Home Bible Study

"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Communication of the Remnant (Part 8)



Home Bible Study- Lutz, Florida
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)


This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4


The Communication of the Remnant (Part 8)


Throughout this teaching series I have taken you through the Bible to show you that when given the opportunity to believe God or to go their own way, the majority time and time again has chosen to go their own way. 

Only the few, or the remnant, believed God; thereby demonstrating faith in His Word.
This trend continues…


Teaching the Word of Truth


Scripture says:

2 Timothy 2

2: The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to (what kind of men) faithful men who will be able to (do what) teach others also.

Why do people decide to become teachers?
I believe it goes way beyond educating students so that they can pass a test or an exam.  It’s much more than that.  We teach others so that they, in turn, will teach others, and this legacy is then passed on from generation to generation.

Proverbs 9

9: Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser, Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning.

The primary role of the pastor in the 1st century Christian Church was Bible teaching.
Over the years Bible teaching has become “less” important as churches have grown in size and other ministries have come on the scene (in the modern day church) to dare I say take its place. 

The majority of the churches today have “delegated” this most important mission field to their Sunday School Ministries and the pastor or church leader has stepped aside.

Now for the most part these Bible study programs are facilitated by volunteers who have little if any Bible teaching experience.  Rarely will you find one being led by a pastor or a member of the clergy today.  The smaller churches simply can’t afford it.
The larger churches (or mega-churches) can and often do to some extent but not always.
There are only so many pastors and junior pastors to go around.

So what you wind up with is a group of people sitting in a room, with brochures, or materials the church has purchased or provided.  In some cases your Bible study may use a DVD or an audio tape such as Rick Warren's “Purpose Driven Life” for example.

My wife and I participated in the “Purpose Driven Life” Bible study at our church.
It went on for more than 8 weeks, if I remember correctly.  Each week we came to the Bible study, we watched the prescribed DVD (Rick Warren) commentary, and then we sat in smaller groups with our Purpose Driven Life workbooks, and we discussed certain aspects pertaining to that week’s course. 

Important to note: WE DID NOT OPEN OUR BIBLES ONCE!

Back to the original thought; before you actually get to the point of participating in the Bible study at church you will first most assuredly have blocks of time set aside for fellowship, food, coffee, and prayer time.  Please note: by the time you wade through these activities there will be very little time left on the clock for your Bible study…and so on it goes.

Now is this really a Bible study?   
I mean you’re viewing a DVD, listening to an audio tape; or you’re reading a brochure. 
But is any of this really studying your Bible?  Think!

Since when is reading anything called a study?
I read through the Fox News webpage yesterday, but I couldn’t say I studied it.
I read through the classified ads, but I certainly didn’t study any of it.

Since when is watching anything called a study?
I watched a T.V. program last night.  I don’t believe I can honestly say I studied it.

Who’s fooling who?  Let’s be honest with ourselves.
I think we call these church-offered Bible studies a Bible study to lift ourselves up erroneously.  It’s fantasy.  You’re kidding yourselves.  You think you’re accomplishing something worthwhile when in actuality you are not.

It would be different if these folks left their individual Bible studies, and then went home with their brochures, or what-not, and then continued to study the Word of God on their own in their homes or in smaller groups.  But statistics show that doesn’t happen.    
Facts are facts.  Very few people read their Bible and fewer still study it.

Furthermore, statistics show that the average church-goer only remembers 10% of the preacher’s sermon on any given Sunday.  That breaks down to approximately 1 word out of every dozen or so spoken by their preacher.  By Wednesday, the church-goer only remembers 5% or less of the sermon, even the really “good ones.”

So is it any different with a Bible study group member in his or her Bible study? 
I don’t think so.

I have attended many Bible study groups over the years.
I have led many Bible study groups over the years.
I have more than enough experience in this area to offer opinion but instead I’ll ask a couple questions:

How’s the church’s plan working out? 
Is “downsizing” Bible teaching a good idea?
Are your Bible study groups getting the job done?

As my mother often said, “The proof is in the pudding.”

I watched the annual Teenage Jeopardy Tournament program last week. 
Although these teenagers were young and still in high school I have to be honest.
I was blown away by their intellects.   They were educated on a wide range of subjects.

Then they came to “The Bible” category. 
Not one of the three players answered one question correctly in this category. 

Is this a problem?  What do you think?  Does God matter?

