Scriptures: 1 Kings 2:1-4
Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 11:2, Esphesians 5:25-27, Luke 10:8-11, Romans 12:1-2, Romans 13:14, 2 Corinthians 6:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:22
Having an apostolic identity requires disciple; disciple comes from instruction, correction and guidance. This leads us to self-disciple where we can live a life that pleases God.
What kind of church does God want? A chaste virgin: a glorious church without spot or blemish. He wants His people to be clean and pure, because our identity is revealed in our obedience: "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"
In the Bible we read about the principle of authority and submission, an example being how a priest had the responsibility of determining between the holy and unholy. "And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses..."
Ask yourself the question: who is watching for your soul? It is our responsbility to obey and submit, while God gives us a pastor who is a watchman who helps protects us from impending danger. A pastor is to make decisions based on scriptural principles for the whole congregation.
There are three areas that a person applies these principles to to gain an apostolic identity:
1) Bible Principles- areas where the Bible is not specific, but gives direction for us to follow morally and ethically. For example: If while shopping a cashier gives you too much money back, what is your response? The Bible doesn't specifically outline this situation, but it gives moral guidelines about stealing that apply.
2) Church Standards- Bible principles that a pastor determines are to be publicly seen in the congregation and the pastor is accountable to God for them.
3) Personal Convictions- This is a conviction an individual has laid upon them personally by God.
Bible truths are things which we can never compromise! They do not change! We are to "be not conformed to this world," "make no provision for the flesh," come out and be separate, and "forsake the appearance of evil." Apostolic identity sets us apart unto God.
Scriptures: Joshua 24:14-15
"Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve," there comes a day when we must choose who or what will control us. There are truly only three choices: The Lord our God, our own limited personality, and an imperfect substitute for God. Joshua spoke specificially of these three choices available to mankind:
1) The gods of your fathers, the gods of Egypt- "The gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the river"- When we live in the past, the past becomes our god. Ask yourself the question: how does your past control you? The gods on the other side of the flood are the gods which existed before our baptism, they are the gods of our days of transgression. Will we serve the gods of Egypt? Will we serve the gods of bondage? You are not who you were in your past, you are a new creation!
2) The gods of your neighbors- "the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell..." The gods of the present our whatever is acceptable by our society at this present time. There is a pressure to be complacent by showing a willingness: to please, oblige, agree, or fit in. These gods are also the gods of compromise that cause us to act like an Amorite not an Israelite.
3) God- the one true and only God, the God of the past, present and future. He is the absolute: perfect in quality and nature. He is pure, holy, righteous and not limited by any restrictions. He is independent of anything else and never needs to be doubted. The God of creation and salvation. The immutable and unchangable God. The God who delivers, protects and accepts us.
"Choose you this day whom ye will serve..." Will you chose God, yourself or a substitute?
Scriptures: Obadiah 1:10-15, Hebrews 12:1
Every Christian has crossroad experiences: times when we come to intersections and we must choose which way we will go. What are intersections? They are when present events are mixed with unresolved issues of the past, such as: unresolved conflicts, sins of our ancestors, or the traits and dysfunctions we carry in our lives. These crossroads can ignite pain, bitterness, or hatred, but they could also inspire liberty and thanksgiving! We must remember that what we hold onto will be something we must deal with later.
In these verses we read that the Edomites had a crossroads experience. The Israelites were descendents of Jacob, while the Edomites were descendents of Esau, who were brothers. They were brothers with unresolved conflicts and these conflicts were passed down through the generations to a point where the Edomites should have helped Israeland instead they rejoiced at their calamity.
The Edomites were happy and prospered at Israel's misfortune. While the enemy invaded Israel they stood aloof and did not help, instead they acted like Israel's enemy. The Edomites rejoiced and spoke arrogantly in a terrible time; they even plundered the land and captured the survivors. God said: "Because of what you did you will be filled with shame and destroyed forever."
We are in a time of spiritual warfare and we must set aside each weight. We are constantly coming to the crossroads: temptations, voices of our society, stress, relational issues, fears and uncertainty. Our faith is constantly being challenged, but we must let go of what we've held on to to resolve conflicts and dysfunctions.
