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BIBLE  LESSONS

 


LIST OF LESSONS

 

The Book of Ephesians

 

The Book of James

 

The Book of Proverbs

 

The Gospel of John

 

The Book of 1 Thessalonicenses

 

The Book of 2 Thessalonicenses

 

Prophesies in the Old testamet

 

 

THE BOOK OF EPHESIANS

 

Lesson 1

 

Who was Paul?

 

This book was written to the church at Ephesus by the apostle Paul while he was in prison in Rome about the year 64.  This city is mentioned 17 times in the New Testament. 

 

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus”. Ephes. 1:1

 

“PAUL”

1.  Who was the Apostle Paul?

He was born in the city of Tarsus in the providence of Cilicia.     Acts 21:39

He was a Jew from the tribe of Benjamin.      Romans 11:1

He was a Roman citizen.     Acts 22:27

He was a member of the party called the Pharisees.    Acts 23:6

2.  He grew up in the city of Jerusalem and studied at the feet of a well known scholar by the name of Gamaliel.    Acts 22:3

3.   He was a member of the Sanhedren Counsel, the highest authority of the Jews.    Acts 26:10

4.   Paul persecuted the church before his conversion.    Acts 8:3

5.  His conversion on the road to Damascus.  Three times Paul told about this life changing experience in the book of Acts.  Acts 9:1-9, 25:5-11, 26:12-20

6.  Instructed and baptized in Damascus by Ananias.  Acts 9:9-19    Vs. 17-18

7.     After his conversion he spent three years in Arabia and      Damascus being instructed by the Lord for the work he was to do for the rest of his life.    Galatians 1:15-18

8. After his time in Arabia he went up to Jerusalem and visited with Peter for fifteen days.      Galatians 1:18-19

 9.  He began his ministry in Syria and Cilicia. Galatians 1:21    Acts 11:25-26

10. Taken to Antioch by Barnabas where he spent a year in the church.     Acts 11:25-26

11.  Sent to Jerusalem with an offering for the church there.

  Acts 11:29-30

12.  Returned to Antioch and continued working in the church.   Acts 12:25

13.  Called by God to begin his first missionary journey.  Acts 13:1-4

 

 

 

  Lesson 2

 

Paul, an Apostle

 

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus”.  

Ephesians 1:1

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ

What does the word apostle mean?  Who were the apostles?

The word “apostle” means one who is chosen for a specific mission, one chosen and sent forth to represent another person and carry out his desires.

Another dictionary defines APOSTLES as persons sent to accomplish a mission, especially the twelve apostles that Jesus commissioned to follow Him. An apostle represents the one sending and has authority to represent the sender in business, political and educational situations.

1.  Jesus was an apostle sent forth by his Father to this world.

      Hebrews 3:1-2   John 17:3-4

“And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?”  Luke 2:49

2.  The Twelve Apostles of Christ.

After a night of prayer Jesus chose 12 men to be his apostles.

Luke 6:12-16

The twelve were sent forth by the authority of Christ.

“And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach”.  Mark 3:14

The twelve apostles accompanied Jesus for three and a half years, being prepared and taught the Gospel that they would later carry to the world.

We know from the Bible that one was an unbeliever and later betrayed Jesus and then committed suicide.  Judas Iscariot was the one.   Matthew 27:4-5

It was prophesied in the Old Testament that another was to take his place and the Lord later called the apostle Paul for this mission.   Psalm 109:8

Paul was chosen by the Lord and called an apostle many times in the New Testament.    1 Corinthians 9:1-2

There are some who teach that they are apostles of Christ today but the authority of the twelve ended with their death.  Today there are no apostles with the authority that Christ gave to his twelve.

There is one church that teaches that the apostle Peter was the first Pope and passed his authority to the succeeding popes.  This is completely false as the Bible never says that Peter went to Rome and there is no proof in history of this also.  Paul was the only apostle that went to Rome and ministered there to the church.  The true church is not built upon Peter, but the testimony of the apostles, Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone.   Ephesians 2:19-21

3.   Every Christian today is to be an apostle of Christ, sent forth to carry the Gospel to this lost world.  We are to be witnesses and ambassadors for our Saviour.  Mark 16:15;  2 Corinthians 5:20;    Acts 1:8

 

 

Lesson 3

 

The will of God

 

 “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus”.  Ephesians 1:1

“by the will of God”

In the New Testament we find this phrase “the will of God” twenty five times and reference to it many more times.

1.  Jesus came into this world to do the Lord’s will and to die for our sins. Hebrews 10:4-10

       Hebrews 10:7    John 6:68

2.   God’s will is that all come to know Christ as their Saviour.   2 Peter 3:9    Ezekiel 33:11

3.   The will of God in the life of a Christian.

        Romans 12:1-2

God’s desire is for every Christian to seek to know the Lord’s will for his life in all that he does.   Ephesians 5:17

In God’s word there are many things that are clearly the will of the Lord for every Christian.

A.  God’s will is that every Christian be sanctified (separated from the world).   1 Thessalonians 4:3-7

B.  Every Christian should give thanks for his salvation and the blessings of God in his life.   1 Thessalonians 5:18

C.  The Lord desires that every Christian do that which is right.

1 Peter 2:15     Romans 12:17

D.  Sometimes the Lord sends sickness or other physical obstacles in the life of a Christian.   Paul suffered but the Lord said his grace was sufficient to sustain him.    2 Corinthians 12:9

       1 Peter 4:19

4.  SOME IDEAS ABOUT FINDING THE WILL OF GOD

A.  Anything that is contrary to the clear teaching of the Bible is never the will of God.     2 Thessalonians 5:22.

B.  Anything that would bring dishonor to the Lord is never the Lord’s will.     1 Corinthians 10:31

C.  George Mueller’s method:  1. Pray about it; 2. Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle, on one side put all the reasons for it and on the other side all the things against it;  3. Search the scriptures for any verse that might speak about it;  4. Wait until the Lord gives the answer.

CONCLUSION

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,  21  Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen”.  Hebrews 13:20-21

There is no greater way to bring glory to God than to know and do the will of God.

Someone has said:

There is no greater joy than to know the will of God for your life.

There is no greater satisfaction than to do the will of God.

There is no greater reward than to finish the will of God.

 

Lesson  4

 

Saints

 

 “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus”.  Ephesians 1:1

“to the saints”  

Sixty one times we find this word mentioned in the New Testament and thirty four in the Old Testament.  Who are the saints according to the Bible? 

In the Old Testament two words are used for saints: qaddish and chasid. Qaddish means holy and means to separate oneself from evil and dedicate oneself to God. This separation and union has reference to both things and people. All the items of worship were separated for the Lord's use and were sanctified and holy.

The altar    Exodus 29:37.

The oil    Exodus 30:25.

The garments     Exodus 31:10      Exodus 22:31.

This separation reflects God's very character, for He is holy.

“Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy” Leviticus 19:2.

Holiness is clearly portrayed as an encounter with the living God, which results in a holiness of life-style (Isaiah 6). Holiness is more than a one-time separating and uniting activity. It is a way of life. Saints are people who try to live holy lives.    Daniel 1:8.

The other word used for saints is Chasid and means "to be kind or merciful." These are qualities of God. Thus, chasid people are godly people because they reflect His character.

Saints praise the Lord for His lifelong favor.    Psalm 30:4

Saints rejoice in goodness.     2 Chronicles 6:41.

Saints know that God keeps their paths.     1 Samuel 2:9.

God's ever presence with his people enables them to walk as His saints.

In the New Testament one word, hagios, is used for saints. This word, like qadosh, means holy. Consequently, saints are holy people. There is only one reference to saints in the Gospels.

“And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,   Matthew 27:52.

In this verse, many Old Testament saints were resurrected after the Lord's crucifixion. The death of our Saviour provides life for those who believe in God.

In Acts, three of the four references occur in chapter 9 (vv. 13,32,41). First Ananias and then Peter talks of the saints as simply believers in Christ.

Paul continues this use in his Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, and Philemon. In each case, saints are simply people who name Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.

In the Book of Revelation, however, where the word saint occurs more times than in any other single book (13 times), the meaning is further defined. Saints not only name Jesus as Lord, but they are faithful and true witnesses for Jesus.      Revelation 2:10.

As the church grew false doctrines also entered in. Soon as the Catholic Church began to develop they considered witnesses who were martyred for their testimonies to be special saints. In fact, soon these saints were accorded special honor and then even worship. Unfortunately, in this false church the term saint came to be applied only to special people and not to all Christians as the Bible teaches.

Biblically, the term saint is correctly applied to anyone who believes in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour To believe in Jesus demands obedience and conformity to His will. A saint bears a true and faithful witness to Christ in speech and life-style. To be a saint is a present reality when a believer seeks to be conformed to the image of Christ.       Romans 12:1-2                             

 

Lesson 5

 

The City of Ephesus

 

"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus". Ephesians 1:1

Ephesus was one of the largest and most impressive cities in the ancient world, and was a political, religious, and commercial center in Asia Minor. It is associated with the ministries of Paul, Timothy, and the apostle John. This city played a significant role in the spread of early Christianity. Ephesus and its inhabitants are mentioned more than twenty times in the New Testament.

The ancient city of Ephesus was located in western Asia Minor at the mouth of the Cayster River and was an important seaport. Situated between the Maeander River to the south and the Hermus River to the north, Ephesus had excellent access to both river valleys which allowed it to flourish as a commercial center. Due to the accumulation of silt deposited by the river, the present site of the city is approximately five to six miles inland.

The first inhabitants of Ephesus worshipped a goddess called Artemis. Later the Romans identified Artemis with their goddess Diana. Around 560 B.C. Croesus of Lydia conquered Ephesus and most of western Asia Minor. Under Croesus the city was moved farther south and the magnificent temple, the Artemision, was constructed for the worship of Diana. In 356 a fire destroyed the Artemision.

Alexander the Great was reportedly born on the same day as the   Artemision fire. He took over the area in 334 B.C. His offer to finance the ongoing reconstruction of the temple was diplomatically declined. The rebuilt temple was completed about 250 B.C. and  became known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The Romans in 189 B.C. conquered and gave the city to the king of Pergamum as a reward for his military assistance. In 133 B.C., at the death of the last Pergamum ruler, the city came under direct Roman control.

Under the Romans, Ephesus thrived, reaching the pinnacle of its greatness during the first and second centuries of the Christian era. At the time of Paul, Ephesus was probably the fourth largest city in the world, with a population estimated at 250,000. During the reign of the emperor Hadrian, Ephesus was designated the capital of the Roman province of Asia. The grandeur of this ancient city is evident in the remains uncovered by archaeologists, including the ruins of the Artemision, the civic center, the temple of Domitian, gymnasiums, public baths, a theater with seating for 24,000, a library, and the commercial center, as well as several streets and private residences. Also discovered were the head and forearm of a colossal statue of the emperor Domitlan. Today the Turkish town of Sequk occupies the site of ancient Ephesus.

The Church at Ephesus

This church may have been started by Paul on his second missionary journey when he stopped by there with Priscilla and Aquila before returning to Antioch     Acts 18:18-21.

Priscilla and Aquila stayed in Ephesus and when Apollos came and preached in the synagogue Priscilla and Aquila took his aside and "expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly" 18:24-26.

Paul, on his third journey, spent more than two years in Ephesus teaching and preaching. He first ministered in the Jewish synagogue, but when the Jews hardened their hearts Paul separated the Christians and met with them in the school of Tyrannus. This continued for the space or two years and this is the first mention of a church not meeting in a house or synagogue    Acts 19: 1-10.

During this time the Lord allowed Paul to work special miracles and the church grew mightily and many people renounced their false teachings and publicly burned their books. Acts 19: 11-20

The success of his preaching at Ephesus triggered a riot headed by the silversmiths who feared that their business of selling miniature replicas of Diana and her temple would suffer severely Acts 19:24- 41. After the town clerk quelled the disturbance, Paul left Ephesus for Macedonia. At the conclusion of this missionary endeavor, on his way back to Palestine, Paul stopped at Miletus and sent for the elders of the church in Ephesus so that he might speak with them 20: 17. This was probably the last time the people from Ephesus saw the apostle Paul as he was soon take prisoner and sent to Rome.

Ephesus is also mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:32. Paul noted that he had fought with beasts at Ephesus. Most commentators understand this statement to be only a figurative reference to the strong and dangerous opposition he faced there. At the close of 1 Corinthians, Paul wrote that he would remain at Ephesus until Pentecost "for a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many    adversaries" 16:8-9.

Elsewhere in the New Testament Ephesus appears as the location of one of the seven churches addressed in Revelation 1:11; 2: 1. Ephesus was the leading city of Asia Minor, is appropriately the first of the seven churches. In 1 and 2 Timothy, Ephesus is mentioned three times. Timothy was urged to remain at Ephesus. 1 Timothy 1:3;   reference is made to Onesiphorus and "in how many things he  ministered unto me at Ephesus" 2 Tim. 1:16-18; and Paul stated that Tychicus had been sent to Ephesus 2 Timothy 4: 12.

 

 

Lesson 6

 

God’s Grace

 

 

Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ”.  Ephesians 1:2

Paul used this greeting in many of his letters.  Paul had experienced the grace of God and knew what real peace was.  Without the grace of God there can be no real peace.  What did Paul mean when he said “grace be to you”?  What is grace?

WHAT IS GRACE?

Undeserved and unmerited acceptance and love received from another, especially the characteristic attitude of God in providing salvation for undeserving sinners. For Christians, the word “grace” is virtually synonymous with the Gospel, God's gift of unmerited salvation in Jesus Christ. Grace is seen when an undeserving sinner is transformed by the grace of God into a new creature in Christ  Jesus.     2 Corinthians 5:17

Grace in the Old Testament

No one word in the Hebrew Old Testament is equivalent to the New Testament use of the word grace for God's unmerited and   undeserved gift of salvation.  In the Old Testament the words “grace”, “favor” and “mercy” are used to express the New  Testament meaning of grace. The Hebrew word for grace occurs some 56 times in the Old Testament and refers to the kind turning of one person to another in an act of assistance, such as aid to the poor  Proverbs 14:31.

In the Book of Psalms it is frequently used to call upon the gracious assistance of God in times of need.   Psalm 4:1;    6:2.

In other instances God is said to make one accepted or favorable in the eyes of another.     Genesis 39:21.

The closest time we see grace in the Old Testament is in the book of Jonah when we see God's merciful concern to save the wicked Ninevites.  The book of Hosea also powerfully conveys God's undeserved mercy and grace with the image of the prophet's love for his unfaithful wife Gomer. In the book of Exodus God's grace shines forth clearly, when God delivered an undeserving people many times in the wilderness before they entered into the promised  land. Still, it remained for the New Testament writers to catch the full  vision of God’s grace in the light of Jesus Christ.

Grace in the New Testament

We owe our distinctly Christian understanding of grace to the apostle Paul. The letters that Paul wrote employ the word grace twice as frequently as the rest of the New Testament writings combined. It was Paul’s wonderful experience of God's salvation that led to his profound understanding of God’s grace.

Paul's sense of God's grace owed much to his experience of having been transformed from the persecutor of the church to Christ's missionary to the Gentiles   1 Corinthians 15:9-10 1 Timothy 1:12-14

For Paul, grace is practically synonymous with the gospel. Grace brings salvation.     Ephesians 2:5, 8-9.

Grace brings eternal life.     Romans 5:21    Titus 3:7.

In Christ Jesus, God's grace is open to all people    Titus 2:11.

The receiving of God's grace is conditional upon human response. It can be rejected or accepted      John 6:66.

So strongly was Paul's sense of God's grace that he always referred to it in the opening or closing of his letters. His usual salutation   includes a wish for “grace” and “peace” upon his readers. Romans 1:7;      1 Corinthians 1:3.

Surprisingly the word “grace” does not occur in Matthew or Mark. The concept is there, in Jesus ministry to sinners and outcasts, in His healing ministry, and in such teachings as the parable of the laborers in the vineyard Matthew 20:1-8.

Luke, however, made extensive use of grace in both his writings. In the book Acts Luke and Paul refer to salvation as “grace”.   Acts 11:23; 13:43; 18:27; 20:24, 32.

Paul makes a wonderful reference to salvation through the grace of the Lord Jesus and how it is for all people.     Acts 15:11.

The word grace only occurs three times in John's Gospel, all in the first chapter and is equated with truth In 1:14.

In verse 16 it’s nature as a gift is emphasized; and in verse 17 it is seen in contrast to the law of Moses.

In the remainder of the John’s books, grace occurs only three times, all in salutations and benedictions:  2 John 3; Rev. 1:4; 22:21.

References to grace in the other New Testament writings are:

In Hebrews 12:28; 1 Peter 4:10  Grace is connected with our service.

In Hebrews 4:16 with our privilege of prayer. 

In Hebrews 2:9 It is equated with the gospel and with the sacrifice of Christ.

In 1 Peter 1:9-10; Hebrews 13:9 it is seen as a power which strengthens life.

In Romans 12:6 God’s grace grants gifts to Christians.

Above all, grace is the hallmark of the Christian experience and thus a frequent component in benedictions.

“Grace be with you all. Amen”.   Hebrews 13:25.

 

Lesson 7

 

God’s  Peace

 

“Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ”.  Ephesians 1:2

The word peace appears over 400 times in the Bible.  What is peace?  What does it mean to be at peace?

Someone has said peace is the lack of conflict.   When two nations are at peace, it means they are not quarrelling and fighting with one another.

It is a condition of freedom from disturbance, whether outwardly, as of a nation from war or enemies, or inwardly, within the soul.  The Hebrew word is Shalom, and primarily means, “soundness” and “good health”, but also signifies “prosperity”, “well-being in general”, and “a good relation to both man and God”.  In early times the Jewish people were harassed by their foes, and peace was the primary blessing they sought.

Christ Of The Andes

              High up in the Andes Mountains, there stands a bronze statue of Christ. Its base is granite, and the figure is fashioned from old cannons. It marks the boundary between Argentina and Chile.

              Engraved in Spanish are the words, “Sooner shall these mountains crumble into dust than Argentines and Chileans break the peace sworn at the feet of Christ the Redeemer.”

              For many years, the people of these two countries had been quarreling about their boundaries. Both countries were suffering from the mistrust created.

              In 1900, when the conflict was at its peak, some citizens begged their leaders to ask King Edward VII of Great Britain to mediate the dispute. On May 28, 1903, the two governments signed a treaty ending the conflict.

              During the celebration that followed, Senora de Costa, a noble lady of Argentina who had done much to bring about peace, conceived the idea of the monument.

              Senora de Costa had a statue of Christ shaped from the very cannons that had been used to strike terror into the hearts of the Chileans. It was taken to the summit of the Uspallata Pass and was set up at the point where the two countries meet amidst perpetual snow.

              At the dedication ceremony, the statue was presented to the world as a sign of the victory of good will. Senora de Costa knelt and prayed, “Protect, O lord, our native land. Ever give us faith and hope. May fruitful peace be our first patrimony and good example its greatest glory.”

              This monument stands today as a reminder that only Christ can bring real peace to this troubled world.

At the birth of Christ the angels proclaimed peace to this world through Christ    Luke 2:13-14.

In the Gospel of John we read that real peace comes from the Lord.  Jesus promised to give his peace to his disciples and to all Christians     John 14:27.

Christians have peace today because we have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  Knowing that we are a child of God and that He has promised to take care of us should bring peace to the heart of every Christian    John 20:19.

Just a few weeks later on the Day of Pentecost every believer was given the Holy Spirit to live in their heart and body and to give them the peace of God that passeth all understanding.   Philippians 4:7.

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you”?   1 Corinthians 3:16

Some promises in the Bible about the peace of God.

Real peace comes from the Lord    Psalms 29:11.

God’s peace is Abundant   Psalms 119:165.

It is a perfect peace    Isaiah 26:3.

It is like A River    Isaiah 66:12.

God’s protective hand gives peace    Psalm 4:8;    John 14:27

How to have peace. 

Psalm 34:14-15;    Romans 12:17-18;    Proverbs 3:1-2 

Real peace may not be the absence of all undesirable circumstances, difficulties or seemly undesirable situations that we may find ourselves in.

Several years ago the king of England desired to have a picture of peace and offered a good reward to the artist who painted the best picture that illustrated real peace.

Many artist painted beautiful pictures and a group of art critics were commissioned to be the judges and choose the picture that best  illustrated real peace.  After they examined all the pictures for several hours they finally narrowed the field down to two pictures.  One was of a beautiful field of flowers on a sunny day and the other of a stormy day with the wind blowing the trees and lighting in the air.  After carefully examining the second picture of the storm they saw a birds nest in one of the windblown trees with a mother quietly sitting on her nest of new born birdies.  She showed no fear of the storm and the judges decided that this picture best illustrated real peace.  The other they said was beautiful, but was stagnation.

And so it is with many Christians, sometimes they face great difficulties but have real peace in their hearts and lives because of the trust they have put in God’s diving protection.

The only real peace can only come from knowing the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called    Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace”.  Isaiah 9:6

 

 

Lesson 8

 

The Blessings of God, 1:3-14

 

 This passage deals with God’s plan for the world, His eternal plan; it deals with the great blessings of God which He pours out upon all those who trust His Son Jesus Christ as their Savior.

God’s blessings are heavenly blessings, and not always material.  They are many times “spiritual blessings” 

Spiritual blessings: “Spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ”.  Vs. 1:3

Throughout history God has used two methods of blessings to deal with man. Before Christ, God sometimes dealt with man by blessing him with material blessings. He promised Abraham land and wealth and fame. But his descendents, the nation of Israel misused and hoarded their material blessings and lost the blessing of God.

Instead of sharing their blessings with other nations, Israel isolated itself and claimed superiority and God-given rights over other  nations of the earth. However, since Christ, God deals with man spiritually, blessing him with spiritual blessings and many times with material blessings also.

Five things should be noted about spiritual blessings.

1.    Spiritual blessings are of the Spirit. It is the Spirit that controls man and the circumstances that surround him. A man may feel bad; he may be down, depressed and oppressed; but if his spirit is strong, he arises and conquers his feelings. He controls and overcomes the oppressing circumstances, and he lives a victorious life. But if his spirit is weak, he often lives a defeated life because the spirit is too weak to conquer. The Lord desires that we take advantage of our spiritual blessings that enable us to live a victorious life.

2.    Spiritual blessings are the very opposite of temporal blessings. They are the blessings of the inner man, the blessings of the   immortal. But of all blessings, they are the most glorious and satisfying. They are the blessings that erase the loneliness,   alienation, and purposelessness of man. They are the blessings that give man an overabundance of life.

3.    Spiritual blessings are vastly superior to material blessings. They are permanent and perfect and eternal, lasting forever. They are of the very same nature as God Himself. Spiritual blessings exist and can be experienced upon earth as we enjoy the material blessings the Lord allows us to have.

4.    Spiritual blessings are found only in Christ. Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead and exalted to the right hand of God the Father. He is in heaven, surrounded by all the heavenly atmosphere and blessings. All heavenly blessings are His; He is the Lord and Possessor of all blessings. Therefore, if a person is to experience the spiritual blessings, he must be in Christ. If a person is in Christ, then he sits in heaven with Christ.

How is this possible? When a person believes in Christ, God takes his faith and counts it as righteousness. God counts the person to be the same as Christ, righteous and acceptable. In God’s mind faith in Christ makes a person just like Christ: holy and righteous and acceptable for heaven.

Therefore, when a person believes in Christ, God’s mind sees the person in Christ; God sees the person identified with Christ, seated in heaven. And being seated in heaven, the person can experience all the blessings of heaven. Simply stated, to be in Christ means to   believe in God’s Son so much that God becomes elated—elated so much that He counts the person to be just like Christ: acceptable and worthy to be blessed with all the blessings of heaven

5. God first dealt with man through material blessings because man had to learn several things about earthly possessions.

a.   An earthly inheritance does not last. It is subject to being lost or stolen. We either watch our material possessions deteriorate or else we leave our material possessions behind for others.

b.     An earthly nation and material inheritance cannot bring peace and security. Peace and security are of the spirit. Earthly nations and material things are of the earth, of a   corruptible nature. Thus nations and material things do not solve the spiritual struggle that man senses within his own being. Neither can nations and material things erase the  spiritual divisions between men and between man and God.

c.     Man has within his inner being a basic selfishness and greed. Man finds a tendency, an unregulated urge that desires and seeks the material and hoards the corruptible to the neglect of the spiritual.

  d. Man must undergo a basic change of character to be freed of this urge, this tendency that causes so much bondage, disruption, and division within one’s self and between men. Man must be born again, made into a new creation, created into a new man—spiritually, permanently, perfectly, eternally. And such a spiritual creation must be performed by someone much greater than himself. Man must be recreated by the hand of God Himself.

God has blessings that are spiritual and heavenly, and not always material in nature.  In this lesson we will study these seven blessings the Lord has for the Christian.

1. God has chosen us to be holy and blameless.  v.4.

2. God has adopted us as children.  v.5-6.

3. God has redeemed us—forgiven our sins.  v.7.

4. God has given us wisdom and understanding.  v.8.

5. God has revealed the mystery of His will to us.  v.9-10.

6. God has given us an inheritance, that is, made us the inheritance of God.  v.11-12.

7. God has sealed us with the Holy Spirit.  v.13-14.

1. Vs. 1:4 Holy—Blameless: “Holy and without blame before Him in love”

The first blessing—God has chosen us to be holy and blameless. This is a wonderful verse. Just imagine! God determined before the world was ever created that He would have a people, a family of all those who would accept Christ as their Saviour and that they:

* would be “in Him,” that is, in His Son, Jesus Christ.

* would be “holy and without blame.”

* would live “before Him in love”—forever and ever.

This means a most wonderful thing; God wants us to be with Him. God does not want us separated from Him, gripped by sin and shame, sorrow and pain, death and hell. God wants us to live forever and ever with Him. He has “chosen us”—chosen believers—to live with Him.  Christians are to live holy lives and be without blame in this world.

1. The word “holy” in Hebrew means to be set apart and consecrated to God. It is the same word that is used for “saint” in Ephesians 1:1;    2 Corinthians 7:1;   Ephesians 4:24;   Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:15-16;    2 Peter 3:11.

 2. The words “without blame” mean to be free from sin, dirt, and filth; to be above reproach and without blemish; to be without fault and defilement    Philippians 2:15;    Colossians 1:21-22;    1 Thessalonians 3:13;    1 Thessalonians 5:23;   2 Peter 3:14.

Simply stated, the great blessing of God is perfection; God has    chosen the believer to be perfect. But note: the believer’s perfection is in Christ and in Christ alone. No man—not even a believer—can live a perfect and sinless life. No man is righteous or ever will be. Jesus Christ is the only Person who has ever lived a sinless and perfect life; therefore, He is the only Person who has the right to live with God.

Our only hope of ever living with God is to believe in  Jesus Christ—believe so much that God will take our faith and count it as the righteousness of Christ. This is the glorious gospel: God loves us so much that He has accepted us in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. He has taken our faith in Christ and counted it as the righteousness of Christ. Therefore, we are acceptable to God because we trust in Christ and in His righteousness—accepted as being perfect in the perfection of Jesus Christ.

 2.  Vs. 1:5-6 Adoption— Predestination:  “having predestinated us unto the adoption of children”

The second blessing—God has adopted us as children. How  unbelievable—what a glorious privilege to be adopted as a child of God! Note this:

*    It was predestinated, that is, planned that all those who accept Christ as their Saviour should be adopted into the family of God.

*    It was the pleasure of God to adopt us—“the good pleasure of His will”. And it was His purpose to adopt us, and His purpose and His pleasure and His will were all good.

This is most striking when we consider how sinful and depraved we were and how much we rebelled, and rejected God. The fact that God wills and finds pleasure in adopting us and that He counts it as good is too much to believe. Yet, it is exactly what He says. Now note two significant things.

1.   The word “predestinated” does not mean that God chooses some persons for salvation and everyone else for eternal punishment. Scripture teaches the exact opposite    John 3:16; Romans 10:13; 1 Tim. 2:3-4;    1 Tim. 2:5-6;    2 Peter 3:9;    1 John 2:2.

The word “predestination” means to destine or appoint beforehand, to foreordain, to predetermine. The basic Greek word means to mark off or to set off the boundaries of something.  It like the boundaries of a football field, if the ball crosses the side line, it is out of bounds. The boundaries are made before the game.

The idea is a glorious picture of what God is doing for the believer. The boundary is marked and set off for the believer: the boundary of being adopted as a child of God. The believer shall be adopted, made just like Christ and conformed to His very likeness and image. Nothing can stop God’s purpose for the believer. It is predestinated, set and marked off. The believer may struggle and suffer through the sin and shame of this world; he may even stumble and fall or become discouraged and down-hearted. But if he is a genuine child of God, he will not be totally defeated. He will soon arise from his fall and begin to follow Christ again. He is predestinated to be a brother of Christ, to worship and serve Christ throughout all eternity and Christ will not be disappointed.

God loves His Son too much to allow Him to be disappointed by losing a single brother. Jesus Christ will have His joy fulfilled; He will see every brother of His adopted and conformed perfectly to His image. He will have the worship and service of every person chosen to be His by God the Father. The believer’s eternal destiny, that of being an adopted brother to the Lord Jesus Christ, is determined. The believer can rest assured of this glorious truth. God has predestinated him to be delivered from the suffering and struggling of this sinful world   Ephesians 1:4-5;    Ephesians 3:11-12.

 2. The word “adoption” means to place as a son

Adoption is by Jesus Christ and by Him alone. God accepts us because we believe and trust His Son Jesus Christ. He tells us plainly that He wants His Son to have many brothers and sisters who will love, worship, and serve Him both now and forever. Therefore, when a person wants to live for Jesus Christ—wants to live for Him so much that he entrusts all he is and has to Christ—God takes that person’s trust and adopts him, makes him a brother or sister to Jesus Christ    Romans 8:28 .

3. God’s purpose in adoption is that we might live forever—live to the praise of the glory of His grace    Ephesians 2:7 .

 3. Vs. 1:7  Redemption “Redemption through his blood”  

The third blessing—God has redeemed us and forgiven our sins. The word “redemption” is one of the great words of the Bible. It conveys the idea of deliverance or setting a man free by paying a ransom. For example, a prisoner of war or a kidnapped person is ransomed or redeemed; or a convicted criminal is freed from the penalty of death. In every case the man is powerless to free himself. He cannot pay the penalty demanded to liberate himself from his situation or bondage. Note several significant facts.

1. Man has been captivated or kidnapped by several forces.

a. The force of sin. All men sin and cannot help but sin. Man is sold under sin. Sin has captivated him  Romans 3:23; Romans 7:14.

b. The force of corruption and death. The whole creation is corrupt (Romans 8:21). Everything wastes away; it deteriorates, decays, ages, and eventually dies. Corruption and death have captivated man. (read 1 Cor. 15:42, 50; Galatians 6:8; 2 Peter 1:4; 2 Peter 2:12, 19.)

c. The force of Satan. All unbelievers are under the power and influence of Satan. He has blinded their minds to the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4). He works in the children of disobedience
(Ephesians 2:2). They are captivated by him (1 John 5:19).

2. Three key ideas are included in the concept of redemption.

a. Man needs to be liberated, delivered, and set free.

b. Man is unable to liberate himself. He has no energy, no power, no ability to free himself.

c. God has redeemed man by the blood of His Son Jesus Christ. God Himself has paid the ransom for man’s release—the ransom of a life for a life. God gave His own Son so that man might be set free. Man has been redeemed through the blood of Jesus Christ (Leviticus 17:11; Matthew 20:28; Romans 3:24; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23; Col. 1:14; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 9:15; 1 Peter 1:18f; 2 Peter 2:1; Revelation 5:9; 14:3-4). This is extremely important to note: when a man truly calls upon the Lord to save him, God buys him right out of the marketplace of this corruptible life (Romans 10:13). God         redeems him once for all, purchases and removes him from further sale. He is redeemed eternally (Galatians 3:13; Galatians 4:5; Colossians  4:5).

