BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 14, Day 5: Romans 8:26-27

Summary of passage:  The Holy Spirit helps us and intercedes for us on this side of heaven.

Questions:

11) Part personal Question.  My answer:

Romans 8:26-27:  The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness, intercedes for us, and guides us in prayer.

Luke 12:12:  The Holy Spirit teaches you what to say.

Acts 1:8:  The Holy Spirit brings you power and is a witness.

Acts 16:6-10; 20:22: The Holy Spirit protects you in various ways such as guiding your path and in some cases preventing you from going places and re-directing you such as in this case with Paul who was prevented from speaking in Asia (probably because it was too dangerous).  The Spirit also compels you to go places as well and warns you of dangers and hardships (Read Acts 20:23) and in Paul’s case, prison.

Ephesians 4:3-4:  Be peaceful with others (especially believers) as you all all one like God the Father.

Ephesians 6:17:  The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit (so a weapon) to defend against evil upon you.

1 Corinthians 2:12:  The Spirit imparts God’s wisdom and discernment and knowledge so that we may understand what God has freely given us as well as God’s character, Jesus, the Bible, and all things God desires us to know.

In my life, the Holy Spirit is omnipresent to guide me, protect me, move me from wrongs and nudge me to rights, and comfort me in my daily life.  The Holy Spirit offers me understanding and discernment when I pray and events happen in my life.  The Holy Spirit is power against the devil and strength and fortitude and perseverance.  The Holy Spirit is God within.  How amazing!

12a)  The key here is the definition of “intercede” which is according to Webster’s Dictionary “to intervene between parties with a view to reconciling differences; mediate.”  Intercession (the noun form of intercede) means “the act of pleading on behalf of someone else.”  God sent the Spirit to plead on behalf of us to Him.  Or God Himself (who is the Holy Spirit) helps by making intercession for us.  The Holy Spirit searches our hearts and guides our prayers according to God’s will.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus and anyone who prays for you:  pastor, friends, family, strangers, etc.  I pray chiefly for family, self, friends, kids, neighbors, and strangers and all who are lost and broken and need Jesus.

Conclusions:  Good lesson on the importance of God’s gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives, what the Spirit does for us and its importance, and how we really couldn’t function without it.  I pray quite often when I don’t know what to pray for this:  “God you know what I need, the needs of those around me, and others, please do your Will because I don’t know it.”

End Notes:  “In the same way” connects verses 25 and 26.  As hope sustains believers when they suffer, so the Holy Spirit helps them when they pray.

Verse 23 we saw us groaning.  Here it is the Holy Spirit.

Groans with words that cannot express:  This help from the Spirit may include praying with the spiritual gift of tongues (1 Corinthians 14:214-15), but it is certainly not limited to praying in an unknown language.  Paul could mean unspoken words as well.

The idea is simply of communication beyond our ability to express. The deep groanings within us cannot be articulated apart from the interceding work of the Holy Spirit.

This, of course, is the purpose of the gift of tongues – to enable us to communicate with God in a manner that is not limited to our own knowledge or ability to articulate our heart before God. The purpose of tongues is not to prove that we are “filled with the Spirit” or to prove that we are especially spiritual.

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 14, Day 4: Romans 8:23-25

Summary of passage:  We groan as we wait for our future glory.  Hope for what we don’t have makes it all the more sweeter when it arrives.

Questions:

9)  We/our bodies groan as we await Jesus’s Second Coming and the freedom he shall bring from death and decay.  Creation also groans (in the previous passage) for the same reasons.

10a)  We hope for what we do not yet have (in this case our future glory and resurrection and end of suffering) patiently.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Probably the same things we all wait and hope for.  On this side of heaven, an easier/better life away from suffering, pain, anxiety, fear, etc.  On the other side of heaven, Jesus and glory.

Conclusions:  This was merely an exposition on the previous verses as Paul says the same things in different ways with different analogies.

End Notes:  The firstfruits of the Spirit is we have a taste of what is to come as we experience a bit of Jesus’s glory here on earth, but we long for its fulfillment.  Same thing with adoption.  We await its fulfillment (Romans 8:15).  All with perseverance.

The presence of the Holy Spirit in believers is evidence of our present salvation and a pledge of our future inheritance.  We are already God’s children and we await our inheritance in Christ.

