Monthly Archives: May 2014

How To Interpret the Bible For Yourself

As we gather each week to study the Word of God together we seek to approach Scripture in a way that is consistent with the command to “rightly divide the Word of Truth.”

Pastor Charles Wood has been retired for a number of years.  Once and awhile I get an email from him with helpful material that he has used in his ministry.  Here are seven principles for biblical interpretation Pastor Wood shared recently.  I know you will find them helpful in your own study of the Word:

You can “rightly divide the Word of Truth,” without seminary training or any knowledge whatever of the Biblical languages if you will assimilate these seven principles.  But first, a basic definition (of Hermeneutics – Biblical Interpretation): the science of interpreting the Bible in order to determine its true meaning.

1.  Literally: Scripture should be taken to mean what it obviously appears to mean.  Deal with a literal interpretation, not a literal translation as a  completely literal translation is not possible.

2. Grammatically: Words should normally be taken to mean what they obviously mean.  Words do have meaning.  If that meaning is ignored, language makes no sense whatever.  The obvious meaning of words ought to be accepted as the proper meaning unless there is a strong reason to do otherwise.

3. Culturally: The Bible should not normally be given any meaning that would not have been obvious to those to whom it was written.

The Bible was written in history.  This may sound a bit confusing, but a little thought should clarify it.  Most of it was written to those to whom it was written, but some was written “for our admonition” but even that has primary meaning for those to whom it was written. Absolutely critical point:   we should always ask, “would those to whom this was originally written understand this particular interpretation?”  If the answer is “no” then our interpretation is probably wrong.  (If it takes many pages to establish an interpretation, it is also probably wrong).

4. Contextually: Scripture must be interpreted in the light of its context.  Thus these points come into play:

  •   Always identify the context of any verse or small portion
  •   Always remember that context comes in various forms:  immediate,larger, general)

Scripture must be interpreted in the light of and in accord with its context.  Some proposed interpretation simply fail on the   fact that they are out of context.  A particular problem with “proof-texting” taking a passage a certain way and then looking for  verse that appear to support it.

5. Singly: There may be many implications  of a passage BUT only ONE interpretation (and probably only one basic application). Two or more interpretations may be possible – no problem if both agree with the general tenor of Scripture – but only one can actually be the correct one.  Caution: in a Bible study with several participants, don’t ever ask, “What does this passage mean to you,” or leave a passage open-ended.

6. Theologically: No Scripture should ever be taken to mean anything out of accord with the rest of Scripture.  Stated more succinctly:. All Scripture must be interpreted in the light of all others, no Scripture can ever be held to teach anything contrary to the teaching of the rest of Scripture, and the interpretation of obscure passages must give way to clear passages.

7. Historically: All interpretations must be checked against the history of doctrine.  Make no mistake, since we believe revelation and inspiration both ended with the close of the canon; there is no new truth.  There may be new emphases, but new truths aren’t true. Conclusions should always be checked, especially if they are unusual or “different.”  Good commentaries are good sources of the history of doctrine.  If there is no evidence that anyone else held something, it is well to tread carefully with it.  (This is the basic meaning of , “No Scripture is of any private interpretation.”

CONCLUSION:  If the Bible contains all we need to know for life and Godliness, then we need to know what the Bible really says.  Hermeneutic principles help us determine what it is the Bible really means so that we can apply those truths to our lives.

The Light of the World

Victoria Falls in Southern Zambia spills 300-3000 cubic meters per second of water over its edge.  What an awesome picture of God's abundant GRACE!

Victoria Falls in Southern Zambia spills 300-3000 cubic meters per second of water over its edge. What an awesome picture of God’s abundant GRACE!

Our text is taken from John 1:6-18.  John presents Jesus as the Light of the World, God who came in flesh to light our path and bring us to God.

Intro to the Book of John:

Last week we began a series in the Gospel of John that we are calling “50 Days With Jesus”.   Why is the Gospel of John so important?  John himself tells us his purpose for writing:

“But these things have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31) 

John’s purpose for writing is two-fold:

  • His purpose for writing was apologetic – “that you may believe.”
  • His purpose for writing was evangelistic – that “by believing you may have life through His name.”

The key word used over 100x in the the Gospel of John: Believe!

