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BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 28, Day 4: James 2:1-13

Summary of James 2:1-13:

James tells believers bluntly not to show favoritism because Jesus didn’t. Favoritism is discriminating and passing judgment on others (Jesus’ job, not ours). God judges the heart, not appearances. God chose the poor to be rich in faith and yet the people (you) insult them. The rich often sin against you (the people) in their quest for money.

If you show favoritism you sin. Even if you stumble and break just one law you are guilty of breaking them all. We are not to choose which laws are more important. We are called simply to obey.

We are free to show favoritism or not but out of mercy we must choose not to for this mercy will then be shown to us on Judgment Day and mercy is greater than judgment.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 28, Day 4: James 2:1-13

9) Basically when you are showing favoritism, you are discriminating against others and judging others, which is Jesus’ job. You have also insulted those whom you have not favored. You have sinned and broken the law.

10a) Similar to James’ example. By judging others on appearance, promoting people based off whether they like them rather than who’s the best for the job, and even favoring certain kids over others.

b) Then you will treat everyone the same.

11) Personal Question. My answer: He has shown me mercy in so many ways that it would take forever to recount. One, He has shown me mercy in still having a job in the coronavirus. He has shown me mercy with my intelligence, drive, and perseverance so we are financially better than others. I have a great, healthy family. That is merciful.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 28, Day 4: James 2:1-13

Great lesson since not judging others by appearances and not showing favoritism is really hard in this world. Great reminders, too.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 28, Day 4: James 2:1-13

James 2 atozmomm.com

James used strong words to refer to Jesus Christ: The Lord of glory. Moffatt comments: “The Christian religion [is here called] more explicitly belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the divine Glory – a striking term for Christ as the full manifestation of the divine presence and majesty. The Jews called this the shekinah.”

This is especially significant because James is widely (and properly) regarded as one of the first letters of the New Testament written (perhaps somewhere between AD 44 and 48). This means that the earliest Christians considered Jesus to be God, and said so in strong, unmistakable words.

James wrote to a very partial age, filled with prejudice and hatred based on class, ethnicity, nationality, and religious background. In the ancient world, people were routinely and permanently categorized because they were Jew or Gentile, slave or free, rich or poor, Greek or barbarian.

Jesus broke down these walls that divided humanity and brought forth one new race of mankind in Him (Ephesians 2:14-15).

In the ancient Greek, the word assembly is literally synagogue, the name of the meeting place for Jews. The fact that James calls a Christian meeting place a synagogue shows that he wrote before Gentiles were widely received into the church. At the time James wrote, most all Christians came from a Jewish heritage.

Fun Fact: This is the only place in the New Testament where an assembly of Christians is clearly called a synagogue.

“As Christians have no church-buildings at this period, their place of meeting was usually some large room in the house of a wealthy member or a hall hired for the purpose (Acts 19:9), where outsiders were free to attend the ordinary services… They were to be welcomed, but welcomed without any servility or snobbery.” (Moffatt)

“In Roman society the wealthy wore rings on their left hand in great profusion. A sign of wealth, rings were worn with great ostentation. There were even shops in Rome where rings could be rented for special occasions.” (Hiebert)

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The Dangers of Favoritism or Partiality

  • To show partiality shows that we care more for the outward appearance than we do upon the heart. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). God looks at the heart, and so should we.
  • To show partiality shows that we misunderstand who is important and blessed in the sight of God. When we assume that the rich man is more important to God or more blessed by God, we put too much value in material riches.
  • To show partiality shows a selfish streak in us. Usually we favor the rich man over the poor man because we believe we can get more from the rich man. He can do favors for us that the poor man can’t.

Since riches are an obstacle to the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24), there is a sense in which God specially blesses the poor of this world.

Remember that Judas appeared to be much better leadership material than Peter.

God also never calls for partiality against the rich. If one must judge in a dispute between a rich man and a poor man, they should let the law and the facts of the case decide the judgment instead of the economic class of those in the dispute.

Our King Jesus put special emphasis on this command (Matthew 22:36-40) from the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:18). James is reminding us that the poor man is just as much our neighbor as the rich man is.

James here guards us against a selective obedience, the sort that will pick and choose which commands of God should be obeyed and which can be safely disregarded.