The redemption of our bodies (resurrection) is the final stage of our adoption.  We see the first stage in Ephesians 1:5 and the second is us living as God’s children (Romans 8:14 & Galatians 3:25-26).

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 14, Day 3: Romans 8:19-22

Summary of passage:  All of creation (everything outside of man like earth and the animals) awaits Jesus’s Second Coming (the liberation of the bondage man created with the First Sin and the glorious freedom promised).

Questions:

6)  Creation is everything outside of man like the earth and the animals.

7)  Everything is subject to death (the plants and animals).

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus’s Second Coming.  No where does this passage talk about “proper creation care”, “idolizing nature”, or “trusting in people’s efforts to renew the planet” which wasn’t a concern 2000 years ago when Paul wrote these words.  This question does not make sense to me (so if it does to you, please leave a comment) and in my opinion has nothing to do with this passage.  In my life, I have little time to worry about renewing the planet or the few who idolize nature.  Frankly, it’s none of my concern.  I have way too much going on in my own little world to worry about others and their problems.

Conclusions:  I have no clue how BSF got question 8 from this passage besides out of nowhere.  Paul is simply saying everything will be renewed when Christ comes again.  Period.  None of this other stuff.  Baffled to say the least.  The rest of the questions on this lesson as well don’t make much sense.  Worst Lesson of this study so far for me.

End Notes:  Isaiah 11:6-9 describes what will happen in that day as the lion lays with the lamb.

Was subjected to frustration refers to Genesis 3:17-19 and God subjects creation in hope refers to Genesis 3:15.

The physical universe is not destined for destruction (annihilation) but for renewal.  Living things will no longer be subject to death and decay as they are today under the Fallen World.  I think this is BSF’s intended point in Question 8 is to get us to come to this conclusion (basically not to believe the doomsdayers who say the world is going to end–it’s not) but the way BSF went about it was convoluted, befuddled, and confounding.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 14, Day 2: Romans 8:17-18

Summary of passage:  Since we are God’s children, we are heirs of God and Christ and share in his sufferings and glory.  Our sufferings are miniscule compared to the glory that awaits us.

Questions:

3)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Paul suffered terribly as we all know.  He was imprisoned and murdered by the Romans.  He was tortured and beaten, robbed and stoned.  He was scared for his earthly life most of the time and on the run from persecutors.  He was shipwrecked and starving.  This does not affect my understanding of these verses in any measurable way.  When I suffer, it’s nothing compared to Paul or any other 1st century human.  It’s hard to compare apples to oranges.  All I know is my suffering is miniscule to Paul’s and I try not to complain about it.

That being said disregarding Paul who lived 2000 years ago, Paul’s words are encouraging because in my suffering there is hope and a glory that is unseen.  Suffering is fleeting; glory is forever.  And when you think you have nothing you really have everything.

4a)  The definition of glory according to Webster’s Dictionary is “praise, honor, or distinction extended by common consent: renown.  worshipful praise, honor and thanksgiving.  great beauty and splendor; magnificence.”  According to Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, glory is “Great honor or praise; used especially of God’s majestic splendor; weight, burden, wealth, magnificence, honor.  The glory of God is the worthiness of God or the presence of God in the fullness of his attributes in some place or everywhere.”

b)  2 Corinthians 3:18:  “We all reflect the Lord’s glory and are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

Philippians 3:20-21:  Our bodies will be transformed into Jesus’s glorious body.

Colossians 1:27:  Christ in us is the hope of glory and a glorious mystery.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14:  We were called and chosen by God to share in Christ’s glory.

Hebrews 2:10:  Jesus brought us to glory through his suffering and death. (read Hebrews 2:9)

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Suffering and glory go hand in hand.  You can’t have one without the other.  Christ suffered; we suffer.  Christ has glory; we have glory.  You have to suffer in order to have glory.  Suffering is a part of life.  It’s something we have to walk through.  It doesn’t last forever–heaven and Jesus are forever.  In heaven, our glory will shine.  Keeping a heavenly perspective through suffering and keeping faith in Christ gives us/me hope during the trials and tribulations of life and will go a long way towards us getting through suffering here on this side of heaven.  Glory outshines the suffering.

Conclusions:  Every question is outside of this passage.

End Notes:  Our sharing in Christ’s suffering is a condition of our future glorification.

