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Lesson 2: God Is Bigger than Your Weaknesses

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“For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves.…like Sarah…You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.” 1 Peter 3:5-6

Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you through this lesson.

By Faith…Sarah

A little bit of history

Sarah lived during the biblical time of “The Patriarchs” (2100-1800 BC). The term patriarch denotes the father or male leader of a family or tribe. In the Bible, “patriarchs” usually refer to the three main characters whose lives are documented in Genesis 12-50—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

During Sarah’s life, the great civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia dominated the Ancient Near East. Archeologists have discovered that Ur (in today’s Iraq) was a thriving city of Mesopotamia with efficient government, impressive buildings and lots of amenities (like flush toilets). Yet, it was also characterized by idol worship.

Under God’s direction, Abraham willingly left Ur, with its culture and conveniences, for the land of Canaan (today’s Israel). Patriarchal life was semi-nomadic as they wandered from place to place, searching for grazing land and water for their animals. Wealth was measured in animal herds and movable goods such as silver, gold, and tents.

The patriarchal era is important to us. Through Abraham and his descendants, God began to develop a people of His own. The Abrahamic Covenant (God’s unconditional pledge to Abraham) contains many precious promises including numerous offspring, dedicated land, and a plan to bless all people of the earth. These promises passed on to Isaac and Jacob. Jacob’s sons formed the nucleus of the twelve tribes of Israel. Through one son’s kindness (Joseph), the infant “Israel” (72 people) entered Egypt and grew into a mighty nation. Sarah accompanied her husband Abraham on this adventure.

Sarah is mentioned more times in Scripture than any other woman, even Mary the mother of Jesus. She is the matriarch of the Jews and the first woman mentioned in Hebrews 11, what is often called “The Faith Hall of Fame.”

Though she lived 4000 years ago, God uses Sarah as an example for us to follow in 1 Peter 3:3-6. We should, therefore, want to find out about Sarah. Who was she? How was she like us? How can we be like her? Let’s join her journey.

Moving from home (Sarah is ~65 years old)

Although they are called Abram and Sarai in the early passages, for consistency’s sake, we’ll use the more common “Abraham” and “Sarah” (names later given to them by God).

1. Read Genesis 11:29-12:5. Describe Sarah and her circumstances in life at this time.

Barrenness for a woman in Sarah’s time was very painful, not unlike for a woman in our time. Sons, in particular, were needed to carry on the family name and livelihood. When Sarah left Haran, moving to who-knows-where, she was willing to cooperate with God’s plan for Abraham even when it was tough for her.

2. How are you at encouraging your closest friend or your spouse to follow God’s leading, even if it changes your life?

3. Read Genesis 12:10-20.

  • How is Sarah described (verses 11, 14)?
  • What situation did Sarah find herself in (verse 15)?
  • What might have been Sarah’s emotions during this time?
  • When Abraham failed to protect Sarah in this incident, what did God do for her?

Abraham’s “Tell them you’re my sister” plan, though making no sense to us, seemed to have merit in his time. One historian said that if a married man of Abraham’s day found himself in enemy territory, he could be killed for his wife. But, if Abraham were known as her brother, someone wanting her would have to make marriage arrangements with Abraham because in that society, a woman’s brother gave his sister in marriage. Thus, Abraham would have been the negotiator, supposedly giving him the chance to act in his own interest.

Sarah went along with Abraham’s “Tell them you’re my sister” plan because she was willing to do what he thought was needed to preserve his life. Remember that as the Holy Spirit inspired Peter to write his letter, God honored Sarah for not giving way to fear (1 Peter 3:5-6).

10 years later (Sarah is now ~75)

4. Read Genesis 15:1-6.

  • What was Abraham’s concern (verses 2-3)?
  • What was still God’s plan (verses 4-5)?

In ancient times, a man who had no son could adopt a favored servant as heir to his possessions. Or, a man who had no son could take a second wife to produce an heir. Some marriage contracts even spelled out this provision. A wife was obligated to have children. We would consider that “Plan A.” If she could not, she was required to let her husband take another wife who could (Plan B). Abraham, however, had not already sought a second wife.

5. Read Genesis 16:1-16. What was Sarah’s “Plan B” to fix Abraham’s need for an heir (verses 2-3)?

Sarah’s “Plan B” becomes a nightmare! Our example was no perfect woman. She was just like we are. Look at her behavior!

6. How did Sarah react to Hagar’s pregnancy (verses 5-6)?

7. What was threatened in Sarah’s life, and what confirmation do you think she needed from her husband?

13 years later (Sarah is now ~89)

8. Read Genesis 17:1-2, 15-22. God once again told Abraham His plan to provide descendants for Abraham and a faithful people for Himself. How does God’s plan include Sarah (verses 15-16)?

9. Read Genesis 18:1-15.

  • When the visitors came by Abraham’s tent, what was Sarah doing (verses 6-9)?
  • What did the Lord give Sarah for the first time (verse 10)?
  • What was Sarah’s initial response and why (verses 11-12)?

The Hebrew word translated “pleasure” in verse 12 is “eden,” a term synonymous with sensual pleasure. By the way, Abraham also laughed (Genesis 17:17). Does it surprise you that Sarah might have given up hope of ever having a baby?

10. What confirmation did God give to her (verse 14)?

Someone once said, “God’s plan is completely different from what you could ever imagine and much more glorious than you would ever expect.”

Have you noticed this in your life? Is anything really too hard for the Lord?

11. When the Lord confronted her about laughing (verse 13), what did Sarah do?

12. What was the Lord’s response (verse 15)? Do you think He knew her pretty well by now?

Shortly after the “tent” visit. Abraham nearly jeopardized the whole situation by again placing Sarah in another man’s harem (Genesis 20). He fails in the same area of faith in which he failed 25 years earlier. At 90 years of age, she was taken into a harem of the reigning king. This gives further information regarding Sarah’s beauty. God must have turned on her hormones again in a big way—super estrogen!!

13. Read Genesis 21:1-7.

  • What is declared in verse 1 about God?
  • What did He do for Sarah (verse 2)?
  • What story did she have to tell (verse 6)?
  • The name Isaac means “he laughs.” In what ways is Isaac an appropriate name for this baby?
  • Through this whole experience, how do we know that God loved Sarah as much as Abraham?

When she got pregnant, can you imagine the hope building in her heart? I think she was smiling and giggling to herself all nine months. Then, Isaac is born; his name reminds her of their laughter. Is it possible that God delighted in making these two old people laugh?

3 years later (Sarah is now ~92)

14. Read Genesis 21:8-13.

  • What problem did Sarah recognize between Ishmael and Isaac (verse 9)?
  • What was Sarah’s solution (verse 10)?
  • How did Abraham respond (verse 11)?
  • What was God’s solution (verses 12)?

Every wife loves that God told Abraham to listen to his wife! God faithfully took care of Hagar and Ishmael, too (verses 14-20).

I’m so glad God gave us Sarah for an example—a beauty queen whose life was rarely smooth or easy. She went childless for many years. Her husband’s fears put her at risk by his decisions. And, she made a huge mistake that made life miserable for her. She was an everyday woman like you and I are. We can relate to some things about her life. It’s more difficult to relate to someone who did everything right. Sarah is one example to follow in believing that God is worthy of our trust.

Your Faith Walk

15. What situations in Sarah’s life could have “terrified” her?

16. Considering those “opportunities” for being terrified, in which ones did Sarah, by faith, do what was right and not give way to fear?

God loved Sarah. He knew what was going on in her life. He was able to do something about it. But, God did not give Sarah a child early in her marriage nor did He prevent her from making a bad decision or spending time in a king’s harem. During her walk, a loving God said “no” to some things. Yet, she chose to trust Him rather than submit to fear. And, God rewarded her faith with an outpouring of His blessing in other ways.

Likewise, God may not choose to rescue you from poor decisions made by you or someone close to you or those circumstances of life beyond your control that bring you pain. But, in any and all situations, you can count on these truths…

#1. God loves me

#2. God knows what is going on in my life

#3. God can do something about it

#4. I can trust His goodness in whatever He chooses to do

That’s your walk from fear to faith.

Journal Your Faith Story

17. Consider poor decisions made by you or someone close to you that have brought fear into your life. How did you respond? What have you learned that could help you respond with greater faith in God in your future?

Faith-in-Action: “Press on Beyond Any Weakness”

What happens when something goes wrong in your life? You know, not the way you planned or imagined. Do you feel dazed, embarrassed, or angry?

You may look at your life and only see weaknesses. You feel helpless as a victim of circumstances. You dwell on your mistakes. You focus on your inadequacies, not being enough of…whatever. And, sadly, other people like to point out all those weaknesses in your life, too, making you feel even worse about them.

God calls us to live by faith. Faith involves trust in a God who loves us, who cares, who can guide us, but who hasn’t promised to remove all the obstacles in our paths. And, He knows about our weaknesses.

Jesus is able to empathize with our weaknesses because He knows what we are going through. So, we can go to Him with confidence and get help in our time of need. Paul wrote that the Spirit of God helps us in our weakness in accordance with God’s will for our lives. You can see this in Hebrews 4:15-16 and Romans 8:26-27.

Our God has bigger purposes for our weaknesses than what we can see or know each step of the way. He knows what causes us fear. It doesn’t matter if our fear is driven by circumstances we cannot fix, stems from making mistakes, or is caused by feelings of inadequacy. Our God is bigger than our weaknesses. He asks us to trust Him and His purpose when we don’t understand.

God is bigger than your circumstances

Circumstances = those conditions that affect our lives that are beyond our control or our ability to “fix.”

Think of Sarah’s circumstances. Her barrenness was out of her control. She didn’t do anything wrong. And, in her specific case, God had a bigger plan for her that depended on the right timing, which she knew nothing about. Sarah endured long periods of drought, which brought on the famine, which caused Abraham to go to Egypt to find grazing land for his herds, where she ended up in Pharaoh’s harem. That famine wasn’t her fault. She didn’t do anything wrong. Yet, she suffered.

You may be facing your own version of desperate circumstances—health problems, lack of income, bad relationships, or something someone else has caused. Having to face those circumstances leaves you with choices. You can becomeHagar was definitely affected by her circumstances.  I doubt if she volunteered to leave her home in Egypt and travel with Abraham and Sarah to see the world.  It wasn’t her idea to be the surrogate mother for them.  Instead of coming to her rescue, Abraham gives permission for Sarah to mistreat her.  So she runs away to the desert.  Probably heading back to Egypt.  But, God is bigger than our circumstances.  It was in her desperate circumstances that God appeared to her.  Notice several things:

  1. He calls her by name, acknowledges her misery, and makes her state what steps she is taking to solve her problem.
  2. He tells her to do what is right.  Go back to Sarah and submit to her.  What?  She’s the one who is beating me.  He doesn’t say, “Go on home.  I’ll make you rich and famous there.“ No, go back to the place I had for you.  You have a responsibility there.  Abraham can take care of you and your boy very well.  And, God gave Ishmael the opportunity to choose to follow his father’s footsteps of faith. 
  3. He promises her a future with a son and lots more after him so she’ll be cared for in her old age. 

FaHaving to face those circumstances whiny and bitter. Or, you can depend upon God to get you through them. It is even likely that you will learn to see and appreciate God’s gifts to you in a greater way. God is bigger than your circumstances. If He wasn’t, He wouldn’t be God.

God is bigger than your mistakes

Mistakes can fall into one of two major categories:

1) Willfully going against clear Biblical guidance about what is right and wrong.

2) Attempting to “fix a problem,” without clear Biblical guidance. When it doesn’t turn out as expected, we can regret that decision as a “mistake.”

Sarah made one gigantic mistake in her life that’s recorded for everyone to know and point fingers at her. She took something acceptable from her culture and tried to use it to obtain the promise of God. That mistake had huge, painful consequences. But God’s purpose wasn’t thwarted because of her mistake. She experienced God’s graciousness to her and gave birth to Isaac. I bet everyone within earshot of Sarah for the rest of her life heard this marvelous story of God’s faithfulness to her.

But, what about those things not clearly defined as right and wrong in the Bible—where you live, where you work, or where to invest money? God has given us a mind to use for making decisions in those areas of life. So, we should pray, ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit, get advice from other believers, check to see if it’s legal, then make the decision and act on it.

Living by faith includes the whole process of trusting God while making a decision and trusting God with the results of it. It’s all about faith. Not about being perfect. God is bigger than your mistakes. If He wasn’t, He wouldn’t be God.

God is bigger than your inadequacies

To be “inadequate” means to fail to reach an expected or required standard, to be insufficient and lacking.

Some of us wallow in our inadequacies. God knows all about those things in which we feel insufficient and lacking. Sometimes, He leaves us to ourselves so we will recognize how insufficient we are without Him. Then, we will desire Him more. Have you noticed this in your life?

Sarah was inadequate in her barrenness. And, I think she had lost hope. Have you ever lost hope? The angel of the Lord appeared and personally gave her the good news she would soon be a mother. Sarah laughed, was confronted by the angel, became afraid and lied about her laughter. But, God didn’t zap her. Instead, He rejuvenated her body and filled it with the long-promised son.

Thankfully, God has compassion on our inadequacies. What do you feel is inadequate in your life? I’m not talking about material things right now, but where do you feel you lack as a person? Your character, your abilities. God is bigger than your inadequacies. If He wasn’t, He wouldn’t be God.

Press on beyond any weakness

So, instead of responding to desperate circumstances with hysteria, or replaying mistakes over and over in our minds, or wallowing in our inadequacies, what are you going to do today to move forward? Beyond circumstances you’re in. Beyond mistakes you’ve made. Beyond any feelings of inadequacy that you have.

The apostle Paul knew he had dragged Christians to prison to be beaten and killed. But, he also knew God was bigger than his past, so he writes in Philippians,

“…But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on…” (Philippians 3:12-13)

How will you trust God now to show you how to press on toward a new future? And, as you press on, you can count on these 4 truths that are not nullified by your weaknesses.

#1 God loves me.

#2 God knows what is going on in my life.

#3 God can do something about it.

#4 I can trust His goodness in whatever He chooses to do!

We have a big God. He can take whatever is looking ugly in our lives and make it something praiseworthy. Maybe all that you’ve been through in life—desperate circumstances, blaring mistakes, and obvious inadequacies—have led to this moment when God has brought you to hear this message and trust in Him. God is bigger than your weaknesses. He could be showing you that today.

Reflect

18. Take just one of the questions below and apply Philippians 3:12-13 to it. How will you press on, trusting in God? What are you going to do today to trust God and press on beyond that weakness?

  • Have you faced desperate circumstances, maybe because of health problems, consequences of someone else’s sin, or relationships that have failed?
  • Do you live in fear of making mistakes or of others making mistakes that affect you? Have you have made a big mistake with unwelcome consequences?
  • What do you feel is inadequate in your life? Not just material things, but where do you feel you lack as a person?

Pray

Pray about your fears and decisions you are making to trust God in them. Thank God for His grace toward you and His love for you.

Related Topics: Faith, Women, Women's Articles

Lesson 3: God Is Stronger than Your Enemies

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“By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.” Hebrews 11:23

“I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam.” Micah 6:4

Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you through this lesson.

By Faith…Jochebed & Miriam

A little bit of history

The descendants of Sarah and Abraham—the Israelites (or Hebrews)—settled in Egypt for 430 years. At first, their presence was welcome because the “vice president” of the country was their relative Joseph. But after Joseph died, Pharaohs ruled who did not know Joseph. Fearing the Hebrews’ might, Egypt sought to cripple the growing nation, but those efforts were in vain. God was with His people, and He was preparing to bring Israel out of the land.

Conservative scholars date the “Exodus,” a landmark in Israel’s history, at 1446 BC. Moses was born shortly after a decree to throw newborn Hebrew boys into the Nile, but he escaped death through adoption by Pharaoh’s daughter. About 1486, Pharaoh tried to kill Moses who sought identity with the Hebrews, but Moses escaped to Midian. Forty years later, the Lord appeared to Moses in a burning bush, sending Moses back to Egypt to confront the current Pharaoh.

Through Moses, God showed Pharaoh who was the true God and brought Egypt to her knees. The Israelites marched forth a free people, living proof of God’s gracious salvation. At Mount Sinai, God molded His people into a nation—Israel. The Mosaic Covenant contained laws that governed every part of Israel’s society: civil, ceremonial, and moral. Though some people rebelled against God, He faithfully preserved a new generation of His people through the wilderness. Moses’ mother Jochebed and sister Miriam were influential women during this time.

Miriam’s childhood and her mentors

1. Read Numbers 26:59. Who were the members of Miriam’s family?

2. Read Exodus 1:15-22. Over several generations, God used brave women to thwart evil plans to eliminate His people.

  • Who were the women in this chapter exhibiting courage, and what did they do (verses 15-19)?
  • What did God do for them (verses 20-21)?

These women who had courage were “mentors” for Jochebed and her daughter Miriam.

3. Read Exodus 2:1-10.

  • What do you learn about Miriam’s mom, Jochebed?
  • What choices did Miriam’s parents (Jochebed and Amram) make because of their faith?
  • How did God reward that faith?
  • Miriam is the sister mentioned in this passage (7-12 years of age). As a young girl, what fearful situations did Miriam face?
  • How did she respond to them?

4. Read Hebrews 11:23-28. What influence did the few years spent with his family have on Moses?

Miriam had the same home and parents as Moses. Moses, Aaron and Miriam came from a home where parents were walking by faith in their God. This influence helped their children learn to courageously trust God and not give way to fear.

5. Consider the kind of home in which you grew up. How has this affected your ability to courageously trust God and not give way to fear?

“Here was a mother who faced a very real danger (mine is imagined), and yet she trusted God. Her faith was put into action. When we take what we learn in the Word and then turn it into faith-in-action, fear loses its grip on our hearts and we are not only able to live in victory and experience God's abounding peace, but we become a living example to our children.” (Shirley Ann Vels, “Under an English Sky” blog, July 30, 2013)

Miriam - 80 years later

Miriam is now in her upper mid-life, ~87-92 years old! According to Jewish tradition, Miriam’s husband was Hur, an honorable man who joined Aaron to hold up Moses’ arms during a major battle in Exodus 17 and was appointed as a magistrate while Moses was on the mountain (Exodus 24:14).

6. Read Micah 6:4. What does God say about Miriam’s role for Israel?

After the Israelites left Egypt, they traveled east for several days. While camped by the Red Sea, they began to panic when they saw Pharaoh’s army coming after them. But, God’s faithfulness would shine in what He did for them next.

