Lesson One
The Steadfast Love of the Lord

  

I remember my affliction and my wandering the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to
mind and therefore I have hope.
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
Lamentations 3:19-24



 

u  A Relationship with God

 

God is our heavenly Father.  He lovingly cares for us, knows and meets our needs, is merciful to us, is willing to forgive our sins, and delights in our prayers.

 

Because God is Father to us, we need not live in anxiety.  We can have confidence in His loving attention and concern.  There is no need to worry because God knows precisely what He is doing and is looking out for our good.  Yes, there may be times when this is not obvious.  However, it is true.

 

Mankind was originally created to fellowship with God.  However, man rejected Him and spiritual death resulted.  Mankind then became separated from God.  With unsurpassing love, God provided a way for us to be made alive again.  We can be washed clean.  We can have fellowship with God again.  We can be new creatures.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ
even when we were dead in transgressions
¾
it is by grace you have been saved.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace,
expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith
¾
and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 2:4-8

 

God’s great grace has seated us positionally in the heavenly realms with Christ Jesus.  Obviously, we aren’t physically there yet.  But until that time, Jesus’ blood continually cleanses us from sin so that our Father looks upon us as spotless and without blemish. 

 

When God looks upon a Christian, He sees Jesus.

 

Further, we are the workmanship of our Maker.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

 

God the Father made an incredible sacrifice that we might forever know the depths of His love.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:10

 

The bountiful love that God openhandedly gives us is called agape love.  In the Greek language, it is defined as an unconditional love, selfless and unmerited.  We must conclude, therefore, that there is nothing that we have done or could ever do to deserve such a rich love toward us.

 

The following passage offers more insight into what agape love is and how God entreats us with it.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
But where there are prophecies, they will cease;
where there are tongues, they will be stilled;
where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

“But isn’t God angry with me because of my involvement with the abortion(s)?”  No.  Jesus is the propitiation (satisfaction) for your sin of abortion.  On the cross He offered what was necessary to avert divine anger from you.  He took upon Himself the full wrath of God.  He paid the entire penalty for your past, present and future lawlessness once and for always.  Abounding grace is yours when you turn your heart from sin to Him.  Believe it.

 

Trust that Jesus will complete the work He began in you.  Trust that nothing can separate you from His love.  Trust Him with all your heart for:

The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
Isaiah 58:11

 

 

u  The Nature of Sin

 

Sin is anything that doesn’t conform to the law of God.  It is missing God’s perfect mark, rebelling, going astray, or stumbling.  Basically, “sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4), which refers not only to breaking written commandments, but to an inward attitude.

 

The following Scriptures reveal some of the characteristics of sin:

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?
But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door;
it desires to have you, but you must master it.
Genesis 4:7

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today,
so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
Hebrews 3:13

He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God
rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.
Hebrews 11:25

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world,
to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.
1 Peter 2:11

A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.
Galatians 5:9

SURELY THE arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear
But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.
Isaiah 59:1-2

For our offenses are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us.
Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities.
Isaiah 59:12



 

u  Abortion Is Sin ¾ Nothing More, Nothing Less

 

Careful search of God’s Word reveals His heart concerning abortion.  The Bible is teeming with verses that, when studied collectively and within context, strike down any suggestion that a decision to participate in an abortion is ever permissible or the slightest bit acceptable to our Lord.

 

Although the literal word “abortion” is not found in the Bible, we can certainly glean the reality of what it is from Scripture.  It is one method of shedding innocent blood and offering up to the “god of ease,” convenience, or personal ambition.

 

In the interest of space, listed below are just two such passages.  They do well, however, to bring the point home.

 

They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters,
whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood.
They defiled themselves by what they did; by their deeds they prostituted themselves.
Psalm 106:38-39

 

There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
Proverbs 6:16-19

 

Are you uncomfortable after reading the above verses?  Remember Jesus is with you.  He already knows the stirring within you.  Will you take a few moments right now to share your thoughts with the One who loves you?

 
u  We Are All Sinners  

 

Truly, we are all sinners.
In fact, we would be calling God a liar
if we were to deny that we have sinned.
1 John 1:10

 

As sinners, we are in the wrong before God.  We have broken His laws, and we deserve punishment, but . . . on the cross, Christ took our place.  When we put our trust in our Redeemer, we are justified, that is, by His cleansing we are declared before God the Father to be without guilt; just as though we had never sinned.

 

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.
Psalm 51:4

 

 

 u  The Consequences of Sin

 

As Christians, we should never expect to be let off from doing what can be made right.  We must expect to receive what we deserve from wrongdoing.  At times, it happens that we do escape the consequences of our sin.  At other times, we receive loving discipline from God the Father.

 

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.
A man reaps what he sows.
Galatians 6:
7

 

Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:10-11


u
  Why Do Non-Believers Participate in Abortions?

