BSF Study Questions John Lesson 20, Day 4: John 15:9-17

Summary of passage: Jesus loves us and tells us to obey his commands to remain in his love. If we do, we will have joy. We are to love others as Jesus has loved us. He has chosen us to bear fruit that will last and God will give us whatever we ask in Jesus’ name. Love each other as friends.

Questions:

9)  God’s love is immeasurable.  If we remain in His love by obeying Him, we will have complete joy and whatever we ask for.

10)  Part personal Question.  My answer: Because Christ loved us so much we are to love each other.  We were sent into this world and made for this purpose.  It is a pattern for a way of life.  If we love others, we build them up and strengthen them for Christ.  You can try to fake it until you make it.  If you choose to fake it, often it will not come.  If you choose not to fake it, blessings will come.  Pray and ask God for help to love those unloveables in our lives.  We all have them.  Exercise the fruits of the Spirit here: patience, love, kindness, and compassion.  God will help us.

11)  To bear fruit.  We are to remain in Christ and bear much fruit because of it.  If we obey His commands, discover God’s purpose for our lives, we will bear much fruit.  We pray.  We read His Word.  We grow closer to Jesus and God.  We become more Christ-like, loving others. We share the gospel.  Then His will will be done.

Conclusions: Another great lesson especially on loving others whom we cannot love.  Remember: All things are possible through Christ who strengthens me.  Find your purpose.  Love others, including the unloveable.  You will then have great joy, peace, and prosperity through Him.  Love is the answer to all.  Think of the opposite:  evil and hate.  Where does that lead?  The opposite of joy and peace and eternal life and satisfaction.

End Notes:  Jesus compares his love for others with that of the love God has for Jesus.  It’s protecting, sacrificing, serving, guiding, and blessing.  It’s never-ending, personal and unchanging.

Obey God’s commands and you will remain and stay connected in God’s love.  Then and only then will your joy be complete.  Joy is not happiness or excitement or pleasure in life.  It’s walking in God’s love and care.  The picture is a pitcher of water filled to the brim.

Jesus uses repetition to emphasis love.  Giving up your life is giving up everything you have.  You have nothing else to give.  It is complete.

In ancient times, the rabbi was not friends with his disciples and definitely not servants.  You are friends if you actively obey.  There are no secrets between friends.

Normally, the disciples chose the rabbi they wanted to learn from.  Jesus chose us.  He holds us, not us him.  We are to go and bear fruit which Jesus enables us to do as his chosen disciples.  Then our prayers will be answered.

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BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 20, Day 4: Revelation 16:1-14

Summary of passage:  God orders His wrath poured out on the earth.  The first bowl caused ugly and painful sores on those who worshipped the beast.  The second bowl turned the sea into blood, killing every living creature in the sea.  The third bowl judgment turned the rivers and springs into blood.  The fourth bowl gave the sun power to scorch people.  The fifth bowl judgment was against Satan and plunged Satan’s kingdom into darkness.  The sixth bowl judgment was poured out on the Euphrates and dried it up.  Spirits in the shape of frogs came from the beast, the dragon, and the false prophet sent to deceive man and gather them up for Armageddon.

Questions:

9a)  First Bowl (Exodus 9:8-11):  This reflects the plagues in Exodus.  This one is the plague of boils that God sent on Egyptians that broke out on their skin.  Here, the first wrath caused ugly and painful sores on those who worshipped the beast.

Second Bowl (Exodus 7:14-25; Revelation 8:8-9):  This is the plague of blood where Moses turned the Nile into blood, polluting the water, killing all the fish, and eliminating drinking water for the people.  The second trumpet judgment had a third of the sea turn to blood, killing a third of the sea creatures and destroying a third of the ships.  Here, the second bowl turned the sea into blood, killing every living creature in the sea.

Third Bowl (Revelation 8:10-11):  In Revelation 8 the third trumpet turned the rivers and springs bitter, killing people who drank the water.  Here, the third bowl judgment turned the rivers and springs into blood.

