July Bible Study: Freedom in Christ

Bible Study on John 8:31-47
By Lisa Smith, Southwest Division

INTRODUCTION: One of my favorite holidays is the Fourth of July. It is a day filled with picnics in the park in the presence of friends and family, games, half melted ice cream and of course the spectacular fireworks display that fil the sky with a multitude of colors. However, those are not my favorite parts of this day- I love to celebrate that our country is free. We have freedom of speech, assembly, the press, and most of all freedom to worship our God openly and without fear of imprisonment – or even death.

As Americans, we are a free people, but as Christians we even more free. Through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus, God gives us a freedom that is even greater than the freedoms we enjoy in the United States. In John’s Gospel chapter 8: 31-47, Jesus tells the Jews who believed He was God’s Son about what it means to be a free child of God.

31 “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him ‘If you continue in My word, then you are disciples of Mine.
32 and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free’”
33 “They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it you say You will become free?’”
34 “Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin
35 ‘The slave does not remain at the house forever, but the son does remain forever’
36 “So of the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed’”

Jesus Himself is the Truth- this is because He is the source of truth. He is the only sinless person that ever walked this earth, so He is the standard of righteousness. He frees us from the consequences of sin. When we put our faith in Him and believe in what He did for us at Calvary, we are forgiven; we don’t have to worry about going to Hell – or that God’s going to “get us”. To have this gift of freedom in Christ is not rocket science, but a simple act of faith and trust. We don’t have to pass any tests or perform any physical feats, like some religions require. John 14: 6 tells us that Jesus is the Way, the truth, and the life. He is, in fact, the only way to God

Why do some people find it hard to believe that Jesus can truly make us free?

Why are many people not convinced that Jesus is the Truth- the only way to God the Father and chase false paths?


In verse 33, the Jews Jesus was addressing spoke of being Abraham’s seed and how that they had never been enslaved by any man. That is not exactly true- their ancestors had been in bondage to the Egyptians and the Babylonians, and at that moment, they were living under the tyranny of Rome. They were not a free people physically or spiritually. They claimed to be Abraham’s descendants, but they were reluctant to accept Jesus as the Messiah.

In verse 34, Jesus told them that everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin and that slaves do not remain in the house forever, but that sons do.

What did Jesus mean by that last statement?

Sin has a way of controlling us; it dominates our lives and dictates what we do or don’t do. However, if we allow Him, Jesus can break the chains; and help us to practice righteousness then we become true children of God.

I John 3:9-10, “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this, the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious; anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother”

Think about a time when you were enslaved by sin. What was your life like? What changed when you made a decision for Jesus?

John 8:37 “‘I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill me, because My Word has no place in you”
38 “I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the tings which you heard from your father”
39 “They answered and said to Him ‘Abraham is our father’ Jesus said to them ‘If you Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham’
40 ‘But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do”
41’You are doing the deeds of your father’. They said to Him, ‘We were not born of fornication, we have one Father: God.’
42 Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not come on My own initiative, but He sent me’
43 ‘Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word”
44 ‘You are of your father the devil. And you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand for the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies’
45 But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me’
46 ‘Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me?
47 ‘He who is of God hears the words of God. For this reason you do not hear them because you are not of God’”

Jesus spoke some very powerful words in that last passage. The religious leaders were unable to understand what Jesus saying because they refused to listen. This refusal to listen played right into Satan’s hands – he used their pride and prejudices to keep them from taking Jesus’ words to heart.

How does Satan keep you from listening to Jesus? Or does he. Explain how or how not.

These leaders were clearly followers of the devil. More than likely, they didn’t realize this as they were so convinced that they were right and Jesus was wrong.

Can you think of any examples of this in today’s world?

Those who serve Satan can not be children of God. Read I John 5:1

Jesus can tell people the truth and there will be those who refuse to believe. Those people are not free; they are in bondage just as much as if they were bound and shackled. However, those who listen to Jesus and take His words to heart have they gift of freedom. This gift is not dependent on what country they live in, but on their faith in Jesus and willingness to let Him be Lord of their lives.

Download the printable version of this Bible study.

September Bible Study: The Art of Neighboring

By Major Ronda Gilger
Coeur d’Alene Kroc Center, ID – Northwest Division

“The Art of Neighboring” is a 4 part Bible Study series on how to love our neighbors. Rethink the ways that you actually engage with those around you. Let’s learn how to practically live out Jesus’ command to us! How poignant at this time in history to ask the question, “What if we took the words of Jesus seriously when he said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.” What? We might be secretly thinking, “You don’t know my neighbor!” ‘I just can’t…I’m not brave enough…” But you can!  I’m cheering you on!

Set a time! *Watch with friends- in your small group, online or independently or maybe you’d rather host a watch party.  Lots of options.

Major Ronda Gilger shares this material in a way that is conversational and invites viewers to engage with the possibility of carrying out the Great Commission beginning in the spot where your feet are planted.

Resources:
Be sure to get the FREE student workbook and FREE Neighbor Toolkit. These are downloads that have been added for you!

Watch Videos 1-4 with your women or create an online format or watch party.  

Session 1: Rediscovering the Art of Neighboring – Little Things Make a Big Difference 


Session 2: The Time Barrier


Session 3: Overcoming Fear


Session 4: The Art of Receiving-Strategies

Before you meet, print the resources for your participants and invite them to go through some of the additional materials during the week. The foundational material has been shared with us by RightNow Media free of charge, and the COVID19 Neighboring toolkit gives additional ideas for safely interacting.

“The Art of Neighboring” complete-Book is available for purchase on Amazon.com
Authors Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon.  Jay and Dave have video shorts for teaching available through RightNow Media if you have a subscription.

