Holidays (Other), Parenting

Beautiful Motherhood: A Mother’s Day Bible Study

As we look ahead to Mother’s Day,
let’s check out what the Bible has to say about mothering.
This is lesson 12 of my topical Bible study:

Imperishable Beauty- A Study of Biblical Womanhood.

Read These Selected Scriptures

Questions to Consider

1. What are some attributes or character traits of a godly mother from Proverbs 31 that we can emulate? In today’s lesson, rather than attributes to emulate, we’ll be focusing on God’s instructions to obey for mothers. We’ll examine how we’re to regard motherhood and our children, how we’re to train our children in godliness, how we’re to discipline our children out of ungodliness, and the example we’re to set for our children. Some of these instructions can also apply to childless women in their relationships with their spiritual children (i.e. younger women or children they disciple) and others. As you read over today’s passages, explain how childless women might apply some of these Scriptures.

2. Examine the first three passages (Psalm 127-Titus 2) together. What do these passages say about how we are to regard motherhood and our children? What should the attitude of our hearts be? In what sense are children a reward? How do we know that Psalm 127:3 does not mean that if you act in a way that pleases the Lord He will reward your good behavior with children? What does this verse mean? Is loving your children (Titus 2:4) simply a feeling of affection toward them? If so, why would young women need to be trained to love their children? When you finish today’s lesson, come back to Titus 2:4 and give a fully-orbed biblical definition of what it means to love your children.

3. Examine the next five passages (Proverbs 22-Ephesians 6) together. Why does God want us to train our children in godliness? Explain the phrase “in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6). How does the gospel figure in to training your child? Look carefully at the three Old Testament passages. At what age should we begin training our children in godliness and the Scriptures and how long should this training continue? Is Proverbs 22:6 an iron-clad guarantee or promise from God that if we raise our children in a godly home they will definitely get saved and turn out to be godly adults? Why not? (Scroll down to the Deuteronomy 21 passage if you need help.)

To whom are the Colossians and Ephesians verses addressed? Does this mean they don’t apply to mothers or that it’s OK for mothers to provoke their children, but not fathers? If they apply to both parents, why are they addressed to fathers? How are we not to deal with our children according to these verses? What does it mean to provoke your children? Why are we not to provoke them (Colossians), and how are we to deal with them instead (Ephesians)? Compare Ephesians 6:4b to the Old Testament verses in this section. How are they similar?

3. Examine the next three passages (Proverbs 29-Deuteronomy 21) together. What is the purpose of godly discipline? What are the biblical definitions of the words “discipline” and “reproof”? Are discipline, reproof, and training the same as punishment? Why or why not? What are some of the consequences of disciplining your child? The consequences of refusing to discipline your child? According to Proverbs 13:24, what motivates someone to discipline her child? What motivates someone to refuse to discipline her child? Are “love” and “hate” simply emotional feelings in this verse or an attitude, posture, or orientation of mindset toward the child? Look closely at Deuteronomy 21:20. Is this passage most likely talking about a very young child or an older child/teenager? According to the Deuteronomy 21 passage, does godly discipline always result in an obedient son or daughter, or can there be exceptions to the rule?

Why is it important to both train your child in godly ways and discipline him out of ungodly ways? Explain how this fits into the “put off the ungodly, put on the godlymodel of biblical sanctification.

4. Examine the last five passages (Deuteronomy 21-Matthew 10) together. What do these passages teach us about the godly example we need to set for our children?

Sometimes we see implicit instructions to parents in passages that explicitly teach children how to treat and regard their parents. For example, if there were a verse that said, “Children, love your parents,” we could learn from that verse that we need to act in a way (lovable) that makes it easier for our children to obey that Scripture. Considering this concept, look at the Exodus 20 and Proverbs 1 passages. If your children are to honor you, in what manner should you behave? What should your teaching be like if your children are not to forsake it and to consider it a “graceful garland” and a “pendant”?

What is the context of Ezekiel 16? To whom is the parent/child metaphor in this  passage addressed? Explain the phrase “like mother, like daughter”. Why is it important to set a good example for our children with our own behavior, and why was this a good metaphor for God to use in addressing Israel’s unfaithfulness to Him?

