What does the Bible Say About.....

Topical discussions and answers to today's issues and biblical questions.

Topics

The Sabbath

The word Sabbath is the Hebrew word “to rest”.  In this study you will observe the original command God gave to Israel, how the Sabbath was observed in the O.T., and how the Sabbath changed in the New Testament.
Exodus 20:8-11
v.9 How many days were set aside for work?

v.10 Which day was for rest?

v.10 What was not to be done on the day of rest?

v.10 To whom did the Sabbath rest apply?

v.11 What reason was given for the pattern of the six days work, one day rest?

Exodus 23:12 what other reason was given for the Sabbath?
Nehemiah 13:15-18 What specific Sabbath violations had angered Nehemiah?
Numbers 15:32-36 What was the penalty for breaking the Sabbath?
Jeremiah 17:21-27 What did God promise to do if they observed the Sabbath?  What did God promise to do if they did not observe the Sabbath?
The Sabbath command was part of the Old Testament “Law”.  Jesus fully obeyed every impossible command given in the law.  Read the following verses to discover how Christ has changed the believer’s relationship to the “law”.

Romans 10:4 What did Christ bring to an end for those who believe?

Romans 6:14 Are believers still under the law?

Colossians 2:16-17 Paul lists five Old Testament categories of law that are no longer expected of believers.  List the five items:

Colossians 2:16-17 What word does Paul use to describe the five items listed in v.16?

Romans 14:5-6 Does Paul command believers to observe special days (Sabbath) or does he allow freedom of choice?

Romans 14:4-5,10-11 Are those who choose to observe special days (Sabbaths) right to judge others who do not?

Exodus 31:16-17 What was given as the sign of the Old Covenant?

1 Corinthians 11:25 What is given as the sign of the New Covenant?

Hebrews 3-4 Though difficult to grasp the idea in this passage is that because of Christ’s completed work on the cross salvation is finished and He is now at rest.  By faith in Jesus we can enter His rest.  In Matthew 11:28 Jesus said, come to me all who labor…and I will give you rest. Colossians 2:17 teaches that the Sabbath was a shadows of the Old Testament that finds its substance in Christ who completed the work of salvation and now offers us His rest.

For more see: Exodus 16:29; Exodus 35:3, Deuteronomy. 5:13-15; Isaiah 58:13; 2 Kings 11:4-12; 1 Chronicles 23:31, 2 Chronicles 2:4, 8:13, 31:3;
Matthew 12:1-14; Mark 2:27

Adultery of the Heart

Adultery or idolatry of heart happens when someone or something other than God becomes the controlling influence in one’s life.  In believers this condition is the enemy of spiritual growth.  For the unsaved, it is the cause of deception and condemnation.

Ezekiel 14:1-8

v.3 Where had the people of Israel taken their idols?

v.5 What word in v.5 describes how heart idolatry affects one’s relationship to God?

v.6 What instruction does God give to people who have idols in the heart?

Matthew 12:33-37

v.34 Using this verse, complete the following statement: We understand the condition of our heart by the things that we ____.

v.36 What does Jesus teach about the careless words we speak?

v.37 According to this verse, our words are the determining factor between what two things?

1 John 2:16 List the three broad categories of worldly thinking that can rule the heart.

Revelation 9:21, 14:8, 17:2,4, 18:3,9, 22:15 Even after all the clear signs of judgment taking place during the end times, what idol of the heart

are the people of the future unwilling to repent of?

Luke 18:18-30 The young man in this story truly wants to be saved.  What idol of the heart prevented him from becoming a Jesus follower?

Matthew 8:18-20 The Scribe in this story wanted to follow Jesus.  What idol of the heart likely prevented the Scribe from following Jesus?

John 11:45-48 Even after seeing amazing miracles including the resurrection of Lazarus firsthand the Pharisees would not believe.  What idol of the heart was preventing their faith in Jesus?

James 4:1-4 In v.4, what does James call the people he described in v.1-3?

v.1 What is the source of fights and quarrels?

