BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 10, Day 2: Romans 6:1-4

Summary of passage:  Paul pauses to answer any questions and to clarify:  No!  We don’t go on sinning just because grace is bigger than sin! When we’re baptized, we’re baptized into Christ and his life and death.

Questions:

3)  Paul had just explained that God’s grace is bigger than our sins and no matter how great our sins, God’s grace and Jesus’s death and resurrection are greater to justify us all.  He wants to clarify to all that continuing to choose sin because you know God will forgive you is a sin!

4)  God is not happy.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Honestly, this thought has never occurred to me.  I’ve never read Romans before nor have I heard a lecture on this topic.  Hence, I’ve never sinned with that thought ever.  Again, honestly, they don’t really strengthen me (this idea).  I know sin is evil and against God so I in my human fallacy choose God instead.

Conclusions:  Questions were great up until question number 5 where it got personal and didn’t apply to me (and I’m sure to many of you).  Who purposely sins?  As Paul explains, then they are not right with God when they do.

End Notes:  In verses 3:21-5:21 Paul explains how God has provided for our redemption and justification.  He next explains the doctrine of sanctification–the process by which believers grow to maturity in Christ and are made holy.  He treats the subject in 3 parts:  1) freedom from sin’s tyranny (ch 6)  2)  freedom from the law’s condemnation (ch 7)  3)  life in the power of the Holy Spirit (ch 8)  This will be Chapters 6:1-8:39

Throughout history, you’d be surprised who twisted these verses (and Paul’s words) to justify their wrong-doings (this is why Paul is harping on this topic).  The Russian, self-proclaimed monk Rasputin for one said “I’ll sin more to earn more forgiveness.”  If you don’t know much about Rasputin, he’s a fascinating character (albeit evil one) in history who led a bizarre life of immorality, but heavily influenced the last Imperial family of Russia.  In essence, he was a very good con man, which was unfortunate for the Royals and some scholars even say he contributed to their downfall.

Paul often used this writing technique:  He pauses in the middle of an argument to answer objections or questions that may be occurring to the reader.

Paul’s concern here is that people will misuse God’s grace and use God’s forgiveness of their sins as an excuse to continue sinning (like Rasputin did).  It’s God’s job to forgive and our job to sin, right?

This explains the early church’s emphasis on an angry God, His wrath, and the law because man has no motivation to stay the straight and narrow path.

Paul points out that when we accepted Jesus our relationship to sin has changed; therefore, we have died to sin and a life of sinning is incompatible with life.  Paul will explain this in detail but his point is clear:  Before, we were dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1); now we are dead to sin.

In New Testament Times baptism so closely followed conversion that the two were considered part of one event.  Baptism is closely associated with faith although not the means by which we enter into a faith relationship with Jesus.

The ancient Greek word for baptized means “to immerse or overwhelm something.” When a person is baptized in water, they are immersed or covered over with water. When they are baptized with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11Acts 1:5), they are “immersed” or “covered over” with the Holy Spirit. When they are baptized with suffering (Mark 10:39), they are “immersed” or “covered over” with suffering.  Here, Paul refers to being baptized – “immersed” or “covered over” – in Christ Jesus.

Being baptized with water is us identifying with Jesus’s death and resurrection.  It’s not cleansing here as Paul uses the term.  In essence, you can’t die and rise again without it changing you.  It’s akin to almost dying.  You’re changed when you have a near-death experience. We die spiritually and rise with Jesus!

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 10, Day 2: John 6:41-42

Summary of passage:  The Jews began to grumble, questioning how Jesus who is the son of Joseph, a common carpenter, could be the Son of God.

Questions:

3)  That Jesus’ birth was a miracle from God and that it fulfilled Old Testament prophecy.  All the miracles Jesus performed, God’s blessing when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.

4)  Essential.  If you don’t believe Jesus is the Son of God and that he was just a man, then you won’t have eternal life.  If Jesus Christ was not virgin born, then He was not God in the flesh and was therefore only a man possessing the same sinful nature that every person has.  God put aside His eternal glory to become man.  God revealed Himself in Jesus.  To not believe in Jesus (and thus his heavenly nature) means you don’t believe in God.  Consequences:  Damned for eternity.

Conclusions:  Shortest and easiest lesson thus far.

