BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 21, Day 3: Romans 12:1

Summary of passage:  Paul urges Christians to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to God as an act of worship.

Questions:

6)  Personal Question.  My answers:

Romans 9:15:  This is the verse God says He will have mercy and compassion on whom He chooses. This shows us we are all in God’s grace to be chosen as believers and God is the one in control of whom He chooses and He doesn’t.

Romans 9:23:  God chose all of those who comes to Him in advance.  He showed his wrath and power in order to demonstrate his glory to those of us whom He shows mercy to.

Ephesians 2:4-5:  God gives us His mercy when He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins to make us alive again.

1 Peter 1:3:  Similar to Ephesians, God demonstrates His mercy when though the living hope in His Son Jesus whom He brought back to life in order that we can live with Him forever.

7)  Personal Question.  My answer:  First, by choosing me and my family to be believers and to be saved.  Second, by blessing the US with all of its riches so that we live an easy life. By continuing to bless my family financially, spiritually, mentally, physically, etc every day of every year.  By always being there.

8 )  According to Webster’s Dictionary, a sacrifice is “an act of offering to deity something precious; especially the killing of a victim on an altar, destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else or to suffer loss of, give up , renounce, injure, or destroy especially for an ideal, belief or end”.  According to Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, a sacrifice is “a religious act belonging to worship in which offering is made to God of some material object belonging to the offerer–this offering being consumed in the ceremony, in order to attain, restore, maintain, or celebrate friendly relations with the deity.”

The history of sacrifice in the Old Testament would fill a book.  Sacrifices have been around since Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:4-5 where it states Abel offered an acceptable sacrifice to God.  Furthermore, we’d need another book to dive into the different types of sacrifices offered in the Old Testament to God for many purposes.  BSF is sending us to Leviticus which is the Day of Atonement sacrifice where the High Priest had to cover himself  and the Israelites (figuratively here) with the blood of an animal in order to approach God and cleanse themselves of sin.  Hebrews tells us Jesus is the final sacrifice that takes away all of our sins in God’s eyes and cleanses us.

To answer the question, the Old Testament sacrifices served one goal:  to make ourselves acceptable and pleasing to God through honoring Him, worshipping Him, and giving Him glory.  We had to atone for our sins in various ways and thank Him for all He’d done.  Paul is urging us to give our bodies as a living sacrifice (our body being our heart, mind, soul, body, and spirit–all of us) to God.  To live our lives for God in every way.  To let His will reign, not ours.

9)  Ordinary is living each day with Him in mind and as the center.  Choosing Him in the little things in life:  forgiving a wrong, helping the poor and downtrodden, letting kind words out instead of angry words, being generous and compassionate with people, and meeting them where they are at.  Extraordinary examples are Mother Theresa, pastors, Popes, monks, nuns, those who work in the Christian industries such as non-profits, book publishing, bible publishing, missionaries, Focus on the Family, and everyone else I am forgetting who strive to do God’s work here on earth (this includes us whose names will never be known but who do God’s work every day!).

Conclusions:  Mercy and living for God.  Great topics that are huge and BSF did a good job on focusing on the importance of it all.  1)  God chose us out of His mercy.  2)  We do God’s work by giving all of ourselves up to Him.  Every day.  In the daily grind at work and at home.  Living for Him.  Raising our kids for Him.  Helping others for Him.  Love it!

End Notes: [Same as Yesterday’s just for Verse 1 only]  Chapters 12:1-15:33.  Paul now turns to the practical application of all he has said previously in the letter.  This does not mean he has not said anything about Christian living up to this point because as we saw Chapters 6-8 touched on this already but now Paul goes into detail to show that Jesus Christ is to be Lord of every area of life.  These chapters are not a postscript to the great theological discussions in Chapters 1-11.  In a real sense the entire letter has been directed toward the goal of showing that God demands our action as well as our believer and thinking. Faith expresses itself in obedience.

“Therefore”  It is Paul’s pattern to begin a letter with a strong doctrinal section and follow with exhortations to Christian living. Paul begs Christians to live a certain way in light of what God did for them.  Here, God gives us all things.  Now, how do we show Him gratitude for that?  With our bodies and our minds.

“Urging us” reminds us that we still have a choice in how we live for God.

