Central church of Christ 

New Smyrna Beach, Fl 

Sunday Bible Study, 9am.    Sunday Worship, 10am & 5 pm.    Wednesday Bible Study, 7pm.

USEFUL TO THE MASTER
 "Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, 'The Lord knows those who are His,' and, 'Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.' Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor.
Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, 
useful to the Master, prepared for every good work." (2 Ti 2:19–21)

USEFUL TO THE MASTER
Lesson 1: "Deep Cleaning"

To remedy a problem one must go straight to the heart of the issue.


When a tooth becomes abscessed it’s extremely painful! Simply brushing it with toothpaste will not help. Applying a pain numbing ointment may help a little. In order to alleviate the excruciating pain, swelling and discomfort, the tooth must be removed and the area around the tooth must be cleaned by a dentist. Why? If left unresolved it can become a dangerous infection known as “sepsis,” a blood infection that can spread through the blood stream shutting down vital organs of the body. One cannot afford to ignore such a problem. On the surface, there is only redness and swelling. But deep inside, a deadly disease is slowly spreading.



Marital problems can’t be solved by sweeping them under the rug. Gifts and money are not the answers to deep seeded issues between two spouses. A child is told to clean his room. So he begins tossing everything under the bed, into the closet and into his dresser drawers. What do all of these examples have in common? The problems are never really solved, only pushed back. When we fail to address our issues in life we are only storing up more problems! Problems and issues left unresolved tend to pour over into other parts of our lives—causing greater issues. The child who failed to clean his room properly is always late to school and church because he can never find anything. A husband and wife are constantly at each others throats because they’ve failed to resolve past problems. Bitterness has set in—so that even the most trivial discussions are not without confrontation. 

Some fail to progress forward in life because they are still affected by the past.Some never mature because they fail to take advantage of opportunities to do so. No matter where YOU go… there YOU are.

 

The greater danger in all of this is negative pattern. Such behavior becomes habit forming. Habits become comfortable. Comfortable habits become apart of our character. Character shapes who we are. Many have deceived themselves—thinking who they are...is just who they are. “That’s just the way I am.” As if who we are is shaped by some mystical involuntary force. Some believe this kind of thinking shifts away personal accountability. That their actions or inactions are excusable because, they can’t help it—it’s just the way they are. This kind of mentality and behavior pours over into our spiritual lives as well! We often fail to fully transform into God’s concept of Christian because we allow deep seeded issues and weaknesses to have footholds in our lives.

 

If we want to be stronger, more devoted, more knowledgeable, more useful for the Master—We must began by going straight to the heart of our unproductivity. This is what James speaks of … If we genuinely desire to have a greater spiritual success, 

“First clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also” (Matthew 23:26)


ROMANS 8:35-39

________________________________

35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36 Just as it is written,

“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;

We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,

39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


It’s imperative that we remove all obstacles to our success (James 1:21-27). One can never be truly and wholly devoted to the Master if he has yet to address unresolved issues in his life. The Pharisees tried this, but the Master saw clearly through their superficial holiness (Matthew 23:23-28). The Pharisees were very hypocritical. Yet, for us, sometimes it’s difficult to see our own superficial holiness because we have allowed poor judgment to become habit forming. The same is true in the home. One may have become calloused to being messy and filthy through lazy habits. But his guests are appalled and disgusted! They can clearly see there is a deeper problem going on. The problem isn’t just messiness. It’s the poor attitude that led to the filth and mess.

 

If we want to be truly useful to the Master, our attitudes towards life itself must change. This is the heart of all issues (Colossians 3:1-3; James 2:12). More specifically, our attitudes toward purity. We must remove all issues and hindrances to fully serve the Master.

 

What does each passage teach about the significance of removing obstacles?

1) Matthew 5:29-30.

2) 1 Corinthians 5:6-8.

3) Ephesians 4:21-22.

4) 1 Peter 2:1-2.

Think...What’s holding you back from becoming the kind of Christian God wants you to be?

 

WHAT'S HOLDING YOU BACK?

  • Pride.
  • Ignorance.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Fear.
  • Love of the world.
  • A loved one.
  • Friends.
  • Laziness.
  • Sin.
  • Health.
  • Insecurity.
  • Substance-abuse.
  • Financial issues.
  • Work.
  • Family obligations.
  • Loss of Faith.
  • In need of a tutor.
  • Overwhelmed by issues.
  • Introverted.
  • Afraid of failing.
  • Lack of transportation.
  • Too forgetful.
  • Feel unworthy.
  • Educational disabilities.
  • Holding a grudge.
  • Disappointment.
  • Depression.
  • Still grieving.
  • In need of encouragement.
  • Still sorting out my faith.
  • Too busy.
  • Don’t know.

 


Am I Truly In Fellowship With The Lord?


A) Fellowship with God demands purity

1) (Psa 24:3-4) To have fellowship with God, I must have _______________hands and a _______________heart.


