corinthians 3:16 and Colossians 1:27!)
(1) Now, thanks be to God, the Godhead Trinity dwells in us and goes wherever we go (John 4:19-24 and 2 Corinthians 5:17-20!) Here’s your spiritual priesthood in action!
viii) Now, while we are all “living stones” making up Christ’s church, do we all have the same duties or responsibilities within the church? In other words, are we all “hewed or cut” the same (1 Corinthians 12:4-3?) Does this scripture say that any stone is of less important and value than another stone? Same value—different service or gift—One God!
2) Paul has explained the great mystery of the church to us, but now he smacks in the face with all this hard stuff! Be gentle, be humble, be patient, be loving! BE REAL!
b) Okay, let’s take a look at the “one anothers” we have been given in scripture:
i) We should wash one another feet (John 13:14!) What do you think was behind this commandment?
ii) We should love one another (John 13:34!) We find this particular command 10 times in the New Testament! Why? Read Matthew 5:43-48; John 13:34 and 1 John 2:4-11!
iii) Be devoted to one another; honoring your brother or sister in Christ above yourself (Romans 12:10!)
iv) Live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16!)
(1) Not proud!
(2) Willing to be with those of lower position or class! My sisters, how I wish this would be so for each of us!
(3) Not conceited!
v) Don’t judge one another (Romans 14:23!)
(1) Don’t be a stumbling block in your brother’s walk with Christ—what does this mean?
vi) Accept one another, just as Christ has accepted you (Romans 15:7!)
vii) Help your brother or sister be complete in their knowledge of Christ and instruct them in His ways (Romans 15:15!)
viii) Be likeminded (1 Corinthians 1:10!) In what areas?
ix) Serve one another out of love (Galatians 5:13!)
x) Be kind, compassionate and forgiving of one another (Ephesians 4:32!)
xi) Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19!) Thoughts?
xii) Submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21!) Yes, this addresses men, too!
xiii) Bear with each other (Colossians 3:13!)
xiv) Teach and admonish each other (Colossians 3:16!)
xv) Encourage and build up one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11!)
xvi) Spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24!)
xvii)Do not slander one another (James 4:11!)
xviii) Be sympathetic toward one another (1 Peter 3:8!)
xix) Show hospitality toward one another, without grumbling (1 Peter 4:9!)
c) We all know far too well that these things go against our sinful, self-centered ways! They are not natural to us! In fact, they go against the very “me” centered world that we live in! You’re right! That’s why “we” cannot do these things that Christ has commanded of us! They are things of the Spirit, actual gifts of the Spirit (so we may not boast) and we can only do these things in the power of God’s Holy Spirit living in us (Galatians 5:14-26!)
Ephesians 4:7-13 (Thursday)
“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ…” (NIV)
1) I want you to see this verse as it was written in prophecy. “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them. Psalms 68:18!” (NIV)
a) The psalmist is prophesizing Christ’s death and resurrection! It would be impossible for Christ to ascend (go back up into heaven) unless He had left heaven to start with! He did so that He could, picture this with me; drag you and me, who were captive to sin, back into glory with Him, by, no less, than the hem of His coattails, or very train of His robe! Christ captured you away from satan’s strong grip and even went as far as to give you the very gifts you would need to follow and serve Him! Yes, even us stubborn, rebellious ones!
b) Did you note what was in God’s heart for allowing Christ to ascend and descend?
2) Each of us is given a measure of Christ (Jeremiah 10:16 and Jeremiah 51:19?) Well, you have to realize that some of us will only go so far with Christ and others will go on to full blown spiritual maturity (John 15:1-4!) Christ is going to see to it that you go on to the peak of your own personal maturity. Expect to be pruned! Ouch! Jesus is going to cut, trim, chip off, refine through His holy fire everything that shouldn’t be in your life. If He doesn’t, you are not His! Don’t be discouraged by this. Remember the parable of the mustard seed (Matthew 13:31-32?) This is speaking of how the kingdom of God will spread, but, this is also a picture of you in Christ, with His “dunamis” power working in you! Don’t fret—your personal joy will be complete (John 15:11!)
a) Read Luke 6:38. This scripture is specifically speaking of our obedience in the area of giving. All we have to do is give! God promises to give back to us pressed down, shaken together, running over and literally poured into your laps! (Use the image of measure a cup of flour here!) Just imagine, based on God’s word, one small step of faith, in any area of your life, can turn you a spiritual giant!
b) God’s gift’s do differ, but we can always ask for other gifts, too (1 Corinthians 12:31!)
c) Perfect man? Mature!
Ephesians 4:14-16 (Friday)
“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (NIV)
1) I am sorry to tell you this, but there are a lot of false teachers among us! (Please pray that God will make me faithful to His Word!) They’re one aim is always one of the following:
a) They will argue that Christ did not come in human flesh, was not fully Man—fully God (1 John 4:1-5!)
b) They will try to convince you that salvation is, yes, through Christ, but something else is required to complete your salvation (Romans 2:17-29!)
c) They will try to diminish the role of Christ in your salvation, offering other alternatives to salvation (1 Corinthians 3:11!) Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father, except by Me! (John 14:6”)
d) They will try to convince you that you must have good works to get into heaven (John 6:28-29!)
2) There may be others that you can come up with, please feel free to share!
3) Now, what comes to your mind when you see the words, “cunning” and “cratifness?” Read Genesis 3:1 and Psalms 64:6! satan and man’s sinful flesh! Deadly combination!
4) Picture a stirred up ocean. How do the waves appear? Imagine you on a very small craft in the midst of this! God does not want you tossed about by lies! How do you avoid this? Go back and re-read Ephesians 3:17! Oh, may your roots go down deep in the marvelous soil of God’s Word—Jesus Christ, the Rock of Ages!


