Obedience, Sanctification

40 Things to Give Up for Lent

40-lent

Although, as a Louisiana girl, I’ve had a decades long love affair with king cake, and I totally support the increased availability of fish entrées at local restaurants and getting a few days off school or work, I’m not a big fan of Mardi Gras and Lent.

The intrinsic philosophy behind Mardi Gras – a day of revelry, indulgence, and debauchery to get it all out of your system before you have to start “being good” for Lent – is patently unbiblical.

The practice of Lent often is, as well. Lent is the forty day period, beginning with Ash Wednesday and ending with Easter Sunday, observed by Catholics and some Protestants. Originally, it was simply a time of fasting, prayer, and worship in anticipation of Easter, and for Christians who continue to observe it this way, it can be a valuable and meaningful time of respite and renewal with the Lord.

For many, however, Lent – particularly the aspect of giving something up for Lent in an act of self-denial – is nothing more than an empty religious ritual, or worse, works righteousness. Giving something up for Lent because, “I’m Catholic and that’s what good Catholics do,” or to atone for your sins, or to curry favor with God, or to flaunt your self-righteousness flies in the face of grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone biblical Christianity.

If you give something up for Lent, why do you do so? If it’s for one of the aforementioned unbiblical reasons (or others), or even if you don’t observe Lent at all, I’d like to challenge us all to give up the things below for Lent:

1. Give up Lent for Lent.

2. Give up attending any church that requires the observance of Lent in a sacramental way and find a doctrinally sound one.

3. Give up thinking your good behavior earns you right standing with God.

4. Give up the idea that there’s any such thing as truly good behavior.

5. Give up thinking your good deeds could ever outweigh your sins.

6. Give up willfully indulging in sin as long as you “make up for it” later.

7. Give up the notion that penance or self-denial can pay for your sins.

8. Give up thinking that penance or self-denial curries favor with God.

9. Give up the idea that repentance and obedience belong to a certain season on the calendar. We are to walk in repentance every day.

10. Give up the concept that Christmas and Easter are Christian “high holy days.” We celebrate Christ’s incarnation and resurrection every Sunday, and should prepare ourselves all during the week. Every Sunday is a high holy day for the Christian.

11. Give up rote participation in church rituals. Search the Scriptures and see if they’re biblical first.

12. Give up thinking God concerns Himself strictly with your external behavior rather than the condition of your heart.

13. Give up “sounding a trumpet before you” with humblebrags on social media and in real life about giving things up for Lent, fasting, giving offerings, or any other good works you might do. You just lost your reward, baby.

14. Give up approaching church attendance as punching the time clock for God. The Christian’s entire life, our very beings, belong to Christ, not just a couple of hours on Sunday.

15. Give up the delusion that you’re basically a good person. You’re not.

16. Give up biblical ignorance and become a good student of God’s word.

17. Give up forsaking the assembly and become a faithful, serving member of your local church.

18. Give up thinking that everyone and everything that calls itself “Christian” actually is.

19. Give up the desire to have your itching ears scratched and long for the truth of God’s word. Even when it’s hard to hear.

20. Give up neglecting the daily study of God’s word.

21. Give up rejecting parts of the Bible you don’t agree with. We don’t sit in judgment over Scripture. Scripture sits in judgment over us.

22. Give up neglecting your prayer life.

23. Give up making excuses for failing to memorize Scripture. You can do it!

24. Give up being a non-serving member of your church.

25. Give up being a non-giving member of your church.

26. Give up thinking you’re hearing God speak to you. If you want to hear God speak to you, open your Bible and study it. God has spoken in His word and many are largely ignoring what He has already said.

27. Give up following false teachers and be a good Berean.

28. Give up being afraid to share the gospel and just do it.

29. Give up thinking you can please God apart from faith in Christ.

30. Give up basing your doctrine and beliefs on your own (or anyone else’s) opinions, experiences, and feelings, and base them on correctly handled Scripture instead.

31. Give up following your wicked and deceitful heart, take up your cross daily, and follow Christ.

32. Give up thinking you have to do big things for God in order for Him to be pleased with you and “aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands.”

33. Give up worrying and trust God.

34. Give up neglecting to fear God’s wrath if you don’t know Christ.

35. Give up fearing God’s wrath if you do know Christ.

36. Give up the idea that “God is love” means God is a pushover who won’t judge you.

37. Give up thinking you’ve been so bad that God could never forgive you.

38. Give up thinking you’re so good that you don’t need God to forgive you.

39. Give up refusing to forgive others when Christ has forgiven you so much.

40. Give up everything and be saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and walk in His ways, all the days of your life, to the glory of God alone.

