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Bible Study Notes 11/23/21

Word Alive!

© 2021 Fall Series

You Can Change!

Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton

Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Lesson 8, Part 1

Chip Ingram, Yes! You Really CAN Change

Devotional Time: “Change” Chapter 7 (pp. 145-153)

Breaking Strongholds – In the New Testament there is only one mention of “stronghold,” and it is found in 2 Corinthians 10:4. The Greek word used is ochuroma (o’ cho ’roma). The imagery of the word is a “mighty walled-fortress,” which is impenetrable. Paul’s use of the word was directed at false teachings that were very persuasive in luring some Christians away from the teachings of the faith. Paul warned the Christians in Corinth that those strongholds could be demolished only by the spiritual teachings given to them. Similarly, the mighty obstacles that prevent change in our lives can be overtaken only through our faith in obedience to the teachings of God’s word. Our persistent devotion to God will prevent us from allowing sin to control us (cf. Romans 6:12-13, NLT). We can cancel the possibility for change, if we allow our minds and lives to become receptacles for what is contrary to God’s will. The Apostle Paul told the Christians at Rome “to do what is right for the glory of God.” Because we belong to God, the very forces that work to entice us to live contrary to God’s will (sin), can be defeated by the power of the Holy Spirit within us (cf. Romans 8:1-2, NLT). Change comes when we realize we are not condemned by God, but forgiven by Him! In his helpful devotion, Yes! You Really CAN Change, pastor Chip Ingram says many Christians struggle with some sins, which are habitual. He says they often ask, “How can I break out of this habitual pattern of sin and destruction?” Pastor Ingram says they are really asking, “How do I live a holy life?” A holy life is not about tedious rules and regulations as the Pharisees taught, but it is in our daily behavior, as we follow the teachings; spiritual principles, moral and ethical standards Jesus has given us (cf. John 8:31). Paul says our freedom in Christ is to use every occasion to demonstrate the life of Christ (cf. Galatians 5:13-15, NLT). One way to break the strongholds of doubt and fear, is to realize that our birth in Christ has “already” given us a “new nature.” Again, Paul emphatically said, the Holy Spirit has freed us from the domination of sin. Pastor Ingram says unfortunately, there are some teachings that only emphasize our past sinful nature. He says, “Some theologies continue to stress our …nature as sinners and never move to discussing the divine nature we’ve received and the resurrection we can now experience.” Breaking through means, we’re more than what we were!

Beyond Strongholds- The Apostle Paul was perhaps one of the most transparent apostles in revealing the pain and hardship of his life as a Christian. He was aware that the freedom he obtained through faith in Jesus Christ was tempered by various trials. Paul remained undaunted by these challenges, and he assured Christians that the power of the Spirit of Christ within them/us is greater than the forces without. Paul said Christians must “strip off every weight that slows us down (cf. Hebrews 12:1-2a, NLT). Like the runners of ancient Greece, our focus on Jesus, rather than myriad distractions along our path, will assure us victory in life. Living beyond the strongholds that constrain us, is to realize that the source of our temptations is never from God (cf. James 1:13-15a, NLT). God will test us, but He will not tempt us. The Apostle James is saying we cannot “blame” God for our missteps, sins, and indiscretions. In that we have the capacity for wrong or error; we also have the greater ability through grace to overcome these challenges. The Apostle John says our “birth in Christ” has given us a new nature, which will cause us not to habitually sin (cf. I John 3:9, NLT). This birth was given to us without human intervention (cf. John 1:12-13, NLT). Change is inevitable and always possible, because it’s not determined by human forces! Although much of what we experience in life is affected by human actions, the determination for radical change in the life of the Christian is subject to God’s intervention. The life of Christ in us will bring change! Chip Ingram offers this prudent observation: “We have trouble grasping our new identity because our only experience is with the old one. So Scripture spells it out to us, repeatedly pointing us to Jesus… And when we really begin to grasp that – and fill our vision with who He is rather than who we used to be – we begin to spread our wings and fly.” Perhaps one radical change of a person in the New Testament that’s often overlooked is Nicodemus. Many are familiar with the questions he asked Jesus, recorded in John 3:1-15, NLT. Nicodemus was seeking the path to eternal life, and the answers Jesus gave him helped him understand his life and destiny. But the story does not end with the night meeting Nicodemus had. He became a follower of Christ and a believer. He defended Jesus in His ministry on an occasion (cf. John 7:50-51, NLT). He assisted in the proper burial of the Lord after His crucifixion, which was a great sacrificial act (cf. John 19:39a, NLT). He truly changed!

________________________________KEY IDEA________________________________

What We Believe!

Evidence of change is our desire to defeat sin.

1. Our spiritual nature is contrary to sinful behavior.

2. Our evolving Christian growth changes us.

3. Change frees us from sinful behavior.


Romans 6:12-13, NLT

“Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sin-ful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. In-stead, give yourselves completely to God, for you weredead, but now have new life. So use your whole body asan instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.”

Romans 8:1-2, NLT

“So there is no condemnation for those who belong to Jesus Christ. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”

Galatians 5:13-15, NLT

“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.”

John 8 :31, NLT

“Jesus said to the people who believed in Him. “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Hebrews 12:1-2a, NLT

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith,let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith…”

James 1:13-15a, NLT

“And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say,“God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and He never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions…”

I John 3:9, NLT

“Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God's life is in them. So they can't keep on sinning, because they are children of God.”

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.”

John 7:50-51, NLT

Then Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, spoke up [for Him].“Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?”he asked.”

John 19:39a, NLT

With him [Joseph of Arimathea] came Nicodemus who had come to Jesus by night…”

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