BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 13, Day 5: Hebrews 13

Summary of passage:  Love each others as brothers and do not forget strangers. Remember prisoners and others who are suffering.  Keep the marriage bed pure.  Be content with what you have and be free from the love of money.  Remember the leaders who spoke of God and imitate their faith as Jesus is the same forever.

Be strengthened by grace and do not listen to strange teachings.  Jesus made the people holy through his blood.  Keep your goal as the eternal city and do not be afraid to be disgraced.  Continually praise God and share with others.

Obey your leaders as they must give an account so their work may be a joy and not a burden.  Pray for them.

May God equip you with everything you need to do His will and may He work in us for what is pleasing to him.

Grace to all.

Questions:

14)  Personal Question:

a)  Love each other as brothers; entertain strangers; remember those in prison and those suffering as if you were as well

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you and act out of love,

b)  Keep marriage pure.  Don’t cheat.

c)  Be happy and grateful for what you have and free from the love of money.  Remember your blessings and thank God every day you are alive.

d)  Remember your leaders and imitate their faith; don’t believe everything you hear and remember God’s grace.  I take this as imitate Jesus because many of our leaders are flawed humans.

e)  Always have the eternal kingdom in mind so we can endure disgrace if called.  Remember our rewards; nothing else matters.

f)  Continually praise Jesus for all you have and do good to others and be giving.  Give to others out of love and in Jesus’ name as he would do.

15a)  Leaders who must give an account (elected) and who are God-given.

b)  Pray for them.  Express your disapproval (this can be either verbally or supporting another candidate or leaving your church if it’s a church leader) but do not judge.  Find another leader who is more accountable for his actions.  Pray to God for guidance and then follow His lead.

Conclusions:  I didn’t know I’d get to study the whole book of Hebrews along with the Book of Acts.  This was a very pleasant surprise.

I like the simplicity of this chapter.  It’s concrete and gives us some excellent advice and action steps to apply the rest of the book of Hebrews.

Question 15 is hard to interpret because the leaders of their day were the church officials but also the sometimes brutal dictatorship of the Roman Empire.  Nowadays, we elect ours and they are much more accountable.  Nevertheless they are God-appointed and are serving His purpose even if we cannot see it or don’t believe it.  Everything works together for my good.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 13, Day 4: Hebrews 12

Summary of passage:  Since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses (the faithful mentioned in Chapter 11) let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who endured the cross and its shame so that we may not grow weary and lose heart.

In your struggle, you have forgotten the encouraging words that the Lord disciplines those He loves and accepts as children.  We must endure hardship since God is treating us as His children just like we were disciplined by our parents.  For God disciplines us for our good that we may share in His holiness.  Albeit discipline is painful, it will produce a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who endure.

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and be holy for without holiness we cannot see God.  Make sure no one misses the grace of God and no bitter root grows.  Make sure no one is sexually immoral or godless.

You have no come to the mountain that is burning with fire, darkness and gloom or heard a voice that was so great it begged no further words be spoken.  Instead, you have come to Mount Zion to the living God, the judge of all men and to Jesus whose blood provided us salvation.

Do not refuse God who is granting us a kingdom that cannot be shaken.  Instead, be grateful and worshipful of the Lord.

Questions:

9a)  Everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles

b)  With perseverance

c)  On Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who’s in the lead

10a)  God disciplines out of love for us and for our good so that we may share in his holiness. Discipline produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

b)  Strengthen your body and make level the path you transgress.  Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy.  See to it that no one misses the grace of God and no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.  See that no one is sexually immoral and godless.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  My friends and family.  Strangers whom I come in contact with.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The voice would be most fearsome to me.  Being with God and Jesus would be the most glorious.

12)  Do not refuse or reject God.  Be thankful and worship God with reverence and awe.

13a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Everything.  Everywhere you turn there is violence.  The economy is in shambles.  People are killing their kids and themselves.  Despair and the Devil are everywhere.

In my personal world it is clearing out all the negativity and those around me who only are negative so I can be whom I’m called to be.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  By not ignoring God when He speaks.  My following His will for my life and not my own.  By being grateful and full of praise and worship for God.  By spreading the Good News at every opportunity.

Conclusions:  I love the reminder that God disciplines out of love (as we do our children).  Sometimes when life seems like it can’t get any worse we tend to blame God and ask, “Why?”  Here’s our answer:  “God disciplines for our good, that we may share in his holiness.”  I can’t think of a better reason, can you?

