BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 6, Day 2: Romans 3:27-28

Summary of passage:  A man is justified by faith, not the law.

Questions:

3)  They boast about how they are such great Christians by following God’s laws, going to church, volunteering at church, helping others, you name it.  Because boasting is all about you, not God.  Boasting according to Webster’s Dictionary is “bragging, a cause for pride, to puff oneself up in speech.”

4)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  By following the law instead of having Jesus like Paul says.  They excuse sins by saying they have Jesus.  The classic one:  others do it.  Neither for me really.  I don’t justify myself because none of us can.  It’s only mercy and grace and faith that saves me.  I know this so I don’t bother otherwise.

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  It becomes about them and not God.  This is most apparent when we are judging others.  We all must keep in mind we are sinners and are only righteous through Jesus and God’s grace.

Conclusions:  Nit-picking this passage to the extreme, and I don’t think we need two days on it (today and tomorrow).  Just believe and live like Jesus.  Period.

End Notes:  We cannot boast of anything we do for saving grace.  That is all God.  All it takes if faith, not boasting.

Martin Luther said, “Sola Fide”.  Latin for Only Faith.  That is all that is required.

James did not argue against this fact.  He was describing how works prove to others the saving faith of God for Christians are expected by God to do and be more.

Fun Fact:  When Martin Luther translated this passage, he added “alone” after “by faith”, which although was not in the original Greek (and has been taken out of modern versions of the Bible) accurately reflects this passage.

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 6, Day 2: John 4:31-34

Summary of passage:  The disciples, concerned about Jesus, asked him to eat something.  He replied how he has food to eat they know nothing about.  Mystified, they still insisted he eat.  Jesus explained he sustains himself by doing God’s work and finishing it.

Questions:

3a)  “Doing the will of God and finishing God’s work” i.e. dying for our sins and saving the world by faith and grace.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I find great satisfaction in knowing I’m doing God’s work on this planet.  Raising my kids, being a dutiful wife, writing for Him, working for Him, etc.  It’s what sustains me when the times are hard and motivates me when I have no will.

c)  Come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and accept him as your Savior.

4a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s easy in this world dominated by instant satisfaction to get lost in tasks that waste your time.  I have to stay focused and ask myself every day:  Is this for God or is it for me?  How does what I’m doing propel Him forward?  Is this meeting His goals?

b)  Love God.  Love others.  Spread the Good News and teach them to obey God.  Pray.  Give to the needy.  Do not worry.  Seek Him always.  Store treasures in heaven, not here.  Testify for Jesus.  Finish God’s work for my life.

Conclusions:  This passage is one where you want to hit the disciples over the head and say, “Don’t you get it?!  It’s Jesus, the Son of God, sent to die for our sins!”  We know that of course, but they didn’t.  This explains just how radical the idea is to the people of that time:  God sent his Son to die for us?  But why?  And that, my friend, is what the whole Bible tries to explain.

End Notes:  The disciples were rightly concerned about Jesus’ health.  He just finished a long walk from Judea.  His body needed sustenance.  Jesus’ point was there’s more to life than physical needs:  spiritual needs that bread alone won’t satisfy.  Jesus is saying, “My strength and nourishment is God.”

Jesus points out what’s most important here:  God’s will, not the fine details of serving others, etc.  Only doing God’s will will satisfy the human soul.  Period.  It refreshes weary souls like Jesus’.  Man’s own desires are lackluster in comparison.

John frequently records how Jesus depends on the Father and is doing His will (3:34; 5:30; 6:38; 8:26; 9:4; 10:37-8; 12:50; 14:31; 15:10; 17:4)

Notice the AND.  Doing the will of God and finishing it.  Remember Jesus’ last words?  “It is finished.” (John 19:30)  Once we can utter these words as well, heaven will come.  Great stuff!

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 6, Day 2: Revelation 3:7-10

Summary of passage:  Jesus is speaking to the church of Philadelphia, telling them he has placed an open door before them and he knows their deeds and those who are liars will come and fall at their feet and he will also keep them from the hour of trial (most likely the Great Tribulation) that is going to come upon the earth.

Questions:

3a)  They have kept his word and have not denied his name.

b)  Persecution especially from those claiming to be Jews (non-Christian Jews)

4a)  Holy:  Jesus is God, Yahweh (Lev.11:44; John 17:3; Isaiah 40:25; 43:15).

True:  Jesus is real, genuine.  Not a false prophet or god.

