MAN’S GREATEST ENEMY – SIN
i. What is sin? Sin is the breaking of the law. Isa. 59:2, Mal. 2:16. Anything that is contrary to the word of God is sin.
ii. Who is a sinner?
iii. Mentioned some sins from these scriptures and some men who sinned. Gal. 5:19 – 21, IJn. 2:4, Mal. 2:16, Isam. 15:23a, Rom. 3:10 – 18. Make a list of others around us (in the campus).
- Consequences of Sin
Highlight the consequences of sin from the following texts. ISam. 15:23b, Rom. 3:23, 6:23a, IJn. 4:18, Gen. 16:12.
- God’s Great Provision – Remedy to Sin
From these scriptures, what is God’s provision for us to be free from the grip of sin? Jn. 3:16, Rom. 8:10, 5:17, Matt. 1:21.
The only remedy to sin is Jesus Christ. He is God’s great provision for us.
- How to overcome Sin
Discuss the practical steps that are necessary to overcome sin. IJn. 1:9, Isa. 1:18 – 20, Jn. 1:12, Rom. 6:6, 14, 17 – 18, 12 – 13, Phil. 1:20, Dan. 1:8, Acts 20:32, Ps. 119:9 – 11.
For one who will conform to Jesus’ image, he must first be free from the power of sin. This will not be by our power or determination. Jesus has finihsed the work on the cross (Col. 2:15). Therefore, no one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning because he has been born of God. (IJn. 3:9).
BUILDING A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
Many years ago, man lost his personal relationship with God. But God in his love sent Jesus as a sacrifice to reconcile us to himslef. God’s utmost desire is that we all come to know him and have a personal relationship with him as a son to a father. Only then can we understand and fulfil his eternal purpose for our lives. We pray that he will open our hearts through this study to understand how to make this a relaity in our lives. Amen.
- Meaning of Building
Discuss the meaning of ‘building’ and what it entails from these scriptures. Matt. 7:24 – 27, Lk. 14:28 – 30.
Building a personal relationship with God demands that we set our hearts on God and to do what pleases him always.
- Personal Relationship vs Corporate Fellowship
Distinguish with examples, between personal relationship and corporate fellowship? How will each of these sustain us in our Christian journey and draw us nearer to God? Jn. 3:1 – 3, Prov. 27:17, IJn. 5:16, ICor. 8:9, Gal. 6:2.
As good as corporate fellowship is, it must not take the place of our personal fellowship with God. It is our individual altars that build up our corporate altar. When it is neglected, we reduce the fire on our corporate altar.
- Examples of men who had a personal relationship with God
From these scriotures, mention some men who had personal relationship with God. What were their experiences? Gen. 18:17, 39:2, Josh. 1:5, Matt. 3:17, Acts 9:10. Mention others.
- Discussion: Why do we sometimes pay more attention to corporate fellowhsip than to our personal fellowship with God?
- Dangers of neglecting your personal relationship with God
What are the dangers of not having a personal walk with God or neglecting it? Jn. 15:1 – 8, 12:35, ITim. 4:15 – 16, Jer. 18:15 – 17, Deut. 5:33, 8:19, Lev. 26:23 – 28, 2Chro. 7:17 – 20.
- How to build a personal relationship with God
Building a personal relationship with God involves a daily walk with him. It is also “a private purpose of the heart.” Here are some godly disciplines that will help you to do this.
i. Study and meditate daily on God’s word. Josh. 1:8, Ps. 119:133.
ii. Maintain a consistent prayer life.
ii. Memorize scriptures. Ps. 119:11.
iii. Listen to Christian messages and songs, read Christian literatures that will help you grow spiritually. 2Tim. 2:15, Rom. 10:17.
iv. Cultivate godly environment – people, places, things, words, activities, etc. Hab. 2:20.
v. Engage in regular personal retreat where you can pray, fast and study the Word. Matt. 17:21, Isa. 40:31.
Consistency and commitment to our devotions will help us get closer to God.
- Importance of Corporate Fellowship
Highlight the importance of corporate fellowship and the ingredients that make it fulfiling. Acts 2:42 – 47, Icor. 12:7, 21:26.
