BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 12, Day 5: Romans 7:21-25

Summary of passage:  Man’s nature cannot help but sin (a war between the mind and the body/flesh) and be a slave to sin.  But through Jesus Christ we are rescued from sin’s power.

Questions:

11)  He’s very distressed.  He feels powerless (“wretched”), desperate, and overwhelmed like we all do at times at his inability to overcome sin.  He probably feels tired from the constant battle of mind and flesh.  We should feel the same: crying out against our self and unto God.

12a)  Jesus is the answer.

b)  As we’ve discussed in depth this week, the law pushes us to sin more as it’s our desire to break rules.  Jesus is the only one who has the power to overcome our nature.  Otherwise, under our own power, we are helpless to live in sin.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Sin is always in my life and I feel like all my prayers to overcome sin are desperate.  I perpetually pray to have less of a temper and to soften my words towards others when flippant, indifferent answers arise.  The prayer is simple:  Jesus, give me your power to overcome sin.  I need you.  Come and fill me and let the Holy Spirit lead the way–not me.  I can do all things THROUGH you alone.

Conclusions:  The answers to these questions are done in 5 minutes.  The in-depth study I do afterwards is hours long.  This chapter is packed with our need for Jesus.  Please take the time to dwell on what Paul is saying and to not feel helpless and overwhelmed when you sin–for as Paul states we will sin because of our nature.  Rely on Christ.  Rely on Christ.  Rely on Christ.

End Notes:  We never know how hard it is to stop sinning until we try.  C.S Lewis said, “No man knows how bad he is until he has tried to be good.”

The real self (inner self) is the one who delights in God’s law.  The impulse towards sin is a different law.

The old man is not the real Paul; the old man is dead. The flesh is not the real Paul; the flesh is destined to pass away and be resurrected. The new man is the real Paul; now Paul’s challenge is to live like God has made him.

Again, here’s the debate:  Was Paul a Christian during the experience he writes about here?  Some look at his struggle with sin and believe that it must have been before he was born again. Others believe that he is just a Christian struggling with sin. In a sense this is an irrelevant question, for this is the struggle of anyone who tries to obey God in their own strength. This experience of struggle and defeat is something that a Christian may experience, but something that a non-Christian can only experience.

Morris quoting Griffith Thomas: “The one point of the passages is that it describes a man who is trying to be good and holy by his own efforts and is beaten back every time by the power of indwelling sin; it thus refers to anyone, regenerate or unregenerate.”

Sin wins when you try to win the battle yourself.

The ancient Greek word wretched is more literally, “wretched through the exhaustion of hard labor.” Paul is completely worn out and wretched because of his unsuccessful effort to please God under the principle of Law.

Note how the great saints always speak of how bad they are, not how good.

Fun Fact:  Paul has referred to himself 40 times since Romans 7:13. In the pit of his unsuccessful struggle against sin, Paul became entirely self-focused and self-obsessed. This is the place of any believer living under law, who looks to self and personal performance rather than looking first to Jesus.

The words “Who will deliver me” show that Paul has given up on himself, and asks “Who will deliver me?” instead of “How will I deliver myself?”

“Body of death” is figurative for body of sin (6:6; 8:10) that hung on Paul like a corpse and from which he could not gain freedom.

Some commentators see a reference to ancient kings who tormented their prisoners by shackling them to decomposing corpses. Paul longed to be free from the wretched body of death clinging to him.

“It was the custom of ancient tyrants, when they wished to put men to the most fearful punishments, to tie a dead body to them, placing the two back to back; and there was the living man, with a dead body closely strapped to him, rotting, putrid, corrupting, and this he must drag with him wherever he went. Now, this is just what the Christian has to do. He has within him the new life; he has a living and undying principle, which the Holy Spirit has put within him, but he feels that everyday he has to drag about with him this dead body, this body of death, a thing as loathsome, as hideous, as abominable to his new life, as a dead stinking carcass would be to a living man.” (Spurgeon)

“Through” means that Paul sees Jesus standing between himself and God, bridging the gap and providing the way to God.”Lord” means Paul has put Jesus in the right place – as Lord and master of his life.

The last half of verse 25 is the summary of verses 13-24.  “I myself” is the real self–the inner being that delights in God’s law (vs 22).  “Slave to law of sin” is how Christians must reckon with the enslaving power of their sinful nature as long as they live–until “the redemption of our bodies” (vs 8:23).

