BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 7, Day 5: Matthew 6:25-34

Summary of passage:  Jesus says to not worry about anything (food, clothes, etc) for worry does not add a single hour to your life and if the Father provides for the birds, why wouldn’t He provide for us?  If you see first his kingdom and his righteousness all these things will be given to you.  Tomorrow will worry about itself as each day has enough trouble of its own.

Questions:

12a)  Life, what you will eat or drink, your body, what you will wear (clothes)

b)  Because life is more important than food (verse 25).  If the Father feeds the birds, why wouldn’t he feed us who are much more valuable than the birds (verse 26).  Worry does not add a single hour to your life (verse 27).  Since God clothes the lilies which are here today and gone tomorrow, why wouldn’t He clothe us? (verses 28-30)  Because pagans worry about these things (verse 32) and God knows our needs.  If we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, then all these things will be given to you (verse 33).  Tomorrow will worry about itself (verse 34).

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I worry about money which is essentially the same as worrying about food and clothes since money buys all of the above.  Jesus says I should seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to me.

Conclusion:  I love lessons on worry.  I’m not one who overly-worries as I constantly remind myself that God is in charge and worrying does do no good but I think we all worry at points in our lives.  What a comfort these verses are when we are consumed by worry or anxiety.  It may help too to remember we are merely stewards of God’s blessings, which is hard to do in a society obsessed by material goods.

Jesus’ point is our life is more than physical concerns which is the primary concern of animals.  We have a purpose and if we worry about physical needs, we debase ourselves and our purpose here on Earth and we show we don’t trust God to provide for us.  So if we seek Him first in all things, the rest will fall into place.  Seek Him today and every day and tomorrow (the future which may or may not exist) will take care of itself.

As keeping the the Beatitudes, Matthew 6 has some wonderful, practical lessons for us on how to live our lives as a Christian.  Giving.  Praying.  Fasting.  Working for God.  Trusting in God.  Great lesson all-around.

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BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 7, Day 4: Matthew 6:19-24

Summary of passage:  Jesus says to not store up treasure here on earth which is temporal but store treasure in heaven which is for all of eternity for that is where your heart will be.  If you eye is good, you will be full of light.  If you eyes are bad, you will be full of darkness.  No one can serve two masters.  You cannot serve both God and Money.

Questions:

9a)  Praise, recognition, material items (cars, boats, houses or what goes in houses, etc), kids.  You can fall from a pedestal easier than the climb.  You can have all of your possessions taken away.  Your kids can die.

b)  Rewards for doing God’s work here on earth.  The good that we do for Him here on earth through our faithful giving will last forever.

c)  Psalm 119:72:  “The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold”

Luke 12:15-21:  Storing up things for yourself and not for God yields you nothing.  Life is not about an abundance of possessions.

1 Corinthians 2:9:  “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”

Note:  This does not mention treasure so we assume the “what” is greater than treasure.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18:  What is unseen is eternal; what is seen (treasure) is temporary.

Philippians 3:8:  Nothing is worth having except Jesus and Christ is worth losing all things for

1 Peter 1:4-5:  Our inheritance is kept in heaven with Jesus’ death–one that will never perish, spoil, or fade

10a)  The things you treasure are the things you believe you can’t live without.  Some people can’t live without their cars, their homes, their jobs, their looks, etc.  On the other side, some people can’t live without helping others, volunteering, doing God’s work.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Well, I’d like to think it is God and my treasure is in heaven.  I don’t typically do things or buy things to impress others for I don’t really care what others think.  I try to do what I feel God wants me to and to follow His call in my life.  I try to live as much as possible for others and help others.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Speak kinder words.  Stop cussing.  Live more for others.  Put others first.  Desire more to help others.

11)  Light comes into the body through our eye and if we are generous, we will be full of light and contentment.  If we are not generous, darkness consumes us.  Either we are looking towards heaven (the light) or we are looking towards earth (the dark).  We cannot serve both so we will either have great light or great darkness in our lives.

Conclusions:  The term money is material things.  We are to use our money (which is not really ours it’s God’s) for Him and His purposes.  Again, it’s a matter of the heart.  Are we greedy?  Or are we generous?  Are you sacrificing for God?  Or are you sacrificing for money?  Do you treasure the things money buys or the things money can do?