Consider this passage from Gospel Treason by Brad Bigney:

“If my heart is being ruled by a certain idol, then there are only two ways I can respond to you.  If you help me get what I want, help me promote my agenda—to move toward that idol, preserve it, protect it, enjoy it—then I’ll be happy with you.  We’ll get along fine…But if you stand in my way, I’ll be angry, frustrated and testy when I’m with you.  There will be times when I’ll wish you weren’t even in my life because you stand in the way of what I crave.  I’ll lash out at you.  I’ll push you away.  I’ll shut you out. (pg. 68)

  • Think back to your last conflict.  What was the ruling desire of your heart in that moment?

James 4:6-10 Gives a list of instructions that those with an adulterous heart need to follow.  List those instructions.

For more see: Exodus 20:3; Psalm 139:23-24; Philippians 3:18-19;
Matthew 15:18; 1 Samuel 16:7, Colossians 3:5

 

Covetousness

Exodus 20:17 List the specific things that we are prohibited from coveting?  What might be the modern day equivalents?

1 Timothy 6:10, 2 Timothy 3:2, Hebrews 13:5: all use a different phrase to describe covetousness.  What is the phrase?  And how does it help us define covetousness?

Colossians 3:5

  • List the thins that are “earthly” in us.
  • What are we to do with covetousness when we identify it in our life?
  • Covetousness is connected to what other sin?

Ephesians 5:3 What level of tolerations for covetousness is acceptable in the life of a Christian?

Hebrews 13:5 List two commands and one promise from this verse

1 Timothy 6:8 According to this verse what material things are necessary for contentment?

1 Timothy 6:10

  • What is “a root of all kinds of evil”?
  • In what two ways can the craving for more affect followers of Christ?

Matthew 13:22 what specific things have the power to “choke out the word” and make us “unfruitful”?

Luke 12:15 According to this verse, what lie does covetousness tell?

Wisdom for living free from Covetousness:

1 Thessalonians 5:18 what practical advice is found in this verse to combat covetousness?

Mark 10:21 the man in this passage struggles with the sin of covetousness.  What did Jesus specifically tell the man to do? What do his instructions reveal about the seriousness of covetousness?

1 Timothy 6:17-19 What instruction is given to help the rich overcome the temptation toward covetousness.

Luke 3:11 Sometimes we identify rich as a person with lots of stuff, but what instruction is given to those with just a little more than they need?

Colossians 3:2 On what are we to set our minds?  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

1 Timothy 6:7 What principle from this verse illustrates why it is foolish to set one’s mind on earthly things?

1 Corinthians 5:11 What should we do if someone who claims to be a Christian indulges in unrepentant covetousness?  Why do you think this instruction is given?

 

Ownership

What does the Bible say about ownership?

Everything belongs to God…

Read the following verses that describe the scope of God’s ownerships:

  • Deuteronomy 10:14
  • Psalm 24:1
  • Ezekiel 18:4
  • Haggai 2:8
  • Acts 4:24

God shares His things with us…

Job 1:21 What important truth about possessions do we learn at both birth and death?

1 Corinthians 4:7 Given that everything we have comes from God, what attitude is identified as inappropriate?

James 1:17 What specifically comes to us from God?

1 Timothy 6:17 What does God want us to do with what he has given us?

1 Timothy 6:18 What else does God want us to do with what he has given to us?

Job 41:11 Can God ever be in a position of owing us?  Why or why not?

We will answer for our management of His stuff…

Luke 12:13-20 

  • V.15 what sin is warned against as an introduction to this parable?
  • V.17-19 How many times does he use the word “I”, “my”? What does this reveal about how he views his stuff?
  • V.19 How does this man view the purpose of his wealth?
  • V.20 what question does God ask the rich man?  What does this question seek to expose that was wrong about the man’s thinking?
  • V.21 what’s the point of the story?

Matthew 25:14-30 

  • V.14 It is clear that the master in the story represents God because he has the power to cast the unfaithful servant into hell v.30.  What does God give to each servant?
  • V.19-30 What is God doing in this section?
  • V.20-23 What activity pleased the master?
  • V.24-27 What activity angered the master?
  • What lessons are clear from this parable?

