Bible Study Archive
Why study the Holy Spirit? 25.4.2020
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.
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.
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).
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".
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
1 Peter 1.10-12
Let's investigate more...........
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?
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......
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.
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.
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!
The Holy Spirit and the Old
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.
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......
In the time of the judges......
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
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?
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?
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
Who is the promised "Spirit Person" and
what does he do?
Look up the following verses and answer the
Luke 3. 21-22
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
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
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.
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 ?
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
Baptised with the Spirit 16.5.2020
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".....
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....
1 Corinthians 12.13
......will be investigated in this
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.
The Interpretation, which explains
the significance of the event, comes later.
Read Acts 2.1-13, 41: The
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
. 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.
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 is exalted at God' right hand
. Jesus has poured out the Spirit (v
. Jesus' exaltation was predicted in
the OT (v 34-35)
. God had made Jesus both Lord and
What event,according to Peter shows
that Jesus is now alive and exalted in Heaven ,even though the audience cannot
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
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
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
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.
.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
The Gift of the Spirit 23.5.2020
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
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 2.33 and v 33-36
Acts 2.37-38 and v 41
Acts 8.12 and v15-17
Acts 9. 4-6 and v17-18
Acts 11.15 and v18
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.
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
Among those who hear the good news
there are always people who repent, accept the message, and are baptised, ie.
Which features occur only sometimes?
. Wind and tongues of fire (Acts
. 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
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
What happens when someone repents and
believes in Jesus. (v5)
What is similar to the passages from
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
. have been justified by God's grace.
. can become heirs with the hope of
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
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?
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
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
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
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.
"Led by God" in the Old
"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?
Deut 8.2 & 15
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
Jesus "led by the Spirit"
Read Luke 4.1-13 (see also Matthew
What similarities are there with the
. 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
Where did the Spirit lead Jesus ?
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
. 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
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
To think about......
Have you realised that the Christian
life in this world is not one of comfort and ease, but of struggle and
In which areas of your life do you
need to do battle with your sinful nature? How will you do this?
. 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
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 Password: 2P5DAC. 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.
Read Ephesians 5.15-22
whole of Ephesians 5. What is the main theme of this passage?
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)
do not be foolish but understand what the Lord's will is. (v 17)
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.
and making music in your heart to the Lord.
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?
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
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?
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
How is getting drunk on wine similar to being filled with the Spirit?
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
Read Colossians 3.16-17
What does this passage mention instead of being filled with the Spirit?
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?
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).
the following verses and answer the following questions....
Who is filled with the Spirit?
For what purpose?
2.4(v 4, 11)
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.
contrast to Paul's writing, Luke says that being filled with the Spirit .....
not.....godly living in the Christian community (church).
is........being empowered by the Spirit for the purpose of speaking God's word
boldly, especially in situations of persecution and opposition.
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
to empower you by His Spirit to proclaim His message faithfully and boldly, no
matter how difficult the situation.
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
Read 1 Corinthians
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
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.
Apostles; prophets; teachers;
workers of miracles; gifts of healing; ability to help others;
guidance/administration; speaking in tongues.
Apostles; prophets; evangelists;
pastors and teachers.
1 Peter 4.11
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
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
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
What are the main themes of this
Oneness and independence.
In what way are all Christians
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
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
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
So .....what is "the common
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
. 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
Without love, our gifts are
useless and worthless.
What are the greater gifts? (1
The greater gifts are those that
Paul ranks in v28....apostles, prophets and teachers.
What do these gifts have in
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
. 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 .....
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
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
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
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
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.
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);
condemnation for the sins committed in the past, present, or future.
condemnation, even though we fall, fail, and feel condemned.
condemnation however much the Devil accuses us.
condemnation whatever others say.
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
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)
be "in Christ" (v1) .Verse 4 expresses it in a different
way.....living according to the Spirit and not according to the sinful nature.
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?
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)
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
. 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.......
. 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)
inheritance and Christ's glory.
What does this mean?
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)?
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?
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)
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.
again at the wonderful verses in Romans 8.28-39 and use this passage to help
and thank God your Father.
and seek forgiveness from God your Father.
. Ask for
the Spirit's help in living freely, securely and hopefully as an astonishingly
child of God your Father.
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
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
Everyone is very welcome.........
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?
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
"Ins and Outs" 28.3.2020
Luke 18:9 - 19;44
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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
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
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........
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?