2) (Ps 51:6) What does God desire/ require, and where?

 

3) (Mt 5:8) Who will see God?

 

4) (1 John 3:1-3) What do those who hope to see God, do?


 

B) God’s People Must Live Pure Lives. How?

1) Leviticus 18:30.

 

2) Psalm 51:10.


3) Colossians 3:5.

 

4) James 4:8. 


 

Lesson 1 Questions

Answer the following questions below. Each coincides to the theme of our lesson, “Deep Cleaning.”


1) Abram was about to enter into a very important covenant relationship with God, whereby which, all of his descendants and future generations of Gentiles would be affected. But before this could take place, what did God first tell Abram to do? (see Genesis 17). 

 

2) Before the Lord would work with Gideon and save rebellious Israel, what did God require of Gideon to remove? (see Judges 6).


3) How can we overcome the struggle between the spirit and the flesh? (see Galatians 5).


4) Describe some spiritual dangers of holding on to these things, while still trying to live a godly Christian lifestyle.


    Immoral Lust (1 Thess 4:3-5) 


    Worldliness (Matt 13:7, 22) 


CHALLENGE YOURSELF!


Choose one or more of the following Challenges below. Share the results your challenge with others, and encourage them to challenge themselves.

 






1) Call a member of the church you’ve never called before, compliment and or encourage them. (No criticizing).

 



2) No television, Netflix, movies, games, etc. for a full day! Instead, read and study your Bible. Find as many personal applications as you can.

 

3) Make a list of your weaknesses, faults and short-comings. Then ask two other people to identify any short-comings, weaknesses or faults they see in you. One must be someone your close to. The other must be someone you are not so close to. You cannot get upset, disagree, or argue with them. Just listen to them.

 

4) Pray as much as you can throughout the day. Try praying about new things.

 

 

USEFUL TO THE MASTER

Lesson 2: "Righting All Wrongs"



We are gravely mistaken when we believe it’s possible to maintain a sound relationship with God while refusing to maintain sound relationships with others.





The Bible teaches us that our relationship to others directly impacts our relationship to God (Matthew 6:14,15; 1 Peter 3:7-9). One cannot hate his or her spouse and hope to still be in good standing with the Lord. One cannot be prejudice or show partiality and still be useful to the cause of the cross (James 2:1-4).


Attitudes can make or brake a relationship. The redeemed Christian must have the right attitude. To be faithful in all areas of God’s law and to disregard it in one area, is to fail in keeping His law (James 2:8-11). This is because God’s law is based upon love (Romans 13:9-10). We cannot be faithful and useful servants to the Master while holding grudges.


We all have our reasons to hold grudges. People wrong us. Situations hurt us. Even God does not always do what we think He should do, so we get angry. We hold offenses against those who have wronged us, and often against God who we think should have done things differently. A grudge is nothing more than a refusal to forgive.


God has such a strong concern about grudges that He included a specific command about them when He gave the Law to the Israelites. Leviticus 19:18 says, “You shall not take vengeance nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.” It is interesting that God concluded this particular command with the words "I am the LORD."

In doing so, God reminded us that He is the Lord, not us. To hold a grudge is to set ourselves up as judge and jury—to determine that one person’s wrong should not be forgiven. No human being has the right or authority to do that. Romans 12:19 says, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written: ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

Misunderstanding forgiveness often keeps us in bondage to grudges. We think that to forgive is to excuse sin or pretend the offense did not matter. Neither is true. Forgiveness is not necessarily about the other person. Forgiveness is God’s gift to us to release us from the control of someone who has hurt us. When we retain a grudge, we give someone we don’t like power over our emotions. 



Without forgiveness, just the thought of an offender can send acid to our stomachs and heat to our faces. In essence, we make that person an idol, giving him or her control over us (Deuteronomy 32:39). But when we forgive, we release to God any right to vengeance or restitution. Forgiveness puts our relationship with God back in proper alignment. We acknowledge that He is the Judge, not us, and that He has the right to bring about any resolution He chooses. Forgiveness is the choice to trust God rather than ourselves with the outcome of the offense.

 


“You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.” 

(Leviticus 19:18)



Identify those who failed to stay useful to the Master because of unresolved resentment or a grudge. How can we avoid their mistakes today?

 

1) Genesis 4:1-10.

 


2) 1 Samuel 18:7-9.



3) Acts 13:44-46.


It wasn’t Moby Dick who destroyed Captain Ahab—Captain Ahab destroyed himself.

Ahab allowed his passionate hatred for the whale to blind him to the dangers and madness of pursuing vengeance upon a sea creature who acted upon its own natural instincts, not conscientious, purposeful ill will.


