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September 29, 2011

Fourth Commandment – 10.29.2011

Filed under: Old & New Testament — Adam Osborne @ 5:16 pm

A bible study by Adam Osborne, JR.

COMMANDMENT # 4
Exodus 20:8-11
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Exodus 20:8-11
• Remember – zaw-kar’ – properly to mark (so as to be recognized), that is, to remember
• Sabbath – shab-bawth’ – intermission, rest
• Rested – noo’-akh – to rest, that is, settle down; used in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively, intransitively, transitively and causatively (to dwell, stay, let fall, place, let alone, withdraw)
• Blessed – baw-rak’ – Held in veneration; revered.
• Made it holy – kaw-dash’ – to be clean (ceremonially or morally): – appoint, bid, consecrate, dedicate, sanctify.
Message
Sunday’s sermon will include the following main points:
1. The evolutionary process of the Sabbath – How the Sabbath has been observed and interpreted throughout history. Is it still Saturday or is it now Sunday? Or neither?
2. The eternal principles of the Sabbath – How to apply the Sabbath in our lives. What are we to do with the Sabbath?

Spiritual Preparation – Bible Reading for Families
Pray daily that you will rest in God’s grace and His work on the cross and that you would seek him through and in all things every day.

Consider fasting from one meal this week.

Read and meditate each day: Exodus 20:8-11 (above)

For Teachers
Context and Commentary
There are several different views or interpretations on how this commandment applies, if at all, to the New Testament believer. Churches that come from the Reformed or Calvinist (Presbyterian, Anglican, Puritans etc.) traditions of covenant theology generally believe that Sunday has become the “Christian Sabbath” and is to be strictly observed. Other evangelicals such as some Charismatics and non-denominationalists believe it has no equivalent at all for the church. And still others are in between somewhere or believe we are still to strictly observe the Saturday Sabbath as the Jews did before. Southern Baptists traditionally fall throughout the spectrum.

From Instruction in Faith (1537) by John Calvin:
There were three reasons for giving this [fourth] commandment: First, with the seventh day of rest the Lord wished to give to the people of Israel an image of spiritual rest, whereby believers must cease from their own works in order to let the Lord work in them. Secondly, he wished that there be an established day in which believers might assemble in order to hear his Law and worship him. Thirdly, he willed that one day of rest be granted to servants and to those who live under the power of others so that they might have a relaxation from their labor. The latter, however, is rather an inferred than a principal reason.
As to the first reason, there is no doubt that it ceased in Christ; because he is the truth by the presence of which all images vanish. He is the reality at whose advent all shadows are abandoned. Hence St. Paul (Col. 2:17) that the sabbath has been a shadow of a reality yet to be. And he declares elsewhere its truth when in the letter to the Romans, ch. 6:8, he teaches us that we are buried with Christ in order that by his death we may die to the corruption of our flesh. And this is not done in one day, but during all the course of our life, until altogether dead in our own selves, we may be filled with the life of God. Hence, superstitious observance of days must remain far from Christians.
The two last reasons, however, must not be numbered among the shadows of old. Rather, they are equally valid for all ages. Hence, though the sabbath is abrogated, it so happens among us that we still convene on certain days in order to hear the word of God, to break the bread of the Supper, and to offer public prayers; and, moreover, in order that some relaxation from their toil be given to servants and workingmen. As our human weakness does not allow such assemblies to meet every day, the day observed by the Jews has been taken away (as a good device for eliminating superstition) and another day has been destined to this use. This was necessary for securing and maintaining order and peace in the Church.
As the truth therefore was given to the Jews under a figure, so to us on the contrary truth is shown without shadows in order, first of all, that we meditate all our life on a perpetual sabbath from our works so that the Lord may operate in us by his spirit; secondly, in order that we observe the legitimate order of the Church for listening to the word of God, for administering the sacraments, and for public prayers; thirdly, in order that we do not oppress inhumanly with work those who are subject to us.

Bible Fellowship Time
Icebreakers

1. When was the last time you had a day off from work? What did you do on that day?
Discussion questions:

2. What was God’s 4th commandment?
3. Why did God command the Israelites to only work six days and then rest for a day?
4. Who was included in the commandment?
5. Why did God rest after His work of creation? Was He tired?
6. What did God do to the seventh day?
7. Is the commandment to keep the Sabbath repeated in the New Testament?
8. Is keeping or upholding God’s Law a burden or pleasure to you?