Examine the Deuteronomy 21 and Matthew 10 passages together. What is to be a mother’s highest priority – her relationship with her child, even the life of her child, or her love for, obedience to, and loyalty to Christ? Do you love Christ more than your child? If you had to choose between your child and Christ, whom would you choose? What message does it send to our children when we show and tell them that we love Christ more than we love them? How can you demonstrate to your child that your highest love and loyalty is reserved for Christ?


Homework

Examine each of the instructions in Deuteronomy 6:6-9. Make a list of practical ways your family could put each of these instructions into practice and discuss it with your husband. Together, pick one of these practices and implement it with your children this week.


Suggested Memory Verse

Sermon on the Mount Bible Study

The Sermon on the Mount ~ Lesson 12

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,

Matthew 7:15-23

Questions to Consider

1. Briefly review the “middle parts” (ex: merciful, poor in spirit) of the Beatitudes, the “salt and light” passage, and the “heart of the law” passage in Matthew 5:1-12, 13-16, 14-20. Now read 7:15-23 in light of those passages.

2. In the Beatitudes, Jesus lists the traits that define Christian character. In much of the rest of the Sermon on the Mount He fleshes out what many of these character traits look like when walked out in “real life”. Which of the traits (the “middle parts” – there could be several) listed in the Beatitudes is Jesus expanding on in today’s passage?

How do false teachers and false converts bland the saltiness of the church? (5:13-16) How do doctrinally sound teachers and genuinely regenerated Believers make the church saltier and brighter? Is it even possible for an individual false teacher or false convert to be true salt and light?

3. Review from our previous lessons (links above) the idea that the Sermon on the Mount is to the New Testament / new covenant what the Ten Commandments were to the Old Testament / old covenant.

Though they are not specifically mentioned in the Ten Commandments (false teachers/prophets are addressed elsewhere in the law), which of the Ten Commandments could be connected to false teachers and false converts?

Despite having dropped the “You have heard it said…but I say to you…” framing of His teaching in chapter 6, how is Jesus still shifting the people’s focus from outward obedience to the letter of the law to zeroing in on the attitude of their hearts and the spirit of the law? How must being a genuinely regenerated Believer and/or being a doctrinally sound teacher be at the heart of our obedience to God’s laws?

4. Think back to Jesus’ emphasis on hypocrisy in 7:1-5, and in the first part of chapter 6 (lesson 9, link above). How is being a false convert or a false teacher the ultimate hypocrisy? How does this demonstrate why hypocrisy is such a big deal to Jesus? Which attributes of God does hypocrisy contrast with?

5. Review 7:1-5, recalling that some people believe this passage to mean no one is to judge anyone, ever. How would you explain 1-5 to someone in light of 15-20, and 15-20 in light of 1-5?

6. Recall that when Scripture was originally written, there were no chapter and verse markings. The whole text was one continuous flow. How does 7:13-14 flow into or introduce 15-23?

7. In 15-20, who or what are represented by the imagery of…

  • sheep
  • wolves
  • fruits
  • grapes
  • thorn bushes
  • figs
  • thistles
  • healthy trees
  • good fruit
  • diseased trees
  • bad fruit
  • fire

Explain the contrast between…

  • sheep and wolves
  • grapes and thorn bushes
  • figs and thistles
  • healthy trees with good fruit and diseased trees with bad fruit

8. Who or what is the fruit of a false teacher’s ministry? (16-20) Many of the Pharisees considered Jesus to be a false prophet. Think about Jesus’ ministry in light of what he is saying in this passage. What has been the fruit of Jesus’ ministry, from the beginning of His earthly ministry until now? What should be the fruit of a doctrinally sound teacher’s ministry?

Notice how Jesus says in 16 and 20 “you will recognize them by their fruits” and how that statement bookends this passage of instruction. Then, as now, teachers use repetition for emphasis- to stress the importance of what are they teaching. Why is it so important to Jesus that we recognize false teachers?

Also notice that he doesn’t say “sometimes you will recognize them,” or “you might be able to recognize them”. He says unequivocally, not once but twice, “you will recognize them”. How is this not only a statement of the clear recognizability of false teachers, but also an implicit command? (i.e. not just “you will be able to recognize them,“ but “you are to proactively look for, mark, and avoid them“.)

9. According to verse 19, what is the eternal destiny of a false teacher who does not repent? What does this tell us about the spiritual condition of unrepentant false teachers – are they saved, or lost?