Without a heavenly hope, Paul considered the Christian life foolish and tragic (1 Corinthians 15:19). Yet in light of eternity it is the wisest and best choice anyone can make.

This coming glory will not only be revealed to us, but it will actually be revealed in us.

God has put this glory into the believer right now. In heaven the glory will simply be revealed.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 14, Day 5: John 10:22-42

Summary of passage:  The Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah) arrives in Jerusalem and Jesus is questioned again.  He tells the Jews they do not believe him because they are not his sheep.  His sheep know him and no one can take them away from him.  The sheep are God’s as well and he and God are one.  They tried to stone Jesus and he asked them again why they don’t believe in him and in the miracles.  They tried to seize him and Jesus fled across the Jordan where many came to him and believed in him.

Questions:

11)  The miracles he performed.  The Jews did not know Jesus.

12)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Eternal life because they follow him.  All the difference.

13)  They want to stone him or seize him.  Most today want to punish Christians.  He again tries to convince them who he is, using biblical and here irrefutable evidence, but then he flees.  We are to persevere, but not engage in violence.

Conclusions:  Question 12 is wearing on me.  It’s so broad I just keep it simple.  I love how Jesus tries to convince others of who he is but knows when it is hopeless and he’s done all he can so he focuses on those he knows will convert.  Great lesson for us with stubborn people in our lives.

End Notes:  The Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah celebrated the cleansing and re-dedication of the temple after three years of desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes, king of Syria (in 164 or 165 b.c.).  He instituted terror upon the Jews by emptying the temple treasury, instituting laws against Jews laws such as banning circumcision and the bible, and turning the altar into one for the Greek god Zeus.  Thousands of Jews were killed or sold as slaves.

The Greek for “winter” really connotes “stormy weather” here.

Solomon’s Colonnade was the name given to the portico which ran along the east side of the outer court of Herod’s temple. It is mentioned in Acts as the place where Peter addressed the crowd the congregated to see the man who had been cured of his lifelong lameness at the Beautiful Gate, and again as the place where the Jerusalem believers regularly gathered for their public witness to Jesus as the Christ (Acts 3:11; 5:12).

Jesus was not teaching.  Simply, he was ambushed by the religious leaders who were blaming him for their unbelief (personal responsibility, anyone?).  They hoped to get him to say he was the king of the Jews so then they could accuse him to the Romans of a coup against the emperor.

Jesus said “I told you and you do not believe” (I’d insert the word idiots afterwards).  He must be getting extremely taxed by these people.  He often didn’t call himself the messiah because it had such weighty political and even military implications.  When he does reveal himself, it’s to non-Jews (such as the Samaritan woman) because it was safer.

Just read all Jesus had told them who he was so far in our study of John:

I am the one who came from heaven (John 3:13, 6:38)

whoever believes on Me has eternal life (John 3:15)

I am the unique Son of God (John 5:19-23)

I will judge all humanity (John 5:19-23)

all should honor Me just as the honor God the Father (John 5:19-23)

the Hebrew Scriptures all speak of Me (John 5:39)

I perfectly reveal God the Father (John 7:28-29)

I always please God and never sin (John 8:29, 8:46)

I am uniquely sent from God (John 8:42)

before Abraham was, I Am (John 8:58)

I am the Son of Man, prophesied by Daniel (John 9:37)

I will raise Myself from the dead (John 10:17-18)

I am the Bread of Life (John 6:48)

I am the Light of the World (John 8:12)

I am the Door (John 10:9)

I am the Good Shepherd (John 10:11)

Pretty cool, huh?  If they don’t understand by now, they never will.  Their hearts will never turn.  Hence, we see Jesus retreat.

Earlier in chapter 10, Jesus tells them they are false shepherds.  He goes one step further here by saying they aren’t even sheep!

Great picture:  we are in both Jesus’ hands and God’s hands.

God and Jesus are one in essence.  “one” here has no gender.  It’s not a person.  Equally God (divine being), distinct in person.

Jesus wanted us to be one as He and the Father are one (John 17:11, 17:21). Such oneness cannot exist without an equality of essence, and all believers have this equality (Galatians 3:26-28), even as the Father and Son have this equality.

The Jews could not refute Jesus so instead they decide to stone him even though there has been no trial.  This is how much of a threat Jesus posed to the rulers.

