What does the Bible Say About.....

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

Topics

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

 

Anger

Anger is a God given emotion often abused by men when their plans, goals, or desires are blocked.  This is sinful anger.  Holy anger is directed at sin and is self-controlled.  God has holy anger for sin but is slow to wrath and abounds in mercy (Psalm 86:15). Moses had holy anger at the sin of God’s people, but his holy anger quickly turned to sinful anger by the way he responded (see Exodus 32 and Numbers 20).  There is a razor’s edge between holy and sinful anger.  Scripture repeatedly warns and instructs against the dangers of sinful anger.

Anger forbidden:

  • Ephesians 4:31 List the five things we are to put away from us:
  • Colossians 3:8 List the five things we are to put away:
  • Psalm 37:8 
    • From what are we to refrain?
    • What are we to forsake?
    • Why are we to “refrain” and “forsake”?

Anger a work of the flesh

  • Galatians 5:19-20 
    • V.19 What title does this verse assign to the list it is about to give?
    • V.20 List all the words in this verse connected with anger:
  • Proverbs 29:22 What two things characterize a man of anger and wrath?

Anger in the home:

  • Ephesians 6:4 List one thing fathers are not to do and two things they are instructed to do:
  • Colossians 3:19 List one thing husbands are to do and one thing they are not to do:

Wisdom for keeping anger in check

  • Ephesians 4:26-27 
    • V.26 explain the first command in this verse:
    • V.26 explain the second command in this verse:
    • V.27 who becomes active if we disobey the commands in v.26?
  • James 1:19-20 
    • V.19 List the three instructions 
    • V.20 For what purpose are these instructions given?
  • Proverbs 14:29 How is the man of “great understanding” described?
  • Proverbs 15:1 What counsel is given to turn away wrath?
  • Proverbs 19:11 We’ve already seen the wisdom in being slow to anger.  What further advice is given in this verse and what does it mean?
  • Romans 12:19 
    • List the command to follow:
    • List the promise to be remembered :

Anger with self-control

  • John 2:13-16 
    • Why was Jesus angry?
    • Was this holy or sinful anger?
    • How was that anger displayed?
    • V.16 Though He was angry, how does Jesus show self-controlled as he comes to those who sold doves?

Reading Resource: “The Heart of Anger” by Lou Priolo.

 

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

 

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

 

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.

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.  

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.

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

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. 

 

Fasting (part two)

There’s no magic in fasting.  Fasting is a purposeful disruption to our regular pattern that can help to sharpen and intensify our spiritual focus during times of great need.  This principle is clearly seen in the life of King David.

Context: 2 Samuel 11-12:15 tells the tragic story of David’s sin with Bathsheba.  Sometime later the prophet Nathan confronted David with the consequences of his sin one of which was the death of the child born to Bathsheba.  David was in a desperate place, let’s observe what he did.

Read 2 Samuel 12:15-23

v.16 whom did David seek in his desperation?

v.16-17 What did David do in his desperation?

v.18 How long did David do this?

v.18 Did David’s desperate plea result in the answer he hoped for?

v.18 Describe the concern that David’s servants expressed.

v.20 List the six things David did upon hearing the news of the child’s death:

  • What do these responses reveal about David attitude about his circumstances?
  • David’s prayer and fasting did not change his circumstances, but his responses reveal that he had changed.  What words would you use to describe the change that occurred in David?

v.21-22 David’s servants were puzzled at his response to the news of the child’s death.  What was David’s rationale for his behavior?

  • True or false: Based on his response in v.22, David saw fasting as a way of communicating his desperation and intensity in his prayer before God.

 


Summary: David’s example teaches us that while we may seek God for a change in our circumstances we should also be asking God to conform our heart to His will no matter the outcome.

 

Wisdom

Wisdom, at its most basic level, is intelligence, knowledge, and understanding; but its definition has a theme of common sense and good judgement. Wisdom is of God. Just as God is love, all that wisdom is in its fullness originates and dwells in who God is. The Bible also draws a stark contrast between godly wisdom and worldly wisdom or true and false wisdom. We will only scratch the surface in this discussion. 

Proverbs 1

-What picture do the first 6 verses seem to give as the characteristics and qualities of wisdom?

-How does verse 7 describe the origin of knowledge and wisdom? Why is distinction at the end of verse 7 significant? (Hint: think about the answer you gave to the first question.)

Proverbs 2

-According to verses 2-5, if you listen to wisdom, what will be the end result?

-In verse 6, Who gives wisdom?

-Read verse 9, what will you understand if you have wisdom?

-Verse 10 has an emotional reaction associated with wisdom. What is it?

-Verse 11 seems to contain a promise for those who get wisdom. What are those promises?

Job 12

-Read verses 13-25. What do you learn here of God and the wisdom He possesses? 

 

Job 28

-Read verses 1-22. Can wisdom be found in any of these things?

-How do verses 23-28 present wisdom? Do you see a pattern starting to emerge?

 

Proverbs 8 & John 1

-Read Proverbs 8:27-36. This whole chapter is wisdom personified. Do some of these verses sound like others you know? Read John 1:1-5. Are there similarities between these 2 passages? Does it seem that these 2 passages could be describing the same Person? See also: 1 Corinthians 1:24, 30 for further evidence. 

James 1 & 3

-Look at 1:5. What should you do if you lack wisdom? Look at 1:6. How should you ask if you lack it?

-Look at 3:13-18. Where does true wisdom come from? What are its characteristics and qualities? 

For more see: Job 13:5, 38:36-38; Psalm 37:30; Proverbs 3:5-7, 3:13, 4:6-7, 9:10, 11:2, 13:1, 13:10, 14:1, 15:12, 16:16, 17:28, 19:8, 19:20, 29:11; Ecclesiastes 2:26; Matthew 7:24-29; Romans 12:15; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; Ephesians 5:15-16; Colossians 2:2-3, 4:5-6

Trials

Trials are tests from God intended to train us, strengthen our faith, produce fruit, and show us our need of Him. They are not meant to be easy. That is why other words or phrases used for this category within the biblical context can be: temptations, sufferings, hardships, and/or
sorrow. Why does God do it this way? He is sovereign and we have to trust Him and His Word.

James 1

-What kind of reaction are we to have during trials? (v.2)

-What is God testing and what does it produce? (v.3)

-What is the intended end result of this aspect of our sanctification? (v.4)

1 Peter 1

-According to verse 6, what is the biblically recognized reality during
trials? (Hint: it starts with an s)

-In verse 7 it gives the reason for that reality. What is it?

-Why is that significant? (AKA what should we always keep in our sights as the end goal? (v.10))

Jesus talking about trials

Matthew 10

-Read verses 16-25. What is your overall take away from this passage? Does Jesus make the Christian life out to be easy or hard?

Mark 8

-In verse 34, what does it mean to “take up your cross?” Is this easy or hard to do?

-What is the reward for someone who does this? (v.35)

Luke 12

-While being a witness for Christ can sometimes be difficult (sometimes dangerously difficult) what is the result of taking a stand for Christ? (v.8)

-Do you think your faith is strengthened when you do this? Would you consider this type of scenario a trial?

John 16

-Even though suffering in this life is hard, why should we rejoice? (v.33)

Trials in the Old Testament

Job 1

-In verse 21, what is Job’s response to such hardship and pain? Is that your response?

Proverbs 3

-In verse 25, does the wording indicate that trouble might come or that it will come?

-Where is our hope when that trouble comes? (v. 26)

For more see: Proverbs 10:3, 11:21, 12:13, 12:21, 13:6, 14:26, 15:29, 18:10, 18:14, 24:10-12, 24:16; Psalm 56; Hebrews 12:3-13; lives of:
Joseph (Genesis 37-50) and Daniel and his friends (Daniel 1,3,&6).

 

Hell

Hell is the name for the place of eternal judgement on sin. This is where people who have not believed on Christ as their Savior will go after they die. It is where God’s wrath will be present against people paying the penalty for their sins. It is a topic that not many people in the church enjoy discussing because it’s dark and uncomfortable. But we must become comfortable with the reality of it for the sake of sharing the way of escape: the good news of Jesus.

*Note: Many times in the Bible, different names are given for Hell or the concept of it (Sheol, Abaddon, Hades, Hell, etc.) While this can be confusing, and there are even disagreements among Bible commentators, a couple of things are for certain. 1.) There does seem to be a distinction drawn between a temporary place of suffering now vs. eternal suffering after the final judgement; just like it seems to be for believers in temporary rest now before the start of eternal rest and joy with Christ. 2.) Regardless of the differences in the names and terms, if someone dies in this life without Christ, they will be judged for their sin and without hope forever.

Isaiah 66

-This chapter is dealing with God’s final judgement and comes right after He has said He will create a new heavens and a new earth (65:17-25). So with that in mind, look at 66:6. What does it say the Lord will do to His enemies?

-Combine this with 65:5-7 and it gives a fuller picture of what final judgement will be like.

Daniel 12

-How does verse 2 describe those who do not go into/have eternal life? Does that sound pleasant or not so pleasant?

Matthew 25

-What are the characteristics in verse 30 of where the worthless servant is cast? Compare this to 24:51

-Look at verse 46 as well: what word is used to describe punishment? What does that word mean? Have you considered the severity of those two words put together in that phrase?

Mark 9

-Read verses 42-48. How many times does Jesus repeat the word hell and the subsequent quoting of Isaiah 66:24? Is that significant?

-What is the implication of the fire not being quenched? Does it ever stop?

Luke 16

-Read verses 19-31. What are some of your take-aways from this
parable?

-Look specifically at verses 23, 24, &28. What words or phrases stand out to you that the rich man uses to describe the place he is in?

Revelation 14

-What are the characteristics in verses 10-11 of someone who is suffering under the wrath of God?

Revelation 20

-Look at verses 11-15 and 21:8.  Here is an example of different names being used (i.e. Death and Hades) for the place unbelievers go when they die. Again, regardless of the names and what exactly they refer to, there seems to be little doubt that the lake of fire in verse 14 is the final, eternal judgement place of all who are not found in the book of life (note the phrase “second death” in connection with the lake of fire as opposed to Death and Hades.) Do you agree or disagree?

For more see: “That Hideous Doctrine” by John Thomas.  It originally appeared in
Moody Monthly, September 1985.

 

Click to read The Hideous Doctrine

Suffering

Everyone experiences suffering as a result of their own sin, the sin of others, or the corruption of a cursed creation.  But for the believer, there is an additional form of suffering that is appointed; suffering for our association with Jesus Christ, His Word and his works.  In this study we will explore suffering for Christ.

John 15:18-21 The “world” is a phrase Jesus uses to describe those who are outside of the faith or any allegiance to the Scriptures.

  • V.18 Why is Jesus so confident that we will be hated by the world?
  • V.19 Why is it that a believer is not of the world?
  • V.20 What does Jesus teach that we should expect from the world?  
  • V.21 Why does the “world” hate Christians?

Romans 8:16-18 This passages lists two marks of a true Christian.

  • v.16-17a  What does the Spirit do for us according to this verse?
  • v.17b What other mark is evidence that we are true Christians?
  • True or false: According to these verses an unwillingness to suffer could indicate that one is not truly saved.—For more see 2 Timothy 2:12.

