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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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Romans by the Book (Lesson 50)



Home Bible Study
Established November 2008

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


Romans by the Book                                                                Lesson 50

I want to welcome each one of you to Home Bible study and thank you for being here.
This is the place where you come to study God’s Word without having to deal with someone’s opinion or personal interpretation thrown in.  At HBS we let the Bible do the talking, so to speak.  I am simply offering to guide you through the greatest book ever written without changing one jot or tittle therein.   

Do you need a guide?

I purchased my first Bible many years ago and I knew a few things.  I have to admit that there were many more things that I did not understand.  I read many Bible stories but what was it all about?  I didn’t see any connection.  I felt lost in it.  I knew I would never get this on my own.  I needed help. 

I knew a little about Rome, Italy and some of its history too, but I freely admit there is far more that I am ignorant of and you better believe I’d be lost there on my own.
When I had the opportunity to visit the city I joined a tour group led by a professional guide.  As we drove through the city, he pointed out places of historical interest and gave us the facts about each one.  He colored in the background with details that were not in the history books.  He brought the city and its past into focus for me.

Clearly, a guide is helpful when you’re in unfamiliar territory.

Now we’re going to pick up right where we left off in the previous Bible lesson and move onward from there exploring the depth of God’s Word. 
A little closer walk with Thee, if you will.

Please open your Bible and turn to Romans, chapter 8 at verse four.

Romans 8

4…so that the (righteous) requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit

I mentioned in the last lesson the Law was righteous; it goes without saying from God’s standpoint the Law was perfect.  But it was weak because of our flesh (due to our relationship to Federal Adam from birth). 

The Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia addresses this issue.

Galatians 4

8: However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods.

9: But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be (what) enslaved all over again?

What’s Paul referring to in verse nine?  The Law! 
The entire book (letter) of Galatians was written to prove to those Gentile Believers up there in Galatia that they were not under the Mosaic Law – they are under God’s Grace. 

Paul’s message:  the Law could not give eternal life, it could not sanctify, and it could not make the Believer a saint.  Why would anyone want to leave God’s Grace and return to that “weak” and “beggarly” system of do’s and don’ts that can only condemn and kill?

Please return to the book of Romans.

Romans 8

4…so that the (righteous) requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us (who are Believers, who now enjoy an inseparable position (relationship) in Christ Jesus; and now here’s the proper place for that little statement in verse 1 that I said the translator, who was not inspired, added to the original manuscript), who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

What does it mean to “walk according to the Spirit?”

This short phrase means to live each moment dependent on the Holy Spirit, sensitive to His voice, and obedient to Him.

Allow me to insert an illustration here.  My siblings and our friends enjoyed playing outdoors for hours and hours.  We made up games like capture the pirate flag and played it sometimes until well after sundown.  The park we played in was more than a block away from my home.
 
Now try to picture about a dozen kids running, jumping, and shouting trying not to be captured or attempting to capture kids from the opposing team and their flag.  It was chaotic fun.   But when my mother stood on the back step of our home and called out my name I heard her voice clearly over all the noise.  You see, I was sensitive to the sound of her voice.  I was “tuned in to her.”  When I heard her call, I came running home.  I obeyed her quickly.  She didn’t have to call me in twice.

Moving this into the Spiritual realm, you know when that “little voice” inside is directing you not to do something or reminding you that there is something you should be doing.  There aren’t any colors involved here either.  This isn’t a black, white, or grey issue.   
This is right vs wrong. 

For instance God said it’s a sin to lie.  There it is!
Therefore, there’s no such thing as a little white lie – this is a man-made notion to circumvent God’s commandment.  Therefore we tell the truth.  It’s always better to express the truth even if it’s painful.  When all is said and done, honesty really is the best policy.

Peter the Apostle wrote, “Prepare your minds for action,” and Paul the Apostle wrote, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” 
The key words in these two verses are “prepare” and “set.” 

First we must prepare.  The Apostle Paul wrote, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”  (Ephesians 6:10-18).