Live in God’s Peace

Ephesians 2:11-13
“Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)-- remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” (NIV)
1) Well, as I heard one preacher say, whenever you see a “therefore”, go back and see what it is there for! If you read the beginning of this chapter, you will see that Paul is addressing Gentiles believers (those not of Jewish heritage) in the city of Ephesus, reminding them that they were saved by grace (God’s unmerited favor toward us) and not by their works. Our own efforts to save ourselves, or to humanly attempt to qualify one’s self as holy in God’s sight is referred to as “works.” Works, our self-effort, can be anything that leads us to rely on our own abilities, our own intellect, or our own pious acts of service, etc. Here, Paul was specifically addressing the outward religious “work” of circumcision. The Jews had mistakenly taken what God commanded as an act of obedience (circumcision) after receiving right standing with God through their “faith” or belief in His promise. This is exactly how we obey the command to follow Christ in baptism after our initial profession of “faith” in His redemptive work in the cross in our behalf! Neither the act of circumcision, nor the act of baptism saves us! The Jews gloried in the act, or “work” of circumcision—a “religious” ritual done by their own hands—as the outward sign of the assurance of their salvation and right standing with God. They became proud and boastful of their heritage as Jews and the work they had done in their own bodies (circumcision), rather of the almighty (again, dunamis—dynamite) power of their God to save them! Paul is telling the Gentile believers circumcision is in no able way to draw us near to God (anybody can be circumcised—even the pagan nations did it back then, and unbelievers still do it today!) In fact, once we place our spiritual confidence in what we outwardly do in our flesh, “works,” we actually alienate ourselves from God. God forbid! As we have discussed several times in class, the plan of salvation is and has always been God’s own design to bring us to Himself, and yes, oh yes, it is free—to us—but, it came at a great, great cost to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit—the great Three in One! Sisters, you were brought (redeemed back from sin) with a price! God’s “price” called for the sacrificial offering of His own Son, Jesus Christ! God’s word tells us that the wages (the just and righteous penalty) of sin is death, physical and spiritual (Romans 6:23) and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9:1!) Jesus Christ is the sacrificial Lamb of God who takes away (removes forever) the sins of the world (John 1:29!) Jesus did this by setting His face like a flint toward path of the cross, allowing unrighteous men to nail Him there, taking upon Himself our sin, allowing Himself for the first time ever (we’re talking eternity here!) to be separated from the One He loved most and the One who loved Him Most—our God (Matthew 27:46!) Then, He boldly walked straight into God’s throne room (His home anyway) and placed His own precious blood on God’s holy sacrificial altar (Hebrews 9:2-15 and 1 Peter 1:18-21!) The blood of goats, bulls and lambs and other offerings (the required sacrifices under the old covenant—the Law) were only a mere picture of what Christ would accomplish for us on the cross. The blood of animals could never remove our sin (past, present and future!) No! They were only a covering, until the time of God’s own redemption was ripe and full!
Ephesians 2:14-18
“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” (NIV)
1) Have you ever asked Jesus to be the God of your peace or to give you peace during a very difficult time? What was the result?
2) Now, salvation begins with the Jews (John 4:22!) They are the people God called out to be His own and they are His precious treasure (Exodus 19:1-6!)
3) This promise to the Israelites (Jews) is sealed in blood covenant with God’s friend, Abraham whom God promised to make a great nation (Genesis 12:3!) God instituted this blood covenant (the most binding of all ancient covenants) with Abraham and the surety of its benefits and promises rested totally God (Genesis 15!) I hope you noticed while reading this passage that God caused Abraham to fall into a deep sleep—totally incapacitating him from have any participation “works!” When this type of covenant was cut among men, it always required that both men walk through the pieces of sacrifice for the covenant to be legal and binding! What God was doing was cutting covenant with Himself—because there was none higher to swear by! This way, God assured Abraham that there was no chance of God’s promises to Him (and us, since we are Abraham’s spiritual seed) ever failing (Hebrews 6:13-20!) However, it is important to note that it was always God’s intent and His great heart that all nations worship Him and receive His salvation (Isaiah 49:6) God plan is that instead of having two separate plans of salvation (one for the Jew and another one for Gentile), God, through Jesus Christ, has put an end to the old covenant (Jewish law, consisting of the Ten Commandments and the rules and regulations outline in the first five books of the Bible. The law also included all the handed down oral traditions of the elders—a lot of do’s and don’ts!) Now, at the cross, God did away with the law, making both Jew and the Gentile, making both come under the “new” and better covenant of peace with God through His Son, Jesus Christ!
a) Where do we find the first mention of this new and better covenant between God and man? See Jeremiah 31:31-37—right there in the Old Testament or the “old covenant!”
b) When and Who instituted the New Covenant? See Luke 22:7-20!
i) To get a better understanding as to why Jesus is sometimes referred to as the Lamb, take a look at Exodus 3:1-10 then, on through to chapter 12! God wanted to free His people, the from the bondage of Egypt, he sent Moses as a deliver! Pharaoh’s hard was hardened by God, so God could display His power and glory throughout all Egypt, but more especially to the children of Israel! Ten plagues followed each refusal to free the captives:
(1) The waters of the Nile, all its streams, canals, ponds and reservoirs ran with blood—the people had nothing to drink! Oh, God was merciful, He gave them water, but they had to dig for it—for seven days (Exodus 8:16-25!)
(2) A mercy period of seven days before the next plague—frogs covered the entire land! Now, get this! Moses graciously offered Pharaoh the choice of picking the exact time that Moses would offer up intercession for him. What was Pharaoh’s response? How I pray each of us would have said, “Now! Please!” Sadly, so many people will wind up in hell’s burning flames because they kept waiting for “tomorrow” to repent. Sometimes, there is no tomorrow! That’s why God tells us to come to Him while it is still called Today (Psalms 95:6-9; Hebrews 3:12-14!)
(a) Notice that once there was relief from the suffering plague, Pharaoh again became hardened. Sounds like much of the news we here about today! Yes, the Gulf states were devastated, but God, in His rich mercy, only allowed minimal loss of life. How did the people in those Gulf states react which the worse of Katrina was over—just like Pharaoh! True repentance always “turns around or away ” from sin and moves forward toward God and His will! It does not slide back into the same, or worse pattern (2 Corinthians 7:10!)