It is not just enough to desire a walk with God, we must take delibetare and concerted steps to achieve it. Will you make a personal decision to have a daily walk with God today? Do you have struggles tyring to do this? Here is God’s promise: Heb. 4:15 – 16. May you find fulfilment as you begin this walk. Amen.
Last semester, we discussed some issues on witnessing and soul winning such as who a witness is, tools and methods for soul-winning, do’s and don’ts in soul-winning, and rewards of soul-winning. The aim of this study is not for head knowledge, but we trust God to again reveal to us how we can be practically involved in it as we launch out into practical witnessing this semester. May the Lord burden your heart to witness for him. Amen.
- What is Soul-Winning?
From the scriptures given below, discuss soul-winning and the basis for it. Matt. 28:1 – 20, 2Cor. 5:18 – 20, 14 – 15, Matt. 3:2, 4:19, 1Cor. 9:16.
- Who is qualified to witness and why? Read Mk. 3:14 – 15, Matt. 4:18 – 19, Acts 1:8. You can’t give what you don’t have. Only disciples can make disciples.
- Why must we win soul?
- It is a command that must be obeyed. Matt. 28:19.
- You were saved to serve and save others.
- Souls are perishing. Your family members and friends may be on their way to hell.
- God will require the blood of sinners from our hands if we fail to witness to them. Eze. 33:7 – 8.
- It is only the Gospel that can liberate men from sin and give them true prosperity.
- The Second Coming of Christ depends on it. Matt. 24:14.
- Practical Approaches to Soul-winning
- Witnessing by living the lifestyle of Jesus. Matt. 5:16.
- Doing good works and showing concern through visits, caring, etc.
- Sharing gospel tracts.
- Treasure hunts.
- Sharing your personal testimony of conversion.
- Rendering voluntary service.
- Enlightening people about Easter and Christmas.
- Holiday evangelism. Mention others.
- Mediums of Sharing
Media (print or electonic which includes Christian magazines, tracts, literatures, messages on tapes, CDs, film show, etc), internet, phone, friendship, etc.
- Things to note about soul-winning
- As a child of God, you are a witness.
- Your life speaks more than your voice.
- You must be burdened for, patient with and follow-up your target. You can persuade but do not coerce.
- You must be ahead in life, growth and devotions so that you will not be a hypocrite but a light indeed. This is also necessary for you to disciple others.
- You must keep watch over your own life lest you be overtaken and become a cast away. Jude 23, Matt. 7:3 – 5.
- You are like a sheep among wolves. Matt. 10:16.
- Walk in light. Prov. 3:5 – 6, Gal. 5:16.
“The harvest is full but the labourers are few.” God has invested and deposited so much within and without you to obey the Great commission. Will you not avail yourself now for his use? Remember, tomorrow may be too late.
CONCEPT OF DISCIPLESHIP
The desire of every good master is that his apprentice becomes like him or even better. In the case of Jesus, we cannot be any better than him because he is the perfect standard that God wants us to conform to.
When we became born again, the seed of God is deposited in us. (Jn. 15:1 – 4, Ijn. 3:9). Although it is a potential tree, it needs to be pruned to that stage. Hence, the need for discipleship.
- Who is a Disciple? Jn. 3:3, Matt. 11:28 – 30, Mk. 3:13 – 14, 2Cor. 4:16 – 17, Acts 5:40 – 42. A disciple is one who is born again and has comitted himself to be transformed into the image of Jesus at whatever cost.
- What is Discipleship? Rom. 8:28 – 29, Heb. 2:10 – 11, Eph. 4:13 – 15, Lk. 6:40, Heb. 12:5 – 8. Discipleship is simply the act of learning Jesus. It is the workshop where God shapens a man into his (God) ultimate purpose for him (man), to become like Jesus. It is a life-long relationship between a Christian and the Lord Jesus.
- Basis for Discipleship. Lk. 18:18, 22, Rom. 8:28 – 30, Mk. 3:8, 13 – 15, 11:1 – 6, Matt. 5:1 – 2, Lk. 14. 25 – 33.
