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   The Parable of the Pounds
   Luke 19:11-27
Sunday School,  August 20, 2017
The emphasis of this parable is on the faithfulness of God’s people using the natural gifts, the Spiritual gifts and the opportunities we have been given by God to use to serve and glorify Him in this life. The atmosphere in which it was given is summed up in the word “expectancy.” The people, irritated over the domination of Rome were looking for their Messiah to come, overthrow Rome and set up His kingdom. As God’s servants today, we need to be ready when He returns and secondly, we need now to be good stewards of that which He has given to us. The servant who managed to salvage the one pound given to him is sadly like many Christians today who will be in heaven one day but have lived for self instead of God.

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   Watching and Waiting
   Luke 12:35-48
Sunday School,  May 21, 2017
Every genuine believer is a servant of God. Watching and waiting is a familiar theme with at least three of the parables of Jesus. As God’s servants, we are expected to be faithfully doing our work when our Lord returns. Not only does Jesus teach us concerning the certainty of His return at an unexpected moment, but there is a strong implication in the parable that His servants will continue serving for an unspecified time before that return. This describes the period of time in which we are living now and until that moment, every believer ought to be longing for it to take place (Titus 2:13; Revelation 22:20) and loving it (II Timothy 4:8). Those who love the Lord will be prepared and ready for it to take place.

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   Parable of the Alert Servants
   Mark 13:34-37
Sunday School,  March 12, 2017
During the Tribulation Period, there will be all kinds of signs that will indicate the soon return of Jesus Christ to the earth. For believers today, there are no signs that will signal His return. The disciples were looking for signs for the end of the present age (Mark 13:4). Jesus relates to them the Parable of the Alert Servants. Alertness was necessary for both the porter and the servants in the parable and for every believer since that day. Jesus said, “I SAY UNTO ALL, WATCH.” The Lord’s coming is imminent which reveals that He could return at any moment. Until that moment, as His servants, we all have a work to do (13:34). We are to keep busy serving Him until He returns and while serving, we must be ALERT - WATCHING. Jesus will return to the earth personally and gloriously. We need to be ready with great anticipation.

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   The Mustard Seed
   Matthew 13:312-32; Mark 4:30-31; Luke 13:18-19
Sunday School,  February 19, 2017
The mustard seed symbolizes something very small and insignificant that experiences enormous growth. The parable is all about KINGDOM GROWTH. The mustard seed produces a large plant, not actually a tree, and yet large enough for birds to sit in its branches. The elements of the parable include a man who sows the seed and in this case, it is Jesus Christ sowing the seed of the Gospel. The field is the world, though the Kingdom includes the universe and Heaven. The seed is the Word of God, the message of the King. The growth speaks of the advancement of the kingdom and is witnessed today in terms of the growth of the church. The birds represent the presence of evil, satanic interference in the Kingdom.

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   The Two Trees
   Matthew 7:15-20
Sunday School,  January 22, 2017
It is easy to miss great spiritual truths when we fail to look at and understand the context in which they are given. This parabolic illustration by Jesus Christ is not about trees and the context makes this clear. In the context of the Sermon on the Mount and chapter 7 in particular, Jesus gives us a a life principle that is very important in our relationships with other believers. We are not to judge one another but we are to be discerning. What some call the Golden Rule in verse 12 is a guiding principle by itself. We are to be discerning whether or not a tree (brother or sister in Christ) is yielding good fruit or evil fruit. You may discern that some are not truly Christians and these must be avoided lest you are influenced by their evil fruits.

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   Stones and Serpents
   Matthew 7:7-12
Sunday School,  January 1, 2017
Matthew 7 is the last part of the Sermon on the Mount given by Jesus. In verses 1 - 12, Jesus used three parabolic phrases as comparatives to teach on three different subjects.In verses 1 - 5, He gave instruction concerning judging others and used the comparison of the mote and the beam. In verse 6, He gave instruction on witnessing and used the comparison of the dogs, pearls and swine. In our study today, Jesus provides instruction on the subject of prayer in verses 7-12 and used a comparison between bread and a stone and fish and a serpent. All three instructions related to the first lesson concerning judging others.

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   The Mote and the Beam
   Matthew 7:1-6 , Luke 6:37-38
Sunday School,  December 11, 2016
God’s Word specifically commands us not to JUDGE one another. Matthew 7:1 states, Judge not, that ye be not judged. Romans 14:13 commands us not to judge one another. James 4:11 states that we are not to speak evil of another. In Matthew 7:1-6, Jesus uses a parabolic statement to emphasize this command. Why behold the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is thine own eye? It is not wrong to exercise discernment, but we must always start with ourselves. Most of us need to do some personal eye surgery before we try to perform such on someone else. We should always strive to glorify God in all our relationships and we must always choose to respond to others with love. That will cause us to treat them as we would like to be treated.

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   Series Introduction: The Parables of Jesus
   
Sunday School,  November 6, 2016
The parable is a literary form used often by Jesus Christ 1) To make ideas clear and intelligible, 2) to make lasting impressions, 3) to veil truth through the use of pictures that might otherwise cause offense, to elicit a judgment in one sphere in order to transfer it to another and 4) to fulfill prophecy (Matthew 13:34, 35; Psalm 78:2). There were those whose hearts and minds were closed to anything Christ would have spoken and to these, Jesus used parables to speak directly, as He did with the Scribes and Pharisees. Some of the parables contained mysteries so that His genuine followers would understand while others could not. It was not unusual for Jesus to reveal the motives of His hearers by using parables. Therefore, through parables Christ both concealed truth and revealed truth.

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   The Believer's Life of Faith
   Hebrews 11:1-3, 11-16; Romans 4
Sunday Morning Service,  October 9, 2016
 
Most people today do not know the joy and peace that comes from living by faith. Outside of the church, there is much strange thinking about the subject of faith. It is treated as a noun instead of a verb. Faith is an action word and it is always linked with obedience. We are living in an age when it is assumed that faith means nothing in the realities of contemporary life. It is a greater tragedy when the believer in passivity fails to trust God to the point of personal and active involvement in the life of faith. Romans 14:23 reminds us that whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Our lifestyle must arise out of a genuine trust in God or it will be categorized as sinful.

