Friday, December 01, 2006

Sin and its Remedy--Psalm 119:25-32

This fourth section of the Psalm starts out with the cry "My soul cleaves to the dust!" What could make a believer feel this way? What would have this kind of affect and bring a believer to this state? From the context of these verses it is sin. Sin, you know what that is don't you? Maybe, or maybe not! Sin, the enemy of man that seeks to master him (Genesis 4:7), and the cause of his death (Genesis 2:16-17). It doesn't get mentioned in our churches much any more as the pendulum of the church culture has swung hard toward a "positive christianity". To preach on sin is a faux pas in our comfort driven church culture because we don't want to make the people feel bad for fear they won't come back or will go somewhere else. In fact, we have even renamed sin as it is now called a poor choice, a bad decision, falling down, failure, or a problem. You know, you can do all of these and still not sin, so to call sin any one of these is to lessen what it really is, and what it really does.

I John 1:8 tells us that all of us, as believers, still sin. So by not preaching on it, people in the church today are ignorant of their sin and how to deal with it, and the results are disasterous in their lives and in the life of the church. Even though the church today takes sin lightly, God does not, and never has. God hates sin and will not leave it undealt with in His children, His people who are called by His name, but because of His goodness and His faithfulness He has given us a way to deal with sin, any sin, not just for the moment, but for everday. So let's see what He tells us in this section of Psalm 119.

25. My soul cleaves to the dust-
Unconfessed sin in the life of the believer always brings oppression. Look at Psalm 32:3-7. See what is going on with the Psalmist. His body is wasting away. He is groaning all night. His vitality was drained away. Why was all of this happening to him? The Lord's hand was heavy upon him. Why was the Lord's hand heavy upon him? He was keeping silent, not dealing with his sin. Look at Isaiah 30:18-20. Here we see God giving the bread of privation and the water of oppression to His people. Why? Because of their sin. Again, look in Isaiah, chapter 64 verses 6-7, at how God repays the iniquity of their sin into their bosom. He brings the consequences of their sin back against them.

We usually talk about spiritual oppression being caused by Satan and his demons, but do we realize that the greatest weapon that the enemy uses against us is our own sin? And God will not let sin go undealt with in His people. Read the story of Balaam in Numbers 22-25 and 31:15-16. So if you are oppressed, if your soul is low, if His hand is heavy upon you, and you are in a time of privation and oppression, maybe there is sin in your life that you need to deal with. What is the first step in dealing with your sin? It is

25. Revive me according to your word.
In light of his low condition the Psalmist asks God to revive him. The word revive in the Hebrew means to restore to health, to restore to vitality, to heal and recover, and he asks God to revive him according to His word, not according to the wishes of the Psalmist, but according to the revealed will of God. So we see here a submission of the Psalmist's will to the will of God. This is important because sin is lawlessness (I John 3:4), it is rebellion against God's standards. So we see here a shift in attitude from rebellion to submission. Now you can see why God's hand would be heavy, why He would give you the bread of privation and the water of oppression, because sin is rebellion against God.

Where are you, my friend? Are you continuing to stubbornly or ignorantly stand in your rebellion, your lawlessness. Because to remain silent (Psalm 32) in your sin is to continue in rebellion against God. Submit yourself to God, humble yourself before Him and He will give you grace. As submission of the heart is always required before

26. I have told You of my ways and You have answered me; Teach me your statutes.
The next step to becoming restored to spiritual vitality and health is to tell God of your ways, your doings, your actions, the way you are thinking and living your life. In Psalm 32:5 we see the Psalmist calling it for what it is--sin. He did not hide it or keep silent about it any longer, but confessed it to God for what it is--sin. In I John 1:9 we are told that if we confess our sins then He will forgive our sins, just like in Psalm 32:5. In I John 1:9 the word for confess literally means to say or speak the same thing. If you really think about it what this means you will see that we are to say the exact same thing about our sin as God does, to call it for what He calls it, not to whitewash it or play it down by calling it other than what it is like poor decision, bad choice, falling down, failure, or problem. In fact, for us to call it the same thing as God does we must think about it and see it the way God does, and we are certainly capable of doing this since we have the mind of Christ through the indwelling Holy Spirit.

