BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 8, Day 5: Matthew 7:21-29

Summary of passage:  Not everyone will enter the kingdom of heaven; only those who do the will of the Father, whose heart is His.  The rest is merely an act.

Everyone who hears the Gospel and puts them into practice is like a wise man who builds his home on rock, protected because of its strong foundation.  Those who hear the Gospel and do not act on it is like a foolish man who builds his home on sand, which will fall and tumble because the foundation is weak.

Jesus finishes his Sermon on the Mount.

Questions:

11a)  Matthew 7:23:  A knowledge of Him and/or a heart for Jesus

Luke 6:46:  A will to do what Jesus said

John 5:40-43:  A love of God in their hearts, an acceptance of Jesus

John 6:29:  A belief in Christ

Hosea 8:2-4:  Following God’s laws.  They rejected Him by setting up kings and princes without God’s consent and making idols to worship.

b)  They believed they were doing the will of God when in reality they were doing their own will.  Their heart was not God’s heart.  They accept praise from one another (John 5:44) instead of attempting to gain God’s praise.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  No one is coming to mind right now.  Truthfully, I don’t know a lot people all that well in order to say.  It’s hard to tell if they are following God’s will for their lives because it’s between them and God.  I guess you could look at the fruit to get a clue.

12)  That Jesus is Lord.

13a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Come to Jesus, hear his words, and put them into practice.

b)  When disaster strikes, their lives crumble around them.  By not following God’s commands.  By living out of self-reliance and self-pursuit.  By being hypocritical.  By pursuing the world instead of pursuing Him.

c)  Isaiah 28:16:  It is a tested stone laid in Zion, a precious cornerstone, built on trust in God.

1 Corinthians 3:11:  The true foundation is belief in Jesus.

1 Peter 2:4-8:  The true foundation is Jesus as we ourselves are being built into spiritual houses and we sacrifice for him.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus.

Conclusions:  The underlying message of this day is we must accept Jesus as the Son of God.  And once we do, our foundation for life will be strong and sturdy and our eternal life will be with Him.  Once we truly accept Jesus as our Savior, we cannot help but act upon His words for the Holy Spirit within compels us.  If we do not act upon Jesus’ words, then we have not accepted him yet.  We still have work to do.

Our actions must coincide with our words.  Otherwise, Jesus warns, “I never knew you.”

About these ads

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 8, Day 4: Matthew 7:13-20

Summary of passage:  Jesus says to enter through the narrow gate for it is the one that leads to life.  The wide gate leads to destruction.  He warns against false prophets whom you can recognize by their bad fruit for only good trees produce good fruit.

Questions:

9a)  Wolves hiding in sheep’s clothing (verse 15).  Grapes and thornbushes and figs and thistles (verse 16).  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit and vice versa (verse 18).

b)  Figs from thornbushes and grapes from briers.  Good must come from good and bad from bad.

10a)  Do not be fooled by outward appearances or pretenses as inside may lurk darkness and evil.

b)  Not a fan of how this question is phrased.  Everyone is sincere in whatever belief they hold and they are misguided if their belief is not adherent to the Truth.  Paul says in Acts men will distort the truth for the sole purpose of gaining disciples.  2 Peter is even stronger language, saying they will secretly (meaning purposefully and deceitfully) introduce destructive heresies in order to turn you from God.  Verse 3 uses the word “exploit” you.

The Bible is clear that there are false teachers, powered by the devil, out to turn us from God.  It seems that BSF is not so clear about that.  They are definitely misguided and corrupted and sincere in their beliefs which is not the belief in God.  “Possibly” needs to be stricken completely and misguided needs to be strengthened to deceitful.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We cannot judge people by outward appearances only by their actions will their heart be revealed.  Most people live fake lives for all to see but inside they may be hardened.

Conclusions:  This whole lesson has been hard for me to draw conclusions I think because it is self-explanatory.  Here, we learn we cannot trust what people project or say; only what they do.  Their heart will be revealed in their fruit.

