October 2011

Explore the Bible Lesson for Nov. 13: Do You Show Respect to Others?

October 27 2011 by Randy Mann, minister of education and evangelism, Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church, Raleigh

Focus Passage: Romans 14:1-12
 
Have you ever seen a particular issue differently than another Christian? Obviously, yes! How, then, are we to handle these situations when they arise? This passage indicates we should show love and respect for other believers in these situations. But why? This week’s lesson presents four reasons: our acceptance by God; Christ’s death for us; our family relationship; and our accountability to God. I want to note two others here.
 
One is the unity issue. Christ died for us and the Holy Spirit indwells us, making us one in Christ. Therefore, the unity of the Spirit should be clearly evident among believers
This does not mean that we will always agree on everything.
 
The believers in Philippi certainly did not, which prompted Paul to write, “let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ ... standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27). He also admonished the Ephesian believers to walk “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:2-3).
 
The unity issue sets the stage for the second issue, evangelism.
 
As we demonstrate love for, and unity with, our brothers and sisters in Christ, we set the stage for more effective evangelism. As we share a message about a God who loves us and has reconciled us to Himself and one another, that message should not only be heard from us but also seen in us. Jesus said that our love for one another corroborates our claim that we are His (John 13:35).
 
Unfortunately, Christians today are better known for throwing rocks at each other and “shooting our own wounded” than for our love for each other.
 
This passage is not calling us to overlook obvious sin or to “agree to disagree” about some clear scriptural teaching. It is calling for us to love and humbly respect one another, reminding each other that our ultimate accountability is to God, our loving Father and righteous Judge.
10/27/2011 1:38:15 PM by Randy Mann, minister of education and evangelism, Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church, Raleigh | with 1 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for Nov. 13: Stand for the Lord

October 27 2011 by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church

Focal Passage: Exodus 32:7-20, 25-26
 
I follow professional football probably more than I should. One benefit, however, is observing leaders in action. It is not always about talent, but about how one composes oneself and performs in difficult situations. An example might be Kurt Warner. He spent years as a journeyman quarterback, never giving up and most importantly, standing up for Jesus whether his team won or lost. God would bless Warner with a Super Bowl victory and MVP accolades. Recently I’ve been watching Tony Romo, quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. He’s botched his share of plays, but I’ve never heard him blame someone else. I have heard him take personal responsibility for these failures because he recognizes he is one of their key leaders.
 
At this point in Moses’ life, he was granted a unique opportunity. God was giving him the portion of the Law that would be known as the 10 Commandments. At this moment life was “better than good” for Moses. He was with God. Meanwhile, at the base of the mountain, the people were turning to idolatry. Worst, his trusted brother Aaron was complicit. In an instant glory had turned to disaster. It would be Moses’ obligation to leave the presence of God to solve the problem below. What we find striking, however, is not so much what would later happen on the ground, but what was happening between God and Moses.
 
Moses was angry, and God was angrier, so angry that He wanted to “destroy” the idolaters. One zap and Moses would have an easier path to lead all compliant followers to not only obey the law, but to complete the pilgrimage to their physical destination. Moses, however, stood up for the people even in the face of God’s wrath. He petitioned God to spare the Hebrews.
 
Because Moses stood up for his people, God “changed His mind.” To Moses’ credit, just because he wanted mercy for his people, he did not compromise his faith. The calf was destroyed, the people would pay penance, and Moses would steadfastly stand for God.

10/27/2011 1:35:55 PM by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church | with 8 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for Nov. 6: Can You Be Counted On?

October 24 2011 by Randy Mann, minister of education and evangelism, Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church, Raleigh

Focus Passage: Romans 13:1-14
 
In Romans 13, Paul continues to lay out the practical implications of surrendering our lives to Christ as living-sacrifices (12:1). One way we show our love for, and obedience to, Christ is by living in submission to the civil authority He has ordained and placed over us, namely the government. This doesn’t mean that we must blindly follow the government, even if doing so would cause us to sin. If forced to choose between obeying God or government, we must obey God. Paul makes clear, however, that government is a good gift from a gracious God and is necessary for maintaining civil peace and order because of the corruption of the human heart.
 
Therefore, the civil government serves both a protective function and a teaching function. It protects in that it maintains civil peace and order by holding people accountable for their actions. It teaches in that it reminds people that our actions have consequences, and that ultimately, we are accountable to God, not government, for those actions. This is why Paul says, “whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment” (13:2, ESV). Whether it is paying taxes, or submitting to government in some other way, the Christian shows his submission to God’s authority by also obeying the civil authority God has ordained.
 
Believers should also demonstrate their surrender to God by the way we live toward others. Paul reminded the Romans in 7:4 that they had died to the law. They were, then, not simply to avoid adultery, murder, theft and covetousness with regard to their neighbors. They were instead to show unconditional love to their neighbors, as God had shown unconditional love to them. One commentator said, “As believers, we do not live under the Law; we live under grace. Our motive for obeying God and helping others is the love of Christ in our hearts.” That is a strong motive indeed!
 