We also see in this verse that when we tell God of our ways He answers us. When we see our sin the way He sees it and therefore speak about it as He would, He will not be silent. He will answer in forgiveness just as we saw in Psalm 32:5 and I John 1:9.

Notice the next thing the Psalmist does is to ask God to teach him His statutes. He has already stated in Psalm 119:1, 3, 9, 11 that it is the word of God that makes his way blameless, keeps him from unrighteousness, keeps his way pure, and keeps him from sin. In fact, this is one of the recurrent themes of this Psalm as seen also in verses 36, 80, 101, 105, 136, and 165. Again, our sin is the greatest tool Satan uses against us. So in our positive, friendly church culture where sin and its consequences are not mentioned or made less than what they are, he is having a field day. Especially when "practical principles" are being taught in lieu of the Word of God. It is the Word of God that is corrective. It is the Word of God that is restorative. It is the Word of God that is a light for our path and a lamp for our feet. No wonder the church looks so much like the world. So, my friend, do you view your sin the way God does, for the lawlessness and rebellion that it is, and have you confessed it to Him as such?

This Book

This is taken from an article by Dr. Richard Mayhue with the Master's Seminary. I read this about 15 years ago and taped it to the front leaf of my Bible.

This book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers.

Its doctrine is holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable.

It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.

It is the traveler's map, the pilgrim's staff, the pilot's compass, the soldier's sword, and the Christian's charter.

Here heaven is opened, and the gates of hell disclosed.

Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end.

It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet.

Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully.

It is a mine of wealth, health to the soul, and a river of pleasure.

It is given to you here in this life, will be opened at the Judgment, and is established forever.

It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and condemn all who trifle with its contents.

Intimacy with God is not reserved for a select group of initiates but is within the grasp of every believer. There is no magic formula or secret incantation. In fact, there are no shortcuts, only one, well-marked path---the Word of God. Read it. Study it. Make its truths yours. It is the only gateway to initmacy with our great God.

Good words then, good words now. Thank you Dr. Mayhue.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

True Freedom--Galatians 5:25-6:18

Lesson 14

Read through these verses several times before you
answer the questions.

1. List everything that relates to attitude.

2. List everything that relates to action.

3. In your own words write down what walking by the
Spirit means to you.

4. How do the attitudes and actions of these verses relate
to walking by the Spirit?

5. How do you see Galatians 5:22-23 exercised in these verses?

6. What are the promises in verses 7-9 of chapter six?

7. What do we learn about walking by the Spirit in
Romans 8:3-13?

8. Is there anything in Galatians 5;17 that would give us
additional insight into walking by the Spirit?

9. Write down any new insights into walking by the Spirit.

Walking by the Spirit is walking in freedom.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

True Freedom--Galatians 5:13-24

Lesson 13

Read through these verses each day this week. Before
you start the assingment read Galatians 3:2 and 6:8.

1. a. In verse 5:13 what is the temptation in our freedom?

b. According to verse 5:16 what is the antidote for this temptation?

2. Read verses 13-24.

a. List everything you learn about the flesh.

b. List everything you learn about the Spirit.

3. According to verse 5:14 how is the Law fulfilled? How does this
compare to verse 5:22?

4. Verse 5:17 is in the present tense, which indicates a continous
ongoing action.

a. In light of this what is this verse telling us?

b. How does this relate to verses 13 and 16?

c. What truth can we take from this verse that can help us
with our struggle against the flesh?

5. Read verse 24 and think back to what we learned about crucifixion.

a. What does the fact that our flesh has been crucified have
to do with walking by the Spirit?

b. How does the knowledge that your flesh, with its passions
and desires, has been crucified help you in your struggle
against the flesh.

c. How does verse 24 and the last part of verse 21 complement
each other?

d. How would you use the truth of these two verses to examine
yourself as to whether you are in the faith?