7. Read Exodus 14:10-31. Along with the rest of Israel, what did Miriam experience showing God’s faithfulness?

8. Read Exodus 15:18-21.

  • After Moses led the people in a praise song (Exodus 15:1-18), how did Miriam respond to God’s faithfulness (verses 20-21)?
  • In what ways is she pleasing God and fulfilling His purpose for her (Micah 6:4)?
  • What is Miriam called in verse 20?

Miriam was a female prophet—one to whom and through whom God speaks, revealing Himself and His will especially in the absence of the written word of God. God used a number of women to speak forth His Word at critical times in history—for example, Deborah (Judges 4-5) and Huldah (2 Kings 22).

Prophesying also could involve an enthusiastic praising of God inspired by the Holy Spirit. Such praise involved singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments as here in Exodus 15. This song is the first recorded song in the Bible—a song of redemption. Such celebration was common after victory in battle.

About 2 years later

9. Read Numbers 12:1-15.

  • What complaint did Miriam and Aaron have regarding Moses (verses 1-2)?
  • How did the Lord respond to their behavior (verses 4-10)?
  • What is implied by the Lord’s punishment of Miriam only?
  • How did the two brothers respond to their sister’s discipline (verses 11-12)?
  • What was God’s answer (verse 14)?

According to Deuteronomy 25:9, spitting in someone’s face expressed contempt. The Lord expressed His contempt for Miriam’s disrespect by the skin affliction, causing her to live outside the community until healed (Numbers 5:1-4). Miriam bucked her authority, claiming equal prominence with Moses. God disciplined her through banishment, opposite of what she really wanted!

10. Knowing women, what was likely the effect of Miriam’s banishment from the camp for 7 days on her?

Sometimes Miriam was a good example; sometimes a bad example. Just like we are, she was not perfect every day. Yet, she had been given a sphere of influence by God. She lived through 38 years of wandering and died at ~130 years old (Numbers 20:1) in their 40th year out of Egypt.

11. Read Hebrews 13:17. What should be our attitude towards authority that represents God?

Though all of us are not leaders, all of us are under some kind of authority in the Church. Fear of losing our status or influence can lead us to be disrespectful to those in spiritual authority over us. If you are jealous, resentful or disapproving of someone in leadership over you, consider whether you try to undermine their leadership by gossip or slander. Ask Jesus to help you stop that today.

Your Faith Walk

12. Consider the situations that could have terrified Jochebed. How did she respond to God by faith?

13. What situations could have terrified Miriam? How did she respond to God by faith?

God loved Miriam’s family. He knew what was going on in their lives. He was able to do something about it. But, God did not give Jochebed her son back permanently to raise nor did He prevent them from having to go through the agony of hiding baby Moses. Miriam was given great responsibility and privilege, yet she also had to live with the public consequences of her sin. During her walk, a loving God said “no” to some things. Yet, Miriam and her family chose to trust Him rather than submit to fear. And, God rewarded their faith with an outpouring of His blessing in other ways.

Likewise, God may not choose to rescue you from your “Egypt.” But, in any and all situations, you can count on these truths…

#1. God loves me

#2. God knows what is going on in my life

#3. God can do something about it

#4. I can trust His goodness in whatever He chooses to do

That’s your walk from fear to faith.

Journal Your Faith Story

Miriam testified about God’s faithfulness through her use of poetry, song, and dance. Since the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit living in believers continues to inspire and gift believers to compose songs, poems, prayers and testimonies that glorify God. Praise helps us to overcome fear.

14. Maybe you have written a song, a poem, created a work of art, or simply sung praise songs to God. Share about a time when you broke out into spontaneous praise to God in one of these ways or another way.

Faith-in-Action: “Apply Faith to Fear”

Miriam experienced that amazing exit from Egypt along with more than 2 million others. When the people were terrified, the Lord fought for them. They needed only to stop being terrified and trust Him. Through Moses’ instructions, the trembling people were able to apply faith to their fear. They confronted it and turned it over to God. Their faithful God took over and proved that He was stronger than their enemies.

Here’s a biblical tool that you can use to apply faith to any fear.

Step 1. Confront it. What fears do you have right now?

List the things that make you afraid. The real fears and the imaginary ones. Which ones are the most likely to tempt you to panic or to be terrified? Focus on those.

Step 2. Ask about each one: What is my worst-case scenario?

Start with one of those fears, perhaps the most terrifying one and ask, “What is the worst that could happen?” Think realistically not hypothetically.

Step 3. Consider: If the worst I can imagine happens, could I handle it through the presence and power of Jesus Christ?

As a Christian, you have the power of the One who created the Universe living inside of you. Ask yourself, “Can He help me get through anything?” The answer is a resounding, “YES!” Hebrews 4:15-16; Ephesians 3:20; Romans 8:26

Step 4. Remember the four truths essential to faith:

#1. God loves me. John 16:27; Romans 5:5, Ephesians 5:1

#2. God knows what is going on in my life. Matthew 6:31-32; Psalm 139:1-10

#3. God can do something about it. Genesis 18:14; Luke 1:37; Mark 10:27

#4. I can trust His goodness in whatever He chooses to do. Psalm 119:68; Proverbs 3:5

Step 5. Pray: Prayer is simply talking to God about anything and everything.

  • Thank the Lord for His presence and His goodness and anything else that comes to mind. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
  • Ask Him for the courage and peace to ride out the storm. Where the Bible is clear, you can claim God’s promises by faith—such as the promise of peace. John 14:27; 16:33
  • Anytime, you can ask for deliverance and protection—but you cannot hold God to promises He hasn’t made. He hasn’t promised immunity from natural calamities, from illness, or from troubles.

Step 6. Live life securely in Him: What actions can you take?

  • Take common sense precautions. Be wise in the world. Nehemiah 4:9
  • Trust God to show you what to do and give you strength when you are weak.

Reflect

15. Work through these steps to apply faith to one of your most pressing fears.

Pray

Pray about your fears and decisions you are making to trust God in them. Thank God for His grace toward you and His love for you.

Related Topics: Faith, Women, Women's Articles

Lesson 4: God Is Good in the Waiting

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“By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.” Hebrews 11:31

Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you through this lesson.

By Faith…Rahab

A little bit of history

After 40 years of struggle, Israel stood poised to cross the Jordan River and enter the Promised Land around 1400 BC. But she would enter without Moses for he was dead. This beautiful new land was dangerous. Numerous city-states dotted the landscape—each a walled fortress with a battle-tested army. Conquest would be difficult and time-consuming.

But, a faithful God equipped a new leader named Joshua who had been trained under Moses’ leadership for many years for this job. Joshua knew that the 2 million Israelites plus their flocks and herds needed to cross a flooded river and begin their conquest of the land. So, he sent 2 spies to secretly scout the area of Jericho, the strategic point to reach the three passes through the wilderness to the rest of Canaan. God miraculously provided dry ground for the Israelites to cross the Jordan River. A few miles away was Jericho, a walled city covering 9½ acres. One trip around the city could have taken less than an hour.

1. Read Deuteronomy 4:32-35. Why were the Israelites shown so many miraculous things (verse 35)?

2. Read Deuteronomy 2:24-25. How would God use fear to His advantage?

Getting to know Rahab…

3. Read Joshua 2:1-11. What did Rahab and the people of Jericho know about Israel and her history (verses 9-10)?

4. As a result, what was the state of morale in Jericho (verse 11)?

The state of morale in Jericho was going according to God’s plan (Deuteronomy 2:25). Their hearts “melted in fear.” Isn’t that a vivid word picture? Have you ever melted in fear?

According to archeological excavations, the citizens of Jericho were well prepared for a siege. A spring provided water inside the city walls, and the harvest had just been gathered (Joshua 3:15) providing an abundant supply of food. So, the inhabitants of Jericho could have held out for perhaps several years. Large jars full of grain found in the remains of houses show that the siege was short since the people had consumed very little of the grain. This is verification of the Bible’s accuracy regarding history.

5. Continuing to look at verses 1-11…

  • What do you learn about Rahab as a woman?
  • What conclusion did Rahab make about the God of Israel (verse 11)?
  • Could anyone else in Jericho have come to the same conclusion?
  • What actions did she take to protect the spies (verses 4-7)?

Here’s a woman who is a business woman, gutsy, quick-thinking, shows kindness, is proactive for herself and her family, and is resourceful. You probably know some women like that, although maybe not in her line of business (prostitute).

The conclusion that Rahab made about the God of Israel was exactly what God wanted all of them to know (Deuteronomy 4:35). Everyone heard the same news. While most stayed in their fear, Rahab responded with faith to the revelation given. Rahab was given an opportunity to make a conscious choice for God based upon the few facts she knew about Him, and she responded with FAITH. Faith resulted in action.

6. Read Joshua 2:12-21.

  • What did Rahab ask of the spies (verses 12-13)?
  • The spies made a covenant with Rahab. What part of the oath was Rahab’s responsibility (verses 17-20)?
  • What part of the oath was the responsibility of the spies?
  • How did she help the spies escape (verses 15-16)?

Rahab transferred her allegiance to God and Israel. She asked for kindness while also showing kindness as she first protected the spies and then assisted in their escape. Rahab agreed to the terms of the covenant. And, I bet she tied that scarlet cord in the window right away then moved her family to her house within 3 days. She risked being found out by the king and punished, facing ridicule from her family, perhaps being called a traitor, and worst of all being forgotten by the spies when Israel attacked. That would have been devastating to her!

After the spies’ return, God parted the Jordan River for the people to cross. All of those men who had been born in the wilderness were circumcised. The Passover was celebrated. And, the people ate produce from the land. The manna stopped the next day.

7. Read Joshua 6:1-25.

  • What was God’s plan for defeating Jericho (verses 2-5)?
  • How did Joshua and the people respond (verses 6-15)?
  • Rahab had to wait those seven days also. Based on her responsibility in the oath, who else was waiting with her?
  • What might have been Rahab’s emotions during this time of waiting?

Having all those family members waiting with her (mother, father and brothers with their families) meant that she was feeding them and keeping them focused on possible rescue rather than destruction. Can you imagine how hard that might have been!

Did you consider she might have worried that the red cord would not be seen? Maybe she worried that she would be forgotten. Do you worry that God may have forgotten you? I think she might have had some impatience, too. When would the attack take place? Is today the day? She wasn’t privy to God’s plan. Do you ever get impatient for God to work? I sure do. She was definitely not in control of anything except keeping her family with her.

Someone once said, “Responsibility is my response to His (God’s) ability.” Rahab responded to God’s ability. She made sure that scarlet cord was hanging in plain sight so she could be found. Interestingly, the early church viewed the blood-colored cord as a symbol of Christ’s atonement like the blood of the Passover lamb.

8. Joshua’s name means “salvation.” How was God faithful to Rahab through Joshua so that she and her family were saved (verses 17, 22-25)?

Archaeologists have found that surrounding Jericho was a great earthen embankment with a stone retaining wall at its base 12–15 feet high. Above that stood a mud brick wall 6 feet thick, 20 feet high. At the crest of the embankment was a similar 20-foot high mud brick wall reaching to 46 feet above the ground level below. There were houses built against the wall as in Joshua 2:15. Evidence reveals that the mud brick city wall collapsed at the time the city met its end except for a short stretch of the north city wall that did not fall as everywhere else. Could this have been Rahab’s part of the wall? Excavations showed that the bricks from the collapsed walls formed a ramp against the retaining wall so that the Israelites could climb up over the top as is described in Joshua 6:20. The city was thoroughly burned.

9. Read Matthew 1:5. What information is given about Rahab?

10. Read Hebrews 11:30, 31. What information is given about Rahab?

In Hebrews 11:31, the word “disobedient” is used to describe the rest of the people of Jericho. The original Greek word means, “to refuse to be persuaded.” God had given all the people ample opportunity to be persuaded, but they refused. Do you know someone like that?

11. Read James 2:25. What information is given about Rahab?

God’s grace to Rahab forgave her past and gave her a new future. She was given a place among the Israelites as a recognizable person because she acted on faith instead of melting into fear. She married an Israelite man and produced a son who was King David’s great grandfather, placing Rahab in the lineage of our Lord Jesus.

For centuries, Christians have tried to soften Rahab’s reputation by arguing that she was only an innkeeper, but the New Testament references to her indicate that she was an immoral woman. The Greek word used to describe Rahab is “porne” the word from which we get “pornography.” “Porne” is only used for immorality. This in no way mars the righteousness of God who used such a person in the fulfillment of His purposes. Instead this incident serves to bring His mercy and grace into bold relief. (Adapted from The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament, page 330)

You may feel that some sins in your past or present are so terrible that they can’t be forgiven or that you are unworthy to serve God.

12. What have you learned from Rahab’s story that confirms to you God can forgive your past and give you a new future?

Your Faith Walk

13. List all the opportunities for fear in Rahab’s life.

14. How did she demonstrate faith at those times?

God loved Rahab. He knew what was going on in her life. He was able to do something about it. But, God did not keep Rahab from losing the security of her home nor did He prevent her from having to go through the agony of watching the Israelites march around the city for 7 days. Remember, she didn’t know that plan. When she stepped out in faith, He met her there. She trusted Him to rescue her, and He did. God judged her by her heart (the inward woman), not by her lifestyle (the outward appearance). He not only saved her life, but He forgave her past and gave her a new future. She chose to trust Him rather than melt in fear.

Likewise, God forgives your past and gives you a new future. And, in any and all situations, you can count on these truths…

#1 God loves me.

#2 God knows what is going on in my life.

#3 God can do something about it.

#4 I can trust His goodness in whatever He chooses to do!

That’s your walk from fear to faith.

Journal Your Faith Story

We will probably never be faced with the dramatic circumstances of Rahab, but we do have our own distressing situations in life. Rahab had to wait patiently for God to act. Remember that she did not know the “marching” orders. We also must wait for God to answer our petitions. And these times of waiting strengthen our relationship with Him as we learn to rely on His timing and trust in His goodness.

15. Read the words to the song below. Is waiting a problem for you? Have you become discouraged (or been discouraged in the past) from having to wait? Look back on that time and consider ways you can recognize that God was in the waiting, too.

“You are in the waiting in that moment of my life, when my faith and hope collide. My heart’s anticipating just how and when You’ll move. Oh, that’s when You prove You are in the waiting too” (Shannon Wexelberg, “In the Waiting”)

Faith-in-Action: “Trust God’s Goodness”

By faith, Rahab made a conscious choice to wait and depend on her new God to rescue her. Most of us don’t like to wait for God to work. And, we say to each other, “God is good all the time,” but do we really believe that when we have to wait?

Key Truth: God is good all the time (Psalm 119:68)

The Bible reveals that everything about God is good—He is good in Himself, and what He does is good. That means God allows nothing to happen to His children that is not for their good. God is good all the time, and He is at work in our lives for good.

God’s goodness has three aspects that apply to our times of fear and pain: 1) He is good even in the tough times; 2) He is good in different ways to each of us, and 3) He is good in what He allows or doesn’t allow into our lives.

1) God is good even in the tough times

God teaches His children through tough things He allows in our lives that help us grow up and build bones and teeth in our faith. They help us learn to trust God and give up trying to do things our own way—which may not be the best way—and start doing things God’s way—which is always the best way. ANYTHING that draws us closer to God and makes us depend upon Him is good for us.

2) God is good in different ways to each of us

God’s goodness looks different in each person’s life. In the book of Ruth, Naomi and her family were starving so they moved away from Israel to the neighboring country Moab to get bread. There they met Ruth who didn’t need bread; she needed God. Naomi shared God with Ruth. Different needs met by God’s goodness.

3) God is good in what He allows or doesn’t allow into our lives

Not everyone gets cancer, has a serious injury or chronic illness, endures long-term unemployment, loses a child or experiences the desertion of a spouse. We don’t even know all the dangers God is protecting us from daily! We should consider the bad things that He doesn’t allow into our lives and thank Him all the time for doing that.

Trust His Choosing

Do you believe that God has the right to choose what He brings into your life? It is your choice to TRUST His choice of how to be good to you. Anything that makes us depend on Him is good for us.

Depending on Him

We cannot move from fear to faith on our own. We must depend on God’s Spirit-power in us.

  • Fear says, “I can’t.” Faith says, “God can through me.”
  • Fear says, “I won’t.” Faith says, “God will in me.”
  • Fear says, “I don’t.” Faith says, “God does for me.”

Say about anything, “Lord Jesus, I can’t do this on my own. But, you can do this in and through me. I will trust you.” And, it’s okay to be a little scared because you will rely upon Him more.

Even while you are waiting for God to answer a desperate prayer, count on the fact that God is good all the time. Embrace these 4 truths to sustain you in the waiting as you walk from fear to faith.

#1 God loves me.

#2 God knows what is going on in my life.

#3 God can do something about it.

#4 I can trust His goodness in whatever He chooses to do!

Reflect

16. Consider painful circumstances that have driven you to rely upon God. What did you learn about His goodness through that experience?

Pray

Pray about your fears and decisions you are making to trust God in them. Thank God for His grace toward you and His love for you.

Related Topics: Faith, Women, Women's Articles

Lesson 5: God’s Riches Meet Your Needs

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“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’” Matthew 6:31-34

Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you through this lesson.

By Faith…Two Single Moms

A little bit of history

David reigned on Israel’s throne for 40 years. His son Solomon became famous for his God-given wisdom, strengthened Israel’s defenses, conducted trade throughout the known world, and engaged in numerous building operations including a magnificent temple for God. But his foreign wives turned his heart away from God, so God judged this sin by dividing the Kingdom after his death. Solomon’s son Rehoboam reigned over Judah—the southern kingdom (2 tribes—Judah and Benjamin). Jeroboam (a general) was made king over Israel—the northern kingdom (the other 10 tribes). But, Jeroboam rebelled against God and established a substitute religious system that turned the people away from their God. Sin always brings judgment. In 722 BC, God allowed the Assyrians to destroy Samaria, Israel’s capital, bringing the Northern Kingdom to an end.

During this tumultuous time, God called men and women to become His prophetto receive messages directly from God and proclaim them to the both kings and ordinary people. Unlike the priest or the king, the prophet did not inherit his office. He received his calling directly from God. Some, like Elijah, were called into a lifetime of service to God, while others performed one simple, yet important, job.

About 150 years before the end of the Northern Kingdom, two single moms lived who were struggling just to survive. Things looked hopeless.

