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Bible Study Notes 5/9/2023

Updated: May 16, 2023

Word Alive! © 2023 Winter /Spring Series Living and Thriving Again! Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor Tuesday, 9 May 2023, Lesson 8, Part 1 (Conclusion)


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

Quiet Time: Thom S. Rainer, Lesson 8 (Conclusion) (pp. 109-121)


We Must Change –Change, is the gift God gives us to become renewed and revived in life. The Christian faith we possess and proclaim is grounded in the reality of change, that God has planned for us. In addressing the issue of life and death, the Apostle Paul told the Christians at Corinth, “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed…” (See, I Corinthians 15:51-52, NKJV). By this, Paul meant Christians will be changed from this mortal life, to a life of immortality; one, not subject to the decline nor decay of this present life. Change is inevitable; yet, agonized by so many people. Whether in our personal lives, or our life as a church fellowship; change is feared because it means giving up what’s often familiar to us. Change often can mean a disruption is what we value as constant. However, change is necessary, as part of God’s plan for renewal, restoration and revival. We may recall, our human-parents in the Creation narrative, were told to “replenish” (“improve upon”) what was entrusted to them. The Scriptures provide us with God’s plan for renewal and vitality of life. The Philippian Christians were told that all believers have a dual nature; we are citizens of both heaven and earth. It is our heavenly nature, that places us in relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ; whose mission is to change us, and bring change to all creation (Read, Philippians 3:20-21, NLT).God is described as creating us in such an intricate manner, which requires shaping and formation. These necessary steps, help us to become mature Christians who will have an impact in the world (Read, Ephesians 2:10, NLT). In his book, Anatomy Of A Revived Church, Pastor Thom Rainer said for people who embraced change, “it was arduous and challenging…” but in the end, they benefited, because they chose to live. There always is a price for change, but when God leads us, it’s more than worth the cost. There is no effective change unless we’re willing to depart from certain habits, behavior or customs. As we yield to God, He will give us the assurance and confidence in learning His direction for our lives. (Read, Romans 12:2-3, NLT). Embracing the Holy Spirit within us will create inward change. There will be a renewal of thoughts and attitudes. (Read, Ephesians 4: 22-24, NLT). As for the life of the church, Pastor Rainer says that in working with declining churches, “inevitably resistance to change centers around some persons placing their personal preferences above what is best for the entire body.” He says that the more we learn of Christ’s true mission for the church, the more we will become like Him in character and ministry. Paul echoes this to early Christians (Read, Colossians 3:10;11b, NLT).


We Must Change, Part 2 Change does not arbitrarily come to us, we must create the conditions for change. In becoming Christians, we all had to believe, confess and trust. At some point in our spiritual journey, we had to “own” our beliefs, and commend the faith to our lives. If we were coerced into believing, then our faith affirmation was not genuine. So it is with change; we must be stirred within, to take the necessary steps that will alter our situation. In the Gospels, persons who came to Jesus, were transparent in expressing their desires and needs for healing and life changes. When change is necessary or desired; there often is a critical or crisis moment in our lives that is compelling enough to focus our thoughts on the need for renewal and something better. An instance of this is the great crisis the lepers faced in the Old Testament. They had to decide whether they would succumb to a sure death that was imminent, around them; or, if they would choose to live. They took a great chance in going to the enemy’s camp; but the decision saved their lives, and changed their situation for good. (Read, 2 Kings 7:3b-6(ab);8, NLT). People often change as a result of sheer desperation with their conditions; however, as Christians our faith in God leading us toward the “best possible,” should provide us with the assurance that change is necessary. Being impassive and silent will not always bring meaningful change. Sometimes a person must be encouraged in knowing that God is positioning them for a change that will be life-saving. (Read, Esther 4:14, NLT). Then too, there’s no change without a risk. However, when we’re in God’s plan there’s no risk that will ever defeat us. After prayer and fasting, Queen Esther was bold in taking the cause of her people to the throne room of the King, although custom forbade her to do so. (Read, Esther 4:15-17, NIV). If you’ve ever failed at something, you should be encouraged in knowing that the other side of failure is opportunity and success. The Scriptures teach us that one experience will yield to something else. God provides us with seasons in life; changes in nature are literal and symbolic of changes in our lives. One promise God made was this: “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter. Day and night will never cease.” (Genesis 8:22, NIV). The different seasons are necessary and purposeful.In the conclusion of Author Thom Rainer’s very helpful book, Anatomy Of A Revived Church, he sums up his thoughts by stating what he means by a revived church: The revived churches chose to live. That choice was arduous. That choice was challenging. That choice was painstakingly slow at times… and almost always painful. That choice required church members and leaders to put God first and others before themselves. But in the final analysis, that choice was a choice of life.” The words of wisdom in Scripture assures us, one of the best gifts God has given us, is the principle of change. (Read, Ecc. 3:1, NLT).


KEY IDEA

What We Believe!

“Change is God’s gift for renewal and vitality of life.”

  1. “Change comes when we yield to God’s power working in us.”

KEY VERSES

Philippians 3:20-21, NLT

“But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like His own, using the same power with which He will bring everything under His control.”


Ephesians 2:10, NLT

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”


Romans 12:2, NLT

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”


Ephesians 4:22-24, NLT

“Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy.”


Colossians 3:10;11b, NLT

“Put on your new nature and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him…Christ is all that matters and He lives in all of us.”


2 Kings 7:3b-6(a-b);8, NLT

“…Why should we sit here waiting to die?” they asked each other. “We will starve if we stay here, but with the famine in the city, we will starve if we go back there. So we might as well go out and surrender to the Aramean army. If they let us live, so much the better. But if they kill us, we would have died anyway.” So at twilight, they set out for the camp of the Arameans. But when they came to the edge of the camp, no one was there. For the Lord had caused the Aramean army to hear the clatter of speeding chariots and the galloping of horses and the sounds of a great army approaching…When the lepers arrived at the edge of the camp, they went into one tent after another, eating and drinking wine, and they carried off silver and gold and clothing and hid it.”


Esther 4:14, NLT “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your Royal position for such a time as this?”


Esther 4:15-17, NIV

“Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai. “Go gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” So Mordechai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.”


Ecclesiastes 3:1, NLT

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”

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