Monday, November 13, 2006

True Freedom--Galatians 5:2-12

Lesson 12

Remember the flow of thought in the book.
1:1-2:14-True Freedom
2:15-3:24-True Justification
3:25-5:1-True Position
5:2-6:18-True Perfection

In 3:3 Paul brings up the issue, and in this last section
of the epistle he shows why we cannot be perfected by
what we do to our flesh or by what we do in/through
our flesh, but how we are perfected by walking by
the same Spirit by which we were begun.

1. a. According to Acts 15:1 what were the Judaizers doing?

b. According to Galatians 6:12 what were they doing?

c. In Galatians 5:2-3 what was Paul saying about circumcison?
benefit (opheleo)-assistance, profit, advantageous, useful

d. According to Galatians 6:13 what was the condition of
the Judaizers?

e. Compare Galatians 5:2-3 and 6:12-13 with Romans 2:23-27.
What do you see about circumcision and the Law?

2. a. Read Romans 2:28-29, Colossians 2:11, Ephesians 2:11,
Jeremiah 9:25-26; 4;4, Deuteronomy 10:16, 30:6.
List everything you learn about circumcision in these verses.

b. In your own words state what is true circumcision and when
it takes place.

c. From what you have learned about circumcision, why would
Paul make the statement he makes in Galatians 5:5?

3. severed (katargeo)-to null or void, to reduce to inactivity
fallen (ekpipto)- to fall out of, to leave the sphere of grace
In light of the definitions of the words and the context of the verse,
what is Paul saying in verse 5:4?

4. hindered--to impede one's course by cutting off his way
a. In verse 7 what has happened to the saints of Galatia?

b. In verse 8 who is not the source of this teaching?

c. How does verse 9 relate to verse 7?

d. So then what happens to a church or group of saints when
false teaching enters and is accepted?

Is there any false teaching or legalism that you are
adhering to that would hinder you and therefore
your church.

True Freedom--Galatians 5:1

Lesson 11

Read and meditate on this verse each day this week.
Ask the Lord to show you what this verse really means
in your life.

1. a. Read Luke 3:16-21. What was Christ's purpose?

b. Read John 8:31-36. What was Christ's promise?

c. Read Acts 13:32-39. What was Christ's provision?

2. Read Galatians 3:27 then Romans 6:3. What has
happened to us.

3. What happened to our old self according to Romans 6:6?

What is the end result for someone who has been crucified?

If you have died, are you not freed from what has held you
in bondage?

Think with me on this.....


4. Read the following verses and fill in the blank.

Romans 6:4-7--I have been crucified with Christ, therefore
I have died to____________.

Galatians 2:19-20--I have been crucified with Christ, therefore
I have died to____________.

Galatians 5:24--I have been crucified with Christ, therefore
I have died to____________.

Galatians 6:14--I have been crucified with Christ, therefore
I have died to____________.

Therefore, since I have been crucified with Christ, I have
freedom from_________to these things in my life!

It was for freedom that Christ set you free, stand
firm in the truth!

Friday, November 10, 2006

True Freedom--Galatians 4:21-31

Lesson 10

As you read through these verses think back to
what you know about Isaac and Ishmael.

1. What is the allegory in these verses? What is contrasted
in this allegory?

2. What two covenants are being compared?

3. What do we learn about the births in this allegory?

4. How was Isaac born? Compare this to Galatians 3:17-18.
What did you see about the promise?

5. Think back on the last two lessons. Who are we descendents
of and with whom are we joint heirs?

6. Read Galatians 4:28, 31; 3:16,19,29. To whom was the promise
given? With whom does He share it?

7. In Galatians 3:13-14 what does Jesus do and what do we
receive as a result?

8. Read Jeremiah 31:21-33, Ezekiel 36:26-27. In Jeremiah
what was promised? In Ezekiel what was promised?

9. Read II Corinthians 1:20-22, Ephesians 1:13-14,
Hebrews 7:22; 8:6-13. Which covenant is better and why?


True Freedom--Galatians 3:26-4:20 Part 2

Lesson 9

This week meditate on I Corinthians 15:19 and 15:58. Think
on these verses in relation to these two lessons.