Jesus answers the religious leaders with the law and an argument from the lesser to the greater.  The judges of Psalm 82 were called “gods” because in their office they determined the fate of other men.  In Exodus 21:6 and 22:8-9, God called earthly judges “gods.”  This is a metaphor and Jesus attempts to show them their fallacy in light of his works and who he is.

He testified as to the complete authority of the Old Testament.

Across the Jordan lay Perea.  There the Jews had no power.

John the Baptist did no miracles but was still a great man.  Great lesson for us as well.  Most of us won’t perform a miracle.  But we can make an impact on others.  Jesus’ work still goes on.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 14, Day 4: John 10:11-21

Summary of passage:  Jesus declares he is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for His sheep.  A hired hand cares nothing for his sheep.  He knows his sheep and the sheep know him just as God knows him and vice versa.  Jesus will bring other sheep.  He freely lays down his life and takes it up again as God has commanded.  Many Jews still insisted he is demon-possessed and did not believe.  But many believed.

Questions:

8 )  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Lay down his life for his sheep.  Jesus’ crucifixion.  Eternally grateful.

9)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Gentiles.  God calls all and wants all to be with Him.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus is God.

Conclusions:  Would have liked to explore the Gentiles more.  Pretty weak questioning today.

End Notes:  “I am the Good Shepherd” (Another I am statement–the 4th of 7 that are unique to John’s Gospel and point to Jesus’ unique, divine identity and purpose) is clear to the Jews–He is the one to care for them.

“Lays down his life” is perpetually. Jesus is always giving us life.

Jesus here declares he is for the Gentiles as well (the other sheep) and he will bring them together as one.  All the sheep will hear, answer and obey, the shepherd.

Lost in translation:  early translations of the Bible had “one fold” instead of “one flock”.  A fold of sheep is only a part of the flock.  Here, some churches used this mistake to justify exclusiveness.

Jesus can raise himself from the dead–what separates him as God and us as man.

That Christ would die for his people runs through this section of John’s Gospel.  Both the love and the plan of the Father are involved, as well as the authority he gave to the Son.  Christ obediently and voluntarily chose to die; otherwise, no one would have had the power to kill him (Luke 23:46).

Jesus, again, divides humanity (John 7:43; 9:16)–as it will be during the Last Days.

Both words and deeds validate Jesus.  Here Jesus was saving souls and telling people he’s gonna die for them and he’s accused of demon-possession?  What demon would ever do such a thing?

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 14, Day 3: John 10:1-13 & Ezekiel 34:1-16; 30-31

Summary of passages:  John 10:1-13:Jesus uses the metaphor of a shepherd and his sheep to explain himself and believers. The only way into the pen is through him (the gate). The one who enters through the gate is the leader (Jesus). The sheep (believers) follow him and only him and know his voice. They will not follow a stranger. They flee from strangers.

Jesus explains he is the gate and whoever enters through him will be saved and have life.  The thief comes to steal and kill.  Jesus explains he is the good shepherd.  He knows his sheep and they know him. A hired hand cares nothing for his sheep.  He runs when a wolf attacks.

Ezekiel 34:1-16; 30-31:  Ezekiel prophesies that the shepherds of the Lord (here the rulers as well as the priests) have not taken care of their sheep.  They have not healed the wounded or brought back the strays.  So they were scattered and became food for wild animals.  Because God’s sheep has no shepherd He is against them and He will look for His sheep and care for them and bring them to Him.  God declares His people His sheep and He is their Lord.

Questions:

5a)  The false shepherds in Ezekiel do not care for their sheep.  They take everything from the sheep (curds, wool, and meat).  They do not heal the wounded or the sick.  They do not bring back the strays.  They rule the sheep harshly and brutally.  So they were scattered and eaten by wild animals.  The false shepherds in John come to steal, kill, and destroy.  The hired hand abandons the flock and allows it to be scattered.  He runs away and cares nothing for the sheep.

b)  He will search for His sheep and look after them.  He will rescue them from the places they were scattered.  He will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries and bring them into their own land.  He will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land.  He will tend them in a good pasture and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land.  They will lie down there and graze in rich pasture.  He will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak.  He will shepherd with justice.  They will know He is their Lord and they are His sheep.

6)  Those who believe in him as the Son of God and Savior will have eternal life.

