BSF Study Questions John Lesson 7, Day 5: John 5:31-47

Summary of passage:  Jesus explains how John the Baptist has testified for him.  How the work he is doing is a testimony for who Jesus is.  God has testified for him.  The Word has testified for him.  Jesus says they do not believe who he is.

Questions:

11)  Part-personal Question.  My answer:  John the Baptist verse 33.  The work God has given him and that Jesus is doing verse 36.  God verse 37.  The Scriptures verse 39.  Moses verse 46.  My response is belief.

12)  Part-personal Question.  My answer:  They refused to believe testimonies.  They do not have the love of God in their hearts.  They missed the Truth in the Word.  Pride, vanity, self-love.  They lived on each other’s praise.  Their belief in their own self-importance blinded them to the One who is truly important.  How will I pray?  Well, I’ll just pray.

13)  Part-personal Question.  My answer:  They did not believe in the Scriptures.  They misinterpreted the Scriptures, looking for a military savior.  They were looking for what they wanted to find.  They were blinded.  We must read with an open mind and not preconceived notions.   We must be open to God speaking the Truth to us.  I’d ask for eyes to see and a humble heart from God to see the Truth.

Conclusions:  All personal questions.  All modern man has are the Scriptures.  John the Baptist is dead.  Jesus is not here on earth.  Again, the pride of man is the downfall of many.  We are blinded to the truth and we must ask God to show us.  We must let Him lead.  We must submit to Him.  Or all of us will be spiritually blinded and will miss Jesus.  And our lives are too short for that.

End Notes:  Jesus’ testimony about himself is not enough because anyone can claim anything.  Debt 19:15 says one witness is not enough.  Two or three are needed.  Here, Jesus goes beyond that by citing 5 witnesses.

The religious leaders for a time believed John the Baptist.  A lamp is light, the light of God.

Jesus’ works were of compassion to others, not military might.  This Messiah is not the one expected because again man misconstrues God’s word.

Everything Jesus does is God’s testimony but in Luke 3:22 God specifically anoints Jesus at his baptism.

They studied the Scriptures but never found the Truth there.  How tragic!  What a message for us!

The religious leaders were unwilling to come to Jesus out of pride.  They did not love God.  This was a heart issue.

Jesus prophesies the Anti-Christ here and others who will claim to be the Messiah.

New Testament writers all took the stand that the Old Testament as a whole points to Jesus (Luke 24:25-27, 44-46).

These men did not believe Moses who wrote extensively of the Messiah (Deut 18:15; Num 20:8-12, 21:8-9; Lev 1-7; Exodus 21:5-6).

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 7, Day 4: John 5:24-30

Summary of passage:  Jesus says to the Jewish leaders that whoever hears him and believes in God will have eternal life.  A time will come when the dead will hear his voice and those who hear will live.  He has the authority from God to judge.  The dead who have done good will live.  Those who have done evil will be condemned.  Jesus can do nothing without God.  He seeks to please the Father.

Questions:

9a)  “he has crossed over from death to life.”

b)  Part-personal Question.  My answer:  If you hear the Word and believe in God and thus Jesus.  The results for the future is eternal life.  My help is to do everything I do with a focus on eternity.

c)  “Those who have done evil will rise to be condemned” Verse 29

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I am encouraged by the promise of eternal life as it influences my everyday decisions and it’s as easy as hearing the Word and believing.  All will be judged is an encouragement as well so I don’t have to worry about it.

Conclusions:  Weak.  That’s all I’ll say.  Could have done more on resurrection here.

End Notes:  Since God and Jesus are one, belief in one is belief in the other.  Here, Jesus says hear me AND believe in God and have everlasting life and escape judgment from sin.  Again, this is a radical idea to the Jewish people since Jesus is saying, “I am God.”

Again, radical ideas as Jesus says even the dead will hear his voice and have a chance to live forever with him.

Again, radical:  Jesus says his life is uncreated, derived from no one.  He has always been.  This is known as aseity.  He is claiming the same status as God where the Old Testament says life belongs to God and is his to give (Deut 30:20; Job 10:12, 33:4, Psalm 16:11, 27:1, 36:9).

All will live forever–the good and the bad.  The saved and the condemned.  All will receive a new body.  This power is from God.  Jesus is explaining further who he is and why he has come.

