Bible Study Archive

 

Why study the Holy Spirit? 25.4.2020 

intro Holy spirit pic
Yes folks,this is our new topic: in the run up to Pentecost ,we will be looking at the "Holy Spirit and his work in our lives"; the title of the book by Pete and Anne Woodcock from the Good Book Guide series,which we will use as a basis for our studies; there will be 10 of these,beginning online,and (hopefully!) finishing in the Parish Church Hall on a Saturday morning,to which of course,all are invited.

You may have heard a lot about the Holy Spirit.....or very little. Are you fascinated or confused? There have been many disagreements and divisions around the Holy Spirit,and his work in our lives. This was true in the life of the early church,when the Holy Spirit seemed to be a "minor" figure with regard to the Father(God) and the Son(Jesus).All this was sorted out in 325AD at the famous Council of Nicea ,in present day Turkey( from where we have the Nicene Creed).Here around 230 bishops ,together with Emperor Constantine established the equality of the Father,the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. There were only 3 dissenters ;2 bishops decided to follow Bishop Arius,who denied the deity of Christ,and who were consequently banished. The doctrine of "Arianism " continues to this day in cults and heresies,notably the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Our 8 sessions have been constructed from every single verse in the bible that mentions the Holy Spirit,but as 2 foundational truths are not covered ,we shall look at them before we begin the other studies.These truths are :-

The Holy Spirit is a person ,not a force.

holy spirit explanation

The Holy Spirit is God.....the third person of the Trinity.

The Holy Spirit is a person.......
Jesus says that the "Spirit of truth"will come to those who obey His commands;and he addresses the Spirit as "Him" (John 14;15-17and John 16;13-14).We are told not to grieve the Spirit (Ephesians 4;30.)The Spirit can be sinned against (Isaiah 63;10)and lied to (Acts 5;3)  We are to obey Him (Acts10;19-21) and honour Him (Psalm 51;11).He was personally involved in creation(Genesis1;2),enpowers God's people(Zechariah 4;6),guides (Romans 8;14),comforts (John 14;26),convicts(John16;8),teaches(John16;13),restrains sin(Isaiah 59;18)         and gives commands(Acts 8;29).Each of these works requires the involvement of a person rather than a mere force,thing ,or idea.

The Holy Spirit is God.....the third person of the Trinity.
Nowhere in scripture does it mention the Holy Trinity,but the whole of scripture declares it as the foundation for our faith. In Genesis there are two names for God in Hebrew "El" and "Elohim" ,they are both translated "God", but Elohim is plural,so right at the beginning of Genesis, God says "Let US make man in OUR image......male and female HE created them. You see here a mixture of plural and singular pronouns. For all of eternity ,The Father,the Son ,and the Holy Spirit have always been in communication with each other,yet not as three Gods....as one God.

analogy of Holy Spirit

We can think of something to illustrate this truth,but no illustration will be perfect......
.Water .......which is H2O (2 atoms of hydrogen to 1 of oxygen); we can see it as water,steam and ice,all radically different forms,but all H2O.
.The Sun....from it we receive light,heat and radiation; 3 distinct aspects but only one sun.

One of the few places in scripture where we see all three persons of the Trinity is at the baptism of Jesus: as he is set apart for his ministry we are told "that Heaven was opened,and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove,and lighting on him. And a voice from Heaven said,'This is my son ,whom I love;with him I am well pleased' ". (Matthew 3;16-17).
We hear of all three persons when the angel Gabriel visited the virgin Mary,he declared "The Holy Spirit will come upon you,and the power of the Most High with overshadow you;and for that reason the holy offspring will be called the Son of God.
And as Christians we are also called" to make disciples of all nations,baptising them in the name of the Father,the Son ,and the Holy Spirit.(Matt. 28;19)

All three persons in the Trinity have relational names. The first person is called FATHER.You cannot be called FATHER unless you have a child.The same goes for the second person in the Trinity;you cannot be called the SON unless you have a father.The third person in the Trinity is called both THE SPIRIT OF THE FATHER (Matt10;20) and the SPIRIT OF THE SON (Gal. 4 ;4-6).

holy spirit1




The Spirit and the Bible  2.5.20 



1 Corinthians 2:1 - 16

How is it possible to Know God? Think about it........

Having dealt with false ideas about how to communicate God's message in 1 Corinthians 1,in 1 Corinthians 2 Paul sets out the true nature of this message,which he calls "the testimony about God" (v1),"God's wisdom"(v7),"Words taught by the Spirit (v13) and the "mind of Christ"(v16). This is where we will find out how we can know about God!


Read 1 Corinthians 2.1-16

How does Paul summarise the content of his message?(v2)

"Jesus Christ and him crucified".


crucifixion


Paul has already explained that he is not prepared to use miraculous signs, or human wisdom to persuade people (1 Corinthians 1.22-25).So what is it that makes Paul's message persuasive?

The Spirit's power (v4), which is the same as God's power(v5). The Spirit's power is demonstrated when people understand the message that is preached,responding in obedience,and so are saved.The book of Acts records that sometimes preaching was accompanied by miraculous signs,however in 1 Corinthians 1.1-2 Paul has already made clear that he rejects demands for miraculous signs to authenticate God's message,and as we move through Acts ,the references to miraculous signs become less frequent.It seems that in the early days of the church ,God gave miraculous signs along with the preaching of the gospel ,to prove that the apostles,like Jesus Christ ,were truly sent from God;as the apostles authority became established,the need for accompanying miracles diminished.

Who is unable to understand the message (6,8,14)? Why?

The rulers of this age (v 6 and v 8)

The man without the Spirit (v14)

They cannot understand or accept this message because.....

.It does not follow the wisdom of this age (v 6) and so appears foolish to them(v 14).

.It is beyond the powers of human reason or imagination(v9) to understand this message.

Who can understand the message (v 14-15) ? Why?

Those to whom God has revealed it by his Spirit,because it can only be spiritually discerned(v 14). Note that that these people are not cleverer or better than those who do not understand God's message;they have been freely given the Spirit by God; something that they have not earned or deserve.

Why do we need the Spirit to understand God's message(v 10-11)?

The Spirit is the only one who knows the thoughts of God (v 10-11). Notice how the reference to the Trinity is completed in v16......       those who understand God's message by the Spirit have "the mind of Christ".

In what form does God's message come to us,according to v 13?

This verse shows us that God's message is taught by words....."words taught by the Spirit".

Read the following bible passages...... How do they agree with what we have learned so far?

2 Peter 1.20-21

Hebrews 1.1-2

1 Peter 1.10-12


Let's investigate more...........


dove

If you looked at Hebrews 1.1-2 you will have read that God has spoken to us in two ways;through the prophets of old " at many times and in various ways"(Old Testament),and "in these last days ....by His Son"(New Testament). Let's look at the role of the Spirit of God's revelation through the Old and New Testament writings.

What was the role of the Spirit in the production of the Old Testament?

Look at the following passages and see who's speaking/writing? Who is being quoted? What is said about the Spirit?

Matthew 22.43

Acts 1.16

Acts 18.25

Hebrews 3.7

Hebrews 10.15

How has God spoken to us in these last days(Hebrews 1;1) and what is the role of the Spirit in that?

Look at these passages and see who the Spirit helps,and what the Spirit does......

John 3.31-34

John 14.16-26

So what should our attitude be to the Old Testament?

Both Jesus and the apostles taught that the words of the OT prophets were spoken by the Holy Spirit himself (see 1 Peter 1;10-12).        The OT is a revelation about Jesus Christ.

....... and our attitude towards the New Testament?

Both the words of Jesus and the teaching of His apostles come by the Spirit.The disciples would be supernaturally reminded of everything that Jesus had taught;there would be no difference in content,accuracy or trustworthiness.Jesus' words were not his own ,but the words of God the Father.


Read 2 Timothy 3.16-17.

2Tim.1

How does this passage agree with what we have learned so far about how God reveals himself?

It show us that not only the spoken words of Jesus and the apostles,but also the Scriptures.....the written words of the Old Testament prophets,and the New Testament apostles that we now have in the bible.....are the  words of God himself,and that through them,God has told us everything that we need to know.

Look at v16. What do you think"God breathed” means?

Try to say a word without using a breath,either in or out....it's not possible!"God breathed "means the same as "by the Spirit".              God's breath and God's Spirit are linked in the bible.(Job 33.4 and 34.14-15.John 20-22).

Look at v17. What can the Scriptures do for us? Do we need more revelation from God?

".....that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work". In the bible,God's Spirit and God's word go together,and 2 Timothy 3;17 shows us that we need nothing else.


2Tim.2


Do you need to change your view of the Bible,the Spirit,or the way God speaks today?

How do you respond to God's word? Ask for God's Spirit to help you accept and obey.

 Next week we shall be looking at the "Spirit and the Old Testament". There will be many passages to   look up so be prepared for a route march around the Old Testament!


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The Holy Spirit and the Old Testament. 9.5.20



holy spirit dove

 

This is a full and varied study ,with lots of texts to look up.It might well be too much for        "one sitting", or you may feel that you only want to do a part of it. However it is comprehensively produced, so that studying all of it will give you good overall knowledge of the Holy Spirit's activity in the Old Testament.

