Acts 4;13

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 3, Day 4: Acts 4:1-22

Summary of Acts 4:1-22:

The priests and the Sadducees arrest Peter and John because they were teaching people Jesus rose from the dead.  But many heard and more were converted.

The next day the pair was brought before the Sanhedrin (a group resembling the group Jesus was brought before) and asked by what power they healed.  Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, speaks the truth, “It is by the name of Jesus Christ whom you killed that this man is healed.  Salvation is found only in Jesus.

The learned men were astonished these so-called unschooled, ordinary men could heal.  They could do nothing since everyone had seen the man healed.  The Sanhedrin want to stop them from speaking in Jesus’ name but when they asked Peter and John to stop, they refused. Reluctantly, the two were let go since they could not deny a miracle had taken place.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 3, Day 4: Acts 4:1-22

10) Peter proclaimed that Jesus alone has the power to raise the dead and that salvation is found in no one else but Jesus. It makes a difference if you are saved and go to heaven or not. Believers are saved; unbelievers in Jesus Christ as the Savior are not.

11a) Even more people believed, now numbering 5000. Those who arrested them took note as well of Jesus’ power. All the people were praising God for what had happened so they were set free.

b) Personal Question. My answer: The power of Jesus can overcome anything so give my troubles to him.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 3, Day 4: Acts 4:1-22

When we did Acts before, Lesson 3 covered Acts 3-7. I’m wondering where we’re going this year. It’s cool to see how the authorities can’t do anything because they can’t refute the power of Jesus.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 3, Day 4: Acts 4:1-22

The captain of the temple is the police force of the temple. Boice says that the emphasis in the original indicates that they stopped and seized Peter and John suddenly.

The Sadducees were disturbed that Peter and John taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead; they did not believe in the afterlife or the resurrection at all.

This was a scare tactic on the part of the authorities to get Peter and John to stop preaching about Jesus. Acts 4:21 mentions further threats.  Boice notes that Acts 4:1-6 lists no less than 11 different groups or individuals opposing these followers of Jesus.

This was a scene of power and intimidation. This same group of leaders had recently condemned Jesus to death, and they wanted them to know that they had the power to do the same thing to Peter and John.

mountains

Peter’s logic was piercing – why are we on trial for a good deed?

The quotation from Psalm 118:22 was appropriate. Jesus was rejected by men – by those leaders – but was exalted by His Father.

God uses both educated and uneducated men for His purpose. It’s just as wrong to think that formal education disqualifies someone for effective service as it is to think that it automatically qualifies someone for effective service.

It is interesting to note what the Jewish leaders did not do: they did not make any attempt to disprove the resurrection of Jesus. If it were possible to do, this was the time to do it; yet they could not.

Luke probably found out what the Sanhedrin discussed among themselves because a member of that Sanhedrin later became a Christian: Saul of Tarsus. Acts 26:10 gives us reason to believe Paul (Saul) was a member of the Sanhedrin to cast his vote against the early Christians.

If this is true, then Peter and John had no idea they were preaching to a future apostle and the greatest missionary the church would ever see. We have no idea how greatly God can use us.

How God Uses Bad Situations for Good

  • 2,000 more people came to believe in Jesus
  • Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit again
  • Peter preached Jesus to the leaders of the Jews
  • Hostile examiners and unbelievers confirmed a miraculous healing
  • The enemies of Jesus were confused
  • Peter and John were bolder for Jesus than ever before
  • God was glorified

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 3, Day 4: Joshua 11

Image result for joshua 11

Summary of Joshua 11:

When the Northern Kings heard of the complete destruction of the Southern kingdoms, they joined forces against the Israelites and met at the Waters of Merom to fight against Israel. They were as numerous as the sands on the seashore. They also had a large number of horses and chariots.Image result for joshua 11 map of cities northern

Again, God encourages Joshua and tells him not to be afraid for He will deliver them, slain, into his hands. God tells the Israelites to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.

So the Israelites attack this huge army and defeated them. They chased them and slain all of them and hobbled their horses as the Lord directed.

Joshua returned to the city of Hazor and slaughtered everyone there as their king was the instigator of this attack upon Israel. He then totally destroyed all of the cities and kings that came against him as Moses had commanded. They did not burn any of the cities on their mounds. However, Joshua did all that Moses directed and killed everyone. All the plunder and livestock the Israelites kept for themselves.

Joshua continued the conquest of the Promised Land, taking the entire hill region, the Negev, Goshen, and more. All the kings and peoples were attacked and killed except for those living in Gibeon. The Lord had hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel so that they may face punishment.

