April 2019

Explore the Bible Lesson for May 5: Purifies

April 18 2019 by Mike Parry, member, North Wake Church, Wake Forest

Focal passage: Mark 11:15-19; 12:41-44
 
Have you ever discovered a tick on your skin? A simple walk through the woods or high grass can make you vulnerable and open to one latching on. Once they attach themselves, they can spread disease, some of which can lead to death if untreated. But if you catch them early, tick bites can be easily remedied.
 
We could say the same for the moneychangers in the temple. These “ticks” were spoiling the health of worship. As a result, they were selected and rejected by God so no theological disease could take root. Mark communicates to his readers that Jesus commands pure, holy and genuine worship.
 
In the second story of the widow giving money, Mark conveys a discipleship moment Jesus gave to His followers. The emphasis here is placed on the widow giving – in poverty – everything she had. Using the illustration above, a person should give everything they can to pursue healthy worship with the Savior.
 
Pursuit of genuine worship can be observed corporately and individually. As for the former, the church should be actively practicing church discipline. Such a practice should be a mark of every healthy church. It demonstrates that because our God is holy, our churches are to be as well (1 Corinthians 5:11).
 
On an individual level, it is important to note that Jesus is the one casting out moneychangers. (v. 15). Christ does a work in us as we pursue Him, removing the spiritually unhealthy parts of our lives (Hebrews 12:1-2). We run after Him with the goal of presenting ourselves as pure sacrifices (Romans 12:1).
 
Jesus quotes from Isaiah 56:7 in Mark 11:17, and highlights whom the house is for, “all nations.” In other words, it does not matter what culture or ethnicity a person belongs to, Christ welcomes all.
 
How can you pray for your spiritual health or the health of your church?

4/18/2019 9:25:52 AM by Mike Parry, member, North Wake Church, Wake Forest | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for May 5: Love Your Enemies

April 18 2019 by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Durham

Focal passages: Luke 6:27-36
 
For many years I thought the most courageous things I could do were to speak up when others wouldn’t, defend myself and make sure anyone who committed an injustice would know it.

However, God has shown me that it can take just as much courage to remain silent or take on what someone else deserves.
 
Jesus, Himself, remained silent as He was humiliated and didn’t retaliate when He was accused, spat on and nailed to a cross.
 
Our Lord loved His enemies. “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you” (Luke 6:27-28). We must have an attitude of love that is followed by loving actions.
 
Jesus’ words in Luke 6:29-31 are both surprising and counter-intuitive. “To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”
 
But isn’t this the same amazing grace and incomparable love God has shown us? That “while we were yet sinners,” and outright enemies of God, “Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
 
It is easy to love those that love us back and anyone can do good to those who do good in return.
 
But the love of God calls us to loves those who betray us, commit crimes against us and who hurt us (Luke 6:32-36).
 
Jesus chose to love His greatest enemies: those who would love others before Him, who would betray Him and whose sins would ultimately put Him to death.
 
We were those enemies. Our sins cost Him his life.
 
And yet, He loved us then and loves us now. How, then, should we love?

4/18/2019 9:22:36 AM by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Durham | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for April 28: Serves

April 16 2019 by Mike Parry, member, North Wake Church, Wake Forest

Focal passage: Mark 10:35-45
 
We do not have to look far to find people that have demonstrated incredible service, all in the name of our Savior. If you are not familiar with North Carolina’s Baptists on Mission (also called N.C. Baptist Men, NCBM), it is an auxiliary of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
 
Their desire is to help Christians become involved “in missions and ministry in Jesus’ name.”
 
Paul and Carrie Fisher were just that type of family. Paul served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan in early 2000s. After returning stateside, he came to accept Christ into his life. In 2012, he married his wife, Carrie, and later they felt called to volunteer in disaster relief. Pursuing God, they left their jobs. They became volunteer coordinators in Puerto Rico where they both were ready to serve Jesus and make a change in someone’s life.
 
In Mark 10, Jesus reveals to His disciples a reordering of their lives (redemption).
 
First, Christ centers the focus and attention on Himself (v. 39). The Fishers understood that call, and their service came as a result of pursuing God.
 
Mark highlights two of the closest disciples of Jesus, James and John, emphasizing that even those near and dear to Him are susceptible to having a misplaced focus (v. 41). They are seeking worldly glory. Jesus shows true glory lies in serving, not being served.
 
Christ redeems the moment of correction with James and John by revealing the proper order of things (v. 42-44). The way up is down in God’s Kingdom.
 
If our focus on Christ is misplaced, then our service will follow. Christ provides the best example of service by redeeming the fallen world (v. 45).
 
The focus of the lesson even notes Jesus demonstrated humble service by His redemptive work for our sin. So, remember to chase after God, the serve part can start anywhere.
 
How will you serve?
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – In memory of NCBM coordinator Paul Fisher, who passed away Feb. 28, 2019, while serving the Lord in Puerto Rico.)