Fourth Bowl (Deuteronomy 28:22; 2 Peter 3:7):  A predicted judgment by Moses says God will send scorching heat and drought which will kill them.  Peter says fire will be reserved for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.  Here, the fourth bowl gave the sun power to scorch people and people still refused to repent and glorify God.

Fifth Bowl (Exodus 10:21-23):  This echoes the plague of darkness God sent upon Egypt.  No one could see anything except of the Israelites who had light.  Here, the fifth bowl judgment was against Satan and plunged Satan’s kingdom into darkness.

Sixth Bowl (Exodus 8:1-15; 14:21-27):  God sent the plague of frogs onto Egypt and dried up the Red Sea so Egypt could escape the pursuing Egyptians.  Here, the sixth bowl judgment was poured out on the Euphrates and dried it up.  We also see the beast, the dragon, and the false prophet in the form of frog’s spirits deceiving the people.

b)  God has complete sovereignty and power over creation.

10a)  Same.  Pharaoh refuses to repent and even in the end chases the Israelites.  The people here refuse to repent and they curse God as well.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  No.

11)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It creates a bit more urgency because the end is bad, VERY bad.  And reading about it is heart-wrenching for unbelievers.

Conclusions:  Interesting comparison with the plagues of Egypt.  It’s as if God is preparing us throughout all of history for His final judgment.  He gives us glimpses, previews into His final wrath, which unbelievers ignore and still ignore.  God is so awesome to do so!

End Notes:  The bowl judgments are the third woe from Revelation 11:14.  They are punishments and chastisements with the purpose of bringing repentance from some.  Scholars believe these to occur at the end of the Great Tribulation right before Jesus’s return.  Some say these occur over the 3 1/2 year time period of the Great Tribulation.

This part of Revelation is hard for those who believe this is fulfilled history.  Some suggest “earth” here is the Roman empire,  or people, or the Catholic church.  Most agree God means “earth” when He says “earth.

We saw a preview in Revelation 8 when God struck 1/3 of the earth.  Here, the whole earth is struck; judgment is complete.

The sea might not necessarily become blood but become like blood–foul and sickening.

Some scholars say the second and third bowls also represent economic devastation and famine as our food sources and drinking water supplies end.

With no water to drink man cannot survive long.  Jesus’s return is near!

LOVE verse 5!  Those who shed the saints’ blood must now drink blood!  God is awesome!  It’s sad how they could have drunken Living Water.  This is the only reason given for the bowl judgments–the killing of God’s people.  However, sin is and will always be the cause of judgment.  The angel here could be a different angel or the same from the third bowl.

The voice from the altar in verse 7 could either be the angel, the martyrs (Revelation 6:9), or the prayers of the saints (Revelation 8:3-5).  The altar may also represent the cross.

The blessing of the sun and what gives life here on earth is now a curse.  Malachi 4:1 calls it a day “burning like an oven.”  The darkness aligns with Joel 2:30-31 which we studied in Lesson 11 day 4.

It’s sobering to see here how man doesn’t repent; how those who don’t have a heart for God never will.  We need to keep this in mind when we evangelize.  Our job is to impart knowledge.  God’s is to turn hearts.  It’s in His hands to convert, not ours.

This is a preview of hell as men gnaw their tongues in agony (Matthew 25:30).

The Euphrates River separated Rome from the East and was a natural barrier for invasion.  In ancient times, it was much longer and wider than in modern times of dams.  Kings from the east would be China, India, and Japan.

The ancient Israelites viewed frogs as repulsive and unclean.  The Egyptians worshipped a frog goddess.

The false prophet is the second beast of Revelation 13.

The sixth bowl goes more into detail of the judgment.  The drying up of the Euphrates River is how Cyrus conquered Babylon (Isaiah 11:15; 44:27-28; 50:2; 51:10).  The kings coming from the east also has a couple prophetic references in Isaiah (Isaiah 41:2; 46:11).

