Bible Study Notes 10/5/21

Word Alive!

© 2021Fall Series

You Can Change!

Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton

Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor

Tuesday, 5 October 2021,


Lesson 4, Part 1

Devotional Time: “Change” Chapter 3, pp. 65-74


Change Is Possible For Anyone– Weak areas in our lives can cause us to feel we can’t change. Some Christians are strong in the conviction of their faith; however, they still struggle with habits and acts of behavior, which are uncharacteristic of Christian maturity. God has created us for change. The religious leaders during the time of Jesus had a strong orientation of God’s word, but their knowledge of the scriptures was not evident in their behavior. Jesus told His followers that they were expected to, “live out their God created identity (cf. Matthew 5:48, The Message Bible).” Change does not mean human perfection; but maturing into a complete character. In the NLT and NIV, the admonition of Jesus, reads: “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48, NLT).” Two Greek words are used differently in referring to the word perfect. We are to become mature (teleios), as God is already whole and mature (teleiotes). Change means we must become as God is. No sustaining or radical change can occur in a Christian’s life without God. The good news is, every Christian has the ability (gift) to live a changed life (cf. Ephesians 4:1;7, NLT). In his helpful devotional, Yes! You Really CAN Change, Chip Ingram comments: “Once made in the image of God, we are being restored into the character and nature of Jesus, the perfect image of God. Literally and figuratively, we are reborn.” When the Apostle Paul prayed for Christians in Ephesus and the surrounding region, he praised God, who is able to work through every believer and accomplish infinite change (cf. Ephesians 3:20, NLT). Ingram says change is the responsibility of every Christian, but God “provides the power.” When we seek to respond to the inner voice of God to make a change in our behavior or life, we must not defeat ourselves with self-doubt, worry, or self-condemnation. Some people may be tempted to hesitate, or even procrastinate, when it becomes certain that a change must be made in their lives. Often it is shame and guilt about the past. The Apostle Paul was transparent in sharing that his past life should have invalidated him as an apostle. However, he rejoiced that God poured into him grace. God’s favor, strengthened Paul’s resolve to change. Paul said of his radical change, it was, “Not I, but God.” (Cf. I Cor. 15:9-10, NLT).


Transition – Changes which occur in our lives will face some challenges. No challenge will be too great for what God has planned for us. The invasion of sickness or disappointment, or even an avalanche of criticism, cannot destroy what is God’s plan. The scriptures assure us, even when we fail or encounter a misstep at times, we can still succeed (cf. Proverbs 24:15-16, NLT). In any transition or change we face in life, the scriptures are clear: God provides safety and protection (cf. Psalm 34:19-22, NLT). If we focus on the challenges of the process, we will fail to see the hope that is on the horizon. Similarly, we must consider our needs within the context of God’s plan for us as we engage with other believers. Pastor Chip Ingram speaks of the strength we can acquire, as we engage meaningfully in our concern for other believers. He says, “Many of us prefer…the idea of pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps. But individualism can be destructive in our relationship with Jesus. The idea that it’s just us, our Bible, and our prayers alone with God is never presented in the New Testament as normal.” This fact is stressed in the Epistle to the Hebrews, where Christians are encouraged to motivate each other as we trust God for change in each of our circumstances (cf. Hebrews 10:23-24, NLT). Encouraging other Christians in their process of transition or change, does not mean that we neglect our personal spiritual needs. Transition involves an evaluation of areas in our lives which must be changed (cf. Ephesians 4:31-31, NLT). Christian maturity is the result of a process of thinking, being, and doing that brings us into deeper fellowship with Christ, and others. A sign of Christian maturity, is the believer’s ability to give attention and focus to what God intends him or her to do (cf. Galatians 6;4-5, NLT). A deeper spiritual level of maturity is evident when a person is not as concerned about their status or position among others, but their place with God. There is always a transition period related to change in our lives. Joseph was a part of God’s plan for the Jewish people. The placement of Joseph in Egypt at seventeen years of age, was to prepare the Israelites and the Egyptians for the changes that were to come. Joseph’s trials were God’s way of both testing and conditioning his character for leadership, that would save his people and Egypt from famine (cf. Psalm 105:16-17; 20, NLT). The transitions we experience are a part of God’s system of evolving change.


__________________________KEY IDEA__________________________


What We Believe!


Change is possible for all who trust God.


1. Maturity is essential for genuine change!

2. God participates in changes that occur in our lives.


KEY VERSES

Matthew 5:48, Message

“In a word, what I am sayings, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and gracious toward others, the way God lives toward you.”


Ephesians 4:1;7, NLT

“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. However, He has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.”


Ephesians 3:20, 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.”


I Corinthians 15:9-10, NLT

“For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I am not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church. But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out His special favor on me – and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by His grace.”


Proverbs 24:15-16, NLT

“Don’t wait in ambush at the home of the godly. And don't raid the house where the godly live. The godly may trip seventies, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.”


Psalm 34:19;22 NLT

“The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue. The Lord will redeem those who serve Him. No one who takes refuge in Him will be condemned.”


Hebrews 10:23-24, NLT

“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”


Ephesians 4:31-32, NLT

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage,anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another,just as God, through Christ has forgiven you.”


Galatians 6:4-5, NLT“Pay attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone for we are each responsible for our own conduct.”


Psalm 105:16-17; 20, NLT“He called for a famine on the land of Canaan, cutting off its food supply. Then He sent someone to Egypt ahead of them – Joseph, who was sold a slave…Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character.”







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