1. What does an heir receive? What must happen for him
to receive it?

2. a. According to last weeks lesson who are we sons of,
therefore, heirs of?

b. Read I Corinthians 5:17, John 1:1, 14. What happened
at Calvary?

3. Read Acts 20:32; 26:18. What is received and who
receives it?

4. Read Matthew 5:5; 25:34, Ephesians 5:5, Hebrews 1:14,
Colossians 1:12; 3:24, I Peter 1:3-4; 3:9, Psalm 16:5; 37:18.
What do these verses teach us about our inheritance?

5. a. Read Ephesians 1:13-14. What has God done for us in
regards to our inheritance.

b. Read Genesis 7:13-16. What does this tell you about
your God?

6. Read John 12:25-26; 14:2-3, Hebrews 11:8-16,
Revelation 21:1-7; 21:10-22:6. What is awaiting you?


Thursday, November 09, 2006

True Freedom--Galatians 3:26-4:20 Part 1

Lesson 8

Yes, I know there are a lot of verses, go ahead
and read them anyway. What are these verses
telling you about your relationship with God?

Redeem (exagordazo)-to buy out, to pay ransom, to
purchase a slave with a view to set him free.

1. According to Galatians 3:26, 4:5-7, and Romans 8:15,
what has God done and what is our new position
in salvation?

Read Ephesians 1:5. What does this tell you about
your position?

2. a. According to 3:13 and 4:5, what did God do to
accomplish this for us?

b. According to I Peter 1:18-19, what did God use to
pay the ransom?

3. Remember the end of last week's lesson and read
3:29 and 4:7. What are we as a result of our new

4. According to 3:13 to whom were the promises made?

5. Read Romans 4:13 and Hebrews 1:2.

a. What did you learn about Abraham and Christ?

b. Who are we descendants of, and who are we sons of?

6. Now read Romans 8:14-17.

a. What is the progression of thought in these verses?

b. In Ephesians 3:4-6 what is the mystery of Christ
that is revealed?

7. In Titus 3:7 and James 2:5 what did you learn about
being heirs?

Monday, November 06, 2006

True Freedom--Galatians 3:10-29


Read these verses each day this week and
think about what Christ has done for you.

Redeem (exagorazo)--denotes to buy out,
pay a ransom, to purchase a slave with a
view to setting him free.

1. List everything you learn about the Law.

2. List everything you learn about the promise(s).

3. According to verses 13-14 what did Christ redeem
us from and why?

4. According to verse 16 to whom were the
promises made?

5. Read Genesis 12:1-3; 13:14-18; 15:1-8, 17-18.
What were the promises?

6. Read Galatians 3:7, 9, 14, 28-29, Romans 2:28-29; 3:29-30
Ephesians 2:11-3:11.
What do these verses tell you about Jew and Gentile?

7. According to what we have seen in Galatians thus far,
what role does faith play in all of this?


True Freedom--Galatians 3:1-9

Lesson 6

Spend some time this week thinking about what the
Lord is saying in Galatians 2:20 and Hebrews 11:6,
and how they come alongside Galatians 3:1-9.

1. What do Galatians 2;20 and Hebrews 11:6 tell us
about faith?

2. In Galatians 3:1-9:

a. List everything you learn about faith.

b. List everything you learn about the Spirit.

c. List everything you learn about Abraham.

3. Read Genesis 12:3, 22;18, 26:4, 28:14.

a. In each verse list what was said and to whom
God was speaking.

b. Compare these verses with Galatians 3:8.
What was happening?

c. Comparing all these verses with Galatians 3:9,
what is the blessing of Abraham that those of
faith share?