The nations are coming together to battle God.  How many battles will there be?  Upon investigating, I found a myriad of answers.  One was this: Revelation and the End Times:

  1.  The battle of Gog, Magog and her allies come against Israel (Ezekiel 38 and 39).
  2.  The battle of Armageddon, when the Antichrist leads the world system against a returning Jesus (Revelation 17:12-16, 17:14, 19:19).
  3.  The final battle, when Satan and his allies, after the millennium, make war against God (Revelation 20:7-10)

Another has 9 (see explanation HERE)  Another has 7 (See Explanation HERE)  There are many other interpretations.  This is just a sample to get your juices flowing and for your overall edification.  For me, it doesn’t matter.  All that matters is that I will know based off the signs God has given us in the Bible and I’ll be amongst the saved.

AND GOD WINS (the Great day of God Almighty)!

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 20, Day 4: Numbers 14:5-19

Summary of passage:  Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the people.  Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes and begged the people to not rebel against the Lord–the land is good and God will grant it to them if they will only trust God.  But the people would not listen–they wanted to stone them.  Here, God can take His people’s unbelief no longer and appears.  He tells Moses he can’t believe the people’s lack of faith after everything He has done for them and again offers Moses to be made into a great nation and have the people struck down.

Moses again says no.  The Egyptians will then hear about it as well as the people occupying the Promised Land and say the Lord did not keep His promises to His people and instead slaughtered them.  Moses asks God to forgive the people once again out of His great love.

Questions:

8a)  Moses and Aaron recognized the gravity of the situation, the gravity of what the Israelites were doing, the gravity of their rebellion and sin and Moses especially probably knew God’s anger burning right now against the people.  Hence they ignored the people and instead prostrated themselves in prayer to God, knowing full well prayer is what the people needed right now if they were to survive this rebellion against the One, True God.

b)  They had faith in God to bring them to the Promised Land to defeat their enemies.  They trusted God to keep His promises.

c)  The whole assembly might have stoned them to death.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Yes.  When I was young and stupid, I put myself in dangerous situations and trusted people whom I didn’t know and I could have easily been raped or worse.  But I wasn’t and it was only through God’s grace and protection.

9a)  “I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they (the Israelites)”.  God made the same offer to Moses after the golden calf in Exodus 32:10.

b)  The Egyptians will then hear about the slaughter as well as the people occupying the Promised Land and say the Lord did not keep His promises to His people and question God’s infinite power and say God was not able to bring the people out of Egypt so instead He killed the people.  This is the same reason Moses gave in Exodus 32:11-14.

c)  The Egyptians will hear about it and tell the inhabitants of the Promised Land about it and question God’s goodness, compassion, grace, and abilities to do what He says He will do.  Moses argues that God can display His strength here and show that He is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving of sin and rebellion.  Moses pleads for God to show His great love for the people here and forgive.

Conclusions:  Anyone else sick after this passage?  Again, the people reject God.  Again, He offers them undeserved grace and mercy.  God is infinitely good and man is infinitely bad.  Deja vu.

Our God is amazing as is Moses.  For all of Moses’ weaknesses, he resisted the greatest temptation of all–to be made great.  Moses’ love for the people is second only to God’s and Jesus’.

End Notes:  Note the difference between Aaron and Moses’ response to the rebellion and Caleb and Joshua’s response.  Caleb and Joshua attempt to persuade the people of God’s goodness, remind them of God’s promises, and get them to repent and turn to the Lord.  Aaron and Moses, more experienced and older, flat out appeal to God’s grace–for grace is what these people need right now.

You know that when God shows up here it probably isn’t good.  I can just imagine God in heaven, looking down at His people, seething with anger and punishment.  And then when the people want to stone the two guys who are standing up for Him!!  God couldn’t take it any longer!

We see the core of man’s evil here:  kill those of faith.  The devil (and thus man when we are turned away from God) cannot stand belief and thus must be stamped out entirely.

Note how God does not even speak to the people; He goes to Moses.  The people are too far in their rebellion to hear Him.  This begs the question of us:  are we too far away from Him to hear Him as well?

