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 helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible might not 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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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Romans by the Book (Lesson 41)

Home Bible Study- Lutz, Florida
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                                    41 

Welcome to Home Bible study. 
I encourage you to open your Bible and follow along with us as we study God’s Word.
I trust you’ll compare what you find here with Scripture for this is my objective. 
You see I am merely your guide through this book, God the Spirit is your teacher.
Permit me to show you (using this book) exactly what I mean.

Prior to Jesus’ arrest He told His disciples, 

John 16

12: “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

13: “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth

God is the source and the giver of all truth and the Holy Spirit is the conduit He has chosen to guide you and me into these truths. 

Many Christians are unaware of this fact but when you accepted (put your faith in) Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior this is equal to agreeing with Christ in all things; for He is the Head of the Body and the Church here on earth (Colossians 1:15-19).

Because Christians do not understand how the Holy Spirit teaches and leads (shows us the way) many have been missing these corrections, teachings, and leadings of the Holy Spirit.  God is communicating His will to us, through the Spirit, but the message isn’t getting through because the circuits are down in far too many Christians today. 

The Spirit teaches us and only the Spirit knows the mind of God. 

I Corinthians 2

10: For to us (Believers) God revealed them (God’s wisdom) through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

11: For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?  Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

12: Now we have received (past tense), not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we many know the things freely given to us by God.

13: which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining (or comparing) spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

Right now there are approximately 600 church denominations in America. 
They represent about 600 different ideas about how the Bible should be interpreted. 

But there is only 1 Bible and it is the only source of Spiritual Truth in the world today.

One day you will stand before the Creator God. 
You will come face to face with “What God meant in His Word.” 
It won’t matter if you were taught incorrectly by well-meaning Bible teachers, pastors, priests, etc.  You will face the Lord Jesus Christ and He is absolute truth.  

Jesus said,

John 14

6: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Since Scripture teaches us that only the Spirit knows the mind of God, we need to be doing all we can to understand how the Spirit teaches and leads then we need to respond to this knowledge.  In other words, obedience is required for we are servants of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

The Scriptures say? 

Proverbs 3

5: Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.

Please open your Bible to Romans chapter 6 at verse 15. 

Outline for Romans 6:15-19:  the Gospel makes no provision for living in sin, anymore than the Law did; and those who commit sin (return to sin repeatedly) are slaves to sin.

Romans 6

15: What then?  Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?  May it never be!

16:  Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness.

17: But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,

18: and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

19:  I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh.  For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.

In verse 15 above the Apostle Paul returns to his opening argument stated at 6:1.
Paul warns the Believers in Rome (and us) not to take sin lightly. 
God’s good grace does not give us the liberty to sin freely! 
Paul repeats himself, “May it never be!”

What does the Word of God say?

Romans 6

16:  Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness.

According to Paul, we should be aware of this truth.  When you present yourselves to someone as “slaves” for obedience, you are “slaves of the one whom you obey…

Bob Dylan wrote a song sometime back called, “Gotta Serve Somebody.”
In this song, Mr. Dylan reminds us that no matter who you are, no matter your position in life, you’re going to have to serve somebody. 

Here’s the refrain:
But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
you’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody

Make no mistake about this truth you’re already serving somebody.
From a Biblical aspect this means you’re either serving God or Satan

Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.”  (Matthew 6:24)

I don’t care if you own your own business, your own corporation, or if you are retired.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a dedicated housewife, a homeless person by choice, or a busboy you “gotta serve somebody.”   

Jesus is reminding us that as human beings we are meant to be mastered (Genesis 6:5) and then serve one master only; for this is the very (sin) nature of humanity.

In verse 16, the Apostle Paul has taken us to the to the slave markets of Rome in order to demonstrate this truth:  you are a slave to the one who owns (controls) you; either to righteousness, or to sin.

If you return again and again to drunkenness, drugs, sexual immorality, pornography, envying, jealousy, strife, anger, etc. then these things “have power over” you. 

If you can’t say “No” to these harmful things, then they control you.   
You are a slave to whatever controls you and ultimately a slave to sin.  

Bondage to sin results from serving sin, as verse 16 explains

There was a time, before you became a Believer, when you were a slave to sin.
Sinning was as natural as breathing.  You didn’t even think about it – you did whatever you wanted to do, when you wanted to do it, and with little regard to right or wrong, so long as you couldn’t get caught that is…

Apart from Jesus Christ we all sinned willingly and willfully.

Romans 6

17: But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,

18: and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

But God has set every Believer free from sin – to serve Him and righteousness. 