 

It has been said that we must interpret the OT in the light of the New Testament. This becomes more obvious when you look at 2 examples of what was commanded in the OT.... All Christian males should be circumcised. . We should stone adulterers. We need to understand the working of the Spirit in the OT through the fuller revelation of the NT!

 

The Holy Spirit is first mentioned at the very beginning of the OT. In Genesis1.2 he is the Creator and Sustainer of all life. Job 33.4 and 34.14 ;Psalm104.29-30 reveal that there is no life without the Spirit.

Without Him there is no life and everything returns to darkness (Genesis1.2)

 

In this study we will see how God gave His Spirit in the OT, and what was promised in the OT about how God planned to give the Spirit in NT times. In order to answer these questions we will survey many O and N testament references.......so get ready with your bible!

 

Old Testament Spirit Individuals.

Look up the following verses and answer the questions......who had the Spirit? What did they do?

 

 

In the time of Moses......

Exodus 31.1-7

Numbers 11.16-17

Deuteronomy 34.9

 

 

In the time of the judges......

Judges 3.7-11

Judges 15.11-15

 

 

In the time of the kings......

1 Samuel 10.1,6,9-11

1 Samuel 16.13

2 Samuel 23.1-2

1 Chronicles 29.11-12

 

 

In the time of the prophets......

2 Chronicles 24.20

Ezekiel 2.1-8

Zechariah 7.12

Luke 1.1

         worl of the holy spirit

 

What three types of activity were carried out by those who were given

the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament?

. constructing /planning the tabernacle/temple

. leading God's people

. prophesying God's word. Note that prophesy in the OT is not just about prediction ,it’s about speaking God's word (usually the law) to the people of the day.

 

 

Read Numbers 11.29

Here we read that God has just given His Spirit to 70 elders of Israel to assist  Moses in leading God's people. Joshua doesn't understand this and wants to safeguard Moses unique leadership position; this leads him to protest about 2 elders who are prophesying outside the tabernacle.

 

 

 

Look at Moses response to Joshua. How does this answer the question of who received God's Spirit in the OT? What does Moses heartfelt wish tell us?

 

 

 

The Spirit was not given to all God's people; He was only given to those chosen to help Moses in the task of leading God's people. Moses' desire was that all  God's people should have God's Spirit, this was something greater and better than  Israel's experience of the Holy  Spirit up to that time.

 

 

Read 1 Samuel 16. (see also Psalm 51.11)

What does this verse tell us about the gift of the Spirit in the OT?

The Spirit was given to Saul when he was anointed by Samuel as the first king of Israel            (1 Samuel10.1and 6), but because of Saul's repeated disobedience to God's word the Spirit finally left him. Just because a person had once received the Spirit, it didn't necessarily mean that they would always have the Spirit.

Old Testament Spirit promises.......

Moses' hope in Numbers 11.29 is turned into a promise, mostly in the OT books of Isaiah and Ezekiel.

 

 

A  Promised Spirit Person.

Look up the following verses and answer the questions......How is the Spirit -filled described? What will the Spirit-filled person do?

 

Isaiah 11.1-5

 

A  Promised Spirit Person.

Look up the following verses and answer the questions......How is the Spirit -filled described? What will the Spirit-filled person do?

Isaiah 11.1-5

Isaiah 42.1-4

Isaiah 61.1-3

 

 

The Promises fulfilled.........

In this section we will look at the New Testament verses which show the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises about the Spirit.

 

Who is the promised "Spirit Person" and what does he do?

Look up the following verses and answer the questions..... 

 

 

Luke 3.16-17

Luke 3. 21-22

Luke 4.16-21

Acts.1 4-5

Acts 2.32-33

Acts 2.38-39.

 

 

church

Who are the promised "Spirit people?

Read 1 Corinthians 12.13; Romans 8.9; Titus 3.4-7.

 

Refer back to the answers to the promised "Spirit people"and how the OT promises about them are fulfilled and ask yourself the question

"Who are these promised Spirit people?

The promised Spirit people are the church. All kind of people......Jews and Greeks, slave and free.....are baptised by the Spirit into one body, so God's people are no longer confined to the nation of Israel, and those who have the Spirit are no longer confined to specially chosen individuals such as prophets, judges or kings.

 

How does the Spirit come to the promised Spirit people?

The Spirit comes to Christians through Jesus Christ. The promised Spirit Person is also the Spirit- Giver.

 

Look up John 14.26 and 16.7.

 

The Spirit is the gift of the Father to His Son,that Jesus then gives to His people. The gift of the Spirit is both from the Father and from Jesus.

Read John 3.3-16

 

How does Jesus use the themes for Ezekiel to show that being a

Christian is much more than a matter of intellectual religious belief (v3-8)?

Jesus tells Nicodemus that no one can see or enter the kingdom of God unless he is born again, of water and the Spirit. Here he echoes the words of Ezekiel 36.25-27 ,where God promises to sprinkle clean water on His people ,and cleanse them from all their impurities.(v25) and to put His Spirit in them (v27),thus giving them a new heart and a new spirit (v26) that will move them to keep His laws(v27).

 

 

The problem in Ezekiel's time was that God's people had hearts of stone (v26) that could not be moved to keep His laws. It was the same for Nicodemus, a Pharisee, Jesus told him that his law-keeping wasn't enough:he too needed the work of the Spirit, as promised in Ezekiel.

 

 

snake and cross

 

 

Look at verses 9-16 and ask yourself .......how does Jesus relate this work of the Spirit to His own work?

Jesus tells Nicodemus that...... He has come from heaven and speaks of what he knows and has seen (11-13) He must be "lifted up" (crucified), just as Moses lifted up the bronze snake in the desert, to save those being punished by God.....see Numbers 21.8-9.

 Everyone who believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life.

To have eternal life in God's kingdom, we must believe in Jesus Christ and be born again by the Spirit.

If you are a Christian ,how will you respond to the truth that the Spirit of God lives in you ?

 

Pray.......

 

 

Thank God for the Lord Jesus Christ, the promised Spirit King and Servant of God, who baptises His people with the Spirit.

 

If you are a Christian, ask God to help you,by His Spirit, to live as someone who has been cleansed from all impurity and born again.

 

Next week’s study; is Acts 2.1-41 ; “Baptised with the Spirit”. 

  


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Baptised with the Spirit 16.5.2020 

 

                                                                    flames of spirit        

The next part of this course looks at some of the most common terms that are used about the Spirit and the Bible

It is important to discover precisely what the bible means when it uses a particular term.......

 

Read Acts 2.1-14

 

There are only 7 verses in the New Testament that mention "baptism with (or by) the Holy Spirit".....

Matthew 3.11

Mark 1.8

Luke 3.16

John 1.33

These 4 announce that Jesus is the one who will baptise with the Holy Spirit. As we saw in the last study, Jesus is the "Spirit Person" who will give the Spirit to the promised "Spirit People" (the church).

The 3 remaining verses....

Acts 1.5

Acts 11.16

1 Corinthians 12.13

......will be investigated in this study.



16.5 corn


Read Acts 1.5 and 11.15-17

What do these 2 verses tell us about when the baptism with the Holy Spirit promised by Jesus took place?

Acts 1.5. Looks forward to the baptism with the Holy Spirit ....in "a few days".

Acts 11 15-17. Here Peter is explaining to the other apostles how the first non-Jews had come to faith in Christ, and looks back to the baptism with the Holy Spirit that the apostles had received......"God gave them the same gift as he gave us". So the first baptism with the Spirit occurred between these 2 Bible references.

 

Scan the chapters of Acts, between 1.v 5 and 11. v 15-17 and find out exactly when this event took place.

Looking at the section headings you will find that the first baptism with the Spirit is in Acts 2.

 

Before we look at the events of the day of Pentecost in detail we need to understand the difference between an event and its interpretation.....

An account of an event simply describes what happens.


                                                      wind of spirit

The Interpretation, which explains the significance of the event, comes later.

Read Acts 2.1-13, 41: The Event

List everything that happened......

. A sound like a violent wind. (v2)

. Tongues of fire. (v3)

. Jesus' followers speaking in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them (v4) and declaring the wonders of God in many languages (v11)

. People who heard them were amazed (v7,12)

. Some people made fun of them (v13)

. People, who accepted Peter's message (about 3,000 of them) were baptised and joined the church.

 

What did people at the time understand o be the meaning of the events that they had witnessed? (v 12-13)

Before Peter stood up and gave an explanation some were perplexed (v 12), others thought that the apostles must be drunk (v13).

 

Read Acts 2.14-21: The Interpretation (Part 1)

How do the events of the day fulfill the promises found in Joel 2.28-32,that Peter quotes in Acts 2.14-21?

The believers prophesied, and people called on the name of the Lord and were saved. Joel continues in apocalyptic language pointing to all kinds of people being able to speak the truth about Jesus (Hebrew 1.1-2).It was a fulfillment of the desire of Moses (Numbers 11.29),that not just prophets and leaders ,but that everyone of God's people would have the Spirit.


speaking in tongues 


Read Acts 2 .22-37: The Interpretation (Part 2)

What does Peter talk about? List the main points of his sermon.

