Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Lesson 5 -- Written by Marcia McCance
A continuation of Lesson 4:
1. What it says:
15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."
2. What it means:
We conform ourselves to God through our conduct. When God called us, we became one of His and he wants us to “look like Him” to the world. We show our love for Him by our obedience to Him. We cannot do this without the aid of the Holy Spirit which we receive when we put our faith in Jesus Christ and focus our “selves” on God. He, then, becomes our central, centered purpose.
What does the word “focus” mean?
What does the word “purpose” mean?
There is one word found in both lists of synonyms at the end of this lesson. What is it?
Focus is based on purpose and when the two are “in sync” you have “single-mindedness”. You will be looking at, paying attention to, or focusing on, whatever purpose you have in your heart. … If your purpose is to be holy in all your conduct, then your focus will be on God -- to conform yourself to Him. No one is ever indifferent to treasure. What you treasure, will be your desire and aim.
Matt 6:21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matt 12:35 "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
So the question we need to ask ourselves is “What do I treasure? “ That is not a question to answer on a quiz. That is the question of our lives! We may need to pray that God will place His purpose in our hearts. I believe that when the Holy Spirit came to indwell us, he did place His purpose in our hearts! We just need to keep refocusing – again and again -- on His purpose!
Heb 8:10 "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
Did you ever think about God putting thoughts in your mind? He does. You can also ask Him to put good thoughts in your mind or change the focus of your heart! He writes His laws on our hearts, as well. What is His purpose in doing that?
Heb 10:16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,"
Do you see from the two verses above that in the Bible “the mind” and “the heart” are interchangeable? What is in the heart, is what is on the mind! We do not have to “muster up” what God has already placed in our hearts, but, we do play a part in God’s purpose. He has commanded us to conform our conduct to His – be holy, for He is holy. Check your conduct to find out what is in your heart. We often do not pay attention to what is in our hearts – we just live our lives from there without consideration of consequences! If we truly desire to “be holy in all our conduct,” then we consciously manage our conduct.
John 14:15 "If you love Me, keep My commandments.
Col 3: 1-2 ¶ If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
“Set your mind” is another way of saying “focus.” We need to make adjustments to our thinking to bring our thoughts back to “things above” – where Christ is! This is not a “one-time deal!” We may need to refocus many times a day -- which is why it is so important to continue to pray, and to continue to read the Bible, so we will continue to walk with the Lord.
In the following verses fill in the blank with what appears after the words: “do all” (which is conduct, or behavior)
Now go back and write “I can” in front of each “Do all” – do you see a new perspective?
What a humbling thought! To do “all I do” in word or deed in the name of the Lord Jesus as I give thanks to God the Father. In the Bible “word” means scripture or teachings of God. What we do “in word” is speaking, preaching or teaching God’s word -- we are to speak in His name and give thanks to God. This looks like we are to represent Jesus to the world! Just like a policeman speaks “in the name of the law,” we speak "in the name of Jesus" -- who has authority over all things in heaven and in earth. We counsel others only through His word. We are to mirror Him – be holy as he is holy. We are His salt and His light to the world.
James 5:8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Heb 13:9 Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, …
James says we need to be patient and make Jesus the foundation of our hearts -- because He is coming soon. Hebrews says that our hearts should be established by grace! We determine whose purpose we cherish – either God’s, or Satan’s – there is no “in-between.” Meditate on your purpose: If you need to change the purpose of your heart, pray that the Lord will change your heart to conform to His will and His purpose.
2 Thes 2:16-17 ¶ Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.
A look at how God and His people relate to His purpose. What do these verses say about God’s purpose that we need to know?
A look at how Jesus fulfilled God’s purpose. What do these verses say about Jesus and God’s purpose that we need to know?
Optional: Read the first chapter of Ephesians looking for “God’s purpose” in Jesus, and for us, in as many places as you can see it.
A look at what our purpose should be. What do these verses say about God’s purpose, or our purpose, that we need to know?
God makes changes in us, and provision for us, that we could not bring about on our own. It is God who enables and establishes us – based on our focus on Him, our faith in Him, our love for Him, and our obedience to Him. (Recall : “Believe, Trust, Conform”).
Ro 14:8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
2Ch 30:12 Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders, at the word of the LORD.
Eze 36:33 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: "On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt.
What does “enable” mean?
2Cor 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
He cleanses us from our iniquities.. He enables us to do His work. He gives us singleness of heart! By His grace we have all sufficiency in all things – abundance for every good word and work! He enables and establishes; we believe and conform!