Their rebellion makes no sense after all God has done for the people so He tells Moses He will grant their wish–death–and start over with Moses instead.  The new nation would be better and stronger!

I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if Moses had accepted God’s offer.  What would be look like today?  What “greater” and “stronger” would have looked like?  If life would have been easier because we were “greater” and “stronger”?  One can only imagine!

Moses’ zeal for God’s glory is hard to imagine!  I wonder how many of us could/would do the same thing!  How many of us guard God’s glory in a similar way?

People would doubt God’s ability and man’s sin would win out over God’s ability to conquer sin.

Moses quotes God back almost word-for-word God’s description of Himself in Exodus 34:6-8.  How powerful and persuasive!  Moses is saying “God, you told me who you were.  Now act in accordance with who you are”.

Moses appealed to God’s glory, power, and promises; but what made God say yes to Moses was Moses’ heart.  Moses’ love for the people and disregard for himself is what made God say yes.  Here we see one of God’s purposes for this rebellion:  to turn Moses’ heart into a heart like Jesus (Romans 8:29).  For if God is for us, then who can be against us?

I can almost see God breathe a sigh of relief here:  amidst all this rebellion, there is light–and the most powerful kind of light–God’s heart in all of us.

Take away:  we see the power of a heart like Jesus’.  There are no limits to what God can do if you have faith and trust that He will do what He says He will do.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 20, Day 4: Matthew 19:10-15

Summary of passage:  The disciples concluded it would be better not to marry than to commit adultery according to Jesus’ definition.  Jesus responded that some will be called to remain celibate and those should accept it.

Jesus blessed the little children who came to him despite the rebukes from the disciples.  Jesus explained that the kingdom of heaven belongs to those such as these.

Questions:

8a)  Jesus said that some are called to remain celibate and if you are called, then, yes, you should remain celibate.

b)  Paul taught that he wishes all would not marry like him but if you do marry to remain pure and not to commit sin through adultery.  Married people face many troubles and Paul wanted to spare people of those troubles by not marrying.  Marriage problems can push God away.  An unmarried person can focus all his life on God but a married person is focused on pleasing his or her spouse and thus his interests are divided between this world and God’s world.  Paul wished for those to live in undivided devotion to God.  He also advised widows not to re-marry but to focus on God instead.

God might ask someone not to marry for His glory so that they can focus and devote all of their lives to Him.

9a)  First, the sanctity of the marriage union no longer exists in much of society today.  Infidelity is rampant and thus is divorce and heartache.  Re-marriage is also very common.  Swinging is acceptable as is gay marriage.  This is not what the Bible teaches.  But if you say you are against gay marriage or that divorce is a sin then you are the stigmatized as un-Biblical and judgmental.  Christians are pressured to accept society’s “water-downed” view of marriage and to not voice any dissent.

Society does pressure people to marry.  If  you are 30 today and unmarried, some think there must be something wrong with you.  Some give in to the pressure to have a white picket fence, 2.5 kids, and a cat and dog.  They forget that God might have another plan for their lives.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Well, I believe I strengthened myself through studying these passages and knowing what God and Jesus think of marriage and divorce so that I can voice that to others who are confused or have no clue.  I can encourage single people to wait on God and not to push things.  I can give Biblically-based advice when a friend is struggling in her marriage.

Knowledge of the Bible is powerful.  It is our tool and our weapon when fighting the devil and sin.  The more we know, the stronger we are.  The stronger we are, the stronger are those around us.  Hence, the service BSF does for all of us whether we know it at the time or not.  Bible study is never a waste.  Never.