Jesus does not take away the struggle; he only provides the victory over sin, hate, death, and all evil as we surrender our lives to Jesus and let Him live out victory through us.

Paul shows that even though the law is glorious and good, it can’t save us – and we need a Savior. Paul never found any peace, any praising God until he looked outside of himself and beyond the law to his Savior, Jesus Christ.

The law taught us what to do, encouraged us, and told us sin was our problem.  But it couldn’t save us–only Jesus can.  He is the answer!

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 12, Day 4: Romans 7:14-20

Summary of passage:  Sin makes man do what he does not what to do–evil things.

Questions:

8 )  Paul is unspiritual because he is corrupted by sin.  All believers have the seeds of rebellion in their hearts.  The law is holy because it has its origin in God.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Sin is man’s nature and the struggle to overcome that is only won through Jesus’s death and the Holy Spirit within fighting daily.

10)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Lose my temper too much.  Help others more.

Conclusions:  Again, I feel like so much is here and BSF does a poor job of pulling it out with these personal questions.

End Notes:  “I am” suggests Paul is describing the personal Christian experience here (see YESTERDAY for in depth on this analysis).

“Unspiritual” is usually translated as carnal.   Carnal uses the ancient Greek word sarkikos, which means, “characterized by the flesh.” In this context it speaks of the person who can and should do differently but does not. Paul sees this carnality in himself, and knows that the law, though it is spiritual, has no answer for his carnal nature.

“Sold as a slave to sin.”  Very, very strong description that many refuse to accept it as descriptive of a Christian.  However, it may graphically point out the failure even of Christians to meet the radical, ethical, and moral demands of the gospel.  It also shows the persistent nature of sin.

Paul is in bondage under sin and the law can’t help him.  The law can only help if he is innocent, but Paul knows that he’s guilty and that the law argues against him, not for him.

Paul is not saying how we hold no responsibility and sin is to blame for our actions.  No.  He’s merely pointing out how great control sin has over our lives.

You can be carnal and still be a Christian.  It’s the awareness of our fallen nature, our acknowledgment and hatred of it in ourselves, which leads to praising and loving God.

Paul describes in verses 15-19 his feeling of helplessness.  He wants to do what is right and indeed knows what is right but under his own power he cannot.  The law gives us no power to keep them; it merely tells us what is right and wrong.

This paradox of recognizing we are sinners, owning our sin, and repenting of it comes from the law and not from our Christian nature.

What is the law anyways?  To most of Paul’s audience, the word law stands for the huge collection of rules and rituals detailed in the Old Testament.  Whenever he starts talking about “the new covenant” or “freedom in Christ”, his Jewish listeners want to know what he things about Moses’ law.  Does God still require obedience?  That’s what all of chapter 7 discusses.

Thanks to his years as a Pharisee, Paul knows Moses’ law well. This chapter, the most personal and autobiographical in Romans, reveals Paul’s thoughts on this issue.

When the Law is Helpful:  Paul never recommends discarding the law.  He sees it reveals a basic code of morality, an expression of behavior that pleases God.  The law is good for one thing:  exposing sin.  Rules such as the Ten Commandments are helpful, healthful, and good.

When the Law is Helpless:  The law has one major problem:  After proving how bad you are, it doesn’t make you any better.  Paul’s conscience is very sensitive from his legalism days.  This makes him feel guilty.  This law that shows us our failures cannot provide the power to overcome them.  The law or any set of rules leads to death.

Romans 7 shows the struggle when an imperfect person commits himself to a perfect God.  How can I ever get rid of my nagging sins?  The invisible sins (lust, anger, coveting) can be just as toxic as the outward sins (stealing, adultery, murder).  In the face of God’s standards, all of us feel helpless and that is precisely Paul’s point and confession.  No set of rules can break the terrible cycle of guilt and failure.  We need outside help and Chapter 8 brings it!  Hint:  The Holy Spirit!

We will be spending 3 weeks studying Chapter 8–hope!

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 12, Day 4: John 8:31-59

Summary of passage:  Jesus explains to the Jews that sinners are a slave to sin.  Only the Son can set them free.  The Jews insisted they were Abraham’s children; however, Jesus tells them if they were, they wouldn’t be rejecting him right now and they would love him.  Instead, their father is the devil who is a murderer and a liar.  If they belonged to God, they would hear what God says.