1. Recall a time in your life when God creatively provided for you as things looked hopeless. What was it like?

Getting to know the widow of Zarephath…

The town of Zarephath was located between Tyre and Sidon in modern Lebanon. Being Gentile territory, the people worshiped the idol Baal. Elijah was sent to Zarephath to a widow whom God had already chosen to receive His help although she was not Jewish. God’s grace and mercy is always available to individuals. Let’s call this widow “Zee.”

2. Read 1 Kings 17:1-16.

  • What was Zee’s crisis situation, and how was she planning to deal with it (verses 10-12)?
  • What might have been her emotions at this time?
  • What did Elijah ask of Zee (verses 13-14)?
  • What did God promise to do for her (verse 14)?
  • What would Zee need to do?
  • How was God faithful to His promise (verses 15-16)?

Only a true God can provide flour and oil in a drought! Elijah stayed with the widow and her son, eating flour and oil cakes twice a day for almost 3 years! How long could you stay grateful while eating the same meal twice a day for 3 years?!

3. Read 1 Kings 17:17-24.

  • What was Zee’s crisis now (verse 17)?
  • How did she respond to the crisis (verse 18)?

Zee’s response is a common reaction among people who do not know God’s ways when personal tragedy hits their lives. It’s the pagan view of life: “When things go well, the gods are pleased with me. When things go wrong, the gods are angry with me.” But, Jesus said in Matthew 5:45 that God sends sunshine and rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous equally. For Zee, it was God’s opportunity to take her another step along her faith walk, making it personal. It was His goodness to her.

4. Discuss Elijah’s response and how God answered Elijah’s prayer (verses 19-22).

5. How did Zee’s faith grow as a result of God’s faithfulness to her (verse 24)?

Through a near tragedy, this woman came to know the living God in a very personal way.

Getting to know the prophet’s widow…

Elijah served as God’s prophet in Israel for many years. He mentored a local farmer named Elisha as a helper and to continue the ministry after Elijah was taken to heaven (2 Kings 2). Three characteristics distinguished God’s true prophet: 1) he was loyal to God alone, 2) his predictions came to pass, and 3) his message agreed with previous revelations. Performing miracles was not the primary test because false prophets could do that through Satan’s power (Deuteronomy 13:1-2).

6. Read 2 Kings 4:1-7.

  • Let’s call this widow “PW.” What was her crisis situation, and how did she deal with it (verse 1)?
  • What did Elisha as God’s representative ask her (verse 2)?
  • Then, what did he command her to do (verses 3-4)?
  • How did she respond (verses 5-7)?
  • What was this woman’s responsibility, and did she do her part?

The widow’s husband was a member of a school of prophets similar to Bible schools. One community of prophets was located at Bethel, just north of Jerusalem. The Mosaic Law provided for paying off debts by working but with limitations (Leviticus 25:39-41). God gave instructions to His people to continually care for the needy, especially widows and orphans (Deuteronomy 24:19-22). By the time these two women lived, widows and orphans were not only neglected and ignored, they were also oppressed and cheated. But, our faithful God “defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow (Deuteronomy 10:18).”

Olive oil was expensive and time-consuming to make. It was used for cooking, lighting lamps, dressing wounds, and as a deodorant when water wasn’t available for bathing. The wealthy used it for a skin softener. It was also used for anointing kings and the dead for burial as well as for ritual offerings. The widow had a valuable commodity.             

7. When Elisha told the woman to ask her neighbors for jars (verse 3), what could have been the benefits of doing so—to them and to her?

8. How did God provide for this family’s current and future needs (verse 7)?

9. How do you think this incident impacted her sons?

10. Look at the kind of help this woman had sought from God and what she actually received. How did God “defend her cause?”

We often overlook what God has already provided for us and concentrate instead on what we don’t have. In this lesson, God used what both Zee and PW already had as a resource to multiply on their behalf. If you have someone in your sphere of influence who is a widow, single mom, or otherwise needy, be her advocate and help her to look at her resources. Then, join her in asking God to multiply what she already has to meet her needs.

Your Faith Walk

11. Consider the fearful situations that Zee faced. How did she respond to God with faith?

12. Consider the fearful situations that PW faced. How did she respond to God with faith?

God loved the two single moms and their children. He knew what was going on in their lives. He was able to do something about it. But, God did not restore their husbands back to these women nor did He prevent them from going through the agony of watching food supplies dwindle or facing threats from a creditor. His provision was not luxurious foods or easy money. During their walk, a loving God said no to some things. Yet, they chose to trust Him rather than submit to fear. And, God rewarded their faith with an outpouring of His blessing. Likewise, God may not choose to remove the threats from your life. But, in any and all situations, you can count on these truths…

#1 God loves me.

#2 God knows what is going on in my life.

#3 God can do something about it.

#4 I can trust His goodness in whatever He chooses to do!

That’s your walk from fear to faith.

Journal Your Faith Walk

13. Reflect on the words of the song below. How grateful are you for the times when God says, "No?” Consider an experience where God did not respond as you hoped He would. How did you react? What was the ultimate outcome? What did you learn about God?

Had a lot of dreams that never came true. Things I could have done, but never got the chance to do. When I couldn’t see the path of the storm your wisdom wouldn’t let me go that way. And it broke my heart, but now my heart can say,

Thank you for the times you said, No. Thank you for the doors that you closed. All the ways you never let me go and the things you never gave me. So many times I didn’t understand and wouldn’t let you take my hand. But now I want to fall at Your feet and thank you for the things you never gave me. (David Meece, “Things You Never Gave Me”)

Faith-in-Action: “Recognize God’s Provision”

Jesus said to His followers, “Don’t let your needs dominate your thoughts.” Your heavenly Father knows your needs. Give yourself to the Lord first. Think differently about God’s provision for you. God has 4 lessons for us to learn regarding His provision to us.

Lesson #1: God’s provision is His to give and take away. Regard it humbly.

  • Everything we have comes from God.

There isn't anything we have that we did not receive from God—birthplace, height, attractiveness, intelligence, natural talents (1 Corinthians 4:7). Yet we live as though we had something to do with those things.

  • What we have is not a measure of our goodness or our faith.

How God chooses to provide for you or for me at any time in our lives is His sovereign choice. When God removes our comforts and strips away our support, we actually begin to depend on Him as God Almighty—as an essential to our lives, not just an appendage. Don’t let anyone deceive you by equating prosperity with your measure of faith.

  • God determines our provision—the how, when, and why

Most of the time, God’s provision is going to come through people, not miraculously appear from the sky. People design products and services to sell; they take the risk to start businesses and hire workers, including you. People buy farmers’ crops. And, people provide meals for someone in a time of need. We must learn to trust whatever manner He chooses.

  • Our provision belongs to God. Hold onto it loosely.

Just before Elijah went to live with Zee, God placed him beside a stream for 6 months. Birds brought him food twice a day (1 Kings 17:1-6). But, it’s during a drought so he watches the stream gradually dry up!

"The God who gave the water has chosen to take the water. It's His sovereign right! He gives the child; He can take it away. He gives the business; He can take it away. He gives the house; He can take it away." (Chuck Swindoll, sermon series on Elijah)

Lesson #2: God’s provision is always enough. Receive it gratefully.

  • The sufficiency of God’s enough

After 40 years of life in the desert, eating just morning manna and evening quail, without house, farm, new shoes or clothes, Moses tells the people of Israel they “lacked nothing” (Deuteronomy 2:7). Later, he tells them that in their new land with abundant water and bountiful food they “will lack nothing” (Deuteronomy 8:7-9). When you have the Lord’s provision (whatever it is), you lack nothing that you need at this time in your life. It’s what you HAVE that counts, not what you lack.

  • The creativity of God’s enough

When you receive God’s provision, you learn that He is trustworthy, creative, and personal. For one widow, she had endless pancakes but only enough for today with a promise for tomorrow. She had to trust that flour bucket to be refilled for the next day’s meals. She lacked nothing. For the other woman, she had a bottomless pot of oil, enough for today and to plan for her future. She lacked nothing. God doesn't do the same thing for everyone. Your hope is to be in your God, not in prosperity—current or future.

Lesson #3: God’s provision is meant to be shared. Give it generously.

  • Compassion is doing, not feeling

Compassion is doing something to ease someone’s pain, whether it’s for this week or more. It’s proactive. God’s plan for the needy was that perfectly good food was purposely left in the fields for the poor to have.

  • Compassion requires trusting God, not having plenty

A fine line exists between good stewardship of the provisions given today and not trusting God enough to be able to share it. It’s what you do with what you have. God gave us a wonderful example to follow in the Macedonian Christians.

“Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity… they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will. (2 Corinthians 8:2, 7)

  • Compassion shares God’s riches flowing through us

God’s grace can make a dynamic difference in the mindset of His people when it comes to provision. How you respond as the receiver or the giver should be different than what the world does. God’s riches to us are supplied through us to meet another’s needs (2 Corinthians 8:13-14).

  • Compassion is personal

Have you experienced the joy of deliberately and delightfully meeting the specific needs of a person with a name and a face you know? Compassion is personal.

Lesson #4: God’s provision brings Him glory. Praise Him openly.

Acknowledge that what we have, whether much or little, all comes from God. Ask God to give you frequent opportunity to tell your story. That gives Him glory. Recognize God’s provision to you is being supplied to you for His purposes. Whenever there doesn’t seem to be enough, remember these four truths to stand strong in the tough times:

#1 God loves me.

#2 God knows what is going on in my life.

#3 God can do something about it.

#4 I can trust His goodness in whatever He chooses to do!

Reflect

14. What did you learn from this faith-in-action that helps you walk from fear to faith regarding God’s provision for you?

Pray

Pray about your fears and decisions you are making to trust God in them. Thank God for His grace toward you and His love for you.

Related Topics: Faith, Women, Women's Articles

Lesson 6: Trusting God? Tell It!

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The king was talking to Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, and had said, “Tell me about all the great things Elisha has done.” Just as Gehazi was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, the woman whose son Elisha had brought back to life came to appeal to the king for her house and land. Gehazi said, “This is the woman, my lord the king, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” The king asked the woman about it, and she told him. Then he assigned an official to her case and said to him, “Give back everything that belonged to her, including all the income from her land from the day she left the country until now.” 2 Kings 8:4-6a

Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you through this lesson.

By Faith…The Shunammite Woman

A little bit of history

God’s concern for women and their special needs is clearly seen in the Bible. Whereas women were regarded as inferior to men in most ancient Near Eastern societies, God demonstrated His compassion for them in dynamic, recognizable ways. Times were hard, though. Famines were common. The kings were wicked, especially in the Northern Kingdom Israel. Few priests knew how to worship the true God. Elisha, God’s prophet to Israel at this time, ministered in and around Mt. Carmel on the western edge of the Plain of Jezreel—a fruitful farming valley in northwest Israel. Shunem was a little town in this valley.

Getting to know the Shunammite…

1. Read 2 Kings 4:8-17. Since this woman doesn’t have a name other than “Shunammite,” let’s call her “Shuna.”

  • What information is given about Shuna (verse 8)?              
  • What did Shuna think about Elisha, and what did she suggest to her husband that they do for him (verses 9-10)?
  • How did Elisha respond to their generosity (verses 11-13)?
  • What need did she withhold (verse 14)?
  • Hearing about Shuna’s unexpressed need, what does Elisha, as God’s representative, do about it (verses 15-17)?

Shuna and her husband gladly took care of Elisha’s needs. They simply started with a meal, then turned their home into a “Bed and Breakfast” reserved for him whenever he was in town. This gracious gesture supported Elisha’s ministry. Hospitality is a ministry. Women are particularly gifted by God to establish the warmth of a home—emotional and otherwise. Home is wherever you live and can serve as a great ministry tool.

2. Share a time when God has given you opportunity to use your home to minister to someone else.

About 5 or more years later…

3. Read 2 Kings 4:18-37.

  • What crisis was Shuna facing (verses 18-20)?
  • How did she respond to the crisis (verses 21-22)?
  • Elisha represented God to her at this time. When she reached Elisha, what did she do and say (verses 27-28)?
  • How did Elisha respond to seeing her and to her words (verses 25-30)?
  • How was God faithful to Shuna, and how did she respond (verse 37)?

A few years earlier, the prophet Elijah thought he was the only faithful God-worshiper left in Israel. God reassured Elijah that 7,000 people in Israel had not “bowed their knees” to Baal (1 Kings 19:14-18), being faithful to God alone. Perhaps Shuna and her husband came from those 7,000. Living in the midst of wicked Israel, this couple chose to remain faithful to God. God honored their faith by giving them opportunity to respond to His word through Elisha whenever he came to their town.

At least 7 years later…

4. Read 2 Kings 8:1-6.

  • How did God show His faithfulness to Shuna and her family (verses 1-2)?
  • Now, what challenge was she facing (verse 3)?
  • What did the king ask Gehazi to do (verse 4)?
  • While Gehazi was speaking, what happened (verse 5)?
  • How was God faithful to Shuna again (verse 6)?

Israelites could bypass lower officials and appeal directly to the king. Either someone had illegally occupied the woman’s property, or it had fallen to the king’s domain by virtue of its abandonment. King Jehoram was not a good king. Yet, God used this woman’s faith story to move the king’s heart to do what God wanted him to do.

5. Was the woman’s sudden appearance before the king a coincidence? If not, what do you learn about our God?

6. After reading this passage, why do you think God allowed the family in Shunem to experience the crisis in 2 Kings 4?

7. What inspires you about this woman?

Your Faith Walk

8. What situations brought fear into Shuna’s life?

9. How did she respond to God by faith instead?

God loved this woman and her family. He knew what was going on in their lives. He was able to do something about it. But, God did not make the woman’s husband young again nor did God prevent her from enduring barrenness for a time. He didn’t prevent the famine from affecting their family. During her walk, a loving God said no to some things. Yet, she chose to trust Him rather than submit to fear. And, He rewarded her faith with an outpouring of His blessing on her family. Likewise, God may not choose to fix your crisis so you experience no pain. But, in any and all situations, you can count on these truths…

#1 God loves me.

#2 God knows what is going on in my life.

#3 God can do something about it.

#4 I can trust His goodness in whatever He chooses to do!

That’s your walk from fear to faith.

Journal Your Faith Story

God gave this woman a story of His faithfulness to her, and He gave her opportunity to share it with an ungodly king! Her faith led her to love God and His Word then led her to seek help from God in a time of pain and crisis. She learned to trust God.

10. Read Hebrews 4:14-16. While there are times when family and friends can help us, God wants us to bring our deepest needs to Him alone. Describe the last time you faced a crisis that only God could handle. Were you able to trust Him with the outcome? What happened? How was He faithful to you in this crisis?

Faith-in-Action: “Declare God’s Faithfulness”

Have you been in a really dark place with not even a glimmer of light? When you are in total darkness, you look for light from any source, don’t you? You see that light and follow it to get out of the darkness. That’s what God does for us—He calls us out of darkness into His wonderful light. And, He uses us as light-bearers to declare His faithfulness and lead other people to Him.

Light-bearers declare God’s faithfulness

We are God’s dearly loved children who can be light-bearers to anyone still living in darkness.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

You and I are chosen to be God’s mouthpiece to the world around us. Our purpose is to declare what He has done in our own lives to those who cannot see the light. God’s plan to meet that need for every woman is…Himself through a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ.

Jesus Is the Light of the World

Our God sent His Son Jesus into the world to lead the way out of the darkness. Jesus declared Himself to be the light of the world, giving sight to the spiritually blind (John 9). But, He chooses to use us—frail, faltering, headstrong, often self-centered humans—to be his light-bearers and love messengers to the blind and fearful people we see!

We are the light-bearers. We communicate to those around us who are enshrouded in darkness that God is real and available to anyone who wants Him. That’s the good news, “The Gospel.”

The Gospel—good news about God’s faithfulness

Christianity is Christ! It’s all about a relationship with Him.

“Jesus Christ laid down His life for you so that he could give His life to you so that he could live His life through you.” (Ian Thomas, The Saving Life of Christ)

If you have opportunity to tell someone one thing, tell her about Jesus.

  • Tell her that God loves her and wants a relationship with her, but sin separates her from God’s love.
  • Tell her that Jesus is God, who came to earth as a man, and died for her sins.
  • Tell her that she can be completely forgiven of her sins and receive eternal life with God by believing in Jesus as her Savior.

Declare your story of God’s faithfulness

People love to hear stories. As you have learned to trust God’s goodness in whatever is causing you fear, and journaled about it at the end of the lessons, you now have a story to share. Sharing your story is a simple way to speak about God’s love for you and how He works in your life. You can bring hope to someone who needs it.

How did you first hear about Jesus? Someone told you, right? We get that awesome privilege of sharing that good news with others. There is such joy in reaching out to those who do not know Jesus and introducing them to Him so they can know Him just as you now know Him.

Think of it this way: Imagine you had cancer and were chosen to be part of a special test group for a new cure. The treatment cured all of your cancer completely free of charge. What is the first thing you would do after you were healed? You would blast it all over Facebook, telling all of the other cancer victims about this great cure! Well, sin is a cancer affecting every single person. And you have been cured—forgiven of your sins—by your faith in Jesus Christ.

Do you remember how you felt before you believed in Jesus? Maybe you felt lonely, guilty, and without hope. Maybe you were afraid. You have a story to share about your walk from fear to faith. Your story illustrates the power of God in your life, His faithfulness to you that helps you let go of your fear and trust His goodness. You do not need to be an expert in the Bible or have years of experience knowing Christ. Just share what you know.

And as you declare God’s faithfulness to you on your walk from fear to faith, be sure to include the four truths you have learned that are essential to faith:

#1 God loves me.

#2 God knows what is going on in my life.

#3 God can do something about it.

#4 I can trust His goodness in whatever He chooses to do!

God will continue to show His faithfulness to you as you walk from fear to faith.

Reflect

11. God gave this woman a story of His faithfulness to her, and He gave her opportunity to share it with an ungodly king! God has given you a story to tell of His faithfulness to you. Review the various parts of your story that you have already written in the lessons. Choose one or two to expand into your story to share of your faith walk with God, especially your “Walk from Fear to Faith.” Write it out now. Think in terms of what you can share in about 5 minutes.

Pray

Ask God to give you opportunities to share your story!

For a more detailed study of these and other Old Testament women, check out the Everyday Women, Ever Faithful God study.

Related Topics: Faith, Women's Articles, World Religions

Sources

Related Media

The following resources were used in the preparation and writing of this study.