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   The Book of Habakkuk
   Habakkuk
Sunday School,  October 9, 2016
 
Habakkuk was a prophet who ministered toward the end of the seventh century BC, about the same time that Babylon was gearing up to be the dominant power in the Near East. The key text is quoted three times in the New Testament - "The just shall live by faith" (2:4). Habakkuk complained to God about the lurking danger of the Babylonians only to recognize that God was fully in control and that he needed to trust Him. It is God's will that the believer live by faith recognizing that God's way is perfect regardless of how terrible things seem to be. What seemed apparent to Habakkuk was based on the "now" instead of the eternal. A life of faith always keeps eternity in view.

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   The Spirit Filled Life
   Ephesians 5:17-18
Sunday Morning Service,  September 18, 2016
 
The command to be filled with the Spirit is one of the most misunderstood experience given to us in the Word of God. As a result, there are believers trying to achieve spiritual goals that do not exist. Failure to understand God's Word in this matter accounts for many disasters in the Christian life. This morning, we will consider three questions relating to this command - What does it mean? Can it be demonstrated? How can I experience it?

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   James Wrap Up
   James 1:26-27; 2:20-25
Sunday School,  September 18, 2016
This is the last session in the Epistle of James, a very practical study for living the Christian life. FAITH and SUFFERING are two themes that stand out in the text. A lot of people will claim to have faith but not a faith that works. James wrote, "If faith hath not works, it is dead." When Jesus preached the Gospel, it resulted in disciples, not couch potatoes. Genuine faith will be manifested in service. The suffering was the result of persecution which caused many believers to scatter to other countries. Being a child of God is not a guarantee of freedom from suffering. Those that endured were counted as happy in as much as their suffering caused them both to identify with Christ and to advance in their likeness to Christ (James 2:11).

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   Nebuchadnezzar's Empire Vision – Part 2
   Daniel 2:28-49
Sunday Morning Service,  July 10, 2016
 
God used a dream to communicate to Nebuchadnezzar the future kingdoms of the world. He was a powerful king with the ability to conquer empires, but he could not understand the message of God. God intervened through Daniel revealing how God establishes both rulers and their kingdoms. As a result, the lives of the king's wise men were spared and we have this incredible prophecy revealing the validity of God's Word.

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   Nebuchadnezzar's Empire Vision – Part 1
   Daniel 2:28-49
Sunday Morning Service,  July 3, 2016
 
God used a dream to communicate to Nebuchadnezzar the future kingdoms of the world. He was a powerful king with the ability to conquer empires, but he could not understand the message of God. God intervened through Daniel revealing how God establishes both rulers and their kingdoms. As a result, the lives of the king's wise men were spared and we have this incredible prophecy revealing the validity of God's Word.

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   The Filling of the Spirit of God
   John 7:37-39, Ephesians 5:18
Sunday Morning Service,  June 26, 2016
 
The filling of the Spirit is a topic talked about a lot, but seems to be experienced very little. Vance Havner in his book, Pepper and Salt, stated, "We spend much of our time in church these days trying to work up what is not there." Being filled with the Spirit is not something that can be worked up and yet this is so important to the spiritual maturity of the believer and his effectiveness as a servant of God.

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   Grieving the Holy Spirit – Part 3
   Isaiah 54:1-10
Sunday Morning Service,  June 12, 2016
 
In the Old Testament, Israel is pictured as the wife and God as the loving husband (Isaiah 54:5). Captivated by idolatry, God's people strayed from God like a harlot, forsaking Him. There are Christians today who do the same thing, straying from God and becoming unfaithful to Him. Of course, this grieves the Holy Spirit of God, but the main concern is how God responds to our unfaithfulness.

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   Wrapping Up James – Part 3
   James
Sunday School,  June 12, 2016
This is the third lesson reviewing and thinking about some of the subjects and issues we encountered in our study in the letter James written to the believers scattered into the different parts of the known world of that day.

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   Grieving the Holy Spirit – Part 2
   Ephesians 4:25-30
Sunday Morning Service,  June 5, 2016
 
We cannot even begin to imagine the difference in our lives, our homes, our churches and even in our community if we could just daily not to grieve the Holy Spirit. To grieve someone is to cause them sorrow, heaviness or hurt, to cause them to be saddened or to mourn. One of the reasons we as Christians grieve the Holy Spirit is our ignorance about Him and His role in our lives. The very fact that the Spirit of God can be grieved clearly reveals that He is a Person and that the believer has a personal relationship to this Divine Person. The believer is to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) which is to live daily in dependence upon Him.

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   Wrapping Up James – Part 2
   James 1
Sunday School,  June 5, 2016
This is the second lesson reviewing and thinking about some of the subjects and issues we encountered in our study in the letter James written to the believers scattered into the different parts of the known world of that day. In today's session, we will consider the Double Minded Person, Asking in Faith and the Perfect Law of Liberty. It is important for every believer to understand the freedom that is ours expressed in the Law of Liberty.

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   The Last Days of the Last Days
   Various Scriptures
Wednesday Evening Service,  May 18, 2016
The Last Days of the Last Days is the title of our Summer Prophecy Series. In this first session, we will consider the Role of Gentiles in Relationship to the Jews. This is very significant considering the hatred against Israel by so many countries today and how this relates to what the Bible states about Israel in the "Last Days." The second item is to note the nations today that are actually extensions of the nations when Judah and Israel were still in their land. The last part of this session relates to who actually belongs to the land of Israel and Palestine.

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   James Three Summary
   James 3
Sunday School,  April 10, 2016
James covers a wide variety of topics related to discipleship and Christian growth. It would appear that some of the saints were having problems with their tongues (James 1:26; 2:12; 3:1-12; 4:1, 11-12). It is most interesting that James places the subjects of the tongue and wisdom together. The tongue seems to get a lot of people into trouble while wisdom could keep the trouble from occurring and resolve any problems caused by it. Some of the problems of the tongue include slander, gossip, flattery, exaggeration, insinuation and even silence. Some think tongue problems are not that serious but God's Word is clear that whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all (James 2:10).