We see here that as much as God loves us, he will not bend his standards for anyone/anything. The only means to meet this standard is through discipleship.
- Examples of Discipleship Relationships
Abraham (Gen. 12:1 – 4, 10 – 13, 13:1 – 10, 16:1 – 4)
Enoch (Gen. 5:22 – 24)
Elijah and Elizha (IKg. 19:19 – 21)
Paul and Ananias (Acts 9:17 – 21)
Jesus and his disciples (Mk. 3:13 – 19)
Discuss from the above, the need of human oversight (discipler).
Discipleship has been misunderstood severally. Discipleship is not another denomination, sect or group. It is not about attending a discipleship class. Some others feel that getting a human discipler is what it means to be in discipleship. All these are short of the contextual meaning of discipleship. From our study, we have established that discipleship is simply the process of learning the life of Jesus in order to become like him. Becoming like Jesus is God’s ultimate purpose for us and this was the task Jesus left for us. Hence, discipleship is not optional for anyone who desires to be made into the likeness of the master, Jesus.
WALKING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF JESUS
In Luke 9:23, Jesus made this call known to his disciples. When we accept the call to salvation, we will need a daily following of Jesus to maintain it. As we have learnt before now that Christianity is more than just going to Church, singing and dancing, speaking in tongues. It is living out the lifestyle of Jesus. We therefore trust God in this series to learn the disposition of Jesus in some areas of his life so that we can walk in them.
(a) Define the word ‘footstep.’ What does it means to walk in his footsteps and what will this achieve in us? Heb. 5:7 – 9, Lk. 9:23, Matt. 17:5.
(b) How many are called to walk in his steps? Lk. 9:23
(c) Mention some of his footsteps we are expected to walk in.
The Prayer Life of Jesus
- What is prayer and what is the object of our prayer? Matt. 6:6. Check the dictionary.
- Discuss Jesus’ prayer life and draw out lessons to be learnt from the following.
i. How did he pray? Matt. 1:35, Lk. 5:16, Matt. 6:6 – 8.
ii. When and how often did he pray? Mk. 1:35, Lk. 6:12.
iii. In what situation did he pray? Lk. 6:12 – 15, Matt. 14:23, 26:36 – 38, 27:46, Jn. 12:25 – 29, Matt.14:19, 11:25 – 26.
iv. Who and what did he pray for? Jn. 17:5, 9, 20.
iv. Jesus also taught men how to pray. Matt. 6:6 – 8, Lk. 11:1 – 4.
When we pray, we show how dependent we are on God. Although, God knows our needs, he expects us to approach him (Heb. 4:15 – 16). Jesus maintained a consistence prayer life and we cannot afford to do less if we will become like him.
His Eating Behaviour
- Define food and give its significance to the body.
- What value did Jesus place on food? I Cor. 6:13a.
- How did he use food? Mk. 6:31, Jn. 21:9 – 13.
- Jesus had his call ahead of food. Matt. 16:7 – 11.
Jesus used food but did not allow food to use him. We must learn to be self-controled with food.
- From the following texts, what was Jesus’ disposition with eating? Draw out lessons to be learnt.
- Lk. 5:33 – 35 (Divine timing)
- Matt. 12:1 – 7; 15:2, 20 (He didn’t agree with men’s tradition).
- Lk. 7:36, Km. 2:15 – 16, Jn. 12:1 – 2 (He ate with different kinds of people).
- Lk. 10:7 – 8, Icor. 10:25 – 29; 11:1 (He ate anything that was available).
- Lk. 7:34 – 37, 40 – 43, Mk. 2:15 – 17 (He used eating invitation to preach).
- Lk. 24:41 – 43, Jn. 21:5 (He used it to restore and promote relationships).
Even food? Yes, even food. We must follow Jesus’ ways in totality, not leaving even one. The earlier we understand these things, the better our foundation on which he will build his life.
His Sleeping Habit
One good way of rest is to sleep. It is usually a period of unconsciousness and relaxation. It is correct to sleep. (Lk. 8:23a).