“In view of God’s mercy” reminds us we do this because of the mercy God grants us (Romans 1-11).  In fact, we are only able to offer ourselves to Him because of His mercy.  Some of the mercies Paul has told us about already:

· Justification from the guilt and penalty of sin

· Adoption in Jesus and identification with Christ

· Placed under grace, not law

· Giving the Holy Spirit to live within

· Promise of help in all affliction

· Assurance of a standing in God’s election

· Confidence of coming glory

· Confidence of no separation from the love of God

· Confidence in God’s continued faithfulness

Think of “body” here as your entire being for your heart, soul, spirit, and mind are in your body. Paul is saying here give God your entire self.  God wants you!

Many today let their body rule in terms of engaging in physical pleasures.  Paul says no!  Our mind is the will and our mind brings the body as servant to God.

Ancient Greeks dismissed the body as unspiritual so this teaching would have shocked them.  Paul says God is concerned about our bodies, which were dearly bought at a price (1 Cor 6:19-20).

A living sacrifice is a dichotomy especially in the first century AD where sacrifices involved death.  The whole idea is the sacrifice is ongoing.  Paul could be contrasting dead animal sacrifices here as well or perhaps “living” in the sense of having the Holy Spirit.

“Holy and pleasing to God”:  The standard for sacrifices made to God under the New Covenant are not any less than the standard under the Old Covenant.

Sacrifices in the Old Testament:

· He shall bring a male without blemish (Leviticus 1:10)

· But if there is a defect in it, if it is lame or blind or has any serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 15:21)

The idea of a sweet aroma to the Lord is almost always linked to the idea of an offering made by fire. There is a “burning” in this matter of a living sacrifice. It also shows that Paul has in mind the burnt offering, in which the entire sacrifice was given to the Lord. In some sacrifices, the one offering the sacrifice and the priest shared in the some of the meal, but never in the burnt offering.

Today, the holiness we bring to the altar is a decision for holiness, and yielding to the work of holiness in our life.  As we present our bodies a living sacrifice, God makes our life holy by burning away impurities.

“Spiritual act of worship”:  This was translated as “reasonable service”.  The ancient Greek word for reasonable (logikos) can also be translated “of the word” (as it is in 1 Peter 2:2). Reasonable service is a life of worship according to God’s Word.

Another translation says “true and proper worship”.  This is to emphasize not merely ritual worship activity but the involvement of heart, mind, and will in worship and obedient service.

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BSF Study Questions John Lesson 21, Day 3: 1 John 2:3-29

Summary of passage:  We are in Christ if we walk as Jesus did.  If we obey him, we will know him and have God’s complete love.  You must love your brother to be in the light; otherwise, you are not.  If you love the world, then you are not in God.  If you do the will of God, you will live forever. Antichrists will come in the last hour.  They will deny the Father and the Son.  Being anointed with the Holy Spirit, it will teach you.  If you remain in the Father and the Son, then you will have eternal life.  Those who do what is right has been born of Jesus.

Questions:

6)  If you obey His word, God’s love is complete in you.  As long as you remain in the Father and the Son, you will have eternal life.  If you love your brother and shun the world, then you are in Christ.  If you obey God, walk with Jesus, and be righteous, you are in Jesus.

7)  The cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has and does.  All of these are negative.  A sinful man craves sinful things: sex outside of marriage, affairs, covets other people’s things, steals, cheats, lies, etc.  He boasts of his material possessions instead of his spiritual spirit.  The positive twist would be to strive for God’s will in your life, for God’s goodness in others’ lives, and to use your gifts and senses to do so.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  False teachers are those who deny Christ is the Son of God.  They could be those in the Christian community but do not abide in Jesus.  If you have the Holy Spirit, then you will know the truth when spoken and the lies when spoken.  Abiding in Christ protects us as well as the anointing.  If whoever is speaking says things directly against the Bible and God’s teachings, then they are false. Period. Pray. God will tell you. He will not let you be blinded.

Conclusions: We talked a ton about the Antichrist and false teachers last year in Revelation.  It was more prevalent in ancient society and with so many different religions floating around it would be hard to know what to believe in–especially as a new convert to Christ.  Still, we must be aware of cults and society’s tendency to follow charismatic leaders and smooth talkers.  The Antichrist could come at any time and the little antichrists preceding him as well.

End Notes:  Following God’s commandments is evidence of knowing God.  There is a difference between knowing about someone and knowing them.  God and you know which is truth.  God’s love is perfect or mature in those who obey and by this we know we are in Jesus.  We will walk at Jesus did.

What does that mean?  Walk as Jesus did?  It means that sin is distasteful to us and every day we lead more of a righteous life of obedience to God.