The Jews wonder if Jesus is a demon-possessed Samaritan.  Jesus rebukes them again, saying he is the way to eternal life.  Again, the Jews do not understand his words and say Abraham died and so did the prophets so how can he live.  Jesus says he was in existence before Abraham.  The Jews attempted to stone him, but he slipped away.

Questions:

9a)  Freedom from sin.  By holding to his teachings and knowing the truth (he is God’s Son).

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Freedom from sin.  Freedom from guilt.  Freedom to fail and be forgiven.

10a)  Abraham.  The devil.  God is the ultimate Father, which the Jews say as well; however, their actions and words and deeds (trying to stone Jesus and not believing him) show they are of the devil and sinners.  Furthermore, remember the Jews are all descended from Abraham, which guarantees them eternal life (before Jesus).  Now that Jesus is on the scene he’s the only way to heaven, be it Gentile or Jew.  Jesus is speaking of spiritual father here.  If God were their spiritual father, they wouldn’t reject him.  They do; so they are of this world and the devil.  Huge difference between God’s children and the devil’s.

b)  When the devil lied to Eve about the tree of knowledge.  We are all born sinners and under sin until we accept Jesus as our Savior and his blood cleanses us completely of sin.  Some scholars say the first sin was the killing of Abel but most would argue for Eve’s initiation of sin into this world.

c)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  By accepting Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross for our sins.  I was lucky:  I was chosen from early childhood to be a believer.  I don’t worry much.  I trust in Him.  I live my life.  I follow His voice.  It’s not been easy, but it’s easier day by day.

Conclusions:  Long passage which my summary condenses.  Jesus basically says those who believed themselves to be saved based solely on their heritage are not and are actually of the devil.  He calls them out, points out how he is in fact God, and they try to kill him for it–a heart act from the devil.  Freedom from sin is found only in Christ.  The alternative is the devil.  End of story.

End Notes:  Many did believe in Jesus so he is speaking to those who have the beginnings of faith but still have doubts.

Abide (hold to my teaching) means welcoming it, being at home with it, and living it.  When you do this, THEN you will be Jesus’ disciple and you will know the TRUTH and be set free.

The religious leaders don’t even consider Jesus’ words and ask more on how to be free.  Despite the facts the Jews have been in bondage on and off for 2000 years and Rome now controlled them, they say they are free already–because of Abraham.

“Sin” in this passage indicates habitual sin.  There is no escape from slavery to sin since it is within.

They are physically Abraham’s descendants but not spiritually.  Jesus knows their hearts and the Word (him) has no place there for him.

Again, they question where Jesus came from.  Jesus says bluntly, “You cannot love God or call him your Father without loving me and accepting me.”  It’s impossible.  The Jews found it incredibly hard to wrap their minds around the idea of the Trinity as we do today.

The ability to hear God’s word is a gift none of us should take for granted.

Instead, the leaders are spiritual children of the devil, indicated by their desire to kill him.  The devil lies.  They rejected Jesus because he spoke the Truth.

Jesus asks them to name one sin of his.  They cannot.  Instead, they just called him names!  They had nothing left to accuse him of and with each word of Jesus’ more and more believe him instead of them!

Jesus tells all the secret:  Accept the Word and receive eternal life!  Again, blasphemy from anyone but God’s Son.  Keep here mean continue and abide in it.

“See” is an intense word in Greek meaning long, steady vision.

Once more trying to trap Jesus, they try to get him to say something offensive by asking him again who he is.

Jesus again says he knows God and claims he is greater than Abraham who also acknowledged this fact.

Fifty was the age a priest retired.  The Jews are merely saying you are too young to have known/seen Abraham.

Jesus responds with the 3rd “I Am” statement (John 8:24, 8:28).  The ancient Greek phrase is ego emi, which is  the same term used in to describe the Voice from the burning bush.  Jesus used a clear divine title belonging to Yahweh alone (Exodus 3:13-14, Deuteronomy 32:39, Isaiah 43:10) and was interpreted as such by Jesus’ listeners (John 8:58-59).  I AM was recognized by the Jews as a title of deity.

