Bible Study Worksheet – June 26 2016



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Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – June 26 2016
Theme: Living with Eternity in View

TopicReview and Summary

Key Verse:  Ecclesiastes 3:11 –“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

Last Sunday, we considered what Apostle Paul meant by Redeeming The Time – in his letter to the Ephesians (5:16). We learnt from that study that:

  1. To redeem the time is to make the most of the time we have on earth, doing what counts, especially things that build up God’s kingdom.
  2. Regardless of our age or stage in life, there are always opportunities to make the most of our time. The notion that we get to an age when we are comfortable doing nothing is inconsistent with redeeming the time. The gospel message can be delivered by people of all ages even if the delivery style varies.
  3. There are pressures today to sacrifice preaching of the gospel for laudable causes. While we should be engaged in humanitarian causes, we should see them as opportunities for demonstrating God’s love in the gospel rather than a substitute for the gospel.

This Sunday, we will wrap up our studies on the theme Living with Eternity in View with a Review and Summary of what we have learnt during the quarter. As usual with the last Sunday of each quarter, we will have a combined class. The worksheet has been compiled from the weekly summaries we have always shared. During the combined review, we will expect members from the groups to share personal applications of what they learnt from the studies.

The Sense of Eternity {Texts: Ecclesiastes 12:1-7; John 14: 1-12; 1 Corinthians 15:13-19}

  • Every human being born into this world is born with a consciousness that life does not end here on earth, and that there is something beyond the grave. This consciousness drives man to seek to prepare for that life beyond the grave, and is a core objective of virtually all religions. Death is only a milestone to eternal life.
  • Our awareness of life beyond this earth affects the way we think and live; the Bible is the blueprint for making adequate preparation for eternal life.
  • God’s blueprint for a blissful eternal life is also His blueprint for us to live a fulfilling life on earth: “…  godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Tim 4:8). This should be a key point as we preach the Gospel.

Keeping Watch {Text: Matthew 24: 1 – 44}

  • Just as a watchman watches out for incursions into the premises under his watch, the Christian must watch out for things that seek to distract from his vision of eternity. Some of these are: subtle distortion or misapplication of God’s word, false doctrines, apostasy, and hero or leadership worship.
  • The turmoil in the world today tempts some to think that Satan has the upper hand and that the Gospel is irrelevant. The Christian must remember that the turmoil is part of God’s overall plan, and reinforce the imminent coming of Christ. So, rather than invalidate God’s word, the turmoil only confirms its truth.
  • There is an ongoing war between the kingdom of God and that of Satan. A time-tested war strategy is to infiltrate the camp of the enemy, often by planting moles in the enemy’s camp. Similarly, Satan has moles in the Church, and the Christian must watch out for those moles, to avoid being derailed on his journey to eternity.
  • The Christian is constantly bombarded with, and must watch out for short-term gratifications that undermine eternal values and destiny.

Living With a Vision {Texts: Genesis 3:1-6; 11:1-9; Luke 12:15-21; Philippians 3:3-14}

  • Everyone should have visions for things like career, family, etc. The visions give us focus, lead us to develop strategies and plans, and ginger us to strive for achievement in life.
  • There are healthy visions and there are unhealthy visions. Any vision that is unlikely to be achieved without diluting our focus on eternity, or without compromising Biblical principles is unhealthy. The serpent successfully sold the vision “to be like God”” to Eve.
  • Not all healthy visions will be achieved, but non-achievement of a healthy vision does not necessarily mean failure. A high school student who has a vision to be an astronaut may not achieve the vision. However, his focus and hard work towards that goal would have positioned him for success in perhaps a different career
  • There is an ultimate vision that every Christian should have: to win the prize for which God has called us. Whatever visions we had before coming to Christ must be tested against this ultimate vision for compatibility. Some may need to jettison long-held visions as a result of this ultimate vision.

Growing in Knowledge {Texts: Ephesians 4: 7-14; Colossians 1:3-12}

  •  The knowledge of God’s salvation plan is an absolute requirement for salvation, since one cannot give his or her life to Christ without knowing what Christ accomplished. Without having acted on this foundational knowledge, genuine Christian spiritual growth is not possible.
  • Beyond the knowledge for salvation, the Christian needs to know Christ more and more. This growth in knowledge comes through a close walk with God, especially personal Bible study under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, fellowship with other Christians, and mentorship. We can assess our growth by comparing our Christian maturity today with what it used to be.
  • Failure to grow in knowledge leaves us vulnerable to all winds of doctrine whereby we could be led astray.
  •  Local churches need to take deliberate steps to ensure that the congregation’s growth in knowledge is well-rounded; they must avoid a situation quite common today whereby all sermons and teachings are around one theme (usually the pastor’s or founder’s favourite) all the time.

Living in Love {Text: 1 John 3:11-18}

  •  If we have in our minds specific indicators that tell us that someone loves us, we should apply those same criteria in assessing our love for others. (We do not conclude that someone loves us just because they don’t hurt us!)
  • Loving involves showing genuine interest in, and making ourselves relevant to the lives of other people – giving ourselves to them in the same way Christ made himself relevant to our situation.
  • The modern day view that we should “mind our business” and not get too close to people is a major hindrance to living in love. We need to take steps to break barriers to knowing others, so that we can be relevant to their situation. Love is demonstrated in our reaching out to others.
  •  Loving is risky, but it is a risk we are called to take. The risk is that we can be taken advantage of, betrayed, disappointed, or even not be loved in return. Loving is not “rub my back and I rub yours”; we “rub others’ backs” but may not be reciprocated. We must remind ourselves that loving should not be like a business investment where the potential risks scare us away!

