Joy of Holiness

Men’s Small Group // May 9, 2022

This is a lesson I prepared for a men’s small group and is based on the book “Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges (Chapter 17)

Bridges – “God intends the Christian life to be a life of joy – not drudgery. The idea that holiness is associated with a dour disposition is a caricature of the worst sort. In fact, just the opposite is true. Only those who walk in holiness experience true joy.”

  • Take a moment and really think about that. You know this in your head, but do you keep this in your heart?
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Holiness in an Unholy World

Men’s Small Group // May 2, 2022

This is a lesson I prepared for a men’s small group and is based on the book “Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges (Chapter 16)

John 17:14-17 ESV
I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. [15] I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one*. [16] They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. [17] Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
* or from evil

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Lesson on Compassion

Group Discussion // May 4, 2022

This is a lesson I prepared for a community group discussion. I have reworked it a bit to provide a summary of the discussion points during our time spent together in Jonah chapter 4.

Jonah 4

4:1-4 Self-righteous Anger

  • (v1) Anger…What should have been a moment of joy and praise about the relenting of the promised destruction of a city, Jonah finds himself exceedingly displeased with the outcome that led to anger. Anger with the Lord for not destroying this enemy of Israel and by extension an enemy of God.
  • (v2) Prayer of accusation, but using positives. The self-righteousness of Jonah leads him to pray to God not with superlatives of praise for his mercy but of accusing God of being wrong about Nineveh.
    • “I knew that you are” – Jonah here knows the doctrinal truth about the character of God. He even states that the reason he fled previously was that because of God’s character, there would be mercy instead of judgement at this message.
    • If we read this prayer out of context, it would seem like a psalm of praise. Starting with “for I knew,” this phrase could easily be a hymn of praise and worship. Not a cause for bitterness and anger.
  • (v3) He is so angry that he would rather die than see Nineveh spared. Jonah hates these people so much that he does not want to live in a world where it is possible to have mercy and grace given to them.
    • Do we have these same thoughts about our supposed enemies?
      • Different political party?
      • Different social justice issues?
      • Different lifestyle choices?
      • Sinners being sinners?
  • (v4) God’s response to Jonah’s anger is a simple question, “Do you do well to be angry?”
    • God wants Jonah to examine his heart and motivation. Clearly there is a disconnect between the doctrinal head knowledge of Jonah and his doctrinal heart knowledge.
    • How often do you ask yourself this same question? Do you meditate on the Word of God and let it examine your heart with critical questions or do you sit and wallow in your indignation and self-righteousness? Letting this poison of bitterness and anger grow and infect every area of your life.
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Mercy Not Destruction

Group Discussion // April 27, 2022

This is a lesson I prepared for a community group discussion. I have reworked it a bit to provide a summary of the discussion points during our time spent together in Jonah chapter 3.

Jonah 3

3:1-5 Take two… with an amendment

  • God gives Jonah the same message as in the beginning except that instead of focusing on the sin of Nineveh, he focuses on Jonah’s faithfulness. God seems a little more direct with Jonah this time as he specifically commands Jonah to give the message he is told.
  • Jonah’s response is obedience. There doesn’t seem to be any hesitation with Jonah this time. He obeys the Word of the Lord.
  • This is every preacher’s dream response. Not only did the people listen to the message he delivered, but they were convicted of their sin.
  • Picture Jonah’s appearance and then hear the message God gave him. How does his appearance affect the people’s response?
    • Jonah had to look like a ghost almost. Someone that has been recently in the grave. Which is not far from the truth.
  • The people didn’t believe Jonah… They believed God.
    • This is key for us to understand. We want to personalize the calling God has given us and take ownership of it.
    • We see success and failure based on how the people respond to us. We get our feelings hurt or our pride is wounded when people reject our message and by extension they reject us.
    • But the key element is that the people believed God and not the messenger. This is important for us as well. We want to make everything, even ministry, about us doing the Lord’s work. We are so self-righteous and full of pride that we take even the gospel message of hope and cloud it with our sin.
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Waiting in Sheol

Group Discussion // April 20, 2022

This is a lesson I prepared for a community group discussion. I have reworked it a bit to provide a summary of the discussion points during our time spent together in Jonah chapter 2.

