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Bible Study Notes 9/7/21

Word Alive!

© 2021

Fall Series

You Can Change!

Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton

Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor

Tuesday, 7 September 2021, Lesson 1 (Intro.)

Chip Ingram, Yes! You Really CAN Change

Why Change? – Change is inevitable. It happens. At the core of all life is change. When we speak of change, it is not possible for us to disconnect the changes we experience in life from our life of faith. So, the real question is not, why change, but how change occurs in our lives. A book by author and pastor, Chip Ingram, Yes! You Really CAN Change looks at how the New Testament, along with other scriptures, provides a guide for understanding how God reveals opportunities for change in our lives. Ingram believes Biblical insights point to radical change, rather than transitory changes that occur in our lives from time to time. Ingram’s book is helpful and is recommended as a devotional for personal time during this study. In his book’s title, Ingram uses all caps for the word “Can.” He’s convinced that people of faith in Christ will experience change. With so much happening in our world today, Ingram believes many Christians are “spiritually fatigued, spiritually frustrated, and emotionally exhausted.” But there’s good news. As Chip Ingram says: “Yet deep down inside, every human being longs for real change. It’s in our spiritual DNA…When we come to Christ, the Holy Spirit breathes those longings into us anew. God has made us to change.” In considering change in our lives and circumstances, we must become aware of what we must do to effect change, and also what God chooses to do, or not to do. God will not always do what we should do, but He will help us with the things we can’t do. One of the early iterations of life-change in the Scripture is found in Genesis 35:1-7, NKJV. Jacob, son of Isaac and Rebecca, has lived a difficult life, but realizes he had to return to Bethel, where God had promised to give him and his family a new start. This radical move involved divesting themselves of cultural icons that were important to them. The word used here for change, perhaps first in the scriptures, is chalaph (kwahlaf), which means “to abolish, alter, cut off”; to “grow” and, “to go forward.” These are all acts on the part of the person who seeks change. So much of the change we desire involves us: the exercise of our wills, in symmetry with God’s plan for us. We have great assurance in God’s love for us, and His compassion for each of His children. Chip Ingram comments: “You can be confident that this radical transformation is not just for a select few people who happen to be especially touched by God’s power. It’s for you. This is your inheritance as a believer in Jesus. God is calling you – and will enable you – to live as a new creation.” Christians often are intimidated by the term change. But we must remember, this is what God offers us! It’s ok!

Encountering The Time For Change – In God’s spiritual time, there is always a moment and season for change in our lives. We must be willing to experience, even encounter, the season and moment for change. So often we’re prone to counter any insights toward change with excuses, delays, and dismissive thoughts. When Daniel was faced with a great dilemma in Babylon, he trusted God to position him to bring about change. When God spoke to Daniel in a “night vision,” Daniel welcomed God’s answer and extolled Him for being a God who will always bring change. Daniel knew, as should we, that God can always alter circumstances (cf. Daniel 2:19-22, NKJV). The spiritual insight given to Daniel could benefit any of us, when we realize the potential of our faith, and the efficacy of our trust in God. Job chided the faithful for not understanding and discerning how God brings about change and renewal in life’s events (cf Job 24:1, NKJV). The psalmist celebrated the fact that God brings about change, and controls our times and moments (cf. Psalm 31:14-15, NKJV). Change occurs within the economy of time that’s controlled by God (cf. Ecclesiastes 3:1, NKJV). Even as God works to bring change in our lives, we must be genuine in our faith and stead fast in our convictions. Often, persons miss their transformational change because of a spiritual and moral decline. Chip Ingram says: “Even a quick look at the Christian landscape tells us that many Christians are not living much differently from nonbelievers. Some have become so used to a lack of change that they begin to wonder if it’s possible” While God is Sovereign and able to bring change in our lives, we are responsible for doing our part. Queen Esther provides a dramatic example of coming to a resolve that if change was to occur with her people, it would take a bold initiative on her part. Esther pursued change at the risk of personal reprisal (cf. Esther 4:13-14;16b, NKJV). “Radical life-change is for everyone,” says Pastor Ingram, and we must learn “what part God does that we can’t do, and what part we do that He won’t do.” Change is not merely an act of the human will, based on what brings us pleasure or interest. The Christian learns that all that we do is grounded in the faith we have in Jesus Christ. We should desire change that is best for our total being! Change involves the awareness of God’s presence and His love!


What We Believe!

Change includes, but involves more than human response.

Change must be encountered and not countered!There is no genuine change without God!

Genesis 35:1-7, NKJV

“Then God said to Jacob,“Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother. “And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him,“Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments. Then let us arise and go up to Bethel; and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me in the way in which I have gone.” So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods which were in their hands, and the earrings which were in their ears, and Jacob hid them under the terebinthtree which was by Shechem. And they journeyed, and the terror of God was upon the cities that were all around them, and they did not pursue the sons of Jacob. So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel)which is in the land of Canaan,he and all the people who were with him. And he built an altar there and called the place El Bethel, because there God appeared to him when he fled from the face of his brother.”

Daniel 2:19-22, NKJV

“Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness,and light dwells with Him.”

Job 24:1, NKJV

“Since times are not hidden from the Almighty, why do those who know Him see not His days?”

Psalm 31:14-15, NKJV

But as for me, I trust in You,O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in Your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1, NKJV

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.”

Esther 4:13-14; 16b, NKJV

“And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace anymore than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this? “And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish,I perish!”

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