BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 10, Day 5: Hebrews 4:1-13

Summary of passage:  God promises we will enter His rest if we have faith.  God rested from all His work on the seventh day so there remains a Sabbath-rest for God’s people.  Just as God rested from His work so can we.  Let everyone make every effort to enter this rest.

God’s word is living and active; it penetrates us to our soul; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Nothing is hidden from God’s sight and we must give account to Him for everything.

Questions:

14)  The promise God gives us of rest through faith (a spiritual rest) and the Sabbath-rest is rest from works as a basis for righteousness.  Jesus’ death made us righteous with God.  We not loner need to work to achieve it.

15a)  By faith in God repeatedly.  We must continually rely on God and trust in Him in order to continue to have rest in Him. Otherwise we may fall just as the Israelites did.

b) Personal Question.  My answer:  I would like to think so.  As I get older, I get more and more grounded in my faith.  I know in my heart I have faith in God and completely trust in Him; yet, at times I do get overwhelmed by circumstances and outwardly it can appear not so.  But inwardly in my times of prayer, God knows even if I don’t.  And that’s all that matters.

Conclusions:  I like the faith aspect of the last two days.  Yesterday pointed out how unbelief yields to punishment.  Today pointed out how continual faith results in God’s gift of rest to us–the rewards of belief if you will.  Great juxtaposition of consequences versus rewards.

Again, a reminder of what Jesus’ death did for us:  made us righteous with God so we could rest without having to work for it.

Another great part of this lesson was verses 12 and 13 that BSF did not touch on, which emphasized the power of God’s word and His omniscience. Even when we are so low we can’t hear anything, God’s word is always with us to remind us of His greatness until we are ready again to hear Him.  For God knows our hearts and what we are going through and is there even when we don’t see.

Another great lesson.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 10, Day 4: Hebrews 3:7-19

Summary of passage:  The Holy Spirit warns not to harden your hearts against Him like the Israelites did in the rebellion where they tested God and God got so angry He swore they would never enter His rest.  Instead, encourage one another daily so none of you will be deceived by sin.  Have confidence in Christ.  Do not be like the Israelites who irked God because they did not believe.

Questions:

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Many things exist today to squander our time.  Internet, TV, video games, cell phones, and a plethora of activities to do that did not exist 100 years ago.  By not doing my best at what God has called me to do.  By not completing the tasks He has set before me.  By wasting away time until before you know it none is left.

13a)  The people rebelled (verse 15), sinned (verse 17), disobeyed (verse 18), and did not belief (verse 19).  He was angry with them for 40 years and did not allow one of them to enter His promised land.  Their bodies fell in the desert and never had rest.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  My hardest has been God will provide and God will never forsake me.  There have been times in my life when I think He’s not there and He has left me.  I’m not for sure though how this has worked against me.  I think it makes me depressed and anxious, angry and bitter.  But deep down I know God is still working in my life.  It is mostly the fact I don’t want to acknowledge Him because I don’t like what He is doing in my life.

Then I look back and see God where I hadn’t before and gain re-newed faith in Him.  The joy doesn’t instantly return but it at least is present again.

Conclusions:  I liked reading Numbers again.  I like the OT.  It has some of the best life lessons for us.  It gets frustrating though reading the stupidity of some of the Israelites who never learned to trust in God after seeing Him for themselves.  I think if I saw God or heard His actual voice, I would never question again (at least I hope so!).

I also liked the squandering time question since all of us face this in an increasingly complex world in which we live.  It’s a good reminder to keep our eyes looking up and not down and listening to Him and not others.

I liked the message in Verses 12-13 about encouraging one another in this world full of sin.  We need to do more of that.  And on a daily basis.  For it’s in the little decisions we make daily that the Devil creeps in and compounds our problems.

Great lesson today.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 10, Day 3: Hebrews 3:1-6

Summary of passage:  The Hebrews writer calls brothers (believers) to fix their thoughts on Jesus who was faithful to God just as Moses was.  But Jesus is greater since he is the builder of the house (us) and not the house itself (Moses).  God built everything and Moses was a servant in God’s house.  Jesus is the son over God’s house.

Questions:

9a)  Praying, confessing sins

b)  When we are tempted, when we have fears, when we fear death, when we have sinned.

10)  According to Webster’s Dictionary, transcendental meditation is “a technique of meditation in which a mantra is changed in order to foster calm, creativity, and spiritual well-being.”  It is based on Hindu traditions.

Christian meditation, according to Wikipedia, is “a form of prayer in which a structured attempt is made to get in touch with and deliberately reflect upon the revelations of God.  Christian meditation aims to heighten the personal relationship based on the love of God.”

So, Christian meditation is to get closer to God, to learn who He is, to know Him better, to learn to hear God’s voice and listen and obey Him.  The point is to focus on God.

Transcendental mediation is more about the person, you.  It’s selfish.  It’s developing brain activity so you can have clarity in your life, reduce stress, unlock creativity, and calm the mind.  It has nothing to do with God.

Hebrews 12:2:  “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning hits shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

11)  Similarities:  Both were called to do God’s work.  Both were sent to save God’s people.  Both lived extraordinary lives because of it.

Differences:  Jesus showed a perfect faithfulness in his ministry.  Moses disobeyed God and took credit for a miracle (Numbers 8-12) and was thus punished and not allowed to see the promised land.  Moses received glory from God but Jesus was transfigured and resurrected.  Moses is part of God’s house but Jesus is the creator.  Moses was never called a son by God.

Conclusions:  I had no clue what transcendental meditation was so of course I had to google it.  I don’t think this question could be answered with just knowledge in the average person’s brain.  In this case, I definitely think going outside the Bible should be allowed when asking a question that the Bible never addresses.

Also, not sure the challenge part of this.  Hebrews 12:2 does use the same expression but what clarification it offers in terms of transcendental meditation is beyond me.

In instances such as these, I wish BSF would just come out and state their opinion on the matter (which they may do in the notes and/or lecture) instead of making it a question on a topic that was irrelevant in the days of Hebrews, the Apostles, and the early Church (transcendental mediation was not invented or popularized until the 1950’s).

The question would be more relevant in comparison to meditating on other gods, Confucius, or Buddha and their teachings, all of whom existed before Jesus and were legitimate threats to the spread of Christianity in the first century AD instead of singling out a “technique” that has only recently come into existence.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 10, Day 2: Hebrews 2:5-18

Summary of passage:  While Jesus was a little lower than angels for a time, mankind was crowned with glory and honor and everything was put under his feet, making everything subject to him.  After Jesus’ death, this changed.  Now, Jesus is crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death for everyone through the grace of God.

Jesus was made perfect through suffering, which brought man salvation.  Jesus and us (mankind) are now of the same family, called brothers.

Since Jesus was flesh and blood, his death destroyed the power of death (the Devil) and freed us from the fear of death.  Jesus had to become our brother (like us in every way) to make atonement for our sins.  Jesus suffered while tempted so he helps mankind who suffers when they are tempted.

Questions:

4a)  The end times, Jesus’ Second Coming

b)  He subjected the world to come to man and he did not subject the world to come to angels.  God gave man Earth, not the angels.  Man had dominion over everything on earth (Genesis 1:26-30)

5)  God crowned man with glory and honor and put everything under his feet.

6)  The Devil, those who were held in slavery by the fear of death, and help/save those who are being tempted.

7)  Before Jesus came, man could not get to Heaven.  After Jesus’ death, man finally was allowed to be with God in Heaven.  Victory over sin had finally been accomplished.

When Adam and Eve bit the apple, sin entered into man’s flesh.  Therefore, God sent his son in the likeness of flesh (but without sin).  When Jesus died, so did all the sin within the flesh of man.  Therefore, the Devil (and believers fear of death) was destroyed because a path to God had been made.

Romans 8:3:  “For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in sinful man.”

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  Verse 14 because it’s the crux of why Jesus came and was crucified and it’s always a powerful reminder of God’s grace, goodness, and love for us.

Conclusions:  I went back and re-read Hebrews 1 again just I could be clear on angels before I started today.

It’s fascinating to learn the details of just how exactly Jesus’ death rid us of sin and freed us from the Devil to bring us to God. Most people just think:  Jesus died for my sins so I’m saved.  True.  But how exactly did this occur?  Now, I know.  Hebrews 2. Great stuff.

I found this website while researching Question 7.  It says it much better than I do.

http://www.christsdeath.org/terminating/termdevil.html

End Note to last week:  It looks like we’ll be studying Hebrews for a few weeks so I guess I was wrong on the filler lesson.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see how this relates to Acts.