BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 5, Day 4: Romans 3:24-26

Summary of passage:  God granted us redemption through Jesus’s death on the cross through his blood in order to demonstrate his justice.

Questions:

9)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  To atone is to reconcile.  Atonement is a cleansing of sins.  It is the central doctrine of faith and can properly include all that Jesus accomplished for us on the cross.  Jesus stands as our substitute/sacrifice that satisfies the righteous wrath of God.  Without this, we’re all destined for eternal punishment.  It doesn’t.  I don’t need assurance.  God said so.  Done.  God loved us so much He sent Himself (Jesus, Holy Trinity) as the only thing to justify us.

10) Part personal Question.  All of our answers are mere guesses. Love.  I would say God loved his creation, mankind, so much He sent His perfect Son to us to help us, guide, us, and cleanse us so we can be with Him for all of eternity.  Jesus was the only perfect human and thus the only one worthy to be our final atoning sacrifice.. There are no words of thanks large enough for this.

Conclusions: I don’t like the “assured” questions.  For me, I shouldn’t have to be assured of anything.  If you have faith, you don’t need assurance because you don’t question or doubt.  God in His mercy and love gives us proof and assurance because of our humanity.  But we shouldn’t need it.

End Notes:  Christ was our substitute sacrifice/atonement/propitiation so God could demonstrate His righteousness in judgment.  Propitiation is in all cultures.  It’s the act of appeasing the gods and the gods’s anger against mankind through a sacrifice of some kind.  Aztecs, Mayas, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Native Americans, etc.

The ancient Greek word for propitiation (hilasterion) is also used in the Septuagint for the mercy seat, the lid covering the Ark of the Covenant, upon which sacrificial blood was sprinkled as an atonement for sin. While it might be said that this passage means “Jesus is our mercy seat,” it probably has the more straightforward idea of propitiation – a substitute sacrifice.

Inside the Ark of the Covenant was the evidence of man’s great sin: the tablets of law; the manna received ungratefully; the budded rod of Aaron, showing man’s rejection of God’s leadership. The Ark was decorated with golden cherubim as symbols of God’s holy presence.  In between the cherubim stood the mercy seat, and as sacrificial blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16), God’s wrath was averted because a substitute had been slain on behalf of sinners coming by faith.  Jesus is our “mercy seat,” standing between guilty sinners and the holiness of God.

God willingly gives His Son.  He wants us with Him!

God no longer passed over sin with the temporary OT sacrifice of animal blood.  He freed us forever from sin with Jesus’s sacrifice.  Jesus paid the price.

At the cross, God demonstrated His righteousness by offering man justification (a legal verdict of “not guilty”), while remaining completely just (because the righteous penalty of sin had been paid at the cross).

Clarke states:  God “Of his justice, in requiring a sacrifice, and absolutely refusing to give salvation to a lost world in any other way; and of his mercy, in providing the sacrifice which his justice required.”

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 5, Day 4: John 4:19-26

Summary of passage:  The woman now understands Jesus is a prophet since he knows her past.  She questions him about the proper place to worship since Samaritans believe Mount Gerazim is the place.  Jesus explains he, the Messiah, has come and it does not matter where you worship the Lord for he is spirit.

Questions:

8 )  Many followers of other religions worship other gods whom they don’t “know.”  The same can be said for Christians if they don’t “know” God.  True faith is having a personal relationship with God and Jesus Christ, knowing Him through the Word, prayer, and faith, and worshipping Him accordingly.

9)  Jesus said “salvation is from the Jews” and included himself with the Jews in verse 22 when he says “we”.   Jesus was a Jew and the Jews are God’s chosen people–the ones originally chosen to worship the Lord and to know Him.  God extends His grace to Gentiles as well through His Son, Jesus Christ.  The God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament.  He never changes.  Both parts of the Bible are equally important in knowing who God is and growing closer to Him and obeying His laws for our lives.

10)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  “Those who worship the Father in spirit and truth.”  God wants us to worship Him with our whole hearts in truth and with the Holy Spirit as our guide with no pretenses or trappings.  By giving God all of my life and all of my heart and all of my soul and all of my strength and all of my mind.  (Luke 10:27).