3.  God redeems man because of the riches of His grace He loves man with an unbelievable love—a love so great that it spurs Him to do whatever is necessary to save man     Leviticus 17:11.

Matthew 20:28;   Romans 3:24;   1 Corinthians 6:20;   1 Corinthians 7:23;   Ephesians 1:7;  Colossians 1:14;   1 Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 9:15;   1 Peter 1:18-19;   1 Peter 2:1;   Revelation 5:9;  Revelation 14:3-4.

4.  Vs. 1:8  Wisdom, Prudence: “hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence”. 

The fourth blessing is that God has given us wisdom and understanding. Again, note that both blessings come to us through Jesus Christ. Common sense tells us that God will give His wisdom and understanding only to those who honor Him and His Son.

1. The word “wisdom” means seeing and knowing the truth. It is seeing and knowing what to do. It grasps the great truths of life. It sees the answers to the problems of life and death, God and man, time and eternity, good and evil—the deep things of God and of the universe.

This wisdom is found only in Jesus Christ and is promised only to those who search after Him with all their heart   1 Cor. 1:30; 1 Cor. 2:10-16; Ephesians 1:8; Phil. 2:5; James 1:5;    Romans 11:33;   1 Corinthians 1:24;   1 Corinthians 1:30;   1 Corinthians 2:9-16;   Ephesians 1:8;   Colossians 2:3.

 2. The word “prudence” means seeing how to use and do the truth. It is seeing the direction to take. It is understanding, insight, the ability to solve day to day problems. It is a down-to-earth practical understanding of things    Ephesians 1:17-18;  Colossians 1:9;   Colossians 2:2;   2 Timothy 2:7;   1 John 5:20; Proverbs 2:6, 8:14.

 5.  Vs. 1:9-10 Mystery, of God’s Will: “the mystery of His will” 

The fifth blessing—God has revealed the mystery of His will to us. This is the key thought and great theme of Ephesians. Remember: in the Bible a mystery is not something mysterious and difficult to understand. Rather, it is a truth that has been locked up or sealed (Daniel 12:9) in God’s plan for ages until He was ready to reveal it to man. When the time came, He unlocked the truth and opened it up to man. A mystery is a truth revealed by God that had never before been known. The mystery of God’s will can be simply stated: “God is to gather together and unify all things in a spirit of peace and harmony—all things, both visible and invisible. All things are to be brought to a peaceful and eternal state under the authority and glorification of Jesus Christ. God is moving history toward that climactic consummation” 1 Corinthians 2:7-16.

Paul’s great thought in Ephesians 1:9-10 says several things:

1. God has an eternal purpose and plan for the world, and it is His pleasure to bring it about. He joys and rejoices to bring it about, and what He does is good. It is all good.

2. There is terrible division throughout the universe. The need for God “to gather all things in heaven and earth” indicates division (Ephesians 6:12). And the fact that God’s primary concern through all the ages has been to harmonize the divisions shows how devastating and horrible the division really is.

3. There is to be a consummation, a climax of history—a fulness of time, a new order—in which all things will be unified and harmonized and brought to a peaceful state under the authority of Jesus Christ. History is in the hands of God. The word Paul uses is “dispensation” which literally means, “household arrangement.” The idea is that the universe is a house under the management of God. God is handling, planning, arranging, and administering all things toward a climactic consummation for Christ and His followers. In that climactic day all disharmony and division and evil will be subjected and harmonized under Christ. A new and perfect and eternal creation will be established for the Lord and His followers throughout the universe   Galatians 4:4-6;   Ephesians 1:4;   Ephesians 3:9-11;   Philippians 2:9-11;   James 1:18.

 4. Jesus Christ is God’s appointed Head over the new creation and new order. He is God’s Head over the church, which is God’s new creation in the present world and order of things (Ephesians 1:22-23). And He is to be God’s Head over the new creation in the future world and order of things James 1:18;    Ephesians 1:22-23;   Ephesians 4:15;   Ephesians 5:23;   Colossians 1:18;   Colossians 2:19.

 5. The church is the Lord’s instrument of reconciliation and peace, His representative body upon the earth. As the instrument of the Lord, the church is to do two things.

a. The church is to take Christ and His message of reconciliation and peace to the world. Through “His body, the church,” all division and disorder among men are to be condemned, and His message of harmony and peace is to be proclaimed.

b. The church is to practice reconciliation upon the earth. “In the church” all laws, barriers, and divisions are to be done away with. They are to be nonexistent. The church is to be a speck, an embryo of heaven upon the earth   2 Corinthians 5:19-21;  Ephesians 4:11-12.

 6.  Vs. 1:11-13 Inheritance:   we have obtained an inheritance”

The sixth blessing—God has given us an inheritance, that is, made us the inheritance of God Himself. Note several significant points.

1. The inheritance was predestinated, that is, foreordained. God works all things out after the counsel of His own will. He must, for only God knows what is best. And nothing could be better than to be given the greatest inheritance possible: that of being made the very heritage of God, the very possession of God.

2. The inheritance is clearly stated in the words “that we should be,” that is, that we should exist eternally. God gives the believer an eternal state of being—an eternal existence. In fact, the word “inheritance” means heritage. God takes the believer and makes him His own heritage and possession. The believer himself is made the inheritance of God. He is given the glorious privilege of being, of living and existing forever as God’s most cherished possession and heritage. He becomes the most precious gem and treasure of God. This is the believer’s inheritance, his heritage.

 “Yet they are thy people and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and by thy stretched out arm” Deuteronomy 9:29;  Exodus 19:5;   Deuteronomy 32:9;   Exodus 19:5;   Psalm 135:4;   Isaiah 43:1;  Malachi 3:17;  2 Corinthians 4:7;   Ephesians 2:19-21;   1 Peter 2:9.

 3. The reason God makes us His inheritance is that we should exist to the praise of His glory. We shall live forever in the new heavens and earth as the perfect demonstration of His glory. The fact that God would take sinners—totally depraved sinners—and save them will cause praise upon praise to be heaped upon His name. His unbelievable love will be seen and glorified forever and ever by all creatures—both of heaven and of earth, both visible and invisible, both now and yet to be. All shall stand in stark amazement at God’s spectacular glory—the glory of His eternal grace and love shown to the world in His dear Son, Jesus Christ   Ephesians 1:6;   Hebrews 13:14-15;   1 Peter 2:9;   Revelation 5:11-12;   Revelation 7:9-12,  19:1.

 4. How does a person receive the inheritance? This verse says there are two ways   Ephesians 1:13.

a. By hearing the Word of God. A person has to hear the Word of God before he can ever know the truth, the glorious gospel of salvation. He cannot believe in Jesus Christ unless he first hears about Christ   Romans 10:17;   1 Peter 1:23.

 b. By believing and trusting in Jesus Christ    John 5:24; Romans 10:9-10.

 7. Vs. 1:13-14  Holy Spirit— Seal— Guarantee:    “we were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise”

The seventh blessing—God has sealed us with the Holy Spirit. The word “earnest” means pledge, guarantee, a down payment. The Holy Spirit is given to the believer to give the believer perfect assurance of his salvation. We know that we are redeemed—that we are God’s cherished possession—by the Holy Spirit who lives within us.   Romans 8:16;   2 Corinthians 1:22;   Galatians 4:6.

 

Lesson 9

 

Faith and Love—Ephesians 1:15-23

 

 

Vs. 15-16 In these two verses Paul gives thanks for the church at Ephesus after hearing of their faith in the Lord Jesus and love for all the saints of God.

Vs. 15  Faith and love go together.  If we really have the love of the Lord in our hearts we will have no problem loving others and showing this love in a concrete way   James 2:14-17

Vs. 16  He assures them that he will not cease to pray for them.

The Bible exhorts us to pray one for another   James 5:16;   1 Samuel 12:23

Vs. 17  Here Paul tells us the purpose of his prayer, what he is praying for.

Paul tells them he is praying for them to have wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ   2 Peter 3:18

We need God’s help in discerning the truth because not everyone who claims to have a revelation from the Lord is a true preacher      1 John 4:1

God has given us the promise that the Holy Spirit will give us wisdom and knowledge   1 Corinthians 2:11;   James 1:5

Vs. 18-19   Here Paul tells us of the hope and inheritance that we have as God’s children. 

Vs. 18  The hope of eternal life and the inheritance he has for us.

Vs. 19  Here we have the promise of His power. 

Paul tells us of this power   Romans 1:16

Vrs. 20-23  Here we have the source of this mighty power.

Vs. 20 “wrought in Christ”

The resurrection is God’s demonstration of His mighty power.  No other religion can say that their founder or leader has risen from the dead.  Budda, Mohaman and all others are still in the grave.

Vs. 21 The name of Christ has been exalted above every other name in this world and the world to come.  In heaven it is the name of Christ that we will reverence and adore throughout all eternity. 

Vs. 22-23 Christ is the head of the church and we are His body, the “body of Christ”.

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular”.  1 Corinthians 12:27

 

Lesson 10

 

You—2:1-2

 

Vs. 1 “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;”

Who does this word “you” include?   Who are those who need to be quickened?

The Bible clearly teaches that this word includes every person who has ever been born.  Everyone needs to be saved because sin is    universal and every single person is a sinner and under the condemnation of God’s judgment for those sins.

Some seem to think because they are not quite a bad as others that they are ready for heaven.  Others think that because of their good works and moral life they are ready to meet God.  But the Word of God is very clear that we are all sinners and until we come to Christ for salvation we are lost and condemned to hell.

Paul tells us in the book of Romans that sin is universal. Rom. 3:23

King Solomon told us in the book of Ecclesiastes that no one is without sin.  Ecclesiastes 7:20

The prophet Isaiah also taught that all have gone astray and need a Saviour.  Isaiah 53:6

It matters not what our position in life may be; rich or poor, educated or illiterate or our position of prominence in this life, all need to recognize their sin and come to Christ for forgiveness.

Vs. 1 “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;”

What does the word “quicken” mean?  It is an old English word that means “living, alive and to make alive, revive, refresh, restore”.

“For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will”.  John 5:21

Only our God has the power to make alive that which is dead.  The universal desire of every living creature is to live forever or be restored to health after they have died.  One company offers to freeze your body so it can be healed when they find a cure for whatever disease you might have.   This is a waste of money as God is the only one who can make alive both our soul and body in the resurrection.

“And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead”.  Acts 10:42

“My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word”.  Psalm 119:25

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses”.  Colossians 2:13

Vs. 1 “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;”

What does it mean to be “dead”?  Physically it is when the soul and spirit separate from the body and the body no longer has life.   Death is separation.  When a person dies he is separated from the land of the living.  He can no longer communicate with those of this world and his body no longer has life and begins to deteriorate until it returns to dust from which it was made.

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return”.  Genesis 3:19

“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it”.  Ecclesiastes 12:7

Physical death is universal the same as spiritual death, men are born physically alive but spiritually dead and in need of a rebirth to make the spirit alive.

Why is the spirit of man dead?  It is because of trespasses and sin.

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”.  Romans 6:23

Men die because they are sinners and sinners are dead because of sin.

“Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death”.  James 1:15

Adam sinned and sin entered into the human race and we are all sinners by choice and by inheritance.

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”.   Romans 5:12

Vs. 2  “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience”. 

Here Paul reminds the believers that before they were saved they walked according the manners and customs of this world.  They were part of the world and it’s ungodly ways.

The apostle John tells us what is the course of this world and its ways.

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world”.  1 John 2:15-16

The course of this world is to succumb to the “lust of the flesh” and be enticed by the “lust of the eyes” and be dominated by “pride”.

These words are self explanatory:  when someone falls into sin it is because of his or hers desire for ungodly fleshly pleasure.  Overeating can become a sin when a person allows the lust of the flesh to do that which can harm the body.  

Covetousness is when someone wants that which the eyes desire and doesn’t need or have the right too, and this desire turns into a sin.

Pride when desired for the wrong purpose can cause many dangerous results.

“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall”.  Proverbs 16:18

Who is the “the prince of the power of the air”?

This is none other than the Satan, also called the Devil and the dragon and that old serpent.

“And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years”.  Revelation 20:2

It was the Devil who came to temp Christ and offered Him all the kingdoms of the world if he would worship him.  Satan is seen throughout the Bible as the adversary of God and has power over this world.  He lives in the air as this world and heaven are no longer his dwelling place.  He goes about because he has no dwelling.

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.  Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;  And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me”.  Matthew 4:6, 8-9

Satan is one the three angels named in the Bible who were created to be the leaders of God’s angels but because of pride Satan lost his position and became the adversary of God.  He lost his authority in Heaven and since then has tried to destroy what the Lord has done on this earth.  Michael, Gabriel and Satan are the only three angels named in the Bible.   It was Satan’s pride that brought his downfall.  Isaiah 14:12-15 ,  Ezekiel 28:11-19.

Who is the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience?  It is Satan himself.

“And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness”.  1 John 5:19     “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”.  1 Peter 5:8

Satan is the enemy of the unsaved as well as the saved.  He tries to keep people from turning to Christ and also does all he can to  destroy the testimony of Christians.  He works day and night to   hinder the work of God.

 “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night”.  Revelation 12:10

One day Satan will be destroyed forever.

“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever”.  Revelation 20:10

 

 

Lesson 11

 

What we were—2:3-9

 

Verse 3  

“Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

Paul says “all”.  Every person who has ever lived has walked in a manner controlled by our old nature,  the sinful nature we were all born with.  Before a person comes to Christ for salvation and receives the indwelling Holy Spirit,  he lives according to his old nature and conscience.

“In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.   But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.”  Colossians 3:7-10

The word conversation means our “manner or way of life” or “the way we live and talk”  The reason people sin is because of their old nature which desires carnal and sensual pleasure.  Men drink       because it gives them a sense of pleasure for awhile.  

“by nature”  means that we were born into the family of Satan.

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 8:44

There are only two families in the world,  the family of God and the family of Satan.  Just as we are born physically into the family of Satan, we must also be born again into the family of God.

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”  John 3:5-7

V - 4

 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us” 

What is mercy?  It is very similar to grace.  It is receiving something that we don’t merit or deserve.  It is when someone shows compassion and does something for us that we are undeserving of.  It is doing something for another who cannot repay us.

God is the supreme example of mercy.

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which  according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3

The mercy of God is an abundant mercy,  beyond what we deserve.

The greatest demonstration of God’s mercy when He sent his only Son into this world to die for our sins.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

Verse 5

“Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, by grace ye are saved;”

Lost people are like a dead man who has no power over his body. A corpse cannot talk or move.  We were dead before we came to Christ and unable to save ourselves. Paul says we were dead in sins. We were unable to come to Christ until the Holy Spirit worked in our hearts.

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”  John 6:44

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”  John 6:64

This is not predestination as some would have us to think, but the Holy Spirit working through the message of salvation by grace when a lost sinner hears or reads about this great salvation.

Verse 6-7

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”  

Just as Christ rose from the dead,  so we are raised from our dead nature to sit together with Christ.  While we are still here on earth we are not sitting physically with Christ in Heaven,  but in God’s eyes we are already there in our spirit waiting for the resurrection of our bodies at the last day.

“Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”  John 11:24

The phrase “ages to come” speaks of our eternal home in heaven. It is then that we will realize how great was his grace toward us.

Verse 8-9

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

In these two verses Paul concludes this paragraph about our salvation.

By God’s grace we are saved.  Salvation is a gift from the Lord.  You cannot buy it, trade something for it, work for it or in any other way do something to get it.

Only when we believe the message of Salvation and call upon the name of the Lord by faith can we be saved.

“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”  Acts 16:31

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”   Romans 10:13                            

 

Lesson 12

 

2:10-22

 

Vs. 10  “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them”. 

The word “workmanship” means that which has been made by someone.  A clock has been made by a clockmaker. The clock maker had a purpose in making it.  It was made to be useful and tell the correct time.  In the same way when the Lord saves us it is for a purpose.

Paul tells us that we have been saved to practice good works and that we should continually walk in them.  Being a Christian is not something we do once a week on Sunday morning,  it is a daily walk with the Lord.  Walk signifies progress.  You can’t walk without going someplace unless you are on a treadmill.

The phrase “before ordained” signifies that the Lord planned for his children to walk in good works. 

Vs. 11  “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the  Circumcision in the flesh made by hands.” 

The phrase “gentiles in the flesh” signifies any person who was not born a Jew. The Jews called these people “uncircumcised”.  Circumcision was a physical sign given to Abraham to signify that he had been obedient to the call of God.  Baptism today is the sign God has given to his children to demonstrate to the world their faith in Christ. Circumcision like baptism is only an outward sign of an inward change of the heart.  Neither one can wash away our sins and give us a place in Heaven.

Vs. 12  “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” 

Here Paul refers to the time before we came to Christ for salvation, “at that time”.  Here he mentions five facts about our past life and the life of every person who is not saved.

1. “without Christ” means to be lost and alone in this world of sin.  Many children are orphans, without a father or mother or both to guide them in the right direction.  A person without Christ has no one to guide them. 

2. “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel” This term “commonwealth” signifies a body of persons joined together politically for the common good of the whole body.  Four states are called Commonwealths.  This term was first used in England after the death of  King Charles 1 of England.  Instead of being ruled by one man they instituted a democratic rule of Government.  The idea behind a “commonwealth” is that all the people are to share in the wealth and benefits of a state or nation.

Israel as a nation was to have been a commonwealth, but they failed miserably in that each tribe wanted their own way and set of rules.  They failed to work together for the good of all the people.

3. “strangers from the covenants of promise”  A lost person cannot claim the promises given in the Bible to Christians.  Christians have hundreds of promises given to them.

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:4

4. “having no hope”  How sad that a person without Christ has no hope of eternal life.  That is why when difficulties and problems come along many times they fall into depression and even end their own lives.

5. “without God in the world”  To be without Christ is indeed sad, but to have no belief in a superior being,  to be an atheist is   indeed very sad.  And yet today more and more people claim to have no belief in God. 

Vs. 13  “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” 

No one likes to be separated from their loved ones.  Sometimes   because of work or war men have to be separated from their families and countries.  But what a joy when they can be reunited with their families and loved ones. 

We were separated from God because of sin but Paul says, “but now” 

Because of what Christ did for us on the cross of Calvary we can be reunited with our maker and Saviour. 

Vrs. 14-15  “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;.” 

Peace is the absence of conflict and war.  Before we were saved Satan was warring against us,  trying to keep us from finding peace with God.  We were separated from God by a wall of sin and human efforts to reach God.

“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”  Isaiah 59:2

The Jews were trying to find peace in “the law of commandments contained in ordinances” (The Ten Commandments, etc.).

The phrase “one new man” refers to Christ who alone is able to make peace between man and God.  Human efforts will never bring a person to the peace that Christ offers us.

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”  1 Timothy 2:5

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”  Acts 4:12

Vrs. 16-17  “And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.” 

Today there is neither Jew or gentile, but every saved person is part of the “body of Christ”. (1 Corinthians 12:27).

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”  Galatians 3:28.

Today the Lord accepts all believers whether Jew or Gentile in the same way.  The Jews have no advantage over the gentiles because the Lord used them to give us the Old Testament. 

God’s only plan for getting to Heaven is by way of the cross.

Vs. 18  “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” 

It is by the Holy Spirit that we are able to communicate with the Heavenly Father.  He prays for us and helps us as we pray.

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”  Romans 8:26-27

Vs. 19  “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;.” 

Before we were saved we were “strangers and foreigners” to the kingdom of God. 

“Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.”  Matthew 25:11-12

Vs. 20-22  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The church here is compared to a building that is being constructed. First there must be the foundation, and when the material is joined together correctly it becomes a habitation. 

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers . . .”  1 Corinthians 12:27-28

 

Lesson 13

 

The Age of Grace—3:1-12

 

Vs. 1

The words “I, Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles”, refer to Paul’s imprisonment in Rome because of his service for Christ (cf. 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:8; Philemon 1:9), and more particularly because of his ministry as the apostle to the Gentiles (2 Timothy 1:11-12).

Vs. 2

Today we are living in the age of grace - a dispensation-, during which time God deals with people on the basis of His grace. God’s grace is reigning supremely. This age stands in contrast to the age of law that preceded it and the age of judgment that will follow it.

When we speak of the age of grace, we do not mean that God did not demonstrate His grace in other ages. Obviously He offered grace to men who were under the law; the entire ceremonial law illustrated God’s grace. It is equally obvious that God will offer grace to men in the judgment age because millions will be saved during that period (Revelation 7). It is also evident that during our age of grace, God’s law- that is, His moral law- still has a vital role (Romans 13:9) and at times God acts in judgment (Acts 5:1-11).

Vs. 3-5

The apostle Paul learned the great mystery of the Church by divine revelation.  (Galatians 2:10-12)  In the Old Testament we do not find the word Church as we know it in the New Testament.  God dealt with individual families and later the nation of Israel.  But God’s plan for a group of believers joined together and known as the Church was in seed form in the Old Testament.  Paul calls it a mystery revealed to men by the Holy Spirit.

Vs. 6

The mystery revealed.  That through the Gospel (the message of Christ death, burial and resurrection) all men whether Jew or gentile are one in Christ and part of the New Testament Church.  The promises of the New Testament are for all men, rich or poor, Jew or gentile, leaned or unlearned.  The message of the church is; “whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely”  Revelation 22:17.

Vs. 7-8

Paul realized that the revelations of truth he received were gifts of God’s marvelous grace. That he had been chosen to be the steward of such far-reaching revelations never ceased to astonish Paul.  His insights were certainly not generated by the strength of his own intellect. They were just one more evidence of God’s mighty power working within him.

The word “minister” stresses not the idea of subjection as a slave but the idea of service or serving, as one who is a waiter (John 2:5, 9). This service has its basis in the gift of God’s grace.

When Paul became a servant of the gospel, God gave him the ability to share effectively the gospel of Christ. You may not be an apostle or even an evangelist, but God will give you   opportunities to tell others about Christ. And with the opportunities he will provide the ability, courage, and power. Whenever an opportunity presents itself, make yourself available to God as his servant.

Paul considered himself less than the least of the apostles, and yet we know that he is considered the greatest of them.  It was Paul who wrote many of the books of the New Testament and made at least three missionary journeys and a trip to Rome to share the Gospel there also.

 Vs. 9-11

“the fellowship of the mystery”.  Through salvation in Christ we can all enjoy the fellowship of Christ and the church.

The phrase “by the church” tells us that this is the means by which God uses to preach the Gospel to this lost world of sin.

“His eternal purpose” signifies that this plan for bringing all peoples into one body, the church, was eternal.  From the  moment Adam and Eve sinned God’s eternal plan came into being.

“. . . the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”  Revelation 13:8

Vs. 12

“we all have boldness and access”  We are all priests of God and can enter directly into His presence at any moment.

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:16

It is an awesome privilege to be able to approach God with freedom and confidence. Most of us would be apprehensive in the presence of a powerful ruler. But thanks to Christ, by faith we can enter directly into God’s presence through prayer. We know we’ll be welcomed with open arms because we are God’s children through our union with Christ. Don’t be afraid of God. Talk with him about everything. He is waiting to hear from you.

Vs. 13

His sufferings were for their gain and glory. If Paul had not dispensed to the Gentiles the stewardship of God’s grace, then Jews would not have been hostile to him and he would not have been imprisoned. His preaching brought salvation to the Gentiles, but it incurred the wrath of many Jews on him. However, many others became members of the church, Christ’s body, and this was their glory.

Why should Paul’s suffering make the Ephesians feel honored (“which are your glory”)? If Paul had not preached the gospel, he would not be in jail—but then the Ephesians would not have heard the Good News and have been converted. Just as a mother endures the pain of childbirth in order to bring new life into the world, Paul endured the pain of persecution in order to bring new believers to Christ. Obeying Christ is never easy. He calls you to take up your cross and follow him (Matthew 16:24)—that is, to be willing to endure pain so that God’s message of salvation can reach the entire world. We should feel honored that others have suffered and sacrificed for us so that we might reap the benefit.

 

Lesson 14

 

Paul’s Prayer—3:14-21

 

 

Here in these last eight verses of chapter three we have Paul’s prayer for the church at Ephesus.

Vs. 14

What is the cause which makes him pray? We are back again at the basic idea of the letter.  Paul has painted his great picture of the Church.  This world is in disintegrated chaos; there is division everywhere, between nation and nation, between man and man and within a man's inner life.  It is God's desire that all these discordant elements should be brought into one in Jesus Christ.  But this cannot be done unless the Church carries the message of Christ to every man.  It is for that cause that Paul prays.  He is praying that the people within the Church may be of one spirit so that the Body of Christ, the church may have an effective witness to a lost world. 

In the early churches there were divisions and conflicts because of many things. 

“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”  1 Corinthians 1:10

Paul’s greatest desire was that there might be unity in the churches he started.

What is the position for prayer?  Here Paul said he bowed on his knees.

The Jews customary position for prayer was standing up with their arms extended toward heaven.  (1 Timothy 2:8, Psalm 141:2,  Luke 18:11)

In the Old Testament there were many other positions for prayer.  Some fell on their knees as Solomon (1 Kings 8:54).  Some prayed in bed  (Psalm 63:6).

Vs. 15

Who is the whole family that Paul named in prayer?

I believe that he is referring to the Christians at Ephesus and also to other Christians that he had led to the Lord.  Some may have already left this world in death and he thanks the Lord for their salvation.  As Christians we should pray for the “whole family of God”, that is, Christians in other churches and missionaries as they labor in many parts of this world.

Vs. 16

 Here Paul prays that the believers would be granted (given) God’s power according to His riches in glory.

The Lord’s power is unlimited.  Paul said:

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13

The angel told Mary:

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.”  Luke 1:37

“To be strengthened  with might”

The word “strengthen” means to be made strong, tough, enduring. It means to have energy or force; to act, endure, or resist that which is wrong..

This strength comes from the Holy Spirit that lives within us, “the inner man”. 

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

 Vs. 17

As Christians we live by faith, not by sight.

Four times we find the phrase, “the just shall live by faith.” in God’s word.

We cannot see the Holy Spirit within us, but we can feel His presence and know that He is there by faith.

We are to be “rooted and grounded in love”.

The idea is that we are to be like a tree that has strong roots in the earth and is well grounded.  {Psalm 1:3, Ephesians 4:14}

“Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.”  Hebrews 13:9

Vs. 18-19

The word “comprehend” means to understand, realize and experience God’s love. 

The natural man, one who is lost can never comprehend or understand God’s love through mere knowledge.

God’s love is beyond human understanding or reason.

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8

How God could save a sinner like John Newton who wrote the song “Amazing Grace” is beyond our understanding.

The natural man cannot understand how God can love lost sinners: thieves, murderers and every kind of sinners.

“filled with the fullness of God”. 

Paul exhorted this church to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”  Ephesians 5:18

Vs. 20-21

In these closing verses of his prayer Paul thanks the Lord for his unlimited power to do abundantly more than we can think or imagine when we realize the power we have within us, the Holy Spirit. 

As we honor Christ in the church, we bring glory to our     heavenly Father. 

“Throughout all ages”. 

Jewish people customarily ended their prayers with a blessing to God; sometimes the blessings closed with “forever and ever” (cf. 1 Chron. 16:36; Psalm 106:48). It was likewise customary to respond to prayers and benedictions with “Amen.”.  This word is used in both the Old and New Testaments and means: “let it be so.”  This word signifies something as certain, sure, valid, truthful and faithful.

In the gospels, Jesus used “amen” to affirm the truth of His own statements. English translations use “verily,” “truly,” "I tell you the truth" to translate Jesus amen. He never said it at the end of a statement, but always at the beginning: “Amen, I say to you” In John's Gospel, Jesus said “Amen, amen.” That Jesus prefaced His own words with “amen” is especially important, for He affirmed that the kingdom of God is bound up with His own person and emphasized the authority of what He said.

“Blessed be the LORD God of Israel forever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the LORD.” 1 Chronicles 16:35

This prayer of praise to God ends Part One of Ephesians. In the first section, (chapters 1-3) Paul described the timeless role of the church. In Part Two (chapters 4-6), he explains how church members should live in order to bring about the unity God wants. As in most of his books, Paul first lays a doctrinal foundation and then makes practical applications of the truths he has presented.  He tell us how to live the Christian life.

 

Lesson 15

 

Christian Living—4:1-13

 

In these last three chapters of this book the Apostle Paul gives us many practical teachings on how to conduct ourselves as Christians and work together for the wellbeing of the church.

Vs. 1

Paul begins by referring to himself as a prisoner, no only of his imprisonment but also of his being a prisoner in the Lord’s work.  Five times in his writings Paul mentions that he is a spiritual prisoner, a bond-slave out of his love for the Lord.

He begins by exhorting the Christians at Ephesus to walk worthy of their calling, their vocation.  A soldier is expected to act and dress in a manner that will bring honor to the government he represents.

When we become Christians we become part of the family of God.  We are to walk worthy of this high calling and the privilege we have to be part of the God’s family.  In Romans 12:1-2 Paul pleads with us to present our bodies a living sacrifice by living a holy life.

Vs. 2

Here Paul list three virtues that are to enhance a believer’s walk.

The first of these is humility. As saints we should be completely humble in our daily walk. This is the opposite of pride. This virtue is listed first because of Paul’s emphasis is on unity in the church Christ was the supreme example of humility.

The second quality that Christians should posess is longsuffering.  It means forbearance, patience and waiting on the Lord.  It also means we should be willing to experience pain and suffering until the Lord gives relief.

The third quality that every Christian should poses is forbearing, This is the ability to overlook the faults of others and help them in their walk with the Lord.  A new Christian may not see the wrong in a bad habit until he sees what the Bible teaches about that sin.

Vs. 3

In this world of individuals with many different ideas it is hard to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”  Romans 12:18

Only when the church is united in it’s efforts to reach the lost will we see the blessing of the Lord on His work.

Unity is a quality that is lacking in our government, our homes and in the world we live in.  As Christians we should endeavor to be united in our efforts for the Lord.  The word “endeavor” means to work at it, make an effort and use force if necessary.

Vs. 4-6

Here Paul gives the reason for unity in the church. In these three verses we find the word “one” seven times.  There is only one Lord and one faith.  Jesus said in John 14:6 these words:  “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  There is only one way to Heaven.

The church is called the “body of Christ” (1 Cor. 12:27).  As the body has many parts; hands, feet, eyes, ears etc. so is the church made of many members but all working together so that it can function properly.

Vs. 7-13

In these verses Paul tells how each member of the “body of Christ” is given a gift Vs. 7-8.

When Jesus went back to heaven he gave gifts to each Christian through the indwelling Holy Spirit.   John 14:16-18

Vs. 8-10  In these three verses Paul tells us that during the three days that Jesus body was in the grave that he went to the center of the earth where hell is. When saints died in the Old Testament their spirits went to another part of hell called Paradise (Luke 23:42,  16:23-26).  After His resurrection Paradise was moved to Heaven (2 Corinthians 12:4).  Notice the words “caught up” not down.  Today when we are absent from the body we are present with the Lord.  (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Vs. 11-13

Here Paul tells us that the Lord has given to the church various officials and leaders.  The apostles were the first leaders given to the early church.  They were the foundation of the church and it is being built on their work and teachings.  In the beginning of the church age there was no written Bible and special gifts were given to the apostles to confirm that what they were teaching was from the Lord.