Then we are to set our minds on obedience to God. 

1 Corinthians 10

5: We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

Gotta be honest – every sinner who is saved struggles with this (Romans 7:14-24). 
But obedience to God is possible.  As we Believers consent to reject the selfish desires of “the flesh” and choose instead to walk according to the Spirit, the (righteous) requirements of the Law are fulfilled in us and not by us (Romans 8:4). 

Romans 8

5: For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, (set their minds and hearts on) the things of the Spirit.

The word “mind” in the Greek is phronousin (pronounced: fron’-ay-mah). 
As it is used here it does not indicate one’s intellect or understanding, but is referencing instead the interest or occupation of the individual, caused by their natural (Adamic) sinful nature. 

The Apostle Paul identifies two classes of individuals in this verse:  those according to the flesh and those according to the Spirit.

Those who are according to the Spirit these are God’s true children. 
The Holy Spirit indwells each and every one of these folks.

The distinction between these two classes is a genuine as that between the sheep and the goats at Christ’s second coming (Matthew 25:31-46), or between those whose names are written in the Book of Life and those whose names are not written there (Revelation 20:15). 

Breaking this down even further:  all those who are according to the flesh cherish, desire, are occupied with, absorbed in, talk of, think about, and pursue the things of the flesh.  Such as:  physical lusts, gluttony, slothfulness, mental delights, pride, envy, malice, violence and greed.  In other words, they are involved with every impure thing imaginable and then some (Genesis 6:5). 

Those who are according to the Spirit discerns, values, loves, and is absorbed in the things of the Spirit.  Things such as:  salvation, the person of Jesus Christ, the Word of God, fellowship with Believers, prayer, praise, worship, and the blessed hope of Christ’s coming (Galatians 5:22-26). 

The reason for this Paul writes immediately:

6: For the mind (phronema – noun form of the verb) set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. 

Here’s where we all started.  Each of us Believers, at one time, had a “mind” purposed for “death.”  We were controlled (enslaved) by our sinful natures and we surrendered to the desires of the flesh without a minutes thought.  Put another way, we never thought about sin or connected our wrongful activities to sin.  The only thing waiting for us at the end of that road was the second death and ultimately the Lake of Fire.

but the mind set on the Spirit is life (eternal) and peace. 

In Paul’s letters he writes about “the peace of God” and “peace with God.”
They are not the same thing but if you’re a Believer you possess both of these.

Colossians 1

21: And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,

22: yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach –

Once we became saved, we became children of God; this is our position. 
We are no longer viewed as “enemies” of God we’ve been reconciled.  Now Jesus can present us holy and blameless before the holy God.  That’s a big difference. 

We obtain “peace with God” the moment we confess belief in the gospel. 
It’s time for a fact check.

Romans 5

1: Therefore, having been justified by (what) faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

2: through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we (do what) stand; and we exult in the hope of the glory of God.

All those who are not under the Blood of Jesus Christ do not have peace with God.
They are alienated, hostile, and spiritually dead to Him. 

As for “the peace of God,” whether or not you feel it at this very moment, no matter what is going on in your life, you possess the “the peace of God.” 

You may be stressed to the max but this is true.  God the Father has given you and me everything we need to live a peaceful life.  However, most of us don’t realize it, understand it, or were never taught this truth. 

First the basics:  God told us “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6).

God said do not be anxious about anything!  If this were not possible, He would not have said it…  This is also a command.  It is not a suggestion.  I know I’ve written this many times and for many years.  Perhaps it’s time to go to the book so you can see where I get this.  Please turn to 1 Corinthians, chapter 15.

1 Corinthians 15

37: If anyone thinks he (or she) is a prophet or spiritual, let him (or her) recognize that the things which I write to you (please read carefully) are the Lord’s commandment.

38: But if anyone does not recognize this, he (or she) is not recognized.

Since we’re going to be obedient to God’s commandments, we must learn how we can cease all anxiety and worry.  In case you missed it, the antidote for this problem is here in this Bible verse.  We go to God in prayer and ask Him to meet our needs, and we do this with a positive attitude of thanksgiving. 