It’s said that most Americans are biblically illiterate.  For example:
A Barna poll noted that 12% of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.  
50% of high school seniors thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife.  When asked, many said that Billy Graham preached the Sermon on the Mount.

Clearly, somebody is doing something wrong somewhere…
When we think about learning our ABCs, the alphabet and the basics of language come to mind—all are vital for communication.  Well, we live in a time when it seems the basic ABCs of Christianity are not being taught in the Church, as they once were.

Over the years, I’ve met many people who teach Sunday school (or lead a youth or adult Bible study) who have told me that so much of their material now seems so watered down.  In fact, as someone said to me, “I’m tired of the fluff and stuff.”  “Where’s the Meat?”

Indeed, as we have examined much of the currently available curricula being used for Sunday schools, youth outreaches, adult Bible studies, and so on, a lot of it waters down the basic truths of the Bible.  And much of it concentrates on spiritual aspects, relationship building, and devotional thoughts (of course, some of that is needed), but it’s in much heavier doses today.  Too much.

The 2009 “Beemer Study” (from America’s Research Group) helped explain why two-thirds of young people are leaving the church by college age.

The study became the basis of the best-selling book “Already Gone “by Britt Beemer who discovered that young people are beginning to doubt the Truth of the Bible at a much younger age than we all believed.

The research concluded that even Bible believing churches were not teaching their children and adults how to use apologetics to defend the faith, so that they wouldn’t be intimidated by the attacks of the world against Christianity.

Actually, when you think about it, students are being taught a form of apologetics in the public school system.  Even though there is a minority of Christians serving as “missionaries” in this system, by and large, students are being taught an apologetic to defend atheism.  For instance, they are being told:

·         there never was a global Flood
·         the evidence is against creation
·         the universe formed through a big bang and is billions of years old
·         fossils show how people evolved from ape-like creatures

At the same time, most churches and Christian homes have tended to treat the Bible as a book of stories; in today’s vernacular, the word “story” is often taken to mean a fairytale.  As a result, recent generations have doubted the Bible’s history.  
This doubt leads to unbelief.  

No wonder we are seeing such a massive exodus of youth from our churches. 
In response to the alarming exodus, many church leaders have tried to make curricula more entertaining.  But in doing so all it does is water down the content.
They’ve collectively reduced God’s Word to a “story book.”

The Barna Group supports this statement with their statistical poll taken back in 2007.

The Majority continue to wrestle with the concept of believing God!
When it comes to believing in and accepting the Truth of God’s Word literally, the vast majority reject the notion outright. 

With this thought in mind, the church today is doing little to turn this trend around.
Far too many churches would rather teach “fluff and stuff” instead of the “meat” of God’s Word to their parishioners.   The youth who represent the future of the church recognize this.  24% of teens and twenty-some things report “the Bible is not taught clearly or often enough.”  I believe that number is higher.

Although the pastor and the church have a teaching responsibility you are not off the hook.  The main responsibility for Bible learning is yours.

If every church in your hometown shut its doors, and every pastor quit their job, this still does not give you an excuse to stop learning Scripture.  The Bible is not a mystery.
You don’t need a PHD to understand it.

The Bible gives a man all the truth that he needs to please God:

 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.  2 Timothy 3:16-17.

“William R. Newell in one of his books, writing in 1937, in one of his footnotes wrote—and he wasn’t pinpointing any one denomination—but he said, “As fast as modernism is coming into the churches, I can foresee the day where the only place you will hear the Truth of the Word of God will be in a Home Bible study.”   

Well, we’re getting there fast, no doubt about it, because much of Christendom is apostatizing.  They hear everything but the truth.  Not all churches are like that – there are still some good ones still out there.  But there are not nearly as many as there were 50 years ago. 

In addition, there’s this comment from Francis L. Patton, President of Princeton University from 1902-1913.  I know it’s been awhile but how bright was this man…
The only hope of Christianity is in the rehabilitating of the Pauline theology.  It is back, back, back, to an incarnate Christ and the atoning blood, or it is on, on, on to atheism and despair.”


© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Communication of the Remnant (Part 7)


Home Bible Study- Lutz, Florida
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4

The Communication of the Remnant (Part 7)

 
I thought it would be a good idea to offer some basic information on how to study your Bible so we covered that in the last lesson.   I think you’ll find it useful.

Now we’re going to pick up where we left off in this teaching series.