Finally, the religious leaders understood as demonstrated by the stones.  They knew he was claiming to be God.  They saw it as blasphemy.  These stones would have been in the temple as it was still being constructed in some areas.  Jesus escaped, probably mixing himself with the people in the temple but he could have vanished miraculously.  We are not told.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 12, Day 2: John 8:1-11

Summary of passage:  Note:  Many early manuscripts and other early witnesses do not have John 7:53-8:11.  Scholars wonder if it was added later or fell at a different place in the Gospel.  Here, the Pharisees weren’t following Moses’ law (anyone surprised?), which required the woman’s partner in crime to appear also.

Jesus retreats to the Mount of Olives and then appears in the temple to teach.  The Pharisees, attempting to trap Jesus, brought a woman who committed adultery to him and asked if she should be stoned like the Bible says to do.  Here, Jesus writes in the sand and says his famous line “If any one of you is without sin, let hi be the first to cast the first stone.”  Of course, we’ll all sinners so all dispersed.  Since no one condemned her, Jesus tells her to go and leave off her life of sin.

Questions:

3)  Jesus retreats again to be alone with the Father.  He appears again in the temple even at risk to himself in order to shepherd His people.  Jesus once again points out man’s hypocrisy and shows mercy to the woman by telling her to not sin.  His heart is overflowing with love for his people.

4)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Galatians tells us to restore a person gently who is caught in a sin.  Carry each other’s burdens.  Be humble and not think you’re better than someone else.  Share the gospel with others.  Forgive those who fail.  Truthfully, it doesn’t matter to me about other’s disobedience (except my family) because it’s between them and God.  My family is different.  It’s my job to teach my kids obedience and I appropriate consequences accordingly.  To adults that are close to me, I try to forgive.  I think it reflects Jesus’ character.  Not perfectly of course but close.

5)  Forgive sin.  Don’t be a hypocrite.  There is still a place for exposing and rebuking and directly dealing with the sins of others in God’s family, but it must always be done with a heart that recognizes itself as a forgiven sinner.  When done right, confronting sin is done more often with tears and a broken heart than with anger and condemnation.

Conclusions:  Not sure about the last question.  Seems thrown in.  Love this verse about not casting stones.  We all sin and are deserving of eternal judgement.  Instead, Christ redeems and forgives and we need to remember that when others sin.

End Notes:  Jesus has been teaching at the temple on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles.  Now, everyone has gone home and Jesus has retreated to the Mount of Olives to sleep.

This passage is the most controversial in John because scholars argue whether it even belongs in the Bible and if so, scholars argue where.  This passage was omitted in most of the early Greek versions of the Gospels.  Some later versions marked it with an asterisk.  Some insert this passage after Luke 21:38 or John 21:24 or John 7:36.

Some early scholars purposely omitted this text (St Augustine included) because they thought it made Jesus approve of sexual immorality.  However, most modern scholars believe this actually happened since it appears in writings in the early 100’s AD and it is true to Jesus’ character.  They also believe it is consistent with John’s writings.

Others believe it was either Simeon or Jude (early 2nd century), who seem to have been connected with the editing of this gospel, for they are probably the ‘we’ of John 21:24 and the two unnamed disciples of John 21:2.

Taking this account to belong here, Jesus remained in Jerusalem then a few days after the Feast of the Tabernacles to preach at the temple despite the authorities quest to silence him.

The Pharisees did this as Jesus publically taught in the temple courts to be as public as possible, to embarrass both the woman and Jesus.

Scholars believe her accusers had some special vindictiveness against her since her crime could have been dealt with in private.

The verb “caught” is in the perfect tense, meaning ‘taken with her shame upon her’, or the continuing act of adultery.

It takes two to commit adultery and note the man is not brought out publicly–a clear example of how women were treated as lower than second-class citizens in ancient times.

For adultery to be charged, the act had to be physically witnessed by two people.  Hence, this was a setup in order to trap Jesus.  Since the evidence was so high, execution was rare in these cases.

If Jesus said to let her go, he’d appear to be breaking Moses’ law.  If he said execute her, he’d be breaking Roman law since the Romans now were the only ones who had the authority to execute (where Pontius Pilate comes into play).  Matthew 22:15-22 is a similar dilemma recorded.  It seems the Pharisees were relentless in their pursuit of Christ.

Jesus ignores them and stoops down, a stance of humility and identifying with the woman.