The whole law must be kept if one will be justified by the law.

The mercy we show will be extended to us again on the day of judgment, and that mercy triumphs over judgment.

James is relating another principle of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount: For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you (Matthew 7:2).

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 28, Day 4: Romans 15:22-29

Summary of passage:  Paul tells the Romans he plans to visit them on his way to Spain.  However, now he’s headed to Jerusalem to deliver funds he has raised from Macedonia and Achaia.  The Gentiles owe the Jews for sharing in the spiritual blessings.  After this trip, he is headed to them.

Questions:

10)  He longed to visit the Roman church but he needed first to go to Jerusalem to deliver funds he has raised from his travels to Macedonia and Achaia.

11)  Duties come first.  Paul wants to go to Rome but first has to deliver the funds he has raised.  Priorities are important.

12)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Macedonia and Achaia 1) were pleased to donate 2) had a duty to donate to the Jews since they now share in the spiritual blessing.  Giving is a blessing and should be grateful to do so and we should give to those who have helped us along the way.

Conclusions:  Put God’s will for your life first.  You will be blessed for doing so.  God’s will leads to unexpected plans for your life!

End Notes:  Paul wrote Romans while traveling to raise funds for famine relief.  In another letter (2 Corinthians 8) he gives more details on this mercy mission on behalf of the Jews in Jerusalem.  Paul’s actions set an example of unity for a church composed of both Jews and Gentiles–unity sorely needed by groups wracked by the divisions described in Chapter 14.

Paul’s pioneer work came first.  Paul probably wanted Rome to be his base of operations for the western part of the empire, even as Antioch was his base for the eastern part.

Paul had these plans; yet things did not work out according to his plans. He did go to Rome, yet not as a missionary on his way to Spain. He went to Rome as a prisoner awaiting trial before Caesar, where he would preach the gospel on a different kind of frontier.

God had other plans for Paul, which led to unexpected opportunities.  As a prisoner, Paul was able to preach to the Roman emperor!

After his release from the Roman imprisonment at the end of the Book of Acts, Paul did in fact make it to Spain and preached the gospel there.

Paul thought he would stop in Corinth on his way to Jerusalem to deliver a collection from Christians in Macedonia and Achaia (Acts 20:1-3).

Paul sets the example:  We should help those who have helped us.  The Gentile Christians of the broader Roman empire had received so much spiritually from the community of Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, it was only right that they help the Jerusalem Christians in their need.  Paul wanted to present this gift personally to convey the lvoe and concern of the Gentile churches for their Jewish brothers and sisters in Christ.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 28, Day 4: John 20:19-23

Summary of passage:  Jesus appeared to the disciples as they huddled together, afraid of the Jewish authorities.  He showed them his hands and thighs and the disciples were overjoyed at seeing Jesus.  Jesus gave them the Holy Spirit and commissioned them to the world.

Questions:

9a)  He personally appears to them.  He gifts them with the Holy Spirit to guide them in his ways.  He shows them his wounds.  He blesses them with peace.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Above all, by choosing me to be a believer.  By giving me a purpose for my life and a means to achieve it through Him.

10)  He appears to Mary who clings to him physically.  He appears to the disciples and shows them his wounds physically.  Luke tells us he ate food with his disciples.  He appeared to the disciples and others over a period of 40 days and spoke of God’s kingdom.  He appeared to more than 500 of his brothers at the same time.  He appeared to James.  He appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus.  Jesus must rise again to conquer death so we can live forever with the Father.  It proves the Gnostics of the time wrong that he only died a spiritual death.

11)  Privilege:  They are the chosen ones to spread the Good News.

Authority:  Jesus personally commissioned them.

Power to accomplish the commission:  Jesus gave them the Holy Spirit to aid in their mission and peace as well.

Message:  If you forgive others, they are forgiven as Jesus has forgiven them of their sins.  If you don’t forgive them, they aren’t.

Conclusions:  Not a big fan of these questions.  Repetitive.