Joshua took the entire land the Lord had promised, divided it up according to tribes, and rested from war.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 4: Joshua 11:

9) “Do not be afraid of them” and “hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.” Joshua needed encouragement and direction from God (as we all do). The enemies were more advanced than the Israelites in terms of warfare since they had horses and chariots. So to ensure they wouldn’t fight them again, the horses were hobbled and chariots destroyed. God keeps His word and directs the Israelites exactly as needed.

10) The Anakalites were the reason the Israelites hadn’t entered the Promised Land sooner and were relegated to wandering the desert for 40 years. The Hebrews thought them to be descendants of the Nephilim, a powerful race who dominated the pre-Flood world (Genesis 6:4; Numbers 13:33). When the twelve Israelite spies returned from exploring the Promised Land, they gave a frightening report of “people great and tall” whom they identified as the sons of Anak (Deuteronomy 9:2). The Israelites had finally conquered them.

11) Personal Question. My answer: None really. We all deserve death, and it’s only by God’s grace that we are still breathing today and saved by His Son, Jesus Christ. This is an evil world full of evil, violent people. God uses the sin that entered through Adam to punish His enemies. That is His prerogative, and we are to accept it without question. Furthermore, God has a reason for everything He does that is beyond our understanding.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 4: Joshua 11:

I love how God is always encouraging and always instructing His people. I love how even the impossible (the defeat of the Anakites) is possible through Him.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 3, Day 4: Joshua 11:

The Israelites are now the target due to their success. The same applies to our success on this side of heaven. There’s always someone jealous of you who’s looking to take you down.

The challenges facing the Israelites are increasing with a gigantic foe and superior weaponry. Same for us: we often find that the challenges facing us in our Christian life increase at each step. God uses each previous victory as a springboard for what we face in the future.

Fear was an issue for Joshua and the Israelites; hence, God’s encouragement.

Again, we see Joshua’s military boldness as he initiates the attack once again. I’m sure an army that size would expect the Israelites to high-tail it out of there, not attack.

What is Hamstringing and Why did God tell the Israelites to use It?

Hamstringing is just what it sounds like: cutting the hamstring muscle in the leg, hindering proper movement and effectively hobbling the animal. This was common on animals and on humans in ancient times. It was also extremely painful.

  • Hamstringing rendered the animals useless, so they couldn’t come against the Israelites again.
  • Horses and chariots were an advanced weapons of war that the Israelites would not master for hundreds of years. It was far easier to effectively erase the threat than learn how to use the threat.
  • This showed complete trust and faith in God as the Israelites did what God told them to do, and didn’t try to use the enemies’ tools for themselves.

Image result for chariot battle ancient times

What do we learn from the complete annihilation of the Enemy?

  • Israelites had complete faith and obedience in God.
  • Judgement was complete.
  • Canaanites were completely and totally unable to be redeemed and thus deserving of just punishment.

What is the “hardening of the hearts”?

The hardening of men’s hearts is when God gives man up to the sin that is in his heart (Romans 1:24-28). There was no grace shown to the Canaanites.

Who were the Anakites?

The last tribe to be defeated by the Israelites, the Anakites had prevented Israel from entering the Promised Land 40 years prior. They fall easily. God saves them for last as the Israelites needed supreme confidence to defeat them.

What do we Learn from the Anakites?

  • God knows how to manage the battles in our life.
  • Total surrender to God’s will is our response. Sometimes we have to fight last what we think is first.

Fun Fact of the Bible:

The giant Goliath is an Anakite from the descendants of the Nephilim. Goliath comes from the city of Gath some five hundred years later (1 Samuel 17:4).

Similarities between Judges 1 and Joshua 1-11

Judges 1 summarizes the incidents recorded in Joshua, but from a different point of view. Joshua presents the campaign as highly successful; Judges shows that many military goals were never achieved. One possible explanation: Joshua presented the wars as a series of raids on territory and did not include the “mopping up” and settlement process. Judges shows that, after the Israelites divided up the land, they proved fall less successful in the second phase of conquest.

This ends section 1 of the Book of Joshua as mission has been accomplished with the defeat and occupation of the Promised Land. Obviously, not every town and city had been conquered. That was left up to the individual tribes to accomplish within their individual territories.

Theme of Joshua 11:

Same with Jesus: he defeated the enemy, but we still must claim what is ours.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 3, Day 4: Romans 2:17-24

Summary of passage:  Paul calls out Jews who are hypocritical and believe themselves above others because of their beliefs.  He asks them if they do the very things they preach against:  steal, commit adultery, worship idols, etc.  They are the ones blaspheming God’s name amongst the Gentiles because of their behavior (giving God a bad name).

