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Practical Theology

 Lesson Number

Lesson Title 

Format 

 1

 Personal Devotions (Part 1)

  Text

 Audio

 2

 Personal Devotions (Part 2)

  Text

 Audio

 3

 Personal Devotions (Part 3)

  Text

 Audio

 4

 Personal Devotions (Part 4)

  Text

 Audio

 5

 Christian Fellowship (Part 1)

  Text

 Audio

 6

 Christian Fellowship (Part 2) & Christian Friendship

  Text

 Audio

 7

 Christian Family- Marriage (Part 1)

  Text

 Audio

 8

 Christian Family- Marriage (Part 2)

  Text

 Audio

 9

 Christian Family- Marriage (Part 3)

  Text

 Audio

 10

 Christian Family- Marriage (Part 4)

  Text

 Audio

 11

 Christian Family- Marriage (Part 5)

  Text

 Audio

 12

 Christian Parenting (Part 1)

  Text

 Audio

 13

 Christian Parenting (Part 2)

  Text

 Audio

 14

 Backsliding (Part 1)

  Text

 Audio*

 15

 Backsliding (Part 2)

  Text

 Audio

 16

 Divorce (Part 1)

  Text

 Audio

 17

 Divorce (Part 2)

  Text

 Audio

 18

 Worship

  Text

 Audio

 19

 Witnessing

  Text

 Audio

 20

 Spiritual Warfare (Part 1)

  Text

 Audio

 21

 Spiritual Warfare (Part 2)

  Text

 Audio

 22

 Spiritual Warfare (Part 3)

  Text

 Audio*

 23

 Suffering (Part 1)

  Text

 Audio

 24

 Suffering (Part 2)

  Text

 Audio

 25

 Suffering (Part 3)

  Text

 Audio

 26

 Separation (Part 1)

  Text

 Audio

 27

 Separation (Part 2)

  Text

 Audio*

 28

 Separation (Part 3)

  Text

 Audio

 29

 Separation (Part 4)

  Text

 Audio

 30

 Separation (Part 5)

  Text

 Audio

 31

 Stewardship (Part 1)

  Text

 Audio

 32

 Stewardship (Part 2)

  Text

 Audio

*Not Yet Available

**Outlines to be available soon in text form

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practical Theology


P E R S O N A L  D E V O T I O N S

 

I) THE PRINCIPLES OF PERSONAL DEVOTIONS

 

A) A RELATIONSHIP CULTIVATED BY COMMUNICATION

 

1) Biblical Christianity is not a system, but a RELATIONSHIP with a person, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

2) Our relationship with the Lord is like any other personal relationship in that, once it is established, it must be maintained.

 

3) The means of maintaining any personal relationship is COMMUNICATION.

 

4) Failure or neglect to communicate by either or both parties in a relationship diminishes the quality of the relationship.  Continued failure or neglect to communicate could result in the dissolving of the relationship.

 

5) Our relationship with the Lord is fixed eternally on the basis of his grace; however, the quality of our relationship can still suffer due to a failure or neglect to communicate.

 

6) The Lord is ever faithful to communicate with us in our relationship.  We are responsible for any breakdown in communication.

 

B) COMMUNICATION CONDUCTED BY BIBLE STUDY AND PRAYER

             

1) The Lord talks to us through Bible study

             

2) We talk to the Lord through prayer

 

II) THE PURPOSE OF PERSONAL DEVOTIONS

 

A) FELLOWHIP WITH THE LORD

 

Since personal devotions are the communication in our relationship with the Lord, why would we not want to fellowship with him who is to be first in our heart and life (Rev 2:4)?  If we desire to communicate with our family and friends, we should desire to communicate with the Lord even more (Matt 10:37).   

 

B) FUEL FOR SERVING THE LORD

 

Personal devotions provide us the spiritual fuel we need to serve the Lord each day.  The purpose of an automobile is to transport people from one place to another.  In order to fulfill this purpose, the automobile must have fuel in its tank. No gas, no go. Similarly, our purpose in this life is to live for the Lord.  In order to fulfill this purpose, we must have spiritual fuel in our tank. Bible study and prayer are the fuel that fires us up to serve the Lord.

 

III) THE PLAN FOR PERSONAL DEVOTIONS

 

A) WHEN SHOULD PERSONAL DEVOTIONS BE DONE?

 

1) Daily (Jos 1:8; Psa 86:3; Acts 17:11; 1 The 5:17)

 

2) Definitely

 

a) A time you will commit to each day

 

b) A time you will not be distracted or disturbed

 

There is no mandated time of day for daily personal devotions. The Lord Jesus Christ had devotions with the Father in the early morning (Mark 1:35) and in the evening (Luke 6:12). The important thing is to set a definite time aside each day when you will not be distracted or disturbed and commit to it. It is your QUIET time with the Lord.

 

c) An amount of time that fills you spiritually

 

There is no mandated length of time for personal devotions.  Just like fuel capacity varies from automobile to automobile, so the length of time needed in personal devotions varies from individual to individual.  The important thing to remember is to take as much time as necessary to ensure the spiritual fuel tank is FULL.  Although a specific length of time should be set aside, always be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit to extend this time if necessary.

 

NOTE:            If the principle of tithing is applied to determine the amount of time we should spend in personal devotions, and we assume there are 16 waking hours (960 minutes) in a day, then we should spend at least 96 minutes a day with the Lord.

 

B) WHERE SHOULD PERSONAL DEVOTIONS BE DONE?

 

1) A particular place

 

Just as there should be a special TIME for personal devotions, so there should be a special PLACE. The church worships in a particular place at the appointed times, and so should the individual.  Abraham had a place where he stood before the Lord (Gen 19:27).  This particular place can be referred to as our "Beth-el", since Beth-el is the place where God spoke WITH Jacob (Gen 35:15).

 

2) A private place

 

It is imperative that our time with the Lord be free from distractions and disturbances.  The Lord Jesus Christ had devotions with the Father in a mountain apart (Matt 14:23) and in a solitary place (Mark 1:35). If we attempt to have devotions in a public place, we are giving place to the devil to hinder us with any number of possible distractions (Eph 4:27).

NOTE:            If you have not set a definite time and place aside for daily personal devotions, you need to make this your top priority today.  Satan would have you to put this decision off indefinitely because he knows your devotional life is the foundation of your spiritual strength.

 

C) HOW SHOULD PERSONAL DEVOTIONS BE DONE?

 

1) Bible Study

 

a) Why should we study the Bible?

 

1. Command (Isa 34:16; 2 Tim 2:15)

 

2. Combat (Matt 4:4,7,10; Eph 6:12,17; Heb 4:12)

 

3. Comprehension (1 Sam 3:7,21; Phl 3:10)

 

4. Confidence (Psa 119:42; Pro 22:20-21; 27:11; 1 Cor 11:19; 2 Tim 2:15; Tit 1:9; 1 Pet 3:15)

 

5. Cleansing (Psa 119:9,11; John 15:3; Eph 5:26)

 

"THIS BOOK WILL KEEP YOU FROM SIN, OR SIN WILL KEEP YOU FROM THIS BOOK"

 

6. Comfort (Psa 119:50; Rom 15:4; 1 The 4:18)

 

7. Counsel (Psa 119:24; 2 Tim 3:16)

 

a. Doctrine- what is right

 

b. Reproof- what is not right

 

c. Correction- how to get right

 

d. Instruction- how to stay right

 

8. Continuance (The Bible is our SPIRITUAL SURVIVAL KIT)

 

a. A mirror (Jam 1:23-25)- revealing power

 

b. A seed (Luke 8:11; 1 Pet 1:23)- regenerative power

 

c. A lamp and light (Psa 119:105,130; Pro 6:23; 2 Pet 1:19)- illuminating power

 

d. A sword and goad (Eph 6:17; Heb 4:12; Rev 1:16; 19:15; Ecc 12:11)- convicting power

 

e. A hammer and nails (Jer 23:29; Ecc 12:11)- constructive power

 

f. A tree (Pro 3:18; 4:7-9)- flourishing power

 

g. Water (Psa 119:9,11; John 15:3; Eph 5:26)- cleansing power

 

h. Fire (Jer 5:14; 20:9; 23:29)- purifying power

 

i. Gold and silver (Psa 12:6; 19:10)- purchasing power

 

j. Food (Psa 34:8; Jer 15:16)- sustaining power

 

- Apples (Pro 25:11)

 

- Bread (Amo 8:11; Matt 4:3-4)

 

- Milk (1 Cor 3:2; Heb 5:12-13; 1 Pet 2:2)

 

- Meat (1 Cor 3:2; Heb 5:12,14)

 

b) How should we study the Bible?

 

1. Prayerfully (Psa 119:18; Jer 33:3)

 

2. Properly (2 Tim 2:15)

 

a. Interpret scripture with scripture (1 Cor 2:13; 2 Pet 1:20) (The "Golden Rule" of Hermeneutics)

 

b. Interpret scripture literally unless the context clearly indicates otherwise (Pro 8:9) (The First Foundational Rule of Hermeneutics)

 

c. Interpret scripture applying the "Five Point Question Rule" (The Second Foundational Rule of Hermeneutics):

 

- WHO is speaking or writing?

 

- TO WHOM is it being spoken or written?

 

Although the entire Bible was written FOR Christians, it was not all written TO Christians.

                       

- WHAT is being spoken or written about?

 

- WHEN is it being spoken or written?

 

- WHY is it being spoken or written?

 

3. Patiently (Isa 28:9-10; John 16:12; Heb 5:13-14)

 

4. Passionately (Psa 119:103,161-162; Jer 15:16)

 

5. Purposefully (Psa 119:11,130,133; Jer 23:18)

 

NOTE:            Write notes from your study either in the margin of your Bible or in a notebook. If you write notes in the margin, use smear-proof ink. You should also underline and/or highlight key words, phrases, and verses.  Use a highlighter that will not bleed through the pages.

 

2) Prayer

 

a) Why should we pray?

 

1. It is commanded (Luke 11:2)

 

2. For fullness of joy (John 16:24) cf. (Psa 16:11)

 

b) How should we pray?

 

1. The direction of prayer

 

a. To the Father (Matt 6:9; John 15:16; 16:23)

 

b. In the name of Jesus (John 14:13-14; 16:24)

                                               

c. In the Spirit (Eph 6:18; Jude 20)

 

2. The position of prayer

 

a. We can KNEEL and pray (1 Kin 8:54)

 

b. We can FALL ON OUR FACE and pray (Matt 26:39)

 

c. We can STAND and pray (Mark 11:25)

 

d. We can SIT and pray (Acts 16:13)

 

God looks at the heart, not the outward appearance (1 Sam 16:13). There is no particular posture required for prayer, but our posture may reflect our attitude in prayer.

 

3. The disposition of prayer

 

a. We should come HUMBLY (2 Chr 7:14)

 

b. We should come OPENLY (Psa 62:8)

 

c. We should come REVERENTLY (Matt 6:9-10)

 

d. We should come IN FAITH (Matt 21:22; Heb 11:6)

 

e. We should come PERSISTENTLY (Luke 11:5-8; 18:1-5)

 

f. We should come FERVENTLY (Rom 15:30; Jam 5:16)

 

g. We should come with THANKSGIVING (1 The 5:18)

 

h. We should come BOLDLY (Heb 4:16)

 

 

 4. The composition of prayer (Luke 11:1; Matt 6:9-13; 1 Tim 2:1)

 

a. The "Model Prayer" (Matt 6:9-13)

 

- Pray to God the Father

 

- Praise

 

- Petitions

 

b. Four-fold prayer (1 Tim 2:1)

 

- Supplications

 

- Prayers

 

- Intercessions

 

- Giving of thanks

 

c. ACTS

 

- Adoration

 

- Confession

 

- Thanksgiving

 

- Supplications

 

Maintain a prayer list with your Bible that contains specific requests, the person who requested prayer, the date of the request, and the date the prayer is answered.

 

c) When should we pray? EVERYTIME

 

1. Always (Luke 18:1; Eph 6:18)

 

2. Often (Luke 5:33)

 

3. Continually (Acts 6:4; Col 4:2)

 

4. Instantly (Rom 12:12)

 

5. Without ceasing (1 The 5:17) cf. (1 Sam 12:23; Acts 12:5)

 

6. At established times

 

a. Daily (Psa 86:3)

 

b. Three times a day (Psa 55:17; Dan 6:10)

 

c. In the morning (Psa 5:3; 88:13; Mark 1:35) cf. (Exo 30:7; Pro 8:17)

 

d. In the afternoon (Acts 3:1; 10:30)

 

e. In the evening (Acts 16:25) cf. (Exo 30:8)

 

d) Where should we pray? EVERYWHERE (1 Tim 2:8)

 

1. Personal prayer (Matt 6:6)- in your prayer "closet"

 

2. Public prayer (Acts 4:24; 12:5.12)- in church; restaurant

 

3. Partnership (Family) prayer (Matt 18:19-20)- at home

 

e) Who should we pray for? EVERYONE (1 Tim 2:1)

 

1. Kings (1 Tim 2:2)

 

2. All that are in authority (1 Tim 2:2)

 

a. Political

 

b. Parental

 

c. Pastoral

 

d. Professional

 

3. Those who despitefully use us and persecute us (Matt 5:44)

 

4. Missionaries (2 The 3:1)

 

f) What should we pray for? EVERYTHING (Phl 4:6)

 

1. Acceptable words and thoughts (Psa 19:14)

 

2. Deliverance from fear (Psa 34:4)

 

3. Cleansing from sin (Psa 51:2)

 

4. Understanding of the word of God (Psa 119:18)

 

5. Victory over sin (Psa 119:133)

 

6. That the Lord would send forth more gospel laborers (Matt 9:37-38)

 

7. Salvation of sinners (Rom 10:1)

 

8. Spiritual growth and prosperity of the brethren (Col 1:9-11)

9. That the word of God go forth unhindered (2 The 3:1)

 

10. Personal physical safety (2 The 3:2)

 

11. Journey mercies (Rom 1:10)

 

12. Wisdom (Jam 1:5)

 

13. Healing of the sick (Jam 5:14-15)

 

The prayer contained in Matthew 6:9-13, falsely called "the Lord's prayer", serves as a "model" prayer.

 

14. The Second Coming of Christ (Matt 6:10)

 

15. The will of God (Matt 6:10)

 

16. Daily sustenance (food, clothing, shelter) (Matt 6:11) cf. (Matt 6:25-34)

 

17. Forgiveness of sins (Matt 6:12)

 

18. Not to be lead into temptation (Matt 6:13)

 

19. Deliverance from evil (Matt 6:13)

 

g) Will our prayers be answered?

 

1. Conditions for answered prayer

 

a. Must be saved (John 9:31)

 

b. Must have faith (Matt 21:22)

 

c. Must be walking with the Lord (John 15:7)

 

d. Must be according to the will of God (1 John 5:14)

 

2. Hindrances to answered prayer

 

a. Unconfessed sin (Psa 66:18; Isa 59:1-2; Jer 5:25)

 

b. Lack of compassion (Pro 21:13)

 

c. Failure to listen to the word of God (Pro 28:9)

 

d. Blood on hands (Isa 1:15)

 

e. Stubbornness (Zec 7:8-14)

 

f. Ought against a brother (Matt 5:23-24; 6:14-15)

 

g. Unbelief (Jam 1:6-7)

 

h. Prayerlessness (Jam 4:2)

 

i. Selfish motives (Jam 4:3)

 

j. Mistreating wife (1 Pet 3:7)

 

Hindrances are removed by REPENTANCE and CONFESSION (1 John 1:9).

 

IV) PROBLEMS WITH PERSONAL DEVOTIONS

 

There are numerous things that can adversely affect our desire or ability to have personal devotions. Every precaution must be made to prevent these problems from occurring. 

 

A) PHYSICAL

 

1) Injuries and illnesses

 

2) Hunger (Acts 10:9-10)

 

3) Fatigue (Matt 26:38,40)

 

We need to be self-disciplined and get to bed on time and get up on time. A shower and a cup of coffee or tea before devotional time may help us to stay awake. Proper medical care (1 Tim 5:23), exercise            (1 Tim 4:8), diet (1 Cor 6:12-13), and sleep (Psa 127:2) will prevent unnecessary physical problems.

 

B) MENTAL

 

Inappropriate thoughts can cause us to drift during personal devotions. Our opening prayer should include a request for the Lord to help us be alert and attentive.  We need to apply 2 Corinthians 10:5 on an ongoing basis because the forces of darkness do not want us to have personal devotions, and will do anything to annoy and distract us. The flesh resists the word of God (Ecc 12:12), and is prone to entertain thoughts planted by Satan.

 

C) SPIRITUAL

 

The greatest potential problem of all is our heart (Jer 17:9; Mark 7:21-22). The cares and affairs of this life need to be tended to, but we should not be entangled with them (2 Tim 2:4) nor should they be allowed to choke the word of God that it becomes unfruitful in our life (Mark 4:19). If we have a heart problem, we will compromise or surrender our time with the Lord in order to think about, or take care of the things of this life. What we fail to realize is, if we compromise or surrender ANY of our time with the Lord, we will eventually surrender ALL our time with the Lord. We need to make personal devotions the top priority in our life, and guard that time as if our life depended on it. The only way to prevent a heart problem is to maintain daily personal devotions.