John is going to make his case throughout the book that Jesus Christ is God and therefore we must believe in Him.

Three words we need to understand:

1.  Faith = Confidence that someone or something is reliable

2.  Believe = Believe means to have complete trust and reliance on someone or something.  The acceptance of facts, but it also involves deciding for or against.  (Faith is required to believe.)  ILL: Austin jumping to dad

3.  Trust = Moves us to action!  NOTE:  What we believe determines what we do!

“The quality of any relationship is determined by faith or trust.  The one who has faith believes in something.  The one who believes also trusts, or he doesn’t truly believe.”  ILL:  Blondin – Tightrope walker across Niagara Falls pushing wheelbarrow.

Faith is the basis for all life:  Banks operate by faith. Paper money.Post office operates by faith.  Purchase of commodities – Coca Cola.

Importance of faith:  Heb. 11:6, Without faith it is impossible to please God!

1. Saved by faith: Eph. 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 

2.  Walk by faith:  2Cor. 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight

Why should you run to the Light and put your complete trust and reliance in Jesus for this life and the one to come?


Where he come from (6)

1.  God sent him.  That is a huge claim!

  • Vision of father Zacharias in the temple (Luke 1:1-22)
  • Miraculous birth – mother was past the age of giving birth
  • Consecrated to the Lord as a Nazarite (Luke 1:16-17)

2.  He is a credible witness – John the Baptist.

  • He did not claim something for Himself. He was not that light, but sent to bear witness to the light. (8)
  • He pointed people to Jesus saying, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (Jn 3:30)

Why he was sent (7-8)

  1. He was sent to prepare the way for the Messiah.  “Voice of one crying in the Wilderness – make straight the paths of our God.” (23)
  2. To give witness to the Light – to point men to the Messiah, Jesus Christ (7a,8).  Witness was necessary because spiritually blind people could not see the light (2 Cor 4:3-4)
  3. So that all might believe. What is faith? – More than mental assent.

What he testified (9)

  1. Jesus is the true light – many claim to have the “light”
  2. Jesus gives light to every person coming into the world – regardless of period of time, ethnicity, cultural or family heritage – Jesus is the Light!


Some will reject (10-11)

  1. Because they didn’t recognize the Creator when He came. Why? (Rom 1:18-32).
  2. Because they refused to believe Him.  His own people.

ILL:  There was a poor farmer and wife who sacrificed for their only son to go away to University.  Toward the end of their first semester they scraped together some extra money to travel and visit their son on campus. As they approached, with outstretched arms, their son acted as if he had never seen them before and turned away saying, “I don’t know those people, I think they might be crazy!”

  • They loved darkness rather than light (3:19-21)
  • They did not like hypocrisy being exposed. (Mt. 23 – Woe to you Scribes, Pharisees, Hypocrites)
  • They had their own “form of godliness” that they were quite comfortable with. (2Ti 3:5)

Ultimately both the world at large (Rome) and His own people (Jewish people) crucified Him!

Others will receive (12-13)

  1. Those who receive have the right to become children of God. (12a)
      • The rights and privilege of being a child.
      • The protection that comes with being a child
      • The care that comes with being a child
  2. All who believe on His Name – not mere mental assent, rather all all out embracing of all that He is: His person, His character, His nature!  This is what it means to “believe on His name.” (12b)
  3. This birth does not come through lineage or family lines, it does not come through human impulse, it does not come through human reasoning.  It is a spiritual birth – “of God.” (13)


We can know Him personally (14)

  1. He is glorious!
  • Glory – only begotten = one of a kind, unique.  The beauty and glorious majesty of Jesus!  He welcomed the broken, he forgives the worst of sinners, he restores what was lost.  He is glorious, he is beautiful beyond comprehension!
  • He is full of grace and truth! (Jn 14:6).