Judgement is based on what people have done in their lives (Romans 2:4-8; Rev 20:12).  Salvation is a gift from God in response to faith and faith in Christ results in changed lives.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 7, Day 3: John 5:16-23

Summary of passage:  The Jewish leaders were unhappy with Jesus doing work on the Sabbath and calling himself the Son of God so they persecuted him.  Jesus explained how he does everything through God and will do great things and bestow ever lasting life.  God has granted Jesus the role of judger of mankind and whoever does not honor him, does not honor the Father.

Questions:

6)  The Jewish leaders were unhappy with Jesus doing work on the Sabbath and calling himself the Son of God.  “My Father is always at his work to this very day” and therefore he too works.  Because Jesus was breaking the Sabbath and calling God his Father, making himself equal with God.

7)  “Whatever the Father does the Son also does.”  God “will show him [Jesus] even greater things.”

8 )  Part-personal Question.  My answer:

1)  God has given Jesus the power of resurrection over the dead and eternal life and who to grant this to.

2)  God has given Jesus the role of judger of all mankind.

3)  God has given Jesus the same status to be honored by mankind the same.

It doesn’t.  I’ve always believed God, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one.  My attitude is the same.

Conclusions:  The personal question of 8 is lackluster.  Still would have liked to have delved deeper into the breaking of the Sabbath.  It’s important to understand that Jesus was not breaking any laws.  That these supposed laws are interpretations of God’s laws by mankind which are twisted and untrue.  These questions are too superficial.

End Notes:  No one cared that the man was healed.  All they cared about was their precious laws being broken–laws not in the Bible.

Jesus did not delve into the definition of what work is on the Sabbath.  Instead, he states simply:  God works on the Sabbath and so do I (since I am God).  This is important for us.  God never stops working.  He never stops listening to us or caring for our problems or working in our lives.  He is there always.

In Ancient Times, slaves did all the work.  It was considered beneath the nobles to lift a finger and the Greek and Roman gods never worked so the very idea of a working god was alien to most people.

God rests.  He never stops ruling.  God rests for our benefit–showing us how to live.  Not for Him.

“Breaking” and “calling” are continuous action.  Jesus was always breaking the laws and calling himself God’s son.

Jesus submits by choice to God’s will.  God shows Jesus what to do.

God the Son in becoming man separated himself and ceased not to be God, and became the separate personality of Jesus as the personality of God the Son.

“Loves” is continuous as well.  The Father always loves the Son.

Jesus refers to the power of eternal life–the ultimate power.  Jesus says he is the judger–again a separate but distinct part of God the Father.  Jesus was love and judge–full of grace and mercy.  Imagine looking upon Jesus and seeing both and feeling both–shame at your sin yet amazing love and forgiveness.

God’s people believed God did raise the dead.  Here, Jesus says he has that same authority–again, establishing the idea that he  is equal to God.  The same with being the judge.  The Jews believed God to be the final judge.  Here, Jesus says now I am.  These ideas were blasphemous, radical, revolutionary, and heretical.  It threw the Sadducees in turmoil, abutting long-held beliefs.  It’s hard for mankind to accept change especially quickly.  Jesus was on earth for so short of a time.  Think of all who missed him because they were stuck in their ways.  A lesson for us as well.

It’s hard for us to grasp this since we are thousands of years down the road and just know who Jesus is and what he does and how to honor him.  Try to think as these people did when studying John.

Being the judge requires honor equal to God.  One cannot honor just one.

God sent but Jesus came.  Both are equally important.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 7, Day 2: John 5:1-15

Summary of passage:  Jesus was in Galilee in Chapter 4, healing the official’s son and now we’re back to Jerusalem where Jesus heals a man at a pool at Bethesda on the Sabbath.  He tells the man to get up, pick up his mat, and walk and the man does.  This is in Jerusalem at the feast of the Jews.  The Jews told the man he can’t do work on the Sabbath i.e. carry his mat.  The man says Jesus told him to.

Questions:

3)  38 years.  He can’t walk so he lies around.  He’s angry or full of self-pity when he says he has no one to help him to the poor and people are always jumping in front of him.  But the man has great faith in Jesus’ words because he does as told:  gets up, picks up his mat, and walks.

4a)  “Get up!”

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To always turn to him for the answers first.  To trust in events and circumstances that God is in control.

5)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  “See, you are well again.  Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”  We must obey Jesus all the time because we are in danger of turning from him, following the wrong path, and ending up worse than we are now.  Sin leads us down the wrong path.  Jesus wants us on his path.

