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Foundational Studies

Building a Solid Spiritual Foundation

Matthew 16:17-19 (2/4/16)

What Is Church? • February 4, 2016 • Benham Brothers

• The disciples were expecting Christ to establish a new kingdom. • But He let them in on His plan - it was to build a church. • They knew what "ekklesia" meant: • 1) an assembly of Greek citizens that governed a city or district. • 2) the congregation of Israel when gathered for religious activity. • He didn't stop there - He let them in on the entire role of the church: • WHO - anyone who made the same claim as Peter. • WHERE - the "gates" represented power and authority - City Hall. • Gates of Hell represented the places where Satan exercised power and authority. • WHAT - keys represent access to authority. • The church would get access to God's authority. • The church could bind what was free (evil), and free what was bound (good). • CHURCH - "a religious governing body made up of Christians who exercise God's ruling authority on the earth." • This means there will always be a fight.

Mark 16:15-18 (3/15/18)

Kingdom Advancers • March 15, 2018 • Benham Brothers

* Christ’s last words on earth were a commission for believers to be Kingdom Advancers in this world. * vs 16 - it starts with belief. To believe is to “commit.” * vs 17-18 - Just as Moses had signs that accompanied him as well as the apostles in Acts, so will we as believers. * Signs represent to the outside what is true on the inside (like a skin disease). * Signs make the invisible visible. * Here are the signs that will accompany believers to show the POWER that’s inside them: * 1) We WILL cast out demons - this is a matter of AUTHORITY (the “right to use power”). * The power of God in us will overcome the power of Satan in others. * 2) We WILL speak in new tongues - this is a matter of CLARITY. * A believer will talk differently - it will be in a way others can understand. * We can also speak in prayer tongues if we’re open to the Spirit’s leading. * 3) We WILL pick up serpents with our hands - this is a matter of BRAVERY. * We won’t walk in fear - what others fear won’t affect us (there’s no mention of snake bite). * 4) IF we drink poison, it won’t affect us - this is a matter of IMMUNITY. * The things that are meant to harm us won’t because of the power inside us. * ** Persecution - when others want to harm us it won’t. * ** Purity - the stuff of the world won’t affect us on the inside (like a hose that’s on inside a mud hole). * 5) We WILL lay our hands on the sick and they will recover - this is about COMMUNITY. * Believers will be conduits through which God brings healing to others. * We not only have the power to do it but also the desire.

What Is Eternal Life

It requires more than just believing • June 16, 2016 • Benham Brothers

• We all know John 3:16. • Jesus then defines what “eternal life” means - to “know” God. • Matthew 7:23 - “Depart from Me, I never ’knew’ you.” • To know someone is to have intimate knowledge, like me with my wife. • I met her and have committed myself fully to her and she to me - we have a relationship. • The foundation of me knowing her is commitment. • The word “believe” in John 3:16 means to “commit.” • The rich young ruler wanted to live forever - that was his definition of eternal life. • Luke 14:33 - those who aren’t willing to commit can’t know God. • So here’s the question - do you KNOW God? • If you do you have eternal life now.

Engaging In The Battle

A two-fold battle plan to win the war we face • September 18, 2016 • Benham Brothers

* Paul taught on the "new covenant" but many wanted to remain in the old. * Paul had more opposition from false teachers in Corinth than anywhere else. * Imagine people trying to constantly undermine the thing God called you to do. vs 1-2 - They said Paul: * 1) was a timid speaker - they were eloquent, but Paul wasn't. They judged Paul by outward appearance - they didn’t see his internal power. * 2) walked according to the flesh - they couldn't accept the new covenant. Paul was talking relationship - these men wanted religion (Isaiah 29:10-13). vs 3 - Paul didn’t rely on eloquence or powers of oratory in his teaching. * He knew two things: * 1) We’re in a war here on this earth - a great spiritual battle. All relationships require a fight - those in “right relationship” w/God vs Satan. * 2) You can’t fight spiritual battles with worldly weapons - trying to be a “cool." 2 Cor 7:1 - holiness = Chocolate Chip! vs 4 - Our weapon is truth and it's POWERFUL to take down STRONGHOLDS. * POWER - David’s weapons were greater than Goliath’s. * God’s truth is like David's stones. Goliath's armor and ability was his stronghold. * STRONGHOLD - “a place that has been fortified so as to protect it against attack.” * A stronghold is two-fold: * 1) Personally - it’s where you place your trust - Proverbs 21:22. CLOTHES! Our trust should be placed in a WHO - this is true for temptations & security. * 2) Culturally - where Satan takes control & tells Christians to stay out - Gates of Hell. * How do we take down Strongholds? vs 5 - Two-fold plan of attack: * 1)DEMOLISH arguments/pretensions with TRUTH: * Argument is “a reason given with the aim of persuading” * Pretension is “a claim or an assertion of a claim to something.” * Arguments & Pretensions are “thoughts in action” - they are being lived out. * 2) Take thoughts CAPTIVE with TRUTH - a captive is a prisoner who’s under new authority - he can’t leave, but he’s still alive. * Kings take captives and often make them servants. * Our flesh is still alive and will give us bad thoughts - we remind them of their captivity and keep them locked up. How? Renewal.

