BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 3, Day 5: Matthew 3:13-17

Summary of passage:  Jesus went to John the Baptist on the Jordan River and asked to be baptized.  John protested but in the end consented.  As soon as Jesus was baptized, heaven opened up and the Spirit of God descended and said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Questions:

12a)  “The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.”

b)  The Spirit came down from heaven as a dove.

c)  “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

13a)  Confess their sins

b)  Jesus never sinned.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  As an example to us humans what we are to do.  Jesus came to earth to not only save us from our sins and grant us eternal life with the Father but to show us how to live by his example.  We are to be baptized as an outward sign of our belief in Jesus; thus, he did it as well.

Jesus was identifying with us.

Only in Matthew is it recorded why Jesus said he needed to be baptized “It is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.”

You could also say this was a symbolic end to Jesus’ old life and the beginning or birth of his new life because he began his ministry after being baptized.

Conclusions:  Wish this was a bit more challenging but maybe it’s supposed to be a simple passage.  Did enjoy the different versions and it was interesting how God’s words are recorded the exact same in each passage.  Shows the importance of what God says.

Note also this is one place we see the Trinity all together:  the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

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BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 3, Day 4: Matthew 3:11-12

Summary of passage:  John the Baptist is speaking and he says he will baptize the people with water for repentance but to be prepared for one is coming who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  He will clear the threshing floor and burn up the chaff (basically judge).

Questions:

8 )  He baptized with water.  He did not baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.

9)  Jesus would be more powerful than him.  He would not be fit to even carry his sandals.  He will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.  He will judge.

10)  Joel 2:28:  The Spirit will be poured out and people will prophesy, dream dreams, and see visions.

Ezekiel 36:25-27:  You will be clean and cleansed from all your impurities and idols.  God will give you a new heart and spirit, which will move you to follow God’s decrees and keep His laws.

John 7:37-39:  Streams of living water or the Spirit will flow from within for those who believe in Jesus.

Acts 1:5, 8:  Baptized with the Holy Spirit and will receive power.

Isaiah 44:3:  The Spirit will be poured out as well as God’s blessing.

11a)  John the Baptist baptized with water as a symbol of repentance and forgiveness by God for people’s sins.  It was an outward symbol that one was ready to receive the Holy Spirit.  Since Pentecost and Jesus’ death on the cross, when we are baptized we are not only repenting our sins and asking for forgiveness from God for our sins but we are also accepting that Jesus died on the cross for our sins.  This faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior allows the Holy Spirit to indwell within us and now we are marked at His and guided by Him forever and accepted into His kingdom.

Romans 6:3-4:  Paul writes:  “…all of us who were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

Ephesians 1:13-14:  “Having believed [in Jesus], you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession…”

John 3:5-15:  “…no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit…no one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man…everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I love review and getting my thoughts straight.  Just remembering that when we accept Jesus, we are marked, we are His, and the Holy Spirit is there to help us follow Him.  Also, great comfort in remembering always where my true home is:  heaven.

Conclusions:  It is interesting to note  how much the Spirit is mentioned in the Old Testament before it even came upon us in the New.  I love how we can see and read how prophecy has been fulfilled and how it reassures us that prophecy will continue to be fulfilled in Jesus’ Second Coming.  Great ‘little’ lesson today!

Great little site I found that explains how one can receive and how one knows they possess the Holy Spirit:

http://www.gotquestions.org/receive-Holy-Spirit.html

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 3, Day 3: Matthew 3:1-12

Summary of passage:  John the Baptist came to Judea preaching to the people that the kingdom of heaven is near (i.e. Jesus was coming).  He wore camel hair as clothes and ate locusts and honey.  People came from all over to confess their sins and be baptized by him in the Jordan River.

When the Pharisees and the Sadducees began coming, John warns them to repent for no longer can they hide behind Abraham as their father for Jesus is coming to judge.  He will baptize them with water but after him Jesus will come, baptizing them with the Holy Spirit.  He will clear out the evil-doers, gather his believers, and burn up whoever is left.

