BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 23, Day 5: Romans 12:17-21

Summary of passage:  Do what is right.  Don’t seek retribution.  Be at peace with all.  Let God handle judgment/revenge.  Be kind to your enemies.  Overcome evil with good.

Questions:

13)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Too many to list.  People will smear others on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Gossip, libel, lies, deceit, and any other physical abuse such as hitting to the extreme of killing.  Any evil man can dream of he will do.  Now that I’m older I let things go a lot.  I just don’t have the energy for revenge and I know God will do it much better than I ever could.  I usually let my anger simmer and then in a few days life moves me on and all is forgotten.

14)  Joseph pops to mind first.  He did not kill his brothers when he could have after they sold him into slavery and then showed up years later when they were starving.  He embraced them instead and saved them and their families from starvation and for posterity.  And of course, God.  The Bible is full of God showing mercy.  We all should be dead.  But in God’s mercy, He forgives.

15)  Feed your enemy.  Give them something to drink.  Love your enemy.  God will avenge and repay for the wrongs done.

16)  There is only one way:  with God and Jesus’ help.  Only through them and by them.  Studying God’s Word.  Practicing God’s Word.  Praying every day to be more like Jesus.  Having communion with other believers.  Asking others for prayer to strengthen you in your daily life (Prayer Requests!!).  Keeping yourself out of tempting situations where you know you will most likely sin.  Staying apart from this world while living in it.

Conclusions:  More advice from Paul on Godly-living.  Love Question 16.  We are paralyzed without God.  We can’t do anything without Him.  This includes living out Paul’s commands.

End NotesMatthew 5:38-45. We are to love our enemies and treat well those who treat us badly.

Note Paul’s caveat:  If it is possible.  It may not always be possible since we cannot control others.  But he says do your part.

If you trust God, then you know it’s not necessary to avenge.  God will handle it.

Do good to your enemies.  “Heaping burning coals on his head” most likely refers to a “burning conviction” that our kindness places on our enemy.  It may bring about his repentance.  Or, some think it refers to the practice of lending coals from a fire to help a neighbor start their own – an appreciated act of kindness.

Either way we see that we can destroy our enemy by making him our friend.

Great read on God’s vengeance and the heaping coals HERE

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BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 21, Day 5: Romans 12:1-2

Summary of passage:  Paul urges Christians to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to God as an act of worship.  He urges us to not conform to this world but to allow God to renew our mind so that we can know His will for us.

Questions:

13)  Renewing of your mind through the power of the Holy Spirit/God.

14)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Renewing the mind is the opposite of conforming the world.  The battle takes place in the mind.  Hence, Christians must think differently than non-believers.  Paul says here we must know what God’s word says in our mind. We cannot blindly follow our whimsical feelings and follow the crowd of doers who are “doing” but accomplishing nothing.  Speaking God’s Word into the minds of others when the opportunity arises.  Taking my kids to church and bible study.  Teaching them to put God first in their world.

15)  “his good, pleasing, perfect will.”

“Good”:  That which leads to the spiritual and moral growth of the Christian.

“Pleasing”:  To God, not necessarily to us.

“Perfect”:  No improvement can be made on the will of God.

Most people confuse their will with God’s will and justify their will as God’s.  People also use God as a scapegoat for their sinful actions.  Reality is it is hard to know God’s will since we can’t know everything like God does.  But if you know His Word, His character, His heart, and His justice then through prayer He will reveal it.  But if it has anything to do with sin, it’s not God.

16)

John 14:15:  God’s will can be found in loving Him and obeying His commands.

2 Corinthians 10:5:  Take captive your thoughts to make them align to God’s will and obedience to Christ and rid ourselves of arguments and pretensions that is against the Word of God.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-7:  We should live a sanctified/holy life, avoiding sexual immorality, learning to control your own body in a holy way, and not take advantage of others.

James 5:13-16:  One should pray when in trouble, sing when happy, have others pray over you if you’re sick, and confess your sins.  Our prayers are powerful and effective.