 

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 Practical Theology


 

C H R I S T I A N  F E L L O W S H I P

 

APPROPRIATE CONDUCT BETWEEN CHRISTIANS

 

1) We should HAVE PEACE one with another (Mark 9:50)

 

2) We should LOVE one another (John 13:34-35; 15:12,17; Rom 13:8; 1 The 4:9; 1 Pet 1:22; 1 John 3:11, 23; 4:7,11-12; 2 John 5) cf. (1 The 3:12)

 

3) We should be KINDLY AFFECTIONED one to another (Rom 12:10)

 

4) We should PREFER one another (Rom 12:10)

 

5) We should BE OF THE SAME MIND one toward another (Rom 12:16)

 

6) We should EDIFY each other (Rom 14:19; 1 The 5:11) ("to build up; to strengthen spiritually; to instruct and improve the mind in knowledge; to teach or persuade")

 

7) We should BE LIKEMINDED (patient and consoling) one toward another (Rom 15:5)

 

8) We should RECEIVE one another (Rom 15:7)

 

9) We should ADMONISH one another (Rom 15:14; Col 3:16) ("to warn or notify of a fault; to counsel against wrong practices; to caution or advise; to reprove with mildness; the first step in church discipline")

 

10) We should SALUTE (GREET) one another (Rom 16:16; 1 Cor 16:20; 2 Cor 13:12; 1 Pet 5:14) ("to greet; to hail; to address with expressions of kind wishes; to kiss")

 

11) We should TARRY one for another (1 Cor 11:33)

 

12) We should HAVE THE SAME CARE one for another (1 Cor 12:25)

 

13) We should SERVE one another (Gal 5:13) cf. (John 13:14)

 

14) We should BEAR one another's BURDENS (Gal 6:2)

 

15) We should FORBEAR one another (Eph 4:2; Col 3:13) ("to be patient; to restrain from action; long suffering; command of temper; restraint of passions; lenity; delay of resentment")

 

16) We should BE KIND one to another (Eph 4:32)

 

17) We should BE TENDERHEARTED to each other (Eph 4:32)

 

18) We should FORGIVE one another (Eph 4:32; Col 3:13)

 

19) We should SUBMIT one to another (Eph 5:21) ("to yield, surrender, or resign to the will or power of another without complaint; to leave or commit to the discretion of another")

 

20) We should EXHORT one another (1 The 2:11; Heb 3:13; 10:25) ("to encourage and incite to good works; to advise, caution, or warn")

 

21) We should COMFORT one another (1 The 2:11; 4:18)

 

22) We should CHARGE one another (1 The 2:11) ("to instruct authoritatively; to adjure; to order; to command; to enjoin")

 

23) We should CONSIDER one another (Heb 10:24)

 

24) We should CONFESS FAULTS one to another (Jam 5:16) ("an error, a mistake; a habit; a failing; an imperfection; a blunder; a defect")

 

25) We should PRAY one for another (Jam 5:16)

 

26) We should HAVE COMPASSION one of another (1 Pet 3:8)

 

27) We should USE HOSPITALITY one to another (1 Pet 4:9) ("the act or practice of receiving and entertaining strangers or guests without reward, or with kind and generous liberality")

 

28) We should MINISTER one to another (1 Pet 4:10)

 

29) We should BE SUBJECT one to another (1 Pet 5:5) ("to be under the power or authority of another; to be liable and accountable to another")

 

INAPPROPRIATE CONDUCT BETWEEN CHRISTIANS

 

1) We should not JUDGE one another (Rom 14:4,13; Jam 4:12)

 

2) We should not BE PUFFED UP for one against another (1 Cor 4:6) ("inflated with vanity or pride")

 

3) We should not GO TO LAW one with another (1 Cor 6:7)

 

4) We should not BITE AND DEVOUR one another (Gal 5:15)

 

5) We should not BE CONSUMED one of another (Gal 5:15)

 

6) We should not PROVOKE one another (Gal 5:26) ("to make angry; to offend")

 

7) We should not ENVY one another (Gal 5:26) ("to repine, feel uneasy, discontent, or angry at the happiness or prosperity of others; to fret or grieve at the real or perceived success or superiority of another, and to hate him on that account")

 

8) We should not LIE one to another (Col 3:9)

 

9) We should not PREFER ONE before another (1 Tim 5:21)

 

10) We should not SPEAK EVIL one of another (Jam 4:11)

 

11) We should not GRUDGE one against another (Jam 5:9) ("secret enmity; grief; groan")

 

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 Practical Theology


 

C H R I S T I A N  F R I E N D S H I P

 

INTRODUCTION

 

1) Friendship is one of many different relationships (Job 19:13-14; Psa 88:18)

 

2) Some friendships breed ill consequences (Gen 38:12; 2 Sam 13:3-5)

 

a) Do not be a friend of the world (Jam 4:4)

 

b) Do not be a friend of an angry man (Pro 22:24)

 

3) The Lord was a friend of publicans and sinners (Luke 7:34)

 

4) We should desire to be a friend of God (John 15:15)

 

5) We cannot be a friend of the world and a friend of God (Jam 4:4)

 

6) The Lord is a friend that sticks closer than a brother (Pro 18:24)

 

7) Our spouse should be our best friend after the Lord (Song 5:16)

 

APPROPRIATE CONDUCT BETWEEN FRIENDS

 

1) Friends are FRIENDLY to each other

 

"A man that hath friends must show himself friendly…" (Pro 18:24)

 

Are you as friendly with the Lord/your spouse as you are with your friends, fellow church members, co-workers, or strangers?

 

2) Friends SPEAK FACE TO FACE (desire contact) with each other

 

"And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle." (Exo 33:11)

 

Do you desire to (look forward to) spend time with the Lord/your spouse?

 

3) Friends CARE ABOUT each other

 

"And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre."  (Acts 19:31)

 

Do you care about the welfare of the Lord/your spouse?

 

4) Friends SHARE NEWS with each other

 

"And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends every thing that had befallen him. Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him, If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him."         (Est 6:13)

 

"And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost."  (Luke 15:6)

 

Do you talk to the Lord/your spouse and share news with them?

 

5) Friends SHOW PITY to each other WHEN ONE IS AFFLICTED

 

"To him that is afflicted pity should be showed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty."  (Job 6:14)

Are you grieved when the Lord/your spouse is grieved?

 

6) Friends COUNSEL each other

 

"Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel."  (Pro 27:9)

 

NOTE: This does not mean that friends should take the place of the Lord in regard to our faith and trust.  We should not TRUST in a friend (Mic 7:5).

 

Do you offer godly counsel to your spouse?

 

7) Friends COMFORT AND MOURN for each other IN TIMES OF TROUBLE

 

"Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him."           (Job 2:11)

 

Do you comfort your spouse in times of trouble?

 

8) Friends ENCOURAGE each other

 

"But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should asswage your grief.  Though I speak, my grief is not asswaged: and though I forbear, what am I eased?"  (Job 16:5-6)

 

"Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend."  (Pro 27:17)

 

Do you encourage your spouse when they are feeling down?

 

9) Friends REFRESH each other

 

"And the next day we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself."  (Acts 27:3)

 

Does the presence of the Lord/your spouse refresh you? 

 

 

10) Friends PRAY for each other

 

"And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before." (Job 42:10)

 

Do you pray with and for your spouse?

 

11) Friends ARE FAITHFUL AND TRUE to each other

 

"Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful."  (Pro 27:6)

 

Are you honest and faithful to the Lord/your spouse?

 

12) Friends GIVE GIFTS to each other

 

"And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the LORD;" (1 Sam 30:26)

 

Do you give gifts to the Lord/your spouse?

 

13) Friends DO THINGS for each other

 

"Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee."  (Luke 14:12)

 

"Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."  (John 15:14)

 

Do you do things for the Lord/your spouse you would not do for anyone else?

 

14) Friends LOVE each other AT ALL TIMES

 

"A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."  (Pro 17:17)

 

NOTE: This does not mean that friends should take the place of the Lord in regard to our affections.  The Lord is to be our FIRST LOVE (Matt 22:37; Rev 2:4).

 

Do you love the Lord/your spouse regardless of circumstances?

 

15) Friends ARE WILLING TO DIE for each other

 

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."  (John 15:13)

 

Are you willing to die so the Lord/your spouse can live?

 

INAPPROPRIATE CONDUCT BETWEEN FRIENDS

 

1) Friends do not BETRAY each other

 

"And it came to pass, when Hushai the Archite, David's friend, was come unto Absalom, that Hushai said unto Absalom, God save the king, God save the king.  And Absalom said to Hushai, Is this thy kindness to thy friend? why wentest thou not with thy friend?"  (2 Sam 16:16-17)

 

Is there anything or anyone you place before the Lord/.your spouse?

 

2) Friends do not BREAK CONFIDENCE

 

"A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.  He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends." (Pro 16:28; 17:9)

 

Do you tell others things that should be kept between you and the Lord/your spouse?

 

3) Friends do not FORGET each other

 

"My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me."  (Job 19:14)

 

Do you think about the Lord/your spouse when you are away from them?

 

4) Friends do not FORSAKE each other

 

"Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother's house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off."  (Pro 27:10)

 

Are you there for the Lord/your spouse when they feel they need you?

 

   

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 Practical Theology


   

C H R I S T I A N  F A M I L Y

 

The FAMILY is the oldest of three institutions ordained of God, the others are human government and the church. The family and the church are complementary institutions.  The greatest home is one built around a church, and the greatest church is one made up of families. Satan realizes the most effective way to stifle the church is to attack the families. Consequently, we see tremendous perversion and disintegration of the family today. This section of the course consists of two parts, marriage and parenting. We begin with the foundation of the family institution, marriage.

 

I) MARRIAGE

 

A) DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE

 

"The act of uniting a man and a woman for life; wedlock; the legal union of a man and woman for life.  Marriage is a contract both civil and religious, by which the parties engage to live together in mutual affection and fidelity, till death shall separate them. Marriage was instituted by God himself for the purpose of preventing the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, for promoting domestic felicity, and for securing the maintenance and education of children."

 

1) Commendable (Heb 13:4)

 

2) Companionship  "It is not good that the man should be alone" (Gen 2:18) cf. (Mal 2:14)

 

3) Compatibility "I will make him an help MEET for him" (Gen 2:18)

 

4) Combination "Therefore shall A MAN…cleave unto his WIFE" (Gen 2:24)

 

a) It is to be heterosexual, not homosexual (one MAN + one WOMAN)

 

b) It is to be monogamist, not polygamist (ONE man + ONE woman)

 

c) One man + one woman = a marriage

 

5) Commitment "Therefore shall a man…CLEAVE unto his wife" (Gen 2:24)

 

The word cleave implies no future separation.  One man + one woman + one LIFETIME = a marriage.

 

6) Communion "they shall be one flesh" (Gen 2:24)

 

a) Marriage is a SPIRITUAL union (Gen 2:22; Mark 10:9; 1 Cor 7:39)

 

b) Marriage is a CIVIL union

 

 1. The espousal (engagement) (Matt 1:18-20,24)

 

The word of God considered, and the angel of the Lord called, Joseph and Mary husband and wife although they were only espoused to one another.  The espousal was the only legal part of marriage in Jewish society, and could not be broken except by a bill of divorcement.  In the espousal, all legal documents were signed and contracts completed, specifying the time between the espousal and the actual marriage. 

 

2. The ceremony (Jud 14:15-16,20; 15:1,6)

 

The word of God considered Samson and a woman of Timnath husband and wife as they proceeded through the week-long wedding feast (ceremony) (Jud 14:10,12).  Some argue that a ceremony is not necessary if two people love each other, but the Lord Jesus Christ attended a wedding ceremony in Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-11). The ceremony is: (1) PRESCRIBED, in order to "abstain from all appearance of evil" (1 The 5:22); (2) PRACTICAL, in that it provides an opportunity for the two parties to publicly declare their love and commitment to each other; and (3) PROPHETICAL, in that it pictures the marriage of the Lamb (Rev 19:7-8).

 

c) Marriage is a PHYSICAL union (Gen 2:24)

 

1. For propagation (Gen 1:28)

 

2. For prevention (1 Cor 7:2,9; Heb 13:4)

 

As previously stated in the dictionary definition, one of the purposes of marriage is to prevent promiscuous sexual relations.  Sexual intercourse is one of the privileges and pleasures of the marital relationship. Sexual intercourse outside of marriage has serious consequences, including that the word of God considers a man who has committed fornication with a harlot to be married to her (1 Cor 6:15-16,18).

 

3. For pleasure (1 Cor 7:3; Heb 13:4)

 

B) DECISION OF MARRIAGE (Pre-Marital Considerations)

 

1) Receive wise counsel

 

There is a need for pre-marital counseling. Most marital counseling programs are secular and non-Biblical, and even most of those that are Biblical focus on existing marriages. But even if Biblical counseling is available, the individual(s) must be willing to receive it. There are two main sources of counseling for the Bible-believing Christian:

 

a) Godly parents

 

Godly parents have experience, wisdom, want what is best for their children, and see the "big picture".

 

b) A godly pastor

 

The pastor can be more objective than parents, understands the Bible better than anyone else, and is specially gifted and positioned by God to counsel on marriage (Amo 3:7; Heb 13:7,17).

 

The Christian should not seek counsel from the world's marriage counselors, sociologists, psychologists, or psychiatrists.  These individuals may be sincere in their desire and effort to help people, but they are not adequately equipped, nor are they divinely appointed, to address spiritual matters, and a Christian marriage is a SPIRITUAL matter.

 

2) Regard the PURPOSE for the marriage

 

a) The wrong reasons

 

1. To CONVERT the other person to Christ

Desiring to see the other person saved is commendable, but using marriage as a means of achieving that end is unwise and unscriptural (2 Cor 6:14).  Seek to win them to Christ BEFORE marriage, or even dating.

 

2. To CONFORM the other person to a physical, social, or philosophical ideal

 

Many have made the mistake of assuming they could change the other person if they married them. Both parties need to be willing to marry the other person "as is", not "as they may be".  Marriage should not be considered based on a person's POTENTIAL character but their PRESENT character.          

 

3. To COMPLY with the expectations of others

 

a. Due to pregnancy (the Christian should NEVER be in this situation)

 

b. Due to promises (including engagement)

 

c. Due to perceptions

 

4. The COMELINESS of the other person (i.e.- physical attraction)

 

There should be a degree of physical attraction between the two parties, but beauty is vain and temporal (Pro 31:30) and should not be the sole or primary reason for marriage.

 

a. Time and gravity will eventually defeat the plastic surgeon and cosmetologist

 

b. Illness or injury can permanently disfigure or disable       

 

5. The CLASS of the other person (i.e.- social status or wealth)

 

Marriage should be with a PERSON, not their POSSESSIONS.  Riches and power are temporal           (Pro 23:5; 27:24).

 

6. To CONFRONT feelings of desperation

 

a. Abstinence- some marry because they cannot control their sexual lusts any longer

 

b. Acceptance- some marry the first person that shows an interest in them because they do not believe any one else ever will show an interest in them

 

c. Age- some marry because they believe they are at an age where if they do not marry now they never will

 

b) The right reason

 

The right reason for marriage is because the two parties LOVE each other unconditionally and want to spend the rest of their lives together, including raising a family together.  Love is not the same thing as lust.  Two people can have "lust" at first sight, but not love. Love is the result of spiritual and physical compatibility between two people, and the reason the two people desire to commit themselves to each other for a lifetime.

 

3) Regard the PERSON for marriage

 

a) The wrong person

 

The information below applies to dating also since dating is the beginning of a relationship that eventually ends in marriage.

 

1. A non-Christian

 

a. It is against the COMMAND of God (1 Cor 7:39; 2 Cor 6:14)

 

b. There will be no spiritual COMPATIBILITY (2 Cor 6:15-16)

 

c. There will be no spiritual COMPANIONSHIP (Job 21:14; Psa 10:5; 2 Tim 3:4)

 

d. There will be spiritual COMPROMISE in order to appease the unsaved spouse

 

The saved usually embrace the gods of the lost in a "mixed marriage" (Num 25:1-3; 1 Kin 11:4).

 

e. There will be spiritual CONFUSION among the children (Neh 13:23-24; 1 Cor 14:33)

 

The Bible instructs us not to have fellowship with the following individuals; therefore, they are professing Christians.  If this instruction applies to fellowship, it would certainly apply to marriage since it is the highest form of fellowship.

 

2. A person living in sin (Pro 24:1; Eph 5:11; 2 Tim 2:21)

 

3. A person with a bad temper (Pro 21:19; 22:24-25; 29:22)

 

4. A trouble-maker (Pro 6:19; Rom 16:17)

 

5. A heretic (Rom 16:17; Tit 3:10)

 

A heretic is, "one who holds or teaches doctrine contrary to scripture". Teaching doctrine contrary to the fundamentals of the Christian faith would certainly constitute heresy.  Things become uncertain when non-fundamentals are considered. Marrying a person who does not believe in all the fundamentals of the Christian faith, especially doctrines related to the Lord Jesus Christ and salvation, is PROHIBITED. Marrying a person who is saved, believes in all the fundamentals of the faith, but belongs to a different denomination, is NOT PREFERRABLE. The Christian who does so anyway, will experience spiritual compromise and confusion in the family.

 

6. A fornicator (1 Cor 5:9,11)

 

Marrying a fornicator will result in a relationship based on mistrust, many long and lonely nights wondering if the other person is sleeping with somebody else, and constant fear of potential contraction of venereal disease or AIDS.            

 

7. A covetous person (1 Cor 5:11; 1 Tim 6:5)

 

Marrying a covetous person will result in a relationship filled with financial problems, including unpaid bills and skyrocketing debt (Pro 21:20; Hag 1:6).

 

8. An idolator (1 Cor 5:11)

 

9. A railer (1 Cor 5:11)

 

The word railer is translated from the Greek word blasfhmos (transliterated blasphemy) (1 Tim 6:4;           2 Pet 2:11; Jude 9).  The word means, "to jab; to molest; to revile; to scoff; to use insolent or reproachful language; to insult".  Marrying a railer will result in a relationship where there is frequent cussing and verbal abuse.

 

10. A glutton or drunkard (includes alcohol and drugs) (Pro 23:20;1 Cor 5:11)

 

Marring a glutton, drunkard, or druggie, will result in a relationship headed for financial ruin due to the need to support the other person's "habit" (Pro 23:21).  There will also be constant health and safety issues (Pro 4:17).  The family could be in constant fear of their lives, not knowing which "person" will come home to them, or even if they will come home.

 

11. An extortioner (1 Cor 5:11)

                                   

The word extort means, "to gain by force, oppression, violence, or any illegal means".  Marrying an extortioner, will result in a relationship where there is physical abuse and constant bouts with the law.

 

12. A lazy person (2 The 3:6,11,14)

 

a. There will be financial and food problems (Pro 20:4; 2 The 3:10)

 

b. There will be hygiene and housekeeping problems (Pro 24:30-31)

 

c. There will be disharmony (Pro 26:16)

 

WHAT ABOUT INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE BETWEEN CHRISTIANS?

 

There are two things to consider regarding this highly sensitive subject: (1) the testimony of scripture, and (2) the testimony among men. The various races originated through Noah's sons after the Flood, and proliferated shortly thereafter. Since that time, God has determined boundaries for the various nations and races so that they would seek after him (Acts 17:26-27). The tower of Babel and the subsequent judgment (Gen 11:1-9) are indications of what will happen when man fails to recognize the boundaries and distinction God has made in the races. Interracial marriage not only violates the boundaries God has established, but more importantly, it will eventually result in a hybrid race that does not seek after God. The question is, does this racial distinction apply to Christians? If there is no clear New Testament testimony superseding this Old Testament distinction, then it is reasonable to conclude it applies to the Christian. But there are numerous New Testament scriptures indicating that all physical distinctions are done away with in Christ (Rom 10:12; 1 Cor 12:13; Gal 3:28; Col 3:11).  Man may look on the outward appearance, but God looks upon the heart (1 Sam 16:7).  In addition, contrary to popular opinion, there is no New Testament scripture prohibiting interracial marriage between two Christians. Many argue that the prohibition God placed on Israel regarding interracial marriage is a principle that ought to be followed by God's people today. But God did not prohibit the Israelites from marrying ALL Gentiles (Deu 21:10-13), just the Canaanites and other occupants of Canaan (Deu 7:1-4). The New Testament corollary is the prohibition of marrying an unbeliever (2 Cor 6:14-18). Therefore, the testimony of scripture is that interracial marriage between two Christians is NOT PROHIBITED. However, the Christian's testimony among men must also be considered. The Christian must keep in mind that his conduct has an effect on others, believers and unbelievers alike (Rom 14:7). Although something may be lawful, it may not be expedient or edifying (1 Cor 10:23).  Just because the Christian has liberty to do something does not mean he ought to do it.  Christians should not do anything that purposely offends another person (1 Cor 10:32) and gives place for them to think or speak evil of Christ. Most aspects of society and the church frown upon interracial marriage and consider it wrong. Consequently, if a Christian marries a person from another race, they will be viewed as doing something wrong, and that creates a poor testimony among men. Both the husband and wife, as well as any children, will have their fair share of "trouble in the flesh" (1 Cor 7:28). Therefore, the testimony among men, and the conclusion of the matter, is that interracial marriage between Christians is NOT PREFERRED.