The eye is where light enters through the body.  If the eyes are good means if you have light (God) in your life, your whole body (heart included) will be good and focused on the light (God) instead of in darkness (evil or earthly things).

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 7, Day 3: Matthew 6:5-13

Summary of passage:  Pray alone to the Father and don’t pray just to be seen as holy or righteous.  Pray from the heart.  Don’t pray with meaningless words just so you can gain “bonus points” in heaven for God already knows what you need before you ask.

Jesus models how to pray by citing the Lord’s prayer:  Your kingdom come and will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Forgive us our debts and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

Forgive men who sin against you as God does or He will not forgive you.

Questions:

6a)  He said to not be like the hypocrites who love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men for they have received their reward (praise from man) but won’t receive God’s reward (rewards in heaven).

b)  He said do not keep on babbling like pagans, thinking you will be heard because of your many words for God knows what you need before you ask him.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  No changes really.  Jesus wants us to pray with the right heart which I do.  Don’t pray to impress others, for length, or pray empty, meaningless words.  If you have the right heart when you approach God in prayer, you cannot go wrong.   I can be more humble and more delighted to be in His presence and to hear from Him.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Oh, God, how great is your name.  Let your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today what we need and forgive our sins as you have forgiven our sins.  And lead us away from temptation and provide that way out from the evil one.

8a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Praying quietly in commune with God with the right heart is what God is seeking.  Nothing is too small or big to ask for.  Nothing is too small or big to lay at His feet.  Praise Him.  Seek His will and trust it will be done and that God will do it.  Ask for strength under assault from the evil one.  Always seek the way out.  God knows.  All we must do is trust our lives to Him.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To always pray and not give up.  To cry out to Him no matter the time of day.  Justice will be done for God is just.  To have more small moments of prayer throughout my day.  To be ready with a prayer for me and others at all times.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Persistence and patience in prayer for God is building our faith as we continually pray our needs before Him.  I try to begin and end my day with God.  He is the alpha and the omega.  I get up early when the house is quiet.  I study His word.  Then I pray for needs in my life and others.  I thank Him and acknowledge who He is, often silently but sometimes aloud.  I try to live my life as He would want it and I acknowledge when I fail and ask for forgiveness.

Conclusions:  Prayer is powerful and the devil hates it!  It is also hard work and it’s easy to get discouraged when things are not going our way.  Keep prayer (a weapon) handy at all times.  Walk in a prayerful spirit throughout your day to be ready for combat at any time.  For if an unjust judge will answer prayer, how much more will a righteous judge answer?

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to pray for or even to begin.  I have that at times.  Then I say, “Lord, you know what I need and I don’t so please provide that or do that in my life.”  He knows our heart and that is all that matters.  This lesson emphasized that point beautifully.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 7, Day 2: Matthew 6:1-18

Summary of passage:  Do not give just to be seen by others; otherwise, you have no reward in heaven.  Basically, give from your heart not out of obligation and not to brag about it.  Same with prayer.  Pray alone to the Father and don’t pray just to be seen as holy or righteous.  Pray from the heart.  Don’t pray with meaningless words just so you can gain “bonus points” in heaven for God already knows what you need before you ask.

Jesus models how to pray by citing the Lord’s prayer:  Your kingdom come and will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Forgive us our debts and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

Forgive men who sin against you as God does or He will not forgive you.  Fast for God, not for man.

Questions:

3a)  “Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”  “I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.”

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s not about doing things just to be seen or just because you feel it’s your duty.  It’s about helping others and devoting yourself to God because you want to and because it’s in your heart.  It doesn’t matter if man thinks you are a good Christian or not.  It only matters what God sees.  Random acts of kindness done for no personal glorification or acknowledgement is what God wants.  My goal is to do more little things for others without being acknowledged and work up to the big things.

4a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We are to give to the needy generously.  We are to forgive others like God has forgiven us.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God wants our full attention when we pray to Him and He wants our heart, not some mumbo-gumbo that is meaningless.  From the Lord’s prayer, I see how it honors God, focuses on His will in my life today, forgiving others and staying out of temptation and evil.  Fast for God, not others.