Conclusions:  I love how Jesus just lays it out:  God wants all of us.  Period.  I love who he lays it out to:  a woman who has a dubious past who may be an outcast.  A woman in Ancient Times was nothing.  This fact alone should convince everyone that Jesus is for everyone–especially YOU.

End Notes:  The book of John focuses on Jesus’ ministry with individuals.  We see Jesus as he wants us to be:  an intimate friend, imparting words of wisdom to live by.  He has private conversations with the woman at the well and Nicodemus.  He strives to know us as we strive to know him.

Here, Jesus uses a profound image for those living in a desert environment:  water.  To this woman, water was everything and Jesus promises her living waters and a spring of eternal life.  This would have made a profound impression on this woman.

John’s goal is to provide clarity so we can see and know Jesus.  Still, many do not understand.

Here, the abrupt change in subject in verse 20 is probably the woman trying to evade the issue of her husbands.

Remember, the Samaritans combine the teachings of Moses with outside religions.  They believed Moses commissioned an altar on Mount Gerazim.  They cherry-picked the Bible, believing only the first 5 books.

Jesus strongly identifies with the Jewish people when he says “we” in verse 22.

Jesus announces to this unidentified woman how the time is coming where the place you worship will not matter; what matter is the how you worship.  This was profound and one of the greatest announcements in the entire Bible–made unplanned at a well.

Worship in spirit and truth means no outside pretenses.  All heart.

The place of worship is irrelevant because true worship must be in keeping with God’s nature, which is spirit.  “True worshippers” must worship God in the power of his Spirit and in accordance with truth.  Truth in John’s Gospel  is Christ.

Fun Fact:  This is the only time Jesus specifically speaks of himself as the Messiah before his trial.  In Samaria, the term had no political overtures, probably the reason Jesus used it here.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 5, Day 4: Revelation 2:18-29

Summary of passage: Jesus says the church in Thyatira is improving but they are tolerating Jezebel and her teachings, which lead to sexual immorality and idol worship. Jesus intends to make those who commit adultery with her suffer and will kill her children. Those who haven’t followed her Jesus encourages to hold fast to him. If they do, he will give them authority over nations and the morning star.

Questions:

9)  Part personal question.  My answer:  Jesus says he will give authority over the nations and he will be the one to dash them to pieces (judge them).  He will also give believers the morning star (himself).  Imbed the truth in my heart and do my best to not be influenced by outsiders and let him be in control.

10)  Part personal question.  My answer:  Jesus’ will for us is to follow him, obeying all of his commands, and to go and make disciples of others for his kingdom.  He rewards us with eternal life with the Father.  It means everything to me.

Conclusions:  Extension of yesterday with emphasis that Jesus is our one, true reward–what we live for, strive for, and serve for.  He is our everything.

End Notes:  See yesterday’s analysis HERE

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 5, Day 4: Exodus 8:20-9:12

Summary of passage:  Now the Lord tells Moses to warn Pharaoh that the next plague will be a plague of flies; however, this time there will be no flies upon God’s people in Goshen–only in Egypt–so that Pharaoh will see God’s power even more.  Pharaoh tells Moses to worship God in Egypt and Moses says that is impossible for the Egyptians would stone them to death for doing so.  Pharaoh again says he will allow the people to go if Moses takes away the flies.  Moses does and Pharaoh once again lies.

God tells Moses to warn Pharaoh that he will kill all of the Egyptians livestock but leave the Israelites’ livestock alone.  Still, Pharaoh’s heart is hardened and he refuses.  So with no warning, God sends the plague of boils upon the men and animals.  Still, Pharaoh refuses to believe.

Questions:

7)  God decides to only send the plague of flies upon the Egyptians and spare His people.

8a)  Presumably to give Pharaoh time to repent and turn to God and let His people go after receiving the warning from Moses.  Hence, Pharaoh would have no excuse as to his refusal.

b)  This shows God’s infinite mercy.

c)  Pharaoh refused to honor God’s request and “his heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go.”