Jesus writes!  But what?  Scholars have speculated since this was written.  The verb wrote could also mean to draw so some say he doodled or to write down a record.  Some say he quoted the Bible.  Others say this was a stalling tactic.  Some say he wrote the names of the accusers or their sins.  No one knows but it’s fascinating to speculate.

Still being pestered, Jesus rises up and addresses the men.  In Jewish law, witnesses to crimes were the first to cast the first stone in a stoning verdict.  Jesus’ point:  people are quick to point out others’ sins while ignoring their own.

Jesus again stoops, out of concern for the women and not to gloat over the shame the men must certainly be feeling.  Christ is merciful to all.

Some versions have “being convicted by their conscience” as they leave.  Seemingly it was Jesus’ words and not what he wrote that convicted them.

Scholars are unsure why the oldest left first.  Some say it pertained to what Jesus was writing on the ground, perhaps the sins of the oldest first.  They kept on going away.

The verb for standing could be a figurative sense and this is the only reference to the woman’s posture.  Based on Jesus’ stance, scholars believe she was stooping as well during this ordeal although she could have been forced to stand the entire time.  This is unknown.

Jesus notes her accusers are gone.  The woman must have felt relief with her accusers gone and her life regained–all a gift of Jesus who took her sin upon himself, foreshadowing the cross.  “There is no condemnation for those in Christ” Romans 8:1

Jesus did not approve nor accept her sin.  Here, we see a great example of how we are to move on from our sin in life:  admit you were sinning, repent and give up sinning, and continue in the hope of Christ.  No doubt this woman’s life is ruined as she’d be shunned and rejected by her husband and community.  Jesus gives her hope as he does us all.

Fun Fact:  Verse 6 records the only time in the Bible of Jesus writing.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 12, Day 4: Revelation 6:9-11

Summary of passage:  When Jesus opened the fifth seal, John saw those who had been slain because of their faith.  They asked God how much longer until He judges the earth’s inhabitants and avenges them.  They were given a white robe and told to wait until those who would die for their faith had been completed.

Questions:

9a)  Those who had been killed because of their faith and they wanted to know how much longer until God judged the earth’s inhabitants and avenges them.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s not really something I desire.  I know God will do it, so I don’t worry about it or give it much thought.  I’d much rather focus on His work for me than His judgment on others.  It’s between them and God anyways.  I’m sure I’d feel different if some travesty occurred against me or my family, but it hasn’t.

10a)  To wait until the rest who would die for their faith had joined them.  God is waiting for all to come to Him in repentance before final judgment.  He is patient beyond words.

b)  Righteousness and salvation before God.

11a)  We are called to suffer since Jesus suffered.  Paul says in Romans to rejoice in our sufferings for suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope.  We are blessed in suffering and it’s better to suffer for doing good than evil says Peter.  Suffering is a privilege and a way to participate in God’s glory (1 Peter 4:12-16) so rejoice in it.  We should commit to God and continue to do good (1 Peter 5:19).  After suffering in this life, we will be restored and made strong, firm and steadfast.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God listens; God answers.  God is full of grace, holy and true, and sovereign over all.  I trust in Him that He has a purpose I cannot see and He will pull me through.  For God is in control.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Suffering and persecution as a Christian is part of our life and our calling.  Encourage those in the midst of suffering with the grace of God, of His omniscient will, and His power to turn suffering into good.

Conclusions:  Good transition into suffering since John is talking about Christian martyrs.  Excellent!

I am amazed at my Bible knowledge and I don’t mean that in any pompous way.  When I think back to when I first started BSF five years ago, I had no clue where any of the books of the Bible were, which were in the New Testament and the Old Testament, and what they contained.  Now, when I’m asked a question here by BSF I often know the answer without looking it up.

I am telling you all this as an encouragement to those new to the Bible or still seeking Jesus.  Keep coming to class.  Keep doing your homework.  Keep attending lectures as much as possible.  Keep seeking Him.  Even if you feel inadequate and hopeless hang in there.  You will be rewarded.  By a greater knowledge of Him and His word and a greater heart for Jesus and His people.

Nothing in this world is free and nothing in this world is gained without hard work.  Knowing God is hard work.  Is there any other work more important?

End Notes:  “Under the altar” channels Leviticus 4:7; 17:11 and emphasizes their blood sacrifice for God.