5a)  They do it out of a sense of duty or obligation or to be seen as good people or because their friend or someone they admire is doing it so they feel they should do it so they can be friends with that person.  Or they do religious activities to impress others or for bragging rights.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God says “you will have no reward from your Father in Heaven.”  I don’t know what God’s rewards are (besides blessings) but I don’t know what rewards await me in Heaven but if I do things without the right heart, I gain none of those.

c)  Their reward is the trumpet sounds, the applause from others, an earthly reward.  They will not receive a reward in heaven.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Do things for Him out of a good heart for His glory and not for man’s.

Conclusions:  I love the emphasis on praying in a quiet place, just you and God.  It’s a good reminder of why we do charity work–for God and not ourselves or others.  Let God be present in the work and the idea is to be barely conscious of the good deeds you are doing.

This is a continuation of the Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus has not moved.  The main message here: Live for God and not yourself.  He is the only one that matters.  We work for heavenly rewards, not earthly ones.  They are far more important than a “slap on the back”.

End Notes:  The ancient Greek word for room was a storehouse where treasures were kept.  The idea is go to a place to pray where you will receive treasure (or rewards in heaven).

Jesus was the first to pray to God as the Father in heaven.  Jews did not call God “Father” because it was considered too intimate.

Notice in the Lord’s prayer it’s about God’s name, God’s kingdom, and God’s will.  We are to pray for our needs daily.  Debts are our sins.

Notice the missing line at the end of the Lord’s prayer (at least in my Bible it’s missing):  “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.”  Scholars think this line was not written by Matthew but added later by scribes who copied the Bible.  Thus, it has been deleted from many Bibles.  When I was a kid, I memorized this line.

Fasting was a command under Old Testament law (Leviticus 16:29-31 and 23:37-32; Numbers 29:7) and practiced at other times as well (Zechariah 7:3-5; 8:19) that is not eradicated with the New Covenant so it is hard for us to understand it.  But the Pharisees fasted twice a week (Luke 18:12) and would make sure everyone knew they were fasting.  Again, a command by God corrupted by man that Jesus here is correcting.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 7, Day 5: Genesis 8:1-19

Summary of passage:  God sends a wind to recede the waters and at the end of 150 days the ark came to a rest in the mountains of Ararat.  The waters still hadn’t finished receding.  In 73 more days the tops of the mountains became visible.  40 more days Noah opened a window and sent a raven to seek dry land.  Then he sent a dove still with no luck.

He waited 7 more days and sent the dove out again.  The dove returned with an olive leaf.  Then Noah knew the water had receded.  After waiting one more week he sent the dove out and it did not return.

Finally, when Noah was 601 years old, the earth had dried up.  God told Noah to come out and bring every living creature so they can multiply.  Noah obeyed and all exited.

Questions:

11)  God turned His attention back to Noah.  God never forgets as this implies.  During the flooded earth God was probably active in other areas and then turned back to mankind when the time was right.

12a)  Around one year or perhaps a bit more.  We are told Noah was 600 years old when the flood waters came (Genesis 7:6) and he’s 601 when the waters dry up.  Doing the math, we are close to a year but the Bible skips some specific days (like the raven and the dove flying around).

b)  God told them to come out.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not sure.  It’s been a challenging week of little things that I hope I do God’s way.  That’s the prayer and desire of my heart at least.

Conclusions:  Not sure how question 13 has to do with Noah floating around in the ark.  It’s just thrown in there.

I like how it wasn’t the dove that many of us think of as the sign it was okay to leave the ark.  It was God telling Noah (going back to yesterday’s lesson of how God helped Noah) it was okay to leave and bring the animals with him several weeks after the dove brought the olive branch back.  Again, God is in control; He cares for us and Noah; He will never lead us astray.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 7, Day 4: Genesis 6:7-7:24 with Matthew 24:36-42 & Luke 17:26-27

Summary of passages:  Genesis 6:7-7:24:  God said He will wipe mankind and everything He has created from the face of the earth for He is grieved He made them.  Except for Noah and his family.  He tells Noah He is going to destroy the world and he needs to build an ark.  God enters a covenant with Noah.  He tells Noah he will need to bring in two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive and every kind of food for him and for the animals.

Noah did everything God commanded.

Genesis 7:  God tells Noah to enter the ark with the animals for in seven days He will send rain for 40 days and nights.  Noah obeys.  Noah was 600 years old when the flood happened.  All the animals came to him.  Then the Lord shut them in and the waters came.  Everything perished.  After the rain stopped, the earth remained flooded for 150 days.

