Category: The Gospel

Sin—Opposite of Living in the Image of God



Sin—Opposite of Living in the Image of God
A Christ Teaching on Righteousness

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Christ uses parables to describe separation of people into two categories based on living in the image of God: the righteous and the wicked.

Final Judgment wikipedia.org
Final Judgment wikipedia.org

The righteous are people that live in the image of God, whereby each person is a channel for God’s compassion and conveyor of his image. As a channel for God’s compassion (i.e., God’s provider assistant), a person recognizes needs placed in their path, commits to providing for the need, and perseveres until they succeed: much like the Samaritan in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Being a conveyor of God’s image means providing reasonable opportunity for people to feel the hand of God through your interactions with them. In contrast, the category of the wicked consists of people that decline God’s call to compassion by denying services placed in their path: much like the chief priest and the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Christ describes the categorization through the parables of the weeds [Matthew 13:24–29 and 37–43], the net [Matthew 13:47–50] and the sheep and the goats [Matthew 25:31–46].

ETERNAL LIFE FOR THE RIGHTEOUS He explained through the parables that the righteous will inherit eternal life in the kingdom of God. The wicked, in contrast, will be condemned to eternal punishment in a fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Also, he explained through the parable of the weeds that God offers every person a persistent opportunity to repent from a life of wickedness to a life of righteousness. The opportunity persists until death or final judgment, whichever comes first [Matthew 13:40]. We examine the three parables in this study and use information contained in them and other related teachings of Christ to discuss the meaning of righteousness.

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Sin Repentance and Forgiveness in Human Interaction



Seeking Reconciliation after Sin
A Christ Teaching on Dispute Resolution

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We discuss Christ’s teaching on sin, repentance, and forgiveness. He admonishes us to refrain from causing others to sin and to forgive people that sin against us. He talked about sin in terms of things a person may do against other persons, thereby defining principles applicable to dispute resolution.

theglobalgospel.org FreeBibleImages.org
theglobalgospel.org FreeBibleImages.org

The teaching focused on individual responsibilities in avoiding sin, seeking forgiveness of a sin committed against another person, and accepting repentance and forgiving a person that has sinned against them [Luke 17:1–4]. The responsibilities include rebuking a person for committing sin against another person and forgiving them if they repent, irrespective of the frequency of occurrence. In this study, we discuss the meaning of causing others to sin (being a channel for temptation to others), rebuking a person that sins against another, seeking forgiveness, and forgiving others. Christ emphasized repentance as necessary for forgiveness. We recall a previous study on the life of Joseph (eleventh son of Jacob) that illustrates the benefits of repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

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Feeding Crowds of Thousands – Provider Assistant Example



Disciples Feed Crowds of Thousands:
A Christ Teaching on Compassion

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Jesus used two occasions of feeding a large crowd in a remote place to illustrate the responsibilities and expectations of a person called to provide goods or services to others as God’s provider assistant. God creates every person to be a potential provider (i.e., channel for his compassion) to others. He is the ultimate provider but often channels his providing through people by placing one or more persons in position to perform the needed service as his provider assistant. The chosen person is expected to recognize the need, assess how they could help, seek God’s direction, and proceed with providing for the need as they can.

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Sweet Publishing/FreeBibleimages.org

PROVIDER ASSISTANT RESPONSIBILITIES Jesus used two occasions of feeding a large crowd as practical illustrations of what is expected of a person placed in position to provide for other people. In both cases, he was ministering to a crowd of several thousand that needed to be fed. His disciples took on the responsibility, realized feeding the crowd was beyond their means, sought direction from God (this time with them in person as Jesus), and he provided food for the crowd through his disciples. The disciples were the provider assistant and the people were the recipient. We examine interactions between Jesus and his disciples, him and the crowd, and the disciples and the crowd: to understand God’s expectations of a person that he calls to provide a service for other persons.

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Value of Appreciation – Extending Long Term Benefit of Human Service



Extending Long Term Benefit of Human Service:
Christ’s Teaching on Appreciation

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We examine Christ’s teaching on appreciation based on his interactions with people that he healed. The interactions suggest he wanted to emphasize appreciation as an aspect of the healing process, as if the healing was incomplete without appreciation. We examine accounts regarding a woman he healed of long-term bleeding and a man that was the only one of ten that returned to thank him for healing them of leprosy. In both cases, he appeared to be telling them and us that their appreciation was necessary for them to receive full benefits of the healing. We know the physical healing was complete in each case before the recipient stepped forward to show appreciation. Therefore, his interactions with them lead us to understand that more than the physical healing was needed to complete the healing process.

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theglobalgospel.org freebibleimages.org

BENEFITS OF HUMAN SERVICE Examination of these interactions lead us to understand that every human service offers two potential benefits to the recipient: a short-term benefit that arises from the service addressing an immediate need, such as physical healing; and a long-term benefit that arises because appreciation by the recipient motivates him/her to seek to be good to the provider and an expanding human community around the provider. We believe that this long-term benefit is more important than the short-term benefit and is the reason Christ wanted recipients of his favor to show appreciation and congratulated them after they did.

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Value of Testimony



Sharing Appreciation of God:
Christ’s Teaching on Testimony

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We begin a two-part series on appreciation with a discussion of Christ’s teaching on testimony, i.e., sharing appreciation of God. Our understanding is based on his interactions with people he healed: what he instructed them to do or how he received their reaction to the healing. We examine his interactions with a man he freed from demons and a woman he healed of long-term bleeding. We see that he directed both healing recipients to testify about what God had done for them. He gave a direct instruction to the man freed from demons. However, his instruction to the woman healed of long-term bleeding was indirect: he would not stop looking for her until she came forward and testified. We also recall an example on testimony based on Peter’s interactions with his faith family after God released him miraculously from Herod’s prison.