 

Sometimes we get confused about who really owns our stuff.  Everything we have comes from God and is on loan to us.  God gives us good things to enjoy, but he also wants us to be wise stewards (managers) of His stuff by investing in eternal things.  So we see that some of God’s stuff is for our enjoyment, and some of it is to be given as an eternal investment.  Whether we have been given much or little we will all be held accountable for how we have used God’s stuff.

 

More passages: 1 Corinthians 10:26, Psalm 50:10-11, Exodus 19:5, 1 Chronicles 29:12

Financial Giving

In the Old Testament God required people to give three tithes from the flock and field totaling 23.3%!  In the New Testament tithing is not used as a requirement for believers.  In this study you will explore the details of the Old Testament tithe and how giving has changed in the New Testament

Deuteronomy 14:22 Is the instruction given on tithing stated as a request or a command?

Malachi 3:8-10

  • 8 How did God describe Israel’s failure to pay the tithe.
  • 9 What was the result of Israel’s disobedience in paying the tithe?
  • 10 What did God say he would do if they began to tithe?

There were three specific tithes explained in the Law:

  • Numbers 18:21-24 Who received the first tithe from the land? And why did they receive the tithe?
  • Deuteronomy 14:22-27 For what purpose was the second tithe from the land set aside?
  • Deuteronomy 14:28-29 The tithe here was collected every third year. What was the purpose of this tri-annual tithe?

Three reasons why tithing is not required of New Testament believers:

  • Hebrews 7:23-28 The old priesthood (and the Levites who helped them) has been replaced by whom?
  • Colossians 2:16-17 Are believers still required to celebrate festival days?
  • Galatians 3:24-25 In this verse, identify the “guardian”. How has our relationship to the “guardian” changed because of Christ?

While New Testament believers are not required to the tithe, the principle of giving remains.  The following verses will help to lay a biblical framework for understanding some of the principles behind New Testament giving.

2 Corinthians 9:7 What words in this verse describe the heart attitude of the giver?

2 Corinthians 9:7 Who determines the amount that should be given?

1 Corinthians 16:1-2 find the phrases in verse 2 that answer the following questions:

  • What is the Pattern of giving?
  • Who are the participants of giving?
  • What is the proportion of giving?

In the following verses identify the phrases that clarify that giving should not be done as a command, obligation, or by coercion:

  • 2 Corinthians 8:3,8
  • 2 Corinthians 9:5,7

2  Corinthians 9:1-15 While New Testament giving is not to be done by commandment or coercion it is clear that the church at Corinth had not helped to financially support Paul and he confronted them about it.  What did their failure to support Paul say about them as a church?

2 Corinthians 11:8 Given that the Corinthian church was not helping to support Paul, what did he have to do to continue serving the church at Corinth?

Acts 4:34-35 Compare tithing to the kind of giving that takes place in these verses?  Do you think it was more or less?  Was it an annual gift or a one-time gift?  What was the motivation and purpose for the gift?

Romans 12:8 What spiritual gift is described here?

 

Summary:

Here are some things I think have been shown from the scriptures: 1) Tithing is not a New Testament requirement. 2) Giving in the New Testament is a matter of the heart attitude  3) Giving in the New Testament should follow a consistent pattern, involve full participation, and be proportionate to one’s income. 4) Failure to give when able is a sign of immaturity, 5) Giving at times pushes beyond proportionate to sacrificial. 6) While everyone should participate in giving at some level, some have the spiritual gift of giving.

Election (part one)

Election (also called predestination) is a teaching of the Bible that is explained as: God, in eternity past, chose those whom He would save, but not according to anything good or bad that they had done or would do; nor is it according to God seeing a person place their faith in Christ as to why He chooses them. This was according to His grace and the good pleasure of His will. God is the one who chooses, acts, initiates, calls, and saves to the uttermost apart from any human work or merit. Hopefully we get to the point where we see the grace of God in election on every page of Scripture. And hopefully we are filled with thankfulness that God would choose to save anyone at all,
especially sinners like us.