. Jesus was accredited by God through his miracles (v 22)

. Jesus was handed over to the Jews in accordance with God's plan (v 23)

. The Jews were responsible for Jesus' death. (v 23)

. God raised Jesus from death (v 24)

. Jesus' resurrection was predicted in the OT (v25-31)

. The apostles are witnesses of Jesus' resurrection.

. Jesus is exalted at God' right hand (v 33)

. Jesus has poured out the Spirit (v 33)

. Jesus' exaltation was predicted in the OT (v 34-35)

. God had made Jesus both Lord and Christ (v36)

 

What event,according to Peter shows that Jesus is now alive and exalted in Heaven ,even though the audience cannot see him?

Jesus receives the Spirit from the Father and pours Him out on His followers (v 33). This happened when Jesus was exalted to the right hand of God. The visible and audible wonders that accompanied the Spirit's arrival were signs that the enthronement of Jesus had taken place; just as in the time of the Exodus, the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire signified that God was with His people. At Jesus' baptism, the dove showed that God's Spirit had come down upon him. In Acts 4, the shaking of the building showed that God had heard the believers' prayer and that the Spirit had come to help them. At times the Spirit gives demonstrations of His presence and power that can be seen, heard or felt. At other times nothing like that happens.

 

Read Acts 2.37-40 The Interpretation (Part 3)

Why were the people cut to the heart?

They understood that they were responsible for crucifying the one that God had made both Lord and Christ.

Why was Peter's message good news?

If they repented and were baptised in the name of Jesus ,they would receive forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

What is promised in verses 38-39? Who is this for?

Forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Spirit is for everyone who repents( v39)

What do the events of the day of Pentecost show us about the work of the Spirit........

. in regard to Jesus?

The Holy Spirit shows the glory of Christ, demonstrating that He has been exalted to God's right hand and made Lord and Christ.

 in regard to the apostles ?

The Holy Spirit helps them proclaim the truth about Jesus. Notice the difference it made to Peter, an uneducated fisherman; notice his boldness (v36). The baptism of the HS transformed him.

 in regard to the audience?

3,000 people who originally were a mocking crowd,(v12-13) repented and believed in Jesus.

 

Read 1 Corinthians 12.13

After the day of Pentecost who is baptised with the the Spirit? What is the effect of baptism with the Spirit?(see also v3)

All Christians are baptised with the Spirit. The result is to unite many different kinds of people into one body, the church (v13) under the lordship of Christ (v3).

Baptism with the Spirit = becoming a Christian (repenting and believing in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins)

 

As we come to the end of this study, it is important to remember that the feast of Pentecost (Shavuot) was one of the 3 major Jewish festivals celebrated every year; the name reflects that it was held 50 days after Passover. It was primarily a thanksgiving for the first fruits of the wheat harvest. Note the significance here, that in Acts 2 we celebrate the first fruits of the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the accompanying harvest.....the birth of the church.

 

Pray

.Ask God to help you live and speak boldly for Jesus.

.Pray for your church and leaders, that your Christian ministry to the local community may be used by the Spirit to bring many to Christ.

 

Next week we will be looking at lots of texts in Acts on the subject "The Gift of the Spirit".


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                 The Gift of the Spirit   23.5.2020

 

 

gift of spirit 

                                                                

     

This is another full study with plenty of texts to look up and consider; once again you might like to attempt the study in 2 sessions.

 

The gift of the Spirit must not be confused with the gifts of the Spirit, which we will be looking at in another study.

      

In Acts 2.38 Peter talks about "the gift of the Holy Spirit". In the last session we saw that what Peter was speaking of in this verse could also be referred to as "baptism with the Spirit" (compare Acts2.38 with what is explained in 1 Corinthians 12.13). Is it always true that "baptism with the Spirit = "the gift of the Spirit"? This study aims to answer that question.

 

There are a number of terms that are used for the giving of the Spirit........

 

Here are a number of texts from the book of Acts; look up each one and ask yourself the following questions.....

What words describe the giving of the Spirit?

. Who is the Spirit given to?

. What led to this?

. Are there any other events connected to this?

Acts 1.4-5

Acts 1.8

Acts 2.4

Acts 2.33 and v 33-36

Acts 2.37-38 and v 41

Acts 8.12 and v15-17

Acts 8.16

Acts 8.17

Acts 9. 4-6 and  v17-18

Acts 10.44

Acts 10.45

Acts 10.47

Acts 11.15 and v18

Acts 11.16

Acts 11.17

Acts 15.8-9

Acts 19.1-6

What do you notice about the words used for the giving of the Spirit?

There are a number of terms.......gift/baptised,/with/came on/filled with/poured out/and received. They all refer to the giving of the Spirit and are used interchangeably throughout the book of Acts.

                                                   

 

falling rain 

In each incident what happens before the gift of the Spirit? (Apart from the first 3)

Christians are preaching, explaining, or witnessing to the good news about Christ.

 

What is always the response from others?

Among those who hear the good news there are always people who repent, accept the message, and are baptised, ie. become Christians.

 

Which features occur only sometimes?

. Wind and tongues of fire (Acts 2.2-3)

. Speaking in tongues/prophesying (Acts 2.4,10.46,Acts 19.6)

. Laying on of hands (Acts 8.170

. Physical healing (Acts 9.18)

What does this tell us?

Not to automatically equate these things with the gift of the Spirit; sometimes they occur and sometimes not. The Spirit may be given without any of these special signs taking place.

A personal note here; the wife of an Anglican vicar friend of mine told me some years ago, that when the Spirit filled her daughter's church (on the Isle of Skye),He came as a wonderful perfume and filled the whole building. We cannot limit our glorious God and He delights to surprise us!

                                                                                       

                      

 pat on head

 

What we have found in Acts is a description of events. Remember that a description is not the same as an explanation. We need to read other parts of the New Testament (Gospels and Letters),for a fuller explanation of these events.

 

Read Titus 3.4-7

 

What is being explained in these verses?

What happens when someone repents and believes in Jesus. (v5)

What is similar to the passages from Acts?

v 5-6"the Holy Spirit ,whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour"

What else do we learn bout what the Holy Spirit does for us?

Paul tells us that by the Holy Spirit, those of us who are saved....

. receive the washing of rebirth and renewal.

. have been justified by God's grace.

. can become heirs with the hope of eternal life.

 

Read John 3.16

How do these words of Jesus fit with what we have read in Acts?

According to the words of Jesus, to be born of the Spirit is to become a member of the Kingdom of God, which is to become a Christian. Similarly, in the book of Acts, we have seen that when the Spirit is given, people repent and are baptised, which means that they become a Christian.

To be born again of the Spirit = to receive the gift/baptism/outpouring of the Spirit = to become a Christian.

 

Has this session changed your view of what a Christian is?

Can you rejoice that you have received the Holy Spirit in your life?

                                                                                                                           

                            fire of spirit                           

 

Pray

Look again at Titus 3.4-7

. Praise and thank God, especially for the gift of the Spirit.

. Confess and sins.

. Ask for help in living as a true Christian.

 

Next week's study is entitled "Led by the Spirit" and we shall be looking at                                              

                                Romans 8.12-17 and Galatians 5. 16-26

 

 

 

 By the Spirit 30.5.2020

 

As in the last study, we need to find out exactly how the term "led by the Spirit" is used in the Bible. It is very easy to impose our own definition and end up reading the Bible incorrectly.

There are only 4 references to being led by the Spirit in the Bible and all of them are to be found in the New Testament; two of these verses are about Jesus and two are about Christians.


parting of sea

"Led by God" in the Old Testament.                             


"God" rather than "Spirit" is used in these verses, which give a biblical backdrop to the subject of being led by the Spirit in the New Testament.

Look up the following verses and answer these questions....

. Who was leading?

. Who was being led?

. Where were they being led?

Ex 13.17-18

Psalm 106.9

Ezekiel 20.10

Deut 8.2 & 15

Nehemiah 9.12

Judges 2.1

All these OT references to being led by God are about the Exodus, when God rescued his people from Egypt to take them to the Promised Land. We can conclude from this that "led by God" in the OT refers to the whole people of God (Israel),who are led in keeping with His great plan and promises to Abraham; it doesn't refer to individuals who are led according to a personalised plan of God for their lives.

 

Jesus "led by the Spirit"

 

Moses in desert 

 

Read Luke 4.1-13 (see also Matthew 4.1-11;Mark 1;12-13

What similarities are there with the Exodus ?

. Both Israel and Jesus were led through the desert.

. Both passed through baptism before going into the desert.....Israel through the Red sea and Jesus baptised by John in the river Jordan.

. Israel spent 40 years in the desert and Jesus spent 40 days......both had difficult experiences in the desert.

What differences are there? (compare Hebrews 3.7-8 and 4.15)

. Israel failed the test and responded to hardship by grumbling and rebelling against God (Hebrews 3.7-8)

. Jesus passed the test and was found to be without sin despite being tempted in every way, just as we are (Hebrews 4:15)

 

 

Where did the Spirit lead Jesus ? Why?