Matthew 24:36-42:  Jesus says to keep watch because even he (only the Father) knows when the Second Coming will be.  Jesus compares his Second Coming to the days before the flood where everyone was living their life like they always had and no one suspected they were about to die.  Jesus says only half will be saved for every two men and women only one each will be left.

Luke 17:26-27:  Same speech but recorded by Luke.  Jesus says here the days of the Son of Man will be just like in the days of Noah.  People were going about their daily lives up until Noah entered the ark.  Then the flood destroyed them all.

Questions:

9a)  He spared Noah and his family from His judgment of the world.  He spoke directly to Noah and told him what He was going to do.  He gave him detailed instructions about what to do and what will happen.  He reminded Noah to bring food. He gave Noah a week’s warning before He sent the flood.  The Lord shut them in the ark.  Only Noah was left and God cared for him, giving him everything he needed in order to survive.

b)  God told Noah the exact size to make the ark to fit everything.  God brought the animals to Noah.  Noah didn’t have to track them all down.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God has always kept me safe when I’ve done stupid stunts and provided for my every need.  I’ve never been homeless or hungry.  I’m always had food, clothing, and shelter.  He has forgiven me for all my sins, even the ones I repeatedly make.  He has given me a purpose to do for Him.  In every aspect of my life, God is there whether I acknowledge Him or not or what Him there or not.  Deep down I know this.  And so does He.

10a)  Genesis tells us the people  were evil and every inclination of their hearts were evil; they were corrupt and violent.  Matthew and Luke tells us the people were eating, drinking, and marrying up until the day the flood happened and they knew nothing about their impending death.

It’s hard to interpret Matthew and Luke with so little detail given.  I see this as people living their daily lives up until the flood and I see this as Jesus’ point:  you must be ready for no one knows when I will come.  You must lead godly lives for any day I could show up and judge you.  You could read this as “partying” but that’s pure speculation.

Genesis however leaves no doubt the people were evil; hence, God’s judgment.

Fascinating.  In all the movies you see all the people mocking Noah for building an ark and laughing at him.  No where is this recorded in scripture (that I can find at least).  I would say the people were so evil in Genesis that they probably didn’t care what some guy named Noah was doing.  They were too busy doing the devil’s work.

b)  Prayer and God.

c)  That he could come at any time so you must be ready.

d)  Just that scoffers will come who follow their own evil desires to cast doubt on the End Times.  All it takes is one word from God and it is done.

I see nothing special here.  This applied in Peter’s time (1st century AD) as it does in the 21st century AD.  There will always be scoffers, doubters, people of the devil.

Conclusions:  God’s message is timeless and it doesn’t change despite the days that have passed since Jesus:  Jesus is coming so be ready.  There are evil people who won’t make the cut.  Do not be lured in by the ways of the world.  God’s grace is sufficient.  He provides all our needs.  We require nor lack anything if we have Him.  Hold onto that truth and reject the lies of the world.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 7, Day 3: Genesis 6:7-7:24 with Hebrews 11:7

Summary of passages:  Genesis 6:7-7:24:  God said He will wipe mankind and everything He has created from the face of the earth for He is grieved He made them.  Except for Noah and his family.  He tells Noah He is going to destroy the world and he needs to build an ark.  God enters a covenant with Noah.  He tells Noah he will need to bring in two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive and every kind of food for him and for the animals.

Noah did everything God commanded.

Genesis 7:  God tells Noah to enter the ark with the animals for in seven days He will send rain for 40 days and nights.  Noah obeys.  Noah was 600 years old when the flood happened.  All the animals came to him.  Then the Lord shut them in and the waters came.  Everything perished.  After the rain stopped, the earth remained flooded for 150 days.

Hebrews 11:7:  By faith Noah obeyed God and built the ark, becoming heir of the righteous.

Questions:

6a)  Noah was righteous, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Personally, I’ve never found this very hard.  I don’t really care what others think of me and I do my own thing.  I don’t keep up with the Jones’ (nor do I read about them).  Don’t be of this world but of God’s world.  Put God as your center and He will do the rest.

7)  God told Noah he was going to end all people and destroy the world.  He told Noah to make an ark to exact specifications.  He told Noah how He was going to destroy the world (through a flood).  But He promised to establish His covenant with him and He will save him and his family along with two of every living creature.  He instructed Noah to bring along food for both him and the animals.

