Strength for the Journey

     
     
     
     

    Bible Study Pastor Eric C. Carson

                            Rev. Eric C Carson, Pastor 

                                                                               


                                                                                                 Bible Study
                                                                                           The Church Series
     
                                                                              The Character of the Church
    1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
     
     
    What is Faith?
    Faith is believing what God has said and acting accordingly.
     
    Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. We must change our personal character, and we must try to change the world in which we live.
     
    The Bible demands that we do something. If it says we should change, we must change. If it says we must go into all the world and preach the gospel, we must go. If  it say we should preach the word faithfully, we must preach it. If it says we must worship God in spirit and in truth, then we must worship. Faith is a matter of finding out what God says and doing it.
     
    Faith also means we cannot five up what we believe, if indeed we believe it. Persecution, ridicule, discrimination may come, but a living, dynamic faith remains true, not without struggle, perhaps, but in the end, it remains true.
     
    What is Hope?
    Hope is putting your confidence in the future.
     
    Christians are faced with decisions on whether or not to remain faithful, and when they do, their hope often makes the difference.  There is a clear link between faith and hope.  What causes Christians to suffer for Christ’s sake? It is hope, eternal hope in Jesus Christ. 
    Out of hope, the apostle Paul wrote from prison, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phippippians1:21).
     
    Those who have hope that they can make a difference in this life, and have hope of reward and eternal life after death , are able to face with joy the constant stream of diversions, disappointments, and defeats that life brings.  Hope is a constant flow of water to a soul in the desert. Hope is a life jacket to a soul lost at sea. Hope is a pathway to one lost in the wilderness. The water, the life jacket, the pathway enable you to carry on, to put your confidence in the future.
     
    When a church hopes, it places it confidence in the promises of God.  It places its hope in the glory that is to be revealed to us at the coming of Jesus (Romans 8:18). It places it hope in the things that are not seen, rather than the things that are seen, for the things that are seen are temporary, but the things that are unseen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
     
     
    What is Love?
    Love is the exercise of my will for the good of another.
     
    True loves unifies believers so outsiders see the truth of Jesus displayed. The church that is able to manifests love and unity is able to evangelize from a stance of strength. To the degree that the church does not manifest love and unity, it evangelizes from a position of weakness, having to overcome some valid concerns before a person has a reason to believe that Christians are true disciples and that Jesus has been sent from God.
     
     
    Questions to Ponder
     
    How strong to you think our local churches are in the area of faith, hope, and love?
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    What do you think is the greatest hindrance to a church exercising strong faith? Hope? Love?
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    Strength for the Journey
     
    John 13:33-35             Romans 8:18-25                     1 Corinthians 13
     
    James 2:17
     
     
     
     


     
                                                                                                  Bible Study
                                                                                          The Church Series
     
                                                                                       The Mission of the Church
    Matthew 28:19-20
     
    The mission of the church is to go into the world and make disciples by declaring the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit and gathering theses disciples into churches, that they might worship and obey Jesus Christ now and in eternity to the glory of God the Father.
     
    What should be the Church’s Mission?
     
    The church’s mission is to glorify God by proclaiming the gospel to the lost.
    • We glorify God by proclaiming His gospel with verbal clarity (Col. 4:3-4; Eph. 6:19-20).
    • We glorify God by proclaiming His gospel to all people  (John 1:29; 3:16;4:42).
    • We glorify God by verbally proclaiming His gospel backed up by Christlike love to all people (John 13:34-35; Thessalonians 2:8-11).
     
    The church’s mission is to glorify God by making Christlike disciples who love God and one another.
    • Christlike disciples love God above all else (Eph 5:1-2; Luke 14:26-27).
    • Christlike disciples build up one another in love (1 Cor13; Gal 5:22-23).
     
    The church’s mission is to glorify God by making Christlike disciples who make Christlike disciples (Luke 5:32; 2 Tim2:2; Rom1:12).
     
     
    Conclusion
     
    The Great Commission, in Matthew 28: 19-20, is the mandate to take the message of salvation to the ends of the earth. Each of us needs to make a personal commitment to the Great Commission, to do what we can to further the cause of taking the gospel to the whole world.
     
    God will call each of us to different levels of evangelism, but each of us must be committed and involved.  Each of us must have a clear conscience before God that we are doing what He wants us to do in the area of evangelism.
     
     
     
     

                                                                                         
                                                                 __________________________________

                                                       

                                                                                     
                                                           Bible Study
                                                                        The Church Series
                                               

    Part 2
     
    What Should The Character Of A Healthy Church Be?
     
     
    1. A healthy church is a faith believing church.   (James 2:17)
    • A healthy church believes what God has said and acts accordingly
    • True faith urges us to personal risk for Christ’s sakes.
     