Questions:

4a)  Zechariah was a priest so he would have been an ideal choice to teach John the Baptist the laws.  His parents were upright and observed all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.  He was born about 6 months before Jesus and they were cousins.  I wonder if they played together as kids and learned from each other.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I was raised a Christian.  I was raised knowing I had a purpose in this world and I believe I have all the experiences I need in order to fulfill His purpose for my life.

5a)  We are told the advice John gave to those wishing to avoid the fire.  He told those who have more than others to share.  He told tax collectors to not collect extra for themselves.  He told soldiers to not extort people.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The same.  Those who have more should give to those who have less.  We should not collect more from others than we need.  We should be content with what we have.  We should not be greedy and treat others how we want to be treated–Golden Rule.

6a)  Repentance for the forgiveness of sins and preparation for Jesus’ arrival

b)  In essence, John’s job was to tell everyone to ready their hearts for Jesus is about to come and set them free.  Thus, he baptized them with water as they repented (regretted) their sins and asked for forgiveness.  He doesn’t mention accepting Jesus into their hearts but I believe this is implied in believing the Messiah was coming.

7a)  I interpret this passage differently than BSF.  I see John’s job as making the path straight to Jesus and God.  Jesus levels every playing field for all are equal to come to him.  No more Old Testament stipulations of cleansing to come to God, which would be the mountains and the valleys and the hoops you had to perform to get to God.  Only Jesus is the way to Him now.

John’s job was to prepare the way for Jesus.  To tell those to repent and cleanse your hearts to receive him inside–to rid yourself of anything (mountains or valleys) standing in the way of Jesus.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  My sins are the rough places but they are not a mountain or valley or rough place to overcome for Jesus had done that for me.  I know when I stumble, God picks me up, and I keep walking His path no matter the obstacles (mountains or valleys) that lay before me.

Conclusions:  Challenging lesson that’s for sure as we were all over the place in the Bible.  I had an “ah-ha!” when I connected the dots in my brain with Elizabeth and Mary. Before, we hadn’t read Luke 1:5-25  just Luke 1:26-38 in Lesson 1 so I hadn’t realized the relationship between Elizabeth and Mary.  I had always heard John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin but had never quite connected the dots.  Yeah, BSF, for making me read those passages TOGETHER!

I definitely had a different take on question 7 and an interpretation of the verse so would be curious to see your all’s answers.  In my life, I don’t see mountains anymore.  I see Jesus.  Plain and simple.

Interesting Notes:  Again, we see God choosing people off of ability, not what they look like.  John the Baptist dressed differently and ate bugs.  Not your ordinary guy in ancient times and not one you’d expect to deliver the life-changing message that the Messiah is coming.  God knows the heart; that is all that matters to Him.

It was commonly believed that if you were Jewish, you couldn’t go to Hell because of Abraham.  John tells them not to rest on their laurels but to be ready for if you are evil and produce bad fruit you will be cut down to Hell.

Begin to notice the predominance of the word “repent” in the New Testament and Jesus’ teachings.  Here, it is the first word recorded that John the Baptist said.  And it is the dominant message of Jesus:  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”  Matthew 4:17

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 3, Day 2: Luke 2:40-52

Summary of passage:  Jesus grew strong and full of wisdom and God’s grace.  At age 12, Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover and stayed behind unbeknownst to his parents.  When his parents realized Jesus was not in the convoy, they returned to Jerusalem to find him.  He was in the temple, sitting among the teachers, asking them questions.

Mary asked Jesus why he worried them by staying behind.  Jesus said they should have known he would be in his Father’s house.

Jesus returned to Nazareth with them and continued to grow in wisdom.

Questions:

3a)  He was blessed by God and grew strong and wise.  God was with him.  He was eager to learn from others and his wisdom was already beyond others at age 12.

b)  Hebrews 2:10-18:  Because Jesus was made flesh and blood, he was able to suffer and experience temptation like man does and thus able to help those (us) who are being tempted.  By his physical death, Jesus freed us from the power of death and won for us an eternal life with God the Father and also cleansed us of our sins through his blood.

