8 ) Gentiles are everyone who is not a Jew. Because the Jewish rabbis had taught for generations that the Jewish people is special since they were chosen by God to be the bearer of faith and the keep of God’s laws. They believed they were superior to others because they did believe in the One, True God in a world dominated by pagans.
9) All throughout history people believed in the afterlife and in various gods. Many think if they are good people they will get to heaven. Many people worship other gods. Many don’t even think.
10) Personal Question. My answer: Easy: There are not many ways to God. It’s only Jesus. The entire Bible says so. Graciously? Unsure. You can’t convince someone with a hard heart to God to soften. All you can do is speak the Truth. God will (or will not) do the rest in His power.
Conclusions: Question 8 is repetitive. We’ve already studied why the Jews thought they were special. Again, nit-picking this passage about only one way to heaven. All Christians know this and accept this (or they’re not Christians). We all know how others think. What is the value in discussing it? I would rather meditate on how much God loves me, the sinner, than waste time debating the fallacies of others.
End Notes: God is the God of all and He justifies all the same–through faith.
Summary of passage: Many Samaritans were converted due to the woman’s testimony at first and then because of Jesus himself.
7) Part personal Question. My answer: 1) Because of the woman’s testimony. 2) They came with an open heart and mind and listened. 3) Because of Jesus’ words many more became believers. Family and friends.
8 ) Part personal Question. My answer: John the Baptist testified to what he saw. He told Andrew and John the Apostle to come and see and hear for themselves. They did. They believed. Just like the Samaritans. Come with an open heart and mind and God can do anything.
9a) Very similar. Philip went to Samaria, proclaimed Christ, performed miraculous signs which got the people’s attention, believed and were baptized. Same thing in this passage.
b) Personal Question. My answer: As the days pass and trials and joys come and go, I think our faith grows as well. My family’s has grown significantly.
Conclusions: Amazing how belief is entered into! It’s a very simple process and has been since Abraham. Someone testifies or encounters Jesus, they come with open hearts and minds, they listen and see miracles, and then they believe and commit their lives to Christ. We must remember this as we’re inviting others to church and to events that have Jesus as the center. It’s easy on our part. God does the rest.
End Notes: It’s important to note that Jesus loved the Samaritan woman despite everything she did. He chose her to reveal the secret to eternal life! Can you imagine?
It’s remarkable at this time in history that Jesus stayed two days with the Samaritans. Samaria remember was a place to avoid by Jews at all cost and to enter and exit as quickly as possible. That the people wanted a Jew to stay and that Jesus agreed broke all social bounds! This shows just what an impression Jesus made on people. Oh, to have been there!
Listening to Jesus deepened their faith. We can do the same thing through reading the Word, praying, and listening for God to speak to us.
Note John records Jesus as the Savior of the world. Jews, Samaritans, Gentiles, everyone!
Summary of passage: To the church in Laodicea Jesus says he knows the church’s deeds which are only lukewarm or mediocre. They believe they are rich and have everything they need, but they are poor and lacking in God. He wants them to see their spiritual blindness, become righteous, and obtain his riches.
10) Personal Question. My answer: “The words of the Amen” which is the complete and wholeness and final word. It is done. Jesus is the finisher.
11) They are neither hot nor cold. He wishes they were one or the other and he spits them out of his mouth.
12a) They think they are rich and don’t need a thing. Jesus says they are poor, wretched, pitiful, blind and naked.
b) They think they are rich and don’t need a thing (including God). God reprimands them because although they aren’t bad, they aren’t good. They are indifferent and complacent in their works. They can do better and should do better for God. Either do it whole-heartedly or not at all God is saying here.
c) Part-personal question. My answer: Through prayer. I think most people do know in their hearts if they are not on God’s path. If not, ask God to show you. Not sure myself where I am struggling. I know I’m a bit clouded cause I’ve been a bit depressed lately due to the failure of my writings. I have been praying nothing specific, just “Lord, you know what ails me. Heal me.”
Conclusions: I like how Jesus speaks to people who aren’t using their full potential for him and are just doing enough to get by. I see this in our young people today. God wants your all, your best, 100%. If your heart is not in it, why do it?