August Bible Study: Under the Son

By Lt. Taneya Garrett
Assistant Administrator for Program – Anaheim, CA ARC

Over the years I have met many women who feel like they can’t enjoy life with Jesus. What I’ve noticed is that they are so consumed and broken down by life and their situations, that by the time they remember or even realize that Jesus exist, they’re afraid of Him. Many women don’t realize their need of resting under the Son. They don’t realize that what they are missing is a life with Jesus. They are too worried about what they have done wrong in life, too busy worried about what they have to cook for dinner or if there is a clean shirt in the closet to wear to work the next day.

Ladies, Jesus doesn’t care what our houses look like or what are past sins are. He hasn’t come to condemn us, but rather to love us and help us to find rest under the Son. Just as Jesus said, take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29). It’s amazing to me to think that there are women in this world who don’t have the comfort of knowing the Jesus I know. Jesus wants to love us, support us and be the comfort that we all need. It took me years to realize this and once I started living under the Son and His guidance, it become easier to handle the hard times. I was able to find comfort knowing that everything will be okay, under the Son. Below are a few examples of what could happen when we soak ourselves under the Son.

Comfort & Celebration Under the Son

Luke 22:14-16: When the hour had come, Jesus reclined at the table with His apostles. And He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before My suffering. For I tell you that I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

Some of our most noteworthy or important conversations take place when families and friends gather around a table. At mealtime, Jesus taught some of His most insightful lessons and developed the deepest relationships. He had many meals with His disciples, but none with the level of significance as the last one, particularly since it was also the Passover meal. On the eve of His betrayal, Jesus joined His disciples for the Passover feast. He could have gathered with them in fasting and austerity, but He didn’t. Instead, they feasted together, one last supper before the horror to come. That’s very significant.

This tells us that although Jesus knew that great suffering was to come, there was still and always will be time to spend under the Son. Jesus expressed His eagerness to have His last meal with His disciples. Jesus and the disciples had become a family. The disciples had left behind their very own families to learn from Jesus and this would be their last meal together, until they meet again in heaven. Although, Jesus knew that soon He would be killed, he wanted one last supper to fellowship and to celebrate with His disciples. Let this be a reminder when we gather with our families and friends giving thanks for the sacrifice Jesus made, we can find comfort knowing that Jesus celebrated, even knowing the days to come. Let this be a reminder that no matter what tomorrow brings, today we celebrate under the Son together.

Questions:

How does this passage speak to you? What is your “takeaway”?

How can you and your family find comfort and celebrate together under the Son?

Forgiveness Under the Son

Luke 7:36-50: When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.  As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”  Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[a] and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

While dining at the house of a Pharisee, Jesus is met by a woman who bathes His feet with her tears and dries them with her hair. She spends her time kissing Jesus’ feet and anointing Him with her perfume. This once sinful woman understood what it means to sit under the Son. It makes me chuckle because the Pharisee sees this as shocking behavior. I believe this woman must have had a previous encounter with Jesus, where she was forgiven by Him and now, she is expressing loving gratitude for the forgiveness that Jesus gives. The words Jesus says to her rings in my ears, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Jesus didn’t care about this woman’s reputation as “a sinner.” Jesus cared that she had enough faith to come and rest under the Son to express the gratitude that she had for the forgiveness that He gave. This woman most likely spent her entire life longing for this forgiveness, and she was willing to give all she had to express her gratitude. Her mustard seed of faith came in the form of a tiny bottle of perfume. In today’s time that tiny bottle isn’t of much value, but back then it was of great value. Although, the Pharisee was shocked by the woman’s behavior, we should take a page out of her book. The Pharisee was judging her based on her old reputation. When he should have been resting under the Son, while he had the opportunity. The woman is not, in fact, who we as the readers might think she is at first glance. She is forgiven and she knows how to rest under the Son.

Questions:

How does this passage speak to you?

Have you found forgiveness under the Son?

Joy Under the Son

John 15:10-12:  If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

The word joy is expressed in two ways in verse 11. The first is the joy of Jesus. An emotion, of great happiness and pleasure. Which we can find when we allow ourselves to find joy under the Son. When we have Jesus in our hearts and allow Him to work in our lives, things seem to be a little better. Jesus found joy doing the work of His Father. Jesus found love and joy under God and we should be able to do the same under the Son. Jesus is the example here. Jesus insists that His own obedience to the Father is the reason for his joy; and he promises that those who obey him will share the same joy indeed, that his very purpose in laying down such demands is that our joy may be complete. The second is, our joy. We can rejoice in gladness when we are made complete, when we learn to express love and joy under the Son. As we grow in our understanding of Jesus, we can express that love and joy to the people we encounter. Like Jesus insists that His own obedience to the Father is the reason for his joy; we too, as believers should follow in the example given to us. Under the Son is joy made complete in Jesus name.

Questions:

Does this passage speak to you? And why?

How are you finding joy under the Son?

Applications:
There are so many truths to be found under the Son because with Jesus anything is possible. I just think it takes time, sometimes for people understands this. It might be because we haven’t gotten the opportunity to meet and simply rest under the Son. Life is so busy with “to do” lists, and appointments for this or that. There’s too much laundry to do and dishes that have been stacked in the sink for days. We worry too much about everything that doesn’t matter, when we should be resting under the Son. We might say to ourselves; He’ll still be here tomorrow! How often do we allow ourselves to get caught up in that trap? Yes, it’s true, he will be here tomorrow, but, so will the dishes, the laundry and the “to do” list. Ladies, let’s be women who find everything we need today, under the Son.

Download the printable version of this Bible study.

Note: Also on our website is UNDER THE SON devotional and FUN IN THE SON/SUN games and activities that coordinate with this Bible study.

March Bible Study: Dress for Success

February Bible Study: Warped Love

12 Days of the Nativity Study