“Testimony” comes from the Greek word martyria, meaning “witness.”  Since Christians were often killed for being faithful witnesses of the testimony Christ had given them, they came to be called martyrs.  These are the true believers in God being persecuted as Jesus warned would happen (Mark 13:9-13; Luke 21:12-18; Matthew 24:9; John 16:2).

Crying out for vengeance is asking God to do what He promises to do which is administer justice.  People in the Bible have been doing this for ages (Genesis 4:10; Numbers 35:33; Isaiah 6:11; Jeremiah 47:6; Zechariah 1:12; Luke 18:1-8).  David asked this question repeatedly (Psalm 13:1; 35:17; 74:9; 79:5; 80:4; 89:46).  “My soul is in anguish.  How long, O Lord, how long?” (Psalm 6:3).  Habakkuk asked: “How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” (1:2).

This is a call for judgment on the world, a necessary step for righteousness.

White we know is a symbol or purity, faithfulness, blessedness, and victory.  It is also a picture of the redeemed and justified (Revelation 7:11-14).

More are going to die for God.  In the first century, the persecutors are mainly the Jews, the synagogue of Satan.  Later, it will be the Romans.  Today it is extremist Islam and non-believers.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 12, Day 3: Revelation 6:1-8

Summary of passage: Jesus opened the first seal and a white horse with a rider appeared. The rider was given a crown and rode off. The second seal was opened and a red horse appeared. Its rider was given power to take peace from earth and to make men kill each other. He was given a sword. The third seal unleashed a black horse and its rider held a pair of scales, used to measure out food as payment for a day’s wages.  The fourth seal released a pale horse whose rider was named Death and Hades. They were given power to kill by sword, famine, plague, and by the wild beasts a fourth of the earth.

Questions:

6)  The rider of the black horse was holding a pair of scales.  The voice of the living creatures said, “A quart of wheat for a day’s wages and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages and do not damage the oil and the wine.”  The scales the Black Rider holds shows the approaching famine and economic downturn. Food will be rationed. The prices mentioned here are astronomical: one day’s wages for the ingredients of bread essentially. Yet, the rich will still have oil and wine.

7)  Hades was the Greek god of the underworld (Romans called him Pluto) where souls went when they died. Hades today refers to hell.  Here, it represents the grave and he is gathering up his victims of death, famine, and destruction.

8a)  Both passages have colored horses.  In Revelation, the colors are significant.  In Zechariah they’re not.  Zechariah calls the horses “the four spirits of heaven” and are sent out into the world with no effect. In Revelation, the release of the horses bring disasters upon the earth.  In Zechariah the horses are important as they patrol the earth; in Revelation the riders are more important.

In Matthew 24, Christ warns of the Anti-Christ, which is the white horse rider in Revelation.  Jesus says there will be wars, famines, and earthquakes and death (Matthew 24:9).  The red, black, and pale riders are war, famine, and death.  [Side Note:  The rest of Matthew 24 parallels Revelation 6 as well.]

This is important since all passages are a warning to us about what is to come.  It shows us how God is Lord of history and how the prophesies here will come true.  It increases our faith.

b)  Same answer as above:  Christ warns of the Antichrist, wars, famines, earthquakes, death, and destruction to mankind.

Conclusions:  In reading about Revelation 6, I read all about Matthew 24 and Zechariah 6 and I’m surprised BSF chose to bring both of those in because I wasn’t going to go in depth in my analysis.  Good job by simplifying the comparisons and bringing out what’s important here because the interpretations can be heavy.  God is amazing in all his connectivity and fluidity.  Awesome!

End Notes:  See yesterday’s lesson HERE since both days cover the same passage.

Homework Tip:  Revelation is becoming harder as more and more symbols and interpretations appear.  Spend the time to understand the meanings here.  On today’s lesson and yesterday’s I did them together, flipping back and forth as a question was asked and something else was jogged in my mind.  I read the passage, answer the questions, read commentary, then go back and re-do my questions.  Sometimes I change an answer or add to it.  Sometimes I don’t.  But whatever the case, I definitely get more out of the questions the second time around.

Set aside the time to do these lessons.  God will reward you immensely if you do.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 12, Day 3: Exodus 33:12-23

Summary of passage:  Moses is speaking with God and beseeches to know Him better.  God says His Presence will go with Moses on his journey.  Moses says if God’s Presence doesn’t accompany them, then he doesn’t want to go and nothing will distinguish God’s people if God doesn’t.  God grants Moses request and when Moses asks God to show him His glory God says His goodness will pass in front of Moses for no one living can see God’s face.