In verse 17, we read that this “obedience” comes from the heart of a saved person to that form of teaching, to which you were committed…

Note:  For those of you who only use one Bible to study God’s Word be advised the old version misses the entire sense of this 17th verse in its translation.  Allow me to explain.  First I’ll present the old version from the King James Bible.

Romans 6

17: But God be thanked, that ye were servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.  (KJV)

The true interpretation of this verse should read: that form of doctrine unto which ye were handed over (or) delivered.  For the verb is in the plural – ye were delivered over!

In the Old Testament, the Israelites were “delivered over” to Moses and the Law.
It was not only that the Law was delivered by Moses to them; they were themselves delivered over to a legal dispensation – to a mold of doctrine, which had the Ten Commandments as the foundation, and then numerous details contained within the Mosaic Law with which they had to abide by.  The Jews knew they were under the Law.  They knew they had been “handed over” to it, to its demands, and to its entire system.

Verse 17 is saying, likewise Believers now are “delivered over” to a form or pattern of teaching and that is the gospel of your salvation or Christ’s work on the cross.   

These “teachings” include: their guilt has been put away on the cross, their connection with Adam died with Christ, their history in Adam has ended before God, they share the risen life of Christ, and are now before God as risen ones (Romans 6:10-11). 

Let’s move on to the next verse.

Romans 6

19:  I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh.  For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.

Paul explains at the beginning of verse 19 why he uses the word “slaves” in this teaching - I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh…

Our “flesh” is weak, therefore, we MUST be slaves to something; either to sin or to God.
Rome was full of slaves.  Many of the Christians to whom Paul was writing were slaves.  In the Roman Empire, freedom was difficult to achieve (Acts 22:28). 

So, Paul speaks/writes in “human terms,” after the manner of men, and he reports that we are without strength and that comes to each of us naturally.  He reminds us that we must be bondservants to someone, either to God or to Satan…“No one can serve two masters;   

This theme of being a bondservant to someone runs throughout Scripture Paul didn’t create it.  Please turn in your Bible to the Old Testament book of Leviticus, chapter 25.

Leviticus 25

55: ‘For the sons of Israel are My (what) servants; they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt.  I am the LORD your God.

The sons of Israel suffered in cruel bondage for 400 years (Genesis 15:13) in the land of Egypt and were made to serve under harsh masters.  But now, being “delivered over” from there, were now obligated to serve the LORD their God readily, and cheerfully.

Likewise, we who have been bought and redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 7:23) have been “delivered over” to that form of teaching which is the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) which we are now “servants” to and obey from the heart. 

This is the message of verse 19.  Out with the old and in with the new!  …so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.

I want you to focus on the word “sanctification” in the latter part of verse 19.
Sanctification is the process of change that takes place in a Believer’s life after they are saved.  God’s number one plan for you is that you become like His Son (Romans 8:29).

The Apostle Paul likened this lifelong activity to that of a race.

I Corinthians 9

24: Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may win.

No one wins a race by remaining behind at the starting line.
The act of "running" is a motion forward, a following on to know the Lord in an intimate way, a going from strength to strength, from one degree of grace to another.
It’s a pressing forward toward the mark for the prize; and requires spiritual strength from Christ, and a daily renewal of it.

It is to be performed with readiness, swiftness, and cheerfulness, in opposition to a slowness of heart to believe, and a sluggishness and apathy in the service of Christ.

Paul says; present your members (body parts) as slaves to righteousness…

Here’s how you get started.
True sanctification begins with renewing your mind.  You must know the truth, plain and simple.  There’s no premium on ignorance in sanctification.  You’re not going to get there through some emotional or mystical experience.  Spiritual growth won’t happen by osmosis—it requires the discipline of constantly putting God’s truth in your mind.

Don’t confuse childlike faith with childish thinking.  There are no shortcuts in sanctification—a lack of biblical knowledge will always retard your spiritual growth.
Apart from the truth of Scripture, there simply is no mechanism to restrain your sinful flesh. Legalism can’t do it.  Common sense can’t either.  The only certain method for true spiritual growth starts with absorbing God’s eternal truth.

(To be continued)

© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Romans by the Book (Lesson 40)

Home Bible Study- Lutz, Florida
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 40

Greetings and welcome to HBS. 
If you’re a new visitor to our Bible study program, we’ve been studying the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Believers in Rome for the last few months.  We are currently reviewing Chapter 6.  FYI:  the previous lessons are stored for your convenience here in the archives and in the order of their posting. 

Why study the book of Romans?
The letter of Paul to the youthful church in Rome is without a doubt one of the most powerful documents that has ever been written.  This is the book that lit the fire in Martin Luther’s heart and brought about the Protestant Reformation, changing the history of Europe, as well as the world.  This is the book that warmed John Wesley’s heart as he sat in a little chapel in London listening to Luther’s prelude to Romans.  There followed, through him, the great evangelical awakening that saved England from the fate of France and arrested the decay of English life, completely altering the history of the world again. 