What resentment does:

  • Blackens the heart.
  • Undermines Christian Character.
  • Builds up hatred and bitterness.
  • Compromises your faith.
  • Makes you an emotional slave.
  • Gives the devil power over you.
  • Can lead to violence.
  • Teaches young people it’s okay.
  • Leads to inappropriate speech.
  • Grieves the Holy Spirit.
  • Hinders your prayers.
  • Hinders God’s favor.
  • Weakens and destroys the                   Church.
  • Has caused many to divorce.
  • Encourages self-justification.
  • Causes serious friction in the              home.
  • Compromises friendships.
  • Fools you into thinking your               hurting others, when in reality,           you’re hurting yourself, and God.
  • May lead to a pattern of further            hatred for others.


It is impossible to defend feelings or actions which contradict Biblical teaching. Sin is sin, and the Master cannot fellowship with those who hold to it.

 








Overcoming Relationship Issues


A) According to Jesus, why should we love our enemies? 

    (Matthew 5:43-47)


 

B) According to Paul, what should Christians do and not do? 

    (Romans 12:17-21).

    1) Not do. 


    2) Not do. 


    3) Not do. 

 

    1) Should do. 


    2) Should do. 


    3) Should do. 


    4) Should do. 


    5) Should do. 


    6) Should do.


C) How should we treat others in everything (All things)? 

    (Matthew 7:12).


Lesson 2 Questions

Answer the following questions below. Be sure to fully read each passage of Scripture.

 

1) What should Christians allow to rule in their hearts? (Colossians 3:15). What is Jesus for the Christian? (see Ephesians 2:13-17). How so?



2) If we harbor bitterness, envy, etc in our hearts … What are we doing to the Gospel Truth? (see James 3:14-16; Galatians 2:11-14). According to James, what is the nature of such attitudes, and what do they cause?


 

3) What lessons can we glean from Matthew 5:22-24?


 

4) How should Christians respond to each issue below, that they may remain useful to the Master…?

    a) Someone hates and constantly opposes you (Matt 5:44).

    b) Someone persecutes you (Rom 12:14). 

    c) Spouse disappoints you (Col 3:19; 1 Cor 13:4,5). 


CHALLENGE YOURSELF!


Choose one or more of the following Challenges below. Share the results your challenge with others, and encourage them to challenge themselves.

1) Write a two page heart-felt, sincere letter to someone you’ve been holding a grudge against. Regardless of how you believe they may respond.


2) Pray that God will help change your negative feelings toward someone or others regardless whether or not they change. Pray that God will help you to change and move on with His work.


3) Hug someone you don’t get along with or someone you may disagree with. Let them know you genuinely care, despite the differences.


4) Sometimes we don’t listen because we’re so occupied with putting together a quick response. Instead, just listen to someone you may disagree with. Resist the urge to interrupt, correct, or add your opinion. Just listen.

 

 

USEFUL TO THE MASTER

Lesson 3: "Identifying Yourself"




Os Guinness records this sobering confession by a successful businessman with no clear purpose:


“’As you know, I have been very fortunate in my career and I’ve made a lot of money—far more than I ever dreamed of. Far more than I could ever spend, far more than my family needs.’ The speaker was a prominent businessman at a conference near Oxford University. The strength of his determination and character showed in his face, but a moment’s hesitation betrayed deeper emotions hidden behind the outward intensity. A single tear rolled slowly down his well-tanned cheek. ‘To be honest, one of my motives for making so much money was simple—to have the money to hire people to do what I don’t like doing.But there’s one thing I’ve never been able to hire anyone to do for me: find my own sense of purpose and fulfillment. I’d give anything to discover that.’” (taken from, Kraft, D. (2010). Leaders who last. Wheaton, IL: Crossway.).


Do you know who you really are, and what your purpose is in life? Many have started out knowing, but as the hustle and bustle of life took its toll, they forgot. Someone once said, Whatever you do with your life may be good, but are you doing what you were meant to? The chief purpose in life is to fear God and keep His commandments. (Ecclesiastes 12:13). The problem is that we allow our own human weaknesses to interfere. Each one of us is unique in that we posses different personalities, talents, abilities, etc. But, are we using what God has given us, for His glory? After all, our unique talents and abilities 

are really not our own. They have been given to us by the Master. We were created by Him and for Him (Colossians 1:15-16). We were created for the purpose of doing His good works (Ephesians 2:10).

In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14–30), a master preparing to leave town gives his three servants talents (money) to manage while he is away. The amount of money entrusted to each servant to handle was in accordance with their unique ability (v. 15). The servants were not the owners of the talents; they were the stewards of it. The same thing is true of each of us. God has given all of us something to be good stewards of, such as money, time, occupations, families, the gospel, etc. None of us are empty handed. We must know ourselves. We must use our unique selves to be useful to the Master’s universal cause.

 

Paul taught the church at Corinth to appreciate and accept the fact that though every member has unique differences, every member has an important purpose and function in the Master’s kingdom (see 1 Corinthians 12:14-30) No one is unimportant.