It is also prudent here to ask ourselves:  “What kind of fruit am I bearing?”  For our own fruit will reveal our heart as well.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 8, Day 3: Matthew 7:7-12

Summary of passage:  Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”  We give our children what we ask for as the Father gives good gifts to those who ask as well!  Do to others what you would have them do to you as the law says.

Questions:

6a)  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”  We ask God, then we seek Him, and then we persistently knock until we receive.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Yes.  For clarity in terms of what I’m supposed to be doing in my life and to quell my conscious.

7)  Luke replaces gifts with the Holy Spirit in the last verse.  We are promised if we ask, He will give us the Holy Spirit.

8a)  No.

b)  No.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It gives me great comfort to know that God does answer my prayers.  That He hears me.  That as I pursue Him, I will find Him.  As God pours out His gifts upon us, so we should do the same.  For we are all equally unworthy.

Conclusions:  I had high expectations for this lesson but it seems to have fallen short in terms of the questions.  Either that or it’s self-explanatory as in my answer to question 6a.  You really can’t explain that or put it better than Jesus did.

Notes on the Golden Rule:  The Golden Rule has been around for centuries before Jesus, most notably promoted by Confucius.  However, Jesus was the first to put this in the affirmative, saying do unto others instead of don’t do unto others.  This strengthens the rule and broadens it, desiring us to go above and beyond for others instead of just not doing one thing.

If we treat others how we want to be treated, we wouldn’t break any other law of God.  Hence, it’s the summation of the Law.  Of course, it doesn’t make it any easier to follow for we are all human and fail.  But keeping it in the back of your mind, behooves us all.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 8, Day 2: Matthew 7:1-6

Summary of passage:  Jesus says to not judge for you will be judged in the same manner you judge others.  He admonishes hypocrites.  Be wary of those not prepared to receive Christ for they will turn and tear you to pieces.

Questions:

3a)  Judging, according to Webster’s Dictionary, means:  “to form an opinion about through careful weighing of evidence and testing of premises”.

Galatians and Ephesians say love one another and don’t speak unwholesome to others (only words of encouragement).  Philippians says to help others, put others first, and don’t complain so that you shine.  Basically, we are allowed to judge others, to say what they are doing is right or wrong, only in a spirit of love and helpfulness, and one by which we hold ourselves to as well.

Often, we form an opinion without careful weighing of evidence.  We jump to conclusions about others and therefore treat them differently than we should; not with a kind heart or spirit of love.

b)  That we will be judged in the same way that we judge.  Judging people from a standard we ourselves do not abide by is hypocritical and wrong.  We often attempt to correct others’ faults instead of our own.  Yet we must be discerning and recognize those hardened towards the message.

c)  “Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Give, and it will be given to you.”   If you do that, you will receive a good measure.  If you are judgmental, you are unable to lad anyone and both of you will fall.

4a)  Matthew 18:15-17:  Other believers

Galatians 1:8:  Those who pervert the gospel of Christ (see verse 7)

Galatians 6:1-5:  Other believers

2 John 7-11:  Deceivers and unbelievers

c)  First deal with your own faults.  Then go and speak to that person alone about his fault.  If that person is still being obstinate, then take one or two other believers along.  Finally, take that person to the church.  If they refuse to listen, treat them as a pagan or a tax collector (which back then was horrible so I wouldn’t recommend this).

Galatians says to restore that person gently but be careful you are not drawn into that sin.  Help with others’ burdens but be careful of your actions as well.

5)  We must be careful not to give what is sacred to those who would only trample upon it (unbelievers who will never be open to Christ or who are openly opposing Christ).  Hypocritical believers also must not be given what is sacred.  We must correct in a Godly manner and preach pearls to those who are ready to receive the message.  If they are hardened to Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4), then we should not waste our time (Acts 19:9).