Gospel of the Kingdom

The real good news story • June 2, 2016 • Benham Brothers

• Jesus wasn’t talking about final judgment, but the judgment He brought to Satan upon His death and resurrection. • Satan would no longer be in charge. • Adam gave Satan his authority and then Jesus came as the second Adam to take it back. • Jesus then gives it to us. • Satan no longer is the prince of this world - he has no authority over us if we walk in Christ’s Spirit. • The Gospel is about two kingdoms in a battle and the kingdom of light has overcome the kingdom of darkness.

1 Cor 6:9-12 (8/22/13)

Tempted or Tormented • August 22, 2013 • Benham Brothers

Temptation involves a fight Tormented involves surrender to the enemy If you're tempted then you fight, but if you're tormented then you've given up and it's just your way of life, even though you may not like it The people who "ARE" these things (idolotars, slanderous, etc) will not inherit God's Kingdom The people who have simply "done" these things will still inherit the Kingdom so long as they don't "become" Those who are tempted to DO those things and yet put up a fight do not possess the identity of BEING those things. They ARE justified - the secret is in the "BE" What are you? A liar or a justified believer who is fighting the temptation to lie? You gotta have the BE in place first, then temptations remain temptations and never morph into tormenters.

Luke 14 & 18 (5/6/18)

Surrender • May 6, 2018 • Benham Brothers

Luke 14:33-34 - Saltless •vs 34-35 - Back in Bible days they would use manure to fuel a fire. •If they put salt in manure it would burn hotter longer. •Once it lost its saltiness it would be thrown on the road, good for nothing. •We are called to be salt and light. •But the salt can lose its saltiness. How? •vs 33 - By not being willing to fully surrender everything for the Lord. •If we’re saltless we’re good for nothing. •If we’re not willing to abandon everything for the Lord we’re the same. Luke 18:19-27 - A NT pic of someone who refused to surrender. •vs 18 -19 - Only God was referred to as “good” - only one other time in history had a rabbi had this salutation. •The ruler wanted to know what he could “do” to get eternity. •Eternal Life is not about DOING - it's about BEING. •vs 20 - Jesus responded with the law to get him to see that he couldn’t “do” anything - He held up a mirror. •So He quoted the last five commandments that involve doing things against other people. •vs 21 - The ruler was dishonest with himself - he didn’t see himself as having broken the law and incapable of “doing” anything on his own. •vs 22 - So Jesus asked him to “do” something. •He left out the command to "not covet." •The law said “don’t covet,” so Jesus asked Him to do something that a covetous person wouldn’t do. •"One Thing" - surrender! Same thing Martha needed to do. •vs 23 - He couldn’t “do” it. •The rich in that day were seen as the people who could get anything they wanted. •vs 24-25 - Hence the question at the end - “if even the rich can’t get the kingdom, then who can?” •vs 26-27 - God's ways are opposite man's ways - the secret to getting is giving. •This ruler needed to be poor in spirit, but he was rich in spirit - he thought he did and could do something to have eternal life. •To get eternal life there’s only ONE THING you need to DO - surrender all! •vs 28-30 - THE REWARD: •Jesus says when we surrender everything to God we will receive more in the age to come but also right now in the present time. •How? •Notice what He said - it’s all about FAMILY! •When you give up everything for Jesus you are grafted into a new family! •You now have brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, who have houses and property. •You’re now family with these people. •How do you treat family? You share everything! •All this increase is in the context of your newly extended family. 1 Samuel 16:14-16, 23 - An OT pic of someone who refused to surrender. •Saul was ambitious - faith is living without scheming. •vs 14-15 - Because Saul refused to fully surrender he couldn’t experience God’s peace. •The evil spirit he experienced was “from God.” Why? •So Saul would come back to Him. He should've asked for a prophet. •vs 16-17 & 23 - But he asked for a musician (it was his friends' idea). •He wanted all that guilt and shame to go away. •He was more concerned about FEELING right than BEING right. •So he "DID" something to make it go away. •Without fully surrendering to God you can get TEMPORARY peace from the outside in (external things). •Fully surrendering to God grants you PERMANENT peace from the inside out. •Today churches are specializing in music - people feel really good temporarily but the permanent fix isn’t music - it’s surrender! •vs 18:10-11 - at some point, if you don’t surrender, the external things that bring temporary peace stop working.