The Spirit led Jesus into the desert so that, in resisting temptation, Jesus could be proved to be without sin and so qualified both to bear our sin on the cross and give Christians His righteousness. (2 Corinthians 5.21)

 

Christians "led by the Spirit "

 

Read Romans 8.12-17;Galatians 5.16-26

Note: the NIV translation of Galatians 5.16 & 25 is confusing because it uses the word "live" to mean separate things:

v16:"live" =" to be obedient to what the Spirit wants"

v25:"live" = "to be born again" i.e. "saved"

Both of these passages show us two ways to live.

For both passages list everything that you learn about the two ways to live........

. By the Flesh (sinful nature)

. By the Spirit.

 

Look at both passages. Who is being led by the Spirit?

. Romans 8: Christians -those who belong to Christ.

. Galatians 5: Christians-those who belong to Christ.

 

Look at Romans 8.12-17.

Where are these people led to?

. v13: struggle

. v13: life

. v14: sonship

. v17: suffering

. v17: glory

                                             

 

co heirs with christ



What does it then mean to be "led by the Spirit"?

It means to live the Christian life, experiencing both its hardships (the struggle with sin and suffering),and its blessings (the privilege of being children of God and the hope of eternal life and glory).

 

From what we have learned about being led by the Spirit, what should we expect the Christian life to be like?

One of both difficulty and blessing, struggle and joy, battle and peace. The old testament parallel with the life of the Christian in this world, is the 40 years when Israel wandered in the desert. However, we have the joyful hope of eternal glory and the presence of the Spirit leading us there. That the Christian life is a difficult path will come as a surprise to many, this is because of a misunderstanding of the term "led by the Spirit, when it is wrongly used to describe personal guidance and so becomes associated with ideas of fulfillment.

 

 

Look at Galatians 5.25. What command is given to those who are born again? What does that mean?

Those who "live by the Spirit"(are born again) are commanded to "keep in step with the Spirit". That means living in obedience to what the Spirit wants.

 

How does Galatians 5.17 describe the reality of what it means to keep in step with the Spirit?

If we keep in step with the Spirit, we will have to do what is contrary to the sinful nature; this will mean a battle. Similarly Romans 8.13 talks about putting to death the misdeeds of the body......clearly a painful process. In the same way Jesus, suffered when he was tempted in the desert, because he chose to do what was harder, in obedience to God, rather than take the easy way out as suggested by the devil.

                                                 

                                                             

in step with the spirit     


To think about......

Have you realised that the Christian life in this world is not one of comfort and ease, but of struggle and hardship?

In which areas of your life do you need to do battle with your sinful nature? How will you do this?

 

Pray.

. Praise God for Jesus, who has been tempted in every way, yet without sin.

. Do you need to confess to your heavenly Father times when you have given in to the sinful nature?

. How much of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5.22-23) can be seen in your life?

  Ask God to grow and use this fruit for the blessing of everyone.

 

 

Next week’s topic is "Filled with the Spirit" and we shall be looking at                  Ephesians 5.15-22.

 

Following the study, if you would like to join in a discussion,or ask any questions on the topic, there will be a Zoom session on Wednesday June 3 at 10.30.

The meeting ID is: 207 656 2312 and Password2P5DAC. We are hoping to have one of these sessions each week while we cannot meet in the church hall and while the studies are    on-line. The meeting ID and the password will remain the same.


 

 Filled by the Spirit

 

 

Read Ephesians 5.15-22

 Scan the whole of Ephesians 5. What is the main theme of this passage?

Paul is talking about living a Godly life; this is particularly in the context of the church....the Christian community. Noticehow  many of the instructions in this passage involve relationships with others. In the original Greek, verses 15-22 are written as one sentence, which is all about holiness.

 What are the two commands in verse 18?

Don't get drunk on wine.

Do be filled with the Spirit.

The reason? : The days are evil.(v 16)

Therefore: do not be foolish but understand what the Lord's will is. (v 17)

And.....be filled with the Spirit. (v 18)

 What are the four actions that show that someone is filled with the Spirit? (v 19-21)

. Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.

. Singing and making music in your heart to the Lord.

. Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of Jesus.

. Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

                                                                                                                                  

What do these four things have in common?

They are not things that we would naturally do; all these actions focus away from ourselves towards God and others.

Why does Paul call these actions "being filled with the Spirit"?

We cannot do this without the Spirit, who helps us to please God. (Romans 8.8)

 

According to the passage, how is getting drunk on wine different to being filled with the Spirit?

Drunkenness leads to debauchery (v 18), that is uncontrolled and self-seeking indulgence. Getting filled with the Spirit leads to a right relationship with God and others.

How is getting drunk on wine similar to being filled with the Spirit?

They both lead to a dramatic change in behaviour. When we are controlled by something or someone else, we should make sure that we are controlled for godly and selfless purposes, not for destructive, selfish purposes.

A personal note here.....I knew two really nice people; one a young man who worked with me, and the other a young girl who was a friend of my daughter; if either of them had too much alcohol they became extremely violent, to the point of having to be restrained.

                                                                                         

Read Colossians 3.16-17

 

What does this passage mention instead of being filled with the Spirit?

It instructs us to be filled with the Word of Christ. We have seen the close link between God's word and God's Spirit in study one. The implication here is....that if we let the word of Christ dwell in us richly, we shall be filled with the Spirit and that if we are filled with the Spirit,the word of Christ will dwell in us richly.

 

Notice that Ephesians 5.18 gives us a command. How can we obey it?

The fact that verses 18-20 are a single sentence in the original Greek indicates that we are actually filled with the Spirit when we do the actions listed here by Paul.....that is what is what being filled by the Spirit is all about. We don't have to pray to be filled with Him and then passively wait for some experience or spectacular event to occur. If you are speaking God's truth to others, singing to the Lord, giving thanks to Him for everything in the name of Jesus and submitting to others out of reverence for Christ......you are following the command to be filled with the Spirit. This is similar to walking.....or keeping in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5.25).

 

Look up the following verses and answer the following questions....

 

 Who is filled with the Spirit?

 For what purpose?

Luke 1.15 (v 16-17)

Luke 1.41(v 42-45)

Luke 1.67(v 68-69)

Acts 2.4(v 4, 11)

Acts 4.8(v 8-12)

Acts 4.31

Acts 9.17 (v 15)

Acts 13.9 (v10-11)

Acts 13.52 (v49-51)

Note that Luke, in his gospel, doesn't use "filled with the Spirit" to refer to being a "godly person" ,but rather to describe a special empowering at a particular time for a particular purpose. That purpose is always connected with speaking God's word, often in the context of opposition or persecution. On several occasions the filling of the Spirit gives Christians the courage to speak.

In contrast to Paul's writing, Luke says that being filled with the Spirit .....

Is not.....godly living in the Christian community (church).

It is........being empowered by the Spirit for the purpose of speaking God's word boldly, especially in situations of persecution and opposition.

So, according to Luke, someone who is filled with the Spirit you would expect to see proclaim the gospel boldly.

                                                                                     

 

To think about. How are you involved in the Church's task of proclaiming the good news about Jesus? How do you feel about doing that? Has this study encouraged you?

 

Pray.....

Ask God to empower you by His Spirit to proclaim His message faithfully and boldly, no matter how difficult the situation.

 

Next week's study will be "Gifts of the Spirit" and we shall be looking at 1 Corinthians 12.4-31.

 

If you would like to join a zoom session to discuss this study do join us each week on a Wednesday at 10.30. ID 737 2295 9656   Password 3NZjXF 



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 Gifts of the Spirit

 

 

 

 

 Read 1 Corinthians 12.4-31

 

The gifts of the Spirit are gifts to the church, rather than to individual Christians, for the purpose of building up the church.

 

There are 5 lists of gifts of the Spirit in the New Testament; they are to be found in .........

. 1 Corinthians 12.8-10

. 1 Corinthians 12; 28-30

. Romans 12.6-8

. Ephesians 4.11

. 1 Peter 4.11

This study will focus particularly on 1 Corinthians 12, looking at the context in which these gifts are given.

 

Look up the following verses (all are related to the 5 lists above) and note down the word or phrase that is used to describe "gifts of the Spirit".

. 1 Corinthians 12.4

. 1 Corinthians 12.5

. 1 Corinthians 12.6

. 1 Corinthians 12.7

. 1 Corinthians 12.11

. 1 Corinthians 14.1

. Romans 12.6

. Ephesians 4.7

. 1 Peter 4.10

What can we learn about the gifts of the Spirit from the words used to describe them?

. Spiritual/of the Spirit: gifts to further the Spirit's work, not promote our success, prosperity or influence.

. According to grace: these gifts are given by God undeservedly......we cannot boast in them(either individually or as churches),and we should be thankful to God for them.

. Service/working/work of the Spirit: these gifts are about serving one another, not promoting ourselves and about work, not just personal enjoyment or fulfillment.

                                                                                                                        

 

Let us look more closely at all the gifts that are mentioned in the 5 lists.

1 Corinthians 12.8-10

The message of wisdom; the message of knowledge; faith; gifts of healing; miraculous powers; prophecy; distinguishing between spirits; speaking in tongues; interpreting tongues.

1 Corinthians12.28-30

Apostles; prophets; teachers; workers of miracles; gifts of healing; ability to help others; guidance/administration; speaking in tongues.

Romans 12.6-8

Prophesying; serving;teaching;encouraging;giving;leadership;showing mercy.