I found Acts 13:44-51 the most helpful.  It basically says if people (here the Jews) reject the message of Christ, move on and tell others.  Some are false prophets and will lie and try to deceive you.  Be wary.

Conclusions:  I have mixed reactions to this lesson.  I actually stopped and came back because I just was not feeling the message or the questions.  Sometimes I’m in the mood to go all over the Bible and sometimes I’m not and today was an “I don’t feel like working” day.  Hence, my judgement (yes, read irony here) becomes cloudy.

In essence, we are all called to share the Gospel but we ourselves must be careful and loving.  If people are not prepared to receive the word, move on.  Don’t batter or judge them because of it.  Give them time and then approach them again but continue looking for prepared hearts–all out of love and kindness.

We must remember God chooses those who will ultimately receive Him (John 6:44; 15:16 & 2 Thessalonians 2:13 & 2 Timothy 1:9).  We must wait on His time and try again later.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 8, Day 5: Genesis 9:18-29

Summary of passage:  Noah’s sons are Shem, Ham, and Japheth and from them came the people who were scattered over the earth.  Noah got drunk and naked.  Shem & Japheth covered him up.  Noah cursed Ham (the father of Canaan and the one who told of his nakedness) when he found out he had tattled to be slaves to his brothers.  At the same time, he blessed his other sons, asking for Canaan to be Shem’s slaves and Japheth’s territory to grow and live in Shem’s tents as Canaan is Shem’s slaves as well.

Noah died at age 950.

Questions:

12a)  It seems to me Shem and Japheth loved their father more.  They didn’t tell of his situation but instead did their best to cover up their father.  Proverbs says “love covers over all wrongs” so even if getting drunk was wrong love makes it disappear.

b)  Proverbs 17:9 says “He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.”  Ham told his brothers (and not in a loving way–in a mocking way) of his father’s nakedness and what happened to him (which we don’t know) and Shem and Japheth covered their father’s offense in love.  When Noah wakes, he is so mad he curses Ham and his descendants–in effect separating the brothers because like Cain and Abel I’m sure  jealousy and dissension arose amongst them.

God does not like the man who stirs up dissension amongst brothers.  It appears there was something else going on here we just don’t know about.  I think there was dissension before this incident.  Sibling rivalry if you will.  Either way love was missing in Ham’s heart.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I should respond in love.  Not engage in gossip.

13)  Noah curses Canaan to be slaves to his brothers.  Commentators say that Genesis 9:27 predicts the Messiah coming that God (Jesus) will dwell in the tents of Shem.  The land of Canaan is the land where Sodom and Gomorrah lie and is known for its evil.  It is also the land Moses will flee to and the land God gives Abraham.  So in one way it could be a warning not to mix with the Canaanites.

We don’t know why Ham was condemned and the others were blessed.  Many believe there was underlying sin here that something bad (such as sexual abuse) happened to Noah while he was sleeping and Ham boasted of it to his brothers.  However, all of this is speculation.  All we know is what the Bible says: Ham boasted; Shem and Japheth covered with love; Noah’s reaction.

Conclusions:  The lesson I got out of this is the difference in acting out of love or acting out of self and how gossip, boasting, and pride lead to dissension between close friends.  Whatever happened Shem and Japheth loved their father more and were blessed because of their actions.  This is my take-away:  love leads to blessings.

Question 13 is a challenge because even bible commentators don’t agree on what the curse means and its implications.

An interesting lengthy paper on the curse found here:

http://joelnothman.com/downloads/interpretation-gn9-25.pdf

Interesting Side Note:  This curse is what was used to justify slavery of Africans who were believed to be the descendants of Ham and thus preordained to be slaves.  This is what was believed and taught by early Americans.  I found this fascinating because early Americans (and others who enslaved) truly believed this verse justified their actions. Great example of how misinterpreting the Bible can have devastating consequences or the pitfalls of using the Bible to justify extreme behavior.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 8, Day 4: Genesis 9:1-17

Summary of passage: God blessed Noah and his sons and told them to be fruitful and fill the earth. All animals will fear and dread you and God placed them in man’s hands. God gave everything that lives and moves now as food for man as well as the plants.