 

b) The right person

 

The right person is GOD'S CHOICE (Gen 24:14), will be found in the right PLACE in the right WAY (Gen 24:27). For example, the right person can be found in church or church related functions, as opposed to bars or nightclubs.  The right person may be introduced by a mutual spiritual friend, but is not waiting on the list of a dating service.

 

1. Reverse the characteristics of the wrong person (a Christian, a Christian serving the Lord, a person of self-control, sound in doctrine, similar beliefs, faithful, financially prudent, kind, honest, and industrious)

 

2. A person who has the right relationship with the Lord (see: PERSONAL DEVOTIONS)

 

3. A person who has the appropriate conduct of a brother or sister in Christ (see: FELLOWSHIP)

 

4. A person who has the appropriate conduct of a friend (see: FRIEND)

  

5. A person of virtue (Pro 31:10-31) NOTE

 

4) Regard the PERIOD of the marriage

 

a) The wrong time

 

It is possible to have the right person, but if the marriage takes place at the wrong time, it will probably end in divorce.

 

1. A time of spiritual, financial, or physical INSTABILITY (Luke 14:28-30; 1 Cor 7:26)

Cont: (Gen 24:35-41)

 

2. A time of UNCERTAINTY

 

a. Uncertain of the right purpose

 

b. Uncertain of the right person

 

c. Questions to help make decision

 

* Is the woman ready and willing to submit to the man as unto the Lord? (Eph 5:22)

 

* Is the man more spiritual than the woman? (Eph 5:23)

 

* Is the man ready and willing to be the head of the home? (Eph 5:23)

 

* Does the man love the woman sacrificially? (Eph 5:25)

 

* Is the man ready and willing to independently provide for the woman? (Eph 5:31)

 

* Does the woman revere the man? (Eph 5:33)

 

* Are the man and the woman best friends? (Song 5:16)

 

* Is there peace from the Lord? (Phl 4:6-7)

 

* Are the man and the woman willing to submit to the word of God as the final authority in their marriage? (2 Tim 3:16-17)

 

* Are the man and the woman willing to spend the rest of their life with each other? (Gen 2:24)

 

b) The right time

 

1. A time of spiritual, financial, and physical stability

 

2. A time of certainty

 

C) DUTIES OF MARRIAGE (Post-Marital Conduct)

 

1) The husband

 

a) To preside over his wife (Gen 3:16; 1 Tim 3:5)

 

The husband is responsible for being the spiritual and physical head of the family (1 Cor 11:3; Eph 5:23). This does not mean he is a dictator, or that he makes all the decisions, it does mean he is responsible for the decisions that are made.

 

b) To provide for his wife (Gen 3:16; 1 Tim 3:5; 5:8)

 

The husband is responsible for taking care of his family, and ensuring all their needs are met, physically, financially, and spiritually.

 

c) To love his wife (Eph 5:25)

 

1. As Christ loved the church (i.e.- sacrificially) (Eph 5:25)

 

2. As their own bodies (i.e.- unselfishly) (Eph 5:28-29,33)

 

3. As a sister in the Lord (1 Pet 3:8)

 

d) To render due benevolence to his wife (1 Cor 7:3)

 

He should not treat her like a possession or object of personal pleasure.

 

e) To defraud not his wife (1 Cor 7:5)

 

He should not refuse to give her physical intimacy.

 

f) To give honor to his wife (1 Pet 3:7)

 

g) To be compassionate to his wife (1 Pet 3:8)

 

h) To show pity to his wife (1 Pet 3:8)

 

i) To be courteous to his wife (1 Pet 3:8)

 

j) To render blessing to his wife instead of evil for evil or railing for railing (1 Pet 3:9)

 

k) To treat his wife like a sister in Christ (see: FELLOWSHIP)

 

l) To treat his wife like a friend (see: FRIEND)

 

2) The wife

 

a) To submit/be in subjection to her husband as unto the Lord (Eph 5:22,24; Tit 2:5; 1 Pet 3:1)

 

This does not mean that the wife is a slave to the husband and is obligated to obey anything and everything he tells her.  The submission is "as unto the Lord", and the Lord would never tell us to do anything sinful or harmful. If the husband tells the wife to do something unscriptural, unlawful, unethical, or harmful, she is not obligated to obey. The same principle of submission applies in our relationship with government or employer.

 

b) To reverence her husband (Eph 5:33)

 

The word reverence means, "to give honor and respect".  The wife should never criticize her husband in the presence of others.

 

c) To bear children for her husband (1 Tim 5:14)

 

d) To guide and keep the house for her husband (1 Tim 5:14; Tit 2:5)

 

The wife is responsible for "housekeeping" and taking care of the children.  This truth is offensive to many contemporary women, who have been poisoned by the philosophy of the N.O.W. Today, it is very difficult for a family to get by on just the income of the man. It requires tremendous self-discipline and sacrifice on the part of the entire family. However, the benefits are invaluable. Our society is beginning to reap the results of having someone other than the wife raise the children.

 

e) To love their husband (Tit 2:4) as a brother in Christ (1 Pet 3:8)

 

f) To render due benevolence to her husband (1 Cor 7:3)

 

She should not treat him like a possession or object of personal pleasure.

 

g) To defraud not her husband (1 Cor 7:5)

 

She should not refuse to give him physical intimacy.

 

h) To be modest in appearance for her husband (1 Tim 2:9-10; 1 Pet 3:3-4)

 

i) To be compassionate to her husband (1 Pet 3:8)

 

j) To show pity to her husband (1 Pet 3:8)

 

k) To be courteous to her husband (1 Pet 3:8)

 

l) To render blessing to her husband instead of evil for evil or railing for railing (1 Pet 3:9)

 

m) To treat her husband like a brother in Christ (see: FELLOWSHIP)

 

n) To treat her husband like a friend (see: FRIEND)

 

II) PARENTING

 

A billboard on the side of the road contained a picture of a mother and father, and their baby, with a subtitle that read, "Its too bad they don't come with an instruction manual". The truth is, they do, but it is not Dr. Spock's books. The instruction manual on raising children is THE BIBLE.

 

A) RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE PARENTS

 

Although the following responsibilities are applicable to both parents, the Bible places ultimate responsibility on the father as the head of the family (Eph 6:4; Col 3:21; 1 Tim 3:4,12).

 

1) To TREASURE their children (Psa 127:3)

 

The word heritage means, "an inheritance; objects of special care".  Children are a gracious gift from God (Gen 33:5; 48:9; Ruth 4:12-13; 1 Sam 1:27; Heb 2:13), but come with tremendous responsibility. God has entrusted the parents as stewards of the wonderful heritage of children; therefore, parents should seek the Lord for guidance and assistance in being faithful stewards (1 Cor 4:2) of their children.

 

a) Cherish (1 The 2:7)

 

b) Comfort and charge (1 The 2:11)

 

c) Charity (Tit 2:4)

2) To TRAIN their children (Pro 22:6)

 

a) The PROCEDURES of the training ("Train up a child…") 

 

1. The METHOD

 

a. Instruction (Pro 13:1)

 

* By word

 

* By deed

 

b. Correction (Discipline) (Pro 3:11-12)

 

* Verbal (admonition and rebuke) (Eph 6:4; Heb 12:5)

 

The word admonish means, "to warn or notify of a fault; to reprove with mildness; to counsel against wrong practices; to caution or advise; the first step in discipline".

 

The word rebuke means, "to chide; to reprimand; to reprehend for a fault; to criticize sharply; to check; an expression of strong disapproval". A rebuke is much stronger than an admonishment or reproof.

 

Following the Lord's example with his children, parents should almost always begin the disciplinary process with VERBAL correction.

 

* Physical (Eph 6:4)

 

The word nurture means, "to feed; to nourish; to train; to educate". The Greek word paideia that is translated as "nurture" (Eph 6:4) is also translated as "chastening" (Heb 12:7-8,11). The world calls child discipline of any physical form "child abuse".  They insist "time outs", revoking of privileges (e.g.- no Internet, GameBoy, PlayStation, etc.) and grounding will sufficiently correct deviant behavior in a child. While these various forms of discipline can be effective, and certainly have their place in the disciplinary process, the Bible teaches that chastening with the "ROD of correction" (Pro 22:15) is necessary and right if it is done appropriately. 

 

2. The MANNER

 

a. Child discipline must be done in the right PLACE

 

Parents should never strike their children on the back, chest, face, etc. The most common scenario is a parent striking a child on the mouth for lying or talking back.  While this may be traditional in some families, it is inappropriate. The appropriate place is the buttocks. Apply the "board of education" to the "seat of learning".  The right place is also a PRIVATE place. Parents should never spank their children in public. If the child misbehaves, the parent should deal with it immediately by informing the child that their behavior will be addressed when they get home.  If discipline is done appropriately and consistently, the parent may just have to give their child "the look" to get their point across.

  

b. Child discipline must be done for the right REASON

 

Parents should never discipline their children in anger or as a means of taking out their frustrations. If the parent feels they are on the verge of losing control of their emotions, they should send the child to their room until they regain control. A child is not going to learn from their parents if they are screaming at them. All discipline should be carried out because the parent LOVES their child (Pro 13:24), and wants the deviant behavior corrected.  Parents who have disciplined their children know the old saying, "this is going to hurt me more than it is going to hurt you" is true. Parents should never apologize for disciplining their child, but should reassure them of their love and have a time of prayer with them, especially after the child has apologized.

 

c. Child discipline must be done in the right WAY

 

* Persistently

 

Parents should not avoid disciplining their children or sparing the rod, either partially because the child cries or accuses them of being mean and hateful (Pro 19:18), or completely (Pro 23:13) because they want to be their "friend". If the parent eases up on the discipline the moment the child begins to cry, the child will recognize this and will begin to cry (or fake it) almost before the first lick occurs.

 

* Consistently

 

Parents also need to be consistent in their form of discipline. One parent should not spank while the other does not, when the child does the same thing wrong. Parents should not spank their children for acting or speaking ignorantly. A good example of this is spanking a child for cussing when they are completely unaware they are doing so. Parents need to keep their word.  If they have specified that a particular form of discipline is forthcoming to their child, it must be carried out.

 

d. Child discipline must be done at the right TIME

 

* Early

 

Parents need to begin disciplining their children as soon as it is apparent that the child KNOWS they are doing wrong (Pro 19:18).  If parents wait until their children are at the end of, or no longer in, their formative years, to begin disciplining them, it could have counter-productive results.

 

* Expeditiously

 

Parents also need to carry out discipline in an expeditious manner. If the parent needs to wait a moment to "cool off", that is fine, but if the discipline is "put off", it will lose its desired effect and could breed anger and discouragement in the child when it is carried out. The Bible says, "he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes" (Pro 13:24).  The word betimes means, "in good season or time; before it is too late; in a short time". Agag thought he would be spared any punishment because nothing happened to him within a reasonable amount of time; he was wrong (1 Sam 15:32-33).

 

3. The MODELS of poor discipline

 

a. Jacob (Gen 34:5; 35:22)

 

b. Eli (1 Sam 2:22-25,29)

 

c. David (2 Sam 13:21; 1 Kin 1:5-6)

4. The MODELS of good discipline

 

a. Solomon (1 Kin 2:36-46)

 

Solomon clearly communicated the "house rules" to Shimei and the consequences for breaking them (1 Kin 2:36-37). Shimei responded that he fully understood (1 Kin 2:38). Three years later, circumstances arose whereby Shimei inadvertently broke the "house rules" (1 Kin 2:39-40). When word came to Solomon of Shimei's disobedience (1 Kin 2:41), Solomon immediately confronted Shimei. Solomon reviewed their original conversation regarding the rules and the consequences for breaking them, and the fact Shimei expressed that he understood them all (1 Kin 2:42). He then gave Shimei the opportunity to explain why he broke the rule (1 Kin 2:43). Finally, Solomon kept his word and enforced the consequence of breaking the rule (1 Kin 2:46). The lesson to learn here is that children will learn to respect authority and laws if the parents give appropriate instruction and correction. 

 

b. God (Heb 12:5-11)

 

b) The PRINCIPLES of the training ("…in the way he should go")

 

1. Social training

 

a. To obey authority

 

b. To work (Lam 3:27)

 

c. To have good personal hygiene and physical habits (eating, sleeping)

 

d. To manage their time wisely (God, family, school, friends, pleasure)

 

e. To manage their money wisely (tithing, saving, spending)

 

f. To respect others' possessions

 

g. To share with others

 

h. Not to scream and fight

 

i. To be polite to others ("please", "thank you", "sir", "ma'am")

 

j. To forgive and ask for forgiveness 

 

2. Spiritual training

 

Every man's motto for his family ought to be, "…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Jos 24:15). In order for this to become a reality, the word of God needs to be given a prominent and prevalent place in his heart and home (Deu 6:6-9).

 

a. Faithful walk with the Lord

 

Children will receive the spiritual training they need if the parents faithfully walk with the Lord before them. Parents should read the word of God and pray every day, they should be active witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ, and they should faithfully attend and serve in a local Bible-believing church. They should be prepared to answer their children's questions regarding spiritual things (Exo 12:26-27). If parents are faithful in these things, then the children will learn the importance of doing the same.

 

b. Family altar

 

The FAMILY ALTAR is a specific time each day that the family assembles together around the word of God and prayer.  The responsibility for the family altar rests upon the father, as the spiritual head of the home (Eph 6:4; Col 3:21).  But if he is unable to carry out the responsibility for any reason, then the mother should. Family altar time should consist of scripture reading and prayer, but could also include testimonies and singing. It is important to be consistent in maintaining family altar. The children will learn:  (1) how to pray, (2) the word of God, (3) to make time for the Lord each day.

 

c) The PROMISE of the training ("…when he is old, he will not depart from it")

 

1. Salvation to the children (Pro 23:14)

 

Raising children "by the Book" does not guarantee your children will be right at any given time. But if parents stay by the Book, pray with and for their children, and remain faithful themselves in their relationship with the Lord, their children will be right in the end. God had two children, Adam and Eve, and he raised them in a perfect environment, in perfect fellowship with him and they still disobeyed. But by the grace of God things worked out in the end for them (the coats of skins) and for all those who trust Jesus Christ as Savior.

 

2. Wisdom to the children (Pro 29:15)

 

3. Rest and delight to the parents (Pro 29:17)

 

3) To TAKE CARE of their children (2 Cor 12:14; 1 Tim 3:4,12)

 

This is self-explanatory.  Taking care of children includes providing them with adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, medical attention, and even gifts (Matt 7:11).

 

B) RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CHILDREN

 

1) Honor their father and mother (Exo 20:12; Deu 5:16; Mal 1:6; Matt 19:19; Eph 6:2)

 

2) Obey their parents (Eph 6:1; Col 3:20)

 

 

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 Practical Theology


   

B A C K S L I D I N G

 

We have discussed relationships between the Christian and the Lord, the Christian and other Christians, the Christian and friends, and the Christian and their family. Now we turn our attention to the dark side of relationships. As long as we have a sinful nature, there will always be the potential that any of our relationships can sour, and some even end, as a result of SIN.  Although sin can not end our RELATIONSHIP with the Lord, it does end our FELLOWSHIP with the Lord. The degrading fellowship of a Christian with the Lord is "backsliding". 

 

I) THE DEFINITION

 

A) The dictionary defines backsliding as “to lapse morally or in the practice of religion”

 

B) The same Hebrew word, sarar, that is translated as "backsliding" (Hos 4:16) is also translated as “slide back; rebellion; revolter; stubborn”

 

C) Our walk with the Lord should be one of progress and advancement.  We should ever be moving ONWARD and UPWARD (we are walking and climbing).  Backsliding is moving BACKWARD and DOWNWARD (Heb 10:38).  Backsliding can be:

 

1) Substantial or minimal (Jer 5:6)

 

2) Persistent or occasional (Jer 8:5)

 

D) To turn your back on the Lord (Jer 2:27)

 

E) To forsake the Lord (Jer 2:19)

 

F) To turn back from following the Lord to the world (1 Sam 15:11; 1 Kin 11:9; Job 34:27; Acts 7:39)

 

G) To be unfaithful to the Lord (Psa 78:57)

 

H) To look back (Gen 19:26; Luke 9:62)

 

I) To go back and no longer walk with the Lord (John 6:66)

 

J) To leave your first love (Rev 2:4)

 

II) THE CAUSES

 

A) DECEITFULNESS OF SIN (Heb 3:13)

 

Backsliding is a HEART problem (Pro 14:14; Jer 17:9). It often begins in a time of prosperity (Deu 31:20; 2 Chr 26:16; Hos 4:7; 13:6). The heart deceives us into thinking we can forsake reading the Bible, prayer, and attending church and still be in fellowship with the Lord. It is a gradual process in which the heart becomes hardened to the Lord and the things of the Lord, and turns toward the world. First, we spend less time in our personal devotions, then we neglect them altogether. The process is illustrated by the following steps:

1) We attend all church services

 

2) We do not attend an occasional Sunday evening and mid-week service

 

3) We do not attend most Sunday evening and mid-week services

 

4) We do not attend any Sunday evening and mid-week services

 

5) We do not attend an occasional Sunday school and Sunday morning service

 

6) We do not attend most Sunday school and Sunday morning services

 

7) We do not attend any Sunday school and Sunday morning services

 

8) We do not attend any church services

 

B) DISREGARD FOR WHAT THE LORD HAS DONE (Psa 78:41-42)

 

C) DISBELIEF IN THE WORD OF GOD (Heb 3:19)

 

D) DULLNESS TO THE WORD OF GOD (Heb 5:11)

 

E) DESPITE OF THE WORD OF GOD (Heb 10:28-29)

 

F) DISOBEDIENCE TO THE WORD OF GOD (1 Sam 15:11; Psa 78:56; Jer 11:10; 32:23)

 

G) DEPARTURE FROM THE LIVING GOD (Heb 3:12)

 

ILLUSTRATION: A "backsliding heifer" (Hos 4:16)

 

A heifer is a young cow (Isa 15:5) used for plowing (Jud 14:18; Hos 10:11-13). Likewise, we are "yoked" together with Jesus Christ (Matt 11:29-30; Luke 9:23) for the purpose of plowing "the field" for harvest (Matt 9:37-38;13:38; Luke 9:62; John 4:35). Since our walk is onward and upward, we must plow UPHILL. If a heifer plows uphill, it must continually struggle against the force of gravity to move onward and upward. Likewise, we must continually struggle against the forces of the flesh and devil in our attempt to move onward and upward (Rom 7:18-20; Eph 6:12; 1 Pet 2:11). If the heifer slides back it is due to one of two reasons: (1) slackness, or a lack of strength, or (2) slickness, or a lack of traction.  The same is true of a Christian.  If a Christian backslides, it is because of "slackness" or "slickness". Spiritual slackness comes from a lack of Bible reading and prayer, a lack of exposure to Bible preaching and teaching, a lack of soul-winning, and a lack of good Christian fellowship. Spiritual slickness comes from being conformed to the world (Rom 12:2), befriending the world (Jam 4:4), loving the world or the things of the world (1 John 2:15), or being entangled with the affairs of this life (2 Tim 2:4). Therefore, as the FLESH and the DEVIL are comparable to the force of gravity, so the WORLD is comparable to the slick spots in the way. We SLIP on the slick spots when we do not exercise faith (Heb 2:1).  Faith is our "traction" because it is faith that overcomes the world (1 John 5:4).