(3) God sent out made dust become gnats throughout Egypt—can you imagine!
(a) We are not given a time frame as to how quickly this particular plague came upon Pharaoh and the land. Although, this time the judgment seems immediate (Exodus 8:16-19.) Watch out, sometimes it appears like we’re getting away with something—then, wham! Gnats! See Psalms 37:35-38 and remember what happens to the prospering wicked!
(b) Up unto this point, Pharaoh’s magicians (secret arts—satan—Deuteronomy 18:10-12) were able to imitate the miracles of God. How about this time? Who did they give the glory to?
(4) Yet again, we see that God graciously gave Pharaoh to consider the matter—overnight! With no sign on relenting on Pharaoh’s part, God sent flies to cover the nation, their houses, their bodies, even the very ground! If you read this passage carefully, you will notice that up unto this point it may be that the plagues had not yet “physically” touched the royal officials or even Pharaoh himself (Exodus 8:24—compare with 8:3, into the houses of your officials!) Sisters, God’s turning up the heat! This is a little too close to home for Pharaoh—right at his feet! Again, Moses prayed and God lifted this plague also. Still, Pharaoh would not relent!
(a) What significant distinction did God make to prove His glory (vs. 22-23?)
(b) Keep in mind that at this point, the Hebrews were still in Egypt! This is a lesson that we probably should take to heart. We live in a fallen and sinful world. Calamities are all around us! They most probably will at some time effect us personally, even if we are being faithful and walking in God’s mercy and grace! Just as good comes out of suffering for the Hebrew people, any disaster or suffering we are called to face in our lives will also turn out for our good (Roman 8:28!) Amen!
(c) Oh, who do you think He wanted to prove His glory to more, Pharaoh or His own children?
(5) We don’t know for sure how much time God gave Pharaoh to reconsider the whole situation, but, again, God sent a plague—this time upon all the livestock of Egypt. Can’t you just see Pharaoh’s frantically running throughout the land in awestruck disbelief! He has to check this matter for himself because he learns that, yet again, God made the unmistakable distinction between His children and the children Egypt (Exodus 9:1-7!)
(6) God must have gotten a kick about using the very dust of that vile land against its own godless people—it makes me just crackup! The magicians are again at a loss, because they are useless in this situation since they covered with boils themselves! I think God wanted those magicians to take this one personally!
(7) Pharaoh is again given the night to think things over. Then, that next morning, God sent hailstorms with fire! Thunder! Lightning! Such as have never before been seen (Exodus 9:13-25!)
(a) Note carefully that God tells Pharaoh that by now He should have already wiped him and his people off the face of the earth! Oh, God has had this thought before (Genesis 6:5-7!) What two reasons does God give for doing such a thing? Do you see this in operation here?
(b) Now, we know God’s anger is kindled against Pharaoh, but how does verses 18-19 tell us God showed great mercy to Pharaoh’s people?
(c) What does very 20 tell us the Egyptians (by this time even Pharaoh’s officials were convinced!) did in response to God’s revelation?
(i) Did all heed God’s word (vs. 21?)
(ii) Don’t miss this! Heed God’s warnings to the dangers and pitfalls of rebellion and sin! The Egyptians believed, obeyed and oh, they found a hiding place In God’s mercy! (Psalms 32:6-7!) We can learn much from this lesson, even in plague and famine, it is always an act of God’s great mercy to offer salvation (Isaiah 46:12-13!) Believe and be saved (Acts 16:30-31!) Glory!
(iii) God again shows His favor towards the Israelites—the hail never even fell on the portion of Egypt where the Israelites were dwelling, Goshen (vs.27!) Please, please read Psalms 91:5-10! Let God be your Refuge!
(iv) Well, we don’t find this out until we come to the very end of this plague—but, God acted righteously for the sake of the people of Egypt! What was spared and why (vs. 31-32!) How good is God?
(8) Locusts—everything was black, covered completely by them (Exodus 10:. I can’t remember the name of the movie, way before most of you girls time, but there was this scene where locusts came on these poor people struggling to survive out west in the prairies (I think) and destroy everything in their path! The sound was horrible, terrifying! Oh, and the destruction they left behind! Oh, this plague had to be horrifying in nature and impact on the people! Still Pharaoh would not let God’s people go!
(a) Things are pretty bad when those who are for you suddenly turn against you! What does Exodus 10:7 tell us Pharaoh’s “officials” saw that Pharaoh did not?
(b) Okay, what was finally wiped out according to vs. 15?
(9) Darkness—over all Egypt (Exodus 10:22-29!)
(a) Imagine the horror this was for the children! How could their parents comfort them—they could not even rise for 3 days!

Don’t fail to see the progression of each plague bringing a more severe consequence! Now you might want to argue with me about the gnats, but have you ever been bitten and tortured by just a few. Imagine, them covering you and the land around you! Oh, don’t get the idea that these plagues were just troublesome. No! The misery they brought was such has never before been seen! But, also, notice the repeated instances of God’s mercy after and prior to each plague! The plagues got worse to invite and bring Pharaoh to repentance, He knew he would not! Oh, he was going to relent, but never quite reach true repentance! Listen to Pharaoh’s words:
1. I will let the people go and they can sacrifice (Genesis 8:8!)
a. At this point, we know that Pharaoh’s magicians were imitating the miraculous acts of God. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons behind Pharaoh’s refusing to let the Israelites go, but, the rest of the times, he is without even this lame excuse because hereafter, God and God alone, was the One creating true wonders!
