Attitude Bible Study Living in the Spirit

1 Timothy: Love Your Church Leaders

Have you ever been in a church where the leadership is untrustworthy? Where the teaching has been unbiblical or very shallow? We went to a church once where the main text of the sermon was a a quote of a professional athlete! The Bible was just an add on. Needless to say we never went back.

Paul was not only concerned about fixing some of issues that the Ephesian church had, but he was also exhorting Timothy to work hard as a pastor. He was committed to helping and guiding young Timothy in his responsibility in shepherding the people in this Ephesian church, both in easy and in difficult circumstances.

In 1 Timothy Paul showers Timothy with a number of pieces of advice, but implied in this passage is what we should be doing as people of faith in the local church.

  1. Pastors are to preach.

God gave us teachers and preachers whom we are to honor and respect (vs. 17).

1 Timothy 5:17 New International Version (NIV)

17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.

We are to trust them and learn from them as they lead and teach in the church. This means a couple of things for us.

First, we need to make sure we are a part of a church where the pastors truly love the Lord, hold the Bible in high esteem, and therefore preach the Word at all times. We have a found one. Have you?

Secondly, it means we need to be teachable. We must be learners who are willing to hear the Word explained and applied to our lives. Instead of becoming defensive, we need to humbly accept the truth preached from God’s Word even when the truth is hard.

  1. Pastors are to rebuke.

God gave pastors the job of rebuking us when we continue in sin without repentance (vs.20).

1 Timothy 5:20 New International Version (NIV)

20 But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning.

It is one of the ways in which they care for our souls. What this means is NOT that we must be sinless, but that we must practice repentance because we acknowledge that we are sinners. In 1 John, we are told that whoever says they are without sin is a liar (1Jn.1:8).

I love what Charles Spurgeon wrote about repentance. He says, “Repentance is a discovery of the evil of sin, a mourning that we have committed it, a resolution to forsake it. It is, in fact, a change of mind of a very deep and practical character, which makes the man love what once he hated, and hate what once he loved.”

We all struggle with sin; there is no way around it. But we can help each other not only see our sins, but also fight them.

3. Pastors are to encourage.

Just as pastors are to lovingly call people to repentance, so they are also called to acknowledge and encourage their congregation in godliness and good works. We all feel good when we are encouraged. Encouragement makes us want to continue on, even when life is draining or the battle seems too hard.

But this means that we need to live lives of conspicuous godliness (vs. 25), not in order to receive the honor of men or superficial flattery, but in order to honor God and to be an encouragement to each other and to those around us.

1 Timothy 5:25 New International Version (NIV)

25 In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever.

The job of a pastor is not an easy one. Instead of honor, they often receive criticism. Many nitpick at sermons instead of sitting with the posture of a learner. Many get offended when sin is called sin, especially when it hits too close to home.

This is why it is so very important to find a church home where the leaders are godly, where Christ is preached weekly, and where life is lived authentically so that we can all help each other overcome sin and grow in holiness.

Bible Study Living in the Spirit

1 Timothy: Who Do We Love?

Preparing dinner at our house is always tricky. My husband is easy to please, but Jackson, our son, is a picky eater. When I do get it right and Jackson will eat what I have prepared, I make a mental note so I can see him smile and eat what I have cooked. Even though some things I do not care for myself. Why do we do this? Jump through hurdles and put what we want aside. Because we love them.

Who do you love?

It seems like a ridiculously simple gesture and a way too emotional response, but I can remember a day when my love was more limited and my unnecessary “no’s” were much more frequent in my home. More often than I’d like to admit. Too many times I have given my best away to those outside of my home, offering my family only my impatience and leftovers like they were an obstacle or an afterthought.

Oh God, forgive me.

In 1 Timothy 5, Paul admonishes Timothy with instructions for how to show honor and respect to specific individuals within the church, but interestingly, it’s not long before the family is brought into the equation:

“But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God.” – 1 Timothy 5:4

Paul’s words should cause us to not only reflect how we show love, honor, and respect to those in the church, but also how we show godliness to the ones who know us in the most intimate spaces – those in our own families. These are the hard questions.

Do I regularly look for opportunities to encourage, honor, and provide tangible help for those in my church and family as I’m able, or am I frustrated by the needs of others as I look to serve my own interests?

Do I seek to show value, grace, and love to all people, or am I investing only in those who are like me or those who can advance my status or personal agenda?

Am I reflecting my love for God in the way I treat those in my family and church, or am I consistently detached and unavailable?

