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LESSON 1 –WHOLESOME WORDS FOR SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE BIBLE STUDY
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WHOLESOME WORDS FOR SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE
LESSON 1 - NO LONGER SERVANTS BUT SONS Galatians 4:7
The apostle Paul was deeply concerned when he heard that the Galatians churches had been seduced into believing that they must be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses. Writing by Divine inspiration to recover them from that grievous error, he contrasts the status of the Israelite under the law in the days of the Old Covenant, with the status of the believer in our Lord Jesus Christ in this age of grace. He illustrates this by a custom with which they were familiar. A growing boy would be put into the care of a guardian, usually a trusted household servant, who would be responsible to care for him, taking him safely to and from school and teaching him proper conduct. Under this restraint, the boy’s status would differ little from that of a servant though he was heir to his father’s estate. This would continue until he reached maturity, when at the time appointed by his father, he would have conferred upon him the dignity and privileges belonging to son ship.
The law was like that guardian, and Israel was like the youth, guarded and restrained by the law until Christ came. Now that Christ has come, we are no longer under that guardian, for as Paul says, “Ye are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26 R.V.). This position of son ship does not depend on the spiritual maturity of the individual, but it is the present possession of every believer in our Lord Jesus Christ, young and old alike.
To enable us to live in a way worthy of such an honour, Paul goes on to say, And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant but a son;” (Galatians 4:6,7.).
The title given to the Holy Spirit here is remarkable. It directs our thoughts to our Lord Jesus, the unique and perfect Son of God. As the disciples became acquainted with Him, they were impressed with the personal glory that was His, which John described as “a glory as of an only begotten with a father” (John 1:14 J.N.D.) . It was the glory of a Divine and perfect intimacy between the Father and the Son, that was unmarred by any impediment. The Father said from the open heavens, “ This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased” Matthew 3:17 The Lord Jesus said, “ The Father hath not left Me alone, for I do always the things that please Him” John 8:29.
His service here for the Father from beginning to the end was done in the power of the Spirit, Luke 4:1,14; Acts 1:2, and it is this same Spirit that has been given into our hearts to give us the capacity to enjoy the love of our Heavenly Father, and to act as intelligent and responsible sons.
The chief feature of this son ship is liberty. Those who served under the law were in bondage which Peter describes as “a yoke, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear” Acts 15:10 . But with the Spirit of His Son in the heart, the believer in the Lord Jesus today has been set free from the bondage of ordinances such as “touch not, taste not, handle not” Colossians 2:21. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).
However, freedom always brings responsibility. So we read in verse 12, “Brethren, ye have been called unto liberty, only use not this liberty for an occasion for the flesh” . The works of the flesh are listed in verse 19 and it is obvious that these are foreign to the new nature of the sons of God, and are contrary to the indwelling Spirit of God (Galatians 5:17). In fact, the Lord Jesus says in Mark 7:23, that these defile the man.
As well as this, life is continually presenting us with choices in things that are not sinful in themselves. While we rejoice in our freedom, our heavenly Father desires us to be sons that He can trust, who will not use their liberty in ways that will hinder His purposes or bring shame to His Name.
Paul writes of the proper use of this liberty in his first epistle to the Corinthians, saying in 1 Corinthians 6:12 “All things are lawful unto me” , adding immediately, “But all things are not expedient” This is repeated in chapter 10:23, and in the intervening chapters, Paul raises some issues that we do well to keep in mind. Let us consider the following questions.
1. Will it become my master? Paul said, “But I will not be brought under the power of any” ch.6:l2. There are actions that appear to be harmless and yet they can become enslaving habits, and there are appetites that seem to be legitimate and yet they can become addictions that hold complete mastery over their victims. All too often, it is not until there is a desire to cease, that one becomes aware of the full strength of the addiction. Let us follow Paul’s example as he determined to remain the Lord’s free man.
2. Have I time? In the midst of the sensitive issues he deals with in chapter 7 Paul says, “Time is short” (ch.7:29) . He mentions the common things of life - some that bring us great joy, as well as those that bring the tears - all undoubtedly legitimate in their place. However, we can become too absorbed with them. Let us remember that time is short.
3. Will it stumble my brother? But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak” (ch.8:9) . The power of example is real. One may be at liberty to choose a course of action and be immune to temptations associated with it. Another, following that example may be overcome by those temptations. Let us be sure that it is safe for others to follow our example.
4. Will it hinder the Gospel Paul was willing to forego a right that was indisputably his as an apostle, lest he should hinder the Gospel (ch.9:12). As those who bear the Name of Christ, we must remember that our attitude and conduct toward others will affect their response to His Gospel whether they be neighbour or acquaintance, employer or employee. In Titus 2:10 Paul exhorts employees to be obedient, reliable and honest, so that “ they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things” , and this has its voice to us all.
5. Will it edify others and me? In ch.10:23 Paul says, “All things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” . To edify is to build up. In the process of building, we look for stability and progress, and this is so in our Christian lives. Let us seek grace from the Lord to make choices that will promote stability and progress in our own lives, and in the lives of others.