Application:

In the New Testament, 9 of the 10 commandments are repeated and affirmed as standards for holy living that God has set before His people. The Sabbath commandment is the only commandment not repeated. In fact the Apostle Paul writes that no brother or sister in Christ should judge another on what day of the week they regard as their Sabbath. Paul said that those who are in Christ are not subject to the Law (which includes the 10 commandments) as regards to keeping it for salvation. Rather we uphold it as holy through faith because it is a reflection of who God is and what He desires (Romans 3). The Apostle Peter and John both affirm in their epistles the desire of the Christian is to seek after holiness and God’s desires. If we are in Christ, we desire what God desires: holiness.

Is upholding or keeping the 10 commandments a burden to you or a pleasure?

Micah 6:6-8 ESV
“With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Do you earnestly and humbly desire holiness in your life and that of others around you?

Do you believe God is holy and desires you to live a holy life in gladness and kindness?

Closing Devotion
In a sermon entitled The Good Way of Coming before the Lord , Robert Murray M’Cheyne wrote:

“The question of an awakened soul.—” With what shall I come before the LORD?” An unawakened man never puts that question. A natural man has no desire to come before God, or to bow himself before the High God. He does not like to think of God. He would rather think of any other subject. He easily forgets what he is told about God. A natural man has no memory for divine things, because he has no heart for them. He has no desire to come before God in prayer.
An awakened soul feels that his chief happiness is in coming before God. This was unfallen Adam’s happiness. He felt like a child under a loving Father’s eye. It was his chief joy to come before God—to be loved by Him—to be like a mote in the sunbeam—to be continually basked in the sunshine of His love—no cloud or veil coming between. This is the joy of holy angels, to come before the Lord, and bow before the High God. In His presence is fulness of joy. “The angels do always behold the face of My Father.” On whatever errand of love they fly, they still feel that His eye of love is on them—this is their daily, hourly joy. This is the true happiness of a believer.”

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Third Commandment – 09.29.2011

Filed under: Old & New Testament — Adam Osborne @ 5:14 pm

A bible study by Adam Osborne, JR.

COMMANDMENT #3
Exodus 20:7 New International Version (NIV)
7 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
Exodus 20:7
• “misuse” – shawv – emptiness, nothingness, vanity; emptiness of speech, lying; worthlessness (of conduct)
• “LORD” – yehôvâh – Jehovah = “the existing One”; the proper name of the one true God
Message
Sunday’s sermon will include the following points:
1. The Commandment – do not misuse God’s name.
2. The Consequence – God will hold accountable those who misuse it
Spiritual Preparation – Bible Reading for Families
Pray daily that you will hold God’s holy name up on high and not bring reproach on it.

Read every day: Exodus 20:7

For Teachers
Context and Commentary
As the people of God, we are expected to worship and consider Him in all our ways and goings. When we openly declare our membership in God’s covenant people we essentially use His name whether we say it verbally or not. It permeates our actions. We are ambassadors, He is the King. Just as our name can be tarnished and it effects our reputation, so it is with our God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

From John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible:
The third commandment is concerning the manner of our worship; Where we have a strict prohibition. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain – Supposing that, having taken Jehovah for their God, they would make mention of his name, this command gives a caution not to mention it in vain, and it is still as needful as ever. We take God’s name in vain, First, By hypocrisy, making profession of God’s name, but not living up to that profession. Secondly, By covenant breaking. If we make promises to God, and perform not to the Lord our vows, we take his name in vain. Thirdly, By rash swearing, mentioning the name of God, or any of his attributes, in the form of an oath, without any just occasion for it, but to no purpose, or to no good purpose. Fourthly, By false – swearing, which some think is chiefly intended in the letter of the commandment. Fifthly, By using the name of God lightly and carelessly. The profanation of the form of devotion is forbidden, as well as the profanation of the forms of swearing; as also, the profanation of any of those things whereby God makes himself known. For the Lord will not hold him guiltless – Magistrates that punish other offences, may not think themselves concerned to take notice of this; but God, who is jealous for his honour, will not connive at it. The sinner may perhaps hold himself guiltless, and think there is no harm in it; to obviate which suggestion, the threatening is thus expressed, God will not hold him guiltless – But more is implied, that God will himself be the avenger of those that take his name in vain; and they will find it a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Leviticus 20
• v. 3 – “profane” – châlal – defile, pollute, desecrate: ritually or sexually
Bible Fellowship Time
Icebreakers

Is your “good name” important to you? Why?
Have you ever misused, or heard someone else misuse the Lord’s name? In what ways?
Discussion questions:
1. How did the Israelites misuse God’s name? (have them cite Scripture examples)
2. How does God respond to those who curse his name in the Old Testament (Lev. 20:1-8)?
3. What does it mean to “profane” God’s name?
4. What is the temporal result of misusing God’s name?