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LumoProject.com freebibleimages.org

INSPIRE OTHERS TO SEEK GOD A testimony inspires others to seek God by sharing with them personal experience that illustrates appreciation for his mercy and power and effectiveness in granting prayers and fulfilling promises. In addition to inspiring others by testifying to one’s personal experience of God, giving testimony also is a way to show appreciation to other people that have shared a person’s concern, either through physical contributions or by helping channel the concern’s to God through prayer. It is important to let such people know that God has granted their prayers and inform them so they would direct subsequent prayers according to need.

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Ministering by Deed



Let Your Godliness Shine:
Christ’s Teaching on Ministering by Deed

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Cape Meares Lighthouse. wikipedia.org
Cape Meares Lighthouse. wikipedia.org

Christ urges us to convey the message of God to others through our deeds: let your Godliness radiate impact to others “that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” [Matthew 5:16; Luke 8:16]. If we do this, people will be drawn to us as they were drawn to him.

GODLINESS DRAWS PEOPLE People were drawn to Jesus because of his Godliness, which manifested as the power to perform miracles, heal diseases, cast out demons, and explain the word of God clearly. Similarly, human Godliness draws people and manifests as living in the image of God: whereby the person is a channel for God’s compassion (i.e., God’s provider assistant) and conveyor of the image of God. People feel the hand of God in the person’s actions. In this bible study, we examine accounts of people being drawn to Jesus in large numbers because of his Godliness, share understanding of what it means for a person to be Godly and let his/her Godliness shine to impact others. Also, we will recall an example from the life of Joseph to illustrate people being drawn to a person because of Godliness.

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Intercession Based on Compassion



Effective Intercession: Compassion Motivated – Faith Delivered

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The Lord's Prayer. freebibleimages.org
The Lord’s Prayer. freebibleimages.org

In this bible study, we examine examples of successful intercession to understand their common characteristics. We relate the characteristics to the principles of living in the image of God and, thus, reach an understanding of the kinds of intercession that have been effective. Several of the examples are drawn from events that occurred during Christ’s ministry. In such cases, intercession consisted of people going to Jesus directly on behalf of other people. Other examples occurred before Christ or after he had left human form. In such cases, intercession consisted of going to God in prayer on behalf of another.

In all cases, we find that successful intercessions were motivated by compassion and were persistent (ceaseless), selfless, and delivered by faith. Motivation by compassion is important for an intercession because such intercession is consistent with God’s purpose of creating every person to be a channel for his compassion. Christ describes this purpose through the 4th Beatitude, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled;” and the 5th, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” [Matthew 5:6–7].

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Leading or Following: Right Heart for Strategic Alliance



Christ’s Teaching on Human Partnership

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Leading Or Following 02ImageIn this bible study we examine interactions at the call-up of the first disciples of Jesus (based on the account in Luke 5:1–11) to understand God’s expectations and designs for human partnerships. The interactions illustrate that God expects people to work together, in collaboration, to accomplish objectives that he places in our path. For each assignment, he chooses a leader and provides opportunity for other potential participants to join the leader in an alliance to accomplish the task. The chosen leader is expected to recognize the assignment—an opportunity that God has placed in his/her path, start work as needed while leaving doors open for others to contribute. The other potential participants are expected to recognize the opportunity and make themselves available to contribute, by staying close enough to offer needed assistance but far enough to avoid getting in the way of accomplishing the objective. We learn through the interactions that God will reward all participants in a successful alliance. Leading or following, the size of your harvest will be determined by your capacity.

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The Essence of Living in the Image of God



Christ’s Teaching on Positive Human Interaction Part 2

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The Sermon on the Mount. wikipedia.org
The Sermon on the Mount. wikipedia.org

In the Sermon on the Mount [Matthew 5–7], Christ delivered an elaborate teaching on living in the image of God: i.e., living and interacting with people for the purpose of representing God in everything we do and accomplishing the objectives that he places on our paths. The teaching consists of two parts. First, he provided a set of eight principles for living in the image of God, which are known today in Christianity as The Beatitudes. Second, he described the essence of living in the image of God using examples from everyday life. We discussed the Beatitudes (first part of the Sermon on the Mount) in Part 1 of this study at This_Link. This week, our discussion focuses on the second part of the Sermon on the Mount.

 

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Living in the Image of God: The Beatitudes



Christ’s Teaching on Positive Human Interaction

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The Beatitudes. wikipedia.org
The Beatitudes. wikipedia.org

We begin our study of Christ’s direct teaching with a two-part discussion of the Sermon on the Mount: Christ’s elaborate sermon recorded in Matthew 5–7. The sermon was a teaching on living in the image of God, which we have also described as “positive human interaction:” i.e., living and interacting with people for the purpose of representing God in everything we do and accomplishing the objectives for which he created us. The sermon consists of two parts. In the first part, he provides the principles of living in the image of God. In this study, we identify the principles as eight steps, which are described in the bible as the Beatitudes. In the second part, he describes specific examples of application of the principles.

THE BEATITUDES Part 1 of our two-part discussion focuses on the Beatitudes: the first part of the Sermon on the Mount. The Beatitudes describe eight steps (or principles) for living in the image of God. The first three Beatitudes describe human relationship with God, the third through eighth describe human interactions, with an overlap in the third Beatitude because it applies to both human relationship with God and human interactions.

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