Am I providing a godly model for the next generation in how I love and care for others?

Oh Father, transform the way we love others so that we look more like You.

For our families.

For Your Church.

For the light of the gospel and the glory of Christ…

“In their case the God of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 4:4-6

Bible Study Knowing God Living in the Spirit

1 Timothy: Leadership Matters

Daniel and I have been married ten years now, but I still remember all the excitement and anxiousness that lead up to the wedding. We were getting close to the day and had completed the marriage counseling program. We were pretty sure we were ready to take on the world. I mean, we had Jesus, each other, and the cutest little ring bearer(Jackson) that you ever did see. I’m sure we should have felt the weight of this monumental undertaking more than we did, but we were young, naive, and mostly too busy gleefully skipping our way to the altar hand-in-hand to notice that we were slightly distracted by the fanfare of it all.

As part of our final preparation before our wedding day, My Grandfather Arlis Banks was going to perform the wedding and wished to counsel us himself. What we originally looked at as a formal counseling requirement ended up being a life-changing model for our marriage.

From the second we entered their home, we could see and feel the love in this household. Immediately we could feel the warmth of their home that overflowed with so much love and life. We were welcomed to their table where we would hang on their every word over a warm pot of stew. The conversation was natural yet intentional, covering the full spectrum of hilarious marriage moments to their deepest trials. They shared how they grew in love and learned to respect each other’s unique roles and gifts; how they constantly ran to God and His Word together to find wisdom in managing everything from their money to their tempers. We listened to their sincere and humble prayers, their gentle instruction to their children, and their honoring words for one another. We heard how they forgave each other, we watched how they served each other, and we took note of all the ways they incorporated Jesus into every aspect of their lives.

And we walked out of that house different people, knowing that we had been led to God.

Time spent with this one church leader and his wife in their home revealed the real-deal gospel at work in their lives – something that they had become solidly known for over the years. It’s no wonder Paul takes great care to instruct Timothy that a church overseer must know how to manage his own home. “If a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?” (1 Timothy 3:5).

Leadership matters, because leadership models. Paul knows that there’s no way a church leader can effectively lead a congregation to God, to holy living, and to reaching the lost for Christ if he is not proven in leading with excellence in his very own home. God’s Word requires that church overseers are “above reproach” – not perfect – but solid in essential character traits that shine first in the most intimate, personal spaces. On the other hand, leaders who live in hypocrisy to the standards outlined in 1 Timothy 3 can quickly compromise the trust and spiritual growth of individual members, as well as the reputation and credibility of the church as a whole. Leadership matters in light of the gospel.

Would you pray and thank God for your church leaders today, and then commit to regularly praying for them as they seek to lead you to God? Let’s also commit to constantly growing in personal godliness, so that we too can impact lives around us by the way we use our God-given gifts and model real, consistent gospel-centered living.

Bible Study Knowing God Living in the Spirit

Christian = Christ Like

God sent his Son, Jesus, who was the best example God was able to provide. The Lord Jesus Christ should be our model, we should model our lives in line with His wonderful example.

Jesus took upon himself to be the most humble, lowliest man. He performed the lowliest of jobs, benefiting us.

This is what we are told in Philippians 2 :5(NKJV).

It has been said- outlook determines outcome. Many people today think that they can’t manage their moods or attitudes. Christians are not slaves to their attitudes. We must have a particular attitude as did Jesus.

Without the Spirit of Christ, we are unable to Christ like.

Philippians 2: 1-11

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Matthew 11:28-29

Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle ando lwly in heart: and you shall find rest for your souls.

      Included with the meaning of being Christ Like is direction, emotions and character. Christ was exceedingly humble. As Christ was, we should be lowly-minded. As Christ was humble, we should be humble. We should be like-minded, as Christ did. Christ who humbled himself to sufferings and death for all mankind, his spirit and steps are the same that we must walk in. Jesus lived and died for us, not just to please God’s authority . Our finest example is Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus left Heaven, came to this earth, suffered and died for us.

The compelling call to the believer is the self-sacrifice of Jesus. Once we embrace His attitude, our relationship with others will be effectived.

Once we imitate his attitude, true Christians will model their personal relationships on Jesus. Our unity should be a unity growing out of love, out of a Christlike attitude. We must train ourselves to think like Christ, if we are to be like Christ.

Jesus Christ came to this earth and left Heaven and all its glory. On earth, Jesus made Himself nothing. While He was on earth, He was a Servant. Here on earth, He humbled himself to the degree that He without reserve died a criminal’s death. And He did all this for us. If we, as Christians have this attitude regarding one another there `will be unity. We will have the unity that Jesus prayed for in John 17.