1. A.T. Robertson, Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament, Broadman Press, 1932.

2. Bryant Wood, “The Walls of Jericho,” Creation magazine, March 1999.

3. David Meece, “Things You Never Gave Me” lyrics

4. John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament, Victor Books, 1985.

5. Shannon Wexelberg, “In the Waiting” lyrics

6. The NIV Study Bible New International Version, Zondervan Bible Publishers, 1985.

7. Victor Hamilton, Handbook on the Pentateuch, page 91

8. Ian Thomas, The Saving Life of Christ

Q. How do you tell a Test from a Temptation?

Answer

Dear Friend,

The same Greek term is used in the New Testament for both testing and tempting:

21254 πειράζω impf. ἐπείραζον; fut. πειράσω; 1aor. ἐπείρασα, mid. ἐπειρασάμην; pf. pass. πεπείρασμαι; 1aor. pass. ἐπειράσθην; (1) make an attempt, try, followed by an infinitive to indicate what is being attempted (AC 9.26); (2) put to the test, examine, try (RV 2.2); in a good sense of Gods actions toward his people prove, put to the test, try (HE 11.17); in a bad sense of a persons hostile intent toward God or Christ test, try, prove (MT 16.1); also in a bad sense of enticement to sin tempt (GA 6.1); participle as a substantive πειράζων the tempter, a descriptive title for the devil (MT 4.3) (Friberg’s Lexicon)

What distinguishes temptation from testing is in the intended outcome. Satan tempts us, with the intended (or at least hoped for) outcome of our failure. God tests us, with the intended outcome of our proven faithfulness.

The same event can be both a temptation and a test. God allowed Satan to afflict Job (Job 1 & 2). From Satan’s point of view, the affliction (and the counsel of Job’s friends) was actually a temptation (and don’t forget his wife’s counsel to curse God and die (Job 2:9). But God allowed Satan to tempt Job in order to prove him a faithful man (Job 1:6-8).

We should also take into account these words of Paul:

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13, NAU).

So, when trials and difficulties and challenges come our way, I would suggest that we approach them this way: How would Satan seek to use this to bring about my downfall? And How does God intend to use this to bring about His glory by bringing about my spiritual growth and faithfulness to Him?

By the way, it isn’t just difficulties, opposition, and failure that can be a temptation. It can also be success, if that produces pride and self-sufficiency (see Isaiah 2:11-12; Ezekiel 28:2ff.; Daniel 5:18-21; 2 Corinthians 12:1-10).

Blessings,

Bob Deffinbaugh

Related Topics: Suffering, Trials, Persecution, Temptation

The Net Pastor's Journal, Eng Ed, Issue 30 Winter 2019

Winter 2019 Edition

A ministry of…

Author: Dr. Roger Pascoe, President,
The Institute for Biblical Preaching
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 519-620-2375

Part I: Strengthening Expository Preaching

“Strengthening The Close”

The close is usually prepared at the end of your sermon preparation, just before the introduction (or simultaneously with the introduction). The introduction and close go together – the latter finalizes the former. Just as a weak introduction runs the risk of failing to engage your audience with the content of your message, so a weak close runs the risk of failing to engage your audience with the demands of the message.

The primary purpose of the close is to effect closure of your message – and the message is not properly closed unless it motivates life transformation. That’s why we preach – not to pass on interesting information; not to fill our heads with knowledge; not to make each other feel good, but to be a catalyst for life change. We “persuade men and women” (2 Cor. 5:19).

You can destroy the effectiveness of your sermon with a weak close. Many preachers do not know how to bring a sermon to a conclusion. This is true in public speaking and in preaching. A weak close is like the man who began to build a tower but couldn’t finish it.

Note two significant dangers in regard to the close:

1. Closing before the sermon is done.

2. Closing after the sermon is done.

A weak close is primarily due to two things:

1. Insufficient thought, preparation, and prayer about the close and what you (and the Holy Spirit) want to accomplish through it.

2. Failure to attribute to the close the importance that it really has.

A. The Basic Elements Of A Good Close

1. The Summation: “Crystallize” The Truth

One of the best ways of teaching is repetition - the basic threefold pattern is:

(1) Tell them what you are going to say (the introduction)

(2) Say it (the body)

(3) Tell them what you just said (the close)

Just make sure you don’t repeat too much – only summarize. And don’t preface it with a predictable phrase such as: “Now what we have learned this morning is…” Make it a natural part of your close by not summarizing it in point form but in covering the scope and flow of thought of the sermon in your close.

It’s good to repeat your proposition in the close and in various places throughout your sermon if there is a natural place for it. By doing this you accomplish several important steps:

(1) You remind your audience of where you began by relating the close to the introduction.

(2) You “crystallize” (solidify) the overall theological point of the sermon and text.

(3) You help the people to remember the point of the sermon.

(4) You demonstrate that you have preached what you said you would - i.e. you have proved the point, or explained the truth, or exhorted them to adopt an idea, or answered the question you posed at the beginning.

(5) You put the entire sermon into a sentence again and this time the lights should go on in your audience’s minds, if they have not already gone on. They should say: “Yes! That’s the truth of the passage!”

One way you can summarize your sermon is by repeating the main points. In this way, they can quickly recapture the sermon in outline form, and they can see where you have come from and, hopefully, where they need to go now.

If you have stated in your introduction the purpose of your sermon, you can repeat it again in the close by clarifying the challenge of the message so that it is crystal clear and your audience is refocused on your motivating thrust.

This summation is for clarification purposes - to make it crystal clear what the challenge of the message is; to crystallize the central issue; and to give your one final, clarifying thought.

Try to refer back to your opening point of contact (if possible). Perhaps you told a story that illustrated the problem, or recited a poem, or gave an example. By referring back to it, the audience will now see it in the light of what you have just preached. Or, perhaps you left something hanging and now you can complete the story or answer the problem. Referring back to the introduction, in some way acts like a picture frame to the sermon (or, a book end) – it brings closure.

2. An Illustration: “Visualize” The Truth

A good illustration is a very effective way of bringing the whole sermon together in the close. If you pick the right illustration it will paint a word picture of the theme that you have been preaching and imprint it on the minds of the listeners. Through illustration the people are able to see the truth you presented and their own life as it compares with the truth.

Illustrations make abstract truth visual and concrete. Be sure to only use an illustration that fits the theme of your sermon and don’t make it long. You can conclude with poetry (or a hymn), or a relevant and powerful quote as your final “illustration.” The particular value of poetry is that it expresses abstract truths with colourful, unique word pictures in condensed form.

3. An Exhortation: “Concretize” And “Personalize” The Truth

Exhortation, like repetition, refocuses attention on the purpose of the sermon, namely, to motivate the listeners to do something; to take “moral and spiritual action”; to drive the point home personally.

In this part of the close, tell them what you want them to do – i.e. change their behaviour, thinking, attitudes, relationships, obey the truth etc. If the sermon has been convicting, the people should already be asking in their minds and hearts: “What shall we do?” Or, “Why should we do it?” Or, “How can we do it?” Our task is to answer these unspoken questions by telling them “what,” “why,” or “how” by instructing them to repent and obey the truth.”

Sometimes the text itself gives you the concluding application. Many times in Paul’s writings a paragraph ends with a concluding application.

Make your exhortation (appeal) personal – address them as “you”. Now you are past the “we” stage. This is the role of the prophet speaking for God and demanding that the people respond.

This is the final “application”. Even though you have applied the truth all through the sermon, the close gives you one final chance for special and personal emphases. So, make it concrete and vivid. Give specific examples of action you expect as a result of this sermon. This is what Jesus did at the end of his Sermon on the Mount, where he brought together both a vivid illustration and powerful application (Matt. 7:24-26). This is your last chance to make the sermon relevant – to bridge the gap between the biblical world and the contemporary world and to provide answers to the why, what, how questions. Be sure that your application is rooted in the text and not your own experience or convictions.

Here you are “beseeching” as the apostles did – encouraging them, pleading with them (e.g. to be reconciled to God), urging them (e.g. to be conformed to Christ).

4. The Invitation: “Actualize” The Truth

This gives opportunity to the people to respond – to “actualize” the truth in their lives. This part of your close will take different forms depending on the type of sermon and the audience you are preaching to. But, in general, this is where you call for a verdict. This is decision time. All good sermons require a decision of some sort. Thus, in the close, we make a direct, personal appeal for their response.

This is common in biblical sermons. For example, Joshua issued a challenge to the people in Joshua 24:15: “Choose you this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” This is how Peter concluded in Acts 2:36-40: “Therefore, let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” This is Peter’s direct appeal to their consciences, to which they immediately responded: “What shall we do?” And he actualized the truth by inviting them to ”repent and be baptized”. This is how Paul concluded his sermon in Acts 17:30-32: “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by that Man who he has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising him from the dead. And when they had heard of the resurrection from the dead, some mocked….”

The preacher’s purpose is not to send people away the same as they came in nor is it the listener’s purpose to leave the same way they came in. We preach and people listen in order to be changed by the Word and the Holy Spirit through the medium of preaching.

Be sure to allow time for the Holy Spirit to actualize the message in the people’s lives. Don’t rush this, as the tendency is sometimes. Don’t be embarrassed about doing it. Perhaps you need to state up front that you will be calling for a decision so that it doesn’t come as a surprise and so that they are preparing for their response throughout the message.

The close is your final motivating thrust - the final motivation for them to grow as Christians or to become a Christian. Response times should be directed to both believers and unbelievers. Believers need to get right with God and with each other – confess and repent of sin, habits, attitudes, relationships, beliefs, speech etc. Unbelievers need to get right with God – be reconciled to God, trust Christ, receive forgiveness etc.

Response times may be either private or public. All of this does not have to take place in the congregational service. A private response may take place just where they are sitting – e.g. for confession, repentance; or it may take place in an after-meeting for seekers (i.e. those who want to know more). A public response may mean coming forward for those who want to profess faith, or raising a hand for you to acknowledge and pray for them.

B. Helpful Guidelines For The Close

1. Be Conclusive

When you start into your close, everyone will know it – so make it a close. Give a sense of completion of, and closure to, the message. Don’t go on and on with more things to say that you forgot before. Don’t introduce new material – this is a sure way to destroy a close. This is one of the most common weaknesses of conclusions. New material only confuses the issue and detracts from the task at hand.

2. Be Clear And Definite

Your exhortation should leave no doubts in the minds of your listeners what you are expecting them to do (e.g. respond to the invitation) and why. Your application must answer the “what,” “why,” “how” questions. Ask yourself whether everyone can clearly understand what you have challenged them with? Try to put yourself in their position, having not studied the text as you have and spent the mount of time in it as you have.

3. Be Accurate

Make sure your close is accurate and appropriate to the textual challenge.

4. Be Genuine In Approach And Atmosphere

Don’t suddenly try to become a famous preacher like Billy Graham, expecting masses to come to the front while you sing “Just as I am.” Use your own, natural approach to concluding this sermon.

5. Be Personal

Don’t end up your sermon on a wishy-washy, unclear note, nor on an impersonal note. It’s hard enough for people to grasp abstract truth let alone an impersonal preacher.

Your listeners need to be convinced that what you said was just for them – that you know the innermost secrets of their hearts and lives. Often listeners will say that you struck right at the heart of their life situation. How did you know? Well, you didn’t, but the Holy Spirit did.

Listeners need to leave the service with a personal challenge to them, with answers to their questions, with solutions to their problems, with joy that they came to hear the Word of God preached. In this respect, try to always leave them with a word of hope. God’s Word really is good news. Make sure that you preach it as such. There is so much to cause despair in the world. Don’t duplicate or exaggerate that in the church. People come to church in absolute despair looking for some good news, some hope, some answer to their problems. Make sure you give them a reason for, and means of, hope.

Ask yourself: “Will each person be touched personally by this message?” Mentally go through your pews and visualize your congregation and apply this question to each person.

6. Be Practical

If there is a big crowd and you ask them to come to the front, you need to give time for them to come, and there needs to be space for them to come to. If the response is big, you need counsellors to help you or an after service to deal with them. If unbelievers respond, you need materials to give them. If newcomers respond, you need materials on the church and its ministries to give them.

7. Be Instructional Concerning Response

Make your invitation meaningful and purposeful, not simply something that you’re supposed to do at the end of a service (that becomes mere ritual). Give them instructions what to do, how to respond – i.e. what their response should look like either immediately in the service or later in their lives as the principles of the sermon are lived out.

8. Be Appropriate

Make sure your close is appropriate for the occasion, the message, and the audience. Make sure your application is rooted in the text. Make sure your illustration (if you use one) is tightly connected to the message and to the text (so that it needs no explanation), and to the listeners. Ask yourself the question: “Is this close appropriate to my audience, my message, this occasion?”

C. Dangers To Avoid

1. The “Run-On” Close (Or, “Pile-On” Close)

This is like a car that keeps on running for a bit after you shut it off. Gradually, the preacher piles on a bit more of this and then a bit more of that until not only is the point of the sermon lost, but the attention and responsiveness of the audience is lost as well.

This is usually the result of not planning how to conclude.

Knowing how to stop is as important as knowing how to start. You have probably all heard (painfully) someone giving a testimony in church and not knowing how to stop. Going on and on when the audience knows you’re trying to finish is very frustrating for listeners.

2. The “Circling-To-Land” Close

This happens when the preacher seems to conclude and then starts again to line up for another conclusion. He just can’t decide how or when to stop. Sometimes the preacher might finish and then say: “What I mean by that is…” and start the conclusion over again. Make sure you know what your ending is and only have one.

3. The “Deja Vue” Close

This is a conclusion that instead of summarizing the sermon actually repeats it, so that you hear it all over again. This is like one of those deja vue moments when you’re absolutely certain you have been here before, seen that before. This might happen if he realizes that he left something out or didn’t say exactly what he wanted to say the first time. Say what you have to say and finish.

4. The “Left-Overs” Close

Sometimes, everything that the preacher couldn’t use in the sermon he puts into his conclusion. Be disciplined to throw out everything that is not relevant to your message. Don’t try to include everything you dig up in your research. Be ruthless about deleting material. Put it all to the test: “Is this pertinent to the theme of the sermon?”

A sermon is not a commentary on the passage in which you lay out all the different points of view and everything everybody has ever written on the subject. A sermon is like a rifle shot (focused, single shot) not a shot gun (multiple shots, wide distribution).

5. The “Same Play” Close

This is where every conclusion follows the same format so everyone knows the approach you’re going to take because you do it every week. Just as variety in introductions is important, so is variety in conclusions. Don’t serve it up the same way every week.

6. The “Manipulative” Close

This is a danger to be avoided at all costs. Manipulation or intimidation are attempts to force decisions by trickery or pressure. Exhortation, on the other hand, is simply an appeal to the congregation to respond to the truth of the sermon as the Holy Spirit enforces the message on their hearts and wills.

D. Final Remarks Concerning The Close

1. Think Through And Write Out Your Close In Full

You don’t want to leave this to on-the-spot. It’s too important and, often, too hard to do extemporaneously.

2. Know What The Conclusion Is

This has already been established in your introduction – in the “purpose” for the sermon and the “proposition” of the sermon. The conclusion, therefore, ties back to the introduction.

3. Allow Time For The Conclusion

Don’t rush it. Let it sink in what you are expecting them to do. Give them a chance to respond.

4. Adjust The Conclusion To The Message Preached

If you have made changes as you preached the message, then you will have to incorporate those changes into your conclusion.

5. Trust God For The Outcome

In the end result, only the Holy Spirit can change people’s lives. We must do everything we can to facilitate this change (after all, we are the agents God has chosen to do this work). But when we have done our part, the results are up to God. Trusting him for the outcome is a great relief to the preacher, especially when you don’t see the results you would like or expect.

Part II. Biblical Exposition

“Lawsuits In The Church” (1 Cor. 6:1-11) 1

Dr. Stephen F. Olford

Introduction In this passage, Paul deals with the second disorder in the church that had been brought to his attention. It had to do with litigation, or lawsuits, in the assembly. It was a problem that mainly affected the Greek element in the church. The Jews did not ordinarily go to law in public courts. Indeed, their training expressly forbade them to do so. With the Greeks, however, it was otherwise. They reveled in the practice of suing one another! Their whole life seemed to be bound up with legal procedure.

The Apostle, on the other hand, shows us in these verses, that when Christians have quarrels among themselves they should have them judged by fellow Christians, and not before unregenerate judges. This does not mean, of course, that we are never to use the courts of our country. There are conditions and circumstances that demand this. In fact, it is well to remember that the very author of this epistle, the Apostle Paul, appealed to an earthly court on one occasion (Acts 25:11); but this was never in relation to disputes within the church of God, or disputes between Christian brethren. So the clear teaching of this important portion of God’s Word is that:

I. Litigation Among Christians Is Contrary To The Destiny Of The Church

“Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? If then you have judgments of things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge?” (1 Corinthians 6:1-4). Paul introduces his subject with words of amazement and challenge. He says, “Dare any of you…go to law before the unrighteous?” (v. 1). Then he deduces two reasons why such a practice is contrary to the destiny of the church. In the first place, the saints are destined to judge the world (v. 2). Both in the gospels and the epistles we are taught this astonishing truth.

Jesus said: “…I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28).

Jude said: “…the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him” (Jude 14-15).

Paul reminds us that “if we suffer, we shall also reign with him…” (2 Timothy 2:12) What a destiny is this! And how united and elevated is the believer with Christ, both in position and power! And yet the Corinthians were willfully or neglectfully ignorant of all this. Instead of exercising the spiritual authority which was theirs by virtue of oneness with their risen Head, they were hopelessly incompetent to handle the trifling squabbles in the local church.

Paul’s second reason is a development of the first. He asks, “Do you not know that we shall judge angels?” (v.3) He extends what he has already said to include the ultimate authority that saints will share with their Lord over all created beings in the eternal kingdom. The prospect is certainly breathtaking! And yet it is true because God declares it.

How foolish then, were the believers in Corinth, and how foolish are present-day believers, not to be able to judge in matters pertaining to this life (v. 3). Indeed, with withering irony the apostle suggests that even the “least esteemed in the church” (v. 4) ought to be better qualified than the best of earthly judges to settle disputes in the church. Thus we see that litigation among Christians is contrary to the destiny of the church.

II. Litigation Among Christians Is Contrary To The Policy Of The Church

“I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers!” (1 Corinthians 6:5-6). The general sense of these two verses makes it abundantly clear that the divine policy for settlement of disputes within the church is twofold:

First, that such quarrels and problems have nothing to do whatsoever with unbelievers. Nothing could be more out of character with God’s purpose for the local church than to expect unregenerate and unrighteous judges to handle the affairs of the people of God. A local church sinks very low when she has to resort to worldly counsel on matters that pertain to Christian life, faith, and practice. Indeed, to descend to this level is to admit falsely before pagans that the Christian way of life is inadequate.