1 Peter 1:6-7 

  • v.6 fill in the blank: In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if ____________, you have been grieved by various trials.
    • What does the word you filled in teach you about suffering?
  • V.7a what about our faith is tested by trials?
  • 7b To what does he compare the testing of our faith?
  • 7c When is it that we will see the work God has accomplished in our lives through suffering?

1 Peter 2:18-23

  • V.18-20 What is a “gracious thing”
  • V.19 To whom are we to be mindful when suffering unjustly?
  • V.20 Is it a gracious thing when we sin and must suffer for that?
  • V.21 Considering the context, what does he mean by to this you were “called”
  • V.22 How is Jesus an example of unjust suffering?
  • V.23 What three things did Jesus do when he suffered unjustly? 

1 Pt. 4:12-16

  • v.12 What should not catch us by surprise?
  • V.13 Should we consider it an honor or drudgery to suffer for Christ?  Why or why not?
  • V.14 What particular blessing takes place when we suffer for the cause of Christ?
  • V.15 What kind of suffering is to be avoided?
  • V.16 How should we feel about suffering for Christ?

2 Cor. 4:11-18

  • v.8-12 What are some of the words and phrases Paul uses to describe his experience of suffering?
  • V.16 What affect had the suffering had on Pauls outer self and inner self?
  • V.17 As Paul looked to the future glory that awaited him, how did the suffering he was experience compare to what lie ahead for him?
Words/Our Speech

Words/our speech is an extremely important biblical topic. As we will see, God cares very much about what comes out of our mouths: 1. because of how it makes Him look when we claim and represent Christ and 2. because of the amount of space He dedicates to it in His Word.  Not only that, but Scripture also speaks to how we should think about what we say before we say it (AKA discernment). We will only begin to uncover the tip of the iceberg in this study.

Exodus 20 & Deuteronomy 5    (The same verse is mentioned twice because we need to recognize the importance of it).

-What do 20:7 & 5:11 say? Notice it is the only commandment where God specifies the aspect of direct, stated guilt. What does this imply about our words compared to the speaking/worship of God’s name?

-Do you think, based upon what you just looked at, that cares about your words and how you speak to Him/about Him?

Proverbs 10 

-See verse 10. Can you think of some examples of words to speak that would fall under the “fountain of life” category?

-Look at verse 13. What are the implications of this verse when it comes to thinking about what you say before you say it?

-What about verse 14? It means almost the same as v13, but how does this nuanced way help you think about it differently?

Proverbs 26

-Look at v18-19. What picture is given as an analogy for those who joke around in a deceitful and hurtful way?

-Think about how you joke or play around. Would any of those situations in your mind classify as being despised by God according to what He says in this verse?

Ecclesiastes 5

-Look at verse 2. What does it say about both your heart and your mouth?

-What is the conclusion drawn about how we should approach God? Should we come with haste or with reverence and consideration?

-Based on v2-3 do you want to be known to God for your fewer words of quality, depth, and care or more words just for the sake of talking?

Matthew 15

-Look at verses 19-20. What are some of the things that can come out of our naturally vile hearts through our mouths? What do these things do? (v.20)

James 3

-Look at verses 5-6. What types of destructive powers can the tongue have based upon these pictures?

-Look at verses 9-10. What are the stark contrasts/extremes that James points out that can both come out of our mouths?

-He says these things ought not be so. In verses 11-12, He’s saying that practically, it’s impossible for opposite things to come from opposite sources. So which is it for you? What comes out of your mouth?

Psalm 19

-This verse is looked at last because we need to be reminded what a changed tongue should look like if we have a changed heart.

-Look at verse 14. What 2 aspects are identified in the beginning of the verse? What is David’s prayer about those 2 things?

For more see: Psalm 34:13; Proverbs 10:11, 10:19, 11:9, 11:11,
12:17-19, 15:1, 15:3, 15:4, 16:24, 17:27, 18:4, 18:21, 21:23, 25:15, 25:18, 26:28, 29:11, 29:20; Matthew 12:36; Luke 6:45; Ephesians 4:19, 4:29, 5:4; Colossians 4:6; Titus 3:2; James 1:26

*Notice that in any of the deeper questions or the “for more” section, we did not even cover narrative stories where people’s mouths got them in trouble or any of the prophets. There is much more ground to cover in this subject.

 

God

The Bible teaches that God exists eternally as three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  This concept is called “Trinity”.  While this word does not appear in the Bible, the concept does.  God is the most unique being.  His uniqueness is observed in His attributes.  This study will briefly introduce the concept of Trinity and discuss the attributes that are unique to God.

Matthew 3:16-17 In this passage we see all three members of the Trinity as distinct.  Identify the following things that were said or done: 1) Who is being baptized? 1) Who descended like a dove? 2) Whose voice was heard speaking from heaven? 4) What did the voice call the one who was baptized?

Matthew 28:19 In this passage we see that all three members of the Trinity are co-equal.  Into whose name is a person to be baptized?

James 2:19/Mark 12:29 Though all three members of the Trinity are distinct and co-equal, according to these verses are there three Gods or one God?

John 1:1-4 John 1:14 identifies that the “Word” is Jesus.  What do we learn about the “Word” in these four verses?

Attributes:  Bible students call the characteristics of God His “attributes”.  His attributes include but are not limited to things like:

 

  • Self-existence: not in need of anything
  • Holy: completely set apart from sin
  • Eternal: without beginning or end
  • Omniscient: all knowing
  • Omnipotent: all powerful
  • Omnipresent: present everywhere

 

Read the following verses and match the attribute to the passage that best teaches that truth.

Psalm 90:2

Psalm 139:1-6, Romans 11:33-34

Psalm 139:7-12 

Job 42:2, Daniel 2:21-22, 

Acts 17:24-26 

1 Peter 1:15-16  

Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18 While it is true that God is all powerful and can do anything consistent with His holy nature, it is not true that God can do absolutely anything.  From these passages list those things that God cannot do.


Summary:

This brief study has shown that God is eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Spirit and that God’s characteristics make Him unique from any created being. A more extensive study of Scripture would reveal that each member of the Trinity possess attributes that alone belong to God, yet there are not three Gods but only one God.

Assurance of Salvation

Some believe assurance of salvation is not possible but the Bible disagrees.  While assurance of salvation is a clear and Biblical fact, the feeling of assurance may take time.  The scriptures provided below reveal what the Bible says about the promise of salvation for those who believe, and the eternal security of that assurance.


John 1:12 What right is given to those who receive and believe in His (Jesus’) name?

John 3:16 What condition must be met so that one will not “perish” but have “everlasting life”?

John 5:24 what three things result from hearing and believing?

  • Past
  • Present
  • Future

1 John 5:11-13

  • Who gives eternal life?
  • Where is eternal life found?
  • Who has eternal life?
  • Who does not have eternal life?

Acts 16:30-31 What must a person do to be saved?

Romans 10:13 What promise is given to those who call on the name of the Lord?

1 John 2:3-6 What is one way that we can know that we know Him (Jesus)?

1 John 3:14 What is another way we can know that we have passed
from death to life?

Galatians 4:6 One evidence of salvation is that God has sent the Spirit of His Son into us causing us to think of God as whom?

John 6:37 What assurance is given to those who come to Jesus?  How long does this assurance last?

John 10:28-29 What assurance does Jesus provide for us in this verse?  How long does this assurance last?

1 Peter 1:5 Who is guarding your salvation through faith?

Romans 8:38-39 What grand assurance is given in these verses?

Romans 10:17 How can we strengthen our assurance of salvation?

 

For More see: John 3:36, 14:6; Acts 2:21, 4:12, 16:31;  Romans 8:1; 1Corinthians 15:1-4; Ephesians 2:8-9, 4:30; Hebrews 10:21-22.

 

 

_______________________________________________

1.This question is from https://www.navigators.org/resource/assurance-salvation-study?

2. Ibid.

 

 

Grace

Grace, by definition, is a free gift; unmerited favor. It’s someone getting what they don’t deserve and there isn’t anything they can do to work for it or repay the kindness of the gift. So, by these definitions, it involves both the gift and the giver. And, as we will see, God is not only the gift and the giver, He, by His very nature, is the epitome of grace; just as He is in all of His other attributes (i.e. love, justice, mercy, etc.) There are also different kinds of God’s grace that we see on display in the Scriptures.

Exodus 34

-Look at verse 6. What is one of the first attributes that God gives when revealing Himself to Moses? Does that mean that God IS grace? How is it displayed? (Hint: look at verse 7 and see that because He is gracious it directs and affects how He acts.)

1 Samuel 24

-Read verses 5-11. There is an aspect of grace that we call God’s restraining grace. Do you see that on display here in David’s heart and actions? Where do you see God’s restraining grace in your life?

-Because of what God had done for David, he in turn acted appropriately towards Saul even though Saul sought David’s life. Because of what God has done for you, do you show grace to others?

Isaiah 55

-Look again at how we defined ‘grace’ above. Now look at verses 1-2. While the word ‘grace’ does not appear here, what descriptions do you see in these verses that alert you the Lord is talking about grace here? How do these characteristics of grace add to your picture of who God is?

-Look additionally at verses 3-7. In light of that picture of grace, does that cause you to read a familiar passage in a new, fresh way?

John 1

-Look at verses 14, 16, and 17. What attribute is listed 4 times in these verses as it talks about the Word (Jesus Christ) coming in human flesh and revealing the very nature of God?

-What attribute is closely associated with grace in verses 14 and 17?  Do you think that is significant? Why or why not? What does that further reveal about God?

Romans 3

-Look at verse 24. Why are we justified?

-Read verses 21-26. We said before that God is both the gift and giver. Which one is He here? Is it both? How? Give a description in your own words of ‘how’.

2 Corinthians 12

-Look at verse 9. There’s another aspect of grace we call God’s sufficient grace. This is a grace that is an addition, but different from, His saving grace.
1. When God says His grace is sufficient, what does He mean?
2.How can you see this kind of grace playing out in your life?

Ephesians 1&2

-Look at 1:4-6. Why did God choose/elect us; according to what in
verse 6?

-Look at 1:7. Why did God redeem us; ‘according to’ what?

-Look at 2:8-9. How are you saved? Notice he says not from works. This means we can in no way repay God for His kindness, nor does He want us to try. It’s a matter of His straight up kindness.

For more see: Virtually any epistle opening or closing; “GRACE” in the opening verses; it’s very easy to skip over, but we should stop and think. Numbers 6:25; 2 Chronicles 30:9; Psalm 103:8; Isaiah 30:18; Micah 7:18-19; Acts 20:24; Romans 1:5, 5:12-21, 6:14-15; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Ephesians 2:5, 4:29; 2 Timothy 1:9, 2:1; Titus 2:11; Hebrews 4:16; James 4:6; 1 Peter 1:13, 4:10, 5:10; and this all only scratches the
surface.

 

 

God's Heart

What does the Bible say about God’s Heart?

The Bible speaks about the heart of God, the very epicenter of His being and person, more than we would think. Maybe this is a topic that you had not considered before, but it is extremely important that we know and meditate on who He is, at His very heart. Many think that God is a different God in the OT than who He is in the NT. The following passages will show this is not the case.  

Psalm 103

-Read the whole psalm. What is your impression of God’s heart as you finished reading? Notice how many times the words: love, compassion, and mercy appear in this chapter. Do you think those relate to God’s heart towards you?