2. They people can stay in the land (Egypt) and sacrifice (Genesis 8:25!)
3. They can go as far as the desert (Genesis 8:28!)
4. Now it gets serious—I have sinned, the Lord was righteous, I will let you go (Genesis 9:27!)
5. Only your men can go (Genesis 10:8!)
6. I have sinned, forgive me—at once! Finally, even Pharaoh sees nothing but death! (Genesis 10:16!)
7. Go, but leave your flocks and herds (Genesis 10:24!)

Dear one, this is a example of satan’s schemes, tactics and lies to us when we are in our own Egypt, our own place of bondage—SIN (Romans 6:16-18!)
a. He will always lie to us insisting and encouraging us to settle in a place that, while it may be comfortable to us, it is not the place that God is calling us to (stay in the land (Genesis 8:25!)
b. Oh, yes, go with God, but don’t go all the way with Him and became like some religious fanatic (Genesis 8:28!)
c. Yes, and it is satan that says, okay give up this little area of sin that is separating you from God, but don’t think about giving up the sin you most love (Genesis 10:8!)
d. Well, okay, give up that big sin, but you know, those little white lies, and needless spending—oh, that’s nothing, God doesn’t care about those little things. Just hold on to those (Genesis 10:24!)
God’s heart for you is for so much more—He wants every part, every sin! Don’t listen to satan’s lies—Go all the way, press forward until you reach your promise land!
(b) I want to stop here and just comment on the fact that God would raise up a man with purposed intent, knowing that he would rebel and be hardened against the One who created him (Exodus 9:12-16.) This is a difficult concept to understand because we are NOT God! We do not, and even more, we cannot understand His ways (Isaiah 55:8-9!) HE IS GOD! There is much to discuss on this, perhaps in another lesson. Just know that God is in His heaven and He does what He pleases ( Psalms 115:3!) He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy (Romans 9:14-26!) Oh, I pray that each and every of us is one of His “vessels of mercy!”
(10) What was God’s final judgment (Exodus 11:5-7?)
(11) What grace did God provide the Israelites (Exodus 12:1-13?)
(a) Describe the type of animal each house was to sacrifice and eat?
(b) What were they supposed to do with the blood of the animal sacrifice?
(c) Take special note of the description of how the blood was to be place, top and both sides! Remind you of something—like a cross?
(d) What would have happened if they had left their places safely, there behind the doorposts?
(e) What happened to the Egyptians? How do you explain this (Exodus 10:28-29!) Oh, the riches of God’s rich mercy and grace! Every other time God sent a plague, He also gave Pharaoh the opportunity to repent and let His people go! This time, at Pharaoh’s own word, Moses never again appeared before him! So, he didn’t know the extent of the devastation that was about to come upon him and his people—God gave no further warning! The LORD spoke only to Moses, and Moses to God’s people! What I want to impress upon you is this—true repentance, as we discussed earlier always leads to godly sorrow! Yes, it appears that with his words, Pharaoh offered up repentance, even to acknowledging that God was righteous and that he, Pharaoh had sinned (Genesis 8:8; 9:27; 10:16!) But, what did we learn that true repentance brings—righteousness! Instead of righteousness at the evidences of God’s grace and mercy, Pharaoh further hardened his heart! These were just mere words!
c) A little side bar, picture the lay of the land at this point. Egypt was rotting! The land was stripped, the dead remains were decomposing! Oh, the stench! This is how SIN looks and smells to our holy God! Read Romans 6:20-23 and then read John 11:39! Use your imaginations here. We’ve learned that sin results in death. What does John 11:39 say naturally happens as the result of death? See the comparison?
d) Oh, beloved! There is more in these Scriptures than you can imagine and I don’t want you to miss it! We are being given by God one of the most beautiful snapshots of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and God’s own sovereign plan of salvation through the sacrifice of His Son! Jesus is the Lamb, without spot or blemish. It is His blood that covers, not your house, but the thing most dear and precious in this whole world to you, your soul. Even better, the blood of Christ cleans your sins, removing them away as far as the east is to the west! God’s wrath and judgment for your hardened heart of sin “passes over” you because God’s sees His own Son’s precious blood! Oh, be covered in it sons and daughters of Israel! Please, don’t go outside the Door (John 10:7 KJV!)
e) Oh, I have to warn you, you can’t just stand on the threshold of the Door, either! Go all the way in, girls (Zephaniah 1:9!) Oh, don’t just peer into God’s grace, take a swan dive!


Experience God’s Life-Changing Power

Ephesians 1:18-23
“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” (NIV)
1) How would you describe hope? How does this hope bring us joy in this unholy, unbelieving, God-denying world?
2) Okay, let’s try to biblically define hope. Read Romans 4:18-21. “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed!” Now the Greek word used in both places in this Scripture is from the same primary word, “elpo” which means to anticipate, (usually with pleasure); to have an [great] expectation or confidence. We could translate these verses like this: “Abraham was literally in the position to be without any anticipation, expectation or confidence. Yet, with all anticipation, expectation and confidence in His God, Abraham believed! Confused? Well, maybe Romans 8:24-25 explains hope better!
a) What does Jeremiah 14:8; Colossians 1:27 and 1 Timothy 1:1 say is our hope?
b) What is God actually called in Romans 15:13?
c) Characteristics and certainties of our hope in God:
(a) leads us to complete trust, even if we do not understand His ways (Job 13:15!)
(b) allows us to patiently await the Lord’s justice and, by hope, we are comforted (Psalms 9:16-18!)
(c) never, ever leads to being our being made ashamed, disgraced, or disappointed (Psalms 25:1-3; Psalms 69:6; Isaiah 49:23; Romans 5:5!)
(d) assures our integrity and uprightness (Psalms 25:21!)
(e) allows us to be strong and take heart (Psalms 31:24!)
(f) frees us from fear, because we are assured of God’s unfailing love (Psalms 33:18; Psalms 130:7!)
(g) assures us that God is our help and our shield (Psalms 33:20; Psalms 146:5!)
(h) assures us that we will inherit what God has promised (Psalms 37::9!)
(i) is the answer to our desire to give up, or give in—our hopelessness, our depression (Psalms 42:5, 11; Psalms 43:5!)
(j) always leads to praise and rejoicing (Psalms 52:9; Romans 5:2!)
(k) actually results in and produces joy (Romans 12:12!)