 


“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” (Proverbs 19:21, ESV).

 

Career & Purpose Are Not The Same Thing

It’s easy to confuse purpose and career. When I speak of a compelling purpose, I am speaking about the spiritual focus of your life. Whatever your career may be—teacher, chemical engineer, athlete, doctor, lawyer, janitor— you have a purpose that is higher and more eternally significant than what you do to put bread on the table. What is your God-given purpose? Have you identified it? What has the Lord gifted and called you to do in the body of Christ and among the lost? What is your contribution to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission?

 

Biblical Examples

Moses was once a great and powerful royal figure in the Egyptian kingdom. He was well educated and possessed great wealth! (Acts 7:22; Hebrews 11:23-29). Moses may have one day sat on the throne! But this wasn’t his purpose. Moses gave it all up to become a humble leader and counselor in the wilderness— leading millions of slaves to freedom and becoming God’s special people.

The Apostles. Paul was a Pharisee. He was a highly educated man, a tent-maker by trade, and a doctor of the Law of Moses. At first, Paul used his education and influence to destroy others, and advance himself politically (Gal 1:13,14). Who knows, He probably would have become a high ranking Jewish or Roman official! Later, Paul realized what his true purpose was to magnify Christ to any all people! (Gal 1:15,16; Phil 1:20). Hence, Paul began to use is God-given talents to live out his life-purpose. Andrew, James, John, and Peter, were fishermen (Matt 1:18-22) . Matthew was a tax-collector (Matt 9:9; 10:1-3). But these occupations didn’t define their purpose.Have you discovered your unique self? Are you living your God-given purpose? (consider Prov 16:1-3, 9).

 


Finding Your Life Purpose


1) Record Bible passages that best apply to your life story.

 

 

2) Reflect on how God has used you in the past.

 

 

3) Determine what you are passionate about.

 

 

4) List your known gifts and strengths.

 

 

5) Described what you have excelled at in your work experience.

 

 

6) Define what action words best describe what you like to do.

 

 

7) Write down what you enjoy doing in your free time.

 

 

8) Reread all your answers.

 

 

9) Take note of common themes.

 

 

10) Write down key words or ideas that repeat.

 

 

11) Summarize those key words in a short, energizing statement about yourself.

 

 


CHALLENGE YOURSELF!


Choose one or more of the following Challenges below. Share the results your challenge with others, and encourage them to challenge themselves.


1) Write a letter to yourself. Explain to yourself the changes you will be making to live a more purpose-driven life, useful to the Master’s cause.

 

2) Read the book of Ephesians. Take note of God’s purposes in each chapter. Meditate on how you fit into each one of them.

 

3) Contact someone you know who is wasting their unique God-given talents. Encourage them to advance and use their unique abilities to serve a greater purpose.

 

4) Do one kind act for a total stranger each day of the week, for one week.

 


USEFUL TO THE MASTER

Lesson 4: "Plan To Be Useful"

Now that we have identified our life purpose and our place in the Master’s kingdom, we must strive to become intentional with our spiritual lives. As Christians, our time with the Master is extremely important, yet too often it’s the first thing to go when life gets busy. We must plan for this.

.

Do you want to go deeper in your relationship with the Lord? Do you want to walk a little closer with Jesus? Do you want to be more consistent with your prayer life? Then now is the time to plan for it! Some of us are big believers in setting goals and being intentional in our secular lives— our spiritual lives should be no different! If we want to be successful, we must plan to be. “For the dream comes through much effort…” (Ecclesiastes 5:3).

 

The success of our spirituality and relationship with God takes effort on our part. Paul told the Christians in Philippi, “...work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Then Paul gives them the reason behind this, “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13).

 

The life of the Christian is to be productive and fruitful. How can you use your God-given purpose and abilities to become more intentional and useful to the Master?

 


Living My Spiritual Life Intentionally

Putting God first—living according to His word—serves the glory of God and also the best interests of Christians, by giving them true purpose and wisdom for daily living.

 

1) Purpose—what I am called to accomplish in life (Romans 1:1). What is my purpose?

 




2) Passion—a sense of enthusiasm about my purpose and direction (Acts 20:24; 21:13) How can I become more passionate?

 

3) Goals—where I want to go (Phil 3:9-14). Where do I want to go in my spiritual life?

 

4) Plans—what I am going to do to get there (1 Cor 9:24-27).

 

5) Priorities—how I will arrange my plans to get there (James 4:13-17).

 

6) Schedule—when I will actually do it (Gal 1:11-24; 2:1-9).

 

7) Execution—just do it! (Acts 26:19-25).

 

8) Evaluation—assessment of what happened, and how I can improve the process. (1 Cor 4:3-4; 2 Cor 13:5)

 


“Plans are established by counsel…” Proverbs 20:18, (ESV)


Getting Organized

A) Make a list of all the things that you find yourself doing that do not really make a significant difference. Don't give your life to the things on that list.