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   Seeing, Believing, Serving
   Acts 3 - 4
Sunday Morning Service,  March 27, 2016
 
The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is a fact of history.  The empty tomb, the transformation of the disciples, the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ and the ministry that followed are all crowning proofs of Christianity. It is estimated that one-third of humanity today profess to believe in the resurrection. This is significant because most of the people in the world know that Jesus existed and if He had not risen from the dead, no one today would have ever heard of him. The eyewitnesses of Christ's resurrection believed on Him and became His powerful servants.

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   Partakers of Christ's Suffering
   1 Peter 2:21, John 12:9-19
Sunday Morning Service,  March 20, 2016
 
On Palm Sunday, we see, in the scripture, what we refer to as the Triumphal Entry. Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the back of a borrowed donkey's colt that had never been ridden before. The masses, religious leaders and the disciples all had different perceptions as to why this was taking place. The purpose of Jesus was far different than all of their perceptions. What about our perception? What is the significance of Christ moving toward Calvary's Cross for us today?

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   The Believer's Responsibility to the Word of God
   James 1:19-22
Sunday School,  February 28, 2016
James 1:22 exhorts us to be "doers of the Word, and not hearers only." The pastor is required in Scripture to feed the sheep, over which the Holy Ghost has made him overseer of the local church (Acts 20:28). This involves 1) intense study of the Word of God, 2) understanding the original language and culture in which it was spoken, 3) sound hermeneutics which is the principle and method of interpreting the text of God's Word (2 Timothy 2:15) and 4) the exposition, which is the process of carefully translating the Word into food for the hearers. The believer's responsibility begins with being swift to hear, having an intense hunger for the Word which assists him in properly receiving it (James 1:19).

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   A Time of Transition
   Acts 1:12-14; Romans 15:4-7
Sunday Morning Service,  February 7, 2016
 
Just prior to His departure into Heaven, Jesus instructed His followers to WAIT for the promise of the Father (Acts 1:4). He recognized that there would be a time of transition between His departure and the arrival of the Holy Spirit of God. Not only did Jesus instruct them to wait, He also gave them instructions as to how they were to wait. Acts 1:14 reveals how they waited - "with one accord in prayer and supplication." Being now in a time of transition, we also need to follow the instruction of our Lord and Savior who said, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they FOLLOW Me (John 10:27). Therefore, like the disciples of Christ, we are to wait until the Lord brings us another shepherd and the key to achieving God's blessing and direction is to wait with one accord in prayer and supplication.

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   Hope in the Midst of Darkness
   Isaiah 9:2, John 1, 1 John 1
Sunday School,  December 27, 2015
 
Isaiah 9:2 speaks of a time when the people in Judah walked in darkness due to threats and attacks from Syria, Samaria and Assyria. In the midst of this darkness, God gave a message to Isaiah to give to King Ahaz that spoke of great hope as the result of a light that would shine upon them. Jesus Christ was that light and He walked and ministered in the area of Galilee, the place where it was the darkest in the eighth century. The prophecy related to the light that would continue to shine giving hope to all who would follow that light. Darkness is all over the world today and still Jesus Christ remains that light that can never be put out. That is what we celebrated on Christmas day. We also were at one time in darkness, but now are light in the LORD. As such, it is our responsibility to walk as children of the light (Eph. 5:18).

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   The Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ
   Isaiah 7:1-14; 9:1-2; Matthew 1:18-25; 4:15-16
Sunday School,  December 20, 2015
 
The true meaning of Christmas centers in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, God with us. Christ came to this earth at a time when the children of Israel walked in darkness. God's promise was that these same people would experience a great light (Isaiah 9:2). The historical context leading to the prophecy of the virgin birth is most important. The land of Judah was under the constant threat of attack from Samaria, Syria and Assyria and many thousands had already been killed. The promise from God was that a great light would be witnessed by these same people. Jesus was the answer to that prophecy Who said, I am the light of the world: He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12).

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   Introduction to James
   James 1:1
Sunday School,  November 15, 2015
Francis of Assisi and an apprentice went to a certain village to preach. They visited with many people, encouraging them in the faith and sharing Christ with others. Francis said that it was time to return home and the apprentice said, "But we have not yet preached." Francis said: "We did preach as the people watched, listened and responded to us. Every word we have spoken and every deed was a sermon." This illustration sums up the emphasis in the Epistle of James, which is practical and not doctrinal. The epistle teaches us that a living faith is evidenced by righteous living. It is an important book for us to study as the believer's belief is matched by his behavior. This will be the emphasis of our study together in James.

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   Historic Examples of Apostasy
   Jude 1:11-25
Sunday School,  November 8, 2015
Apostasy comes from the Greek word "apostasia" and literally means "a departure or defection from the truth." It is translated in the King James Version, "a falling away" (2 Thessalonians 2:3). In our last session, we looked at what apostates do and what they choose not to believe. In today's session, we will look at who they are, what they fail to accomplish and what we must do. Jude provides for us three examples of those who departed from the clear teaching of the Word of God - Cain, Balaam and Korah. Jude quotes from the writings of Enoch to reveal the judgment that will come upon those who depart from the truth and are considered "ungodly." Jude recognized the importance of our knowing this information that we might stay true to "the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."

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   The War Against Apostasy
   Jude 1:1-4
Sunday School,  November 1, 2015
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding (Proverbs 9:10). If mankind rejects this truth, he will find himself seeking wisdom and knowledge in other sources. This is total foolishness considering that God Himself is the ultimate source of all knowledge and wisdom. There are two sets of triads in this session, the first relating to whom the epistle is addressed and the second related to moral, social and doctrinal separation. Many churches in America have given themselves over to doctrinal apostasy having first chosen to ignore moral and social separation. The real enemy is Satan who has cunningly deceived many saints and churches leaving the door open for the infiltration of apostates. We must be vigilant in contending for the faith once delivered to the saints.