Genesis 12:1-3, 8; Hebrews 11:8

-Who calls first? Does Abram (Abraham) call God or does God call Abram?

-What does God say to Abram? Why is it significant? (especially notice v.3)

Genesis 15:1-6

-Notice God made promises to Abram and gave him signs before Abram believed and had faith. What does this say about the order of things in relation to election and how God calls and saves?

Romans 8:28-30

-v.28: How are people called?

-v.29: Foreknowledge, here, is talking about those whom God chose and called and “knew” in eternity past; the text does not seem to allow for an interpretation of God choosing based upon a strong faith He saw ahead of time in an individual.

-v.30: What is the order of events for salvation in this verse? Does it say anything about human works in that list?

Romans 9:10-15

-This is a difficult passage. It’s almost as if Paul anticipated so many questions after his words in 8:28-30. So here Paul answers his critics with a series of clarifying statements and rhetorical questions in regards to election.

-Notice v. 11, 12, 15, 16; what do these verses say about the relationship between human works and God’s mercy and grace?

Ephesians 1:3-12

-v.3: When did God choose us?

-v.5-6: Why did God choose us and save us?

-v.9&11: What do these verses tell us further about the reasons God chose us?

-v.12: What does this verse say about what our role as humans is in all of this? Also, what is the ultimate reason that God does any of this? (the last phrase of the verse)

*Note for reader: This is a hard doctrine to wrap your mind around.  We are not saying that we are robots and God forces us into
salvation, rather we take a balanced view (like we looked at in Ephesians 1:12 and can be found in other verses). The balanced view
simply states that God’s will and sovereignty is overarching and ultimate and happens before, while Human Responsibility to have
faith (Rom 10:9), work out our salvation (Phil 2:12-13), and perform good works He prepared beforehand (Eph 2:10) is subliminal and comes after all the works that God has done.

For more see: Exodus 3-11, read with Romans 9:16-18 (in these chapters it talks about Pharaoh’s hard heart 12 times, but only twice does it say that he hardened his own heart…); Romans 9:19-24; John
1:12-13, John 6:37-40, 44, 65, John 15:16; Acts 2:23, 13:48; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 1:9

Election (part two)

 

Election (also called predestination) is a teaching of the Bible that is
explained as: God, in eternity past, chose those whom He would save, but not according to anything good or bad that they had done or would do; nor is it according to God seeing a person place their faith in Christ as to why He chooses them. This was according to His grace and the good pleasure of His will. In part 2, we will look at aspects of God’s
sovereignty, compassion, and human responsibility more closely in
relation to election and salvation.

God’s sovereignty

Exodus 4:21, 7:3

-What does God say that He will do in these verses?

Exodus 7:13, 7:22, 8:15, 8:19, 8:32, 9:7, 9:12

-What do all of these verses have in common?

-How many of those verses does it say Pharaoh hardened his heart? How many times does it say the Lord hardened his heart? With respect to those number of times for each, how do you reconcile the
differences?

Romans 9:16-18

-What Old Testament verse is quoted in verse 17? How is that relevant to what we have already looked at?

-How does verse 18 explain the reason why God acted the way He did?

Romans 9:19-24

-According to v. 19-21 what conclusion do Paul’s questions seem
to indicate?

-What do v. 22-23 seem to say about God’s sovereignty in election?

God’s mercy and compassion

Ezekiel 18:23, 18:32

-What does God not delight in?

-What does this say about God’s compassion?

For more see: 1 Timothy 2:3-4, 2 Peter 3:9

God’s mercy desires all to come to repentance. But not everyone is saved because not all believe. Many reject Him. God is also just and His justice must be satisfied. So unbelievers are punished for their sin,
unbelief, and rejection.

Human responsibility

Romans 10:9

-How is someone saved? What must they do?

Philippians 2:12-13

-What is a Christian’s role in verse 12?

-What is God’s role in verse 13?