1) 

2) 

3) 

4) 

5)

6)

7)

8)

9)

10)


B) Make a second list of the things that are truly and eternally important. Give your time and energy to the things on this list.

1)

2)

3)

4)

5)

6)

7)

8)

9)

10)



Write down the most important things you have to do a day in advance. Number them in the order of their true importance. The first thing tomorrow morning, start working on item Number 1, and stay with it until it is completed. Then take item Number 2 the same way. Then Number 3, and so on. Don’t worry if you don’t complete everything on the schedule. At least you will have completed the most important things before getting to the less important ones. 

 


How Can We Become More Intentional With Our Spiritual Lives?


1) Matthew 16:23. 



2) Ezra 7:1-10. 



3) James 1:22-25. 



4) Luke 6:12; 1 Thes 5:17. 








Lesson 4 Questions

Answer the following questions below. Be sure to fully read each passage of Scripture.


 

1) How was Jesus like us? (Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:15).


 

2) In the midst of all Jesus dealt with in life, how was He able to live His life intentionally for the purpose the Father sent Him? (Hebrews 12:2-3).


 

3) What must we do to develop this type of focused mindset? (Luke 9:21-26). 

 


4) What can God do if our plans are out of step with His plans? (Psa 33:10). 


 

5) When will our plans in life be established (Proverbs 16:1-3). 


 

6) Why is it so important that we live our lives as God intended, and to the fullest of our God given abilities? (Ecclesiastes 9:10). 


 

7) What paths should we walk in and why? (Jeremiah 6:16)


CHALLENGE YOURSELF!


Choose one or more of the following Challenges below. Share the results your challenge with others, and encourage them to challenge themselves.


1) Plan your schedule for a week, planning spiritual things first!

 

2) Begin working on a spiritual growth-goal.

 

3) Plan to conduct yourself in a more positive way towards someone you find it hard to get along with, regardless of how they behave.

 

4) Write out a three page prayer to the Lord about living more intentionally in His kingdom.

 


USEFUL TO THE MASTER

Lesson 5: "Devoted To Prayer"

Prayer is the ability to petition God, the creator of all things.  Prayer is intimate. Alone time with God—such an opportunity should be the Christian’s one great desire. How sad that so man spend brief amounts of time with Him, or don’t go to Him at all, because they have so little to say. You may hold prayer with the utmost respect, yet you find your own practice lacks purpose and vitality, because you don’t spend time with God like you know you should. The late Martyn Lloyd-Jones (former Protestant preacher and medical doctor) wrote,


“It is the highest activity of the human soul, and therefore it is at the same time the ultimate test of a man’s true spiritual condition. There is nothing that tells the truth about us as Christian people so much as our prayer life … Ultimately, therefore, a man discovers the real condition of his spiritual life when he examines himself in private, when he is alone with God … And have we not all known what it is to find that, somehow, we have less to say to God when we are alone than when we are in the presence of others? It should not be so; but it often is. So that it is when we have left the realm of activities and outward dealings with other people, and are alone with God, that we really know where we stand in a spiritual sense.” (Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 2 vols. [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979], 2:45).


Prayer has always been a crucial element in the lives of God’s servants. Men like Abraham, Moses, David, and Paul could not have done what they did without a devoted prayer life—constantly communicating with God. By staying in constant contact with God, These men (and others) proved to be useful indeed, to the Master’s cause.  All Christians ought necessarily to have their hearts focused on God so that communion with Him is an everyday, natural function of their lives.

 


Prayer Is To Be Cherished


Prayer isn't just something a Christian does as part of his or her walk with the Master. It’s not just an “act” of Worship. Prayer is a necessary practice that is vital and constant. Prayer is a life-line to the Christian’s spiritual health and well-being.


What has been your attitude towards a constant and genuine daily prayer life?


1) I pray when I remember to do so.

2) I pray when I have something important to mention to God.

3) I take sincere joy in praising my God through prayer.

4) I can’t stop praying!

5) My prayers usually only occur before my meals, and at bedtime.

6) I pray for others more so than for myself.

7) Once a day.

8) My prayers are often quick and lacking in substance.

9) Once a week.



10) I Find it challenging to stay focused when I pray, my mind wanders

11) I feel the need to pray spontaneously.

12) I often feel that prayer is a waste of my time.


“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it

with an attitude of thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2)

 

Pray Always


Entreaties: Strong's 1162.  δέησις dĕēsis, deh´-ay-sis; from 1189; a petition:—prayer, request, supplication.


The original significance of entreaty is “to lack,” “to be in need of,” In the NT entreaty always has the sense of “to ask” or “to seek” as the context may determine. It may sometimes mean no more than “please,” as when Paul asks the Roman army commander for permission to address the people (Acts 21:39) or the eunuch asks Philip to explain the passage in Isaiah (Acts 8:34).