Ephesians 4.11

Apostles; prophets; evangelists; pastors and teachers.

1 Peter 4.11

Speaking; serving.

Note: There is also a reference to gifts of the Spirit in Hebrews 10.4,but as it does not specify the gifts, it has not been included.

                                                 

                                                                    

 

What can we learn about gifts of the Spirit from comparing the 5 lists?                                                                                                                           

There are many different kinds of gifts ranging from the miraculous (workers of miracles) and prominent (apostles), to the supportive (encouraging) and apparently mundane (administration).

Do you think that these 5 lists contain a complete list of all the gifts of the Spirit?

None of the lists contain all of the gifts of the Spirit that are mentioned in the NT. If the 5 lists together constitute the entire range of gifts available, why is it that they are never mentioned all at once? It is interesting to note that Paul uses the phrase "gift from God" when talking about singleness (1 Corinthians 7.7), but none of the 5 lists mention singleness as a gift of the Spirit. It seems most likely that each time a NT writer wanted to talk about the gifts of the Spirit, he selected examples of some gifts, so we can conclude that there are many more gifts of the Spirit than have been mentioned in the 5 lists.

What can we learn from Peter's concise list?

It seems to be a summary of the functions of all the gifts of the Spirit.

 This passage comes between the 2 lists of gifts in 1 Corinthians 12,and shows us the context in which they were given.

What are the main themes of this passage?

Oneness and independence.

In what way are all Christians the same?

All God's people have been baptised by the one Spirit and are part of one body,all have the Spirit working through them, and all have a part to play in the functioning of the body.

In what way are Christians different?

Each Christian has a different part to play in the functioning of the body.

Why is the body such a wonderful illustration of the church?

A body is a wonderfully designed and complex organism, in which many different parts all work together under the command of the head. From experience we know how much the whole body is affected when even one part of the body malfunctions ( think stubbing your toe, or an ingrown toenail). So the body is an accurate illustration of the sheer variety of people that should be found in a church, their individual importance ,their utter interdependence and their profound unity, unmatched by any human organisation.

Do all gifts have the same or different purposes? What if the purpose of the gifts of the Spirit? (v7)

The body illustration suggests that all the gifts have one purpose, just as all the parts of the body work together for the well-being of the whole body. Verse 7 tells us that each Christian is given a manifestation or gift of the Spirit "for the common good".

So .....what is "the common good"?

Anything that meets the needs and promotes the well-being of the church.

                                             

                                                                

 

How is the purpose of the gifts described in Ephesians 4.12-13 and 1 Peter 4.10?

. Ephesians 4.12-13.

The purpose of the gifts is "to equip (God's) people for works of service, so that the body of Christ  may be    built up" to unity in faith ,knowledge ,and maturity.

. 1 Peter 4.10

We should use our gifts to "serve others,as stewards of God's grace in its various forms".

What does 1 Corinthians 13.1-3 add?

Without love, our gifts are useless and worthless.

 

What are the greater gifts? (1 Corinthians 12.28-31)

The greater gifts are those that Paul ranks in v28....apostles, prophets and teachers.

What do these gifts have in common?

They are all concerned with speaking God's word.

 

What is the role of people who have these gifts? (see also Acts 6.1-4)

To bring God's word to people. The ministry of God's word and the responsibility of praying for God's people were considered so important by the apostles that no other need , however urgent, was permitted to distract them from this work.

Note: Apostles were men who had met with the risen Jesus and were chosen by Him for this role. Prophets here refers to people who are gifted to open up God's word and apply it today to people's lives and the church.

Why are the greater gifts greater? (Compare 1 Corinthians 14.1-5)

They build up God's people with His word. They are about that which all other gifts are serving......                  for example: an administrator may organise a church meeting so that the church can hear the word of God preached .Someone puts the chairs out because it helps people hear the teaching of God's word. The gifts of administration and serving (by putting out chairs) are not inferior ,because it serves the church by helping them hear the word of God, which builds them up in the faith.                                                                                                                     

                                                                    

 

Look at 1 Corinthians 12.31.

If Christians all have different gifts, how is it that we should all desire the greater gifts?

The Spirit gives gifts to the church for the common good. Each Christian should eagerly desire to see the greater gifts at work in their church and in the worldwide church.

So how can we desire the greater gifts?

. By praying for them.

. By supporting those who already exercise these gifts.

. By doing everything we can to encourage and make possible the training of future prophets and teachers,  thus ensuring that the ministry of the word and prayer have the most important place in our church activities

 

To think about .....think emoji

Reflect on what it means to be a part of God's people.

How grateful  are you  to God for the gifts He has given you?

How are you contributing ,and how can you contribute , by using your gifts ,to the common good of the church?

 

To pray about......

Thank God that He has made you part of the body of Christ.

If you don't know your gift,ask God to show you and help you.

Pray for the greater gifts to be given to your church. Pray about how you can help and support those with these greater gifts.

 

Next week will be our final study on the Holy Spirit and the topic will be " The Spirit and You". We shall be studying Romans 8.1-39

 

 

If you would like to take part in a zoom session to discuss "Filled with the Spirit"  Please join us on Wednesday at 10.30. ID 737 2295 9656 PW 3NZjXF


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 The Holy Spirit and You

 


The Holy Spirit is always there for those of us who believe......keeping us afloat in a world of change, where today's values are often in conflict with Christian standards........

 

              

As this is the last study, let's have a recap of the story so far.......

 

To be led by the Spirit means to be enabled to live the Christian life, battling sin in the world as we struggle on towards a glorious future.

 

To be filled with the Spirit has different meanings, depending on the New Testament writer. It means living the Christian life as part of the church (Paul), or being empowered to prophesy/preach/witness (Luke).

 

The gifts of the Spirit are gifts to the church rather than to individuals), for the purpose of building up the church; so we're to use our gifts to do this.

 

Read Romans 8.1-39.

 

This incredibly full and well-known chapter contains more references to the Holy Spirit than any other chapter in the bible. It is all about the work and achievements of Jesus Christ and of course the work of the Spirit is to glorify Christ. We will be looking at things which we have already investigated, so it is a great opportunity to review these truths.

What is Paul's big theme in this Passage? (verses 1,33-34,38-39)

Note: What a wonderful and liberating truth this is in verse 1! We walk away from God's law court not condemned.........

 

. No condemnation for original sin (the sinful nature that everyone has   

  inherited from Adam);

. No condemnation for the sins committed in the past, present, or future.

No condemnation, even though we fall, fail, and feel condemned.

No condemnation however much the Devil accuses us.

No condemnation whatever others say.

No condemnation when we are physically sick, or going through emotional pressures.

 

  

                                                                                                      

 

How has Jesus done what the law of God couldn't do for us? Compare Romans 5.6

 

God's law condemns those that break the law. Jesus was sent as a sin offering, in the likeness of sinful man and suffered in himself the condemnation of God for our sin......so that we would not have to suffer ourselves.

 

How do we receive the benefit of what Jesus has done for us? (v.1-4)

 

We must be "in Christ" (v1) .Verse 4 expresses it in a different way.....living according to the Spirit and not according to the sinful nature.

Verse 3 makes it clear that we cannot be free from condemnation by following God's law.....because our sinful nature means that we can never keep it.

 

Why does Paul again stress that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ? 

 

(7.14-25;8.10,18,22)

When our minds and senses are battered day by day by our frailty and mortality, our flaws and sins and our suffering, we can begin to believe that these are indications that God no longer loves or accepts us. Paul himself understood the despair that Christians can feel when,for instance, all they can think about is the sin they can't stop doing (7.24).Paul writes  Romans 8 because of his utter confidence in the saving power of Christ.

 

How can we know whether we are "in Christ"? (v8-9)

 

Those who have the Spirit of Christ belong to Christ. "In Christ"(v1)/"belonging to Christ "(v9)/"Christ in you" (v10)/the Spirit of God living in you (v9)/having the Spirit of Christ (v9). All these phrases mean the same thing.

 

How do we know we have the Spirit?

 

. v5 Our minds will be set on what the Spirit desires. This is not to say that we will always do what the Spirit wants. Like Paul, we will often feel at war within ourselves. The reason we feel disappointment,frustration ,and even despair by our own sinfulness is precisely because our minds are set on what the Spirit desires.

 

. v13-14 We are led by the Spirit (v14) which means that we "put to death the misdeeds of the body"(v13)

 

. v15-16 We no longer hide in fear from God as our Judge; we understand that he is our perfect heavenly father.v16 We also have an inner conviction, which is a result of the Spirit testifying with our spirit. This may not be constant, but we should experience it at some time during our lives.

 

                                                                                  

 

 

Look again at verses 14-16. What is the difference between the relationship between a slave and his master and that of a son and his father?

Think about the following areas.......

Why obey?

. What happens when you fall?

. What are your hopes for the future?

. What is most important to you?

 

What is the future for the children of God? (v17)

God's inheritance and Christ's glory.

 

What does this mean?

 

Everything that belongs to the Son belongs to us. God has instore for us what he has in store for Jesus........no rejects and no hand-me-downs. We are headed for glory BUT we will also share in His suffering. (Hebrews 12.2)

 

                                                                                                     

 

What is the contrast in verses 18-27 between now and the future? List what Paul says are the characteristics of each for the Christian.

