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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Friday, July 3, 2015

Romans by the Book (Lesson 100)




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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 100

I want to welcome everyone to Home Bible Study©

If this is your first visit, I want to extend the hand of friendship to you and your loved ones.  Please take the time to look us over.  Then if you think this is something you might be interested in, come on back, the Light is always on.

The most recent Bible lesson appears first in line and then the older lessons follow in their proper order.  FYI:  Every lesson published since 2008 has been saved in the archives and is readily available on this website.

Please understand I’m not a pastor or a priest or a seminary graduate for that matter.  I’m a layperson just like most of you.  I’ve spent half of my life working for the federal government and the Department of Veterans Affairs in particular.  I was approached and officially asked to teach the Bible to children, teen-agers, and adults about 20 years ago by BSF International.  The majority of my teaching experience has been in a classroom setting, but at the other end of the spectrum I’ve taught many Bible lessons in log cabins and around a roaring campfire in a woodland setting while serving in the Camp Cherith Christian ministry.

I came up with the idea of a Home Bible Study for practical reasons and after several conversations with Mr. Les Feldick.  Using the www as a means to reach a larger audience with God’s Gospel actually commenced in 2008.   Since the onset I’ve never solicited this group for donations or for financial support and don’t intend to – that’s not what this is about.  I’m not trying to plant another church group, or build a following.  I’m simply trying to help people understand what their Bible says and in some cases what it does not say.  In this age, this is equally as important.

 Please open your Bible at Romans 12:1. 

Romans 12

1:  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable (worship) service. (KJV)

The ancient Greek word for reasonable (logikos) can also be translated “of the word” as it is in 1 Peter 2:2-3:  like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, (by this Peter means not watered-down or contaminated by an outside source - pure) so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.

Reasonable service then is a life of worship according to God’s Word.  In the O.T. the sacrifice of an animal was reasonable service, but only for the one bringing the sacrifice and not for the sacrifice itself.  Under God’s New Covenant we have far greater mercies, so it is reasonable (logical) to offer a far greater living sacrifice.

Let’s move on.

Romans 12

2: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.  (NASB)

And do not be conformed to this world:  this is a command, in case you missed it.
The word conformed in the Greek language is:  Suschematizo (pronounced:  soos-khay-mat-id’zo) and means – to conform oneself (i.e. one’s mind and character) to another’s pattern. 

The word world, as it’s used here, in the Greek language is translated Aion (pronounced:  ahee-ohn’) and means – an unbroken age. 

Paul declares this present (unbroken) age evil, which is no revelation to those who are saved and on the “inside track” with their Lord and Savior, but I want you to see what this book says:  who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age (Aion), according to the will of our God and Father, (Galatians 1:4)

There’s a before in every saved individual’s life.  This is true now just as it was in Paul’s day.  These Believers in Rome used to “walk” in step with their pagan peers and they  walked in step with the god of this age (Aion), literally according to the prince of the power of the air (Satan).  Scripture says:  And you (insert your name here) were (past tense) dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly (did what) walked according to the course of this world (Kosmos – in the Greek language: meaning – the entire earth), according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons (and daughters) of disobedience.  (Ephesians 2:1-2)

Before the Lord Jesus Christ rescued you from this present evil age were you focused on God and fulfilling His will or did the world and its enticements have you firmly in its grasp?

I won’t attempt to speak for anyone else but for me God wasn’t in the picture.  I certainly didn’t have a relationship with His Son.  My own self-interests motivated me and I filled my day and my life with things that I wanted to do.  I didn’t need God.  To be honest I had my own opinions about God and the Bible (a book I never read) and lived my life according to these.  I didn’t think for one minute that this made me a terrible person. 