Praise: Praise involves the recognition of who God is and what He does. It is “giving God the glory,” recognizing God as God. Expressions of such praise are found in the psalms. Praising God through prayer helps us focus on God’s,


1) Glory, Ps 19:1-6 See also Ps 29:1-2; 138:5; Ro 16:27; Php 4:20; Jude 25.


2) Majesty, Ps 104:1-4; Ps 8:1; 76:4; 96:4-6.


3) Kingship, Ps 97:1 See also Ps 9:7; 22:3; 93:1; 95:3; 102:12.


4) Love and compassion, Ps 103:1-18; Ps 111:4; 118:1-4; 145:17-20.


5) Justice and righteousness, Ps 97:2; Ps 7:17; 9:8; 97:6; 111:3.


6) Creative activity, Ne 9:6; Ps 90:2; 95:3-7; 102:25-27; 104:5-9,24-26.


 


Thanksgiving: Prayer embraces praising God for who he is, thanking him for what he has already done, and looking forward with joy to what he has promised to do in the future. Scripture exhorts God’s people to praise and thank him for,


1) Deliverance and salvation, Psalm 136.


2) Provision of material needs, Mark 8:6.


3) Help in time of trouble, Psalm 40:1-5.


4) The encouragement of other Saints, 2Thessalonians 1:3.


 


Power & Purpose In Prayer


A) What kind of God do we pray to?

    1) Genesis 18:10-14.

    2) Luke 1:37.

    3) Romans 8:28.

    4) Ephesians 3:20.


B) Fill in the blanks below, as you see fit. How one should pray...

     1) Matthew 6:5-13, with proper respect and focused words.

         We can show more respect by...

     2) Luke 18:1-14, with hunger, & humility. We can show more hunger for

         God’s wisdom by...

     3) James 1:5-8, in sincere faith. We can be more sincere in our prayers

         by...

     4) James 5:16-18, with a righteous & holy life. We can strive to live holy

         by...

         

 

Lesson 4 Questions

What Should Christians Pray For?

1) Matthew 5:44.


2) Matthew 9:38.


3) Matthew 26:41.


4) Luke 21:34-36.


5) Ephesians 6:18.


6) Colossians 1:3.


7) Colossians 1:9.


8) Colossians 4:3.


9) 2 Thessalonians 1:11.


10) 1 Timothy 2:1-3.


11) James 1:5.


12) James 5:13.


13) James 5:14.


14) James 5:16.


15) 1 Peter 5:6-7.


16) 3 John 2.


  

 

CHALLENGE YOURSELF!


Choose one or more of the following Challenges below. Share the results your challenge with others, and encourage them to challenge themselves.

1) Pray for your enemies, and those who hate or use you.

 

2) Pray that God will help you become more useful to Him, on His terms, not your own.

 

3) Pray with someone you’ve never prayed with before.

 

4) Ask 3 Christians to pray for you this week.

 



USEFUL TO THE MASTER

Lesson 6: "Increasing Bible Knowledge"



Imagine standing at the height of all the earth and seeing the depth of sin.


Imagine a world filled with billions and billions of lives—and with each passing day, spiraling closer into Hell. Now imagine a small group of righteous people (among the billions) who only focus on saving themselves.

Imagine a congregation where every Christian is making great efforts to grow in their knowledge and understanding of God’s Word (see 1 Peter 2:2). Imagine a congregation filled with Saints who study their Bibles throughout the week. Imagine a congregation where every husband and father embraces his role of spiritual leadership, teaching his family the Bible and praying with them on a regular basis.


Imagine a congregation filled with Saints, begging to hear more of the Word next week (see Acts 13:42, 44). Imagine a congregation of Saints that have allowed the powerful message of God’s saving grace to fill their hearts with bold courage... courage to risk their reputations, and even their lives, to share the message with others (see Acts 11:19-21).  Imagine a congregation of Saints who don’t just wear the name Christian as a title, but who are striving to become deeper in their relationship to God through sincere discipleship (see Acts 11:22-26; Luke 14:25-33). Imagine a congregation of Saints, who are dying to put what they’ve learned into good practical use (see 1 Thes 1:5-8). Imagine a congregation where every Christian feels it’s their personal duty to live their lives in service to the Master’s great cause (see Gal 2:20; 2 Cor 5:14-15).


Imagine congregations like these, being active in their communities for the Master (see Acts 2:42-47).

 

Knowledge & Wisdom Bring Success.

Knowledge is a collection of valuable information we’ve learned. Wisdom is making good practical use of what we’ve learned—with discernment and good judgment. God desires to have genuine fellowship with His people whom He loves so dearly. But in order for this to take place, His people must be aware of His expectations. God has always called upon His people to be knowledgeable of His ways (Deut 4:1-9; Hosea 4:1-6). Without this knowledge there can be no real fellowship. And without fellowship, there can be no divine blessings or favor.