God says to make our requests known – to Him.

Some would argue, “Why pray when God already knows what I’m going to ask for?”  Please consider this.  Prayer is one of our greatest privileges as a Believer’s but — we may as well admit — one of our greatest failures. 

It's good to know this: we are inviting God into our lives when we pray. 

We are family!  When we pray, we experience -

Fellowship

We become "workers together with Him."

2 Corinthians 6:      

1: And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain…

When we pray, God gives us the joy and privilege of administrating His affair on earth - working together with Him.  He could do it without us.  We could not do it without Him.  But what a wonderful privilege of doing it together with Him!

Progressing

When we pray, God is maturing us.

Colossians 1

9: For this reason also, since the day we heard of it,  we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,

10: so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in knowledge of God;

11: strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience;

Have you ever prayed and didn't receive immediately what you asked for?  
What did you do?  Did you cease praying or did you persist in your prayers? 
Did you also begin to search your heart and your life to see if something there was hindering God's answer to your prayer(s)? Many times this is the reason.  There is something negative going on in our lives.  God uses prayer to mature us.

Dependency

We all are independent and stubborn to some degree.  Let’s be honest.
Knowing this, God never wants us to live lives independent of Him.

If God answered every one of our prayers, soon we would begin to take God for granted.  That’s the way we’re put together.  It’s in our nature to do so. 
We would cease to depend upon God. 

Depending on God requires faith.  God wants us to live by faith.  The fruits of the Spirit can only be produced through faith, in cooperation with God, locked onto His will, and His purpose. 

But first and foremost, God commands us to pray!
That's why we tell God what He already knows.  Of course He knows what we have need of before we ask, but we're specifically told to pray so that we might enjoy that fellowship with Him, so that we might mature as Believers, and then as we “walk with Him” day by day we learn to depend upon Him especially during difficult times.

When we do this, the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds, if you are a Believer.  And this peace goes beyond our comprehension, as the book says.

Philippians 4

7: And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your (what) minds in Christ Jesus.


(To be continued)


© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Romans by the Book (Lesson 49)



Home Bible Study
Established November 2008

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


Romans by the Book                                                
Lesson 49                                           


Welcome back to HBS.  We’re going to move on past Romans 8:1 with this lesson. 
Just so you know while we we’re parked on verse 1 we we’re actually exploring the depth of God’s Word (digging deeper).  This phrase simply means a “deep desire” to know God more – or a closer walk with Him.

To bring this into the human realm, when you met the love of your live the first time, were you content with observing them from a distance or did you desire to know them more? 

How did your relationship develop?    Perhaps it started with small talk.  Then later on that progressed to taking long strolls by the seashore or lakeside together.  Maybe you chose to go for walks in the park.  If your wallet was empty, like mine, your plans were smaller but the zeal undiminished.  I remember talking for hours on the telephone for instance to the one who had captured all my attention.  We did go out on occasion.  Going to a restaurant together or to the movies was okay, but admittedly the best time was “alone time” - together? 

 After all is said and done, what was the point of this “time investment” and “soul searching?”  Wasn’t it a “deep desire” to know them more?  Wasn’t this an outward expression of one’s love - an intimate sharing between two individuals? 

King David, the psalmist, wrote:

Psalm 84

2: My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.

Here David expresses a desire to be with the Lord who his heavenly Father. 
Perhaps David had many questions to ask the Lord.  From the human perspective I think David wanted to know everything there was to know about his Father in heaven.  David was longing for an intimate connection.  In a small way, David was simply expressing his unconditional love in return for the Lord’s.

Jesus clearly instructs us that God is the Father of us all.

Matthew 6

9: “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name…

Can you remember back when you had one-on-one time with your father as a child?
Do you recall questioning your dad about his boyhood, his parents, his job, etc. because you wanted to “know him more” or you just wanted to “feel” closer to him?  Weren’t those times special…just you and your father alone together?