Do we misuse or take God’s name in vain? When we say we will do something (such as pray for somebody), but do not, we are guilty of breaking the commandment. Have you ever done that? Thankfully we have the Lord Jesus who intercedes for us with God the Father and the Holy Spirit who leads us to obey God’s commandments. One of the integral marks of knowing God, and receiving salvation, is a spirit of confession and repentance. Have you misused God’s holy and blessed Name? Have you confessed it to God and repented? The Scriptures say that all will be held accountable for the words they say (Matt. 12:36) and that all things we do, speech or otherwise, are to be to the glory of God alone (1 Cor. 10:31). When we are careless in speech, especially as those who claim the name of Jesus Christ as savior, it does not bring glory to Him. We must consider our words carefully before speaking, but more importantly consider our own hearts.

What flows from your heart?

Careless words bringing dishonor to God’s Name? (Matt. 15:18-19)

Or “rivers of living water”? (John 7:38)

Closing Devotion

Thomas Watson, the English Puritan wrote:
“See the true note and character of a godly person: he is a sanctifier of God’s name. A true saint ambitiously endeavors to advance God’s name. The question he asks himself in everything he is going about is, Will this action tend to the honor of God’s name? Will it exalt God? It was Paul’s chief design that Christ might be magnified, that the crown upon his head might flourish. Phil 1: 20. A godly man thinks it scarce worth his while to live if he may not bring some revenues of honor to God’s name.”

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Second Commandment – 09.29.2011

Filed under: Old & New Testament — Adam Osborne @ 5:05 pm

A bible study by Adam Osborne, JR.

COMMANDMENT #2
Exodus 20:4-6 “You shall not make for yourself an image (idol) in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Notes on Exodus 20:4-6
• v. 4 “idol” – peh’-sel – idol: – carved (graven) image.
• v. 5 “bow down” – shaw-khaw’ – prostrate (especially reflexively in homage to royalty or God): – bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship.
• v. 6 “keep” – shaw-mar’ – A primitive root; properly to hedge about (as with thorns), that is, guard; generally to protect, attend to, etc.
———————————————————————————————————————
ASK: Before we even begin today’s bible study, what does the 2ND Commandment scriptures above make you think of? Discuss.

ASK: What’s the difference between last week’s commandment and this week’s commandment? (last week: Thou shalt have no other gods before me) (This week: make no idols)
• (Matthew Henry’s commentary) As the first commandment requires the inward worship of love, desire, joy, hope, and admiration, so the second requires the outward worship of prayer and praise, and solemn attendance on God’s word.

ASK question: “What are some modern forms of idolatry?”


Basic Christianity by John Stott
“If the first commandment concerns the object of our worship, the second concerns its manner. In the first God demands our exclusive worship, and in the second our sincere and spiritual worship. For God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24).
We may never have manufactured some gruesome metal image with our hands, but what hideous mental image do we hold in our minds? Further, although this commandment does not forbid the use of all external forms in worship, it implies that they are useless unless there is inward reality as well. We may have attended church; have we ever really worshipped God? We may have said prayers, but have we ever truly prayed? We may have read the Bible, have we ever let God speak to us through it and done what he said?” Basic Christianity by John Stott .


MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY & MY NOTES ADDED ON EXODUS 20:4-6

The second commandment concerns the ordinances of worship, or the way in which God will be worshipped. Only God himself can tell us how to worship him.
• ASK: Did you notice something in verse 4 & 5? We are even forbidden here to worship even the true God by images,
• ASK: Why would God mind if we built alters in HIS image and worshipped that?
o We would start to eventually worship the image, not our God.
o How could we ever build anything as magnificent and marvelous as God?
Isa 40:18 With whom, then, will you compare God? To what image will you liken him?
o The Jews (at least after the captivity) thought themselves forbidden by this commandment to make any image or picture whatsoever. Hence the very images which the Roman armies had in their ensigns are called an abomination to them (Mat_24:15), especially when they were set up in the holy place.
Mat 24:15 15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand
o It is called the changing of the truth of God into a lie (Rom_1:25), for an image is a teacher of lies; it insinuates to us that God has a body, whereas he is an infinite spirit, Hab_2:18.
Rom 1:25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Hab 2:18 “Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman? Or an image that teaches lies?
For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak.