1 Peter 2:15:  Do good to silence the ignorance of the foolish.

1 Peter 3:17:  Live as servants of God (verse 16), respect others, love others, fear God, and honor God.

1 Peter 4:1-11:  Live for God’s will, which is being clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray, loving each other, offer hospitality to others without grumbling, use your gifts to serve others, speak as if speaking the very words of God, serve with God’s strength so that God is given the glory.

Conclusions:  One of my favorite parts of BSF is when they do send us to other parts of the Bible on certain subjects.  Hence, I loved question 16 because on my own I never would have made these connections.  Yeah, BSF!  I also love 2 Cor 10:5 because it puts the power in our hands.   1 Peter 4:11 is powerful.  Speak as if God were speaking.  Awesome!

All of this shows us how powerful we truly are.  We don’t give ourselves enough credit.  You don’t have to be Martin Luther King, Jr to change the world.  Change those around you and you’ll change the world.  Because then they will change others and the ripple effect will be far more than we’ll ever know.  Live God in you.  Quit worrying about others.  Change yourself.  Change your loved ones.  God will do the rest.

Conclusions to Lesson 21:  This was my favorite lesson so far.  Small verse focus but great questions that re-enforced key ideas we all need to be reminded of.  It all starts with you.  Change yourself first.  Live the life God wants you to live.  Remember others and love others.  Live for Him.  He’ll doe the rest.

End Notes: [Same as Day 2‘s]  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.

Verse 2:  So the world system with all its evil and corruption is opposed to God and His ways and is in rebellion.  Paul reminds us we must resist it.

Renewing the mind is the opposite of conforming the world.  The battle takes place in the mind.  Hence, Christians must think differently than non-believers.

Today the world is based on feelings.  Do what you feel is right.  Oh, you don’t want to work today.  Then don’t.  The government will take care of you.  Etc.  Also, the world is based on doings.  Just tell me what to do.

Paul says here we must know what God’s word says in our mind. We cannot blindly follow our whimsical feelings and follow the crowd of doers who are “doing” but accomplishing nothing.

“Transformed”:  This is the ancient Greek word metamorphoo – describing a metamorphosis. The same word is used to describe Jesus in His transfiguration (Mark 9:2-3).

Fun Fact:  The only other place Paul uses this word for transformed is in 2 Corinthians 3:18: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  For Paul, this transformation and renewing of our minds takes place as we behold the face of God, spending time in His glory.  Note this is a process, not a single event.

“Then”:  After the spiritual transformation just described has taken place.

“Test and approve what God’s will is”:  The proof is the life that you live.  What God wants from the believer here and now.

“Good”:  That which leads to the spiritual and moral growth of the Christian.

“Pleasing”:  To God, not necessarily to us.

“Perfect”:  No improvement can be made on the will of God.

In sum, from Chapter 11 Paul writes if we keep in mind the rich mercy of God to you – past, present, and future (by the mercies of God) and as an act of intelligent worship, decide to yield your entire self to Him (present your bodies a living sacrifice) and resist conformity to the thoughts and actions of this world (do not be conformed) by focusing on God’s word and fellowship with Him (be transformed by the renewing of your mind) then our life will be in the will of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.  And others will witness this.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 10, Day 5: Romans 6:9-11

Summary of passage:  We are no longer slaves to sin since Christ’s death has freed us from sin.  Since Christ rose from the dead, he lives!  As do we.

Questions:

12)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus was raised from the dead.  He cannot die again since he defeated death through this act.  He died to sin and its power forever.  He lives now to God.  Sin now no longer has power over us either and we are now alive to God in Christ (righteous and sanctified and justified).

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  In my home, community, work, and church, my life is the same:  sin’s power is broken.  I live for God.  He rules.  The end.

Conclusions:  There is nothing new here and BSF is obviously out of questions to ask since we just regurgitated yesterday’s lesson.  Now I see how answering only 6 questions has come about:  because of the repetitive nature of these questions!

End Notes: [Pulled from YESTERDAY]

Jesus’s death broke our slavery to sin and death since now we have eternal life.

Our new life is a life we live to God–we live the life God wants not the life we want. Ezekiel predicted this in Ezekiel 36:26:  “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

We now want to do God’s will and with practice and perseverance we will overcome!

We are dead to sin but alive in Jesus.