-Which role is overarching (comes first) and which is subliminal (comes second)? (carefully notice the wording; this is not a trick question)

The only thing that we have to do to be saved is to have faith and
repent of sin. But we also have to understand that if we’re saved it is
1. All by grace through Christ and 2. God had already done His
sovereign acts of election and salvation before we turned in faith and repentance.

For more see: Acts 2:37-40, Acts 16:31

 

Peer Pressure

As Christians we want to be friendly with everyone, but scripture is clear that there are some people we should avoid.  This lesson will discuss what we should do when our relationships take a turn for the worst.

Warning of danger

  • 1 Corinthians 15:33 What is it that he warns them not to be deceived about?
  • Proverbs 1:10 What instruction is given in this verse?
  • Psalm 1:1 What are three things the blessed man will not do in relation to sinners?

Instruction when under peer pressure

Ephesians 5:3-11 

  • v.3-5 What activities are listed that must not take place among believers?
  • v.6 What deception do you think he is warning against here?
  • v.7-9 What reason is given for not participating in the works of darkness?
  • v.10 We see that in some circumstances it may be hard to know exactly what to do.  As one tries to figure this out, whose pleasure is to be sought as they work to discern what is right? 
  • v.11 What are the two instructions given in this verse?
  • V.12 What kind of talk about the evil do you think is forbidden in this verse? 

*It is sometimes hard to know how, if, and when to expose sinful activity. And it may be necessary to seek counsel on how to “please the Lord” (v.10).  This is very different than gossip about the situation that serves no purpose.

1 Corinthians 5:9-13

  • V.9-11 What is the glaring difference between the people described in v.9-10 and the people described in v.11
  • V.11 if a brother (a professing Christian) practices sin, what are we to do?
  • V.12 is it proper to judge the sinful activities of professing Christians?
  • V.13 What should be done if when confronted in their sin they do not repent?

How to confront professing Christians in sin

Matthew 18:15-20

  • v.15 describe step 1
  • v.16 describe step 2
  • v.17 describe step 3

Positive Peer Pressure

  • Proverbs 13:20 How does one become wise?
  • Proverbs 27:17 restate the principle of this verse in your own words.
  • Hebrews 10:24 What characteristics of a healthy Christian friendship are identified in this verse?
  • Philippians 3:17 What kind of people should we keep our eyes on and seek as close companions? 

For More:

The early chapters of Daniel are perhaps the best example of a small group of godly young men wisely resisting peer pressure and taking a stand for righteousness together.  See Daniel 1 & 3.  

Homosexuality

What does the Bible Say about Homosexuality?

Homosexual temptation occurs when a person is attracted to people of the same gender.  Homosexual sin occurs when two people of the same gender act on that attraction and become romantically involved.  Here’s what the Bible has to say about this ancient problem:

Genesis 18:20-21 Why did these three heavenly visitors come to earth? 

Genesis 19:1-11 What did the visitors discover about the activities of the men of Sodom?

Genesis 19:4-5 What gender are the people asking the question?  What gender are Lot’s guests?

Genesis 19:5 What is it the men of Sodom want to do?  

Genesis 4:1 What does the word “knew” mean in this verse?  How does this help us to understand what the word “know” means in Genesis 19:5?

Genesis 19:12-22 What did God do to the cities of Sodom?

Leviticus 18:22 What activity is prohibited in this verse?  How does God feel about this sin?

Leviticus 20:13 What O.T. punishment was given by God for people who committed this sin?

Romans 1 describes what happens when people refuse to properly acknowledge God

  • v.26 What adjective does God use to describe the passions he is about to describe?
  • v.26 What is it that the women exchanged?
  • v.27 What does contrary to nature mean?
  • v.27 What is it that the men began to do?

1 Corinthians 6:9 List the people who cannot inherit the kingdom of God?

1 Corinthians 6:11 Some of the people at the Corinthian church “were” homosexuals, adulterers, greedy, idolaters…but they no longer are.  What happened to them?