And we will truly be one, in spirit and purpose. We, like Jesus, will live to serve. This, of course, was part of Paul’s vision. Because Jesus humbled Himself, God the Father exalted Him to the highest place. For us as well as for Jesus, the way up is down.

God blesses us when we humble ourselves in the service of others. Christ was humble, in order to obey God and serve people, He was willing to give up His rights.

Since we are to have the mind of Christ, we should have a servant’s attitude. Serving out of love for God and for others is our charge. Remember, you can choose your attitude. You can approach life expecting to be served, or you can look for opportunities to serve others. When we see the need to serve others, we will look into the concerns of others, there needs to be a servant’s heart.

Everyone at one time or another has wanted something kept secret. When we visit the sick, as we show a tender kindness for them, we shouldn’t be too precise in being inquisitive into their medical disorders or their emotions. Circumstances may be such they prefer not to speak about.

We should allow them to tell their own stories. It is also true that the rule before us positively requires us to show an interest in the concerns of others; and it may be regarded as implying the following things:

(1.) We are to feel that the spiritual interests of everyone in the church are our own interest. The church is one. It is combined together for a common object. Each one is entrusted with a portion of the esteem of the whole, and the conduct of one member affects the character of all. We are to promote, in every way possible, the welfare of every other member of the church. If they go astray, we are to admonish and entreat them; if they are in error, we are to instruct them; if they are in trouble, we are to aid them. Every member of the church has a claim on the sympathy of his brethren, and should be certain of always finding it when his circumstances demand it.

(2.) There are situations where it is suitable to look with special interest on the mundane concerns of others. The poor, the fatherless, and the injured and the impaired must be sought out in order to be assisted and relieved. They are to modest to press their situation on the attention of others, and they need others to manifest a generous care in their welfare in order to relieve them. This is not an interference into their concerns, and it should not be so regarded as such.    

(3.) We should pursue the welfare of all others in a spiritual sense. We should seek to alert the sinner, being perceptive to his needs, and lead him to the Savior. Those in darkness will not come themselves; they are unconcerned, and will not seek salvation; they are filled with the love of this world, and will not seek a better; devoted life.

It is no more an intrusion in their concerns to inform them of their condition, and to attempt to lead them to the Savior, than it is to warn a man in a dark night, who walks on the verge of a cliff, of his jeopardy that is in store; or to arouse one from sleep whose house is in flames. It is not meddling with the concerns of another to tell him that there is a glorious heaven which may be his, than it would be to inform a man that there is a mine of golden ore on his farm. It is for the man’s own interest, and our job a a friend to remind him of these things. He does a man a favor who tells him that he has a redeemer, and that there is a heaven to which he may rise; he does his neighbor the greatest possible kindness who informs him that there is a world of infinite woe, and tells him of an easy way by which he may escape it.

The world around is dependent on the church to be informed of these truths. The unworldly will not warn the unworldly of their danger; the crowd that presses to the theater or the ball-room will not convey to those who are there that they are on the broad way to hell; and everyone who loves his neighbor should feel sufficient interest in him to tell him that he may be forever happy in heaven.

Bible Study Freedom Joy Living in the Spirit

Living in the Spirit

In today’s world of social media and selfies, our lives have become more and more about me. How can this benefit me? What do I get out of this? It’s not my problem. Raising a teenager and working with youth, I hear these quite frequently. To live in the spirit you have to realize it is not your life. It is God’s story told through your life. Luke 9:23 says, “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Jesus said put yourself to the side and pick up your cross daily. He didn’t say on Sundays and Wednesday night. He said “DAILY” If you want to live in the spirit, this is the first step.

Ephesians 5:18-33

18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Verse 19 says ” speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.” I love this! My son is always getting on to me because I will randomly burst into song at any given moment. I tell him, “How sad it must be not to live in a musical.”

When everything is right in the life of a Christian, the Spirit of God gives love, joy, and peace which in turn give a song in the heart. The Christian is supposed to be one with a singing heart. Have you met a new Christian and seen the joy of the Lord on his face? Freedom from sin, a sense of God’s presence and a bright future ahead are all to be a part of the life of the Christian.

Today there are many who are suggesting all sorts of things as signs of being filled with the Spirit, but here in Ephesians 5 we have one of the three major signs declared to be evidences.

Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,

In verse 20 we have the second evidence of a Spirit-filled Christian and that is ” always giving thanks to God the Father for everything.” When Jesus is Lord we can expect God’s blessing and know that Romans 8:28 comes true:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

It doesn’t mean that everything will be easy, but the Christian doesn’t look at the present but at the end result.

The story of Paul and Silas in prison is a good illustration of this, as is also the story of Joseph.

Verse 21 gives us the third evidence of one who is Spirit filled. It says, ”
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ .” When we are self-centered instead of Christ-centered, we won’t want to be submitting ourselves to God or to anyone else. This verse says “in the fear of God.” We want to live in the right relationship to God so that we can expect His blessing on our lives. We put others first instead of ourselves. This is why it is a joy to be with truly Spirit-filled Christians, because they are “others-first” minded.

Show me someone with a melody in the heart, giving thanks for all things and submitting one toward another, and I’ll show you a Spirit-filled Christian. If we are not experiencing this, we need to go back and examine our hearts; are they filled with a lack of joy, unthankfulness or lack of submission? God brings His blessings, not so much because of what we know, but rather what we do with what we know.

In Ephesians 5:22 it says,” Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.” In Ephesians 5:25 it says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

Today we have many broken homes and divorces. Many reasons are given, but without exception you will find husbands have not done what Ephesians 5:25 says, or wives have not done what Ephesians 5:22 says. If husbands would love as they should, wives would submit as they should, there could be a beautiful relationship instead of the other kind.

Many times husbands will say, “If my wife were more submissive I would be more loving,” and wives will say, “If my husband were more loving I would be more submissive.” Maybe we need to mind our own business. Do what we should do and let the Spirit of God show the other what they should do. What a beautiful thing it is to see a loving husband and a submissive wife.

God can do it if we put our self off the throne and let Jesus Christ have His rightful place.

Next we see another area that will be much better if Jesus Christ is Lord. It is the child-parent relationship. In Ephesians 6:1 it says, “Children obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right.” In verse 4 it says, “And you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath.”

It seems that apart from the Lordship of Christ and the Spirit-filled life, there is a natural tendency for children to be disobedient to their parents. And parents, through their self-will, provoke children to wrath. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if the relationship between parents and children were consistently pleasant? It can be if we consistently practice the Spirit-filled life.

Again, if we are children we should concentrate on being obedient; and if we are parents, we should concentrate on not provoking, but bringing “them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (vs. 4)

One other area of improved relationships when we are Spirit filled is that of the employer/ employee. In Ephesians 6:5 we read, “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters…” And in verses 7-9 it suggests that masters should do good things for the servants.

Without Christ it is everyone for himself. Thus, in this world we have a great deal of employer/employee unrest. The servant would like to get as much pay for as little work as possible, and the master would like to get as much work for as little pay as possible.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness and self- control. The first three things are what God gives the saved. We concentrate on outer love, joy, peace, patience, kindness goodness faithfulness, gentleness and self- control, but the Spirit of God wants to give us a well of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness and self- control. In other words it is inside, and what you see on the outside is just the overflow.

The world says, “Put on a happy face.” The Spirit-filled Christian will have a happy heart.

Look at the fruit of the Spirit. This has to do with our conduct towards others. It isn’t any wonder that all Christians seem to wish they had the fruit of the Spirit, because they are wonderful things. If we are filled with the Spirit, we will not only have a beautiful spirit within but will also be showing the fruit to others around us.

The fruits of the Spirit also have to do with character. A Spirit-filled Christian will be seen as a person of faith. Others looking at him will put this down as a character description. He is a person of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness and self- control. .

We all would like to change our world, but are we willing to take the steps necessary in order to accomplish this. God gave you the fruit of the Spirit. All you have to do is use it and grow it.

Have you ever been in a true revival? I had often heard of revival being like a forest fire (burning at will, where the wind drove it.) Some years ago in revival I’ve seen the Holy Spirit moving like a forest fire from Christian to Christian convicting of sin. People repented of sin and their self-will, then the Spirit of God filled them. No one could tell where He was going to work next. In fact He often worked in several Christians at the same time. The Holy Spirit was at work and His power and working were awesome.

During that time there was tremendous honesty and tremendous love. So often we have little honesty and little love. All true Christians say that this is their part of their doctrine, but in everyday situations there often is very little evidence.

Do you see these in yourself; stubbornness, rebellion, arguing, etc.? When we repent of these things and learn to rest in the Lord, the exciting thing is that He forgives and begins a change in you.