John 12:36 (6/3/17)

Discovering Your Identity Through Security • June 4, 2017 • Benham Brothers

* Five Core Human Needs: Security - Who can I trust, Identity - Who am I, Belonging - who wants me, Purpose - why am I alive, Competence - what am I good at? •Everything hinges on security and starts with a question of WHO, not WHAT. •You should find your security ultimately in God and then trustworthy people and yourself. •JOHN 12:36 - Security to Identity - trust in God leads to a change in who you are. •*KEY* Until you answer the question of security you’ll never discover your true identity. •Security - I can trust God - He’ll never fail me. •Identity - I am a child of God - He’s my Father. •Belonging - God wants me because I’m his kid. •Purpose - I want to bring Him glory - He gets the credit. •Competence - I can do whatever He wants me to do cuz He’ll do it through me. •Notice the end of the verse - Jesus then was hidden from them. •The only way you can make it through a tough time in your life is to find your security and identity in Him. •JOHN 14:1-6 - TRUST in God. This is security. •THREE Examples: •JOHN (John 13:21-25) Look at how John referred to himself. •He found his security, identity, and sense of belonging in Christ and it fueled his purpose (glorifying God) and competence (writing Scripture). •John didn’t identify himself by “what” he did, but by “who” he was because of “who” loved him. •On the island of Patmos he was all alone, but he never failed in his faith. •PETER (John 13:36-38) - Peter found security in himself - Christ had to break him of this. •*KEY* Before you can come to know who you are in Christ you need to know who you are apart from Him. •DAVID (Psalms 62:1-2, 5-8) - Four times David referred to God as his rock or refuge. •Consider who David was at this time - a wealthy king who was married. •Three things you should NOT find your ultimate security in: •POSITION - Finding security in your position causes you to always strive to be the best, and when you’re not you have a hard time handling it. •We’re called to “give” our best, and let God decide if we’ll “be” the best. •POSSESSIONS - Finding security in possessions leads you to see yourself as an owner and not a steward. •PEOPLE - If you find your security in people then three things take place: •1) You become a people-worshipper. •2) You then become a people-pleaser. •3) You ultimately become hardened toward people because people will fail you. •*KEY* Finding your security in God relieves the pressure off the people in your life. •For married people, your spouse was never meant to be the source to meet all your needs - only God can do that. •MATTHEW 18:2-3 - To place your security in God, you must become like a child. •Like my niece Macie - if her mom puts her down or leaves she freaks out. •Why? Because her entire being is wrapped up in her mom. She’s only secure when she’s around.

Romans 12 (7/31/14)

Experiencing Transformation • July 31, 2014 • Benham Brothers

Living sacrifices - they always wanna crawl off the altar Conformed - the world has a pattern and the devil wants you to be formed to it Transformed - this only happens through renewal The warfare for your soul takes place on the battlefield of your mind The devil and God both want to strip you of your identity, but only God will give you a new one Your brain needs to catch up with this new identity Renewal is taking off the old and putting on the new We take out the bad thoughts with good thoughts (challenge lies with truth) Jesus did this when He was tempted and He was transformed from "filled" with the Spirit to being in the "power" of the spirit

Joshua 10:24-25 & 11:15-16 (4/8/18)