Holds the key of David:  Jesus is the judger who holds the power to open and shut the gates to heaven and hell, essentially granting or denying access to God.

b)  The entrance into heaven or hell.  Access to God, His kingdom, and eternal life.  In John 10:7 & 9 Jesus says he is the gate which leads to salvation.

5)  The Jews in Philadelphia who are persecuting Christians. (See Historical Note Below).

6a)  Obviously, the complete opposite.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Proclaim His name.  Never give in.  Never deny where my strength lies.

Conclusions:  Was expecting a question on the “hour of trial”.  The Great Tribulation is an overarching theme of Revelation and an important one for Christians.  I am curious as to how BSF will handle this discussion.

End Notes:  As most of us know, Philadelphia is two Greek words meaning “brotherly love.”  It was founded for the sole purpose of spreading Greek culture to Asia and was named after its founder whose nickname was philadelphos.  It was a beautiful city, full of temples and forums and statues and sat on the thoroughfare to Asia.  It also suffered numerous earthquakes.  Cool posts HERE and HERE

This is the second church Jesus found nothing to chastise the members about (the other being Smyrna). He praises them.

The “open door that no one can shut” has two interpretations.  The first is that Christ holds the key to God and salvation and only belief in himself can open and close that door.  This is the more popular belief since Isaiah 22:22 used this metaphor and Revelation is so heavily influenced by the Old Testament.

The second refers to evangelism (1 Corinthians 16:9, 2 Corinthians 2:12, and Colossians 4:3).  Just like Philadelphia was founded to spread Greek culture, Jesus wants the Christians here to spread His word.

Another secondary sense more literal here is the ability to enter God’s kingdom as it seems from this wording that the Christians were forbidden to enter the Jewish synagogue.

Only Jesus can shut the door; he alone decides who is worthy and who isn’t.

Note how a little strength in Him is all you need.

Nothing negative is said about the church of Philadelphia.  Jesus is completely pleased with them. They evangelize, have strength in him, and are faithful.  This is the key to heaven.

Unbelievers will fall down and acknowledge Jesus is lord, not the people here (See 1 Corinthians 14:24-25).

“Synagogue of Satan” is seen here as in the church at Smyrna.  Seems the same Jewish persecutors are here as well.

Love is the best way to turn enemies.

BSF does not ask about “the hour of trial” which most scholars agree refers to the Great Tribulation. As I’ve explained BEFORE, the Great Tribulation is the time period where unbelievers will be judged by Christ.  Some, however, think it could refer to upcoming persecution by the Romans.

“Those who live on the earth” is used 9 times in the Book of Revelation and refers to unbelievers not in Christ.  As Christians we are not of this earth.  Our home is in heaven (Colossians 3:3; Ephesians 2:6).

Does this passage promise we won’t experience the Tribulation or we will be protected during it? Both sides of the argument say it supports them.

The argument hinges on the word “persevere”.  Believers are commanded to persevere, supporting those who say Christians will be here during the Great Tribulation.  Those who believe Christians will not be here say Jesus promises to keep us from the hour of trial and use Matthew 24:21 and Revelation chapters 6, 8-9, 16 to support this as well.

However, persevere is in the past tense, lending the sense that Christians will not be here since they have already persevered and now will be rewarded for it.  Scholars say the first century took this literally and they would be kept from the Tribulation.

Remember: those tested are NOT Christians (Philippians 3:20).  So hold on to Jesus!

Historical Note:  As we see in Acts 2, the first Christians were Jewish converts.  It wouldn’t be for a bit before Paul ministers to the Gentiles.  Both Jews and Christians were claiming to be God’s chosen people. The Jews have been since Abraham–millennia.  Now, there’s a new group in town, claiming the same thing.  Both sets probably attended the same synagogue together so tensions would be high.

Non-Christian Jews were horrible to their relatives at times, calling them usurpers, liars, and faced persecution.

Hence, John’s encouragement to the church, saying “No, Jesus holds the Key of David–the way to God.”

John is saying that the Jews are no longer the people of God as a nation since they have rejected their Messiah (Matthew 21:33-43).  The new Israel is the Christians, the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16).

Revelation 3:9 underscores the fact that the Jews will finally acknowledge (fall down) their Savior and the largely gentile church as the people of God.  In that time, “All Israel (the Israeli people as a whole) will be saved” (Romans 11:26).  This is a mark of the End Times and what Jesus is waiting for–the Jews to turn to him–before the End of Times.