End Notes: Laodicea is the last stop for our messenger. Like the other cities, Laodicea was an important commercial and trading town. It’s name means “rule of the people”. It was well off and held a good number of Jews. However, Roman temples abounded to Caesar, Asklepios, and others. Laodicea was wealthy enough to rebuild after an earthquake in 60 AD. History with pictures of ruins HERE
Laodicea had no significant water supply. Water traveled on an aqueduct from a hot springs via Hierapolis and it arrived lukewarm or it traveled from Collasae where the water was cold but it still arrived lukewarm. Hence, Laodicea was vulnerable to attack and siege and often negotiated with invaders rather than face death from lack of water.
Paul mentions Laodicea in Colossians 2:1 and 4:16. It is also the only church Jesus addresses the people (Laodiceans) instead of the city (e.g. Ephesus). However, some translations have Laodicea only.
Laodicea is also the only church Christ did not praise for anything! He only condemns. How tragic!
Lukewarm is apathy, indifference, complacency, and even uselessness–never giving their hearts fully over to Jesus. Results: unhappiness in world and in heaven. Lukewarmness is comfortable; God wants us outside our comfort zone.
Jesus wants you hot for him or cold so you’d be more likely to turn to him (cold is also refreshing like ice water on a hot, summer day). If you are lukewarm, it’s harder to reach you because you have a bit of him already and think that’s enough. You are useless in the sense that you’re not doing enough and don’t care enough to bring others to him. Spurgeon has great commentary on the idea of lukewarmness to God.
We are in Jesus’ mouth as he prays for us and we spread his word. “Spit you out of my mouth” does not mean they will be kicked out of the kingdom. What it means is that the people are in danger of being far from him and his presence.
Laodicea was famous for healing and textiles. Yet the people were blind and naked.
They had the opposite problem of Smyrna who thought they were poor but were rich. Very similar to the church at Sardis.
Jesus tells them to heal their eyes so they can see their spiritual blindness. He wanted them to buy his gold (his riches–spiritual not material) and his righteous garments (white clothes).
Literally: Gold is Laodicea’s financial wealth. Clothes is the textile industry Laodicea is known for. Eye salve is another product Laodiceans were known for. Jesus knows all!
Summary of passage: God did not lead the Israelites out of Egypt on the quickest path for God did not want them to encounter enemies of Egypt and flee back to Egypt. So He lead them around a desert road to the Red Sea. Moses took the bones of Joseph with him as Joseph had requested. From Succoth they camped at Etham and then God led them always either in a pillar of cloud or fire.
The Lord orders the Israelites to turn back so that Pharaoh will think they are lost and pursue them. Then the Lord will show Pharaoh once again that He is the Lord. Pharaoh did pursue them with all of his chariots. When the people saw the Egyptians pursuing them, they complained to Moses “It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert.” Moses told the people God will fight for them if they are still.
God tells Moses to part the Red Sea, which he does. The angel of God and the cloud separated the two and allowed the Israelites a chance to escape. The Egyptians followed the Israelites across and God made the chariot wheels come off. Then He told Moses to close the sea again and the entire army of Pharaoh was lost at sea. Afterwards, the Israelites faith was strengthened and they trusted the Lord and Moses.
8a) Everything God instructed the Israelites to do was to strengthen their faith or to keep them safe or to keep them moving towards the Promised Land. He showed them He was in control and even the mightiest army in the world was no match for Him.
b) They would fear Him and put their trust in Him and in His servant, Moses.
c) Killing all of Pharaoh’s best troops, chariots, and horsemen showed the Egyptians and the world who was boss and would bring God glory. Remember at this time, the Egyptians were unbeatable, supposedly protected by their many gods. Being brought down by the God of Israel would bring him much praise and glory and converts perhaps.
d) Personal Question. My answer: I personally feel none of my circumstances have been “impossible”. With God, there is always a way. In my difficult circumstances, God has been by my side every step of the way and in my faith I hope I have brought glory to Him for others to see. Even in doubt, I have prayed. Even when I don’t feel like praying, I manage something. And I believe that to be the key.
9a) “The people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.” Humility and praise.
b) Personal Question. My answer: I believe the same as the Israelites–stronger faith in Him to do it all. Greater reliance on Him. Greater praise and credit. Greater love towards all.
Conclusions: Thought 8 was a bit repetitive and the personal questions too close as well. For one of the most important and famous scenes in the Bible I would have liked to have spent more time on it and diving deeper. There are a lot of nuggets here to explore that we didn’t touch on. My favorite: the importance of being still, especially in this crazy, insane world. How encouraging to know if you are still, God will fight for you and don’t worry about the details–God’s got it. I would also have liked to explore Pharaoh and his connection with Satan more.
