Here are the answers to the June Bible study for the Encourager’s Devotional Series. If you have not already read the devotion for June, you may want to do that before proceeding with the study as it explains the connection between “the city” and “the bride.”
Read Isaiah 62. What are some of the characteristics of the city before the Lord “saves” it or “establishes” it? Hint: In addition to other statements, look at what the city is called.
forsaken, desolate, foreigners eating and drinking from the labors of the city inhabitants
What will the characteristics be after the Lord establishes it?
His delight, sought out, married, a praise in the earth, holy, redeemed
What promises does the Lord make to the city?
Salvation comes! And your reward comes with it.
Read Revelation 21. What will it be like for the Bride, the inhabitants of the Holy City?
no tears, no death, no pain, God’s presence and glory
When Paul speaks on the marriage relationship in Ephesians 5:22-33, he says in verse 32, “This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church” (all Scripture references are NIV)
From verse 26, what does Christ use to cleanse us?
Baptism (“washing with water”) and the Word
Read John 17:6-21. Use verses 14, 16, and 18 to fill in the blanks. The world hates us. We are not of the world, but we have been sent into the world.
Verses 20-21 explain one reason we are sent into the world. What is it?
that the world may believe that Jesus was sent by God
According to James 1:27, we are also sent into the world to take care of other people. But while we are ministering to the world, we are warned to stay “unspotted by the world.”
In 2 Corinthians 11:2-4, what does Paul say we must guard against if we want to be a “pure virgin” when we are presented to our “one husband, to Christ”?
Read 2 Peter 2:12-3:18. What kind of people are described as “blots and blemishes”?
blasphemers, creatures of instinct (like animals), adultrous hearts, seducers, deceivers, greedy, people who use empty and boastful words, slaves of depravity, scoffers, lawless
Note, from 2:1, that these people are not people outside of the church, they are “among us.” Yet from Revelation 21:2,27 we see that the Bride, at the final presentation, will be “beautifully adorned” and that nothing unclean, and no one who does what is abominable or lies will ever enter the city. What does this say for those people who are “spots and blemishes” on the Bride right now?
They will no longer be among us.
NOTE: You may want to refer to the parable of the wheat and tares (or weeds) found in Matthew 13:24-30 to see why these people are allowed to remain among us while we are still here on earth. That parable shows that we are not able to “pull the weeds” ourselves because we may uproot good plants that simply have not matured yet. It also shows that in the final judgment, God will uproot them and cast them out.
In 3:11-18, Peter explains “what kind of people we ought to be” in order to be “spotless” and “blameless.” He says we need to “live holy and godly lives” (v. 11).
And, much like Paul’s warning in 2 Corinthians 11:2-4, Peter warns us not to be “carried away by the error of these lawless men” (v. 17) and encourages us to “grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord …” (v. 18).
In 1 Timothy 6:3-20, what are we told to flee from and what are we told to pursue and keep “without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord”?
We are told to flee from false/unknowledgable teaching, conceit, controversies and quarrels, and the love of money.
We are told to pursue righteousness, godlinesss, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. We are instructed to “fight the good fight of faith” and take hold of the eternal life we received by our confession of faith.
Verse 18 gives three commands which would definitely make us more encouraging people if we obeyed them. What are they?
- Do good
- Be rich in good works
- Be generous and willing to share
The book of Jude focuses largely on “certain men” (v. 4) who are “blemishes” (v. 12). Read Jude, a short book of only 27 verses, and note how often speech sins are listed as characteristics of these “blemishes.” List these speech related sins by filling in the following blanks:
- 8 – They “slander celestial beings.”
- 10 – They “… speak abusively against whatever they do not understand.”
- 15 – They speak “harsh words … against him [the Lord].”
- 16 – They are “grumblers and fault finders” … who “flatter others …”
As we focus on being encouraging, we must be careful to distinguish between “flattery” and truly edifying words. What wrong motivation lies behind the flattering words used by the “certain men” in Jude 16?
They seek to follow their own lusts (in other words, they flatter to get what they want from others) and to gain advantage.
Think on the loving characteristics of Christ mentioned in Ephesians 5:22-33. Write down some for which you are particularly thankful.
Possible answers include: gave of himself, cleanses us, nourishes, builds up
Pray and ask God to help you be truthful with yourself as you answer the next few questions.
Ephesians 5:24 says the wife/bride must submit to Christ and the Word in order for the cleansing process to be effective. What Biblical teaching(s) might you have trouble obeying?
How well are you obeying the commands of 1 Timothy 6:18?
Are you having trouble with any speech sins? List any specific ones that come to mind.
You could make a commitment to study God’s Word more so that you will not be deceived or led into error. That commitment might include going to a Sunday School class or Bible study more regularly. Or it could be that you’ll commit to finding a good study guide to do in your personal devotions. Write down possiblilites.
Choose one area where you could focus on being more obedient to the Word. Write it down.
If you were convicted by the meditation on 1 Timothy 6:18, what could you do to follow that command more?
Following the instructions in James 1:27, you could plan some kind of project, or support some existing project to help widows and/or orphans. Write down any ideas you have.
What speech sins might you want to commit to controlling?
Go through the suggestions at the end of the June devotion and note any that you might want to do.
What do you specifically want to do in response to this month’s devotion?