Walking In Authority • April 8, 2018 • Benham Brothers

These 5 kings had authority.... •Until they were defeated!!!! •Joshua had his men step on the necks of these kings to show their authority over those who stand against God. •Normally this would result in death for these men, but these kings had already been defeated. •We fight FROM victory, not FOR victory. •Satan knows he’s defeated, that’s why he tries to take people down. •Just like these kings tried to take the Israelites down. •God wants us to walk in authority like this, where we are powerful over our enemy, the devil. •We have the power of the Holy Spirit inside of us and the right to use that power. •Now all we have to do is use it! •How? ALIGNMENT! •EXAMPLE - garage door sensors. Joshua 11:15-16 - Chain of Command •The key to walking in authority is staying properly aligned with the authority structure God has placed in your life. •Notice Joshua’s chain of command: •God - Moses - Joshua - Israel’s leaders - the people. (even though Moses was dead Joshua still honored him) •So long as each person stayed properly aligned they were powerful. •EXAMPLE - Back in Joshua 7 Achan stepped outside his chain of command and it ended in destruction. •God has a chain of command for all of us. •EXAMPLE: Trae driving. •BOUNDARIES - in Joshua 13-15 we see detailed boundaries being outlined. Why? •Because boundaries bring proper alignment so we can walk in authority. •When we stay “in line” we have security, freedom, and POWER! Luke 7:1-10 - What Made Jesus Marvel •The word “also” is the key to the passage. •The centurion was a man under authority who exercised authority, and he attributed this to Jesus. •The centurion believed Jesus was God’s Son and had the power to heal. •So when Jesus chose to come the centurion recognized God had granted Jesus permission to come heal his son. •Because of this he knew Christ could simply give the order and it would be done. •And that’s exactly what He did - Jesus never even entered his house!

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (9/3/17)

Oneness & Intimacy • September 3, 2017 • Benham Brothers

•God has created us for oneness - three levels: •1) God, 2) Spouse, 3) Others (family, community, church) •It's easier to love God than people - He doesn't stink, say the wrong thing, etc. •Without God - 1+1=2. With God - 1+1+1=1. The Holy Spirit is the bonding agent. •John 17:20-24 - “Father make them one as we are one.” They are Three. •Cookie dough - individual ingredients mixed together make a new substance. •The Holy Spirit is the eggs (bonding), the world is the mixing bowl (battle). •Battle - God puts us in the context of battle so we’ll gel together - Gladiator: “As One!” •Oneness means intimacy - “in-to-me-see” - fully known and fully accepted. •** ACCEPTANCE is the key to oneness. LOVE is the key to acceptance.** •ECC 4:9-10 - Dixie Stampede - when you’re one, you exert less effort but get more result. •** THREE things you need to experience oneness (intimacy): •1) CLOSENESS (Ecc 4:11) - God made us to be close - body heat (Cold Bed!) •The result of Closeness is Comfort. But it often takes time. Two aspects: •a)Two cold people (both hurting). •b) One cold & one warm (one hurting and the other healthy) - the healthy needs to be patient. •Temporary pain always leads to permanent gain. •How do we stay close? Two aspects: •ECC 4:12a - know you need each other (you’re in a battle) - the devil seeks to distract, deceive, divide. •ECC 4:12b - invite a third person into the mix - God! •*** Picture of Intimacy - Song of Solomon - a picture of marriage: •SoS 1:2-4 - Kissing can’t happen unless you are willing to get close! (the girl chased him!!!) •SoS 1:6 - Intimacy reveals our insecurities - vulnerability often makes people want to HIDE! •Acceptance is the answer. Two facets to acceptance: •a) Be accepting - Revelation 3:20 is our example. •b) Be acceptable - if can change it, do it. But if not, accept yourself as God created you. *** Don't accept the things you can change, and accept the things you can't. •note - she was insecure about the thing her husband loved (vs 8-10 & 15 prove it). •2) CONCENTRATION (Sos 4:1-16) - proactively think positive thoughts about others. •When dating we think of what’s Right w/our spouse, but in marriage we think of what’s Wrong. •This is why we have to take thoughts captive. •Positive thinking about a person bonds you to that person. (where your treasure is....) •In marriage, Concentration leads to Captivation - SoS shows us a captivated man. *** When you are captivated, the things you used to criticize become cute. •3) COMPLETENESS (1 Cor 13:4-7) - before oneness you need twoness. •Two complete individuals - spiritually mature - LOVE is the mark of maturity. •The characteristics of love in 1 Cor show up in the fruit of the Spirit Paul lists in Galatians 5:22-23. •KEY - Love releases the power of the Spirit in our relationships - love for God and for others. •Conflict - it is easy to love someone when nothing is wrong. •Two things always manifest when conflict takes place: •1) the issue itself •2) the ability of the person to handle the issue. ** If #1 is good #2 will take care of itself. ** Two types of people: •** those who welcome feedback and are willing to own their problem. •** those who don’t welcome feedback and will not own their problem. •Conflict is resolved and Closeness maintained when: •a) ACCEPT - both parties willingly accept their part •b) LOVE - both parties operate in LOVE.