End Notes: The Red Sea here in the Bible is the modern day Gulf of Suez. It is not the thick part of the Sea but the beginning.
From Genesis, you may remember that Joseph was never buried. God had revealed to him that Egypt was not the Promised Land. Hence, it would have been relatively easy to carry Joseph’s bones back.
Pillar in Hebrew means ‘something standing’. Scholars say it was most likely a column. God was constantly present with His people and still they doubted.
God set a trap for Pharaoh for His glory and Pharaoh went for it.
How quickly Pharaoh forgets God’s power. How quickly do we?
This can apply to the devil as well. He pursues us just like Pharaoh does and we must be always wary.
Chariots at the time were the most advanced weaponry for fighting. Most battles involved chariots and foot soldiers and maybe some archers. That’s it. Charioters were valuable and were seen with honor in Egypt. Destroying them would hit both Pharaoh and his people a major blow.
God’s people were hemmed in–Pharaoh on one side, Red Sea on another. It was natural to be scared. But not natural to lack faith in God (whom you could see in a cloud by the way). Yet note they cried out to God–exactly what we are supposed to do when fear overwhelms us. And He answered. In a BIG way.
Man’s cruel nature is revealed here: Egypt, the king of burial grounds, and the Israelites use this to mock Moses. Sad, really. I see this in man all the time. People are mean and cruel and it saddens me.
What short-term memories! Not one week out of Egypt and the Israelites want to go back!
Moses responds in faith! He has no idea how God is going to save them, but he knows God will. He encourages the people and soothes them–the mark of a great leader.
When God is the only rescuer in a situation, we trust Him more. Like with an illness or addiction. Where we need faith is the daily little things in life. That is my prayer this week.
Note Moses incredible connection with God and advice: Be still. Don’t do anything hasty. Don’t panic. Just wait on Him.
Saying the Egyptians would not be seen again is both literal and figurative–not here or in heaven.
God answers “Why are you crying out to me?” Prayer and then action! By having Moses perform the miracle, God is strengthening the people’s faith in God’s chosen leader.
Who is the Lord? Pharaoh asked. God is still answering. God answers this question with everything in our lives. When we triumph, God’s enemy falls. We are a testament to His power every day.
God shielded the Israelites from their enemies. How often does God do the same for us?
The Egyptians could have submitted then and been spared. But they chose the dark side and judgment.
The Hebrew is “Reed Sea” so identifying the exact spot of crossing has been impossible. Modern scholars say modern-day Lake Sirbonis but recent research says Gulf of Aqaba. For me, this is a mute point. All that matters is God’s delivery of His people.
Just to be clear: no one is for sure the exact route that Moses took or where the crossing of the Reed Sea took place. Every map I find online is different. I provide these so you can have a rough idea of what the Israelites went through and what land they crossed. God is behind it all. The details are left for when we get to heaven.
Psalm 77:16-20 gives more detail on the actual crossing. One of the “remembering” psalms, the author begins in despair, but remembers God’s great deeds and is strengthened in his faith. Powerful psalm for when we are lost and low.
God slows the chariots while Moses closes the Sea–again, using Moses as His chosen instrument.
Egypt with relation to Israel is now no more. Egypt does not bother with Canaan for most of the rest of the Bible. Seeing the dead bodies would have been final to the Israelites–no more slavery.
Interesting tid-bit: one scholar speculates that the Israelites may have pillaged the dead bodies and stolen weapons to be used against their enemies in Canaan.
God delivers us out of both love and glory for Him. The Passover and the Red Sea must happen just like the cross and the Redemption.
Summary of passages: Matthew 5:27-32: Jesus says do not commit adultery and this includes anyone who looks at another lustfully is adultery in your heart. If what causes you to sin is your eye or your hand, then get rid of it for it is better for you to lose one part of your body than your whole self to hell.
Jesus says except for marital unfaithfulness, you commit adultery when you divorce or marry someone who has been divorced.
Mark 10: 1-12: Jesus answers the question is divorce lawful. In the Old Testament, Moses permitted a man to divorce a woman. Jesus said this was only because your hearts were hard. God intended for man and woman to be united in one flesh and to not have man separate what God has put together.