“And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.”  Acts 2:42

The apostles were the foundation of the Church and when they had done their work others began to build on the foundation.

John, the apostle was the last living apostle and when he finished writing the book of Revelation the apostolic age ended other began building on their foundation and writings.

“And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.”  Ephesians 2:21-22

When the last apostle died and the church had the written word; the Bible, God gave evangelists, pastors and teachers to carry on the work.  Today there are no apostles today as some churches teach.  There is no new revelation given after the last book of Revelation was finished.

In verse 12 Paul tells us the purpose of the gifts that were and are being given to the church.

These gifts and leaders in the church are for the purpose of perfecting the saints, that is, helping them to become mature and productive workers in the church.  They are to “edify”, that is to build up and encourage the members of the church.

In verse 13 Paul tells us that all are to be united in our faith and become a “perfect man”.  He is not saying that we are perfect without sin, but that we are to grow in the image of Christ and seek to be more like Him each day.  Every Christian should continue to grow until they are adults and no more children in the Lord.

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”  2 Peter 3:18

 

Lesson 16

 

Christian Living— 4:14-32

 

Vs. 14

In every Church there are certain members who need special attention. They are like children, they are always wanting something new and are dominated by a desire for novelty and the latest fashion in religion.  It is the lesson of history that popular fashions in religion come and go but the Church that Jesus founded continues for ever.  The solid food of sound doctrine is always to be found within the Bible.

In every Church there are certain people who have to be guarded against.  Paul speaks of the clever trickery of men.  There are always those who by ingenious arguments seek to lure people away from their faith.  It is one of the characteristics of our age that people talk about religion more than they have done for many years; and that Christians, especially new Christians, often hear the clever arguments of those who are against the church and against God.

Vs. 15

We can go to two extremes. We can speak the truth but not in love. Truth spoken in that spirit often offends and does little good because it alienates the people we are seeking to win. Or we can speak in love and suppress the truth. People who do not want to hurt someone’s feelings may say nothing and allow a sinful situation to continue. True love, however, will always speak at the right time, with the right words, in the right spirit, and using the right approach.

As Christians we are to grow in our knowledge and service to the Lord.

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”  2 Peter 3:18

Vs. 16

Paul returned to one of his favorite illustrations: the church compared to a body, of which Christ is the head. In other    passages Paul developed the theme of the interdependence of the members of the body and our mutual suffering and joy.  Here the theme is our mutual development. We are to grow up as individuals and as a body.

Nothing is more wonderful than the way a body grows. Light, warmth, nourishment, exercise, and protection contribute to the fascinating process of growth to maturity. Likewise Christ gave various gifts to His church to stimulate growth and bring it to maturity.

Vs. 17-19

The believer is to walk differently from other gentiles (the world).  The believer is not to walk after their old ways, that is, as unbelievers who know not the Lord, ungodly men. 

With emptiness (vanity) of mind  v.17

With their understanding darkened  v.18,    Romans 1:21

Alienated (separated) from God  v.18,   Isaiah 59:2  

Ignorant of God  v.18

Blinded hearts  v.18,   2 Corinthians 4:4

Being past feeling  v.19,   1 Timothy 4:2

Indulging in all uncleanness with greediness  v.19

Vs. 20-21

In verses 20 and 21 Paul tells us that what he said in the former verses is not Christianity.  Christ is our example and when we learn from what Christ said and taught while here should be our example and source of living.  Jesus is the Truth

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”   John 14:6. 

Vs. 22-24

In these three verses we have the illustration of a change of garment.  Paul uses the example of the Old Man as to what we were before coming to Christ.  In Romans 6:6 we read that we are to put off the Old Man just as we would put off a dirty garment.  Our old nature is corrupted by sin and prone to lust after that which is unholy and displeasing to God.

Only when we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and help our weakness because of our sin nature can we have victory.  It is through the Spirit that we can overcome sin.

“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.”   1 Peter 1:22.

We are to put on the New Man.  It is our responsibility to put on the New Man.  The New Man represents a life of victory and true holiness.  The word “true” implies that there is a false holiness, an external show of religious fervor.  True holiness comes from the inside because we are a new creature in Christ. 

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”    2 Corinthians 5:17.

Vs. 25

Christians are not to lie, but be honest is all that they do.

Vs. 26-27

Anger and wrath open the door for Satan to enter into our lives.  If we do fall into sin we should confess it immediately and receive forgiveness. 

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”   1 John 1:9

Vs. 28

Christians should never be guilty of the sin of stealing.  Work is what God told Adam to do after he was expelled from the Garden of Eden.   Genesis 3:23

“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”   2 Thessalonians 3:10

Vs. 29

What we say comes from the heart and reveals who we really are.  We should use our tongues to build up others and honor the Lord in all that we say.  

“Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet [water] and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.”  James 3:10-12

Vs. 30

Christians should never be guilty of doing or saying anything that would grieve the Holy Spirit who lives within us.  We are sealed by the Holy Spirit.  The word seal means to be kept or preserved.  By God’s power we are being kept safe until the day of our resurrection. 

Vs. 31

Here Paul names many things that a true Christian should put away.  The word “malice” means to have a wrong motive and purpose in what we do.

Vs. 32

Paul ends this chapter on a positive note, exhorting Christians to follow the example of the Lord who forgives all our sins because of what Christ did for us on the cross.  We are to be kind and tenderhearted, able to feel and meet the needs of   others just as Christ meets all our needs. 

 

 

Lesson 17

 

Imitators of God—Chapter 5:1-21

Vs. 1-2.

Vs. 1  Every Christian should be an imitator, a follower of God because he is God’s child. As a child imitates his parents, so should every believer seek to be like God.

Verse 2 explains how a believer is to imitate God: by walking in love. The supreme example of this love is Christ’s love for a lost world. John 3:16.  His love is seen in the sacrifice of His life for our sins. Christians can imitate God by loving others, even to the point of death if necessary. 1 John 3:16.

Vs. 3-4

As Christians it is our duty and responsibility to abstain from fleshly lusts and evil practices.

The self-centered vices of conduct and speech in verses 3-4 are the opposite of the self-sacrificing love spoken of in verses 1-2. Since these vices portray selfishness and unconcern for   others, a believer should not have even a hint of these sins in his life.

Sexual immorality or any kind of impurity and greed are     improper for believers.

Improprieties in speech—obscene words, foolish talk and   vulgar frivolous wit are out of place for followers of Jesus, because such vices often harm (cf. 4:29), whereas giving of thanks is helpful and brings a blessing. Paul was not intimating that humor itself is sin, but that it is wrong when it is used to defame or tear down other people.

Vs. 5

The Bible is clear that all who continue to practice sinful habits have no hope of going to heaven.

“The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”  Psalm 9:17

Vs. 6-8

Vs. 6   Christians should not be deceived into thinking that this warning is merely empty words (“empty” means void of content). For the disobedient, that is, the unregenerate (Eph. 2:2) they are the objects of God’s wrath (Col. 3:6). God’s view of sin should be taken seriously. Believers should be imitators of God, not evildoers.

Vs. 7-8  Paul let’s the Ephesians know that much is expected of people who are called to a new life. Followers of the Lord are God’s dear children, and they must do as God does. They used to live in the dark, but they now they live in the light and should make their light shine.  Jesus said of believers:

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.”  Matthew 5:14 

Paul is not forbidding all contact with unbelievers. Jesus taught his followers to befriend sinners and lead them to him (Luke 5:30-32). Instead, Paul is speaking against condoning the life-style of people who make excuses for bad behavior and recommend it’s practice to others—whether they are in the church or outside of it. Such people can quickly pollute the church and endanger it’s unity and purpose. We must befriend unbelievers if we are to lead them to Christ, but we must be wary of those who are viciously evil, immoral, or opposed to all that Christianity stands for. Such people are more likely to influence us for evil than we are likely to influence them for good.

Vs. 9-10

The believer is to walk bearing God’s nature, that is, the manifesting of the fruit of God’s Spirit. Note that the word “fruit” is singular, not plural. The Holy Spirit has only one fruit. It is broken down into a list of traits in order to help us understand His nature. However, the Spirit has only one nature, one fruit. Therefore, when He lives within a person, all of these traits are present. The genuine believer does not experience and bear just some of them: the Spirit of God produces them all in the life of the believer.   Galatians 5:22-23

When we walk in the Spirit we will show to the world what is acceptable conduct as a Christian.

Vs. 11-14

Light exposes the works of darkness.  The charge is clear and forceful: believers are to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. Note that the works of darkness are...

      dark: leaving a man stumbling and groping about in the world, lost and unable to see where he is going.

      unfruitful: bearing no lasting fruit beyond this world when death overtakes him.

The unfruitful works of darkness are those works covered in the previous passage (Ephes. 5:3-6) and in the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). They lead to death; therefore, the believer is to have no fellowship whatsoever with the unfruitful works of darkness.

Light reveals what is being done in the dark.  When one is   living in the dark it is like a sleeping person, he is unaware of his condition as a sinner.  In verse 14 Paul tells us to awake and Christ will illuminate our minds and hearts.  Jesus is the true light that will bring joy and salvation to a lost soul.

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.  John 8:12

Vs. 15-21

The Believer is to walk “circumspectly”, that is carefully and orderly.

How the believer walks day by day throughout life is crucial to the cause of Christ and to the welfare of society. He either contributes to the building up of the church or to the tearing down of it’s work. He either carries the message of life to the world or he carries the message of silence and death. For this reason, it is important that the believer walk carefully and strictly throughout life.

Paul tells us how we are to walk.

Vs. 15  Circumspectly.  This means looking around and watching every step.  Paul does not say we are fools, but that we sometimes talk and act like them. The fool or unwise person simply means that the person is unthinking, thoughtless, careless, uncaring, and worldly minded.

The fool or unwise person is one who gives little thought about where he should go and where he should not go. He just arises in the morning and goes to work or about his daily routine with little thought about God and about what happens beyond this life. If he makes a mistake here and there, it does not   matter that much to him. Making mistakes is just part of life.  He thinks that he will be acceptable to God, if he just lives a life that is fairly decent and honorable and useful, and that pays it’s dues to God here and there

The wise person is concerned about watching every step and being alert to every temptation and pitfall in life. The unwise could care less about struggling and being exact and strict in life. Living a careful, accurate, strict, disciplined, controlled life is not that important to him, but a wise person will:

1.  Redeem the time (v.16).

2.  Understand the Lord’s will (v.17).

3.  Reject drunkenness (v.18).

4.  Be filled with the Spirit which will cause him to do what verses 18-21 tell us to do.

 

Lesson 18

 

Husbands and Wives—Chapter 5:22-33

Vs. 22.   “Wives” 

This word refers to a woman who is married.  The place of women in the home and society has evolved greatly over the years since Eve became the wife of Adam.

The biblical teaching regarding marriage is that it is a relationship between a man and a woman who share a lifetime commitment to each other, second only to their commitment to God.

Jesus gave his blessing and approval to marriage in Mark 10:7.  He also taught that marriage demands faithfulness within a relationship based on a lifetime commitment Matt. 19:3-9.

Paul clearly showed that God’s plan is that men and women marry according to God’s will and the importance of self-giving love in marriage Eph. 5:28, Genesis 2:24.

Although the husband is head of the home, his role is modeled after the role of Christ as Head of the church, who "loved the church and gave Himself for it" Eph. 5:25.

The meaning and role of the wife has been greatly elevated since the coming of Christ and his teachings regarding women.

“submit”

This word has had many interpretations relating to the woman’s role in the home.  Many pagan religions and even the Jews delegated her to an inferior role whose main role in life was to provide meals, keep the house and bear children.

The Bible provides considerable support for traditional roles of husbands and wives; however, the Bible provides examples of a variety of masculine-feminine roles. Martha performed the traditional role of preparing a meal for guests, but Mary played the non-traditional role of a learner Luke 10:38-42. Esau was a hunter, but Jacob liked to cook Gen. 25:27-29. In the Bible the leaders in the home and in society were generally men; but there were exceptions: Deborah was a judge Judges 4-5; Lydia was a merchant Acts 16:14; Priscilla and Aquila acted as a team in teaching Apollos and working to support their family Acts 18:26 and in providing a meeting place for the church Romans 16:3-5; 1 Corinthians 16:19. Even the ideal wife of Proverbs 31 exercised considerable creativity and initiative in far-ranging projects Proverbs 31:16-20.

The submission of the wife to the husband is to be “as to the Lord.” It is no longer to be the kind expected as a matter of course by cultural norms and forced upon women—who were seen as inferior to males in both Jewish and Gentile cultures. Now, her submission is to be freely chosen, being there for her partner “as to the Lord,” that is, as a disciple of the Lord, as one who follows in his masters footsteps, motivated by self-giving love. This kind of submission is not a reinforcement of the traditional norms; it is rather a fundamental challenge to them.

Vs. 23     “head”

The key word in verse 23 is “head”.  As Christ is the Saviour of the church, His body, so a husband should be the protector of his wife, who is “one flesh” with him” (Gen. 2:24). As the church is in submission to Christ, so also a wife should be to her husband. It would be foolish to think of the church as    being head over Christ and telling Him what is best. But submission does not mean inferiority. It means that she recognizes that her husband should be the leader in the home and responds to him accordingly without usurping his authority to herself. 

The head and body are one, each one depends on the other to function.  A home without a wife or one without a husband is not a true Christian home.  They are essential one to another, just as Christ and his church are essential one to another.

Vs. 24   “subject to their own husbands”

There would be no church without Christ.  The word “subject” means to be under the authority and protection of another.  There are exceptions to every rule, but in general it is the husband that provides for the family with shelter, food and the other necessities of life. 

Vs. 25

After speaking of a wife’s submission to her husband  vs. 22-24 Paul then states what the measure of the husband’s love for his wife should be vs. 25-32. Husbands are commanded to love your wives just as Christ loved the church. The word “love” means to seek the highest good for another person. This is an unselfish love as seen in Christ’s sacrificial death in which He gave Himself up for the church.  A wife’s submission in no way hints that her husband may lord it over his spouse, as a despot commanding a slave. The “submit-love” relationship is a beautiful mixture of the harmonious partnership in marriage and the Christian who is truly joined to the Lord.

Vs. 26-27

In these two verses Paul compares the Church Christ has bought with his precious blood to a bride and bridegroom.  Just as a bride would want to be her best for the wedding by washing and putting on her spotless wedding dress, so the Church should prepare for it’s royal wedding when Christ will take us from our former home to our new home in Heaven.

The “washing of water by the word” is not baptismal regeneration as some churches teach.  This means that our lives are cleansed by the Word of God.  When we are presented to the Heavenly Father at the first resurrection by Christ, the church (every born again believer) will be spotless and without blemish.

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” 1 Peter 1:23

Vs. 28-30

In these closing verses of this chapter Paul represents the love of a husband and wife to that of Christ for his Church.

It is a normal instinct for a person to protect himself from harm and to take care of his body.  When one is married he should have the same desire to “nourish and cherish” his wife the same way the Lord takes care of His church.

“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  Matthew 16:18

Vs. 30 tells us that we are members of the Body of Christ, His body is like ours with many members, but each one working together for good of the whole body.

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” 1 Corinthians 12:27

Vs. 31-33

In verse 31 Paul quotes from Genesis 2:23-24.  Marriage was ordained by the Lord and as a man and women are joined    together in marriage, so should every Christian be joined to the Lord and to His church. 

Paul calls the marriage relationship a mystery as compared to Christ and the church.  Every home should be a miniature church,  joined together in their worship of Christ. 

Christ loves his Church just as a husband should love his wife.  As the “bride of Christ” we should “honor” our bridegroom, who is Christ.

The wife is to put her husband on a pedestal, make much of him, admire him, speak well of him, and defend him.  Some wife may say:  “How can I honor him?” By being filled with the Holy Spirit; by counting on your union with Christ; and by realizing that in honoring your husband you are fulfilling God’s will and enabling the Holy Spirit to make you more like Jesus.

 

 

Lesson 19

 

Advise for Christians—Chapter 6:1-18

Vs. 1-3

In these verses Paul admonishes children to be obedient to their parents and gives us the reasons why.

In verse 1 he gives the first reason.  Children should “obey” their parents because it is the “right” thing to do.  Respect for higher authority has always been the first principle of law and order.  In the military those of lower rank are to obey their leaders because it is the right thing to do.  Disobedience can bring tragic results and punishment.  In society we are to obey the laws that our elected officials have made.

Secondly children should “honour” their parents by doing that which would bring respect to the family name.  This was also the fifth commandment which had a promise to those who kept this commandment (Ex. 20:12; Deut. 5:16). For those who honour their parents the Bible promises a good life “well with thee” Vs. 3.

The promise of this commandment is also that they will live long on the earth, have a long life.

Vs. 4

In this verse he gives advise to “fathers”, those who should be the leader in the home.   Fathers are to treat their children with respect, but with a strong hand.  Discipline is clearly a Bible teaching, but not to the extreme that it harms them physically or mentally.

Parents are to bring their children up in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord”.  This means that parents are to nurture and train their children.  The word nurture means to care for them as one would treat a tender plant that needs special care until it is strong enough to develop by itself. Nurture also means to give special care and attention when needed. The word admonish means to reprove in a kindly and timely manner.

Vs. 5-8

In these verses Paul gives a special word to “servants” or to those who were slaves.  Slavery was a common practice from early times in history.  In the Old Testament slaves were to be treated with respect from the Jews and were many times set free.

In these verses Paul is writing to Christian owners and Christian slaves.  Even though Paul was born free he became a “bondservant” to the Lord (Romans 1:1).

The practical application for us is that when we are working in the secular world or in the church, we are to obey those who have the authority over us.

Vs. 5

Obedience is the first requirement of a worker.  His work is to be done with “singleness of heart”.  Even though we may not like our work, it should be done from the heart until we find something we like better.  Ecclesiastes 9:10 tells us to do our work the best we can. 

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might . . .”

Vs. 6

We are not to do our work to please men, but the Lord.  Our work should be done from the heart, knowing that what we do is the “Lord’s will” for us now.  Paul said we should be content in whatever work we find ourselves in.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philipp.  4:11

Vs. 7-8

When we do our work with a Christian spirit as to the Lord, we will receive a blessing from our God.  The words “bond or free” show that in God’s sight we are all equal and should work to bring honor and glory to the Lord.

Vs. 9

In this verse Paul gives a word of admonition to those who are leaders and bosses (masters).  In God’s sight we are all equal and each one will give an account unto the Lord (Romans 14:12).

Vs. 10-18

In these verses we have the Christians armour, what we are to use in our fight against evil as we live the Christian life.  The Bible tells us we are in a warfare against the Devil and his evil purposes for this world.  As Christians we are to defend our Saviour against his evil attacks and false accusations against our faith.

Vs. 10

We are to be strong in the Lord and his might.  We are not to try and fight this battle by ourselves, but are to trust in the power of our all powerful God and his word.

Vs. 11

We are to put on the “whole armour of God”.  A soldier would not go to battle without his steel helmet or without a weapon.  We are to use all the resources we have against the Devil and his evil ways.  The word “wiles” includes: tricks, deception, hoax, scam, fraud and lying plus many more tools that Satan uses to fight against Christ and his church.

Vs. 12

The word “wrestle” indicates a struggle or a fight.  Satan doesn’t sit idly by but is busy engaging Christians in a constant warfare.  Our battle is not always a physical battle but most of the time a spiritual battle.  Satan brings temptation to our mental and spiritual side.  He also uses discouragement and difficulties in life to fight against us.  

Many times God allows evil men and leaders to bring great persecution to His church.  Nero and Hitler are examples of evil men who were in high places. 

Vs. 13

Here Paul repeats the exhortation to take the “whole armour of God” so that we may be able to withstand the evil attacks of Satan.  Our Saviour faced an “evil day” when he was tempted by the Devil, but was victorious when He withstood the attacks of Satan.  There may come an “evil day” in our lives.  When this comes we are to withstand Satan doing all we can using the spiritual resources we have.

Vs. 14-17

In these verses Paul illustrates the armour we need to that of a roman soldier’s armour. 

Truth and righteousness are two pieces of armour that every Christian should use to fight the devil.  Vs. 14

We should be grounded in the Gospel and ready to take this message to a lost world.  Feet indicate action.  Matthew 28:19-20  Vs. 15

The “shield of faith” is knowing God’s word, believing the promises of God for protection.  Vs. 16

The “helmet of Salvation” is having assurance of our salvation.  Knowing that we are born again.   1 John 5:13  Vs. 17

The “sword of the Spirit” is God’s word, the Bible.  This is an offensive weapon and we should use it as Christ did when he was tempted by Satan.  Vs. 17

Vs. 18

The last weapon Paul mentions is that of prayer.  This is the strongest weapon we have at our disposal.  When we pray in the Spirit, we have all the power of Heaven at our disposal.  We are to persevere, that is not to be discouraged if our prayer is not answered immediately.  We are to pray without ceasing.  “Pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

 

 

Lesson 20

 

Chapter 6:19-24

Vs. 19

Paul continues his prayer and ask that his mouth may be open to proclaim the Gospel message even while he is in prison.

Vs. 20

Paul calls himself an “ambassador in bonds”

Ambassadors were to be received with all the respect due the ones who sent them; as heralds, they were to be immune from hostility even if they represented an enemy kingdom. Paul, an “ambassador” of the greatest king and the greatest kingdom is instead chained in Rome for his mission of peace. In Greek literature, a true philosopher was characterized by his “boldness,” or frank speech.  Here Paul asked for boldness to continue his ministry even while he is chained to a soldier..

Vs. 21

Who was Tychicus?  This follower and fellow laborer with Paul is mentioned six times in the Bible.  This verse tells us that he was “a beloved brother and faithful minister”.  We know from Acts 20:4 that he went with Paul to Asia where he labored in the work.  On another occasion Paul sent him to Ephesus to labor in the church there 2 Timothy 4:12.  Tychicus was a much stronger Christian than Demas who also labored with Paul but later left the ministry for the things of this world.

“For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.”  2 Timothy 4:10

Vs. 22

Tychicus was with Paul in Rome and I am sure ministered to his needs.  Now he writes this letter to the church at Ephesus because Paul’s eyesight was very weak and he used different people to copy what he dictated in his letters.

He tells the church at Ephesus that Tychicus will give them a report of how he is doing in Rome and how the Lord has allowed him to live in his own rented house and preach the Gospel to all who come to visit him. Tychicus was to inform the Ephesians of Paul’s welfare—how he was and what he was doing—in order to encourage them

Many of the churches Paul started were worried about his   imprisonment.  We do not know if Paul was released and made a fourth missionary journey or not. 

Mail and other news were normally carried by travelers, because the Roman Empire had no official postal service except for imperial business.

Vs. 23-24

In these last two verses Paul desires that God’s peace and love that comes from our heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with each of his beloved brethren in the churches.

Paul finishes with a blessing and uses three great words.  The word peace which was a man's highest good, faith which was complete resting in Christ and grace which was the lovely free gift of God; these three things Paul calls down from God upon his friends.  Above all he prays for love that they may know the love of God, that they may love men as God loves them, and that they may love Jesus Christ with an undying love.

This letter was written to the church at Ephesus, but it was also meant for circulation among other churches. In this letter, Paul highlights the supremacy of Christ, gives information on both the nature of the church and on how church members should live, and stresses the unity of all believers—male, female, parent, child, master, slave—regardless of sex, nationality, or social rank. The home and the church are difficult places to live the Christian life, because our real self comes through to those who know us best. Close relationships between imperfect people can lead to trouble—or to increased faith and deepened dependence on God. We can build unity in our churches through willing submission to Christ’s leadership and humble service to one another.

A glimpse into Paul’s heart can be gleaned from these last two verses.

Paul was a spiritual brother to other believers. Note that his concern was for the spiritual welfare of others. 

He invoked peace upon them.

He invoked love upon them.

He invoked faith upon them.

Paul was a prayer warrior for other believers. He prayed that God’s grace would rest upon them.

Peace– was the Hebrew salutation. Grace– was the Gentile salutation.  Love with faith– was the Christian salutation.

 

A FINAL WORD ABOUT THIS BOOK

 

It was written by the apostle Paul about 62 A.D. to the church at Ephesus and was to be read by other churches.

 It’s purpose was to show believers their position in Christ and encourage them to walk accordingly.

 PAUL'S MINISTRY AT EPHESUS . . .

     1.  His first visit, Acts 18:18-21.

     2.  His second visit, when the Holy Spirit is given to believers, Acts 19:2-7.

     3.  His continuance of the work with remarkable success, Acts 19:9-20.

      4. His conflict with the silversmiths, Acts 19:23-41.

      5. His address to the Ephesian elders, Acts 20:17-35.

The main theme is unity.  Jews in the early churches were   inclined to be exclusive and to separate themselves from their Gentile brethren. This condition in the church at Ephesus may have been the reason which led to the writing of this epistle. For this is the keynote of the book--the unity of the church, especially between Jew and Gentile believers. This is shown by the recurrence of such words and phrases as:

“Together” made alive together, 2:5; raised up together, sitting together, 2:6; built together, 2:22.

“One” indicating unity: one new man, 2:15; one body, 2:16; one Spirit, 2:18; one hope, 4:4; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, 4:5-6.

NOTABLE PASSAGES

                Paul's prayers for the church, 1:16-23; 3:14-21.

                Christian unity, 4:3-16.

                The spiritual armor, 6:10-17.

A BRIEF OUTLINE OF THE BOOK

Chapter 1

                The salutation, 1:1-2.

                The divine origin of the church, 1:3-6.

                The plan of salvation.1:7-14

Chapter 2

      The plan provides for a spiritual resurrection from sin and the exaltation of the believer into heavenly places.

Chapter 3

                The mysteries of the divine purpose revealed to Paul.

Chapter 4

               The unity of believers.

Chapter 5

                   Walking in love and purity.

Chapter 6

                  Duties of Christians one to another.

                  The spiritual warfare and our spiritual armour.

Concluding words and benediction, 6:19-24.

 

 

 

THE BOOK OF JAMES

Lesson 1

�Introduction�

 

James is a practical book of how Christians should live and demonstrate their faith to a lost world.  James wrote to encourage Christians to stand firm in the midst of trials.  He tells them that trials are to help them grow in their service for the Saviour and become mature Christians and be able to withstand the �fiery darts of Satan� (Ephesians 6:16).

As we begin this study there are a few things we need to know to   better understand the teachings of this book.

Who wrote the book? 

James is clearly the author of this book  Vs. 1

But which James?  There are at least four different James mentioned in the New Testament.

James, the son of Zebedee and brother of John.  

�And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them�   Matthew 4:21.

James, the son of Alphaeus

�. . . James the son of Alphaeus . . .    Matthew 10:3

James, the brother of Judas 

�. . . And Judas the brother of James. . .�  Luke 6:16

James, the half brother of  Jesus 

�Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?�   Matthew 13:55.

The Lord�s Half Brother seems to be the James who wrote this book.  He  was  a  leader  in  the  New  Testament church. James was  a  common  Jewish  name;   in fact, two  of  Jesus twelve apostles were named James (Matthew 10:2-4).  However, James the son of Zebedee died too early to have written this letter (44 AD, Acts 12:2), and little is known about James the son of Alphaeus. Tradition attributes this Biblical letter to the man Paul calls �James, the Lord�s brother (Galatians 1:19). This James was a pillar in the early church (Galatians 2:9) and leader of the elders (Acts 21:18).  This James was one of   Jesus half brothers (Matthew 13:55).

When was it written?

Most Bible scholars date the writing of this book to about A.D. 45,  making it one of the earliest of the New Testament books.  It definitely was written before the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

To Whom was it written?

James directly addresses this letter to �the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad�, and he calls them �brethren�  He is writing to Jewish Christians and also gentile Christians.  There are five references to the �Twelve Tribes of Israel� in the New Testament.  Some people refer to �The Ten Lost Tribes� but this idea is not found in the Bible..

Why was it written?

At the time James wrote this book Rome was the capital of the world.  The Roman emperors despised the Jews and persecuted them. Many were homeless; families were separated; and were experiencing great misery and suffering.  As a result of this many were being scattered abroad and having their faith tested (Acts 8:1).

James wrote to encourage his brethren to stand firm in the midst of trials.  He told them that these difficulties would produce spiritual maturity as they stood firm in their beliefs.  He tells them to live Godly lives and tells them how to do this in this book.  This is a book of �practical Christianity�.

This is a good example of a general letter, because it is addressed to Christians scattered throughout the Roman Empire. Though written as a letter, it is more like a short book of instructions for daily living.

For James faith means action! In fact, the entire book is a series of  examples that show faith in action in wise and practical ways.

James advice was clear and to the point: If you are poor, don�t despair! Don�t give up when your faith is being tested. Don�t get angry quickly. Don�t favor the rich over the poor. Do good things for others. Control your tongue and desires. Surrender to God and rely on his wisdom. Resist the devil. Don�t brag about what you are going to do. If you are rich, use your money to help the poor. Be patient and kind, and pray for those who need God�s help.

 

 

The Book of James

Lesson 2

 

Chapter 1, Vs. 2  James was writing to persecuted Jewish believers scattered among pagan peoples, James gave the surprising advice, �My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations. A better meaning for temptations in this verse would be the word trial or testing. Trials should be faced with an attitude of joy. Trials should not be seen as a punishment for sin, or a curse, or a calamity, but something that should prompt rejoicing.

It is important to note that James did not say that a believer should be joyous for the trials but in the trials. The �trials of many kinds� were also referred to by Peter, who used the same Greek word.

�Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:  That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ� 1 Peter 1:6.

When surrounded by trials, one should respond with joy. Most people count it all joy when they escape trials. James said to count it all joy in the midst of a trial .

James never suggested to his readers that Christianity would be for them an easy way.  He warns them that they would find themselves involved in divers temptations.  The word translated temptations is the Greek word �peirasmos�, whose meaning we must fully understand, if we are to see the very purpose of trials and temptations in the Christian life.

Peirasmos is not temptation in our sense of the term; it is a testing or trial. Peirasmos is a trial or testing directed  towards an end, and the end is that he who is tested should emerge stronger and purer from the testing.  The corresponding verb peirazein, which is usually translated to tempt, has the same meaning.  The idea is not that of seduction into sin but of strengthening and purifying. For instance, a young bird is said to test (peirazein) it�s wings.  The Queen of Sheba was said to come to test (peirazein) the wisdom of Solomon.  God was said to test (peirazein) Abraham, when he appeared to be demanding the sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22:1).  When Israel came into the Promised Land, God did not remove the people who were already there.  He left them so that Israel might be tested (peirazein) in the struggle against them (Judges 2:21-23; 3:1, 4).  The    experiences of Israel were tests which went to the making of a stronger people. 

Vs. 3  �The trying of your faith�  Christians must expect to encounter trials along the Christian path to Heaven. All kinds of experiences will come to us.  There will be the test of sorrows and the disappointments which seek to take our faith away.  There will be the test of the seductions which seek to lure us from the right way.  There will be the tests of dangers and sacrifices and the unpopularity which the Christian way must so often face.  But they are not meant to make us fall; they are meant to make us soar.  They are not meant to defeat us; they are meant to be defeated.  They are not meant to make us weaker; they are meant to make us stronger. Therefore we should not bemoan them; we should rejoice in them.  The Christian is like the athlete.  The heavier the course of training he undergoes, the more he is glad, because he knows that it is fitting him all the better for a victorious effort.  Someone has well said: �we must welcome each trial that turns earth's smoothness into a rough spot, for every hard thing is another step on the upward way�.

worketh patience�  Patience is waiting on the Lord.  Many times this may be awhile.  Trials don�t always end right away, but when we trust in the Lord our faith will be stronger after a trial has passed.