Isaiah 43

-Look at verses 3-4. Why did God give other nations as a ransom? (Hint: the answer is in verse 4.)

-What does this say about God’s heart? At what lengths is He willing to go to bring His people to Himself?

Isaiah 55

-Read verses 8-9. Normally we quote these verses in relation to talking about God’s plan and providence. We should talk about those, but that’s not actually the context. Look at the second half of verse 7.

-According to verse 7 and combining it with v.8-9, what is it about God’s thoughts and ways that are so much higher than ours? (Hint: It has to do with how He responds to our sin and His readiness to forgive.)

 

Lamentations 3

– Look at verses 31-33. Where have you seen some of those same words and phrases about God’s heart before? (Hint: go back to Psalm 103.) Also notice that these verses are in the context of a passage that is very familiar to us in v.22-24. 

-How do verses 31-33 relate God’s heart to Him bringing us through suffering?

Hosea 11

-Read verses 7-9. Even in a context where His people have sinned greatly and He threatens to cast them off, what is God’s heart response in verses 8-9?

-How does that apply to you and how God views you even in the midst of your sin and filthiness?

Micah 7

-Look at verses 18-19. These really get to the heart of God’s heart. What do they show you about God’s character? 

-What promises are here that you can hold onto and believe?

Matthew 11

-Look at verse 29. What does Jesus say about His heart?

-This is the only verse in the whole New Testament where Jesus talks about His heart. This is special and significant. Jesus is God Incarnate. Coupled with all the other passages, what view do you now hold of God’s heart?

For more see: John 6:37, 10:28-29; Romans 8:31-39; 

 

Justification

Justification is a word that appears often in the New Testament.  It means “to declare righteous”.  Justification does not mean that one has not sinned, but that a holy God has provided a way for sinful men to have their status as sinners changed.  When Jesus died on the cross he took our sin, and paid its debt and now, by faith, those who believe can be forgiven and born again as children of God who are righteous in his sight.  The following verses will help to clarify the means of justification.

Romans 3:24 According to Romans 6:23 sin has earned us the wages.  By contrast how is justification offered to us?

 

Romans 3:26   

  • Who is the “Justifier”?…In other words, who makes the declaration of righteousness for sinners? 
  • What does one have to do to become justified?

Romans 3:27-28 Can a person be justified (declared righteous) by the works of the law?

Romans 3:30  The word “circumcise” and uncircumcised in this verse are another way of say “Jew” and “Gentile”.  According to this verse how are both Jews and Gentiles Justified?

Romans 4:2-3 How was Abraham justified?  Was it by faith or works?

Romans 4:5  

  • What kind of person is justified according to this verse?
  • According to this verse what must be done to be justified?

 

Romans 4:24-25 What part does Jesus play in making justification available to us?

 

Romans 5:1  What is the result of justification by faith?

 

Romans 5:9  Says that we have been justified by his blood.  Whose blood?  What is this a reference to?

 

Summary of teaching: This lesson has revealed that: God is the one who justifies ungodly sinners.  He is able to do this because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who made full payment for our sins.  This declaration of righteousness is offered to us as a gift by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  This declaration is not available by works.

 

Charles Ryrie said this, “If God, the Judge, is without injustice and completely righteous in all His decisions, then how can He announce a sinner righteous?…There are only three options open to God as sinners stand in His courtroom.  He must condemn them, compromise His own righteousness or receive them as they are, or He can change them into righteous people.  If He can exercise the third option, then He can announce them righteous, which is justification.  But any rightlessness the sinner has must be actual, not fictitious; real, not imagined; acceptable by God’s standards, and not a whit short.  If this could be accomplished, then, and only then, can He justify.” (pg. 299 Basic Theology Ryrie)

Christmas

Greeting Cards and Christmas carols fill our minds and imaginations with images surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ.  Sometimes those images are accurate but other times they are not.  This brief study will take a fresh Biblical look at Christmas.

Luke 1:26-38 Mary’s encounter

v.26-27 Whom did God send as messenger to talk with Mary about what was going to happen to her?

v.28-29 How did Mary respond when greeted by the angel?

v.30-31 What news did the messenger deliver to Mary?

v.32-33 What news did the messenger give about the child to be born?

v.34-35 What question did Mary ask?  And what answer was given?

Matthew 1:18-25 Joseph’s encounter

v.18 what does it mean that Mary and Joseph were betrothed?

v.18 what does it mean that Mary was with child of the Holy Spirit?

v.19 why did Joseph want to divorce Mary?

v.20 why did Joseph change his mind and not divorce Mary?

v.20-21 List five things the angel told Joseph about Jesus.

v.23 What does the name “Immanuel” mean?

Luke 2:1-7 Their trip to Bethlehem

v.1-5 Why were Mary and Joseph on their way to Bethlehem?

v.6 What happened to Mary while they were in Bethlehem

v.7 What did Mary put on Jesus?  Look up the term if you don’t know what it means.

v.7 What did Mary use as a baby bed for Jesus?

v.7 The details make it clear that Jesus was born in a location where animals were cared for.  Why did they not stay in a hotel/inn?

Luke 2:8-20 The birth

v.8 Who were the first people to hear the news of the birth of Jesus?

v.9 What was the response of the shepherds to the angelic message?

v.10 The angel said that the “good news” of “great joy” was for whom?

v.11 What two titles did the angel use to describe Jesus in this verse?

v.12 What sign would indicate to the shepherds that they had found the baby Jesus?

V.13-14 When the angel finished talking what happened next?

v.15-20 What did the shepherds do when they found Mary, Joseph, and Jesus?

Matthew 2:1-12 The wise men

v.1 Were the wise men present when Jesus was born?

v.2 What were the wise men seeking?

v.2 What had guided them to where they were?

v.2 What was their intention upon finding Jesus?

v.3 How did king Herod and all Jerusalem feel about the news?

v.7-8 What did Herod request of the Wisemen?

v.9 What guided the wise men to the exact location of baby Jesus?

v.10-11 What did they do when they saw Mary and baby Jesus?

v.12 Did they obey Herod’s request?—(v.16-18 explains what Herod did because the wise men did not return and report.)

 

Forgiveness

On the surface it seems so simple; someone sins against me, when they realize it and acknowledge their fault asking for forgiveness we are commanded to grant it. But anyone who has gone through this knows that many practical questions remain.   This study will serve as a basic introduction to the biblical topic of forgiveness.  For further study of forgiveness consider: Unpacking Forgiveness by Chris Brauns and From Forgiven to Forgiving by Jay Adams.

 

Ephesians 4:32 What motivation is given in this verse to prompt our forgiveness toward others?

 

Psalm 103:12 What metaphor is used to describe how complete God’s forgiveness is toward us (when we repent)?  How might this shape our understanding of what it means to forgive others?

 

1 John 1:9 When are we forgiven by God?  Is that forgiveness automatic or is it conditioned upon something?

 

Luke 17:3 What is the only condition that must be met before forgiveness is offered?

 

Luke 17:4 What do you think is the point of this verse?

 

Psalm 32:5 What had to take place before the guilt of David’s sin was forgiven?  Be specific.

 

Acts 3:19 What must take place before our sins will be blotted out?

 

Colossians 3:13 Bearing with one another and forgiving one another are not the same thing.  What do you think is the difference between them?

  • If forgiveness is conditioned upon repentance, and the offending person does not repent, how might “bearing with” provide an alternative route away from becoming bitter?  Explain.

 

Proverbs 19:11 What alternative to forgiveness is listed in this verse?

 

Matthew 18:15-20 What are we to do if someone sins against us in such a way that we cannot overlook it, and we cannot forbear it.  What should we do?  Describe the sequence exactly.

 

Matthew 18:34-35 How does God feel toward those who claim to have His forgiveness but fail to forgive others?

  • At a bare minimum a failure to forgive angers God and brings His discipline.  Some Bible students would say that the man in this parable was never really saved in the first place but was like a tare among the wheat (Matthew 13:24), or as one who will hear in the end, depart from me…I never knew you (Matthew 7:21-23).

 

Mark 11:25 How does a failure to forgive impact our relationship with God?

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the third member of the trinity.  The Bible teaches us that the Spirit was active during creation, that He empowered Old Testament saints for acts of service and that after Jesus departed from the earth, He sent the Spirit to indwell all believers.  This study will explore some of the ways that the Holy Spirit serves believers today.

John 14:16-17

  • v.16 What does Jesus call the Holy Spirit in this verse?

 

  • v.16 How long will the Holy Spirit remain with us?

 

  • v.17 What word does Jesus use to describe the Spirit in this verse?

 

  • v.17 Where will the Spirit come to live?

 


John 14:26 What will the Holy Spirit do for the disciples when He comes?


Acts 1:8 What does the Holy Spirit empower believers to do?


1 Corinthians 2:9-14 

  • v.9-10 What does God use to reveal His wisdom to men?

 

  • v.11 Who alone understands the mind of God?

 

  • v.12 What does the Spirit do for the believer?

Galatians 5:22 List the fruit that the Spirit is producing in the life
of a believer.


Romans 8:4-14 Life according to the Spirit

  • v.5 What does it mean to set your mind on the things of the Spirit?

 

  • v.14 What does it means to be led by the Spirit?


1 Corinthians 12:7-11

  • v.7 How many believers are given a gift by the Spirit?

 

  • v.8 -10 List some of the gifts given by the Spirit

 


Ephesians 1:13 What does the Holy Spirit do for the believer in this verse?


Ephesians 4:29-32 Given the context what kind of sinful activity can grieve the Spirit?


Ephesians 5:18 instructs us to be filled with the Spirit.
Ephesians 5:19-21 gives three instructions explaining how to do that.  Summarize the instruction given in each verse:

  • v.19

 

  • V.20

 

  • v.21

 

Sanctification

Sanctification has a past, present, and future tense.  In the past it is a reference to the fact that God has set us apart and made us positionally holy.  In the present it is a
reference to the ongoing work of the Spirit as we grow in holiness.  In the future, it is a reference to that time when we will be completed beings no longer capable of sin.  This study will focus on what Bible students often call progressive
sanctification.  This is a reference to the active work of the Spirit as he grows the
believer in holiness.  It is important for the believer to understand that sanctification is a process of growth in holiness over time.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

  • v.3 What is the will of God according to this verse?

 

  • v.4-5 What specifically do these verses describe as part of sanctification?

 

2 Thessalonians 2:13 What two things are listed in connection with being saved?

  • Sanctification is carried out by what two things?

 

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 What three words in verse 11 describe the change that has
taken place?

  • v.11 Who is given credit for the change that has taken place?


1 Peter 1:2 Who carries out the work of sanctification in one’s life?

1 Thessalonians 5:23 To which parts of a person does sanctification apply?

1 Peter 1:15 How long are we to be in pursuit of sanctification?

John 17:17 What is the primary resource the Spirit uses to sanctify His people?

Ephesians 5:25-26 How does Christ sanctify the church?

Hebrews 10:14 Those whom God has perfected (justified) are also those who are being what?

2 Corinthians 3:18 What kind of change is being described in this verse and how is it taking place?


While sanctification is the work of God we must cooperate with His Spirit to see this work take place in our lives.

  • Romans 6:19 What happens when we present ourselves as slaves to
    righteousness?

 

  • Hebrews 12:14 For what is the believer to “strive”?