Jesus continues by saying if you divorce, then you are committing adultery against that person.
9) Personal Question. My answer: Pray. Remove yourself from the situation where the impure thoughts happen like a work environment or what have you. Read the Bible. Quote scripture. Purposely replace those thoughts with quotes from the Bible. Use God’s word as a shield against the devil and the thoughts he puts in your head. Read another book or do a different activity to occupy the mind until the thoughts stop.
10) Personal Question. My answer: 1 Corinthians 10:13: “…God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up against it.
Matthew 26:41: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”
Galatians 5:16: “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”
Psalm 119:11: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
11a) Marital unfaithfulness. Mark adds because man’s hearts were hard.
b) Essentially, that God never intended for divorce to exist. That divorce is man’s institution and a supposed way around God’s law. God made man and woman to be together and once together to join as one and to never be parted.
Conclusions: I love how we are digesting Jesus’ teachings in little chunks and then looking in the Bible elsewhere for supporting themes. Great study of the Bible and how to apply it in our daily lives. Thank you BSF!
We are given the Deuteronomy verse here because this is the law the Pharisees had been using to justify divorce. The problem was the word “Displeases” or “indecent” or “uncleanness” was ill-defined and subjective at best. In Moses’ time, it was understood to mean unfaithful but by Roman times, it had been interpreted as any old excuse. Hence, Jesus here clarifies it unequivocally by defining it as “marital unfaithfulness.”
Many of us fall into sin because of the situation around us. It’s why your parents didn’t want you hanging out with kids who were bad influences because then you’d be more likely to sin because of it. Good call by BSF to highlight that fact. For it is up to us (especially as adults) to insulate ourselves if you will from sin by turning our backs on situations where we know we will be more likely to sin.
If you are an alcoholic, avoid places that serve alcohol. If you are tempted to drugs, find different friends. If you are attracted to someone you shouldn’t be, don’t be around that person. For God always provides a way out. Just many of us don’t chose it.
End Notes: Again, Jesus is applying adultery to the heart, not merely to the actions. You sin when you have lustful thoughts not just when you act on that lust. They are not the same, but they are both sin. You can extrapolate this to anything else you covet as well as evinced by the Ten Commandments and outlawed.
We are in charge of our thoughts and we must gain control if we are to win against the devil. You must be willing to sacrifice in order to be more like Jesus. And no one said it was easy.
2 Corinthians 10:5: “…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
God does not recognize divorce. It is an institution of man, not of God. Hence, if you divorce and marry again, you are committing adultery because you are still married to your first spouse in God’s eyes.
It was commonplace for Romans to marry and then sleep around with others. Extramarital affairs was not condoned and divorce was rampant. Hence, it was (and still is) very important for people to hear these words from Jesus to know the Truth when they were surrounded by society’s lies.
Summary of passage: Jared had Enoch and then he died. Enoch had Methuselah. Enoch walked with God and was taken up to heaven.
8 ) Jude says Enoch prophesied. Hebrews says he was commended as one who pleased God. Genesis says Enoch walked with God.
9) No. He was taken up to heaven but did not experience a physical death.
10a) Enoch was just taken up to heaven as those of us who are living in Christ (the faithful) shall be taken up to heaven when the Lord comes.
b) We will all rise and be changed and given a new body. The Lord will come down from heaven and with a loud command and trumpet call the dead in Christ will rise. Then the living in Christ will rise and be with the Lord forever.
c) Personal Question. My answer: Rising again to be with Christ forever. Gives me hope.
Conclusions: I’m REALLY not liking this lesson. I just feel like BSF is spending way too much time on Genesis 5 and an obscure guy named Enoch. Furthermore, we discussed all of this in Acts last year. We read Hebrews, 1 Corinthians, and 1 Thessalonians and discussed Enoch as well. I just don’t see his importance like BSF does.
Question 8 had no specifics. We don’t know why Enoch was commended with God or how he exactly walked with God. We just know he did something to be taken up to heaven by God. I just don’t see how this applies to my life.
For me, I didn’t get anything out of this lesson and am ready to move on to Lesson 7.
Summary of passage: Barnabas and Saul are in Pisidian Antioch (Turkey, yesterday’s map HERE) at the synogogue. Paul is invited to speak. He tells the people God has prospered them in Egypt, led them out of Egypt and gave them Canaan to live on, and sent them judges. He sent King Saul and King David. From David God sent Jesus who preached repentance and baptism.