Conclusions:  I’m disappointed there were no questions on the “Jews” (most likely the Pharisees) who were angry that Jesus healed on the Sabbath.  There’s no in-depth questions on the feast of the Jews or the Sabbath either.  There’s so much to this passage and we took a very superficial approach here.  See End Notes for much more.

End Notes:  Scholars are unsure which feast this is but it was probably one of the major three feasts in which attendance was required:  either Passover, Pentecost, or Purim/Tabernacles.  If it was a Passover, then there were four Passovers in Jesus’ ministry, making it last 3½ years.  John explicitly mentions 3 Passovers (2:13, 23; 6:4; 11:55, 12:1), which would make Jesus’ ministry only 2 1/2 years).

The pool in Bethesda has been excavated and does indeed have 5 porches as John describes.  Although he speaks in the present tense, this doesn’t necessarily mean the temple is still standing.

The belief was that an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters of this pool.  The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease he had.  Hence, the congregation of the blind, lame and paralyzed.  The belief was this only happened at certain times such as at Passover or at feasts.

If this were true, it would be unusual in the Bible (outside of Jesus’ miracles).  Other examples of healings;  2 Kings 4:38-41; 2 Kings 5:10-14; 2 Kings 13:20-21; Acts 5:14-16; Acts 19:11-12

There were a multitude of people sick at this pool and Jesus selected this man to meet his need.  None of these people looked to Jesus.  Instead, they all stared into a pool–waiting.  So many of us do this:  wait on circumstances and events in our lives that will never be perfect.  Look to Jesus and pray instead!

Jesus asks the man first if he wants to get well.  Some people don’t.  Some are so defeated by their condition they lose heart.  Jesus needed to make sure the man still had heart.  People who have lived that long with a disease know no other life and the thought of losing that comfort zone scares them.

Here, the man is hopeful (he comes to the pool) but unhopeful (he won’t ever get in the waters).

In faith, the man obeyed Jesus.  And look what happened!  Normally, Jesus healed only if one had faith in him but this man did not know him but he still had faith.

Healing in the Bible:  anointing, praying, faith, and medical treatment:  James 5:14-16; Mark 16:17-18; 1 Corinthians 12:9; Matthew 9:22; Mark 2:4-5; Matthew 8:13; 1 Timothy 5:23; James 5:14 with Luke 10:34.

When John says “the Jews”, he refers to the Jewish leaders.

Carrying the bed was work, which according the rabbis, was forbidden on the Sabbath.  This is man’s interpretation of God’s laws, not God’s laws.  The penalty for doing work on the Sabbath could be severe–even being stoned.

Jesus ignored all custom and said  it is good to do good on the Sabbath (John 5:17, John 7:23; Luke 6:9; 13:15; 14:5).

Still to this day, orthodox Jews do no work on the Sabbath.

Note the Rabbis don’t care that the man was healed.  All they care about is him carrying a mat on the Sabbath.

Jesus disappears as he didn’t want a riot to break out amongst the other disabled.

Jesus finds the man again to warn him his spiritual health is in danger.  He needs to now focus on doing good with his new-found life.

Note the first betrayal here of Jesus:  the man found the Jewish leaders and told them it was indeed Jesus Christ.  The man could have been afraid of the Jewish leaders as well but could have held his tongue and definitely not sought them out.  Isn’t it amazing how Jesus knows he will be betrayed but he does it anyways because it’s the right thing to do.  I wish to have such an attitude and such heart.

Pool of Bethesda in Art HERE

Map of Bethesda and Jerusalem HERE

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 7, Day 5: Ephesians 4

Summary of passage:  Christians have been called by God to live a worthy life through grace from Christ’s death.  He called us to our particular talents and service and to live in God’s light.  To put on His righteousness, living truthfully and faithfully and forgiving to others.

Questions:

11)  To live a life worthy of God’s calling.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Be peaceful.  To have a new attitude, to speak truthfully, to work, to not be angry, to forgive, to speak only encouraging words, be kind and compassionate.  Get rid of bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, malice, and other evil.

12)  Part-personal Question.  My answer:  Put on a new self is accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior and being cleansed with his righteousness and receiving the Holy Spirit.  This makes you a new person and rids you of your old self.  Be more God like and do what Jesus would do.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He has been teaching me to pray when I’m angry or bitter or offended; to be patient with others; to be more encouraging and to speak less gossip and complaints; to be kind and forgiving; to be compassionate and helpful to others.  The church in general upholds these principles and works hard to teach its members so.