 

What is the thing that we are missing now and that we hope for? (See also v10). How does this affect us at the moment? (v18, 23 and 26)?

 

We are missing the redemption of our bodies, which is our adoption as sons of God (v23).However as the Spirit lives in us He is the guarantee that one day our bodies will be redeemed and resurrected. (Ephesians 1. 12-14)

 

What does the Spirit do for us now and how?

 

He intercedes to God for us, because we are weak and do not know what we ought to pray for (v 26). The Spirit does this through wordless groans (v 26) and in accordance with God's will (v 27).

 

What is God's loving purpose for His children (v 28-30)? So what will the Spirit ask God for on our behalf when He intercedes for us (v 27)

 

God's loving purpose for His children is that we will be conformed to the likeness of His son (v 29). So when the Spirit intercedes for us in accordance with God's will (v 27), He asks God for whatever is required in a specific situation (and we probably don't know what that is) to make us more like Jesus.

 

Pray

 

Look again at the wonderful verses in Romans 8.28-39 and use this passage to help you .......

. Praise and thank God your Father.

. Confess and seek forgiveness from God your Father.

. Ask for the Spirit's help in living freely, securely and hopefully as an astonishingly loved

  child of God your Father.

 

This concludes our studies on the Holy Spirit. Next we there will be an introduction to the next series on Paul's letter to the Ephesians; "Your place in God's plan".

If you would like to discuss this study......or any of the others on the Holy Spirit, there will be a Zoom session on Wednesday June 23rd at 10.30.

 ID 737 2295 9656

Password 3NZjXF.

Everyone is very welcome.........



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Luke 23;48-24-53

 

The death of Jesus opened the way into his kingdom for absolutely anyone by bearing God's judgement in their place.          Death has no fear for lovers of Jesus.

 

Read Luke 32;48-55

 We are all familiar with the story of the crucifixion,but just try to imagine the confusion which was left in the minds of those who had known him..........

How do the women (v49,55-56) and Joseph (v50-54) give us a picture of real discipleship?

The women.

They are with Jesus to the end. The men are not mentioned after 22;62. The women stay with Jesus s he dies (23;49) and is buried (v55-56).They remain faithful when it is hard to do so.

Joseph

Joseph was a prominent member of the council with much to lose. However he chose to identify with Jesus publicly (9;26). As others watched from a distance he displayed devotion and care toward Jesus ,even when it was unclear as to what it would accomplish.

 

Read Luke 24;1-8

 

What facts confront the women? (24;2-3)

The huge entrance stone to the tomb had been rolled away and there was no body in the tomb.

stone rolled away

Who provides an explanation for those facts?(v4-5)

Two "men" ,who were obviously angels  ,as their clothes "gleamed like lightning",and the women bow before them out of fear. They explain that Christ has risen.Note that Peter had no such help(v12)  and was left wondering.

The women should not have been suprised at what they found. Why not ?(v6-7)

The angels encouraged them to remember the words that Jesus had spoken to them in advance;that he would die,and that he would rise(9;22,18;32-33)

Their memories had been overwhelmed,but if they trusted Jesus' promises,they would have expected him to rise from the dead.

What does the empty tomb tell them ,and us, about Jesus' promises?

His word is always true and his promises are utterly trustworthy.

 

What has Jesus promised us?

6v22-23. We will be rejected and insulted on account of our faith ;but we are also blessed.

9;24. We are called to lose our lives for the gospel's sake,thus saving our eternal lives.

11v13. God gives us the Holy Spirit.

11v28. Blessing is found in obeying God's word.

12v4-8. Death has no fear for us as God controls our eternal destiny. If we affirm him in this life,he will affirm us in the next.

12;40,17;22-24. We would miss Jesus return to this world.

18;29-30. Whatever you give up in following Christ,you will receive far more in this life,and infinitely more in the next.

 

Read Luke 24;9-12.

 

It is easy to imagine as to how excited these women would have been by what they had seen and heard....but to the disciples "their  words seemed like nonsense".

Peter went to investigate for himself(v12) but without angelic help was left wondering........

 

Read Luke 24;13-53



 Emmaus road

On the Emmaus Road........

What does Jesus do to change the minds of the the disciples about the claims of the women? (13-45)

v25-27 & 44. He explained that the whole of the old testament pointed towards Jesus as God's chosen king ,destined to suffer ,die and rise again for his people.Jesus is the fulfillment of all the people,patterns  and prophecy of the old testament.              The scriptures showed that the disciples should have been expecting what the womens' claims.


bible

v35. Jesus opened their eyes to recognise him as the risen Christ. Might he have looked a bit different?

v34-36. Jesus appeared to different groups of his followers at different times; this was no one-off vision or hallucination.

v39-41,42-43. Jesus body was physical;he could be touched and could eat.

bread

 

Why are Jesus' first words to the gathered disciples in v36 rather suprising and wonderful?

The Hebrew word for peace is "shalom";in Jewish culture this implies wholeness,harmony and prosperity......just like life in Eden!  It is wonderful that the crucified and risen  Christ would grant this "peace" to such flawed and failing followers as were gathered in that room.....and to us.

 

We do not have the risen Christ standing in front of us,but we do have his written word.Why is this wonderful for us? (v25-27,44-49)

The scriptures tell us all we need to know; Jesus always pointed to them as the place where we would find explanations and outlines of God's truth. We can meet Jesus through His written word.

 

What is the mission of the church?(47-49,52-53)

v47-48 To witness to the truth of the promised Messiah and to obey his command to repent and forgive.

v49. To conduct his mission relying solely on the power of the Holy Spirit.

v52-53. To worship and praise God joyfully together.

 

Compare the events at the beginning and end of Luke's gospel.

 

Read 1;8-13,26-28,&2;8-9; link to 24;4-5.

Angels are present at both the beginning and end of the gospel announcing truth and explaining events.

Read 1;7,13,31,34; link to 24;1,3,5-6.

There is life in a place where life is impossible;a barren womb.a virgin's womb, and a tomb.

Read 1;37;link to 24;6b-8.

God's word is true and can be trusted;his promise to Mary and his promise to die and to rise again.

Read 1;46-47 & 2;8-10;link to 24;52-53

Understanding who Jesus is and living under his rule causes us to rejoice and to praise God.

Read 2;8-11;link to 24;46-47

Christ came,dies and rose again to be our Saviour,offering forgiveness to all who repent.....this is the "good news" of the gospel.

jerusalem

 

What part are you going to play in sharing the good news of the gospel to others......

.with your prayers?

.with your deeds ?

.with your finances?

.with your words?





The Night of Trials Leading to the Opening of the Kingdom.


This study at the end of Holy Week is slightly longer than usual;this is because I have had to amalgamate 2 studies in order for the Easter story; the culmination of Jesus life and ministry in his death and resurrection ,to be read and studied over the Easter weekend. This was because we missed a week owing to  repercussions of the corona virus outbreak. Hopefully you will want to spend more time during this important season,to look at this theme ,which is central to the whole of scripture.

Luke 22-23;27

Jerusalem is now thronged with visitors for the Passover with the accompanying feast of Unleavened Bread. This festival commemorated and celebrated God's deliverance of his people from Egypt through the death of sacrificial lambs (Exodus 12;1-20)

Read Luke 22;1-38
What is shocking about :
Judas' Actions (v4-6,21-22)?
Under the influence of Satan, Judas betrays his friend to death,but Jesus makes it clear that he is responsible for his own actions.
Jesus' words about the Passover Meal?
Jesus redefines this meal a being about his body broken and his blood shed,rather than about the death of the lambs in Egypt.
The disciples' priorities (v24)?
They could only think about which of them was the greatest
Jesus' statements about the disciples and about himself (v31-37)?
The disciples will be "sifted" (shaken violently);the events of the next 24hours would be a terrible test for them......and he knows that Peter will fail as he (Jesus) faces his greatest trial.

bread and wine

What do verses 25-26 teach us about the Christian view of greatness?
The one who rules should be like the one who serves (v26)

Read Luke 22 ;39-46 and then read Isaiah 51;17 and Jeremiah 25;15-16.

The prophets sometimes spoke of God's wrath and judgement against sin,as a cup that the wicked were required to drink.The symbolic cup represents the fury,anger and punishment of a just God .
What is astonishing about the second half of v42?
It is understandable that Jesus asked the Father to remove the cup;but Jesus was determined to do the Father's will....even though it would cost him everything.

angel
Read Luke 22 ;47-71

Who mistreats Jesus in these harrowing scenes,and how?
Judas (v47-48).He betrays His master with an intimate and friendly greeting.
Peter (v 54-60).He denies repeatedly all knowledge of his Lord.He chose His own safety over loyalty.
The Guards,(v63-65). They hurl insults and inflict pain on Jesus.....unaware that he is their maker.
The Ruling Council (v66-71).They put the Son of Man on trial for his life,and find him guilty.they never consider that he may be telling them the truth about his identity.(v69-70).

What does Peter claim about himself (v55-60)?
He denies Jesus 3 times,with a determination to distance himself from Jesus. He lies.

cockerel

What does Jesus claim about himself?
(v69-70.....see Daniel 7;13-14)
That he is the divine Son of Man from Daniel,and that after his crucifixion ,resurrection and ascension,he "will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God".

