"Restoration" - A Study of Philemon (Lessons 1-2)
God is the Lord of restoration. As His people, Christians are agents of reconciliation. It’s a major part of his we use our powers for good, or in the common parlance, “It’s what we do.” Paul, Philemon, and Onesimus all taste of the refreshment of doing good in this wonderful letter. Further, the epistle calls for more commitment to reconciliation – a strong motivation to modern people in a season of division.
"When Life Hurts" (Lessons 1-7)
God sovereignly guides His people through times of doubt, difficulty, danger, and death. An anthropocentric response to such hurt usually determines that God is thus not God or not good. Tragically, this false perspective:
1. Makes “good” a human determination, effectively eliminating any true standard of goodness.
2. Leads to almost inevitable frustration and bitterness.
3. Limits our understanding and experience to the material world and the brief years of temporal life.
The biblical solution is simply profound: to better know the Sovereign, Triune God; to engage with Him; and as a result, to trust Him more.
"God's Way" - A Study of 1 Corinthians (Lessons 1-7)
God, existing in perfect unity, calls His people to emulation. He shows us that our unity in Jesus is a fact and teaches us to apply that unity in our divisions, our sinful disobedience, our marriages or singlehood, and our moral freedom. The result of living out our unity in Christ is holiness, using our God‐given powers for good. This holiness is expressed through a life of worship – which is the subject of this second part of the book (Ch 11‐16).
"Change Agent" - A Study of Nehemiah (Lessons 1-9)
Christians today find it difficult to do good, much less to maintain the kind of healthy character that allows for genuine goodness. Nehemiah engages us in a life-changing case study where we can grow into similar servants – resolute, prayerful, trustworthy, God-pleasing, and selfless.
"All For One & One For All" - A Study of 1 Corinthians 1-10 (Lessons 1-9)
We live in a fractured age, where anything the purports to unify people is viewed with mistrust and even anger. Such paranoia even exists in our churches – just as it did in Corinth. This letter addresses our problems, breaks our pride, and persistently points us to the unifying solution of following the Triune God.
"Use Your Powers For Good" - We do not grow weary in doing good. (Lessons 1-4)
Christians were for centuries known for doing good things—so much so that the delightfully pejorative term “do-gooder” was often applied to followers of Jesus. As Western culture began to decay, Christians and their churches began to pull away from their biblical calling to good works. The reasons are manifold and fascinating to consider, but the bottom line is that Jesus’ people need to once again rise up and use their considerable powers for good.
We struggle with freedom. We lack it in our daily lives – and not merely because of external factors. Perfectionism, legalism, and selfishness enslave our hearts. When we do battle these slavers, our souls often jump into equally entrapping nonsense like licentiousness, idolatry, or hypocrisy. We desperately need to know how to live as God’s freed people! Galatians was given to expressly meet that need by teaching us how to keep in step with God’s Spirit.
The Protestant Reformation celebrates its 500th birthday in 2017, reminding us that the Reformation was about truth. Discerning and responding to truth was the issue of the day. Here in the 21st century, the world once again needs a reformation as truth is badly skewed. While we had originally planned to discuss the Reformation next fall, we feel compelled to study this now as mounting misunderstanding and misinformation plague people both without and within Jesus’ churches.
People of every age need to experience the “way out” that comes only through God’s gracious hand. The Lord provides freedom for all prisoners who join His people, just as He provided for Israel in the exodus from Egypt. Whatever the struggles of our lives, we can always find a way of conquest by following YHWH and trusting in His name. For Frisco Bible Church in particular, the Exodus and Passover hold particular emphasis during a year when our annual vision is to be more than conquerors.
The world is terribly confused these days. Churches appear to consider biblical doctrine suddenly passé; individual Christians throw lifestyle purity out the window and expect applause; while government and social forces are beginning to align in persecution of God’s people. In such a situation, the words of 2 Timothy act as a lifeline for followers of Jesus.
The qualities of womanhood are powerful blessing to each Christian, family, church, and to a world in desperate need. That need is fascinatingly fueled by a culture that desires the advantages of biblical character yet regularly spews vitriol toward those who exalt it. Thus it is not just Christians who benefit when we study the transformed beauty God crafts in His willing women and men. Society is lifted by this study – especially when we are empowered to exhibit these traits no matter the situation around us.
Life sports serious and difficult battles that make strength and courage requisite for victorious living. Every single one of us is plagued by fears. Every person faces difficult situations. Yet by God's grace, we can be infused with inexhaustible courage. We can face our fears and serve as agents for genuine change.
Our world regularly feels like it is flying apart at the seams. In light of increasing anti-Christian and especially anti-biblical hostility, even Christians wonder if this current mess is part of a plan or not. We question whether the Triune God is genuinely sovereign. With a view to survival, church leadership is bombarded with calls for compromise, particularly on doctrines dealing with the Person of Jesus and definitions of sin. All these questions were brilliantly answered 1900+ years ago when Paul wrote to Colossae from his first Roman imprisonment.
These two books show us a great deal about God and teach us important certainties about relating to Him. Like Jonah and Nahum, we are called to go to our own Nineveh and share the truth of God's Word. Like theirs, our message must contain the fullness of God's mercy and justice. Rather than fleeing this responsibility, we must accept the calling to be salt and light. The Lord has sent us and the world is counting on us.
Our western world is increasingly intolerant of Christianity precisely because it claims to have absolute truth. This certainty angers a world that desires to hide sin under a pretense of malleable ideas that have no value beyond the collective desires of humans. In such an environment it is very important – for both current effectiveness and eternal delight – to remember the solidity of God’s words.
September 2014 (2014-2015 Frisco Bible Church annual theme)
God calls us as His people to a distinctiveness that isn’t insular—far from it! He instead positions His universal Church as a shining light in a world of darkness. But as individual Christians and as local churches, we must regularly search ourselves to make certain that our reflection of God’s glory is clearly shining.