Hebrews 4:15-16:  Jesus has been tempted in every way like we have and he never sinned. He can sympathize with us and thus we are able to approach the throne with confidence that Jesus will help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 5:7-9:  Jesus submitted to God’s will while he was on earth and prayed and was heard.  He was taught obedience through his suffering and offered eternal salvation for all those who obey him.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus being human strengthens our faith.  It wasn’t just some magic trick that saved us or an omnipotent being who waved his wand and poof, it happened.  Jesus was just like us in every way, faced the same things we face every day of our lives, and therefore can understand us more.  It was for our benefit, not God’s, that He became human so that we may believe in Him and trust in Him and be with Him.  Jesus set us free through his physical death.  In no other way could this have happened.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus shows us how to live a Godly life.  Through his example, it is easier for me to submit to God’s will, to overcome temptation, to pray to God to help me every day of my life, to obey unquestioningly, and to accept God’s grace and His eternal gift for my life.  Life is just easier knowing God is on my side every step of every day.

Conclusions:  This story is not recorded by Matthew so I’m assuming that’s why we are reading it now.  Plus, it picks up right after Jesus returned to Nazareth from Egypt so it fits in chronologically with Jesus’ life.

If you followed me last year, you know I dubbed the study of Genesis “The Study of Hebrews” as well since we read Hebrews umpteen times last year.

My study bible says this of Hebrews:  “The book of Hebrews explains why it matters that God descended to the earth and became a human being.  Hebrews goes further than any other New Testament book in explaining Jesus’ human nature.”

Since we are studying Jesus, it is only fitting we study why Jesus existed.

Interesting Facts:  The commandment to attend the Feast of the Passover can be found in Exodus 23:17 and Deuteronomy 16:16.

These are Jesus’ first recorded words.  Isn’t it cool they are about God?

We also must remember in ancient times, a 12 year-old was considered a young man, eligible for marriage.  He could have stayed in Jerusalem and not returned with his parents if he had so desired.  But here we see Jesus as faithful in his human duties as well, following in his father’s footsteps and being obedient to his parents before his calling from God.

Here, we see that at age 12 Jesus already knew who His father was and the calling on his life.  Normally, Jesus would have been a carpenter like his father for the rest of his life but here he makes it clear this will not be the case.

Age 12 is significant here because that is the time boys began to learn their father’s trade. Here, Jesus is learning God’s trade.

The mention of Mary in verse 51 probably means this story came to Luke through Mary.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 4, Day 3: Genesis 3:1-6

Summary of passage:  The crafty serpent asked Eve, “Did God really say not to eat from any tree in the garden?”  Eve tells him they can eat from any tree except from the tree in the middle of the garden or they will die.  The serpent plants doubt, saying surely you won’t die; you will just be like God, knowing good and evil.

So, Eve took some and ate it and gave some to Adam (who was with her the whole time) and ate it as well.

Questions:

7)  Matthew 13:19:  He snatches away the message (Word) that was sown in man’s heart

Matthew 13:25, 39:  He sows weeds amongst the crop while you are sleeping (unaware)

John 8:44:  He is a liar, murderer, and father of lies.  He has nor speaks no truth

John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11:  He is called the prince of this world

2 Corinthians 4:4:  He is called the god of this age

Ephesians 2:2:  He is called the ruler of the kingdom of air

8a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Ephesians tells us he’s a schemer, so much so we need the full armor of God to resist him.  2 Corinthians tells us he masquerades as an angel of light.  Luke shows us that Satan knows scripture and he will use it to tempt us to sin and he will twist it’s meaning like he did to Eve when she ate the fruit.

Satan’s life purpose is to make us fall.  He spends his entire time scheming and using our weaknesses against us.  He will use all the tricks in the book and then some.  He has no morals or values as we know them.  He is pure evil.

b)  With Job the devil could not touch the man himself but only those people and things around him.  The devil had 40 days to tempt Jesus but when he was done tempting he left Jesus alone.  In Revelation we see the devil is limited in time.  He has only a certain amount of time before God says enough and defeats him.

1 Corinthians 10:13:  “He (God) will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear…he will also provide a way out so tht you can stand up under it.”

God sets limits to what the devil can do to us.  God is there, protecting us.  God allows the devil to exist and to tempt us (to test our faith).  He is in control.  We are choosing either the devil or God.  Always.