 

 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.
2 Timothy 3:2-4

 
u  Christians Participate in Abortions Too

 

Research shows that one third of all pregnancies in the United States end in abortion.  Conservatively speaking, nearly twenty percent of those who participate in an abortion are evangelical Christians.

 

Regardless of their religious beliefs, men are involved in every abortion decision.  They may be medical personnel, counselors, the father of the child, a grandfather, a brother of the woman who aborts, friend, or a spouse.

 

I was a Christian.  How could I have committed such an obvious sin?

 

But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations
of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.
Jeremiah 7:24

 

Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8

 

Be encouraged!  Our Lord upholds us with His hand.

 

If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm;
though he stumble, be will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
Psalm 37:23-24


u  About Our Enemy

 

The Slanderer wants to break down the lines of communication between us and our dear Father.  He will inject all manner of thoughts into our minds to destroy our confidence in approaching the throne of Grace.

 

If we focus on these dark thoughts, we soon reason that our failures are greater than God’s willingness to restore us.  Unbelief springs forth, and we shrink from the throne of Grace.

 

Remember this, though, the Creator of our Universe is Jesus.  Our mighty advocate looks upon us with favor.  Favor that we do not deserve.  Favor that we cannot earn.  Favor that we cannot lose.  Who could neglect such a joy?  Utter freedom to learn and grow with an uncomplaining “daddy” . . . no matter what.

 

Therefore, let’s not be unaware of the devil’s ploys.  His mission is to destroy.  In fact, his name in both Hebrew and Greek means “destroyer.”  Be self-controlled and alert . Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Don’t give him any place in your life because he will accuse you before God, lusting after permission to test you.

 
u  Spiritual Warfare

 

We learn in Ephesians 6:12 that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

 

Though Satan and his minions are invisible, know that your enemies are not like God.  They are not all-knowing.  They are not able to be everywhere at once.  Nonetheless, Satan is a spiritual opponent . . . and extremely clever.

 

But this is no problem!  All we need is weaponry that is effective on the unseen battlefield.  Equipment with a one hundred percent success rate.

 

 

u  Put on the Full Armor of God

 

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.   What is this armor?  Where is it?  Read Ephesians 6:13-18.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

 

SPIRITUAL EQUIPMENT                OBTAINED FROM    

 

BELT OF TRUTH                              Jesus is your truth.        

BREASTPLATE OF
RIGHTEOUSNESS                            Jesus is your righteousness.       

SHOES OF READINESS                   Jesus is your gospel of peace.   

SHIELD OF FAITH                           Jesus is your source of faith.     

HELMET OF SALVATION               Jesus is your salvation.  

SWORD OF THE SPIRIT                  Jesus is the Word of God.         

 

Carefully and prayerfully put on each piece of armor every day.  Make Jesus the core of your life.


u  How Does this Enemy Attack?

He will lie to you and twist the truth in order to discourage you, create doubt, and paralyze your hope.  Has Satan ever whispered any of the following in your ear?

 

¨ You’re not forgiven; you just think you are.

¨ You should feel bad.

¨ Healing?  It doesn’t really exist.

¨ You’re a sinner.

 

Satan will attempt to occupy your time, to keep you from prayer and reading the Word.

 

He will attempt to confuse you with a flurry of thoughts.

 

He will slander the character of God in an attempt to falter your hope.

 

 

 u  What Must I Do When Attacked?

 

Resist Satan, and he will flee.  The first thing to do is:

 

Æ  LOOK UP AND ASK FOR HELP  Å

 

1. Ask Jesus to bind the enemy.

 

2. Pray according to 2 Corinthians 10:5:

 

Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

 

REMEMBER

 

Æ  LOOK UP AND ASK FOR HELP  Å

 

u  You Are Loved!

 

It’s easy to say, “I love you,” but how do you prove it? 

 

If someone were willing to take care of you and provide for your daily needs, would that be love?  If someone were willing to be merciful to you and forgive you for doing wrong, would that be love?  If someone were willing to risk his life, even to die, in order to rescue you from danger, would that be love?

 

YOU BET IT WOULD!

 

Well, somebody is willing to do all these things for you.  His name is Jesus Christ.  He is willing to adopt you as His child (John 1:12) and take care of you (Matthew 6:31-33, Philippians 4:19).  He is willing to forgive your sins (I John 1:9) and to set you free from the penalty and power of sin (John 3:16, Romans 6:6 & 14).  He has already willingly given His life on the cross so you can escape hell and go to heaven (Hebrews 12:2, John 10:18, 1 Peter 3:18).


Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great:
He appeared in a body,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory.
1 Timothy 3:16

  

The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

 

He came to live the perfect life we couldn’t live:

 

For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.
Romans 3:23

 

But we are all like an unclean thing and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.
Isaiah 64:6

 

Jesus died to pay the death penalty for our sins:

 

For the wages of sin is death.
Romans 6:23a

 

He arose from the dead to prove He is God and has the power of life over death:

. . . and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power
to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead:  Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 1:4

 

[Jesus said], “I am the Living One; I was dead and behold I am alive for ever and ever!
And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
Revelation 1:18


Jesus Christ Offers You
THE GREAT EXCHANGE

 

He will take away your eternal punishment, your old sinful nature, and your guilty conscience and give you in exchange eternal life, a new nature like His, and His perfection and righteousness:

 

But He (Jesus) was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities;
and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:5-6

 

For He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us,
that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21

  

To take advantage of this Great Exchange, you must:

 

Repent.  Be willing to turn from your self-directed, sinful life and allow Jesus Christ to direct your life.

 

Receive Jesus Christ into your life as your Lord and Savior.  It’s not enough to know about Jesus Christ, you must personally ask Him to come into your life.  “Behold I stand at the door (of your heart) and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I [Jesus] will come into him . . .” (Revelation 3:20).

 

If you want your sins forgiven and a new life, you can pray a prayer like this one:

 

Father God, I know I am a sinner.  I believe Jesus Christ died for my sins and that He arose from the dead proving He, too, is God.  Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and life.  I receive Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior.  Forgive me for all my sins and save my soul from hell.  Give me a new nature like Yours and eternal life.  Thank you for hearing my prayer and saving me now.  Amen.

 

Read the Gospel of John to get to know Jesus better.

 

Pray daily.  Talk to God the Father through Jesus about everything in your life.

 

Attend a Bible-believing church where you can meet other Christians and learn God’s Word.

 

Tell others what Jesus has done for you.

 

u  Search My Heart, O Lord

 

The questions in this section are based on the experiences of people who have participated in an abortion. Answer these questions honestly in order to see more clearly where you need God’s forgiveness, comfort, peace, and hope.

Were you opposed to the abortion?

_______________________________________________________

How often do you think about the abortion? 

_______________________________________________________

How do you feel when you think about the abortion? 

_______________________________________________________

Do you feel burdened or overwhelmed by guilt, anger, or grief ?

_______________________________________________________

Are you afraid to express your grief because “real men don’t cry”?

_______________________________________________________

Do you tell yourself to just forget about it in an attempt to wash away the hurts?  Or, do your pretend they don’t exist?      
 
_______________________________________________________

When the subject of abortion is mentioned, do you become tense?

_______________________________________________________


Are you resentful and unforgiving of anyone involved in the abortion, such as your daughter, your wife or girl-friend, the abortion provider, other relatives or friends?

_______________________________________________________

Do you believe that you are better off without that child in your life today?

_______________________________________________________

Do you work hard to make the relationships, education, or career for which you sacrificed the child a success to convince yourself that the abortion was “worth it” and ultimately the right decision?

_______________________________________________________

Do you feel helpless when you think about the abortion and your inability to stop it?

_______________________________________________________

Have you experienced prolonged periods of depression?  Do you have suicidal thoughts?  Have you ever attempted suicide?

_______________________________________________________

Do you feel compelled to conceal the abortion from certain people?  From Jesus?

_______________________________________________________

Have you ever talked to someone about the abortion, only to have them say something like, “It’s in the past.  Don’t worry about it now”?

_
______________________________________________________

Do you use food, alcohol, sex, or drugs to hide or change your feelings connected to the abortion?

_______________________________________________________

Are you filling your life with good deeds to atone for the abortion? 

_______________________________________________________

Does God seem distant to you?

_______________________________________________________

Is it difficult for you to believe that Jesus longs to show you mercy and compassion, rather than punishment?  Do you punish yourself?

_______________________________________________________

Are you hesitant to share your abortion-related thoughts with our Lord?

_______________________________________________________

Is it difficult for you to really believe that Jesus cares about your present hurts and needs?

_______________________________________________________


u  Encouragement

 

 

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.
But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense
¾

Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins,
and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:1-2

 

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are
¾
yet without sin.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace
to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:15-16

 

The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name will trust in you,
for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Psalm 9:9-10

 

But for you who revere my name, the son of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.
And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.
Malachi 4:2

 

 

 

Take time:  Now that you’ve finished the questionnaire, think about your answers and then spend a few moments with our Lord in prayer.

  

 

God knows the cries of your heart and the whispers too.
He knows your every sigh and sees your every tear.

 

Your hurts and worries, fears and questions
Cannot be too big or even too little for Him,

 

For He knows your every need and cannot be surprised.
Oh, how He longs to be ever gracious to you.

 

Talk to Him.  He surely will listen,
How perfectly He knows just how to love you. 
 

 



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