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The Ten (10 Commandments Bible Study)

The Ten: Lesson 2

the-ten

Previous Lessons: 1

Exodus 19:

On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. They set out from Rephidim and came into the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness. There Israel encamped before the mountain, while Moses went up to God. The Lord called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

So Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. All the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses reported the words of the people to the Lord. And the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.”

When Moses told the words of the people to the Lord, 10 the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments 11 and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 And you shall set limits for the people all around, saying, ‘Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death. 13 No hand shall touch him, but he shall be stoned or shot; whether beast or man, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.” 14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people; and they washed their garments. 15 And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.”

16 On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. 19 And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder. 20 The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.

21 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to the Lord to look and many of them perish. 22 Also let the priests who come near to the Lord consecrate themselves, lest the Lord break out against them.” 23 And Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for you yourself warned us, saying, ‘Set limits around the mountain and consecrate it.’” 24 And the Lord said to him, “Go down, and come up bringing Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the Lord, lest he break out against them.” 25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.


Questions to Consider:

1. Refresh your memory on the answers to the bullet point questions from Lesson 1 (link above). What are the major events that led Moses and Israel up to the point where they are now in chapter 19? Do you see the steps God has taken to call Israel out of slavery and begin establishing them as a nation? In what ways has God demonstrated that He has a right to rule over Israel? How does God’s right to rule Israel lay the foundation for God giving the 10 Commandments?

2. Briefly review Exodus 18:13-26. How would having a codified set of laws (i.e. the 10 Commandments) have helped the people as well as Moses and the elders as they judged cases? Do you see how this passage helps show the need for the 10 Commandments to be laid down?

3. In chapter 19, verses 3-6, which words and phrases show God’s goodness, kindness, tenderness, love, and care for His people? How do these verses indicate God’s authority over His people? Verses 5-6 outline what we now call the Mosaic Covenant. In this “if/then” pronouncement, what are the “ifs” required of the people and the “thens” God promises them in return? Is this a unilateral or bilateral covenant? What was the people’s response to the covenant? (7-8)

4. Did the Mosaic Covenant promise people right standing with God as long as they simply obeyed His laws with their outward behavior? How did faith and the attitude of the heart factor into Old Testament obedience and righteousness? How is this similar to God’s expectations of obedience for Christians today?

5. What actions were the people to take in preparation for God’s appearance on Mount Sinai? (10,14,15) How do verses 9-25 demonstrate God’s power and holiness? The seriousness and solemnity with which the people should treat His presence and His words? How did the people respond? Do you think the church today reveres God and His word as deeply as Israel did that day? Should we? Why or why not?

6. What does the word consecrate mean? How should physically consecrating themselves (10,14,15) have been an object lesson to Israel that they were to be spiritually consecrated to God as well? What does it mean for Christians to consecrate ourselves to the Lord?

7. How do verses 11, 16-17 give us a mini-foreshadowing of the resurrection of Christ?


Homework:

Ask God to reveal any areas of your life or worship in which…

…you do not treat Him or His word reverently and solemnly
or
…you need to consecrate yourself, or set yourself apart from worldliness, more for Him.

Repent where you have fallen short. Is there any tangible action you can take to help you revere God more or pursue holiness to a greater degree?

Gospel, Old Testament, Salvation, Sunday School, Types and Shadows

Joe & Moe: Delivery Boys (Part 2) ~ Sunday School Lesson ~ 2-9-14

 sunday school

These are my notes from my ladies’ Sunday School class this morning. I’ll be posting the notes from my class here each week. Click here for last week’s lesson.

Through the Bible in 2014 ~ Week 6 ~ Feb. 2-8
Exodus 10-29
Joe & Moe: Delivery Boys (Part 2)

Moses: Deliverance from Bondage  Last week we took a look at how Joseph was a type (symbol) of Christ: deliverance through forgiveness of sin. Just as Joseph was able to deliver his family from the famine to a new, abundant life through forgiving their sin, so Christ delivers us from the “famine” of the old life of sin by forgiving us of that sin and giving us a new and abundant life.

Today, we’re taking a look at another “delivery boy,” Moses, and examining how the events in his life demonstrate Christ’s delivering us from the bondage of sin, just as Moses delivered the Israelites from their bondage to slavery.

As Moses delivered Israel from the bondage of slavery, so Christ delivers us from the bondage of sin. Deliverance/redemption from bondage is not easy or lighthearted. It is a battle for the freedom of another person, and that freedom must be purchased with blood and struggle.

Exodus 11-12
Bondage: Before God sets us free.