The book of Romans has been called “The Master Key” to all of the Scriptures.
If you truly grasp Paul’s teachings in the book of Romans in its total argument, you will find yourself at ease in any other part of the Scriptures, in other words.

Paul’s primary theme in Romans is the gospel, God’s plan of salvation and righteousness for all mankind, Jew and Gentile alike (see Romans 1:16-17). 

Paul’s letter to the Romans addresses many doctrinal themes including the righteousness of God and justification by faith (alone), a sinner’s guilt, sanctification, and a Believer’s eternal security to name just a few.

Some scholars believe that one of the main reasons Paul wrote Romans may have been because of the various backgrounds, Jews and Gentiles, which may have been represented at the church in Rome.  These same academics like to compare Paul's letter to the Romans to his other letters to the Corinthians and Thessalonians.  

Paul wrote those former letters in part to address difficulties that had arisen in the church communities at Corinth and Thessalonica and to correct these problems.

In Romans chapter 14 Paul addresses food and festivals and the disagreements that arose concerning these two subjects.  It seems that both of these issues may have caused conflict between the Jews and Gentiles.  Obviously, Paul felt the need to write the young church there in order to help them solve these problems.  

We have another example of conflict at Romans chapter 15:7.  Here Paul is urging the Gentiles and Jews to get along when he says, "Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.”

Please open your Bible at Romans chapter 6 and we’ll start with verse 12.

The Outline for verses 12-14 - Presenting ourselves to God as risen ones, not under Law but under Grace, Sin loses its dominion (or reign) over us.

Let’s review these verses together.

Romans 6

12: Therefore (this word sums up Paul’s statements starting at verse 1-11) do not let (what) sin reign (have dominion) in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts.

13: and do not go on presenting the members of your body (your mind, your heart, your hands, your eyes, etc.) to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to (who) God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

14: For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Therefore,” since God has reconciled you to Himself through Jesus Christ, you have received the baptism of Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ, and you are indeed saved, how can you spend any of your time living as you once did in your old life?   

To be succinct shall the spiritual live as the carnal live? 
How can you who were once slaves to sin but now having been made free by the precious blood of Jesus Christ return to the world of slavery? 

In chapter 6 of Romans, Paul wants us to understand this message.
When you really, truly, become a Believer, (when you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior) you are baptized with the Holy Spirit of God.  This is the third member of the Holy Trinity – co-equal with God the Father and God the Son in all respects. 
He doesn’t sit at the kiddies table in the outer room, in other words. 

Jesus said,

John 16

7: “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (note the capitalization – this is deity) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

In this verse, our Lord is referring to God the Spirit or the Helper as He is named here.
And this is the 3rd member of the Holy Trinity that Jesus is promising to send after He is gone or ascended. 

Why does Jesus say it is to our “advantage” to have the assistance of the Helper after He is gone?  (It’s okay to ask questions.  This is a Bible study).

Consider the great opportunity and life experience the 12 apostles had getting the chance to walk, talk, and eat with the living God.  These 12 disciples participated in almost every relationship activity (save one) that the first Adam enjoyed.  They could communicate directly with Jesus, who is the image of the living God (see Colossians 1:15),  look into His eyes, touch His hands, and in the case of John, the Apostle even recline his head upon Jesus’ chest (see John 13:23). 
We can only imagine…

Although we can’t experience these same relational events (in this life) as the 12 Apostles, Jesus said, it is to our advantage… (To have the assistance of) the Helper – and this only after you receive the gospel of your salvation thru faith (alone). 

Consider this:  how did Peter, James, John, and the rest act and react prior to receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost?  They were afraid, timid, and weak of faith according to this book.  John 21 at verse 3 gives us a word picture of Peter’s viewpoint and outlook after Jesus’ death.  What does he say, “I am going fishing.”  Peter is returning to the life he knew (and loved) prior to being selected by Jesus to be an apostle.  He has given up.

But once they received the Holy Spirit note the change as recorded in Acts 2.
They are not afraid, timid, or weak in their faith any longer!
In fact, all but John are martyred for their faith.

You may be thinking the apostles are still “one up” on us.
It may be tempting at times to pray for a physical Jesus to be here at your side.
You may be thinking, “Then I could really find relief.  I have so many problems; so many questions about my life and the lives of my children.  I have faith-based questions that I need answers to.  What is God’s will in this pressing matter?  I have a list!”