2.  He declares God to us (18b, Rev. 1:4-8)

We can know truth (14b, 17b)

The law was given by Moses:  Purpose of the Law:

  1. To reveal the righteousness of God.

Rom. 10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. 5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” 

2.  The law was a tutor to bring us to Christ.

Gal 3:24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 

3.  The law can only condemn you – because you are guilty

Rom 3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

We can receive grace (16-17)

  1. Grace – God giving us what we do not deserve, we cannot earn, it is freely and lovingly lavished upon us because we are His children.
  2. He is full of grace – the grace he offers to you is from the overflow of His grace!  “Grace upon grace.” (16)

Eph. 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 

3.  He pours out sustaining grace upon His children – “my grace is sufficient for you.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

ILL: Victoria Falls – 3000 cu.mtrs. per second.  Imagine a little mouse  on the edge of the falls worried that there might not be enough water to keep him alive.  VicFalls says: “Drink all you want little mouse, my water is sufficient for you!

    • His presence with you in every circumstance and situation
    • His provision for every need
    • His promise to deliver you safely to the Father in Heaven


Some of you have been here for several weeks or longer.  You are seeing and hearing the claims of Scripture.

Perhaps you are wresting in your mind and heart: Are these things true?

John 7:17 If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. 

Here is what John is saying to us:

  1. You cannot know grace or truth apart from Jesus Christ
  2. You cannot know God if you don’t believe in Jesus Christ
  3. You cannot know the favor of being God’s child unless you are born of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

Will you receive Him – the Light of God – by faith today?

If you would like to download a .docx copy of this Bible study, click on this link The Light of the World.

Indescribable God!

Today our text is John 1:1-5.

Before we tackle this amazing passage I invite you to watch this breathtaking video entitled: “Indescribable.”

How do you attempt to describe God?

There are times we face something so glorious, so overwhelming, so great that the words of a human language are inadequate to express it. In those moments we may simply say:  Wow! Awesome!

  • I felt this way when my wife gave birth to our firstborn daughter Cherith.
  • I felt this way when I stood at the edge of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA.

Grand Canyon

How much more God!  He is indescribable!

Intro to the Book of John:

Today we begin a series in the Gospel of John that we are calling “50 Days With Jesus”.


In the weeks ahead we will follow Jesus, watch His life, learn from His teaching, observe How he lives and interacts with the world around Him. We will spend time with Jesus as He demonstrates God’s love for man by submitting to arrest and crucifixion so that God might be just in His condemnation of sin while at the same time freely offering us forgiveness and reconciliation.

The Book of John is one of four “gospels”. The word gospel means “good news.”

  • Matthew – Presents Jesus as King – His audience: Jews
  • Mark – Presents Jesus as a Servant – His audience: Romans
  • Luke – Presents Jesus as the Perfect Man – His audience: Greeks
  • John – Presents Jesus as Mighty God – His audience: the world.

The first three gospels – Matthew, Mark & Luke are called Synoptic Gospels. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the “Synoptic Gospels”.  This simply means “to see together” referring to the similarities in the content of these three gospels.

The Gospel of John however contains a large amount of material not found in the other three books.  In fact about 90% of the information in John is not found in the other gospels.

So why is the Gospel of John so important and special?  Well, John himself tells us his purpose for writing:

“But these things have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31)

John tells us his purpose for writing is two-fold:

  • His purpose for writing was apologetic – “that you may believe.”
  • His purpose for writing was evangelistic – that “by believing you may have life through His name.”

John’s apologetic and evangelistic purpose was to convince his readers of Jesus’ true identity.  John presents Jesus as God in the flesh (1:1, 14; 8:23,58; 10:30; 20:28), the Messiah (Jewish deliverer) (1:41; 4:25-26), and the Savior of the world (4:42).(MacArthur; John 1-11)

The key word used over 100x in the book: Believe! John is going to make his case throughout the book to prove what he claims about Jesus in chapter 1:1-5.

In our text today we will see Three Evidences That Jesus Christ is Indescribable God:


A. The place – “in the beginning.”

    1. He already existed when time and space began (Gen 1:1, John 17:5).
    2. He is the eternally preexistent one!

B. The person – “was the Word.”

    1. “Was” (Heb. ito) meaning He personally existed for all eternity. He has no beginning, He has no end. He created time and space, but is Himself outside of time and space.
    2. “The Word” – Deity expressed in audible terms. When I have a thought – worlds are the way that thought becomes coherent Words communicate – the way that I share those thoughts with others – Jesus is the way God communicates to us.  Words reveal a person to us – Christ reveals to us the character and nature of God.

Hebrews 1:1-2 – God has in these last days spoken through His Son.
John 1:18 – The Son declares the Father…
Matthew 17:15 – At the transfiguration, God the Father said, “This is my beloved Son, hear Him!”