I’ve taken you through the book to show you what Scripture has to say concerning those who demonstrate a complete lack of faith in what God has said.

Jesus commented on this aspect of human nature Himself,

Matthew 7

13: “Enter through the narrow gate: for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to (what) destruction, and there are (what’s the next word folks) many who enter through it.

14: “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are (how many) few who find it.” 

The “narrow gate” is THE TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD; plain and simple.

We learned that we are living in the day when Believers are no longer willing to “endure” sound Bible doctrine.  They are accumulating “teachers” for themselves who will tell them what their “itching ears” want to hear instead.

Recently, we’ve looked at the “false prophets (preachers)” and “deceitful workers” in the church community.  The Bible commands us, “to be on the alert” for these people.  

Why?   Jesus knew the damage and the destruction that would come about from those who would misrepresent Bible Truths.   So he warned us beforehand to be on guard.

Truth seekers and Believers alike are being taken in by these false teachers and deceitful workers in the church. 

All those with “eyes to see and ears to hear” need to pay attention (Matthew 11:15).

The word “hear” in the Greek is Akouo (pronounced: Ak-oo-o) and means “to hear with understanding.”  Not just to hear sound or words but to understand what is being said and then learn from it.   

If you approached a railroad crossing without a gate, and you heard the train whistle loud and clear, you probably would bring your car to a halt.  Why?
You recognized the sound.  You recognized the danger. 
You heard “with understanding” and responded. 
This is Jesus’ message in Matthew 11:15.

Jesus warns us to be “on the alert” for false preachers and deceitful workers in the church.  It stands to reason we need to be “on the alert” for their “lies” as well.

One popular deceptive message in vogue today is, “I’m o.k.; and you’re o.k. 
I won’t judge you.  Please don’t judge me.  Let’s just try to get along…

This is Relativism.

Relativism is the idealistic position that all points of view are equally valid, and that all truth is relative to the individual. 

This means that all moral positions, all religious systems, all art forms, all political movements, etc., are truths that are relative to the individual  Think on that.

The philosophy of relativism is pervasive in our culture today. 

With the rejection of God, and Christianity in particular, absolute truth is being abandoned.  
Our pluralistic society wants to avoid the idea that there really is a right and wrong. 

This is evidenced in our deteriorating judicial system that has more and more trouble punishing criminals, in our entertainment media which continues to push the envelope of immorality and indecency, in our schools which teach evolution and "social tolerance," etc. 

In addition, the plague of moral relativism is encouraging everyone to accept homosexuality, pornography, fornication, and a host of other "sins" that were once considered wrong but are now being accepted and even promoted in society. 

Relativism is becoming so pervasive that if you speak out against moral relativism and its "anything goes" philosophy, you're labeled as an intolerant bigot. 

Of course, this is incredibly hypocritical of those who profess that all points of view are true, yet reject those who profess absolutes in morality.  It seems that what is really meant by the moral relativists is that all points of view are true except for the views that teach moral absolutes, an absolute God, or absolute right and wrong.

Some typical expressions that reveal an underlying presupposition of relativism are comments such as: "That is your truth, not mine;" "It is true for you, but not for me;" and "There are no absolute truths."  Of course, these statements are illogical.

Relativism is invading our society, our economy, our schools, and our homes. 
Society cannot flourish nor survive in an environment where everyone does what is right in his own eyes, where the situation determines moral truth, and that lying and cheating are okay as long as you don't get caught. 

Without a common foundation of truth and absolutes, our culture will become weak and fragmented. By Matt Slick – Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry
  
The Christian community is moving rapidly away from the Truth of God’s Word.
This ongoing trend is influenced by many factors.

    Church attendees are not really interested in acquiring Bible knowledge.
If you can get these folks to set aside 10 minutes of their day for devotions and prayer, that’s a positive thing.  But to be honest, the majority does not have the time or the inclination for this activity.

     More and more churches today dole out “warm milk” instead of “solid food” only
(1 Corinthians 3:2), when it comes to Bible teaching and/or preaching.

The average church-goer can’t handle the “meat” of God’s Word.  It’s over their head.
The average church-goer doesn’t spend any time in the book on their own.
The average church-goer gives their hour or so on Sunday morning and then they are done for the week.  After that they jump back into the world as an active participant.