Read the following verses and summarize the main idea of what we are instructed to do in order to grow:

  • Romans 8:6-11 

 

  • Romans 12:1-2

 

  • Ephesians 4:20-24 

 

  • Colossians 3:2 

 


Sanctification is an ongoing work of the Spirit in our lives as we cooperate with Him.  We are sanctified as we read, understand, and obey the Scriptures.  This involves setting our mind on the Spirit, presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice, putting off the works of the flesh and putting on the new man, and setting one’s mind on things above.

 

Redemption

The word redemption means to set free by the payment of a price.  It is the same idea behind the word “ransom” sometimes the two words are used interchangeably.  The word redemption emphasizes the idea of “payment” of a ransom fee.  When used in connection with salvation it is a reference to Christ’s death which paid the death penalty required by God to set men free from slavery to sin.

The Cost of redemption

Matthew 20:28 What two reasons are given for why Jesus came to this earth?

1 Peter 1:18 -19

  • What were we ransomed/redeemed from?

 

  • What was not used to pay the ransom/redemption fee?

 

  • What was used to pay the ransom/redemption fee?

 

Hebrews 9:12

  • What was not used to pay our ransom?

 

  • What was used to pay our ransom?

 

  • How long does that redemption last?

 

Price Paid to God

Ephesians 5:2 

  • For whom did Christ sacrifice Himself?

 

  • To whom did Christ sacrifice Himself?

 

Hebrews 9:14 To whom did Christ offer Himself in His death?

 

How redemption changes how we think of ourselves

 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 How has the fact that believers are “bought with a price” changed the way we ought to think of ourselves?

 

1 Corinthians 7:23 

  • What instruction is given in this verse?

 

  • Why is this instruction given?

 

The results of redemption

Hebrews 9:15 The death of Christ has redeemed us from what according to this verse?

Romans 3:24 What other benefit of salvation has happened as a result of our redemption?

Titus 2:14 List at least three purposes Christ had in mind when he purchased us.

Ephesians 1:7 What other aspect of our salvation is connected to our redemption?

Revelation 5:9-10

  • How were people ransomed?

 

  • Who was ransomed by Christ?

 

  • What two results are listed in connection with his redemption/ransoming of us?

 

Consider these words on Redemption from the Moody Handbook of Theology pg. 323, “The word redemption…means “to purchase in the marketplace.”  Frequently it had to do with the sale of slaves in the marketplace.  The word is used to describe the believer being purchased out of the slave market of sin and set free from sin’s bondage.  The purchase price for the believer’s freedom and release from sin was the death of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23; Revelation 5:9; 14:3,4)

Because the believer has been bought by Christ, he belongs to Christ and is Christ’s slave.  “the redeemed are paradoxically slaves, the slaves of God, for they were bought with a price….Believers are not brought by Christ into a liberty of selfish ease.  Rather, since they have been bought by God at a terrible cost, they have become God’s slaves, to do His will.”

 

Propitiation

The word propitiation means to “appease”, “satisfy”, or “atone” and different versions use the word synonymously.  When used in connection with New Testament salvation it emphasizes that God’s holy wrath against the sin of mankind was fully satisfied by the death of Christ.  The idea of atonement has its roots in the Old Testament (see: Leviticus 16:1-34, Leviticus 23:27-28, Exodus 30:10) and foreshadow the one time sacrifice of Jesus that fully atoned for the sin of the world.  Whereas redemption emphasizes the payment of a price that has set free, propitiation/atonement
emphasizes the payment of a price that has appeased the wrath of God bringing peace with God.

God’s wrath rests on sinners:

John 3:17-18 

  • V.18 What is true about those who do believe in Jesus?

 

  • V.18 What is true about those who do not believe in Jesus?

 

John 3:36 What remains on those who do not “obey the Son”?

 

Romans 2:5 What does the unbeliever have stored up for themselves?

 

The death of Jesus atoned/propitiated for sinners:

Romans 3:24-25

  • Whose blood has made propitiation?

 

  • How is that propitiation received?

 

Hebrews 2:17 For what did Jesus make propitiation?

 

1 John 2:2 

  • For what was Jesus the propitiation?

 

  • For whom is the propitiation of Jesus sufficient?

 

1 John 4:10 How was God’s love displayed for us according to this verse?

 

The fruit of Christ’s propitiation: The fruit of propitiation is reconciliation which means to be made at peace with God.

Romans 5:11 What have we received from God through our Lord Jesus Christ?

 

Colossians 1:21-22 

  • v.21 What had caused the alienation between God and man?

 

  • v.22 How has God reconciled us?

 

  • v.22 How will we be presented before God as a result of our reconciliation?

 

 

Propitiation Summary:

In salvation, God has not let anyone “off the hook” for their sin.  Rather, Jesus the
perfect God man died as our substitute paying the death penalty our sin
deserves.  The payment of Christ’s death has appeased the wrath of God toward every guilty sinner who believes.

________________________________________________________

  1. “John emphasizes the sufficience is “for the whole world.” Although the whole world is not saved, because Christ is God his death is sufficient for the entire world; it is, however, effectual only in those who believe.” (Moody Handbook of Theology pg. 139)

 

Substitution

The word substitute means, “a person or thing acting in place of another”.  The actual word substitute or substitution is not found in the Bible but the concept is.  This study will show that Jesus Christ was qualified to be our substitute because he was innocent of sin, that He bore our sin in his body on the cross, and that He died in the place of guilty sinners.

Jesus was innocent of all sin

  • Hebrews 4:15 Did Jesus every yield to temptation?

 

  • 1 John 3:5 What is not in Jesus?

 

  • 1 Peter 1:19 To what is Jesus compared?

 

  • 1 Peter 2:22 What is something Jesus never did?

 

Our sin was placed on Him

Isaiah 53:4,5,6, Pay careful attention to the word “our”, “us”, “we” in this Old
Testament prophecy about the crucifixion of Jesus.  What is it that Jesus did for us?


1 Peter 2:24 

  • What did Jesus carry in his body on the “tree” (tree is an idiom for the cross)

 

  • What has happened as a result of the wounds Jesus suffered on the cross?

 


1 Peter 3:18

  • How many times did Christ suffer for sins?

 

  • For whom did Christ suffer as a substitute?

 

 Corinthians 5:21 

  • What did God “make” Him (Jesus) to be?

 

  • For whose benefit did God do such a thing?

 


Note the word “for” in each of these verses.  This word is indicating the
concept of substitution:

  • Matthew 20:28 What did Christ do “for” us?

 

  • 1 Timothy 2:6 What did Christ to “for” us?

 

  • Galatians 3:13  What did Christ do “for” us?

 


God poured out his wrath on Jesus for our sin

Isaiah 53:4-6 What seven words describe what God did to Jesus
because he was bearing our sin?

Isaiah 53:10 What was God’s will for Jesus as he bore our sins?


Matthew 27:46 Based on what you have learned within this lesson why had the Father “forsaken” the Son as He hung on the cross?


Summary: Jesus is not an abstract or distant savior.  When speaking of Jesus we should rightly say that He died for my sin.  The doctrine of
substitution is precious truth for believers because in looking at Christ on the cross we see the judgment that our sin deserved but that we didn’t have to pay.

 

Satan

Satan is our enemy who we do battle against, but the war has already been decisively won by Christ on the cross. Hallelujah! Nevertheless we do battle against him and his schemes on a daily basis. He goes by many names in the Bible. But in going through these passages and learning his names, we also learn about what types of weapons and strategies he uses so that we can better stand against him. 

Genesis 3

-Look at verse 1 and the serpent’s (who is Satan) question to Eve. Notice the first 4 words. “Did God really say?”

-Can you think of a temptation that you faced even today? Can you whittle it down to see this same question underlying your temptation? 

-Satan wants you to question God’s Word, commands, and promises.

1 Chronicles 21

-Look at verse 1. What does it say? Whose name is there working with devious intentions behind the scenes?

Job 1&2

-Read verses 6-12. Is God sovereign and in control even over the actions of Satan? That is very important to know and remember.

-What types of schemes and strategies does Satan implement in these verses?

-Read 2:1-7. When Satan’s plan doesn’t work the first time, what strategy does he try this second time? 

-Thinking of 1 Chronicles and Job together, how can knowing these cunning methods of our adversary help you to better fight/resist him?

-Can you strengthen your faith knowing God is sovereign even over him? Take a moment and turn those questions into prayers right now.

Zechariah 3

-Look at verse 1. What is Satan doing? 

-Do you ever feel accused? How does he accuse you? Is it blatant or sneaky and subtle? How can you fight that? (Hint: look at verses 2-5.)

Matthew 4

-Read verses 1-11. 3 times Satan tries to tempt Jesus.

-What methods does Satan use? How does he twist Scripture when he uses it in the second temptation?

-Do you ever find yourself twisting Scripture to justify your sinful thoughts and actions and giving in to that temptation? How can you fight against that strategy of Satan? (Hint: do what Jesus did and go to the Scripture and look at it, read it, and meditate on it correctly.)

John 8

-Look at verse 44. What does Jesus teach about Satan? Can he ever tell the truth?

-Therefore should you ever believe him? 

Ephesians 6

-Read verses 10-18. Think about 2 things: 1.) what/who we fight against; 2.) how each element of the armor can be used to fight; (don’t forget about prayer in v.18!)

1 Peter 5

-Look at v. 8-11. What is Satan likened to? What implications does that have for how he acts?

-What is the cure? (Hint: look at verse 9.) What is this faith we stand firm in? (Hint: look at v.10-11.)

For more see: Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-17; Matthew 12:24-29, 13:19; Luke 10:18; John 12:31; 2 Corinthians 4:4, 11:14-15; Ephesians 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; 1 John 4:4; Revelation 12:7-9, 20:7-10

Racism

Racism is not a new problem.  Racism is addressed and condemned within the Bible.  Regardless of nationality, all men are created in the image of God and should therefore be treated with respect.  To disdain any person is to mock their maker (James 3:9) In this study you will discover the origin of nations, and God’s instructions for treatment of foreigners, how Jesus responded to racism in his culture, and what Paul did to accommodate those of differing culture and ethnicity.

Where did the nations come from?

  • Acts 17:26
    • Where did the nations come from?
    • What did God establish for the nations?
  • Genesis 9:18-19 After God destroyed the entire earth with the flood, who are the three common ancestors that repopulated the entire earth?
  • Genesis 9:1 What did God tell Noah’s sons to do after the flood?
  • Genesis 11:4 What are they trying to prevent by building the tower?
  • Genesis 11:7-9 What did God do in response to their tower and what was the result?  Hint: it’s the same thing he told them to do in Gen. 9:1

God and favoritism/racism

Genesis 10 lists 70 different nations that came from Shem, Ham, and Japheth.  In time, God himself would develop one more unique nation to represent Him in the earth.  The nation of Israel.  Recognizing the evil of racism, God gave specific instructions to His nation on how they were to treat foreigners?

  • Exodus 22:21 How was Israel to treat the foreigner?
  • Leviticus 19:33-36 In what specific ways was Israel to treat the foreigner?
  • Romans 2:11 What is true about God from this verse?
    • Romans 10:12 Does God view one people group as superior to another?
    • Acts 10:34-35 In what specific way does God show that he does not play favorites?
    • James 2:1 What is forbidden in this verse?