8a)  The Bible says all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered (7:19). Every living thing on the earth perished, which would have to be a worldwide flood.  An ark would be unnecessary if Noah could have merely traveled to a different location.

b)  If you read ancient myths from every culture, almost every culture has a flood myth (from the Ancient Egyptians to the Babylonians to the Native Americans).  Before writing, myths were passed on by word of mouth from generation to generation so somewhere this flood happened.

Since the beginning of written records there have been writings by the ancients of an ark (or an ancient ship) found.  Various people have claimed to have found and/or seen the ark on the mount of Ararat and elsewhere.

Many people believe fossils are a result of the flood.  Did you know there is actually a branch of geology called flood geology?  These people write books and spend their time researching and searching the earth for evidence of a massive flood.  Fascinating.  There is definitely evidence in the fossil record of a flood.

c)  I don’t see any phrases that support upheavals of the earth’s crust or tsunamis (notice the word probably in the question).  All I see is the rain and how for 40 days it kept coming down and the mountains were covered.  In my mind, that’s all that happened.  Water covered everything.  The ark floated.  I see no mention of earthquakes which cause tsunamis anywhere.

Conclusions:  Baffled by the last question, its significance, and what it has to do with the flood.  God created the land as He wanted it.  I see no reason He would change its landscape.  He just wanted to rid the world of the inhabitants.

Not sure why Hebrews was stuck in here either.  The questions did not refer to it (except maybe how Noah was faithful in building the ark) but Genesis tells us that.  If you obey God, you have faith.

I have to admit I have read most of these ancient flood myths to my kids when we study these cultures and they are all strikingly similar to the account of the flood in Genesis.  In my mind, that’s the strongest evidence of all since these stories are the heart of how ancient people preserved their history and explained the world around them.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 7, Day 2: Genesis 6:1-12 with 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:4-9; 3:1-10 & Jude 5-7

Summary of passages:  Genesis 6:1-12:  The sons of God married any daughters they chose.  The Lord said His Spirit will not contend with (be with) man forever for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.  The Nephilim were the heroes of old, men of renown and were on earth during this time when the sons of God were as well.

God saw how men’s hearts had become only evil and He was filled with pain.  God said he would wipe mankind from the face of the earth for He is grieved (regretted) He created them.  Except for Noah who was a righteous man and walked with God.  Noah had 3 sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.

The earth was corrupt and the people were violent.

1 Peter 3:20:  God only saved 8 people in the ark.  He waited patiently while the ark was being built for others to repent but none did.

2 Peter 2:4-9:  God punished the wicked:  He sent angels to hell when they sinned.  He brought the flood but saved Noah.  He burned Sodom and Gomorrah but rescued Lot, a righteous man.  The Lord rescues godly men but condemned the unrighteous.

2 Peter 3:1-10:  The writer is imploring the people to wholesome thinking.  In the last days, scoffers will come, skeptical and evil, questioning God, forgetting the creation.  The world was destroyed in the flood and the day of judgment will come when the world will be destroyed by fire.

The Lord’s time is not our time; He is patient, giving everyone a chance to repent.  But the Day of Judgment will come and everything will be destroyed.

Jude 5-7:  The Lord delivered His people out of Egypt but later destroyed those who didn’t believe.  He bound angels who did not keep their positions of authority.  Sodom and Gomorrah were burned as punishment for sin.

Questions:

3)  There are two main ideas about who the sons of God and the daughters of men were.  Some say the sons of God were from the line of Seth and the daughters of men were from the line of Cain, which would represent a mixing of godly with ungodly which the Bible later does not permit (Deuteronomy 7:1-4 and 2 Corinthians 6:14).

The more popular theory is the sons of God are fallen angels or demons or demon-possessed men and the daughters of men are human women.  This is supported by other passages in the Old Testament that refer to the sons of God as angels (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7).

Jude seems to support this claim as well, saying the angels in a similar way committed sexual immorality and thus God kept them in darkness and bounded them in chains.

1 Peter 18-20 tells us Jesus went and preached to these spirits in prison.

Scholars refute this angel idea with Matthew 22:30 where Jesus says angels do not marry.  However, he is speaking of obeying angels not disobeying/Fallen angels.