9a)  The people themselves.  Before it was the water, the land, and animals around them.  Here, it’s against the people themselves with the boils.

b)  Yes and no.  Original sin by Adam brought upon us death.  Often, illness and disease lead to death.  So, yes, in this instance.  But in the Old Testament, people believed if you sinned you were punished by God with a disease or with death.  Here, Jesus says no in John 9 as he heals a blind man.  Romans 5:12:  “Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned”

Sickness is not a consequence of personal sin; it’s a consequence of original sin (Adam and Eve’s). But with forgiveness, we are cured of our “sickness” of sin.  [More explanation in End Notes].

Conclusions:  Here we see the second set of three plagues.  God spares His people all of the plagues and God begins a more aggressive approach as it now afflicts the bodies of the Egyptians. Unbelievable how Pharaoh still refuses to relent. This must be the work of the devil for who else would still refuse to believe after seeing all of God’s miracles?

Question 9b is interesting because we get to see just what Jesus did for us on the cross.  Amazing!

I’m excited to be studying the plagues.  It’s been a long time for me and I had forgotten most of them!  Thank you, BSF!

End Notes:  The exact translation of flies is unknown in the original Hebrew.  This could very well be biting insects such as mosquitoes or fleas as well.  We can assume this had the same effect as the Plague of gnats/lice–that life as usual stopped in Egypt.

We can learn from Moses here.  Pharaoh tries to compromise, offering the Egyptians the right to sacrifice but here in Egypt.  Moses refuses.  Compromising in the face of evil/the devil is exactly what the devil wants us to do.  We must remain strong in our faith and not give in to any form of sin.

Did Pharaoh lie or did he change his mind once the Plague of flies was gone?  I tend to lean toward lying.  He never intended to give up his slaves and since he had already reneged on his promise with the frogs, who would believe him anymore?

Note how Pharaoh wanted God to help him and as soon as he was helped, he turned on God. Good lesson for us.  God is for us in the good and the bad.

Pharaoh knew God’s power enough to ask for God to remove the plagues.  But once done, he turned his back on God.  How many of us have done the same thing?

God is asking for Pharaoh to let His people go for His sake.  We are created for His sake.  So we must remember it is all about Him.

The cow was sacred to the Egyptians and their god, Hathor, was represented as a cow at times. There is record of an ancient battle where Egypt’s enemy put cows amongst the troops and the Egyptians would not shoot arrows at them for fear of killing the cows, forcing a retreat.

Even the magicians are struck with boils and their god of healing, Imhotep, was powerless.

For the first time, God hardens Pharaoh heart in fulfillment of scripture (Exodus 4:21; 7:3). In every example up to this point, Pharaoh hardens his own heart. Good lesson for us.  God gives us opportunity after opportunity to repent but eventually judgment is rendered.

This was a good website on the origin of sickness with many scriptural references thrown it:

http://www.answers2prayer.org/sickness/sickness0.html

Sickness is from the devil, not from God.  Sickness entered this world (and us) from man’s sins. But since we are forgiven if we accept Jesus as our Savior, illness is not from our personal sins. Does that make sense?

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 5, Day 4: Matthew 5:11-12

Passage:  “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Questions:

7)  Matthew 5:12:  “great is your reward in heaven” when you are insulted, persecuted, and spoken falsely against

Matthew 6:3-6, 16-18:  God will reward you when you give to the needy in secret, when you pray in secret, and when you fast in secret.

Luke 6:22-24:  “great is your reward in heaven” when you are insulted and rejected as evil

Luke 19:11-27:  “Everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away.”  The two men who made the money grow were given cities to govern as well.

1 Corinthians 3:8-15:  “Each will be rewarded according to his own labor.”  “If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.”  Basically, what you put in, you get out.

Colossians 3:23-24:  “Work with all your heart as working for the Lord since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.”

Hebrews 10:35; 11:26:  “Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.”  “He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”

Hebrews 11:6:  God rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

8a)  Half personal question.  My answer:  The Bible tells us to rejoice and be glad and to not be surprised and you are blessed because of it.  Not sure.  Haven’t truly been insulted or persecuted because of my beliefs.  But I have had false things spoken against me because of my beliefs (see Conclusions for full explanation).

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Luke 19, 1 Corinthians, and Colossians are some of my favorites that I whole-heartedly believe in.  I believe those who have will receive more because they are good stewards.  You will be rewarded according to your labor whether lazy or not.  You do work for God.  I know I will receive God’s reward because I believe in Him, His word, and His son.