    Jesus and racism

    • John 4:9, 27 According to the cultural situation described in these verses, did racism exist in Jesus’ day? Explain.
    • John 4:7-27 What did Jesus do to show that he had no part in the cultural racism of his day?
    • Matthew 28:19 What command did Jesus give in this verse and how does it relate to racism?

    Paul and racism

    1 Corinthians 9:19-23 

    • V.19 How did Paul view himself in relation to all others?
    • V.20-22 List the specific people that Paul accommodated with his life decisions?  How can this help us in relating to others of different ethnic or cultural background?
    • V.22-23 For what purpose did Paul accommodate these various ethnic and cultural groups?

    Galatians 3:28 We have seen that racism/favortism is wrong no matter where it takes place, but according to this verse what additional reason is given for why racism has no place in the church?

    • Which identity is first?  Our national identity or our identity in Christ?

    For more help with Racism and racial reconciliation issues see: Fault Lines by Voddie Baucham.

     For more see: Leveviticus 17:8, 22:18, 19:10, 24:22, 25:35; Deuteronomy 1:16,10:17-22, 14:29, 24:14-22, 26:1-19

Demons

Demons are fallen angels (also referred to as unclean spirits). Part of God’s original, good, and perfect creation as angels, they followed Satan in his attempt to seize God’s throne. They were then all thrown out of heaven as judgment for their sin and rebellion. Now they are part of the active resistance against God and His people in the world. We battle against Satan and his demons in spiritual warfare.  

Origin of Demons:

Revelation 12:7-9 These verses seem to describe the war that took place in heaven when Satan and his followers sought to overthrow God. 

    • What does verse 8 say about their efforts?
    • How does verse 8 describe their “place” after rebellion?

 

  • What happened to them in verse 9?

 

Revelation 12:12-13, 17 These verses describe the aftermath of Satan being thrown out of heaven. The “dragon” is another name for Satan; the “woman” and “her offspring” is representation for the people of God. 

 

  • What does verse 12 say about the devil’s (and his follower’s) state of mind and emotions as they were cast down to the earth? What did they feel and know?
  • What did the dragon do to the woman on earth?
  • What does the dragon (and his followers) do the rest of the woman’s offspring?

 

Number of Demons:

Ephesians 6:12 Paul, here, gives a few different names and categories for demons. His reasoning seems to be two-fold: 1. He wants to get our attention to the nature of seriousness we should have when considering the enemies we fight against but can’t see. 2. He wants us to consider the sheer magnitude of just how many there are. 

Mark 5:9,13 

 

  • What answer do the demons give to Jesus in verse 9?
  • How many demons were there at least, according to verse 13, based upon the number of pigs in the herd?

 

Power of Demons:

Matthew 12:43-45 In these verses, unclean spirits and demons are interchangeable. 

  • In verse 45, what is the phrase used to describe the other demons the first brings with it?
  • What does the verse say is the man’s condition now? 
  • Does the man have any power over the demons on his own?

Jesus’ Authority Over Demons:

Mark 5:6-13 We were here a moment ago, but this time notice the interaction between Jesus and the demons.

  • In verse 6 the demons are controlling the man. What happens when they see Jesus?
  • In verse 7 they know who Jesus is. What do they say? What do their choice of words indicate about how they’re feeling? 
  • What word in verses 8,10,12 show the demons posture?
  • What does Jesus give them in verse 13?

Ephesians 1:20-21: “Rulers and authorities and powers and dominions” refers to more than just the human realm. It includes the spiritual realm and particularly Satan and his demons. 

  • In verse 20, what happened when Jesus rose from the dead?
  • Look at verse 21. Who does Jesus rule over? 

For more see: Psalm 110:1-2; Matthew 9:32-34; Mark 1:21-27, 9:14-29; Luke 4:41; Acts 19:13-16; 1 Corinthians 10:20-21; 2 Corinthians 2:11, 4:4; Colossians 1:15-20; 1 Timothy 4:1; James 2:19; 1 John 4:4; 2 Peter 2:4-10; Revelation 20:10

Glorification

Glorification is the time when God will remove sin from the believer once and for all so that they can no longer sin!  The terms “translation” and the related concept “resurrection” are also used in connection with glorification. For most, this transformation will happen when their spirit departs from their body at death.  For believers living at the return of Jesus Christ it will happen at that time.  Glory or glorification is the great longing and hope of every believer.  It is the day we are fully transformed into the completed image of Christ.

The promise of glory:

Romans 8:29-30 List the five part progression that begins with God’s “foreknowing” and ends with “glorification” give a brief explanation as to what you think each term means?

The hope of glory:

Romans 5:2 In what does the believer rejoice?

Romans 8:19-21 Creation also is longing for our glorification?  Why is creation longing for our glorification?

Romans 8:22-23 What word describes both the longing of man and the longing of creation for glorification?

The hope of glory in suffering:

2 Corinthians 4:16 Clarify the comparison made in this verse between the outer man and the inner man.

2 Corinthians 4:17 What specifically was going to result in “an eternal weight of glory…”?

2 Corinthians 4:18 Where does he say we should fix our gaze?  Why should we do that?

Romans 8:17 What is a prerequisite for glorification?

Romans 8:18 What cannot compare to the glory that will be revealed in us?

Hebrews 12:2 Specifically, how did Christ endure the suffering of the cross?

The transformation to glorification:

1 Corinthians 15:51 What will happen to both living and dead believers at the glorification? Note, “sleep” is an idiom for death.

1 Corinthians 15:52 How long will our glorification take?  When will our glorification take place?

1 Corinthians 15:52-53 How will our bodies be changed at the glorification?

Philippians 3:20-21 Where is the believer’s true citizenship? What will Christ do to believers when he arrives?

The wonder of glory:

1 Corinthians 2:9 What three statements are made in regard to “what God has prepared for those who love him”?  What do you think these statements are intended to convey?

1 Corinthians 13:12  How does our current understanding of God compare to the future understanding that will be ours at our glorification?

1 John 3:2 John admits some mystery about the exact changes taking place when Christ appears.  However, what two things does he “know”?

Jude 1:24 What is Jesus currently doing for us? What will Jesus do for us in the future? How does Jesus feel about his future responsibility?

For more see: Romans 2:7-8, 5:2, 1 Peter 1:3-7.  Randy Alcorn: Heaven

 Read Genesis 3:17-18 to learn what happened to creation back at the beginning?

Fools

The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary defines the fool this way, “In Scripture the ‘fool’ primarily is the person who casts off the fear of God and thinks and acts as if he could safely disregard the eternal principles of God’s righteousness…in many passages, especially in Proverbs, the term has its ordinary use and denotes one who is rash, senseless, or unreasonable.”  The book of Proverbs contains more than 80 references to fools and foolishness.  This study will explore just 10 characteristics of fools.

 

Proverbs 1:7  What two things does a fool despise?

 

Proverbs 12:15 What difference between the wise man and the fool is highlighted in this verse?

 

Proverbs 15:5 How does a fool relate to their father’s (parents) instruction?

 

Proverbs 17:10 What effect does discipline have on a fool?

 

Proverbs 17:25 What effect does a foolish person have on his family?

 

Proverbs 18:7 What does this verse teach about the fool’s words?

 

Proverbs 20:3 What characteristic of a fool is highlighted here?

Proverbs 21:20 What does this verse teach about the fool and his money?

 

Proverbs 26:11 In what way is a fool like a dog who returns to his vomit?

 

Proverbs 29:9 What three things describe what it is like to have an argument with a fool?

 

Here are some more helpful insights from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, the fool is one who is, “hasty, impatient, self-sufficient (Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 15:5; Proverbs 16:22); despising advice and instruction (Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 14:9; Proverbs 24:7); ready to speak and act without thinking (Proverbs 10:14; Proverbs 12:16; Proverbs 20:3); quick to get angry, quarrel and cause strife (Proverbs 11:29; Proverbs 14:17… 29:9); unrestrained in his anger (Job 5:2 Proverbs 17:12); silly, stupid even with brute stupidity (Proverbs 7:22; Proverbs 26:11; Proverbs 27:22; compare Isaiah 19:11 Jeremiah 4:22); he is associated with “transgression” (Psalm 107:17 Proverbs 13:15; Proverbs 17:18, 19), with “sin” (Proverbs 24:9), with the “scoffer” (same place); ‘iwweleth, “foolishness” occurs (Psalm 38:5; Psalm 69:5 Proverbs 13:16; “folly,” Psalm 14:8, 24, 29, etc.).”

 

Controlling Anger

In a previous study we looked at anger. We would encourage you to combine that study with this one for a complete picture. This week we will build on that topic to look at how to practically understand and fight anger from a biblical perspective. Another way to define sinful anger is: the bad reaction that occurs when one doesn’t get what they want; whether that be something physical we feel we need/deserve or something relational/emotional we feel we are owed. 

God’s Character Related to Anger: When the Bible gives a statement about the character of God, then that sets the standard for humans. And when God does become angry, it is always perfect and justified as He is the one ultimately sinned against. Often, though, God puts off His anger in favor of longsuffering. 

Jonah 4:2: How does Jonah recognize God’s action when it comes to His anger? 

Human Examples Compared & Contrasted to God: 

Jonah 4:1, 3, 4, & 9: Is Jonah’s anger godly or self-seeking?

Exodus 32:19-21 (first read v.7-14 for context): Notice in v.7-14, that Moses intercedes for the people and is slow to anger. Was his anger godly or self-seeking in v.19-21?

Numbers 20:8-12: What did God tell Moses in verse 8? In verse 10, what does Moses say to the people? In verse 11, what does he do? Did he obey or disobey? Was his anger godly or self-seeking?

Righteous Anger in the Psalms and Jesus:

Psalm 4:4: In what type of heart does this anger occur according to the verse? Is this anger godly, righteous anger or wicked, self-seeking anger? (For additional clarity, look at verse 5). 

John 11:33 (read v.32 for context): Why is Jesus angry? Was His anger godly or self-seeking? (Manuscript help: the Greek word for ‘anger’ here is very strong and probably indicates Jesus’ anger against sin’s tyranny and death.)

Root of Anger: The following verses all deal with different roots of anger. There is almost never one root cause for sin but multiple. It is very important to deal with the root and not just the fruit; deal with the cause and not just the symptoms. 

Proverbs 28:25: Why does this individual stir up strife? What is the source of his trouble?

Hebrews 12:15: What kind of root is named in this verse? What does it cause?

James 4:1-4: According to v. 1-2, what is the source of quarrels and fights? According to verse 3, what kind of desires and motivations cause those fights? Look at verse 4, when one has wrong desires and motivations, what does that person become? (Remember what was said above in the introductory paragraph about a definition for sinful anger.)

 Checklist for Processing Anger:

  1. Is it righteous anger or sinful anger? Is it godly or self-seeking?
  2. Were you quick to your anger or slow to it?
  3. Is the source of your anger against something that God hates as well? 
  4. Have you dealt with the root or the fruit of your anger? The cause or the symptoms? 
  5. In dealing with the roots, have you seen true godly sorrow over that anger (2 Corinthians 7:8-11)? Have you repented?
  6. What can you now do differently if the same situation arises again?