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   Contending for the Faith
   Jude
Sunday School,  October 25, 2015
While the book of Acts is referred to as the Acts of the Apostles, Jude could easily be called the Acts of the Apostates. Jude did not begin his epistle this way. He started out to encourage the saints by writing about the salvation he shared with them. Perhaps while addressing his letter, he was reminded of a most difficult situation in the church and sensed the necessity of warning the saints of apostasy that had crept into the church and exhorting them to contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. An ungodly element had made their way into the church and were turning the grace of God into promiscuity and denying Jesus Christ. Jude concludes his epistle by recognizing the only wise God and Savior Who was able to protect the saints from succumbing to this evil influence.

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   Diotrephes and Demetrius
   3 John 1:9-14
Sunday School,  October 11, 2015
Revelation 2-3 gives us a cameo picture of seven churches, each made up of different church members possessing different characteristics. The Apostle John focuses his attention on two totally different individuals, possibly in one of these churches. Demetrius is much like the church member every pastor wants in his church while Diotrephes would be shunned. Each are in most of our good churches today. There are four different kinds of Christians described in today's lesson and they are in all of our churches. Both Diotrephes and Demetrius would probably fall into one of these categories. Consider these two men and the four categories and honestly conclude what kind of church member you are.

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   Gaius the Beloved
   3 John 1:1-8
Sunday School,  September 27, 2015
First John was addressed to all Christians, most of them in the seven churches of Revelation to whom John would have had close fellowship. Second John was addressed to an unnamed lady, which was in actuality one of the seven churches, probably the church at Ephesus. Third John is addressed to Gaius, a beloved brother in one of the churches, again, probably the church at Ephesus. It is obvious that Gaius was a dear friend of John and it appears that he was later appointed to pastor the church of Pergamum. John instructed the saints to "love one another" in his first and second letters. In this third epistle, he demonstrated in the person of Gaius how this was to be accomplished.

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   Tying Up Loose Ends
   1 John 5:13-21
Sunday School,  September 13, 2015
There are five truths presented in this passage that form a summary for the first epistle of John. All five are important in the Christian life - 1) Eternal life, 2) Answered prayer, 3) Victory over sin, 4) Our relationship to God and 5) a reaffirmation that Jesus Christ is the true God. In the midst, the assurance of the believer's salvation is emphasized. Those who know for certain that they belong to God and have everlasting life believe that Jesus is the Christ, love all others who believe that Jesus is the Christ, obey the Word of God, have overcome the world, have their prayers answered, do not live in continuous sin and have the evidence of the divine nature within them affirming their relationship with God.

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   The Witness of God
   1 John 5:6-12
Sunday School,  September 6, 2015
"Witness" is the key word for this session and the object of the witness is Jesus Christ, affirming that He is God. Verse 8 declares that there are three that bear witness in earth - the Spirit, the water, and the blood. This passage was very important to the Christians during John's ministry because there were many false prophets claiming that Jesus was merely a man on whom "the Christ" came when He was baptized and that His divine nature left Him prior to Calvary. If Jesus did not possess His divine nature at the time of his death, He would not have conquered sin and death on our behalf. In the midst of these three witnesses, God provided a witness at Christ's baptism at the beginning of His earthly ministry and at His death at the end of His earthly ministry.

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   Overcomers in Christ
   1 John 5:1-5
Sunday School,  August 30, 2015
All who are born of God live in a godless world and therefore will face formidable obstacles in an attempt to accomplish the purpose of our creation and salvation. Many have found it much easier to drift with the world, to do their own thing instead of obeying God. Some even think that they can be worldly Christians, doing everything the unsaved crowd does and seeing nothing wrong with it. When a person becomes a Christian, he is a believer in Christ, born of God, justified by faith, given eternal life and washed in the blood of the Lamb. One who is truly born of God loves God's Word, believes His Word and obeys His Word. Today's text will make it clear whether you are an overcomer or deceived by the enemy of our souls. You can be an overcomer today, tomorrow and forever.

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   Our Sinful World
   1 John 2:15-17
Sunday School,  June 28, 2015
So many sermons have been preached on this text and youth pastors have used it over and over again with their young people and yet there is usually one thing missing. It is seldom mentioned what the world is and if there is an explanation, it usually boils down to behavior instead of belief, activities as opposed to a system or philosophy. We are told not to love the world and yet we are told in Scripture that God loves the world of people and sent His Son to save it (John 3:16; 4:42; 6:51; I John 2:2). Obviously, there are some different shades of meaning as to what the word "world" means and John provides more than one sense in his writings

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   The Prohibition of Sin
   1 John 2:1-2
Sunday School,  June 14, 2015
John writes his epistle as a safeguard so that we might not practice sin in our lives (I John 2:1). We all know that there is never a need to sin and yet we find ourselves sinning, most of the time without even realizing it. Sin affects our entire being and hinders our blessed fellowship with God. It affects our spiritual reasoning and our ability to understand and do the will of God. As genuine Christians, God has provided for us two Advocates - one with the Father in heaven, Who will come to our defense when we confess our sin (I John 1:9) and one Who dwells within us, Who convicts us of our sin and guides us into all truth (John 16:1-13). There is both joy and comfort in knowing that confession of sin will bring God's faithful forgiveness.

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   First John's Prologue – Part 3
   1 John 1:1-4
Sunday School,  May 24, 2015
First John is a wonderful epistle providing both doctrinal and practical insights for living the Christian life. First John 1:1-4 provides the introduction to this great epistle of the Apostle John. It will take us two weeks to cover it for in it is this great preface statement revealing the subject matter of the book. In these four verses, we will note the essence of true Christianity, the evidence for our Christian faith, and the message that we are to continue to proclaim. Verse 1 closes with the "Word of life," speaking of Jesus Christ Himself and referring us back to John 1:1 and 14 - "In the beginning was the Word...And the Word was made flesh. John and the other apostles experienced the Living Word daily for three years and writes from the perspective of that personal relationship.

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   Paul's Greeting to the Colossian Believers
   Colossians 1:1-2
Sunday Morning Service,  May 17, 2015
 
When approaching a Bible book, many Christians make the mistake of skipping the introductions. Some claim they do so in order to get to the meat of the book. For the Apostle Paul, the introduction is the road map to the rest of the epistle. More importantly, to avoid any part of God's Holy Word is to consider it non-essential. Jesus said, Man shall not live by bread alone, but BY EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDETH OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD (Matthew 4:4). The introduction to the Book of Colossians is no exception.