9)  1 Thessalonians 5:17, James 5:16:  pray continually, confess your sins and pray for each other

Matthew 4:1-2; Luke 4:1-2:  Be full of the Holy Spirit

Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12:  The Word of God–the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit

James 4:7:  Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you

Conclusions:  This was a study on the devil.  To be honest, I didn’t even read the passage (since we read it yesterday).  Every question had us looking elsewhere so leave some time for today’s lesson.  Even though a lot of the books are small that’s what makes them tricky to find.

If you did Acts last year, a lot of this will be familiar.  We discussed in detail our weapons against the devil (the Word, prayer, the Holy Spirit, and obeying God’s commands).  I hold to 1 Corinthians 10:13:  there is nothing God gives us we can’t bear, including the devil’s temptations.  If we believe we can overcome and God is on our side and He’s in control, then we will!

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 3, Day 5: Genesis 1 & 2 and skim Genesis 3:1-10

Summary of passages:  Genesis 1:  In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was formless and void but the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

1st Day:  God made light and He saw it was good.  He separated light from dark.  He called light “day” and dark “night.”

2nd Day:  God separated the waters to create sky.

3rd Day:  He let the dry ground appear, which He named “land” and the gathered waters he called “seas”.  Then the land produced vegetation–all of which God saw was good.

4th Day:  God made the sun, moon, and stars to be used as signs to mark the seasons, days, and years; to give light on the earth; to govern the day and the night; and to separate light from darkness.  God saw that it was good.

5th Day:  God created the great creatures of the sea as well as every winged bird.  He blessed them to multiply and fill the earth.  He saw it was good.

6th Day:  God created living creatures on the land and all the wild animals and He saw it was good.  He made man in His own image to rule over all the earth and its creatures.  God blessed them and told them to be fruitful and rule.  He gave man every green plant for food and everything that has the breath of life in it.  God saw that it was very good.

Genesis 2:  By the seventh day, God had finished his work so he rested and blessed the day as holy.

After God made the heavens and the earth but before plants had sprung and only streams had watered the earth, God made man from the dust of the ground and breathed life into his nostrils and man became living.  He put the man in the garden of Eden.  He made all kinds of trees for food and in the middle were the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  A river watered this garden.

God put man in charge of the garden to work it and take care of it.  He warned the man not to eat from the tree of knowledge or he would die.  He brought the animals to Adam to name.  When God did so, He noticed no helper was found for man; so He created woman from Adam’s rib while he was sleeping so man would not be alone.

This is why man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife and become one flesh.  They were naked and felt no shame.

Genesis 3:1-10:  The crafty serpent said to Eve, “Did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden?”  Eve said, “We cannot eat from the tree in the middle or we shall die.”

The serpent says they will not die but they will be like God, knowing good and evil.

Desiring wisdom, Eve ate and gave some to Adam so he would eat.  Their eyes were opened and they realized they were naked.  They covered themselves with fig leaves.

Adam and Eve hid from God when they heard him in the garden.  God called to them and Adam said he was afraid because he was naked.

Questions:

12)  It addresses before man was made that God had not yet sent rain so streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground (Genesis 2:5-6).  Genesis 2:10 does mention a river that waters the garden flowed from Eden after man’s creation.

So we know there was water and the plants grew.  I’m imaging at some point the water cycle kicked in but in the beginning the earth was so new the water cycle probably didn’t have time to evaporate and form clouds so God watered where He needed to.

13a)  God did it all.  He created everything.  He created.  He said.  He blessed.  He made.  He controls.  In Genesis 2, I see God caring for his creation.  In Genesis 1, the focus was on making everything.  In Genesis 2, God cared for and perfected his creations.  He gave man a companion because man needed one.  He watered the land so it would grow.

Genesis 1:  Created & controlled

Genesis 2:  Cared for

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I threw in control because I think a lot of us suffer when we try to take control instead of allowing God to be in control.  I know I do this often.  Praying “God, you take this” is one of my frequent prayers.

Knowing in my heart God cares for me is something also I need to rejuvenate.  I know God is in control and he cares about me but having that in the forefront of my mind is hard.

Something I need to pray, “God you created me, you are in control, and you care for me.  So please help me sow this into my heart and remember this in my daily walk so you will be in control.”