3. “The Word was with God.” – He is a personal separate personality. God exists as a trinity. One in nature, character, person and essence; but fulfilling different roles

4. “The Word was with God.” – He is a personal separate personality. God exists as a trinity. One in nature, character, person and essence; but fulfilling different roles:

    • God the Father – planned salvation
    • God the Son – brought salvation
    • God the Holy Spirit – applies salvation

5.  “The Word was God – This is an absolute, undeniable claim to absolute deity.

Why is this important?

    • Because if He is in fact God then He can save us from sin! (1:12-13)
    • Because you cannot know God unless you know Jesus Christ because it is only in Christ that God is fully told out!

John 14:9 – “If you have seen me you have seen the Father!”  
2 Corinthians 4:6 – the “knowledge of God” is only seen “in the face of Jesus Christ.”


A. God is Creator (Gen. 1:1)

1. Man with all his boasting and mechanical inventions cannot create a single thing – he must use elements and compounds that already exist.
2. Men spend their lives extracting useful metals from deep within the ground, metals that God flung there with one word from His mouth!

B. Jesus is the Creator (3)

1. There was nothing created apart from Him.

Col. 1:16-17: For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
Eph 3:9: and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;
Heb 1:2: God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

2. He is all-powerful God.


A. He is the source of life (4)

1. No one gave Jesus Christ life – He is the self-existent one! All life resides in Him, He is the giver of it!
2. There are two types of life, Physical life and Spiritual life

    • Physical life: Our life is borrowed, it was given to us and it will one day come to an end. Not so with Jesus Christ. He is the source of all life!
    • The second type of life is spiritual life – and this is the word used here and throughout John (36x). Jesus Christ is the source of spiritual life, life that continues forever. Ephesians 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,

B. His life is the light of men (5)

1. “The light shines in darkness”

    • Intellectually: light = truth. Darkness = falsehood. Morally: light = holiness. Darkness = sin
    • All mankind regardless of their family heritage, cultural background, are born in darkness.

Education cannot dispel the darkness of a man’s heart. The problem is not bad friends or poverty – the problem is spiritual darkness!  There is only one thing in the universe powerful enough to dispel the darkness that is Jesus Christ! The radiating manifestation of God is revealed in His son, Jesus Christ! God is light and in Him is no darkness at all!

2. “The darkness cannot overpower the light”

    • Satan & Demons knew who Jesus was (Mt.8:29, Mk. 1:34). Because they knew who He was they tried to kill him. Herod’s attempt to kill him as a baby (Mt 2:16). Satan tried to tempt Jesus (Mt. 4:1-11).
    • Unbelievers are eternally lost, not because they do not know who the truth but because they reject it! (Ro. 1:18-21). Jesus said that no one who denies the deity of Christ can be saved! No one!

Jn. 8:24 That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I Am (who I claim to be), you will die in your sins.”

So here is what this all means to you and me today!

  • Because He is ETERNAL, He is always with you. There is not a place you can be that He is not there with you.
  • Because He is the CREATOR He is capable and powerful enough to care for you today and forever. He is able to meet your needs, to give you strength, purpose and hope.
  • Because He is GOD He knows everything, He knows you – your hurts and fears and joys. No matter what you are facing right now, God knows and He cares.
  • Because He is LIGHT He will always conquer the darkness of false belief and sin. He is the absolute guarantee that you can pass from spiritual darkness into light. The darkness cannot and will not overpower the light!
  • Because he is LIFE you can can experience His eternal, everlasting life through believing in Jesus Christ and thus being forgiven for your sin.

This God we speak of today, the God who revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ is so great and glorious that He is INDESCRIBABLE!

He is awesome in His greatness and glory, yet He knows You! He loves you and He calls you to become His child today.

You can download a PDF copy of this Bible study here: Indescribable God.

If you would like spiritual help, please get in touch with us on email at or cell 0976513466.

50 Days With Jesus – A Study in the Book of John

50 days with jesus t copy

This Sunday we kick off a new Bible Study series in the Gospel of John entitled 50 DAYS WITH JESUS.

