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Ephesians Series Lessons March 2, 2007

Posted by mjtilley in Bible Doctrines, church.
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I’ve been very slack in posting either the lessons or the notes from the lessons … and I sincerely apologize.  No good excuses to offer, unfortunately.  In any event, I’m using this post to bring you up to speed on where we are so far:

The Unity of the Holy Spirit October 15, 2006

Posted by mjtilley in Bible Doctrines, church, Holy Spirit.
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In the next-to-last chapter of the book I’m currently reading (Above All Earthly Pow’rs, Christ in a Postmodern World), the author helps make a point that I was trying to make today in my lesson on the Holy Spirit:

“The Church’s responsibility, therefore, is not to create unity, as the ecumenical movement proposed, but to preserve the unity that God himself has already created in Christ.  What militates against the unity is immaturity of doctrinal understanding (Ephesians 4:14) and immaturity in moral behavior (Ephesians 4:25-32).” (page 296)

Now, David Wells is making the point in the context of taking “seeker-sensitive” churches to task for polluting or ignoring the truth of the revealed Word (often they eschew words like ‘sin’ and ‘propitiation’ and ‘justification’ as being “too religious”).  But the point is valid even in context of our discussion on the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers and in the church as a corporate unit.   

Basically, as I was pointing out, the unity of the Spirit does not come at the expense of truth … in fact, His unity actually demands it.  Further, the unity of the Spirit — while definitely a group- and selfless-focused unity — is a unity that the Spirit creates, not me or any sort of policy or practice of the church. 

Instead of something to be strived for or compromised to attain, this unity is God’s work.  Said another way, this unity is an evidence (that is, result; not a cause) of the Holy Spirit.  Where His unity (this truthful, doctrinal, self-effacing unity) is present, you can rest assured that He is present.  And, if the Bible is to believed (and it is), He’s present in the life of every believer upon salvation. 

So the key question, and one for which I have no satisfactory answer, is “Why, then, don’t we experience more true, Holy-Ghost prompted unity in our churches?”  Could it be that we’re working so hard to manufacture it that we’re missing His leading?  Could it be that we think we’ve got a better solution?

I pray that we all will submit to the Spirit’s work in our individual lives and within the body of Christ so that we can enjoy and experience the precious promised unity of the Holy Spirit.    

Jesus, My Victorious Ruler October 6, 2006

Posted by mjtilley in Bible Doctrines, Jesus Christ.
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A recording of the 10/1/2006 lesson about Jesus’ role as our King: http://www.archive.org/download/Jesus1_2/Jesus2.WMA.

A Sympathetic Priest October 6, 2006

Posted by mjtilley in Bible Doctrines, Jesus Christ.
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A recording of the 9/24/2006 lesson about Jesus’ role as priest: http://www.archive.org/download/Jesus1_2/Jesus1.WMA.

Jesus Christ seen in the Old Testament September 12, 2006

Posted by mjtilley in Bible Doctrines, Jesus Christ, salvation, The Old Testament.
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On Sunday, Brian continued with the lessons on the Doctrine of Jesus Christ.  What’s striking to me is how central this doctrine (and thereby, these 5 lessons) are to our faith, to our salvation, to the church.  That is not to say any one of the other lessons or doctrines aren’t important — try and take one away or tweak it a bit and you’ll find out just how important they are to everything — but it is to say that Christ is the central figure of it all.

That concept is very prominently seen in a study of the Old Testment, done in light of the revelation we have of Jesus in the New Testament — the topic of Brian’s lesson.

I think it is important to know that without Jesus actually coming and without the Holy Scriptures of the New Testament, Jesus in the Old Testament is not such an obvious thing.  Certainly passages like Isaiah 53 are teaching, foreshadowing the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.  But now that we have the light shed by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, we can plainly see that Jesus was who was being foretold.

Ultimately, what that means to me is this: Jesus dying on the cross, the mystery of the church, my salvation itself are all acts of God planned before the world was ever Created.  This was no “fall-back,” plan B … this was the God-honoring, Father-glorifying plan of redemption.  The seeds (some more obvious and others less, but all purposeful) of information about that plan show that God was never once taken by surprise, never struck his forehead with his palm in astonishment.  No — my God put the plan into action from the first act of the Bible and of time (Genesis 1:1).  And He continued implementing His plan according to His timing. 

I take away two assurances from that:

1) My God chose me!  Only because of His love and His grace, I can say that I am accepted by God, that I have a position of right-standing with God, that I am a friend of God.

2) My God will always make sure His plan is accomplished!  No matter what, with our without my consent … it will happen.  May I be always be willing to submit. 

Jesus: The God-Man September 7, 2006

Posted by mjtilley in Bible Doctrines, Jesus Christ, salvation.
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This past Sunday, Brian covered one of the more important, yet more mind-boggling aspects of Jesus — the fact that He was 100%, totally God while being 100%, totally human.  This is called Jesus’ Deity and Humanity

I am so glad that Jesus is not some lesser deity, some smallish god sent to do the dirty work of the more potent gods.  No!  He was and is God holding on to every attribute and characteristic of God, claiming and owning equality with the Father.  Anything less and His sacrifice on the cross would have been as effective as the death of the theives beside of Him. 

I am also so glad that Jesus had the humility to take on this dirty humanity, to walk among us, to teach us, to model perfection to us and to suffer the agonies of the flesh.  Anything less and He would have been unable to suffer, to bleed, to die for me on the cross … to suffer the ultimate separation from God by taking on the sins of the world!  And beyond His redemptive capabilites, Jesus can be so sympathetic to me and my suffering and sin.  He is a loving and sympathetic High Priest.  Finally, what a lesson in humility: Jesus, who was and is equal with The Father, nonetheless obeyed the direction of the Father and became even lower than the created angels … an all because He loved me!

Lord … May I be ever mindful of the sacrifice that You both required and gave to reconcile my depraved humanity with Your holy righteousness,  Thank you ever so much for the ultimate expression of love, humility and righteousness that Your Son dying on the cross of Calvary represents.  I pray that You forgive us for ever thinking we can do anything in our own power and ever being so bold as to ignore or shun the efficacious shedding of blood.  I beg that You use us to lift up Christ and in so doing, allow us to be co-laborers with You in drawing men to yourself. 

The Doctrine of God: The Trinity August 29, 2006

Posted by mjtilley in Bible Doctrines, Doctrine of God.
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In the final lesson on the Doctrine of God, we examined the Trinity.  You can hear this lesson or catch up on others that you may have missed on the Bible Doctrines page.

The Doctrine of the Bible: Interpretation and Application July 28, 2006

Posted by mjtilley in Bible Doctrines, The Bible.
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Brian discusses some practical points about how to interpret Scripture and make application of it to our lives. Download/listen to the recording here: http://www.archive.org/download/1BasicDoctrine/BasicDoctrine7.WMA

The Doctrine of the Bible: Divisions and Themes July 28, 2006

Posted by mjtilley in Bible Doctrines, The Bible.
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Brian discusses the various divisions of the Bible and the pre-eminent and ultimate theme of Scripture, Jesus Christ. Download/listen to the recording here: http://www.archive.org/download/1BasicDoctrine/BasicDoctrines4.WMA