Summation of Romans 6:1-11:  Spirit baptism brings the regenerated person into a redemptive relationship through his participation in and identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and the subsequent infusion of the merit of that death and resurrection into the life of the believer, by which he may live as one dead to sin but alive to God.

Fun Fact:  The first occurrence in Romans of “in Christ”, which is often found in Paul’s writings.  True believers are “in Christ” because they have died with Christ and have been raised to new life in union with him.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 12, Day 5: John 8:48-59 with Exodus 3:12-15

Summary of passages:  John 8:48-59:  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.

Exodus 3:12-15:  This is the scene of God talking to Moses in the Burning Bush.  God tells Moses to worship Him on this mountain.  God says His name is “I am who I am”.  I am has sent him.  This is His name forever.

Questions:

11a)  John 8:51:  Jesus tells all the secret: Accept the Word and receive eternal life!

b)  John 8:56:  Jesus says Abraham has acknowledged that Jesus is greater than he.

12a)  Every Jew knew the name of God”  Yahweh or “I am”.  By Jesus calling himself this, he declares he is God.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  All.  Jesus is God and accepting him grants me access to the Father for all of eternity and guides my decisions and plans God has for my life.

Conclusions:  Just a break down of Day 4 a bit more and reading the passage where “I am” came from.

End Notes:  John 8:48-59:  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.

Exodus 3:12-15:  God asserts how he will be with Moses and the sign is the burning bush and how one day all will worship Him on Mount Sinai.  Moses needed proof of his encounter with God so he asks him what he should tell the elders is his name.  God says “I am who I am.”  There is no equal. God is God.  This is the name by which God wished to be known and worshipped in Israel.  It’s the name that expresses his character as the dependable and faithful God who desires the full trust of his people.

This was not a new name for God.  The people knew it.  It’s recorded over 160 times in the book of Genesis.  It’s a call back to the patriarchs.

History of the word Jehovah:  In the English-speaking world, the pious Jews of later years did not want to pronounce the name of God out of reverence and thought it too holy to utter and feared violating Exodus 20:7 and Leviticus 24:16, so they left the vowels out of His name and simply said the word Lord (adonai) instead. If the vowels of the word adonai are put over the consonants for YHWH, you can get the name “Jehovah.” All this came about much later; in the days of the Bible, the name was pronounced Yah-weh or Yah-veh although the proper pronunciation today may be different.

Yahweh is the Hebrew name for God and is not Jehovah.  It means “He is” or “He will be” and is the third-person form of the verb translated “I will be.”  When God speaks of himself, He says “I am”.  When we speak of him, we say “He is.”

I am.  God has always existed and always been.  He simply is.  God is completely independent.  He relies on nothing for life or existence (Isaiah 40:28-29; John 5:26). This is aseity (we talked about it in Lesson 7 Day 4), meaning  God doesn’t need anybody or anything – life is in Himself.

God is eternal and unchanging.  There is no past or future tense in the Divine Vocabulary.

God is “the becoming one”; God becomes whatever is lacking in our time of need.  The name I Am invites us to fill in the blank to meet our need – when we are in darkness, Jesus says I am the light; when we are hungry, He says I am the bread of life, when we are defenseless, He says I am the Good Shepherd. God is the becoming one, becoming what we need.

God’s name is both an announcement and an introduction. It announces God’s presence, and invites any interested to know Him by experience, to taste and see that the Lord is good.

I Am: This is a divine title that Jesus took upon Himself often, clearly identifying Himself with the voice from the burning bush.

“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I Am [He], you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24)

Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I Am [He], and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.” (John 8:28)

Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I Am.” (John 8:58)

Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I Am (John 13:19)

Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?” They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I Am [He].” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, “I am [He],” they drew back and fell to the ground. (John 18:4-6)

Interesting Trend in the Bible:  The first word had to come to the people of God (Exodus 3:16) and then to the world (Exodus 3:18).  Often God will not speak to the wider world until He speaks to His people and He has their attention.  First the Jews, then the Gentiles.

This is My name forever: God refers to the name mentioned in the same verse, the Lord God (Yahweh Elohim). “Forever” emphasizes the eternal faithfulness of God to His covenant.