Questions:

5a)  To know Him better.  To learn more about God so he can better lead and have more confidence.  To be closer to God.  To know God approves of him.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To be honest, I’ve never really asked God to know Him better.  But I just did!

c)  That God remember that these people are His people, that they are distinct from the rest of the world because of God’s favor upon them, and thus God had to go with them so that all others will know these are God’s people.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I pray more and more for others but never really thought of it as leading to my personal growth.  Sounds a bit selfish to me if that’s the only reason you are praying is to grow personally.  Others first, then you.  Like Jesus did.

6)  Confidence in their course, freedom from worry, desire to help others and do what’s right in God’s mind, an inner peace in their lives, compassion on others, living God’s way not the world’s.

7a)  God Himself, but I’m not for sure Moses knew exactly what he expected.  After all, it is God and God’s ways are not ours.  Moses just wanted to be close to God so badly that he asked to see God and I believe Moses didn’t really care here if he saw God or not.  He only wanted to be as close to God as humanly possible and I think Moses achieved that more than any other person besides Jesus while on Earth.

b)  “Do the very thing you [Moses] have asked”, which is to go personally with the Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land because God had said in Exodus 33:3 that He wouldn’t due to His anger over the golden calf.  He also promised to show Moses His goodness and proclaim His name in front of Moses.  He will have compassion on who He has compassion and mercy on whom He will have mercy on.  He will cover Moses until His glory has passed and Moses will see God’s back but not His face.

c)  No one can see God’s face and live.

Conclusions:  I do need to ask God to know Him more, and I need to pray for others not for me but for them as they need mercy more than I do.  I would like to be seen as someone who knows God, but I fear when people look at me, they don’t see God but me.  Something to pray about.

End Notes:  What makes the Promised Land special is God.  Without God, the land is nothing.  Hence, Moses begs God to go with them.  The word “know” is repeated here.  We need to know God and desire to know God like Moses did.

Moses was bold here, pressing God and using grace as his reasoning.  God responds.  Great example for us as well.  Delicate balance of Godly-fear with the right heart.

Moses wanted more and more and kept asking.  God granted.  So must we.

God’s glory lies in His goodness.  That is the first thing we must know about God–that He is good.  To understand God, we must understand His goodness.  This is the essence behind God’s glory.

Elijah may have met God in this exact same rock cleft (1 Kings 19:8-18).

Here we see the hymn Rock of Ages:  Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee.

I would expect to sing this hymn when we do this lesson in BSF.

Take away:  If you seek Him, you will be rewarded beyond your imaginings.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 12, Day 2: Exodus 33:7-11

Summary of passage:  The tent of meeting was pitched outside the Israelites’ camp.  Whoever wanted to inquire of the Lord would go here.  Moses would go inside the tent and the pillar of cloud (God) would descend and the Lord would speak to Moses as if with a friend and all the people would worship when Moses was with God.  Joshua stayed behind at the tent.

Questions:

3a)  The Israelites had lost their privilege of having God amongst them when they formed the golden calf.  God punished them by removing Himself.  Hence, God had to remain separate since He is holy and the people are not.

b)  They worshipped whenever God was present.

4a)  Moses didn’t see the face of God, but God’s presence descended and Moses spoke with God.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  When we ask Him to.  When we come to Him in prayer.  When we beseech Him.  Whenever we want, God will speak to us.  We only have to be willing.

Conclusions:  I jumped up and down at this lesson!  Short and sweet!  Emphasized how we all can approach God and be with Him if we are only willing.  Great lesson on choosing God and Him meeting us when we do so.  Yay, BSF!

End Notes:  In the ancient world, places of worship were built outside of towns.  God had desired to change this until the sin of the golden calf.  Furthermore, by placing the tabernacle outside of the city, those who truly wanted to meet God had to go out of their way to do so.  It was an act of separation.  God’s people had to be separate.  They had to choose Him.  We can assume some of the Israelites did not do so.

Moses set a strong example for the people.  When he worshipped, so did they.  This is what leaders do.

Moses had a special relationship with God.  He didn’t see God’s face for John tells us no one has (1 John 4:12), but Moses heard God clearly and “sees the form of the Lord” (Numbers 12:8).  It is clear Moses is special.  What an amazing honor!