Of the four gospels, John stands apart as unique.  Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the “Synoptic Gospels”.  This simply means “to see together” referring to the similarities in the content of these three gospels.

The Gospel of John however contains a large amount of material not found in the other three books.  In fact about 90% of the information in John is not found in the other gospels.

So why is the Gospel of John so important and special?  Well, John himself tells us his purpose in writing:  “But these things have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name (John 20:31).  John tells us his purpose is two-fold:

  • His purpose for writing was apologetic – “that you may believe.”
  • His purpose for writing was evangelistic – that “by believing you may have life through His name.”

John’s apologetic and evangelistic purpose was to “convince his readers of Jesus’ true identity.  He presents Him as God incarnate (1:1, 14; 8:23,58; 10:30; 20:28), the Messiah (1:41; 4:25-26), and the Savior of the world (4:42).” (MacArthur; John 1-11)

We will learn from John who Jesus is, what it means to believe in Him, and the impact that He has on our daily lives.

We invite you to join us this Sunday and every Sunday at 10:00 at the Nkana Polo Club located adjacent to the Show Grounds in Kitwe.  Invite a friend!

For more information email the Phil Hunt ( or get in contact by phone +260976153466.

The Life-Changing Mark of Mothers

Our text today is 1 Samuel 1:1-28.  In this text we have the story of a woman who God used in a strategic way in His redemptive plan.  Her name is Hannah.

Not everyone here is a mother…

Not everyone has good memories of their mother…

Not every woman will be a biological mother…

However today we celebrate a beautiful ideal that originated in the mind of God – Motherhood.

“Why bother with Mothers’ Day at all? I’ll tell you why —— because for all its stumbling blocks, pitfalls and broken dreams, for all the soiled diapers, soiled wallpaper and spoiled plans, we’re talking about a beautiful ideal, a natural part of God’s creative plan to bring love and caring to light. Motherhood is a constant demand for the gift of love and caring.” (

Every mother lives her life for another – she exists for the benefit of another – from the pain of childbirth through the years of caring and providing for her children, motherhood is a symbol of universal selflessness and love.

Throughout Scripture women are elevated to a position of honor and influence.


Mothers: You play an important role in God’s unfolding purpose:

Have you seen the vision of what God is doing? He is working throughout history to call a people from every nation, tribe and tongue who will one day assemble before the throne to worship the lamb (Rev 7)

The flow of God’s redemptive plan all points to Christ, however that plan involves men! All of history is His-Story unfolding the details of God’s redemptive plan to bring about the incarnation of Jesus Christ, God’s son – “to save His people from their sin.”

The means by which this will happen is the proclamation of the gospel among the people of the earth.

The method that God uses to proclaim that gospel is people – you and me!

To understand the narrative in today’s text we need to set the context: This is a major transition point in the OT narrative. God chose a people through which He would the Messiah would come. These Hebrew people had gotten off course. They had embraced religious syncretism – they were worshipping YWHW (Jehovah) and other gods. The priests, those given task was to teach the people to know and serve God had become immoral, and were perverting the sacrifices (1 Samuel 2:12-17, 22-24). This period of time is summed up in the words of Judges 22:25, “everyone did that which was right in their own eyes.”

At this critical point in History we are introduced to an amazing woman of faith, her name is Hannah. Hannah’s son Samuel would be the one God would use to point the nation of Israel back to God.

How did Hannah’s life provide a life-changing example for her children, and for us to follow? How will you leave a life-changing mark on your children?


Over 20 times in this chapter the name “LORD” is mentioned. LORD is the proper name for God – YHWH. It is the name God uses when he created the world (Gen 2:4). Isaiah 43:10 tells us that YHWH is ‘the only one true God.’

Hannah saw God as sovereign in the affairs of men, and sovereign over the situations that were causing her so much anguish. (5-6)

Yearly Elkanah took his family to Shiloh to worship God at the annual Jewish feasts. The worship of YHWH was a priority, a priority that involved obedience and sacrifice.


Husbands if you want your wife to be a good mother – love her! (Eph 5:25-26).

Elkanah loved his wife Hannah (4,8). The love referred to in Ephesians is no common ordinary thing. It is not romantic love or even the love of a good friend, it is a self-sacrificing love that asks nothing in return.