    1. A healthy church has hope by putting its confidence in the future.          (Philippians 1:21)
    • Those who have hope that they can make a difference in this life, and have hope of reward and eternal life after death, are able to face with joy the constant stream of diversions, disappointments, and defeats that life brings.
    • When you hope that this world is not your home, and that the true payoff for Christians will never be in this world, but in the next, it can strengthen you to be content in this world, even though this world has disappointed you.
    • When a church hopes, it places its confidence in the promises of God.  It places it hope in the glory that is to be revealed to us at the coming of Jesus (Romans 8:18).
    • It places its hope in the things that are not seen, rather than the things that are seen, for the things that are seen are temporary, but the things that are unseen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
    • The church that hopes endures the pain, the frustration, the lure of sin, the unfulfilled desires, the unanswered prayer, the circumstances gone awry, and remains faithful to the Lord, knowing that future is when all things are set right (Romans 8:18-25).
     
    1. A healthy church is a loving Church (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
                Three types of loves:
    • Agape means the exercise of my will for the good of another.
    • Philos means the love friendship.
    • Eros   means physical love.
     
    True love unifies believers so outsiders see the truth of Jesus displayed.
     
     
                The church should be characterized by corporate faith, corporate hope, and
                corporate love.  These three characteristics embody what it means for a group
                of people to become corporately mature in Christ.
     
     
     
     

    Questions To Ponder

     
    How strong do you think churches as a whole in the United States are in the areas of faith, hope, and love?
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    Have you known of churches that were strong in one or more of these traits?
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    What do you think is the greatest hindrance to a church exercising strong faith? Hope? Love?
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    If your church as a whole had your character as a person, how healthy would the church be? How strong would its faith, hope, and love be? What changes would it need to make?
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    Additional Scripture Support
     
    John 13:33-35             Romans 8:18-25         1 Corinthians 13:13    James 2:17
     
     
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                                                                                            Bible Study
                                                                               The Church Series” Part 1
     
                                                                                     What is the Church?
      
    The Universal Church
     
    The church made up of all true Christians everywhere, past, present, and future.
     
    The Church is Not a Building.
     
    Greek word for church is Ekklesia meaning an assembly, or group called together for a meeting. Ek means “out from” and kaleo means “called” Together, the two words mean “called out” and assembled together.
     
    The Church is People (Romans 2:28-29).
     
    • Those who have received Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
    • Earthly membership in a local congregation has no guarantee of being a part of the spiritual universal church.
    • It is not what happens on the outside that matters, but what happens on the inside.
     
    The Church is a Divine Creation  Matthew 16:13-18
    • The Church is build upon Jesus Christ.
     
    The Universal Church pictured in Scripture.
     

    A Body  (Romans 12:4-5).
     
    • Christians on earth are the hands, feet, and tongue of Christ.
    • We each have different functions, different abilities, different  callings and different locations.
     
    A Building (Ephesians 2:19-22).
    • Believer becoming a spiritual family as a holy temple.
    • Jesus as the Chief Cornerstone ensures the stability of salvation.
     
     3 truth about the Church  1 Corinthians 3:10-17
    • The Church has an eternal foundation
    • The building is always growing, always being added to.
    • The building is the dwelling place of God in the Spirit 
     

     
    A Bride  (Revelation 19:6-7).
     
    • The Church is to honor Christ
     
    The Local Church
     
    While the universal church is clearly presented in Scripture, the most frequent use of the word church refers to specific local congregations who have agreed together to pursue the ideals of the universal church.  To do that, the people must fulfill several functions and responsibilities.  We see in the New Testament several things that must be true of the local church for it to actually be a church.
     
     A local Church Regularly  (Hebrews 10:24-25).
    Worship involves the preaching of the Word, prayer, music, celebration, and the giving of offerings. (2 Chronicles 5-7; Nehemiah 12:27-13:1). Baptism  (Matthew 28:19) and communion (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) and evangelism and making disciples (Matthew 28:18-20).
     
    A local Church Has Qualified Leaders. (Ephesians 4:11-12)
    • Elders and Pastors (1 Timothy 3:1-7)
    • Deacons  (Acts 6:1-6; 1 Timothy 3:8-13).
     
    A Local Church Is Organized Acts (14:21-23; Titus 1:5).
    By biblical definition, every true church gathers for worship, instruction, and service under mature leaders authorized to build up and discipline in Christ’s name.
    • Discipline in the church (1 Corinthians 5).
    • Repentance and restoration (2 Corinthians 2:5-11).
     
    A Local Church Is Not a Social Club (1 Timothy 3:15).
    • The Church is a place to face the truth and respond accordingly.  The apostle Paul described the church of the living God as the “pillar and ground (foundation) of the truth”. Unless truth undergirds the church and our role in it, it is just a social club.
     
    A local Church Is a Covenant Community (Acts 2:42-47).
    • Belonging to a church is fundamental to the faithful Christian life.
    • Many see the church as some organization that pesters for money while giving inferior performances in return
     
    Question to Ponder
    How healthy would your local church be if everyone had the same appreciation for and level of commitment to it that you have?
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