 

Read the following passages below. Consider how difficult they are without a true knowledge of God and His Word (Compare Heb 11:6 with Rom 10:17).

1) Psalm 77:11-12.

2) Matthew 7:21.

3) John 4:22,24.

4) 2 Corinthians 5:7.

5) Ephesians 5:1.

6) Colossians 2:8.

7) James 1:21.

 


“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (2 Tim 2:15)

 

Be Devoted To Learning & Seeking God’s Will

 

(Psalm 119:2)

 

1) We must love Him wholeheartedly (Deut 6:5).

 

2) We must pant to be near Him (Ps 42:1).

 

3) Through knowledge of His will, we must present ourselves as living sacrifices of holiness and righteousness (Rom 12:1-2).

 

4) When compared to the knowledge found in Christ, all other earthly knowledge is nothing (Phil 3:7-8; 1 Cor 2:1-2).

 

 




Identify those who Knew God and served Him Wholeheartedly?


1) Nu 12:7.

  

2) Nu 14:24.

 

3) Jos 24:14-15.

 

4) Job 23:11.

 

5) Isa 38:3.

 

6) Acts 5:28-29.

 

What Are Some Results Of Mining The Scriptures?

1) What is God looking to see?  (1 Chr 16:9; Ps 14:2).

 

2) What do those who gain understanding from God’s word do? (Ps 119:34).


3) What often happens to us when we allow knowledge of God’s truth to     weigh on our hearts and minds? (2 Chr 34:19-21; Heb 4:12; Acts 2:37).

 

4) What do those who study and understand God’s word hate? (Ps 119:104). How do they walk? (Prv 15:21).



 

 





Lesson 6 Questions

Why should we read and study the Scriptures?

 

1) 2Ti 3:16.

 


2) Jn 17:7.

 


3) Jos 1:7-8.

 


4) Ro 15:4.

 


5) 1Jn 2:1.

 


6) Ps 119:28.

 


7) Ps 51:13.

 


8) Gal 6:1.

 


9) Matt 22:29.

 


10) 1 Tim 4:13, 16.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHALLENGE YOURSELF!


Choose one or more of the following Challenges below. Share the results your challenge with others, and encourage them to challenge themselves.


1) Read the Gospel of Luke in six days. (That’s 4 chapters a day).

 

2) Start reading through the Psalms every night, just before bedtime.

 

3) Read a book of the Bible you’ve never read before.

 

4) Read these books in one day: Obadiah, Philemon, 2nd and 3rd John and Jude.

 

 

 

 

USEFUL TO THE MASTER

Lesson 7: "Make God Your Priority"

The Lord doesn’t want to be a part of your life, He wants to be your life—your everything! The Lord doesn’t want to be an afterthought, He wants to be the foundation for your thinking. The fact is, our spiritual lives will never fully come together until God Himself is allowed to become the very centerpiece of our lives. A child’s favorite toy will not fully function without batteries. Even with all of its modern, state of the art technological advances, a car will not function unless it has gas in its tank (or is charged). The human body is perhaps the greatest machine ever built—but without a little pump known as “the heart.” it cannot function. A Christian cannot spiritually function properly without making the object of his faith the ultimate priority of life (Luke 16:13; Heb 12:1-3).


The Christian died with Christ to his old self with its old priorities. He’s put on the new self and endeavors to put God first: educationally, intellectually, emotionally and practically. The Christian’s life isn't driven by worldly passions or pursuits, but by heavenly wisdom and promises (Gal 5:24; Col 3:1-5).


By increasing his desire for God and knowledge of His Word, the Christian has learned to put life on earth into its proper context (Ecclesiastes  9:1-10; 1 John 2:15-17). Since the things of this life are all temporary… The Christian seeks to place his desires in an everlasting hope, therefore, he walks by faith not by sight (2 Corinthians 4:18; 5:7). He sets the things of God as priority in the few and fleeting years of his physical experience.  He seeks rather to store up greater treasures and rewards which will endure forever (Matthew 6: 19-20; 1 Peter 1:3-5). There is an honor, glory, joy and peace which far surpasses anything one could ever imagine or experience—reserved for those who endure the challenges of this present life by putting God first (Romans 2:6-10).

 

Hindrances To Making God A Priority

What caused these once faithful individuals from allowing God to be their priority?

 

1) 1 Kings 8-11.


2) 2 Chronicles 14-16.


3) 2 Chronicles 26:1-23.



“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deut 6:4)


Why Did These Individuals Make God Their Priority?

 

1) Noah (Hebrews 11:7)

 

 2) Abraham (Hebrews 11:8-11)

 

 3) Moses (Hebrews 11:24-26).

 

Do you want God to become a priority in your life? If so, why?

 

 

 

Make God Your Priority...


1) Educationally. Why is knowledge of godliness more of a priority than secular knowledge? (1 Timothy 4:7-10).