14a)  The definition of ashamed according to Webster’s Dictionary is, “feeling shame, guilt, or disgrace; feeling inferior or unworthy”.

Man did not feel inferior or unworthy before the Fall.  Man and God seemed to me to be best friends.  God made man in His image and they walked in the Garden together.  As equals?  Probably not.  But as a proper Father/son/daughter relationship should be–full of respect and admiration.

God made man worthy of him.  Man then sinned and brought unworthiness into the world.  So Jesus had to make it right.

They didn’t know they weren’t supposed to be naked.  They didn’t have the knowledge of being naked until they ate from the tree.  The first thing God asks them in Genesis 3:11 is “Who told you that you were naked?”

[Makes me wonder if this is why we wear clothes today.  Because we are ashamed of our bodies when we shouldn't be.  Especially since originally man wasn't ashamed. Interesting.]

b)  I like this idea of light as clothes (never head this before).  Could I get some of this light?  It would probably be much prettier than what I wear!

Seriously, answer is sin.  When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and partook of the fruit, the knowledge and sin removed the light.

c) Romans 3:23 “for we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.  Not sure what “this” is in this question.  Naked?  Ashamed?  The light being removed?  The light being the clothing?

Because of sin we fall short of the glory of God.  Since the Fall we all sin so we all fall short. Thus, we are inferior and unworthy of God unless we have Jesus who makes us worthy.

Conclusions:  Not sure of 14c.  Not sure what the point is that we haven’t already concluded from the Fall.

Great reminder that God is in control and He cares.  Even when we don’t want Him to.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 3, Day 3: Genesis 2:8-17

Summary of passage:  The Lord planted the garden of Eden where he placed the man He has formed.  God made all kinds of plants for this garden that were pleasing to the eye and good to eat.  In the middle were the tree of life and the tree of knowledge.  A river watered the garden, two of which we know still exist today:  the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

God took the man and put him in the garden to work it and take care of it.  He commanded the man to not eat of the tree of knowledge or man would die.

Questions:

6)  It has been known by many names:  Mesopotamia (which is Greek for land between the two rivers), Assyria, Sumer, Babylonia, Persia.  Both run through modern-day Turkey, Syria, and Iraq.  The region was known as the “Fertile Crescent” because so many civilizations thrived there.  It was also called the “Cradle of Civilization” since the civilization that developed there was the first on earth (namely, Adam and Eve).

7)  A garden with all kinds of trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.  In the middle were the tree of life and knowledge.  A river watering the garden flowed from Eden that was separated into four headwaters.  Animals and birds lived there.

8 )  He told them they could eat from any tree in the Garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  If they did, they would die.

9a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  As an American, everything is pleasant to be honest.  I have all the basic needs and then some.  I have a house, cars, a dog, my family, extra money to buy things I want, money for the kids’ activities, etc.  I drink coffee in the morning.  I have flowers on my kitchen table.  I have a kitchen table.

Currently, there is nothing really “hard” in terms of living conditions in my life.  Now, it hasn’t always been that way (those of you who’ve been here long enough remember the time I lived in a camper when my husband lost his job(s).)  I enjoy where I live and my life.  I am blessed.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Resisting my human nature.  I fight against selfishness, loving others, caring for others, potty mouth, being ungrateful for my blessings, letting bitterness and anger consume me and influence my actions, submitting to authority, and being kind and compassionate to others.  I got a ways to go to be more like Jesus.

Conclusions:  Simple questions with a powerful reminder of how pleasant our life is and yet we sin anyways like Adam and Eve did.  Adam and Eve led the dream life:  talking and walking with God every day and having all their basic needs met without even thinking about it; yet they still thought they were missing something so they sinned.  They thought there was something better out there and they wanted to “know” about it.  Like most of us do.

Contentment with life is one of the hardest things to achieve.  Partly because we as humans are driven to do better and be better.  Which gets us into trouble.  But also brings about some of the greatest inventions.

Great reminder to be content with where we are at in our journey as we continually strive to know Him.

Map that shows possible location of Garden of Eden with the 4 rivers:  http://www.israel-a-history-of.com/old-testament-map.html