Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bible Study 2Peter 2 Discussion

Our discussion is on Bible Study 2Peter 2 False Teachers.

The key points are:
  1. The False Teachers among us. We need to be alert, though not suspecting everyone around us, to the possible presence of such people among us.
  2. They can be recognized by their doctrine which can be summarized in a few words.

    To put it nicely and deceptively, it is called live according to your naturally self.

    But it is actually living like the animals - following your lusts. It may look like freedom but actually it is bondage to sins.

    The appetites are greed for more, living wildly, rebelliously, no sense of right or wrong, and with no respect to authority and even God.
  3. They will be judged and punished for their sins as God had demonstrated His judgments in the past.
  4. What we are born with does not make it right. God, the creator, defines what is right and wrong and will execute judgment.

    Hence, Christ has to die for our sins and to rebirth us with a new Godly live in us. With Christ in us we can then live freely in righteousness as we follow the desires of our new life in Christ. Without rebirth, following our sinful self freely will lead us to sins and bondage like the false teachers.
  5. If we are truly saved, we will not live in sins comfortably. Our cleansed conscience will stirred us to repent. The grace of God is for us to live a righteous life freed from sins.

    The grace of God is not a license for us to sin as Paul pointed out in Rom 6:12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.

Only an unchanged pig after cleaning will go back to wallow in the mud. Wallowing the mud shows that its character has not been changed. A transformed pig, not longer a pig, will not go back to mud for he will see it as unclean. So, if you find yourself stuck in your old sins, you may need to question your understanding about the salvation by Christ.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Bible Study 2Peter Chapter 1 Discussion

Who are we? What is our Future? Are we equipped? The Growth Model of Life. Our Calling - Journey to a Destination. You are in God's will, be the right one and live out the best. 
This is a discussion on  Bible Study 2Peter 1 Growth that Never FailsWe have the additional points shared and discussed in the meeting.

1. Apostle & Servant
Peter addressed himself as Apostle and Servant together. An apostle is the sent-one, the man with a mission assigned by Christ. The apostle is usually the leader, the groundbreaker, the church planter. Peter followed it with 'a servant' reminding us that a leader should lead not by it positional authority by force but by serving as shown by Jesus' washing of the disciples' feet. Servant Leadership is about leading by example with the interests of the people in his heart. It is about teaching and more importantly by living out the message. The famous Chinese Philosopher Lao Zi will call it "Teaching without Words" (Dao De Jing Chapter 2 是 以 圣 人 处 无 为 之 事  行 不 言 之 教.).

2. We all have the Same Level of Righteousness of Jesus Christ.
In the eyes of God, we as the same level of righteousness as the Apostles. The Righteousness is imparted and based on the Righteousness obtained by Jesus Christ who is in us. No one is more worthy than another.

3. We are called by Jesus to Glory - Partakers of Divine Nature.
We need two things to live out the promises of God.

They are
  1. Grace - God's empowerment, all things that pertain to life godliness v2-3.
  2. Peace - God's confidence and clear-mindedness. Only when we are at peace are we able to receive guidance, think clearly without any biases, and have the boldness to walk according to His guidance. Chinese uses the word "Righteous and Restful Heart - 正心"  without desire, fear, or anger. ( see The Great Learning)
They are gained by the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ v2,v8.

4. The 8 Steps Model of Growth from Faith to Love for All

It is not a linear but a spiral model of growth. We grow from within to without from lower to higher levels as we live out and experience the new life.

Growth into Maturity of Christ is best depicted in the mind-map below:

5.  Our Unique Calling

Our general calling is well covered above by Peter. We need to discover and follow our unique calling. We discussed calling as both a destination and a journey. For this journey, the way to discern God's will have the following 3 keys (Tim Keller)
  1. affinity (of the heart): passion, interests.
  2. ability (of the mindset and body skills): should not be what we claim but our friends are able to tell us that we are good at those things.
  3. opportunities (of external events): the doors are to be opened for us to enter.
6. Moving away from the "Perfect & Permissible Model of God's Will" to "Journey of Life Model".

We discussed that a past concept of God's Will may be causing more harm than good. That is the "Perfect & Permissible Model of God's Will". The concept teaches that there is a God's perfect will for you and that God will give in to you if you insist for His permissive will. Under His perfect will, he will be having a great time whereas, in his permissive will, you will be struggling.

We think is to always good to seek God's will in all matter of life. But we don't think that God's way is so narrow that there is a perfect will. We think God's will is a range of options (within His revealed Words) and anyone will be good. We have Rom 8:28 All things work for good to those that love God. 2 Thes 5:16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

We cannot judge whether we are in God's perfect will by our external circumstances of blessings like wealth and promotion. Else, Paul should be the most disobedient person in the world according to his suffering for Christ.

Logically, the perfect will model of God will easily be broken in a marriage relationship when two disobedient believers married the wrong persons.

We need to see that God is more interested in us following His will that we wanting to follow His will.

Seek and understand God's will in all matter of life and live out boldly within the revealed Words of God with what we see best since we have the mind of Christ in us. Don't worry about whether are you in the perfect will of God now but to live out the best in your current situation. Don't worry about whether have you marry the right one, be the right one now. Don't worry whether you are in the job that is God's perfect will, do the best you can in this current job, in the name and for the name of Christ.