Discuss each of the following and draw lessons from them.
i. What value did Jesus place on sleep? Mk. 1:32 – 35, Prov. 20:13, Lk. 22:46. He placed pryaer and service to God over sleep.
ii. What time did Jesus allow sleep and what time did he not? Mk. 14:37 – 41, 4:35 – 38, ITim. 5:7, Prov. 10:5.
iii. How did Jesus treat sleeping-men? Matt. 26:40 – 41.
iv. What did God say about sleep and men? Ps. 127:2, Eccl. 5:12.
v. From these scriptures, highlight some dangers of lack of uncontrolled sleep. Lk. 9:32 – 35, Prov. 24:30 – 34, 20:13. Mention other.
Sleep is good. It is beneficial to ‘worker’ but detrimental to ‘lazy men.’ (Prov. 20:13a). We are not to form rules and regulations from these, but to make personal resolve to follow the master the way it comes to us on this issue. Will you submit?
BUILDING CHRISTIAN VIRTUES
Background Text: Isam. 15:22
Obedience is one of the marks of a believer. It is the basis for building a vibrant relationship with God. Our attitude towards this great virtue is a key determinant to whether we shall be able to accomplish God’s purpose for our lives or not. Fruitfulness in life and minsitry is greatly desired today but the true test of our commitment and faithfulness to God is measured by our willingness and readiness to obey him.
In this study, we shall trust God to redefine the subject of “obedience” to us as we look intently into his word with our hearts ready to receive his visitation one more time.
- What is obedience? Read these passages and comment. IChro. 21:18, 26, 2Jn. 6, Ijn. 2:3 – 6, Jn. 15:9, 10, 14, Jam. 1:22 – 25.
- What are the proofs of obedience in the life of a believer? (from the scriptures above).
Obedience is not merely doing what God says but doing it according to his terms (ways, pattern, method,…) Isam. 13:1 – 4, 15:22 – 23. When we begin to obey God and his word, the evidence would be a life looking like Christ.
- The Demands/Costs of Obedience
From the following scriptures, discuss the price that we must pay in our quest to obey God. Phil. 2:5 – 8, Ipet. 1:14 – 15, 3:17, Heb. 5:8, Acts 4:1 – 4, 18 – 20.
- Rewards of Obedience
What gains are there when we obey? 2Cor. 10:6, Rom. 6:16, Isa. 1:18 – 19.
- The Consequencies of Disobedience
Briefly discuss the aftermath of a life of disobedience as indicated in the following passages. Isa. 1:20, Rom. 13:1 – 5, Ipet. 2:8, Heb. 3:7 – 11, 2:1.
- What is our level of obedience as regards examination, test, assignment, projects, and seminar and to rules relating them in general?
- What about obedience to the school authority, fellowship, hostel, class, lectures,…
- “Fruitfulness is a sign of obedience, but not the measure for obedience.” Discuss.
Jesus told a parable of two sons who were sent to the field by their father. The one who at first said no later obeyed the father. The other who agreed to go never went. Please understand that “mouth-say”, “confession”, “vows”, “pledges”, “wishes” are not equal to obedience. God is not usually moved by all these. Not until we begin to walk in Christ by his word on daily basis can the heavens certify us as obedient servants.
Friends, what do you measure in this? Let us pray.
Background Text: Isa. 53:1-9
Memory verse:“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Mat. 5:5, KJV).
Brethren, the only task before us is to keep looking at our model, Jesus Christ, until we are conformed to his image. So, today, we shall be looking at one of the attitude of the kingdom; a virtue which is fast forgotten in our generation. This virtue is an ornament for the life of a child of God. It is not optional. May the Lord illuminate our hearts as we study together. (Amen).
- What is meekness/gentleness? Read Mat. 5:5; 1Pet. 2:21-23; Lk. 6:29; Phil. 2:2-3. How was it rendered in other versions? Comment.
- What does meekness entails in practical life? Discuss
- Men who exhibited meekness
i. David (2Sam. 16:5-14).
- Shimei was ‘junior’ to king David. He insulted and cursed David.
- What was David’s reaction to Shimei’s action? Compare it with that of Abishai.
- What was David’s decision? If you were the ‘king’, what would you have done?