4/16/2019 12:44:24 PM by Mike Parry, member, North Wake Church, Wake Forest | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for April 28: Sell Everything You Own

April 16 2019 by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Durham

Focal passages: Matthew 19:21-30
 
The rich, young ruler comes to Jesus with an impressive résumé of outward obedience. He had followed God’s commandments since he was a child, and he believed Jesus had important answers regarding eternal life.
 
But when he asked, “What do I still lack?” Jesus responded, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:20-21).
 
Instead of being overwhelmed with joy and gratitude, having found his greatest treasure in Jesus, the young man walked away disappointed.
 
The Lord may call, and has called, some to sell all their possessions. But in these verses, Jesus addressed the rich man’s heart by pointing out that the young man valued something more than our Savior. His allegiance to his earthly possessions was greater than his commitment to God.
 
After the scene unfolds, Jesus turns to His disciples and says, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:23-25). The rich young man seemed to have it all; had he not done everything right and been blessed by God? If Jesus’ words were true, how could anyone hope to be saved?
 
Being a good person isn’t our ticket into heaven. Submission to Christ as Lord is the true path to salvation. Just as Christ told the young man to follow Him, He pointed the disciples back to a relationship with God.
 
With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 6:26).
 
Is there anything you’re holding on to instead of obedience to Christ?
 
Is Jesus truly worth losing everything for? And if He asked us to, would we faithfully trade in all else to have Him?

4/16/2019 12:41:58 PM by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Durham | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for April 14: Commands

April 2 2019 by Mike Parry, member, North Wake Church, Wake Forest

Focal passage: Mark 9:14-27
 
Missionaries are amazing people. They feel called to go and risk persecution, prison and even death for the sake of the gospel. Well-known author Os Guinness was born in China while his parents were spreading the gospel as medical missionaries.
 
Two of his brothers passed away in the 1943 Henan Famine when he was a toddler, and his parents were imprisoned throughout his adolescence.
 
Doubt seems to have settled in during this period of his life due to the amount of suffering he witnessed.
 
In a biographical profile, Nathan Martin records these words from Guinness, “People often see doubt as the opposite of faith, and that’s not true. The opposite of faith is unbelief. Doubt is a halfway stage.”
 
He continues, “Like a spinning coin, it’s going to come down one way or the other. Doubt is either going to be resolved and go back to faith or be left unresolved and move on to unbelief.”
 
The coin for Guinness dropped. It was 1960 when he came to faith.
 
In Mark 9:14-27, the father’s faith comes to the point of almost failing, but the father is strengthened by Jesus.
 
The main focus of the passage is a desire for the reader to believe.
 
There may be uncertainties that come along with belief, but like the father in Mark 9, we should go to Jesus (v. 24), focus on His power (vv. 25-26) and pray (v. 29).
 
Prayer played a critical role in Guinness’s life. Likewise, the narrative in Mark’s Gospel shifts attention toward Jesus’ power and life of prayer.
 
These two, power and prayer, help strengthen one’s belief and cultivate a personal relationship with the Savior.
 
What doubts keep you from a personal relationship with Jesus?

4/2/2019 10:28:27 AM by Mike Parry, member, North Wake Church, Wake Forest | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for April 14: God Won’t Forgive This Sin

April 2 2019 by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Durham

Focal passages: Matthew 12:22-32
 
One of my favorite characteristics of Jesus is His ability to send shockwaves across multitudes of people. He offered grace and forgiveness in the midst of a culture that coveted religiosity. He destroyed hierarchies among sinners by challenging those who wanted to be first to be last. When others focused on trapping Him, He focused on freeing others.
 
Our Savior overturned tables outside the temple and washed the feet of the man who betrayed Him.

Matthew 12:22-32 shows that Jesus’ words were equally as astounding as His actions.
 
These passages begin with Jesus showing God’s power through a miracle. “Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw” (Matthew 12:22).
 
This man could neither see his Savior nor call out to Him, yet the power of God in Christ proved to be greater.
 
We don’t know how many witnesses were present, but we do know that they were all amazed, which only highlights the wonder of God’s work in that moment.
 
Knowing the gravity of what they had just seen, the Pharisees attempted to condemn Jesus by accusing Him of casting out demons through the work of Satan. By making these deliberate claims in rejecting Jesus, the Pharisees were clearly committing the unpardonable sin. They committed blasphemy against the Spirit because they rejected the power of the Spirit by which Jesus did everything.
 
After exposing the flaws in the Pharisees’ accusations, Jesus said something they would surely never forget.
 
Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men … either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:31-32).
 
Committing a sin that is unforgiveable is so weighty that many have wondered if they have ever crossed that line. How does this scripture help us address that concern?

4/2/2019 10:24:45 AM by Daniela Sanchez, member, The Summit Church, Durham | with 0 comments