End Notes:  Six times in this immediate context Jesus says that he ‘came down from heaven’ (6:33, 38, 41, 50, 51, 58).  Why would anyone say this if it were not true?

The Jews are probably the Galileans here.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 10, Day 2: Revelation 5:1-5

Summary of passage:  In Revelation 4, we see God is sitting on the throne.  Here, we’re told He is holding a sealed scroll.  An angel asks, “Who is worthy to break the seal?”  No one in heaven or on earth can so John weeps.  Then an elder cries out,”The Lion can”, meaning Jesus.

Questions:

3a)  “A scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals.”

b)  He wept because “no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.”  The scroll will introduce the next phase of history and if it can’t be opened, then history will not take place.  Further, some scholars suggest he cried because the promise in Rev 4:1 would not be fulfilled to him.  I tend toward the former, being much more significant (history not moving forward) than the latter.

4)  Part personal question.  My answer:  Jesus is the Son of Man as he’s the predicted messiah from the tribe of Judah and from David’s line.  Jacob calls Judah a lion’s cub in his prediction of the future in Genesis 49 and that the ruler will come from his line.  God tells Nathan in 2 Samuel 7 that He will raise up an offspring from David who will establish the throne of God’s kingdom forever.  In Isaiah we see Jesus called the “Root of Jesse”.

Both these prophecies have to be fulfilled for Jesus to be the Messiah, which Jesus meets.

I learn how God has told the people repeatedly of His plans for the future and how God has and will fulfill His words.

[The Messianic title Lion of the tribe of Judah see also Isaiah 31:4 and Hosea 11:10. The title Root of David comes from Isaiah 11:10 and Romans 15:12 and is repeated in Revelation 22:16.]

5)  Part personal question.  My answer:  In this passage, Jesus triumphed by being able to open the scroll and usher in the new history.  In the long run, Jesus triumphed over death and sin by dying on the cross for us, thus justifying us before God and allowing us to live eternally with the Father.  He will also triumph at the Second Coming when he ushers in the New World where Christians shall reign eternally with Jesus here on earth.

It’s significant to me because I know where my future lies.  I know I am forgiven.  I know I am His.

Conclusions:  I like the emphasis in Revelation on our future and Jesus’s victory.  We are being bombarded with hope–something we all need.  Something we all need to hear repeatedly especially when it seems everywhere we turn is evil and destruction.  God wins.  And because God wins, we win.  There is no greater message than this.

End Notes:  “And I saw”.  This is the first of 39 times this phrase is used by John.  It’s a reminder to us that he is reporting exactly what was revealed to him without embellishing any facts or details.

In Revelation 4, we focused on the throne.  Here, we will be focusing on the scroll.

It is significant that writing was on BOTH sides of the scroll.  In ancient times, only one side of the scroll was usually written on.  The rolls were on both sides and the scroll was read horizontally with the left hand holding the scroll and right hand unfurling it.  As it was read, the part having been read would be re-furled up in the left hand.  Using the average amount of writing that would fit on a scroll at this time, the Book of Revelation would fit on a 15 foot long scroll.  This scroll was unusual indeed.

After being written, a scroll would be wrapped with string and then have wax seals put on the string.  Important documents were written on papyrus scrolls and sent this way.  Only the proper people in the presence of witnesses could open the scroll and read it (at this time there were only few people who could read anyways).  Here, there are 7 seals, all of which must be opened before it could be read.

Scholars have debated for centuries what is written on this scroll.  Lots of ideas have been proposed but the best that fits is the history of the universe, God’s will.  In Roman times, wills were sealed seven times.  The idea:  God holds in His hands everything.

Furthermore, connecting with the Old Testament (see Lev.25:25,47-49; Ruth 4:3-14), Jesus is man’s kinsman-redeemer, man having forfeited the right to rule earth in the Garden of Eden.  Jesus has paid our debt through his blood (Rev 5:6), driving Satan out, and thus re-instating God’s plan for mankind.  Hence, this scroll is God’s plan coming to fruition, being opened only by the Redeemer.

Was Israel the focus here?  God has not forsaken His people (Ps.94:14; Rom.11:1-2) nor will He neglect His future plans and purposes for them (Rom.11:25-27).  After the Tribulation, all of Israel will be saved, giving time for the Gentiles to come to Jesus.  Paul makes clear in Romans 15 when he quotes Isaiah 11:10 that the Gentiles are included in God’s promises.  Hence, John weeps for all Jews and Gentiles alike.