(l) Oh, pray God soon! One day the whole earth will hope in our God (Psalms 65:5; Isaiah 42:1-4; Isaiah 51:5; Matthew 12:21 and Romans 15:12!)
(m) Our hope is God is a constant (Psalms 71:14!)
(n) brings us His blessing (Psalms 146:5!)
(o) The Lord delights in those who put their hope in Him (Psalms 147:11!)
(p) assures that we have a good future (Proverbs 23:17-18; Proverbs 11:23; Jeremiah 29:11!)
(q) “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:31!”) Amen, and Amen!
(r) God Himself has promised to be good to those who hope in Him (Lamentations 3:25!)
(s) Because we know that God raised Christ from the dead, our hope in God assures us of our own resurrection (Acts 23:6; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:13 and 1 Peter 1:3-5!) Blessed hope, indeed!
(t) inspires endurance (1 Thessalonians 1:3!)
(u) assures us of our salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8!)
(v) assures us of the faithfulness and truthfulness of our God (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18!)
2) We have established that our hope is in God alone. So, what does Psalms 119:43-49 tell us that hope will prompt us to do?
3) We not only put our hope in God, His commands, but Psalms 119:74, 81, 114, 147; Psalms 130:5 and Romans 15:4 tells us yet another area to place our hope. See also John 1:1! Glory!
4) Ah, oh! Where does Romans 5:3-4 tell us that we learn hope?
5) Girls, hope cannot be conjured up—no, it rests in God alone, and more, it comes only from Him. In fact, we are called to hope by God (Psalms 62:5 and Ephesians 1:18!)
6) Let me assure you, others see your hope and are drawn to it—it is Christ in you. Why does 1 Peter 3:15 tell us to be ready?
7) Hope has many benefits! Hope keeps us ready for that day when Christ will “come like a thief in the night!” What part does hope have in keeping us ready? Read Micah 7:7! Oh, look up! Your redemption draweth nigh (Luke 21:28!) Forgive me for slipping back into my KJV!
8) I think this one passage about hope gives me the greatest hope! Read 1 John 3:1-3! Oh, I do so hope your desire is to be pure! Believe me, I’m not, but, oh, join me in looking, longing, yearning for His re-appearing!
9) Hang in there! Those things we hope for here, but don’t see—they’re stored up for us in heaven (Colossians 1:3-6!) God is always, always, always Faithful who promised (Hebrews 10:23!)
10) Now, it is not coincidental that we are commanded to love one another (John 13:34!) What does 1 Corinthians 13:7 say is one of the characteristics of love?
11) At the end of the age, only three things are said to remain. What are they according to 1 Corinthians 13:13? Can you think of any reason we will continue to need hope? Perhaps, 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 can give us a glimpse! What are your thoughts on this verse and how it pertains to how life will be when Christ reigns?
12) Well, we can’t end our discussion on hope without taking a look at what Scripture has to say about a life without hope according to Job 17:13-16! Not very pretty, is it?
a) Oh, sisters, we must all come to place where we realize that there is no hope except in God!
(1) Job 8:11-15
(2) Job 11:20
(3) Job 27:8
(4) Psalms 39:6-8
(5) Psalms 71:5
(6) Proverbs 11:7
Ephesians 1:22-23
“And God placed all things under his [Jesus Christ, the Son of God] feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” (NIV)
1) Why is Jesus so highly qualified to have dominion over everything (Revelation 1:9-18; Revelation 4; Revelation 5!) Glory, glory to the Lamb!
2) When was Jesus qualified by God to receive dominion (Revelation 13:8?) Explain.
3) Who did dominion over the earth originally belong to (Genesis 1:26-28?)
4) What happened to man’s rule (Genesis 3?) See also Luke 4:1-8; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11 and Ephesians 2:2!)
5) Oh, sadly, we didn’t just lose earth (Genesis 2:16-17; Genesis 3:19 and Hebrews 2:14!)
6) When did Christ actually snatch us, the earth and the heavens away from satan and his demons (Matthew 28; John 5: 19-27; John 13:3; Colossians 2:15)
7) Oh, sisters, who can fathom the depths and riches of our God? Who can understand His ways? What does our precious, precious Jesus do with the authority, dominion and power given to Him (1 Corinthians 15:22-28?) What a Savior! What a Father God!
8) Oh, don’t feel bad for Jesus. What does Colossians 2:9 say about Jesus? What did Jesus Himself say in John 14:8-11?) Glory!
9) Concerning Christ’s headship over the church—what is the church and how closely related is the church to Christ Jesus (Ephesians 5:31-32 and Colossians 1:24?)
10) What is the foundation of Christ’s church (Matthew 16:13-18?)
a) How does Jesus care for His church?
i) He loved the church and gave Himself for it (Ephesians 5:25!)
ii) He sanctifies and cleanses it by the washing of His word (Ephesians 5:26!)
iii) One day, He will present His church to Himself! It will be a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle—holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:27!)
iv) Jesus nourishes the church (Ephesians 5;29!)
v) Through His Spirit, spiritual gifts are distributed for the edifying and building up of His church (1 Corinthians 12:1; 8-11; 1 Corinthians 12:28-31; 1 Corinthians 13!)
(1) Now, Christ Himself has several warnings to His church:
(a) Don’t forget your first love (Revelation 2:4!)
(b) Remain faithful, even unto the death (Revelation 2:10!)
(c) Hold to sound doctrine, do not become a stumbling block to others, and flee idolatry (Revelation 2:14-15!)
(d) Have no fellowship with and/or overlook outright sin and unrepentance (Revelation 2:20!)
(e) Repent, hold fast to what you have, and be an overcomer (Revelation 3:3-5!)
(f) Whatever you do, don’t become “lukewarm” in your relationship with Christ (Revelation 3:7!)
(g) Oh, that we would all hear God say these same encouraging words to us that He spoke to the only church He found to be without fault! “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars--I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.” (Revelation 3: 7-12!) Oh, Jesus!