     Younger Christians (and some older ones) have varying viewpoints when it comes to acknowledging what is an acceptable Bible truth.  They “cherry-pick” items from Scripture that they accept as truth or somewhat truthful and discard the rest.

         The Emergent Church Movement – which is a draw for the Gen X group; is a vague sort of loose-knit association of churches that have decided that there is value, there is even virtue in uncertainty about Scripture.

The bottom line in this movement is they believe that we aren't even supposed to understand precisely what the Bible means.  

 It is a denial that we can know what the Bible really says.  And so, it becomes celebration of mystery, a celebration of ignorance, a celebration that we can't really know.

They want to run from the light.  Scripture is light; it is not darkness, but they like the darkness because their deeds are evil.  So I think the motive behind this whole Emerging Church thing, whether it's a conscious or unconscious motive, is discomfort over what the Bible really says, whether it's about the gospel or whether it's about sin, virtue...they don't like it and so they toss it out.                                                                                                   

The Emergent Church, the Universalists, the Unitarians, the Millennial Dawnists, Christian Scientists, these are all examples of churches that have set the Bible and God aside.  When given the choice, they have opted not to believe God.  They have chosen to ignore the Truth. 

The Bible says, “…people who will not endure sound doctrine any longer.”

Those in this category who want their ears “tickled,” will frequent these type churches because the message they “hear “satisfies their “desires” (lusts). 
They have stopped believing God.

Then there are the Truth Seekers.  These are the people who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way to salvation and are now on their “Christian Walk” or their journey of Truth, as I call it.  Most early Believers have a “hunger” for the Word of God.

But unfortunately, for a lot of them, they find themselves in one of these deceitful church groups, and they get caught up in their web of lies.   But how can they know they are being deceived?    I know several people who fit this category.

It’s difficult to reach people who have been brought up in this type environment.
People build relationships and there exists after a time an element of trust.

These false preachers and deceitful workers are good at what they do.
They preach a God of peace and love only.  They never speak of God’s wrath.
It’s a “warming message” and one that the people “want to hear.”
But it’s deceitful!  And it’s not the Truth.

I’ve said this before and it bears repeating. 
The Bible is our only true source of light in this darkened world. 
You can trust it. 

© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How to Study Your Bible


Home Bible Study- Lutz, Florida
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)


This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4

 The Communication of the Remnant (Part 6)

How to Study Your Bible - a few basics

Hello and welcome to those who are visiting our Home Bible Study for the first time.

If you are a regular attendee, thanks for taking the time to study the Word of Truth along with us.   

So, get yourself a drink, a light snack (we certainly do), along with your Bible, as we prepare to get down to business. 

FYI: I always use Bible texts in my Bible lessons but I prefer that you have a Bible in your hand as we go through this information so that you can:

a)      See for yourself what the book says.  Please do not go by what I say or what anyone else says for that matter.  Always go by what the book says.
b)     Learn to find your way around the Bible.  Don’t get discouraged.
It’s not an overwhelming task.  If I can do it, anyone can.

If you don’t have a Bible, that’s o.k.  There are plenty to choose from on the internet.
I use this website often and it has all the tools you’ll ever need for a Bible study:

You don’t need a seminary degree from some college to understand the Bible. 
Don’t let people sway you with their beliefs on this subject.  It’s simply not true.

If you want to know what the Bible really says, you are going to have to study it.
There is a big difference between Bible reading and Bible study.

Every sincere Believer wants to have a more meaningful personal Bible study, to understand the Bible better.  I'd like to offer several suggestions that can improve your Bible studies.  In order to grow, and develop your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, you need to read the Bible every day.  This is called your Quiet Time.

During this daily activity, I recommend prayer, and Bible reading.
But Bible reading as part of your daily devotions should be separate from your times of Bible study.   Let me explain.  Bible study, as opposed to reading, concentrates on a single topic, Bible character, or book of the Bible for closer study. 

Bible study takes a longer block of uninterrupted time.  
Perhaps you'll set aside 30 to 45 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday nights for in-depth Bible study, or an hour on Saturday mornings before the family is up -- or perhaps longer.

Blocks of time are important to Bible study.

Learn to Ask Questions

The real key to Bible study is being inquisitive, learning to ask questions of the text. First, read the passage. Then be a detective; look for clues. What's going on? What stands out to you? What don't you understand?