• It also forbids us to make images of God in our fancies, as if he were a man as we are.
• Our religious worship must be governed by the power of faith, not by the power of imagination. They (Israel) must not make such images or pictures as the heathen worshipped, lest they also should be tempted to worship them.
• Those who would be kept from sin must keep themselves from the occasions of sin.
• They must not bow down to them occasionally, that is, show any sign of respect or honour to them, much less serve them constantly, by sacrifice or incense, or any other act of religious worship.
• When they paid their devotion to the true God, they must not have any image before them, for the directing, exciting, or assisting of their devotion.
• Though the worship was designed to terminate in God, it would not please him if it came to him through an image.
• CONSIDER THIS, I FOUND THIS VERY INTERESTING: The best and most ancient lawgivers among the heathen forbade the setting up of images in their temples. This practice was forbidden in Rome by Numa, a pagan prince; yet commanded in Rome by the pope, a Christian bishop. This is anti-christian.
o The use of images in the church of Rome, at this day, is so plainly contrary to the letter of this command, and so impossible to be reconciled to it, that in all their catechisms and books of devotion, which they put into the hands of the people, they leave out this commandment, joining the reason of it to the first; and so the third commandment they call the second, the fourth the third, etc.; only, to make up the number ten, they divide the tenth into two. Thus have they committed two great evils, in which they persist, and from which they hate to be reformed; they take away from God’s word, and add to his worship.

ASK/DISCUSS: God tells us to NOT make or worship Idols. Think about all your religious background, your training, your studying and reading. We know that He says do NOT do it, but in your mind, knowing God, what are the “reasons” that God would not want you to?

The reasons to not make idols (Exo_20:5, Exo_20:6),
• God’s jealousy in the matters of his worship: “I am the Lord Jehovah, and thy God, am a jealous God, especially in things of this nature.” This intimates the care he has of his own institutions, his hatred of idolatry and all false worship, his displeasure against idolaters, and that he resents every thing in his worship that looks like, or leads to, idolatry.
• Idolatry being spiritual adultery, as it is very often represented in scripture, the displeasure of God against it is fitly called jealousy.
• If God is jealous, then we should be so afraid of offering any worship to God other than as he has appointed in his word.
• The punishment of idolaters. God looks upon them as haters of him, though they perhaps pretend love to him;
• V5. He will visit their iniquity, that is, he will very severely punish it, not only as a breach of his law, but as an affront to his majesty, a violation of the covenant, and a blow at the root of all religion.
• PARENTS, LISTEN TO THIS: He will visit it upon the children.
o OK, “WHY” would God tell us that He will “visit it upon the children”? Is that fair? What’s that all about?
 Children are dear to their parents; therefore, to deter men from idolatry, and to show how much God is displeased with it, the judgments of God may be executed upon the poor children when the parents are dead and gone.
 He will bring such judgments upon a people as shall be the total ruin of families. If idolaters live to be old, so as to see their children of the third or fourth generation, it shall be the vexation of their eyes, and the breaking of their hearts, to see them fall by the sword, carried captive, and enslaved.
 Nor is it an unrighteous thing with God (if the parents died in their iniquity, and the children tread in their steps, and keep up false worships, because they received them by tradition from their fathers), when the measure is full, and God comes by his judgments to reckon with them, to bring into the account the idolatries their fathers were guilty of.
 Though he bear long with an idolatrous people, he will not bear always, but by the fourth generation, at furthest, he will begin to visit. (OUCH…THINK ABOUT THAT COMMENT)

NOW, THE GOOD STUFF: The favor God would show to his faithful worshippers: Keeping mercy for thousands of persons, thousands of generations of those that love me, and keep my commandments.
• Note, First, Those that truly love God will make it their constant care and endeavour to keep his commandments, particularly those that relate to his worship.
• Those that love God, and keep those commandments, shall receive grace to keep his other commandments.
• Gospel worship will have a good influence upon all manner of gospel obedience.
• Secondly, God has mercy in store for such. Even they need mercy, and cannot plead merit; and mercy they shall find with God, merciful protection in their obedience and a merciful compensation for their faithfulness.
Thirdly, This mercy shall extend to thousands, much further than the wrath threatened to those that hate him, for that reaches but to the third or fourth generation. The streams of mercy run now as full, as free, and as fresh, as ever. MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY & MY NOTES ADDED ON EXODUS 20:4-6