Loving one another is not new.  What’s new is the depth of love that Jesus spoke of in John 13:34.  Jesus’ love is what we are to grasp–loving everyone.   Our relationship with God can be measured by our love for other Christians.

We have to keep His commandments, walk as Jesus did, and love other Christians.  If one is missing, then we fail.  You can do all the right things, believe all the right truths, but if you do not love other Christians, then all is lost.

Hatred and love in the bible are more than emotions; they are attitudes expressed in actions.

Stages in Spiritual Life:  We all begin as little children in our spiritual walk with God.  It is enough to know God forgives our sins.  Fathers are people who have known God for years and are mature in their spiritual walk with God.  Young men are those in the middle of their spiritual walk who have fought with Satan.

The repetition is intentional.  The key is knowing God.  God’s word is our source of spiritual strength, which is tested in the youth phase, and which lives in our hearts.

The world here is sin, the world’s system, it’s way of doing things, and material objects.  It’s controlled by Satan and organized against God and righteousness.  It’s easy to fall in love with the things of this world that make us better off but not better.  The world and what we gain in the world or strive for pass away when we do.  Heaven and God are eternal.  We are to be in the world but not of the world (John 17:14-18).  Monks took this to the extreme in the Middle Ages.

This goes all the way back to Eve who looked upon the fruit, thought how it would satisfy her and how it would make her appear before Adam.  Our thinking is usually of the world.  You must arrest your thoughts, capture them, and then work to change them towards God.  Lot is another example who was of the world.

In this world, we have three eternal things: the Holy Spirit, the people around you, and God’s word.   Time, attention, and expense put into these three things pay eternal rewards.

The last hour is Jesus’ return. John considered the last days to be everything after Christ.  The Antichrist is instead of Jesus.  He will appear and do wonderful things to appeal to us.  There will be only one “Antichrist” at the End Times.  However, there will be smaller versions preceding him.  The antichrists in John’s day were the Gnostics.  “Anti” means against in Latin.

John assumes his readers will know someone will oppose God before the Second Coming.  Also known as the man of lawlessness or the beast from Revelation.

Fun Fact:  The word ‘antichrist’ occurs in the Bible only in the letters of John and only five times in four verses (1 John 2:18, 22, 4:3; 2 John 7).

Essentially, the Antichrist is a world dictator who leads humanity in what seems to be a golden age, until he shows his true colors – and the judgment of God is poured out on him and his empire immediately before the return of Jesus.  This could happen at any time.  Think of Stalin, Hitler, and Mao.  Many of these antichrists will identify as Christians but never were since they left.

Other characteristics of the antichrists John lists:  1) They deny the incarnation 2)  They deny Jesus is divine.  3)  They deny the Father  4)  They don’t have the Father  5)  They are liars and deceivers  6) there are many.

Anointing has the idea of being filled with and blessed by the Holy Spirit, enabling discernment and knowing the Truth.

This idea of anointing – literally, to be blessed with oil – was said to be the reason behind one of the punishments given to John in persecution. The Roman emperor Domitian cast John in a boiling vat of oil, as if to say, “Here is a real anointing.” John emerged from the vat of boiling oil unharmed, because he had a different anointing.

In verse 20, John used a different word for know than he mostly used before. Previously John used the word meaning knowledge by experience; here he used the word meaning knowledge by intuition. We know some things intuitively by the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

We must believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, as the Bible defines Christ – the Messiah, who is fully God and fully man; who perfectly revealed the Father to us.  We don’t worship the same God unless your God is the God who was revealed in Jesus Christ.  If not, then your God is not the God of the Bible.  If you reject Jesus, you reject God.

Fun Fact:  John uses the word “love” 35 times in this letter alone.

What you have heard from the beginning is the message of the apostles (the New Testament).  We must abide or live in Jesus Christ.  We do this by knowing His word and living in His word.

Fun Fact:  John uses “abide” 6 times in these few verses and idea is strewn about the New Testament.

When God lives in us, we have eternal life in heaven.  This anointing of the Holy Spirit allows us to know the Truth and discern the falsehoods and guide us closer to Jesus.  Because you are abiding in Jesus, when he comes again you won’t be ashamed or fearful.  We’ve seen this before (John 14:23). We practice righteousness since we are born of God who is righteous.