Patience is mentioned 33 times in the Bible.  King David knew what it was to wait on the Lord.

�Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD�  Psalm 27:14.

�I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.  He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD�  Psalm 40:1-3.

Many times when we wait upon the Lord in a trial our hearts will be strengthened.

�And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope�  Romans 5:3-4.

God is our example of patience.

�Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus� Romans 15:5

�Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water�  1 Peter 3:20.

Vs. 4 When we trust in the Lord during a trial and temptation God�s perfect work will be accomplished. 

God�s perfect work is not always what we expect or desire, but His ways are perfect and when we get to Heaven we will understand why He allowed certain things to happen.

�He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he�  Deuteronomy 32:4.

�As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him� Psalm 18:30.

What does James mean when he says, �that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing� Vs. 4.

 Two words describe the goal: mature (perfect) and complete (entire). Mature is often translated �perfect� or �finished,� and is coupled with �complete� to give the idea of  being perfected all over and fully developed in every part.

Trials can be faced with joy because, infused with faith, perseverance results, and if perseverance goes full-term it will develop a thoroughly mature Christian who lacks nothing. He will indeed be all God wants him to be.

�And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose�  Romans 8:28

 

 

The Book of James

Lesson 3

�Wisdom�

 

Vrs. 5-8 

Vs. 5  These verses are about wisdom and how to obtain it. The dictionary defines wisdom as �The ability to discern or judge what is true and right, or lasting; insight.  It is the ability to use the experiences of life and knowledge to our benefit�.

There is a close connection between this passage and what has gone before.  James has just told his readers that, if they use all the testing experiences of life in the right way, they will emerge from the trials with that unswerving firmness which Paul talked about.

�Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord� 1 Corinthians 15:58.

But immediately the question arises, "Where can I find the wisdom and the understanding to use these testing experiences in the right way?" James's answer is, �If  any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God�.  God is the only real source of wisdom.

that giveth to all men liberally�  Assistance is readily available from the giving God  To those who lack wisdom, this valuable resource is available for the asking. James assumed that his readers would feel the need for wisdom, not just knowledge. God will not only provide wisdom, but will do so generously.  It is one thing to know you are sick,  but quite another to turn that trial into a beneficial experience.

The prime Old Testament example of asking God for     wisdom is where Solomon asked God for wisdom 1 Kings 3:5-9.

�In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my  father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.  And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?    And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing�.

Wisdom is the ability to use knowledge for our benefit by using good judgment in all we do.

upbraideth not�  The Lord is more than ready to give us wisdom without questioning our motives.  Upbraid means to hold accountable, question ones motives and reason for asking.

shall be given him�  The Lord is more than ready to give wisdom to his children.

For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly�  Proverbs 2:6-7.

Vs. 1:6  �but let him ask in faith�  Faith in a living God is the foundation stone of our faith.

�But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him�  Hebrews 11:6.

God�s provision for giving wisdom has some prerequisites. To receive God�s wisdom in trials, the believer must be wise in his asking, he must ask in faith and then according to God�s will.

nothing wavering�  The image of being driven on the sea was common in Greek literature and occurs in Jewish texts

�But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt�  Isaiah 57:20).

In the context of James, asking for wisdom in faith means committing oneself to obey what God reveals.

If we want the Lord to give us wisdom, we must be steadfast in the midst of the trials and storms of life.  Paul knew what it was to trust in the Lord in the middle of a storm.

�Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me�  Acts 27:25.

Paul and the ship taking him to Rome had been in the midst of a great tempest for many days and the crew had lost all hope of being delivered from death. Then the Lord appeared to Paul and told him that they all would be saved.

In the midst of the storms of life we must be steadfast in our faith in a living God.

If our Christian life is controlled by the circumstances of life, we will be like the waves of the sea in the midst of a storm.  Waves in a storm can become very dangerous and have capsized many boats.  Christians should not let the angry waves of trials and tribulation make their faith to   waver.

Vrs. 7-8  The Bible condemned's the double-minded or double-tongued person. God abhorrers the hypocrisy of those who say one thing and do another, and speaking or living inconsistently

�They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. Psalm 12:2

�Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank: they were not of double heart�  1 Chronicles 12:33

A Christian who is of a double mind, that is one who is half in the world and half in the work of the Lord should not  expect the Lord to give wisdom. A double minded person is unstable in all his ways according to this verse.

 

 

The Book of James

Lesson 4

�Wisdom�

 

Vrs. 9-11   Whatever his social or economic position, the believer must see the eternal advantages of following Christ. The brother in humble circumstances can be glad in his high standing spiritually (Kings and Priests�Revelation 1:6 and Saints 1 Corinthians 1:2); and the one who is rich should be glad for his human frailty (knowing that he has �eternal glory� in Christ, 2 Cor. 4:17). Social prominence passes away, wealth withers away like a wild flower in the hot sun, and fame will fade. Hope in the eternal is evidence of  believing faith.

As James saw it, Christianity brings to every man what he needs. The poor learns that he matters in the Church.  He learns that he matters in the world.  It is the teaching of Christianity that every man in this world has a task to do.  Every man is of use to God and even if he be confined to a bed of pain, the power of his prayers can still act on the world of men.   He learns that he matters to God. 

�The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all�  Proverbs 22:2.

Christianity brings to the rich man a new sense of self-abasement.  The great peril of riches is that they tend to give a man a false sense of security.  He feels that he is safe; he feels that he has the resources to cope with anything and to buy himself out of any situation he may wish to avoid.

This is a picture of what a life dependent on riches can be like.  A man who puts his trust in riches is trusting in things which the chances and changes of life can take from him at any moment. Life itself is uncertain.  At the back of James's mind there is Isaiah's picture:  �All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.  The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people is grass� Isaiah 40:6-7.

Vrs. 12-16  Trials and Rewards.

Vs. 12 In these verses James returns to the theme with which he opened this passage in verses 2-3; both refer to �trials,� �testings�, and �perseverance.� The Christian who steadfastly endures trials and has stood the test will receive the �Crown of Life�. This �crown� is also mentioned in Revelation 2:10.

� . . . be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life�  Revelation 2:10

This crown is for those who suffer and even give their lives for Christ in death.  Other crowns are �The Crown of      Rejoicing� 1 Thessalonians. 2:19; �The Crown of Righteousness� 2 Timothy 4:8; �The Crown of Glory� 1 Peter5:4. God promises life to those who love Him. Love for God enables believers who undergo trials to rest confidently in Him. Their steadfastness reveals their love for our Saviour.

Vrs. 13-14  The Source of Temptation

James offered a sharp rebuke to those who try to find an easy excuse for their sinning. To free themselves from responsibility they say, �I am tempted by God�. James made it abundantly clear God cannot be tempted. There is nothing in God to which evil can make an appeal. . Furthermore, He tempts no one. God often tests, but He never tempts a person to do evil.

The source of temptation is from within a person; it is his own evil desire, lust, or inner craving. He is dragged away and enticed. This inner craving draws a person out like a fish drawn from its hiding place, and then entices him to the bait on the hook.

Jesus taught His disciples to pray, �Lead us not into temptation.� That is, do not leave us to go our own dangerous way, which would expose us to grievous pressure from the enemy of our souls. Then in a moment of weakness we might fall into great sin, even as David did when he tarried at home instead of leading Israel to battle against their enemies (2 Samuel 11:1).

We are tempted, not by God, but by the strength of our own lustful desires. Being deceived by the craving for self-gratification we are in danger of yielding to temptation if we do not reckon ourselves dead to sin but alive unto God (Romans 6).

Vs. 15  The End Result of Yielding to Temptation.

The biological imagery is vivid. The lust or desire conceives and from this conception sin is born. The unmentioned father is most certainly Satan. The grotesque child, sin, then matures and produces its own offspring, death. The steps are all too clear: unchecked lust yields sin, and unconfessed sin brings death. How strange that sin gives birth to death. It may seem strange, but James warned his dear brothers and sisters who were to read this �genealogy� not to be deceived or led astray. Just as a right response to trials can result in growth to full spiritual maturity, so a wrong response to lust will result in decline to    abject spiritual poverty and ultimately to death itself.

 

 

The Book of James

Lesson 5

Chapter 1

 

Vrs. 16-17  �Every good gift . . .� In contrast to the preceding verses about trials and testing, James now shows us that our Heavenly Father bestows good gifts on his children.  The gifts from God are good and perfect.

The greatest gift that we have from God is our salvation.  It is free to all who come to Christ for salvation.

�For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God�  Ephesians 2:8

�For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord�  Romans 6:23.

�Father of lights�  This could refer to the sun, moon and stars that the Lord placed in the heavens for the benefit of mankind.  Just as the orbit of planet earth and all the starry universe are invariable in their paths, so then all the good things that God does for his children can be trusted to be under the control of God who changes not.

�For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed�  Malachi 3:6.

�It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed,   because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness� Lamentations 3:22-23.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever� Hebrews 13:8.

Vs. 18  �Of His own will�  It was God who created man and when he fell into sin it was God who went looking for him (Genesis 3:9).  God�s will is that all mankind be saved and that is why Jesus came to seek that which was lost.

�For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost�  Luke 19:10.

�The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance� 2 Peter 3:9.

�begat he us�   Every believer is born of God through His word.

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever�  1 Peter 1:23

�a kind of firstfruits�  Christ is, in respect to the resurrection, "the first-fruits" (1 Cor. 15:20-23): believers, in respect to regeneration, are, as it were, the first-fruits of God's regenerated creatures, and the pledge of the ultimate  regeneration of the creation, (Romans 8:19, 23).  The regeneration now begun in the soul, shall at last extend to the body too, and to the lower parts of creation. Of all God's visible creatures, believers are the noblest part.

Vrs. 19-20  �Wherefore�  Because of the gift of salvation James now tells us how to live the Christian life.  He especially emphasizes our use of the tongue.

Someone has said: the Lord gave us two ears, but only one tongue: the ears are open and exposed, whereas the tongue is walled in behind the teeth which give it more protection from speaking at the wrong time and too hastily.

Every Christian should have ears to hear first from the Lord and then what others have to say.  They should digest what they have heard before giving their opinion

James gives a threefold injunction to his readers: be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. In an argument, of course, the one who is listening rather than lambasting is the one who is slow to anger. Anger fails to yield the righteous life that God desires, the goal to which this epistle is committed.

Men�s wrath never glorifies our loving God. 

Vrs. 21-27  In these verses James tells us to lay aside all that dishonors God and practice what God�s word tells us.

Vs. 21  Both the words he uses for defilement are vivid.  The word we have translated filthiness can be used for the filth which soils clothes or soils the body.  But it has one very interesting connection.  It is used in a medical sense, and means wax in the ear.  James is telling his readers to get rid of everything which would stop their ears from hearing the true word of God.  When wax gathers in the ear, it can make a man deaf; and a man's sins can make him deaf to God�s word. 

�engrafted in�  When we are saved God�s word becomes a part of our lives.  We become part of the family of God.

Vs. 22  It is nice to hear a good sermon, but it is much better to put it into practice

A lady had her car parked in the street waiting on someone from the church to come out.  An older woman came out and the lady asked her if the sermon was finished.  Oh no, the pastor just delivered it, now I will begin to live it.

Vrs. 23-24 Here James used the illustration of a person looking into a mirror.  In ancient times people had no mirrors and rarely saw themselves, and so would more naturally forget their own appearance. In this case the reference is to the ease with which one loses the memory of the word of God if one does not work hard to put it into practice. One who is now a new creation should live his new life in Christ, but many times fails to practice it and forgets what he or she has become, a new creature in Christ. 

�Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new�  2 Corinthians 5:17

Vs. 25 In this verse James tells us how to be blessed of the Lord.  When we look into �the perfect law of liberty� (The Bible) and do what it teaches and continue to keep it�s teachings, we will be blessed in our work.

Vs. 26  James again tells us of the need to control our tongue.  What we say is a reflection of what is in our hearts and minds.  A Christian who cannot control his tongue will have little influence on leading others to Christ.

Vs. 27  In this last verse James tells us two ways we can honor the Lord and have a pure life. 

He tells us to visit the fatherless and widows and help meet their needs, both spiritual and physical.  A person confined to their house or other place certainly enjoys a visit or call from another Christian.

Another way we can honor the Lord is by keeping himself unspotted by the world.  It is very sad today to see what many who claim to be followers of Christ do.  Many do many good things but have one spot (sin or habit) that they are not willing to give up.

�Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God�  1 Corinthians 10:31.

�Abstain from all appearance of evil�  1 Thessalonians 5:22.

�Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him�  1 John 2:15.

 

 

The Book of James

Lesson 7

Chapter 2

 

Vrs. 14-26  Faith and works.

Vs. 14  Just as the law of love gives no excuse for respect of persons, so the possession of faith gives no license to dispense with good works. A believer must not only demonstrate his love by ready acceptance of others, but he must also demonstrate his faith by responsible aid to others. James went on in his letter to emphasize the expression of true faith, to outline the evidence of true faith, and finally to cite examples of true faith.

James opens this paragraph with a rhetorical question, What good is it� if a man claims to have faith but has no works? The emphasis is not on the true nature of faith but on the false claim of faith. It is the spurious boast of faith that James condemned. Such �faith� does no �good�; there is no �profit�.  It is worthless because it is all talk with no walk. It is only a habitual empty boast. Can such faith justify him?  Merely claiming to have faith is not enough. Genuine faith is evidenced by good works.

When someone claims to have faith, what he or she may have is intellectual assent�agreement with a set of Christian teachings�and as such it would be incomplete faith. True faith transforms our conduct as well as our thoughts. If our lives remain unchanged, we don�t truly believe the truths we claim to believe.

Vs. 15-16  God commanded his people to supply the needs of the poor;  to fail to do so was disobedience to his law.

�If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth�  Deuteronomy 15:7-8.

�Be warmed� (vs. 16) alludes to how cold the homeless could become, especially in a place of high elevation like Jerusalem in winter. The city is build on a mountain.

Just as the law of love gives no excuse for respect of persons, so the possession of faith gives no license to dispense with good works. A believer must not only demonstrate his love by ready acceptance of others, but he must also demonstrate his faith by responsible aid to others. James went on in his letter to emphasize the expression of true faith, to outline the evidence of true faith, and finally to cite examples of true faith.

Vrs. 17-20 

Vs. 17  The vain boast of faith by itself, or faith in and of   itself with no evidence of action, is dead. Workless faith is worthless faith; it is unproductive, sterile, barren, dead!   �Dead faith�, what is it?  Before we came to Christ the    Bible says that we were dead in our sins.

�And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins�  Ephesians 2:1.

�And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses�  Colossians 2:13

Vs. 18  It is one thing to say you have faith in Christ, but if you never show it your faith is probably dead.  What we do is the only way we can show that we have real faith.

Vs. 19  To believe the great facts of the gospel is not enough: there must be personal commitment of the soul to Christ. Mere belief in one God is not saving faith. Almost everyone you ask will say he believes that there is a god.   But what is their god?  The demons know that there is a God, and shudder as they contemplate the day when they must face Him in the final judgment of the wicked dead and of fallen angels. Such  belief has no saving value. There is a difference in knowing something and committing your life to it.

Vrs. 21-24 Again James repeated the statement, �Faith without works is dead� (20). He then cited two Old Testament illustrations to confirm his thesis. First, the case of Abraham, the father of the faithful�what does Scripture teach concerning him? It shows us that he was justified by works when, in obedience to the command of God, he offered up Isaac his son upon the altar.

This was not an act by Abraham to be saved, he had been saved many years earlier when he obeyed the command of God to leave his homeland and go by faith to where the Lord would lead him.

�Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran�  Genesis 12:1-4

�For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness�  Romans 4:3.

.Vrs. 25-26  James closes this chapter with the illustration of Rahab in the city of Jericho.  She evidently heard from the spies the message that there was a God who had brought the Jewish nation to the entrance of the �promised land�.  For protecting them from being discovered she was promised deliverance from death if she would put a scarlet ribbon in her window.  She had believed their words and put the ribbon in her window as a sign of her faith.  The  ribbon didn�t save her, it was her faith in the God of Abraham.  She is mentioned in Hebrews 11 because of her faith in the Lord.

The name also appears in Matthew 1:5 in the genealogy of Christ. 

By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace�  Hebrews 11:31.

In conclusion what James is saying what the Bible teaches about works is:

We don�t work to be saved, but we work because we are saved.

No man will ever be moved to action without faith; and no man's faith is genuine unless it moves him to action.

 

 

The Book of James

Lesson 8

Chapter 3  Vrs. 1-17

�The Tongue�

 

Controlled talk 3:1-12

From his discourse on idle faith, James proceeded to discuss idle speech.  The failure to bridle the tongue, mentioned earlier (1:26), is now expanded. As disturbing as those who have faith with no works are those Christians who substitute words for works. One�s tongue should be controlled. Small though it is, the tongue is powerful and all too prone to perversion and pollution.

Vs. 1 Again addressing my brothers, a sign that a new topic is being considered, James suggested moderation and restraint in the multiplication of teachers (masters). Obviously too many of the new Jewish Christians aspired to teach and hereby carry some of the rank and admiration given to Rabbis. These were the unofficial teachers in the meetings of the church family (formerly Synagogues) where much latitude was given for even strangers to speak. Paul and our Saviour frequently used this courtesy given visitors. James� complaint was simply that too many believers were overly anxious to speak up and show off.

Teaching has to be done, but those who teach must understand their responsibility, as those who teach will be judged more strictly. A teacher�s condemnation is greater because, having professed to have a clear knowledge of duty, he is all the more bound to obey it.

Vs. 2  James did not point a finger at the offenders without including himself: We all stumble (offend) in many ways. Nothing seems to trip a believer more than a dangling tongue. If a believer is never at fault (�offends not�) in what he says (�in word�), he is a perfect, fulfilled, mature, a complete person and he is able to (�bridle�) his whole body. Spiritual maturity requires a tamed tongue.

Vs. 3-5  The tongue may be small but it is influential. Three illustrations make this point clear: the bit and the horse, the rudder and the ship, and the spark and the forest fire. James� use of imagery drawn from natural phenomena is similar to the Lord�s use of nature in His parables.

The argument is clear. Just as little bits turn grown horses, small rudders guide large ships, and a small spark consumes an entire forest, so the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. The tongue is small but powerful!

Vs. 6  James also compared the spread of rumors to the   igniting of what would rapidly become a forest fire. Here the image is that of a tongue that incites the whole body to violence. The boastful tongue plotting harm (Psalm 52:1-4) and the tongue as a hurtful fire (Psalm 39:1-3; Psalm 120:2-4; Proverbs 16:27-28) are clear images. That the fire is sparked by �hell� suggests where it leads. Jewish pictures of Gehenna, like Jesus� images for the fate of the damned, typically included flames.

Vrs. 7-8  The tongue is not only like an uncontrolled fire. It is also like an untamed beast. Every kind, or all nature, of wild beasts�birds of the air, reptiles on land, and creatures of the seaall are being tamed and have been tamed by man.  But no human is able to tame the tongue! Only God can bring man�s tongue under control.

Made in God�s image (Vs. 9) people were appointed over all creatures (Genesis 1:26). But although other creatures could be subdued as God commanded (Genesis 1:28; Genesis 9:2), the tongue is like the deadliest snake, full of toxic venom.

Vrs. 9-10  Who has not been shocked at times to hear the best of men and those esteemed as the holiest of saints give vent to expressions that indicated an unsubdued nature after years of Christian experience? With the same tongue we bless God the Father and curse or injure men who are made in the image of God. Thus �out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing� (Vs.10). Surely, such things ought not so to be! When they take place it evidences a lack of communion with God and shows that the heart is, for the moment at least, uncontrolled by divine grace.

Vrs. 11-12  In nature we never find such an abnormality. No fountain sends forth pure and brackish water from the same source. Trees bear according to their kind, for they have but one nature (Genesis 1:11-12). Fig trees do not produce    olives, nor do grapevines bear figs. With the tongue it is not otherwise! The same man speaks well of God and ill of man, and often fails to recognize the inappropriateness of such behavior.

Vs. 13-18  James asked the rhetorical question, Who is wise and understanding among you?

Wise� describes one with moral insight and skill in the practical issues of life. �Understanding� (knowledge) refers to intellectual perception and practical insight.

Let him show it by good conversation. Wisdom is not measured by degrees but by deeds. It is not a matter of    acquiring truth in lectures but of applying truth to life. The good life and deeds are best portrayed by humility and wisdom, or �wise meekness� The truly wise man is humble.

In these verses 14-17 James discuses two kinds of wisdom:  that which is �earthly, sensual and devilish� and then that which is �from above�  which is �pure�, �peaceable� and �gentle�.

God waits to bestow all needed wisdom to enable us to rise triumphantly above the evil tendencies of our natural hearts. We will always fail if we seek to be guided by our own minds or by the wisdom of the flesh.

These two wisdoms stand out in vivid contrast; that which is of the earth and that which comes from Heaven. The former is of this world and is according to the sinful nature, which is in all men since the fall. Worldly wisdom is Satanic in origin because it is the fruit of disobedience to God from the beginning. It produces envy and strife, lack of restfulness, and every other unholy work.

In contrast to this wisdom we are exhorted to seek the wisdom that comes from Heaven, which is found in all its fullness in Christ who is Himself the Wisdom of God. He is made wisdom unto us who believe, even our sanctification and redemption. This wisdom controlling the heart and mind of the man of faith will keep the tongue from evil and the lips from speaking guile. It �is first pure��there is no uncleanness in it; �then peaceable��never stirring up to unholy strife; �gentle� or courteous�never biting nor sarcastic; �easy to be entreated��not harsh and implacable; �full of mercy��ever ready to show pity and compassion and to extend forgiveness to the repentant offender; full, too, �of good fruits,� for a tongue controlled by divine grace can be a mighty instrument for good; �without partiality� or rather, not given to wrangling or quarreling over places of preferment, or envious because others have received recognition denied to us. Above all, or in addition to all, heavenly wisdom is �without hypocrisy� or         dissimulation�absolutely honest, and speaking words that can be depended upon as truthful and sensible.

He who possesses this wisdom is able to control his tongue so that he sows not the thistle seed of dissension but good seed that produces righteousness. He sows in peace, because he is a man of peace, a true child of God.

 

 

The Book of James

Lesson 9

Chapter 4:1-10

 

Fights, quarrels, lust, hate, envy, pride, and sin are words that James uses to describe the condition of the people. In stark contrast with the closing words of chapter 3, �peacemakers who sow in peace and raise a harvest of righteousness,� chapter 4 opens with �fights and quarrels.� James confronted this despicable behavior with valor. Furthermore he gave clear advice on how to quell the storms that are so detrimental to spiritual growth and maturity. A believer must turn hatred into humility, judgment into  justice, and boasting into belief.

James is setting before his people a basic question-whether their aim in life is to submit to the will of God or to gratify their own desires for the pleasures of this world?  He warns that, if pleasure is the policy of life, nothing but strife and hatred and division can possibly follow.

The appearance of conflict among the followers of Jesus stirred James to intense indignation. The severity of his tone in this section is accented by the absence of the words �my brothers,� which James used so frequently in other parts of the letter. He revealed the cause of conflict, outlined the consequences of conflict, and proposed a cure for conflict.

Vs. 4:1  James introduced this new section with a rhetorical question, What causes fights and quarrels among you? Where do �fights� and �quarrels� come from? James answered his own question: from your desires that battle within you. Conflict comes out of inner sensual lusts and desires.  The philosophy that makes pleasure mankind�s chief end, still wages battles in people�s hearts.

Vs. 4:2  War is the fruit of illicit wants. Lust brings about murder. Covetousness results in the frustration of not obtaining the hotly pursued desires. It all leads to the �quarrels� and �fights,� that �battle� against people, mentioned in verse 1. The last part of verse 2, You do not have, because you do not ask God, is best taken with what follows. James did not contend that the reason lust was not gratified was because people failed to ask God to fill those desires. He simply revealed the clear source of conflict deep in covetous human hearts.

Vs. 3  The correct way for Christians to have their legitimate needs met is by asking God. One reason a believer does not receive what he asks for is that he asks with wrong motives The verb ask is in the middle voice, meaning, �ask for yourself.� The purpose clause that follows   further clarifies, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. �Spend� could be translated squander.�

Vs. 4  Instead of the customary �my brothers,� James bristled with you adulterous people. Again he asked a pointed question: Don�t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Then he added, Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. The consequence is worse than ending up empty-handed; a rebellious Christian who has an illegitimate     relationship with the world is at enmity with God!

�Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever�  1 John 2:15-17.

Vs. 5  James may be thinking of Exodus 20:5, Deut. 32:21 and Joel 2:18, summarizing the sense of Scripture thus: �God is jealous over the Spirit he gives to us� and will tolerate no competition for His affection.  The Holy Spirit   desires to have all our being.

�What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's�  1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

Vs. 6  God opposes the proud. The word �opposes,� or �resists,� is a military term meaning �to battle against.� To the humble, however, God gives grace. Whether a believer is called to resist his human spirit which tends toward envy or to rejoice in the Holy Spirit who jealously yearns for each believer�s edification, the call is to shun pride and to submit humbly to God�s authority. The cure for conflict is a humble spirit which is rewarded by God�s unmerited favor.

 James continued by showing in verses 7-10 how humility is  obtained and leads to peaceful justice.

Vs. 7  SUBMIT  As with repentant hearts when we bow in submission to the will of God we obtain the grace needed to triumph over every foe. We need not even fear the great archenemy of God and men, the devil.

RESIST  We need not run in terror from his assaults or faint in fear when he seeks to overcome us. All we need to do is to stand firmly on the ground of redemption, resisting Satan in the power of faith. Notice how both James and Peter agree in this as they write under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. James wrote, �Resist the devil, and he will flee from you� (4:7). Peter declared: �Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith� (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Vs. 8  DRAW NIGH UNTO GOD By the use of God�s Word and in dependence on God in prayer we become    impregnable against the assaults of the evil one. The old saying by William Cowper is true,

Satan trembles when he sees,

The weakest saint upon his knees.

CLEANSE YOUR HANDS, PURIFY YOUR HEARTS literally "make chaste" of your spiritual adultery (James 4:4, that is, worldliness) "your hearts": the inward source of all impurity.

double-minded - divided between God and the world. The "double-minded" is at fault in his heart and in his hands likewise.

Vs. 9  Be afflicted - literally, "Endure misery," that is, mourn over your wretchedness through sin. Repent with deep sorrow instead of your present laughter. James does not add here, as in James 5:1, "howl," where he foretells the doom of the impenitent at the coming destruction of Jerusalem.

Vs. 10  HUMBLE YOURSELVES - The key is humility. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up. The way up is down. The lowly one becomes the lifted one. There is a marked advantage to humility�eventually it brings honor.

�I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted�  Luke 18:14.

�The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility�  Proverbs 15:33.

 

 

The Book of James

Lesson 10

Chapter 5:1-6

 

Vrs. 1-6  In the first six verses of this chapter James has two aims.  First, to show the ultimate worthlessness of all earthly riches; and second, to show the detestable character of the majority of those who possess them.  By doing this he hopes to prevent his readers from placing all their hopes and desires on their earthly possessions.

Vs. 1  If you knew what you were doing, he says to the rich, you would weep and wail for the terror of the judgment that is coming upon you.  This literally happened to the rich when Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70 and the rich had their wealth taken from them by the Romans.

Vs. 2  All through this passage the words are vivid and   pictorial and carefully chosen.  In the east there were three main sources of wealth and James has a word for the decay of each of them.

There was corn and grain.  That is, wealth which can quickly become rotten in the fields or barns.  A rich farmers wealth can quickly be lost in one or two years of bad  weather and a poor harvest.  The parable of the Rich Fool in Luke 12 illustrates this kind of wealth.

There were garments.  In the east having many garments was considered a source of wealth.  Joseph gave changes of garments to his brothers (Genesis 45:22).  It was for from a beautiful garment from Shinar that Achan brought disaster and punishment on the nation and death on himself and his family (Joshua 7:21-26).  It was changes of garments that Samson promised to anyone who would solve his riddle (Judges 14:12).  It was garments that Naaman brought as a gift to the prophet of Israel and which Gehazi sought to obtain and sinned and was punished with leprosy (2 Kings 5:5, 22). It was Paul's claim that he had coveted no man's money or apparel (Acts 20:33).  These garments, which are so splendid, will one day be food for moths and decay.      

�Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal�  Matthew 6:19.

Vs. 3  There is gold and silver. The climax of the world's inevitable decay comes at the end.  Even their gold and   silver will be rusted clean through  The point is that gold and silver do not actually rust; so James in the most vivid way is warning men that even the most precious and apparently most indestructible things are doomed to decay.

This rust is proof of the impermanence and ultimate valuelessness of all earthly things.  More, it is a dread warning.  The desire for these things is like a dread rust eating into men's bodies and souls. 

It is James's conviction that to concentrate on material things is not only to concentrate on a decaying delusion; it is to concentrate on self-produced destruction.

Significantly we are told, �Ye have heaped treasure together for  the last days� Vs. 3. There is surely more than a suggestion here that just such conditions as are described will   prevail to an unusually large extent as the end of this age draws near �the last days�.

Vs. 4  No labor leader ever spoke out more strongly against unfairness to laborers than James did in these verses. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, he spoke against such gross selfishness and cruel callousness concerning the needs of the working classes. �Behold,� he exclaimed, �the hire for of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of  Sabaoth��that is, of Jehovah. Men may think of God as an uninterested spectator, even if He sees the wrongs inflicted by one class upon another. But it is not so. On the contrary, He is deeply concerned about all the injustice and oppression that cause such bitter suffering. Just as He heard the cries of the slaves in Egypt when they sighed and groaned because of their unfair and wicked treatment by the taskmasters of Pharaoh, so He still takes note of every wrong that the privileged and powerful inflict on the poor and downtrodden.

�For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper�  Psalm 72:12

Vrs. 5-6    James sternly rebuked the selfish pleasure-lovers who revel in their luxuries, while those whose toil earned the money thus squandered are living in circumstances of the most distressing character. �Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton,� he exclaimed. Wantonness or reckless self-indulgence includes every form of lewdness and   immorality and is the natural result of unfeeling callousness concerning those in less fortunate circumstances. These selfish pleasure-lovers were just like fed cattle nourished for the day of slaughter. Their doom is certain in the day of the Lord�s vengeance.

�Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord�  Romans 12:19.

Their attitude toward the poor is the same in character as the attitude of the world toward Christ: �Ye have condemned and killed the just One; and he doth not resist you�. Had they loved Him they would have loved those for whom He died, but having spurned Him we need not be surprised at their heartless indifference to the woes and grief's of those who, like Him, are despised.

�And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me�  Matthew 25:40..

 

 

The Book of James

Lesson 11

Chapter 5:7-20

 

Vrs. 7-12  From the rich, James turns to the those who have been unjustly treated. For these he again used the friendly   address, �brothers� (Vs. 7) The tone turns from stark condemnation to sensitive consolation. James rebuked the rich but  encouraged the poor. He appealed to his brethren to be patient. He defined the essence of patience, gave some examples of patience, and indicated an evidence of patience.

Vrs. 7-8  The early church lived in expectation of the immediate Second Coming of Christ; and James exhorts his  people to wait with patience for His return. During that waiting they must confirm their faith.  James has no doubt of the nearness of the coming of Christ.  �The judge is at the door�, he says, using a phrase which Jesus himself had used (Mark 13:29; Matthew 24:33).

It so happened that the early church was mistaken.  Jesus did not return within their generation.  But it will be of interest to examine the New Testament's teaching about the Second Coming of Christ.  Several words are used for his soon return in the New Testament.