For Teachers
Context and Commentary

When we think of idols, we immediately think of the golden calf from Exodus or the statue of Dagon (see below comments) in the Philistine temple. Paul wrote extensively on idols and idolatry and problems that Christians faced in dealing with idols and food sacrificed to them. That seems to be the most immediate application of this scripture. We are not to make images of God or other “deities” and bow down to them. However, not all idols are carved images or imaginary demi-gods and the lesson of this command is extendable beyond just graven images. Often times the sin of idolatry is more subtle, more deceptive than statues of Dagon. It slithers into our lives like its father the serpent until soon it is the object we spend a majority of our thoughts and energy on instead of God. It may be a sport, or an inanimate object like a car, or perhaps a person, even a spouse or child. Could it even be a nation or symbol of national pride?
TRIVIA OF THE DAY: Dagon was the god of the Philistines mentioned in the Old Testament in connection with the Ark of the Covenant. The Philistines placed the captured Ark in a temple of Dagon in Ashdod, before the statue of Dagon. The next morning they found the statue lying on its face on the temple floor. They set it upright again, but the morning after the statue was again lying face down on the floor, this time with its head and hands broken off. The Hebrews regarded this as a sign of the Ark’s power (see First Samuel 5:1-7). Dagon was a Semitic god adopted by the Philistines after their invasion of Canaan. Dagon (or Dagan) was worshipped in Mesopotamia at Ur in 2500 BC. His cult was popular among the Assyrians. He probably began his existence as a god of vegetation and evolved into a storm god.
The Hebrew name Dagon means “Great Fish.” The god was variously described as a fish god, an idol with the head and hands of a man and the tail of a fish, and as half-woman and half-fish. The woodcut from Kircher, shown above, adopts the latter representation. An identification or association was sometimes made between Dagon and the goddess Atargatis (or Atergata), who had the upper body of a woman and the lower body of a fish. Atargatis was worshipped in Carnaim, a town in Bashan (see the apocryphal text Second Maccabees 12:26). The fishtail on the goddess was said to represent her journey through the Underworld.

From Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible
On Exodus 2:4
Idol…Any sort of image is here intended. As the first commandment forbids the worship of any false god, seen or unseen, it is here forbidden to worship an image of any sort, whether the figure of a false deity Jos_23:7 or one in any way symbolic of Yahweh (see Exo_32:4).

Joshua 23:7 (NIV) 7 Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them.

Exodus 32:4 (NIV) 4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods,[a] Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”

Bible Fellowship Time
Discussion questions:

1. What does the commandment specifically refer to?
a.
2. What is an idol or graven image in the context of the culture of ancient Israel or Canaan?
a.
3. One of the passages in this week’s reading was the 10th chapter of Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians. What was Paul’s opinion of idols?
a. 1 Corinthians 10: 14-22 14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf. 18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22 Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
4. What was Paul’s instruction regarding idols?
a.
Going Deeper – Matthew 17:1-9 & Mark 13:1-2
5. What is Peter’s reaction to the transfiguration?
a.
6. What elements of idolatry do we see in his reaction?
a.
7. Do we often try to hang on to things (people or memories in this case) instead of loving God with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength, and all of our mind?
a.
8. What does God say regarding Moses and Elijah?
a.
9. In Mark 13, the disciples draw Jesus’ attention to magnificence and splendor of the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. What mistake in their thinking did Jesus point out to them in His prophecy?
a.
10. Is this a mistake Christians can make today? Give some examples.

Application:

God calls all people to look to Him alone in faith for salvation and worship. When we are reconciled to God we see clearly that He alone is God and worthy. But that doesn’t always seem to last in a practical sense, does it? Christians too can slowly fall into the sin of idolatry and grieve the Holy Spirit. Maybe not with graven images, but it happens when we give more authority to the created instead of the Creator. Subtly, these things can consume us and lead us astray like King Solomon who put his faith in his own wisdom or the Jews who put faith in their ancestor Abraham and the temple. Both put their faith in the created instead of Jehovah.

Are you placing your faith in an idol today? Do you give people or inanimate objects such as buildings more authority and higher standing than the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Do you let the cares of this world destroy your prayer life or worship? There is an old hymn that speaks of Christ’s all sufficiency:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Closing Devotion
Samuel Rutherford, in his book The Loveliness of Christ wrote:

“How blessed are we to enjoy this invaluable treasure, the love of Christ; or rather allow ourselves to be mastered and subdued in his love, so that Christ is our all, and all other things are nothing. O that we might be ready for the time our Lord’s wind and tide call for us! There are infinite plies in his love that the saints will never be able to unfold. I urge upon you a nearer and growing communion with Christ. There are curtains to be drawn back in Christ that we have never seen. There are new foldings of love in him. Dig deep, sweat, labor, and take pains for him, and set by so much time in the day as you can; he will be won with labor. Live on Christ’s love. Christ’s love is so kingly, that it will not wait until tomorrow; it must have a throne all alone in your soul. It is our folly to divide our narrow and little love. It is best to give it all to Christ. Lay no more on earthly than it can carry. Lay your soul and your weights upon God; make him your only and best-beloved. Look up to him and love him. O, love and live! Let those who love this present world have it, but Christ is more worthy and noble portion; blessed are those who love him.”

Question: “What are some modern forms of idolatry?”

Answer: All the various forms of modern idolatry have one thing at their core: self. We no longer bow down to idols and images. Instead we worship at the altar of the god of SELF. This brand of modern idolatry takes various forms.