The idea is Satan tried to thwart God’s plan for the Messiah by polluting the Seed of the woman where the Savior will come from (Genesis 3:15).  This could be a reason for the flood.  Man was so corrupt and polluted God had to start over with Noah.

4a)  Morals are the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character.

How great man’s wickedness had become and how every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil.

b)  Well, if you believe the sons of God are demons and they mixed with humans than the flood succeeds in purifying the human race again.  God started over with Noah, ridding the world of all the violence and beginning anew.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That God will punish evil and evil-doers but He will show grace to the righteous.

5a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Sin.  Every sin I commit causes God grief and pain.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Speculation since God hasn’t spoken to me directly but I believe I have found favor by seeking Him, repenting from sin, asking for forgiveness, striving to be more like Jesus every day, learning from my mistakes, reading God’s word, doing His call on my life, praying, putting Him center, following His commandments, etc.

Conclusions:  The Nephilim were believed to be the offspring of the sons of God and the daughters of men.  Of course, this is debated as well, depending upon which theory you believe the sons of God to be.  So they are either the offspring of Seth or of angels.  You can read a good explanation of both theories HERE

If you did the study of Isaiah, you will remember me saying how the whole book was how bad and evil man was and how God was going to judge all.  And it was depressing due to man’s sin.

Here, we see God again (as we see Him often in the Old Testament) judging the evils of man and exercising punishment.  But we also see God’s goodness in preserving a remnant with Noah.  Preserving the righteous.  In rewarding those who do good.

God could have wiped us all out and been done with man.  Fed up with us and given up. Ended His grief and pain over His creation.  But He didn’t.

God is always good even when He is exercising justice in this world.

All sin grieves God.  I saw no need to be specific in 5a.  We all know what we do to cause God grief as He knows.  The key is recognizing it, repenting, asking for forgiveness, accepting His forgiveness, and making changes in your life to do better.  That’s all Fallen Man can do.

Remember when we fall, God will pick us up.  Again and again and again.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 7, Day 5 & 6: Acts 14:20b-28

Summary of passage:  Paul and Barnabas head to Derbe next (Map HERE) where they preach and win a large number of disciples.  Then they head back home, stopping in Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch again on the way back.  They strength the disciples and encourage them in their walk with Christ by saying remain true to the faith.  They appointed elders in each church to continue their work and prayed and fasted for them.

Then they went through Pisidia, Pamphylia, Perga, and Attalia and then finally back to Antioch, their work complete.  They reported back and told of their adventures and how God had opened the door of the faith to the Gentiles.  Here they stayed for a long time.

Questions:

13a)  Gaius

b)  They met with no resistance (at least none that was recorded) and nothing noteworthy to record.

c)  God gives them ups with the downs.  This must have been a huge moral booster and encourager in doing God’s work.  Good days come with the bad and the good days are what keep a person going.

14a)  Paul encouraged the disciples in the low times.  They put their trust in elders and prayed and fasted for them.

b)  He tells his listeners that they have such a place in his heart that he’d live or die with them.

c)  He is in pain for the people (pain of childbirth) until they accept Christ

d)  Paul was delighted to share the Gospel with them because they were so dear to him.  He was gentle with them like a mother caring for her children.  They worked night and day so as not to be a burden and to support them sharing the Gospel.  He dealt with them as a father does his own children.  They were holy, righteous, and blameless amongst them.

e)  Paul tells the people they are his glory and joy when the Lord Jesus comes.

f)  Paul really lives since now they are standing firm in the Lord.

15)  Personal Question.  My answer:  They encouraged them.  They suffered alongside them.  They led by example, never asking them to endure anything they didn’t or wouldn’t.  They chose others, prayed and fasted for them, and trusted them (which is huge.  Think of society today where no one trusts anyone anymore).

Then they returned home and told of all the wonderful miracles and conversions, especially of the Gentiles.  Success stories always motivate others.  Then they stayed there a long time with the disciples.  I would conjecture they trained them, encouraged them, helped them, and modeled a good Christian life for them.

An interesting note:  they didn’t just convert them and then leave them to wonder “What next?”  Paul and Barnabas guided them and showed them the next steps in the walk with Jesus.