 

 

III) THE CONSEQUENCES

 

A) TO THE LORD (Psa 78:40-41,56-58)

 

1)    It provokes him to anger (v.40,56,58)

 

2)    It grieves him (v.40)

 

3)    It tempts him (v.41,56)

 

4)    It limits him (v.41)

 

a) He can't bless us

 

b) He can’t use us (a dishonorable vessel)

 

5)    It moves him to jealousy (v.58)

 

B) TO THE BACKSLIDER

 

1)    Displeasure (toward spiritual things)(Jon 4:1)

 

2) Deceit (Isa 44:20; Jer 8:5)

 

3) Desperation (Jon 4:3; Luke 15:15)

 

4)    Defilement (Jer 2:7)

 

a) Loss of fellowship (1 John 1:6-7)

 

b) Loss of joy (Psa 16:11; 51:12)

 

c) Loss of peace (Isa 26:3; 57:21)

 

d) Loss of power (Neh 8:10; 1 Cor 11:30)

 

e) Loss of possessions (Job 1:15)

 

f) Loss of prayers answered (Psa 66:18)

 

g) Loss of physical health (1 Cor 11:30)

 

h) Loss of physical life (Jon 2:6; Luke 13:6-9; John 15:6; Rom 8:13; 1 Cor 11:30; Jam 5:20; 1 John 5:16)

 

i) Loss of prize (2 John 8; Rev 2:25; 3:2,11

 

IV) THE CHARACTERS

 

A) LOT (Gen 13-14;19)

 

1) He LOOKED toward Sodom (Gen 13:10)- Coveteousness

 

2) He DWELT TOWARD Sodom (Gen 13:12)- Compromise

 

3) He DWELT IN Sodom (Gen 14:12)- Captivity

 

4) He SAT in the gate of Sodom (Gen 19:1)- Comfort

 

B) REHOBOAM (2 Chr 12:1)

 

1) The time of backsliding- prosperity

 

2)    The cause of backsliding- self-sufficiency

 

3)    The object of backsliding- the (law of) Lord

 

4)    The effect of backsliding- all those around

 

C) JONAH (Jon 1:1-4:11)

 

1)    THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME…SAYING, ARISE, GO TO NINEVEH (1:1-2)= The believer realizes the WILL of God by the WORD of God

 

2)    JONAH ROSE UP TO FLEE UNTO TARSHISH (1:3)= The believer disobeys the word of God

        

3)    HE FOUND A SHIP GOING TO TARSHISH (1:3)= The backslider finds a vehicle to take him from the Lord (i.e.- accommodations/means will be provided)

 

4)    HE PAID THE FARE (1:3)= The backslider pays “the wage” for fleeing from the presence of the Lord

 

5)    TO GO WITH THEM UNTO TARSHISH (1:3)= The backslider finds companions in his travel from the Lord

 

6)    THE LORD SENT OUT A GREAT WIND (1:4)= The Lord brings tribulation into the backslider’s life because he puts himself in a position where he will not or cannot hear the word of God

 

7)    THE MARINERS WERE AFRAID (1:5)= Those around the backslider realize the danger before the backslider does

                  

8)    HE LAY, AND WAS FAST ASLEEP (1:5)= The backslider lulls himself into a false sense of rest and peace

                  

9)    THAT WE PERISH NOT (1:6)= The backslider’s condition affects all those around him (2 Chr 12:1)

 

10) I FEAR THE LORD…HE HEAD TOLD THEM (1:9-10)= The backslider does not deny the faith (i.e.-apostasize), but readily confesses his condition

 

11) TAKE ME UP, AND CAST ME FORTH (1:12)= The backslider may have a sense of guilt because those around him are jeopardized by his sin

 

12) THEY TOOK UP JONAH, AND CAST HIM FORTH (1:15)= The world will quickly break ties with and rudely dispose of the backslider, although he paid his fare

 

13) JONAH WAS IN THE BELLY OF THE FISH (1:17)= If mild tribulation does not bring the backslider to repentance, God will eventually put him in a position where he will have to face God alone regarding his condition

 

14) THEN JONAH PRAYED (2:1)= The backslider will call upon the Lord when the trouble gets insurmountable (Jer 2:27-30)

 

15) THOU BROUGHT UP MY LIFE FROM CORRUPTION (2:6)= Persistent refusal to repent will result in death

 

16) THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME UNTO JONAH THE SECOND TIME (3:1)= If the backslider repents (2:9-10), the Lord will again deal with him on the basis of the word of God (Jer 32:33)

 

17) SO THE PEOPLE BELIEVED GOD (3:5)= Although the repentant backslider may serve the Lord out of fear and duty instead of love, the Lord will still bless his word with results

 

18) IT DISPLEASED JONAH EXCEEDINGLY (4:1)= The repentant backslider may still harbor bitterness, anger, unthankfulness, and selfishness toward the Lord in his heart (4:3,6,8-9)

 

19) WAS NOT THIS MY SAYING? (4:2)= The backslider attempts to justify his actions (Jer 3:11)

 

20) THE LORD PREPARED A GOURD (4:6)= God still meets the needs of his children, even when they are in a backslidden state

D) THE PRODIGAL SON (Luke 15:11-32)

 

“Backsliding is going in the wrong DIRECTION, being in the wrong POSITION, having the wrong AFFECTIONS, and performing the wrong ACTIONS.”

 

1) SONS (v.11)=Backsliders are Christians; the Prodigal did not ever cease to be a son, but he did leave the place of blessing, peace, rest, and fellowship with the father.

 

2) THE YOUNGER OF THEM (v.12)=Younger Christians are more prone to backslide than older Christians.

 

3) GIVE ME (v.12)=Backsliding is often caused by wordly lusts.

 

4) THE PORTION OF GOODS THAT FALLETH TO ME (v.12)=Backsliders do not want to wait for an inheritance, they want it now; they exchange the cross for a (corruptible) crown.

 

5) HE DIVIDED UNTO THEM (v.12)=The wealth of the Father is at the disposal of all Christians.

 

6) NOT MANY DAYS AFTER (v.13)=It does not take long for backslidden AFFECTION to become backslidden ACTION.

 

7) GATHERED ALL TOGETHER (v.13)= Backsliding often begins in a time of prosperity (Hos 4:7; 13:6; Deu 31:20)

 

8) TOOK HIS JOURNEY (v.13)=The way of a backslider is his own (Pro 14:14); the Lord did not choose the path he is on.

 

9) INTO A FAR COUNTRY (v.13)=The backslider is moving in the wrong DIRECTION; he is going from the presence of the Lord (Jon 1:3).

 

10) THERE WASTED HIS SUBSTANCE (v.13)=If we receive something we are not ready to receive, we will not act responsibly with it

 

11) RIOTOUS LIVING (v.13)=The backslider, empowered by the flesh, desires riotous (“festive indulgence”) living; a RIOTOUS life is a SELF-willed life, not a GOD-willed life.

 

12) WHEN HE HAD SPENT ALL (v.14)=         There is an expensive cost to backsliding; the backslider risks wasting his entire inheritance (i.e.- lose earned rewards) in the world.

 

13) THERE AROSE A FAMINE (v.14)=Since the backslider is not in a POSITION to receive verbal correction (rebuke) from the word of God, the Lord, out of love for his child, will give physical correction (chastisement) in the form of tribulation or affliction (Heb 12:5-6).

 

14) WHEN HE HAD SPENT ALL, THERE AROSE A FAMINE (v.14)=Is divine chastisement an indication that all earned rewards have been lost?     Is the reason why it appears the chastening hand of God is withheld from many backsliden Christians due to the Lord first taking away all their rewards?  Even earthly parents follow the order of: verbal correction, withholding of privileges, physical correction.

15) HE BEGAN TO BE IN WANT (v.14)=The backslider will eventually fall from his position of prosperity.

 

16) JOINED HIMSELF TO A CITIZEN OF THAT (FAR) COUNTRY (v.15)= The backslider may make wordly associates (2 Cor 6:14) and employ worldy means of handling the tribulation instead of repenting.

 

17) HE SENT HIM INTO HIS FIELDS TO FEED SWINE (v.15)=Who the backslider thought was a sympathetic and caring friend begins to use and abuse him for his own purpose and gain; the backslider becomes, in practice not position, a servant to the world; his acts are acts of desperation.

 

18) NO MAN GAVE UNTO HIM (v.16)=The “friends” who were there when the backslider had something to give will desert him in his time of need; sin will always leave a man in a worse condition than it found him.

 

19) WHEN HE CAME TO HIMSELF (v.17)=Hopefully, the backslider will realize how foolish he has been; that the world is still a place of bondage and slavery and that there is no place like the Father’s house (John 6:68).

 

20) I WILL ARISE (v.18)=True repentance produces the right ACTION (v.20)

 

21) AND GO TO MY FATHER (v.18)=True repentance produces the right DIRECTION (v.20); even in his backslidden condition, the prodigal is still a son of the father.

 

22) I HAVE SINNED…AND AM NO MORE WORTHY…MAKE ME AS ONE OF THY HIRED SERVANTS  (v.18-19)=True repentance produces the right AFFECTION.

 

23) HIS FATHER SAW HIM, AND HAD COMPASSION (v.20)=The Lord is watching and waiting, desiring for the backslider to repent; if the backslider takes the first step in the right DIRECTION, the Lord meets him the rest of the way (Jam 4:8)

 

(v.20-24)= The Lord and all of heaven rejoices when a backslider repents (v.10)(Jer 31:22); true repentance results in the right POSITION.

 

VI) THE CURE

 

A)     REALIZE (Luke 15:17)

 

B)      REPENT (Luke 15:18-20)

 

C)      REJOICE (Luke 15:22-24)

 

“Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever.  Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD.  Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:  And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.  And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.  Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God.”  (Jer 3:12-16,22)

 

“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.  (Hos 14:4)

 

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chr 7:14)

 

“…in thy presence is fulness of joy…” (Psa 16:11)

 

 

 

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 Practical Theology


     

D I V O R C E  &  R E M A R R I A G E

 

The subject of divorce is one of the most, if not the most, controversial in all Practical Theology. People have very passionate and strong beliefs regarding divorce, whether they be Biblically based or experimentally based. There are even opposing views among Bible-believing Baptists, which ought to tell us that the truth is not on the surface, but deep within the pages of scripture.  The only way we will come to the truth is to set aside preconceived ideas and beliefs and engage in a comprehensive, dispensational study of the subject in the Bible for ourselves. It is important to keep in mind that whatever conclusions we come to as a result of our study, that there will always be those with opposing views.  Having the correct understanding of the scriptural teaching of divorce is important for practical reasons because what we tell or teach others about divorce may directly impact their lives. However, divorce is not a fundamental of the faith, or a cardinal doctrine of scripture; therefore, opposing views should not result in division among Christians. Again, the fact that there are opposing views among those who love, believe, study, and teach the Bible ought to cause us to be open to hearing the views of others. We must be teachable people. Pastors, in particular, ought to be open due to the fact that they are often in the position of teaching on the subject of divorce and counseling those contemplating or experiencing it.

 

INTRODUCTION

 

1.  Divorce = "a legal dissolution of a marriage; separation; severance; to dissolve the marriage contract between husband and wife; to terminate an existing relationship or union; to take away; to put away".

 

2. The words divorce, divorced, and divorcement appear only 11 times in scripture (Lev 21:14; 22:13; Num 30:9; Deu 24:1,3; Isa 50:1; Jer 3:8; Matt 5:31-32; 19:7; Mark 10:4).

 

3. The Hebrew word translated "divorced" (garash) is also translated "drive out", "cast out", "thrust out", and "expel"; the Hebrew word translated "divorce" and "divorcement" (kerithuth) comes from the same root word (karath) that is also translated "cut off".

 

4. The Greek word translated "divorced" (apoluo) is also translated "let go", "release", "send away", and "put away"; the Greek word translated "divorcement" (apostasion) comes from the same root word (apostasia) that is transliterated "apostasy", which means, "a falling away".

 

5. Consequently, a study of divorce will need to include similar terms (e.g.- "put away") and not just the word "divorce".

 

6.  Some sources indicate that at least 50% of all marriages ultimately end in divorce.  Christian marriages are not much better. Obviously, the greatest deterrent to divorce is to marry the right person for the right reason at the right time.  See lesson: "Christian Family- Marriage".

 

7. There are three major misconceptions regarding divorce that will be addressed through this lesson.

 

a. All divorce is sinful

 

Divorce exists because of sin, but divorce is not necessarily sin.  On the other hand, it is equally incorrect to assume no divorce is sinful.

 

b. A divorced person can never remarry without committing adultery as long as their ex-spouse is alive

 

c. Jesus' discourse on divorce in Matthew 19 is the definitive teaching on the subject of divorce

 

What follows is six points regarding divorce.  All the MAJOR texts related to divorce are referred to within these six points. 

 

I) DIVORCE CONTRARY (Gen 2:24; Matt 19:4-6,8)

 

Divorce is contrary to God's ideal for marriage and his perfect will. When God instituted marriage he did not provide an option for divorce. The word cleave in Genesis 2:24 means, "to stick; to adhere with strong attachment; to unite in affection".  The word implies no future separation. What God intended for marriage was one man and one woman for one lifetime. Therefore, God's perfect will for any marriage is that there not be a divorce.  Some Christians in marital trouble say they are praying to find out if it is God's perfect will for them to divorce their spouse.  They are wasting their time because this is something that does not require any prayer to know.  You do not need to pray to find out if it is God's perfect will for you to read your Bible, attend church, or win souls.  And you do not need to pray whether or not it is God's perfect will for you to divorce your spouse. Divorce is NEVER God's PERFECT will. The Lord Jesus emphasized this in Matthew 19:8, where he says that from the beginning God did not intend for divorce.  The Lord also quotes Genesis 2:24 in Matthew 19:5 and then states in Matthew 19:6, "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder".  This does not mean that God personally joins EVERY single marriage, as some may think because the reference is not to individual marriages but to marriage as an institution.  In the beginning, God instituted marriage, but man instituted divorce. How did man institute divorce? Through sin (Rom 5:12). This does not mean all divorce is sinful, just like all anger is not sinful (Eph 4:26). But if there were no sin in the world, there would not be divorce or anger. A provoking thought for Christian couples to consider is that, if both parties are TRULY right in their walk with the Lord, they will seek reparation and reconciliation, NOT divorce. Divorce among Christians can only occur if one or both parties are not right with the Lord. Some may say, "you don't know what you're talking about until you have been through it".  Experience is not required for understanding truth, faith is. If two Christians TRULY (not just mere words) put the Lord first in their lives and commit their marriage to him, how can he but save it? The problem comes when self surfaces. Divorce is contrary to the ideal of marriage and the perfect will of God.

 

II) DIVORCE CONDEMNED (Mal 2:16)

 

There are 25 things that the Bible specifically says God hates and divorce is one of them. Why does God hate divorce?

 

A) CONTRADICTS THE INTENTION OF MARRIAGE

 

God intended marriage to be a joyful union (Pro 5:18).  Divorce prohibits that from happening for those involved.

 

B) CONSEQUENCES ON THE FAMILY

 

Divorce not only effects the husband-wife relationship but the parent-child relationship as well. Things between parent and child can never be what they could have been once there is a divorce.  First, the child is exposed to conflict between the two most important people in their life, then the pains of separation. No matter how old the children are, or how long the couple has been married, divorce leaves it's scars on all involved- parents and children alike.

 

 

III) DIVORCE CONCEDED (Deu 24:1-4; Matt 19:3-9; 1 Cor 7:10-16,27-28,39)

 

God instituted marriage before sin entered the world through the fall of man. The Lord knew that man would fall and that one of the results of sin would be divorce.  The Lord's POSITION regarding divorce has always been the same, but with the entrance of sin into the world he now had to make PROVISION for divorce. Divorce is never God's PERFECT will, but there are times when it is his PERMISSIVE will.  Just like it is not God's perfect will for any person to go to hell (2 Pet 3:9).  In fact, the Lord has made full provision to prevent that from happening.  But it is his permissive will (Rev 20:15) because every person has a free will to accept or reject God's provision through the Lord Jesus Christ. Marriage is a union of two individuals, and no matter how much they have in common, they are still two different people.  One can not MAKE the other get saved or, if saved, to love and serve the Lord. Once again, it is sin that ultimately causes the conflict and subsequent division. It is the Lord's perfect will for us to live peaceably with all men (Rom 12:18), how much more so should a husband and wife?  But the Lord acknowledges that there may come a time when that is no longer possible.  He says, "IF IT BE POSSIBLE, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men" (Rom 12:18). But if divorce were permitted for any reason then everyone would get a divorce sooner or later. On the other hand, sin can result in innocent spouses being in a relationship that is detrimental or even dangerous to physical or spiritual well being. Therefore, the Lord has provided "grounds" for divorce.   

 

A) UNDER LAW (Deu 24:1-4; Matt 19:3-9)

 

1) Divorce permitted on the grounds of fornication

 

a) Described as "uncleanness" (Deu 24:1)

 

b) Defined as "fornication" (Num 5:19-22; Matt 19:9)

 

The expression, "some uncleanness" (Deu 24:1) was interpreted in different ways. The scripture clearly defines it as "fornication" (Num 5:19-22), but a liberal interpretation became prevalent that said a man could put away his wife "for every cause" (Matt 19:3). The correct interpretation of this expression was the subject of the Pharisee's confrontation with the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 19. Many incorrectly believe that Matthew 19 is a definitive discourse on the subject of divorce.  Consequently, divorce is not viewed as an option in many detrimental and dangerous situations. However, Matthew 19 is not the definitive teaching on divorce and remarriage, even though Jesus Christ is the one speaking.  What the Lord says about divorce and remarriage in Matthew 19 equates to an infallible commentary on Deuteronomy 24:1. There is no new revelation on the subject of divorce in Matthew 19, it is simply illumination of what was already revealed. Contrary to popular belief, Matthew 19 is doctrinally under the dispensation of law, not the dispensation of grace; it is OLD testament doctrine, not new testament doctrine because the NEW testament does not take effect until the death of the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb 9:17).

 

2) Remarriage permitted for both parties

 

a) The divorce must have been legal (i.e.- on the grounds of fornication) (Deu 24:2)

 

A prevalent view today is that, if there is a divorce due to fornication, the guilty party still cannot remarry without committing adultery.  But Deuteronomy 24:2 clearly teaches the guilty party is also free to remarry. In fact, Deuteronomy 24:4 calls the man the woman's "FORMER husband".  If she was committing adultery he would be called her "OTHER husband". An expression often heard today in the context of divorce and remarriage is "two living wives" or "two living husbands".  This expression has absolutely no applicability to a situation where a scriptural divorce has occurred.  Unfortunately, many who fancy themselves with this expression incorrectly apply it to EVERY situation of divorce and remarriage. They do this by taking the text, "whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery" (Matt 5:32) and similar texts (Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18) out of their immediate context and the entire context of the teaching of divorce and remarriage. 