Regrettably, this describes the majority of people living in the world presently and Scripture has something to say about this mental attitude:  Do not love the world.  If anyone loves the world (Kosmos in the Greek language meaning:  the entire earth), the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the (prince of the power of the air who controls the) world.  (1 John 2:15-16; Genesis 3:6)

If you were here for our Genesis Bible study, then you know after Adam sinned he lost dominion over the LORD God’s creation (Genesis 1:26).  He fumbled the ball and Satan was there to pick it up; consequently the devil has had control of God’s creation ever since:  And we know (positively) that we (Believers) are of God, and the whole world (around us) is under the power of the evil one.  (1 John 5:19 - Amplified Version Bible)

A Scripture reference just came to mind so I’m going to use it.  This verse may be the one that helps you understand that Satan is in control of things down here.  Please turn to Matthew 4:8.  This is the account of the devil tempting Jesus in the wilderness just prior to the start of His earthly ministry to the Jews:  Again the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world (Kosmos) and their glory; and he (Satan) said to Him, “All these things I will (now watch this) give You, if You fall down and worship me.”  (Matthew 10:5-7)

What’s this verse saying?  Satan will give all the kingdoms of the world to Jesus Christ for one moment of worship from Him; but were they his to give away?   Absolutely!  Satan is the god of this world (Kosmos) until Jesus Christ returns and God makes His enemies a footstool for His feet.  (Psalms 110:1b)

I’m definitely not the first person who thought they could get by without God.  Everything under the sun has a beginning and an end.  Using the Law of First Mention, we find ourselves in the book of Genesis at chapter 4 right after the LORD God punished Cain:  he went out from the presence of the LORD, and settled in the land of Nod (means:  wandering), east of Eden. 

Now Cain was a man without faith; a fact no one should overlook because this was the source of his problem with the LORD and affected his decision making.  Cain wandered away from there, downcast (depressed) to the east of Eden.  He decided to put some distance between him and the LORD God to forget about Him and to prove that he could get along without Him; and he built a city so he wouldn’t have to wander any longer and filled it with “earthly delights” to satisfy his selfish desires.
  
Satan permits people to build their “little kingdoms” within his kingdom of darkness and their oblivious to him and his tactics.  Unsaved people have adopted Cain’s mindset and practices, which suits the father of lies.  (2 Corinthians 4:1-4)

However, what I find alarming is almost 50% of polled Christians couldn’t get behind what God said in His Word about Satan!  A Barna Group poll conducted in April 2009 asked 1,871 Christians if they believed Satan exists:  40% of these people said, “Satan isn’t a living being, he’s just a symbol of evil found in the Bible.”   8% of these Christians polled said, “they weren’t sure…” 

We live in a world where the majority of people reject God, thoroughly reject Biblical Truth, and live their lives without the Lord Jesus Christ in their lives.  They don’t want anything to do with God because they love their sinful ways.  That is why Scripture calls us Believers “peculiar people,” and to most of the world we are extremely peculiar and in some cases hated to the point of death because of our devotion to our Savior.  People who love the world and thei sinful lifestyles don’t want to face, think about, or deal with the Truth!  They go about their existence believing the untruth.  They think by denying its accuracy or ignoring the Truth of God and His coming judgment altogether that somehow they can escape it.  These people view Believers as the enemy. 

Satan has developed this fatal “world-order” with its philosophy (man’s explanation of all things – but constantly changing), its science (ever seeking to eliminate God from the equation), its government (which is man exalting himself), its amusements (modified frequently to blot out realities from the mind), and its religion (personalized to soothe man’s conscience and allay fears of final judgment).  But Paul says: do not to be conformed (fashioned) according to this world.  

To put it another way, our apostle Paul is saying, do not “feed at Satan’s trough,” or “follow the standards” of the god of this world.  For these “world systems,” the popular way of life and its associated manner of thinking is in rebellion against God.  Furthermore, these world-systems will attempt to deceive us, seduce us, and then conform us to their ungodly patterns and this, my friends, we must constantly resist! 

People are not resisting their conforming to this world (Aion).  As a result, this is the most narcissistic culture in all of human history.  We’re living in a radically individualistic society and it is at the root of many of our social ills including the concerns surrounding our sexual orientation issues.