The commonest word is �coming� used in Matthew 24:3, 27, 37, 39; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1; 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 John 2:28; 2 Peter 1:16; 3:4.  This is the ordinary word for someone's presence or arrival.  But it has two other uses.  It is used for the invasion of a  country by an army and it is used for the visit of a king or a governor to a province of his empire.  So, then, when this word is used of Jesus, it means that his Second Coming is the final invasion of earth by heaven and the coming of the King to receive the final submission and adoration of his subjects.

The New Testament also uses another word �appear-ing� (Titus 2:13; 2 Timothy 4:1; 1 Peter 1:7). It is used for the supposed appearance of a god to his worshipper; and it was used for the accession of an emperor to the  imperial throne of Rome. 

Finally the New Testament uses the word �Revelation� (1  Peter 1:13, Revelation 1:1).  This word in ordinary Greek means an unveiling or exposed; and when it is used of  Jesus, it means that his Second Coming is the revealing of his power and glory to this world.

�Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen�  Revelation 1:7

Here, then, we have a series of great pictures.  The Second Coming of Jesus is the arrival of the King of kings; it is God appearing to his people and mounting his eternal throne; it is God descending on the world in the full blaze of his heavenly glory  (Revelation 19).

In these verses James used an illustration that the Jews were familiar with because many of them were farmers

The farmer has to wait for his crops until the early and the late rains have come.  The early and the late rains are often spoken of in Scripture, for they were all-important to the farmer of Palestine (Deuteronomy 11:14; Jeremiah 5:24; Joel 2:23).  The early rain was the rain of late October and early November without which the seed would not germinate.  The late rain was the rain of April and May without which the grain would not mature.  The farmer needs patience to wait until nature does her work; and the Christian needs patience to wait and work until Christ comes.

In the same manner in which the farmer waits for the harvest,  Christians must wait for the soon coming of the Lord.

Vrs. 9-20  In these closing verses James exhorts his people to be faithful to the Lord and uses two illustrations to encourage them to remain faithful and know that they will be rewarded.  He tells about Job who suffered but was faithful and in the end was greatly blessed by the Lord.  He also uses Elijah as an  example of effective prayer and it�s power.

Vs. 9  Grudge not�rather "Murmur not"; "grumble not." The Greek is literally, "groan": a half-suppressed murmur of impatience and harsh judgment, not uttered aloud or freely. Having exhorted them to patience in bearing wrongs from the wicked, he now exhorts them to have a forbearing spirit to the offenses often given by fellow Christians.

When things go wrong, we tend to grumble against and blame others for our miseries. Blaming others is easier than owning our share of the responsibility, but it can be both destructive and sinful. Before you judge others for their shortcomings, remember that Christ the Judge will come to evaluate each of us (Matthew 7:1-5; Romans 14:10-13). He will not let us get away with shifting the blame to others.

Vrs. 10-11  Many of the Old Testament prophets faced great opposition for their preaching and some faced death. Jeremiah suffered and was imprisoned but in the end was blessed.  We all know the story of Job and his suffering and how in the end he was blessed by the Lord for his patience.

Vs. 12  Oaths were verbal confirmations guaranteed by appeal to a divine witness; violation of an oath in God�s name broke the third commandment (Exodus 20:7; Deut. 5:11).  Oaths generally called on the gods to witness the veracity of one�s intention and it had to be kept.  Vows were a more specific category of oaths to undertake some duty or abstain from something for a particular period of time.  The idea is probably that one should not make an oath or vow without thinking it through; but rather one should pray (James 5:13). One should pray rather than vow because the fullest form of an oath included a self-curse, which was like saying �May God kill me if I fail to do this�.

An example of a foolish vow was by Jephthah in Judges 11.  He vowed that if the Lord would give him victory in battle he would sacrifice the first thing out of the door of his house when he returned.  His only daughter came out first.

Vs. 13  A fitting climax to James� letter is his emphasis on prayer. The greatest assistance any believer can offer another is faithful prayer. Prayer is clear evidence of our care and concern for others. Perhaps the two greatest weaknesses in the average church today are the areas of prayer and praise. The reason for these weaknesses may be traced to insensitivity. There is much need for prayer and much cause for praise. Suffering should be a cause for prayer and when the answer comes it should result in praise.

Vrs. 14-16   James asked a third question Vs. 14, �Is any sick among you?�  One of the great privileges of the Christian is to count on the prayers of the spiritual leaders of his church.

Vs. 15-16  Christians should be in the right attitude when they pray for the sick.  They should have faith but know that  God�s will is not to heal everyone  (Paul 2 Corinthians 12:8-9. Some sickness comes from unconfessed sin in our lives and must be forgiven. 

Vrs. 17-18  Here James used Elijah as an example of effectual fervent prayer.  He prayed and there was a famine for three and a half years.  After the people of Israel turned back to God, he prayed again and it rained.

Vrs. 19-20  The Epistle of James closes rather abruptly, with a word of encouragement for any who might be used of God to help restore an erring brother  Wandering ones need to be brought back to the fold. James referred here not to evangelism but to restoration. Revival, not redemption, is in view. 

 

 

 

THE BOOK OF PROVERBS

Lesson 1

Introduction

 

The Book of Proverbs is a book of moral and ethical instructions, dealing with many aspects of life. The teachings in this book guide it�s readers in how to lead wise godly lives and how to avoid the pitfalls of unwise and ungodly conduct.

To better understand this Bible book we will see what is a Proverb.

A proverb is a simple and clear saying popularly known and repeated, which expresses a truth, based on common sense and the practical experience of everyday living.

Proverbs are often borrowed from similar languages and cultures, and sometimes come down to the present through more than one language. Both the Bible (including, but not limited to the Book of Proverbs) and medieval Latin have played a considerable role in distributing proverbs across Europe and America, although almost every culture has examples of its own.

Some English proverbs are:

Haste makes waste  -  Philippians 4:6

A stitch in time saves nine

You mustn't cry over spilled milk.  -  Philippians 3:13

You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar  -  Daniel 12:3

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones  -  1 Timothy 5:13

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush-Philippians 4:11

An inch is a good as a mile.

Well begun is half done - Acts 20:24

A little learning is a dangerous thing  -  1 Timothy 3:6

To finish you must begin.

A rolling stone gathers no moss  -  Ecclesiastes 9:10

It is better to be smarter than you appear than to appear smarter than you are.

Good things come to those who wait  -  Isaiah 40:31

A poor workman blames his tools.

A dog is a man's best friend.

No flies enter a mouth that is shut.

A proverb is a short, generally a known sentence which contains wisdom, truth, morals, and traditional views in a simple form easy to memorize and which is handed down from generation to generation.

Some types of Proverbs:

Alliteration (Forgive and forget)

Parallelism (Nothing ventured, nothing gained)

Rhyme (When the cat is away, the mice will play)  Moses in the mountain receiving the Ten Commandments.

Ellipsis (Once bitten, twice shy)

Personification (Hunger is the best cook)

Proverbs are used by speakers for a variety of purposes. Sometimes they are used as a way of saying something gently, in a veiled way. Proverbs can also be used to simply make a conversation or discussion more lively. In many parts of the world, the use of proverbs is a mark of being a good orator.

Different kinds of proverbs:

Imperative, negative - Don't beat a dead horse.

Imperative, positive - Look before you leap.

 Rhetorical question - Is the Pope Catholic?

 Declarative sentence - Birds of a feather flock together.

There are often proverbs that contradict each other, such as "Look before you leap" and "He who hesitates is lost."

Sometimes well-known proverbs are pictures or objects, without a text actually quoting the proverb, such as the Three wise monkeys who remind us: "Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil", When the proverb is well known, viewers are able to recognize the proverb and easily understand the image.  

 

THE BOOK OF PROVERBS

Lesson 2

Chapter 1:1-9

The word �proverbs� gives not only the title of the book but also designates the type of literature in the book. A proverb is usually a brief saying, but it can also refer to longer discourses. The word �proverb� refers to various forms of wise, insightful and spiritual exhortations concerning the way we should live.   The book of Proverbs also teaches the importance of fairness, humility, loyalty and concern for the poor and needy. 

Vs. 1 In this verse the author Solomon introduced himself and tells us that this is a book of proverbs.  Scholars differ on whether this reference to �the proverbs of Solomon�  includes the entire book or just the first section (chapters 1-9 or chapters 10-29) since various authors are named in other sections.  We read in 1 Kings 4:32 �And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five�.  In this book there are not three thousand proverbs so we know there are others that are not in the Bible.  Many believe that Solomon did not speak all of the proverbs, but collected and recorded many that were already well known.

The book of Proverbs is a collection of sayings that were used in ancient Israel to teach God�s people how to live right. For the most part, these sayings go back to Solomon, but others are traced back to Agur (Proverbs 30:1):

�The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal�,

and King Lemuel (Proverbs 31:1).

�The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him�.

Vrs. 2-6  These verses give us an extended statement of why this book of proverbs was written.

Vs. 2  The first purpose of these proverbs is to �know     wisdom and instruction, and to perceive the words of understanding�. Wisdom many times comes from learning, listening, experience and being instructed from what the Bible has to teach.

Perceive� means to recognize and understand when we hear what others have to say and what the Bible teaches. From our experiences we learn to perceive and discern what is right and wrong.  By the way a person lives we perceive the type of person he is.

�And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually�  2 Kings 4:9. By the way Elisha walked (lived) he was recognized as a prophet.

Vs. 3  �To receive�. A person may have a lot of knowledge but not receive what it teaches.  These proverbs are to give wisdom concerning �justice, judgment and equity�. 

�Justice� is to receive a just reward for what we do. The administration of what is just, especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments.

�Judgment� is a formal utterance by an authoritative person, a sentence pronounced  by a judge: a formal decision given by a court.  Many times a person learns by a sentence he serves.  As Christians we should know that God is a Judge that administers true justice to his children for their good.

Equity is justice according to natural law or right; specifically: freedom from bias or favoritism, fairness or justice in the way people are treated. 

Vs. 4  To give �Subtilty�.  This means to act or speak with enthusiasm, passion or interest.  As Christians we should be excited about our salvation and the blessings we have from the Lord.

Knowledge and Discretion�.  Every Christian should be desirous to obtain more knowledge from the Bible.

�But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen�  2 Peter 3:18.

Discretion is to use good judgment in what we do and say. It is to choose carefully our words before we speak.  It is to have prudence in what we do and say.

Vs. 5  �Hear� This is the first proverb of Solomon. It is wise to hear and learn from the wisdom of others.  This word  appears 519 times in the Bible.  Moses said:

�And Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the LORD will command concerning you. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying�  Numbers 9:8-9.

�Wise counsels�  Many times the wise counsel of others can save us much trouble and time.  This word counsel appears 137 times in God�s word.

Vs. 6  In this verse Solomon ends his reasons for the purpose of this Book of Proverbs.  To understand the meaning of a proverb and the interpretation of it�s lesson. 

Vs. 7  This is the second proverb. One of the main teachings in Proverbs is that all wisdom is a gift from God. This wisdom supplies practical advice for everyday living: in the home, in society, in politics, at school and at work.

Fearing the Lord, Solomon wrote, is the beginning of knowledge. �The fear of the Lord� occurs 11 times in Proverbs and �fear the Lord� occurs 4 times.  Fear doesn�t mean to be afraid of the Lord, but rather to respect, to  recognize God�s character and respond by revering, trusting,  worshiping, obeying, and serving Him.  To fear the Lord is to honor and respect God, to live in awe of his power, and to obey his Word.

�Fools despise�.  It is to hold in contempt, to belittle, to ridicule and to reject wisdom and instruction.

The �fools� in 1:7 are those who in their arrogant, coarse ways reject God and wisdom. Two kinds of people are contrasted in this verse: those who humbly fear God and thus acquire true knowledge, and the arrogant fools who by their refusal to fear God demonstrate that they hold wisdom and discipline in contempt These two kinds of people are contrasted throughout this book

Vrs. 8-9  Here Solomon exhorts young people to give heed and realize the value of the instruction their parents give.

Vs. 8  The words my son (and �my sons�) are used frequently in the first nine chapters and four times in 22:17�24:34. They probably refer to Solomon�s own son (s), not to students of a sage, because of the reference to their mother in 1:8. Hear or listen is commanded several times (4:1, 10, 20; 5:1, 7; 7:24; 8:32; 19:20; 22:17; 23:19, 22).

Vs. 9  If children heeded their parents� teachings, they were promised a garland (some kind of head ornament; (4:9) and a neck chain (3:3, 22). That is, heeding parental instruction would give them an incentive to learn. They would be honored. The implied contrast is that disobedience and rebellion lead to dishonor.

Believing children should be patterns of filial obedience, that they may adorn the doctrine of Christ. Young people who profess allegiance to the Lord, but are impudent and disrespectful to those over them in the home are a sad reproach to the name of Him whom they are supposed          to serve. To hear a father�s instruction and to cleave to a mother�s law are the ornaments that beautify the young Christians.

 

THE BOOK OF PROVERBS

Lesson 3

1:10-33

 

The appeal of the wicked, so attractive initially, is presented in its full scope. A foolish person is dazzled by the prospects of acquiring wealth easily and being gratified quickly by the immediate, but a wise person views the consequence of such sin and folly.

Vrs. 10-14  The pressure of peers can be strong, especially on young people. Therefore they need to avoid the invitations by the wrong kind of people (sinners) who invite them
to take part in murder and theft. To give in to such influence is a downward step. �make haste to shed blood� (Vs. 16)clearly spells out their murderous intentions.. These sinners are ready to take people�s lives in order to take their money, to swallow them just as the grave �swallows� the dead. In their greed for gaining possessions (v. 13) they urge the young (here the father�s son) to join them (v. 14), promising to  divide the booty.

Vrs. 15-19 Again Solomon urged his son� not to get     involved with such people (Vs. 10). To set foot on their paths is to be involved in an almost irreversible course of action that quickly involves them in sin and bloodshed. Birds are smart enough to avoid a net they see spread out to catch them. But these gangsters, more stupid than birds, not only see the trap; they even fall into it themselves! (Vs. 18). They lie in wait to shed others� blood, but they themselves are caught in their own trap (see Vrs. 32; 26:27; 28:10). The humor of this boomeranging result is evident, that ill-gotten gain cannot be enjoyed. Thieves steal money but then it takes their lives! In other words crime does not pay.

Vrs. 20-23  Wisdom (the call to salvation), here pictured like a woman, cries out to everyone, but a fool ignores her appeal at his own risk. Wisdom is also pictured as a woman in many other passages throughout the book.

Whereas the sinners in verses 10-19 were probably secretive about their appeal to the young man, here wisdom shouts in the street, and other public places in the city.

�The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard�  Psalm 19:1-3.

In two rhetorical questions she invites three groups to forsake their ways. They are those who would be more likely to  refuse her appeal. They are the simple ones Vs. 22), the scorners and the fools.

Vs. 23  By responding to wisdom�s reproof a foolish person can become wise (saved). Rebuke is mentioned frequently in Proverbs as a helpful kind of verbal correction (Vrs. 23, 25, 30; 3:11; 9:8; 13:1; 15:31; 17:10; 19:25; 25:12; 27:5; 30:6).

In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit brought conviction to show people their need for wisdom (salvation) just as the Holy Spirit does today.

�And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged�  John 16:8-11.

Vrs. 24-33 To reject and ignore wisdom (the need for salvation) and not learn from its rebuke has serious consequences. When troubles come, as they inevitably do to   everyone, wisdom mockingly refuses to help sinners. Wisdom�s laughing at disaster and calamity seems cruel. But this simply means that spurned advice will haunt it�s rejecter when calamity comes. She had called them and they had refused. When a fool who has earlier rejected wisdom dies, his efforts are of no avail. Wisdom rejected cannot be  reclaimed after she has withdrawn her invitation.

In Luke 16 we read about a man who died lost and in Hell cried out for help,  but Abraham told him there was no second chance for salvation

�And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence�  Luke 16:26.

To reject �Lady Wisdom�s� call is to hate knowledge and to refuse to fear the LORD. So fools will suffer the consequences of their actions. They reap what they sow.

�Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting�  Galatians 6:7-8.

Vs. 33  This chapter ends on a positive note.  Those who heed the call of God for salvation �shall dwell safely�.  Heaven is a place of peace and harmony, a place where all of the saved shall dwell safely with our Saviour.

Folly ultimately results in death. By contrast, heeding the call of wisdom gives safety and peace.

�Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet�  Proverbs 3:23.

 

 

THE BOOK OF PROVERBS

Lesson 4

2:1-22

 

In this chapter the father instructed his son (�my son�)  on the efforts needed for attaining wisdom (Vrs.1-5), the moral benefits of wisdom�s attainment (Vrs. 6-9), and the protection of wisdom from immoral people (Vrs. 10-22).

1. The Pursuit of Wisdom Vrs. 1-5

Eight verbs are used in these verses to show how one should seek to obtain wisdom.

Vs. 1  accept (wilt receive), store up (hide my commandments).

Vs. 2  hear (incline thine ear),  appropriate (apply thine heart).

Vs. 3  urgency (criest out),  determination (lifteth up thy voice)

Vs. 4  make an effort (seekest),  look for (searchest)

Effort must be expended for one to become wise. Getting wisdom involves openness, retention, hearing (with the ear), applying (with the heart Vs. 10), requesting, and diligent searching.

Vs. 5 The result of one�s effort to obtain wisdom will be rewarded.  The Lord will give understanding and knowledge concerning Himself.

2. THE benefits of wisdom Vrs. 6-9

Vs. 6  Wisdom gives positive, health-inducing moral benefits. It keeps one from evil and contributes to holiness. Wisdom is a matter of the heart, and of moral conduct, not just of intellectual attainment.

True wisdom comes from the Lord. To be truly wise one must have knowledge and understanding.  It is one thing to know a lot of facts but another ting to understand what you know.

Vs. 7  �sound wisdom� is spiritual discernment based on the teachings of the Bible.  �He is a buckler�  refers to the Lord�s watch care and protection over his children.  When one is buckled in (seat belt) or (amusement ride) there is safety.

Vs. 8  Searching for truth must always be followed by walking in the truth that is found. God will defend those who earnestly desire to live in the power of His truth. He will guard them and preserve their way.

Vs. 9  To the �righteous� and those who �walk uprightly� the Lord will give wisdom and understanding.

3.  THE PROTECTION OF WISDOM Vrs. 10-22

Vs. 10-11  The proper attitude for one who really holds the truth is set forth in these verses. When wisdom and knowledge are embraced they give discretion that preserves from evil and guards from false ways.

Vs. 12-15  Two enemies are seen attacking the young man: the �evil man� (Vs. 12) and the �strange woman� (Vs. 16). �The evil man� is the man who walks in the pride of his heart and in independence of God. This way of life seems very attractive to the young, appealing to their natural mind. To follow the evil man is to leave the straight paths of righteousness and to walk in the ways of darkness (13). But when one receives the truth of God and allows it to control his life he will be delivered from the perverse paths of the evil man

Vrs. 16-19  Godly wisdom from the Word of God will deliver the young man from �The strange woman� Again and again we catch glimpses of this strange woman flitting in the book of Proverbs. Who is she? Does she speak of anything more than impurity and uncleanness? The primary meaning is clear on the face of the passages that concern her. As the enemy of morality and virtue, she seeks to ensnare the young and unwary. Forsaking the guide of her youth and forgetting the covenant of her God, she gives herself up to impure pleasures and soul-destroying lusts. Those who have been ensnared by the strange woman must live with the consequences of their unclean ways.

Could there be a secondary meaning in these many warnings concerning �the strange woman�? In the evil man we saw independence from God-rationalism gone wild. Whereas the strange woman represents false religion that eventually will be headed up in �Babylon the great, the mother of harlots� (the false church Revelation 17:5). How devious are her ways! How subtle and deceptive her solicitations!

Vrs. 20-22 This chapter ends by giving us the purpose of these exhortations, to walk in the ways of the Lord.

CONCLUSION:

This book makes it very clear that wisdom is moral in nature, and gives some of the choices that wisdom will lead a person to make. The wise person will  receive wisdom from the Lord and as a result will choose:

      Against the ways of the wicked (Proverbs 2:12);

      Against involvement in adultery (Proverbs 2:16);

      For goodness and righteousness (Proverbs 2:20);

      For love and faithfulness (Proverbs 3:3);

      For disciplined giving to God (Proverbs 3:9);

      For giving to the needy (Proverbs 3:27-28);

      Against plotting to harm anyone (Proverbs 3:29);

      Against false accusations (Proverbs 3:30);

      Against envy (Proverbs 3:31).

 

 

THE BOOK OF PROVERBS

Lesson 5

3:1-35

 

Vrs. 1-12  This chapter begins again with �my son�.

Vrs. 1-4  Solomon encourages his son to pursue his teaching and tells him of it�s rewards.

Vrs. 5-12  Here Solomon gives four commands and each deals with a danger of misusing a gift of God.

1. �Trust in the Lord� (Vrs. 5-6) The son is told to not lean on his own understanding.  Acknowledging God will lead to His direction  for our lives .

2.  �Fear the Lord� (Vrs. 7-8)  and not be wise in our own eyes. This will bring  health to our bodies and souls.

3. �Honor the Lord with thy  substance� (Vrs. 9-10)  and the Lord will bless us spiritually and materially  ,

4.  �Despise not the chastening of the Lord� (Vrs. 11-12). The Lord doesn�t punish Christians, but chastens us to keep us close to Him and his teachings.  He corrects us to make us better Christians because He wants the best for our lives.

The rewards for following the Lord include longevity and peace (Vs. 2), favor with God and people (Vs. 4), fewer problems (Vs. 6), health (Vs. 8), prosperity (Vs. 10), and awareness of God�s love (Vs. 12).

Vrs. 13-18 Men will brave untold dangers and exhaust human ingenuity in their search for precious metals and sparkling jewels; but treasures of far greater value can be found by following Wisdom�s (God�s) ways.

She (wisdom) offers length of days, riches, and honor to those who find her. Coupled with these, she gives what earthly treasures often detract from: peace and quietness of soul. The ways of Wisdom are the ways of Christ - the paths on which the Word of God guides the feet of the obedient soul.

Following wisdom has it�s rewards.

Vs. 16  �Length of days� long life. �Riches and honor� material blessings.

Vs. 17  �ways of pleasantness� and �paths of peace�.

Vs. 18 �a tree of life�.  Trees are usually known for their strength.  They face many kinds of dangers but survive. Wisdom, like a tree that will enable us to face the trials and turmoil's of this life as Job did.

Vrs. 19-20 When God created the world, He used wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. If God used these, then certainly we need to follow His example. The relationship between God and wisdom in His Creation is discussed in more detail in 8:22-31.

Vrs. 3:21-26  The familiar �my son� introduces a plea to the son to embrace valued qualities. �Sound wisdom� and discretion� Vs. 21.

These verses mention a number of benefits that come to those who heed the exhortation in verse 21. These benefits include life Vs. 22; safety Vs. 23; avoidance of troubles Vs..26, peaceful sleep Vrs. 24, confidence in the future Vrs. 25-26, �keep thy foot� avoidance of traps set by the wicked  The long life referred to in 3:22 may be partially attributed to the peace of mind so graphically pictured in verses 23-26.

Vrs. 27�31 In these verses there are five simple sayings about relationships with others, each beginning with the word �not�. These are examples of what it means to be wise.

1.  Withhold not good�  Vs. 27  To withhold good from it�s owners.� The idea is to fulfill an obligation such as paying wages to a hired laborer (Lev. 19:13; Deut. 24:15). Christians should be generous to the poor. This is right and just and fair.

2. �Say not� Vs. 28  A Christian should not deceive or lie to his neighbor.  If he has the means to help he should do what he can to meet his neighbors need today.  When we do what Ecclesiastes 11:1 says the Lord bless and reward us.

�Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days�  Ecclesiastes 11:1.

 3. �Devise not evil�  Vs. 29   Some people envy a rich man (3:31; 23:17; 24:1, 19) because they see the money he has or the pleasures he supposedly enjoys. If a neighbor has prospered honestly we should not be jealous of his riches.

4. �Strive not� Vs. 30  Even if someone has harmed me, Christ said, �I say unto you, That ye resist not evil�  (Matthew 5:39). Under law, it was a sin to strive with another without adequate ground; but under grace I am to deal with my debtors as God has dealt with me.

�And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.�  Matthew 6:12

5. �Envy not thou� Vs. 31  In Psalm 73 Asaph was envious of the prosperity of the wicked until he went into the sanctuary of the Lord. There he was given to understand their end. Then his heart was grieved, and he admitted his folly.

Seeking to satisfy their souls with the passing things of earth, the wicked remain ignorant of the counsels of the Lord, which are known only to the righteous. Their end will be anything but enviable, for the curse of the Lord is in their houses, and He scorns their haughty pretensions. His blessing abides on the habitation of the just, and �He giveth grace unto the lowly.� (Vs. 34). Those who are content to abase themselves and walk in the steps of Christ will be   despised by those who are wise in their own conceit. But the humble will inherit true glory at last, when the false glitter of worldly fame has faded away forever, and �shame shall be the promotion of fools� (Vs.35).

Our business is to observe the precepts of Christ, and to  follow his example; to do justice, to love mercy, and to   beware of covetousness; to be ready for every good work, avoiding needless strife, and bearing evils, if possible, rather than seeking redress by law. It will be found there is little to be gained by striving. Let us not envy prosperous oppressors; far be it from the disciples of Christ to choose any of their ways. These truths may be despised by the covetous and luxurious, but everlasting contempt will be the portion of such scorners, while Divine favor is shown to the humble believer.

Vrs. 32-35   This chapter ends with a comparison between the benefits of the righteous and the rewards that the ungodly suffer and will suffer in the end.

Vs. 32 The word forward means: �habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition�. These people are an abomination to the Lord, but the Lord reveals His secret to the saved.  Spiritual discernment is from the Lord  1 Cor. 2:14

Vs. 33  The home of the Christian is blessed of the Lord.

Vs. 34  Those who scorn (ridicule and disrespect) the Lord will be rejected in the Day of Judgment, but the humble who respect the Lord will find grace in His eyes.

Vs. 35  The saved (the wise who follow the Lord) will live throughout all eternity with the Lord in Heaven, but fools will suffer throughout eternity in hell and suffer eternal shame for their evil deeds and rejection of Christ..

 

 

THE BOOK OF PROVERBS

Lesson 6

4:1-27

Vrs. 1-2  The father�s exhortation begins with the command to hear. Usually his words were addressed to �my son,� (23 times) but here and in 5:7; 7:24; 8:32 it is plural, �children�.  Solomon was the son of David and Bathsheba. Only one son of Solomon is mentioned by name in the Bible and two daughters.

�And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead�  1 Kings 11:43  .

Two daughters are mentioned in 1 Kings 4.  Taphath Vs.11 and Basmath Vs. 15.

Since Solomon had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines we can assume that he had many more sons and daughters that are not mentioned in the Bible.  1 Kings 11:3

Solomon urged his children to heed his teachings and not forsake the Law of the Lord.

Vrs. 3-19 Solomon spoke of his boyhood when his parents David and Bathsheba taught him �he taught me� Vs. 4. These verses quote from Solomon�s father David. By quoting these words Solomon was passing the instruction on to his sons. The three generations involved here illustrate Deuteronomy 6:2.

�That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged�.

Solomon seems to have been David�s favorite son Vs. 3.  He had three brothers by Bathsheba (1 Chronicles 3:5).

David had urged young Solomon to obey his words wholeheartedly (�let thine heart retain my words� Vs. 4) so that he would live. (�Keep my commandments and live� Vs. 4) is   repeated in chapter 7:2.

Vs. 5 David had urged his son Solomon to get wisdom and understanding and not forget it.

Vs. 6  �Forsake her not�  Solomon failed to heed this warning from his father David and allowed his heathen wives to turn his heart away.  

�For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father�  1 Kings 11:4

Vrs. 7-9  In these verses David urged Solomon to get wisdom. This may be the reason Solomon as a young man asked God for wisdom which brought him to great honor (Vs. 8).  Solomon�s prayer for wisdom is found in 1 Kings 3:5-14. Vs. 9

Vrs 10-19  The ways of wisdom (Vrs. 10-13) and of wickedness (Vrs. 14-17) are described and the son is again urged to pursue the former and avoid the latter. The lesson is summarized in verses 18-19 by picturing the destinations of both paths.

Vs. 10  Here we have Solomon�s advise to his son that if he heads his counsel his days will be many.

Vrs. 11-13 David tells his son Solomon that if he heeds his teachings and follows �right paths� (Vs. 11) that he will not fall or stumble in his walk with the Lord (Vs. 12).

Vrs. 14-17  Here  the path of the �wicked� is described.  His son is urged to �pass by it�, avoid following the path of the ungodly.

Vs. 18  The path of the Christian leads to �the Light� Jesus our Saviour.   �Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life�  John 8:12

The longer we live and the closer we get to that Light. (heaven) the brighter it becomes.

The �perfect Day� refers to that day when we shall enter Heaven and be with our Saviour for all eternity.

�For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known�  1 Corinthians 13:12

Vs. 19  Here David describes the way of the wicked.  In the darkness of their heart they stumble at the truth of God�s word.

Vrs. 20-27   Here it is Solomon speaking again to his son �My son�.  Here we see the value of wisdom in producing health.

Vrs. 20-22. Another exhortation to hear and pay attention to instruction opens this section. The father�s words were to be in his son�s thoughts and in his heart. The major incentive was the offer of life and health.

Vs. 23  The heart should be guarded for out of it come one�s actions.  Here the word �heart� means more than mental or emotional capacity; it also encompasses one�s values and manner of living.

�A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh� Luke 6:45

Vrs. 24-27  Here he tells us how to have a healthy heart.

Vs. 24. �Put away from thee a froward mouth� Christians should always speak only that which glorifies the Lord.

�I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is  before me�  Psalm 39:1

�Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my  redeemer�  Psalm 19:14

Vs. 25. �Let thine eyes look right on� 572 times eyes are mentioned in the Bible.  Someone has said the eyes are the gateway to our soul and heart.

I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me�  Psalm 101:3

Every believer should focus his eyes on the wise path, concentrating on it and not being distracted by what he sees along the path. His conduct should be upright, as he stays on the right path and does not turn aside to evil. In the Bible paths and ways refer to one�s conduct (2:13, 15, 20; 3:6). �paths� and �ways�  provide both a goal and way of reaching it. The road is successful living and the goal is Heaven Godly wisdom keeps one on the right path. Here the encouragement is to keep oneself on the straight way.

Vrs. 26-27  �Ponder the path of thy feet�. The word ponder means to consider, think about, think over, contemplate and deliberate before making a decision.  Our feet take us to where our heart wants to go, but many places don�t honor the Lord and are detrimental to our hearts and souls.  The apostle Paul said:  �Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God�  1 Corinthians 10:31.

The best place to tell our feet to take us is where Mary was.

�And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word�  Luke 10:42.

Every Christian should tell his feet to take him to church.

�Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching�  Hebrews 10:25.

 

 

THE BOOK OF PROVERBS

Lesson 7

Chapters 5 and 6

 

Chapter 5  This chapter has another warning against �The Strange Woman� that we read about in chapter 2:16-19.  She is mentioned 11 times in this book.

Specific instruction is given concerning the dangers of adultery (Vs. 1-6), and the final price of infidelity (Vs. 7-14).

In verses 15-19 we read about the delights of marriage.  Marriage is God�s plan and is honored throughout the Bible.

