BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 11, Day 2: Romans 6:12-14

Summary of passage:  Sin is not your master since you are under grace.  Offer yourselves and your bodies to God, not sin, as instruments of righteousness.

Questions:

3)  We are alive through believe in Jesus Christ.

4a)  Negative:  “do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.”  “Do not offer parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness.”

Positive:  “Offer yourselves to God” and “offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.”

In this instance, lasting change has to have both:  you cannot keep your evil ways AND be instruments of God.  You have to consciously lessen the evil and increase the good.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Any time I sin I’m giving myself up to sin and every time I choose God I’m giving myself to Him.  This is a daily, minute occurrence with no glaring examples that come to mind.  It could be when I’m being selfish or prideful or even mean.  This could be as well when I’m compassionate, giving, and kind.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God is with me always and I can draw upon His power and the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome sin.

Conclusions:  Weak.  Very, very weak.

End Notes:  This is a call by Paul to Christians to live in the freedom Jesus’s blood provides us as many are unsure.  Paul says stop yielding to the fleshly desire to sin which leads to a life of discouragement, fear, anxiety, and defeat.

We are dead to sin and alive to God.  We must refuse to let sin reign in our lives and offer ourselves to God.

The parts of our body–eyes, ears, mouth, lips, etc–must be used for good and not given in to sin.  You could think of “instruments” as weapons.  How God used David’s hands to slay Goliath.  Later, how David allowed his eyes to be used for sin when he gazed upon Bathsheba.

Once we take away the sin we must use them for something–righteousness–offered to God.

The priests in the Old Testament consecrated their bodies to God. Sacrificial blood was applied to the ear, to the thumb, and on the big toe, showing that those parts of their body (and all other parts) belonged to God and were to be used for His glory (Exodus 29:20).  The idea is the same.

We present ourselves to God as being alive from the dead. This first has the idea that all connection with the previous life – the old man – must be done away with. That life is dead and gone. Secondly, it has the idea of obligation, because we owe everything to the One who has given us new life!

“For sin shall not be your master”:  Spurgeon said that these words give us a test, a promise, and an encouragement.

1) It is a test of our claim to be Christians. Does anger have dominion over you? Does murmuring and complaining? Does covetousness have dominion over you? Does pride? Does laziness have dominion over you? If sin has dominion over us, we should seriously ask if we are really converted.

2) It is a promise of victory. It doesn’t say that “sin will not be present in us,” because that will only be fulfilled when we are resurrected in glory. But it does promise that sin will not have dominion over us because of the great work Jesus did in us when we were born again.

3) It is an encouragement for hope and strength in the battle against sin. God hasn’t condemned you under the dominion of sin – He has set you free in Jesus. This is encouragement for the Christian struggling against sin, for the new Christian, and for the backslider.

Law clearly defined God’s standard, and shows us where we fall short of it. But it cannot give the freedom from sin that grace provides. Remember that grace reigns through righteousness (Romans 5:21). Grace (not law) provides the freedom and the power to live over sin.

This shows again that a life lived truly under grace will be a righteous life.

For the Jews, their life was completely about living under the Law.  Now Paul says after Jesus we live under grace.

Paul has answered his question from Romans 6:1. Why don’t we just continue in habitual sin so grace may abound? Because when we are saved, when our sins are forgiven, and God’s grace is extended to us, we are radically changed. The old man is dead, and the new man lives.

In light of these remarkable changes, it is utterly incompatible for a new creation in Jesus to be comfortable in habitual sin. A state of sin can only be temporary for the Christian. As Spurgeon is credited with saying: “The grace that does not change my life will not save my soul.”

John states the same idea in another way: Whoever abides in Him does not [habitually] sin. Whoever[habitually] sins has neither seen Him nor known Him . . . Whoever has been born of God does not[habitually] sin, for his seed remains in him; and he cannot [habitually] sin, because he has been born of God (1 John 3:6 and 3:9).

The changes may not come all at one time, and they may not come to each area of one’s life at the same time, but they will be there and they will be real and they will be increasing as time goes on.

You cannot sin for you love God. We are changed and free through grace.

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BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 11, Day 2: Joel 1:1-2:11

Summary of passage:  Joel 1:  Joel describes an invasion of locusts and the devastation it wrecks on God’s people.  It was sent by God to turn them towards Him.  It destroyed their crops, vines, trees, fields, grain, wheat, and barley.  Joel calls for repentance and mourning and fasting before the Lord.  Turn to God since everything else is gone and there’s no where else to turn.  Call upon Him as the wild animals do.

Joel 2:  Joel says the Day of the Lord is coming and is close at hand.  On a dark day a large and mighty army led by God comes, laying waste to the land with fire and turning nations pale with fear.  The army charges, never deviating.

Questions:

3)  It is “a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness.  Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army (led by God–verse 11) comes…before them fire devours, behind them a flame blazes…nothing escapes them….at the sight of them, nations are in anguish; every face turns pale…before them the earth shakes, the sky trembles, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine.”  (All of Joel 2:2-11).

4)  Sin and a turning away from God.  Joel says for all to mourn and call out to God.  He also says the grain and drink offerings are withheld from the house of God because of this plague.  He calls for a fast and a summoning of the elders–all signs a sin has been committed.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Bankruptcy.  Depended on Him to bring us through.  He has.

Conclusions:  BSF tells us that we are studying Joel because he is speaking of the Day of the Lord. Joel is speaking of a current invasion of locusts in Chapter 1.  In Chapter 2 he turns to a general day of the Lord.

End Notes:

Joel offers a three-part message which we will study in three days:

  1.  A day of judgment (Today)
  2. A call to repentance (Lesson 11 Day 3)
  3. A future of hope (Lesson 11 Day 4)

What is the Day of the Lord?  The Day of the Lord is first mentioned in the Bible in Isaiah 2 and appears in other apocalyptic writings of the time.  The term appears again in Amos 5, here in Joel, and in Daniel 12:12.  The phrase “the day of the Lord” is used nineteen times in the Old Testament (Isaiah 2:12; 13:6, 9; Ezekiel 13:5, 30:3; Joel 1:15, 2:1,11,31; 3:14; Amos 5:18,20; Obadiah 15; Zephaniah 1:7,14; Zechariah 14:1; Malachi. 4:5) and five times in the New Testament (Acts 2:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Peter 3:10). It is also alluded to in other passages (Revelation 6:17; 16:14).

In Old Testament usage, scholars think it was a common term God’s people would know and in the Old Testament the Day of the Lord is the day God would judge His people for previous sins against Him (like a locust plague here in Joel).  In Joel 2:32, we see, however, that all who do turn to God will be saved.  It has a near and a far away fulfillment.

In general, the Day of the Lord is any intervention of God in history for the purpose of judgment.  In eschatology (Joel 2:10-11), the Day of the Lord is the ultimate punishment of evil.

In the New Testament, Acts quotes Joel 2:28-32 in chapter 2.  The phrase appears again in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 Corinthians 1:14, Revelation 6, Matthew 26, and 2 Peter 3.  These NT passages tie the Day of the Lord to the Second Coming of Christ to judge the world and fulfill God’s purpose for mankind here on earth.  It is almost exclusively used as a future fulfillment.  Scholars debate if it’s an actual “day” or if it’s a time period.

The main idea is the “Day of the Lord” refers to a time when God will personally intervene in history to fulfill His plans for the world.

Background on Joel:  Joel was one of the earliest prophets.  Joel means “Jehovah is Lord”.  Scholars date this book to around 835 BC, a time in Israel’s history where there was great turmoil amongst the kings.  This was the time when Judah and Israel were split.  However, the date is debated and has been anywhere from the ninth to the third century BC.

Queen Athaliah seized power at the sudden death in battle of her son Ahaziah, who only reigned one year (2 Kings 8:26, 2 Kings 11:1).  Athaliah killed all her son’s heirs, except for one who was hidden in the temple and escaped – one-year-old Josiah (2 Kings 11:3).  Her six-year reign of terror ended in 835 B.C. when the High Priest Jehoiada overthrew Athaliah and set the seven-year-old Josiah on the throne (2 Kings 11:4-21).

It goes without saying that Athaliah’s reign was wicked for anyone who would kill her grandkids has problems.  Therefore, scholars best guess is that this plague of locusts came at the end of Athaliah’s reign in judgment for her wickedness.  Scholars do believe this was an actual plague despite the fact this is the only place this event is recorded in historical writings.

Little is known about the man himself.  No one knows for sure when he delivered these messages and no one even knows if he lived in Judah or Israel.

Joel 1:  We know Chapter 1 is describing Judah’s present situation due to the verbs used:  has left, have eaten.  This just happened!  And it’s so devastating he wants the people to tell their children about it for generation after generation so it is remembered.

Joel says to mourn and turn to God by fasting, calling a sacred assembly, summoning the elders to God’s house, and crying out to Him.  God tells us (the people) exactly what to do to come back to Him.  How amazing!

Remember God’s “day” is not our “day”.  Hence, scholars debate on how long this “day” will be.

Remember “Day of Lord” is judgment.  Here, it is immediate.  Ultimately, it’s Jesus’s Second Coming.

Only God can fix the people’s problems.  Everything is gone.  All that is left is God.

Disasters are wake-up calls from God to turn to Him and repent.  Nothing is accidental in God’s world.  Are you ready for just such a disaster in your life and will you call out to Him when it happens?

Joel 2:  Here Joel talks about future judgment known as the day of the Lord.  It’s dark and gloomy and black to those who are defying God as the Israelites are here.  Joel predicts an army will come but scholars believe this never happened because right after Joel’s prophecy here a Godly king named Joash (2 Kings 11:4-21) came to the throne and thus adverted judgment.

God’s army is disciplined, effective, and strong.  So should we be as His soldiers.

Joel minces no words here and the people heard.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 11, Day 2: Matthew 9:35-10:4

Summary of passage:  After healing the blind and mute, Jesus then continued his ministry, preaching the good news and healing people all through his travels.  He had compassion on the throngs of people and realized he needed help so he told the disciples to pray for this.

Jesus gave his disciples the authority to drive out evil spirits and heal the sick.  The 12 disciples are:  Simon/Peter and Andrew, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew, James and Thaddaeus, Simon and Judas Iscariot.

Questions:

3a)  Because they were “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

b)  Psalm 23:1-3:  God provides all that we need.  He restores us and guides us in righteousness.

Isaiah 53:6; 1 Peter 2:24-25:  God takes away our iniquity for Himself, forgiven our sins, and allowed us to live for righteousness with Him.

Jeremiah 50:6,17:  Shepherds have led God’s people astray and Assyria and Babylon have devoured them. God will punish them for this and restore His people (read verses 18-20)

Ezekiel 34:5-16:  The Lord will be the people’s shepherd, searching for them and looking after them, rescue them and gather them and bring them unto their own land.  God will feed them and tend them, heal the injured, strengthen the weak, and bring back the lost.  He will be just.  God will punish the selfish shepherds who have disregarded His flock.  They will be punished and held accountable for their actions.

John 10:11-15:  Jesus is the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep.  He knows his sheep and they know him.  He brings other sheep that are not his to him as well.  He lays down his life for the sake of his sheep.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This would be everyone who does not know and accept Jesus. It’s hard to say amongst acquaintances if this is the case but I do have family members that don’t know Jesus.  I would say the best bet is to have compassion on everyone just like Jesus did.  That way, you’ll never lose.

4a)  “Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field.”  We are to pray for God to send out evangelists for Him.

b)  “Authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness”

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We are all given a purpose from God in life and I believe we follow Him when we act on this purpose.  For me, I try to follow His call.  I feel I have a lot of calls on my life at the moment so it is becoming increasingly difficult to decide which to focus on.  So I pray a lot and listen and go with what I feel is Him and what is most important to Him.

Conclusions:  Important follow up to why Jesus heals:  not because he has to prove anything but because he feels our needs and desires and heals for our sake, not his.  Most of us are not gifted to heal others physically but we can show compassion to all and pray for healing, for God to perform a miracle.  For He hears.

End Notes:  God as shepherd is a favorite image that spoke to an agricultural society such as God’s people in ancient times.  We see this imagery from Jacob in Genesis 48:15 all the way to Revelation 7:17 and all in-between.

The religious leaders of that time were poor shepherds like Ezekiel described.  They were selfish, only caring for themselves, neglecting the flock, especially those injured, diseased, sick, or lost.  They plundered the people for their own gain and for that they will pay.

Jesus has come to set things right and be the caring shepherd the people desperately need.