Ephesians 2:1-7
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast.” (NIV)
1) The key word here is seen in verse 1 and 3, “were!” Oh, the difference one single work makes! No need to share, but reflect on what you once “were!”
2) Let’s just all face the truth, we still daily (sometimes, hourly, or minute by minute) battle the desire to “gratify the cravings of our sinful natures!” Well, maybe it’s just me! So, what separates us, as believers in Christ Jesus, from those who are now “dead in their transgressions and sins, and by their very nature have become “objects of wrath?”
a) Because of God’s great love and rich mercy toward us, while we were dead in our transgressions, God saved us through His free gift of grace—His unmerited favor (Romans 5:6-9; Ephesians 2:4-5!)
b) God has made us alive in Christ! He did so by taking that old law, with its rules and regulations—which was actually in opposition to us because by it, we were all condemned, and glory to God, He “nailed” it to the cross with Jesus!
3) Now, since we have two natures within us (Romans 7:15-23) we must choose to be led by God’s Spirit:
a) We choose to allow our minds to be controlled by God’s Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1-6; Romans 12:2!)
b) We have to choose to “put to death” our earthly or sinful natures (Colossians 3:5!)
c) We must choose to abstain from sinful lusts (1 Peter 2:11!)
d) We must choose to put aside the deeds of darkness and “put on” the armor of light (Romans 13:12!)
e) We must choose to “put off our old selves, renew our minds and “put on” our new self, created in God’s own image (Ephesians 4:22-24!)
f) We must choose to “put on” Christ and be imitators of Him (Romans 13:14; Ephesians 5:1-4!)
g) Oh, we must “put on” love, which fulfills all the law and commandments (Colossians 3:14; Romans 13:10!)
4) Well, this all sounds well and good, but is it actually possible and what makes it so?
a) Well, you see, God brings us into a kingdom of power (1 Corinthians 4:20!) We discussed this last week. This is the Greek word, “dunamis,” is speaks of “miraculous power—God power! It is actually sometimes translated as “miracles.” Remember, it is the word from which our word, dynamite!
i) It is “dunamis” power with which God raised Christ from the dead (1 Corinthians 6:14!)
ii) God will use this same “dunamis” power to raise us up (1 Corinthians 6:14!)
iii) Oh, these earthen jars we call our bodies are filled with God’s “dunamis” power (2 Corinthians 4:7!)
iv) Thank God, His “dunamis” power is made perfect in our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9!)
v) God makes His “dunamis” power available to us (Ephesians 1:19!)
vi) We receive God’s grace, unmerited favor, by the working of God’s “dunamis” power (Ephesians 3:7!)
vii) We are strengthened by the Spirit of God with His “dunamis” power (Ephesians 3:16!)
viii) God does more for us than we can ask or even imagine by the working of His “dunamis” power in us (Ephesians 3:20!)
ix) We are strengthened by God’s “dunamis” power, enabling us to endure patiently, joyfully and with thanksgiving (Colossians 1:11-12!)
x) The gospel is presented in God’s “dunamis” power (1 Thessalonians 1:5!)
xi) We are given this “dunamis” power to fulfill every good purpose and act of faith in Christ Jesus (2 Thessalonians 1:11!)
xii) God has given us a spirit of “dunamis” power (2 Timothy 1:7!)
xiii) Jesus sustains (holds all things together) by His “dunamis” power (Hebrews 1:3!)
xiv) Our new birth, our living hope for resurrection and our rich inheritance in Christ Jesus is being safely and securely held for us in heaven by God’s “dunamis” power (1 Peter 1:5!)
xv) In short, it is in God’s “dunamis” power that we find everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3!)
5) Are we any longer objects of God’s wrath? Why? See Romans 5:8-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Genesis 3:1-15 (the promise of a Christ, a Savior!) and Isaiah 53!
6) Feel like your seated in the heavenlies? Remember, my favorite verse Romans 4:17b! Sisters, you are!
7) Why do you think it is important to God that we not be able to boast in our own salvation, gifts, abilities, even our own calling and the lives we live (Exodus 20:1-6; Isaiah 42:8; Isaiah 48:11 and 1 Corinthians 1:26-31!


When Heaven Comes Down

Revelation 21:1-8
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.” (NIV)
1) Dear sisters, this is our true home, what our hearts and souls have been longing for—the New Jerusalem, coming down from heaven (Hebrews 11:10!) This is why we should not cling too tightly to the things of this world (2 Corinthians 4:18)—Jesus promises “Behold! I make all things new!” (KJV) Glory! Many people believe that a World War will bring about this destruction. Does 2 Peter 3:10-13 support this? Why or why not?
2) God has always dwelt with His people. He walked in the garden with Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:8.) In the wilderness, He was the Pillar of a Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night (Exodus 13:21) and He was the Rock in the Desert of Sin from which water came forth (Exodus 17:6!) His presence filled the tabernacle (Exodus 25:8), His presence filled the Most Holy Place in the Tent of Meeting (Leviticus 16:1-2.) He dwelt in the temple (1 Kings 6:11-13; 1 Kings 8:6-11.) During these periods of biblical history, God’s “glory” or “presence” rose and fell, came and left. Even our Lord, Jesus Christ, who came to earth in human flesh only dwelt on this earth for a season (John 1:14.) Now, God dwells “in” us through His Holy Spirit (Colossians 1:25-27!) Moreover, He has promised never to leave us and never to forsake us—we are forever sealed (Matthew 28:20 and Ephesians 4:30!) Ah, but in this passage we see that God Himself actually physically sets up His abode with us. We will be able to see with our own eyes, hear with our own ears, feel with our own hands and yes, taste with our own lips (Psalms 34:8 and 1 Corinthians 13:9-12!) Our faith will have become sight! Oh, this is the heart cry of every child of God! How does this passage ultimately fulfill Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:18-25?