The prophecies of the Old Testament were fulfilled: no one recognized Jesus as the Savior, the executed him with no evidence of a crime, and God raised him from the dead and traveled amongst them for many days. God has fulfilled His promise to His people through Jesus.
Through Jesus we (the people) are forgiven and justified. And be warned if you do not accept Jesus, you shall perish as the prophets have predicted.
9a) First division: 16-25 Second division: 26-37 Third division: 38-41
b) God chose men of Israel and the Gentiles who worshipped God. He prospered His people in Egypt and led them out of that country. He cared for them for 40 years in the desert and overthrew 7 nations in Canaan so He could establish His people there. He gave them judges and when the people asked for a king God gave them Saul and then David. (verses 17-22)
God endured their conduct while in the desert (verse 18). The people asked for a king (verse 21).
God chose David so Jesus could come from his line. John the Baptist tried to prepare the people for Jesus by preaching repentance and baptism. (verse 23-4)
10) Personal Question. My answer: By giving me a Christian mom who took me to church. Giving me a Christian husband. Leading me to my church where I was baptized as a young adult. Leading me to BSF and other bible studies where I can learn and grow in God’s word so I can teach others and raise my children knowing and seeking Him.
11) The prophecies were fulfilled to the letter with Jesus’ coming. No one recognized Jesus as the Savior. He was unjustly condemned and sentenced to death. He was risen from the tomb once killed and continued to abide here on Earth and seen by many as witnesses. Jesus fulfilled God’s promises.
12a) Forgiveness of our sins (verse 38) through Jesus Christ our Savior. Everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses (basically saying OT is nulled and void and now NT–Jesus–rids us of the OT ways and ushers in new ways). Verse 39
b) Believing in Jesus (verse 39)
c) According to Webster’s believe means “to have a firm religious faith; to accept trustfully and on faith; to have a firm conviction as to the reality or goodness of something.”
In this instance, if you accept Jesus as your Savior, trust He is real and everlasting, hold a firm conviction of His reality, and hold faithfully to this knowledge in your heart, then you believe in Him.
d) If we wonder about Jesus, if we are complacent and do not believe, we will perish. For Jesus is coming (the something God will do we won’t believe). Paul is quoting from the Old Testament here (Habakkuk 1:5) before Jesus has come.
e) According to Webster’s Dictionary, to scoff is “to show contempt by derisive acts or language; to treat with derision; mock”. People mock Christians, saying their beliefs are antiquated and question whether there is a God or not who would allow such horrible doings on this planet.
In my limited worldly experience of human behavior, I would say a lot of these people who scoff are masking a jealously or a fear. They are jealous of those who profess faith or are afraid of what turning their heart over to Jesus would mean for them. They might have to give something up or quit doing something in their lifestyle–a vice if you will.
Paul calls all these people out with dire consequences.
Conclusions: I think Question 12 nailed it. I think many today are “dreamers” and do more thinking than they do acting. If we wait too long to accept Jesus, we might miss the boat and die, ending up on the wrong boat for eternity. In this generation there is a tendency to “play it safe” and not take risks, a tendency to sit on the sidelines and let someone else make all the decisions.
Here Paul warns if that is you, you will perish. Period. End of story. Too late.
So decide and make it quick. For one day you might not wake up.
End Tip: I must have changed my divisions 10 times while doing this lesson. So I decided to skip that question and answer the rest and fill in the divisions based off of BSF’s questions. So these are my guesses based off of what I believe BSF is looking for.
End Note on Justification: I believe this is the first time the thought and idea of justification is expressed since Jesus’ death. We talked about this last year in Isaiah but I needed to look it up again so I thought I’d review it here. Most of this is summarized from my Bible Dictionary (Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary by J D Douglas and Merrill C Tenney) found under justification.
When Jesus died, he absolved all of man from sin. If man believes in Jesus through faith then man is declared righteous in God’s eyes. Being righteous means we have a right relationship with God (basically we can once again stand in His presence because sin had always separated us from the perfectness of God. Here sin is washed away, we are righteous, we are right in God’s eyes, so we can be with Him again).
Paul’s last words are trying to convey the key point: if you don’t have faith, you won’t be justified nor saved and you will perish. One must have faith to have justification. The sinner (us) must accept the work of Christ and his death on the cross.