Man must not eat meat that has lifeblood still in it.  God will demand an accounting from every animal and from every man and accounting for the life of his fellow man.  “Whoever sheds the blood of man by man shall his blood be shed for in the image of God has God made man.”

God establishes His covenant with Noah and his sons and with every living creature on earth. God promises to never again destroy the earth with a flood.  The rainbow is the sign of this covenant between God, Noah, and all on earth.  God will see the rainbow in the sky and remember this covenant.

Questions:

8a)  In John Jesus says we must be born again of water and of the Spirit in order to see the kingdom of God.  In Genesis, atonement of a blood sacrifice.

b)  I see no difference.  All the same.  Means we are the image of God and made to be like Jesus.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Probably enhance and ameliorate them.

10)  A believer’s mind and heart are opened and receive the indwelt Holy Spirit, which changes him or her to be more like Christ.  The veil of ignorance is lifted and Truth enters and reigns.  And we now reflect the Lord’s glory and are being transformed little by little into his image.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer.  I had forgotten the rainbow was a sign of the covenant!  I had just remembered it was a sign of God’s promise not to flood the earth. I’ll never look at a rainbow the same again.  God is good and He is faithful.

Conclusions:  Repetitive is the word that comes to mind with this lesson.  When I read question 10, I sighed and thought Not again.  This question has nothing to do with Genesis 9.  It just doesn’t.

Bay’s Last Rainbow

I liked the rainbow since me and my kids love rainbows and photograph them every chance we get!  We will definitely talk about this one this week!

Although not the best picture, this rainbow is special to me.  It was taken on my dog’s last day and she was in the car with us.  It was right after her vet’s appointment–the appointment that had given us hope.

I still wonder what God was trying to tell me with this.  It was so beautiful I had pulled over to take the picture and I had completely forgotten about it in the chaos of her death until I downloaded my pictures.  And Bay was with me that day.

I hope it was a sign that God was remembering her as He promised He’d remember all living creatures.  I call it “Bay’s Rainbow” for I truly believe it was put there by Him for her.  And for me.  She was truly special.  And in my heart forever.

And I liked the idea of seeing other’s as images of God.  So often we see people (especially relatives) as the broken humans we all are.   I would extend this to not just Christians but to all people.  For all are made in His image even if the Spirit is not in them.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 8, Day 3: Genesis 9:1-7

Summary of passage:  God blessed Noah and his sons and told them to be fruitful and fill the earth. All animals will fear and dread you and God placed them in man’s hands. God gave everything that lives and moves now as food for man as well as the plants.

Man must not eat meat that has lifeblood still in it.  God will demand an accounting from every animal and from every man and accounting for the life of his fellow man.  “Whoever sheds the blood of man by man shall his blood be shed for in the image of God has God made man.”

Questions:

5)  God told both Noah and Adam to be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.  God allowed Noah to eat the animals and not Adam.  God told Noah not to eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it (same for Adam).  God blessed both of them.  God told both Noah and Adam to rule over the earth and its inhabitants but for Noah he made the animals afraid of man.  God told Noah He will hold man accountable for every animal and for the life of his fellow man.  This was unnecessary in Eden since man was sinless at the time.

6)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Because the life of every creature is in its blood and it was the blood of animals that gave man atonement for their sins before Jesus came.  Thus it was sacred, reserved for this very important purpose in man’s life.

7a)  “Whoever sheds the blood of man by man shall his blood be shed (death); for in the image of God has God made man.”  Basically, murderers attack the image of God and must therefore give an accounting.

b)  No.  God knows man’s heart and how evil his tendencies are.  It’s like an eye for an eye.  It seems to me to be God’s reckoning.  God knows some people can become so evil that they need to be punished so they can’t hurt others.  That’s why all throughout the Old and New Testament God lays down laws for the death penalty (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).  Murderers pollute God’s earth.

