Ladies Bible Study
Becoming an Influential Woman of God
The past three lessons we have been in the Book of Ephesians, learning who we are in Christ, that In Christ we have been given the wisdom of God, the mind of Christ. This is part of "all spiritual blessings" Paul describes in the first chapter of Ephesians. The ability to understand the mysteries that the Old Testament saints did not understand, that we are in Christ, we have the mind of Christ and that we as Gentiles will inherit the promises and are predestined to adoption as heirs in Christ, that we have been predestined to everlasting life.
We also discussed the purpose Paul discussed in chapter three, the purpose of our lives In Christ. In chapter three, Paul describes what the purpose of the church.
Ephesians 3:8-13. ". To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,
and to make all people see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;
to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,"
One of the purposes of the church, on of the mysteries Paul explains is that the church in addition to itís evangelistic purpose, which is the fellowship of the mystery, is to declare to the principalities and powers in Heavenly places the plan of God.
-- Living Bible
Ephesians 3:10 And his reason? To show to all the rulers in heaven how perfectly wise he is when all of his family--Jews and Gentiles alike--are seen to be joined together in his Church,"
We also talked about each believerís specific purpose that God has for her. Paul describes his purpose in these verses, what about our specific purpose?
I believe as we have discussed before, that each of us is called with a specific purpose at a specific time. It may be a lifetime purpose or it may be a very specific thing we are to do, and when we do it, we move on in the Lord to His next purpose. This is what God did with Ananias, when he was called to lay hands on Saul, for him to receive his sight, both physical and spiritual. (Acts 8-9:10-18.)
God has put on my heart that this group of ladies, as an integral part of Godís Work in the church, is to become a strong group of mentors.
Todayís lesson is part of this goal. "Becoming an influential woman of God."
It is important for us to realize that we as women can be a powerful influence in the lives of the people we touch, either negative or positive.
Letís look at some of the women in the Bible and the influence they have had.
Genesis 3:6: "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate."
I do not want to review the entire story of the fall of man; we are all familiar with it.
It is important for us to realize that two very important things took place here.
Adam was standing right next to Eve when all this happened, He did not take her hand and say, "Eve, donít do this, I heard directly from God and we cannot do this." Eve turned after her spiritual eyes were opened, He saw the difference and he wanted it.
It was the fact of the change in her that he chose to sin. He did not take the time to stop and think about the consequences. Eve was important in his life and she handed him the fruit and he chooses to eat it. Why was Eve important? Because God had created her to be Adamís "helpmeet" KJV translation. This is a role we need to fully understand.
"18. And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.'' Genesis 2:18
The NKJV and several other translations, translate this word as "a helper suitable for him". The footnote in my Nelson Study Bible, explains that this word is the same word used in Psalms 33:20, to describe God as our helper.
"O Israel, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield. Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield."
Or as describe in Psalms 115:9:
"9. O Israel, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield."
Both verses say the same thing, "trust in the Lord for He is their Help and shield.
It describes someone who is truly fitting, fully adequate, just right.
That is what we are, women who are truly fitting, fully adequate and just right. Amen!
Therefore in your role as "truly fitting, fully adequate and just right", you need to understand what God has for you and how you will touch and influence lives you donít even know about or are unaware of.
Letís look at a few more women and see their influence.
Genesis 16:1-2: " Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, "See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.'' And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai.
Brother Steve Brock talked about this a couple of weeks ago. Sarai had waited 10 years for God to fulfill the promise, and it hadnít been manifested so she got in the flesh and influenced Abram to do something against Godís plan. Now understand all it took was for Abram to say, "No, Sarai, God made a promise and He will fulfill it." He didnít have to act on her suggestion, but he did. Look at verse 3.
"Then Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan."
It was Sarai, however, who planned it and executed it, by sending Hagar to Abram.
Numbers 12:1-2: "Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman. And they said, "Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?'' And the Lord heard it."
Notice the Word says that Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses, not Aaron and Miriam. Miriam was the instigator, not Aaron, how do we know this? Look at the next verses. Numbers 12:8-10:
"I speak with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings; and he sees the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?''