True Freedom--Galatians 2:15-21

Lesson 5

Read through these verses each day this week and
think about what it means to be justified in the eyes
of God.

Justified-to be pronounced or declared righteous before
God. It signifies the establishment of a person as just by
acquital from guilt.

1. Read Galatians 2:15-21, Romans 3:19-4:8, 4:20-5:1
List everything you learn about justification.

2. Read the following verses and from each verse list the
basis for God being able to pronounce us righteous/not quilty.

II Corinthians 5:21
Therefore, God was able to___________.

Romans 8:3

Galatians 3:13

If all of this is true, and indeed it is, then Romans 8:1.

Think about what this means for you personally!

Friday, November 03, 2006

True Freedom--Galatians 2:1-14

Lesson 4

Read through these verses at least twice before starting the lesson.
1. Read Acts 15:1-21 and Galatians 2;1-5.

a. What was the teaching these men from Judea
brought to Antioch?

b. How did Paul and Barnabas respond? Read Jude 3

c. What was the motivation of the false brethren?

d. What was the response of the apostles/elders
at Jerusalem?

2. Effectually (energeo)--to be actively at work, to effect
Read I Corinthians 12:1-7 and Galatians 2;6-10.

a. What was significant about Paul going to Jerusalem to
have "his gospel" checked out?

b. What was realized about Paul's ministry by those
in Jerusalem?

c. How do we see the work of God through the Holy Spirit
in Galatians 2:8-9?

d. How do we see I Corinthians 12:1-7 worked out in this section
of Galatians?

3. Compare Galatians 2:11-14 to Acts 10:34-35, Romans 2:11,
Deuteronomy 10:17, James 1:1-4, 8-9, Acts 11;1-3.
What in these scriptures is a lesson for us today?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

True Freedom--Galatians 1:12-24


Read through these verses several times this week.

1. In verses 11-12 what is Paul saying about the gospel
he is preaching?

How does this square with verse 1:1?

2. Read I Corinthians 2:9-10; 11:23-25, II Peter 3:15-16; 1:20-21
What did you learn about Paul's gospel in these verses?

3. Compare verses 13-14 with Acts 7:58-8:1; 9:1-2,
Philippians 3:4-6. What kind of man was Saul/Paul?

4. Read Acts 9:3-16, Galatians 1:15-24; 2:7-9
a. What happened to Saul/Paul?

b. What was God's purpose for him?

c. How did God use Paul's former life?

d. With Paul's background how could God ever trust
him with the gospel?

5. Now read I Corinthians 15:10, II Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 4:24


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

True Freedom-Galatians 1:10

Lesson 2

Meditate on this verse each day this week.

1. What is this verse saying?

2. Compare this verse with Galatians 4:17; 6:12-13.
a. What was one of the things going on in these churches that made them
susceptible to the distorted gospel?

b. Have you seen this in our time?

3. Read Isaiah 2:22, Psalm 8:3-4; 144:3-4, Jeremiah 17:5-8,
James 4:14, Acts 17:24-28, Isaiah 40:15, 17-18, 21-26, 28-31

a. What did you learn about man?

b. What did you learn about God?

4. a. Read Ephesians 5:6-10, 17--According to these verses what are we to do?

b. Read John 8:29--What was the result of Jesus being pleasing to the Father?

5. Read Micah 6:6-8--what does this tell us about pleasing God?

Remember, there is only ONE to please!!!!

Monday, October 30, 2006

True Freedom--Galatians 1:1-9


Read through these verses each day this week.

1. What did you learn about Paul?

2. Who are the recipients of this letter?

3. According to verse 4:

a. What did Jesus do?
b. Why did He do it?
c. How did He do it?

4. a. What was the problem in the churches?

b. What was happening to the gospel?