Conclusions:  Again, a lot of looking up that just takes time.  Great lesson to remind us that it’s the end game that matters, not what happens to us here on Earth.  We need to act with this in mind continually.  Then the daily dramas won’t be so dramatic anymore.

I pondered question 8a for a while, mainly because I felt bad because I haven’t been persecuted because of my beliefs.  Then I remembered the story I just shared with you all (read HEREany maybe that could be persecution.

Then I read a commentary that asked the question:  if no one speaks evil of you, are you living a life that the Beatitudes describe?

Well, put that way, yeah, people speak evil (or not nice things–evil is a bit strong in my opinion) things about me all the time because I do tend to offend (not as much anymore.  I have learned as I’ve gotten older!).

And then I thought:  we never know what others say about us behind our backs.  We never know how we come across to others or sometimes even if we do offend others.

There’s only one solution to this:  to live your life as the Beatitudes describe with the goal of being more and more like them.  Yes, you will offend people along the way because the world does not value these character traits and most people act the opposite of them in fact.

So, if you are a Christian, then we all have been persecuted because we all have had people who “falsely say all kinds of evil against” us because of God.  This is a consequence of living a Godly-life.  Of having the Holy Spirit indwelt who shines Him everywhere we go.  And it is “because of me”, because of God.  Because we are His.  Because we belong to Him.

And isn’t it wonderful?

So I say, “Say what thou wilt”.  For He is mine and I am His.  And there is nothing more wonderful in all of Creation.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 5, Day 4: Genesis 4:9-16

Summary of passage:  The Lord asked Cain where was his brother.  Cain replied, “I don’t know.  Am I my brother’s keeper?”  (Hence, where our saying comes from).  The Lord says his blood cries out to Him from the ground and He curses Cain, saying no crops will grow for him and he will be a restless wanderer on the earth.

Cain complains, saying his punishment is unbearable and someone will kill him.  The Lord forbids anyone to kill Cain and marked him as a warning.  Cain lived in Nod east of Eden out of the Lord’s presence.

Questions:

9a)  Cain never once asked God for forgiveness for his crime.  He never apologized or even admitted wrong-doing.  He only cared about the punishment he received and then it was still all about him.  I picture Cain groveling to God how horrible his life will be and how he’ll be killed.  Don’t you deserve it?  After committing the first murder EVER?

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God took pity on Cain (out of His grace and love) and protected him even though he deserved a death sentence like Cain had given Abel.  God’s love is greater than man’s evil.

10a)  Cain selfishly complains.  David admits he “sinned against the Lord” and even composes a song about repentance!  David asks for God’s mercy and fully confesses his sins and asks for forgiveness.  He asks to be made better, to create a “pure heart” and then tells God he will teach others His ways so sinners will turn to Him.  He says he will praise God.

David has “a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart.”  He humbles himself before the Lord.  Cain is still full of pride.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I get defensive cause I’m in denial.  Yet as I grow in God, I get better and better at admitting my wrong-doings, truly repenting, and asking for forgiveness as I strive to do better.  Sure, I fail.  But I do see humility more than pride now.

11a)  We all have sin and we all sin.  If we believe otherwise, we are merely deceiving ourselves and the truth (Jesus) is not in us.  If we confess our sins, God will forgive us and purify us.  If we claim to have Jesus in us but we still walk in the dark (commit evil willingly), then we do not have Jesus.  If we walk in the light, we will have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus will purify us from all sin.

b)  Accept the blood of Jesus, have faith in Him, confess our sins, and we will be righteous with God.

Conclusions:  Good lesson on sin and the importance of confessing sin and making it right with the Lord.  Loved reading David’s Psalm.  Great, great prayer for us sinners!

As human beings, we all sin.  No way of getting around that.  We were born sinners.  Yet what matters to God is how you handle sin.  When you fall, admit it humbly to Him and ask Him for forgiveness.  He will grant it.  All you must do is accept Jesus’ blood and have a willing heart.

Cain’s attitude saddens me but I can see myself in him too.  Gives me something to work on!