So the anger of the Lord was aroused against them, and He departed. And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper."
Miriam was the only one who became leprous. Not Aaron.
These are examples of women who had negative influence on people in their lives.
Letís look at a positive example.
Ruth 1:6 Naomiís influence in Ruthís life.
Naomi was the wife of Elimelech, who migrated with her family to Moab, to live during a famine. While there, her sonís meet and married Moab women, but then all the men in the family died and Naomi decides to return to her homeland, Judah.
Ruth 1:6: "Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had visited His people in giving them bread."
Naomi heard that God had relieved the famine in Judah and she wanted to return, she starts out with both daughters, but then stops and encourages them to return to their families.
Ruth 1:8-9: "8. And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go, return each to her mother's house. The Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. "The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.'' Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept."
We read on a little further where one daughter leaves but Ruth stays.
Ruth 1:14: "Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her."
Letís look at the conversation that takes place between these two women.
Ruth 1:15-17: "And she said, "Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.'' But Ruth said: "Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.''
This to me is a very significant Scripture. It was not Ruthís husbandís God that Ruth says would be her God, but Naomiís. There was something in Naomiís life, and actions that made Ruth want what she had. That made Ruth want to live the life Naomi lived and to worship the God Naomi worshiped. Ruth looked at Naomiís life and saw completeness and a relationship with God, and that is what she wanted, even if she had to go to a foreign
Country and live the life of a widow, rather than staying in her own country and marrying someone of her own nationality. (Widows had no means of income or support and were totally dependent on generosity of others and the sharing of third year tithe with the Levites. Deuteronomy24: 19-22, 26:12.)
One of the things that influenced Ruth, may have been the way Naomi dealt with the deaths of her husband and two sons, we donít know, whatever it was, it was a powerful influence in Ruthís life.
It is time for us to choose which path we walk, one of negative or positive influences in the lives of the people around us. Whether it is our husband, boyfriend, children, coworkers or someone we casually come in contact with, it is up to us to decide the way we will go in each situation.
Example: Difficult pt at work.
Letís look at Ephesians 3:14-21: "For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
Paul is praying for the entire church here, but it is very applicable to us today.
He prays for four things here.
The Greek word for strengthened is "krataioo (pronounced krat-ah-yo'-o)", it means to empower, to increase in vigor. The Greek word for fullness is "pleroma, (pronounced play'-ro-mah)", meaning something that fills or completes, here Paul is using it to mean being filled with all the love of God in the person of Christ Jesus. It is very important for us to realize when we are born again the love of God is deposited into our spirits by the Holy Spirit.
Romans 5:5 "Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
So Paul is praying for the Ephesians to be completely filled and strengthened in the inner man with the love of God.
This should be your prayer too, release the love of God in your heart, let it fill you completely until it oozes out of you like a wet sponge. Amen!
Let me close with a discussion of the steps Paul gives us to become influential women of God.
Ephesians 4:1-3: "I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Read Amplified Bible).
Letís look at 2 more influential women who did not keep the unity of the spirit.
Philippians 4:2-3: "2. I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life."
These two women were "not of the same mind," to me, that means they were fighting or bickering. Nothing will tear a church apart faster than two bickering saints will. It was so bad that Paul knew about it all the way in Rome, and knew that it had to stop or the church in Phillippi would suffer. He implores them to be of the same mind. What mind is this? The mind of Christ. How do we get to be the same mind? With the help of the other saints, who should strive to make peace and not encourage the strife? We must realize that we are one and must walk as one. What these two women were doing was "grieving the Holy Spirit and this is something we cannot afford to do. Amen.
Let me close by quickly looking at a few more verses of this chapter.
"11. And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
12. for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
13. Till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
14. That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive,
15. but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head Christ
We need to understand to be women of influence we must grow and mature spiritually, we must come in unity in the knowledge of the Son of God and we must no longer be children tossed to and from by every new idea that comes down the pike to make our lives better. The only thing that will make you life better is a close relationship with God.
The only thing, nothing else will do. Amen!