End Notes:  This is the same day that Mary saw Jesus at the empty tomb.  5 times Jesus appeared on Resurrection Day:

  1.  To Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18)

2)  To the other women (Matthew 28:9-10)

3)  To the two on the road to Emmaus (Mark 16:12-13, Luke 24:13-32)

4)  To Peter (Luke 24:33-35, 1 Corinthians 15:5)

5)  To ten of the disciples, Thomas and Judas being absent (John 20:19-23)

Jesus prayed for them to stay together and they did (John 15:17)–all except Thomas, who we don’t know why he wasn’t there.

Jesus visits small groups of people (one exception in 1 Corinthians 15:6) in remote areas or closeted indoors.  By the garden tomb, in a locked room, on the road toe Emmaus, beside the Sea of Galilee, atop Mount Olives–such private encounters bolster the faith of people who already believed in Jesus.

Fun Fact:  As far as we know, not a single unbeliever sees Jesus after his death.

What would have happened if Jesus made a public spectacle and appeared before Pilate?  Would it have bolstered faith?  Jesus tells us no.  “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even is someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16:31).

Jesus appeared amongst them despite the locked doors.  Jesus did not rebuke his disciples for abandoning him at the cross.  Instead, he told them “peace” or all is well.  Jesus revealed himself and invited all present to touch him to prove he’s real (Luke 24:39-40).  Jesus came for us.  He was also calming the disciples at his sudden appearance.

Jesus commissions them to do his work on earth such as he prayed in John 17:18.  Luke tells us there are others there besides the disciples.  Jesus sends them as well!  We are sent in the same way–for Jesus!

Jesus gives the disciples the Holy Spirit as their guide, John purposefully connecting this with Genesis, saying Jesus breathed on them.  Cool!  I want Jesus to breathe on me!  This is re-creation or born again.  This is Jesus’ spirit as well.

This also creates the duty of the church to forgive and warn of the consequences of unforgiveness.  We are the messengers, announcing forgiveness according to God’s word.  In essence, if you repent of your sins and believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, you will receive God’s forgiveness.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 28, Day 4: Various Passages for the Day

Summary of passages:  Various passages for the day.

Questions:

7)  Part Personal Question.  My answer: 1 Corinthians 15:42-44: Our bodies will be raised imperishable, in glory, in power, and spiritual.

1 John 3:2:  We shall be like God.

Revelation 22:1-5:  There will no longer be a curse.  God and Jesus will dwell in the city and we will serve Him.  We will see God’s face and His name will be on our forehead.  There will always be light, never darkness.  We will reign forever.

It doesn’t give me hope and I’m tired of being asked this.

8 )  Luke says “in paradise”.  Philippians says “with Christ.”  All of these passages are vague at best.  See End Notes for a thorough analysis.  The results may surprise you.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That it is eternal.  That it is paradise.  That Christ is the only way.  Relatives.

Asked same question:  Lesson 26 Day 2 & 3, Lesson 23 Day 5, Lesson 19 Day 3Lesson 7 Day 2, Lesson 13 Day 5, and Lesson 15 Day 4

Conclusions:  Hope again.  It’s as if I don’t have any hope so I have to be asked about it REPEATEDLY to find it.  I have hope.  Lots of it.  Can we move on now?  Again, sharing the gospel.  This lesson could be used in that seminar.

Question 8 was actually good and it’s obvious where BSF lands on this one.  Both sides have merit and I’m not a scholar so I go with my gut here:  our souls go to heaven first while our bodies sleep.  Unbelievers await judgment in a temporary location to await the Great White Throne room.

End Notes:  So I decided to find out for myself where people go who have died.   HERE is a great piece that actually dismisses BSF’s Luke 23 and why it’s not saying we go to heaven (which it doesn’t).  This SITE has so many bible passages it’s ridiculous, but the conclusions are the same:  when we die, we lie asleep in our grave until Christ comes again.

This SITE supports BSF’s assertion that we immediately go with Jesus/God, using the EXACT SAME passages BSF does to support this conclusion.  This one says the same thing HERE.  We go to heaven but await our physical bodies after the Second Coming.

So here we have two different beliefs.  1) Our body and soul lie in the ground, “asleep”, until Jesus’ Second Coming where both will be raised.  2)  Our soul immediately goes to be with Jesus while our body slummers and rises again at the Second Coming, where body and soul shall be reunited.