Numbers 35:33:  “Do not pollute the land where you are.  Bloodshed pollutes the land, and atonement cannot be made for the land on which blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it.  Do not defile the land…”

Murder is against the law and it is government’s job (granted by God) to institute judgment and penalty (Romans 13:1-5).

Conclusions:  Here we see God’s laws again in action.  First, He forbade man from eating from the tree of knowledge.  Now, He forbids man from eating meat with lifeblood.  I find it interesting how the forbidding list just gets longer and longer.  In Eden, it was only one:  no fruit from that tree.  After Noah, the list just grows and grows.

It’s like the laws of countries (and most noticeably in the United States lately).  There are so many laws enacted cause of one stupid person that no one can even count.  Sin just seems to never stop and keeps growing.

I did like the capital punishment study.  I’ve never looked at it in the Bible.  Good to know when talking to people about it.  I like the idea of how it’s attacking God’s image. Never thought of it like that.  Attacking God’s creation.  In a way, attacking God himself, especially if the Holy Spirit is indwelt.

I also like the image of how spilt blood pollutes and defiles the land.  For all the talk of “pollution” in this world, you never hear it referenced in terms of the pollution murder does.  Another emphasis on how all life is sacred and only God has the right to take it.  How sacred and precious is ALL His creations including the land we walk upon.

BSF Study Questions Lesson 8, Day 2: Genesis 8:20-22

Summary of passage:  Noah built an altar after he left the ark and sacrificed burnt offerings to the Lord. The Lord said he would never again curse the ground because of man even though his heart is evil from childhood and destroy living creatures.

Questions:

3a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It was the first thing Noah did after more than a year aboard the Ark.  He gave God thanks through worship for all God’s goodness to him.  He also sacrificed animals (a BIG deal since there weren’t really any to spare).  This one act brought about God’s resolve to never destroy the earth again–because there is goodness in man despite the evil inclinations of the heart.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Great question because I really don’t have a daily time of worship with my family.  It’s something we’ve fallen out of and it ends up being usually on Sundays only.  Something to work on and pray about!

c)  It’s hard to say since details on sacrifices to God from Adam to Noah are not recorded.  We know Abel killed animals for God and these were accepted.  I believe burnt (animal) offerings were around since Abel’s time and that Noah had probably done them before.  In this case after the Ark, however, I believe God did not order Noah to sacrifice to him and He was pleasantly surprised by Noah’s act of sacrifice–hence, God’s determination to never destroy man or the earth again.

Since Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:9) I believe he knew how to please and praise our Lord.  Hence, I believe Noah offered this sacrifice to God of his own free will, knowing the cleansing power of blood over sin.

4a)  Psalm 27:6:  Sacrifice with shouts of joy; sing and make music to the Lord

Psalm 51:17:  A broken spirit, a broken and contrite (penitent) heart–come with a penitent heart, truly sorry for sins

Romans 12:1:  Your bodies

Ephesians 5:2:  Live a life of love like Jesus

Philippians 4:18:  Gifts to others in this case Paul is speaking of monetary aid

Hebrews 13:15-17:  Praise to God, do good and share with others; obey your leaders

1 Peter 2:5:  Spiritual sacrifices (ourselves) to God

b) Personal Question.  My answer:  All in a sense because 1) I need to work on all and 2) because they all cost me something like God sacrificed Jesus at such a high cost.

Conclusions:  Great lesson on how we can and should sacrifice to God and how we are even if we don’t recognize it as such.  My take-away was the daily time as a family with God.  I do my lesson alone in the wee hours of the morning.  I need to model this for my kids so they see what I do.  I do help them with their lesson but we do it Sunday night.