Then a reminder is given that sin is ultimately an issue with the Lord  Vs. 20-23. As in 1:14-19, chapter 5 warns against the immediate pleasure of sin and it�s long-range consequences. If a person is wise, he sees this long-range view of sin and will forsake it and seek forgiveness from the Lord..

The strange woman warned against in Chapter 2 is a solemn subject. This dangerously seductive woman pictures false religion with its snares and allurements. Even in it�s simple, primary meaning, this admonition is of great importance. If any are entrapped, it is not for lack of warning, but for willful neglect of instruction.  This could be the woman of Revelation 17 whose headquarters are on seven hills  Vs. 9.

Chapter 6:1-11 Solomon warned against two practices that lead to poverty: foolish financial entanglements (Vrs.1-5) and laziness (Vrs. 6-11). In a sense both pertain to finances   because the first guards against unnecessary loss of what one has earned and the latter against the inability to earn any money at all.

Vrs. 1-5  These verses are not a plea against generosity, but against overextending one�s financial resources and acting in irresponsible ways that could lead to poverty. It is important to maintain a balance between generosity and good stewardship. God wants us to help our friends and the needy, but he does not promise to cover the costs of every unwise commitment we make. We should also act responsibly so that our family does not suffer.

Vrs. 6-11  A person can become financially destitute by laziness as well as by foolish dealings. Solomon was probably not calling his son a sluggard; he was speaking to anyone who might hear or read this message. The word sluggard occurs 14 times in Proverbs and nowhere else in the Old Testament. It refers to more than laziness. A sluggard is associated in 19:15 with the �shiftless person�. A lazy, irresponsible person is challenged to learn from the ant and be wise. Ants are known for being industrious, and are commended here for their initiative. Apparently ants have no leader�no commander to direct them, no overseer to inspect their work, no ruler to prod them on. Yet they work better than many people under a leader! Ants also work in anticipation of future needs, storing and gathering while it is warm, before winter comes. Those who act only when commanded do not possess true wisdom.

By two questions (v. 9) Solomon urged the sluggard to get out of bed and start working. There is danger when a person continues to nap when he ought to be working: With his time squandered the lazy person cannot rectify his situation and has little or no money to meet his needs. Obviously such a person is unwise.

Vrs. 12-15  �A naughty person�  literally means "A man of Belial," or worthless, that is, a good for nothing person, and depraved or wicked .  See 2 Sam. 16:7; 1 Kings 21:10.

The one who is careless in his own affairs is likely to interfere too much in the lives of others. Having nothing to do, he becomes a lazy busybody occupied with foolishness. His mouth is perverse; his eyes disguise his words, his lips speak; his feet and hands call attention to things better left unnoticed; for in his heart are perverse and mischievous  intentions. He becomes a sower of discord. He scatters evil words that yield a harvest of sorrow that can never be fully recovered.

Vrs. 16-19  There are things that the Lord hates and Christians should seek to avoid them.

1.  A proud look�  God has always detested a proud look. The one who has learned at the feet of Christ, who is meek and lowly of heart, does not have haughty eyes. Pride and proud are mentioned 91 times in the Bible and mostly in a negative way.

2.  A lying tongue�  A lying tongue is contrary to God who is truth and who desires truth in the inner man. False words indicate a deceitful heart.  Jesus is the Truth  John 14:6.

�Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds�  Colossians 3:9.

3. Hands that shed innocent blood�  The slanderer who uses his tongue to destroy the good name of another is similar to the murderer who uses wicked hands to kill.

4. An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations� An evil scheming heart is the root of all the evils mentioned. All unholy words and doings proceed out of the heart.

�For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies�  Matthew 15:19

5. Feet that be swift in running to mischief�  All unholy words and doings proceed out of the heart. So feet that rush to mischief are mentioned immediately. They follow where the heart has already gone.

6. A false witness that speaketh lies�  This is someone who lies when witnessing in court. 

�Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor�  Exodus 20:16..

This command was the 9th of the Ten Commandments.

Lying is referred to twice in this list of things God hates.

7.   He that soweth discord among the brethern�  This refers to one who stirs up dissension among fellow believers.

�Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!�  Psalm 133:1

The Lord abhors the talebearer who mars that happy unity by spreading evil insinuations.

The only way any of us can avoid these harmful ways is to earnestly follow God and His Word, that we may be sanctified by the truth.   John 17:17

Vrs. 20-23  Here we are exhorted to realize the value of God�s word.  Vs. 22 tells us that God�s word will lead us, keep us and will speak to us.

Vs. 23 reminds us Psalm 119:105  �Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path�.

Vrs. 24-35   In this last section the �Strange Woman� appears again and Solomon warns of this sin of adultery and it�s  dire consequences. This Strange Woman is mentioned eleven times in the book of Proverbs and the Godly are warned of the dangers of her ways and the end result of her sin..

Here is the result of this sin.  Jealousy has led to many a murder of a wife or husband by their spouse.

�Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame�   Song of Solomon 8:6.

 

 

THE BOOK OF PROVERBS

Lesson 8

Chapters 7 and 8

 

Chapter 7  Vrs. 1-5 This chapter begins with Solomon�s familiar plea for his son to hear, assimilate, and live by his parents� teaching. This instruction included the father�s words, commands, and teachings.  Because of their father�s teaching the son was to keep, store up, and guard them like a treasure. If he did so he would enjoy a full and meaningful life. �The Apple of thine eye� Vs. 2.  In reference to a person, this means a favored or preferred son or daughter.  God�s Law should be the Apple of our Eyes, our favorite desire and love.  The nation of Israel is the Apple of God�s Eye.

�He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye�  Deuteronomy 32:10.

Only God can correctly estimate the depravity of the human heart. He knows it�s perverseness and the need for continued warning. Therefore this entire chapter continues with the subject that we have been considering., �The Strange Woman.�  Vs. 5.

Constant dwelling on the Word of God preserves from sin. Notice that the Word is to be bound and written on both  the hand and heart Vs. 3

This involves far more than a hasty reading of the Scriptures. It is making God�s Word an integral part of one�s life by daily feeding on it that preserves the soul.

Vs. 5  Satan�s most powerful weapon against the young is flattery. Wisdom and understanding can preserve the youth from this snare by teaching them to mistrust flatterers and to judge  them correctly. Then he can discern the lying words of any who would seek to ruin him by means of insincere praise.

Vrs. 6-27  In the rest of the chapter the strange woman�s ways and behavior are graphically described to save the youth from her snare. If he chooses to follow her now, he does so with his eyes fully opened.  The end of this terrible sin is found in verse 27.

Chapter 8  Vs. 1  The call of Wisdom or God�s pleading with mankind to be wise and follow his precepts.

Wisdom�s public invitation begins with two rhetorical questions.

Vrs. 2-3  Wisdom, like a virtuous woman, is seen in the streets offering her advise to all who will receive it. Wisdom�s sterling attributes and ways are open and honest. Wisdom�s followers acquire prudence for wise living.

Wisdom�s call is made where she can be heard and where people traverse: hilltops, the way, intersections, the gates (where court cases were heard and business was conducted) and the door (entrance way). Jesus said: 

�And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled�  Luke 14:23.

In verses 4 to 31 wisdom speaks. She invites all mankind and is available to anyone. But specifically she calls to the simple and the foolish, those most in need of her and more likely to ignore her invitation Vs. 5.

Vs. 13 tells us what the �Fear of the Lord� is.

Vrs. 17-18  tell us the best time to seek wisdom and it�s  reward, �durable riches�, that which is eternal).

�Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal�  Matthew 6:19-20

Vrs.22-32  This meditation on Wisdom is to the discerning eye a picture of the uncreated Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God!  It is clear that it is Jesus who is before us in these verses..

�But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God�  1 Corinthians 1:24.

Jesus is the eternal Son of God.  We cannot understand the Trinity but we believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  �From the beginning�  Jesus is the Alfa and Omega, the first and the last, the everlasting Son of God.

Jesus has always existed with the Father.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth�   Genesis 1:26

�And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech�  Genesis 11:6-7.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made�  John 1:1-3.

�And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth�  John 1:14.

�For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist�  Colossians 1:16.

Vrs. 24-31  In these verses we read about the creation of the universe and this world.  Jesus was there and delighted in the creation that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit brought into existence.  The Holy Spirit was active in the creation. as well as Jesus.

�And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the water�  Genesis 1:2.

Vrs. 32-36  Here he appeals to his children and to all mankind to give ear to his pleadings and promises a blessing to those who keep His ways.

Vs. 34 tells us that we are to daily meditate upon the Word of God and keep near the Door to Heaven, who is Jesus.

�Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep�  John 10:7

Vrs. 35-36   Again we read that there are only two choices in life.  For those who choose to follow the Lord there is eternal life Vs. 35

For those who reject the plea of Christ to find wisdom and eternal life, there is only eternal death  Vs. 36

 

 

THE BOOK OF PROVERBS

Lesson 9

Chapter 9

 

This chapter summarizes chapters 1 thru 8 by contrasting the invitations of true wisdom (Vrs. 1-6) and of the folly of trusting in human wisdom and it�s final result (Vrs. 13-18). Between the two invitations a brief series of tersely stated proverbs contrasts the nature and consequences of those who respond to each invitation (Vrs. 7-12).

�Wisdom� and it�s rival a �foolish woman� are portrayed as two women each preparing a feast and inviting all who will hear them to come to their houses. Wisdom is portrayed as a responsible woman of character and wealth preparing a banquet, while the Foolish Woman is portrayed as a harlot    inviting young men to a sensual meal of stolen water and food eaten in secret.

1.  WISDOM�S INVITATION (9:1-6)

In Proverbs Wisdom is frequently presented as a dignified lady (1:20-33; 3:16-18; 4:3-6; 8:1-21, 32-36; 9:1-6). In 9:1-6 and is a builder and a homemaker preparing a banquet for those desiring wisdom. 

Wisdom�s preparation of her banquet (9:1-2)

Vs. 1. �Lady Wisdom�s� activities of building her house, including hewing out for it seven pillars, suggest the industriousness that accompanies wisdom. Bible scholars have offered various suggestions about the meaning of these seven pillars. The number seven in the Bible is a number of completion, complete and perfection.  Seven appears 391 times in the Bible.  The week has seven days.  The Creation and God�s seventh day of rest took seven days. Jacob served seven years for Rachael, Naaman washed seven times,  Israel marched seven times around Jericho with seven priests blowing seven trumpets.  In Revelation the word appears 31 times.

 This verse poetically states that wisdom lacks nothing�it is complete and perfect. It seems preferable to say the seven pillars suggest that the house is large and spacious. This is consistent with statements in Proverbs that relate wisdom to a high station in life.

Vs. 2 The meal that �Lady Wisdom� prepared included meat (Vs. 5). Prepared her meat is literally, �killed her beasts� which literally means she slaughtered or butchered the animals she cooked for the meal. �she hath furnished her table�  For those who desire wisdom, the table is prepared, all they have to do is partake of wisdom�s offering.

Wisdom�s invitation to her banquet (9:3-5)

Vrs. 3-5 Having prepared the meal the gracious hostess sent out her maids to invite people to attend the banquet as Jesus did.

�And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come�  Matthew 22:2-3.

The banquet described in this chapter has some interesting parallels to the banquet Jesus described in another of his parables

�Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.  And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.  And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.�  Luke 14:16-20.

Many may intend to go, but they never make it because they get sidetracked by other activities that seem more important at the time. Nothing should be more important than ones search for God�s wisdom.

The result of eating at Wisdom�s table (9:6)

Vs. 6  Wisdom exhorts men to forsake the foolish ways of this world and have true life and live.

2.   THE FOOLISH WOMANS INVITATION  9:13-18

Vs. 13  Folly�s feast is presented in contrast with Wisdom�s feast. In similar fashion �the foolish woman� is portrayed as a harlot, making her wares available. Here, as elsewhere, Folly offers immediate gratification whereas Wisdom offers long-term satisfaction.

Vrs. 14-15. Unlike Lady Wisdom, who prepared for (Vrs. 1-2) and searched out her guests (Vrs.. 3-6), Madam Folly merely sat at the door and called out. She, like Wisdom, called from the highest point of the city.

9:16-17. Folly called for guests by intentionally using the same words as Lady Wisdom.  In this way Madam Folly appealed to her guests� baser desires. Food eaten in secret suggests her clandestine and illicit activity.

9:18. Though her invitation may seem attractive, the end result is not life, it is death. Madam Folly is obviously a wayward woman. The two paths of Wisdom and folly resulting in life or death reach a vivid climax in chapter 9. Almost every verse in this book points to one or both of  two paths and their consequences: Life or Death.

3.  MISCELANEOUS EXHORTATIONS -  9:7-12 

Vs. 7  The ungodly will not give ear to the advise and warnings of the wise.

Vs. 8 A wise person will gladly receive the advice of others.

Vs. 9  Instruction and teaching will be gladly received by a wise person.

Vs. 10  Here we read again what �the fear of the Lord is�.

Vs. 11  A wise person has a better opportunity to live a healthy and happy life.  �By me� is the Lord.

Vs. 12  A wise person will be humble, but a scorner will be known by his unwise words.

 

 

THE BOOK OF PROVERBS

Lesson 10

Chapter 10�12

 

Vs. 10:1  In chapters 10 thru 29 we have the Proverbs of Solomon. Most of them were written by Solomon, but some may have been collected from other sources.  In these proverbs there are many promises for the Christian.  We will not look at every one of the 595 proverbs in these chapters, but look at a few verses from each chapter.

Vs. 10:3  �The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked�.

Someone has said there are over three thousand promises for the Christian in the Bible.

�I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread� Psalm 37:25.

�But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus�  Philippians 4:19

Vs. 10:22  �The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it�.

There are many rich people in this world who have no peace.  They live in protected houses and have body guards because they are afraid someone will harm or rob them.

A Christian whom the Lord has made rich trusts in the Lord and uses his money wisely and knows that the Lord will take care of him.  There is nothing wrong with being rich if you are a Christian and use your money wisely and give to the Lord his part (tithes and offerings) to your church.

�Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me� Hebrews 13:5-6

Vs. 10:25  �As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation�

Many times when trouble comes those who are not rooted and grounded in the Lord and His word are turned aside and their end is Hell because they do not know the Lord.

Christians are founded upon a sure foundation that can never be moved.

�According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ�  1 Corinthians 3:10-11.

Ch. 11:4   �Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death�.

Money will not buy your way to Heaven, but putting your trust in Christ will keep you from the �second death�.

�Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will  remember the name of the LORD our God�  Psalm 20:7.

�But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death�  Revelation 21:8.

Ch 11:14  �Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety�.

Many times we think we have the answer to a problem,  but getting the advise of other people is wise.  A proverb says: �Two eyes or two heads are better than one�.

�A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels�  Proverbs 1:5

Ch. 11:24-25  There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself�.

The Bible clearly teaches that when we give to our church and share with others who have a need that the Lord will give back to us abundantly.

�Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again�  Luke 6:38.

�Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days�  Ecclesiastes 11:1

Ch. 11:30  The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise�.

It is wise in the Lord�s eyes to lead people to Christ. 

�And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever�  Daniel 12:3

When we lead a soul to Christ it is for all eternity.

Ch.12:3  �A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved�.

Vs. 12  �The wicked desireth the net of evil men: but the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit�.

The root of the Christian is his faith in Christ and the Bible.

Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving�  Colossians 2:7.

�That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,  May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the    fulness of God�  Ephesians 3:17-19.

The root is that part of a plant or tree that sustains it.  If our root is strong, then we will be able to withstand the storms of life and produce fruit for the Lord.

 

 

THE BOOK OF PROVERBS

Lesson 11

Chapters 13�14

 

Vs. 13:3   �He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction

�Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.  For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison�  James 3:5-8.

As Christians it is difficult to control our tongues, but the Lord can control what we say if we ask for His help,

Vs. 13:7  There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches�.

The riches that Solomon talks about are spiritual riches and blessings as well as material wealth.

Many of God�s greatest missionaries gave up wealth and the comfort of a good income to reach the lost.

C. T. Studd:  He was a famous cricket player in England, but is better known for his missionary work in China, India and Africa. When his father who was very wealthy left him a large sum of money at age 25, he gave it all away to Christian schools and other missionary projects.  When he was married his wife said they should give the last of his inheritance away. When someone asked him what mission he was with, he replied that it had three members: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  He founded the Worldwide Evangelization Crusade (now WEC International) that is still working in Africa today.  He died in Africa at age 70 doing missionary work.

David Livingston:  He was born among England's poor, but buried beside her Kings in Westminster Abbey.  When he was 25 years old he went to London to apply for missionary service after graduating from one of London�s best medical schools. He felt the call to go to Africa and spent his life there as a missionary.  He gave up an offer from one of London�s best hospitals to head up there medical school.  Only once. in 38 years did he return to England.  He died in the heart of Africa praying for those whom he had given his life to save. 

He had left instructions that his physical heart was to be  removed from his body and buried in Africa.  This was done and then his body was embalmed and carried back to England by his faithful African servants.  When it was verified from the shoulder wound that this was truly the body of David Livingston, he was honored with England�s greatest honors and given a royal funeral and was buried in Westminster Abbey.  David Livingston had truly given up earthly riches for the riches of Heaven.

This verse was truly fulfilled in the life of these two missionaries and the life of many others who gave up material wealth to reach the lost for Christ.  They died poor, but oh the riches they had in Heaven waiting for them.

Vs. 13:13  Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded�.

�For the  word  of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart�      Hebrews 4:12. 

God�s word, The Bible has power to condemn and to reward. 

�He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day�  John 12:48.

Vs. 13:20  �He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed�.

The Bible teaches that as Christians we should seek to choose our friends wisely. 

�Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty�  2 Corinthians 6:14-18.

Vs. 13:24  �He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Discipline is clearly taught in the Word of God.

�Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him�  Proverbs 22:15.

�Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die�  Proverbs 23:13.

Vs. 14:4   �Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox�.

It takes work to accomplish anything for the Lord.  Churches are not established by just planning or good ideas. It takes physical work as well as spiritual work to win the lost to Christ here or on the mission field.

Vs. 14:12  �There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death�.

Deception is one of the Devil�s tricks to keep people out of Heaven.  

�Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish;    because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved�  2 Thessalonians 2:9-10

�And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him�  Revelation 12:9.

�But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse,  deceiving, and being deceived�  2 Timothy 3:13.

As Christians we are not to be deceived.

�And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived . . .�  Luke 21:8.

 

 

THE BOOK OF PROVERBS

Lesson 12

Chapters 15�18

 

Vs. 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good

.The eyes of the Lord are mentioned 23 times in the Bible.

�The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry�  Psalm 34:15.

�For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him . . .�  2 Chronicles 16:9.

�For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil�  1 Peter 3:12.

Vs. 15:8  �The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight�.

The Lord delights when we call upon Him in prayer.  Prayer is mentioned 509 nine times in the Bible.  We speak to God when we pray and the Lord speaks to us through His word.

�And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint�  Luke 18:1.

Paul told the church at Thessalonica to pray always.

Pray without ceasing�  1 Thessalonians 5:17.

The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray.

�And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples�  Luke 11:1.

Vs. 15:24  The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath�.

Where is Heaven and where is Hell?

Every verse in the Bible about Heaven refers to it as being up.  Paul was caught up to the third Heaven.

�I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth; such an one caught up to the third heaven�  2 Corinthians 12:2

At the first resurrection, the rapture, we will be caught up.

�Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord�  1 Thessalonians 4:17.

Where is Hell?  Every verse in the Bible and secular writings refer to Hell as being down, below the surface of the earth.

�Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them�  Psalm 55:15.

�Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death�  Proverbs 7:27

�And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation�  Numbers 16:32-33.

It is a scientific fact that the center of the earth is burning.  When a volcano erupts it is an indication of the intensity of the fires of Hell.  Scientists have showed that the deeper you dig in the earth, the hotter the temperature.

Vs. 16:18  �Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall�.

Many people think that they don�t need God.  They think they can confront and solve any problem that may come along.

�The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts�  Psalm 10:4.

Vs. 17:22  A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones�.

The doctors tell us that when a person has a positive spirit that the healing of the body is much faster.

Vs. 18:16  �A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men�.

The Lord doesn�t expect us to do more than we are able with the gifts and talents He gives to us.  If a person is called by the Lord to a task,  he can be sure there will be a place of service for him.

�Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men�  Ephesians 4:8.

Vs. 18:19  �A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a    castle�.

As Christians we are to be careful not to offend the lost or a weaker Christian.  We are not to do anything that would be a stumbling block in them coming to Christ.

�Let us not therefore judge one another anymore: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way�  Romans 14:13

On the other hand we are not to be offended easily, but rather be an example of a true Christian.

�Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity�  1 Timothy 4:12.

�These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended�  John 16:1.

Vs. 18:24  �A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother�.

 If we want to have friends we must be friendly ourselves.

Who is this friend that is closer than a brother?  A brother may leave us but this friend will never leave us.

�Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me� Hebrews 13:5-6.

The hymn �What a Friend we Have in Jesus� tells us about this true friend who is Jesus.

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer

 

 

 

THE BOOK OF PROVERBS

Lesson 13

Chapters 19�23

 

Vs. 19:17 �He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again�.

Jesus said that there would always be those who are poor.

�For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always�  Mark 14:7.

�For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land�  Deuteronomy 15:11.

When you help someone who is has a greater need than yourselves, you are giving to the Lord.

�And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me� Matthew 25:40.

Vs. 20:4  The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing�.

�He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap�. Ecclesiastes 11:4.

The apostle Paul could have had many reasons not to continue on in his ministry if he observed the circumstances.

�But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God�  Acts 20:24.

It is very strange how many things people find to keep them out of church.  Some of the excuses people give are:

Today it is too hot,  Today it is too rainy,  Today it is too cold,   Sunday is my only day of rest,  Today we are having company for lunch and I have to stay home to cook, Sunday is the only day I have to clean my car or cut the grass.

Vs. 20:9  Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?�

The Bible clearly teaches that there is nothing we can do to merit salvation.

�Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost� Titus 3:5.

�For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast�  Ephesians 2:8-9.

Jeremiah expressed it this way:

�Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil�  Jeremiah 13:23.

The only way a person can have a clean heart is by accepting Christ as their personal Saviour, allowing the blood of  Jesus to cleanse their heart of sin.

�But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin�  1 John 1:7.

Vs. 21:31  The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD�.

The Lord watches over Christians and many times protects them in supernatural ways according to His will and plan for our lives.

�Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain�  Psalm 127:1.

�Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God�  Psalm 20:7.

�The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe�  Proverbs 18:10 .

Christians should use common sense while trusting in the Lord for protection.  Some people leave a valuable article in their car with the doors unlocked and wonder why the Lord didn�t keep a thief away.

Vs. 22:6  �Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it�.

There are many aspects to training.  When a soldier is in training it involves many things.  Respect, obedience, subjection, preparation, guidance and instruction.

Correction is an important part of training, but it also involves all of the above mentioned things.

The best training that any parent can give to his children is to teach them the Bible by taking them to Sunday School and church.  The apostle Paul said this of Timothy.

�And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Vs 22:13  The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets

Story of boy  attending sheep, got lonely and called wolf, wolf to have company.

To tell a lie for whatever reason is never right.  To not bear false witness is the ninth commandment.  The apostle Paul told the Christians in the church at Colosse not to lie.

�Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds�  Colossians 3:9

Vs. 23:5  Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven�.

A person may be rich one day and the next have nothing.  Riches do not guarantee a long life.

�As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool�  Jeremiah 17:11

�Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy� 1 Timothy 6:17.

Jordan Belfort once was a Multi-Millionaire stock broker who had it all. Yachts, planes, women, throwing parties & drugs were just a few of the high life activities on Jordan�s agenda. Jordan was reported to have had $250 Million at age of 25 through his stock broking firm Stratton Oakmont. Belfort�s multi millions where stripped from him when the FBI pinned him for securities fraud and money laundering.

Alan Stanford is currently in jail and awaiting trial. This former billionaire was charged with running a multi-billion dollar Ponzi Scheme.  As of today, he is taking a number of medications for his depression.

 

 

THE BOOK OF PROVERBS

Lesson 14

Chapters 24-29

Vs. 24:10  If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small�.

The Bible teaches that many times Christians have trials and temptations.  We all know the story of Job.

�Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy� James 5:11.

�Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution� 2 Timothy 3:12.

The apostle Paul told Timothy to endure adversity as a good soldier would do on the battle field.

�Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ�  2 Timothy 2:3.

For those who do not faint when trouble comes their way, there is a crown waiting for them.

�Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life�  Revelation 2:10.

Vs. 24:29  Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work

The Law said: �Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again� (Leviticus 24:20) but grace says: �Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also� (Matthew 5:38-39).

As Christians we are to suffer and endure wrongdoing.

�Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men�  Romans 12:17.

�See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men�  1 Thessalonians 5:15.

�Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good�  Romans 12:19-21.

Vs. 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in  pictures of silver�.

We can be a great help and encouragement to others by our words.

�But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see�  Deuteronomy 3:28

�A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!�  Proverbs 15:23.

�The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned�  Isaiah 50:4.

 We should listen and ask the Lord for the right words to speak to others when they need a word of encouragement.

Vs. 26:27  Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him�.

It is a law of nature that whatever we sow and plant, that is what will come up after awhile.

�Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap�  Galatians 6:7

Vs. 27:1  Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth�.

There is no one who can foretell  the future, much less what will take place tomorrow. 

The rich farmer thought he could know the future.

�And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.  But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided�  Luke 12:19-20.

The writer of the book of James said it this way.

�Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that�  James 4:14-15.

Vs. 28:26  He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered�.

The word heart appears 765 times in the Bible. The heart is the seat of our emotions and thoughts. It is who we really are. Our character is formed by the kind of heart we have.

There are two kinds of hearts described in the Bible; an evil heart and a believing heart, one that has been transformed by our accepting Christ as our Saviour.

An evil heart is one that rejects the call of God to repent.

�And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart�  Jeremiah 18:12

Jesus told us what is in an evil heart.

�For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man�  Mark 7:21-23

The heart of the unsaved is a deceiving heart.

�The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?�  Jeremiah 17:9

A believing heart With the heart all who believe are saved.

�That if thou shalt confess  with  thy mouth  the  Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine  heart  that God hath raised him from  the  dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the   heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the  mouth confession is made unto salvation� Romans 10:9-10.

Vs. 29:18  Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he�.

Jesus said: �Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest�  John 4:35

�But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd�  Matthew 9:36

 

 

THE BOOK OF PROVERBS

Lesson 16

Chapter 31

 

Vs. 1  Nothing is known about Lemuel except that he was a king.   There was no King Lemuel among those who sat on the thrones of either Judah or Israel; nor do we have any record of a king by that name among the surrounding nations. This title  occurs only in this chapter and may refer to Solomon, the son of David and Bathsheba. The name simply means �Unto God,� or, �With God.�

Vs. 2  The instruction in verses 2-9 was addressed to him by his mother. This is unusual for elsewhere in Proverbs a father is  addressing his son(s), though twice a mother�s teaching is      referred to by the father 1:8; 6:20. 

My vows may mean that she made a vow, as Hannah did, before his conception  1 Samuel 1:11.  Some Bible scholars believe this is Bathsheba writing to her son Solomon.

Vs. 3  This mother warns her son about the dangers of wayward women and their destroying power.

Vs. 4�9 She warns of the danger of strong drink and wine and reminded him of his responsibility to champion the cause of  justice for the poor.

The words �ready to perish� (Vs. 6-8) means people who are passing away; who are near death.

The poor and needy (Vs. 9) , �people needing help�,  were easily oppressed and were also to be defended by the king.

Vrs. 10-31   Proverbs has a lot to say about women. How fitting that the book ends with a picture of a woman of strong character, great wisdom, many skills, and of great compassion.

Some people have the mistaken idea that the ideal woman in the Bible is retiring, servile, and entirely domestic. Not so! This woman is an excellent wife and mother.  She is also a manufacturer, importer, manager, realtor, farmer, seamstress, upholsterer, and merchant.  Lydia was a seller of purple (Acts 16:14).  Deborah was a judge in Israel and went to war with Barak (Judges 4:4-10).

Her strength and dignity do not just come from her amazing achievements.  They are the result of her reverence for God. In our society where physical appearance counts for so much, it may surprise us to realize that her appearance is never mentioned. Her attractiveness comes entirely from her character.

Vrs. 10-12  Here we have the first  of attribute this wife.

Vs. 10A virtuous woman�  The wife of noble character is also mentioned in 12:4. Ruth was called �a virtuous woman� (Ruth 3:11). The question �who can find�? does not suggest that such women are nonexistent but that they should be admired because they, like noble men, are rare. Also they are more valuable than rubies .

Vs. 11  The noble wife�s husband is mentioned three times (Vrs. 11, 23, 28) and is referred to as �him� in verse 12. His confidence in her is complete. He trusts her. Her careful household management enhances their family�s wealth..

Vs.12  The good wife.  This kind of woman is an asset, not a liability, to her husband. Good comes to him that can be        directly attributed to her. She supports and encourages him.

In verses 13-15 we have the second attribute of this wife.  She was an industrious and working wife.

Vs. 13  She is involved in weaving and sewing as indicated in verses 13, 19, 22, 24. She uses wool and flax, and linen (Vrs. 22, 24) made from flax. �Worketh willingly� is literally, �with the delight of her hands,� suggesting that she enjoys her work.

Vs. 14 The gracious wife also does shopping. She is like merchant ships that brought unusual and fascinating merchandise from other places. She too brought interesting and unusual items home from her shopping.

Vs. 15  Though she has household help (maidens) she herself gets up early, before daybreak, to help prepare breakfast and food for the other meals, and gives to her maidens food also.

Vrs. 16-24 Here we have the third attribute of this ideal wife and mother.  She was considerate and observant.

Vs. 16  The wife�s considering and buying a field shows her eye for a good deal. She apparently had money to invest out of her earnings from various investments (�trading,� v. 18, and �sells,� v. 24 she plants a vineyard. v.16 ) She has a business mind and she works hard to help her husband.

Vs. 17  The girding of the loins for service may well remind us of that obedience to the truth of God which characterizes the devoted soul (Ephesians 6:14). The truth of God�s Word equips us with strength and fitness to perform our daily tasks. She works energetically.

�Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness� Ephesians 6:14

Vs. 18 Her wise business dealings are again referred to (�earnings,� v. 16, and �sells,� v. 24). The fact that her lamp does not go out speaks of her planning ahead. The five virgins whose lamps did not go out were praised for their foresight (Matt. 25:4).

Vs. 19  Verses 13, 19, 22, 24 refer to her weaving and sewing. She makes cloth by spinning wool or flax on a distaff, using a spindle.

Vs. 20 The noble wife is also selfless and generous. She sells some things for profit but she also gives to the poor and the needy.

Vrs. 21-22 Cold weather does not cause this woman to panic. She has clothed them in scarlet, that is, she has provided expensive garments. She spares no cost in protecting her family from the cold.

Vs. 23  A virtuous woman enhances her husband�s standing among those who transact legal and judicial affairs at the city gate.

Vs. 24  Again her clothing enterprise is mentioned. She makes linen clothes for herself (v. 22) but is such a good seamstress that she also makes enough to sell.

Vrs. 25-27  The fine linen and purple of verse 22 are explained symbolically in verse 25. �Strength and honour are her clothing.� That is of course strength of character, or       uprightness of heart and conduct, coupled with that gracious dignity which belongs to one who walks with God. No wonder it is written, �she shall rejoice in time to come.� Godliness and joyfulness are inseparable. She was surely adorned as the apostle Peter said in 1 Peter 3:3-4

�Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price�.