God is longing for that same intimacy with all His children?
I heard one person translate intimacy with God the Father in this way – “In to me see.”

As we take the time to explore the depth of God’s Word, we will discover the breadth of His infinite love for us, and then He can fill our hearts with that same kind of love.

King David wrote:

Psalm 107:

9: For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has (what) filled with what is good.

When Believers begin to develop a “hunger” for the presence of God in their lives, our souls begin to “desire” a greater understanding of His character and disposition toward us.  This is what drives us deeper into His Word.  But let’s let the Word of God speak.

Psalm 42

1: As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God.

2: My soul thirsts for God, for the living God… 

Abraham Lincoln put it this way, “I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given man.  All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this book.” 

That’s worth considering; but all the goodness of God cannot be recorded in the Bible (John 21:25), but the truth of it can be communicated.  This is where the depth of the Word comes into play, “digging deeper” if you will.  It goes far beyond “knowing” words on a page, or committing a Bible verse or two to memory.  It has everything to do with spending time with this book to better understand God’s character.


Please turn to Romans, chapter 8.  We’ll begin today’s lesson starting at verse two.

Overview:
Romans 8
8:1-11              Life in the Spirit
                        8:1-4                Freedom from condemnation
                        8:5-8                Spiritual vs. fleshly thinking
                        8:9-11              Indwelling Spirit gives life


Romans chapter 8 is the great chapter that brings into view that part of our salvation which is exercised by the third Person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit.  Without Jesus Christ’s sacrificial work on the cross for all mankind there would be no salvation and without the indwelt presence and constant intercession of the Holy Spirit there would be NO application of that salvation toward us – no revelation of the mystery of God’s Grace.

Romans 8, then, comes after Christ’s work on the cross – after His atoning blood has put the Believer’s sins away permanently – after he or she has seen that they have “died with Christ to sin, and to that legal responsibility they once had in federal Adam…
“Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under Law, but under Grace.” 

The Apostle Paul has shown “the flesh” to be incurably wicked; yet there is a blessed deliverance which gives us freedom “through faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

I consider Romans 8 is to be the most encouraging chapter in all of Scripture for the person who is in Christ Jesus given that it begins with “there is now no condemnationand ends with no separation (compare verse 1 with verses 35-39).

And so we begin:

Romans 8

2: For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

God has set us free from the only law that could condemn us.

Paul mentions two laws in verse 2.  What’s he telling us? 
I’ll use an illustration:  you have the law of aerodynamics and the law of gravity. 
The law of gravity says that a large, heavy metal object in the sky must fall to earth and crash (picture an airplane).  But the law of aerodynamics is a higher law and overcomes the law of gravity.  This law enables the airplane to soar and fly and not fall to earth.

Paul is saying, by the law of sin and death I will fail, I will fall, and I will crash (Romans 7:23-25) but by the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus I am set free and able to live a life pleasing to God (Romans 8:2).

God said, “The person who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:20; Amos 9:10).  
This decree no longer applies to Believers because God addressed it – completely. 
We died with Christ (Romans 6:8) and it is no longer we who sin but the sinful nature within us (Romans 7:17).  Our sinful nature will die, and we who are in Christ Jesus will live on in eternity as co-heirs with Christ Jesus.

Romans 8

3: For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,

The Law is good but limited.  We’ve covered this detail a couple of times already.
The Law is just but it cannot justify (Romans 7:12, 3:20).
The Law is holy (it came from God who is Holy) but it cannot sanctify (Romans 7:12).
The Law confirms that I am a sinner before God but it cannot make me a saint! 
(A mirror may show me that I am filthy but it cannot cleanse me).

What the Law could not do, God did through His Son, Jesus Christ!  Jesus fulfilled the righteous demands of the Law.  Jesus Christ is the end of the Law (Romans 10:4).

Believe me when I say this, and Scripture will back me up, God does not want us to go on sinning.  But even if we do those in Christ Jesus will not be condemned for doing so.  The Law could not save, the Law could not give a person eternal life, but God could and He did through the sacrificial death of His Son for all those who believe. 