Questions:

9a)  God chose the Jews as the ones to receive His law, abide by it, and teach it and in return receive blessings.  It seems they have become lackadaisical and flippant, disregarding the law themselves but expecting everyone else to abide by it.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I can be hypocritical with my kids, using the fact I’m an adult as an excuse.  I have begun to catch myself lately and reverse this however.  Work in progress, as always!

10)  Idol worship, stealing, committing adultery, and breaking God’s law.  All of us say one thing and do another at some point in some way.  Basically, every commandment God or Jesus says to do in the Bible is broken by man.  We don’t love others; we’re not kind or compassionate; we don’t care for those in need; we do steal and lie and cheat and covet and commit adultery.  We blasphemy God’s name.  We puts things above Him.  We all sin.  Luckily, Jesus forgives.

11)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  God judges.  They stain Christianity and make it harder for non-Christians to come to God.  I think we all violate God’s standards cause we sin.  Our job is to shrink the number of times we sin, walking more and more towards the light, admitting our failures and faults, giving it to God, and rising tomorrow a better person.  That’s all we poor sinners can do.

Conclusions:  Good lesson, reminding us how we are being watched, how what we say and do does matter, how we do represent Christianity by default, and how God does hold us to higher standards.  If we do nothing else in this world but live to His standards, we will convert others just by our examples even without evangelizing per se.  We must diminish our desire to sin and be hypocrites and live by God’s ways.  In the end, that’s all we can do and why God is the loving, forgiving God that He is.

End Notes:  In first century AD, Jews looked upon themselves as special, chosen by God, given His law, and guaranteed salvation (as long as your heart was God’s).  This was true (before Jesus).  Once Jesus came you have to believe in Him to gain salvation.  That’s not Paul’s point, however.  His point is that this “specialness” belief has turned to boastfulness, pride, and superiority over others and is no guarantee of anything.

This presentation takes the form of a dialogue.  Paul knew how a self-righteous Jew thought, for he had been one himself (who better to speak to this?).  He cites on advantage after another that Jews regarded as unqualified assets.  But those assets became liabilities when there was no correspondence between profession and practice.  Paul applied to the Jews the principles of judgment laid out in verse 1-16.

Jesus explained in Matthew 5:19-48 that knowing the law does not justify anyone.  The law applies to both our actions and our heart.

Paul implies that some Jews may have been profiting from idolatry.

Paul reminds the Jews how God said in the Old Testament that the failure of the Jew to obey the law causes Gentiles to blaspheme God (Isaiah 52:5; Ezekiel 36:22).

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 3, Day 4: John 2:18-22

Summary of passage:  After the turning over the moneylenders’ tables, Jesus was asked for a sign by the Jews of his authority.  Jesus told them to destroy this temple and he would raise it again in 3 days.  The Jews thought he meant the Temple in Jerusalem but Jesus meant his body as a temple and that he would rise again in 3 days.  Only after his death was Jesus’ words understood.

Questions:

9a)  Jesus just proved he had the authority to drive the moneylenders out of the temple by doing it.  Here, the people demanded a sign, they didn’t ask for one.  Only prophets could do so; hence, they doubted Jesus as the Messiah.  The proof was in the act itself.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’ve asked for a sign in terms of making a decision but never a sign to confirm His authority over me.

10a)  Jesus points to his resurrection as proof of his authority, which the people did not understand until after the fact.    They believe he is speaking of the physical temple in Jerusalem where God dwells.  He completely ignored their request and instead offered a challenge:  Destroy me and I’ll rise again.  In essence telling them they can’t destroy him for he is God.

b)  Witnesses claimed Jesus had said, “I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in 3 days.”  Jesus actually said was if you destroy the temple (himself), he will rise again in 3 days.  They twisted the usage of the word temple and added the pronoun “I”.  Jesus would not destroy anything; the people themselves are the destroyers.

Conclusions:  Good dissection of the passage.  Not much to add except in 9a.  No one knew Jesus because this is at the beginning of his ministry.  It’s not wrong to ask for a sign nor is it rebellious.  I think Jews were genuinely confused by Jesus’ behavior, given only the magistrates had such authority to drive people from the temple.  It’s right to question those who claim they are prophets.  What went wrong here is 1) they demanded a sign instead of asked for one  2) the people missed the fact that by Jesus doing what he did (something incredible and the mere execution of it proved he had a divine commission) he had just proved himself with this miracle.  So the people are asking for a miracle on top of a miracle.  That is where the rebellion piece kicks in.  They are doubting Jesus as the Messiah.