For more verses on practically understanding and fighting anger see: Genesis 4:4-7; Proverbs 10:12, 11:23, 13:10, 14:17, 15:18, 16:32, 18:6, 18:19, 19:19, 22:8, 25:23, 26:20-21, 27:3-4, 29:8-10

The Angel of the Lord

The Angel of the LORD has traditionally been viewed as not just a
human/angel/created being, but a theophany (the appearance of God Himself in human form). This view also holds that it is more specifically visitations from the Pre-Incarnate Christ. This study will present the
topic with that view in mind. It is worth noting, however, that not all scholars agree and there are other views to consider.

Genesis 16:7-14

Look at verse 10. What pronoun is used in the quotation? Who would that indicate is speaking? Who is the only person that can make a stated promise like that?

Look at verses 13-14. What name does Hagar give to the spring? Who is she talking about? Does that mean that God and the Angel of the Lord are one and the same?

Genesis 22:11-18

Read verse 11. Who speaks to Abraham?

What future event is normally associated/pictured with verse 13? (Hint: think crucifixion and sacrifice.) Do you think this has a connection with Who we said, in the introductory paragraph about Who this could be?

Look at verse 12 & 16. In both instances, what pronouns are used? (Pay special attention to verse 16. How could God swear by His own name if He was sending a normal messenger?)

Exodus 3:2-6

Who appears in verse 2? Is that significant given the event taking place here?

1 Peter 3:18

  • How many times did Christ suffer for sins?

The Angel of the Lord and God seem to be synonymous in these verses. Look at verse 6. Given what we saw in verse 2, what two things stated in verse 6 help to draw the connection that the Angel of the Lord and God could be one and the same? (For further consideration: go look at verse 14 in light of these questions and compare that to John 8:58)

Judges 13:3-24

Look at verse 18. Does this sound like God revealing Himself or someone else revealing Him?

Look at verse 20. Does the ascension of the Angel of the Lord indicate acceptance of the sacrifice or disapproval of it? If it is accepted, does that mean the Angel of the Lord accepted their worship? (Contrast this verse with Revelation 22:9)

Read verse 22. Compare this with Exodus 3:6 from above. What
similarities do you see?

Zechariah 3:1-10

Look at verse 1. Who is Joshua standing before? This position of the Angel of the Lord would seem to indicate ultimate power and authority; especially with Satan standing to the side to accuse.

Read verses 3-4. Who is the only One who can remove guilt? More
specifically, Whose sacrifice removed guilt once and for all?

What future picture is being illustrated here? (Hint: think justification)

For more see: Genesis 18:1-2*, 31:11-13, 32:24-32*, 48:15; Exodus 13:21, 14:19, 24:9-11*; Joshua 5:11-15*; Judges 2:1, 6:11-24; Psalm 34:7; Isaiah 63:9; Hosea 12:4-6; Malachi 3:1-4*

*Note: not all of these additional references include the phrase, “Angel of the LORD,” but they all either include the appearance of God in human form (just like the Angel of the LORD) or the same Hebrew word for “angel/messenger.”

 

Prophecy (part one)

There are two basic approaches to Bible prophecy.  Some use a non-literal approach and others a literal approach.  Which approach is correct?  In answering this question it is necessary to examine whether fulfilled prophecy has unfolded in a literal or a
non-literal way.  This study will seek to establish that fulfilled prophecy has occurred in a literal way.  Old Testament prophecy is often very subtle and may not appear at first glance to be prophecy.  For example compare Isiah 61:1-3 with Luke 4:14-21.  As you search the selected O.T. passages identify the prophetic information and discover how it was fulfilled in the N.T.  The prophecies in this study will focus on the first coming of Jesus Christ.

Micah 5:2 Where will the future ruler be born?

  • Matthew 2:1 Where was Jesus Born?

Isaiah 7:14 What kind of woman will have a son?

  • Matthew 1:21-23 What kind of woman was Mary?

Genesis 12:1-3, 22:18 Who was promised a special son?

  • Matthew 1:1 Who is Jesus related to?
  • Galatians 3:16 Who is Jesus related to?

Genesis 49:10 What tribe of Israel will be the ruling tribe?

  • Luke 3:23,33, Heb. 7:14 From what tribe of Israel was Jesus?

2 Samuel 7:12-16 Who was promised a special son?

  • Matthew 1:1 Who is Jesus related to?

Jeremiah 31:15 Why is “Rachel” crying?

  • Matthew 2:16-18 What horrible event happen in fulfillment?

Hosea 11:1 Where will the son be called out of?

  • Matthew 2:14-15 Where was Jesus until the death of Herod?

Isaiah 11:2 What rested on the person described here?

  • Matthew 3:16-17 What rested on Jesus at His baptism?

Isaiah 9:6 What unusual title was assigned to the child described here?

  • John 10:30 With whom does Jesus claim oneness?

Malachi 3:1 What will the messenger do for the Lord?

  • Luke1:60,76 What role will the child fulfill for the Lord?
  • Matthew 3:1-3 What role is John performing for the Lord?

Isaiah 35:4-6 What miracles are promised when “He” arrives?

  • Matthew 11:5 What miracles did Jesus perform?

Zechariah 9:9 How will the future king arrive in Jerusalem?

  • Matthew 21:1-5 How did Jesus arrive to Jerusalem?

 

Psalm 118:22 How will the builders (Israel’s leaders) treat the stone?

  • 1 Peter 2:7, Matthew 21:42 How did Israel’s leaders treat Jesus?

Psalm 41:9 What type of person is guilty of betrayal in the Psalm?

  • John 13:18 What relationship did Judas have with Jesus?

Zechariah 11:12 How much money will be exchanged? Where was the money thrown?

  • Matthew 26:14-15, 27:1-7 How much money was exchanged for the betrayal of Jesus, what was purchased with the money?

Psalm 22:7-8 What will be said and done to the suffering person spoken of here?

  • Matthew 27:31,42 What was said and done to Jesus as he suffered on the cross?

Isaiah 50:6 What will happen to the suffering person described here?

  • Matthew 27:26-30 What happened to Jesus as he suffered?

Psalm 69:21 What drink was given to the suffering person here?

  • Matthew 27:34, Luke 23:36 What was offered to Jesus to drink?

Psalm 22:18 What will happen to the clothing of the one described here?

  • John 19:23-34 What did they do with Jesus’ clothing?

Psalm 22:16 The pierced hands and feet describe what kind of punishment?

  • Matthew 27:31 What punishment did Jesus receive?

Isaiah 53:12 With whom will this suffering person be “numbered” or counted?

  • Matthew 27:38, Luke 22:37 with whom was Jesus crucified?

Zechariah 12:10 What injury will cause Israel to mourn?

  • John 19:34-36 What injury of Jesus is described here?

Psalm 34:19-20 What will the affliction described here not include?

  • John 19:32-36 What did not happen to Jesus on the cross?

Isaiah 53:9 This person will be affiliated with what kind of person in death?

  • Matthew 27:57-60 Jesus was buried in Joseph’s grave. What was his financial status?

Psalm 16:10 What will not happen to the dead described here?

  • Acts 2:31, 13:35 Did Jesus’ body suffer normal decay in the grave?

 

Summary:

There are many more prophecies that could be explored, and all would reveal that as it relates to fulfilled prophecies they have all been fulfilled literally.  It is therefore
consistent with the pattern set forth in Scripture that unfulfilled Bible prophecies should be anticipated by literal fulfillment.  A non-literal approach would be
unprecedented in the pattern already established in the Scriptures.  This point will be crucial as one considers the prophetic passages in the Scriptures that remain yet
unfulfilled.

 

Prophecy (part two)

Last time we discovered that literal fulfillment is the standard for Bible prophecy.  We saw this through many fulfilled prophecies.  This week we will explore some Old Testament Prophecies that remain unfulfilled.  And further how God has declared those prophecies/promises as unconditional further clarifying that despite the passage of time, we should anticipate a future literal fulfillment.  This study will focus on what is known to Bible students as the Abrahamic Covenant.  God re

Genesis 12:1-3

v.1 What was Abram commanded to do?

v.2 What three promises are made to Abram?

v.3 What additional promises were made to Abram?

Genesis 13:14-18

v.14 -15 What is promised in these verses?

v.15 How long does that promise last?

v.16 What is promised in this verse?

v.14-17 How many times does God say “I will”

Genesis 15:1-21 Abram was struggling with doubts about God’s promises.  God performed a ceremony to assure Abraham that what He promised He will deliver.

v.9-10 What did God ask Abram to do in preparation for the ceremony? Did Abram obey?

v.12-16 What did God reveal to Abram as he was in a deep sleep?

v.17-18 What passed between the pieces?  What was taking place?

Genesis 17:1-14

v.2 What promise is stated?

v.4 What promise is re-stated?

v.6 What promise is stated?

v.7 How long are these promises secure?

v.8 What promise is stated and how long is that promise secure?

v.9-12 What is the sign of the covenant with Abraham?  And to whom does it apply?

Genesis 26:2-5 The promises to Abraham were passed down to his son Isaac.

v.2 Who appeared to Isaac?

v.3-4 What promises are given to Isaac?

v.5 Why is God making these promises to Isaac?

Genesis 28:13-15 The promises of Abraham were passed down to his grandson Jacob.

v.10-12 Describe what is happening to Jacob

v.13 Who speaks to Jacob in his dream?

v.14-15 What promises does God make to Jacob?

 

Summary: God made promises to Abraham regarding land, offspring, and blessing.  These promises were not fulfilled in Abraham’s life and were passed down to his son Isaac.  They were not fulfilled in his lifetime either and were passed down to Jacob.  This progression indicates God’s desire to fulfill the unconditional, and everlasting promises that he made despite the passing of time.

 

Prophecy (part three)

In part two of this study, we examined the Abrahamic covenant and saw how that covenant passed from Abraham to Isaac, to Jacob.  This study will show how this promise remained the hope and confidence of Israel all throughout their 2000 years of history and even into the New Testament especially during some really dark and difficult times.

 

Exodus

  • 2:23-24 What motivated God to help the Jewish people?
  • 6:2-5 Why is God responding to the groaning of the people?

Leviticus

  • 26:40-44 Even if Israel does not obey and God must discipline them as a nation, on what grounds does God promise that even then he will protect and preserve them as a people and land?

Numbers

  • 32:11 Why is this group of people not going to see the land that was promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Deuteronomy

  • 1:8 What is being commanded for the very first time?
  • 9:5 List one reason why they are NOT being given the land. List two reasons God is granting them the land.
  • 9:25-27 During the golden calf incident, on what grounds did Moses plead for God not to destroy the Jewish people?
  • 10:11, 31:20 How does God clarify which land they are to possess?

Joshua 1:6 What are they about to inherit?

Judges 2:1 What two promises does the angel of the Lord remind the people of Israel about in this verse?

2 Kings 13:22-23 During these dark days of Israel, why was the LORD gracious and compassionate toward Israel?

1 Chron. 16:14-18

  • 15 How long did David say the covenant was to last?
  • 16 which Covenant was David speaking about?
  • 17 How long was the covenant to last according to this verse?
  • 18 What was promised in the covenant in this verse?

Nehemiah 9:7 What promise does Nehemiah remember in his prayer?

Ezekiel 47:14 The context of chapters 40-47 describe a future temple that will be built in Jerusalem.  Some have called it the Millennial temple.  In 47:14 at this yet future time they are again portioning the land based on what promise?

