Teachings of Jesus

July, August, September 2014

Want to learn more about Teachings of Jesus? Use these Bible Studies for personal devotion, group Bible studies, or teaching a church class. Below are links to the lessons in this 13-part series.

Lesson 1: Our Loving Heavenly Father (Matthew 6 & 7, John 14, Luke 15)
One of the greatest blessings of my life was to have a loving father. It was my father who taught me that fear and love are not inconsistent. I had no doubt that my father loved me absolutely. On the other hand, I understood what judgment meant! It was a wonderful combination that shapes my understanding of our great Father in heaven. Our understanding of our Father in Heaven is even better informed by what Jesus had to say about Him. That is our study this week. Let's plunge into our Bible and see what we can learn about our loving heavenly Father!

Lesson 2: The Son (Luke 5, Daniel 7, Matthew 4, 8, 16 & 17)
Who is Jesus? This is the most important question in life. Recall our discussion last week about Thomas worrying because he did not know the directions to the place Jesus was preparing for him in heaven? Jesus explained to Thomas that He was not talking about a map, He was talking about theology. In John 14:5-6 Jesus explains that He is the only way to heaven. Like Thomas, this is something we want to be sure we get right! Let's jump into our study of the Bible and learn more about Jesus!

Lesson 3: The Holy Spirit (John 14, Matthew 12, Acts 1-2)
Have you noticed that even within your church denomination there are different groups of believers? One large group that cuts across denominational lines is known as "charismatic" or "Pentecostal." According to the "ReligionFacts" web site, Pentecostals constitute the largest Christian group - about 500 million worldwide. These Christians have a special focus on the work of the Holy Spirit. What is the focus of your church? Let's dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn about the Holy Spirit and our Christian walk!

Lesson 4: Salvation (John 3 & 8)
You undoubtedly have opinions on many things. I know I do. On some issues I think my opinion is important because I know a lot about the subject. On other issues I know very little and want to learn more from those who are knowledgeable on the subject. On many issues, what I think doesn't really matter. On a few issues, my opinion can change things. What is the most important issue on which we can have an opinion? I think it is the question of eternal life. Who is most informed on that subject? Jesus! What He did changed the course of human history. Let's jump into our study of the Bible and learn more about Jesus' opinion on salvation!

Lesson 5: How to Be Saved (John 16, 1 John 2, Mark 16, Matthew 22)
In our last two lessons we discussed the power of the Holy Spirit, grace and salvation. That logically leads to our study this week. What would you answer if someone asked: "How can I be saved?" Many years ago, a fellow in my Sabbath School class asked me whether he was saved. I told him I was sure that he was saved because he knew the gospel, he understood grace. However, I as I reviewed our conversation later, it occurred to me that with my focus on grace, I had not suggested that he repent of his sins. He unexpectedly died a little later. Sometimes our conversations are more important than we realize. Let's jump into our study of the Bible to be sure we know what to say when someone asks us, "How can I be saved?"

Lesson 6: Growing in Christ (John 3, Romans 6, Luke 9)
Recently, I was in a Bible study where the teacher kept stressing that Christians are saved "from their sins" and not "in their sins." What, exactly, does that mean? If it means that we are not saved if we have sin in our life, then the statement is false. If it means that someone who is saved by grace partners with the Holy Spirit to live a life in accord with God's will, then the statement is true. Our lesson this week is about becoming more like Jesus - who lived a sinless life. Let's explore the Biblical view of being saved from our sins!

Lesson 7: Living Like Christ (Luke 10, Matthew 19 & 25)
When I was a young, I read statements about the lofty standards by which Christians are required to live. When I read the requirements and attitudes involved, I said, "I cannot do this. Why even try?" How did it make any sense to live a miserable life trying to reach an unattainable standard? I should just reject the whole idea because I was certainly destined to fail! Thankfully, it also seemed impossible to live a life without Jesus. Later, I learned about grace and was greatly relieved that I was saved by grace alone, and the lofty standard set before me was the goal of a lifetime, not a requirement for salvation. Let's dive into our study of the Bible and explore the standard set before those who are saved!

Lesson 8: The Church (Matthew 5, 7 & 16, John 17)
A significant part of my job over the years is handling religious liberty cases. I only represent "the little guy," meaning employees, in a narrow area of workplace religious freedom. However, a very important question in this kind of case is whether the employee has a sincere religious belief. I have learned to avoid representing employees who do not have a solid connection to a local church. Those who regularly worship with a group of believers are much more likely to hold sincere religious beliefs. Why is that? Let's explore what the Bible teaches about the believer and the Church!

Lesson 9: Our Mission (Matthew 5, Luke 24, John 20, Revelation 14)
Most Christians know that Jesus taught us to share the gospel. How much time do you spend thinking about how to accomplish this goal? If you are like me, your focus is more inward: How do I accomplish some work-related goal? How do I get someone to think I'm worthy of respect or likeable? How can I better enjoy my free time? How would your life be different if the first and most important question of the day was, "How do I bring glory to God today? How do I advance the Kingdom of God today?" Let's dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn about how to advance God's Kingdom!

Lesson 10: The Law of God (Matthew 5, James 1, Mark 7, Romans 3 & 6)
If you follow this lesson you know that I teach salvation by grace alone. Our study this week reveals that the law, if properly kept, requires an extraordinary standard of conduct. This extraordinary standard makes some believe that God's law is not that relevant in light of grace. If we can't keep the law, and keeping it is not the key to heaven, why try? On the other hand, anyone who contemplates the universe knows the importance of the law. Laws, like gravity, rule everything. Not only is our universe controlled by laws, but there are natural laws that control the circumstances of our lives. The train wreck of nations and individuals who believe they are outside of the law can be seen all around us. Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more!

Lesson 11: The Sabbath (Genesis 2, Mark 2, John 1, Matthew 12)
I love the Sabbath! In general, it is hard for me to rest. If I'm at home, and I see something that needs to be done, I almost always do it. When I'm at work, I always have something I must do. At any other time than the Sabbath, I feel guilty (or something like that) when I'm resting and there are things to do. On the Sabbath, however, my guilt is gone. If I start thinking about the work I must do, I say to myself, "This is the Sabbath, work is off-limits." What a blessing to have a guilt-free time of rest! The Sabbath is an important Bible doctrine, so let's dive right into our study!

Lesson 12: Death and Resurrection (John 11)
In 1 Corinthians 15:26 we are promised that at Jesus' Second Coming "the last enemy to be destroyed is death." That is good news and it is the subject of our Bible study this week. Do you think it is significant that death is the "last" enemy destroyed? Wouldn't you rather it be the first? How many times in life have we been unhappy with God about the death of a friend or family member? What do we say to others who feel anger? If you believe, as I do, that God is in charge of the universe, how do we explain human tragedy? Should we even try? Let's dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

Lesson 13: The Second Coming of Jesus (Revelation 21, Matthew 24, 1 Thessalonians 4)
When I was a young man I hoped that Jesus would delay His Second Coming. All of my close relatives were alive, and I had not yet gotten married. Since it seemed that Jesus said there would be no marriage in heaven, I thought maybe if He shuffled His feet a little that would be okay with me. I suspect some of my readers are desperate for Jesus to come again, and others are okay with more delay. My thought is that we have no idea how great things will be when Jesus comes and takes us to heaven. If we really knew, no one would be content with delay. Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn about the Second Coming of Jesus!

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