10a)  To have Jesus touch them, to place his hands on and pray for them.

b)  Children were not valued in ancient society.  A lot of kids died before they reached adulthood so parents found it difficult to bond with them when they were only going to lose them in the end.  The disciples might have seen Jesus wasting his time on kids who were going to die anyways.  Children were also bought and sold when the parents were in debt or for other reasons.  They were seen as property–disposable and again, not valued and worth Jesus’ time.  People had kids so they could have help around the farm.  They were seen as workers and not as precious beings as we see them today.

c)  Children can be overlooked because of their size in this world.  Also, people may leave kids’ salvation up to the parents.  You are seen as interfering on parental rights if you talk to kids about Jesus.  Likewise, adults assume the parents are talking to kids about Jesus when they may not be.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Give God the glory for all you have and do while they are there.  Ask them if they know who Jesus is.  Casually mention Jesus and church to them.  Pray beforehand and allow God to guide you.  Reflect God to them.  It doesn’t have to be in your face.  Most kids are pretty open and will take your talk as such.

Conclusions:  I have thoroughly enjoyed this study of marriage and divorce.  I think it’s a topic that is not discussed enough in Christian circles because of the negative connotations of marriage and the political correctness that silences dissenters against the mainstream, which is so unfortunate especially in God’s eyes.  What was intended to be beautiful has been twisted and it must be heart-wrenching for God to see.

I think it’s important for every Christian to know the Truth God intends and I pray the more we all know the Truth the more we can live out His truths and turn the tide society has taken.

End Notes:  The term “eunuch” was used in ancient times figuratively to mean those who chose to abstain from marriage.  Paul repeatedly emphasizes that one should be at peace with this decision and it is not for all.

Note that the parents brought their children to Jesus to be blessed.  So must we.  We must not let others push aside our kids for any reason.  Our primary duty as Christian parents is to first and foremost teach our children about God and Jesus.  Everything else is secondary.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 20, Day 4: Genesis 26:12-35

Summary of passage:  Isaac planted crops in the land of the Philistines and the Lord blessed him.  He became rich and had so many flocks that the Philistines became jealous so they filled all his wells with dirt.  Finally, Abimelech told Isaac to move away because he had become too powerful.

So Isaac moved to the Valley of Gerar and re-opened the wells.  Isaac’s servants dug two new wells but the locals quarreled over them.  He dug another well that was undisputed, which showed Isaac the Lord would provide.

At Beersheba the Lord appeared to Isaac and told him He would bless him and increase his descendants. Isaac built an altar there and called on the Lord.  He also dug a well there.

Abimelech saw how Isaac continued to prosper because the Lord was with him and became afraid.  So he along with his  adviser and commander approached Isaac to make a treaty not to harm them.  This was done.  Another well was dug.

Esau married Judith and Basemath, Hittites, and they were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.

Questions:

9a)  God multiplied Isaac’s crops by a hundredfold.

b)  The Philistines became jealous of Isaac’s success so they filled all of his wells.

c)  Abimelech kicked him out of the land

d)  He just moved and kept digging wells until he found one undisputed.

e)  God appeared to Isaac and told him He will bless him and have descendants.  Isaac responded by building an altar and calling on the name of the Lord.  He pitched his tent there and dug another well.

10a)  Proverbs says “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him”.  The Philistines sought a treaty with Isaac out of fear of the Lord.  God approved of Isaac, blessed him, and protected him by giving him peace.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  If you follow God’s ways, you will have peace with your enemies.  I’m unsure how to answer this one for I have no real enemies like Isaac did.  We live in a time of relative peace compared to ancient times so it’s hard for us to understand this.  Even if we have personal enemies we must love them and do what is right and trust God to bring the peace.

Conclusions:  Good lesson of overcoming adversity.  Most of us don’t have wells that are taken from us but we have other things (and if you’ve been through bankruptcy you know what I’m talking about here).

God gives and takes away and at some point most of us have had things taken from us (either jobs, finances, kids, dogs, family members, relatives, or personal items such as homes or cars).

It’s how we respond that God is seeking.  Like Jesus?  Or not like Jesus?

We will have peace if we do what Jesus would do.  That is God’s promise.

End Note:  Note the name of the wells.  Esek means dispute.  Sitnah means opposition. And Rehoboth means room.  God uses dispute and opposition to give us room.  Neat, huh?