Secondly, arbitration or “brotherly settlement” as the word “judge” means in this verse is to be under the care of “wise” men in the church. The church is not essentially a democracy, but rather a theocracy – or better a “Christocracy.” Through the headship of the Lord Jesus a chain of command is set up in matters of leadership and arbitration. To this the church must bow, for the scripture says, “Obey them that have the rule over you…” (Hebrews 13:7). Where there is Spirit-led and taught leadership, there ought to be no problem which cannot be resolved. Paul makes this painfully clear by the manner in which he addresses the incongruous and inconsistent situation in the Corinthian church. He exclaims, “I say this to your shame…” (6:5), and then proceeds to ask in humiliating terms whether or not there could be “found” one “wise” man in the assembly capable of arbitrating between one fellow believer and another!

We might add that this divine policy has never been rescinded. God still expects His church to be governed and judged according to His word.

III. Litigation Among Christians Is Contrary To The Charity Of The Church

“Now therefore it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law with one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be defrauded? No, you yourselves do wrong and defraud, and you do these things to your brethren!” (1 Corinthians 6:7-8). In chapter 13 of this epistle, Paul spells out the supreme motivation for every act and reaction in the life of the church. That motivation is love. Indeed, he says that to have everything and to lack “charity” or “love” is to have nothing. The Apostle was only echoing the words of the Master: “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another” (John 13:35). Quite clearly, the Apostle has this “supreme motivation” in mind as he handles this delicate subject of litigation.

You will notice that the word “brothers” is repeated constantly in these verses (5, 6, 8). Then he goes on to say that it would be better to suffer wrong at the hand of a Christian brother than to be so unloving as to take the dispute to a heathen court. So in verse 7, the Revised Standard Version reads: “To have lawsuits at all with one another is DEFEAT for you.” In other words, Paul is saying that it is possible to win a legal victory and yet suffer a moral defeat. Or again, it is possible not only to refuse to endure wrong, but to inflict a worse wrong on others. Such an attitude and spirit is the very antithesis of Christ-likeness and Calvary love. Concerning our Savior we read: “…when He was reviled, He reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23). You see, carnality, with all its many forms of self-love, resentfulness, and vindictiveness, are all cancelled out when the cross is applied by the power of the Holy Spirit.

IV. Litigation Among Christians Is Contrary To The Purity Of The Church

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revelers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). To climax his treatment of this subject, Paul shows the utter incompatibility of the world with the church. He dramatically contrasts the “unrighteous” of verse 9 with those who are “washed… sanctified…and justified” in verse 11. Without fear or favor, he recognized that outside the grace of God, unregenerate man at his best is capable of:

a) Fornication – a word that literally means male prostitution.

b) Idolatry – a word that signifies the substitution of something or someone for God.

c) Adultery – a word that describes sexual intercourse with another person’s spouse.

d) Effeminacy – a word that suggests the loss of manhood or womanhood to live for pleasure and luxury.

e) Sodomy – a word that spells out the sins of homosexuality and sodomy

f) Robbery – a word that covers the whole area of the misappropriation of time, energy, or money belonging to God or someone else.

g) Covetousness – a word meaning to make others and their possessions an object of worship.

h) Drunkenness – a word that denotes intemperate drinking

i) Reveling – a word that is associated with an uncontrolled, unsanctified tongue.

j) Extortion – a word that denotes a spirit that is always reaching and grabbing for that to which it has no right.

What a horrifying list this is! And just to think that in and of ourselves we are all as corrupt as Paul describes us! But a miracle has taken place. God has met us in Christ and transformed us; made us pure, and holy, and good. Through His name and by His Spirit we have been cleansed, set apart, and made to appear before God in a favorable light. The words “washed,” “sanctified,” and “justified” describe the “full salvation” into which we have been brought through grace alone by faith alone in Christ alone.

Conclusion: If that be the purity of our standing and state in Christ, how can we as those “called to be saints” (2:1) feel at home in “unrighteous” courts or among unholy judges? The question answers itself.

So Paul disposes of lawsuits within the local church. And if we would be obedient to the Word of God, we must do the same. In fact, we must go further; we must see to it that the life of the church never sinks so low as to necessitate such carnal procedures. The understanding of our destiny, policy, charity, and purity in Christ must determine all our thinking and acting within and without the church.

Part III. Sermon Outlines

To listen to the audio version of these sermons in English, click on these links: Link 1 - Jn. 20:1-2; Link 2 - Jn. 20:3-10; Link 3 - Jn. 20:11-18

Title: I’ve Just Seen Jesus

Theme: The shock and reality of the resurrection

Point #1: The empty tomb turns observers into believers (1-10)

1. The empty tomb turns observers into followers (1-2)

(1) At the cross, some were observers (Lk. 23:55-56)

(2) At the empty tomb, some were followers (1-2)

2. The empty tomb turns followers into believers (3-10)

(1) For some, the empty tomb leaves them still sceptical (6-7)

(2) For others, the empty tomb inspires them to believe (5, 8-9)

Point #2: The risen Christ turns sorry into joy (11-18)

1. Ignorance of the resurrection produces sorrow (11-13)

(1) It produces sorrow despite the evidence (11)

(2) It produces sorrow despite the testimony (12-13)

2. Knowledge of the resurrection produces joy (14-18)

(1) It produces joy through the recognition of him (14-16)

(2) It produces joy through obedience to him (17-18)


1 Other articles in this series on 1 Corinthians can be read in previous editions of this journal as follows: Summer 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Summer 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Summer 2018.

Related Topics: Pastors

La Revue Internet Des Pasteurs, Fre Ed 30, Edition de l’hiver 2019

Edition Hivers 2019

Un ministère de…

Author: Dr. Roger Pascoe, President,
The Institute for Biblical Preaching
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 519-620-2375

Partie I: Renforcement De La Predication Par Exposition

“Renforcer la Conclusion”

La conclusion est généralement préparée à la fin de la préparation de votre sermon, juste avant l’introduction (ou simultanément avec l’introduction). L'introduction et la conclusion vont de pair - le dernier finalise le premier. De la même manière qu'une introduction faible risque de ne pas impliquer votre public avec le contenu de votre message, de même une conclusion faible court le risque de ne pas engager votre auditoire avec les exigences du message.

Le but primordial de la conclusion est de bien clôturer votre message - et le message n'est pas correctement clos s'il ne motive pas la transformation de la vie. C’est ce pourquoi nous prêchons: ce n’est pas transmettre d’informations intéressantes; ce n’est pas remplir nos têtes avec la connaissance; ce n’est ne pas se faire du bien, mais être un catalyseur du changement de vie. Nous «persuadons les hommes et les femmes» (2 Cor. 5:19).

Vous pouvez détruire l'efficacité de votre sermon avec une faible conclusion. Beaucoup de prédicateurs ne savent pas comment conclure un sermon. Ceci est vrai dans les discours publics et dans la prédication. Un conclusion faible est comme l’homme qui a commencé à construire une tour mais n’a pas pu la terminer.

Notez deux dangers importants en ce qui concerne la conclusion:

1. Conclure avant que le sermon soit terminé.

2. Conclure après que le sermon soit terminé.

Une Conclusion faible est principalement due à deux choses:

1. Une pensée, préparation et prière insuffisantes pour la conclusion et pour ce que vous (et le Saint-Esprit) voulez accomplir par ce biais.

2. Le manque d'attribuer à la conclusion l'importance qui lui est due.

A. Les Elements De Base Elements D’une Bonne Conclusion

1. Le Résumé: «Crystallisez» La Vérité

La répétition est l’un des meilleurs moyens d’enseigner. La structure de base en trois volets est la suivante:

(1) Dites-leur ce que vous allez dire (l'introduction)

(2) Dites-le (le corps)

(3) Dites-leur ce que vous venez de dire (la conclusion)

Assurez-vous simplement de ne pas trop répéter, résumez seulement. Et ne le dites pas avant-propos (en préface) avec une phrase prévisible telle que: «Ce que nous avons appris ce matin, c’est…» Faites-en un élément naturel de votre conclusion en ne le formulant pas sous forme de résumé, mais en couvrant cette partie et le flux de pensée du sermon dans votre conclusion.

C’est bien de répéter votre proposition à la fin et à divers endroits tout au long de votre sermon s’il existe un lieu naturel pour ça. En faisant cela, vous accomplissez plusieurs étapes importantes:

(1) Vous rappelez à votre auditoire votre point de départ en établissant un rapport entre l’introduction et la conclusion.

(2) Vous « cristallisez » (solidifiez) le point théologique général du sermon et du texte.

(3) Vous aidez l’auditoire à se rappeler le but du sermon.

(4) Vous montrez que vous avez prêché ce que vous aviez dit que vous feriez - c’est-à-dire que vous avez prouvé ce que vous avez dit, ou expliqué la vérité, ou les avez exhorté à adopter une idée ou avez répondu à la question que vous avez posée au début.

(5) Vous mettez à nouveau le sermon entier dans une phrase et cette fois-ci, la lumière devrait pénétrer dans l’esprit de votre auditoire si elle n’est pas encore pénétrée. Ils devraient dire: «Oui! C’est la vérité du passage ! »

Une façon de résumer votre sermon est de répéter les points principaux. De cette façon, ils peuvent rapidement reprendre le sermon sous forme de schéma, et voir d'où vous venez et certainement savoir où ils doivent aller maintenant.

Si vous avez énoncé dans votre introduction le but de votre sermon, vous pouvez le répéter à la fin en clarifiant le défi du message afin qu'il soit parfaitement clair et que votre auditoire soit recentré sur votre motivation.

Cette récapitulation a pour but de clarifier - de clarifier de manière claire le défi que représente le message : cristalliser la question centrale; et pour donner votre dernière pensée clarifiante.

Essayez de vous référer à votre point de contact initial (si possible). Vous avez peut-être raconté une histoire illustrant le problème, récité un poème ou donné un exemple. En y renvoyant, le public le verra maintenant à la lumière de ce que vous venez de prêcher. Ou peut-être avez-vous laissé quelque chose en suspens et vous pouvez maintenant compléter l'histoire ou répondre au problème. En se référant à l'introduction, cela fait en quelque sorte un encadrement au sermon (ou la fin d'un livre) - cela apporte la conclusion.

2. Une Illustration: “Visualiser” La Verite

Une bonne illustration est un moyen très efficace de rassembler le sermon dans la conclusion. Si vous choisissez la bonne illustration, elle représentera une image du thème que vous avez prêché et l’afficher dans l’esprit des auditeurs. Grâce à des illustrations, les gens peuvent voir la vérité que vous avez présentée et leur propre vie comparée à celle-ci.

Les illustrations rendent la vérité abstraite visuelle et concrète. Assurez-vous d’utiliser uniquement une illustration qui correspond au thème de votre sermon et qui ne dure pas longtemps. Vous pouvez conclure avec de la poésie (ou un hymne) ou une citation pertinente et puissante comme dernière "illustration". La valeur particulière de la poésie est qu’elle exprime des vérités abstraites avec des images de mots colorés et uniques sous une forme condensée.

3. Une Exhortation: “Concretisez” And “Personalisez” La Verite

L'exhortation, comme la répétition, recentre l'attention sur le but du sermon, principalement motiver les auditeurs à faire quelque chose; prendre des «mesures morales et spirituelles»; obtenir un message à retenir personnellement.

Dans cette partie de la fin, dites-leur ce que vous voulez qu'ils fassent – c’est-à-dire. changer leurs comportements, leurs pensées, leurs attitudes, leurs relations, obéir à la vérité, etc. Si le sermon fait voir la culpabilité, les gens devraient déjà se poser la question : "Que devons-nous faire?" Ou "Pourquoi devrions-nous le faire?" Ou "Comment pouvons-nous le faire?" Notre tâche est de répondre à ces questions non exprimées en leur disant "quoi", "pourquoi" ou "comment "En leur demandant de se repentir et d'obéir à la vérité."

Parfois, le texte lui-même vous donne l'application finale. Plusieurs fois dans les écrits de Paul, un paragraphe se termine par une application finale.

Personnalisez votre exhortation (appel)– adressez-vous à eux en disant «vous». Maintenant que vous avez dépassé le stade de "nous". C'est le rôle du prophète de parler pour Dieu et d'exiger que le peuple réponde.

Ceci est la dernière "application". Même si vous avez appliqué la vérité tout au long du sermon, la conclusion vous donne une dernière chance pour des éclaircissements particuliers et personnels. Alors, rendez-le concret et vivant. Donnez des exemples spécifiques d'actions que vous attendez à la suite de ce sermon. C'est ce que Jésus a fait à la fin de son sermon sur la montagne, où il a combiné à la fois une illustration vivante et une application puissante (Matt. 7: 24-26). C'est votre dernière chance de rendre le sermon pertinent - de combler le fossé entre le monde biblique et le monde contemporain et de fournir des réponses aux ‘’ questions pourquoi, quoi, comment’’. Assurez-vous que votre demande est enracinée dans le texte et non dans votre propre expérience ou convictions.

Ici, vous «implorez» comme les apôtres l'ont fait- en les encourageant, en les plaidant (par exemple, d'être réconciliés avec Dieu), en les exhortant (par exemple, d'être conformes à Christ).

4. L’ Invitation: “Actualisez” La Verite

Cela donne aux gens l’occasion de réagir - d’actualiser la vérité dans leur vie. Cette partie de votre conclusion prendra différentes formes en fonction du type de sermon et d’audience à laquelle vous prêchez. Mais, en général, c'est là que vous présentez un verdict. C'est l'heure de prise de décision. Tous les bons sermons exigent une décision quelconque. Ainsi, à la fin, nous adressons un appel direct et personnel à leur réponse.

Ceci est courant dans les sermons bibliques. Par exemple, Josué a lancé un défi au peuple dans Josué 24:15: «Choisissez-vous aujourd'hui pour qui vous allez servir. Mais quant à moi et à ma maison, nous servirons le l’Eternel ». Voici comment Pierre conclut dans Actes 2: 36-40:« Que toute la maison d'Israël sache donc avec certitude que Dieu a fait Seigneur et Christ ce Jésus que vous avez crucifié». C’est l’appel direct de Pierre à leurs consciences, auquel ils ont immédiatement réagi:« Que ferons-nous? »et il a actualisé la vérité en les invitant à « se repentir et se faire baptiser ». C'est ainsi que Paul a conclu son sermon dans Actes 17: 30-32: «Dieu sans tenir compte des temps d’ignorance annonce maintenant à tous les hommes en tout lieu, qu’ils aient à se repentir, par ce qu’Il a fixé un jour où il jugera le monde selon la justice par cet Homme qu'il a désigné, ce dont Il a donné à tous une preuve certaine en le ressuscitant des morts. Et quand ils ont entendu parler de la résurrection d'entre les morts, certains se sont moqués…. ‘’

Le but du prédicateur n’est pas de renvoyer les auditeurs tels qu’ils sont venus et le but des auditeurs n’est pas non plus de repartir tels qu’ils sont venus. Nous prêchons et les gens écoutent pour être transformés par la Parole et le Saint-Esprit par le biais de la prédication.

Assurez-vous de laisser du temps au Saint-Esprit pour concrétiser le message dans la vie des gens. Ne vous précipitez pas là-dessus comme c’est parfois la tendance. Ne soyez pas gêné de le faire. Peut-être devez-vous dire au préalable que vous demanderez à prendre une décision afin que cela ne soit pas une surprise et qu’ils se préparent à recevoir leur réponse tout au long du message.

La fin est votre dernière motivation - la motivation finale pour qu'ils grandissent en tant que chrétiens ou qu'ils deviennent chrétiens. Les temps de réponse doivent être adressés aux croyants et aux incroyants. Les croyants ont besoin de se réconcilier avec Dieu et les uns avec les autres - confessez et repentez-vous du péché, des habitudes, des attitudes, des relations, des croyances, des paroles, etc. Les incroyants doivent s’arranger avec Dieu - être réconciliés avec Dieu, avoir confiance en Christ, recevoir le pardon, etc.

Les temps de réponse peuvent être privés ou publics. Tout cela ne doit pas nécessairement avoir lieu dans le service de la congrégation. Une réponse privée peut avoir lieu juste là où ils sont assis - par exemple pour la confession, la repentance ; ou bien il peut s’agir d’une réunion après-rencontre pour ceux qui en recherchent (c'est-à-dire ceux qui veulent en savoir plus). Une réponse publique peut signifier se présenter à ceux qui veulent professer la foi ou lever la main pour que vous reconnaissiez et priez pour eux.

B. Lignes Directrices Utiles Pour La Conclusion

1. Soyez Conclusif

Quand vous commencez à conclure, tout le monde le saura - alors faites-en une conclusion. Montrez un sens d’achement et de conclusion au message. Ne continuez pas à dire plus de choses que vous avez oubliées auparavant. N’introduisez pas de nouveau matériel – cela est manière e de détruire une conclusion. C'est l'une des faiblesses les plus courantes des conclusions. Le nouveau matériel ne fait que brouiller les cartes et nuire à la tâche à accomplir.

2. Soyez Clair Et Defini

Votre exhortation ne devrait laisser aucun doute à l'esprit de vos auditeurs sur ce que vous attendez d'eux (par exemple, répondre à l'invitation) et pourquoi. Votre demande doit répondre aux questions «quoi», «pourquoi» et «comment». Demandez-vous si tout le monde peut clairement comprendre ce que vous leur avez lancé le défi? Essayez de vous mettre à leur place, n'ayant pas étudié le texte comme vous l'avez fait et y ayant passé le temps dont vous disposez.

3. Soyez Precis

Assurez-vous que votre conclusion est précise et adaptée au défi textuel.

4. Soyez Véritable En Approche Et En Atmosphère

N’essayez pas tout à coup de devenir un prédicateur célèbre comme Billy Graham, car vous vous attendez à ce que des masses viennent au premier plan pendant que vous chantez «Tout comme je suis». Utilisez votre propre approche naturelle pour conclure ce sermon.

5. Soyez Personnel

Ne terminez pas votre sermon sur une note confuse et obscure, ni sur une note impersonnelle. C’est déjà assez difficile pour les gens de saisir la vérité abstraite à partir seulement d’un prédicateur impersonnel.

Vos auditeurs doivent être convaincus que ce que vous avez dit était juste pour eux - que vous connaissez les secrets les plus profonds de leurs cœurs et de leur vie. Souvent, les auditeurs diront que vous avez frappé au cœur de leur vie. Comment avez-vous su? Bien, ce n’est vous, mais c’est le Saint-Esprit qui le sait.