Micah 7:18-20 The prophet is confident that despite Israel’s persistence in sin God will be gracious toward them and forgive.  According to verse 20 why is he confident of this?

Luke 1:73 Zechariah is father to John the Baptist.  After John’s birth, Zechariah gave a prophetic declaration about his son who would be prophet of the Most High.  In v.73, he sees his own son’s birth and work as connected to what promises?

Romans 11:28-29 The context explains that presently the focus is on the Gentiles though he is confident that God will save Israel, his “beloved” for the sake of whom?

  • 29 What further reason does he provide for his confidence that Israel will be saved at a future time?

Summary: The promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were unconditional, and everlasting.  They remained the hope of the Jewish people even against impossible odds continuing into the New Testament.  Israel’s re-emergence in the land in 1948 after being spread throughout the world for nearly 1900 years is a modern day miracle that points to the everlasting nature of the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

 

Prophecy (part four)

So far in this series we have seen how the Abrahamic covenant was passed from Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, and remained the hope of the Jewish people throughout the Old Testament and into the New Testament.  The Abrahamic covenant was further expanded to king David in what Bible students call the Davidic Covenant.  This study will explore the expanded promises made in the Davidic Covenant.

Read 2 Samuel 7:9-16 and answer the following questions:

  • v.9 What promise does God make to David in this verse?
  • v.10-11 What promises are made in these verses?
  • v.12 after David dies, what promises are secured to him?
  • v.13 How long does God intend to establish the throne of David’s son?
  • v.14 What kind of relationship will God have with David’s son and what will he do if he commits iniquity?
  • v.15 Can iniquity by David’s son bring an end to God’s promises?
  • v.16 What three things are promised to endure forever?

2 Chronicles 7:17-22

  • v.17-18 What reminder regarding the Davidic covenant is given to Solomon?
  • v. 19-22 What reminder regarding the Davidic covenant is given to Solomon?

Psalm 89:26-37

  • v.20 makes plain that the promises given here relate to the Davidic covenant.
  • v.26 What kind of relationship will David’s sons have with God?
  • v.27 To what level of greatness will the Davidic king rise?
  • v.28-29 How long are these promises secure?
  • v.30-32 What provision can postpone the promises?
  • v.33-37 Can the disobedience of the king and people void God’s promise?  How do you know?

The prophet Jeremiah wrote during the dark days of Israel’s rebellion after a series of sinful kings.  His prophecy predicted the coming discipline by the Babylonians.  But even with this impending national doom he projected hope for Israel’s future.

Jeremiah 33:14-26

  • v.14 Was this declaration by Jeremiah a present reality or a future reality?
  • v.15 The “righteous Branch” is an idiom for a future king whom God will raise up as a descendant of David.  What will he do and where will he do it?
  • v.16 When the “righteous Branch” rules what will conditions be like in Judah and Jerusalem?
  • v.17-18 To what promise does Jeremiah connect the future promise of the coming of the “righteous Branch”?
  • v.19-22 What illustrations does God give to show the strength of his promise?
  • v.24 Based on the dismal situation of Israel in Jeremiah’s day, what were people?
  • v.25-26 What did God say in response to assure Jeremiah and the nation that despite how things looked they could trust his promise?

Summary: the Davidic covenant expands portions of the Abrahamic covenant.  David was promised an everlasting throne.  An obedient Davidic king would bring security and prosperity to Israel.  A disobedient king would bring discipline and removal from their land.  A disobedient king cannot permanently void the everlasting promises made to David.  Jeremiah predicted a future “righteous Branch” of David through whom the Davidic covenant will be fulfilled.

Prophecy (part five)

Obedience was the only provision in the Davidic covenant (2 Samuel 7:14).  It did not take long for things to unravel.  After the death of David’s first son the nation divided north and south.  A series of evil kings in the north (Israel) ended with the Assyrian dispersion in 722 BC.  The final (Davidic) ruler in the south (Judah) was “Jeconiah” aka “Coniah” aka “Jehoiachin”.  Coniah was so evil that God promised that no son of his would ever sit on the throne.  Shorty after this curse, Judah was exiled from the land by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.  But if that is the case, how will God fulfill his promise to David?  

Jeremiah 22:24-30

  • v.24 If Coniah were a ring, what would God do to him?
  • v.25 What enemy king and kingdom does Coniah fear?
  • v.26-27 What does God say will happen to Coniah?
  • v.30 What promise does God make to this final king in David’s house?

Before, during, and after the exile, the prophets foresaw a day when God would reunite the nation (Ezekiel 37:15-22), and raise up a descendant of David to rule over all of Israel in everlasting security and prosperity.  

Jeremiah 23:5-6 (see also Jeremiah 33:14-16, Isaiah 11:1, Am. 9:11, Micah 4:7)

  • V.5 Who is speaking and to whom is this promise made?
  • V.5a What specifically is promised?
  • V.5a What is the character of the coming “Branch”?
  • V.5b What characterizes his reign in the land?
  • V.6 What further promise is made? 

Isaiah 9:6-7 

  • V.6 What titles are assigned to this child that is born?
  • V.7 How successful is the coming ruler?
  • V.7 On whose throne does this ruler sit?
  • V.7 How long does the coming kingdom last once he takes his place as ruler?
  • V.7 How is this kingdom established and upheld?

Zep

Haniah 3:15 What are three things the LORD will do for Israel that will cause them to never fear evil again?

Zechariah 14:1-11 According to v.9 how extensive is the LORD’s kingdom? (for more see Dan. 2:44-45)

The coming ruler is a “righteous Branch” who will rule with justice and faithfulness.  He’s called the “Mighty God”, and “the LORD our king.” His rule will be everlasting and is not limited to just Israel.  There are at least two passages that suggest that David will co-rule over Israel in the future coming kingdom: Read Ezekiel 34:23-24 and 37:24-25.  One place where perhaps both are seen as ruling together is Hosea 3:4-5.

Hosea 3:4-5

  • V.4 What will the children of Israel be missing for “many days”?
  • V.5 After the children of Israel return to their land what two person’s will they seek?
  • V.5 When will this take place?

How does Jesus miss the curse of Coniah if He is his descendant?  This question can be answered in several ways.  (for more details see: https://www.gotquestions.org/curse-of-Jeconiah.html

  1.  Jeremiah 22:30 It’s possible the curse only applied to Coniah “in his days” and his direct “offspring” (he had seven sons 1 Chroniccles 3:17-18).
  2. Haggai 2:23 It’s possible the curse was lifted on Zerubbabel the grandson of Coniah.  Compare “signet ring” with Jeremiah 22:24.
  3. Luke 3:31 Mary’s genealogy is traced through “Nathan” a different son of David, while Joseph’s genealogy as the legal but not physical father of Jesus was traced through Jechoniah (Coniah) Matthew 1:11.

Summary: A righteous descendant of David and possibly David himself will rule over a united Israel and the nations in a time of everlasting security and prosperity for Israel.  This promise has not yet been fulfilled and therefore must be future.

Prophecy (part six)

A future righteous Branch and possibly (resurrected) David will rule over a united Israel in a time of unparalleled peace, security, and prosperity that will result in blessing for all the nations.  The Old Testament is full of passages that talk about this glorious coming day.  This lesson will explore three prominent passages about the coming promised kingdom.  The other passages are not exhaustive, but are listed to demonstrate the frequency and emphasis that the prophets placed on this coming era.  You are strongly encouraged to read them over.

Isaiah 11

  • V.1-5 Describe the character of the Ruler of the coming promised kingdom:
  • V.6-9 Describe how the animal kingdom is changed in the promised coming kingdom: (see also Romans 8:19-22)
  • V.9 What is the earth filled with at this time? (cf. Jeremiah 31:34)
  • V.10 How do the nations interact with the coming King?
  • V.11-12 What else with the coming King do?
  • V.15-16 What topographical changes will take place?

Isaiah 60 

  • v.1-3 How do the nations think of Israel at this time?
  • V.4-7 What blessings are foretold here?
  • V.8-9 What blessings are foretold here?
  • V.10-11 What blessings are foretold here?
  • V.12 What discipline awaits nations that will not serve Israel?
  • V.13-14 How will the enemies of Israel not treat Israel?
  • V.15-17 What blessings are foretold here?
  • V.18 What promise is given here?
  • V.19-20 What possible change is spoken of here?
  • V.21-22 What promises are made here?

Micah 4

  • Isaiah 2:1-5, 30:18-26, 32:1-8, 15-20; Isaiah 35, Isaiah 61-62, 65:17-25
  • Jeremiah 3:15-18, Jeremiah 30-31, 33
  • Ezekiel 11:16-21, Ezekiel 20:33-42, Ezekiel 34:25-31, Ezekiel 36:8-15, 22-37, Ezekiel 37, Ezekiel 40-48
  • Daniel 2:44-45
  • Hosea 1:10-11, Hosea 2:14-3:5, Hosea 14:1-9
  • Joel 2:18-27, Joel 3: 17-21
  • Amos 9:11-15
  • Obadiah 1:15-21
  • Micah 5
  • Zephaniah 3:9-20
  • Zechariah 2:1-13; Zechariah 8, Zechariah 10:6-12, Zechariah 14:6-21

 

Summary: Taken together the coming kingdom is marked by a world that is filled with the knowledge of the Lord.  The King is ruling the nations at a time when peace and prosperity are afforded to all nations that worship and call upon the name of the Lord.  Swift Judgment and famine are determined for any nation that will not worship the Lord.  At this time, Israel is prominent among the nations both in wealth, morality, and power.  The peace of this time seemingly extends even to the animal kingdom.  There appear to be topographical changes to the earth as well.  Life spans are greatly increased and global populations will soar as disease, war, violence, are severely curtailed if not entirely eliminated.

Prophecy (part seven)

The promises foretold by the prophets painted an extraordinary picture of a thriving kingdom that was global in its reach and prosperous in every way.  But because of Jewish rebellion the promised kingdom would not come for a very long time.  God used the prophet Daniel to explain five successive world empires that would come between the time of the prophecy and the coming of the kingdom.  The initial prophecy came in the form of a dream to the foreign King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:1-16).  Daniel asked God for insight to know and interpret the dream (Daniel 2:17-30).  Here’s what God showed Daniel about the future.

Daniel 2:31-33 Daniel described an image of a man consisting of five parts.  Identify the parts and the material each part is made of.

1.

2.

Daniel 2:34 Then he saw a stone that was cut out.  How was the stone cut out?  What did the stone do?

 

Daniel 2:35 What happened to the image?  What happened to the stone?

 

Daniel 2:36-40 What do the various parts of the image represent?

Daniel 2:36-43 By comparing the amount of writing given to each part of the image, which kingdom is given the most attention in the prophecy?

 

Daniel 2:44-45 In what ways is the “stone” kingdom different than the other kingdoms?

 

Five Gentile empires will rule over the Jews before the promised kingdom comes.  The first kingdom was Babylon (Daniel 2:37-39).  The second kingdom Medo-Persia (Daniel 5:28).  The third was the Greek empire.  The fourth is the Roman Empire.  The fifth is held by many Bible interpreters to be a revival of the old Roman empire (Daniel 7:24) under a 10 nation European union.  After the “fifth” kingdom is finished God’s kingdom will come!  Future chapters in Daniel will give important details about the coming kings and kingdoms.  Much attention will be given to the final king and kingdom. For an excellent paper explaining the five kingdoms see “The Times of the Gentiles” by Dr. Gary Gromacki.