We do not want to become Edomites! Do not wait at the crossroads, for at the cross roads you will attack your own brother. An Edomite spirit will allow us to side with the enemy, plunder and rejoice at their misfortune, but in the end leave us filled with shame and cut-off from God. Today there are descendents of Israel and Babylon, but no descendents remain of Esau.
Scriptures: Titus 2:11-15, 2 Corinthians 7:1, Galatians 5:19-21, 2 Corinthians 7:1, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
This Week's lesson is an introduction to a new weekly series called: Apostolic Identity, this lesson is interactive as we evaluate the "how," "why," and "what" aspects of our Apostolic identity.
Ask yourself the question: how are we to live in this present world? We are to deny ungodliness and wordly lusts. We are to live soberly, righteously and godly. We are to be looking for Jesus' return.
Now ask yourself: Why should we live this way? Because Jesus came Himself for us. Because He has redeemed us from iniquity. Because He has purified us and made us a peculiar people ready for good workds.
So what is our responsibilty in living a holy life? "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
What is the filthiness of the flesh? Galatians 5 tells us that there are specific categories: sexual immorality- the lusts of the flesh. Idolatry- witchcraft and the occult. Less obvious sins- ambition, anger, jealousy, strife, lying. Intense acts of evil- murder and drunkenness.
In these verses it tells us that its our responsibility to cleanse ourselves, which takes a two-fold action: turning away from sin and turning towards God. We need to make a clean break from our sins and give our whole self to God.
God does not want His temple defiled. The temple of God is holy and we are that temple. The cleaning of the temple is our responsbility and it is our responsibility to have an Apostolic identity. Its time to cleanse ourselves.
Scriptures: Exodus 33:17-19, Exodus 34:5-7
Moses asked God: "Show me thy glory." Moses had already seen God's power and majesty through: a burning bush not consumed, the plagues of Egypt, the Red Sea divided, the mountain on fire, the pillar of fire, water from a rock and manna from Heaven.
To man glory is excellence of ability, so what is God's glory?
1) It is His character- His very nature
2) It is love for God is love.
3)Mercy- " which endures forever...by which we are saved."
4) Longsuffering- patience
5) Goodness- the Word tells us that the goodness of God leads us to repentance
6) Truth- the conduit of freedom
7) Forgiveness- He is faithful to forgive
8) Justice- He visits iniquity
As followers of Christ we should strive to show the world and the church God's glory. Miracles are evidence of His power. Prophecies are the evidence of His majesty. It is His mercy, His grace, and His love that show His glory. Let's strive to show the world His character, nature and glory!
Scriptures: Revelation 2:12-17, 2 Peter 2:15-16
Balaam was a man who used religion for personal advancement, which is a sin that God does not take lightly. Balaam was hired by a pagan king to curse Israel, and at first he did what God told him to do. But eventually his motives and desires won out, because Balaam had mixed motives. He mixed obedience and profits.
Balaam knew the awesome power of God, but his heart was occupied with what he could gain (his wealth). He lived a life of deception: maintaining an outward appearance of spirituality, but he was corrupt in his inward life. He followed God's commands if it meants personal gratification or profit.
Every Christian faces the same process as Balaam, but we must realize the following things:
1) Who and what we are will always surface- God will remove the masks we use to cover ourselves.
2) We have two choices to make: put alot of effort into keeping up appearances or to find the answer to the sin in our lives.
3) We can avoid Balaam's mistakes by: facing ourselves, understanding that God already knows us, accepting that God will forgive us and letting God make us over from within.
The doctrine of Balaam was that of the church of Pergamos, the lenient or the compromsing church. It was the blending of two different things, and the concession of principles. It was categorized by the pressure to be open-minded. Balaam taught Balak the king, who could not defeat Israel, how to influence Israel. His relationship underminded their beliefs through idol worship and sexual misconduct.
We as Christians should never tolerate those who try to lead us astray. We cannot allow our motives to be mixed, but instead allow our God to direct and heal us.