Conclusions:  I think Paul and Barnabas set a great example.  Most new believers are super excited when they turn their life over to Christ.  But then the enthusiasm wanes and as the ups and downs of life inevitably occur, they are left wondering, “Is this it?  Is this the Christian life?”

I think it’s hugely important not to leave these people dangling.  They need guidance, friendship, and strength to endure the hardships with being a Christian.  They need to know not everything is Sunshine and Roses from here on out.

Great message today.

End Note:  Not sure why Gaius is important.  I’m assuming he’s going to do something in Acts.  Otherwise, he just seems like a name from the Bible like the lists in the Old Testament.

Cool Map:  This map traces the route for you when you open it up.  It’s quite cool!

http://www.apostlepaulthefilm.com/paul/journey_01.htm

Paul’s First Missionary Journey took place from about 47-48 AD so about 14 years after Christ’ death.

This map makes me wonder why they didn’t take the land route through Tarsus either on the way there or the way back.  Why did they choose Cyprus to visit and the other places?  I’m assuming because the terrain was too rugged or sailing was safer?  I’m wondering if geography played a key role in determining where Paul and Barnabas went as well as the technology in the means of transportation back in the first century AD.  Fascinating stuff.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 7, Day 4: Acts 14:19-20a & 2 Timothy 3:10-17

Summary of passages:  Acts 14:19-20a:  Some Jews Paul had angered in Antioch and Iconium followed him and stoned him to death.  But the disciples gathered around Paul (presumably praying) and Paul got right back up and went back into Lystra.

2 Timothy 3:10-17:  Paul tells Timothy he knows Paul’s teaching, purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, and sufferings for the Lord.  The Lord rescued him from all.  He tells Timothy everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (probably warning him to expect persecution himself) while evil men will continue to do evil.  Paul urges Timothy to continue in his work and in knowing the Scriptures so he may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Questions:

10)  I thought God performed another miracle and this guy doesn’t give up.  I also chuckled at the translation:  they stoned him and left him for dead but then he got up and went right back into the city.  I pictured him like a superhero I guess:  pummeled but gets right back up–all thanks to God.

11a)  Timothy

b)  I’m assuming we’re talking fruits of the Spirit here from Galatians 4:22 which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  He definitely got some patience to return to the people who just killed him or tried to kill him.  Faithfulness to continue his calling.  Self-control to not retaliate.  Love when he meets Timothy.

c)  Personal Questions.  My answer: To not give up in the hard times and to keep persevering despite the fact I don’t feel like it.  To get up even when knocked down because God is with you, picking you up.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Yes, it could be.  We don’t know since we’re not told when Paul had his vision but he could have had it when he was on the verge of death.  Many people report spiritual experiences on the verge of death or after having died and then been resusitated by God.  God could have taken both his body or his spirit to Heaven, spoke to him, and then returned him to life.

When Stephen was being stoned (Acts 7) he sees Jesus.

Galatians 6:17 Paul says he “bears on my body the marks of Jesus.”  This could be from this incident as well as I imagine being stoned leaves some nasty scars.

Conclusions:  Very applicable today.  Paul was persecuted over and over again and yet he still got back up, dusted himself off, and went back to work for God.  We need to have the same attitude for our work for God.

2 Timothy 3:12  “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…”

I loved this!  It makes me feel better when I’m attacked here in this forum.

Personal Note:  Yesterday, I was doing Lesson 7, Day 3 on the computer when I just stopped and thought Why am I doing this?  It was bringing me no joy whatsoever.  So I closed my computer and started writing my novel.  I worked on this novel for about 2 hours.  It brings me great joy when I do.

BSF this year has taken a huge amount of my time.  I have often wondered and thought I need to quit and move on with my life.  But I keep at it.  Keep going.  Despite the lack of joy I may feel at the time.  Your encouraging words do help and I thank you all for every comment and email you send with your thanks.

But ever since I’ve moved I’ve struggled with finding joy in my personal work.  Nothing I do right now brings me joy:  writing my column, this blog.  My novels do but because they are so far away from impacting anyone discouragement is never far away.

I am praying hard to find what is causing this in my life for I know it has nothing to do with the work itself.  It is something else.  I believe I know what it is and I am praying hard for God to rectify it in my life.

I am looking forward to a much needed break here without any Internet and computer so I can just sit, be, and listen.  Praying soon I get some joy back that I had last year.