1 Timothy 1:9-10 List the six ways verse 9 describe the sinful people in verse 10?

1 Timothy 1:10-11 The sinful people identified in v.9-10a are said to be against what two things?

How to approach people living in sin:

Ephesians 5:1-17 What specific instructions are given in v. 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 15, 17.

2 Timothy 2:24 List the five things we must do.  How do you know that being harsh or argumentative is not part of our work?

2 Timothy 2:25 List the four things that God must do.

The Rapture and the Second Coming

The believer’s hope is the appearing of Jesus at the rapture.  The rapture is often confused with the Second Coming of Christ.  This study will show some of the differences between these two events.

1 Corinthians 15:51 Rapture Passage

  • What happens to both living and the dead believers?
  • What alarm is sounded?
  • What kind of transformation takes place
  • How long does it take for the transformation to happen?

1 Thessalonians  4:13-18 Rapture Passage

  • V.14 Who is addressed, believers or unbelievers?
  • V.13-17 What happens to both living and dead believers?
  • V.15 how does Paul know these things about the future?
  • V.16 What alarms are sounded
  • V.16 Who will descend from Heaven
  • V.16 Who responds to the alarms first?
  • V.17 Who responds to the alarms second?
  • V.17 Where do believers meet the Lord?
  • V.17 How long will we remain with the Lord?

John 14:1-3 Rapture Passage

  • V.1 Who is addressed, believers or unbelievers?
  • V.2 What does Jesus teach about the Father’s house?
  • V.2 What is Jesus leaving to do at the Father’s house?
  • V.3 What is his promise?
  • V.3 Where does he promise to take us?

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 Rapture Passage

  • V.9 Who is addressed, believers or unbelievers?
  • V.10 what are believer instructed to do in this verse?
  • V.10 when Jesus comes, from what does he deliver us?

Colossians 3:1-4 Rapture Passage

  • V.1-3 Who is addressed, believers or unbelievers?
  • V.4 when Christ appears what happens to believers?
  • V.4 what do the word “in glory” indicate about where we appear?

Matthew 24:29-31 Second Coming Passage

  • V.29 When will the event described here take place?
  • V.29 What are some of the first sings to signal this event?
  • V.30 What other signs will signal this event?
  • V.30 What will the tribes of the earth do at this appearing?
  • V.31 Who else is involved in this coming of Jesus?

Revelation 3:10 promises that those whose faith endures will escape the hour of trial that is coming this is a promise to the churches (Rev. 3:13).  Revelation 4-18 describe the future tribulation.  Revelation 19:11-21 describes the second coming.  How would you describe the second coming?

John Walvoord in his book The Return of the Lord highlights 13 differences between the rapture (R) and the second coming (SC).  Below are just a few we have observed in this brief comparison: 

The (R) could happen at any moment

The (SC) has many prophecies that must take place

The (R)  is only for those in Christ

The (SC) involves judgment for both saved and unsaved

The (R)  we meet the Lord in the air

The (SC) Christ comes to man mankind on the earth

The (R)  brings the church to heaven The Father’s house

The (SC) gather both saved and unsaved on earth for judgment 

The (R)  is an evacuation before judgment

The (SC) happens after horrific judgments

The (R)  Jesus comes for the church

The (SC) Jesus returns with the church 

  • For more rapture passages see: 1 Thessalonians. 5:4-9, 1 John 3:2-3, Titus 2:13-14, Revelation 3:10-13.  More Second coming passages: Matthew 13, 25, 1 Thessalonians 2:19, 1 Thessalonians 3:19, Zechariah 12. 

 

Christian Liberty

As Christians the Bible unites us on many issues.  But what about on those issues that the Bible doesn’t specifically guide. Or how about those issues the Bible allows but others elect to abstain?  What we do on issues of opinion is what Bible students call Christian liberty.

Romans 14

v.1-2 Describe the specific opinion issue in these verses that designates one as “weak”?

v.1  In welcoming the “weak” person what should not take place during their time together?

v.3 What sins does the one who eats/not eat need to be careful not to commit?

v.3 What reason is given for not despising or passing judgment based on the decision one makes about eating?

v.4 What further reason is given in this verse as to why it is wrong to judge on the basis of an opinion issue?

v.5 Describe the specific opinion issue in this verse?

v.5 On opinion issues, how important are personal convictions?

v.6-8 Even on opinion issues where we are given the freedom to hold varying convictions, what is the larger concern?

v.12 Even though we are given freedom about opinion issues, what warning is given in this verse?