 


2) Intellectually. What are some benefits of training ourselves to stay spiritually minded in a world driven by carnal thinking? (2 Peter 3:13-14).

 


3) Emotionally. Why should we be careful about what we become emotionally attached to? (Mat 6:21; Lk 9:59-62; 17:32).

 









Lesson 7 Questions


Why should God be our first priority in life?


 


1) Genesis 2:7; Acts 17:28.





2) Acts 17:26-27.



 

3) Matthew 4:1-4; Romans 14:7-8.





4) Psalm 33:15-22.





5) Psalm 103





6) Mark 8:34-38.


 


 


USEFUL TO THE MASTER

Lesson 8: "Challenge Yourself"


Living a faith-life is all about challenge. Faith, itself is a challenge—to believe and trust in more than we fully know or understand. God is challenging His creation to overcome its pride and serve Him with absolute surrender, even though it may be contrary to societal norms or behavior:


“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” -Hebrews 11:6


Noah was a perfect example of this. He was challenged to live differently than the entire world around him. He and his family dared to follow a holy God in an unholy world. Imagine the mental and emotional challenges they faced every day! The Book of Hebrews mentions several other examples of individuals who faced many challenges in life because of their faith in God and His eternal plan (see Hebrews 11:32-39a).


Let’s face it, the Christian walk is all about challenge! And more importantly, it’s about challenging ourselves.  While it is a fact that Noah and his companions of faith, met many challenges in their lifetimes—the greatest challenge they faced was themselves. They had to change who they were to meet the challenges. Moses was tasked to deliver the Israelites from Egypt and guide them to the promised land. But Moses had to become more than just a herder of sheep. Paul was an expert in the Law of Moses and a former Pharisee. But it took more than Law degree and a political background to accomplish what he did for the Lord. We must become more than we are to be Useful to the Master.

 

Challenger Yourself : Become A Better Disciple


Stop just believing—begin following! Disciples are students of God.  Disciples Imitate Christ, carry on His ministry and become more like Him in the process. Disciples seek to


change the way they think and the way they live. Jesus served the best interest of others to bring honor to God!


A) Embrace His Compassion


     1) Mark 6:32-44. 


     2) Luke 7:11-17.


     3) Luke 10:25-37.


 


 


B) Embrace His duty (Jesus was "mission-driven," as were His apostles later)


        1)  Matt. 20:20-28; Luke 19:10.


        2) John 4:31-37, 38-42.


        3) John 9:1-7.


 


C) Embrace His courage


       1) To defend the purpose of God.


       2) To stand boldly for God's will when it’s unpopular.


       3) To deny self and give hope to others who don't deserve it.


 



“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13)


Challenge Yourself: Become More Relational

 

JESUS OPENED HIS LIFE TO THE LIVES OF OTHERS!

 

A) Build stronger relationships

     1) If being a disciple means we imitate Christ, it means we must be intensely

         relational—just like Jesus. (Mark 3:31-35; Matt. 5:1). 

         a) John 12:12-19. (the world went after Jesus).

         b) John 3: Nicodemus.

         c) John 4. Samaritan woman.

         d) Luke 7:18-22. (relationship oriented work of Christ).

 

    2) One must need to build a real relationship with Christ, and grow closer to:

        (Matt. 5:13-16).

        a) family,

        b) friends,

        c) and strangers around them.

 

B) Seek more disciples (Matt. 28:19-20).

     1) Reach 4 new people a week = 208 people reached a year.

     2) Reach 8 new people a week = 416 people reached a year.

     3) Reach 10 new people a week = 520 people reached a year.

 

C) Reaching People

    1) Personal invite: To church, or a Bible study.

    2) Email a link of our website (CENTRALCOCNSB.COM).

    3) Mail letters through phone book.

    4) Leave a card, bulletin, CD, etc.

   

 

 

 

How Did They Challenge Themselves?


1) Genesis 28:1-21.



2) 1 Samuel 17:1-50.



3) Luke 21:4.



4) Acts 14:19-22



5) Romans 4:18-21.











 

Lesson 8 Questions

How can we challenge ourselves?

 

1) Matthew 6:33-34.



2) Luke 19:10. James 1:22.


 

3) Acts 17:11.


 

4) 2 Corinthians 9:7.


 

5) Galatians 6:10.


 

6) Ephesians 5:22-28.


 

7) Philippians 2:3-5.


 

8) 1 Timothy 2:1-2.


 


CHALLENGE YOURSELF!


Choose one or more of the following Challenges below. Share the results your challenge with others, and encourage them to challenge themselves.

1) Study this entire series again, by yourself.

 

2) Study this entire series again, with another fellow Christian.

 

3) Go back to Lesson 3. Begin working on a plan to practice your four highest scores.

 

4) Keep a year-long journal of your progress of becoming more useful to the Master.