unit 2 LESSON 13
February 25, 2024
STUDY TEXT: Acts 15:1-29; 1 Corinthians 3:1-8; 1 Peter 5:5-7; Revelation 3:14-22 (KJV).
CENTRAL TRUTH: Church problems can be solved by listening to the Holy Spirit and applying biblical principles.
KEY VERSE: 1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit (KJV).
Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But
we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit (NLT).
LET'S GET STARTED
Church problems are deterrents to church growth. If unbelievers see division, quarreling, legalism, or prejudice in a church, they will not be drawn to it. Instead, they will assume Christians are no different than the believers in the world where they live and work. Even the Early Church was not immune to the difficulties we face in our own churches. This lesson offers practical teaching on how to recognize and solve those problems, so we can be about the business of reaching our friends, family members, and communities for Christ. This lesson deals with six problems that seemed to plague the Early Church throughout the first century: legalism, prejudice, worldliness, pride, carnality, and spiritual immaturity. These problems have shown themselves to be timeless, reflecting the basic temptations common to everyone in this fallen world. But with the Holy Spirit's guidance and empowerment, we can identify ways to overcome them.
PART1 ---Legalism and Prejudice
"We Are All Saved the Same Way" Acts 15:1-11
When a group of Jewish believers taught that circumcision was necessary for salvation, Paul and Barnabas led a delegation to Jerusalem to discuss the issue with the church leaders and apostles there (Acts 15:1-3). The Church in Jerusalem included. some Pharisees who had become Christians. They argued: "The Gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow the law of Moses." Peter reminded them God intended for the gospel to be preached to the Gentiles. This was confirmed by the gift of the Holy Spirit being given to them. God did not distinguish between Jewish and gentile believers, so those demanding circumcision were casting doubt on the validity of God's work among the Gentiles. Peter noted that their ancestors could not keep the whole Law. The only way to receive salvation--whether Jew or Gentile--is through the grace of Christ.
REACT? Why do you think some Jews thought the Gentiles should follow the Law?
The Burden Has Been Made Light Acts 15:22-29
Peter's words were reinforced by James (Acts 15:12-21). Two leaders from the Jerusalem church were appointed to join Paul and Barnaba's in going back to Antioch with a letter (verses 23-29) explaining that the Judaizers were not sent by the leaders in Jerusalem (verse 24) but had acted alone. Through the leading of the Holy Spirit, the Jerusalem Council gave these instructions to promote unity fellowship in churches: Do not eat food offered to idols. Do not consume blood or meat from a strangled animal. Abstain from sexual immorality.
REACT? How does prejudice manifest itself in the Church today?
PART 2- Worldliness and Pride
Don't Be Lukewarm Revelation 3:14-22
Laodicea was a wealthy city. Wealth had blinded the believers there to their spiritual poverty. They had worldly wealth, but not the golden riches of heaven. They have become spiritually repulsive. Six miles to their north lay Hierapolis, known for its hot mineral springs. The water from the springs overflowed onto a plateau, then poured over a three-hundred-foot cliff near Laodicea. By the time the water reached Laodicea, it was lukewarm and disgusting to drink. Likewise, the Laodiceans seemed appealing, but they were actually putrid. In Revelation 3:20, Jesus invited them to turn from their worldliness and be reconciled to Him.
REACT? How can we guard against sliding into worldliness?
God Opposes the Proud 1 Peter 5:5-7
"Dress yourselves" (1 Peter 5:5) or "be clothed." refers to a servant putting on an apron in preparation to serve. Humility is tied to willful submission and service. We humble ourselves by elevating others, treating them with respect. Peter quoted Proverbs 3:34. "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5) to remind us that we must submit ourselves under the "mighty hand" of God (verse 6). The familiar exhortation in verse 7 to cast "all your care upon him" refers to the many difficulties. believers face while trying to lead godly lives--including inner spiritual struggles and outward trials. Jesus will carry these burdens, because He cares for us.
REACT? What does Christian humility look like in someone's everyday life?
Part 3--Carnality and Immaturity
"Still Controlled by Your Sinful Nature" 1 Corinthians 3:1-4
Paul critiqued the Corinthians' spiritual immaturity without denying their status as Christians--although they were so immature he had to address them as if they "belonged to this world" or were "infants in Christ: (1 Corinthians 3:1). At the root of their problem was a sad reality: "You are still controlled by your sinful nature." The signs were evident in their relationships with one another that were filled with jealousy and quarreling. In their immature behavior, the Corinthian Christians were acting like people who hadn't been transformed by Jesus.
REACT? Based on 1 Corinthians 3:1-4, what are the signs of worldliness?
God Does the Work 1 Corinthians 3:5-8
Paul refuted the Corinthians, immaturity. He and Apollos both preached the gospel faithfully, but these believers were divided over whose role was more important. They were losing sight of kingdom principles. God was responsible for the outcome of both Paul and Apollos' ministries, and each would find his reward in Christ. Such battles continue. Maybe we are divided over the Kind of n ministry, sermon, or music we prefer, But the answer to such disunity is to grow in the Lord together.
REACT? What steps are involved in becoming spiritually mature.?
WHAT IS GOD SAYING TO US?
Many problems in the local church result from human conflict. So, the solution often results from building relationships through fellowship, prayer, love, and the kind of mutual respect that comes from seeing one another as bearers of the image of God.
LIVING IT OUT.
Pray that God will help you stay true to Him when you face difficulty.
DAILY BIBLE READING
Monday: Humbled by Pride. 2 Chronicles 26:11-21
Tuesday: Condemned for injustice. Jer. 22:11-17
Wednesday: Judged for Harlotry. Ezekiel 16:15-19; 27-30
Thursday: Worldly Wisdom Is Futile. 1 Corinthians 3:18-23
Friday: Legalism Cannot Tame the Flesh. Colossians 2:20-23
Saturday: Favoritism Is Sinful. James 2:1-9
Gospel Publishing House. 1445 N. Boonville Ave. Springfield, Missouri 65802 Volume 105 Number 2. Dec. Jan. Feb. 2023-24