Following are brief "snapshots" of the full length Acts 17:11 Bible Studies that have yet to be posted. If you have an interest in seeing one of these sooner than later, let us know.
Each completed study will be from 4 to 6 pages in length. The idea of these snapshots is to convey the basic emphasis of each study with representative Scripture and comments. They are offered as "appetizers".
As a suggestion, the verses listed for each topic below can be used in small groups as a framework for discussion as a mini Bible Study of sorts. These can also be used as starting points for sermon preparation or personal devotions. If you gain any insight from such, please share it with us.
John 6:29 Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." 1Thes 4:14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" [2nd draft available online.]
The "church within the church"; an organism, not an organization. Acts 9:4-5 "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. Rom 12:5 So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 1Cor 12:14-27 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many... you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
God's will to form us into vessels worthy of future glory. Zeph 1:7 The Lord has prepared a sacrifice; he has consecrated those he has invited. 2Cor 1:21 It is he who has consecrated us to this special work, he who has given us the living guarantee of the Spirit in our hearts. Phil 3:12 I keep going on, trying to grasp the purpose for which Christ Jesus grasped me. 2Chr 7:16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and heart will always be there. [2nd draft available online.]
A study of the pathology of deception. 1Tim 4:1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2Cor 11:3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray. 1Cor 6:9; Eph 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Mat 24:4. [A related testimony on the echoes of deception.]
Gal 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 2Cor 4:7-11 We are hard pressed, yet never in absolute distress; perplexed, yet never utterly baffled; pursued, yet never left abandoned; struck to the ground, yet never slain, so that in our bodies it may also be clearly shown that Jesus lives. Rom 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
The "veil". Sins of the flesh vs. "works" of the flesh. Sowing to, walking in, relying on. Jer 17:5 This is what the Lord says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord." John 6:63 "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing." Gal 4:29 At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. [A somewhat related rejoinder to the Church growth movement.]
What is it, how it is revealed, and why God withholds it from the disobedient. John 7:17 "If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God." Acts 20:27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 1Th 4:3 It is God's will that you should be sanctified. 1Jn 2:17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. 1Th 5:16 Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
In every language and culture--excepting theologians--the heart means the emotions, the feelings. Jer 17:9 The heart is devious above all else. Ps 51:10 Create in me a pure heart. Luke 10:27 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind." Eze 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Isa 60:5 (NIV) Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy. [Here's a related meditation on the Great Commandment.]
Without sin. "Otherness": God stuff. Rom 6:19,22 Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness and holiness... you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 1Cor 1:30; Isa 35:8; 2Cor 7:1; Heb 12:14 Without holiness no one will see the Lord.
Praising God when He brings us low. Mic 6:8 And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Isa 57:15; Rom 12:3 Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought, but with sober judgment. James 4:6; 1Pet 5:5-6 Clothe yourselves with humility towards one another, because "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Deut 8:22; Chr 7:14; Col 2:18,23
False judging. Play acting. Spiritual primping. "Yeast". The parable of the two sons in Mat 21:29-31. Mat. 15:7-9 "You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'" 1Pet 2:1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. [A related sermon on hypocrisy.]
To be "put right with" God. The impulse of the flesh to try to justify ourselves. God's means of putting us right. Gal 3:11 It is clear that no one is justified in God's sight by obeying the law. Rom 5:18 The result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 1Cor 6:11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
There is no way to deserve, earn, or buy your way into it. You must be "born" into it--by submitting to Jesus as Lord, and allowing his kingdom to reign in your life. Luke 17:20 "The Kingdom of God does not come with careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is' because the Kingdom of God is within you." John 3:3 "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
The straight edge of the Law shows us how crooked we are. The "ministry of condemnation". Moses. Was God kidding? Not under, but not above. Graduation! "Be perfect." Rom. 6:14-15 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Gal. 3:23-25 Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law... So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. [A related rebuke on legalism.]
When the [interests, will, growth, pleasure, safety, etc.] of someone or something else becomes more important than your own [interests, will, growth, pleasure, etc.]. 1John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. 1Cor 14:1 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts. Rom 12:9 Let us have no imitation Christian love. Let us have a genuine hatred for evil and a real devotion to good. 1Thes 4:9 God himself is teaching you to love each other. [1st draft now available.]
Luke 18:34 The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them. Ps. 32:9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding 1Jn 5:20 We know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding. Ps 119:130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding The Son of God has come and has given us understanding. Rom 8:28 We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Putting ourselves last, pouring our lives out for others as Christ did. Mat 10:24-25 "It is enough for the student to be like his teacher." 1Sam 2:35 I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. 1Cor 3:9 For we are God's fellow workers. 1Pet 4:11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides.
Rom 6:12-18 But thanks be to God that you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted... 1Pet 4:17 What will become of those who do not obey the Gospel of God? 2Thes 1:8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. John 8:32 "If you obey my teaching you are really my disciples; you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." [2nd draft available online.]
The presence of God, not the absence of conflict. Our "resistance" to God is over, now we are to resist the world, the flesh, and the devil by remaining in and cherishing the peace of God. Sabbath rest. John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Phil 4:7; John 14:27; Heb 12:14; Gal 5:22; Ps 85:8 I will listen to what God the Lord will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints--but let them not return to folly. [Scripture Reading: Hebrews 3 & 4.]
Are we looking for the approval of men, or God? Whose opinion really counts? What will it be like to hear "Well done" from the lips of Him who cannot lie, or "Depart from Me"? John 12:43 For they loved praise from men more than praise from God. Gal 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
The lame walk, the blind see, leprosy healed, the dead raised. What is the eternal significance? Jer 30:12; 33:6 "This is what the Lord says: "Your wound is incurable, your injury beyond healing. There is no one to plead your cause, no remedy for your sore, no healing for you. Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people. John 14:12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
God's revealed will about the future. 70 years captivity and the plans of God. Following Christ in the way of the cross to achieve the reward offered us. 2Pet 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2Cor 7:1 Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. [A related posting on the 70 years captivity.]
Creatively confronting people with the truth about God and man. Speaking the word of God. Why are prophets hated and killed? 2Sam 12:7 Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man!" 2Pet 1:21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 1Thes 5:20-21 Do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything, hold onto the good. 1Cor 14:1 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. Amos 3:7; Mic 2:6,11 [Related discussion points on prophecy.]
Perfection. Success from God's point of view. Rom 1:17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last. Rom 8:10 Now if Christ does live within you his presence means that your sinful nature is dead, but your spirit becomes alive because of the righteousness he brings with him. Phil 3:9 I am not dependent upon any of the self-achieved righteousness of the Law; God has given me that genuine righteousness which comes from faith in Christ.
Being "in Christ". Scripture uses the phrases "in Christ" and "Christ in us/you". "In Christ" we have salvation. Yeshua = Salvation. "Christ in us" means the gifts and fruits of the Spirit. Rom 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. Eph 1:13 And you were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. 1Pet 2:2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk so that you may grow up in your salvation. Col 3:3.
Enhances the flavor of food, especially meat. Job 6:6 Is tasteless food eaten without salt? Mat 5:13 You are the salt of this earth. Mark 10:49 Everyone will be salted with fire. Col 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Titus 2:10 so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.
Being purified, cleaned up, and set apart. John 17:17,19 "Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified." 1Thes 4:3 It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality. 1Thes 5:23-24 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
Scripture uses the image of fruit and seasons to describe the life of faith. So why do we get so upset at ourselves and others during "winter" or "pruning" time? Bearing fruit that will last forever. Ecc 3:1; Gal 6:9; Ps 1:3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields fruit in its season. 2Tim 4:2 Never lose your sense of urgency, in season or out of season. John 15:2 "He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." [Tozer Excerpt on Understanding Those Dry Spells.]
Looking to the future promised by God; not to the past, or even the present. Prov 29:18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint. Ps. 39:7 But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. Ps 119:81 My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word. Job 13:15 Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Eph 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened. 1John 3:3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
The impulse of the flesh is to "get moving". God wants us to wait upon Him. Num 21:4-6 But the people grew impatient on the way. Ps 27:14 Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. Heb 6:15 And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. Luke 24:49 "Wait patiently in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." Isa 40:31 Those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength. Jam 5:7 Be patient, then, brothers.
What if we are not healed, or prosperous, or talented? Phil 2:25-30; Gal 4:13-14 As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you. Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me... 1Cor 1:27 God chose the weak things of this world to shame the strong. 2Cor 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. [1st draft now available.]
God has made a proposal, and we must take it or leave it. If we accept, our focus should be on our future consummation with Him and our home in heaven, not on the things of this world. Mat 22:2 "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son." Jer 2:32 Does a maiden forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number. 2Cor 11:2-3 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ. Rev 19:7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Rev 19:9.
Telling the truth about ourselves, and God; not a pre-fab sales pitch. A dying to self in transparency. Martydom. Prov. 12:17 A truthful witness gives honest testimony, but a false witness tells lies. Acts 2:32 "God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact." 1Cor 2:1-2 When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2Cor 10:10 For they say "His letters are forceful, but his personal presence is unimpressive, and as for eloquence, he has none." 2Cor 11:6 I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. 2Cor 4:12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. [Related sermon on witnessing.]
The rod of Judah (praise). Worship as a violent act on false thoughts about God, religion, man. From Don Wallace's study and insights. Ps 149:6-9 May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all his saints. Praise the Lord.
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