 

b) The remarriage cannot be to the former spouse if there was an intervening marriage (Deu 24:3-4)

 

B) UNDER GRACE (1 Cor 7:10-16)

 

1) Married believers should not seek divorce (1 Cor 7:10,27)

 

This should not be misinterpreted to mean that divorce is never permitted.  The word seek means, "to go in search of; to look for; to endeavor to find or gain BY ANY MEANS (emphasis mine)". What it means is that divorce should not be hastily entered into.  It should always be the last resort, and only on scriptural grounds.

 

2) A believer should not always seek divorce from an unbelieving spouse

 

a) If the unbelieving spouse is pleased to dwell with the believing spouse (1 Cor 7:12-13)

 

This means the lost spouse does to seek to hinder or prevent the saved spouse from living for the Lord.  It does not necessarily mean they enjoy being witnessed to, or go to church with the saved spouse, but they allow the saved spouse to go to church.

 

b) The believing spouse can be a witness to the unbelieving spouse (1 Cor 7:16; 1 Pet 3:1)

 

c) The children are viewed differently by God due to the believing spouse (1 Cor 7:14)

 

The children are exposed to the same witness that the lost spouse is.  If both parents were lost, the children would not be exposed to a gospel witness in the home.

 

3) Divorce permitted on grounds of desertion

 

a) Desertion breaks wedlock (1 Cor 7:11,15)

 

The Christian woman who departs in 1 Cor 7:11 is told to remain "unmarried". This implies her departure changed her status from "married" (1 Cor 7:10) to "unmarried" (1 Cor 7:11). If the status of one party is changed, obviously the status of both parties is changed. The same principle holds true if it is the man who departs. 1 Corinthians 7:15 clearly states that desertion breaks wedlock. The "bondage" referred to in the verse is the marital BOND (1 Cor 7:39).

 

b) The desertion to due to the believing spouse's Christianity (1 Cor 7:12-15)

 

Although the passage specifically addresses the situation when an UNBELIEVING spouse leaves a believing spouse due to their Christianity, the same principle holds true if the departing spouse is a professing (albeit backslidden) Christian. We must not think that the scenarios presented in the scripture are exhaustive.  If a particular scenario cannot be specifically located in scripture, then PRINCIPLES contained in the specific scenarios should be applied.  Unfortunately, this is not the common belief. Most pastors and teachers believe, for example, that because the scripture does not SPECIFICALLY permit a woman in a physically abusive marriage to divorce her husband, she MUST remain married to him. If she doesn't and subsequently remarries, they believe she is committing adultery by having "two living husbands".

 

4) Divorced Christians should not seek remarriage (1 Cor 7:27)

 

Those divorced should not hastily enter into another marriage.  In fact, for some it might be wiser to remain single.

 

5) Remarriage is permitted and is not always a sin (1 Cor 7:28)

 

a) The divorce must have been on scriptural grounds (e.g.- fornication, desertion, etc.)

 

If the divorce was not on scriptural grounds, any subsequent remarriage on the part of either party would constitute adultery (Matt 5:31-32; 19:9; Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18).

 

b) To avoid fornication (1 Cor 7:2,9)

 

c) The remarriage must be to another Christian (1 Cor 7:39)

 

If the remarriage is to a lost person, the marriage itself is a sin because it is against the clear command of the word of God (2 Cor 6:14-17).

 

IV) DIVORCE COMMENDED (Matt 19:29)

 

A) A CHOICE FOR THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS

 

This seems contradictory to God's position on divorce, but really is not. There are very serious situations that can arise within a marriage whereby divorce is the lesser of two evils.  God's position on divorce remains the same- he hates it (Mal 2:16); however, he also hates sin.  What is a child of God to do if he or she is placed in a position to choose between living for the Lord Jesus and their marriage?  What if a woman is forbidden by her husband to read her Bible, attend church, witness to him and the children, etc.?  What if he even beats her physically if he catches her doing any of these things?  What if a woman found out her husband had sexually abused their young daughter on numerous occasions? What if a woman threatened to destroy her pastor husband's ministry by leaving him if he didn't let her live the way she wanted to live? What if a woman was married to an abusive alcoholic who refused to get any treatment for his addiction?  Should children, who are supposed to be raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, be exposed to any of these conditions on a daily basis?  None of these scenarios SHOULD occur in a Christian marriage, but sadly they do.  The majority opinion is that the victim in each scenario is stuck in the marriage because no habitual fornication has occurred. They would probably be told to pray for their spouse and have faith that everything will work out, but to never even consider divorce.  Certainly, in every scenario the victim should pray for their spouse and have faith that the Lord will work things out.  But the Lord is not going to infringe on the free will of the erring spouse.  The sad reality is, that there are numerous dear Christians who have prayed for years and endured untold hardships, and their situation only grows worse.  God intended marriage to be a joyful union (Pro 5:18) and he has called all believers to peace (1 Cor 7:15). We are also told that as much as lies within us we should live peacably with all men (how much more our spouses?) (Rom 12:18), but with the condition "IF IT BE POSSIBLE".  This implies that there comes a time, known only to the Lord and the individual, when enough is enough.  The Lord himself is LONG-suffering, not FOREVER-suffering. The consequences of a divorce may not be as severe as the consequences of remaining in a particular marriage.

B) A CHOICE OF THE LORD OVER THE MARRIAGE

 

Although marriage is a sacred relationship, the most important relationship is the one we have with Christ. He is to be first in our life (Luke 14:26; Matt 10:37; 22:37-38; Rev 2:4) not our spouse. In Matthew 19:29, the Lord promises a blessing to those who forsake a number of things for his name's sake, and one of them is "wife". The word forsake means "to quit or leave entirely; to DESERT (emphasis mine); to abandon; to DEPART FROM (emphasis mine)". Forsaking a wife obviously means to leave her, which according to the scripture already commented on in 1 Corinthians 7, breaks the marital bond.  Whereas 1 Corinthians 7 established desertion as a grounds for divorce if you are the victim, Matthew 19:29 established it as a grounds for divorce if you are the initiator. The blessing for forsaking wife in solely conditioned upon it being FOR HIS NAME'S SAKE. In other words, the marriage got to the point where a choice between the Lord Jesus Christ and the spouse had to be made. The principle also applies for a woman forsaking her husband for Christ's sake.  All of the horrific, but real, scenarios previously presented could fall into this category.  So, although each scenario is not SPECIFICALLY addressed in scripture, we have a principle here in Matthew 19:29 that can be applied to any marital situation. 

 

V) DIVORCE COMMANDED (Ezr 10:2-4,11-12)

 

I have heard preachers tell people that the Lord would never lead them to divorce their spouse. Yet, in the scripture cited above, the Lord not only lead his people to divorce their spouses, he COMMANDED it.  Read it if you don't believe it, because it's there.

 

A) THE MARRIAGES WERE SINFUL (Ezr 10:2,11) cf. (Deu 7:1-3)

 

There are those who believe and teach that God joins all marriages and that all divorce is sinful.  We have already established the fact that not all divorce is sinful and that the Lord permits it under certain circumstances. Now we see that God does not join all marriages. In fact, some marriages are contrary to his word and are sinful. Under the law, the Lord prohibited intermarriage between the children of Israel and the Canaanites (Deu 7:1-3). And that is exactly what had occurred that precipitated the command for divorce in Ezra 10. The principle of the prohibition is repeated in New Testament between a Christian and an unbeliever (2 Cor 6:14-17).  That means, every time a Christian marries a lost person, the marriage is NOT joined of God and the Christian is sinning against the Lord.

 

B) WE ARE UNDER GRACE AND ARE NOT COMMANDED TO DIVORCE

 

Although the children of Israel were commanded to put away their strange wives and the children of these marriages (Ezr 10:3-4,12), Christians are under grace, and are not commanded to do so.  However, the Christian should still confess that they sinned in marrying a lost person and ask the Lord to forgive them, and to help them be a witness to their lost spouse and win them to the Lord.

 

VI) DIVORCE COMMITTED (Isa 50:1; Jer 3:8; Hos 2:2)

 

A) THE LORD IS DIVORCED

 

1) The Lord divorced Israel on grounds of spiritual adultery (i.e.- idolatry) (Jer 3:8-9; Hos 2:2)

 

2) The Lord is still the SHEPHERD of Israel (Psa 23:1; 80:1), even though he is divorced

 

Most believe a man is automatically disqualified from the pastorate or any preaching ministry if he is divorced.  Would these same people impose their belief on the Lord?   Time and space does not permit commentary on the interpretation of "the husband of one wife" (1 Tim 3:2), which is incorrectly interpreted and used as the proof text for this belief.  The fact is, the Lord is divorced and still active as a pastor (shepherd). This does not mean EVERY divorced pastor or preacher is still qualified for the ministry, the precedent here is that divorce does NOT automatically disqualify them.

 

B) THE LORD WILL BE REMARRIED (Isa 54:5; 62:5; Hos 2:19-20)

 

 

 

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 Practical Theology


   

W O R S H I P

 

I) INTRODUCTION

                                   

1. Worship is our ultimate expression to God of adoration, love, and appreciation for who he is.

                                   

2. The word worship is defined as, “the act of paying divine honors to the Supreme Being; to adore; to reverence with supreme respect and veneration; to honor with extravagant love and extreme submission”.

 

3. It can also mean “the overflow of a grateful heart, under a sense of Divine favor” (Psa 23:5). The “outpouring of a soul at rest in the presence of God” (Song 2:3-4). The “occupation of the heart, not with it’s needs, or even with it’s blessings, but with God himself” (2 Sam 7:18-22).

 

4. Every man worships something because there is an innate awareness that he is an inferior being.

 

5. The first appearance of worship is in Genesis 22:5. A father (Abraham) and his son (Isaac) were intent on worshipping the Lord together by way of a sacrifice (Gen 22:3-4).

 

6. Worship is sorely lacking in Baptist churches today, partly due to ignorance, but partly due to a fear of appearing to be in the flesh or Charismatic.

 

7. Baptists need to get back to practicing worship and stop worrying about what they look like or what others may think.

 

II) THE OBJECT OF WORSHIP

 

The word worshipper appears only twice in scripture.  The first appearance refers to a worshipper of GOD (John 9:31); the second appearance to a worshipper of DIANA (a false god) (Acts 19:35).

 

A) WHO TO WORSHIP

 

1) The one true and living God (Exo 34:14; Psa 45:11; Dan 3:28; Matt 4:10; Rev 14:7;19:10; 22:8-9)

                              

a) God the Father (John 4:23)

                            

b) Jesus Christ (Matt 2:11; 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 15:25; 20:20; 28:9,17; Mark 5:6; 15:19; Luke 24:52; John 9:38)

 

The people of God are DELIVERED for worshipping only the the Lord (Dan 3:28).

 

B) WHAT NOT TO WORSHIP

           

1)    Other “gods” (Deu 8:19;11:16; Psa 81:9)

                                               

a) Ashtoreth, Chemosh, and Milcom (1 Kin 11:33)

 

b) Baal (1 Kin 16:31)

 

c) The queen of heaven (Jer 44:19)

 

d) Moloch and Remphan (Acts 7:43)

 

e) Diana (Acts 19:35)

 

Although the worship of false gods is virtually synonymous with worshipping idols, all false gods are not worshipped in the form of idols (e.g.- "Allah" of Islam)

 

2)    Idols (“aids to worship”) (Exo 20:4-5; 1 Kin 12:28-30)

                                               

a) The “gods” of the Gentiles are idols (1 Chr 16:26)

 

b) Worshipping idols is worshipping the work of your own hands (Isa 2:8,20) i.e- a graven image (Isa 44:9-20)

 

3) Devils (Rev 9:20)

                                               

a) Devils are associated with false gods (Deu 32:17; 1 Cor 10:20)

 

b) Devils are associated with idols (Psa 106:37-38)

 

4) The Beast (Antichrist) (Rev 13:4)

                                   

5) Satan (Matt 4:9-10; Rev 13:4)

                              

6) Angels (Col 2:18; Rev 22:8-9)

      

7) The host of heaven (Deu 4:19; Eze 8:16; Zep 1:5; Acts 7:42)

                              

8) The creation (Rom 1:25)

 

9) People (Acts 10:25)

                     

   10) Ourselves (Col 2:23)

 

The people of God will be CHASTENED if they worship other “gods” (1 Kin 9:9; 2 Chr 7:22).

 

II) THE REASONS FOR WORSHIPPING GOD

 

A) BECAUSE OF WHO HE IS

 

1) He alone is Creator (John 1:3; Eph 3:9; Col 1:16; Heb 1:2; Rev 4:11)

 

2) He alone is Sustainer (Col 1:17; Heb 1:3)

 

3) He alone is Savior (Isa 43:11; Tit 2:13; Rev 5:12)

 

4) He alone is Lord (Psa 45:11; 86:10; Isa 44:8)

 

5) He alone is holy (Psa 99:5; Rev 15:4)

 

B) BECAUSE OF WHAT HE HAS SAID (Exo 20:1-2; 34:14; Matt 4:10)

 

C) BECAUSE OF WHAT HE HAS DONE

 

1) He reveals things to us (Jud 7:15) e.g.- the word of God (what would we do without it?)

                              

2) He sent his Son to be the Savior of the world (1 John 4:10,14)

 

3) He has given us every good and perfect gift (Jam 1:17)

 

III) THE MANNER OF WORSHIPPING GOD

 

A) DEGREES OF WORSHIP

 

1) Worshipping afar off (Exo 24:1)

 

2) Worshipping up close (Exo 24:2)

 

B) IN SPIRIT (John 4:23-24)

 

1) Not in the flesh (Phl 3:3)

 

2) Not in a state of rebellion (1 Sam 15:24-26,30-31)

 

3) In holiness (1 Chr 16:29)

 

C) IN TRUTH (John 4:23-24)

                     

1) In the fear of the Lord (Psa 5:7)

 

2) Not in vain (i.e.-hypocritically, or in our own prescribed way) (Mark 7:6-7)

 

3) Not in ignorance (John 4:22; Acts 17:22)

                       

4) Not in heresy (i.e.- worshipping God through images) (Acts 18:13; 24:14)

 

God is not to be worshipped through idols (Acts 17:25). The Father SEEKS those who worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23) and HEARS them (John 9:31). True worship will positively affect our spiritual condition (Eze 46:9).              

 

IV) THE PLACE FOR WORSHIPPING GOD

 

A) THE HOUSE OF THE LORD

 

1) The tabernacle (2 Sam 12:20)

 

2) The temple (Psa 5:7; Jer 26:2)

 

a) At Jerusalem (2 Chr 6:6; Zec 3:2; John 4:20; Acts 8:27; 24:11)

 

b) At his holy hill (Psa 99:9)

 

c) Before the altar of incense (2 Chr 32:12)

 

d) At the Eastern gate of the temple (Eze 46:2-3)

 

3) The church (2 Sam 12:20) cf. (1 Tim 3:15)

 

B) IN A SPECIFIC PRIVATE PLACE

 

1) Toward his holy temple (Psa 138:2)

 

2) At his footstool (Psa 99:5;132:7)

 

3) On a mountain top (2 Sam 15:32; John 4:20)

                              

4) Prayer closet (Matt 6:6)

                              

C) WHEREVER YOU ARE AT ANY GIVEN TIME (1 Sam 1:28)

 

V) THE PARTICIPANTS IN WORSHIPPING GOD

 

A) THE JEWS (Isa 27:13)

                     

B) THE GENTILES (Psa 22:27-29; 86:9; Zec 14:16-17; Rev 15:4)

                     

C) THE CHURCH (Psa 45:11)

                     

D) ALL FLESH (Psa 66:4; Isa 66:23; Zep 2:11)

 

One day all false gods will be banished from the universe (Zec 13:2)

 

E) ALL ANGELS (Neh 9:6; Psa 97:7; Heb 1:6)

 

VI) EXPRESSIONS OF WORSHIPPING GOD

 

A) THANKSGIVING (1 Chr 16:7-8,34)

                     

B) PRAYER (1 Chr 16:8,11,35; Neh 9:3)

 

C) TESTIFYING (1 Chr 16:8,24,31)

                     

D) SINGING and MUSIC (1 Chr 16:9,23,33; 2 Chr 29:28-30)

 

E) GODLY CONVERSATION (1 Chr 16:9,23)

                     

F) JOY (1 Chr 16:10,31-32; Phl 3:3)

                     

G) PRAISE (1 Chr 16:25,36; 2 Chr 7:3; Psa 138:2)

                     

H) FEAR (1 Chr 16:25,30; 2 Kin 17:36)

                     

I) GLORY and HONOR (1 Chr 16:27)

                     

J) GIVING (1 Chr 16:28-29; Deu 26:10; Matt 2:11; Luke 7:37)

 

K) HOLINESS (1 Chr 16:29)

 

L) SACRIFICE (Gen 22:3-5; 1 Sam 1:3; Rom 12:1)

 

M) SERVICE (Matt 4:10)

                     

N) FALLING DOWN (Jos 5:14; 2 Chr 20:18; Rev 4:10) cf. (2 Kin 17:35-36)

                     

O) EXALTATION (Psa 99:5)

                     

P) DEVOTIONS (i.e.- Bible reading and prayer) (Neh 9:3; Acts 17:23)

                     

Q) BELIEF (Acts 24:14) cf. (Heb 11:6)

                     

R) BLESSING THE LORD, “AMENS”, and LIFTING UP HANDS (Neh 8:6)

 

Many churches practice silent or quiet worship.  They do not believe in getting loud or excited in church, yet there is NO instance of quiet worship in heaven (Job 38:7; Isa 6:3; Rev 4:8-11; 5:8-14; 7:9-12; 11:15-19; 14:2-3; 19:1-6).  Much of what we excuse as "quiet worship" is just a lack of worship.  It is not possible for us to be quiet or reserved in the presence of God.