Who wrote or said this?
When was it written or said?
Where did this happen?
To whom was it written or said?  (Very important)

Take Notes on What You’ve Learned

One main difference between reading and studying is writing down what you learn. This isn't just so you'll remember it later.  The very act of writing requires you to formulate your thoughts clearly.  Writing forces you to recognize fuzzy thinking for what it is and push beyond it.  Write down what you’re learning because it helps you understand it better.

Get a Good Translation

One of the keys to learning the Bible is to get a good translation.  You know, of course, that the Bible wasn't written in English, but in Hebrew (and a bit of Aramaic) in the Old Testament and Greek in the New Testament.  A translation tries to render the original language into clear, accurate English.  There are two types of translations:

Literal word-for-word translation
This makes for accuracy, but can be pretty wooden to read out loud.  A good example of this type is the New American Standard Bible.

Dynamic thought-for-thought correspondence  

Here the translator takes a thought in the original language and tries to translate it into the same concept in good English, without being tied to the exact words in the original.
A good example of this might be Today's English Version (TEV).

The best study Bible contains a balance of both.  You want a careful, accurate translation, but one that reads easily and clearly for family devotions or public worship.

Another issue is the underlying Greek and Hebrew text.  The KJV translators worked with the best texts available to them in 1611, but in the last 150 years we have gained a much more accurate understanding of what the original text must have been.  Nearly all modern translations are enriched by the translators working from the most accurate Greek and Hebrew texts possible.

Here are some of the most popular English translations.  Your church or tradition may have a particular preference, but any one of these might be a good choice for you:

The King James Version (KJV, 1611) is, of course, the granddaddy of our English Bibles.  For its day it was a very accurate translation and is still used in many congregations today.  

In 1984, the New King James Version (NKJV) was published as a whole Bible by Thomas Nelson.  Translators modernized the language of archaic words substantially and removed most of the "thees" and "thous," though the original language basis remained the same as the KJV of 1611.  For churches with a strong King James tradition, the NKJV is a popular alternative.

The New International Version (NIV) was first translated as a whole Bible by evangelical scholars in 1973, with revisions in 1983 and 1988.  It is an excellent balance between readability and accuracy of translation.  For years it has been the most popular newer translation in the United States, especially among evangelical churches.

New American Standard Bible (NASB or NASV), translated by the Lockman Foundation, was published in the whole Bible in 1971 and revised in 1977.  Its big strength is its consistency in literally translating words and tenses.   It is known as a very accurate translation, though perhaps not as easy to read aloud as some others.

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV, 1989) and its predecessor the Revised Standard Version (RSV, 1952) are careful translations in the King James tradition.
Several Protestant denominations prefer the NRSV.  It is both accurate and readable.
Of course there are many other modern translations, many of them good for serious Bible study, too numerous to list here.  The original Living Bible and The Message are not translations, but paraphrases.  They can be refreshing to read but aren't good Bibles for careful study.

Note: I’m not introducing or teaching the principle of applying the teachings of Scripture to your life.  Biblical application should be automatic from my perspective.  Once you understand what the book says, “Rightly Divided of course,” you comply.   
You believe God; simple as that.

In other words when the book says “Do not lie,” as a Believer, this becomes your goal in life.  God also said, “Don’t covet your neighbor’s stuff,” and that’s what He means. 
You don’t need a PHD to figure out the meaning of that sentence.  You don't "desire" to have his home, his car, his wife, his daughter, his stereo, his bank account, his lawn, or his good looks.   

By the way did you know that it's imposible to break any one of the Ten Commandments without first commiting the sin of "coveting?"  It's true.  Check it out.
 
So, once God reveals Truth to you, you accept God’s Word.  It’s a matter of faith.

Faith is simply taking God at His Word. 
If God said it, I believe it.  And that’s that!
It’s not rocket science.

But far too many people struggle with the concept of believing God.
I’m not reporting on a brand new revelation.  It’s always been this way.

And this is the reason I’m writing and teaching this new Bible series called The Communication of the Remnant.

Believing God or taking God at His Word on faith is the “narrow path.”

Matthew 7

13: “Enter through the narrow gate: for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to (what) destruction, and there are (what’s the next word folks) many who enter through it.

14: “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are (how many) few who find it.” 

*****
This has been a brief interruption in our teaching series to help those who may need assistance getting started in their Bible study. 

We’ll pick up where we left off in this teaching series at the next posting.
I hope you’ll come back and visit us.


© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved