BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 11, Day 5: Romans 6:19-23

Summary of passage:  We now offer our bodies in slavery to righteousness, which leads to holiness and eternal life.  Sin leads to death.

Questions:

11)  In essence, people want to be free to do whatever they wish with no repercussions.  This is just not reality. Under your own strength, you can’t do anything.  True freedom is living under God’s strength to overcome sin.  Following our own path is a slave to Satan.  It’s not how we were designed to live.  It’s a lie Satan tells you to keep on sinning.  When you do your own thing, Satan is in charge.

12)  Slave to sin: death.  Slave to God: holiness and eternal life.

13a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Sin leads you to feeling broken and hopeless, unworthy and guilty, shameful and evil.  God uses these experiences to make you yearn for Him and His ways.  He replaces those feelings with hope and worthiness and holiness.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Gratitude (my stock answer).  A desire to do His will through His strength.  Be more like Jesus every day.

Conclusions:  Question 13 is repetitive and could have done without it.  Question 11 is too broad.  It’s any sin.  Weak lesson.  Paul is basically repeating himself as well to emphasize how we now are free in Jesus.

End Notes:  The “human terms” is Paul apologizing for using slavery as his example from human lives because so many back then were slaves or if not slaves per se in essence slaves because Rome dictated their lives, but it was an accurate description of his point.

Paul speaks of habits when he says “impurity to ever-increasing wickedness”.  The longer you do something, the more ingrained it is and the harder to change.  In times of temptation, we must remember ever-lasting life.

Slavery to God produces holiness, and eventually eternal life.  There is no eternal life without holiness (Hebrews 12:14).

We must fight against every occasional sin because the benefits (life) far outweighs death!  This is Paul’s answer to Romans 6:15.  Remember, it’s a gift, not earned.

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 11, Day 3: Romans 6:15-16

Summary of passage:  Paul concludes again that we don’t sin just because God forgives.  We are like slaves and we are slaves to the one we obey.  It’s up to us if it’s God (who leads to righteousness) or Satan (who leads to death).

Questions:

6)  Paul starts by asking us what do we say and conclude.  In verse 1, Paul is focusing on the argument that one goes on sinning so grace may increase.  In verse 15, Paul focuses on the fact we should sin because we are under grace and forgiven.  Also, note the subtle difference in verb tense (more pronounced in the ancient Greek:  “go on sinning” and “sin”.  Verse 1 is talking about perpetual sinning.  Verse 15 is speaking of an occasional sin here and there.  More explanation in End Notes.

7a)  Under Satan, you will forever sin because of human nature.  Under God who offers us righteousness through grace we are forgiven and our sins are washed away.  We are free from our sins and will thus serve righteousness instead of sin.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Slave to righteousness because I accept Jesus as my Savior who through God’s grace forgives my sins, cleanses me, and thus makes me righteous before God.

Conclusions:  I groaned on 7b and felt like a school kid forced to recite the class rules for the thousandth time.  It’s basically asking you if you’re saved.  A yes or no would have sufficed or better yet a question on the passage.

End Notes:   Wuest explains the verb tense in verse 1 & 15:  “The verb in verse one is in the present subjunctive, speaking of habitual, continuous action. The verb in verse fifteen is in the aorist subjunctive, referring to a single act.”  Again, the answer is no.  Sin and a saved life do not go hand in hand.

Paul is saying in verse 16 that you serve someone so why not Christ instead of the devil (obedience versus sin)?  You can apply this across the spectrum such as slave to food or others’ approval or success or wealth, etc.

It seems the question came from those who were afraid that the doctrine of justification by faith alone will remove all moral restraint.  Paul rejects this idea and shows in the following verses how Christians don’t throw morality to the wind.  Instead, they exchange sin for righteousness as their master.

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.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 11, Day 4: John 7:28-39; 14:16-18

Summary of passages:  John 7:28-39:  There are many who doubt he is the Christ, especially since they know Jesus and where he came from. Jesus says he is from God. Many try to seize him but they can’t because it is not Jesus’ time yet. Some believed in him. The Pharisees sent guards to arrest him. Jesus says how he is only here for a short time and where he goes, they cannot come. No one understood he was speaking of his death and resurrection.

Jesus continues speaking and on the last day of the Feast repeats his call for those thirsty to come to him and receive streams of living water or the Spirit.

John 14:16-18:  Jesus promises to ask God for the Holy Spirit to abide in believers so he’ll be with us forever.

Questions:

8 )  The crowds were whispering Jesus’ words that pointed out how the Pharisees are hypocrites and he may be the Messiah.  Basically, Jesus is threatening their authority and power.  They failed because Jesus is protected until it is his time and it’s not his time yet.  The guards put it this way in John 7:46:  “No one ever spoke the way this man does.”  This shows powerfully how God is in control of everything, even my situation and circumstances and my life.

9) I think he meant two things.  To believers, he meant he would be in heaven and we cannot come until the appointed time.  To unbelievers, I think he meant they would never find him and never get to heaven.

10a)  God and the Holy Spirit.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior as a kid.  It overflows to others as I do God’s work and put Him first and put others first.

Conclusions:  So much here!  Please read the End Notes as they are extensive.  We read John 14:16-18 but didn’t touch on it. We probably will when we get there.  It’s part of the assurances Jesus gives to the disciples (and to us) before he leaves earth–the promise of the Holy Spirit.

End Notes:  John 7:28-39 (Taken from yesterday’s analysis):  Jesus is probably being sarcastic in verse 28. “You know me; yet, you doubt!” Jesus repeats he is from God.

Jesus could not be arrested until his time had come. Till then he was protected by God. (John 7:46)

Many believed. After all, who could do as much as Jesus has already done?

Jesus assures the temple guards he will go away–at the appointed time.

The people did not understand Jesus was speaking of heaven so they guessed the Greeks. From the time of the exile, many jews lived outside the Holy Land and could be found in most cities throughout the Roman Empire.

The Feast of Tabernacles lasted eight days. During the first seven days water from the Pool of Siloam was carried in a golden pitcher and poured out at the altar to remind everyone of the water God miraculously provided for a thirsty Israel in the wilderness. Most probably on the eighth day there was no pouring of water – only prayers for water – to remind them that they came into the Promised Land.

On the eighth day the people ceased to dwell in the tabernacles and was probably no feasting. Philo says it was a solemn conclusion.

This was the last feast-time Jesus would spend in Jerusalem before the Passover of His death. This was the last day of the last feast; the last time He would speak to many of them before His crucifixion.

Notice Jesus said IN A LOUD VOICE. This was the most important thing he said the entire time so you’d better listen (personally, I can’t picture Jesus screaming so this must have been a sight!). Also, teachers usually sat so Jesus standing was to draw attention.

The celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles emphasized how God provided water to Israel in the wilderness on their way to Canaan. Jesus boldly called people to Himself to drink and satisfy their deepest thirst, their spiritual thirst.

Anyone is invited. Since there is no water being poured out on the 8th day of the feast, this was an impressive statement indeed. Jesus is the water.

Drinking is a common act. All of us can drink. But do we drink of the right stuff?

If you trust in Jesus, living water will flow from your heart and into your life and the life of those around you. Revelation 22:1 (which was not written yet at this time) speaks of waters flowing after the End Times perpetually. What a picture!

The Greek is “out of the belly”.

Zechariah that one day a fountain would be open to the house of David, and living waters would go out from Jerusalem (Zechariah 13:1, 14:8); and of Isaiah that God would pour water upon the thirsty (Isaiah 44:3, 55:1).

The Spirit is not yet given until after the Ascension and Pentecost (Acts 2)

“Given” was added. The true meaning is “it was not yet spirit”. It is more a sense of “working” and “dispensation”.

“Glorified” is Jesus’ exaltation, crucifixion, and resurrection. The fullness of the Spirit’s work depends on Jesus’ prior work of salvation.

John 14:16-18:  This is the first in a series of important passages about the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7-15).  The second of three assurances given to the disciples on the night of Jesus departure.

Jesus is assuring the disciples he will give them a helper after he leaves; he will not abandon them.  He knew they would need God’s help to do the work set forth for them.  He will ask when he gets to heaven.

“Counselor” is actually the Greek parakletos meaning advisor, mediator, legal defender, or intercessor.  It denotes strengthen and is another of the same kind.

The devil is the accuser.

The Holy Spirit will be with you forever, contrasting with the Old Testament where cleansing was temporary.

The Spirit is characterized by truth.  He brings people to the truth of God.

“Know”, “with”, “in” are key here.  Jesus was with them.  Later, it will be in them.  Knowing Him is all of our goals.

The disciples of a particular teacher among the Hebrews called him father; his scholars were called his children, and, on his death, were considered as orphans.

Spurgeon considered several ways that the followers of Jesus are not like orphans.

· An orphan has parents who are dead; the Spirit shows us Jesus is alive

· An orphan left alone; the Spirit draws us close to God’s presence

· An orphan has lost their provider; the Spirit provides all things

· An orphan is left without instruction; the Spirit teaches us all things

· An orphan has no defender; the Spirit is protector

Jesus again promised to come to the disciples (John 14:3), fulfilled by His resurrection, by the sending of the Spirit, and by the promise of His bodily return to this earth.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 11, Day 3: Joel 2:12-27

Summary of passage:  God pleads with His people to repent with their hearts and with fasting, weeping, and mourning.  He is compassionate and will relent.  Everyone gather and fast and offer offerings to God.  God will take pity on His people and bless them with crops and wine and oil and abundance.  He will drive out the northern army and repay them for the locust plague.  The people will have plenty and praise Him.

Questions:

6a)  Because we have sinned against Him which cannot go unpunished by a righteous God and He is omnipotent.  Judgment reveals truth; otherwise, how would we recognize good from bad?  Basically, God sets the rules and we abide by them or face the consequences He chooses.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  If you believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior, you are saved.  If you ask for forgiveness, you are forgiven.  If you repent, God washes you.  If God is first, you are His.

7a)  Repent with their hearts and with fasting, weeping, and mourning.  Offer up offerings to Him.  Gather the people and call a sacred assembly and consecrate them.  Let the priests weep and beg for the Lord to spare His people.

b)  “Gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love.”

8 )  The Lord will take pity on His people and send them abundance:  grain, wine, oil, fruit, vineyard, green pastures, and plenty to eat.  He will drive out the northern army.  He will repay them for the locust years.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  His punishments are for our good so we’ll turn to Him.  It’s not meant in an evil way or just to see us suffer.  It’s so we’ll remember who’s in charge.  Judgment keeps us abiding in Him and constantly striving to be worthy of Him.  It keeps us walking towards Him all of our lives–one step at a time.

Conclusions:  Number 6 has nothing to do with this passage and the answer is not in this passage. Otherwise, great passage where we see all of God–God the judge and God the compassionate, full of mercy and grace and forgiveness.  We need to understand both to understand God.

End Notes:  In the Old Testament, both men and women tore their clothes as a sign of sorrow and mourning (some in the Middle East still do).  Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Elijah, David, and Job all did.  Here, Joel was emphasizing change on the inside not on the outside.

We repent because of God’s kindness (Romans 2:4).  Joel emphasizes this by listing all the blessings God will give if the people repent.

Joel repeats himself in Joel 1:14 but adds how everyone must stop what they are doing and repent now.  He uses the bride and bridegroom as an example because it’s one of the most important events in people’s lives.  God comes first.

The leaders of the church (priests) must lead the people in begging for forgiveness.  Joel gives them a great prayer example in verse 17:  Ask God, remind Him you are His, and say how His forgiveness will bring Him glory to unbelievers (other nations).

Verse 21:  Rejoice ahead of time.  Know God will answer your prayers and thank Him for it.

Ancient Israel did not have irrigation systems.  They were totally reliant upon rainfall for their crops to prosper. God will restore all.

God can give you back even the years you wasted in sin just like with the locust years.  The wasted blessings and fruits may still be yours if you turn to Him.

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 The Life of Moses Lesson 11, Day 4: Exodus 32:25-29

Summary of passage:  Moses was not pleased that Aaron had made the Israelites a laughingstock to the world. Moses asks whomever is for God to come to him. The Levites come. God told the Levites to kill everyone else who is not for the Lord and they killed about 3000 that day. They will now be set apart and blessed for their loyalty to God.

Questions:

8a)  They were running wild, not thinking or caring about their sin

b)  Aaron

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I am responsible for those in my charge.  I set the environment and if it’s sinful, then all will be infected.  If it’s full of God, all will be filled with God.  I need to be more mindful of what I do.

9a)  He asked, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.”  Those who didn’t come to him, were slaughtered.

b)  As punishment/judgment for their sin for He knew their hearts would never change.  The same reason why He wanted to kill all of them in Exodus 32:10.

c)  They were set apart as disciples (and we know as priests) for the Lord.  They became worthy of the Lord because they put Him above their brothers, sons, and family.

Conclusions:  Like yesterday, another easy day.  We are all responsible for ourselves as well even if we have no one immediate under us or in our care.  We affect everyone we come into contact with.  We either shine the Lord or we don’t.  Which are you?

Again like with Pharaoh who witnessed God firsthand, we see here that some people will never change and will never come to the Lord and we can do nothing about it and neither can God.  In this case, He kills them as their judgment.  Good reminder in our struggles with others to come to God.  We can only do so much.

End Notes:  Other translations say the people were “unrestrained”.  Basically, they had no moral compass and were following whatever made them feel good.  Hence, their hearts were hard and they paid the ultimate price.

The Levites were the only group who decided, acted, and separated for God.  So we must as well.

Stand for God, or you stand for nothing.