Les auditeurs doivent quitter le service avec un défi personnel, des réponses à leurs questions, des solutions à leurs problèmes, avec joie d'être venus entendre la Parole de Dieu prêchée. À cet égard, essayez de toujours leur laisser un mot d’espoir. La Parole de Dieu est vraiment une bonne nouvelle. Assurez-vous de la prêcher en tant que telle. Il y a tant de choses à provoquer le désespoir dans le monde. Ne pas dupliquer ou exagérer cela dans l’église. Les gens viennent à l'église avec un désespoir absolu à la recherche de bonnes nouvelles, d'espoir, de réponse à leurs problèmes. Assurez-vous de leur donner une raison et des moyens d'espérer.

Posez-vous la question suivante: “Chaque personne sera-t-elle touchée personnellement par ce message?” Parcourez mentalement vos bancs, visualisez votre assemblée et appliquez cette question à chaque personne.

6. Soyez Pratique

S'il y a une foule nombreuse et que vous leur demandez de venir devant, vous devez leur laisser le temps de venir et il doit y avoir un espace pour eux. Si la réaction à l’appel est grande, vous avez besoin de conseillers pour vous aider ou d'une rencontre après-culte pour les prendre soin d’eux. Si les non-croyants répondent, il vous faut du matériel. Si les nouveaux répondent, vous avez besoin de matériel sur l’église et les ministères pour leur donner.

7. Être Instructeur Concernant La Reaction A L’appel

Faites de votre invitation un message significatif et avec un objectif, non pas simplement quelque chose que vous êtes censé faire à la fin d’un culte (cela devient un simple rituel). Donnez-leur des instructions sur ce qu'il faut faire, comment réagir - c'est-à-dire à quoi devrait ressembler leur réaction, soit immédiatement pendant le culte, soit plus tard dans leur vie, à mesure que les principes du sermon sont mis en pratique.

8. Soyez Appropries

Assurez-vous que votre conclusion est appropriée pour l'occasion, le message et l'auditoire. Assurez-vous que votre application est enracinée dans le texte. Assurez-vous que votre illustration (si vous en utilisez une) est étroitement liée au message et au texte (de sorte qu’elle n’a pas besoin d’être expliquée), ainsi qu’aux auditeurs. Posez-vous la question: "Cela est-il proche de mon public, de mon message, de cette occasion?"

C. Des Dangers A Eviter

1. La Conclusion Trop-Tiree (Ou Conclusion “Rajoutée”)

C'est comme une voiture qui continue à rouler un peu après qu’elle soit éteinte. Peu à peu, le prédicateur accumule un peu plus de choses, puis un peu plus, jusqu'à ce que le but du sermon soit non seulement perdu, mais que l'attention et la réactivité de l’audience soient également perdues.

Savoir arrêter est aussi important que savoir commencer. Vous avez probablement tous entendu (douloureusement) quelqu'un donner un témoignage à l'église et ne pas savoir comment arrêter. Il est très frustrant pour les auditeurs de continuer sans cesse lorsqu’ils savent que vous essayez de terminer.

2. La Conclusion Tourner En Rond

Cela se produit lorsque le prédicateur semble conclure et recommence ensuite pour s'aligner avec une autre conclusion. Il ne peut tout simplement pas décider quand et comment s’arrêter. Parfois, le prédicateur peut terminer et ensuite dire: «Ce que je veux dire par là est…» et recommencer la conclusion. Assurez-vous de savoir quelle est votre fin et n'en avez qu'une.

3. La Conclusion De “Deja Vue”

C'est une conclusion qui, au lieu de résumer le sermon, le répète en réalité, de sorte que vous l'entendiez de nouveau. C’est comme un de ces moments déjà-vus où vous êtes absolument certain d’être déjà venu ici, avez vu cela auparavant. Cela peut arriver s’il réalise qu’il a omis quelque chose ou n’a pas dit exactement ce qu’il voulait dire la première fois. Dites ce que vous avez à dire et terminez.

4. La Conclusion Dite ‘’Miettes’’

Parfois, tout ce que le prédicateur n’a pu dire dans le sermon, il met dans sa conclusion. Soyez discipliné pour éliminer tout ce qui n’est pas pertinent pour votre message. N'essayez pas d'inclure tout ce que vous avez trouvé dans vos recherches. Soyez impitoyable sur la suppression de matériels. Mettez tout cela à l'épreuve: "Est-ce pertinent pour le thème du sermon?"

Un sermon n'est pas un commentaire sur le passage dans lequel vous exposez tous les points de vue et tout ce que tout le monde a écrit sur le sujet. Un sermon est comme un coup de fusil (focalisé, un coup) et non un coup de fusil (plusieurs coups, distribution large).

5. La Conclusion ‘’Meme Jeu’’

C’est là où chaque conclusion suit le même format afin que tout le monde connaisse l’approche que vous allez adopter car vous le faites toutes les semaines. Comme la diversité des introductions est importante, il en est de même pour la diversité des conclusions. Ne la faites pas de la même façon chaque semaine.

6. La Conclusion “Manipulative”

C'est un danger à éviter à tout prix. La manipulation ou l'intimidation sont des tentatives pour forcer les décisions par des ruses ou des pressions. L'exhortation, de son côté, est simplement un appel à la congrégation pour qu'elle réponde à la vérité du sermon lorsque le Saint-Esprit applique le message dans son cœur et sa volonté.

D. Dernieres Remarques Au Sujet De La Conclusion

1. Reflechissez Et Écrivez Totalement Votre Conclusion

Vous ne voulez pas laisser cela sur place. C’est trop important et souvent trop difficile à faire de manière extemporanée.

2. Connaître La Conclusion

Cela a déjà été établi dans votre introduction - dans l’ "objectif " du sermon et la "proposition" du sermon. La conclusion est donc liée à l'introduction.

3. Laisser Le Temps A La Conclusion

Ne vous précipitez pas. Laissez-la s'enfoncer dans ce que vous attendez d'eux. Donnez-leur une chance de répondre.

4. Ajustez La Conclusion Du Message Préché

Si vous avez apporté des changements au fur et à mesure que vous avez prêché le message, vous devrez incorporer ces changements dans votre conclusion.

5. Faites Confiance À Dieu Pour Le Résultat

En fin de compte, seul le Saint-Esprit peut changer la vie des gens. Nous devons faire tout ce qui est en notre pouvoir pour faciliter ce changement (après tout, nous sommes les agents que Dieu a choisis pour faire ce travail). Mais lorsque nous avons fait notre part, les résultats restent la tâche de Dieu. Lui faire confiance pour le résultat est un grand soulagement pour le prédicateur, en particulier lorsque vous ne voyez pas les résultats que vous souhaitez ou que vous attendez.

Partie II. Exposition Biblique

“Les Procès dans l’église” (1 Cor. 6:1-11) 1

Dr. Stephen F. Olford

Introduction Dans ce passage, Paul traite du deuxième désordre dans l'église qui avait été porté à son attention. Cela avait à voir avec des litiges ou des cas de poursuites dans l'assemblée. C'était un problème qui touchait principalement l'élément grec de l'église. Les Juifs n’ont généralement pas recours aux tribunaux. En effet, leur formation leur interdit expressément de le faire. Avec les Grecs, cependant, il en était autrement. Ils ont pris plaisir dans la pratique de se poursuivre mutuellement! Toute leur vie semblait être liée à une procédure légale.

L'apôtre, en revanche, nous montre dans ces versets que, lorsque des chrétiens se disputent entre eux, on devrait les faire juger par leurs frères chrétiens et non par des juges non régénérés. Bien entendu, cela ne signifie pas que nous ne devons jamais avoir recours aux tribunaux de notre pays. Il y a des conditions et des circonstances qui exigent cela. En fait, il est bon de rappeler que l'auteur même de cette épître, l'apôtre Paul, a fait appel à une cour terrestre à une occasion (Actes 25:11); mais cela n'a jamais été en relation avec des conflits au sein de l'église de Dieu, ou des conflits entre frères chrétiens. Ainsi, l’enseignement clair de cette partie importante de la Parole de Dieu est le suivant:

I. Les Litiges Entre Chrétiens Sont Contraires A La Destinée De L'église

«Quelqu'un de vous lorsqu’il a un différend avec un autre, ose-il plaider devant les injustes et non devant les saints? Ne savez-vous pas que les saints jugeront le monde? Et si c’est par vous que le monde sera jugé, êtes-vous indigne de rendre les moindres jugements? Ne savez-vous pas que nous jugerons les anges? Et nous ne jugerions pas, à plus forte raison, les choses de cette vie? Quand donc vous avez des différents pour cette vie, ce sont les gens que l’église ne fait aucun cas que vous prenez pour juges !(1 Corinthiens 6: 1-4). Paul introduit son sujet avec des mots d'étonnement et de défi. Il dit: «Quelqu'un de vous… ose-il plaider devant les injustes?» (V. 1). Ensuite, il en déduit deux raisons pour lesquelles une telle pratique est contraire au destin de l'église. En premier lieu, les saints sont destinés à juger le monde (v. 2). Tant dans les évangiles que dans les épîtres, on nous apprend cette vérité étonnante.

Jésus a dit: “… je vous dis que, dans la régénération, lorsque le Fils de l'homme sera assis sur le trône de sa gloire, vous qui m'avez suivi, vous serez aussi assis sur douze trônes, à en juger les douze tribus d'Israël” (Matthieu 19 : 28).

Jude a déclaré : «… le Seigneur vient avec dix mille saints pour exécuter son jugement sur tous, pour convaincre tous les méchants de tous leurs actes impies qu'ils ont commis d'une manière impie et de toutes les choses dures que des pécheurs impies ont parlé contre lui » (Jude 14-15).

Paul nous rappelle que “si nous souffrons, nous régnerons aussi avec lui…” (2 Timothée 2:12). Quelle destinée est-ce! Et combien le croyant est-il uni et élevé avec Christ, tant en position qu'en puissance! Et pourtant, les Corinthiens ignoraient tout cela délibérément ou par négligence. Au lieu d'exercer l'autorité spirituelle qui était la leur en vertu de l'unité avec leur Maître ressuscité, ils étaient désespérément incapables de gérer les petites disputes dans l'église locale.

La deuxième raison de Paul est un développement de la première. Il demande: «Ne savez-vous pas que nous jugerons les anges?» (V.3). Il étend ce qu'il a déjà dit pour inclure l'autorité ultime que les saints partageront avec leur Seigneur sur tous les êtres créés dans le royaume éternel. La perspective est à couper le souffle! Et pourtant, c'est vrai parce que Dieu le déclare.

Comment insensés étaient-ils donc les croyants de Corinthe et comment insensés sont-ils les croyants d’aujourd’hui de ne pas être en mesure de juger sur des questions relatives à cette vie (v. 3). En réalité, l'apôtre suggère avec ironie que même les «moins estimés de l'église» (v. 4) devraient être mieux qualifiés que les meilleurs juges sur terre pour régler les différends dans l'église. Nous voyons ainsi que les litiges entre chrétiens sont contraires à la destinée de l'église.

II. Le Litige Entre Chrétiens Est Contraire A La Politique De L'église

«Je dis cela à votre honte. Est-il vrai qu'il n'y a pas parmi vous un homme sage, pas même un homme, qui sera capable de juger entre ses frères? Mais un frère va poursuit un frère, et cela devant les incroyants ! » (1 Corinthiens 6: 5-6). Le sens général de ces deux versets montre clairement que la politique divine en matière de règlement des conflits au sein de l'église est double:

Premièrement, ces querelles et problèmes n’ont absolument rien à voir avec les incroyants. Rien ne pourrait être plus contraire au but de Dieu pour l’église locale que de s’attendre à ce que des juges non régénérés et injustes gèrent les affaires du peuple de Dieu. Une église locale sombre très bas lorsqu'elle est obligée de recourir aux conseils de personnes du monde sur des questions relatives à la vie, à la foi et à la pratique chrétiennes. En effet, descendre à ce niveau, c'est admettre faussement devant les païens que le mode de vie chrétien est inadéquat.

Deuxièmement, l'arbitrage ou « règlement fraternel » comme le mot « juge » signifie dans ce verset, se confier à des « sages » dans l'église. L'église n'est pas essentiellement une démocratie, mais plutôt une théocratie - ou plutôt une «Christocratie». La chaîne de commandement du Seigneur Jésus établit une chaîne de commandement en matière de direction et d'arbitrage. L'Église doit s'incliner à cela, car l'Écriture dit: «Obéissez à ceux qui ont la l’autorité sur vous…» (Hébreux 13: 7). Là où il y a un leadership dirigé et enseigné par l'Esprit, il ne devrait y avoir aucun problème qui ne puisse être résolu. Paul rend cela très clair par la manière dont il aborde la situation incongrue et incohérente dans l'église corinthienne. Il s'exclame: «Je dis cela à votre honte…» (6: 5), puis demande en termes humiliants s'il est possible ou non de «trouver» un «homme sage» dans l'assemblée capable d'arbitrer entre un croyant et un autre!

Nous pourrions ajouter que cette politique divine n'a jamais été annulée. Dieu attend toujours que son église soit gouvernée et jugée selon Sa parole.

III. Le Litige Entre Chretiens Est Contraire A La Charite De L'église

«Maintenant, par conséquent, c’est déjà certes un défaut chez vous que d’avoir des procès les uns avec les autres. Pourquoi n'acceptez-vous pas plutôt le mal? Pourquoi ne vous laissez-vous pas plutôt dépouiller? Non, vous faites l’injustice et vous dépouillez, et c’est envers frères que vous agissez de la sorte! » (1 Corinthiens 6: 7-8). Au chapitre 13 de cette épître, Paul énonce la motivation suprême pour chaque acte et réaction dans la vie de l'église. Cette motivation est l'amour. En effet, il dit que tout avoir et manquer de "charité" ou "d'amour" c'est ne rien avoir. L'apôtre ne faisait que répéter les paroles du Maître: «A ceci tous connaîtront que vous êtes mes disciples, si vous vous vous aimez les uns les autres» (Jean 13:35). Il est clair que l'apôtre a en tête cette «motivation suprême» dans le traitement de ce sujet délicat de litige.

Vous remarquerez que le mot «frères» est répété constamment dans ces versets (5, 6, 8). Ensuite, il ajoute qu'il vaudrait mieux de souffrir de la part d'un frère chrétien que de ne pas avoir assez d’amour pour porter le différend devant un tribunal païen. Ainsi, au verset 7, dans la Version Standard Révisée, on lit comme suit : « Entamer des procès, c'est une DEFAITE pour vous ». En d'autres termes, Paul dit qu'il est possible de remporter une victoire juridique tout en subissant une défaite morale. Ou encore, il est possible non seulement de refuser d'endosser le tort, mais aussi d'infliger un tort plus grave aux autres. Une telle attitude et un tel esprit sont l'antithèse même de l'amour du Christ et du Calvaire. En ce qui concerne notre Sauveur, nous lisons ceci : «… quand il a été insulté, il n'a pas insulté de nouveau; quand il a souffert, il n'a pas menacé; mais s'est engagé envers Celui qui juge avec justice»(1 Pierre 2:23). Voyez-vous, l’aspect de la chair, avec toutes ses nombreuses formes d’amour de soi, de ressentiment et de vengeance, s’annule lorsque la croix est appliquée par la puissance du Saint-Esprit.

IV. Un Litige Entre Chretiens Est Contraire A La Purete De L'église

«Ne savez-vous pas que les injustes n'hériteront pas du royaume de Dieu? Ne vous y trompez. Ni les fornicateurs, ni les idolâtres, ni les adultères, ni les homosexuels efféminés, ni les sodomites, ni les voleurs, ni les cupides, ni les ivrognes, ni les outrageux, ni les ravisseurs n'hériteront du royaume de Dieu. Et tels étaient certains d'entre vous. Mais vous été lavés, mais vous été sanctifiés, mais vous avez été justifiés au nom du Seigneur Jésus et par l'Esprit de notre Dieu » (1 Corinthiens 6: 9-11). Pour souligner son traitement de ce sujet, Paul montre la totale incompatibilité du monde avec l'église. Il oppose de manière dramatique les «injustes» du verset 9 à ceux qui sont «lavés… sanctifiés… et justifiés» au verset 11. Sans crainte ni faveur, il a reconnu qu'en dehors de la grâce de Dieu, l'homme non régénéré est capable de:

a) Fornication - un mot qui signifie littéralement prostitution masculine.

b) Idolâtrie - un mot qui signifie la substitution de quelque chose ou de quelqu'un à Dieu.

c) Adultère - mot qui décrit les rapports sexuels avec le conjoint d’une autre personne.

d) Effémination - un mot qui suggère la perte de la virilité ou de la féminité pour vivre pour le plaisir et le luxe.

e) Sodomie - un mot qui énonce les péchés de l'homosexualité et de la sodomie

f) Vol qualifié - un mot qui couvre tout le domaine de l’appropriation illicite de temps, d’énergie ou d’argent appartenant à Dieu ou à quelqu'un d’autre.

g) Convoitise - un mot qui signifie faire des autres et de leurs biens un objet d’envie.

h) Ivresse - un mot qui dénote une consommation excessive d'alcool

i) Fêtards – un mot associé à une langue incontrôlée et non sanctifiée.

j) Extorsion - un mot qui désigne un esprit qui cherche toujours ce dont il n’a pas droit.

Quelle liste horrible ! Et juste pour penser qu'en nous-mêmes, nous sommes tous aussi corrompus que Paul nous décrit! Mais un miracle s’est produit. Dieu nous a rencontrés en Christ et nous a transformés; nous a rendus purs, saints et bons. Par son nom et par son Esprit, nous avons été purifiés, mis à part et amenés à apparaître devant Dieu sous une lumière favorable. Les mots «lavés», «sanctifiés» et «justifiés» décrivent le «plein salut» dans lequel nous avons été amenés par la grâce seule par la foi seule en Christ seul.

Conclusion : Si cela est la pureté de notre statut et de notre état en Christ, comment pouvons-nous, en tant qu’« appelés à être des saints» (2: 1), nous sentir à l'aise devant des tribunaux «injustes» ou parmi des juges impies? La question se répond elle-même.

So Paul disposes of lawsuits within the local church. And if we would be obedient to the Word of God, we must do the same. In fact, we must go further; we must see to it that the life of the church never sinks so low as to necessitate such carnal procedures. The understanding of our destiny, policy, charity, and purity in Christ must determine all our thinking and acting within and without the church.