Conclusions:  This is more of a behavior lesson than studying who God’s people are.  The one thing that was a bit confusing (verse 17 where it mentions don’t live like the Gentiles) and the one thing that actually pertains to Romans 11 (Day 4) was not touched upon.  See End Notes for details.

We studied Ephesians 4 for 3 days in the Study of Acts.  This was the infamous “organic unity” versus “organizational conformity” question that stumped most of us.  See links HERE, HERE, and HERE for a fun review of what BSF focused on.  Neat!

End Notes:  Paul has just spent the first 3 chapters of Ephesians telling us what God has done for us.  Now, he’s telling us because of God’s love and deeds, this is how we should act.

Keep a spiritual unity and do not fight amongst fellow Christians (this is a call for the Jews to accept Gentile Christians).

Jesus established the spiritual leaders of the church:  apostles (first century only), prophets, evangelists, and pastors/teachers.

Note how these people set aside by Christ are to prepare God’s people (Christians) to serve and to grow their knowledge of God.

So often these days the focus on churches is unbelievers and God’s found people get lost in the fray.  Just this week my pastor said this very thing:  we must focus on bringing others to Christ.  Here, Jesus says otherwise.  I agree.  For if we all can live out a life in Christ, speak with certainty the word, and show Jesus’ heart and compassion to others, what more could be a more powerful a testament to Christ?  For God wants our whole heart.  It’s not enough to believe.  It’s not good enough.  We have to be all in. Any less is no good.

This is where Bible Study Fellowship gets it right and why so many of us love BSF and attend.  BSF’s mission is to equip believers with the knowledge they need to improve their churches.  To train leaders who are called.  To obtain a whole-hearted relationship with God.  This is what the Word says we must do and BSF excels in this respect.  This is why so many of us come to BSF for we cannot and do not receive this in our own churches.

The Gentiles mentioned in verse 17 are unbelievers, some of which are Gentiles.  All Jews believed in God and this is Paul’s distinction.  He’s speaking broadly about those who do not follow God and who live amorally and in the first century that was all Gentiles, non-Jews, who were not set apart by God.  Hence, the term for his readers would have known instantly his point.

We are re-born with holiness and righteousness, justified in God’s sight and able to be with Him when we have the Holy Spirit.  The old self is the sinner who rebels against God.

Anger is okay but not when it leads to sin.  Controlled anger is the key here.

The Greek word “work” means exert oneself to the point of exhaustion.  We work in order to have something to give.

Grieving the Holy Spirit is disappointing God.  It’s not spending time with Him, but spending time in worldly things.  Watching a movie when your bible is sitting unread.  Not following His ways.

“In Christ God forgave you” is translated in the King James Bible as “God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven thee.”  Much stronger.  For Christ, God forgave us.  And no other reason.

Conclusions to Lesson 7:  I got the most out of Day 5 here–surprisingly.  It has really nothing to do with who are God’s people.  It has to do with how to live as God’s people.  We studied Ephesians 4 in the study of Acts in BSF, but I never really got the meaning until this study.  I often say in my conclusions when we go outside the book we are studying that the passage has little to do with the study.  However, that doesn’t mean it’s not valuable.  All God’s word is worthy of study repeatedly.  All of God’s words are connected.  Returning to a passage again and again will lead you to new insights and understandings depending on where you are in your life.

Like this passage.  I think I got it this time mainly because of the lecture my church pastor just gave. The church I attend is stagnant, meaning they aren’t growing.  I think it’s because their focus is so intense on being the church for unbelievers that the believers feel ignored and look elsewhere for spiritual feeding.  I get my feeding here at BSF, but many do not.

Great reminder that the Jews are God’s chosen people.  He wants all of them to come to Him before the End Times.  They are the foundation.  We are to remember this especially in light of the nation of Israel.  Pray for them always.  Support them.  Love them.

My church hosted a traditional seder meal put on by Jews for Jesus.  It was amazing to learn its significance and to see God’s people come to faith in Christ as their Savior.  Very, very encouraging.

The Holy Spirit marks God’s people and makes them anew.  Not to be taken lightly.  It’s the greatest gift (besides Jesus) God has given us.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 7, Day 4: Romans 11

Summary of passage:  God has preserved a remnant by grace alone.  Sadly, a lot of Jews did not accept Jesus.  Hence, God turned to the Gentiles, allowed them to be a part of the remnant by grace in hopes of saving His people (the Jews) for eternity.  Once the Gentiles have come to God, all of Israel will be saved as well.