Vrs. 28-31  The children of this virtuous mother recognize the wisdom and love demonstrated in her firm but tender discipline and rise up and shower praises on her. Her husband exclaims �Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou   excellest them all.�

In these verses we read the secret of her devoted, virtuous life: She fears the Lord. The fear of the Lord, which the book of Proverbs has declared to be the beginning of wisdom, is her abiding characteristic. Her words, her ways, her dress, and her household discipline are all ordered as in the Lord�s presence.

 

 

The Gospel of John

LESSON  1

Introduction

 

This is the fourth book of the New Testament and was written by the apostle John about 30 years after Christ return to Heaven.

John was the son of Zebedee and the brother of James.

�And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them�.  Matt. 4:21

 He is always mentioned among the first four in the list of the apostles. 

�Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother�.  Matthew 10:2

He was also among the �three� (Peter, James and John) who were closest to Jesus and were with him on special occasions.

�And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them�.  Mark 9:2

This Gospel is different from the other three Gospels in that it relates more of the discourses of our Saviour. The other Gospels relate more chronologically the events of our Saviour�s ministry and details about the miracles he performed.  Nearly half the book is taken up with the last week of Christ ministry and crucifixion events.  This book was written not only to Jews, but to all believers and also to unbelievers to reveal to them that Christ was divine and the Son of God.  

John tells us the reason for his writing: 

�But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name�.  John 20:31

In this Gospel we have seven �I Am . . .� statements that we will study as we come to them in future lessons..

The seven �I Am�s�

1.  �I am the Bread of Life - John 6:35

2.  �I am the Light of the World - John 8:12

3.  �I am the Door of the Sheep� - John 10:7

4.  �I am the Good Shepherd� - John 10:11, 14

5.  �I am the Resurrection and the Life - John 11:25

6.  �I am the Way, the Truth and the Life� - John 14:6

7.  �I am the True Vine� - John 15:1, 5

Throughout the centuries, this Gospel has been one of the most beloved books in Christianity.  John 3:16 has been one of the most memorized verses in the Bible and one of the most instrumental in leading people to Christ as their Saviour.

Tradition tells us that John may have been pastor of the church at Ephesus where the apostle Paul also ministered.  John also wrote the books of 1st, 2nd and 3rd John and later the Book of  Revelation when he was banished to the Isle of Patmos.  John outlived all the other apostles and died at about age 95.

John was selective and his Gospel suggests that much more could have been written.  �other things which Jesus did�.

�And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen�.  John 21:25

John was also evangelistic, giving emphasis to the Salvation that is only found in Christ. (John 1:12,  3:16, 14:6  and many more verses).

This Gospel shows that Christ was the long awaited Messiah and reveals that He was the divine Son of God.  (John 3:16).

In this Gospel we find Jesus attending many of the yearly Feasts.  He attended the Passover three times and also the Feast of Tabernacles and the Feast of Dedication.

In this Gospel we read more about the ministry of Christ in Judea than in the other parts of Palestine, as told in the other Gospels. 

John also tells us about the Holy Spirit in the ministry of our Saviour.  The Spirit was present at the beginning of His public ministry (1:32) and is mentioned 15 times in this Gospel.  

�And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him�.  John 1:32

The Spirit also brings life when one is �born again�  (3:1-21) and guides the Christian into �all truth� (16:13-15).

Some of the interesting events in this Gospel are: 

1. The ministry of John the Baptist (1:15-37)

2. Jesus chasing the changers of money from the temple (2:13-16)

3. The visit of Nicodemus (3:1-21), 

4. The conversation with the Samaritan woman (4:1-30)

5. The healing of the man at the Pool of  Bethesda (5:1-15),

6. The feeding of the five thousand (6:1-14)

7. The raising of Lazarus from the dead (11:1-45).

In this Gospel there are many titles given to Jesus that reveal who he is.

1. The Word - 1:1, 14  A divine revelation of Christ�s work and authority as one with the Father.

2. The Lamb of God - 1:29  The one who gave his life as a  sacrifice for our sins.

3. Rabbi/Teacher - 3:2  The one who opens the Scriptures and teaches us divine truth.

4. The Bread of Life - 6:35. The one essential food if one is to grow spiritually and inherit eternal life.

5. The Light of the World - 9:5  Our Saviour illuminates our path and guides our steps.

6. The Good Shepherd - 10:11  The one who goes before us and provides guidance and protection.  The one who gave his life that we might have everlasting life.

7. The Son of God - 20:31  This shows the divinity of our  Saviour and His relationship with the Father.

 

A BRIEF OUTLINE

1. Introduction � 1:1 - 2:11

2. Jesus public ministry � 2:12 - 4:54

3. Opposition to Christ � 5:1-12:50

4. Final words, death and resurrection of Christ � 13:1-20:25

  

 

LESSON  2

Jesus, the Creator

Chapter 1:1-14

 

Verses 1 - 5  Jesus, the creator of all things.

Vs. 1  �In the beginning�  The beginning of what?  When we look at the first verse of the Bible we read these same words.  Our world and the universe had their beginnings with God.  It was God who spoke into being everything that exists.  In Genesis we see the trinity when God said: �And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness . . .�  Genesis 1:26

The expression �the Word� refers to our Saviour.  It says �with God� and �was God�.  The word translated �Word� has a strong meaning in ancient languages.  It was even more so in the East, and still is. To the eastern people a word is not merely a sound; it is the power which does things. 

Of that general idea of the power of words, the Old Testament is full. 

Once Isaac had been deceived into blessing Jacob instead of Esau, nothing he could do could take the words of blessing back again (Genesis 27).  The word had gone out and had begun to act and nothing could stop it. 

In particular we see the word of God in action in the Creation story.  At every stage of it we read:  "And God said . . ."  It is repeated ten times (Genesis 1:3�29). 

The word of God is the creating power.  Again and again we get this idea of the creative, acting, dynamic word of God. 

"By the word of the Lord the heavens were made" (Psalm 33:6). 

"He sent forth his word and healed them" (Psalm 107:20). 

"He sent forth his commands to the earth; his word runs swiftly" (Psalm 147:15). 

"So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11).

"Is not my word like fire, and, says the Lord, like a hammer which breaks the rock in pieces?"  (Jeremiah 23:29).  

�For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart�.  (Hebrews 4:12)

Everywhere in the Bible there is this idea of the  power of words and especially God�s Word.  Men's words have a kind of dynamic activity; how much more must it be so with God.

Vs.  2  Jesus was in the beginning,  He was always God.  Some false religions teach that Jesus was a created being like the  angels and is not God.

Vs. 3  It was God the Father who allowed His Son Jesus to be the creator of all things.

Vs. 4   Life is man�s most important asset. To lose life is tragic. John affirmed that in the ultimate sense, our life is in Christ. Man�s spiritual and physical life come from Him.

Jesus is the Source of �life� 11:25 and is also the light of men 8:12. Light is commonly used in the Bible as an emblem of God; darkness is commonly used to denote death, ignorance, sin, and separation from God. Isaiah described salvation as the people living in darkness seeing a great light.   Isaiah. 9:2

Vs. 5  Light�s nature is to shine brightly and dispel darkness. Darkness is unable to overpower light. The phrase �comprehended it not� means that darkness cannot of itself dispel light.  Only when light is removed can darkness enter in.

John summarized his words about light:

1. Light will invade the dominion of darkness.

2. Satan, the ruler of darkness and his subjects will resist the light, but they will be unable to overcome it�s power.

3. The Word (light) will be victorious in spite of opposition.

Vrs. 6-8  The witness of John the Baptist

Vs. 6  In addition to the eternal Word (Jesus), a prophet came on the stage of history: whose name was John.  He is called �John the Baptist� 13 times in the Gospels. This John did not author this Gospel but was the great forerunner of Jesus. He was sent from God, which was the source of his power. Like the Old Testament prophets he was equipped and commissioned by God for a special ministry �sent by God� to announce the coming Messiah.

Vs. 7. John came as a witness to bear witness to the light, that through him (Jesus) all men might believe.  He himself was not the light; his ministry was to bear witness to the light.

John the Baptist was sent for the people�s benefit, to be a pointer to the truth of Jesus, the Revealer of the Father.

People in sin are in such darkness that they need someone to tell them what is light. John�s goal was that all men might come to trust in Jesus.

Vs. 8. John the Baptist was a light, but he was not the Light.

We, like John the Baptist, are not the source of God�s light; we merely reflect that light. Jesus Christ is the true Light; that helps us see our way to God and shows us how to walk along that way. But Christ has chosen to reflect his light through his followers to an unbelieving world, perhaps because unbelievers are not able to bear the full blazing glory of his light firsthand. The word witness indicates our role as reflectors of Christ�s light. We are never to present ourselves as the light to others, but are always to point them to Christ, the true Light

Vs. 9-14 Jesus is the true Light.

There are many false lights in this world that only lead to destruction.  Jesus is the only true Light.

The sun is the source of light for our planet and the moon.  The moon has no light of itself, but merely reflects the sunlight.  In the same manner we are to reflect the light of the �Sun of Righteousness�.  Malachi 4:2

The light of God�s love illuminates every person who has ever been born.  Many people refuse to accept the Light of God�s love and so are lost in sin condemned to hell.  No person can ever say they never had an opportunity to know God and thus have eternal life.

The book of Romans tells us that the Lord has given the world two witnesses that reveal His love to them. 

The witness of the creation. Romans 1:18-20, Psalm 19:1, 97:6

The witness of mans conscience.  Romans 2:14-16

Vs. 10  When Jesus came into this world, Luke tells us there was �no room in the inn� (Luke 2:7) for the Son of God when he was born.  Wise men from the East saw his star when he was born and the shepherds were told of this event, but the Jewish world was not looking for this kind of a Saviour.

Vs 11  �He came unto is own�.  Jesus was a Jew and came first to the Jewish nation, but they failed to see in Christ the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesies.  He went first to the Jewish synagogues and proclaimed that he was the Messiah, but they rejected his teachings and finally crucified him.

Vs. 12  �But�  In spite of the rejection by the religious leaders, many people followed Him and multitudes were saved by receiving Him as their Saviour.  By believing the words of our Saviour, the Lord gave them the power to become the �sons of God�. 

Vs. 13  This verse tells us that salvation is a spiritual experience, not a physical change.  It is the Spirit of God that brings conviction of sin and the need for salvation.  No human effort will ever get a person into heaven. Later John explains that one must be �born again� be born spiritually into God�s family. 

Vs. 14 Jesus assumed a human body and was confined to it for 33 1/2 years that he might die and pay for our sins.

  

 

LESSON  3

The Ministry of John the Baptist

Chapter 1:15-18

 

In verses 1-40 we have the ministry of John the Baptist and we see him clearly pointing the people to Christ as their Messiah.  He clearly shows his humility and that he was merely the forerunner who prepared the people for the coming ministry of  Christ here on earth for three and a half years.

Vs. 15   This fourth Gospel was written by John the Apostle and gives us John the Baptists own words of who Jesus was and shows that he willingly assumed a secondary position of one who exalted Christ and was soon to end his ministry.

John was not thinking in terms of time but of eternity.  He was thinking of Jesus as the one who existed before the world    began, and beside whom no human figure has any standing at all.  To John the preeminent place belonged to Jesus.

Vs. 16   From him we have received grace for (upon) grace.  Literally the Greek means grace in addition to grace.  What does that strange phrase mean?

It may mean that in Christ we find one wonder leading to  another.  Sometimes when we travel a very lovely road, scene after scene opens to us. Always there are fresh experiences of beauty waiting for us.  And so it is with Christ.  The more we know of him, the more wonderful he becomes.  The longer we live with him, the more loveliness we discover.  This phrase may be John's way of expressing the unlimited fountain of God�s grace in Christ.

It may be that we ought to take this expression quite literally.  In Christ we find grace upon grace.  Different ages and different situations in life demand a different kind of grace.  We need one grace in the days of prosperity and another in the days of adversity.  We need one grace in the sunlit days of youth and another when the shadows of age begin to lengthen.  We need one grace when we feel that we are on the top of things and another when we are depressed and discouraged and near to despair.  We need one grace to bear our own burdens and another to bear one another's burdens.  We need one grace when we are sure of things and another when there seems nothing certain left in the world.  The grace of God never fails to meet the situation.  One need invades life and one grace comes with it.  That need passes and another need assaults us and with it another grace comes.  All through life we are constantly receiving grace for grace, for the grace of Christ is triumphantly adequate to deal with any situation.

The Lord told Paul these words: �And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me� 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

Vs. 17  The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  In the Old Testament, life was governed by the Law.  The Law said:  do this or do that, or don�t do this or don�t do that.  A man had to do a thing whether he liked it or not, and whether he knew the reason for it or not; but with the coming of Jesus we no longer seek to obey the law of God like slaves; we seek to obey the law like sons because of God�s grace bestowed upon us.  It is through Jesus Christ that God the law-giver has become God the Father, and God the judge has become God the lover of the souls of men.  When we think of God�s love who sent Christ to die for us it constrains us to obey his word.

�For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead�.  2 Corinthians 5:14

Vs. 18   John the Baptist finishes his declaration about the   divinity of Christ in this verse. 

When John said that �no man has ever seen God�, everyone in the ancient world would fully agree with him.  Men were fascinated and depressed and frustrated by what they regarded as the infinite distance and the utter inability to see God. 

�Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things�.  Romans 1:22-23

In the Old Testament God said to Moses:  �You cannot see my face; for man shall not see me and live� Exodus 33:20.  No one in the Old Testament thought it possible to see God.  There would be none to disagree with John when he said that no man has ever seen God.

But John does not stop there; he goes on to make the startling and tremendous statement that Jesus has fully revealed to men what God is like.  Here is the keynote of John's gospel:  �If you want to see what God is like, look at Jesus.�

�Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the         Father�?  John 14:9

Why should it be that Jesus can do what no one else has ever done?  Wherein lies his power to reveal God to men?  John says three things about him.

Jesus is distinctive and matchless, �the only begotten Son�.  The word �only begotten� literally means; unique and specially beloved.  Obviously an only son has a unique place and a unique love in his father's heart.  The teaching of the New Testament is that there is no one like Jesus.  He alone can bring God to men and bring men to God.

�For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus�.  1 Timothy 2:5

Jesus is God.  Here we have the very same form of expression that we had in the first verse of the chapter.  This does not mean that Jesus is identical with God as to position; but it does mean that in mind and character and being he is one with God.  The Trinity is a mystery that we will never fully understand until we get to Heaven.

Jesus is �in the bosom of the Father.  To be in the bosom of someone is the Hebrew phrase which expresses the deepest intimacy possible in human life.  It is used of a mother and child; it is used of a husband and wife; a man speaks of the wife of his bosom (Numbers 11:12; Deuteronomy 13:6); it is used of two friends who are in complete communion with one     another.  When John uses this phrase about Jesus, he means that between Jesus and God there is complete and uninterrupted intimacy.  It is because Jesus is so intimate with God, that he is one with God and can reveal God to men.

�I and my Father are one�.  John 10:30

In Jesus Christ the distant, unknowable, invisible, unreachable God has come to men; and God can never be a stranger to us again.

John finishes his statement about who Christ was with these words;  �he (God) hath declared him�.  God clearly revealed who Christ was many times.

At Jesus baptism by John the Baptist God declared these words: 

�And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my  beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased�.  Matthew 3:17

Later at Jesus transfiguration on the mountain God said these words.

�And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him�.  Luke 9:35

Jesus was not created with the angels as some churches teach, or a mere human being with extraordinary powers as some others teach,  but clearly declared to be the Son of God and God revealed to men in a human form.

 

LESSON  4

The Ministry of John the Baptist

Chapter 1:19-37

 

In our last lesson we heard what John the Baptist said about our Saviour and his revelation of Christ as God. In this lesson we will read about his ministry and who he claimed not to be.

In verses 19-28 we read who he was not.

Vs. 19  When John the Baptist began his ministry he did not go to Jerusalem, but began preaching in the wilderness of Judea and wore clothing of camel�s hair and ate locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:1-4). 

This strange man and his preaching soon drew large crowds and people came to see and find out who he was.  He denounced the peoples sins and those who repented were baptized by him in the Jordan river.  When the religious leaders in Jerusalem heard of this strange preacher they sent priests and Levites to ask him: �Who art thou�? 

Vs. 20  The Jewish nation was looking for their Messiah (Anointed One) to come and deliver them from the bondage of the Romans.  Some thought that this might be their Messiah but John clearly told them that he was not �the Christ�.

Vs. 21  The priests and Levites continued to ask John who he was.  Some thought he might be the fulfillment of the prophesy of the prophet Malachi, but John said he was not Elijah.

�Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD�.  Malachi 4:5

The religious leaders also knew the  prophesy of Moses that the Lord would send a �Prophet� that would speak to them.

�The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken�.  Deuteronomy 18:15

Again John the Baptist told them that he was not �that Prophet�.

Vs. 22  The priests and Levites were getting frustrated at John and ask him to tell them who he was.

Vs. 23  John tells them that he is �the voice of one crying in the wilderness�.  He does not speak for himself, but says he is the voice of the Lord as was Isaiah the prophet. 

�The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God�.  Isaiah 40:3

John like Isaiah preached and exhorted the people to turn from their wilderness of sin and make strait their ways.

Vs. 24  The Pharisees  were a religious group that exercised control over the synagogues and considered themselves the final authority on the understanding of the ancient writings of Moses.  They were a very proud group and the name literally means �separated�.  When John asked the people to repent of their sins and be baptized, it offended the Pharisees.  It was a common practice among the Jews that when a gentile became a Jew he would be baptized.  The Pharisees were greatly offended because John told both Jews and gentiles to repent of their sins and confess their faith by water baptism. 

Vs. 25  The religious leaders asked John by what authority he was baptizing the people.  They said that if he was not that Christ, or that Prophet or Elijah, who gave him the authority to preach and baptize as he was doing in the wilderness.

Vs. 26  John says that he is preaching and baptizing and telling the people that the Messiah is already among them, but the Pharisees who should have been the first to recognize Christ as the coming Messiah were blinded by their pride and unbelief.

Vs. 27  John the Baptist tells the Pharisees that the one who is coming after his ministry is finished is already among them.  Jesus was about six months younger than John who was his cousin.  In Bible days slaves would remove the sandals of their masters and wash their feet.  John says he is not worthy to even do this menial task for his Messiah.

Vs. 28   The site of Bethabara on the other side of the Jordan River is now unknown. (It is not to be confused with Bethany, the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, near Jerusalem.) A probable site is opposite Jericho.

Notice is taken of the place where all this was done: �in Bethabara beyond Jordan�. Bethabara means the house of passage and some think it was the very place where Israel passed over the Jordan River into the land of promise under the command of Joshua.  It was a great distance from Jerusalem, beyond  Jordan; probably because what he did there would be least  offensive and noticed by the Roman government.

John brought honor to this place. It would not be known apart from John, for nothing else is known about this city from the    Bible or history.

Vrs. 29-34  Here we have John baptizing Jesus, but few details are given.  From the other Gospels we learn more about this event that preceded the public ministry of our Saviour.

Vs. 29  John says he saw Jesus coming and immediately recognized who he was,  the Lamb of God who would die for the sins of the world.

Vs. 30  John repeats the declaration about the divinity of Christ. He tells us that Christ will be preferred before himself because he was before him, the One who created all things in the beginning.  John 1:1-3

Vs. 31  John confesses that he did not know of Christ divine ministry until his baptism when it was revealed to him. 

Vs. 32-33  When he saw the Holy Spirit descend like a dove  and abide on Christ when he was baptized, he recognized and    announced that this was the promised Messiah.  Mathew 3:13-17;  Mark 1:9-11;  Luke 3:21-22.  All four Gospels record this event.

John told the people that their Messiah would baptize them with the Holy Ghost which was done on the Day of Pentecost and consequently on every believer when they accept Christ as their Saviour. 

�For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit�.  1 Corinthians 12:13

The baptism of Christ is a spiritual baptism that unites all believers to Christ and places them into the Body of Christ.

�Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular�.   1 Corinthians 12:27

�And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ�.  Ephesians 4:11-12

Baptism in no way saves, but is a public testimony of our  association with Christ and his church.  When our Saviour was baptized it was his way of giving approval to the message of John the Baptist.

Vs. 34  John concludes his account of Jesus baptism by repeating the statement of John the Baptist of who Christ was, �the Son of God�. 

Vrs. 35-37  In these verses we see John the Baptist pointing two of his disciples to Christ and calling Him the Lamb of God.

Twice in this passage John the Baptist calls Jesus the Lamb of God.

In the book of Isaiah 53:7 we see Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb.

In the book of Revelation Jesus is referred to 27 times as the Lamb of God.

 

 

 

LESSON  5

The Beginning of Jesus Ministry

Chapter 1:35-51

 

In our last lesson we read about the baptism of Jesus and John the Baptist announcement about the baptism with the Holy Spirit by Jesus (Vs. 33).

The writer of this Gospel now begins to record the ministry of our Saviour.  John the Baptist is mentioned only 9 more times in this Gospel and we read nothing about the end of his ministry except that he was imprisoned by Herod (Matthew 6:17).

Vrs. 35-39

Here we see John the Baptist pointing beyond himself.  He must have known that to speak to his disciples about Jesus was like inviting them to leave him and transfer their loyalty to this new and greater teacher; and yet he did it.  There was no jealousy in John.  He had come to attach men not to himself, but to Christ.  There is no harder task than to take the second place when once the first place was enjoyed.  But as soon as Jesus emerged on the scene John never had any other thought than to send his followers to Jesus.

Two of John�s disciples followed Jesus (Vs. 37).  It may be that they were too shy to approach him directly and followed respectfully some distance behind.  Then Jesus did something very interesting,  he turned and spoke to them.  That is to say, he met them half way.  He made things easier for them.  He opened the door that they might come in.

Here we have the symbol of the divine initiative.  It is always God who takes the first step.  When the human mind begins to seek and the human heart begins to long, God comes to meet us far more than half way.  God does not leave a man to search and search until he comes to him; God goes out to meet the man and offer him divine pardon and forgiveness of his sins.  It was God who went to find Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  It was the prodigal sons father (God) who went to meet his repentant son.

Jesus began by asking these two men the most fundamental question in life.  "What are you looking for?"  he asked them �What seek ye?�(Vs. 38).

It would be well if every now and again we were to ask ourselves the same question: "What am I looking for?  What is my aim and goal?  What am I really trying to get out of life?"

Some are searching for security.  They would like a position which is safe, money enough to meet the needs of life and to put some past for the time when work is done, a material security which will take away the essential worry about material things. 

Some are searching for what they would call a career, for power, prominence, prestige, for a place to fit the talents and the abilities they believe themselves to have, for an opportunity to do the work they believe themselves capable of doing. 

Some are searching for some kind of peace, for something to enable them to be at peace with themselves, and at peace with God, and at peace with men.  This is the search for God that the two disciple were searching for.

The answer of John's disciples was that they wished to know where Jesus stayed.  They called him Rabbi; which is a Hebrew word which literally means teacher.  It was the title of respect given by students to their teachers. It was not mere curiosity which made these two ask this question.  What they meant was that they did not wish to speak to Jesus only on the road, in the passing, as chance acquaintances might stop and exchange a few words.  They wished to linger long with him and learn more about this one who John called �The Lamb of God�. They wanted to meet Jesus, not as an acquaintance in the passing, but as a friend in his own dwelling.

Jesus answer to their question:  �Where dwellest thou?� was �Come and see!� (Vs. 39).

John who wrote this gospel finishes the paragraph by saying it was about four o'clock in the afternoon.  It may very well be that he finishes that way because he was one of the two himself.  Andrew was the other disciple (Vs. 40). 

Vrs. 40-42

Andrew was so excited about his conversation with Jesus that he ran to find his brother Simon Peter.  He told him that they had found the Messiah who was Christ.  He did what every Christian should do after finding Christ as their Saviour.  He brought him to meet Jesus personally.  Christ saw in Peter a soul desirous to know the truth and said that he would be called Cephas, which meant in Greek a �stone�.  We find Peter being called by this name only six times in the New Testament and by the name Simon 69 times.

Vrs. 43-50

In these verses we see Jesus calling two more of John�s followers to be numbered with his twelve apostles that our Saviour would call and prepare for their future ministry after He went back to Heaven.

The following day Christ prepared to travel to Galilee, but  before leaving he found Philip who was from the same city as Andrew and Peter (Vs. 44). 

Philip after talking with Christ recognized Him as the Messiah who was revealed in the Old Testament scriptures.  Just as  Andrew wanted others to know about this treasure he had found, he went to find his brother Nathanael and bring him to the Saviour.

When Nathanael heard what Philip had to say, he doubted when he heard that Christ was from Nazareth.  Philip told him to �Come and see� for himself (Vs. 46).

But while Nathanael was coming to meet Jesus, Jesus spoke to him as he had done with Andrew and John Vs. 47

Nathanael was still doubting and asked how Jesus know him.

Jesus revealed to Nathanael his supernatural power when he told him where he had been sitting, which was evidently some distance from where Christ was Vrs. 47-48.

What is the significance of �under the fig tree�?  To the Jews the fig tree was a place peace and rest and meditation.  (1 Kings 4:25; Micah 4:3-4). Further, the fig tree was leafy and shady and it was the custom to sit and meditate under the roof of its branches in the evening.  No doubt that was what Nathanael had been doing; and no doubt as he sat under the fig tree he had prayed for the day when God's Chosen One would come.  No doubt he had been meditating on the promises of God and now he knew that Jesus had seen into his heart and was truly the Messiah.

After his encounter with Christ. Nathanael proclaimed his recognition of Christ as the fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures by saying: �Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel�. Vs. 49

In verse 50 Jesus tells him that he will see �greater things that these�(his sitting under the fig tree).

The seeing of Nathanael under the fig tree was a miracle but during Christ�s earthly ministry he performed at least thirty-six miracles of healing and raising the dead besides hundreds of others that we do not have the details of.  John 20:30,  21:25.

Vs. 51  The opening of the heavens indicated a major revelation. Jesus words allude to Jacob�s vision in Genesis 28:12. Jesus is the new way between heaven and earth (Jacob�s ladder) on whom angels ascend and descend; like Jacob�s ladder of old.

The Bible clearly tells us that Jesus is the only door to Heaven John 10:10.

Jesus is the only way to heaven according to John 14:6.

There is only one mediator between Heaven and earth by which men can enter heaven.  1 Timothy 2:5

Jesus is the ladder to heaven, only by Him can we enter Heaven.

 

  

LESSON  6

Jesus First Public Miracle

Chapter  2:1-11

 

Vr. 1  �The third day�  This expression appears 55 times in the Bible.  Jesus told his disciples that he had to be in Jerusalem on the third day Luke 13:33.   All four Gospels clearly say that Jesus rose from the grave on the third day and Paul clearly stated this also in 1 Corinthians 13:4.  It was on the �third day� that Abraham was ready to sacrifice his son Genesis 22:4.

The scene is a village wedding feast.  In Palestine a wedding was a really notable occasion.  It was the Jewish custom that the wedding of a virgin should take place on a Wednesday (the fourth day of the week).  This is interesting because it gives us a date from which to work back; and if this wedding took place on a Wednesday it must have been the Saturday when Jesus first met Andrew and John and they stayed that day and all day on Sunday.

Note that Joseph was not mentioned. It is thought by most commentators that he was already dead. In fact, most commentators think he had been dead for some years, and that Jesus, being the older son, had stayed home to take care of the family until the other children were old enough to go out on their own.

In Cana of Galilee. This town was the home of Nathanael (John 21:2), is only mentioned again in John 4:46 as the home of the nobleman whose son Jesus healed.

�The mother of Jesus�.  John who was the author of this Gospel never used his name when referring to himself. Here we know that Mary was the mother of Jesus physical body.  Many     believe that the marriage was of some relative of Mary�s family and so she would have been invited.

Oriental wedding feasts often lasted seven days. A feast on the fourth day was followed by the marriage ceremony and the groom taking his bride to his home or his father�s house.  They did not go away on a honeymoon but guests visited the couple until the seventh day when all the activities ended.

Vs. 2   Both Jesus and his disciples were invited since Mary was a relative of the bride or groom.  There were probably just the four men that he had called to follow him in chapter 1.

Vs. 3   For a Jewish feast wine was essential. It was not that people were drunken, but in the East wine was an essential.  Drunkenness was in fact a great disgrace, and they actually drank their wine in a mixture composed of two parts of wine to three parts of water.  At any time the failure of provisions would have been a problem, for hospitality in the East is a   sacred duty; but for the provisions to fail at a wedding would be a terrible humiliation for the bride and the bridegroom.

Wine in the Bible - see page 4 for more information.

Vs. 4  �mine hour is not yet come�  Here it apparently means that the hour for the public manifestation of Christ as the   Messiah had not yet come.  This was a local wedding but Jesus performed a miracle and his disciples believed on him (Vs. 11) and his public ministry soon began.

Vs. 5  Mary told the servants to do whatever Christ told them to do.  She probably didn�t know exactly what he would do, to buy more wine or in someway provide for the need, but she had confidence that he would in some way resolve the need.

Vs. 6  The six water pots - They each held two or three firkins (a Jewish measurement like our gallon) which was about two and a half gallons.  In six of these huge water jars there would have been some twenty or more gallons of water for purifying at such feasts.  They were stone jars and not pottery and were used to store water for bathing. It was customary for the bride to bathe before the wedding ceremony and that is why the pots were empty (Vs. 7). Why were there six?  The expression �six days� appears 19 times in the Bible.  We know that the Lord created the world in six days and that men were instructed to work six days and rest on the seventh Exodus 20:9. After six days Jesus took three of his apostles to the mountain and was transfigured which was a picture of his glorious resurrection Matthew 17:1. Jesus also went to visit the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus six days before the Passover when he would be betrayed by Judas and crucified  John 12:1.  Six seems to be the number of consummation.  Some believe that there has been about six thousand years of human history from the Garden of Eden until God�s plan for the end of this present world comes to an end.  Noah was six hundred years old when he entered into the Ark (Genesis 7:6) and the flood came (The tribulation Period).  The number six appears 190 times in the Bible.

Vrs. 7-8  The servants did what Jesus told them to do and a miracle took place.  When we are obedient to the Lord we can expect miracles also to take place John 14:12.

Vrs. 9-10  Soon after the grapes were harvested, they were crushed to make juice, and very quickly the juice would contain some alcohol since there was no refrigeration or glass jars to preserve the grape juice in. But the alcohol level of the wine was watered down, with two to three parts of water to one part of wine and was known as �table wine�. Yet one would normally serve the better wine first because the guests senses would  become more dulled after seven days of banqueting.

Whether the water was turned into grape juice or intoxicating wine, it was still a miracle. 

Vs. 11   This was Christ�s first public miracle and his disciples now knew that Jesus was more than a good teacher.  The many miracles that our Saviour performed were signs to his followers that he was God and the promised Messiah.

�If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him�.

John 10:37-38

 

WINE IN THE BIBLE

Wine  was a beverage made from grapes. Grapes grew throughout ancient Palestine. Even in areas with limited rainfall, enough dew fell at night to support thriving vineyards. Wine was produced by pressing the juice from the grapes in large stone vats with a small drain at one end. The juice was collected in troughs, poured into large jars. In New Testament times, wine was kept in skin flasks and often diluted with water. It was also used as a medicine and disinfectant. Scripture clearly condemns drunkenness and overindulgence.  Since water was extremely scarce in Israel, wine was mixed with water to purify it and kill harmful bacteria.

The first mention of grape juice fermenting is after the flood when Noah drank of it and became drunk Genesis 1:20-21. Some scholars believe that since the sun didn�t shine directly on the earth until after the flood, grape juice did not ferment, and so Noah may not have known of it�s ability to make one drunk and didn�t purposely get drunk.