We had a daily time with God during homeschool but we have gotten away from that due to the busyness of our lives.  Been convicted of that one.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 8, Day 5: Galatians 2:11-21

Summary of passage:  Peter ate with the Gentiles before certain men (Judaizers) came from James.  Yet when they arrived, Peter began to withdraw and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of the Judaizers.  Even Barnabas followed their lead.

Paul confronted Peter’s hypocrisy in front of them all, pointing out his past behavior and how it does not align with God’s word. Paul says a man is justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law for if righteousness could be gained through the law then Christ died for nothing!  Paul explains he lives only by faith in Jesus who lives in him.  Keeping the law will not get Paul (or anyone) to heaven as the Judaizers continued to believe.  Only through Christ does one live.

Questions:

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The definition of stumbled according to Webster’s dictionary is “to fall into sin, blunder, bewilder, confound.”  I’m using confound here since the first doesn’t make much sense.

Peter is essentially being a hypocrite here.  He said Gentiles were equal but when “certain men” or Judaizers it seems came, he disassociated with the Gentiles out of fear of the Judaizers.

Of course, Christians were a little peeved (aren’t you in the presence of hypocrites?).

13)  Peter eventually mends his ways, after giving into social pressures.  Peter knows in his heart what is true as he says in Acts 15:6-11 and I believe he overcame his human inclinations to do God’s work.  But I think it took Paul to call him out on his behavior in order to do so.

Conclusions:  Great lesson for us.  Most people know when they are doing good or bad. They know in their heart if they are shunning others when it’s wrong.  Most of us have a conscious after all.  Sometimes it takes a confrontation for someone to mend their ways. Paul had the courage here to do so.  I’m wondering if we have the courage as well?  To confront others in our lives or stand up if we are in that situation and do the right thing.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 8, Day 4: Acts 15:13-35

Summary of passage:  James tells the Jerusalem Council that Peter’s words are in accordance with God’s word found in Amos 9:11-12 that he quotes.  James agrees they should not make it hard for the Gentiles (whom God has accepted) to turn to God and they should suggest they follow some of Moses’ laws such as abstaining from food polluted by idols, sexual immorality, and from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.

The Council chooses some of their own men (Judas and Silas) to accompany Paul and Barnabas back to Antioch to give this agreement.  They send a letter with them and the people were glad to read its encouraging message.  Judas and Silas encouraged them and after a time they returned to Jerusalem.  Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch to preach the Good News.

Questions:

9a)  James suggests that circumcision not be made a requirement but instead make certain suggestions to live by:  abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals, and from blood.  They chose some of their own men (Jews), Judas and Silas, to accompany Paul and Barnabas to verify this is a decree from both sides.

b)  On the words of the prophets found in Amos 9:11-12

10a)  Judas and Silas

b)  It gave credibility to Paul and Barnabas that all were in agreement on what the letter said.  It encouraged the church people in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia and strengthened them.

11a)  It avoided a potential rift in the new faith which very well might have caused separate religions (which happened anyways as in all the denominations and faiths we see today) but it provided some stability and harmonized beliefs so that the early church could continue to grow.  It confirmed that we are saved by grace and faith in Jesus alone and not by conformance to any laws.

However, some scholars argue this may have been the beginning of where Jewish Christians began to separate from the new Christians and retain their old beliefs.

Whatever the case, this compromise allowed the gospel to spread without major defects and all out condemnation on either side.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Fear of rejection and criticism.

Conclusions:  Great history lesson for us history buffs in terms of the new faith.  Also, great lesson on compromise and coming to terms that both sides can agree on.  Both sides came to the table, brought their major concerns in an amenable way, and produced results.  Wish we’d see more of that in today’s political arena.

End Note:  Great site that explains the Jerusalem Council along with references to the Judaizers point of view:

http://bible.org/seriespage/jerusalem-council-gospel-defined-and-defended-acts-151-35