Donc, Paul dispose des procès au sein de l'église locale. Et si nous voulons obéir à la Parole de Dieu, nous devons faire de même. En fait, il faut aller plus loin; nous devons veiller à ce que la vie de l'église ne se rabaisse jamais au point de nécessiter de telles procédures charnelles. La compréhension de notre destinée, de notre politique, de notre charité et de notre pureté en Christ doit déterminer toutes nos pensées et nos actions à l’intérieur et à l’extérieur de l’église.

Partie III. Le Plansermon

Pour écouter la version audio de ces sermons en anglais, cliquez sur ces liens : Link 1 - Jn. 20:1-2; Link 2 - Jn. 20:3-10; Link 3 - Jn. 20:11-18

Titre: Je viens de voir Jésus

Thème: Le choc et la réalité de la résurrection

Point #1: La tombe vide transforme les observateurs en adeptes (1-2) (1-10)

1. La tombe vide transforme les observateurs en adeptes (1-2)

(1) À la croix, il y avait des observateurs (Luc 23: 55-56)

(2) Au tombeau vide, certains étaient des adeptes (1-2)

2. Le tombeau vide transforme les fidèles en croyants (3-10)

(1) Pour certains, le tombeau vide les laisse encore sceptiques (6-7)

(2) Pour d'autres, le tombeau vide les incite à croire (5, 8-9)

Point n° 2 : Le Christ ressuscité change le chagrin en joie (11-18)

1. L'ignorance de la résurrection engendre le chagrin (11-13)

(1) Elle produit du chagrin malgré les preuves (11)

(2) Elle produit une douleur malgré le témoignage (12-13)

2. La connaissance de la résurrection produit de la joie (14-18)

(1) Cela produit de la joie à travers sa reconnaissance (14-16)

(2) Elle produit de la joie à travers son obéissance (17-18)


1 Autres articles dans cette serie sur 1 Corinthiens peut être lus dans les éditions de ce journal comme suite: Summer 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Summer 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Summer 2018.

Related Topics: Pastors

Jurnalul Electronic Al Păstorilor, Rom Ed 30, Ediția de Iarnă 2019

Ediția de Iarnă 2019

A ministry of…

Author: Dr. Roger Pascoe, President,
The Institute for Biblical Preaching
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 519-620-2375

Partea I: Consolidarea Predicării Expozitive

„Consolidarea încheierii”

De obicei, încheierea se pregătește la sfârșit, chiar înainte de a scrie introducerea (sau în același timp cu introducerea). Introducerea și încheierea merg împreună – cea din urmă o încheie pe prima. La fel cum riscul unei introduceri slabe este să nu reușească să atragă atenția ascultătorilor asupra conținutului mesajului tău, tot așa riscul unei încheieri slabe este să nu reușească să îi facă pe ascultători să își asume ceea ce le cere mesajul.

Scopul principal al încheierii este să încheie mesajul – și mesajul nu este încheiat așa cum trebuie dacă nu motivează oamenii la transformarea vieții. De aceea predicăm – nu ca să transmitem mai departe niște informații interesante, nu ca să ne umplem capul cu diferite cunoștințe, nu ca să ne facem unii pe alții să ne simțim bine, ci ca să fim un catalizator pentru schimbarea vieții. Noi „pe oameni căutăm să-i încredințăm” (2 Cor. 5:11).

Poți distruge eficiența predicii tale printr-o încheiere slabă. Mulți predicatori nu știu cum să conducă predica înspre concluzie. Acest lucru se întâmplă atât în vorbirea publică, cât și în predicare. O încheiere slabă este ca omul care a început să zidească un turn, dar nu l-a putut termina.

Să observăm două pericole importante cu privire la încheiere:

1. A încheia înainte ca predica să fie gata.

2. A încheia după ce predica este gata.

O încheiere slabă are, în principiu, două cauze:

1. Insuficientă gândire, pregătire și rugăciune în ce privește încheierea și ceea ce tu și Duhul Sfânt vreți să realizați prin intermediul ei.

2. Încheierea nu primește importanța pe care o are.

A. Elementele De Bază Ale Unei Încheieri Bune

1. Rezumarea: „Cristalizează” Adevărul

Una dintre cele mai bune metode de învățare este repetarea – tiparul de bază este:

(1) Anunță ce urmează să spui (introducerea)

(2) Spune (cuprinsul)

(3) Amintește-le ce le-ai spus (încheierea)

Ai grijă să nu te repeți prea mult – sumarizează doar! Și nu prefața rezumarea cu o frază predictibilă, cum ar fi: „Ce am învățat în dimineața aceasta este…” Fă rezumarea o parte naturală a încheierii, nu sumarizând-o punctual, ci reluând scopul și cursul ideilor predicii în încheiere.

Este bine să repeți ideea centrală a predicii în încheiere, precum și în câteva alte locuri de-a lungul predicii, dacă o poți insera în mod natural. Făcând lucrul acesta, realizezi câțiva pași importanți:

(1) Amintești ascultătorilor de unde ai început, legând încheierea de introducere.

(2) „Cristalizezi” (întărești) subiectul teologic general al predicii și al textului biblic.

(3) Îi ajuți pe oameni să țină minte ideea predicii.

(4) Demonstrezi că ai predicat ceea ce ai spus că vei predica - i.e. ai demonstrat ideea principală, sau ai explicat adevărul, sau i-ai sfătuit să-și însușească o idee, sau ai răspuns la întrebarea pe care ai ridicat-o la început.

(5) Rezumi din nou întreaga predică într-o frază și de data aceasta ar trebui să se aprindă un beculeț în mintea ascultătorilor, dacă nu s-a întâmplat până acum lucrul acesta. Ei ar trebui să-și spună: „Da! Acesta este adevărul ce se desprinde din text!”

O modalitate de rezumare a predicii este repetarea punctelor principale. În felul acesta, ascultătorii aud din nou predica schițată și pot să vadă de unde ai pornit și, să sperăm, unde trebuie ei să ajungă.

Dacă ai prezentat în introducere scopul predicii tale, poți să îl repeți din nou în încheiere, clarificând provocarea mesajului, pentru ca aceasta să fie foarte clară și pentru ca atenția ascultătorilor să fie concentrată pe ideea motivatoare.

Această rezumare are scopul de a clarifica – de a arăta foarte clar care este provocarea mesajului; de a cristaliza ideea centrală și de a transmite gândul tău final și lămuritor.

Încearcă să faci referire la punctul de contact de la început (dacă este posibil). Poate ai spus o povestire care ilustra problema, sau ai recitat o poezie, sau ai dat un exemplu. Făcând din nou referire la punctul respectiv, ascultătorii îl vor vedea în lumina a ceea ce ai predicat. Sau poate ai lăsat ceva neterminat, iar acum poți încheia povestirea sau poți oferi răspunsul la problemă. Referirea la introducere, atunci când ești la încheiere, funcționează ca o ramă foto, încadrând predica, sau ca sfârșitul unei cărți, reprezentând finalul.

2. O Ilustrație: „Vizualizează” Adevărul

Ilustrația este un mod foarte eficient de a aduce toată predica la un loc în încheiere. Dacă alegi ilustrația corectă, aceasta va zugrăvi tema pe care ai predicat-o și o va imprima în mintea ascultătorilor. Ilustrația îi ajută pe oameni să înțeleagă adevărul pe care l-ai prezentat, precum și felul în care viața lor se raportează la acel adevăr.

Ilustrațiile au rolul de a transforma un adevăr abstract în ceva vizibil și concret. Folosește însă doar ilustrații care se potrivesc cu tema predicii și nu le face prea lungi! Poți încheia apoi cu o poezie (sau cu un imn) sau cu un citat relevant ca o „ilustrație” finală. Poezia are o eficiență aparte prin faptul că exprimă adevăruri abstracte prin imagini verbale unice și pline de culoare, într-o formă condensată.

3. Un Îndemn: „Concretizează” Și „Personalizează” Adevărul

Îndemnul, ca și repetarea, refocalizează atenția asupra scopului predicii, adică îi motivează pe ascultători să facă ceva; să facă ceva „moral și spiritual”; să își însușească mesajul.

În această parte a încheierii, spune ascultătorilor ce vrei să facă, adică să își schimbe comportamentul, gândirea, atitudinile, relațiile, să asculte de adevăr etc. Dacă predica a fost convingătoare, oamenii ar trebui să se întrebe deja „Ce să facem?” sau „De ce să facem lucrul acesta?” sau „Cum putem să facem asta?” Sarcina noastră este să răspundem la aceste întrebări nerostite, spunându-le oamenilor „ce”, „de ce” sau „cum”, învățându-i să se pocăiască și să asculte adevărul.

Uneori textul însuși îți oferă aplicația din încheiere. De multe ori paragrafele din scrierile lui Pavel se termină cu o aplicație.

Îndemnul tău trebuie să fie personal – adresează-te cu „tu” sau „dumneavoastră”. Acum ai trecut de etapa „noi”. Acesta este rolul profetului care vorbește din partea lui Dumnezeu și cere ca oamenii să răspundă la mesajul său.

Aceasta este „aplicația” finală. Deși ai aplicat adevărul de-a lungul predicii, încheierea îți dă o ultimă șansă de a-l accentua în mod special și personal. Așa că, fă-o într-un mod cât mai concret și mai elocvent! Dă exemple concrete de acțiuni pe care le aștepți ca rezultat al acestei predici! La fel a făcut și Isus la sfârșitul Predicii Sale de pe Munte, folosind în încheiere atât o ilustrație grăitoare, cât și o aplicație pătrunzătoare (Mat. 7:24-26). Aceasta este ultima ta șansă de a face predica relevantă – de a construi podul între lumea biblică și cea contemporană și de a răspunde la întrebările ce, de ce și cum. Aplicația trebuie să reiasă din text și nu să vină din experiența ta sau din convingerile tale personale.

În punctul acesta îi „rogi fierbinte”, cum făceau și apostolii – îi încurajezi, stăruiești pe lângă ei (ex. să se împace cu Dumnezeu), îi îndemni (ex. să se asemene cu Hristos).

4. Invitația: „Actualizează” Adevărul

Invitația dă oamenilor ocazia să răspundă – să „împlinească/pună în practică” adevărul în viața lor. Această parte a încheierii poate lua diferite forme, în funcție de tipul predicii și de audiență. Însă, în general, aici ceri un verdict. Este momentul pentru luarea unei decizii. Orice predică bună cere luarea unei decizii. Așadar, în încheiere, facem un apel direct și personal, cerând un răspuns.

Acest lucru era ceva obișnuit în predicile biblice. De pildă, Iosua a lansat o provocare poporului în Iosua 24:15: „Alegeți astăzi cui vreți să slujiți. Cât despre mine, eu și casa mea vom sluji Domnului.” Tot așa încheie și Petru în Fapte 2:36-40: „Să ştie bine, dar, toată casa lui Israel, că Dumnezeu a făcut Domn şi Hristos pe acest Isus pe care L-aţi răstignit voi.” Acesta este apelul direct al lui Petru la conștiințele lor, la care ei au răspuns imediat: „Ce să facem?” Și el a pus în practică adevărul, spunându-le: „Pocăiţi-vă… și fiecare din voi să fie botezat”. Iată cum își încheie Pavel predica din Fapte 17:30-32: „«Dumnezeu nu ţine seama de vremurile de neştiinţă şi porunceşte acum tuturor oamenilor de pretutindeni să se pocăiască; pentru că a rânduit o zi în care va judeca lumea după dreptate, prin Omul pe care L-a rânduit pentru aceasta şi despre care a dat tuturor oamenilor o dovadă netăgăduită, prin faptul că L-a înviat din morţi… » Când au auzit ei de învierea morţilor, unii îşi băteau joc…”

Scopul predicatorului nu este să îi trimită pe oameni înapoi la fel cum au venit și nici scopul ascultătorului nu este să plece la fel cum a venit. Noi predicăm și oamenii ascultă petru a fi schimbați prin Cuvânt și prin Duhul Sfânt, prin intermediul predicării.

Ai grijă să lași timp pentru ca Duhul Sfânt să pună în practică mesajul în viața oamenilor. Nu te grăbi, deși avem uneori tendința aceasta. Nu te simți jenat când faci asta! Poate că vei vrea să anunți mai dinainte că vei cere o decizie, pentru ca oamenii să nu fie luați prin surprindere și pentru ca să își poată pregăti răspunsul în timpul predicii.

Încheierea este motivația finală – motivația finală de a crește în viața de creștin sau de a deveni creștin. Timpul pentru răspuns trebuie oferit atât credincioșilor, cât și necredincioșilor. Credincioșii trebuie să se împace cu Dumnezeu și unii cu alții – să-și mărturisească și să se pocăiască de păcatele, obiceiurile, atitudinile, relațiile, credințele, vorbirea lor etc. Necredincioșii trebuie să se împace cu Dumnezeu – să se întoarcă la El, să se încreadă în Hristos, să primească iertare etc.

Timpul pentru răspuns poate fi public sau privat. Nu este nevoie ca toate acestea să aibă loc în timpul serviciului divin. Oamenii pot să dea un răspuns acolo unde se află, la locul lor – ex. pentru mărturisire, pocăință; sau poate avea loc în cadrul unei întâlniri pentru cei interesați (adică cei care vor să afle mai multe) după serviciul divin. Un răspus public poate însemna venirea în față a celor care vor să își mărturisească credința sau ridicarea mâinii, pentru a fi observați și pentru ca tu să te rogi pentru ei.

B. Reguli Ajutătoare Pentru Încheiere

1. Fii Convingător

Când începi încheierea, lumea va fi conștientă de lucrul acesta – așa că fă-o să fie încheiere! Fă să se simtă că mesajul este complet și se încheie! Nu mai continua cu lucruri pe care ai uitat să le spui mai înainte. Nu prezenta material nou aici, pentru că aceasta este o modalitate sigură de a-ți distruge încheierea. Acesta este unul dintre cele mai obișnuite puncte slabe ale unei încheieri. Adăugarea unor informații noi aici nu face decât să producă confuzie și să distragă atenția de la încheiere.

2. Vorbește Clar Și Deslușit

Îndemnul tău nu trebuie să lase loc de îndoială în mintea ascultătorilor tăi cu privire la ceea ce aștepți de la ei (de exemplu, să răspundă la invitație) și de ce. Aplicația trebuie să răspundă la întrebările „ce”, „de ce” și „cum”. Întreabă-te dacă toată lumea poate înțelege în mod clar provocarea lansată. Încearcă să te pui în locul ascultătorilor, care nu au studiat textul ca tine și nici nu au petrecut atât de mult timp în textul respectiv, așa cum ai făcut tu.

3. Fii Precis

Încheierea trebuie să fie precisă și potrivită cu provocarea textului.

4. Fii Autentic În Abordare Și În Atmosfera Pe Care O Creezi

Nu încerca să devii deodată un predicator faimos ca Billy Graham, așteptându-te ca mulțimi de oameni să vină în față în timp ce tu cânți „Așa cum sunt”. Abordează încheierea într-un mod personal și natural!

5. Adresează-Te În Mod Personal

Nu încheia predica într-o notă neclară, imprecisă sau într-o notă nepersonală. Este destul de greu pentru ascultători să înțeleagă un adevăr abstract, ca să nu mai vorbim de un predicator impersonal.

Ascultătorii tăi trebuie să fie convinși că ceea ce ai spus este chiar pentru ei – că tu știi cele mai ascunse secrete din inima și din viața lor. Adesea ascultătorii îți vor spune că ai atins exact inima problemei cu care se confruntă în viața lor. Cum ai știut? De fapt, tu nu ai știut, dar Duhul Sfânt a știut.

Ascultătorii trebuie să plece de la biserică cu o provocare personală, cu răspunsuri la întrebările lor, cu soluții la probemele lor, cu bucuria că au ascultat Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu predicat. În sensul acesta, încearcă să le lași întotdeauna un cuvânt de speranță. Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu este, într-adevăr, o veste bună și așa trebuie să-l predici. Sunt atât de multe lucruri în lume care produc disperare, așa că nu face asta și în biserică! Oamenii vin la biserică în disperarea lor, căutând vești bune, speranță și răspunsuri la problemele lor. Așa că, dă-le motivul și mijloacele speranței!

Întreabă-te: „Acest mesaj va atinge pe fiecare om în mod personal?” Imaginează-ți biserica, treci printre rânduri și aplică această întrebare la fiecare persoană.

6. Fii Practic

Dacă este o mulțime mare și tu îi chemi în față, trebuie să le dai timpul necesar ca să ajungă acolo și, de asemenea, trebuie să existe și spațiu suficient. Dacă sunt mulți care răspund invitației, ai nevoie de consilieri să te ajute sau trebuie să te întâlnești cu oamenii respectivi după serviciul divin. Dacă necredincioșii răspund invitației, trebuie să le oferi literatură creștină. Dacă răspund persoane care au venit pentru prima dată la biserică, trebuie să le dai materiale despre biserică și despre lucrările sale.

7. Explică Răspunsul

Invitația ta trebuie să aibă semnificație și scop, nu să fie doar ceva ce trebuie să faci la sfârșitul serviciului divin (ceva ce devine un simplu ritual). Explică-le clar ce să facă, cum să răspundă, adică cum ar trebui să fie răspunsul lor, fie că trebuie să-l dea acolo pe loc sau mai târziu, pe măsură ce împlinesc principiile predicii în viața lor.

8. Fii Adecvat

Trebuie să te asiguri că încheierea se potrivește cu ocazia respectivă, cu mesajul și cu audiența. De asemenea, aplicația să decurgă din textul biblic! Ilustrația (dacă folosești) trebuie să fie strâns legată de mesaj și de text (așa încât să nu aibă nevoie de explicații) și de ascultători. Întreabă-te: „Încheierea mea se potrivește cu audiența mea, cu mesajul meu și cu ocazia aceasta?”

C. Pericole Ce Trebuie Evitate

1. Încheierea De Tipul „Adaos” (Sau Încheierea „Îngrămădită”)

Acest tip de încheiere este ca o mașină care continuă să mai meargă puțin după ce o oprești. Predicatorul mai adaugă puțin aici, puțin acolo, până când se pierde nu doar ideea predicii, ci și atenția și răspunsul ascultătorilor. Acest lucru se întâmplă, de obicei, atunci când nu îți planifici cum vei încheia.

A ști cum să te oprești este la fel de important ca și a ști cum să începi. Probabil cu toții ați auzit, din păcate, pe cineva împărtășindu-și mărturia personală în biserică și neștiind, la final, cum să se oprească. Să continui să vorbești atunci când ascultătorii știu că încerci să închei este foarte frustrant pentru ei.