The emphasis here is who can open it not what it contains.  And that is Jesus alone can open it.

This is the first of three “mighty angels” in Revelation (others are in 10:1 and 18:21).  Scholars have speculated as to the identity of the angel.  Again, no one knows.  Their function is a duty from God; their identity is not important.

The angel issues a challenge no created creature can answer.

A lion is strong and the king of the animal world.  A fitting image of Jesus.

The NIV translation has the verb in verse 5 as “triumphed.”  Some have “overcome”.  In actuality, in Greek a better translation is “to conquer completely.”

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 10, Day 2: Exodus 25:1-22

Summary of passage:  Moses is alone with God on the top of Mt. Sinai in a cloud.  God tells Moses offerings the people are to bring to Him that include gold, silver, bronze, yard, linen, wood, olive oil, spices, and more.  Then the Israelites are to build God a tabernacle where He will dwell among them.  God tells Moses to build an ark of gold for a holding for the Testimony (laws) and how to build it.  Here, He will meet with Moses and give all of His commands for the Israelites.

Questions:

3a)  The people’s hearts should “prompt them to give.”

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Pray for a giving heart.  Give even if your heart is not quit there yet because just the act can lead to the heart change.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Well, the passages say to offer a sacrifice that costs you something.  To offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, as a spiritual act of worship.  Give as much as you are able and beyond.  Give yourself. Basically, God wants all of us and every aspect of our lives:  money, worship, work, talents, and a living testimony to the indwelt Holy Spirit, leading a Godly-life.  I believe God wants me to fulfill the purpose He has for my life–writing something that will convert others to Him.  That is my gift beyond the others mentioned here.

4a)  As a dwelling place for Him where men could come and meet with God.

b)  From Creation, God created man as a companion to Him and as one who was meant to be with Him always. Since the Fall, sin has separated us.  So God sends His son, Jesus, Immanuel, to be with us physically.  God’s Word was given to us to be closer to us.  When we accept Jesus as your Savior, we receive the indwelling Holy Spirit, which is God within.  Then finally at Jesus’ Second Coming, Jesus will inhabit the earth with us together at last both physically and spiritually.  God will live among us and we will be together as God has meant it to be.

c)  In order to be with God, we must be cleansed of our sins for God cannot be near sin.  Hence, the atonement cover was provided as a way for His people to be near Him.  God appeared in the cloud over the atonement cover in the Most Holy place; hence, you had to be clean in order to be in the presence of God.  This allowed us to be with God as He has always meant us to.

Conclusions:  I don’t know which is harder:  one long passage of many chapters or a relatively short passage to read but with a bunch of reference passages.  Both are time consuming and challenging in their own right.  I was thinking this would be an easy day, but it wasn’t with all the look-ups.

The emphasis here is the importance of worshipping God and being near Him as we were meant to be and this passage shows how God is doing this for the Israelites in their new land.

End Notes:  Note how the Israelites 400 years ago were unskilled nomads.  After being in Egypt, they became skilled laborers, capable of crafting a beautiful tabernacle for God and an ark to hold the Testimony and for Him to dwell in.

Note the offering is not out of need nor is it us asking God for anything.  The willing heart gives–here is what God wants.  Us to freely worship and give to Him out of love and desire and because He gave everything (Jesus) to us.

The offerings listed were all of the finest and most expensive materials around–the hardest to procure and make.

The ark, or Ark of the Covenant, was described first as it was the most important offering in the tabernacle.  Scholars say it is modeled after God’s own throne.

Note the ark had wooden poles to carry it by.  The ark was too sacred to be touched by man and as Uzzah found out (2 Samuel 6:6-7) if you disobeyed this command, the penalty was death.

Note how God wants the the ark built before all the laws are even given.

The atonement cover is the lid of the ark.  Presumably, God must have made some provision for the priests to touch the lid in order to put the items inside of it.  I’m assuming we will read this later in our study.

If you picture God looking down from heaven, then the atonement cover and the passages given will make sense.  So God is looking down on the ark, which contains His laws.  The ark is then covered with sacrificial blood, atoning for and covering up man’s sins and our breaking of the law.  Hence, God could now forgive our sins and come down to be with us.