So which is true?  Both have biblical support.  Obviously, the latter is more comforting and is commonly taught at churches.  Here’s my view:  does it matter when?  I’m not going to worry about it.  For one, I’ll be dead and I have no control over it anyways.  And two, all that matters is at some point I shall dwell forever with God.

I have never heard of belief #1 before until just now.  It totally changes what I would think of death if I believed it.  Not sure if I do.  To me, it makes sense that God loves us so much He wants us with Him immediately.  So I think we all go to heaven and await for our physical bodies for the Second Coming.  Other thoughts?

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 28, Day 4: Deuteronomy 32:15-43

Summary of passage:  A continuation of Moses’s song.  Moses says how Israel will grow lazy in their blessings and worship foreign gods.  So God will hide his face from His people, and God will send calamities upon them and scatter them.  Moses pleads for the people to understand what will happen and correct it before it occurs and before the Lord brings judgement upon them.

Questions:

8a)  Part-personal Question.  My answer:  Israel abandoned God and turned to false gods instead.  Mine is to remember God always and obey.

b)  God.  The people themselves.

c)  It says “their”, meaning others.  Their rock (false gods) is not the Israelites’ Rock (One, True God).  Their teachings (wine) is as fatal as poison.

d)  The Lord will have compassion on His people “when he sees their strength is gone and on one is left.” God will take vengeance on his adversaries when “he sharpens his flashing sword and his hand grasps it in judgment”.  God will do this because He loves us and offers us grace and mercy and forgiveness.  God will “make atonement for his land and people” ultimately through the sacrifice of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Conclusions:  Not like 8a.  Answer is obvious.  This lesson was hard for me to dig deeper than the surface meaning.

End Notes:  Israelites turned on God; in turn, He turned on them.  Not being enough, God punishes the people through calamities in order to turn them back to Him again.  Then God pleads for them to return.

Verses 15-18 is the first true apostasy (abandonment or renunciation of God) by the Israelites.  The golden calf was a sin but at least the people worshipped the golden calf as God.  Here, they abandoned God, completely rejected Him, and sacrificed to false gods.

Jeshurun means “upright one.”  We see it used again in 33:5; 33:26 and in Isaiah 44:2.  It’s a term of affection for Israel.

Paul quotes verse 21 in Romans 10:19.

Excellent explanation of the Song of Moses (Moses wrote at least three recorded songs scholars believe in the Bible) HERE.  If you were like me and didn’t get much out of this song, then this link explains succinctly what it’s all about.  Highly recommended.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 28, Day 4: Matthew 27:35-50; Psalm 22

Summary of passages:  Matthew 27:35-50:  The Romans crucified Jesus and divided up his clothes. They kept watch over him and his crime (king of the Jews) was placed over his head. Two robbers were crucified with him. Passer-bys hurled insults at him, telling Jesus to come down from the cross with his powers and if he were the Son of God, they would believe him then. The robbers insulted Jesus as well.

Jesus cried out to God, asking why he has been forsaken. The observers thought he was calling Elijah. Then Jesus cried once more and died.

Psalm 22:  David asks God why has God forsaken him and why is He so far away.  Yet God is faithful.  Yet David is a scorned man, mocked for his belief, and told let God save him.  Yet trouble from men is near.  He cannot speak.  He is pierced.  They divide up his clothes.  Lord, rescue me from them.  I am weary.  All nations will bow before Him.  And his righteousness will be proclaimed now and for all future generations.

Questions:

7)  Psalm 22:1:  Jesus spoke these words in Matthew 27:46 on the cross as he took on the sins and God briefly turned His back to His Son.  We feel Jesus’ agony both at his physical suffering and his spiritual abandonment.

Psalm 22:2-6:  We feel Jesus’ unanswered prayer; yet despite Jesus’ suffering and scornment by man, God is there, faithful, trustworthy, the Holy One of Israel.

Psalm 22:7-9:  Jesus feels insignificant as he is mocked on the cross and told that God should come down and rescue him (Matthew 27:43).  Yet all in God’s plan.  Jesus reminds God of his birth and care given to him then–and thus the appeal for care now. [Note that just because God has abandoned Jesus, Jesus does not abandon God.  This is an example for us all.  Never give up.]

Psalm 22:12-13:  Men claw at Jesus and come against him.  The bulls of Bashan were known for their strength.

