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BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 28, Day 4: James 2:1-13

Summary of James 2:1-13:

James tells believers bluntly not to show favoritism because Jesus didn’t. Favoritism is discriminating and passing judgment on others (Jesus’ job, not ours). God judges the heart, not appearances. God chose the poor to be rich in faith and yet the people (you) insult them. The rich often sin against you (the people) in their quest for money.

If you show favoritism you sin. Even if you stumble and break just one law you are guilty of breaking them all. We are not to choose which laws are more important. We are called simply to obey.

We are free to show favoritism or not but out of mercy we must choose not to for this mercy will then be shown to us on Judgment Day and mercy is greater than judgment.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 28, Day 4: James 2:1-13

9) Basically when you are showing favoritism, you are discriminating against others and judging others, which is Jesus’ job. You have also insulted those whom you have not favored. You have sinned and broken the law.

10a) Similar to James’ example. By judging others on appearance, promoting people based off whether they like them rather than who’s the best for the job, and even favoring certain kids over others.

b) Then you will treat everyone the same.

11) Personal Question. My answer: He has shown me mercy in so many ways that it would take forever to recount. One, He has shown me mercy in still having a job in the coronavirus. He has shown me mercy with my intelligence, drive, and perseverance so we are financially better than others. I have a great, healthy family. That is merciful.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 28, Day 4: James 2:1-13

Great lesson since not judging others by appearances and not showing favoritism is really hard in this world. Great reminders, too.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 28, Day 4: James 2:1-13

James 2 atozmomm.com

James used strong words to refer to Jesus Christ: The Lord of glory. Moffatt comments: “The Christian religion [is here called] more explicitly belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the divine Glory – a striking term for Christ as the full manifestation of the divine presence and majesty. The Jews called this the shekinah.”

This is especially significant because James is widely (and properly) regarded as one of the first letters of the New Testament written (perhaps somewhere between AD 44 and 48). This means that the earliest Christians considered Jesus to be God, and said so in strong, unmistakable words.

James wrote to a very partial age, filled with prejudice and hatred based on class, ethnicity, nationality, and religious background. In the ancient world, people were routinely and permanently categorized because they were Jew or Gentile, slave or free, rich or poor, Greek or barbarian.

Jesus broke down these walls that divided humanity and brought forth one new race of mankind in Him (Ephesians 2:14-15).

In the ancient Greek, the word assembly is literally synagogue, the name of the meeting place for Jews. The fact that James calls a Christian meeting place a synagogue shows that he wrote before Gentiles were widely received into the church. At the time James wrote, most all Christians came from a Jewish heritage.

Fun Fact: This is the only place in the New Testament where an assembly of Christians is clearly called a synagogue.

“As Christians have no church-buildings at this period, their place of meeting was usually some large room in the house of a wealthy member or a hall hired for the purpose (Acts 19:9), where outsiders were free to attend the ordinary services… They were to be welcomed, but welcomed without any servility or snobbery.” (Moffatt)

“In Roman society the wealthy wore rings on their left hand in great profusion. A sign of wealth, rings were worn with great ostentation. There were even shops in Rome where rings could be rented for special occasions.” (Hiebert)

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The Dangers of Favoritism or Partiality

  • To show partiality shows that we care more for the outward appearance than we do upon the heart. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). God looks at the heart, and so should we.
  • To show partiality shows that we misunderstand who is important and blessed in the sight of God. When we assume that the rich man is more important to God or more blessed by God, we put too much value in material riches.
  • To show partiality shows a selfish streak in us. Usually we favor the rich man over the poor man because we believe we can get more from the rich man. He can do favors for us that the poor man can’t.

Since riches are an obstacle to the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24), there is a sense in which God specially blesses the poor of this world.

Remember that Judas appeared to be much better leadership material than Peter.

God also never calls for partiality against the rich. If one must judge in a dispute between a rich man and a poor man, they should let the law and the facts of the case decide the judgment instead of the economic class of those in the dispute.

Our King Jesus put special emphasis on this command (Matthew 22:36-40) from the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:18). James is reminding us that the poor man is just as much our neighbor as the rich man is.

James here guards us against a selective obedience, the sort that will pick and choose which commands of God should be obeyed and which can be safely disregarded.

The whole law must be kept if one will be justified by the law.

The mercy we show will be extended to us again on the day of judgment, and that mercy triumphs over judgment.

James is relating another principle of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount: For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you (Matthew 7:2).

Acts 4;13

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 3, Day 4: Acts 4:1-22

Summary of Acts 4:1-22:

The priests and the Sadducees arrest Peter and John because they were teaching people Jesus rose from the dead.  But many heard and more were converted.

The next day the pair was brought before the Sanhedrin (a group resembling the group Jesus was brought before) and asked by what power they healed.  Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, speaks the truth, “It is by the name of Jesus Christ whom you killed that this man is healed.  Salvation is found only in Jesus.

The learned men were astonished these so-called unschooled, ordinary men could heal.  They could do nothing since everyone had seen the man healed.  The Sanhedrin want to stop them from speaking in Jesus’ name but when they asked Peter and John to stop, they refused. Reluctantly, the two were let go since they could not deny a miracle had taken place.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 3, Day 4: Acts 4:1-22

10) Peter proclaimed that Jesus alone has the power to raise the dead and that salvation is found in no one else but Jesus. It makes a difference if you are saved and go to heaven or not. Believers are saved; unbelievers in Jesus Christ as the Savior are not.