Short answers today which I think indicates straight-forwardness in God’s word.  There’s not much interpretation here.  We are given reasons and answers.  Great stuff!

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 13, Day 3: Hebrews 17-40

Summary of passage:  God tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac.  Abraham obeyed out of faith, believing God would raise Isaac from the dead if He so chose.  Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau.  Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons.  Joseph predicted the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions where to bury him.

Moses’ parents hid him from the Egyptians, knowing Moses was no ordinary child.  Moses chose to be mistreated with his people, the Israelites, rather than live in the luxury of his adopted mother’s palace.  He was looking forward to his future reward.  He left Egypt by faith and persevered as he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood to save his people’s firstborn.

The people crossed the Red Sea by faith and the walls of Jericho fell by faith.  The prostitute Rahab was faithful by protecting the spies.

And the Hebrews writer says the examples of faithfulness goes on and on.  Kingdoms were conquered, enemies routed, lions’ mouths shut, and justice prevailed.  Others chose torture, flogging, chains, prison, stoned, sawed in half, and destitution for the promise of God.  Little did they know (as we do and the people the writer is speaking to) God had something much greater in store for them–His son, Jesus–that would in the end make us complete.

Questions:

6a)  Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only son when God asked him to, believing that God would raise him from the dead if he so chose.

b)  Isaac blessed his sons, Jacob and Esau, for the future

c)  Jacob blessed each of Joseph’s sons

d)  Joseph prophesied the Israelites would leave Egypt and gave instructions where to bury his bones

e)  Moses chose his people, the Israelites, over his adopted mother’s, the Egyptians.  He rejected a life of luxury and sin and instead chose to be mistreated along with God’s people as he saw disgrace in Christ as greater than any treasure as he looked forward to his reward.  He left Egypt by faith and persevered because he saw God himself.  He kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood so the firstborn of every Israelite would not perish.

7)  No.  Anyone can have faith in God’s promises.  God rewarded Rahab for her true faith and trust in Him.  She was doing the Lord’s will even if it wasn’t in a manner God would approve of.  She had to save the spies in order to save her family.  I think in this instance all of us would do the same.

This example along with Jacob who stole Esau’s blessing from Isaac are great examples of how God rewards imperfect people no matter how flawed they or their actions may be.  He knows our heart.  He knows if we are pursuing him with every last breath in our body.  He knows man will sometimes choose unethical behavior in order to do so.  Which God forgives.  He made man as cunning and full of tricks.  God knows our ways.  And with the right intentions, God forgives, accepts, and embraces us.

God will accept anyone who accept him.  NO MATTER WHAT!

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s amazing the hoops these people jumped through; the laws they had to abide by; all the religious ceremonies and sacrifices; all for God.  And not even to get into Heaven.  For just the mere chance of obtaining Him.

It is probably easier in our day to believe because we have a physical form of God who walked this earth. These people did not.  They had to believe in something which they could not see (except the chosen few whom God revealed himself to).  We know if we choose Jesus, we receive life.  These people didn’t.  It was only a promise.  As it is today.  But it’s more tangible to us.

Thus, if these people who had a much harder life than most of us can believe then so can I.

Conclusions:  I loved bringing in Rahab.  Here’s a woman who was a pagan prostitute (despised in those days) who had every reason not to believe in God but she did.  She did whatever she had to do in order to obey–even lying.  And God forgave and accepted her and what she did.  She even became a direct ancestor of Jesus!

This shows us that God’s choices does not depend on how a person behaves.  God simply chooses people he wants.  Are we to judge?  According to Paul in Romans 9, no!  We have no right to question God because we know so little and He knows all.  We may never understand but God has a purpose we cannot know.  We are to accept.  All things work together for my good.

God chooses flawed people to achieve great good.  You never know who He has chosen today.

This is summarized from my study Bible (NIV student Bible published by Zondervan). Great stuff.

This gives hope to all of us who are broken (which we all are, some more than others). God is still using us no matter how far we fall.  If we merely choose to believe.

End Note:  The blessing back in OT times was a HUGE deal.  For most it signified a kind of magical power that will bring prosperity.  However, for God’s chosen people, it is transferring the covenant blessing from one generation to the next–the one passed down from Abraham–that will one day produce God’s chosen people.

Also summarized from my Study Bible (NIV Student Bible Zondervan).