Even before the law was given, God knew we’d break it so He made appropriate provisions for us.  What a loving God!

Our mercy seat/atonement cover is now Jesus.  God is great!

Reading this passage got me confused exactly when did Moses receive the written commandments from God.  Not yet.  Exodus 24:12 has God calling Moses up to receive them but he stays for 47 days and nights so is about to receive them.  The next chapters in Exodus covers all that God told Moses (at least what Moses recorded cause I’m sure in that amount of time there would be a ton to talk about) and then he will receive the commandments to carry down off the mountain (Exodus 32:15-16).  Great website with timeline of the tablets summarized and a cool link to listen to the Ten Commandments read in Hebrew:

http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Scripture/Torah/Ten_Cmds/ten_cmds.html

Fun Fact:  The word “tabernacle” appears for the first time here and it is mentioned 139 times in the Old Testament.  It means ‘tent’ and just like a tent was moveable.  God does not permanently dwell in the tabernacle but comes when man does.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 10, Day 2: Matthew 9:1-8

Summary of passage:  After healing the demon-possessed man in Matthew 8, Jesus then returns to Capernaum where a paralytic was brought to him.  Jesus forgave the man’s sins and thus drew criticism from the religious leaders who were watching him.  Jesus chastised them for their unbelief and told the man to go home.  The man got up and walked and the crowd was filled with awe and praise of God.

Questions:

3a)  The faith of the men who brought the paralytic to him.

b)  By inviting them to church, by sharing the Gospel, by praying for them, by showing them kindness and a heart for Jesus, by shining your light unto them by serving them, and an insistent and incessant encouragement of friends and family to accept Christ into their hearts.

4a)  “Your sins are forgiven” (verse 2)  “The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” (verse 6)  The act of healing the man (verses 6-7)

b)  He got up and walked.

5)  Mark tells us many more details surrounding the act.  We learn that a huge crowd had gathered and that it was actually 4 men who brought Jesus the paralytic.  The crowd was so huge that the men had to cut a hole in the roof and lower the man down to Jesus.  We learn the exact thoughts of the teachers of the law and question Jesus’ right to forgive sins.  We learn that the man took his mat with him as well.

Luke adds that Pharisees were present as well (the leaders of the priests) and that they had come from all over to see Jesus.  The power of the Lord was present with Jesus for healing.  The man was lowered right in front of Jesus.  Upon healing we learn the paralytic himself left praising God. The people said they had never seen anything so remarkable.

Conclusions:  With faith, all things are possible.

Another example of Jesus healing.  In Isaiah 35:5-6, we learn this is what the Messiah will do.  Jesus heals not only to help people but also to fulfill prophecy and prove who he is.  Sad, isn’t it?  God must prove things to us doubting, lowly humans.

The man’s friends were merely hoping for a healing of the body.  Instead, Jesus gave them something infinitely more valuable: healing of his sins.  Jesus forgave him first to show the world that his primary job on earth is to forgive the sins of people.  Then comes healing of the body once the soul is healed.

Note how our thoughts and feelings matter to God.  Although the religious leaders spoke not a word, they silently disapproved of Jesus in their hearts.  God knows when we are just going through the motions or if we truly are committed to Him.  He knows when we sin, even if it be only in the heart.  He knows everything.  Would we want it any other way?

Fun Fact:  This is the first time the Bible records opposition to Jesus.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 10, Day 2: Skim Genesis 1-5

Summary of passages:  Please see previous posts.

Questions:

3a)  Physical Needs:  God clothed them.  Food:  now man must sow the ground for his food.  The garden had provided shelter for man.

Spiritual Needs:  A Father (God) to lead man.

Man thought he needed the knowledge of good and evil (or of God and what God knows) but in all actuality man doesn’t.

b)  3:15  “…and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head and you will strike his heel.”  Matthew and Luke recounts how God provided Mary a child through the Holy Spirit.

4)  Faith is believing in what we cannot see and being sure of it despite this.  The writer uses the example that we believe God made the universe even though no one saw this happen and believing God made all we see from what we do not see.