11a) Even more people believed, now numbering 5000. Those who arrested them took note as well of Jesus’ power. All the people were praising God for what had happened so they were set free.

b) Personal Question. My answer: The power of Jesus can overcome anything so give my troubles to him.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 3, Day 4: Acts 4:1-22

When we did Acts before, Lesson 3 covered Acts 3-7. I’m wondering where we’re going this year. It’s cool to see how the authorities can’t do anything because they can’t refute the power of Jesus.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 3, Day 4: Acts 4:1-22

The captain of the temple is the police force of the temple. Boice says that the emphasis in the original indicates that they stopped and seized Peter and John suddenly.

The Sadducees were disturbed that Peter and John taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead; they did not believe in the afterlife or the resurrection at all.

This was a scare tactic on the part of the authorities to get Peter and John to stop preaching about Jesus. Acts 4:21 mentions further threats.  Boice notes that Acts 4:1-6 lists no less than 11 different groups or individuals opposing these followers of Jesus.

This was a scene of power and intimidation. This same group of leaders had recently condemned Jesus to death, and they wanted them to know that they had the power to do the same thing to Peter and John.

mountains

Peter’s logic was piercing – why are we on trial for a good deed?

The quotation from Psalm 118:22 was appropriate. Jesus was rejected by men – by those leaders – but was exalted by His Father.

God uses both educated and uneducated men for His purpose. It’s just as wrong to think that formal education disqualifies someone for effective service as it is to think that it automatically qualifies someone for effective service.

It is interesting to note what the Jewish leaders did not do: they did not make any attempt to disprove the resurrection of Jesus. If it were possible to do, this was the time to do it; yet they could not.

Luke probably found out what the Sanhedrin discussed among themselves because a member of that Sanhedrin later became a Christian: Saul of Tarsus. Acts 26:10 gives us reason to believe Paul (Saul) was a member of the Sanhedrin to cast his vote against the early Christians.

If this is true, then Peter and John had no idea they were preaching to a future apostle and the greatest missionary the church would ever see. We have no idea how greatly God can use us.

How God Uses Bad Situations for Good

  • 2,000 more people came to believe in Jesus
  • Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit again
  • Peter preached Jesus to the leaders of the Jews
  • Hostile examiners and unbelievers confirmed a miraculous healing
  • The enemies of Jesus were confused
  • Peter and John were bolder for Jesus than ever before
  • God was glorified

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 30/Lesson Review

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 30/Lesson Review

Day 1

1) I learned how God is faithful no matter what. His mercy is unfathomable as we constantly sin. His grace has no boundaries. His forgiveness is never-ending. His love is infinite. He wants to bless His people, and He will as long as you obey His commands. Knowing this gives me confidence moving forward with His plans for me.

Day 2

2) I learned I need Him more, I need to stay in His word and stay close to Him, and that I need to depend on Him more, pray more, and listen for Him more. I draw closer to God as I implement all this.

Day 3

3) I was more cognizant of other people in my life and of their needs. I thought of helping others more. I tried to do His will more. He was definitely in my thoughts more this year.

Day 4

4) I value the sacrifice Jesus made for me more, especially as I understand OT life more. What Jesus did for us on the cross is integral to who we are as Christians, and it needs to be impressed upon us more at church. When you finally grasp his sacrifice, your faith will grow accordingly. I’m more forgiving of others.

Day 5

5) I don’t speculate too far in the future because only God knows His ultimate plans for me. Right now, I’m just sticking to my current job until it’s time to move on. I’m sticking to my writings. I’m sticking to my hobbies. I’m raising my kids. Taking care of my husband, cats, and dogs. Living life according to His will.

Day 6

6) God is faithful. Everything happens in His timing. God does not forsake you. God has your life under control, even if you don’t. Everyone needs that encouragement.

Concluding thoughts to BSF’s People of the Promised Land 1

I enjoyed BSF’s People of the Promised Land 1. In church, we don’t spend a lot of time in the Old Testament, especially Joshua. It seems Moses is always central, but if it weren’t for Joshua, God’s people never would have made it to the Promised Land. It was wonderful to read all about Joshua, study some of the minor characters around him, such as Joab and Jeroboam — all of whom played a role in God’s history. Women of the Old Testament, such as Ruth and Abigail, were my favorite parts — probably because they were women and were intriguing characters. I just wish were were doing BSF’s People of the Promised Land 2 next year. I never understood the need to switch from Old Testament to New Testament every year. To me, do what makes sense no matter where in the Bible it is.

Thank you to all who shared with me this study. I love reading your comments, answering your questions, and learning what you’re learning. This forum gives me great joy and to see God grow it has been a blessing.

What will be happening this summer

This summer, I’ve decided to change the format again. Last summer, I did devotionals and prayers. This summer, I want to focus on the basics and will be writing more traditional blog posts on topics such as how to study the bible, who is God, who is Jesus, and is the Bible true. I will also be writing articles for those who are further along in their walk with God, such as how to go deeper in the Bible, what is the Bible telling me, and what is my responsibility as a believer. I am unsure how many times these will be posted as I intend to enjoy my break as well, spend time outside, and spend time with family. Furthermore, these articles will take me longer to write. The goal, however, will be 2-3 a week.

I wish everyone one a blessed and relaxing summer, full of memories and recharging, and I look forward to the Book of Acts next year!

BSF’s Future Studies Schedule

2019-20: Acts of the Apostles
2020-21: Genesis
2021-22: People of the Promised Land II
2022-beyond: To be determined

Side Note: Acts will be the first study I will be repeating. I have the old Acts questions still on my website, and as of now, am unsure if I will remove them. Here’s the dilemma: some of you may want to compare notes from the last time we did Acts (as I’m sure BSF will change the questions to fit their new format). However, for those searching for my updated questions, I don’t want to cause confusion. Input would be greatly appreciated!