Many evangelicals are reluctant to say that a false teacher who claims to be a Christian is lost. Explain how 15-20 gives us not only the right, but the responsibility, to treat a false teacher as an unbeliever and why this does not conflict with 7:1-5. Why is it important, for the sake of the false teacher’s own spiritual condition (19, 21-23) to regard him or her as an unbeliever?

10. What is the difference between “saying ‘Lord, Lord‘” and doing God’s will? (21)

How does 21-23 refute the common misconceptions that..

  • if someone says she’s a Christian, and even outwardly acts like a Christian, she is a Christian?
  • being a “good person” will get you to heaven?

What does Jesus call these people at the end of verse 23? Compare the phrase “workers of lawlessness” with the “many mighty works” in verse 22 and the Scriptures linked above (in the first sentence of question 10). Explore the concept of a slave of the devil working for her master, versus a slave of Christ working for her Master.

Reflect on the word “many” in verse 22 along with your previous thoughts about false teachers and false converts. Had you previously thought false teachers and false converts were rare?

What does it mean for Christ to “know” us? (23)


Homework

  • Are you hesitant to think of a false teacher as unsaved when she claims to be a Christian? Do we have to know whether or not a certain teacher is definitely a Christian before we can deal with her biblically (such as warning others against her)? Examine what the Scriptures say in my article Can a False Teacher Be a Christian?
  • A false convert is someone who either a) (rarely) knows she’s not saved but is trying to fool others, or b) (much more commonly) thinks she’s saved, but – you can tell by her “bad fruit” and/or the things she says she believes – isn’t. These people are just as lost as any other lost person. How do you witness to someone who thinks she’s already saved?
    • Be in constant prayer for her.
    • Make sure she has heard a clear presentation of the biblical gospel.
    • Discuss the biblical gospel with her if, and whenever, she’s willing.
    • If she isn’t willing, and she continues to bear bad fruit while claiming to be saved, continue to pray for her, and set a godly example.

Often, doing these things leaves us feeling like we’re not doing enough. We so desperately want that person to be saved that it can be tempting to try to nag or argue her into “making a decision” for Christ. That’s not how evangelism and salvation work. Our job is to pray, present the gospel, and trust God with the results. God’s job is to use that gospel we’ve presented in His timing and for His purposes.

Do you know someone who’s a false convert? Apply the above to that person (especially praying for her) this week.


Suggested Memory Verse

Guest Posts

Guest Post: The Importance of Knowing the Rules

If your theology pretty much matches up with mine (as outlined in my “Welcome” and “Statement of Faith” tabs in the blue menu bar at the top of this page) and you’d like to contribute a guest post, drop me an e-mail, and let’s chat about it.

The Importance of Knowing the Rules
by Robin Self

Most people who read my blogs probably know me best as being “the preacher’s wife”. But what they may not know is that for a lot of years I was another kind of wife.

I was an official’s wife.

Not “official” as in an important “government official” who rides in limousines and has “people”. But the kind who spends hundreds of hours a year in a minivan, eating gas station food, traveling to various sports complexes and gymnasiums, for very little money, in order to be yelled and cursed at by outraged fans.

Yes, for over 2 decades, my husband Jeff was a high school and college basketball official and umpire. I don’t have many photos to share from back in those days, since that was an era when you actually had to have film in a camera. But I have a few digital ones from his last seasons of umpiring, after his knees no longer allowed him to run on the hardwood for 3 hours a night. (Did I mention I LOVE a man in uniform??)

I gleaned a LOT throughout those memorable years. I can say without boasting, that I probably knew the rules better than anyone in the stands, and probably most coaches. It was I who would drill Jeff for hours so that he could pass the yearly 100 question official’s exams. I knew the intricacies of basketball. I understood that the INTENT of the rule was what mattered when making a call. Looking back, I can see that those years as the official’s wife taught me a few things that are relatable now to my life as the preacher’s wife.

Knowing the Rules Helps You Make the Correct Call


I see this all too often today in Christianity. People within the church will be confused about something that is said or taught because they don’t know “the rules”. Similar to how a basketball rules manual is the final authority in a basketball game, the Scriptures are our “rule book”. They are the ultimate and final authority over everything in our lives.

I can’t tell you how many times my husband had to bring out the rule book to show an irate coach where he was misunderstanding a call that was made. He could turn right to the page where that particular rule applied. How? Because he KNEW the book by heart.