Summary of 1 John 2:  Christians: 1) know Him (1 John 2:4), 2) abide in Him (1 John 2:6), and 3) are in the light (1 John 2:9).  If this is true for you, it will show in the life you lead and the love you hold for fellow Christians.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 21, Day 3: Numbers 16:1-22

Summary of passage:  Korah, Dathan, and Abiram led 250 well-known council members in a rebellion  against Moses.  Moses tells them in the morning God will choose who is holy.  Moses chastises the Levites for being greedy and wanting the priesthood as well as the honor of serving God in His tabernacle.  Moses is accused by Dathan and Abiriam of leading them to death instead of a land of milk and honey.  Moses asked the Lord not to accept their offering out of anger.

The next day all the men took incense and their censer before the Lord at the Tent of Meeting. The Lord appeared in all His glory.  God tells Moses to move away from the entire group so He can kill them.  Moses and Aaron though beg for the lives of the 250 and just put the ringleaders to death.

Questions:

4a)  They accused Moses of putting himself above everyone else.  Dathan and Abiram accuse Moses of leading them to their deaths and not into a land of milk and honey.

b)  To promise them something greater–hear it sounds like the priesthood.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Ever hear of politicians?  All the time.  People promise you something to come over to their side.  Even amidst children.  Human nature.  One of the oldest (as we are reading) tricks in the book.

5a)  Korah:  Greed, desire for power, recognition

Dathan and Abiram:  desire for an easier life

Moses:  compassion, anger, forgiveness

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This question has nothing to do with the passage.  Not sure.  I can’t speak for God.  And this passage is really not flattering to anyone.

6a)  God. Verse 11

b)  Moses fell facedown to God, he tells them they are rebelling against God, Moses tells God not to accept the offering of Dathan and Abiram, and Moses asks God only to punish the ringleaders and not everyone.  Moses knows God almost wiped them all off the face of the earth and he is trying to contain this rebellion before God decides to do it again.

Conclusions:  Unbelievable so close to God having almost killed the people and punished all of them by not allowing them to make it to the Promised Land.  Man never learns, does he?

I am struck over and over again with the greatness and compassion of Moses.  Never before have I realized just how instrumental he was in the Exodus and in rescuing God’s people from themselves.  I am awed by his love and his behavior and his courage especially in the face of God’s anger.  I’m not for sure I would have the courage to speak up to God to spare the people when God’s about to destroy everyone.  So many lessons we see from Moses:  standing up for others, loving others, compassion for others, understanding others, etc.  Every chapter I come to see just how special Moses truly was.

End Notes:  Korah was a great-grandson of Levi.  Both Moses and Korah were descended from Kohath but by different sons.  So they were distant cousins.  See Numbers 26:58-59.

Korah played to the people, claiming to represent their interests and needs, when in truth it was all about a power grab for himself.

It’s significant that Korah accused Moses of pride–a man the Bible called the most humble man on earth (Numbers 12:3–debatable about if Moses called himself this or not as the author of Numbers). It is therefore significant that Korah managed to get so many followers because these men should have known how preposterous the idea was and should have known Moses’ character.  Great example on how man is often deceived by smooth talkers.

Moses sets the example for all of us:  the first thing he did was pray.  Pray for guidance to God.

In this prayer (which we are not told how long it lasted), Moses presumably received direction from God in terms of what to do.  Moses wouldn’t issue a challenge to Korah and speak for God to show Himself and choose His leader if God hadn’t have told him to do so.

Korah was ungrateful and instead of seeking God to give him gratitude he chose to take Moses down.  His heart indeed was not God’s.

Unbelievable how Dathan and Abiram called Egypt “a land flowing with milk and honey.”  Yet how often have we done the same thing with the past–when something terrible has happened and we sugar coat it to something completely different.  It’s as if we never want to believe the worst.

Saying nothing is a sin as well when someone is falsely accused and you do nothing.  The 250 community leaders here hold blame as well.

Moses could easily have the rebels arrested and executed if he so desired.  Instead, he left it to God.  And Moses’ passion and anger against the rebels shows just how much he wanted to protect God’s people against those who would lead them astray.

The censer test with incense was what the priests used in worship.  God chose this to give the evil-doers what they wanted–to be a priest.  However, they were far from worshipping God here.

Moses and Aaron’s prayer perhaps saved these men.  We don’t know for sure, but the fact this is recorded emphasizes the power of prayer.  Another example for us to follow.  Certainly, both Moses and Aaron are becoming more and more like Jesus–one reason God allowed this rebellion to happen.

Fun Fact:  Korah means “baldness” in Hebrew.  Gives us a better picture of him, don’t it?