DISCUSS: Whether or not you agree that “SELF” can be a form of Idolatry, the below is a good discussion that warrants consideration and comment:

First, we worship at the altar of materialism which feeds our need to build our egos through the acquisition of more “stuff.”
• Our homes are filled with all manner of possessions.
• We build bigger and bigger houses with more closets and storage space in order to house all the things we buy.
• ASK: What ends up happening with a lot of that STUFF that we buy over time?
o It ends up in the garage or other storage space.
o Then we rush out to buy the newest item, garment or gadget and the whole process starts over.
• This insatiable desire for more, better, and newer stuff is nothing more than covetousness.
• Looking at “stuff” from God’s opinion, why does God know we will never be happy indulging our materialistic desires?
o Because it is Satan’s trap to keep our focus on ourselves and not on Him.

Second, we worship at the altar of our own pride and ego.
• This often takes the form of obsession with careers and jobs.
• ASK: How much time do you, men and women, spend per week at work?
• Millions of men—and increasingly more women—spend 60-80 hours a week working.
• ASK: What about your week-ends, how about your vacations?
• Even on the weekends and during vacations, our laptops are humming and our minds are whirling with thoughts of how to make our businesses more successful, how to get that promotion, how to get the next raise, how to close the next deal.
• ASK: Where do our children fit in to the balance?
o In the meantime, our children are starving for attention and love. We fool ourselves into thinking we are doing it for them, to give them a better life. But the truth is we are doing it for ourselves, to increase our self-esteem by appearing more successful in the eyes of the world.
• This is folly. All our labors and accomplishments will be of no use to us after we die, nor will the admiration of the world, because these things have no eternal value. As King Solomon put it, “For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then he must leave all he owns to someone who has not worked for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 2:21-23).

Third, we idolize mankind—and by extension ourselves—through naturalism and the power of science.
• This gives us the illusion that we are lords of our world and builds our self-esteem to godlike proportions.
• We reject God’s Word and His description of how He created the heavens and the earth, and we accept the nonsense of evolution and naturalism.

Finally, and perhaps most destructively, we worship at the altar of the fulfillment of the self to the exclusion of all others and their needs and desires.
ASK: Please give me some examples of what I am talking about “fulfillment of the self to the exclusion of all others and their needs and desires.”
• This manifests itself in self-indulgence through alcohol, drugs, and food.
• Those in affluent countries have unlimited access to alcohol, drugs (prescription drug use is at an all-time high, even among children), and food.
• Obesity rates in the U.S. have skyrocketed, and childhood diabetes brought on by overeating is epidemic.
• The self-control we so desperately need is spurned in our insatiable desire to eat, drink, and medicate more and more.
• We resist any effort to get us to curb our appetites, and we are determined to make ourselves the god of our lives.
• This has its origin in the Garden of Eden where Satan tempted Eve to eat of the tree with the words “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). This has been man’s desire ever since—to be god and, as we have seen, the worship of self is the basis of all modern idolatry.

All idolatry of self has at its core the three lusts found in 1 John 2:16: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
• If we are to escape modern idolatry, we have to admit that it is rampant and reject it in all its forms.
• It is not of God, but of Satan, and in it we will never find fulfillment. This is the great lie and the same one Satan has been telling since he first lied to Adam and Eve. Sadly, we are still falling for it.
• Even more sadly, many churches are propagating it in the preaching of the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel built on the idol of self-esteem.
• But we will never find happiness focusing on ourselves. Our hearts and minds must be centered on God and on others. This is why when asked what is the greatest commandment, Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). When we love the Lord and others with everything that is in us, there will be no room in our hearts for idolatry.

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September 17, 2011

First Commandment – 09.17.2011

Filed under: Old & New Testament — Adam Osborne @ 5:26 pm

A bible study by Adam Osborne, JR.

COMMANDMENT #1
Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Exodus 20:3
• “gods” – pronounced el-o-heem’ – gods or deities in the ordinary sense; false spiritual objects of worship; also used in reference to rulers or angels and other spiritual beings.
• “before me” – al paw-neem’ – Lit. “before my face.”

Read and meditate each day this week: Exodus 20:1-17
EACH DAY: Exodus 20: 1-17 The Ten Commandments
1 And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me. (See note below)
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
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NOTES:

Matthew Henry’s Commentary with my revisions and comments added:
• 1. LOOK AT VERSE 1, God spoke all these words, The law of the ten commandments is,

o 1. A law of God’s making. These words were spoken by the infinite eternal Majesty of heaven and earth.
o 2. It is a law of his own speaking. ASK, HOW MANY WAYS DOES GOD HAVE WHEN SPEAKING TO US?

God has many ways of speaking to the children of men. By his Spirit, by conscience, by providences, by his voice. DO WE ACTUALLY BELIEVE THAT? DO WE LIVE LIKE GOD IS SPEAKING TO US? (WHY NOT?).

o ASK: AT THE TIME THAT GOD SPOKE THIS, DO YOU THINK THAT MANKIND ALREADY KNEW THESE LAWS?