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   First John's Prologue – Part 2
   1 John 1:1-4
Sunday School,  May 17, 2015
First John is a wonderful epistle providing both doctrinal and practical insights for living the Christian life. First John 1:1-4 provides the introduction to this great epistle of the Apostle John. It will take us two weeks to cover it for in it is this great preface statement revealing the subject matter of the book. In these four verses, we will note the essence of true Christianity, the evidence for our Christian faith, and the message that we are to continue to proclaim. Verse 1 closes with the "Word of life," speaking of Jesus Christ Himself and referring us back to John 1:1 and 14 - "In the beginning was the Word...And the Word was made flesh. John and the other apostles experienced the Living Word daily for three years and writes from the perspective of that personal relationship.

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   First John's Prologue - Part 1
   1 John 1:1-4
Sunday School,  May 10, 2015
First John is a wonderful epistle providing both doctrinal and practical insights for living the Christian life. First John 1:1-4 provides the introduction to this great epistle of the Apostle John. It will take us two weeks to cover it for in it is this great preface statement revealing the subject matter of the book. In these four verses, we will note the essence of true Christianity, the evidence for our Christian faith, and the message that we are to continue to proclaim. Verse 1 closes with the "Word of life," speaking of Jesus Christ Himself and referring us back to John 1:1 and 14 - "In the beginning was the Word...And the Word was made flesh. John and the other apostles experienced the Living Word daily for three years and writes from the perspective of that personal relationship.

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   Jesus Appears to the Disciples
   John 21:1-14
Sunday School,  March 29, 2015
Jesus Christ chose when and where all of His post-resurrection appearances would take place and this appearance was set up especially for Peter. Peter, having failed the Lord, sensed that he could never be accepted by Him again and decided to go back to fishing. Six other disciples joined him and they fished all night catching nothing. The account is well known and the stranger on the shore gave instructions which led to a net filled with fish. John and Peter immediately recognized the stranger as Jesus, who once again became their Master. He gathered them around the fire for breakfast and He became their host. The purpose was to reintroduce Peter to Himself and to restore his commission as an apostle. Jesus took Peter's shame and turned it into something good so that Peter could once again serve the Lord and glorify God.

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   Understanding the Times
   Acts 1:6-8; 15:12-18
Sunday Morning Service,  February 22, 2015
 
Considering the times in which we live, it seems to make sense that we pay a little closer attention to end times prophecy. Paul described the hour of our existence as perilous times, meaning precarious, unsafe, uncertain or even dangerous as a result of conflicts that go all the way back to the Garden of Eden following the sin of Adam and Eve. Every person and every nation had or has a role to perform in this conflict, past, present and future. The one source of hope in the midst of the conflict is the Word of God whose author is the Creator, Controller and Finisher of time. Regardless of the raging storms of life, the Word of God will abide forever.

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   The Crucifixion of Jesus
   John 19:1-30
Sunday School,  February 8, 2015
The details of the crucifixion of Jesus are horrible and gruesome beyond words. It is probably for this reason that none of the Gospels dwell on the physical agony. It is important to understand that it is the central event of God's Holy Word. We spend far more time celebrating the incarnation of Jesus which was only a means to an end. Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners (I Timothy 1:15). I Corinthians 15:3 states that He died for our sins. The greatest amount of material in each Gospel centers on the crucifixion of Jesus, in terms of prophecy, preparation and the actual event. When Jesus cried out, It is finished, victory over sin was won and the provision for our salvation was secured. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

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   Approaching the New Year
   Jeremiah 1:1-10; Haggai 1:5
Sunday School,  December 28, 2014
 
As the children of Judah drifted in their relationship to God, the prophet Haggai challenged them to consider their ways (Haggai 1:5). This is something every believer should do as he approaches the New Year noting that Spiritual Evaluation should result in Spiritual Restoration. The first chapter of Jeremiah not only reveals that God created us, but He also knew us before we were in the womb, sanctified us and ordained our role in this world. Understanding these truths make the questions a priority so that we might accomplish the purpose of our creation and salvation. That is the key to finding genuine fulfillment in our lives.

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   Reviewing Christ's Earthly Ministry
   John 17:6-19
Sunday School,  December 21, 2014
John 17 is the high priestly prayer of Jesus for Himself (1-5), His disciples (6-19) and for all of His church (20-26). In the prayer for His disciples Jesus reports the various aspects of His ministry to them. He revealed the Father unto them (6-7), gave them the Father's Words (8, 14), prayed for them (9, 10), kept them safe (12), sanctified them (17, 19) and sent them into the world for ministry (18). Priorities for the disciples and the church include glorifying God the Father, unity in the body of Christ, the sanctification of the believer, and the believer's separation and protection from all evil and the evil one.

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   Jesus Prays for Himself
   John 17:1-5
Sunday School,  November 30, 2014
What if you could hear Jesus praying for you in the next room? In John 17, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is praying to God the Father. It is the longest of our Savior's recorded prayers in the book of God. John 17 is sometimes referred to as the "Holy of Holies." Obviously, this term could refer to the entire Bible, but it is a special privilege to enter into this holy conversation. The prayer breaks into three paragraphs though we will only get through the first one. Jesus prays for Himself in verses 1-5, His disciples in verses 6-19 and for future believers in verses 20-26. The prayer provides for us a perspective on the life, ministry, office and Person of our Lord and Savior Who loved us and redeemed us to God the Father by His own blood. It is vital that we dig into the depths of this prayer for a greater

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   Forgetting to Be Thankful
   Psalm 103:1-13
Sunday Morning Service,  November 23, 2014
 
We will officially celebrate Thanksgiving in America Thursday, but how many people will truly remember to be thankful to God. Turkey, family and Black Friday will cause many to forget what Thanksgiving is all about. Yet thankfulness is much the pulse of the Christian life, a sign of spiritual health. Psalm 103 is totally an expression of praise and thankfulness moving from personal praise (1-5) to grace and mercy abounding (6-18) and closing with a doxology of praise (19-22). Without making any requests, the psalmist praises God for five wonderful blessings.