I see two reasons for Joshua staying:  1)  To guard the tent.  2)  He was so moved by the Lord’s presence that he did not wish to depart.  He yearned for God and by staying at the tabernacle he was as close as humanly possible to God’s presence.  I believe we all have this yearning and why we are all drawn to church wherever we are–to be as close to our Maker as possible.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 12, Day 5: Matthew 12:22-50

Summary of passage:  Again, Jesus was brought a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute and Jesus healed him.  The people were astonished and wondered if this was the Son of David.  The Pharisees said no, it was Beelzebub.  Jesus said why would the devil drive out demons?  It just doesn’t make sense because a city divided against itself cannot stand.

Jesus says if you are not with him then you are against him but every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven as long as it is against men but if it is against the Spirit, it will not be forgiven.

A good tree bears good fruit.  A bad tree bears bad fruit.  Evil cannot say good.  The mouth speaks what is in the heart and you will have to give account on judgment day of every word you have spoken.

The Pharisees ask for a sign to which Jesus responds harshly, saying none of you have repented and you are worse than Nineveh who repented after Jonah was swallowed by the whale.  This generation is more wicked.

Jesus explains that whoever does the will of God is his brother, sister, and mother.

Questions:

11a)  It demonstrated his supernatural healing powers and that he is the Son of Man (or God) and it showed his compassion on people.  It also showed how Jesus is more powerful than demons (or the devil).

b)  Beelzebub is the prince of demons or the devil and the house is the human body or soul.  Basically, Jesus says here he has the power to bind Satan and steal his house (us) back from him and claim us for his kingdom.

12)  Because the Spirit indwells inside Christians and does not allow you to speak ill of the Spirit.  The Spirit will guide you into truth and can speak only what he hears.  You have the Spirit when you believe in Jesus.  Thus, if you believe in Jesus, if you desire and seek him, you cannot blasphemy the Holy Spirit.  It is just impossible.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  My words sometimes reveal anger, bitterness, lack of compassion, selfishness, pride, ignorance, hurt, condescension, and a judgmental attitude.  Sometimes it reveals love, compassion, sacrifice, honor, goodness, righteousness, a desire to do God’s will, contentment, and happiness.  I will pray for more of the latter and an ability to recognize the evil BEFORE it spews forth and replace it with kindness, gentleness, peacefulness, patience, self-control, goodness, faithfulness, love, and joy (the fruits of the spirit Galatians 5:22-23).

14a)  Their intentions were wicked and adulterous.  They weren’t going to change their minds and believe in Jesus no matter what he did.  They were merely trying to trap him so they could execute him.

b)  The sign of the prophet Jonah and it points to how the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (before Jesus rose from the dead).  Jesus is using an analogy here.  Jonah died (was swallowed) for others sins but was resurrected (coughed up so to speak) after three days.  When the people saw this, they repented.  Jesus is saying he is the sign and the same will happen to him.

c)  If you rid yourself of evil but replace it with nothing, then you invite even more evil in.  You need to throw evil out of your life and then replace it with God and the Holy Spirit so that you become better and not worse in the future.

15)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus says whoever does God’s will is his brother, sister, and mother.  Basically, we are adopted into Jesus’ family as believers and if we do God’s will, we get to live with Him forever.  Thus, I am Jesus’ sister.  Pretty cool!

Conclusions:  Some challenging passages here which I did my best to explain as we answered questions on them.  BSF did a great job in covering this passage.  The one thing I would emphasize more is Jesus’ words “He who is not with me is against me.”  If you do not work for Jesus, then you work against him.  This would be any other religion or even those passive in life.  This is black and white, something a lot of people don’t like to hear.  Either you accept Jesus and do his will or you don’t and then you are doing Satan’s will.  That’s the bottom line that many do not want to hear because they think they are doing good in this world.  The fact is Satan is in control of you unless you have the Holy Spirit to drive him away.

My favorite part is how the heart is shown in your words.  That’s one of my favorite passages from Paul’s writings (Ephesians 4:29; 5:19) and it’s an area I struggle with.

End Notes:  Here we see Jesus calling the Pharisees brood of vipers again (verse 34), basically calling them the sons of Satan.  Especially in ancient times the serpent was associated with evil because of its role in the Fall so that is why Jesus calls them vipers, associating them with Satan, which the Jewish people would immediately understand.