This law God had given to man before (it was written in his heart by nature); but sin had so defaced that writing that it was necessary, in this manner, to revive the knowledge of it.

• 2. The preface of the Law-maker: I am the Lord thy God, Exo_20:2. ASK “WHY DID GOD START OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS WITH THESE 6 WORDS?

o 1. God asserts his own authority to enact this law in general: “I am the Lord who command thee all that follows.”
o 2. He proposes himself as the sole object of that religious worship which is discussed in the first four of the commandments. They are here bound to obedience by THREE things:

(1.) Because God is the Lord – Jehovah, self-existent, independent, eternal, and the fountain of all being and power; therefore he has an incontestable right to command us. He that gives being may give law; and therefore he is able to bear us out in our obedience, to reward it, and to punish our disobedience.
(2.) He was their God, a God in covenant with them, their God by their own consent; and, if they would not keep his commandments, who would? He had laid himself under obligations to them by promise.
• ASK/DISCUSS: So, we all know from the introduction to the Ten Commandments last week that we are now the children of Isreal through Jesus. But how do you think we are obligated to the covenant as a New Testament, Jesus believing body of believers?
o All that are baptized are taken into relation to him as their God, and are therefore unjust, unfaithful, and very ungrateful, if they obey him not.
(3.) He had brought them out of the land of Egypt; therefore they were bound in gratitude to obey him, because he had done them so great a kindness, had brought them out of a grievous slavery into a glorious liberty.

• They themselves had been eye-witnesses of the great things God had done to deliver them. They saw everything, every miracle, every circumstance, and that had increased their obligation.
• They were now enjoying the blessed fruits of their deliverance and in expectation of a speedy settlement in Canaan; and could they think any thing too much to do for him that had done so much for them? WHY DO WE NOT THINK THIS WAY TODAY?
• By redeeming them, he acquired a further right to rule them; they owed their service to him to whom they owed their freedom, and whose they were by purchase.
• And thus Christ, having rescued us out of the bondage of sin, is entitled to the best service we can do him. Having loosed our bonds, he has bound us to obey him, (Psa_116:16 Truly I am your servant, LORD; I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains.)
• 3. The law itself. The first four of the Ten Commandments, which concern our duty to God (commonly called the first table), we have in these verses. ASK “WHY DO THESE FIRST 4 VERSES COME FIRST?
o Because man had a Maker to love before he had a neighbour to love; and justice and charity are acceptable acts of obedience to God only when they flow from the principles of piety.
o It cannot be expected that man should be true to his brother when he is false to his God.
o Our duty to God is, in one word, to worship him, that is, to give to him the glory due to his name, the inward worship of our affections, the outward worship of solemn address and attendance. This is spoken of as the sum and substance of the everlasting gospel. Rev_14:7, Worship God. Revelation 14:7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
o DISCUSS SUMMARY OF THE FIRST COMMANDMENT:
 The first commandment concerns the object of our worship, Jehovah, and him only (Exo_20:3): Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
 The Egyptians, and other neighbouring nations, had many gods, the creatures of their own fancy, strange gods, new gods; this law was needed because of that sin.
 Jehovah being the God of Israel, they must entirely cleave to him, and not be for any other, either of their own invention or borrowed from their neighbours.
 This was the sin they were most in danger of now that the world was so overspread with polytheism, which yet could not be rooted out effectually but by the gospel of Christ.
 The sin against this commandment which we are most in danger of is giving the glory and honour to any creature which are due to God only.
 WHAT ARE THE WAYS IN WHICH WE SOMETIMES SIN IN REGARDS TO THE FIRST COMMANDMENT:
• pride makes a god of self,
• covetousness makes a god of money,
• sensuality makes a god of the belly;
• whatever is esteemed or loved, feared or served, delighted in or depended on, more than God, that (whatever it is) we do in effect make a god of.
 This prohibition includes a precept which is the foundation of the whole law, that we take the Lord for our God, acknowledge that he is God, accept him for ours, adore him with admiration and humble reverence, and set our affections entirely upon him.
 In the last words, before me, it is intimated,
• (1.) That we cannot have any other God but he will certainly know it. There is none besides him but what is before him. Idolaters covet secresy; but shall not God search this out?
• (2.) That it is very provoking to him; it is a sin that dares him to his face, which he cannot, which he will not, overlook, nor not take action against. See Psa_44:20-21 . 20 If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
21 would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart?