3) The loud voice coming from the throne tells us there will be quite a few “no mores!”
a) No more sea? Think about it. Two-thirds of the earth is covered with water. Jews believe that the sea symbolizes separation, restlessness (tossing to and fro, waves rising and falling) and yes, even hostility toward God. Why do you think God chooses to remove the sea (Isaiah 57:20 and Revelation 13:1?)
b) No more sorrow, mourning, pain or tears (Isaiah 61:3?) Can I hear a big AMEN? Imagine, at a time we should be falling on our faces before Him, God takes us into His mighty arms and He wipes away all our tears! Since the beginning of time, God continues to do what He has always done for His highest creation--He reaches down to comfort us (Hebrews 12:2-3!) What a God we serve!
c) Finally, (thank God Almighty) what happens to death (Isaiah 25:8 and Revelation 20:14?) Yeah, God!
4) The KJV of John 19:5 shows Pilate declaring to the crowds, “Behold the man!” Jesus spoke not a word in His own defense! In the above passage we find this same Jesus declaring to all who will listen, “I AM the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End!” No longer is Jesus in pictured the humble and serving role as the Son of Man. Here is our risen Lord, Jesus Christ in all His glory! LORD OF LORDS AND KING OF KINGS! Oh, come let us adore Him!
5) Jesus is still offering living water—without cost (to us!) Are you thirsty? Is your soul dry, parched? Are you weary from your life’s journey? Do you feel dark, dirty? Then, come to the well and be filled (John 4:10-42!) What is this living water?
6) Overcoming. Do you feel like an overcomer? Well, believe me, it has nothing to do with feelings and aren’t you glad it doesn’t? (1 John 5:4)
a) What does Jesus promise as our reward for overcoming?
i) We get to freely eat from the tree of life (Revelation 2:7!)
ii) We will not be hurt by the second death (Revelation 2:11!)
iii) We are given some of the hidden manna and a white stone with our new name that no one else knows (Revelation 2:17!)
iv) We receive authority over the nations (Revelation 2:26!)
v) We will be dressed in white. Our names will never be blotted out from the book of life. Jesus will acknowledge us before the Father and his angels (Revelation 3:5!)
vi) We will be given our own pillar in the temple of God. Never again shall we leave it. Jesus will write on each of us the name of God and the name of the city of God, the New Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from God. Sisters, Jesus will write on us His new name—talk about sealed (Revelation 3:12!)
vii) As if all this were not enough, we actually get to sit with Jesus on His throne (Revelation 3:21!) Can you imagine!
viii) We inherit all that Jesus describes in Revelation 21:1-8—He will be our God and we will be His children! What glories, what riches! Praise be to our Rock! Jesus, whom do I have in heaven except thee?
7) Ouch! Cowardly, unbelieving, etc. We can easily fall into some of all of these categories, or maybe not. What separates us from those who will experience the “second death?” Hint: See what makes us overcomers above in question #7! See also Colossians 2:13-14 and Ephesians 2:8-9!
Revelation 21:9-21
“One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits thick, by man's measurement, which the angel was using. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.” (NIV)
1) At first glance, you think the angel is going to show John the church (all those who believe and trust in Jesus Christ—his bride), but, no, he’s calling the city of Jerusalem the bride of the Lamb! A city and a bride?
a) Why is Jerusalem so important to God?
i) The temple built for His Name is there and He is Leader of her people (2 Chronicles 6:5-6!)
ii) God has said His name will remain there forever (2 Chronicles 33:4!)
iii) He is in Jerusalem (Ezra 1:3!)
iv) It is His pleasure that Jerusalem prosper and be built up ( Psalms 51:18!)
v) It is the place or city where God will be praise (Psalms 122!)
vi) God desires peace for Jerusalem (Psalm 128:5-6!)
vii) Jerusalem is God’s (and should be, our) highest joy (Psalms 137:5-6!)
viii) God will gloriously reign in Jerusalem (Isaiah 24:21-23!)
ix) God will comfort and redeem Jerusalem (Isaiah 52:9!)
x) God will establish Jerusalem and make her the praise of all the earth (Isaiah 62:6-7!)
xi) Jerusalem was created to be God’s delight and her people a joy (Isaiah 65:18-19!)
xii) Jerusalem will one day be called the Throne of the LORD (Jeremiah 3:16-17!)
xiii) Jerusalem is the city of the Great King (Matthew 5:35!)
xiv) Jerusalem is the city of the Living God (Hebrews 12:18-24!)
xv) Jerusalem is the joy of the whole earth (Psalms 48:1-3!)
2) A city shining with the glory of God!
a) Let’s take a few minutes to discover exactly how throughout biblical history God’s glory has been displayed:
i) In a cloud (Exodus 16:10; 24:16!)
ii) As a consuming fire (Exodus 24:17!)
iii) God’s glory passed by Moses (Exodus 33:18-23; Exodus 34:5-8!)
iv) The face of Moses reflected God’s glory (34:29!)
v) As fire coming from His presence (Leviticus 9:23-34!)
vi) God’s glory fills the whole earth (Numbers 14:21!)
vii) His glory is displayed in His people, Israel (1 Samuel 15:29!)
viii) The heavens declare the glory of God (Psalms 19:1!)
ix) God’s glory will be revealed (Isaiah 40:5!)
x) God’s glory has our back (Isaiah 58:8!)
xi) The Glory of the Lord can actually stand (Ezekiel 3:23!)
xii) The Glory of the Lord actually has form (Ezekiel 8:1-4!)
xiii) Angels reflect the glory of God (Luke 2:9!)
xiv) Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh is the glory of God (John 1:14!)
xv) God’s miracles reflect God’s glory (John 11:39-45!)
xvi) Our obedience reflects the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31!)
xvii)Our thanksgiving reflects God’s glory (2 Corinthians 4:15!)
xviii) Our belief and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ reflects God’s glory (Philippians 2:11!)
xix) We reflect God’s glory (2 Corinthians 3:18!)