The love demanded by God is the desire and delight in the well being of the object of our love that leads us to self-sacrificing efforts on their behalf. The writer of Ephesians puts it this way, ‘husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church.’

This love will cause you to give up your life for your wife. It must make her holy and clean with the word. We minister the gospel to her. When you love your wife as Christ commanded, she will radiate with the confidence, purity and holiness of a godly woman.

Be secure in God’s love for you! (Is54:5).

God does not call every women to marriage. Some are called to be single, some may be widowed or divorced. Some women may be in a marriage that lacks the biblical kind of love mentioned above. Here is God’s word of comfort to you from Isaiah 54:5:

For your Maker is your husband, 
The Lord of hosts is His name; 
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; 
He is called the God of the whole earth.


Hannah faced painful circumstances that she could not control. The torture of her adversary (6). Relational problems in her home caused her inner pain and grief. These were issues that she did not have the ability to control or change. Multiple-wives was not God’s original plan – we all live with results choices we have made, often we cannot change those things.

Hannah also had a deep desire of her heart for a child but she was barren (6b-7). She grieved for a longed for destiny that had not realized – being a mother.

Hannah was an example of how to respond to suffering and pain!  She ran to God, she threw herself upon His mercies in prayer.

What sorrow or pain are you facing?

  • Miscarriage: Deep pain of empty arms, a way that only a mother can feel
  • Death of a child: To have a child snatched away in death, leaves a wound in the heart that no amount of reason or human help can heal.
  • Wayward child: The shame or sorrow of a child who has chosen to rebel against parents.
  • Broken marriage relationship: sorrow and pain of infidelity or abandonment – find love and security in God who is the husband that will never abandon or fail you.

Your trial, your suffering, your sorrow will either drive you to Christ or become a wedge that drives you away from Him!


Hannah poured her heart out to God in agonizing prayer (10). She reached up to God who had the power to close and open her womb. She recognized that God was the only one who could meet her need – for He had “shut up her womb.” (6b)

She was persistent in her prayer. It seems that she had prayed for many years over this matter. She prayed for a son, she prayed for her son! (7, 15-16). Hannah did not gain merit from God because of her persistence, but God did hear and in His time answered her prayer. God hears and answers prayer because He is a loving Father (Mt. 7:7-11)

Her prayer was one of consecration. She made a vow to give this son back to God as long as he lived to serve in the temple. As a symbol of his consecration he would be a Nazarite (Num. 6:2-21); one who was completely separated unto the Lord.


Hannah received assurance through Eli the priest that her prayer had been heard and she believed. Her faith was evidenced by her crying to turning into joy, her troubled countenance to peace. (18, Heb 11:3)

Hannah followed through on her vow to give her son Samuel to God (1:27-28)!

Her obedient faith in God prepared the man that God would use to redirect the nation back to God.

Mothers have faith in God and God will use you to instill that faith in your children! (2 Ti. 1:6)

On this Mother’s Day 2014:
Women: we thank you for showing us what care and love looks like!
Mothers: thank you for your selfless love.

Mothers you leave a life-changing mark on the life of your children by your courageous faith in Christ!

If you have not put your complete faith in Jesus Christ, cry out to God today for faith and forgiveness. He is a loving father, ready to forgive you your sins and give you a new life!

Evaluating The Reality of Our Faith

Here are the notes from the Bible Study this morning.  Our prayer is that this lesson will help you to evaluate the reality of Christianity and make an honest evaluation of your own faith.   You can download this Bible Study for your own personal use here: Evaluating the Reality of Our Faith.


We come now to the end of the introductory portion of our Bible study; from here we will begin looking more closely at the message of the Scriptures from specific texts. But today we are wrapping up the various ideas we have considered for the past several weeks.

Today we conclude by asking, “If I’m interested in becoming a follower of Jesus, where do I go from here?”

Here are some things to think about:

Examining Your Motives

A. We all find ourselves seeking God because we realize we have a need.

    1. That’s not necessarily a bad thing since we really can’t come to God sincerely if we’re full of self-confidence.
    2. God is pleased when we sincerely come to him acknowledging our need, just like parents who delight to meet the needs of their child.
    3. But there’s an important difference between that and a selfish attempt at “trying God” or “trying religion” in order to get something we want.