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   Advantages in Christ's Departure
   John 16:16-33
Sunday School,  November 23, 2014
There are times in all of our lives when circumstances look very bleak leaving us with confusion, frustration, stress, and a sense of helplessness. This is the way the disciples of Jesus felt when it was made known that He would be departing from them. Then Jesus revealed that they would be facing great opposition from the world, yet they could be confident knowing that He had overcome the world. In the same way, we are over-comers in and through Jesus Christ transforming any sorrows and cares into joy and victory.

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   Three Troubling Predictions
   John 13:18-38
Sunday School,  September 28, 2014
The three troubling predictions include the DEFECTION of Judas, the DEPARTURE of Jesus and the DENIAL of Peter. All of these were possible because Jesus knows what is in the heart of every human being. He fully knew that Judas was going to betray Him. Ephesians 1:4-5 reveals that God knew and planned for every believer before the world ever existed. He loved us and proved that love in giving His life for us on Calvary's Cross. Christ shared how we are to love one another, just as He has loved us, even when we were unloving (Romans 5:8, 10).

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   The Cleansing of the New Messianic Community
   John 13:1-17
Sunday School,  September 21, 2014
Two major events occur in this passage: 1) Satan put into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus and 2) Jesus washed the feet of the disciples. There is a third emphasis revealing His knowledge as God. He knew that His hour had come and where He came from and where He was going. He knew that Judas would be betraying Him and that the Father had given all things into His hands (13:3). In the washing of the disciples feet, He taught them two great lessons: 1) The importance of serving one another and 2) that true happiness comes from humble service.

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   The Coming of the Greeks
   John 12:20-36
Sunday School,  August 31, 2014
This passage is a major transition passage for both 1) the ministry of Jesus Christ and 2) in the makeup of the Church of Jesus Christ. The title refers to the truth that God's great plan of salvation is not any longer just for the Jews but also for Gentiles and this is what opened the door for the Church of Jesus Christ. The other transition is found in the words of Jesus in verse 23, "The hour is come." Up to this moment it was impossible for the Jewish leaders to seize and kill Him. In each attempt, Jesus said, "Mine hour is not yet come" (John 2:4; 7:30; 8:20). It is interesting that Gentiles came to Christ to worship Him at the time of His birth and here they come to Him just prior to his death. They may have surmised that Jesus was the promised King of the Jews even as the Jewish people were rejecting Him.

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   The Ten Commandments
   Exodus 20:1-17; Galatians 3:19-24
Wednesday Evening Service,  August 6, 2014
 
Speaking for the entire body of Christ, the Apostle Paul said, But we know that the Law is good (I Timothy 1:7, 8). Jesus said, Think not that I am come to destroy the law...but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17, 18). Jesus took the Ten Commandments and summed them up in two commandments. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30, 31). It is by the Law that we recognized we were sinners in need of a Savior Galatians 3:24; Romans 7:7). Obeying the Law does not save us, but it does reveal our faithfulness to God and our ability to keep it in Christ. It is also a great tool for sharing the Gospel with the unsaved.

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   Wedded to Christ
   Romans 7:1-13
Sunday Morning Service,  July 13, 2014
 
Married to Christ? You cannot exaggerate the possibilities in such a thought. Paul is dealing with the believer's relationship to God's Law. The Old Testament saint lived in bondage to the Law while the New Testament saint has been set free from the Law. The Apostle Paul pictures the believer's new position by using the analogy of marriage further revealing what it means for the Christian to be in Christ. There are many privileges and benefits in this relationship for which every believer ought to be preparing.

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   Dispute over Christ's Authority
   John 8:12-30
Sunday School,  July 13, 2014
Jesus often used metaphors and similes to illustrate divine truth related to life. In John 8:12-30, we are going to look at Christ's Personal Disclosure where He bears record of Himself and Christ's Peculiar Departure revealing what will take place after His finished work on Calvary's cross. In so doing, Jesus refers to His authority over mankind by being the Light of the World. The dialogue that follows clearly reveals man's refusal to submit to Christ's authority. The religious leaders did not know Christ, where He was going and where they were going, revealing that they were in the dark spiritually.

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   Jesus at the Feast of Tabernacles - Part 2
   John 7:1-53
Sunday School,  June 22, 2014
The Feast of Tabernacles took place about six months after the events in John 6. This event occurred just after the fall harvest. It was a time of celebration looking back to God's protection and provision during Israel's journey from Egypt through the wilderness to the Promised Land. It also looked forward to the promised kingdom of Messiah and was one of three yearly feasts requiring all Jewish males twelve and over to attend in Jerusalem. Jesus met this requirement but did not travel with His brethren or disciples. He went secretly because of those who wanted to take His life. "I go not up yet unto this feast; for My time is not yet full come" (John 7:8). Note also John 2:4; 7:6, 8,30; 12:23, 13:1; 17:1.

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   Jesus at the Feast of Tabernacles - Part 1
   John 7:1-53
Sunday School,  June 15, 2014
The Feast of Tabernacles took place about six months after the events in John 6. This event occurred just after the fall harvest. It was a time of celebration looking back to God's protection and provision during Israel's journey from Egypt through the wilderness to the Promised Land. It also looked forward to the promised kingdom of Messiah and was one of three yearly feasts requiring all Jewish males twelve and over to attend in Jerusalem. Jesus met this requirement but did not travel with His brethren or disciples. He went secretly because of those who wanted to take His life. "I go not up yet unto this feast; for My time is not yet full come" (John 7:8). Note also John 2:4; 7:6, 8,30; 12:23, 13:1; 17:1.

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   The Fifth Sign
   John 6:1-21
Sunday School,  June 1, 2014
In the Gospel of John, we have been centering our attention on the signs or miracles that were performed by our Lord during His earthly ministry. These signs not only validated His deity but they are recorded so that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through His name (John 20:31). We must keep in mind that a miracle is merely the result of God doing something in a way He does not ordinarily do them. This fifth sign is considered by some as Christ's greatest miracle because of the number of witnesses that saw it firsthand. Following the miracle, the people wanted to make Christ their king. As Christians, we ought to give Him His rightful place in our lives - King, Lord, God and Savior.