5. Read Acts 20:24-30, I Corinthians 15:1-8, Romans 1:1-6, 9, 16-18,
II Corinthians 4:3-6; 11:3-4, and answer the following questions.

a. What kind of gospel it it?

b. Who is the central figure in the gospel?

c. What are the main facts associated with the gospel?

d. What is the gospel?

e. What does the gospel do?

f. From these verses and Galatians 1:6-9, what does the enemy try to
do to the gospel? What are his methods?

True Freedom--A Study in Galatians


Understanding the setting

Paul's first missionary journey-Acts 13-14
Paul's second missionary journey-Acts 15:36-18:22
Paul's third missionary journey-Acts 18:23-21:17

Paul's first contact with the Galatians-Acts 16:6
Paul's second contact with the Galatians-Acts 18:23
Paul's mention of his time in Galatia-Galatians 4:13-16

During the early part of his third missionary journey Paul was at Ephesus for two years. It was from here that Paul wrote to the church at Corinth (I Corinthians) and probably to the Galatians. The book of Galatians is probably not his first correspondence with the Galatians(I Corinthians 16:1). There were other missionary contacts with the Galatians (II Timothy 4:10), and another letter written to christians in this area (I Peter 1:1).

Understanding the book

Where does this book fit into the New Testament?
As I John was written to refute the Gnostics, Galatians was written to refute the Judaizers. The Judaizers taught that in addition to faith in Christ, you had to follow the Law and be circumcised to be saved (Acts 15:1).
Why was this book written?
Let's look at the issues addressed:
Galatians 1:6-7--Distortion of the gospel
Galatians 1:10--Pleasing men rather than pleasing God
Galatians: 3:1-2--Reliance on works of the Law rather than faith
Galatians 3:3--Perfection by the flesh rather than by the Spirit
Key Verse/Main Theme
Galatians 5:1--It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
Key words/ Words to pay attention to
gospel, faith, freedom, slavery, Law, justified, promise, flesh, Spirit, and synonyms for these words
How the book is divided/ Flow of thought
1:1-2:14--True Gospel (the one given by Paul)
2:15-3:29--True Justification (by faith alone)
4:1-5:1--True Position (as a son/heir, not a slave)
5:2-6:18--True Pefection ( by the Spirit, not by the flesh)

Understanding the foundation

Why did Christ come?
Luke 4:13-21--His purpose
John 8:31-36--What is ours through Him.
Acts 13:32-39--What does the gospel say?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Knowing God

Jeremiah 9:23-24--Thus says the Lord, "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things," declares the Lord.

So, what is your boast? What is the thing you take pride in, glory in, or hang your hat on?

No matter the loftiness or lowliness of our earthly state our boast is to be that we understand (to have insight into and have comprehension of) and know (to percieve, to see, to know by experience) God Himself. This implies a personal knowing and experiencing that would attest to the fact that God delights (takes pleasure) in exercising (accomplishing) lovingkindness (deeds of mercy/love), justice (execution of what is proper and fitting), and righteousness (doing what is right by His standard) on earth.

Why is it important for us to know and understand God this well?

1. It puts us in our proper place (not in a negative sense). Psalm 100:3; 46:10
Being in the proper place gives us the proper perspective on ourselves, others, and God.
Isaiah 40:18-31, Proverbs 1:7

2. Knowing is paramount to believing. Isaiah 43:10, I John 4:16
With believing comes trusting. Psalm 55:22; 56:11

3. It gives us confidence in Him, not self-confidence, but God-confidence.
Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; 7:9-10, John 15:4-5, Philippians 4:13

4. It puts life into perspective. The more we know and understand Him, the more we see Him
and His hand in our life. Deuteronomy 8:5, Hebrews 12:10, Jeremiah 10:23

5. It is the key to eternal life. John 17:3, II Peter 2:20

6. It is the key to spiritual growth. II Peter 1:2-3; 3:18

7. It enlarges our life. It takes us to a bigger and deeper place, spiritually.
Ephesians 1:16-19; 3:14-19, Psalm 119:32

Jeremiah 33:3--Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know. (Which, I believe, are the things of God Himself)