3) Okay, here it goes! There was a man who desperately wanted to take all his wealth with him when he died. Oh, he was positive this could be accomplished, so he pleaded with his wife that when his time came she would put all his wealth in a money bag and place it with him in his grave. Well, the time came for this man to die and the wife did as her husband requested. The man appears before the pearly gates, with bag in tow, and requests to come into the presence of Almighty God. The angel guarding the gates told him, “Fine, but, sir, you will have to let go of all your earthy possessions before you can enter.” This outraged the man because his entire life’s earnings were in that bag! Again and again the man pleads for the angel to let him enter, and the angel keeps telling him over and over that he must leave his earthy possessions behind. The man walks away very sad. The angel, very perplexed by this time (we are talking about heaven you know!), stops the man and says, “Sir, I have just got to see what you have in that bag that you value more than what is waiting for you in heaven.” The man obliges and opens the bag for the angel to see. The angel exclaims, “You mean to tell me that you refuse to enter heaven because of a bag of pavement?” Ha! Ha!
4) You would think that being in the presence of God’s glory would be awesome all by itself. However, John goes on to describe Jerusalem’s glory in terms we mere humans would understand—size, jewels, crystal, gates! Reading this passage, does John describe anything that makes you long to be there, now?
5) Would you say that heaven is a place or a Person?
Revelation 21:22-26
“I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.” (NIV)
1) In these passages we are given a few more “no mores!”
a) No more temple. Why? Also, read John 4:19-24. We don’t need a city, a building or a temple to worship the Living God. No, we worship from the temple of our heart—in spirit and in truth!
b) No sun! No moon! No, the glory of God and the Lamb are the light of that city!
i) What is light and what is its purpose in our lives?
(1) Jesus, the Word of God made flesh is the light of men (John 1:1-5!)
(2) Light is our armor (Romans 13:12!)
(3) Light exposes things hidden in the dark (1 Corinthians 4:5!)
(4) Light gives us the knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6!)
(5) We are now light (Ephesians 5:8!)
(6) We are sons of light and sons of day (1 Thessalonians 5:5!)
(7) We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, so we may declare the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9!)
(8) Walking in the truth of God’s light brings fellowship with God and man (1 John 1:5-7!)
(9) If we love our brothers and sisters in Christ, we walk in God’s light (1 John 2:8-11!)
(10) ; Jude 1:6; Jude 1:11-13
2) Why do you suppose the gates to the New Jerusalem are never closed?
a) Reasons the gates were closed:
i) For the Sabbath rest (Exodus 16:22-30; Nehemiah 13:19-21!)
ii) For protection (Nehemiah 7:1-3!)
b) Reasons the gates will remain open:
i) Joy, worship, thanksgiving and praise (Psalms 100:1-5!)
ii) To fulfill God’s solemn promise to his people, Israel (Ezekiel 37:21-28!)
iii) Jerusalem is God’s throne and the place for the soles of his feet. He will live there forever (Ezekiel 43:1-7!)
iv) God has promised His protection for Israel (Joel 3:17; Amos 9:14-15; ; Zechariah 9:81 and Zechariah 14:7-11!)
v) God will save Israel (Zephaniah 3:15!)
vi) We will have entered in to God’s Sabbath rest (Matthew 12:1-8; Colossians 2:16-17; Hebrews 4:3-11!)
vii) We can now come boldly before God’s holy throne—no restrictions (Hebrews 4:16!)
3) No night? Night is a time of darkness. What deeds are usually committed during the night?
a) John 3:19
b) Romans 13:13
c) 1 Thessalonians 5:6-7
d) Revelation 22:5
4) Nothing impure? So, who can enter in? Those whose names are in the Book of Life!
a) Matthew 5:3—the poor in spirit inherit heaven. What’s makes them poor in spirit (Luke 18:11-14?) To enter into heaven we must acknowledge our sin before a Holy God. Thank God Almighty, He is also Just and Merciful and He has provided the way for us to enter in. He makes us holy (Romans 3:19-26 and Colossians 1:21-22)
i) How is Jesus able to do this?
(1) Romans 3:20-26; Romans 5:9; Ephesians 1:4-8; Colossians 1:13-20 and Revelation 1:4-6!) Glory to our God and King!
5) The Lamb’s Book of Life? Did you know that God keeps records? Well, He does!
a) Those who have eternal life are recorded (Isaiah 4:2-3!)
b) Our sorrow and tears are recorded (Psalms 56:8!)
c) God keeps our prayers (Revelation 5:8!)
d) The hairs of our head are numbered (Matthew 10:30!)
e) All the days of our life are in His book (Psalms 139:14-17!)
f) He has a record of our very words (Matthew 12:36!)
g) The motives of our hearts will be revealed (1 Corinthians 4:5!)
h) The thoughts of our hearts will be revealed (Luke 2:35!)
i) Our works will be judged (1 Peter 1:17!)
j) Nothing is hidden from God (Hebrews 4:13!)
k) We must all give an account to God (Romans 14:12; Hebrews 4:13!)
6) Knowing of Christ’s imminent return, what kind of lives should we be living (Romans 13:11-14 and 2 Peter 3:10-18?)
Revelation 22:1-5
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” (NIV)
1) I don’t know about you, but I’m glad there will be some body of water in heaven, and to think that it flows directly to the throne of God and the Lamb!
2) Why do you think the risen, resurrected Son of God is still referred to as the Lamb (Revelation 5:1-8?)
3) Why could Jesus not have completed God’s will for Him if He had come to earth the first time as the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah,” or the “Root of Jesse?” Why did it have to be as the “Lamb of God?”
4) Finally, we shall see His face! What do you think you will do, or how do you think you will react?
5) What will Jesus look like (Revelation 1:12-18!) Every knee shall bow indeed!
6) Do you know that Jesus will be the only one in heaven with scars (John 20:19-29?) Why do you think that is? (See question #2!)
7) The Name of the Lord on our foreheads? What right has God to do this (Isaiah 43:1-26?)
8) Oh, there will be one who tries to imitate God with his own seal (Revelation 14:7-12!)
9) Did you notice that we shall reign (2 Timothy 2:11-13 and Revelation 5:10!) Glory!