May the Lord enlarge our hearts to appreciate more fully the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and as we allow these considerations to control our conduct, we will grow in likeness to the Son of God, and become considerate and responsible sons who will be His willing servants bringing honour to the Name of our heavenly Father.
THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST AND ITS REWARDS
After the believers of this Church Age have been caught up to heaven, and before they return with Christ in glory, there will be a time set apart for the review and reward of their service here. This tribunal, or “Judgment Seat of Christ”, is spoken of in many parts of the inspired Word, and its character and results are there foretold. In view of the many traditional theories respecting this judgment, which have held the field for centuries, by which this great and blessed subject has been obscured, it is needful to distinguish between “things that differ”.
There are various judgments spoken of in the Word, differing in character and time. There will be a judgment of the living nations at the beginning of the Millennial reign of Christ (Matthew 25:31), and there will be a judgment of the dead at its close (Revelation 20:11). We must not confuse these with the judgment seat of Christ. In both of these judgments, some go from judgment to punishment. However, there is no such portion awaiting the saints of God. Their judgment as sinners is past at the Cross-; there they died judicially, and in virtue of that they come no more into judgment (John 5:24 R.V.) As children, their judgment is in this present time. They are the subjects of the Father’s discipline and rule (Hebrews 12:6-9). As servants, their judgment is future, at the judgment seat of Christ. They stand there in resurrection glory, within the heavens, to have their service reviewed and rewarded by their Lord and Master, and their places in His kingdom determined.
In order to apprehend the full meaning of all this, it is needful to remember that the saints of God, are also servants of God - ‘Bondservants of Jesus Christ” (Philippians l:l). They have been entrusted with their Master`s goods during his absence (Matthew 25:l4). They are runners in the race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27), and wrestlers in the fight (2 Timothy 2:3,4). At the judgment seat, they will be gathered before their Master to hear His estimate of their earthly work. All that has been done will be “manifested before the judgment seat” (2 Corinthians 5:l0 R.V.).
The “Bema”, or judgment seat, was an elevated place on which the umpire of the Grecian games stood, watching the performance of the competitors. When all was over, the runners and wrestlers assembled before the “Bema” to receive the “corruptible crown” of laurel or parsley from his hand. Some had no reward: they lost the “Victors crown”, Such is the imagery used by the apostle in pointing us onward to the judgment of our service here.
In the midst of the glory within the heavens, surrounded by heavenly hosts of wondering beings, the judgment seat will be set. The servants of Christ, all glorified, will be gathered there. From every corner of the earth, from various paths of toil and warfare, some unknown, others well known, all will be there. Hidden ones, whose days on earth were spent in lone corners, appointed there by the Lord of the harvest. Great ones who stood before the world on the pinnacle of fame! All will be gathered there to hear from their Heavenly Master’s lips, what value He has put upon their earthly service.
The ways (Revelation 2:2), The works (l Corinthians 3:14), The motives (l Corinthians 4:5), and the manner of their service (2 Timothy 4:5-8) will be reviewed then. He will publicly declare His approval of all that has been pleasing to Him and the rest will be burned up (l Corinthians 3:13), and for that the servant will suffer loss.
Much, that in “man’s day” was accounted great, will appear as “hay and stubble”. Much that passes now as “faithfulness” and “zeal” will in that day - when the hidden springs are disclosed - be seen to be but self and sin. Deeds that were blazed through church and world will be of little value there, and much that has been of no esteem in the eyes of men will receive the Master’s “well done”.
Deeds of merit as we thought them,
He will tell us were but sin;
Little acts we had forgotten,
He will own were done for Him.
The servants, all possessed of their Master’s mind, able in His light to see clearly, will say “Amen” to His verdict, and thus they will pass on to other scenes of glory with wondering gratitude and praise. The “Victors Crown” - for such is the meaning of the word used by the Spirit in describing them - which will be given to the faithful servants, will be according to their service here. The Victors Crown of life (Revelation 2:10), of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8), and of glory (1 Peter 5:4), all speak of recompense and reward, and point to places of honour in the kingdom and glory to come.
My safety lies in Christ’s work for me, my assurance upon God’s word to me, my enjoyment upon my not grieving the Holy Spirit within me.
TEST - LESSON 1 – WHOLESOME WORDS FOR SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE
1. We will become sons of God at the Rapture __True__False.
2. The _ _ _ _ _ _ hath not _ _ _ _ me _ _ _ _ _
3. The main thing about be sons of God is we are liberated__ True__False
4. _ _ _ _ not be _ _ _ _ _ _ _ under the _ _ _ _ _ of _ _ _
5. The Old Testament saints we sons or servants of God __True__False
6. The judgment of the living nations begins immediately after the Rapture __True__False
7. All believers will be judged at the Great White Throne__True__False.
8. As _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ their _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ is at this _ _ _ _ _ _ time
9. As _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ their _ _ _ _ _ _ _ is future__True __False
10 My _ _ _ _ _ lies in _ _ _ _ _ _ _ work for _ _
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Created by Harold Smith
Updated May 2011 by Shelly Allen