Mature Class Study, teacher Edith Tolbert.
Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape or broken. We have a choice to be flexible and obedient to God OR inflexible, stubborn, wanting our own way, and thinking our ideas are what are most important.
Jeremiah 18:1-6…Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and…to hear my words. Then I went…and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred…so he made it again…Then the word of the Lord came…cannot I do with you as this potter?…as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand…
When we have plans or ideas, are we flexible if God tells us to do something else? Joseph was flexible and loved God with all his heart. He had an idea when he found out Mary was pregnant. There was an immediate response from God that wasn’t anything like Joseph was thinking. God corrected Joseph’s thinking and clarified that Mary was pregnant by the Holy Ghost. It didn’t matter how Joseph perceived things to be. It mattered what God told him. Joseph was immediately obedient to what God told him. We need to be flexible to change our plans or mindset according to what God wants.
Matthew 1:18-24 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph…fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this…was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
The wise men thought they were going to tell Herod where Jesus was so he could go worship Jesus. The angel warned them not tell Herod and to go home a different way. They were flexible and did what God wanted them to.
Matthew 2:7-8 Then Herod…called the wise men…sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when…found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
Matthew 2:11-12 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped…they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
As soon as God spoke to Joseph, he immediately responded. He got up in the night and went to Egypt as the angel of the Lord told him. God spoke to Joseph time after time to lead the family as head of his house as God showed him.
Matthew 2:19-21 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
Are you clay in the potter’s hand so God can mold and change you to what he wants? Being flexible means we’re willing to be instructed to change or comprise without surrendering Biblical principles. Being flexible means we have grace to be open to consider others ideas. There’s complete obedience to God. We need to follow the prophet that leads us in the way God directs – our pastor. Someone said “it’s so easy to sit at home watching the service in pajamas with a coffee instead of being at church. The Bible says we should assemble together (Hebrews 10:25). If we don’t crucify the flesh, we’ll cater to it. If we’re not flexible, we’ll be stubborn, conceited, self important, and convinced that our way is the right way. For some after you do things a certain way for a long time, it becomes sacred. If someone upsets your routine, then you’re upset. If there’s anything in our life we can’t change, we’re inflexible. Jesus preached to repent and to believe the gospel. People say they repented but they want to believe their own way. We have to believe the gospel after we repent. These were fishermen all their lives but were flexible and didn’t hesitate to follow Jesus. God wants us to respond right away.
Mark 1:14-20 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came…preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said…Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. And…a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother…mending their nets. And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.
We won’t be flexible if we don’t die to ourselves every day to follow Jesus. We have to make restitution to restore what we stole or make apologies to people for the way we treated them. If we’re not willing to do that, we cut ourselves off from God. Edith joined in with some who were criticizing their supervisor. God told her that she needed to apology to the supervisor. At first she told him she didn’t want to do it. When she prayed her prayer didn’t go anywhere. The next time God asked what she was going to do and she did. She apologized to the supervisor for talking about her. The supervisor hugged Edith and said she was the first one who ever apologized to her. We have to deny ourselves.
Luke 9:23-25…If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow…whosoever will lose his life for my sake…shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and…be cast away?
The Pharisees accused the apostles who were hungry and plucked corn on the sabbath which was against the law. The Pharisees were so legalistic and didn’t care about souls. Jesus reminded the Pharisees how David ate shewbread when he was running from King Saul. God is not in legalism. Some who call themselves Church of God have gotten legalistic so they cut people off if they go to a doctor or do this or that. God wants us to have mercy and compassion on others.
Matthew 12:1-5…Jesus went on the sabbath day…and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But…Pharisees saw it, they said…thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But he said…Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred…did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful…
Matthew 12:6-8…That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless…For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
Matthew 12:6-7 (The Message) “There is far more at stake here than religion. If you had any idea what this Scripture meant – ‘I prefer a flexible heart to an inflexible ritual’ – you wouldn’t be nitpicking like this.
Paul bent himself to whatever people he was with. We have to get to people’s level to reach them with the gospel.
I Corinthians 9:19-23 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them…under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them…To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them…To the weak became I as weak…I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some…
If we act like we’re better than others, we won’t win them to the Lord. Paul was flexible because he didn’t count himself important. He was pliable to meet the people’s needs. He learned to be content in every situation he suffered.
Philippians 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
Saul was humble when he was first made king. Later Samuel told him to go to Gilgal and wait until he got there to offer a sacrifice. When the people got nervous, Saul offered the sacrifice himself which wasn’t allowed for anyone except the priests. An evil spirit came upon Saul because he didn’t wait like he was supposed to. When Samuel came, Saul lied to him and said he obeyed, then he blamed the people. He was responsible when he offered the sacrifice and sinned.
I Samuel 15:1-3 Samuel also said…The Lord sent me to anoint thee to be king…over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto…the words of the Lord…I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait…when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all…man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep…
God gave specific instructions and Saul disobeyed. He wasn’t flexible to do exactly what God said. Samuel said to obey is better than sacrifice. It’s serious to obey God exactly the way he asks. Disobedience will break fellowship with God.
I Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.