Who is really on trial in all these overnight events?
The disciples. They were being sifted.
The religious leaders. They were making the final decision whether or not to condemn Jesus for blasphemy.
Jesus. He was on trial for his life.

Who comes through the trial with their  credibility intact?
Only Jesus,who tells nothing but the truth.
Who loses theirs?
Everyone else.....The disciples disappear after v.53,apart from Peter who fails his trial,denying Jesus.The religious leaders rig a show trial,condemning God's son to death.


We now come to Jesus' trial before Pilate,take the path along to the cross ,and then to Jesus final breath. These events will be very familiar; pray that God will give you new insights as these situations unfold.

Luke 23;1-47

Jesus died to bear God's judgement that we deserve for rejecting him,so that the way into his kingdom is open,and we can live with him forever.

Read Luke 23;1-31
What doe Pilate,the Roman governor ,know ? (v4,15,22).
That Jesus had nothing wrong and presents no immediate threat to Rome's rule; Pilate knows that Jesus is innocent.
What does Pilate do?(v24-25)
In surrender to the peoples' will, he releases Barabbas.
Why does he do this?
He appears to fear the crowd and does what is easy rather than right.
How does the crowd respond to Pilate's desire to release Jesus?(v18,21,23)
They scream and demand that Jesus be killed.
Who would they rather have as a part of their society rather than Jesus?(v18-19)
Barabbas,who was a rebel and a murderer.

Read 1 Peter 3;18. Colossians 1;21-22 and Revelation 1;5b.
How are we like Barabbas?
You and I are sinners,bound and helpless,sitting in a spiritual prison awaiting the day when ,like Barabbas,we would get the just punishment that we deserve.However,Jesus went to the cross in our place . He got what we deserve;we get what he deserves.The prison door opens ......and we are free.

crosses

Read Luke 23;32-47

These men were both criminals (v32).Their crimes were serious enough to bring a verdict of execution ,as the second criminal himself acknowledges (v41).

How do these 2 criminals crucified with Jesus respond to him?
v39. The first criminal rails against Jesus ,using the words of the crowd (v35 and v37).He calls on Jesus to save all 3 of them.
v40-42. The second criminal recognizes that:
Jesus is innocent
The justice of God lays behind his suffering......he is" punished justly" according to his deeds (v 41).
Jesus can help him ,not by getting off his cross,but in giving him life beyond his death.(v42)

What is remarkable about Jesus words in v43?
Jesus promises such a man that he will be with him in Paradise.....perfection ,a return to Eden-like life......that same day. Think about it ; a hardened ,condemned criminal who is enabled to live in Paradise forever....all because of Jesus.
In what sense are "with me",the most exiting part of this promise?
The thief will be with Jesus forever in Paradise :he is the greatest reward .( Philippians 1v23,2 Corinthians 5;6)

Read Joel 2;1-2.Amos 5;18-20

What does the darkness in the middle of the day signify?
The judgement of God.......his wrath at human sin.

What 2 things happen in the darkness?
v45. The temple curtain tears;this was the curtain that hung around the presence of God in the Most Holy Place.
v46. Jesus dies.

temple curtain

Read Genesis 3;23-24 and Exodus 26;30-34.

What did the veil in the temple represent?
The separation between humanity and the perfect presence of God.There was no way for humanity to enter and enjoy unrestricted access to  a holy and just God.

What did Jesus' death achieve?(v44-45a,45b and 46)
Jesus bore God's just wrath over sin and the punishment of death on a cross. Jesus was the one perfect sacrifice required for that sin....our sin.This achievement was symbolised by the tearing of the temple curtain,showing that the way into God''s presence in eternity is now open.

The centurion,a Gentile executioner saw "what had happened" :,and was led to praise God and declare Jesus 'innocence(v47).                   What is your response? Is it to praise God?
How will Christians view death and why?
Death need hold no fear for the Christian,because Jesus has died in our place. Jesus has experienced God's judgement on our behalf,        so that we,like Him,can enter God's presence beyond our death.

Is this true for you ? Have you trusted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour so that when you die ,you will go to be with him?



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4.04.2020

Showdown at the Temple

The story so far.......
Jesus' interactions with a great variety of people reveal that the humble who come with empty hands find life;those who approach proudly leave without a life.

Luke 19;45-21;38

Since 9;11 Jesus has been walking towards Jerusalem and the climax of his ministry. The next 2 chapters take place in the temple complex which was the centre of Jewish religious life;it is here that the final showdowns of Jesus earthly ministry take place.

temple

Read Luke 19;45-20;26

What is the aim of the chief priests,teachers of the law,and people's leaders?
To kill Jesus.
What is their problem? v 48
The only thing that prevented them was that the crowds adored Jesus.

What is their first question? v 20;2 Why was it a clever one to ask?
On what authority was Jesus doing these things?
Jesus was wildly popular,but had no title or position.He was outside the religious establishment;he had no credentials to justify his cleansing of the temple,and his ministry of teaching and healing.

What is even cleverer about Jesus' answer? v 3-4
John testified that Jesus was the Messiah(3;15-18),so the leaders would not want to say that John's baptism is from Heaven(20;5).However ,John was so loved by the people that they were terrified of saying that John was not from Heaven(v 6)

How does Jesus show the weakness of their position?
They care about their own position rather than the truth;the political ramifications were far more important to them.

What is their second question? Why was this also a clever one to ask?
Should the Jewish people pay taxes to the Roman emperor?
Again the goal is to try to trap Jesus: if he says "no" the scribes and pharisees can report him to the Romans,but if he says they should pay the tax,he might be seen as a traitor to the people of Israel.
Jesus answers the question and avoids the trap;he affirms the authority of Caesar,as his image is on the coin,but he limits that authority inferring that people are made in God's image and should worship him alone.

caesar

How does Jesus example show us how to relate to present day authority?
We should be law abiding citizens,unless obeying the law of man conflicts with us obeying God.(Acts 5;29)

Read Luke 20;27-21;4

Who asks the third question,and what is it? Why is this yet another clever question to ask ? 20;27-33
The Sadducees,who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead.Who will the woman be married to in Heaven,as she has had 7 husbands.
This makes the whole business of resurrection and eternal life look ridiculous....how would you untangle all the things that have happened in our lives after death?

7 husbands

How does Jesus answer?
The Sadducees assume that if there is life after death ,that it is like life now.Jesus says that marriage is for this age alone;so the answer is ....none of them!

How does Jesus show us part of the Christian view of marriage?
Human marriage is but a preview of the far greater reality of our union with Christ in eternity.It is a foretaste of far more wonderful things to come! (Ephesians 5;31-32 Revelation 19;6-9)

How does Jesus parable v 9-16 provide his assessment of what is going on?
The OT used a vineyard to portray the nation of Israel.(Ps 80;8-18). The tenants are the leaders  and the servants are the prophets.The leaders' final terrible act would be to kill the owner's son Jesus;this would lead to the removal from office of the tenants or leaders.

Compare 19;45-46 and 20;45-47 with 21;1-4.
What religious approach does Jesus criticise and which does he praise?
He criticises .....
The use of religion for personal gain (19;45-46),and pursuing  a form of godly religion that prevents people from coming into a forgiving relationship with God
The use of religion to further one's personal glory and honour,and which uses others to further that end.
He praises.....
The poor widow.her offering seemed insignificant to the greater gifts being offered,but she did not give out of her "excess and wealth",she gave (literally in Greek) ALL her life.


humblw woman

Let's think about what we have learned about.....

The life of true discipleship which pleases Jesus.
The life of false religion which Jesus opposes.
Why is it challenging that Jesus greatest opponents were the religious people around him?

Luke 21;5-38 marks the end of Jesus public ministry. Its predictions of destruction alternate between the near horizon ,and thing that will happen in the future.We are positioned in history between the events which Jesus describes;we look back to AD 70,when Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed by the Romans,and forward to the day when Jesus will return.

Read Luke 21;5-38

What does Jesus want his followers to ......
Watch out for ?
Those who claim to be the returning Messiah.
Make up their minds about ?
Not to worry about our response to rejection,persecution,or death. Jesus will be there with us.
Look forward to?
The son of man coming in all His glory and power.
Be careful about?
To live each day in the expectation of Christ's return.
Pray for ?
That we will keep trusting in Christ.

In the light of these answers,how can we help each other to do these things? What might cause you not to do them?

jesus glory





"Ins and Outs" 28.3.2020

Luke 18:9 - 19;44
luke 14

Last week we learned that Jesus announced that between his coming as King and return to establish his kingdom;his people are to live under his rule,in light of their future.

To think about......What is necessary for someone to enter God's eternal Kingdom? What prevents people from entering his kingdom?

Read Luke 18;9-14

What is good about the Pharisee? (10-12)
The Pharisees were widely respected for their piety and devotion.He is living a more obedient life than other people (v11).

How does his prayer reveal his society's attitudes towards tax collector's?
He lists tax collectors alongside "robbers,evildoers,adulterers" (v12). Tax collectors worked for the occupying Romans,and grew rich through overtaxing people;they were widely despised as traitors,thieves,and oppressors of their own people.
Zacchaeus the Tax Collector | Eternal Vigilance

Why is Jesus verdict in v14 shocking?
The traitorous thief is "justified" (right with God). The "other",the Pharisee ,is not.This is quite shocking and revolutionary ;the justified one is the sinner who approaches God on the basis of his mercy,rather than the "good' man who approaches God on his own merit.