B. We must come to grips with the fact we owe everything to God.

  1. God is the one who created you.
  2. God is calling all people to experience his grace in Jesus.
  3. You must come to God to give yourself, not to get something for yourself.

Everyone spends their life serving something, pursuing some ultimate goal.  Are you truly interested in following and serving Jesus? Making him the ultimate pursuit of your life?

Counting the Cost

A. We have to start by realizing the magnitude of Jesus’s claims.

  1. Do you believe that Jesus is who he claimed to be?

a. There is no room to view Jesus as simply a good moral teacher—his own teaching doesn’t allow you that.

b. He clearly claimed to be God’s Son (a claim which caused him to be put to death), and if you believe he was not God’s Son then he must have been a liar.

 2.  Do you believe that Jesus can give what he promised?

a. Jesus was not simply a teacher of good morals.

b. Jesus offers eternal life—victory over sin and death.

B. We also must realize what following him involves.

1. The requirements:

a. Jesus calls people to abandon everything and follow him.

b. Jesus calls us to disregard our own lives in pursuit of serving him.

2. The potential costs:

a. Jesus does not promise that your life will get better or easier by following him: he’s not offering to improve your life—he’s asking you to give it to him.

“As they were going along the road, someone said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’ To another he said, ‘Follow me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’ Yet another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.’ Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’”  (Luke 9:57–62)

b. What are the potential costs?

1) Social Conflict

“Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” (John 15:20)

2) Family Unrest

“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:37–38)

3) Your own life:

“Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:38).

3. Why was Jesus so emphatic about the difficulty of serving him?

a. Was Jesus simply seeking followers with a lot of endurance? Was he trying to eliminate the weak from coming to him?

b. No, Jesus was clear that no one, in their own strength, has what it takes to follow him, not even the wealthy and the powerful. That’s why his disciples were in despair, asking him if anyone could possibly be saved. He replied, “with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26)

c. Jesus is really after the hearts of those who would follow him.

1) He sets up these comparisons to teach us that following him starts with finding him to be of greater value than all else (e.g., rich man—“go sell all you have” Luke 18:22).

2) Following Jesus is not just adding him to the collection of idols on your shelf.

3) He is teaching that there is no loss in giving up everything to become a part of his kingdom.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:44–46)

Taking Inventory

If you are seeking God but still struggling with the idea of following Jesus, it’s important to identify the issues you are struggling with. Here are three types of questions to ask yourself as you think about following Christ:

A. Content issues: “Are there any parts of the Christian message—creation, sin, Jesus as God, Cross, resurrection—that you don’t understand or agree with?

B. Coherence issues: “Are there still doubts and objections to the Christian faith that you cannot resolve?

C. Cost issues: “Do you perceive that a move into full Christian faith will cost you something dear? What fears to you have about commitment?”

Making the Move

What should you do if you find that Jesus is who he claims to be? Perhaps you realize that becoming a citizen of his eternal kingdom is worth far more than anything you could ever give up. How are you supposed to call out to God? The Bible calls every person in the world make a two-fold response to the message of Jesus:

A. Repentance—What does it mean to repent?

  1. Repentance has to do with accepting God’s view of your sin.
  2. Is repentance, then, simply changing your mind about sin? Much more…
  3. Repentance also includes sorrow for the sin our hearts used to enjoy and turning from them.

B. Faith—How do I express faith?

1. Expressing faith in Jesus means to place your unreserved hope and trust fully in him alone to deliver you from the judgment of your sins and to give you the eternal life he has promised.

2. What is involved in faith?

a. Knowledge—you have to understand the facts which the Bible lays out (sin’s judgment, God’s grace in Christ, etc.)

b. Agreement—you must personally accept the reality of these facts.

c. Trust—you must place your eternal destiny into the hands of Jesus, despairing of any hope in yourself to come to God on your own terms.

Committing to Community

A. Following Jesus is not simply a personal matter.

  1. God is seeking true worshippers from among all nations.
  2. Following Jesus means joining the fellowship of his spiritual family.

B. God established the church so that followers of Jesus can find support and mutual encouragement.

1. There is certainly no perfect church.

2. But it makes no sense to become part of God’s family and ignore your spiritual brothers and sisters.

C. Jesus is inviting you to become part of his spiritual family.

“Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.’” 
(John 14:23)