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   The Healing of the Royal Official's Son
   John 4:43-54
Sunday School,  May 11, 2014
The healing of the nobleman's son is the third sign and second miracle recorded in the Gospel of John. John's Gospel records seven signs that his readers might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name (John 20:31). There were many other signs that Jesus did that are not recorded by John (John 20:30). Each sign performed by Jesus resulted in people believing that He was indeed the Messiah (John 3:2; 7:31; 11:45; 12:9-11, 42; 20:29). The nobleman believed after recognizing that Christ's personal presence was not necessary in order to heal his son. He heard (4:47), believed (4:50) and experienced the reality of Christ in his home (4:53). These three responses give us a picture of genuine faith. He believed the Word of God and acted upon it.

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   The Testimony of John the Baptist - Part 2
   John 3:22-36
Sunday School,  April 27, 2014
God has called every believer to be a servant for His glory. There are some who serve for other reasons, for public recognition and praise and some even for money and of course, they are always worth more than they are paid. John the Baptist served purely out of His love for God. SERVANT is the word that best describes his life and HUMILITY is the word that best describes his character as he served. His whole ministry was wrapped up in introducing Christ to the people of Israel. We would all be more powerful servants is we followed John's example expressed so clearly in John 3:30: He must increase, but I must decrease.

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   The Preeminence of Jesus Christ
   Colossians 1:15-23
Sunday Morning Service,  March 16, 2014
 
Epaphras trusted Christ as Lord and Savior through the ministry of the Apostle Paul, who was preaching and teaching in Ephesus. Not only did he become a faithful witness in the area, but he took the gospel back to Colosse and saw to it that a church was established there. The Apostle Paul wrote the Epistle of Colossians to this church to encourage the saints to stand on a firm foundation. The false teachers wanted the saints to shift their foundation to their pagan teaching. Not only was his admonition to stand firm appropriate, but it was illustrated by the fact that Colosse sat on an earthquake zone.

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   The Testimony of John the Baptist
   John 1:19-34
Sunday School,  March 9, 2014
There are over 360 names and titles for Jesus Christ recorded in the Bible. Many of the names of Jesus are descriptive of His person while at the same time providing information concerning His purpose for coming to this earth. John's conclusion as to the Person of Jesus Christ is given in John 1:34 - And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God (John 1:34). The purpose in His coming to this earth is given in John 1:29 - Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. While the name or title Lamb of God is peculiar, it clearly reveals that Jesus Christ is the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament, God's Son, Who came into world as the Great Sacrifice for sin. This was John's testimony.

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   A Comprehensive Account of Our Salvation
   Titus 2:11-14, 3:4-7
Sunday School,  January 19, 2014
This lesson is Part 2 of the session on Titus 2:11-14. You might think that you are sitting in an elementary theology class as we will be examining the doctrine of salvation. We will zero in on two key words from the text: regeneration and justification, words that are not understood by many believers. What does it really mean to be born again. Many will claim to be saved or born again, but what does that actually mean. Then we will conclude by looking how we are to live as born again Christians.

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   Titus Conclusion
   Titus 3:12-15
Sunday School,  January 12, 2014
The Apostle Paul concludes his epistle with an invitation to Titus to join him in Nicopolis. He sends two appointees, Artemas and Tychicus to be interim pastors on Crete while Titus is away. Then he gives one more reminder of what has been a major theme in the epistle - "maintain good works." As the pastor, Titus must model good works before the people (Titus 2:7). Titus 2:14 reveals one of the purposes why God saved us - that we might be "zealous of good works," always looking to perform them. We are to be "ready to every good work" in Titus 3:1 and again, we are to "maintain good works" in Titus 3:8. We need to remember that we are to be like Christ and Acts 10:38 states that He went about doing good

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   Final Instructions
   Titus 3:8-10
Sunday School,  December 29, 2013
This section deals with two major themes that are linked by performance - works and heretics. We are not saved by our works but our works give evidence of our salvation. This is a controversial issue because many people think they will get to heaven based on their good works. As Christians we are servants of the most high God. Our text declares that maintaining good works is good and profitable unto men. Verses 9 and 10 reveal controversial individuals - heretics, those who are bent on foolishness and divisive contentions. These are to be avoided and rejected before they divide the local body of Christ.

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   The Work of Salvation
   Titus 3:4-7
Sunday School,  December 22, 2013
Titus 3:4-7 is one long sentence and provides one of the most comprehensive accounts of our salvation. God our Savior is the source of our salvation and it came to us as a result of His kindness, love, mercy, and grace. We were totally depraved, helpless and hopeless sinners, but God saved us (Titus 3:5) from sin, death and hell and from all of the characteristics of our total depravity described in Titus 3:3. Every person of the omnipotent Godhead is involved in our salvation, God the Father (4, 5), God the Son (6) and God the Holy Spirit (5), resulting in our regeneration. Generation is one birth while regeneration is two births. A person must be born again in order to experience God's salvation.

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   The Responsibility of Christian Slaves
   Titus 2:9-10
Sunday School,  November 10, 2013
It is estimated that there were about sixty million slaves in the Roman Empire. Most of them lived in a hopeless existence. Therefore, when the Apostle Paul and others came and preached the Gospel, slaves were among the first to receive Christ. It gave them a new hope for the future, changed their lifestyle and in many cases changed their status with their masters. As Christians, like the slaves back then, we have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). Romans 6:22 reveals that we have been set free from sin, death and hell and have a new Master that has given us the status of sons - family - Christ ones.

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   Doctrinal Truth and Right Living
   Titus 2:6-8
Sunday School,  November 3, 2013
Right living is produced through careful attention to theological truth. That is the trust of Titus which is clearly seen in Titus 2:6-8. Clear doctrinal teaching will lead to right living. This would have been very important to Titus who was responsible for appointing mature pastors to oversee doctrinal purity and good conduct in Crete, an area known for heresy or false doctrine. God has called every Christian to be an example of the believer and to be zealous of good works, recognizing the watching world around us.