 

 

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 Practical Theology


   

W I T N E S S I N G

 

I) PREFACE

 

A) DEFINITION OF WITNESSING

 

1) The word witness means, "testimony; attestation of a fact or event; a person who knows or sees something; to testify to something; to give evidence" (Psa 66:16; 107:2; John 21:24; 1 John 1:1)

 

2) A witness in a trial is expected to tell what he knows, what he has seen, or what he has heard

 

B) DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WITNESSING AND SOUL-WINNING

 

1) Soul-winning is, "using your witness and the word of God to win others to Jesus Christ; leading a soul to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ"

 

2) Witnessing is always a part of soul-winning, but soul-winning is not always a part of witnessing

 

II) PROSPECT OF WITNESSING (Acts 1:8)

 

A) OUR "JERUSALEM"

 

1) Individually, this would be immediate family

 

2) Institutionally, this would be a community ministry

 

B) OUR "JUDEA"

 

1) Individually, this would be extended family and friends

 

2) Institutionally, this would be a regional ministry

 

C) OUR "SAMARIA"

 

1) Individually, this would be neighbors and co-workers

 

2) Institutionally, this would be a national ministry

 

D) OUR "UTTERMOST PARTS OF THE EARTH"

 

1) Individually, this would be acquaintances and strangers

 

2) Institutionally, this would be a global ministry

 

III) PARTICIPANTS OF WITNESSING

 

A) THE SAINT (the "sower")

 

1) Be Busy ("They that sow…He that goeth forth…") (Psa 126:5-6)

2) Be Burdened ("…in tears…and weepeth…") (Psa 126:5-6)

 

B) THE SCRIPTURE (the "seed")

 

1) Be Bearing ("bearing precious seed…") (Psa 126:6)

 

2) Be Burying ("I have planted…") (1 Cor 3:6)

 

C) THE SINNER (the "soil")

 

1) A Heart Like a Rock (Luke 8:6,13)

 

2) A Heart Like Thorns (Luke 8:7,14)

 

3) A Heart Like Good Ground (Luke 8:8,15)

 

D) THE SUPPLICANT (the "spring")

 

1) Be Burdened ("…in tears…and weepeth…Apollos watered…") (Psa 126:5-6; 1 Cor 3:6)

 

E) THE SPIRIT (the "sun")

 

1) Be Broken ("And when the sun was up…") (Matt 13:6)

 

F) SALVATION (the "sheaves")

 

1) Be Bringing ("…reap in joy…bringing his sheaves with him") (Psa 126:5-6)

 

2) Be Building ("…God giveth the increase") (1 Cor 3:6)

 

IV) PURPOSE OF WITNESSING

 

A) DEMAND

 

1) "Go…tell them" (Mark 5:19)

 

2) "Go…compel them" (Luke 14:23)

 

3) "…ye shall be witnesses unto me" (Acts 1:8)

 

B) DUTY

 

1) As Watchmen (Eze 33:1-11)

 

2) As Ambassadors (2 Cor 5:20)

 

C) DESIGN

 

1) Follow the Example of Jesus Christ (1 John 2:6)

 

2) Follow the Example of the Samaritan Woman (John 4:28-29,39)

 

3) Follow the Example of the Blind Man (John 9:25)

 

4) Follow the Example of Paul (Acts 22:3-21; 26:2-23)

 

D) DESTINY

 

1) Hell (Psa 9:17)

 

2) Damnation (Mark 16:16)

 

3) The Wrath of God (John 3:36)

 

4) The Lake of Fire (Rev 20:15)

 

E) DESIRE

 

1) The Burden of Our Heart (Rom 9:2-3; 10:1)

 

2) The Love of Christ Through Us (2 Cor 5:14)

 

F) DEFICIENCY

 

1) Lack of Laborers (Psa 142:4; Isa 6:8; Eze 22:30; Matt 9:37-38; 1 Cor 15:34)

 

2) Lack of Time (Pro 27:1; 2 Cor 6:2; Jam 4:14; 5:8; 1 Pet 4:7; Rev 1:3)

 

G) DELIGHT

 

1) For the Saint (Psa 126:5-6; 1 The 2:20)

 

2) For the Savior (Luke 15:6,10)

 

H) DIVIDEND

 

1) Wisdom (Pro 11:30)

 

2) Glory (Dan 12:3)

 

3) Crown of Rejoicing (1 The 2:19)

 

I) DECLARATION

 

1) Those in Heaven (Heb 12:1)

 

2) Those in Hell (Luke 16:27-28)

 

 

 

V) PROBLEMS IN WITNESSING

 

A) PRIDE (trying to do it in your own power) (Exo 2:12; Zec 4:6; Acts 7:25)

 

B) EXCUSES (Exo 3:11; 4:1,10)

 

C) SHAME (Mark 8:38; Rom 1:16)

 

D) LACK OF LOVE FOR THE LORD (John 14:15)

 

E) UNBELIEF IN THE WORD OF GOD (John 3:7,18,36; Rev 20:14-15)

 

F) DISCOURAGEMENT (Gal 6:9)

 

G) FEAR (Pro 29:25)

 

VI) PRESENTATION IN WITNESSING

 

A) DON'T ASSUME

 

B) DON'T ARGUE

 

C) DEAL WITH PERSON ON THEIR LEVEL

 

D) DIAGNOSE SPIRITUAL NEED

 

E) DECLARE THE GOSPEL

 

1) The Word of God (i.e.- the "Romans Road")

 

2) Prayer

 

3) Gospel (Church) Tract

 

F) DRAW THE NET

 

G) DELIVER INVITATION TO CHURCH

 

H) DEPART IF NO CONVICTION BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

 

I) DEFER TO A RETURN VISIT

 

 

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 Practical Theology


   

S P I R I T U A L  W A R F A R E

 

I) INTRODUCTION

 

1. When we got saved, we were enlisted as soldiers (Phl 2:25; 2 Tim 2:3-4) in the Lord's army (Rev 19:14,19) whether we believe it or not, whether we like it or not

 

2. As soldiers, we are involved in the on-going war between the forces of good and the forces of evil (Rev 12:7)

 

3. It is not a war fought in the realm of flesh, with physical weapons (2 Cor 10:3-4), against physical opponents (Eph 6:12), but a war fought in the realm of faith (1 Tim 6:12) (i.e.- spiritual realm), with spiritual weapons (Eph 6:13-18), against spiritual opponents (Eph 6:12)

 

4. There is no surrender in this war, it is a battle to the death; you either fight or become a casualty of war

 

5. Although the outcome of the war is certain, each of us determines the outcome of individual battles

 

6. The victorious Christian life is an abundant life (John 10:10), and one that only a minority of Christians truly experience on a regular basis

 

7. We, like all soldiers, need five things for warfare: (1) to know who our enemies are and their tactics, (2) basic and perpetual training, (3) weapons and protection, (4) our objective, and (5) the means to accomplishing our objective.

 

II) OUR ENEMIES (Eph 2:2-3)

 

In World War II, we fought three major enemies (Germany, Italy, and Japan) on two major fronts (the European theater and the Pacific theater).  As Christians, we also are at war with three enemies (the world, the flesh, and the devil) on two fronts (the internal front and the external front).

 

A) THE WORLD

 

1) Specification

 

a) In this instance, the world is not a reference to the earth (Psa 24:1), or the inhabitants of the earth (John 3:16), but the social system of the inhabitants of the earth which is headed by Satan (2 Cor 4:4)

 

b) It is not the orb, or its occupants, but the order of the occupants

 

c) It is not the planet, or its people, but the program

 

d) Types of the world include Egypt (Exodus 1-11) and the field (Matthew 13; John 4)

 

2) Strategy - to ENTICE the Christian (1 John 2:16)

 

a) The lust of the flesh (fleshy lusts- 1 Pet 2:11)

 

b) The lust of the eyes (worldly lusts - Tit 2:12)

c) The pride of life (the lusts of the devil - John 8:44)

 

B) THE FLESH

 

1) Specification

 

a) In this instance, the flesh is not a reference to the skin or body, but to the old sinful nature of man (Rom 6:6; Eph 4:22; Col 3:9)

 

b) Types include Esau (Genesis 25) and Amalek (Exodus 17)

 

2) Strategy - to STRIVE with the Christian (Rom 7:15-24)  

 

a) Conflict takes place in the mind (Rom 7:23)

 

b) Conflict between the old nature (man) and the new nature (man) (Gal 5:17; Jam 4:1)

 

C) THE DEVIL (Eph 6:12; 1 Pet 5:8)

 

1) Specification

 

a) The devil is not a philosophy, force, or state of mind, but a literal, malevolent spiritual being who is vehemently despises and opposes the Lord and all his angels and saints (1 Pet 5:8), and who seeks to hinder or prevent the will of God from being done through a hierarchy of agents of evil (Eph 6:12)

 

b) Types include Pharaoh (Exodus 5-11) and Haman (Esther 3-7)

 

2) Strategy - to use various DEVICES against the Christian by any means necessary (2 Cor 2:11; 11:3)

 

a) Distraction (Matt 14:28-31) Cont: (2 Cor 10:5; Heb 12:2)

 

b) Dignity (i.e.- pride) (1 Tim 3:6) Cont: (Jam 4:10; 1 Pet 5:6)

 

c) Dealing (Exo 8:25,28; 10:8-11,24) Cont: (1 Cor 15:58)

 

d) Deception (Gen 3:4-5; Neh 6:2; John 8:44) Cont: (Acts 17:11; 1 Cor 2:15; 1 The 5:21; 1 John 4:1)

 

e) Discouragement (Deu 1:22-28; Neh 4:10-23) Cont: (Jos 1:3,9)

 

f) Despair (Gen 15:1-6; 16:1-3; 2 Cor 1:8) Cont: (2 Cor 4:8)

 

g) Distress (Gen 32:7; 1 Sam 22:2) Cont: (1 Sam 12:24; Matt 10:28; 2 Cor 4:8)

 

h) Debt (1 Sam 22:2; Pro 22:7) Cont: (Pro 22:26-27; 23:4; Luke 12:15)

 

i) Discontentment (Num 16:1-11; 1 Sam 22:2; Pro 13:10; Acts 15:39) Cont: (Phl 4:11; 1 Tim 6:6,8; Heb 13:5)

 

j) Doubt (Gen 3:1) Cont: (Rom 10:17; 14:22-23)

 

k) Disbelief (John 20:25; Heb 3:7-19) Cont: (Rom 10:17; Heb 11:6)

 

l) Discord (Pro 6:19) Cont: (Rom 12:16,18; Eph 4:2; Phl 2:2)

 

m) Defamation (1 Cor 4:13) Cont: (Pro 11:13; 18:8; 20:19; 26:20,22; Eph 4:29; Jam 4:11)

 

n) Temptation (Matt 4:1) Cont: (Matt 4:4,7,10; 1 Cor 10:13; 1 Pet 5:9)

 

III) OUR EQUIPMENT

 

A) EDUCATION (Eph 4:11-12; 2 Tim 2:15)

 

B) ARMAMENT (2 Cor 10:3-4; Eph 6:12-18; Heb 4:12; Jam 5:16)

 

IV) OUR EXPECTATIONS

 

A) ENGAGE THE ENEMY (1 Tim 6:12; 2 Tim 4:7)

 

B) ENDURE TO THE END (2 Tim 2:3)

 

C) ENTANGLE NOT WITH DISTRACTIONS (2 Tim 2:4)

 

D) EXPERIENCE VICTORY

 

1) Attainable - through Jesus Christ (John 16:33; Rom 8:37; 1 Cor 15:57; 2 Cor 2:14; Phl 4:13; Col 2:15; 1 John 4:4; 5:5; Rev 12:11) cf. (Jos 1:3)

 

2) Achieved

 

a) Over the world

 

1. Right affections (Matt 6:19-21; Col 3:1-2)

 

a. Conform not (Rom 12:2)

 

b. Befriend not (Jam 4:4)

 

c. Love not (1 John 2:15)

 

2. Right thoughts (Isa 26:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phl 4:8)

 

3. Faith (1 John 5:4; Rom 10:17)

 

b) Over the flesh 

 

1. Discipline of self (Rom 6:12-14; 1 Cor 9:27)

 

2. Death to self (Rom 6:11; 8:13; Gal 2:20; 6:14; Col 3:5)

 

c) Over the devil (Jam 4:7; 1 Pet 5:8-9)

1. The blood (Rev 12:11)

 

2. The book (Matt 4:4,7,10; 1 John 2:14; Rev 12:11)

 

3. The blessed hope (Rev 12:11)

 

What the book of EPHESIANS identifies regarding spiritual warfare, the book of JOSHUA beautifully illustrates. 

 

 

 

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 Practical Theology


 

S U F F E R I N G

 

I) INTRODUCTION

 

1.         Suffering is a universal experience (Job 14:1); although there is specific suffering related to being a Christian (1 Pet 4:16)

2.         Suffer= “to feel or bear what is painful, disagreeable, or distressing either to the body or

mind; to undergo; to endure; to sustain”.

3.         Specific things that we suffer include: Adversity (1 Sam 10:19; 2 Sam 4:9; Heb 13:3); Affliction (Mark 13:19,24; 1 The 3:7; Heb 11:25; Jam 5:10); Trouble/Tribulation (Psa 25:17; 107:6; 1 The 3:4); Reproaches (1 Tim 4:10); and Persecution (Matt 13:21; 2 The 1:4; 2 Tim 3:12)

4.         The definitions of these five words are clearly expressed by the words associated with them in the Bible; such words as, distress(es), anguish, heaviness, sorrow(s), evil(s), infirmities, and necessities (1 Kin 1:29; Job 2:11; Pro 1:27; Isa 29:2; 2 Cor 12:10)

5. The one word stated in contrast with these five is, prosperity (Ecc 7:14).

6.         This lesson will examine: the SOURCES of suffering, the SCOPE of suffering, the PURPOSES for suffering, PROVISIONS in suffering, PROMISES in suffering, and PRACTICE in suffering.

                       

II) SOURCES OF SUFFERING

 

A) NOT BY ACCIDENT OR CHANCE (Job 5:6)

 

B) SIN (our sinful nature) (Job 5:7)

 

C)      THE LORD (Ruth 1:21; 2 Chr 15:4; Job 23:16; Isa 29:2; 30:20; 64:12; Jer 31:28; Lam 3:1; Zep 1:17)

 

D)     THE WICKED/THE WORLD (Exo 1:11; Deu 28:53,55,57; 2 Sam 7:10; Ezr 4:4; Job 3:17; Psa 89:22; 94:5)

 

E)      EVIL SPIRITS (1 Sam 16:14; Job 1:12;2:6; Luke 13:11-12; Acts 10:38) Typified: (2 Chr 32:18)

                     

F)      PROFESSING CHRISTIANS (Acts 15:24)

 

III) SCOPE OF SUFFERING

 

A) LIGHT (Isa 9:1)

 

B) GREAT (Jud 2:15; 1 Sam 30:6; Neh 9:37; Psa 116:10)

 

C) SORE (Jud 10:9; 1 Sam 28:15,21)

 

D) GREAT AND SORE (Psa 71:20)

 

E) VERY SORE (Isa 64:12)

 

F) GRIEVOUS (Isa 9:1)

 

G) FULL (Job 14:1; Psa 88:3)

 

H) MANY (Psa 34:19)

 

I) ON EVERY SIDE (2 Cor 4:8; 7:5)

 

J) DAILY (Eze 30:16)

 

An examples of extreme suffering is Job. In a short period of time, Job lost his assets (1:15), his income (1:15), his means of transport (1:17), his family (1:19), his health (2:7), and his friends (19:13-15).

                       

IV) PURPOSES FOR SUFFERING

 

A)     A PRODUCT OF SIN IN THE WORLD (Job 5:6-7; 14:1; John 5:14; 9:2; Gal 6:7)

 

B)      TO PUNISH A SINNING SAINT (Gen 42:21; 2 Chr 6:26;29:6,8;33:12-13; Neh 9:32-33; Job 36:21; Jer 30:7,15; Heb 12:5-13)

 

C)      TO PROVE

 

1) Our Sonship (Heb 12:8)

 

2) Our Spiritual Condition (Pro 24:10)

 

a) Our need to continue to grow spiritually (Rom 5:3-5; Jam 1:3-4)

 

Nobody likes the wind of the storm, but the rain of the storm is what causes growth and fruit.

 

b) Our sufficiency is of God (John 15:5; 2 Cor 3:5; Col 3:4)

 

         Reputation                              vs.                                            Character

 

         1.         Outward                                                                     1.         Inward

         2.         What OTHERS see                                                    2.         What THE LORD sees

  3.         DEEDS                                                                      3.         DESIRE

 

3) Our Service (2 Cor 6:4)

 

a) Living godly (2 Tim 3:12)

 

b) For Christ's sake (2 Cor 12:10; Phl 1:29; Col 1:24)

 

c) For the gospel's sake (Matt 13:21; Mark 4:17)

 

D) TO PROMOTE

 

1) Learning the word of God (Psa 119:67,71)

 

2) Fellowship (Pro 17:17)

a) With the Lord (Hos 5:15; Heb 4:15-16)

 

b) With the brethren (Heb 10:25; 11:25)

 

c) To comfort and console others (2 Cor 1:3-7)

 

Nothing will draw a family closer than suffering adversity together.

 

E) TO PROFIT THE SAINT (Heb 12:10)

 

1) To partake of the Lord's holiness (Heb 12:10)

 

2) To produce fruit, more fruit, and much fruit (John 15:2,5; Heb 12:11)

 

3) To perfect (Heb 2:10)

 

4) To purge imperfections (1 Pet 4:1) e.g.- Job (Job 1:8-12; 2:3-6)

 

 

F) TO PRAISE THE LORD (John 9:2-3; 11:4)

 

1) By learning obedience (Heb 5:8)

 

2) By enduring (1 Pet 4:16)

 

3) By deliverance (Psa 34:3-4,19; 50:15)

 

Suffering is God's fertilizer- we may think it stinks, but it is what helps us grow.

 

V) PROVISIONS IN SUFFERING

 

A) THE LORD IS OUR REFUGE (Psa 9:9;59:16; Jer 16:19)

 

Our sufferings are often the "storms of life", so when they come, we should seek secure refuge. A fool goes outside or seeks shelter in an unsecure place. The only safe and secure refuge is in the Lord.

 

B)        THE LORD IS OUR STRENGTH/STRONGHOLD (Psa 37:39; Isa 40:31; Nah 1:7)

 

Our sufferings are often "fiery trials", and heat saps us of our strength. So, when we begin to suffer, we need to get our strength from the Lord.

 

C)        THE LORD IS A VERY PRESENT HELP (Psa 46:1)

 

D)        THE LORD IS OUR SALVATION (Isa 33:2; Jer 14:8)

 

VI) PROMISES IN SUFFERING

 

A) THE LORD CONSIDERS OUR TROUBLE (Psa 31:7)

B) THE LORD KNOWS OUR TRIBULATION (Rev 2:9)

 

C) THE LORD WILL HEAR US (Neh 9:27; Job 34:28; Psa 18:6; 34:6,17; 120:1)

 

D) THE LORD WILL ANSWER US (Gen 35:3; Psa 118:5)

 

E) THE LORD WILL NOT HIDE HIS FACE FROM US (Psa 22:24)

 

F) THE LORD WILL LOOK UPON US (Gen 29:32; Exo 4:31; Deu 26:7)

 

G) THE LORD WILL SEE US (Gen 31:42; Exo 3:7; Neh 9:9)

 

H) THE LORD WILL ENLARGE US (Psa 4:1)

 

I) THE LORD WILL HIDE US (Psa 27:5)


J) THE LORD WILL PRESERVE US (Psa 32:7)

 

K) THE LORD WILL BE WITH US (Psa 91:15)

 

When we are afflicted, he is afflicted (Isa 63:9; Acts 8:1;9:1,4-5). When we go through the fiery furnace of affliction (Isa 48:10), he is with us (Dan 3:24-25).

