During lockdown we held regular Bible studies via Zoom. See below for details and recordings of our studies held between February and April 2021 on prayer and 'What really happened at the Fall in the Garden?'
Click here for recordings of our studies from April - July 2020 and here to go to details of our studies on 'The foundational principles of church' and Romans 14, which were held from October 2020 - January 2021.
Wednesday 7th April - Prayer
Read: Matthew 18:19–20; Mark 11:24; John 14:13-14; Acts 2:42; 4:31; 6:4; 9:11; Romans 8:18-27; Ephesians 6:18-20; Jude 20–21.
Points to Ponder 1. How do you rate your prayer life? 2. What do you find most difficult about praying? 3. What do you enjoy most about praying? 4. Why pray?
Won’t things just happen anyway if God is working his purposes out?
Does it really make a difference?
5. How do we pray? Are we meant to follow a pattern?
What about the Lord’s prayer?
Does prayer have to be spoken out loud or is silent prayer (in your head) just as important?
6. What does it mean to ‘pray in the Spirit’? (Ephesians 6:18-20; Jude 20–21). 7. What does it mean to, ‘pray in Jesus’ Name?’ (John 14:13-14).
The first 15 minutes of the study was devoted to ‘How to get the most out of your personal Bible study’. The rest of the study considered the shift that took place through Jesus Christ in response to what happened at the Fall. We focused on what it means to live life in the Spirit in contrast to the ‘flesh’ and the Law. These truths were set out briefly from the Bible, with the emphasis on the practicalities of how to live and stay in the Spirit and what life in the Spirit looks like.
Points to Ponder 1. What did John the Baptist mean when he said about Jesus, “He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire?” What do you think it means to be baptised with the Holy Spirit? (Luke 3:16). 2. In what way does being ‘in the Spirit’ fulfil the requirements of the Law? 3. If the indwelling Spirit fulfils the requirements of the law, as in the new covenant, how should that affect our view of subjects like, ‘entering God’s rest’, prayer, guidance, our perspective on ourselves and others, and life in general?
Read:Matthew 4:1-11; John 12:31; 14:30; 16: 11; 1 John 5:19; Hebrews 9:22; Matthew 20:25-28; Colossians 1:12–14; Romans 8:14-17; Matthew 3:2; 10:5-8; Luke 4:43; Galatians; 3:26-28. 4:4-7; Ephesians 1:5-6.
Points to Ponder 1. How did you get on with the idea that your emotional equipment is not fundamentally damaged, but the power supply has been switched off because of separation from God? Would understanding that change your view of yourself? 2. Could you identify with that process of alienation from God leading to passivity and dysfunction, with fear being the consistent theme? 3. What is the link between Adam and Eve’s temptation in the Garden and Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness? 4. What does the word ‘redemption’ mean to you as a biblical concept and on a personal level? 5. What difference does it make to us that we have been adopted into God’s family? (Some of the passages above will help with this). 6. What does the phrase, ‘Living the life of the future in the present’ mean to you? 7. The phrase, ‘in Christ’ is used many times in the New Testament. What does it mean to you to be ‘in Christ’? 8. If we understood and lived in the benefit of the change in position that knowing Christ has brought about in our lives, what differences could that make to the way that we live?
Read: Genesis 2:15-3:13; 1 John 5:19; John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11; Colossians 1:13; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5; Philippians 2:12–13;1 John 4:16-21; Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 4:8-11.
Points to ponder: 1. David wrote, ‘I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well’ (Psalm 139:14). Think of it like this: at the heart of each of us is a delicate instrument, enabling us to feel everything, thus producing a need to process what we feel and to understand it. When Man disobeyed God, did that instrument get damaged? If it did, in what way and if not, what did happen to it? 2. Why do you think, in general, that people have such a negative view of themselves? 3. If that instrument didn’t get damaged in the Garden, how could that affect the way we view ourselves now? 4. What is the key thing that went wrong between God and Man in the Garden? 5. What did the disconnect between God and Man lead to? 6. What has God done about it? (You will find clues to questions 6 and 7 in the Bible passages above). 7. What should our response be to what God has done?
Following the Bible study Phil shared some good thoughts, and he is on to something important here: Phil wrote concerning the fact that, as Christians, our status has changed dramatically because of the death and resurrection of Jesus: "It’s such a fundamental part of our faith, but when you peel the layers off a little you keep finding more questions instead of answers. I guess it’s because there are quite a few layers that give a decent answer of sorts and you could quite easily stop there. I still have the question, why did this need to happen, like this, in order for the shift explained on Wednesday, to happen? I need to find the lowest /furthest point of that question, so it’s settled. Way beyond highly rational answers in line with the above, I’m thinking, what is the answer to this question that reveals the heart of God in it - i.e. what deep down in God’s heart, enabled this shift to happen because of what Jesus did? How did that incredible connection we can have with God purely by believing in his Son, suddenly fire up again, like a massive electrified national grid being switched on or a huge set of doors swung open again? What did Jesus’ incredible surrendering and obedience to his Father and God’s own sacrifice (in sending his Son) do, fundamentally, at the core of the universe, life and God himself, to enable this reconciliation lifeline to become real?" Shall we go on a journey? We will set out some of where we got to in last week's study. Then build on it and try and answer how that shift took place, and, above all, how to apply these glorious truths that have such power to change us forever. Where we got to last Wednesday: 1. Above all else, God wants to be with us. He longs for our company. That is the story of the Bible from start to finish. 2. God put mankind in a situation where trust was key and all the good things about life flowed from being in that place of trust. 3. The devil succeeded in introducing doubt about the love and goodness of God. He convinced Eve that God was holding something back. Trust was broken. 4. Adam and Eve lost their innocence, experienced fear and shame in the presence of God and mistrust with each other. 5. They experienced alienation, passivity, dysfunction, with fear as the theme running throughout all those steps. 6. We were utterly powerless to remedy our desperate situation, but God stepped in, took the initiative, and sent his Son who died and rose again so that our status with God might be changed forever. 7. Through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus the issue of our alienation from God has been addressed. We who were far away from God have now been brought near. We referred to 3 things that have happened as a result of what God did for us in Jesus: i. He transferred us from Satan’s kingdom into the kingdom of the Son he loves. ii. He adopted us into his family. iii. He introduced a Divine time warp. He took the future and brought it into the present and made it our present and future.