Jonah 2

2:1-2  Prayer During Distress

  • Assuming this is day three in the belly, What do you think it’s Jonah’s current state of mind? What is he feeling?
    • Jonah had to be feeling desperation, hopelessness, helpless. He doesn’t have any indication of how long he has been in the bell of the fish. In the darkness, the days all seem to run together and I am sure this just adds to his disorientation. He has to be feeling hurt, remorseful, ashamed, guilty even.
  • What do these first two verses of prayer tell us about those the days?
    • He is in distress. It is out of his distress that he prays. He likens his situation to being in Sheol, the grave. And truly that must be what it was like. This filthy, pitch black, putrid belly of a giant fish. It had to beyond unpleasant. 
    • They also tell us that Jonah is beginning to see the folly in his previous line of thinking. For it is here in Sheol that they Lord not only heard him, but answered him. The man than was trying to flee the presence of the Lord finally realizes that even in the depths of despair in the belly of a fish at the bottom of the sea the Lord is present with him.
  • When we are most overwhelmed, most troubled, most anxious – these are times when we need to cry out to the Lord. We can rest assured that he not only hears us, but answers us. Even when it doesn’t feel that way. When  everything around us seems hopeless, God is near.
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Fleeing His Presence

Group Discussion // April 13, 2022

This is a lesson I prepared for a community group discussion. I have reworked it a bit to provide a summary of the discussion points during our time spent together in Jonah chapter 1.

Jonah 1

1:1-3  Fleeing the Presence of the Lord

  • Think about God giving you this calling to go to the epicenter of the country that is the sworn enemy of your home. Not only the enemy that wants to destroy you, but you and your fellow countrymen hate them as well. For Jonah, it was even more than that. Nineveh represented not only the enemy of Israel, but the enemy of God.
    • Now, personalize this calling for yourself. What’s your reaction? How is it different than, or the same as Jonah’s?
  • Jonah chose to go the complete opposite direction of where God had called him. A complete 180 degree turn. It wasn’t that Jonah just decided to disobey, but Jonah decided to go the complete opposite direction than what the Lord said.
  • What’s the significance of him fleeing the presence of the Lord?
    • Jonah is clearly aware that he cannot flee the presence of the Lord, but his heart intention was to flee God’s presence.
    • It hearkens us back to the Garden. After Adam and Eve had sinned, they realized they were naked and felt ashamed. So, when they heard the Lord walking in the Garden, they hid themselves. They were in essence fleeing the presence of God.
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Holiness and Our Wills

Men’s Small Group // April 11, 2022

This is a lesson I prepared for a men’s small group and is based on the book “Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges (Chapter 13)

Philippians 2:12-13 ESV
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, [13] for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

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Holiness in Spirit

Men’s Small Group // April 4, 2022

This is a lesson I prepared for a men’s small group and is based on the book “Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges (Chapter 12)

2 Corinthians 6:16 – 7:1 ESV
[6:16] What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [17] Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, [18] and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
[7:1] Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

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Help in the Daily Battle

Men’s Small Group // February 21, 2022

This is a lesson I prepared for a men’s small group and is based on the book “Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges (Chapter 7)

Romans 6:5-11 ESV
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. [6] We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. [7] For one who has died has been set free from sin. [8] Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. [9] We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. [10] For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. [11] So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

What does this all mean?
“He delivers us from sin’s reign into the reign of his Son.” p.52

  • Old self was crucified… body of sin brought to nothing… no longer enslaved to sin… set free from sin.
  • We will also live with him… death no longer has dominion… he lives to God… alive to God in Christ Jesus
  • This is the key — We are to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God.
    • You must consider this, because at times it still feels like I am enslaved.
    • I am to consider my old self being crucified with Christ.
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The Holiness of Christ

Men’s Small Group // January 31, 2022

This is a lesson I prepared for a men’s small group and is based on the book “Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges (Chapter 4)

2For our sake 1he made him to be sin who knew no sin, 3so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV

1This means that God the Father made Christ to be regarded and treated as “sin” even though Christ himself never sinned.

2That is, God regarded and treated “our” sin (the sin of all who would believe in Christ) as if our sin belonged not to us but to Christ himself.

3This means that just as God imputed our sin and guilt to Christ (“he made him to be sin”) so God also imputes the righteousness of Christ—a righteousness that is not our own—to all who believe in Christ.

Understanding this is essential to pursuing holiness… We must keep coming back to this truth…

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