- Read 2Sam. 19:16-23, what lesson can we glean for our lives?
ii. Jeremiah (Jer. 26:1-15)
- Discuss the situation around prophet Jeremiah.
- What was his reaction? How did he get out of the conspiracy? Jer. 26:16-24.
- In situation like this, can we do otherwise?
iii. Jesus, our perfect example
- From the following scriptures, discuss how Jesus exhibited meekness.
Isa. 53:1-9; 1Pet. 2:13-25.
- The need for Meekness
- In hearing and learning from the Lord and his word: Jam. 1:19-21; Ps. 25:9; Pro. 3:5-8. A man that is meek can easily discern the mind of God, take instruction without resistance and can easily adapt. He is flexible.
- In teaching and bringing others up for the Lord: 2Tim. 2:23-26; Tit. 3:1-9. Without meekness, you may win an argument but lose a soul. Beware, arrogance, self-defense and rigidity closes the heart of men and shut the doors of ministry. Meekness is the key in restoring backsliders.
- In relating with others (whether believers or unbelievers): Mat. 5:39; Jam. 4:7; Rom. 12:18-21; Phil. 2:3-5.
- Cultivating and growing in Meekness
Read these scriptures/discuss: Zeph. 2:3; Phil. 2:2-3; Col. 3:5-10; Gal. 5:22-26; Mat. 11:29.
Meekness is an attitude of Christ. It is part of the fruit of the Spirit. It can be learnt, it can be cultivated as we daily yield our lives to Christ’s teachings and the leading of the Holy Spirit. But except the flesh is crucified, there is no way for the carnal man to be meek. May we passionately seek for these virtues until we are conformed to the image of Christ.
Background Text: Mat. 18:21-35
Memory verse: “Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us.” (Mat. 6:12, GNB).
The scripture enjoins us to forgive one another. We talk about it, yet we hardly put it into practice. Our master clearly stated in Mat. 18:7 that “offenses must surely arise.”. Jesus demonstrated how we should deal with those who offend us. We trust God to help you discover that God love and forgive all, so we ought to also love and forgive all who sinned against us no matter the degree of their misdeeds towards us.
- Understanding your enemy and his works
- Who is my enemy and how should I deal with him? Jn. 10:10, Eph. 6:10-12, Jam. 4:7, IPet. 5:8-9.
- From the cases below, who/what is responsible for people’s misbehaviors towards others?
ISam. 18:6-16 (Saul vs David), Mat. 16:21-23 (Jesus vs Peter), Lk. 22:1-6 (Jesus vs Judas).
- What are the activities of the enemy and physical manifestations? Jn. 10:10.
Oppression (Ps. 106:42), Affliction (Exd. 1:8-12), Temptation (Mat. 4:1-10), Mention others.
Manifestation: Sickness, accidents, delay, death, failure, retrogression, fear. Mention others.
- What is forgiveness? Matt. 18:23-30.
To forgive means to deliberately “cancel” the wrong others do to you without expecting the punishment they deserve to come on them.
- Why must we forgive? Read Rom. 5:8, Mk. 11:25-26, Mat. 5:44-45.
- Christ forgave us all our sins and deleted their effects permanently.
- Forgiven others is the basis for us to receive forgiveness.
- Jesus taught us to forgive.
- Forgiveness is a mark of a follower of Christ.
- What should be our attitude towards those who sin against us? Mat. 5:44, Rom. 12:14, 17-21.
- We must love and do good to them despite their evil deeds.
- We must pray for them (not against them) and bless them.
- We must not curse them nor wish them evil.
- Do not revenge. Mention others.
Lessons in forgiveness
- What did these men do when they were offended? Joseph (Gen. 50:15-21), Stephen (Acts 7:60), David (IISam. 16:5-13, 19:18-23), Jesus (Lk. 23:34).
- What will be the end of the wicked?
- What is God’s desire for all men (including the wicked)?
- How does this challenge you and shape your attitude towards those who offend you?
Think about how God forgave you all you did and are still doing to him. Do you think there is an offence you cannot forgive a person? Is there anyone who has offended you? Why not bow your head now and in prayer ask God for the grace to forgive him/her!