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   A Colony of Heaven
   Philippians 3:20-21
Sunday Morning Service,  October 13, 2013
 
As Christians, we possess a dual citizenship. We are citizens of the United States of America and citizens of heaven.  Our heavenly citizenship is dependent on our relationship to Jesus Christ. Our homeland is wherever Christ is since we are united to Him (Ephesians 2:6).  While our physical position is here on earth, our spiritual position is in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  As long as we maintain our earthly citizenship, we remain absent from the Lord.  Until that time, we are a colony of heaven living on earth.

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   Paul's Introduction and Greeting to Titus
   Titus 1:1-4
Sunday School,  September 8, 2013
Paul introduces himself as a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ in verse 1 and in verse 4 he reveals Titus, to whom the letter is addressed. Titus is the overseer of the young churches on the Island of Crete and Paul refers to him as mine own son after the common faith. The words common faith refer to the whole body of revealed truth, which he refers to as sound doctrine (Titus 1:9, 13; 2:1,2, 8; 3:8). Paul's introduction is large, considering how short the epistle, yet it sets the theological tone with which Titus must teach in order to set the local churches in order (Titus 1:5).

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   Christ's Last Public Ministry
   Mark 10:45-52
Sunday Morning Service,  July 28, 2013
Jesus is on the final stretch of the journey to Jerusalem and His perseverance has not diminished. He is determined to finish the work that God the Father and He arranged prior to the foundation of our world. Along this journey, Jesus has healed many different people with all kinds of diseases. However, in the Synoptic Gospel passages, this is the first time when the name of the person Jesus healed is named, Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus.

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   The Theology of the Cross
   Mark 10:35-45
Sunday Morning Service,  July 21, 2013
Sometimes, what appears to be the main theme of a text may indeed only be the stimulant for something else. The disciples are exhibiting ambitious motives related to unclear spiritual vision. Indeed, there are rewards to be gained in faithfully following Christ, but those rewards should never be our motive for faithfulness and service. They may not like what they hear, but Jesus reveals that they should be ready to expect a cross, for the servant is not greater than his Lord. While the disciples have misunderstood Christ’s calling and destiny, it is clear that they misunderstand their own calling and destiny as well.

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   The Astonishment of the Disciples
   Mark 10:32-34
Sunday Morning Service,  July 14, 2013
This is the third and last explicit prediction to Christ’s disciples concerning His coming Passion and it is the most detailed of the three. With that in mind, you would think this would be a very slow journey. Instead, Jesus set His face like a flint toward Jerusalem (Isaiah 50:7) and the disciples are astonished (Mark 10:24, 32). In verse 24, they were astonished at His Words. In verse 32, they are astonished at His urgent determination to get to Jerusalem to complete the task for which He had come (Matthew 20:28).

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   Mutual Prayer
   2 Thessalonians 3:1-5
Sunday School,  July 14, 2013
Any believer who seeks to serve the Lord will discover hindrance by the enemy of our souls. The ministry was very difficult in Corinth (Acts 18) and the Apostle Paul asks the saints in the church at Thessalonica to pray for those involved in the ministry among the Corinthian people. Paul desires them to pray that what God did in Thessalonica would be accomplished in Corinth as well. Mutual prayer is the title of this lesson because the paragraph begins with Paul asking for prayer from the saints at Thessalonica and ends with Paul praying for them. It is just as urgent that we regularly pray for one another as we seek to serve Christ.

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   George Stiekes
   Mark 10:23-31
Sunday Morning Service,  July 7, 2013
The rich young ruler appeared to have everything, but Jesus said that one thing was lacking - he did not have a living faith in God. His response to Christ’s command revealed that money was his god. He trusted what money could do for him, worshiped it and even found fulfillment from it. It not only robbed him of eternal life, it kept him from being a disciple of Christ. For the love of money is the root of all evil (I Timothy 6:10). Money and possessions cannot take care of anyone. We will leave it all behind when we leave this earth. We must recognize that God can look after our welfare both now and in glory eternally (Matthew 6:33).

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   God's Continuing Work in the Believer - Part 2
   Philippians 1:3-8
Wednesday Evening Service,  June 26, 2013
Paul’s prayer is the subject of Philippians 1:3-11. In this passage, Paul’s care for the saints at Philippi is pictured intellectually, volitionally and emotionally. Fellowship would be the key word resulting from God’s good work performed in the life of the believer Justification, sanctification and glorification. This perfect work will be fulfilled to its completion (Philippians 1:6). Therefore it is linked with the return of the Lord Jesus Christ for His saints, at which time our vile bodies will be fashioned like unto the glorified body of our Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:21).

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   Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler
   Mark 10:17-22
Sunday Morning Service,  June 23, 2013
The rich young ruler asked the most important question anyone could ever ask What must I do to inherit eternal life? Man in his sinful nature, like this young ruler, has rejected the answer given by Jesus Christ. This has resulted in the founding of more than two thousand different religions, cults and religious organizations. The rich young ruler went his way without obtaining eternal life. At the final judgment, there will be many who will give testimony to the wonderful works they have performed as members of these different religions. Jesus will then say to them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matthew 7:23). There is only one way to have your sins forgiven and to gain everlasting life and that is through Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me (John 14:6).

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   God's Continuing Work in the Believer – Part 1
   Philippians 1:6
Wednesday Evening Service,  June 19, 2013
The continuing work of God in the believers at Philippi was a source of joy to the Apostle Paul. It was the evidence of genuine faith in Christ. He was confident that the work God started in them (justification) would continue (sanctification) right up until the day of Jesus Christ (glorification). The work of justification is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8, 9) what God does FOR us. The work of sanctification is what God does IN us as we grow in our relationship with Him through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:10). Philippians 1:6 is our key text for this study providing the assurance that what God starts, He will finish. We will look at a number of different texts to support the security of the genuine believer.

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   Jesus Loves the Little Children
   Mark 10:13-16
Sunday Morning Service,  June 16, 2013
The Jewish people looked upon children as being a blessing from God and not a burden as many see them in America today. Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD; and the fruit of the womb is His reward (Psalm 127:3). It was customary for parents to bring their children to the rabbis to be blessed. In the same way, it was reasonable that they should bring their children to Jesus who welcomed them all, even though many of them did not have the understanding to desire His blessing or to be moved with holy desire and faith.

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Bethany Bible Church • 207 Chadwick Ave • Hendersonville, NC