Psychologists Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell in their book titled:  “The Narcissism Epidemic” (2009) explores the rise of narcissism in American culture and explains how this can lead to aggression, materialism, “shallow values” and a lack of empathy. 

Not only are there more narcissists than ever, but non-narcissistic people are seduced by the increasing emphasis on material wealth, physical appearance, celebrity worship, and attention seeking.  In data collected from 37,000 college students, narcissistic personality traits rose just as fast as obesity from the 1980s to the present.  One popular dance track repeats the words "money, success, fame, glamour" over and over again, declaring that all other values have "either been discredited or destroyed." 

In this present age self-sacrifice has been spun to be referred to as self-importance and self-fulfillment.  This mindset says, “You owe me!”  It encourages a person to demand that you do something for “me,” that you treat me uniquely, or give me something, just because… and I have no particular responsibility in return.  If you’ll recall, last week I brought forward a church statistic showing churchgoers with an entitlement mentality instead of a servant mentality.  This is contrary to Romans 12:1-2 and clearly shows that these individuals have been seduced (deceived - Genesis 3:6) and are conforming to this world. 

…but be transformed by the renewing of your mind:  this is the direct opposite of   conformed to this world.  Note Paul didn’t say renew your heart for the heart is desperately wicked.  But a willing mind and an upright heart always seek the Truth.  (Ecclesiastes 7:25; Matthew 15:15-20; John 7:17)

The word transformed in the Greek language is Metamorphoo (pronounced:  met-am-or-fo’-o) meaning:  to change; to transfigure.  Our English word metamorphosis is derived from this word and it’s the same word in Matthew 17:2 used of Jesus Christ, “He was transfigured.”  He was transformed to appear as He will appear at His second coming to this earth.  (2 Peter 1:16-18)  Our Lord was “changed” in such a way that His inner glory became visible on the outside.

As the word is used here and in 2 Corinthians 3:18, it references the transformation process which takes place in the Believer’s life as they are conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (I’m more like Him today than I was yesterday; and I’ll be more like Him tomorrow than I am today).  This “change” or transformation is produced by the Holy Spirit and is the result of the Believer beholding the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ through the written Word and gradually being transformed into the likeness of God’s Son (Romans 8:29). 

I can be disagreeable, ask my wife.  I’m a sinner saved by God’s Grace and I understand all too well what Paul means by the “conflict of two natures” in Romans 7.  But I also remember what my attitude and my life was like without my Lord and Savior walking with me daily.  But I’m different now, and that’s what Paul is teaching us.  We’re not to walk in our old sinful ways we’re to walk in newness of life; we’re to be different!

The tense in 2 Corinthians 3:18 is present, which means we are constantly to be transformed.  This isn’t going to happen in a day, a month, or ten years.  It’s a process.  It will not cease until we are with the Lord Jesus Christ:  Therefore, if you have been raised up with Christ (born again), keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  (Colossians 3:1-3; Romans 6:2; 1 John 3:2)

The verb is passive in 2 Corinthians 3:18, which means we do not change or transform ourselves.  We must be transformed.  This is something God does in and through us.
This is accomplished when we trust Him and allow Him to do what only He can do.

The Spiritual battle ground between conforming to the world and being transformed is within the mind of the Believer.  Paul is saying we must think differently than the world.  Believers are not to fashion themselves after this Satanic “order of things,” which he has corrupted but we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, and this is that amazing portion of our salvation which is ministered by the Holy Spirit. 

Make no mistake this is a mental process, we must readjust our thinking to the mind of God.  This will have a transforming effect upon the life of a Believer.  We must saturate our mind with the Word of God (instead of People Magazine) so that we might see and think, as God does:  Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old (Adam) self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him – (Colossians 3:9-10)

Prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

As we are being transformed internally, the proof of this “change” will be visible externally.  Others will be able to see what the good and acceptable and perfect will of God is through our life. 

(To be continued)

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