Psalms 51:7-13 (5/12/16)

Prayer of Repentance • May 12, 2016 • Benham Brothers

• After David's sin with Bathsheba, his prayer could be divided into these three parts: • 1) Cleanse Me - just like you wash the dirt off your hands. • 2) Restore Me - full health for his spiritual body - not just clean, but healthy. • 3) Use Me - sin disqualified David from service and he wanted to be re-instated. • David wanted to teach others what he learned through is own sin. • Analogy: • Cleansing would be like washing a car. • Restoring would be to get it's engine running. • Using would be taking it for a spin. • If you've sinned, go through these steps.

Proverbs 22:28 (6/22/17)

Boundaries • June 22, 2017 • Benham Brothers

•God’s blessings are found within God’s boundaries.  •You’ll never submit to God’s boundaries until you’re fully surrendered the the Boundary-giver.  •When the Israelites defeated the Canaanites in the promised land, God then defined their boundaries (Joshua 13-19).  •A boundary defines where you are free to go and where you are not.  •You infract a boundary three ways:  •1) Cross over it - this is where you willfully sin against God. •2) Move it - this is where you redefine what God has already made clear. (Prov 22:28) *3) Remove it - this is where you fully reject God - “my rights, my body, my choice.” •When you do one of these three things God’s blessings are replaced with burdens.  •If you stay within God’s boundaries you get two primary things:  •1) Security.  •2) Freedom.  •Boundaries, Freedom, and Security are all linked.  •Four examples:  •1) The balcony with no railing at an 80th story of high-rise hotel room.    •You’re not free to walk out because you’re not secure, and you’re not secure because there’s no railing (boundary) to keep you from falling.  •2) Dr. Dobson study.  •The kids weren’t free because they lost their sense of security in having a fence (boundary) around their playground.  •3) Donald Trump tweet about security.  •We won’t be secure without enforcing proper boundaries, and lack of security robs you of freedom.  •Would you feel free to go to sleep in your home if you didn’t first feel secure?  •This is why security systems sell like crazy - they give you the freedom to relax. •4) Married couple.  •If I give my heart to my wife, submit to her boundaries and God’s, she and I both can be secure in our relationship.  •But if I don’t stay inside the boundaries she and I both will be insecure and neither one of us will be free.  •It works like this:  God - Boundaries - Security - Freedom  •Surrender to God - place your trust in Jesus.   •Submit to His boundaries - fully obey God’s Word. •You’ll be secure in Him and find safety and comfort.  •When you feel secure you will have your freedom!

2 Timothy 3:16-4:2 (10/22/15)

How To Use Your Bible • October 22, 2015 • Benham Brothers

• If a person wants to be complete and equipped, they need the BIBLE! • It's used in five ways: • 1) Teaching - the Bible shows you how to live a godly life. • 2) Training - this is putting what you’ve learned in action. • 3) Reproof - this means “exposing” sin. • 4) Rebuke - this means “forbidding” sin - like when Jesus “rebuked” the wind. • Reproof and Rebuke are necessary when rebellion occurs, which was happening in that city with false teachers. • 2 Tim 4:2 reiterates, but adds: • 5) Exhort - this means to “encourage,” which is to “make courageous. • Titus 1:13 - Titus had a tougher crowd than Timothy, so Paul told him he needed to “rebuke sharply.” • The goal of the rebuke was restoration

Stunted Growth

Five signs you're faith isn't growing • November 5, 2015 • Benham Brothers

* What are the marks of immaturity? 1) Dullness toward the Word (vs 11) - the word "dull" is translated "slothful." An immature Christian is slothful in reading God's Word. This is also the first sign of backsliding. 2) Inability to teach others (vs 12a) - since they haven't devoured the Word themselves, they can't teach others. We all need an upstream and a downstream. 3) The need for baby food (vs 12b) - the writer describes baby food as the first oracles of God - those things necessary for salvation. These are the things Jesus accomplished while on the earth. He describes meat as the things Christ is doing "now" as our High Priest. A mature believer still drinks milk, but doesn't live on it like a baby. 4) Unskilled in using the Word (vs 13) - they can't use the word as a weapon to defend or as a tool to build and grow. 5) Lack of discernment (vs 14) - they cannot distinguish between good and evil. They know the basics, like murder, adultery, etc. But they can't discern deeper truths.

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