Abraham is known for building altars.  Jacob will be known for tents.  Isaac is known for wells.  All different ways of God’s provision for His people.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 20, Day 4: 2 Corinthians 5

Summary of passage:  Paul still speaking:  If our earthly tent (human body) is destroyed, we have a building from God in heaven.  We groan because we wish to be in Heaven but God made us for this purpose (human form) and given us the Spirit as a guarantee of what is to come (Heaven).

Thus, we can be confident while in the body that we have a home in Heaven because of faith.  While we would prefer to be at home with the Lord, we must make it our goal while on Earth to please Him for we must all appear before the judgment of Christ for the good or bad things we have done while in the body.

We try to persuade men that Christ died for our sins, for EVERYONE, and we should no longer live for ourselves but for Him.

Thus, we must look at everyone from a heavenly standpoint since that is the goal and what matters in this world.  If you are in Christ you are a new creation since God reconciled us to Him through Christ.  We are thus Christ’s ambassadors for others to be reconciled to God and thus be righteous before God.

Now is the time for salvation and God’s grace.  Before it’s too late!

Questions:

11a)  The earthly tent is our body and the building is our home in Heaven.  As most of us know, a tent is not study and can easy fail, be broken and blow away, and in the end disappear altogether.  A house is much more sturdier, built to last a lifetime and in this metaphor for all of eternity.  We groan and complain while in the tent (the body), yearning for Heaven (the dwelling or home) when we need to remember God made us for this/His purpose.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  No.  I can’t say this.  I don’t feel like I’ve fulfilled God’s purpose for my life yet and it drives me every day.  Plus, selfishly, I’m not ready to leave my kiddos.  They need me right now and I want to be there as long as possible.

I can say I do make it my goal to please Him.  Admittedly, I fail.  But every day is new and I get to start over and try again and little by little I think I’m getting closer and closer to a God-centered life.

12a)  Reconcile according to Webster’s Dictionary means, “to restore to friendship or harmony; to make consistent or congruous; to cause to submit to or accept something unpleasant.”

b)  He has sent Christ to die for our sins; to remove our sins, cleanse us, so that we may be with God.  He has made us a new creation through the giving of the Holy Spirit.  We are now righteous before God.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Yes.

Conclusions:  What I got out of this passage is the importance of living by faith (verse 7) since we are in the body and away from the Lord.  This is what prevents most people from not accepting Jesus Christ especially in today’s society.  Everyone is so negative and wary of scams that having faith to believe in the unseen is hard.  But it’s what sets religious people apart from others.  We can be confident of our home in Heaven and our righteousness before God because of our faith.

Paul calls us to give something to others because God has given us everything!  Live for Christ, serve others, remember our lives will be judged by Christ, and tell as many others as possible about Him!

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 20, Day 4 Isaiah 45:1-13

Summary of passage:  The Lord says to Cyrus he will subdue nations for him, strip kings of their armor, open doors and gates, level the mountains, and give him treasures and riches so that Cyrus will know He is God.  God does this for Jacob’s sake (His people).  Cyrus will be the example for others so that they may know He is the only God; He alone brings prosperity and creates disasters; He alone forms the light and dark.  He gives righteousness.  God warns those who quarrel with Him and questions why they have been formed the way they were.  God created us and it is He who will command Cyrus to rebuild His city and free His exiles.

Questions:

8a)  Israel, God’s people.  Probably complaints about their punishment of exile to Babylon and being pillaged by them.  What do all children quarrel about?

b)  Basically, how dare the created challenge the Creator.  We are nothing to talk back to God.  God as the Creator has the right to do whatever He wants to the created for noble purposes and the common good.

c)  I think it’s acceptable to question God in everything.  Why? is a fair question.  You cross the line when you question God’s authority, competence, power–His character in essence.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Moving, my purpose, pain in my body.  Through thanksgiving, prayer, and petition I will have peace.  He is faithful and will put me where He wants me and will provide what I need to accomplish His purpose.

Conclusions:  Easy day since it was the same passage as yesterday so I was left yearning for more.

I would love to know your thoughts on question 8c.  Do you question God?