7a)  Personal Question.  My answers:  Be armed with the armor of God:  His word, His promises, a personal relationship with the Son, prayer, strong faith, the Holy Spirit, the belt of Truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:10-20).  Know God’s/Jesus’ voice and follow it.  Know Him!

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I am so blessed I don’t know where to begin.  My life, my family, my ease, my freedoms, my relationship with Jesus and God, eternal life, everything.  In this season of thanksgiving, I feel very thankful.

Conclusions:  Great to read God as shepherd and Jesus as shepherd.  Reinforces the Trinity and how God cares for His people.

End Notes: John 10:1-13:  So right after Jesus healed the blind man and the religious leaders threw a fit cause it was on the Sabbath and didn’t believe Jesus did it, Jesus talks about actually caring for people instead of caring more for legalities and rules.

In OT times and ancient Near Eastern culture, the shepherd symbolized the royal caretaker of God’s people. God himself was called the “Shepherd of Israel” (Psalm 80:1, 23:1; Isaiah 40:10-11; Ezekiel 34:11-16, Zechariah 10:2) and he had given great responsibility to the leaders (shepherds) of Israel, which they failed to respect. God denounced these false shepherds (Isaiah 56:9-12; Ezekiel 34) and promised to provide the true Shepherd, the Messiah, to care for the sheep (Ezekiel 34:23).

“I tell you the truth” is common in John’s Gospel and indicates a solemn assertion about Jesus and/or his ministry.

Political and spiritual leaders were often called shepherds in the ancient world (Isaiah 56:11, Jeremiah 31:5). Jesus explained that not everyone among the sheep is a true shepherd; some are like thieves and robbers. One way to tell the difference is how they gain entry among the sheep.

The idea is that there is a door (a gate), a proper way to gain entry. Not everyone who stands among the sheep comes that way. Some climb up some other way.

The religious leaders Jesus is speaking about gained their place among God’s people (the sheep) through personal and political connections, ambition, manipulation, and corruption.

A true shepherd comes through love, calling, care, and sacrificial service.

God wants His people to be led, fed, and protected by those who come in love.

The watchman knows the true shepherd. Towns of that time would have a watchman who watched over all the people’s sheep at night.

A shepherd knows all of his sheep and they know him. A shepherd may even name the sheep and the sheep may even know their name. He calls them and they follow.

According to Adam Clarke, there are 6 marks of a true shepherd in these verses:

· He has a proper entrance into the ministry

· He sees the Holy Spirit open his way as a doorkeeper to God’s sheep

· He sees that the sheep respond to his voice in teaching and leadership

· He is well acquainted with his flock

· He leads the flock and does not drive them or lord it over them

· He goes before the sheep as an example

In sheep pens of the time, there was only one entrance or gate.  Shepherds would sleep in front of the gate at night to protect the sheep.  Hence, the shepherd is the gate.

“All who came before” are the religious leaders Jesus spoke of in John 8:43:47–those whose father is the devil.

Jesus’ followers did not listen to the thieves and robbers.

“Come in and go out” is the common O.T. expression to denote the free activity of daily life. Jeremiah 37:4, Psalm 121:8, Deuteronomy 28:6.

“Abundant” in the Greek denotes a surplus.  Abundant life is a contented life.  It’s not an easy life or comfortable life but one of peace in Jesus.

“I am the Good Shepherd”  (Another I am statement–the 4th of 7 that are unique to John’s Gospel and point to Jesus’ unique, divine identity and purpose) is clear to the Jews–He is the one to care for them.

“Lays down his life” is perpetually.  Jesus is always giving us life.

In sum, the Good Shepherd: gives his life, knows his sheep, and is known by his sheep. This analogy applies to church leaders and pastors today.

Ezekiel 34:1-16, 30-31:  God promises the removal of the false shepherds and the promise of the Good Shepherd (Jesus).  The shepherds here are more rulers and their officials than the priests.  Remember David was the first ruler and he was shepherd.  This is deliberate.  To call a king a shepherd was common in the East at this time.  The disciples were fishermen whose job was to catch fish (men) for God.

Fun Fact:  The image of God as a shepherd begins with Jacob (Genesis 48:15) and end with Revelation 7:17.  Ezekiel developed the image of God as shepherd in more detail than any other author in the Bible.