Psalm 22:14:  Jesus is exhausted and drained physically and spiritually.  Jesus is completely devoid of any strength.  This describes his physical suffering as bones were disjoined on the cross and some scholars speculate Jesus’ heart might have burst (John 19:34).

Psalm 22:15:  Jesus can no longer speak as his mouth is dried up and he has no more strength on the cross. Physical death awaits.  This harkens back to Genesis 3:19 where man returns to dust.  Christ became our curse (Galatians 3:13).

Psalm 22:16:  Jesus was surrounded by wicked men.  Jesus was literally pierced at the hands and feet to be hung on the cross

Psalm 22:17:  People mock him from his arrest to his death.  Even the prisoner crucified with Jesus mocks him.  They think they superior (if only they knew).  Jesus suffered no broken bones (John 19:31-37), which fulfilled prophecy (Psalm 34:20; Exodus 12:46; Zechariah 12:10; Numbers 9:12).

Psalm 22:18:  The Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus divided up his garments and cast lots for his clothing.

Psalm 22:19-21:  Yet God is there to deliver Jesus into His arms from the people.

8a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The Old Testament has always been relevant in my life as all the Bible (God’s breathed Words) is and should be.  The more and more connections made between the Old Testament and the New Testament and the more and more prophecy I see fulfilled only fills me up with God and spurns me to learn more and more and be closer and closer to my Creator and Lord.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It has made me realize that Jesus’ suffering is universal.  David suffered.  Jesus suffered.  So I must suffer as well.  It is part of life.  Part of the Christian life.  And yet both endured.  Both grew stronger.  Both did great things.  So can I.  For without lows, the highs are meaningless.  Both felt forsaken by God as I have in my life.  And that is okay.  Our journey to Him is just that–a journey.  As long as we know who is standing at the end, awaiting us with open arms, I deem it all worthwhile.

Conclusions:  There seems to be a theme or a belief that the Old Testament is meaningless to Christians.  That it is dismissed and deemed unimportant.  This annoys me.  As does questions like 8a.  To me, the Old Testament is just as relevant today as the New Testament.  It always has been.  I’ve never held such a belief that the New is more significant than the Old.  Yet in some of my groups, some have said as such.  And questions such as 8a seem to perpetuate that notion.

I wish people and the Christian community would stop implying such.  Without the Old Testament, there would be no New Testament.  Both are of equal importance and should be treated as such.  We must obey both to live like Jesus.  There should be no separation between the two.

End Notes:  We can sense the agony in the Psalm.  Can you imagine a child’s pain when their parents turn their back on them?  This is what Jesus is experiencing only at a much, unfathomable level as it is God who is the one who turns His back (and He never does).  The intimate and constant connections has been broken.  Yet, it is not a complete forsakenness–but enough for Jesus to cry out to God.  This is something we can relate to but never understand because we will never be in Jesus’ place.

Note even in the midst of suffering and doubt God remains Holy and good.  The devil did not win here.

Have you ever felt as low as a worm?  That’s pretty low but I think we’ve all been there.

Notice once the author has poured out his laments and feelings of abandonment he exclaims “You have heard me”. So it is with us and God.  God hears our cries for help and answers us.  He is always there and He is not silent in our misery.

Jesus declares and praises God.  It is often thought only the first half of Psalm 22 refers to Jesus but Hebrews 2:12 declares otherwise when the author of Hebrews quotes Psalm 22:22.

John 17:26 “I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them” suggests the real reason Jesus died for our sins:  It was the will of the Father and Jesus obeyed completely and absolutely to God’s great glory.  Powerful stuff!

The second great reason for the cross is for us:  “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord and …bow down before him.”  It is comforting to know Jesus was thinking of us at the end.

The last verse of this Psalm echoes Jesus’ last words on the cross “He has done it.”

There is so much in this Psalm.  Take the time to soak it in and reflect on Jesus’s life especially as Easter approaches.  As you do, Jesus will become closer and closer.

This whole Psalm reflects Jesus’ life perfectly.  In it, the New Testament writers saw Old Testament prophecy fulfilled.  David, the greatest King of Israel, suffered.  As Jesus did.  As it was meant by God to be.  Victory through suffering.  Only God can breathe such life into such words.