Questions:

8 )  God sent Jesus to save His people, the Jews, first and then He opened it up to the Gentiles–mainly to make the Jews jealous so all Jews will accept Christ.

9a)  The root is the Jews.  The broken branches and wild shoot are the Gentiles.

b)  Even those who fall, reject Him, and would otherwise be cut off, God grafts them in again.  He gives them chances to come to Him again and repent.  He provides the way–Jesus.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  By offering me the will to believe and accept Jesus.  I try to lead the life He has for me.

Conclusions:  Good study on history of Jews.  I remember when we studied Isaiah how important the Jews are to God.  They will always be first in His heart and He will always be striving to save all of them.  As a Gentile, it gives me more humbleness and awe that I’m included in His plan.

I can see how it would be extremely difficult for first century Jews to accept Jesus.  For millennium, it had always been them and God.  Even though He promised a Savior, they envisioned a ruler–not God’s son.  For us, it’s a bit easier to accept; we haven’t lived our own life with only God as their guide.

This lesson compliments yesterday’s lesson nicely.  Yesterday, we see Peter converting the first Jews to Jesus and promising the Holy Spirit for all whom God calls.  Today, we see Paul explain why God has called the Gentiles and how they receive God’s Spirit as well.

End Notes:  Because the Jews rejected Jesus (not all but a vast majority), it caused the word to go out to the Gentiles and open that pathway.  Had the Jews accepted Jesus as the Savior, perhaps they would have remained as they had in OT days:  a nation apart and everyone else infidels.

Instead of making Israel jealous, Christians treated them with malice, scorn, jealousy, and persecution.

Israel is the roots, the base, the support, the foundation of the branches, the Gentiles.

Once all the Gentiles are brought in, Israel as a nation will accept Jesus (there will always be individuals whose hard is hardened and will not heed God’s call–both Jew and Gentile).  This is a sign of the End Times.  Israel will be converted en masse before Jesus’ Second Coming (Matthew 23:39, Zechariah 12:10-11).

God’s call is irrevocable.  He will not give up nor leave behind His people (both Jews and Gentiles).

Once again, the evidence there is only one God is overwhelming.  Man couldn’t possibly have thought up Israel, the church, Jesus, etc.  It is all by Him and for Him and Paul praises God’s omniscience here.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 7, Day 3: Acts 2:22-47

Summary of passage:  Jesus, accredited by God, was handed over to you for God’s purpose and put to death.  But he rose again.  Peter quotes David speaking of Jesus and God who will never abandon us and has just blessed them (the people) with the Holy Spirit.  In essence, the people crucified God and about 3000 repented and were baptized with the Holy Spirit.

The converts lived together and shared everything, giving to those in need and following God.

Questions:

6)  They just realized they had killed their Lord, God, in the form of Jesus, the sent Savior. We are all responsible for Jesus’s death because if we weren’t sinners in need of saving, Jesus wouldn’t have had to die.  But Jesus died to save all people.  We are his if we accept.

Cutting hearts also opens them up to receive the word of God.  “They were cut to the heart” means they were opened up to Jesus and accepted.

7)  Part-personal Question.  My answer:  Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and you will receive the Holy Spirit.  3000 did just that.  Same way today.  People repent (turn to God), are baptized for Jesus, and go into the world and do His will and follow His commands which are to walk in His ways and love others.

Conclusions:  That’s it?  Straight-forward.  We see God’s people are those who repent and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  Period.

End Notes:  Although it was God’s plan to crucify His son, the people are still responsible for allowing it to happen and their role in it.  God didn’t kill His only Son–the people did.

Peter quotes 3 Old Testament passages here.  The last, Psalm 110:1 is the most quoted OT verse in the NT.

Peter’s whole point here is to say Jesus is God.

Jews were not baptized.  Gentiles were baptized to become Jews.  Jesus began the whole baptism acceptance of him and the Lord when he was baptized.  So people are to follow his example today.

Note the promise of the Holy Spirit is for all future generations.  We are all His if we choose to be so.

Great examples of fellowship and the importance of believers coming together to care for one another and others.  Note the breaking of bread began when Jesus did it and the early church took it up immediately thereafter.