Jesus came to give us eternal life and He did it in such a way as to fulfill the “righteous requirements of the law.”  When Jesus freely gave up His life, He satisfied all the demands of the Law - It is finished!”  It cannot ask for one thing more.

Romans 8

4: so that the (righteous) requirements of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

What are the “(righteous) requirements of the Law?”  What does the book say?

Luke 10

25: And a lawyer (who hoped to make a fool of Jesus) stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

26: And He (aware that he was a lawyer) said to him, “What is written in the Law?  How does it read to you?”

27: And he answered, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOUR SELF.”

28: And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE.”

The “righteous requirements” of the Law demands and requires that a person live a righteous life of loving God (perfectly) and loving one’s neighbor (perfectly). 

I can’t do this and neither can you.  How are we, as Believers, to accomplish this?
The Person and power of the Holy Spirit makes this possible.

Read verse 4 again carefully, it does not say, “by us” it says, “in us. 
This is something God does in us by His power and by the working of the Holy Spirit. 

This is Bible study 101, but some of you may be unaware, the flesh is that which I do in and of myself (that which I produce).  The Spirit refers to that which God does in me by the Person of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

The Law requires that I love God and love my neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40). 
These two commandments summarize not only the Ten Commandments but all of God’s Commandments.  We know from our study of Romans, that we cannot keep the Law by trying to keep the Law.  It’s impossible.  Even a saved sinner cannot do it. 
They want to – but they can’t (Romans 7:14-25).

The key to fulfilling the law is love (Romans13:8-10 and Galatians 5:14).
Think about this.  The Biblical definition of the word “love” is seeking another’s highest good.  Put another way you want the best for that individual!

The definition of a friend (neighbor) has changed in today’s hi-tech world.  In the context of social media, the term “friend” is often used to describe the contacts in a folder on some electronic device rather than relationships.  You may have the ability to send your “friends” a text message from time to time but this is not the same thing as having or experiencing a long-term personal relationship with a person one on one. 

There are many definitions of what it means to be a “friend” nowadays.
I’ll put it to you this way.  A true friend is someone who is seeking your highest good!
If someone is always loyal, chaste, honest in every transaction, thinks of you first, and is putting your needs first then you have a true friend.  But if there is one word that unlocks the real meaning of true friendship it is commitment (1 Corinthians 13:1-13).

Now that being the case, if you love your neighbor (friend) you’re not going to walk into his garage and take his $1200 bicycle, you’re not going to spread gossip about them, you’re not going to sleep with their spouse, you’re not going to lie to them, you don’t fight and squabble over every little thing, you don’t carry grudges, and you’re not going to insult them at the drop of a hat.  Why?  You’re seeking their “highest good.”  You’re putting them “first.”  You’re committed to the relationship and to its happiness. 

Reminding you all of what we covered back in Lesson 25, the Mosaic Law was intended by the LORD God to be a temporary covenant.  The New Covenant, to which the Mosaic Law actually pointed to, stands as a “way of life” that is different in nature to the way of life under the Law.  Believers in the Grace Age live by the Spirit and are guided by love and truth.  In other words, the Mosaic Law is fulfilled in Christ Jesus!

Love and truth – these two items are getting harder and harder to find by the day.
And this should not be the case.  Are we not living in a Christian nation?

What is the ultimate expression of one’s love for another?
Jesus Christ gives us the perfect example:

John 15

12: This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.

13:  “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life (seeking their highest good) for his friends….”  (See also Romans 5:6-8).

If more people would practice the concept of “seeking the highest good” of others, how many problems would go away in our families, our workplaces, our communities, our nation, Washington, D.C., and in the world? 

The key to this dilemma is what’s missing in all these places…Jesus Christ.
The key to having love is a Spirit-filled walk (Galatians 5:13-23 and Romans8:4).
The Spirit of God produces this love in us (Galatians 5:22-23).


(To be continued)

© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved