Step 4, Bible Studies

What if.....Premium Content

… Jesus really meant what He said?

"I did not come to condemn, but to save."

Condemn: to declare to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil…to judge unfit for use or consumption.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus … [Romans 8:1]

What if that were true?

I know—it’s a complex theological statement. But what if it were as simple as “follow Jesus” = “no condemnation”?

What if every follower of Jesus stopped judging others as “reprehensible, wrong, or evil”? Even “those people”—you know, the ones who are, well, “unfit”?

What if

We refused to make—or forward, or approve—snarky political comments?

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Learning to Live as We are Commanded

John 13:35 NKJV
"By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

Back in the 60's, when worship choruses first began to become widely popular, a certain chorus made the rounds in the churches, "They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love" (common tune, lyrics by Peter Scholtes). The words go like this:

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love

Do You Have a Good Conscience?

1 Timothy 1:18-20 NRSV
I am giving you these instructions, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies made earlier about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, having faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have suffered shipwreck in the faith; among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have turned over to Satan, so that they may learn not to blaspheme.

When We Wrestle with OurselvesPremium Content

It's really hard to keep remembering that my fight isn't against those around me who oppose me, but rather is about whether or not I can stand in the will of God. Sometimes, I think, that the devil, he is me, that when I look into the mirror, my worst enemy is my own desires. I simply have a hard time waiting and waiting is what I need to do to allow God to work in the lives of those around me to do His will for me.

Ephesians 6:11-12 NKJV

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Humility is a Two-way StreetPremium Content


Submission
In John 13, Jesus washes the disciples’ feet. It’s a well-known story, a frequently referenced model for Christ’s attitude of humble service to others. But there’s another side to the story.

Foot-washing requires a foot to wash.

In the story, Peter initially refuses to allow his friend and teacher to perform such a menial, degrading task. Jesus replies that submission isn’t optional—it’s an essential element in the interaction.

I don’t think that’s an accident. You can’t force someone to receive an expression of intimacy. If it’s a true act of humble service, the one whose feet are washed must submit.

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Are there Jebusites in Your Heart?

The king and his men marched to Jerusalem, to fight against the Jebusites who inhabited the land. 2 Samuel 5:6

The Jebusites still held a stronghold in the heart of the country, never having been dislodged. Just so, there are 'Jebusites' in every Christian heart!

In every heart, there are little 'Jebusite strongholds', which it seems impossible for us to conquer. Sometimes it is a secret sin which lives on, unconquered, amid the general holiness of a life. Sometimes it is a remnant of the old nature--such as pride, worldliness, selfishness, lust, or bitterness. There are many other such citadels of evil, which rear their proud towers and defy conquest.

Are You Self-righteous without even Realizing It?

It is easy to go along in life thinking that we're okay. I know that there are times in my life when I deceive myself, thinking that I'm okay and following when the Lord when, if I were to be truly honest, I would know that isn't true. But the deception is so comfortable. It's much easier to convince myself that everything is okay between me and God then to come into His presence and ask His opinion.

Hebrews 4:12-13 NKJV

What is Your Heart Attitude?Premium Content

I am a fairly deceived and deceitful woman. Oh, it's not that I go about lying day after day. I do my best to be as honest as possible. But I think that I often deceive myself by lying about my own heart condition. Rather than spending time in prayer (who has time these days?) seeking God's will, I make my own decision, ask God to bless it, and then blissfully go on my way thinking that His "stamp of approval" (through my request) solves it all. And I think I'm not alone in this, but rather am surrounded by many. There are things that I think American Christians do, thinking we are doing the "right" thing, when what we are doing is actually rebellious and self-centered. We give . . . a little. We pray . . . a little. We respect . . . a little. We have compassion . . . a little.

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Keep Things in Perspective

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Mark 8:36

There is nothing like a trip to a cemetery to put our temporal lives in perspective. We live in an "it's all about me" world, and even as believers, it's easier than not to get caught up in that faulty mindset and quickly become overwhelmed with the urgency to fulfill my wants, my needs, my feelings, my desires.

Materialism depends upon just such an urgency; advertising appeals to it. If we could just win the lottery, write that bestseller, buy that bigger house, that fancier car, those name-brand clothes, we'd be happier, more fulfilled, more satisfied. And, of course, we'd serve God more wholeheartedly!

Time for a Heart CheckPremium Content

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. Hebrews 9:27-28

Years ago I had my then preschool-age granddaughter with me when I made a stop at the cemetery to deliver some flowers. My granddaughter was naturally curious about what sort of place a "sembletery" was, so I did my best to explain. As we read a few markers and headstones, I told her what the dates meant, and we figured the ages of a few of the deceased.

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