BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 23, Day 4: Ephesians 3:1-13

Summary of passage:  Paul was a prisoner while writing this letter so he begins stating that fact but he’s a prisoner for Christ, telling the Ephesian church God’s grace reveled by Spirit to God’s apostles and prophets for them–the mystery that through the gospel the Gentiles are now heirs together with Israel, members of one body, and sharers in the promise in Christ.

Paul says he is a servant of this gospel through God’s undeserved grace, commissioned to preach to the Gentiles Christ’s riches, and to reveal this mystery which had been hidden for so long until now; revealed to the rulers and authorities in heavenly realms for His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus.  Only in him and through faith alone may we approach God with freedom and confidence.  Paul says don’t be discouraged by my sufferings (imprisonment and impending trial) for they are your glory.

Questions:

11a)  Through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

b)  God’s purpose in creating man was for us to walk by His side.  When sin came, we were separated.  So, God planned for Jesus so that once again we may walk by God’s side as Paul puts it “we may approach God with freedom and confidence” (verse 12).

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Currently, I have no hopeless relationships in my life (I think this is a misnomer: no relationship is “hopeless” for God is there and He is definitely not hopeless).  But in the past, I have had many difficult relationships when I was young and stupid.  In the midst of it, it’s the worst thing in the world.  But afterwards, there is peace since God is there.  My comfort is in His plan for my life and the knowledge that those relationships weren’t meant for me for whatever reason God has.

Keeping God close through prayer and His word is all the encouragement I need in difficult times.

Conclusions:  Paul, once again, is pointing out how God is everyone’s God now and to be encouraged in His plan for our lives and the life after this one.  Paul emphasizes the church (verse 10) as the way Christ is to made known to all and how the “rulers and authorities in heavenly realms” will also learn this mystery “through the church”.

This is fascinating to me: that we are being watched and authorities in heaven (angels perhaps) are learning through us.  Gives a whole other meaning to what we are doing here on Earth, doesn’t it?

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 23, Day 4 Isaiah 51:1-16

Summary of passage:  God tells his ever-doubting people once again to listen to Him and look to the past (Abraham and Sarah) as proof again of His greatness.  He will comfort Zion and make her deserts like Eden and bring joy and gladness.  He will bring justice, righteousness, and salvation.  Everyone will look and hope in Him for his justice and righteousness will never fail.

God tells his people (those who have his law in their hearts) to not be afraid of men for they will be eaten up while His righteousness and salvation will last forever.  The people then acknowledge God’s past–God who cut Rahab (Egypt) to pieces and dried up the sea so the redeemed could cross over.  They will have gladness and joy as sorrow and sighing flee.

There is no reason to fear men who are but grass because Israel (his people) have the Lord who stretched out the heavens and laid Earth’s foundations.  The prisoners (Israel) will soon be set free.  For the Lord Almighty who churns the seas and puts words in our mouths says, “You are my people.”

Questions:

8a)  God will bless them and make them many.  He will comfort and offer compassion, give joy and gladness.  He will bring justice and salvation.  He would substantiate them from what He’s done in the past–He blessed Abraham and Sarah, He cut Rahab (Egypt) to pieces, made a road a sea (Moses parting the Red Sea), stretched out the Heavens, and laid the foundations of the Earth.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I receive all of them it seems at just the time I when I need it most.  Because He is all things.  He blesses, comforts, and gives joy, justice, and salvation.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Oh, God, you who dried up the seas so the redeemer could cross over, strengthen me with your arms as the Enemy comes against me and attacks my (your) life purpose.  Pierce the Enemy as you did Rahab and return my heart to you.  Vanquish the sorrow and the sighing and allow gladness and joy to defeat them.

10a)  I am the Lord Your God who churns up the sea, who comforts, who stretches out the Heavens and who created the Earth, who put words in your mouth and covers (protects) us.  I am the Lord Almighty and we are His people.  Remembering He is the One, True God and we are His.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He is there when no one else is.  He knows our pain and He gives us strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  He listens when we will not.  He cares when we don’t.  He forgives when we can’t.  He lets go when we insist on carrying.  God is greater than your suffering and if we look up, we will feel this in our hearts even as we push it out.

Conclusions:  Great lesson for me as I need God right now as my heart is tormented.  Answer 10b is for me right now.  I’m still so angry, hurt, and upset but I know He is there as I insist on carrying this assault and taking it personally (when it’s probably just a computer program doing the hurting). But I keep looking up and praying for this to pass soon.

End Note:  Rahab in the Old Testament is connected with the providential act of God in restraining the sea, and as a demonstration of his supreme power.  Isaiah 51:10 has taken the name and applied it to the deliverance of Israel from Egypt so here it means Egypt.  (Taken from Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary by JD Douglas and Merrill C Tenney)

Admittedly, this lesson was hard for me to do.  I’m fighting my anger from the scraper and am finding everything hard to accomplish.

It’s hard posting this knowing it’s going to be stolen tomorrow but I’m doing it anyways–for you all.

I’m praying what this is all about.  Is this site too important to me?  Does God not like it?  What am I doing wrong?  Is my heart not where God wants it?

I wish I never would have found this guy.  This weekend would be a lot cheerier if I hadn’t.