As Christians, we must be able to do the same with Scripture. We need to know the Scriptures so well that when we hear teaching that is in error we recognize it, or so that when someone is wrongly arguing a biblical point, we can show them, in love, where they are misunderstanding or misusing it. When someone invariably tells us “not to judge” sinful behavior, we need to know the INTENT of the Scripture so that a solitary phrase being quoted out of context can’t be used against us.

Are we studying the Scriptures so diligently that they are imprinted on our hearts? Just reading the Bible every so often and knowing a few verses isn’t enough. We must study it in context, so we have the actual truth and INTENT in our hearts. Not just a bunch of verses we can pull out at random so we can argue our narrative.

One example that comes to mind is when those in the social justice movement use Revelation 7:9 to tell churches that their congregations need to be more ethnically diverse, because that’s what heaven is going to look like. This is a clear manipulation of the text used to try to convince believers that their churches are guilty of racism if multiple skin tones aren’t represented. And sadly, masses of people in the church are falling for this nonsense hook, line, and sinker!

We MUST be able to recognize a lie like this when it is presented to us. Deception has a way of coming across as convincing to those who haven’t put in the time to recognize it. But anyone who consistently studies and puts the truth of the Word in their heart won’t fall for this mumbo jumbo. Knowing the rules is imperative!

Knowing the Rules Helps You Be Objective


I can’t count the times I would be sitting in the stands watching Jeff referee a game, blissfully anonymous to those around me, listening to fans yell about a “bad call” that had been absolutely correctly made. It always amused me that two teams’ fans would see the same incident two completely different ways. One side would see an offensive charge, while the other side would see a defensive foul. They couldn’t both be right. But the reason the same situation was seen two different ways was because neither side was seeing what happened objectively.

If there is anything I remember distinctly when attending those many ball games, it’s that, because I knew the rules, I could see clearly if Jeff had made a call correctly, or if he had blown it. (Of course that was an extremely rare occurrence!) I could be objective about what happened on the court because I had no skin in the game. The outcome didn’t matter to me. My judgement wasn’t clouded because of my bias.

In the same way, we can’t allow our biases to cloud our judgment when we need to be corrected, or when our favorite Bible teacher is being pointed out as teaching error. As difficult as it may be for us, we should welcome loving biblical correction when we are acting or believing wrongly. Our end goal should be to walk in truth. If we are doing things right, we are in a continual learning process throughout our Christian lives. We will never know it all, and when we come to the knowledge that something we’ve always believed isn’t correct, we should be willing to give up that belief or tradition in favor of what is biblically sound. Sometimes it isn’t easy to say, “I was wrong”. But it’s necessary for growth.

We also can’t be so enamored with our favorite Bible teachers or conference speakers that we are unwilling to listen to any criticism of them. I used to be the biggest Beth Moore fan ever. At one time I wouldn’t listen to any criticism of her because I didn’t WANT to hear it. At that time my love for Beth was more important to me than hearing the truth.

But then I began to look at the issue OBJECTIVELY. I decided to, with an open mind, research and study the information that was out there and let the chips fall where they may. If the things that were being said were true I didn’t want to keep foolishly defending her. I am thankful that God opened my eyes to be able to see the gross error of what she was teaching. He allowed me to see how my bias had overshadowed the truth. I also discovered how important it is to make sure I know what the Bible actually says rather than just trusting what I believe to a “Bible teacher” who has a convincing way with words.

As a preacher’s wife, I even do this when my husband is preaching. If I have a question about something he says, I go search it out myself and we will talk about it. While I believe he is faithful to the text, it doesn’t mean that he can’t get something wrong. What’s wonderful is, he WANTS me point it out if I have questions. He has also been able to clarify things for me that I had wrong. Once pride is out of the way, and we become objective learners, we will want the truth no matter what.

When we have the “skin in the game” of loving and supporting certain Bible teachers, especially publicly, we can be blinded to what may be right in front of us: the fact that they may be teaching falsely. It can become more important to us to preserve the idol we’ve created than to care about the truth. But when we are willing to be objective and are passionate about our “rule book” we can’t help but want others to be just as passionate. And knowing our Maker’s book can affect someone’s eternal outcome of either accepting a false gospel or believing the only true saving gospel of Christ. And that’s a game outcome we care about!