In light of Christ’s promised return, we should be watchful and faithful, starving our flesh and living for Christ’s glory in every aspect of our lives.
10/24/2011 2:07:46 PM by Randy Mann, minister of education and evangelism, Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church, Raleigh | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for Nov. 6: Accept the Call

October 24 2011 by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church

Focal Passage: Exodus 3:1-6, 10-15; 4:10-12
 
One of my heroes is Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, later known as Mother Teresa, founder of The Missionaries of Charity. At her death in 1997 her mission had 610 missions operating in 123 countries. What we know best of Mother Teresa was her work among the poorest in Calcutta, India. She began this work with no money and no buildings, but forged ahead by starting an open-air school for slum children. Soon she would have 13 volunteers, and at her death, there would be 4,000 agents of mercy, mostly women, continuing her work.
 
According to biographers, this little Albanian woman received her calling at age 12. She knew she was to be a missionary to spread the love of Christ. At 18 she joined the Sisters of Loreto, and in a few years would find herself in India. On Sept. 10, 1946, she received what she described as her “call within the call.” She had been teaching at a school in Calcutta, but the suffering and poverty she witnessed outside the convent walls compelled her to find a way to help them. When she petitioned her superiors, she was granted permission to devote her full efforts to helping “the least of these.” According to one writer, Mother Teresa’s story was one more of persistence. She began with nothing but faith and her call, which sustained her though periods of doubt, loneliness, and the temptation to return to the safe haven known as the convent.
 
Today’s lesson focuses on Moses and his call from the Lord as he encountered Him through the burning bush experience at the “mountain of God.” Moses’ credentials were unimpressive. He was a fugitive, and had spent what we call the “prime years” as a shepherd. Probably few people other than his immediate family viewed Moses as a leader.
 
Nonetheless, God called Moses. Further, this was not an insignificant calling. God had enormous plans – plans for Moses to be the leader who would deliver the Hebrews out of Egypt. Moses would accept God’s call that day: hesitant, insecure, but willing.
10/24/2011 2:03:26 PM by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church | with 2 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for Oct. 30: Does Your Life Please God?

October 13 2011 by Randy Mann, minister of education and evangelism, Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church, Raleigh

Focal Passage: Romans 12:1-21

What motivates you in your walk with God? Are you motivated by fear that God will strike you down if you blow it? Are you motivated by the idea that if you serve God enough (whatever that means), He will be forced to bless you? Do you know what served as a motivator for the Apostle Paul? The mercies of God.

Paul spent the first 11 chapters of Romans showing the theological foundations for our relationship with Christ. Paul showed God to be the sovereign, faithful God who had brought salvation to the Gentiles and who would be faithful to keep His covenant promises to Israel (Rom. 9-11). So the question that logically follows is, “What difference does all of this make?”

In the remaining chapters, Paul pleads with the Romans to let their orthodoxy (what they now understand and believe) issue forth in orthopraxy (how they live). In other words, they are to live according to what they have learned. This is always the point of divine revelation. God not only wants us to believe the right things, but to live out those beliefs in ways that glorify Him (James 1:22ff).

How is it possible, then, for us to live lives that please God? We must present ourselves as “living sacrifices” – which seems like an oxymoron. However, as we saw in Romans 6, we have been declared dead in Christ to our sin and ourselves, and alive in Christ through the power of His resurrection.

Our lives more and more reflect the power and presence of Christ as we stop being squeezed into the world’s mold and as we keep on allowing Him to change us by renewing our minds. There is no aspect of our lives that goes untouched by this transformation.

In light of God’s mercies, we should gladly lay down our lives as living sacrifices – which is our very reasonable act of worship. After all, as the great hymn-writer, Isaac Watts said so well, “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my heart, my life, my all.” Only this kind of life – dead to self and alive in Christ – can please God. So, the question is, “Does your life please God?”
10/13/2011 7:42:00 AM by Randy Mann, minister of education and evangelism, Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church, Raleigh | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for Oct. 30: Satisfaction Found

October 13 2011 by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church

Focal Passages: John 6:5-13, 35-40

There is a widely circulated story about a successful business woman named Penelope Eddy and a vagrant named Jack. According to the story, Eddy not only took the time to speak to the man, but took him to a nearby restaurant. The man had succumbed to hopelessness. Once he had been given a meal he didn’t earn or have any way to repay, Eddy explained to him why she was helping.

She described a day that occurred many years before when she had graduated college with grand hopes of making it big in the business world. But, her attempts to find employment had been futile. She was depressed, out of money, and desperately hungry. On what was one of the worst days of her life, she stepped into that same restaurant and was given the biggest sandwich she had ever eaten. The problem was that she didn’t have the money to pay. Sensing the situation, a man took his own money and put it into the cash register to pay for her meal. Eddy never forgot that act of kindness. She would gain employment later that day and over time reach the pinnacle of her profession. She was a changed woman. She never forgot that one act of kindness.