End Notes:  Jesus claimed the power to raise Himself from the dead, and He repeated the claim in John 10:18.  The New Testament also claims that God the Father raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 6:4 and Galatians 1:1), and that the Holy Spirit raised Him from the dead (Romans 1:4 and 8:11).  The resurrection of Jesus Christ was a work of each Person of the Trinity, each working together as One–The Triune God.  Cool!

Jesus purposely avoids answering the question and instead answers with another statement which he explains to his disciples is frequent in the book of John.  It’s also classic rhetoric in ancient Greek society to answer a question with a question made popular by the ancient philosophers such as Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato.

“The Scripture” the disciples believed is Psalm 16:10:  “…because you will not abandon me to the grave nor will you let your Holy One see decay.”

After Jesus’ death, it became clear how the physical body is a temple when inhabited by the Holy Spirit.  We see this in Ephesians 2:19-22, 1 Peter 2:5, and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.  Another example of how God reveals us things when He is ready, and how there are things we do not and cannot understand–only God does.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 3, Day 4: Revelation 1:9-20

Summary of passage:  John was exiled to the island of Patmos because of his beliefs in Jesus.  He heard a voice tell him to write down and send to the seven churches a message.  The 7 churches were:  Ephesus Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.

John saw 7 golden lamp stands and Jesus dressed in a robe and a golden sash.  He held 7 stars in his right hand and a sword came out of his mouth.  Jesus put his hand on John and told him he is God and he holds the keys of death and Hades.  He commands John to write what he has seen, including how the 7 stars represent the angels of the 7 churches and the 7 lamp stands are the 7 churches.

Questions:

10a)  On the island of Patmos in-between Turkey and Greece and he was suffering because of his belief in Jesus.

b)  They were killed, stoned, beaten, driven out of their homes, lost their jobs, banished from their homes, exiled, re-located, and discriminated against.

11a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Same as last year’s answer.  In comparison to others around the world, nothing.  I live in America where I have the freedom of religion and speech.  Increasingly, there has been a backlash against Christians but I have not experienced anything close to death or loss of livelihood, etc.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God is with you.  You will be rewarded in heaven. He will triumph.

Conclusions:  We have question 11a every year.  It’s hard to compare today and 2000 years ago when persecution was as common as water.  I’m extremely blessed to be alive in this time period as to then where I am free.

End Notes:  PATMOS was a prisoner island where most of the inhabitants mined marble for Roman Empire use.  It is 10 miles long and 6 miles wide, rocky and overall desolate.  Because of the historical uses for Patmos, most scholars agree John was exiled there.  However, Revelation just says John was there “because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus”.  It is possible he was there as a missionary to the exiled prisoners.

This is the first of four times John mentions being in the Spirit.  Scholars agree this means he received revelation from the Spirit and was not just literally walking in the Spirit.  The four times John mentions this are:  1)  Patmos (Revelation 1:10), 2)  in heaven (Revelation 4:2), 3)  in the wilderness (Revelation 17:3), and 4)  on the mountain of God (Revelation 21:10).

Some also say “in the Spirit” means John was praying.  Again, speculation.

What is the Lord’s Day?  Scholars are unsure.  Romans honored the emperor with Emperor’s Day the first day of the month so perhaps this was something similar.  What scholars do agree on is this is NOT The Day of the Lord as mentioned in the Old Testament.

Some scholars say the Lord’s Day is Sunday morning because the early Christians traditionally gathered together on the first day of the week.  Speculation.  Ask yourself:  would a man exiled on Patmos take the risk of gathering together with other Christians when he was exiled for being a Christian?  Unless he was a missionary…  Again, we just don’t know.

Note John was commanded to write (the first of 12 times he as commanded in the book of Revelation).  This is a good lesson for us.  Don’t just reveal visions to others unless commanded to do so.  Some are meant to be private.

John responded.  Very important.  When called, respond.  When hear Jesus, respond.

The number 7 is the number of completeness.  Why these 7 churches?  As I discussed BEFORE, it could be random.  It could be because they are in a circular pattern on a good modern road.  It could be because these letters are complete and these 7 churches represent complete churches.  Scholars are unsure.  Interestingly, Paul also wrote to 7 churches.

Point to us:  These letters are for us–as the church.

Map of 7 Revelation Churches HERE

Day 5 discusses primarily Revelation 1:12-20.  The commentary for those passages will follow Day 5.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 3, Day 4: Exodus 4:1-17

Summary of passage:  Moses, still doubting God and asking what happens if the people don’t believe him, is given three signs by God to use to show the people that God indeed appeared to him.  These signs are:  Moses’ staff turning into a snake when he throws it on the ground, his hand becoming leprous and then healing in his cloak, and Nile River water turning into blood.