5a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Abel knew God demanded the best from him so he brought the best.  Just like God demands the best from us so we must give Him our best.  Whatever that looks like for each of us.

b)  Faith.  Hebrews 11:5:  “By faith Enoch was taken from this life…”

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I must keep the faith.  Hebrews 11:13:  “…They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them…”  Hebrews 11:39-40:  “…yet none of them received what had been promised.  God had planned something better for us…”

Even though I cannot see it, it is there.  God’s promises for me.  In Him.  And when I feel like this life sucks I must keep moving towards Him.  Through faith.  For He has a better plan.

Conclusion:  Interesting how 2 obscure men in the Bible (Enoch and Abel) who maybe have a dozen verses between them (that’s being generous) made such an impact on others who remembered their faith.  For we are not told much about what they did.  Only Enoch walked with God and Abel brought the fat.  That’s about it.  Then they die.

This gives me hope.  Currently, I am struggling with my life and its meaning.  I feel like God has so much more for me and here I am languishing.

For who am I?  Who was Abel?  Just a guy who had faith and got killed for it.  Who was Enoch?  Just a guy who walked with God and because of it was spared a physical death. Who will remember me?  No one will read about me when I die.  Yet there is something out there for me that will make an impact.  I just feel I’m not there yet.

End Note:  Admittedly, I skimmed this Lesson (a review lesson) and was dreading it.  I skimmed today’s passages and thought Not again!  I mean, how many times do I have to read Hebrews.  Seriously?

So I thought God must have something here for me.  So I read all of Hebrews 11.  And sure enough I came up with the answer to question 5c and the conclusion.

That even though I am only one person out of 7 billion people or however many people are on the planet now I can make a difference and an impact.  If I have the faith in God and trust Him to do it.  Not me.  But Him.  Just like all the people mentioned in Hebrews 11.  All had one thing in common:  faith in God.  And all accomplished His mission in their lives.

This is my prayer for me and you:  keep the faith and accomplish His purpose in our lives.

Fun Fact:  Check out this website with cool charts on the world population throughout history:

http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 10, Day 2: Hebrews 2:5-18

Summary of passage:  While Jesus was a little lower than angels for a time, mankind was crowned with glory and honor and everything was put under his feet, making everything subject to him.  After Jesus’ death, this changed.  Now, Jesus is crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death for everyone through the grace of God.

Jesus was made perfect through suffering, which brought man salvation.  Jesus and us (mankind) are now of the same family, called brothers.

Since Jesus was flesh and blood, his death destroyed the power of death (the Devil) and freed us from the fear of death.  Jesus had to become our brother (like us in every way) to make atonement for our sins.  Jesus suffered while tempted so he helps mankind who suffers when they are tempted.

Questions:

4a)  The end times, Jesus’ Second Coming

b)  He subjected the world to come to man and he did not subject the world to come to angels.  God gave man Earth, not the angels.  Man had dominion over everything on earth (Genesis 1:26-30)

5)  God crowned man with glory and honor and put everything under his feet.

6)  The Devil, those who were held in slavery by the fear of death, and help/save those who are being tempted.

7)  Before Jesus came, man could not get to Heaven.  After Jesus’ death, man finally was allowed to be with God in Heaven.  Victory over sin had finally been accomplished.

When Adam and Eve bit the apple, sin entered into man’s flesh.  Therefore, God sent his son in the likeness of flesh (but without sin).  When Jesus died, so did all the sin within the flesh of man.  Therefore, the Devil (and believers fear of death) was destroyed because a path to God had been made.

Romans 8:3:  “For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in sinful man.”

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  Verse 14 because it’s the crux of why Jesus came and was crucified and it’s always a powerful reminder of God’s grace, goodness, and love for us.

Conclusions:  I went back and re-read Hebrews 1 again just I could be clear on angels before I started today.

It’s fascinating to learn the details of just how exactly Jesus’ death rid us of sin and freed us from the Devil to bring us to God. Most people just think:  Jesus died for my sins so I’m saved.  True.  But how exactly did this occur?  Now, I know.  Hebrews 2. Great stuff.

I found this website while researching Question 7.  It says it much better than I do.

http://www.christsdeath.org/terminating/termdevil.html

End Note to last week:  It looks like we’ll be studying Hebrews for a few weeks so I guess I was wrong on the filler lesson.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see how this relates to Acts.