In performing miracles Jesus displayed an amazing capacity for compassion. In this miracle he took the ordinary meal of a boy and transformed it into a buffet for the multitudes. Those who ate found, at the very least, temporary satisfaction – their stomachs were full.

The greater question is whether they found eternal satisfaction for their souls. God gave the Hebrews manna from heaven in the Old Testament. It was intended to satisfy, yet many of the recipients were ungrateful. Jesus gave this miracle with the hope that the recipients would connect the gift with the giver. Jesus explained He is the “bread of life,” the new “bread from heaven.” I wonder what happened to the 12 extra basketfuls: were they given to the 12 disciples so that they would not forget? If yes, maybe it was now their turn to find a way to pay it forward.
10/13/2011 7:29:00 AM by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church | with 0 comments



Explore the Bible Lesson for Oct. 23: It’s All About God’s Plan

October 10 2011 by Randy Mann, minister of education and evangelism, Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church, Raleigh

Focal Passages: Romans 10:1-4,8b-18a; 11:28-32

In some ways, one would rather wade through a swimming pool full of alligators, hoping to come out unscathed, than to attempt to provide a brief discussion of these wonderfully celebrated, and hotly debated, chapters of scripture. It is important, however, to understand these chapters rightly both theologically, in terms of what they teach, and practically, in terms of how they call us to live.

Chapter 9 unequivocally confronts the reader with the realities of God’s sovereignty and divine election. Paul not only uses clear language to indicate these truths, but also constructs his argument in a way that demonstrates them as well. For this reason, the Calvinist holds up Romans 9 as “Exhibit A,” showing that the “U” (unconditional election) in the TULIP is well-founded.

The non-Calvinist quickly turns to Romans 10:13, and declares, “Ah, yes, but ‘everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.’” And so it begins. The Calvinist rebuts that it is true that “everyone” who calls on the Lord WILL be saved, BUT that only those who are “elected” will call. The non-Calvinist quickly flips to another “whosoever” passage like Acts 2:21 or to a passage like 2 Peter 3:9, which indicates that God is not “wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

So what are we to do? First, we should agree to affirm what scripture affirms: God is sovereign, and man is responsible. One commentator reminds us of how D.L. Moody illustrated these truths: “When we come to the door of salvation, we see the invitation overhead, ‘Whosoever will may come.’ When we pass through, we look back and see the words ‘Elect according to the foreknowledge of God’ above the door.”

Second, while we can never fully reconcile God’s sovereignty and human responsibility in our finite human minds, we must obediently show our “beautiful feet” (10:15b) by carrying the Good News of the gospel to those who need to hear. God will give eternal life to those who repent of sin and trust Christ. God is faithful to save. We must be obedient to go.
10/10/2011 9:38:00 AM by Randy Mann, minister of education and evangelism, Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church, Raleigh | with 0 comments



Bible Studies for Life Lesson for Oct. 23: Wholeness Restored

October 10 2011 by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church

Focal Passages: Mark 5:1-3, 6-13a, 15-20

In the early 1970’s I was privileged to hear the late David Wilkerson preach in Norfolk, Va.

There was a large crowd that night, and after preaching and giving the plan of salvation, Wilkerson did something I’d never seen before or since. He challenged the young people to not only come up to the stage to receive Christ, but to throw their drugs away (on the stage). Dozens of young men and women tossed their narcotics away that evening. In the years since I’ve wondered what happened to those who were freed that night of those poisonous addictions. Are they still free today? Are some of them working in Christian drug rehab centers? Are some of them preachers and deacons and Sunday School teachers? Are some now dead because they reverted back to their previous lifestyle? Having one’s life restored of the demons that possess us is a powerful miracle.

The man whom we often call Legion was a danger to himself and society. No human being had been strong enough to subdue him. He was a man greatly feared. Jesus knew the man was possessed with a huge number of demons, and he also knew the man would never be of any value to himself or society if he were not freed from those evil spirits. Unwilling to cater to the wishes of the demons, Jesus cast all of them into a herd of pigs. Unable to control themselves, the pigs rushed over the bluffs into the sea and promptly drowned. It was a day that would never be forgotten.

Jesus expected the man who had been healed to be a changed man; not temporarily, but permanently. For the first time in years the man was “in his right mind.” He recognized Jesus was a miracle worker, and he desperately wanted to follow Him. But it would not be. Jesus had a different assignment for the man.

Jesus commanded the man to share his story in the nearby cities, for He knew the man’s testimony would make a difference. Because the obedient and thankful man proclaimed Jesus as the healer, those hearing him were “amazed.”
10/10/2011 9:33:00 AM by Wayne Proctor, pastor, Eure Baptist Church | with 0 comments