De 28:9 "The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways.
What does “establish” mean?
What will the LORD establish?
What is our part?
“Walk in His ways” is another way of saying “Be holy in all your conduct.” What did Jesus say were the first two commandments?
1Ch 17:14 "And I will establish him in My house and in My kingdom forever; and his throne shall be established forever."’"
Of whom is this verse prophesying?
The Father, not only establishes us, He established Jesus also!! And since Jesus is God, that means that God establishes HIMSELF!!
Ps 90:17 And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.
What a wonderful thought! To let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us! Wow! What a wonderful way to say “be holy for I am holy!” What does God establish for us?
Isa 26:12 LORD, You will establish peace for us, For You have also done all our works in us.
What else does God establish for us?
How many of our works has He done in us?
Ro 10:3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.
They were ignorant of what?
So they sought to establish what?
In seeking to build their own righteousness, what did they not do?
Mt 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
For what two things are we to seek?
What does it mean to seek God’s righteousness?
When I checked Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, A Commentary, I found that the Kingdom of God is “that kingdom which the God of heaven is erecting in this fallen world, within which are all the spiritually recovered (born again) …(living) under Messiah as its Divine Head and King.” “His righteousness" is the character of God as exhibited in the kingdom’s various members (“be holy as I am holy”). The "seeking" of the kingdom of God and His character (righteousness) is to make Him the object of supreme choice and pursuit; and the seeking of them "first" is the seeking of them before and above all else. Single-mindedness! The “all these things” are the basic human necessities which our heavenly Father already knows we need -- and will give us, which is implied, as a matter of course. (See an illustration of this principle in these amazing verses: 2 Chron 1:11-12)
1Pe 5:10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
The God of what?
To what have we been called?
Who let us know of the calling?
After we have suffered what does God do?
Oh, this is why we depend on Him and His righteousness! His solutions are so much better than ours. His grace is so vast it includes us all! We are required only to love Him, to believe Him, to trust Him, and to conform ourselves to Him. What Amazing Grace!!
Note: When we use the word “purpose” what might come to mind for some is a series of teachings called “A Purpose Driven Life.” Personally, I do not recommend that series of teachings. I have had a little experience with those lessons when I attended a neighboring church’s singles group who were studying them. I found them to be a mixture of psychology and religion. I do not want to mix the philosophies of the world, with the word of God. Let us keep His Word pure in our hearts. We do not have to live purpose driven, pressure packed lives. We can live God-directed lives by faith in Him who is able to accomplish His purposes in us.
Further: A lot is also being said today about “self-esteem” which is a psychological term -- but what we really need is to take that self and focus it on God. When we become aware of Who He is… we can do nothing but be humbled, which is the opposite of “self esteem.” If we keep ourselves focused on, seeking, and learning more and more about, God, we soon begin to see how powerful He is. How big He is. What the center of His heart is. Just look at what God is focused on:
Jer 29:11-13 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
We soon find out that we are the center of His heart! Jesus is our new future and our new hope -- given to us by God the Father. He did this so we would call upon Him, and pray to Him. He listens to us! Praise the Lord! We will find God when we search for Him with all our heart – single-minded focus and purpose. He has intervened in our lives through the cross of Jesus Christ to forgive us of our sins against Him and bring us back to Himself -- restoration! We can bank on that! If God has forgiven us, we are forgiven!
Mr 2:5 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven you."
So, if you feel bad about your life, take it to the cross and beg God for forgiveness. Then trust in God’s everlasting forgiveness and sin no more. Since He loves you, you are loved. Since He thinks we are worthwhile, then, we are worthwhile. We truly are the center of His heart – His “poema” -- we are God’s poetry! Love Him. Believe Him. Trust Him. Conform to Him. He will enable you, establish you, strengthen you, perfect you, and settle you!
1John 4:19 We love Him because He first loved us.
3. What it means to me:
(Believe, Trust, Conform)
Read again: 1 Peter 1:15-16, at the top of this study – and in another translation.
Definitions and Synonyms:
1. Consolation – comfort, solace, relief, support. Antonym: grief
2. Enable – allow, facilitate, permit, make possible
3. Establish – set up, institute, start, create, begin, launch, found, determine, prove, confirm
4. Focus –center, focal point, center of attention, concentrate, direct, motivation, single-mindedness, application. Antonym: edge
5. Purpose – reason, principle, intention, aim, objective, target, goal, determination, resolution, resolve, persistence, tenacity, single-mindedness. Antonym: indifference