                       

L) THE LORD WILL REGARD US (Psa 106:44)

                     

M) THE LORD WILL MAINTAIN OUR CAUSE (Psa 140:12)

                     

N) THE LORD WILL HAVE MERCY ON US (Isa 49:13)

                     

O) THE LORD WILL REVIVE US (Psa 138:7)

                                   

1) We may have trouble on every side, but we will not be distressed (2 Cor 4:8)

                              

2) We may have tribulation (John 16:33), but we will not be troubled (John 14:1,27)

                              

3) We may suffer affliction, but we can be fruitful in it (Gen 41:52; Exo 3:7,17)

                              

4) We may suffer affliction, but we will make it work for us (2 Cor 4:17)

                       

P) THE LORD WILL COMFORT US (2 Cor 1:4)

                                   

1) Through the brethren (2 Cor 1:4; 1The 3:6-7)

                              

2) Through the word of God (Psa 119:50,92; Rom 15:4) 

                       

Q)     THE LORD WILL SAVE/DELIVER/REDEEM/BRING US OUT (Exo 3:7; 1 Sam 10:19; 26:24; 2 Sam 4:9; 22:28; 1 Kin 1:29; Job 36:15; Psa 18:27; 34:6, 17; 50:15; 54:7; 81:7; 91:15; 107:6,13,19,28.41; Pro 11:8; Isa 63:9; Acts 7:10; 2 Tim 3:11)            

R) THE LORD WILL REWARD ENDURANCE (2 Sam 16:11-12; Rom 8:17-18; 2 The 1:5; 2 Tim 2:12)

 

VII) PRACTICE IN SUFFERING

 

A) WHAT WE SHOULD NOT DO

 

1) Go into a state of isolation (1 Sam 13:6) or withdrawal (Psa 77:4) Cont: (Psa 127:2)

 

2) Be moved (1 The 3:3) Cont: (Psa 55:22)

 

a) Complain (Lam 3:39)

 

b) Bow down and mourn (i.e.- have a “pity party”) (Psa 38:6; Heb 12:12)

 

3) Be afraid (1 Pet 3:14; Rev 2:10)

 

4) Be ashamed (if it is for Christ’s sake)(1 Pet 4:16)

 

5) Become bitter with the Lord and critical of others doing right (Luke 10:40-42; Heb 12:15)

 

6) Faint (Pro 24:10; Eph 3:13)

 

7) Commit sin (2 Chr 28:22)

           

B) WHAT WE SHOULD DO:        CONSIDER (Ecc 7:14)

 

CONSIDER= “to reflect; to regard attentively; to think about carefully especially with regard to

taking action” i.e.- when we suffer adversity, we should stop and consider some things before we say or do anything (Job 1:21-22).

                                   

1) Our ways (Hag 1:7; Hos 7:2) e.g.- (Job 10:15; 34:32)

 

a) Our ways should please the Lord (Pro 16:7)

 

b) Our ways are not naturally equivalent with the Lord’s (Isa 55:6-9)

 

c) We should delight to know the ways of the Lord (Isa 58:2)

 

d) We should ask the Lord to show us his ways (Psa 25:4)

 

e) We should amend our ways to conform to the ways of the Lord (Jer 26:13)

 

f) We should keep, observe, and walk in the ways of the Lord (Psa 18:21; Pro 23:26; Deu 8:6)

 

g) We should acknowledge the Lord in all our ways (Pro 3:6)  

 

2) The chastening of the Lord (Deu 8:5; Heb 12:5-15)

a) Divine chastening is done for a purpose not pleasure (Job 37:23; Lam 3:33; Heb 12:10)

 

b) Divine chastening is good for us (Psa 119:71; Jer 29:11)

 

c) Divine chastening is done in faithfulness (Psa 119:75)

                                                                       

1. To teach us the word of God (Psa 94:12)

 

2. To keep us from future adversity (Psa 94:13)

 

The Lord will always attempt to correct his people through his word (Psa 39:11; 2 Tim 4:2). It is by ignoring or rejecting the word of God that we cause the Lord to correct us through suffering.

 

d) Divine chastening is done out of love (Pro 13:24; Heb12:6)

 

e) Divine chastening is evidence of sonship (Heb 12:7-9)

 

f) Divine chastening is done so we might partake of God’s holiness (Heb 12:10)

 

g) Divine chastening is done so we might bear fruit (Heb 12:11)

 

h) Divine chastening should result in humbleness, confession, and repentance (2 Chr 12:12; 6:26; 7:14; 15:4; 1 Cor 11:30-32; 1 John 1:9)

                                   

3) One another (Pro 17:17; Heb 10:24-25)

 

a) We should gather together (1 Sam 22:2)

 

b) We should remember that others are also suffering (Heb 13:3; 1 Cor 10:13; 1 Pet 5:9; Rev 1:9)

 

c) We should sympathize in the suffering of others (i.e.- bear each other’s burdens) (Job 6:14; 30:25;  1 Cor 12:26; Gal 6:2; Phl 4:14; Heb 13:3)

 

d) We should console and comfort one another (2 Cor1:4-7)

 

4) Our duties as a soldier (2 Tim 2:7)

                       

a) There will be hardness (2 Tim 2:3; 3:12; John 16:33; 1 Pet 4:12)

 

Our sufferings can be likened to storms. We know they will come, so it would be foolish of us not to prepare for them. A fool waits until the storm hits before going to the store to stock up on supplies. A wise man will put something away “for a rainy day” each time he goes to the store. Likewise, we should not wait until adversity comes into our life before we seek the Lord and his word. We should be in touch with him every day and hiding his word in our heart so we have an ample supply in the day of adversity.

 

b) We should endure as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Tim 2:3; 4:5; 2 Cor 1:6; 2 The 1:4; Heb 10:32; 1 Pet 2:19-21)

 

c) We should please the Lord by not being entangled with the affairs of this life (2 Tim 2:4; Mark 4:19)

 

d) Enduring pleases the Lord (2 Tim 2:3-4; Heb 11:6)

 

e) There is a reward for endurance (exercising faith in suffering) (2 Tim 2:12; Luke 19:12-27; 2 The 1:4; Jam 1:12; Rom 8:17-18; 2 Cor 4:17) 

                                                           

5) The work(s) of God (Ecc 7:13; Job 37:14)

 

a) His ability to deliver (Deu 4:39; Gen 18:14; Jer 32:27; Isa 59:1)

 

“God is greater than any problem I have”

 

1. Testified by the creation (Psa 8:3-4)

 

2. Testified by the past (1 Sam 12:24)

 

b) His willingness to deliver (Psa 50:15)

 

1. Testified by the fowls (Matt 6:26)

 

2. Testified by the lillies (Matt 6:28-34)

 

Hymns:            “His Eye Is On The Sparrow”; “Consider The Lillies”

 

6) The latter end (Deu 32:29)

 

a) The lost (Psa 73:1-5,12)

                                                           

1. The Tribulation (Matt 24:9,21; Mark 13:19; Luke 21:23; Job 38:23; Dan 12:1)

                                                  

2. The Second Coming of Christ (Zep 1:17)

 

3. Hell (Psa 73:17-19; 88:6-9,12)

 

b) The Christian

                                                           

1. We have a priest (Psa 73:23; Heb 2:18; 4:15-16)

 

2. We have a purpose (Rom 8:28)

 

3. We have a promise (Psa 73:24; Rom 8:18; 2 Cor 4:17; 1 John 3:1-3)

 

7) The Lord Jesus Christ (Heb 12:3)

 

The Lord Jesus Christ is our example in suffering (1 Pet 2:21).

                                   

a) He looked beyond his circumstances (Heb 12:2; John 19:10-11) and so should we (Heb 12:2; 2 Cor 4:18)

 

e.g.- Abraham (Gen 15:1-6; 16:1-3,15-16; 17:1-8,15-22; 22:1-24; Heb 11:17-19); The two spies (Num 13:26-33; 14:6-9); Elisha (2 Kin 6:8-18); and Paul (Phl 1:12) Cont: Peter (Matt 14:28-31)

 

b) He endured the suffering even though he did not like it (Heb 12:2-3) and so should we (2 Tim 2:3; 4:5; 1 Pet 2:19-21)                                                              

 

1. The cross (Heb 12:2)

 

2. The contradiction of sinners (Heb 12:3)                               

 

a. In heaven a King; on earth a criminal

 

b. In heaven golden crowns; on earth a crown of thorns

 

c. In heaven a fellow of the Father and the Spirit; on earth a fellow of two thieves

 

d. In heaven the praises of angels; on earth the mockings and blasphemies of men

 

e. In heaven a throne; on earth a cross

 

c) He had joy (Heb 12:2) and so should we (2 Cor 7:4; 8:2; 12:10; 1 The 1:6; 1 Pet 3:14; 4:13-14; Phl 4:4; 1 The 5:18; Rom 5:3)

 

d) He was faithful unto death (Heb 3:2; Rev 1:5) and so should we (Rev 2:10)

 

e) He prayed to the Father (Luke 22:44; 23:34) and so should we (Jam 5:13; Psa 18:6; 118:5; 120:1; 142:1-2; Jon 2:2; Phl 4:6) e.g.- (Psa 25:15-22; 102:1-28; 119:107)

 

f) He committed himself to the Father (1 Pet 2:23; Heb 2:13) and so should we (1 Pet 4:19) Also: (Dan 3:17)

 

1. Exercise faith (John 14:1; Pro 30:5; Psa 55:22; 1 Pet 5:7)

 

2. Exercise patience (Rom 12:12; Jam 5:10-11)

 

3. Be at peace (John 14:27)

 

4. Be strong and work (2 Chr 15:7; Neh 2:17; 1 Cor 15:58)

 

g) He conformed his will to the will of the Father (Luke 22:42) and so should we (Rom 12:1-2; 1 Cor 6:19-20; 2 Cor 5:15; 12:7-10)

 

h) He sought only to glorify the Father (John 12:27-28) and so should we (Psa 115:1-3; 1 Pet 4:16)

 

i) He was exalted in the end (Heb 12:2; Phl 2:9-11) and so shall we be, both now (Job 23:10; 42:10,12; 1 Pet 1:7) and eternally (Rom 8:17; 2 Tim 2:12; Jam 1:12; Rev 3:21)

 

VIII) CONCLUSION

 

1. No amount of suffering is by chance (Job 5:6); it all has a purpose.

 

2. As long as we are in the world, we will have tribulation (John 16:33; 1 The 3:4).

 

3. We can either suffer affliction as a Christian or enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (Heb 11:25)

 

4. All suffering, no matter how severe, is temporal for the Christian (2 Cor 4:17-18; 1 Pet 5:10; Psa 30:5; Acts 27:14-25) and can work for us if we handle it right.

 

Hymn: “Joy Comes In The Morning”

 

5. When we suffer, we should consider some things before we act; especially the Lord Jesus Christ as our example.

 

6. There will come a time when there will be no more suffering and all trouble will be forgotten (Nah 1:12; Zep 3:19; 2 Sam 7:10; Isa 65:16).

 

Hymn: “When We See Christ”          

 

7. Recommended study: JOB (why?); 1 PETER (how?)

 

Hymns: “We’ll Understand It Better By And By”; “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow”;  “Through It All”

 

 

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 Practical Theology


 

S E P A R A T I O N

 

I) INTRODUCTION

 

A)    DEFINITION OF SEPARATION

 

1) Separation = "the act of separating, severing, or disconnecting; disunion; divorce; dividing; to make space between; parting"

 

2) The primary meaning in the Bible is "to set apart"

 

3) The words sanctification, saints, and holiness also mean "to set apart"

 

B) ASPECTS OF SEPARATION

 

1) Positional (1 Cor 1:2; 6:11; Heb 10:10,14)

 

a) One time

 

b) Eternal

 

c) Divine act

 

d) At salvation

 

e) In Christ

 

2) Practical (1 The 4:3, 7; 2 Tim 2:21; 1 Pet 1:16; 3:15)

 

a) Frequent

 

b) Temporal

 

c) Personal act

 

d) Daily

 

e) As a Christian

 

Practical separation is the subject of this lesson.

 

C) APPLICATIONS OF SEPARATION

 

1) We are separated FROM ungodliness

 

a) "Be not conformed to this world"(Rom 12:2)

 

b) "Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts" (Tit 2:12)

 

2) We are separated TO the Lord

 

a) "Present your bodies a living sacrifice" (Rom 12:1)

 

b) "Live soberly, righteously, and godly" (Tit 2:12)

 

D) FOUNDATION OF SEPARATION

 

1) The nature of God (1 Pet 1:16)

 

2) Redemption (1 Cor 6:19-20)

 

3) The word of God (2 Cor 6:14-18)

 

II) INSTRUCTION

 

A) PLEAS FOR NOT LIVING A SEPARATED LIFE

 

1) "I'm not a legalist"

 

There are Christians who believe in separation, who also unduly impose many, if not all, of the civil and ceremonial aspects of the Mosaic law on the Christian, but a Christian can be separated without being a legalist.

 

2) "I have to be acceptable to the lost to win them"

 

Those who embrace this excuse often cite 1 Corinthians 9:22 for support. But they have interpreted the text out of context.  While Christians should make adjustments and accommodations to win the lost, this does not include adjustments and accommodations that are contrary to scripture.

 

3) "I have liberty in Christ"

 

We do have liberty in Christ (Gal 5:1) but LIBERTY is not LICENSE. We must not use our liberty as an occasion to the flesh (Gal 5:13) or a cloke of maliciousness (1 Pet 2:16).  In addition, exercising our liberty should not be a stumbling block to a weaker brother in Christ (1 Cor 8:9).

 

B) PRINCIPLES FOR LIVING A SEPARATED LIFE

 

Separation is commanded of the Christian (2 Cor 6:17); however, who and what to separate from in particular, will be based on the clear commands or principles of scripture.

 

1) Is it lawful, or does it violate a clear command of scripture?  (1 John 3:4; 5:17)

 

2) Does it give an appearance an evil? (1 The 5:22)

 

3) Does it glorify God? (1 Cor 10:31)

 

4) Can it be done in the name of the Lord Jesus? (Col 3:17)

 

In other words, "what would Jesus do?" We should not be with anyone, go anywhere, or do anything that would misrepresent the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

5) Can thanks be given to God for it? (Eph 5:20; Col 3:17; 1 Tim 4:4)

 

6) Does it hinder spiritual growth? (Heb 12:1)

 

7) Will it offend others? (Rom 14:20-21; 1 Cor 8:12-13)

 

8) Could it cause a brother in Christ to stumble or become weak? (Rom 14:15,21; 1 Cor 8:9)

 

9) Can it be done in faith without any doubt? (Rom 14:22-23) 

 

In other words, "when in doubt, DON'T!"

 

10) Is it expedient? (1 Cor 6:12; 10:23)

 

Just because something CAN be done, does not mean it SHOULD be done because it is not profitable to do so.

 

11) Can it be done with total control? (1 Cor 6:13)

 

Christians should not be under the power or control of anything (Rom 6:14). 

 

12) Is it edifying? (1 Cor 10:23)

 

Who and what we associate with should build ourselves up spiritually and strengthen our relationship with the Lord rather than promote or influence sinful thoughts, speech, and deeds (2 Cor 10:5; Phl 4:8).

 

III) IMPLEMENTATION

 

As Christians, we are a peculiar people (Tit 2:14; 1 Pet 2:9) just as the nation of Israel was (Exo 19:5). Since we are a peculiar people, we need to act like it and not try to be like everyone else (1 Sam 8:19-20). This entails association with different people, places, and things, as well as avoidance from particular people, places, and things. In deciding whether or not we should separate from a particular person, place, or thing, we must keep the principles previously stated in mind, especially the need to abstain from all ACTUAL evil (2 Cor 13:7) and APPARENT evil (1 The 5:22).

 

A) PEOPLE

 

Christians should try to avoid people who exemplify, influence, or encourage sinful behavior.

 

1) The ungodly (Psa 1:1; Eph 5:11; Heb 7:26) cf. (1 Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:3-5)

 

2) Disorderly brethren (2 The 3:6,14)

 

a) Busybodies (2 The 3:11; 1 Tim 5:13; 1 Pet 4:15)

 

b) Talebearers (Pro 16:28; 18:8; 20:19; 26:20-22)

 

3) Dishonorable vessels (2 Tim 2:20-21) cf. (1 Cor 5:11)

 

a) Fornicators

 

b) Coveteous

 

c) Idolators

 

d) Railers

 

e) Drunkards

 

f) Extortioners

 

4) Fools (Pro 9:6; 14:7) cf. (Psa 14:1; Pro 1:7; 12:15; 13:20; 14:9)

 

5) Angry men (Pro 22:24)

 

6) Heretics (Rom 16:17; Gal 1:8; Tit 3:10-11; 2 John 9-10) cf. (Amo 3:3)

 

7) Religious hypocrites (2 Tim 3:5)

 

Separation is not from entire CONTACT with these people (1 Cor 5:9-10), or we would need to lead a monastic lifestyle, but from COMPLIANCE and CONFORMITY to their ways (Heb 7:26). Obviously, LIMITED contact may be necessary in order to avoid complying and conforming to their ways. In instances of separation, we must always remember to love the sinner or sinning saint, and hate the sin (e.g.- 2 The 3:15). Separation is especially important in the marital relationship.  As noted in the lesson on MARRIAGE, a Christian should not marry a lost person (2 Cor 6:14-18) or anyone (saved or lost) with the qualities mentioned above.

 

B) PLACES

 

1) Certain to avoid.

 

a) Bars

 

b) Liquor stores

 

c) Night clubs

 

d) Strip joints

 

e) Cat houses

 

f) Nudist colonies/beaches

 

g) Casinos and other gambling establishments

 

Since our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19), we should not go any place the Lord himself would not go. Since the Lord Jesus Christ could come back at any time, we should not be in a place we would be ashamed to be in if he came back (1 John 2:28). 

 

2) Uncertain to avoid

 

There is an increasing number of places that do not necessarily specialize in products or services that are sinful for a Christian, but they are beginning to dabble in it.

 

a) Grocery stores (many sell liquor, lottery tickets, and pornography)

 

b) Gas stations (many sell liquor, lottery tickets, and pornography)

 

c) Restaurants (many sell liquor and play ungodly music)

 

d) Bowling alleys (many sell liquor and house pool halls)

 

e) Movie theaters (most movies are unsuitable for Christian viewing)

 

f) Beaches (most people are scantily dressed; ungodly music)

 

 The ideal solution is to avoid these places if at all possible; however, if the only place to get your groceries within a reasonable distance is a place that also sells liquor, God does not necessarily expect you to sell your home and move. Remember, as Christians we must abstain from all ACTUAL or APPARENT evil. Will or could others think we are buying liquor if we shop at a particular store or eat at a particular restaurant?  Keep in mind that, although it may be lawful for us to go to a particular place, it still may not be expedient. Whether one actually goes or not may be left to the conviction of their own conscience (Rom 14:14,22-23).