How does it answer the question : Who is part of God's Kingdom?
The sinful person who accepts that they are sinful and comes to God asking for his mercy......receives it.The person who is less sinful,but comes to God assuming that he will be approved on the basis of his goodness,does not receive mercy and so is not a member of God's kingdom.

Read Luke 18;15-19;10

In each of these episodes ,Luke records interaction between Jesus and an individual or group.In each ,we are watching the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector coming true in reality.

How do we see the themes of the parable in the approach of each person/group to Jesus; and how do they relate to Jesus as a result of their encounter?
18;15-17 Children were not regarded as innocent in Jesus day,and most people would understand the action of the disciples.Jesus welcomes the children (like the tax collector) because the quality they possess is their unworthiness;they plead no goodness.The children end up  being welcomed by Jesus.


!8;18-25
This ruler reminds us of the Pharisee;he was wealthy and generous,together with being a keeper of the law. However he ends up sad (v23) and walks away from Jesus ,and eternal life,because he wants the kingdom on his own terms.The more possessions we have ,the greater their pull on our hearts and lives.
18;35-43
Here a real man -a desperate beggar cries out to Jesus and will not be silenced.He knows Jesus has the ability to give him mercy,and he uses his new found sight to praise God!
19;1-10
Zacchaeus is a wildly successful ,thieving tax collector,who seemed to be obviously outside the programme of God's salvation,but he responds to Jesus by asking him both into his house and into his life.He does what the other rich man would not do-he gives his wealth away (v 8).

Note that the blind beggar and Zacchaeus show us that membership of God's kingdom is transformative;it has a profound affect upon their lives.

How does 18;27-33 answer the following questions:

Who then can be saved?(v26)
It is impossible unless God does it (v27) People with no righteousness of their own can be saved,not through their good works,but by Jesus' death in their place.On the cross he took the guilt ,sin and  shame of his people,so that when they cry out to God for mercy (like the tax collector) they receive forgiveness and righteousness as a free gift (2 Corinthians 5;21).

Is it worth leaving everything to follow Jesus?
The encounter with the rich young ruler reminds us ,that entry into God's kingdom means that we must renounce our love and loyalty for everything else.He was promised treasure in heaven,but would not part with his treasure on earth in order to gain them.We are not promised an easy ride;Jesus said that there would be sacrifice and difficulty in this life (v28-29;see 6;22;9;23-24).However Jesus says his followers will receive much in this age (18;30).This includes freedom from slavery to sin,and membership of ,and fellowship with God's family.

Read Luke 19;11-27

This parable contains 2 different stories;one about a nobleman and his interaction with his subjects,and the other about a nobleman's interaction with his servants.

How does the parable about the nobleman and his subjects warn those who are not submitting to Jesus as King?
Opposing him will have terrible consequences;see 19;27. Not a popular message ,but central to the gospel.

How does the parable about the nobleman and his servants encourage and warn those who are submitting to him?
A mina =3 months wages.
The first 2 servants invest their minas and gain a return.Number 3 chooses to do nothing with his and defends himself by insulting his master (undeservedly as he is remarkably generous).The first 2 are rewarded lavishly ,number 3 looses his mina.One day we will all have to give an account to God for how we used all that he gave us.We all have gifts that can, and should be invested in the service of Christ's kingdom . For those who do this their joy will be one day to hear God say "Well done ,my good servant!"

Read Luke 19;28-44

Here we have the fulfillment of a prophecy........
Read Zechariah 9;9-10

What is Jesus claiming.....
About who he is? The mighty all victorious king as promised in the Old Testament.
About what he is like? He is "righteous and victorious" but also "lowly"and servant hearted.
About what he will do?He will "proclaim peace " by defeating his enemies and fighting for his people.

How do those present in Luke 19 respond to those claims?
The disciples threw their cloaks on the colt and "put Jesus on it" like a king on a throne..The people threw their cloaks on the ground in front of him.....like rolling out a red carpet.Some of the Pharisees called on Jesus to rebuke his followers;they were clearly offended by the donkey-riding;that Jesus was claiming to be the promised king.

How does Jesus revel the importance of the choice of how we respond?(19 ;41-44)
In v41 Jesus finally sees Jerusalem and he weeps knowing that he will be rejected.He graphically predicts the destruction of the city and highlights the choice that rejecting him will bring terrible judgement.
JESUS WEEPS OVER JERUSALEM [LUKE 19:41-44] | Pictures of christ ...

To think about.......

If we look at the world around us in the way Jesus looked at Jerusalem in V41-44 what would we feel? What would we say?



The Kingdom is coming 22.3.2020

Bible study
Read Luke 16;1-18;8

The Story so far.......Jesus taught that he will return to bring his kingdom in all its glory,and to save,reward,and judge.....and calls his people to stay repentant and keep serving.
In a series of parables ,Jesus pictures himself as the great seeker,come to rescue sinners.This is at the very heart,and the middle of Luke's gospel.We need to accept the invitation and walk home ,even when it's hard. God does not chase us,the choice is ours alone.

Read Luke 16;1-12

Look and think about what the manager does,and ask yourself why? Then see what lesson Jesus draws from this for His followers.
The citizens of the world know how to take care of their needs,and make sure they get what they want. The dishonest steward behave wisely according to the world's standards,and the world's values. In an analogous way ,Jesus wants his followers to behave wisely according to the standards and values of his kingdom. We should live with the kind of generosity which is attractive to others;our acts of love and kindness should impact peoples lives as we serve our Heavenly Father.

What warnings does Jesus give about our attitude to money? (v 13-15)
v.13 If our hearts are committed to money ,they cannot be committed to God.
v14 Note that the Pharisees were lovers of money.
v14 God "knows your hearts";we cannot pay lip service to generosity to the things of God without him knowing about it.Do we put him first ,or money?

Read Luke 16;19-31
Image result for Luke 16;1-12

In what sense is this parable a warning to those who are wealthy?
The rich man never points to any act of kindness which might mitigate his guilt: he knew that Lazarus  was at his gate begging,but did nothing about it. Even in Hades(the realm of the dead)  he tries to be bossy, but he is alone and the chasm between heaven and hell is fixed,and he can do nothing about it.Wealth will not bring us to heaven.

How is this a warning to us who have access to bible teaching?
We are not lacking in access to to God's revelation contained in His word;we do not need any special visitor ,or someone returning from the dead.We should be willing to listen and respond to God's word.

Think about what someone who is "kingdom-shrewd" with their wealth would look like in your context?
This is what Jesus describes in v 9; we use our worldly wealth now in a way that shows that we care more about our eternal future than our current situation.

Read Luke 17;20-37

In what sense was the kingdom of God already "in their midst" ? What do you think?
Jesus was himself the embodiment of the kingdom of God. It had already come!

However.....what does Jesus also tell his disciples? v 22-25
In the future they will "long to see one of the days of the son of Man,but you will not see it" v22. This refers to Jesus return to Earth in splendour as Judge;to establish his kingdom in all its fullness.So although the King has come,the Kingdom is not yet fully come.When it does,it will be dramatic and visible to all (v24). It is all a case of "now......but not yet"!

So in what sense had the kingdom arrived ,and in what sense had the kingdom not arrived?
This question draws together the teaching of v 20-25
The kingdom had arrived in the presence of its King,but has not yet arrived in all its fullness,which will happen when Jesus returns.

What does Jesus say the future kingdom will be like?v 26-37

Bible study
It will come suddenly and we will be caught unaware by the arrival of God's judgement.There will be no opportunity to make preparations once that day has arrived.Do we seek to follow Jesus in our daily routine? How would you be behaving now if you knew that Jesus was returning tomorrow?

Read Luke 17;1-19 and 18;1-8

What principles for living in this now/not yet tension do v1-19 give us?
v1-3a We live in a fallen world so must watch out for temptation to sin and be careful not tot tempt others.
v3b-4 We must confront sin in the lives of other believers,particularly when our brother sins against us.We must use love and humility (Galatians 6;1) and not turn a blind eye;God's standards matter and we must be serious about holiness.We also need to forgive one another in anticipation of that coming kingdom,when all will be forgiven.
v5-6 We need to ask for faith,but we are not to put Jesus words to the test by trying to relocate shrubbery using nothing but our faith(v6)!
v7-10 We owe God our obedience,not to be proud,or to get a better place in Heaven,but to give god the glory.
v11-19 We are characterised by gratitude,just as the 10 lepers should have been. Only one was grateful,and so he alone was healed spiritually (v19 the Greek literally means "saved")
18;1-8 We are to pray .......and not give up!

Now let's apply........
Image result for repentance

What reasons for failing to start loving,or keep loving God,do these chapters offer us?

Love of money
Lack of understanding of,or confidence in the coming of the King and the future coming of his kingdom on Earth.

Are you living as though the King has come,and that one day the kingdom will come ? Is there anything you need to start doing,or stop doing,in order to live in the light of that future event? How will you do this?