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Bible Study Notes 5/30/2023

Word Alive! © 2023 Winter /Spring Series Living and Thriving Again! Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor

Tuesday, 30 May 2023 Post-Lesson, Part 2


Thom S. Rainer, Anatomy Of A Revived Church, © 2020

Quiet Time: Thom S. Rainer, Anatomy...Revived Church


Meaningful Change =Significant Gain – The recent study completed, Living And Thriving Again, has provided us with an opportunity to learn how the Scriptures provide insight into God’s plan for change and renewal in our lives. As Christians, we know that our lives are also intertwined within Christ’s representative body on earth; the Church; The expectation for change and renewal is for our personal lives; and our lives alongside other believers in the Body of Christ. We’ve used Pastor and Author Thom Rainer’s book as a devotional guide, to help us see the connection between our need for personal change, and the need for renewal and change in our Christian communities. The common thread between individual Christians and the places we assemble (in various ways) for worship, teaching/learning, and discipling; is our engagement in Christ’s mission; sharing the Good News of redemption and life transformation to the world (Read, Acts 2:42-47, NIV; Also, See, Acts 1:8, NIV)). Each day we should pray and ask the Holy Spirit to transform us, to become more like Christ. A good place to start is comparing the nine spiritual qualities, with where we are presently (cf. Galatians 5:22, NLT) We should be willing to take the necessary steps, to embrace these qualities, which can bring about meaningful change. There is no meaningful change, that does not bring some significant gain in our lives. We must be willing to take the first steps; even if in taking these steps, we become temporarily distracted from our purpose. Our aim is not to anticipate distractions; but to be prepared to emerge from any, if they should steer us off course. Peter is perhaps a good example of this challenge in the Scripture. Peter is the only disciple who asked Jesus, if the figure he saw on the water was the Lord, allow him to come and meet Him. Jesus invited Peter out among the choppy waves. Amazingly, Peter “walked on the water.” If Peter had no desire to go out on the rough sea, and be with Jesus; he never would have walked on the water. It was only after Peter became distracted by a strong wind, that he looked away; losing sight of Jesus, Peter began to sink. He called out for help, frantically asking Jesus to “save” him. Jesus reached out his hand to Peter, and pulled him out of the water. There’s little doubt, Peter learned a great deal about faithfulness and doubting (Read, Matthew 14:25-33, NLT). Any change the Lord requires in our lives is meaningful. A meaningful change always creates a gain; something better, and more beneficial for our lives. Jesus taught, “To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance.” (Matthew 25:29a NLT.)


Meaningful Change = Significant Gain, Part 2 It has been said during this study, change is the wonderful gift God gives us, that brings life and renewal. Sometimes we can be devoted to the teachings and principles of God; even steadfast in our devotion to the Lord. But, we can hold on to certain biases that cause us to treat people differently; or to develop misperceptions of others, we later regret. Peter was the presumptive leader of the Christian movement after Pentecost, and did much to advance the Gospel Message. However, Peter still carried deep-seated biases and animosity toward Gentiles. It was only when God showed Peter how Christ had come to save the entire world, including Gentiles, that he came to understand his own shortcomings, and experienced change within his heart. (Read, Acts 10:43-48, NLT). Change involves confronting our own fears and misperceptions. Once we are able to honestly confront these personal challenges, we are then able to truly understand God’s purpose for our lives. The amazing transformation of Saul from persecutor of the Church to its staunch defender came only when Saul confronted his failures; repented, and yielded to God’s call. When Saul’s life changed completely, there were some unconvinced. This was because what they knew of Saul was predicated on his past life. The Scripture states, “When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer!”(See, Acts 9:26, NLT). When meaningful change occurs in our lives, there are some who might be skeptical. However, when we’re in God’s will, there will be mature believers who will understand and affirm the change God has given us. While some people were unconvinced of Saul’s transformation; others, whom God appointed to help him, were convinced of God’s work. (Read, Acts 9: 27, NLT). Because of the work of God in Saul’s new life, among mature believers there was no doubt of Saul’s sincerity. The authentication of meaningful change in our lives is with God; and this is revealed by what a person does through the Spirit of God. Jesus reminded the disciples that the byproduct of who we are as Christians, is in what is shared, which comes from the heart. Jesus said, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” (See, Luke 6:45, NLT). The condition of our heart is in proportion to how we live our lives as Christians. Change is the recognition that God is leading us to a new season of growth, maturity, and opportunity. The Lord never misleads us. David’s great assurance was that the Lord “leads us beside quiet waters [and] restores our souls (Psalm 23).


KEY IDEA

What We Believe!

“Change must be meaningful if we’re to gain significantly.”

  1. “The change God directs is always meaningful and purposeful!

KEY VERSES

Acts 2:42-47, NIV

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teachings and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Every- one was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs per- formed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”


Acts 1:8, NIV “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Galatians 5:22, NLT

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things.”


Mathew 14:25-33, NLT

“About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them walking on the water. When the disciples saw Him walking on the water they were terrified. In their fear they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here.” Then Peter called to Him, “Lord if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong winds and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me Lord,” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said, “Why did you doubt me?” When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped Him. “You really are the Son of God” they exclaimed.”


Acts 10:43-48, NLT

“He is the One all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in Him will have their sins forgiven through His name. Even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message. The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too. For they heard them speaking in other tongues, and praising God. Then Peter asked, “Can anyone object to their being baptized now that they have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?” So he gave orders for them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Afterward Cornelius asked him to stay with them for several days.”


Acts 9:27, NLT

“Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus.”


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