2. Încheierea De Tipul „Tur De Pistă”

Această încheiere apare atunci când predicatorul pare să încheie, iar apoi pornește iar către o altă concluzie. Practic, nu se poate hotărî cum și când să se oprească. Uneori predicatorul se oprește, iar apoi spune: „Ceea ce vreau să spun este că…” și începe să explice concluzia din nou. Trebuie să știi dinainte care va fi sfârșitul și să ai doar unul.

3. Încheierea De Tipul „Deja Vu”

Aceasta este o concluzie care, în loc să sumarizeze predica, de fapt o repetă, așa că o auzim din nou. Este ca un moment „deja vu”, când ești absolut sigur că ai mai fost în locul respectiv și ai mai văzut momentul acela. Aceasta se întâmplă atunci când predicatorul își dă seama că a scăpat ceva sau nu a spus exact ce a vrut să spună. Spune ce ai ce de spus și încheie!

4. Încheierea De Tip „Resturi”

Uneori predicatorul spune la concluzii ceea ce nu a putut spune de-a lungul predicii. Fii disciplinat și renunță la tot ceea ce nu este relevant pentru mesajul tău. Nu încerca să incluzi în predică tot ceea ce afli în timpul studierii textului. Fii fără milă atunci când trebuie să ștergi informații! Pune la încercare toate informațiile descoperite: „Este informația aceasta relevantă pentru tema predicii?”

Predica nu este un comentariu al textului biblic în care trebuie să prezinți toate punctele de vedere și tot ceea ce au scris toți teologii vreodată pe subiectul respectiv. Predica este ca o împușcătură de pușcă (o singură împușcătură, bine țintită), nu ca una de pistol (mai multe împușcături distribuite pe o arie mai extinsă).

5. Încheierea De Tipul „Același Joc”

Acest tip de încheiere apare atunci când folosești de fiecare același format și toată lumea știe ce abordare ai, pentru că este aceeași de fiecare dată. Varietatea este la fel de importantă în încheiere, ca și în introducere. Așadar, nu servi încheierea în același în fiecare săptămână.

6. Încheierea „Manipulatoare”

Acesta este un pericol care trebuie evitat cu orice preț. Manipularea sau intimidarea sunt încercări de a forța o decizie prin presiune sau înșelătorie. Îndemnarea, pe de altă parte, este doar un apel la ascultători să răspundă față de adevărul predicii, pe măsură ce Duhul Sfânt aplică mesajul în inima în voința lor.

D. Observații Finale Cu Privire La Încheiere

1. Gîndește Încheierea Și Scrie-O În Întregime

Nu vrei să faci o încheiere pe moment! Este prea important și, adesea, prea greu să o faci în mod spontan!

2. Trebuie Să Cunoști Concluzia

Aceasta a fost stabilită în introducere – în „scopul” predicii și în ideea principală a predicii. Concluzia, așadar, se leagă de introducere.

3. Alocă Timp Încheierii

Nu grăbi încheierea! Las-o să pătrundă în așteptările pe care le ai de la ascultători! Și dă-le șansa să răspundă!

4. Adaptează Încheierea La Mesajul Predicat

Dacă ai făcut schimbări în timp ce predicai mesajul, atunci va trebui să încorporezi acele schimbări în încheiere.

5. Încrede-Te În Dumnezeu În Ce Privește Rezultatul

În definitiv, numai Duhul Sfânt poate schimba viețile oamenilor. Noi trebuie să facem tot ce putem pentru a facilita această schimbare (la urma urmei, noi suntem cei pe care Dumnezeu i-a ales să facă lucrul acesta). Însă după ce noi ne-am făcut partea, rezultatele rămân în seama lui Dumnezeu. Este o mare ușurare pentru predicator să se încreadă în Dumnezeu în ce privește rezultatul, mai ales atunci când nu vezi rezultatele dorite sau așteptate.

Partea A II-A. Mesaj Biblic

„Procese în biserică” (1 Cor. 6:1-11) 1

Dr. Stephen F. Olford

Introducere În pasajul acesta, Pavel vorbește despre cea de-a doua neorânduială din biserică ce îi fusese adusă la cunoștință. Aceasta avea de-a face cu litigii sau procese în adunare. Problema aceasta îi afecta în special pe grecii din biserică, deoarece evreii nu obișnuiau să își caute dreptatea la tribunal. Învățătura lor le interzicea lucrul acesta în mod explicit. În ceea ce îi privește pe greci, însă, lucrurile stăteau altfel. Lor le făcea plăcere să se dea în judecată unii pe alții! Parcă întreaga lor viață era strâns legată de procedurile legale.

Apostolul, pe de altă parte, ne arată în versetele acestea, că atunci când creștinii se ceartă între ei, ar trebui să fie judecați de alți creștini și nu de judecători nenăscuți din nou. Desigur, aceasta nu înseamnă că nu trebuie să ne folosim niciodată de tribunalele din țara noastră. Există situații și împrejurări care cer lucrul acesta. De fapt, este bine să ne amintim că însuși autorul acestei epistole, apostolul Pavel, a apelat o dată la un tribunal pământesc (Fapte 25:11); însă nu a făcut niciodată lucrul acesta pentru o dispută din cadrul bisericii lui Dumnezeu sau pentru o dispută între frați creștini. Așadar, învățătura ce reiese clar din această parte importantă a Cuvântului lui Dumnezeu este că:

I. Litigiul Între Creștini Este Contrar Menirii Bisericii

„Cum! Când vreunul din voi are vreo neînţelegere cu altul, îndrăzneşte el să se judece cu el la cei nelegiuiţi, şi nu la sfinţi? Nu ştiţi că sfinţii vor judeca lumea? Şi dacă lumea va fi judecată de voi, sunteţi voi nevrednici să judecaţi lucruri de foarte mică însemnătate? Nu ştiţi că noi vom judeca pe îngeri? Cu cât mai mult lucrurile vieţii acesteia? Deci când aveţi neînţelegeri pentru lucrurile vieţii acesteia, voi puneţi judecători pe aceia pe care biserica nu-i bagă în seamă?” (1 Corinteni 6:1-4). Pavel intră în subiectul acesta folosind cuvinte de uimire și provocare. El spune: „Când vreunul din voi are vreo neînţelegere cu altul, îndrăzneşte el să se judece cu el la cei nelegiuiţi?” (v. 1). Apoi prezintă două motive pentru care o astfel de practică este contrară menirii bisericii. În primul rând, sfinții sunt meniți să judece lumea (v. 2). Acest adevăr remarcabil apare atât în evanghelii, cât și în epistole.

Isus a spus: „Adevărat vă spun că atunci când va sta Fiul omului pe scaunul de domnie al măririi Sale, la înnoirea tuturor lucrurilor, voi, care M-aţi urmat, veţi şedea şi voi pe douăsprezece scaune de domnie şi veţi judeca pe cele douăsprezece seminţii ale lui Israel” (Matei 19:28).

Iuda a spus: „Iată că a venit Domnul cu zecile de mii de sfinţi ai Săi, ca să facă o judecată împotriva tuturor şi să încredinţeze pe toţi cei nelegiuiţi de toate faptele nelegiuite pe care le-au făcut în chip nelegiuit şi de toate cuvintele de ocară pe care le-au rostit împotriva Lui aceşti păcătoşi nelegiuiţi” (Iuda 14-15).

Pavel ne amintește că „dacă răbdăm, vom şi împărăţi împreună cu El…” (2 Timotei 2:12) Ce menire! Cât de unit este credinciosul cu Hristos și cât de înălțat este, atât în poziție, cât și în putere! Și totuși, corintenii neglijau toate aceste lucruri, fie din neștiință, fie în mod intenționat. În loc să își exercite autoritatea spirituală pe care o aveau prin unirea cu Capul lor înviat, ei erau cu totul incapabili să rezolve aceste certuri mărunte din biserica locală.

Cel de-al doilea motiv al lui Pavel este o dezvoltare a celui dintâi. El întreabă: „Nu ştiţi că noi vom judeca pe îngeri?” (v.3). El extinde ceea ce a spus deja, pentru a include și autoritatea supremă pe care o vor avea sfinții împreună cu Domnul lor peste toate ființele create din împărăția eternă. Perspectiva aceasta este, cu siguranță, uluitoare! Și, totuși, este adevărată, pentru că Dumnezeu spune așa.

Cât de nesăbuiți erau, așadar, credincioșii din Corint, și cât de nesăbuiți sunt credincioșii din ziua de azi, să nu poată judeca în probleme legate de viața aceasta (v. 3). Într-adevăr, cu o ironie mușcătoare, apostolul sugerează că până și cei mai nebăgați în seamă din biserică trebuie să fie mai calificați decât judecătorii pământești pentru a soluționa disputele din biserică. Așadar, vedem că litigiile între creștini sunt contrare menirii bisericii.

II. Litigiul Între Creștini Este Contrar Politicii Bisericii

„Spre ruşinea voastră zic lucrul acesta. Astfel, nu este între voi nici măcar un singur om înţelept, care să fie în stare să judece între frate şi frate? Dar un frate se duce la judecată cu alt frate, şi încă înaintea necredincioşilor!” (1 Corinteni 6:5-6). Sensul general al acestor două versete arată foarte clar că politica divină pentru rezolvarea conflictelor din biserică are două părți:

În primul rând, astfel de certuri și probleme nu au absolut nimic de-a face cu necredincioșii. Nimic nu este mai nepotrivit față de scopul lui Dumnezeu pentru biserica locală decât să aștepte ca problemele poporului lui Dumnezeu să fie rezolvate de judecători nedrepți și neregenerați spiritual. Biserica locală se coboară foarte jos atunci când trebuie să apeleze la un consilier lumesc pe probeme ce țin de viața, credința și practica creștină. Într-adevăr, a te coborî la acest nivel înseamnă a recunoaște, în mod eronat, că modul de viață creștin este nepotrivit.

În al doilea rând, arbitrajul litigiilor sau „împăcarea frățească”, sugerată de termenul „să judece” din versetul acesta, trebuie să aibă loc prin grija bărbaților „înțelepți” din biserică. Biserica nu este, esențialmente, o democrație, ci mai degrabă o teocrație – sau, mai bine zis, o „cristocrație”. Prin conducerea Domnului Isus, se stabilește o scară ierarhică de comandă în ce privește conducerea și judecarea. Biserica trebuie să se supună acesteia, deoarece Scriptura spune: „Aduceţi-vă aminte de mai marii voştri…” (Evrei 13:7). Acolo unde cei care conduc biserica sunt învățați și conduși de Duhul Sfânt, nu trebuie să existe problemă ce nu poate fi rezolvată. Pavel arată lucrul acesta foarte clar prin felul în care se adresează situației nepotrivite și absurde din biserica din Corint. El exclamă: „Spre ruşinea voastră zic lucrul acesta…” (6:5), iar apoi întreabă în termeni umilitori dacă se poate „găsi” în adunare în om „înțelept”, care să fie capabil să judece între un credincios și altul!

Am putea adăuga faptul că această politică divină nu a fost niciodată abrogată. Dumnezeu încă se așteaptă ca biserica Lui să fie condusă și judecată în conformitate cu Cuvântul Său.

III. Litigiul Între Creștini Este Contrar Dragostei Creștine Din Biserică

„Chiar faptul că aveţi judecăţi între voi este un cusur pe care-l aveţi. Pentru ce nu suferiţi mai bine să fiţi nedreptăţiţi? De ce nu răbdaţi mai bine paguba? Dar voi singuri sunteţi aceia care nedreptăţiţi şi păgubiţi şi încă pe fraţi!” (1 Corinteni 6:7-8). În capitolul 13 al acestei epistole, Pavel spune care este motivația supremă pentru fiecare faptă și reacție din viața bisericii. Această motivație este dragostea. Într-adevăr, el spune că poți să ai totul, dar dacă nu ai „dragoste”, nu ai nimic. Aceste cuvinte ale apostolului sunt doar un ecou al cuvintelor Stăpânului: „Prin aceasta vor cunoaşte toţi că sunteţi ucenicii Mei, dacă veţi avea dragoste unii pentru alţii” (Ioan 13:35). În mod evident, apostolul are în minte această „motivație supremă” atunci când tratează subiectul delicat al litigiului.

Observăm că termenul „frați” se repetă mereu în aceste versete (5, 6, 8). Pavel spune că mai bine suferi nedreptate din partea fratelui tău creștin decât să fii atât de lipsit de dragoste încât să duci conflictul la un tribunal păgân. Traducerea în engleză Revised Standard Version traduce versetul 7 astfel: „Să vă judecați între voi înseamnă să fiți ÎNFRÂNȚI.” Cu alte cuvinte, Pavel spune că poți să câștigi legal și să suferi o înfrângere morală în același timp. Sau, se poate întâmpla nu doar să refuzi să suferi nedreptate, ci chiar să aduci un rău mai mare asupra altora. O astfel de atitudine este exact opusul asemănării cu Hristos și opusul dragostei de la Calvar. Iată ce citim cu privire la Mântuitorul nostru: „Când era batjocorit, nu răspundea cu batjocuri; şi, când era chinuit, nu ameninţa, ci Se supunea dreptului Judecător” (1 Petru 2:23). Așadar, firea pământească, cu toate multiplele sale forme de egoism, nemulțumire și dorință de răzbunare, toate sunt anulate atunci când aplicăm dragostea crusii prin puterea Duhului Sfânt.

IV. Litigiul Între Creștini Este Contrar Purității Bisericii

„Nu ştiţi că cei nedrepţi nu vor moşteni Împărăţia lui Dumnezeu? Nu vă înşelaţi în privinţa aceasta: nici curvarii, nici închinătorii la idoli, nici preacurvarii, nici malahii, nici sodomiţii, nici hoţii, nici cei lacomi, nici beţivii, nici defăimătorii, nici hrăpăreţii nu vor moşteni Împărăţia lui Dumnezeu. Şi aşa eraţi unii din voi! Dar aţi fost spălaţi, aţi fost sfinţiţi, aţi fost socotiţi neprihăniţi, în Numele Domnului Isus Hristos şi prin Duhul Dumnezeului nostru” (1 Corinteni 6:9-11). Pentru a ajunge la puctul culminant al acestui subiect, Pavel arată incompatibilitatea absolută dintre lume și biserică. El îi pune în contrast pe cei „nedrepți” din versetul 9 cu cei care sunt „spălați… sfințiți… socotiți neprihăniți” din versetul 11. El recunoaște fără teamă că, fără harul lui Dumnezeu, omul neregenerat spiritual în starea sa cea mai bună este capabilă de:

a) Curvie – un termen care înseamnă literalmente prostituția bărbaților.

b) Idolatrie – termen care semnifică înlocuirea lui Dumnezeu cu altceva sau altcineva.

c) Preacurvie sau adulter – termen ce descrie relația sexuală cu soțul/ soția altcuiva.

d) Efeminare – termen ce sugerează pierderea bărbăției sau a feminității cu scopul de a trăi în plăcere și lux.

e) Sodomie – termen ce se referă la păcatele homosexualității și sodomiei.

f) Hoție – termen ce acoperă întreaga arie a însușirii ilegale a timpului, energiei sau banilor care aparțin lui Dumnezeu sau altcuiva.

g) Lăcomie – termen ce înseamnă a te închina altora și posesiunilor lor.

h) Beție – termen ce înseamnă a bea neînfrânat.

i) Defăimare – termen asociat cu limba necontrolată și nesfințită.

j) Jecmănire – termen ce denotă acea dorință de a lua mereu ceea ce nu îți aparține.

Ce listă îngrozitoare! Și numai să ne imaginăm că suntem atât de corupți pe cât spune Pavel! Însă a avut loc un miracol: Dumnezeu s-a întâlnit cu noi în Hristos și ne-a transformat; ne-a făcut curați, sfinți și buni. Am fost curățiți, puși deoparte și puși într-o lumină favorabilă înaintea lui Dumnezeu prin numele lui Hristos și prin Duhul Său. Termenii „spălați”, „sfințiți” și „socotiți neprihăniți” descriu „mântuirea deplină” în care am fost aduși numai prin har și prin credința în Hristos.

Concluzie: Dacă aceasta este curăția poziției și stării noastre în Hristos, cum putem noi, cei „chemați să fim sfinți” (2:1) să ne simțim în largul nostru în tribunalele „nedrepte” sau printre judecători nesfinți? Întrebarea își dă singură răspunsul.

Așadar, Pavel înlătură procesele din biserica locală. Și dacă vrem să ascultăm de Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu, și noi trebuie sp facem la fel. De fapt, trebuie să mergem chiar mai departe; trebuie să avem grijă ca viața bisericii să nu coboare atât de mult încât să aibă nevoie de astfel de proceduri firești. Înțelegerea menirii, politicii, dragostei și purității noastre în Hristos trebuie să determine orice gând și orice acțiune în biserică și în afara ei.

Partea A III-A. Schițe De Predici

Pentru versiunea audio a acestor predici în limba engleză, dați click pe link-urile următoare: Link 1 - Jn. 20:1-2; Link 2 - Jn. 20:3-10; Link 3 - Jn. 20:11-18

Titlu: Tocmai L-am văzut pe Isus

Tema: Șocul și realitatea învierii

Punctul #1: Mormântul gol îi transformă pe observatori în credincioși (1-10)

1. Mormântul gol îi transformă pe observatori în urmași (1-2)

(1) La cruce, unii erau observatori (Luca 23:55-56)

(2) La mormântul gol, unii erau urmași (1-2)

2. Mormântul gol îi transformă pe urmași în credincioși (3-10)

(1) Pe unii, mormântul gol îi lasă sceptici (6-7)

(2) Pe alții, mormântul gol îi inspiră să creadă (5, 8-9)

Punctul #2: Hristorul înviat transformă durerea în bucurie (11-18)

1. Necunoașterea învierii produce durere (11-13)

(1) Produce durere în ciuda dovezilor (11)

(2) Produce durere în ciuda mărturiei (12-13)

2. Cunoașterea învierii produce bucurie (14-18)

(1) Produce bucurie prin recunoașterea Lui (14-16)

(2) Produce bucurie prin ascultarea de El (17-18)


1 Alte articole din seria aceasta pe 1 Corinteni pot fi citite în edițiile anterioare ale acestui jurnal, după cum urmează: Vara 2016, Toamna 2016, Iarna 2017, Primăvara 2017, Vara 2017, Toamna 2017, Iarna 2018, Primăvara 2018, Vara 2018.

Related Topics: Pastors

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