Investing for Eternity {Texts: Matthew 6:19-21; Philippians 4:15-19; Matthew 25:31-46}

  • Investment in things of eternal value is the only risk-free investment we can ever make. Jesus pointed out that it is not subject to corrosion, depreciation or the kinds of disasters that befall many investments in the business world! – Matthew 6:19.
  • We invest in eternity by investing our time, money, materials, passion and all we have in promoting God’s kingdom and in ministering to those in need.
  •  Investments we make with the primary intention of reaping personal benefits such as fame, human favours and promotion do not count towards eternity. Jesus made this point when He warned against giving arms for show – Matthew 6:2
  • There are helps we render to people that do not really help them. Also, it is possible to give to supposed Gospel ministries that God has not called us to support. God warns against sacrificing our burnt offering “on every altar you please” – Deuteronomy 12:13-14. Investing in eternity should be under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Living in Purity {Texts: Col. 3:1-11; Mark 7:18-23}

  • Jesus Christ affirms that the things that defile us (that is, that make us impure) come from within us. They have nothing to do with what we eat or our appearance – they come from within – Mark 7:18-23. All these things hinder us from running the race effectively – Hebrews 12:1
  • While we tend to consider some sins to be more grave than others – typically sexual sin, murder and stealing, all sins defile and we should be assessing our purity against all these sins and not only the “big sins”.
  • God always provides a way of escape from temptations to every sin. However, for that to be of benefit us, we must first be willing to escape. We must be willing to cry out “Lord, help me! How do I escape?” The way of escape does not benefit one who enjoys the sin and wants to remain in it!
  •  God considers not discerning the Lord’s body – the oneness of the body of Christ – a serious sin; it led to the sickness and death of some Corinthian Christians. See 1 Corinthians 11:18-30. Those that cause divisions in the Church should be aware!

Living by Faith {Text: Hebrews 11:1-11}

  • While miraculous deliverance from dire situations – either on the individual or some loved one – has led many to Christ in a rather easy way, those who come to know Christ simply by listening to and believing the Gospel often have real challenges before coming to faith in him. These include their rational thinking and the potential consequences of submitting to Christ. Only the Holy Spirit can lead the sinner to repentance and saving faith in Christ.
  • We need faith, not only to be saved, but to sustain us on the journey to eternity because the journey is never smooth-sailing! Apostle Paul affirmed this when he said “the life I now live .. I live by faith in the Son of God ..” (Galatians 2:20).
  • To claim by faith and benefit from God’s promises, we need to (a) be sure the promise is for us, (b) we are obedient to Him, and (c) we do not make the granting of our request a condition for our continued walk with Him. He is sovereign and may choose not to grant a request even when we have played our part.

Persevering in Tribulation {Texts: Romans 8:18-23, 2 Timothy 4:5-8}

  • The turmoil in the world today is because the whole creation has been subjected to frustration by God’s will (see Romans 8:20), and the frustration will not abate until the Lord comes.
  •  Over and above the frustration that is common to all mankind, the Christian faces additional challenges – and sometimes frustration – because of God’s Spirit in him or her that would not tolerate the evils in the corrupted world.
  • For the Christian to stay strong, he or she must see these tribulations in the light of the Scripture, and appropriate the resources God makes available for His own, to survive in the troubled world.
  • It is important to share the realities of tribulation with those coming to know Christ for the first time – especially the fact that submission to Christ could mean more troubles for them. As we share this reality, we must also share the reality and the effectiveness of the resources God provides to give the Christian the needed strength to stand.

Preaching the Gospel {Texts: Matthew 28:19-20; 24:14}

  • We have a mandate to make Christ known to the world – to get people to understand God’s plan of salvation to the point of being able to make a choice to be saved. This is the “testimony to all nations” that Christ spoke of. He did not promise us that all who hear would believe.
  • Besides the challenges to the gospel posed by the hostile world, we Christians often contribute to creating a resistance to the gospel by the way we live. Indeed, failure of the Christian to live out the gospel could be a stronger cause for rejection of the gospel by unbelievers, than the world’s rebellious disposition.
  • Our ultimate objective as we preach the gospel is to turn people into disciples – beyond merely seeing them respond to an altar call to receive salvation. It is therefore important that we have an effective follow-up and mentoring plan for those that come to know Christ.

Reality of Eternity {Texts: Luke 16:19-31; Mark 9:42-48}

  • Beyond the grave, there is a life in which each person is conscious, remembers all that happened in his  or her lifetime, and the full implications of the way we lived on earth are brought to the consciousness. We must therefore weigh all we do on the scale of eternal values.
  • The contemporary world constantly seeks to make us believe that the idea of life beyond the grave is superstitious. Fewer preachers today speak of heaven and hell in their messages because it is unpopular to do so. The church runs the risk of taking eternity out of the gospel for the sake of acceptance.
  •  While there are several stories of people who died for a few hours and came back to life and testimonies of their experience in those hours of death, our faith in the fact of life beyond the grave must not hinge on such testimonies, but on God’s word.

Redeeming the Time {Texts: Ephesians 5:15-21, Ecclesiastes 3:1-11}

  • To redeem the time is to make the most of the time we have on earth, doing what counts, especially things that build up God’s kingdom.
  •  Regardless of our age or stage in life, there are always opportunities to make the most of our time. The notion that we get to an age when we are comfortable doing nothing is inconsistent with redeeming the time. The gospel message can be delivered by people of all ages even if the delivery style varies.
  • There are pressures today to sacrifice preaching of the gospel for laudable causes. While we should be engaged in humanitarian causes, we should see them as opportunities for demonstrating God’s love in the gospel rather than a substitute for the gospel.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for drawing our attention to the need for us to have eternity in view in all we do. We ask that You draw our attention to where we are failing in this regard, and that You constantly remind us to live for Your higher purposes, in Jesus’ name, Amen.