Prophecy (part eight)

The prophets paint an extraordinary picture of a thriving global kingdom.  But because of Jewish rebellion the promised kingdom would be delayed.  To encourage the Jews, God used the prophet Daniel to explain five successive Gentile empires that would come before the promised kingdom.  The initial prophecy was a dream to the foreign king Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2:1-16).  Daniel asked God for help to interpret the dream (Dan. 2:17-30).  Here’s what God showed
Daniel about the future.

Daniel 2:31-33 Daniel described an image of a man consisting of five parts.  Identify the parts and the material each part is made of.

1.

2.

*Note the connection between the legs and feet, many Bible students view the fifth as a
revival of the fourth under a different configuration rather than entirely distinct (cf. 7:23-24).

Daniel 2:34 Then he saw a stone that was cut out.  How was the stone cut out?  What did the stone do?

Daniel 2:35 What happened to the image?  What happened to the stone?

Daniel 2:36-40 What do the various parts of the image represent?

Daniel 2:36-43 By comparing the amount of writing given to each part of the image, which kingdom is given the most attention in the prophecy?

Daniel 2:44-45 In what ways is the “stone” kingdom different than the other kingdoms?

Daniel chapters 3-6 tell the amazing story of Daniel’s time in Babylon.  Daniel 7 contains more visions regarding the coming Gentile kingdoms providing further details about Israel’s future.

7:1-8 Write a brief description of the four beasts:

1.

3.

4.

7:15-17 What do the four beasts represent?

7:19-20 Which beast drew the peculiar interest of Daniel?

7:21 What did the beast do?

7:22 What stopped the beast from making war on the “saints”?

7:23 How is the fourth kingdom different?

7:24 The fourth kingdom eventually divides among how many kings?

7:24 “another” king an 11th will arise.  What will he do?

7:25 Considering the context of Daniel and who he is writing to, to whom do you think the “saints of the Most High” refers?

7:25 What will the (11th) king do once he takes power?  And how long will he do it?

7:26 What will happen to the 11th king and the final kingdom?

7:27  What happens to the kingdom once the 11th king’s dominion is taken away?

Summary: The fourth kingdom Rome will eventually give way to a 10 nation division.  An
eleventh king will arise, he will remove 3 of the 10 from power.  This ruler becomes the de facto ruler of the kingdom.  Once in power, he will blaspheme God and attack the Jewish people.  His tyranny will last for 3.5 years and then he is removed by the Ancient of Days (7:21-22), who establishes the promised eternal kingdom.  For an excellent paper explaining the history of the five kingdoms see “The Times of the Gentiles” by Dr. Gary Gromacki.

 

Prophecy (part nine)

Daniel 8 foretold the atrocities carried out by Antiochus Epiphanes in 167BC during the Greek period.  From Daniel’s vantage point that prophecy was far into the future (Daniel 8:26).  Daniel 9:1-19 records a prayer that Daniel prayed for the Jewish people. Daniel 9:20-23 tells how the angel, Gabriel, was sent by God to clarify the visions Daniel had received.  This study will explore Gabriel’s message to Daniel.

Note: Almost all commentators agree that the seventy weeks spoken of in Daniel 9:24 are seventy weeks of years or 70 “sevens” equaling 490 years.  Leviticus 25:8
provides scriptural precedence for this view.  Also half of a week (Dan. 9:27) is equivalent to 1290 days (see Dan. 12:11) or 30 days more than 3.5 years.  The ancient Jewish people calculated a year as 360 days.  As you read this passage replace the number “seven” where you see the word “week” in order to understand and calculate the prophecy.

Daniel 9:24 For what people group and place do the 70 weeks have application?


Daniel 9:24 List the six things that will take place in the course of the 70 weeks (490 years)?

1.

5.

6.

Daniel 9:25 List the two events connected with the seven weeks or 49 years


Daniel 9:25 List the event connected with the sixty-two weeks or 434 Years


Daniel 9:26 What will happen to “an anointed one” after the sixty-two weeks (434 years)?

Daniel 9:26 What will the “people of the prince who is to come” do?  Where and how will this destruction take place?

Daniel 9:27  “he” in this verse is the “prince who is to come” (see v.26)  What will he do for a week (7 years)?

Daniel 9:27 What will “he” do for “half of the week” (3.5 years)?

Matthew 24:15-22 Jesus spoke about this event.  He called it the “abomination of desolation”.  What instructions did Jesus give v.16-17?  What warnings did Jesus give 18-22?

Revelation 13:1-10 John also spoke about this event.  And gives much more detail regarding the prince who is to come.

v.5  What does the “beast” do?

v.5 How long does the beast do this?

V.6 What does the “beast” do? Compare this with Dan. 7:25, 11:36

v.7 What will he do to the saints?

v.8 How will the rest of the world interact with him?

Daniel 9:27 What is the “decreed end” that shall be poured out on the “desolator” according to Daniel 7:25-26


Summary: The 70 prophetic weeks in Daniel 9 cover 490 years and are
broken into three distinct periods.  1) the command to rebuild Jerusalem and the wall 49 years (?????), 2) the coming of an anointed one 434 years, after that the anointed (?????) after which he would die with nothing. 3) a seven year period started with a strong covenant for Israel but then the covenant is broke at 3.5 years.  Then the end comes and the king comes to establish his eternal kingdom on the earth. 483 years of this prophecy were fulfilled with the triumphal entry of Jesus (Matthew ____) and his crucifixion (Daniel ___).
The remaining seven years await a future fulfillment.  Our next study will discuss what God has been doing in the gap of time between the end of the 483 year and the start of the final 7 years.

For more see Seventy Weeks

 

Prophecy (part ten)

In Daniel 9, we saw that 483 years of prophecy were fulfilled in sequence.  But, the final seven prophetic years have not yet been fulfilled.  In 33 AD, Jesus declared that the abomination spoken by Daniel was yet future (Matthew 24:15).  Some consider the destruction of the temple in 70 AD as fulfillment, but John writing in 95 AD spoke of the abomination and trampling of Jerusalem as yet future from his day
(cf. Revelation 11:1-3, 12:14,13:5-8).  This lesson will begin to explain the gap between Daniel’s 483rd year and the final seven years that are yet to come.

Daniel 9:25 What three events will happen within the scope of the 69 “week” or 483 years?

  • Nehemiah 2:1-8 What was granted to Nehemiah by King
    Artaxerxes that marked the start of Daniel’s first week?
  • Zechariah 9:9 How would Israel’s king be presented to the nation and signal the end of the 69th week?
  • Luke 19:30-35 How did Jesus ride into the city of Jerusalem?
  • Luke 19:38 What did the people call Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem?

Luke 19:41-42 Why is Jesus weeping for Jerusalem?  It is clear that Israel is missing the significance of this day.  What significance are they missing?  Why are they missing it?

Daniel 9:26 list three things that will happen “after” the 62 “weeks” but before the final “week”?

Luke 19:43-44 What does Jesus describe will happen to Jerusalem?  Why is this going to happen to them?  (hint: what time were they unaware of)

v.37 What is Jerusalem’s problem?

v.37 What was Jesus’ desire?

v.39 What promise does Jesus make in this verse?

Acts 3:19-21 Peter is preaching to the Jews.  What did he say would happen if they would repent?

Acts 3:20-21 Is Jesus to remain away permanently?  Explain.

The Jews will reject Jesus, they will crucify him, the city of Jerusalem will be destroyed 70 AD, and the Jews will be spread throughout the world.  In the wake of Jewish rejection of Jesus (John 19:15; Acts 3:13-15) Jesus told his apostles to turn their attention to the Gentiles.  

Matthew 28:19 Where were the apostles instructed to go?

Acts 1:6 What did the apostles ask Jesus before he returned to heaven?

Acts 1:7 What response did Jesus give to their question?

Acts 1:8 Where were the apostles to be witnesses?

Acts 28:25-28 Paul’s final words angered the Jews in Rome causing them to turn away.  Where and why did Paul say the attention was going to shift in v.28?

Summary: There would be an indefinite amount of time between the commission to be witnesses in the world and the return of the Lord to restore the kingdom to Israel.  As one reads through Acts, the greatest resistance to the gospel usually came from the Jews.  The focus of gospel attention would be directed toward the Gentiles.  Next week we will take a closer look at this shift in focus from Jew to Gentile.

Prophecy (part eleven)

The promised kingdom was delayed because the Jews rejected Jesus their King.  Even so, Jesus promised that the New Covenant promise of the indwelling Spirit (Jeremiah 31:31-37, Ezekiel 36:16-38, Joel 2:21-38) originally given to Israel would still take place…

  • John 14:16-17,26 Whom did Jesus say the Father was going to send?
  • Acts 1:8 When will the apostles receive power to be witnesses?

However, the sending of the Spirit would have a primary emphasis to the Gentiles for now. (Romans 11:7-11)…

  • Acts 10-11:18 What shocking revelation did Peter learn (see 11:12-18)
  • Acts 9:15 Paul was a chosen instrument for what three people groups?

During this time of Gentile focus believing Jews are joined with Gentiles in the “church”.  Paul spoke of the church as a “mystery”
(Romans 11:25). Jesus anticipated the creation of the church in Matthew 16:18.

  • Matthew 16:18 What did Jesus say he was going to build?
  • Colossians 1:24-26 Considering all three verses, what is “the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to the saints.”?
  • Ephesians 3:1-6 What is the mystery that was revealed to Paul that was not made known to men of other generations?
  • Ephesians 3:7-9 The idea that the Gentiles would know the “unsearchable riches of Christ”, was this anticipated, or is this era of Gentile attention a surprise?
  • Ephesians 3:10-11 the church was a mystery to the prophets in ages past as well as the rulers and authorities in heavenly places, but did the church catch God by surprise?  Explain.

For this season of time believing Jews and Gentiles are united as one in the church: Galatians 3:22-28

  • v.22 Who is the object of the faith that is spoken of here?
  • v.23 Before faith (in Christ) came to what were people held
    captive?
  • v.24 Before Christ came the law acted as what?
  • v.25-26 Now that faith (in Christ) has come, how are we made to be sons of God?
  • v.27 the term “baptized” means to place into, what have those who have been baptized into Christ “put on”
  • v.28 Because all believers have “put on” Christ (v.27) what three distinctions have been erased among believers?

Ephesians 2:11-14

  • v.11-12 List five things the Gentiles did not have access to in the past:
  • v.13 Why have things changed for the Gentiles?
  • v.14-20 What primary changes have taken place between Jews and Gentiles?

Ephesians 3:6 The “mystery” of Christ (v.4) has caused what three things to be in common between Jews and Gentiles?

Summary: The church is characterized by the indwelling Spirit, primarily to Gentiles but also to Jews forming a distinct people of God.  Paul recognized this shift and that he was a “steward” of this “mystery” (Ephesians 1:10, Ephesians 3:2, Colossians 1:25, 1 Corinthians 9:1).  Paul anticipated that this era of Gentile prominence (church age) would come to an end (Romans11:25) and the focus would return to the Jews (Romans 11:15,23-27).  Our next lesson will focus on the end of the church and the transition into Daniel’s final 7 years.

 

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