I take you back, on purpose, to what Jesus said.
“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

Does Jesus lead us astray?  I think not.
If He says it’s better/to our advantage to have the Helper, than we take this on faith.
Each Believer has God the Spirit living within them. 
Think on this – don’t just read over it. 

The Apostles could walk, and talk with Jesus, true.
But we have the 3rd person of the Holy Trinity living within us! 
We have Jesus, 24/7, as close as you can possibly get with all the accompanying spiritual power and authority to complete His will.

What does all this mean in English?  What does this book say?

  • God the Spirit empowers us with the ability to have joy, peace, and hope (Romans 15:13). 

  • The Spirit of God teaches us true spiritual wisdom according to the Bible (1 Corinthians 2:13). 

  • The Spirit leads us, giving us wisdom and direction as to how we should live and what we should do (Romans 8:14). 

  • The Spirit of God helps us communicate our prayers to God the Father, interceding for us despite our weaknesses, testifying in our hearts to the truth (Romans 8:16).

As a true Believer, duly baptized by the Holy Spirit, a heart-change occurs within you.  This isn’t something that you feel like a hypodermic needle injection but it is something that you can “know” through your God-given senses when it happens. Therefore, it is impossible to continue living a lifestyle of sin and debauchery after this life-changing event. 

The Apostle Paul says we are “expected” to know about this change of heart and mind.

Romans 6
3: Or do you not (what) know that all of us who have been (what) baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?

Paul never met these new Believers in Rome and yet he expected them to KNOW this truth.  It also something new Believers ought to know as well without ever attending a Sunday school class.  God the Spirit communicates with our spirit this message of truth.

If you choose to continue in your old lifestyle of sin, it is proof that you never really participated in the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior. 

Anyone who continues in an unchanged life, after having professed that they have come to Christ Jesus, is simply giving testimony to everyone that he or she never really had a change of heart – point of truth. 

These folks belong to the crowd Jesus spoke of when He said,

Matthew 7

22: Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’

23: “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

In verses 12-13 of Romans, Paul instructs us that since a Believer has “died to sin,” therefore, (what follows is a command) do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; 
The Believer has died to sin, with Christ; His life is in us now.
The Helper has arrived.  His power is available to us now!
When we decide not to sin, we have the power (through Christ) to carry it out.

1 Corinthians 10

13: No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

Here comes the big letdown.  Believers are not perfect…
We are not holier-than-thou, nor do we “walk on water.”
Despite what some people may think saved people still make mistakes.

A Believer is “dead to sin” but Paul did not say sin is dead once you are saved.

After you become a true Believer, you’ll enter into spiritual warfare and this struggle continues for the rest of your life. 

When you “feel” tempted, whether in your body or your mind, remember you don’t have to give in to sin.  You can refuse it.  You are free to say, “I am a child of the living God and I’ll have nothing to do with that.” 

When you opt to do this, this will cause a struggle because the strength of sin/darkness is very strong.  In addition, old habits are often very hard to break, but remember the Helper is within you.  You have the power to say no – and mean it!

Paul also wants you to know this isn’t going to be easy but we have the Helper, the strength, and the desire within to carry it through.

This is what Paul is saying in Romans 6:14.

Romans 6

14: For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Why bring up the Law?
Allow me to answer a question with a question.
What is one of the basic problems of the Believer’s struggle in their life?
This item depresses them, harasses them, discourages them, and hinders their walk with the Lord Jesus Christ probably more than any other single item?

Condemnation/guilt is the answer.

The Law can only produce condemnation.  The Law says – unless you live up to this standard, God will not have anything to do with you. 

Whether you are aware of this truth or not, this opinion has been so engrained in our upbringing that when we do sin, even as Believers, we think God is angry with us and His love for us decreases with each wrongdoing.  We consider ourselves in the same way.  We sin.  Afterwards we become discouraged, defeated, and then depressed. 
We want to give up.  We say, “What’s the use in trying to live the Believer’s life.”
We do a fair job of beating ourselves up psychologically every day.   

Paul says none of this is true.  Mentally, you’re in Satan’s playground is all…
You are not under Law but under grace.

God understands your struggle.  Therefore, He is not upset by it or your reaction to it.
God is not angry.  God understands there will be failures in your lifetime and mine.
He also knows there will be victories!  So there’s no need to be discouraged.

Run the race to win it, says Paul.
If you get knocked down while running the course, get up and continue the race and remember this verse…sing it if you prefer…whatever lifts your spirit.  It’s here for you – insert your name at the beginning.

Romans 8

1:  Therefore (insert your name here) there is now no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ.

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

No need to attend college to decipher that verse.
The Word of Truth says what it means and means what it says.

(To be continued)

©Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved