Bible Study Notes 10/18/22
©2022 Fall Series
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 18 Oct. 2022, Lesson 1, Part 2 (Emphasis)
Thom S. Rainer, Connected – My Life In the Church (Session 1)
Devotional Time: Thom S. Rainer, Connected, Chapter 1 (pp. 5-9)
Being Connected In Christ - All of Life is about being connected to someone or something. As a baby develops in the its mother, the infant is connected by an umbilical cord. This tubular extension of the child’s naval membrane, often is called the “life-line.” It is essential for nourishment and life for the very young emerging human being. Once the child is born, the cord is severed; however, the child must depend on its mother, or a surrogate, to provide emotional support, feeding, and care. All throughout life the child will need nurturing and emotional support and guidance, until they are able to navigate these functions by themselves. Even so, because God created us to live and grow in community with others, some level of support and mutual bonding will always be needed (Read: Genesis 2:18, NLT). We simply need to be connected in some way or other to survive and thrive. As Christians, we believe that connection, comes from God through faith (trust; belief) in the teachings of His son, Jesus Christ, and the sacrifices of Jesus on our behalf through His atoning death and Resurrection. (Read: Romans 10:10-13, NLT). Once we come to receive Christ in our hearts, we are forever connected to the family of believers, who are called Christians. Unlike our physical infancy, our connection is not the result of human factors, but of a spiritual birth, which comes through faith in Jesus (Read: John 1:12-13, NLT). We’re reborn! (Read, I Peter 1:22-23, NLT). As in physical birth, our spiritual birth has meaning:
• We are born to become nurtured through God’s Word.
• We are born to be united in a Christian fellowship; to become connected with other Christians to form community and represent Christ in the world.
• We are connected with Christ to experience fellowship with Him; and to discern God’s great plan for our lives.
• We are called to serve others with the love Christ gives us, and to be a living example of His purpose in the world.
• We are connected with Christ to experience personal growth; maturity; spiritual wisdom; and meaningful change in our lives.
• In connecting with Christ, we learn to release the unnecessary and harmful thoughts/actions, that impede our maturity; so, we can experience inner spiritual peace and develop a mature faith.
• In connecting with Christ, we face challenges with faith; and not with fear and resignation. In all things, Christ is our hope!
Connected In Christ, Pt. 2 – The Epistle to the Ephesians, a letter that circulated in an area that had a diverse population, is attributed among the writings of the Apostle Paul. This New Testament book is important, because it gives us rich insights into the development of the Christian community; a newer generation of Christians who were active; broke divisions; and claimed a new identity. The risen Christ commissioned the Apostle Paul to reach the Gentile nations: this was all groups of people, who were not part of the Jewish population. Great hostility existed among different ethnic groups. This divisive relationship was mostly defined as the hostility between Jews and Gentiles. In Paul’s passionate letter to the people in what was called the Asia minor region, he affirms the place and presence of Gentiles, once alienated, as being brothers and sisters in Christ (Read: Ephesians 2:19-22, NLT). We may note in Paul’s language; descriptions of Christians, which are as valid today as they were over 2,000 years ago:
1. Citizens – to be a citizen in ancient times, especially in regions controlled by the Roman Empire meant you had “equal status.” Paul says, “You are citizens along with God’s people.” All Christians are made righteous through faith.
2. Members – we belong to each other as Christians, and we become unique as “God’s family.” (See, I Peter 2:9, NLT).
3. House of God – as people we become the “dwelling place” for the presence of God. We’re not a physical structure, but we’re (as Peter said) “living stones.” (See, I Peter 2:5, NLT).
4. People of the Word – the meaning of our faith is found in the testimonies of the early apostles and prophets.
5. Christ – holds, and keeps us united as the family of God.
The prayer Paul offers for the church gives us the most powerful statement of how important our faith is; and, why God has chosen to work through us, once we place our faith in Jesus Christ (Read: Ephesians 3:14-21, NLT). We note in the prayer, all that God does for us is so we may be “made complete.” God works within us to do with us, and for us, far more than we could ever imagine (Read: Ephesians 3:20-21, NLT).
What We Believe!
“Our Connection in Jesus is “to become” and “to belong.”
1. Christ invites us to be loved; accepted; and to be changed.
2. Christ lives within us; to conform us to be like Him.
Genesis 2:18, NLT
“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”
Romans 10:10-13, NLT
“For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. And the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be dis-graced.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on Him. For every-one who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
John 1:12-13, NLT
“But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn – not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.”
I Peter 1:22-23, NLT
“You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. For you have been born again. But not toa life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal living word of God.”
Ephesians 2:19-22, NLT
“So now you [Gentiles] are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all God’s people. You are members of God’s family. Together we are His house built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus Himself. We are care-fully joined together in Him, becoming a holy Temple for the Lord. Through Him you [Gentiles] are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by His Spirit.”
Ephesians 3:14-21, NLT
“When I think of this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of every-thing in heaven and on earth. I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your heart as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”
Ephesians 3:20-21, NLT
“Now all glory to God, who is able through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all
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