Robin is an SBC pastor’s wife who enjoys doing ministry life alongside her husband Jeff. They have served in churches from urban Long Island, New York, to the woods of Southeast Georgia. They are now back home in their native Oklahoma where they have been for the past 13 years. They are new empty-nesters, with 3 grown children, Jordan, Jarrett, and Jonah. Follow Robin’s blog, A Worthy Walk, and connect with her on Twitter.

Sermon on the Mount Bible Study

The Sermon on the Mount ~ Catch Up Week

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 678910

I’m out of pocket this week, so you get a catch up week!

Catch up on any lessons you might be behind on, go back and do any of the homework you may not have had time for, review your memory verses, or if you’re already caught up, you could even read ahead in the Sermon on the Mount a little. It’s your week to use as you see fit. Happy studying!

Testimony Tuesday

Testimony Tuesday: Karen’s Story

Karen’s Story

I have sat under lukewarm teaching as well as seriously warped false teaching from both men and women over the years. Both my husband and I were just going through the motions of church, feeling like we needed to go because that’s what you do, getting involved, putting on a good front but honestly always feeling like something was missing.

My husband and I were just going through the motions of church…

I believe we were both saved, we knew we were sinners, knew only Christ could save us, sincerely repented, but then did the whole “ask Jesus into your heart” thing over and over again because of the need to “make sure”. But we were dying on the vine, as a friend of mine described it.

The final straw was a women’s group where the leader taught a study that she had written herself. The church thought so much of it they even helped her get it published. The book was full of Bible verses, all out of context and used for the purpose of getting her points across. I seriously began to dread going to that group, but dragged myself there weekly, thinking, “This is what I am supposed to be doing,” and at the same time wondering what was wrong with me because I hated it. I was so ignorant of God’s Word that I even sat there in silence when, as a group, we would pray and women in the room, one being the leader/writer of the study, were praying “in tongues”, no interpretation of course.

I was so ignorant of God’s Word…

During one of those gatherings, the woman who wrote the study told us about how she had been given the opportunity to preach on an upcoming Sunday at the church, saying, “Who says women can’t preach?”. BOOM, my heart was instantly in my throat, I felt flushed and agitated, but as I looked around the room I saw nodding heads agreeing with her. Somehow, even though I only read it in bits and pieces, I was quite sure the Bible did NOT agree with her bold statement. I wish I could have jumped up and challenged her and all the ladies in that room but because I did not know the Bible well, I simply shrank in my seat. However, I did know I had to leave so I mustered the courage and politely dismissed myself, never to return. I could not get out of that parking lot fast enough!

Do you know what I began doing then? Simply reading my Bible, in context. God was so gracious to me, giving me a hunger for TRUTH. I was able to find Michelle’s website, John MacArthur’s sermons and Chris Rosebrough’s teaching videos.

I then reached out to two friends who had attended that same study. One totally heard all that I was telling her about the importance of reading Scripture in context, the other, who was a member at that church, dug her heels in when I took her to passages about women preaching. She didn’t want to hear it because the teacher/author of the study “is gifted, anointed and loves preaching”. It has become apparent that she wants nothing more to do with me. God has allowed me though to share with other women who were in the same position I was a few years ago.

God has allowed me to share with other women…

One of those women happens to be my next door neighbor! That family has been there for years. Our children grew up together. They church hopped just like we did, moving aimlessly about for years. And then one day, after my family had been through all our disobedient wanderings, she and I began to talk – long discussions about God, the Bible, our sinfulness, the endless women’s studies of taking verses out of context, twisting them to mean something God didn’t intend, ignoring the Gospel, but always glorifying ME instead of the ONE who made me. Soon, we began praying together. Isn’t God amazing?!

Isn’t God amazing?!

It is a MUCH longer story but the end result is our families are now in a Reformed church that adheres to the 1689 London Baptist Confession, where we get the Word exposited on a weekly basis and each service includes the Gospel!! We are joyfully involved and now a part of a true church family. I am brought to tears continually at God’s grace, mercy, patience, and goodness for this undeserving wretch that I am.


Ladies, God is still at work in the hearts and lives of His people, including yours! Would you like to share a testimony of how God saved you, how He has blessed you, convicted you, taught you something from His Word, brought you out from under false doctrine, placed you in a good church or done something otherwise awesome in your life? Contact me, or comment below. Your testimony can be as brief as a few sentences or as long as 1500 words. Let’s encourage one another with God’s work in our lives!