 

C) THINGS (2 Cor 6:17; Rom 14:14)

 

1) Things we see (Job 31:1; Psa 101:3; Matt 6:22-23)

 

a) Television

 

b) Theater

 

c) The Internet

 

d) Books, magazines, and newspapers

 

It is important to note that none of these things, in and of themselves, are evil (Rom 14:14; Tit 1:15). However, there are particular programs on the TV, movies at the theater, websites on the Internet, books, magazines, and newspapers at the store that contain things that are not lawful or expedient for a Christian to see.  These include any and all images and words that portray sinful acts or promote sinful thoughts.  Something seemingly as innocent as a prime time sitcom or romance novel may have characters who entertain adulterous thoughts or who actually commit adultery. Seeing or reading these things plants thoughts in our minds, thoughts we should not have as a Christian (2 Cor 10:5; Phl 4:8).  We eventually become what we think (Pro 23:7) because unchecked cognition becomes affection, affection becomes communication (Matt 12:34), and communication becomes conversation (1 Cor 15:34).           

2) Things we say

 

a) Should not be false (Exo 20:16; Lev 19:11; Matt 5:37; Rom 13:9; Eph 4:25; Col 3:9)

 

b) Should not be foolish (Eph 5:4)

 

1. Jesting (Eph 5:4)

 

2. Slang/Street talk

 

c) Should not be filthy (Col 3:8)

 

1. Cursing (Rom 12:14)

 

This includes euphemisms (words used in place of curse words because they sound similar).  For example, "geez; gosh; gosh darn; heck; jeepers creepers; cripes; darn it; bullcrap; shucks; freakin'; friggin'; S.O.B.; etc."

2. Corruption (Eph 4:29; Jam 4:11) (e.g.- dirty jokes)

 

3) Things we hear (Job 34:3)

 

a) Categories of music (Eph 5:19)

 

1. Psalms

 

2. Hymns

 

3. Spiritual songs

 

b) Components of music (Eph 5:19)

 

1. The lyrics

 

a. Are the lyrics such that you can sing them to the Lord? (Eph 5:19)

 

b. Do the lyrics teach truth and admonish you spiritually? (Col 3:16)

 

c. Do the lyrics promote thoughts or acts of sin?

 

The right kind of song will emphasize the lyrics not the music.

 

2. The music

 

a. Melody - spirit

 

b. Harmony - soul

 

c. Rhythm - body

 

The right kind of music will emphasize the melody (Eph 5:19) not the rhythm (beat). As such, it will primarily appeal to the spirit not the flesh. There is nothing wrong with a song that causes you to tap your foot, but it should move your heart first. Rock & Roll, Rap, Disco, Hip Hop, Country & Western, Adult Contemporary, and even most "Christian" music (especially Contemporary Christian music) has either a fleshy (or even demonic) beat and/or lyrics promoting sinful thoughts or acts.

 

c) Characteristics of ungodly music

 

1. High volume, distortion, and confusion (Exo 32:17-18)

 

2. No regard for the Lord (Isa 5:12)

 

3. Associated with eating, drinking, and playing (i.e.- "party" music) (Exo 32:6)

 

4. Associated with nakedness (sex) (Exo 32:25)

 

5. Associated with dancing (sensual contact) (1 Sam 30:16)

 

6. Associated with wine and strong drink (Isa 5:11-12)

 

7. Associated with idolatry (Dan 3:5,7,10,15)

 

These characteristics are most common in any type of "club" music.  If the music you listen to is played at a night club or dance club, you are listening to ungodly music.

 

d) Clues that Christian music has become worldly

 

1. Churches become auditoriums

 

Why do Christians feel it is necessary to pay the world (owners of stadiums, auditoriums, etc.) for the opportunity to be ministered to when the Lord has provided us church buildings?

 

2. Congregations become audiences

 

3. Ministry becomes a performance

 

4. Exalting the Savior becomes an exhibition of the singer or musician's talent

 

5. Praises for the Lord becomes applause for the singer or musician

 

6. Desiring edification becomes desiring entertainment

 

7. Preparation for the preaching becomes in place of the preaching

 

4) Things we wear (clothing, cosmetics, jewelry, hairstyle)

 

a) Should be modest (i.e.- should not seek attention from your appearance) (1 Tim 2:9)

 

1. Not revealing

 

a. Not enough clothing reveals SKIN (e.g.- thigh; cleavage) (Isa 47:2-3)

 

b. Tight clothing reveals SHAPE (Matt 5:28)

 

2. Not ridiculous

 

b) Should not be confusion (Deu 22:5; 1 Cor 11:4-16; 14:33)

 

Should be able to determine whether someone is a man or a woman based on their clothing, cosmetics, jewelry, and hairstyle.  Although specific ARTICLES of clothing can be worn by both men and women (e.g.- underwear, socks, shoes, coats, shirts, even pants), there should still be a difference in the  APPEARANCE between the articles worn by men and the articles worn by women.   

 

5) Things we put in our mouth

 

a) Food (Rom 14:2-3,6,15-16,20-23; 1 Cor 8:8-9,13; 1 Tim 4:3-5)

 

There are Christians who have strong convictions regarding their diet. For example, some abstain from eating pork and shell fish based on the dietary regulations under the law (Lev 11:1-47).  Others eat only "natural" food, abstaining from any artificially processed food based on the fact that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19).  Since some Christians have scripturally based convictions that restrict their diet, while others recognize the liberty we have in Christ, even regarding the food we eat, it is imperative that all Christians understand and apply the principles contained in the scripture references cited above. 

 

b) Alcoholic beverages/Drugs

 

There are professing Christians who attempt to justify "social" drinking on the basis of the Bible. The two major reasons given are:  (1) Jesus turned water into wine at the marriage in Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-11), and (2) Jesus served wine at the first Lord's Supper (Matt 26:26-29). But if Jesus turned the water into "booze" for the wedding reception, then he was a sinner (Hab 2:15).  The fact is, the word wine in the Bible does not always refer to intoxicating drink.  The word wine can mean, "the juice of certain fruits".  Therefore, what Jesus turned the water into was grape juice, not intoxicating drink.  As far as the Lord's Supper is concerned, the word wine is not used to describe the contents of the cup. Rather, the contents of the cup are referred to as "the fruit of the vine" (Matt 26:29), which is again grape juice.  Another excuse given for social drinking is as long as the person does not get drunk there is nothing wrong with it; a little bit never hurt anyone. Those who embrace this excuse are quick to point out that the phrases, "not GIVEN to wine" (1 Tim 3:3), "not give to MUCH wine" (1 Tim 3:8), and "use a LITTLE wine" (1 Tim 5:23) imply or state that a social "nip" now and then is not wrong.  On this reasoning, although adultery is wrong, then a little flirting and fooling around is not.  Having a physician tell you have a "little" tumor would not be bad news either then? These passages must be interpreted in light of their context and in light of the entire Bible's teaching on drinking "wine".  Clear prohibitions and warnings against drinking alcoholic beverages are cited below.

 

1. Prohibitions against drinking alcohol (Pro 20:1; 31:4; Isa 28:7)

 

Condemnations against drinking alcohol also apply to all drug use (e.g.- marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc.) since they are all "narcotics".

 

2. Production of drinking alcohol

a. Nakedness (Gen 9:20-21)

 

b. Deviant sexual behavior (Gen 19:33-36)

 

c. Woe (Pro 23:29)

 

d. Sorrow (Pro 23:29)

 

e. Contentions (Pro 23:29)

 

f. Babbling (Pro 23:29)

 

g. Wounds without cause (Pro 23:29)

 

h. Redness of eyes (Pro 23:29)

 

i. Adulterous eyes (Pro 23:33)

 

j. Perverse speech (Pro 23:33)

 

k. Nausea (Pro 23:34)

 

l. Loss of feeling or sensation (Pro 23:35)

 

m. Pride in folly (Pro 23:35)

 

n. Drowsiness (Pro 23:35)

 

o. Dependence (alcoholism) (Pro 23:35)

 

EVERY alcoholic began with "just one drink".

 

p. Err in judgment (a breakdown of moral and ethical walls) (Lev 10:9-10; Pro 31:5; Isa 28:7)

 

q. Inability to teach others (Lev 10:9,11)

 

r. Err in vision (Isa 28:7)

 

s. Vomiting (Isa 28:8)

 

t. Perversion (Hab 2:15)

 

u. Disregard for the Lord and the things of the Lord (Isa 5:11-12)

 

Are these, or should these be, the characteristics of a "child of the King" (Pro 31:4; 1 Pet 2:9; Rev 1:6)?  Alcohol and drug use leads only to DEBT, DIVORCE, DISEASE, and DEATH.

 

3. Purposes of alcohol

 

a. As an anesthetic (Pro 31:6)

b. As a medicine (1 Tim 5:23)

 

c) Tobacco (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, snuff, chewing tobacco, etc.)

 

1. Physical reasons not to smoke (1 Cor 6:19-20)

 

a. Health

 

(1) Cancer (e.g.- oral, throat, lung, etc.)

 

(2) Chemical dependency

 

b. Hygiene (e.g.- breath, clothing, etc.)

 

2. Emotional reasons not to smoke (Phl 4:6)

 

3. Spiritual reasons not to smoke (1 Cor 9:27; 10:23; 10:31; 1 The 5:22; Heb 12:1)

 

6) Things we do

 

a) Fornication (1 Cor 6:18)

 

b) Idolatry (1 Cor 10:14)

 

c) Gambling (John 19:23-24)

 

1. It is coveteousness (Exo 20:7; 1 Tim 6:10-11)

 

2. It is a lack of faith (Rom 14:23; 2 Cor 9:8; Phl 4:19)

 

3. It is poor stewardship (Luke 16:1; 1 Cor 4:2)

 

4. It is contrary to the will of God (Gen 3:19; Deu 8:18; Pro 13:11; Jam 1:17)

 

Professing Christians looking to justify their playing the lottery argue that buying lottery tickets is no different than investing in the stock market.  After all, the proceeds go to worthy causes. Nothing could be further from the truth. The only thing investing has in common with gambling is a degree of "risk".  But then again, we take a risk every time we drive our cars to work, and that is not gambling. If we buy stock, we become a part owner in that company.  The stock we purchase comes in "shares", and these shares represent voting rights. Therefore, if we invest in a particular stock or mutual fund, we have immediate non-financial benefits. What immediate benefits are obtained by buying a lottery ticket, betting on the ponies, or playing blackjack? In addition, if we invest in a particular stock or mutual fund, we can sell our shares at any time, for any reason and put our money some place else.   Can you tell the bookie to change your bet to the other team because your team is losing at half-time?  Can you go to the betting window and change the horse you bet on because 1/8 of a mile into the race your horse is in last place?  Can you get your money back from the dealer because you went over "21"? In investing, the investor ultimately controls the flow of his or her money.  In gambling, it is left to chance.

 

d) Youthful lusts (2 Tim 2:22)

 

What about playing cards, shooting pool, raffles, carnival games, mixed bathing, and dancing?  Remember the principles previously given, and especially the need to abstain from all actual (2 Cor 13:7) and apparent   (1 The 5:22) sin.

 

 

 

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 Practical Theology


   

S T E W A R D S H I P

 

I) PRINCIPLES OF STEWARDSHIP

 

A) EVERYTHING BELONGS TO THE LORD (Psa 24:1)

 

B) STEWARDSHIP IS THE MANAGEMENT OF THE AFFAIRS OF ANOTHER (Gen 39:4; Matt 24:45; 25:14)

 

C) EVERY CHRISTIAN IS A STEWARD (1 Pet 4:10)

 

D) FAITHFULNESS IS REQUIRED (1 Cor 4:2)

 

II) AREAS OF STEWARDSHIP

 

A) TIME (Rom 13:11-12; Eph 5:16)

 

Time is something we all have been equally given.  There are 7 days in a week and 24 hours in a day for all of us.  Once time is past, you can never get it back. There is no "making up for lost time".  That is why every Christian needs to make every second count for the Lord Jesus Christ, and that includes avoiding getting entangled with worldly affairs (2 Tim 2:4).  The sad truth is that most Christians do not even give the Lord 10% of their time!  There are 168 hours in a week (24 hours x 7 days), but only 112 "waking" hours (if we assume 8 hours of sleep for each of the 7 days of the week). 10% of 112 hours is approximately 11 hours.  In order to give 11 hours a week to the Lord, a Christian would need to faithfully attend all four weekly Church services (Sunday School, Sunday morning worship, Sunday evening worship, and Wednesday prayer meeting), and read their Bible and pray for one hour each day of the week. Most Christians do not faithfully attend all weekly Church services, nor do they faithfully have their personal devotions for an hour each day. 

 

B) TALENTS (Rom 12:4-8; 1 Cor 12:4-11)

 

Every Christian has a spiritual gift, and it is his responsibility not to neglect this gift (1 Tim 4:14), but to stir it up (2 Tim 1:6) and use it for the edification of the church (1 Cor 14:12). Although the "talents" in Matthew 25:14-30 refer to money, and the passage applies doctrinally to Israel, there is a principle of stewardship and accountability contained in this scripture that applies to Christians. It is important to note that a Christian will NOT lose his salvation (Matt 25:30) if he fails to use his spiritual gift, but he does risk losing eternal reward (Luke 19:24) and his physical life (Luke 13:6-9; 1 Cor 11:30).

 

C) TESTIMONY (Acts 1:8; 1 Pet 3:15; 4:10)

 

Every Christian is called to be a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ.  Our witness should be VISIBLE and VOCAL.  We should be both a LIGHT (Matt 5:16; Phl 2:15) and a VOICE (Isa 58:1; Matt 28:19; Mark 16:15).

 

D) TREASURE

 

1) Tithes and Offerings (Mal 3:8)- toward THE CHURCH

 

a) Portion

1. The tithe is 10% of income (Gen 14:20; Heb 7:2,6)

 

2. The tithe should be the FIRSTFRUITS of our income (Pro 3:9)

 

3. Offerings are free will offerings and can be any amount (Exo 35:29; 1 Chr 29:9; Ezr 7:16)

 

b) Purpose

 

Under the law, tithing was a COMMAND that had to be obeyed (Lev 27:30), under grace, tithing is a PRINCIPLE that should be practiced (1 Cor 9:11-14). The reasons give tithes and offerings are the same.

 

1. As an expression of our love for the Lord (2 Cor 8:8) as opposed to robbing God (Mal 3:8)

 

2. As an expression of our love for our church and our pastor (1 Cor 9:11,13-14)

 

3. For the expenses of the sanctuary (2 Chr 24:5; 34:9-10)

 

4. For the expenses of the service (Mal 3:10)

 

5. For the expenses of the shepherd (1 Cor 9:11-14)

 

6. For the expenses of the saints (1 Cor 16:1-2)

 

c) Place

 

Tithes were brought into the STOREHOUSE of the temple under the law (Mal 3:10).  Since the temple was the house of God, the New Testament parallel is the local CHURCH (1 Cor 16:1-2).  Christians should not give their tithes to ministries and organizations outside their local church.  In addition, since the local church determines how it's money is spent, Christians should not designate their tithes in any way.  On the other hand, offerings can be designated and can be given to ministries outside the church (as the Lord leads).

 

d) Promise

 

 1. Sustenance for the house of God and man of God (Mal 3:10)

 

Under the law, tithing was God's program to meet all the material needs of the house of God and the men of God.  If all Christians faithfully tithed to their local church today, the church and pastor would not have any material needs that could not be met.

 

2. Abundance for the giver (Mal 3:10)

 

2) Taxes (Matt 17:24-27; 22:17-21; Rom 13:6-7)- toward THE GOVERNMENT

 

3) Personal expenses (Pro 6:6-8; Pro 13:22; 2 Cor 12:14; 1 Tim 5:8)- toward THE FAMILY

 

a) Budget (Psa 112:5; Pro 27:23; Luke 14:28-30)

 

Every family should prepare and commit to a budget.  Although the husband or wife may be responsible for actually paying the bills, both should provide input to the budget, watch what they spend, and be aware of the family financial condition. The budget should be updated on an annual or as needed basis.

 

1. Document all income

 

In preparing a new annual budget, it is wise to assume, at least initially, that income will not increase for the year but expenses will increase 10%.  The difference between budgeted expenses and actual expenses should be invested (in the church and/or savings). 

 

2. Document all expenses

 

a. Tithe

 

We need to treat our tithe like the government treats taxes.  The government withholds a portion of our earnings for federal and state taxes BEFORE we receive our paychecks. We need to get into the habit of withholding at least 10% of our net income for God BEFORE we begin establishing a “standard of living” (spendable income).  We must adjust our standard of living and discipline ourselves not to think of our tithe as spendable income.  Just as we have no way of accessing our income withheld for taxes, we need to consider our tithe “untouchable” for personal use. We need to view our tithe as an INVESTMENT in the kingdom of God that has a guaranteed exponential return in the spiritual and eternal.  We would discipline ourselves more and continue investing in a stock if we had proof it was yielding a lucrative return for us; but God has promised us bountiful spiritual and eternal blessings if the proportion of our giving is reflective of a cheerful and thankful heart to him.

 

b. Savings/Retirement

 

An additional 10% should be budgeted and diversely invested for savings/retirement.  Money allocated to savings is readily accessible, and can be used for emergencies in order to avoid going into debt.  Money allocated to retirement (or college fund) is not readily accessible, and may involve service charges and penalties for early withdrawal.

 

If we faithfully tithe and allocate 10% of our income to savings/retirement, we will have all we need in time of trouble (Gen 41:33-36).

 

c. Fixed expenses (e.g.- mortgage/rent, auto loan, tuition, etc.)

 

d. Variable expenses (e.g.- groceries, utilities, etc.)

 

b) Debt

 

1. Avoid debt as much as possible (i.e.- do not incur unnecessary debt by spending money you do not have on something you do not need) (Deu 15:16; Pro 27:1; Rom 13:8)

 

a. Is it something that you need?  (Psa 23:1; 34:9-10; Matt 6:31-32; Phl 4:19)

 

b. Do you need it right now?  (Psa 27:14; Heb 4:16; 1 Pet 5:7) Cont: (Pro 19:2)

 

c. Is there a loud, urgent voice insisting you need it now? (Mark 5:7) Cont: (1 Kin 19:12)

 

d. Is there a voice dealing with you? (e.g.- “You have to get this NOW because it is the only one left.  If you don’t get it, someone else will”.  “You have to get it NOW because the sale only lasts through today”) (Exo 8:25,28; 10:8,24)

 

e. Did you realize you “needed” it after you saw it?  (Gen 3:6)

 

f. Can you get it without taking from something else? (Mal 3:8)

 

g. Can you get it without feeling guilty? (Rom 14:23)

 

h. Do you want it for the Lord (1 Cor 10:31) or for self? (Psa 21:2; 37:4; Luke 12:32)

 

2. Get out of debt as quickly as possible

 

Savings can be used if necessary to help pay off debts as soon as possible (savings are for “rainy days”), but do not use any of the tithe money.

 

a. Why?

 

(1) Because as long as we are in debt, we are servants to it (Pro 22:7; Matt 6:24)

 

(2) Because debt does not increase wealth, but puts us at risk of losing what we have (2 Kin 4:1; Pro 22:26-27; Matt 18:23-30)

 

b. How?

 

(1) Pray (Phl 4:6; Heb 4:16; Jam 1:5)- Desire

 

(2) Prepare a plan to get out of debt (include budget adjustments and timeframes) (1 Kin 17:8-16; 2 Kin 4:1-7)- Determination

 

(3) Persist in the plan (Gal 6:9)- Discipline

 


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