11:7– God sets His people apart for His glory and His purposes. (Deuteronomy 7:6-8, Romans 8:29-30, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
This “setting apart” is called “consecration.” It wasn’t because there was anything special about Israel itself, but because God was keeping His covenant promise and working out His plan. God made a distinction between Israel and Egypt, and called them out of Egypt, and separated them from Egypt. So, God makes a distinction between unbelievers and those who will be saved, calls us out of the world’s system and ways, and separates us from the world in our identity and being.

11:9-10– Satan doesn’t willingly give up his slaves. (2 Timothy 2:24-26, 1 Corinthians 2:14) 
Look at everything that happened to Pharaoh, and yet he still, at this point, wouldn’t let go of the Israelites. In the same way, Satan holds people in bondage as slaves to himself, to sin. As a slave cannot resist his master, a slave to sin cannot resist his master- sin. Satan will not give his slaves up to Christ without a fight.

2 Timothy 2:24-26: The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

This is why we can’t expect lost people to act like Christians or tell them to clean themselves up. They can’t. They’re slaves. Only Christ can raise them from the “living death” of sin and set them free.

12:1– When God institutes a new covenant, He makes all things new.
God changed everything about Israel’s life, right down to their calendar. This was a completely fresh start: a new time, a new place (the Promised Land), and a new celebration (Passover) for a new covenant and way of life.

When Christ delivers us, we also get a new time (our new life starts at the moment of conversion, and we receive a fresh new future), a new place (Heaven instead of hell) and a new celebration (baptism and the Lord’s Supper) to mark the new covenant and way of life. Those celebrations were a reminder for Israel of how the Lord delivered them from bondage and slavery, and a reminder to us of how God delivers us from the bondage and slavery of sin.

The Key to the Shackles: How God sets us free: The Passover Lamb
Christ in the Passover:

12:5– A lamb without blemish (1 Corinthians 5:7, 1 Peter 1:18-19, James 2:10)
Jesus was to be the sacrifice for our sin. All sacrifices offered to God had to be perfect, pointing to Jesus’ sinlessness. Had he ever sinned, even once, He would not have been an acceptable sacrifice for our sin.

1 Corinthians 5:7b: Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 

1 Peter 1:18-19: you were ransomed …with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 

12:6– The lamb sacrificed at twilight (Luke 23:44-46)
The Passover lamb was sacrificed as the sun was setting. When Jesus died there was darkness over the whole land. Additionally, at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion the lamb was customarily slaughtered at 3 p.m., the same time Jesus died.

12:7,13– Blood on the doorposts and lintel (John 10:7, Romans 5:9,8:1)
Picture a vertical beam perpendicularly meeting a horizontal beam. Now picture the blood of a spotless lamb running down those beams. What comes to mind? The cross.

Jesus said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, He will be saved…” How do we enter in to and through Christ? We pass under and through the blood He shed on the cross. Anyone who has passed through the blood and is in Christ is not under the judgment of God.

Romans 5:9 “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” 

12:8– Eating the flesh (John 6:53-55)
John 6:53-55: So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.

12:10, 46– Do not leave the remains until morning. Do not break any of the lamb’s bones. (John 19:31-36)
John 19:31-33,36: Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.”

11:5, 12:12-13, 29-31– Death of the firstborn son of the king. (Colossians 1:15,18; Romans 5:10)
Just as the firstborn son of the king had to die in order for Israel to be set free from bondage, so, Jesus, the firstborn Son of our King, the firstborn of Creation, and the firstborn from the dead, had to die to set us free from the bondage of sin.

Freedom
Now that Christ has set us free, we remember his sacrifice through the Lord’s Supper and celebrate our freedom from sin through baptism. The crossing of the Red Sea hints at baptism.

Exodus 14
The “Baptismal Waters” of the Red Sea (Romans 6:4)

God set the Israelites free from the bondage to Egypt and brought them out of Egypt into a new place. With their bondage and slave masters behind them, God brought them to the water and they passed through it. The old slave masters tried to follow them to recapture them, but God washed them away to their death. The Israelites started a brand new life on the other side of the water. It was a testimony of God’s glory to the Egyptians (14:4) and to the Israelites themselves that God is the Lord.

Christ passed through the waters of death- defeating the enemy and breaking his chains that keep us captive- and rose up out of those waters to life on the other side. So, “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

Our baptism is a testimony of God’s glory to Satan- that he is defeated, to ourselves- that we have passed from death unto life, and to others- that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Additional Resource:
What Does It Mean to Be a Slave to Sin? by GotQuestions.org