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Bible Study Notes 2/13/2024

Word Alive! Bible Study ©2024

Winter Series: God Never Gives Up On You!

Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton

Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor

Tues., 6 & 13 Feb. Lesson 9, Parts 1 & 2


Max Lucado, God Never Gives Up On You © 2024

Quiet Time: Max Lucado, God Never Gives Up, Pages 103-112

Lifting The “Hold” Off Your Past – There  are time we could unknowingly give up on ourselves. We can actually do this by “holding on to our past mistakes and sins. When we do this, we deprive ourselves of an opportunity to witness the continuing work of God’s grace in our lives. Sometimes, we hold on to past hurts, to the degree that we are not aware of how much we’re actually harming ourselves. Then there are times we may feel so guilty about some misdeed, or ill-spoken words we’ve shared, that we become trapped in the guilt of the offence.  None of us is unique in this experience, for the Scriptures are filled with unfavorable incidents, which occurred in the lives of many persons whom God used to do extraordinary things. We are no less perfect than they were. The amazing grace, provided through God’s presence in their lives, caused them to “lift the hold” or the repression, they had on the guilt associated with their past sins. At some point, the faithful people of the Bible sought forgiveness and restoration through the Lord, and the put their past sins behind them. The Apostle Paul’s great confession to the Christians in Phillipi about releasing his past, is well read, and should be reviewed often. In addition to freeing his ego from excess pride about his accomplishments, Paul candidly admitted he had to “forget his past sins, and forge ahead toward God’s greater purpose. (Read, Philippians 3:13-14, NLT). What a heavy burden was lifted when Paul charted this new course in his life!   When a person’s past or present has a hold on them, they will forfeit an opportunity to experience the fulness of God’s purpose. Jesus warned the man who said he wanted to become a disciple - but wanted to first attend to other personal priorities – that he could not go forward, constantly being held back. (Read, Luke 9:62, NLT). The language of the text suggests, the man’s priorities constrained him from doing anything else. There also is the need to “release” past hurts; however much of a burden they may be. We see this illustrated in the reconciliation between Esau and Jacob. Although Esau had held on to deep resentment and anger of his younger brother, Jacob, for twenty years – when the brothers were face-to-face, it was Esau who offered unconditional reconciliation toward Jacob. (Read, Genesis 33:1a:3-4, NLT). In his book, God Never Gives Up On You,” Max Lucado looked at the tears of reconciliation of Essau and Jacob and said, “They wept for relief. They wept with forgiveness. They wept with the possibility of a new start, a fresh beginning…” Both Esau and Jacob had to take off layers of personal sin: resentment; shame; anger; and deceit. Early Christians were warned to “strip off any and every sin.” (Read, Hebrews 12:1b-2a, NLT). When we release our guilt and sins, God forgives us always. (Ps. 103:2-4;9-12, NLT).

Lifting The “Hold” off Your Past, Part 2 We are faced with many challenges in life. This issue often, is not will we face some difficulties; but, how will we meet these challenges? There is no one cure for all of the issues we face, but there is only one God who can help us navigate life’s issues; and lead us along the paths that will secure our destiny.  The Bible never presents us with perfect people; but individuals like us, who reach cross-roads in their lives, when a significant change occurs. We need never doubt, nor fear, how God works. He will either change us; or, often conjointly, change our circumstances. Sometimes, God changes the circumstances around us. The atmosphere is shifted, because our problems are tethered to where we are; or, and among the people whom we are around. When these impediments are removed, we will feel differently, and experience a new awareness of the self, God intends us to be. The woman who came to Simon’s home, uninvited, to a dinner where Jesus was guest, was not a bad person; but a hurting person. She presented her tears to Jesus and showed sincere hospitality, which the others at the dinner had not done. Jesus saw this woman’s action as a great act of faith. She sought the forgiveness and acceptance of Jesus, while others heaped ridicule upon her. This was her “turning point” – a sincere act of humility and faith, that transformed her life. (Read, Luke 7:39; 48-50, NIV). When the “hold” is lifted from our past, we can become of great service to our Lord and the ministry of the Kingdom of God. he late Christian Jesuit, Henri Nowen, often said God can use the wounded and broken to initiate healing. This is especially true as we overcome some of the challenges in our lives. In the third Gospel, Luke is keen on observing persons who demonstrate triumph over various tragedies and challenges in their lives. Luke mentions the enormous support a group of women provided for Jesus and the other disciples, in meeting the cost of resources they needed to carry the Gospel message to cities and towns. These valiant women had each overcome various infirmities and illnesses. They were women of strong faith, and had accumulated their own sufficient resources to assist Jesus in His mission. (Read, Luke 8:1-3, NIV). Releasing the strongholds in our lives are not done through mere human means, but we must rely on spiritual resources. In our moments of indecision, temptation, and inner turmoil, we must seek the wisdom of God through the Holy Spirit who dwells within us as followers of Christ. We also must learn to forgive others, as Christ has forgiven us. We should not cast ridicule at others, because of their past struggles. (Read, 2 Corinthians 3:11b-15, NLT). Paul assured the Christians in Corinth; God will provide is with spiritual weapons to fight and conqueror the issues that have a hold on us. (Read, 2 Corinthians 10:3b-4, NLT). In his helpful book, God never Gives Up On  You,” max Lucado advises: “…You can’t move past your past without God’s help. Apart from Him, you will justify it, deny it, or suppress it. But with God’s help you can move forward.”  Once we have come to transparent and honest with God – and we’re assured of His grace, that always forgives and gives – we can move forward. No stronghold is too great. In Isaiah’s prophecy, God says, “I will contend with those who contend with you…” (Is. 49:25, NIV).

Key Idea:

What We Believe!

  1. “God’s grace never quits.” – Max Lucado

Key Verses:

Philippians 3:13-14, NLT

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus is calling us.”

Luke 9:62, NLT

“But Jesus said to him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”

Genesis 33:1a;3-4, NLT

“Then Jacob looked up and saw his brother Esau coming with his 400 men… Then Jacob went on ahead. As he approached his brother, be bowed to the ground seven times before him. Then Essau ran to meet him and embraced him, threw his arms around his neck d kissed him. And they both wept.”

Hebrews 12:1b-2a, NLT

“…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. . .”

Psalm 103:2-4; 9-12, NLT

“Let all that I am praise the Lord. May I never forget the good things He does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies…he will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; He does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For His unfailing love toward those who fear Him, is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.”

Luke 7:37-39; 48-50, NIV

“A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster box of perfume. As she stood behind Him at His feet weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, He would know who is touching Him and what kind of woman she is – that she is a sinner… “Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgive sins?”  Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Luke 8:1-3, NIV

“After this Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.”

2 Corinthians 3:11b-15, NLT

“Christ is all that matters, and He lives in us. Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all clothe yourselves with love, which binds us altogether in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.”

2 Corinthians 10:3b-4, NLT

“ …We do not wage war as the world. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

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