The Lord’s Table: Bible Study/Prayer meeting
(Every Wednesday 6-7 pm in the Chapel)
St Paul’s Church
The Anglican Church of Canada
21 December 2011
Theme: The Good News
Topic: The God who strengthens us
Reading: Romans 16:25-27
25 Now to God* who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— 27to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom* be the glory for ever! Amen.*
God is able to strengthen all who put their trust in Him. In the Bible, there are numerous accounts of God’s mighty deliverance but His greatest act remains what He did for us in His Son Jesus Christ. Through the birth, death and resurrection of Christ we who were once alienated to God because of our sins were reconciled to Him. Christ who is the reason for the Christmas celebration is without doubt God’s greatest gift to humanity. Through His sacrificial suffering and death the penalty for our sins were completely paid for, and we find strength to live each day as God’s children- forgiven and accepted. In Christ is our hope, our peace, our faith and our strength; He is our all in all. In today’s study, we will discuss how Christ is our strength and how to maximize the knowledge of who He is to us and in our lives.
1. How does God strengthen us in Christ?
Now to God* who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages
Ephesians 1:3-9, 3:16-21
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4just as he chose us in Christ* before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. 5He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 8that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight 9he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, 16I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, 17and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 18I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.
Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing, 25to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and for ever. Amen.
2. How do we apply in our lives the strength that God freely gives?
Colossians 2:6-15, 3:1-3
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives* in him, 7rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe,* and not according to Christ. 9For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. 11In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision,* by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; 12when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God* made you* alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, 14erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. 15He disarmed* the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it. 3 So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, 3for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
2 Thessalonians 2:15, 3:3-6
15So then, brothers and sisters,* stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter. 3But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.* 4And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will go on doing the things that we command. 5May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. 6 Now we command you, beloved,* in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from believers who are* living in idleness and not according to the tradition that they* received from us.
3. In what ways do we neglect and/or abuse what God has done for us in Christ?
1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17-19, 25-31
10 Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,* by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you should be in agreement and that there should be no divisions among you, but that you should be united in the same mind and the same purpose. 11For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters.* 12What I mean is that each of you says, ‘I belong to Paul’, or ‘I belong to Apollos’, or ‘I belong to Cephas’, or ‘I belong to Christ.’ 13Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 17For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. 18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’ 25For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. 26 Consider your own call, brothers and sisters:* not many of you were wise by human standards,* not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, 29so that no one* might boast in the presence of God. 30He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31in order that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in* the Lord.’
4. List the benefits of living in the strength of Christ.
10as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance,* having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, 12so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. 13In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; 14this* is the pledge of our inheritance towards redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.
When Christ who is your* life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
1 Thessalonians 3:13
13And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
God strengthens us in Christ; forgiving us, blessing us and supplying all that we need. Knowing that God is on our side, what manner of persons we should be- ambassadors of Christ, the light and salt of the world. As we celebrate Christmas, let us remember that Christ is the reason for the season, and that He alone is our strength.
We thank you Lord for the gift of your Son Jesus Christ and for the strength you grant us through Him. Help us to live in the power of Your strength all the days of our lives through Christ our Lord. Amen.