Other considerations on opinion issues

v.13 What is the principle in this verse?

v.14-15 Paul acknowledges that there is nothing “unclean”, yet Paul is careful not to force the issue.  What can result from someone forcing the issue?

v.16 If in the practice of our liberty we destroy the faith of a weaker brother, have we sinned?

v.17 Paul is teaching that what one eats or drinks is of very little importance compared to what?

v.18 When we surrender our liberties on opinion issues for the sake of righteousness, peace, and joy, whom are we serving?

v.20 what is the instruction in this verse?

v.21 How should the stronger act when in the presence of the weaker brother?

v.22 How can the stronger activities change when he is alone or away from the weaker brother?

v.23 If the stronger brother puts the weaker brother in a place where they are eating against a clear conscience on the issue is this sin?


Summary: Sometimes strong opinions can lead to division and in some cases leading others into sin.  Christians must exercise discernment about opinion matters, avoid arguing, resist judgment, and abstain from rights when in the company of those of differing opinion.  If in our insensitivity over opinions we lead our brother into sin, we too have sinned!

For more see: Galatians 5:13, Romans 15:1-2, 1 Corinthians 8-9, 10:23-3

 

Fasting (part one)

There’s no magic in fasting.  Food can be a distraction that dulls our spiritual hunger.  Fasting is a purposeful disruption to our regular pattern that can help to sharpen and intensify our spiritual focus during times of great need.  The benefit of fasting is often overlooked and underestimated, but many faithful saints of the past have found that when times are hard fasting was the place of spiritual breakthrough.

Food’s power: Read the following verses and describe how the power of food led to sin:

  • Genesis 3:1-7
  • Genesis 25:29-35 (see also Heb. 12:16
  • Genesis 27:4
  • For more see: Exodus 15:22-25, Exodus 16:3, Numbers 11:4-8, Deuteronomy 8:1-3,10-12

Deuteronomy 8:11-14 What did Moses fear would happen once they had eaten and were full?

A desperate measure for desperate times: Gratifying hunger can have a spiritually dulling affect.  Fasting is a practice that can aid in keeping us spiritually sharp.  As you read these next verses explain the circumstances that led these people to fast.

  • Deuteronomy 9:9
  • Deuteronomy 9:18-19, 10:10
  • 1 Samuel 1:5-8
  • 2 Samuel 12:11-14
  • Jonah 3:5
  • 1 Kings 21:27-29

How to fast: Next time you are in a desperate place, you might consider the spiritual discipline of fasting.  The following verse provide some important guidelines to keep in mind as you fast:

Matthew 6:16-18

  • v.16 what should we avoid doing during a fast?
  • v.17 why does this verse call for personal grooming?
  • v.17 whose attention are we to seek in a fast?
  • v.17 when we work to keep our fasting private, what is promised?

Daniel 10:2-3

  • v.2 How long was Daniel’s fast?
  • v.3 What food did Daniel abstain from in this fast?

Daniels fated by restricting his diet rather than completely abstaining from all food.  God’s answer was delayed three weeks, this partial fast allowed Daniel to function normally even as he waited on an answer from the Lord.  Fasting appears to be done for a specific reason.  We would be wise to clarify the specific reason for our fasting!

 

1 Corinthians 7:3-5

  • v.3-4 What activity should be a regular occurrence in marriage?
  • v.5 What purpose is listed as a legitimate reason for sexual abstinence in marriage?
  • v.5 What other rules govern this kind of fasting?

In a world of pleasures and decadence, purposeful abstinence from pleasurable things can help to intensify and focus our spiritual energies.  In this sense, fasting can apply to media, music, or any activity that tends to dull or distract our spiritual senses.

Fields marked with an * are required