The Role of the Church in the Community

July, August, September 2016

Want to learn more about The Role of the Church in the Community? 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: The Restoration of All Things (Genesis 1 & 3, Galatians 3, 1 Corinthians 12, Galatians 2)
God is under attack! His integrity and His authority as Creator, Designer and Redeemer have been undermined by Satan from the beginning. The attack continues today. The question for every human is "What role do you play in the contest between good and evil?" Our study of the Bible this week helps us to better understand the issues. Let's dig in and learn more!

Lesson 2: Restoring Dominion (Genesis 1-3, 6-7 & 9; 2 Thessalonians 3)
What does "dominion" mean? The Commonwealth of Virginia, where I live, is called the "Old Dominion." When I looked this up in Encyclopedia Virginia, I discovered that Virginia was the first of the "overseas dominions of the kings and queens of England." I thought "Old Dominion" meant something grand. Instead, it means I live in a place that was dominated by another country! The King James version of the Bible says humans have "dominion" over the creation. Let's dive into our Bibles and learn what that means!

Lesson 3: Justice and Mercy in the Old Testament: Part 1 (Exodus 23, Amos 8, Leviticus 25)
Did you ever consider the "rule of law" as a program to benefit the poor? To refresh your recollection, the term "rule of law" means that people live under established laws, not under the constantly changing moods and commands of a ruler. I recently watched a documentary which said that the best way to help the poor in less developed countries is not to send them constant aid, but rather to help them with the tools to make a living. These tools include living under the rule of law, which treats the poor and the rich equally. Let's jump into our study and see what the Bible teaches us on this subject!

Lesson 4: Justice and Mercy in the Old Testament: Part 2 (Ezekiel 37 & 47, Isaiah 61, Luke 10 & 15)
When you think about the work of the Holy Spirit in the Bible, do you focus mostly on the New Testament? Can you refine that even more, by saying that an emphasis on the Holy Spirit starts with the book of Acts? This week we discover a spotlight on the work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament! Imagine that. Let's dive into an Old Testament examination of what the Holy Spirit has to do with justice and mercy in our lives!

Lesson 5: Jesus on Community Outreach (Luke 4, Matthew 10 & 13)
Recently, I read an article suggesting local churches should discover the needs of the community (in that case a problem with drug abuse), and then focus on helping the community with its problem, instead of focusing on weekly worship. From time to time I hear the idea that the local church should make a difference in the community in some practical way. This article, however, went beyond that and seemed to suggest that combating drug abuse in the community was more important than weekly worship. As always, we need to see what the Bible says about the best way to reach out to the community. Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more!

Lesson 6: Jesus Mingled With People (Luke 14 & 15, Genesis 13, Matthew 3)
Jesus and the Pharisees had different approaches to converting sinners. Jesus ate with them. The Pharisees thought sinners should aspire to be like them. We know converting sinners is an important business because conversions cause joy in heaven. How should we relate to sinners without having them convert us? Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn on these important topics!

Lesson 7: Jesus Desired Their Good (Jonah 1-4, Matthew 5, Deuteronomy 28, 1 Corinthians 13)
Christians going through difficult times often say that God is refining their character. If we make bad choices, we generally learn a lesson the hard way. None of us wants bad things to happen. The idea that God allows bad things to happen to make us better creates a general fear of God. Is that good? Is it possible that God could bless you after you make a bad choice, to deepen both your love for Him and your desire not to make that bad choice again? I recently read about the idea of a corrective blessing, and I had never considered it before - except I think that happened in my life. Let's dig into our study of the Bible and learn about behavior modification and what Jesus desires for us!

Lesson 8: Jesus Showed Sympathy (Matthew 9, Luke 7, John 11, 1 John 3)
My wife thinks that I need to improve when it comes to sympathy. Whenever someone in the house is sick, she knows my first thought is "I hope I don't get that!" When I see some tragedy in the life of another, my mind goes to what that person did or failed to do to avoid that tragedy. Why? That allows me to believe that tragedy won't befall me. Then there is the problem of memory. A member of my church will tell me of the sickness or death of a relative. Next week it is likely that if I don't personally know the relative, I've forgotten! A number of years ago, I started working with a remarkable man who modeled sympathy and compassion. I have learned a great deal from him and today I'm much better than I used to be. Our lesson today is about the greatest model of compassion and sympathy - our Lord. Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more!

Lesson 9: Jesus Ministered to Their Needs (Mark 5 & 10, John 5, Acts 9)
In last week's study we touched on the issue of God's timing when we face suffering. When life is not going well, and we need Jesus' help, sometimes it seems as if He is not helping. Like the story of the resurrection of Lazarus, it might be that God has something bigger in mind. This week we look at several stories about the way God helps in times of trouble. Why God acts the way He does is not always clear to us. Let's dive into our study of the Bible and see if we can get at least some clarity!

Lesson 10: Jesus Won Their Confidence (John 13 & 14, Deuteronomy 4, Acts 7)
Over the years, I've come to the conclusion that what God desires most in my life is an attitude of trust in Him. What do you think God desires most of you? I imagine that if I heard your answers, I could tie them all to trust. If you think that God most desires your love, that would mean that you trust Him. If you think God most desires your obedience, that means that you trust that His directions in life are best. Just as we need to trust God, so we need to help others to trust. Let's jump into our study of the Bible and learn more!

Lesson 11: Jesus Bade Them, "Follow Me." (John 9 & 10, Luke 19)
Do you have knowledge about marketing? I don't. But, I do have some common sense. My guess is that the first principle of marketing is to believe in your product. Our lesson this week encourages us regarding God's attitude toward us. Another important marketing principle is to determine who is most likely to want your product. Our lesson this week shares with us some pointers on those who are most likely to be converted. Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more about marketing the gospel!

Lesson 12: Urban Ministry in the End Time (Acts 3, 17 & 18; 1 Corinthians 1)
The Bible recounts how Peter and Paul worked in the cities to share the gospel. The amazing thing is that each man used a different approach to capture the attention of his audience. How should we approach sharing the gospel in the cities in the end time? How should we approach sharing the gospel where we live? Does it require a high level of skill and cunning on our part? Or, is God in charge of our approach and all we need to do is cooperate? Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more!

Lesson 13: How Shall We Wait? (2 Peter 3, Matthew 24, John 4, Revelation 14 & 21)
Do you sometimes worry about whether Jesus is really coming again? In a court of law, "gold standard" evidence is when your opponent admits a fact is true. In Matthew 8:29 two demons (fallen angels) first admit that Jesus is the "Son of God" and then ask "have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?" Fallen angels know God has an appointed time when Jesus will return and bring an end to sin. Let's jump into our study and discover what the Bible says we should be doing while we wait!

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