Bible Fellowship Time
Icebreaker

Have you ever made something more important than God?
Discussion questions for ABF’s:

1. Summarize the first commandment in your own words.
2. Why would this commandment have been so important for the Israelites?
a. Egyptians had “multiple” Gods. See comments above.
3. In what ways might we be tempted today to break the first commandment?
a. Discussed in Matthew Henry’s comments above.
4. What does this commandment reveal about God’s nature?
a. He is faithful and true to us because of his covenant, he DEMANDS that we are faithful and true to him.
b. God is a demanding, jealous God. BUT, AS OUR CREATOR and provider, he has all rights to be that way. He is to be worshipped above all else.
5. What biblical doctrines depend on the holiness of a jealous God?
a. The Doctrines of Sin and the doctrine of Salvation.
6. What was the prophet Isaiah’s reaction to God’s holiness (Isaiah 6:1-5)?
a. 5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”
Going Deeper John 17:20-26

7. What does this passage reveal about God? About Jesus?
a. V25. God is righteous.
b. God is in Jesus, Jesus is in God.
c. Jesus wants us to believe in Him, and he wants us to be “IN” them.
d. Other?
8. About us (the church) and our relationships?
a. We are “all one” in Christ.
9. What biblical doctrines are present in this passage?
a. Jesus is both fully God and fully man.
b. The doctrine of the trinity.
c. Salvation is a GIFT of God.
10. How does the doctrine of the Holy Trinity relate to the 1st commandment?
a. Question 9 above.
11. What specifically is Jesus’ prayer?
a. That man knows God and we are all ONE with God.
b. Other?
12. What light does the Gospel shine on these passages?


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September 12, 2011

TULIP – Calvanism definitions – 09.12.2011

Filed under: Old & New Testament — Adam Osborne @ 7:52 pm

A bible study by Adam Osborne, JR.

 

I post this as “RESEARCH ONLY”. I am not submitting a viewpoint on Calvinism.
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The Five Points of Calvinism

  • Total depravity: Therefore, all people are conceived in sin and are born children of wrath, unfit for any saving good, inclined to evil, dead in their sins, and slaves to sin; without the grace of the regenerating Holy Spirit they are neither willing nor able to return to God, to reform their distorted nature, or even to dispose themselves to such reform. (Human Corruption, Conversion to God, and the Way It Occurs, Article 3).
  • Unconditional election: The fact that some receive from God the gift of faith within time, and that others do not, stems from his eternal decision. For “all his works are known to God from eternity” (Acts 15:18; Ephesians 1:11). In accordance with this decision he graciously softens the hearts, however hard, of his chosen ones and inclines them to believe, but by his just judgment he leaves in their wickedness and hardness of heart those who have not been chosen. And in this especially is disclosed to us his act–unfathomable, and as merciful as it is just–of distinguishing between people equally lost. This is the well-known decision of election and reprobation revealed in God’s Word. This decision the wicked, impure, and unstable distort to their own ruin, but it provides holy and godly souls with comfort beyond words. (Divine Election and Reprobation, Article 6)
  • Limited atonement: For it was the entirely free plan and very gracious will and intention of God the Father that the enlivening and saving effectiveness of his Son’s costly death should work itself out in all his chosen ones, in order that he might grant justifying faith to them only and thereby lead them without fail to salvation. In other words, it was God’s will that Christ through the blood of the cross (by which he confirmed the new covenant) should effectively redeem from every people, tribe, nation, and language all those and only those who were chosen from eternity to salvation and given to him by the Father; that he should grant them faith (which, like the Holy Spirit’s other saving gifts, he acquired for them by his death); that he should cleanse them by his blood from all their sins, both original and actual, whether committed before or after their coming to faith; that he should faithfully preserve them to the very end; and that he should finally present them to himself, a glorious people, without spot or wrinkle. (Christ’s Death and Human Redemption Through It.)
  • Irresistible grace : The fact that others who are called through the ministry of the gospel do come and are brought to conversion must not be credited to man, as though one distinguishes himself by free choice from others who are furnished with equal or sufficient grace for faith and conversion (as the proud heresy of Pelagius maintains). No, it must be credited to God: just as from eternity he chose his own in Christ, so within time he effectively calls them, grants them faith and repentance, and, having rescued them from the dominion of darkness, brings them into the kingdom of his Son, in order that they may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called them out of darkness into this marvelous light, and may boast not in themselves, but in the Lord, as apostolic words frequently testify in Scripture. (Human Corruption, Conversion to God, and the Way It Occurs, Article 10)
  • Perseverance of the saints : Because of these remnants of sin dwelling in them and also because of the temptations of the world and Satan, those who have been converted could not remain standing in this grace if left to their own resources. But God is faithful, mercifully strengthening them in the grace once conferred on them and powerfully preserving them in it to the end. (The Perseverance of the Saints, Article 3)

 

 


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