Moses still says he is not eloquent enough to lead.  God says He will help him speak and teach.  Moses asks God finally to choose someone else as a rescuer of his people.  God got angry with Moses for his lack of faith and doubting him.  God tells Moses his brother Aaron will come and help him and God will help both to speak and lead but Moses will be the one in charge.

Questions:

7a)  The people would not believe or listen to him when he told them God appeared to him and that he isn’t eloquent enough to lead and that he doesn’t want to do it.

b)  God gave Moses miraculous signs to show the people (staff turning to a snake–verse 3, his hand turning leprous and then miraculously healing–verses6-7, Nile River water turning to blood–verse 9).  When Moses said he wasn’t eloquent enough, God said He would help Moses speak and teach–verse 12.  When Moses said he doesn’t want to go, God told him his brother, Aaron, would help Moses and God would help both of them to speak and teach–verses 14-16.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He closes the door when I veer off the path.  Sometimes when I insist on doing it anyways, the door slams harder!  God lets me do it, but then it closes anyways and I learn it wasn’t for me.

Conclusions:  I can almost hear the Lord’s frustration at Moses.  It’s ok to question God but I think when He answers you should believe and not keep doubting as Moses does.  We finally learn Moses doesn’t really want to go and God punishes him for it.  How many times have we said “not me” to God and we end up paying the price?  Nice short lesson.

End Notes:  Moses doubts God and “buts” Him.  Severe lack of faith.

God uses what you have (a staff in your hand).

The tail of the snake is the most dangerous place to pick a snake up.  Here, Moses has faith in what God is saying.

The first two signs (staff and leprosy) has to do with transformation from good to bad and back to good.  The third sign is the sign of judgment–the water turns to blood and stays that way.  Either you turn to God and are transformed or you are judged.

Still, Moses protests.  He doesn’t believe in himself anymore that he can do the job.

Finally, Moses just says he doesn’t want to go.  “Send someone else,” Moses says.  He is unwilling to answer God’s call.  The other reasons were merely excuses.  Truly, Moses doesn’t want to go.

God brings Aaron as a punishment rather than help.  He will cause trouble for Moses the entire trip to the Promised Land.  This is God’s judgement for Moses’ unwillingness to go.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 3, Day 4: Matthew 3:11-12

Summary of passage:  John the Baptist is speaking and he says he will baptize the people with water for repentance but to be prepared for one is coming who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  He will clear the threshing floor and burn up the chaff (basically judge).

Questions:

8 )  He baptized with water.  He did not baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.

9)  Jesus would be more powerful than him.  He would not be fit to even carry his sandals.  He will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.  He will judge.

10)  Joel 2:28:  The Spirit will be poured out and people will prophesy, dream dreams, and see visions.

Ezekiel 36:25-27:  You will be clean and cleansed from all your impurities and idols.  God will give you a new heart and spirit, which will move you to follow God’s decrees and keep His laws.

John 7:37-39:  Streams of living water or the Spirit will flow from within for those who believe in Jesus.

Acts 1:5, 8:  Baptized with the Holy Spirit and will receive power.

Isaiah 44:3:  The Spirit will be poured out as well as God’s blessing.

11a)  John the Baptist baptized with water as a symbol of repentance and forgiveness by God for people’s sins.  It was an outward symbol that one was ready to receive the Holy Spirit.  Since Pentecost and Jesus’ death on the cross, when we are baptized we are not only repenting our sins and asking for forgiveness from God for our sins but we are also accepting that Jesus died on the cross for our sins.  This faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior allows the Holy Spirit to indwell within us and now we are marked at His and guided by Him forever and accepted into His kingdom.

Romans 6:3-4:  Paul writes:  “…all of us who were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

Ephesians 1:13-14:  “Having believed [in Jesus], you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession…”

John 3:5-15:  “…no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit…no one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man…everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I love review and getting my thoughts straight.  Just remembering that when we accept Jesus, we are marked, we are His, and the Holy Spirit is there to help us follow Him.  Also, great comfort in remembering always where my true home is:  heaven.

Conclusions:  It is interesting to note  how much the Spirit is mentioned in the Old Testament before it even came upon us in the New.  I love how we can see and read how prophecy has been fulfilled and how it reassures us that prophecy will continue to be fulfilled in Jesus’ Second Coming.  Great ‘little’ lesson today!

Great little site I found that explains how one can receive and how one knows they possess the Holy Spirit:

http://www.gotquestions.org/receive-Holy-Spirit.html