There twelve different words translated wine in the Bible and 12 references to it.

�New wine�  There are 11 references to this as being pure grape juice.

�Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants' sakes, that I may not destroy them all�.  Isaiah 65:8

�And Pharaoh's cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh's cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh's hand�.  Genesis 40:11

Today with the modern means of water purification and    readily available medicines,  fermented wine is no longer   necessary for these purposes. 

The apostle Paul said to abstain from all appearance of evil  1 Thessalonians 5:22.

Did Jesus make fermented wine?  I don�t believe so.

 

 

LESSON  7

Jesus public ministry begins with the

�Cleansing of the Temple.� 

Chapter 2:12-25

 

Vs. 12  After attending a wedding in Cana of Galilee Jesus went to the city of Capernaum and revealed himself to the world. 

�And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim.�  Matthew 4:13

It was on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. Capernaum appears in the biblical record only in the Gospels where it is mentioned 16 times. It was an economic center in Galilee and called a city in Luke 4:31.

It was on a major east-west trade route and this explains the need for a customs station there Matthew 17:24. The importance of the city is further demonstrated by the location of a military installation there under the command of a centurion Matthew 8:5. Fishing and farming were important to the economy and archaeological evidence suggests that there were other light industries contributing to the local prosperity.

In the New Testament Capernaum was chosen as the base of    operations by Jesus when He began His ministry John 2:12. Jesus taught in the synagogue Mark 1:21 and private homes Mark 2:1.  Matthew 9:1 described it as "his own city." Some think that this was the home of John the apostle and that is why Jesus commended the care of Mary his mother to John. The majority of the people apparently did not accept His messianic role because they fell under the same condemnation as Chorazin and Bethsaida for failing to repent Matt. 11:20-24.

This was the city where Matthew was called to be an apostle  Luke 5:27-29.

Vs. 13  Jesus went to the Passover Feast that was celebrated each year in Jerusalem.  This was the first of the three feasts that the Jews celebrated each year in Jerusalem.

During New Testament times large crowds gathered in Jerusalem to observe this annual celebration. Jesus was crucified during this Passover event and ate a Passover meal with his disciples on the eve of His death.

John records at least three Passover Feasts that Christ attended in Jerusalem.  It was during this last Passover Feast that he attended and ate with his apostles that he was crucified in fulfillment of Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22.

Vs. 14  According to the Old Testament the Passover Feast was to be observed in Jerusalem and the sacrifices made in the Temple.  Jerusalem is always referred to as being up because it was on top of a mountain. 

Around the Temple was a large courtyard named the Court of the Gentiles, surrounding the temple enclosure. The buying and selling of animals in this area was permitted as a convenience for the people coming to Jerusalem from other cities and even other countries. But abuses developed, and revenue from the visitors became a major source of income for the city. With money to be made, worship easily became corrupted. The money changers were another convenience for the people. Temple dues had to be paid in the Jewish coinage, and a high percentage was charged for changing foreign coins.

Vrs. 15-16  The Temple was to have been a sacred place of    worship,  but it had become a place of corruption and dishonor to the Lord.

The prophet Malachi had predicted this event Malachi 3:1-4.

�Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:  And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.  Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.�  Malachi 3:1-4

Jesus drove out all of those who were using the Temple for their own gain and not their for the benefit of the people who had come to worship and celebrate the Passover Feast. 

The main purpose of the church is to preach the Gospel and to minister to those who are followers of Christ. 

It was not wrong to sell animals for sacrifice to those who had come from a distant city or country or to change money.  It was the dishonest price that they were charging the people for their services.  This area had become a market place.

Vs. 17  This verse is a quotation from Psalm 69:9 where King David was being persecuted for his zeal for serving the Lord.  Even his wife Michal despised him after he brought the Ark to Jerusalem 2 Samuel 6:20.  The real meaning was a reference to Christ�s rejection by his own people Psalm 69:21.

Vrs. 18-21  Many of the merchants were Jews and they wanted to know who gave Him the authority to drive them from the Court of the Temple.  Jesus had called the Temple his Father�s house asserting his deity as the Son of God (Vs. 16). 

Jesus told them to destroy �this temple� referring to his bodily death and resurrection, but they thought he was talking about the Temple Building that King Herod had helped the Jews build which took 46 years to accomplish.

Vs. 22  The disciples didn�t really understand what Christ had meant by the destroying of his body by death and then being resurrected the third day.  But after Christ had resurrected and     appeared to the apostles they remembered what he had said.

Vrs. 23-25  While in Jerusalem during the Passover, Jesus did other signs which John chose not to describe. The effect of these miracles (which were probably healings) was to reveal to the people who he was. They believed in His name, that is, they trusted in Him. This was not necessarily saving faith as the next verse implies. They believed He was a great Healer, but not necessarily a great Savior from sin.  They were looking for a political leader to deliver them from the bondage of Rome.

Jesus knew that a temporary excitement or a faith based on signs was not sufficient. Many of the early followers later turned back when He did not take up the role of a political king 6:15, 60, 66.

Verse 25 tells us that Christ who is God knows the hearts of all men and didn�t need their help in completing the mission he had come to do.

He knew that there were many who would have followed him while he continued to produce miracles and wonders and signs, but who, if he had begun to talk to them about service and self-denial, about carrying a cross, would have left him.

When John speaks of Jesus miracles he used three words to describe them,  miracles, signs and wonders.. 

1.  He used the word teras.  Teras simply means a marvellous thing.  Teras was simply an astonishing happening which left a man gasping with surprise.  John 4:48  Nobleman�s son healed.

2.  He used the word dunamis.  Dunamis literally means power; it is the word from which dynamite comes.  It can be used of any kind of extraordinary power.  It can be used of the power of growth, of the powers of nature, of the power of a drug or the power of a man's genius.  John 2:11  Water to wine in a second.

3.  He used the word semeion.  Semeion means a sign.  This is John's favorite word.  To him a miracle was not simply an astonishing happening; it was not simply a deed of power; it was a sign.  That is to say, it told men something about the person who did it.  To John the supreme thing about the miracles of Jesus was that they told men something about the nature and the character of God.  The power of Jesus was used to heal the sick, to feed the hungry, to comfort the sorrowing; and the fact that Jesus used his power in that way was proof that God cared for the sorrows and the needs of men.  To John the miracles were signs of the love of God, signs revealing the nature of God to men.  John 20:30

 

In any miracle, there are three things.  There is the wonder which leaves men dazzled, astonished, aghast.  There is the power which is effective, which can deal with and mend a broken body, an unhinged mind, a bruised heart, which can do things.  There is the sign which tells us of the love in the heart of the God who does such things for men.

 

LESSON  8

Nicodemus Visit With Jesus 

Chapter 3:1-21

 

Vs. 1  In this verse we learn three things.  That the name of the one who visited Jesus by night was Nicodemus.  That he was a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews.

Who was Nicodemus?  Nicodemus represented the best in the nation. He was a teacher (v. 10), a Pharisee, and a member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling council. The Sanhedrin had 70 members who were responsible for religious decisions and also, under the Romans, for civil rule. Two Sanhedrin      members who appear in a favorable light in the New Testament are Joseph of Arimathea (19:38, Luke 23:51) and the Rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 5:34-39; 22:3). The Sanhedrin put Jesus on trial (Luke 22:66). Nicodemus rebuked the Pharisees for    condemning Jesus without hearing Him (John 7:50-51), and he helped Joseph of Arimathea bury Jesus (19:38-42).  Nicodemus must have been wealthy.  When Jesus died Nicodemus brought for his body �a mixture of myrrh and aloes about an hundred pound weight� (John 19:39), and only a wealthy man could have afforded that.

Nicodemus was a Pharisee.  The Pharisees constituted the most important group of leaders among the Jews. They appear in the Gospels as the opponents of Jesus. Paul claimed that he was a Pharisee before becoming a Christian (Phil. 3:5). They controlled the synagogues and exercised great control over the general population. They claimed that their word was final as to the interpretation of the Old Testament scriptures.

He was a ruler or leader in the Sanhedrin counsel and his words were well respected.

Vs. 2  �By night�.  Why he came by night has long been a question for Bible scholars.  That he came at all is remarkable, not because there was any danger as was true at a later period, but because of his own prominence. He wished to avoid comment by other members of the Sanhedrin and others. Jesus had already provoked the opposition of the ecclesiastics by his   assumption of Messianic authority over the temple. The interest of Nicodemus was real and yet he wished to be cautious.

Rabbi�  Technically Jesus was not an acknowledged Rabbi of the schools, but Nicodemus recognize him as such.

We know� He seems to speak about others of his class who also were anxious to know more about this new teacher.

Thou art a teacher come from God� This is the explanation of Nicodemus for coming to Jesus.  This unknown Galilean as he seemed to be, by his teaching and miracles was evidence that satisfied at least one of the Jewish leaders.

Can do these miracles�  These signs that convinced the crowds now appeal to Nicodemus who wants to know more.

Except God be with him� He wanted to know more o the teaching accredited to God. Jesus went about doing good because �God was with him�  Acts 10:38.

Vrs. 3-12  Here we have Jesus discourse on the �new birth� or being �born again�. 

Vs. 3  Jesus tells Nicodemus that unless a person has been born again he cannot see (understand or enter) the kingdom of God.   Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:14 that Bible truths can only be understood by those who have been saved, born again.

Vs. 4  Nicodemus was thinking of the physical birth of a child.

Vs. 5  In this verse Jesus explains that he is talking about a spiritual birth, a second birth into the Kingdom of God.  The water birth speaks of our physical birth and the Spirit of our spiritual birth when we are saved and become part of the family of God.  It is by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit that we come to Christ for Salvation  John 6:65.

Vs. 6  There is a difference between the natural birth of a person and the spiritual birth into the Kingdom of God.  They are similar, but one is physical and the other spiritual.

Vs. 7  �Ye must be born again�  There is only one way to Heaven.  It is an absolute necessity that a person be �born again�.  From Cain trying to atone for his sins another way  until this present day men have tried to find other ways to reach God, but all have failed and been rejected by the Lord

Vs. 8  In this verse Jesus illustrated the �new birth� by using something that Nicodemus knew, the wind.  One can feel the wind but is unable to see it or tell where it comes from.  And so is the new birth, one can experience it and feel the joy of knowing Christ, but cannot see the Holy Spirit that gives new life.  God�s Holy Spirit gives life John 6:63.

Vrs. 9-12  Nicodemus still did not understand the New Birth and asked Christ to explain it more clearly.  Jesus told him that there is a difference between �earthly things� and �heavenly things� (Vs. 12). 

Vrs. 13-21  In these verses Jesus used an illustration from the Old Testament to help Nicodemus understand God�s plan of salvation.

Vrs. 13-15  Here Jesus used a very well known event from the Old Testament to illustrate his work of redemption.  When the Israelites were in the wilderness poisonous serpents began to bite them and the people began to die.

�And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.�  Numbers 21:6.

The Lord told Moses to make a serpent of bronze and lift it up on a pole and then told the people to look at it and they would be healed.  This was a picture of Jesus being lifted up on the cross.

�And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived�  Numbers 21:8-9.  

In the same way a person must look to Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross to be saved from sin and it�s punishment.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.�  Hebrews 12:1.

Vrs. 16-18  Verse 16 is one of the best known verses in the  Bible.  One can see the plan of salvation in the words of this verse.

In verse 17 we see God�s love and his desire that all come to salvation.  It is man who condemns himself by rejecting God�s love.   Jesus came to save mankind, not to condemn him.

�For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.�  Luke 19:10

�The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance� 2 Peter 3:9.

Verses 18-21  Here we have the reason why many do not come to the Saviour for salvation.

Mankind is already condemned and unless they turn from their evil ways they will be lost forever.

�but he that believeth not is condemned already�  Vs.  18

Men love darkness because it hides their evil deeds and they do not want to come to the Light who is Christ because they will have to confess their evil ways or be condemned in hell for ever.

�And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.�  Revelation 20:15

 

 

LESSON  9

The Ministries of Jesus and John the Baptist

Chapter 3:22-36

 

Vs. 3:22  After his meeting with Nicodemus Jesus left with his disciples and journeyed to the land of Judea.   Judea was an area within the boundaries of the former tribe of Judah. After the Babylonian captivity the area was called a providence in the Media-Persian empire (Ezra 5:8).  The city of Jerusalem was always within this area.  This was the general area where John the Baptist had his ministry.  It is interesting to note that at the beginning of Jesus ministry his followers were baptized.

Vs. 3:23-24  Aenon and Salim were small areas near where the   Jordan river empties into the Dead Sea and there were springs there, so there was an abundance of water for baptizing.  Verse 24 tells us that these events happened before John the Baptist was cast into prison and later beheaded.

Vrs. 3:25-28  When Jesus and his disciples began baptizing people near where John was baptizing, they attracted large crowds. John�s disciples expressed concern about the situation, but John responded in words of admiration and worship of Christ. He was quite willing to let Jesus have all the glory.

In verses 27 and 28 John told his disciples that to understand his work was to understand God�s plan for his ministry.  John knew that his work was coming to an end and gladly accepted the fact that Christ was increasing in popularity (Vs. 30). 

Vrs. 29-30  Here John used a common place event (a wedding) to illustrate what his ministry was in relation to Christ�s.  He used a wedding ceremony to show what his place was. The �friend of the bridegroom� (best man) is not the main figure in a wedding.  The bride and bridegroom are the main figures at a wedding and the best man and bridesmaids rejoice in the joy that a wedding ceremony brings to the bride and bridegroom.

Vrs. 31-32  Here John tells the people that Christ is from above (Heaven).  Christ testified that he was the Son of God and that He and the Father were one.  Forty-seven times in the New   Testament Jesus is called the �Son of God�.

�But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.�  John 20:31

�no man receiveth his testimony�   In the end our Saviour was rejected by the crowds and finally crucified because he claimed to be the Son of God.

Vs. 33   �hath set his seal�  What does this mean? 

In ancient times prominent individuals had distinctive marks on their signet rings, which they would press into hot wax seals on the outside of documents to attest that they were    witnesses to the execution of the document.

�And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.�   Daniel 6:17

Vs. 34   Jesus gave the perfect truth of God as He spoke the words of God, because He had the full endowment of the Holy Spirit, �the Spirit without limit�. The Old Testament prophets had the Spirit only for limited times and for limited purposes.

1 Chronicles 12:18,  Judges 6:34,  1 Samuel 16:14

Vs. 35  �hath given all things into his hand.�  Our heavenly Father has given to his son Jesus all things.

�For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.�  John 5:22   See also Revelation 4:11.

Vs. 36   Here we have the promise of everlasting life to those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.  But God�s wrath (condemnation) is already upon all of those who reject Christ as their Saviour. They are already condemned.

 

 

 

LESSON  10

Jesus and the Samaritan Woman

Chapter 4:1-54

 

Vrs. 1-3  After a few weeks in southern Israel in the province of Judea near to where John the Baptist was ministering, Jesus left with his disciples and headed for the province of Galilee in northern Israel. Between Judea and Galilee was the province of Samaria.  Since there were few roads in Bible times the shortest road from Judea to Galilee was through Samaria.  Many times those who didn�t want to pass through Samaria would take the longer route that went around Samaria by crossing over the Jordan river and then crossing back over when they came to Judea.

Vs. 4  Why did Jesus choose this road? One could travel around Samaria, but many pilgrims to and from the feasts in Jerusalem took the shortest route straight through Samaria. The Samaritans and Jews worshiped the same God and both used the Law of Moses (although the Samaritans made a few changes to it). But they despised one another�s places of worship and they had remained hostile toward one another for    centuries.  See verse 9 

Who were the Samaritans?  They were descendents of the Ten Northern tribes and racially mixed (Jews who married other races) and their religion was a mixture of Judaism and false religions. There center of their worship was Mount Gerizim (Vs. 20). Samaria was the capital of the Ten Tribes when they separated from Judah. They were despised by the Jews because they failed to remain faithful to their religious roots.

Vrs. 5-6   The site of Jacob�s well is still known and is within view of Mount Gerizim (Vs. 20), which was holy to the Samaritans.  Just short of  Sychar the road to Samaria forks.  At the fork of the road there stands to this day the well known as Jacob's well.

This was an area which had many Jewish memories attached to it.  Near there was a piece of ground which had been bought by Jacob (Genesis 33:18-19).  Jacob, on his deathbed, had bequeathed this piece of ground to Joseph (Genesis 48:22) and, when Joseph died in Egypt, his body was later taken back to Palestine and buried there (Joshua 24:32).  So around this area there were associated many Jewish memories.

Vs. 6  Jesus was wearied from the journey as it took about three days to travel from Judea to Galilee by foot.  It was the sixth hour or 12 o�clock noon. The disciples went to buy food.

Vrs. 7-26  Jesus conversation with the Samaritan woman.

Vs. 7-8  The Samaritan woman came to draw water at noon.  Most people came late in the afternoon or early morning.  Maybe she came at this time because she was a woman of ill repute and the other women didn�t want to associate with her.

Vs. 9  The woman was very surprised when Jesus talked to her. She recognized by his appearance or manner of speech that he was not a Samaritan, but a Jew.

Vrs. 10-14  Here Jesus tells her about the Water of Life which our blessed Saviour tells about in Revelation 21:6.  This water will bring Salvation (everlasting life Vs. 14) to all who drink of it. 

�Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price�   Isaiah 55:1.

Vrs. 15-26  This woman had a desire to drink of this Water, and Jesus showed her the need for repentance (Luke 13:3).  He revealed her past life of sin and by this she recognized Christ as a Prophet (Vs. 19).

Jesus continued to show her that salvation comes from the heart and is a spiritual decision (Vs. 22-24).

Vs. 25-26  Here Jesus clearly tells her that He is the promised Messiah of the Old Testament Scriptures.

Vrs. 27-30 When the disciples returned with food the woman left her waterpot and went into the city and told the �men� about her encounter with Christ. 

Verses 31-38  While the woman went to the city the disciples offered food to our Saviour, but he said he was not hungry.  Jesus told the disciples that His work was to bring the lost to a knowledge of salvation.

�For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost�  Luke 19:10.

Vrs. 39-43  Here John continues with the story of the Samaritan woman.  After hearing the story of how Christ had revealed her past to her, many came to where Jesus was and asked him to abide with them.  Our Saviour went into the city and there preached to them that He was the promised Messiah, not only of the Jews, but also of the Samaritans.  He stayed two days (Vs. 43) and then continued on his journey to Galilee. 

Vrs. 45-54  Here we have the story of Christ arriving in the town of Cana in Galilee and his second public miracle. 

When the news got around that Christ was in Cana a nobleman whose son was very sick and near death, went to find Christ and ask him to come heal his son in Capernaum.

Jesus didn�t go with the nobleman, but told him to return and that his son was already healed.  The nobleman believed the words of Jesus and returned (Vs. 50).

Before he reached Capernaum, his servants went out to meet him and told him the news that his son was healed.  He asked what time the fever had left his son and knew that it was the exact hour  that Christ had told him to return home.

This was the second public miracle that Christ performed (Vs. 53-54) and the nobleman and his household all believed.

 

 

LESSON  11

The Pool of Bethesda

Chapter 5:1-15

 

JESUS VISIT TO JERUSALEM

V-1   �A feast of the Jews�  Which one? Maybe Pentecost.  According to Leviticus 23 there were seven feasts that the Jews celebrated    during the year.

1. The Passover � Jesus was crucified during this feast..  1st month,  14th day.  Leviticus 23:5,  Exodus 12:11

2. Unleavened Bread � 1st month, 15th day Leviticus 23:6, Exodus 12:15

3. Pentecost � 50 days after the Passover - Leviticus 23:16,Acts 2:1

4. Firstfruits � �At the years end�  Leviticus 23:10, Exodus 23:16

5. Trumpets � 7th month, 1st day. - Leviticus 23:24

6. The Day  of  Atonement � 7th month,  10th day,  when  the  High priest entered the Holy of Holies. - Leviticus 23:27-28

7. Tabernacles  �   7th month,  15th day,  this one lasted for 7  days  Leviticus 23:24

The Bible says, �Jesus went up� � �to Jerusalem�  Vs. 1

The city of Jerusalem has always been a picture of Heaven.  It is mentioned 767 times in the Bible and in the book of Revelation we read about the New Jerusalem coming down from Heaven.

The history of man has been a continual going down.

�And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho� Luke 10:30.

Adam went down from Paradise to ruin and began the downward journey of mankind - Gen. 3, Rom.  5:12.

His son Cain followed in his steps and went down and out of the presence of the Lord - Gn. 4

Our Saviour went up - from the grave, �He is not here, but is risen�.  Luke 24:5-6

Jesus went up to Heaven � �And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up�.  Acts 1:9-10

Where The People Were . . .

Vs. 2  �at Jerusalem, by the sheep market �

This market was near the gate that led from the shepherd's fields into the city.  About this gate developed a market place because of the movement of the people.  As the shepherds left the city they could buy supplies while the sheep drank at a natural pool of water nearby that was spring fed.

This place became known as Bethesda, (House of Mercy).  This place was close to the sheep gate and the street that led to the Temple where God was to be worshipped �in Spirit and in Truth� John 4:23. 

Many times false religions have a form of the truth but deceive the multitudes by giving them a false hope of salvation based on their works.  Many false religions use the same Bible we use but only  believe the parts that satisfy their false teachings.

�having five porches�  Five is the number of Grace and there was sufficient room for all at this pool.

THE FALSE PORCHES OF RELIGION

Vs. 3  �in these� the porches �lay a great multitude� 

In this world there are very few people who are not religious and have some form of Godliness.  Multitudes worship false idols and false gods and are followers of men and their false teachings.

�For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  Having a form of   godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away�     2 Timothy 3:3-5.

Many believe that 95% of the worlds population is outside the fold of Christianity, some even more.  Most of the world�s population is in these porches of a false hope.  The Roman Catholic church out numbers the protestant church by two to one, Muslims by two and a half to one, Hinduism, Confucism, Buddhism, Shintoism and all the other false religions of the world have more than 95% of the worlds population in their false porches of hope.

Any religion that fails to recognize Christ alone as the only way to Heaven is false.

�Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved� Acts 4:12.

There is no hope in the manmade religions of this world.  They are all liars and of their father the Devil.

�Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it�  John 8:44.

From the time Cain brought a false sacrifice to God and was rejected, man has tried to substitute the false for the true. 

Nimrod tried to build a name for himself and build a tower to reach heaven, but was rejected by God, Gen. 11.  The only way to Heaven is by God's way.

�Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me� John 14:6.  �I am the door . . .� 10:9.

The Condition of the People . . .

Vs. 3  "impotent folk"  Here the condition of mankind is described.  The word "impotent" means, unable to help ones self, without strength, helpless. 

In Luke 10:30 the man who fell among thieves was left half dead just as all men without Christ are alive physically but dead spiritually.

 �And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins�  Ephesians 2:1, Romans 5:6

This man was unable to enter the water because he had no strength and needed someone to help him, just as the world needs someone to help them find Christ and enter into the Water of Life. 

"blind"  Mankind is described as having eyes, but unable to see.

�Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not� Jeremiah 5:21

Men without Christ are blind spiritually, unable to comprehend the truth of Salvation without the convicting of he Holy Spirit.

�No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day�  John 6:44.

The natural man cannot comprehend the things of Christ because they are spiritually discerned.

�But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned�. 1 Cor. 2:14   

Mankind needs someone to show them the way of Salvation as Philip did with the Ethiopian Eunuch.

�And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me?"  "Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus� Acts 8:31,35.

�halt�  unable to walk straight, crippled, Rom. 1:28-32

�withered�  scarred, deformed by sickness or sin.  Liquor, tobacco, fornication, drugs; all leave a man or woman with the marks of sin.

�waiting� for the moving of the water"  The people were waiting for a sign or feeling, they wanted to do something to be well �enter the water�.  People are the same today, they don't want to exercise    simple faith in the promise of God.  They want to see or have a feeling, but Jesus condemned this.

�Then said Jesus unto them, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe�  John 4:48.

A FALSE HOPE

Vs. 4  �An angel went down� 

The Bible says that an angel went down at a certain season and troubled the waters, and whoever was the first to enter in after this was healed of their disease.  The angel probably never came back but the waters were moved many times by the underground springs that fed them.  People began to say that anytime the waters were moved they could be healed, and multitudes waited for the movement, hoping to be the first to enter in.  As time went on five large porches were built and multitudes waited in them hoping to be healed physically, when what they really needed was the healing of their souls. 

THIS MAN WAS A TYPE OF THE HUMAN RACE. . .

Vs. 5  "A certain man...with an infirmity"

These are the same words used to describe the man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho in Luke 10.  This man represents the human race with it's infirmity of sin, Romans 5:12, Isaiah1:1-6.

�For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not�  Ecclesiastes 7:20.

�All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all�     Isaiah 53:6.

A PENETRATING QUESTION

Vs. 6  �When Jesus saw him . . . Wilt thou be made whole?�

Jesus saw the need and came to where he was.  When Adam and Eve sinned God came to look for them, Gen. 3:8-9  Jesus came to this world to seek and save that which was lost  Luke 19:10, John 1:1-14.

Just as the Lord called to Adam and Eve, Jesus asked this man:  �Wilt thou be made  whole�?  Before one can be saved he must have a desire and feel the convicting of the Holy Spirit.  A person must know that he is lost and has a need.

HE HAD A NEED THAT ONLY GOD COULD MEET

Vs. 7  The man said he had no one to help him.

He wanted the healing of his body when what he really needed was the healing of his soul.  He needed someone to help him find the Saviour.

He had been waiting 38 years for a helping hand, but no one took time to help him.  Many today are waiting for someone who is concerned about their souls to bring them the Good News of salvation.

�I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul�.  Psalm 142:4

There is no lack of unconcern for others in the world we live in.  One cold Friday afternoon in New York a young mother with her sick child in her arms was trying to get a taxi. Many others were also trying to flag one down and when one stopped, the men all stepped out before she could manage to leave the curb.  The business men were all in a hurry to get home on this Friday afternoon and had no concern for the needs of others.  Finally a stranger saw the mother in tears and flagged a taxi down and helped her in.

Our lack of concern for others may send a lost soul to hell.  Jesus went to the man and healed his body and soul.  Jesus told him to do three things.

How the Man was Made Whole

Vs. 8  �Rise�  This meant that if he was to be made whole, he must exercise faith in the words of Jesus.  It meant taking action, believing, calling upon the Lord. Acts 16:31, Matt. 11:28, Romans 10:9-10

�For without faith it is impossible to please God�.  Heb. 11:6.

�take up thy bed� True salvation always involves confession and repentance of sin; Rom. 10:9-10, Acts 2:38, Luke 13:3.  Confessing Christ involves being baptized, joining a church and taking part in the work of the Lord.

�walk�  Salvation is more than just a commitment as some call it.  When someone is really saved he will no longer need his old bed of sin.  The word walk indicates action.  When a man is truly born again there will be change in his heart and life.

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."  2 Corinthians 5:17.

Jesus told him to take up his bed.  When one is really a child of the King he will no longer want to sleep on the streets of sin but will live with the expectation of his mansion in Heaven where there are streets of Gold.

Jesus said "Walk" ... The Bible tells us there are many ways a Christian should walk.  Here are a few:

Walk by faith - 2 Corinthians 5:7

In newness of life - Romans 6:4

Walk worthy - Ephesians 4:1

Walk circumspectfully - Ephesians 5:15

Walk as Jesus walked - 1 John 2:6

A MIRACLE ON THE LORD�S DAY

Vs. 9  �Immediately the man was made whole�

Salvation is instantaneous, he was made whole physically and spiritually. Ephes. 2:1-5

How do we know he was saved and made whole?  He went to the temple to worship God.  When a man is really saved he will have no hesitation about joining with God's people and becoming a part of a local church.

THE CRITICAL ATTITUD OF THE JEWS

Vrs. 10-13  �The Jews therefore said . . .�

Many of Jesus miracles of diving healing were done on the Sabbath. The devout Jews had many manmade rules about what they could or could not do on the Sabbath. 

�This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men�    Matthew 15:8-9.

A WONDERFUL CONCLUSION

Vs. 14  �Jesus findeth him in the temple�

After Paul was saved he desired to be a part of the church and become part of the assembly of believers.

�And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple�.  Acts 9:26

The Bible clearly teaches that the place where every born again   believer should be on Sunday is in the Lord�s house unless he is sick providentially unable to get there.

�Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching�  Hebrews 10:25.

A TRUE WITTNESS FOR THE LORD

Vs. 15  After his encounter with Jesus this man was not ashamed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him whole. 

�Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I    confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven�   Matthew 10:32-33.

Every Christian is to be a witness for our Saviour.  Not everyone is called to preach or be a missionary, but we are all to witness for our Saviour.

�But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth�.   Acts 1:8

  

 

LESSON  12

The Jews disbelief in the Divinity of Christ

Chapter 5:16-47

 

Vrs. 16-18   When the Jews learned who it was that had cured the sick man on the Sabbath and had told him to take up his bed and walk, they sought to kill our Saviour Vs. 16

Jesus declared plainly that he was the Son of God and that His Father works on the Sabbath.  The Lord maintains the universe seven days a week and the command to not work on the Sabbath came nearly two thousand years after the creation of man and the universe.  Vrs. 17-18

Vrs. 19-21  The works of Jesus were done by the authority of the Father.  He declares that greater works than the miracle of restoring health to this man would be done.  Just as God      restored life to some who had died in the Old Testament, Jesus would also restore life to those who had died.  This Jesus did on several occasions during his earthly ministry  Vs. 21

The widow�s son - Luke 7:12-16.,The ruler of the Synagogue�s  daughter - 8:49-56,  Lazarus - John 12:29.

Vrs. 22-24  All judgment whether present or future has been given to Christ to execute Vs. 22. 

When we honor Christ by obeying his commands we are honoring the Father also.  The Trinity is beyond our understanding but you cannot be saved by denying the divinity of our Saviour.  To be saved one must hear the Gospel and then believe if he wants to have everlasting life Vrs. 23-24  The book of Romans tells us that faith comes by hearing the Word of God.

�So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God�  Romans 10:17.

Vrs. 25-30  In these verses we have Jesus teaching about the two resurrections.  The first is for the saved and the second is for the lost. 

The idea of a general resurrection of all people at the end of this world is a false teaching.  Some teach that if you have done enough good you will be saved at this judgment and be allowed to enter Heaven. No where in the Bible does this teaching appear.

Verse 29 gives us the names of these two resurrections.  The first is the �resurrection of life� when the saved are resurrected and rewarded, and the second is the �resurrection of damnation� where the lost will be judged at the Great White Throne.

We read about these two resurrections in many parts of the Bible.  In the book of Revelation the resurrection of the saved is called the �first resurrection�.

�Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years�  Revelation 20:6.

The apostle Paul gives us more information about the resurrection in his books.  1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 5.

The resurrection is mentioned 40 times in the New Testament

Vs. 30  The judgment that Christ renders will be according to the will of his Father.

Vrs. 31-38   

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit also bears witness that he is the Son of God Vrs. 31-32.

�This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth�  1 John 5:6.

Vrs. 33-35  John the Baptist also testified that Christ was the Son of God.

Vrs. 36-38  The miracles that Christ performed were a sign that his Heavenly Father had sent Him.

Vrs. 39-40  �search the Scriptures�

The Jewish religious leaders studied the Old Testament with great diligence and believed that if one could comprehend the words of the text, he would gain a share in the world to come. They considered those ignorant of the Law to be under a curse (7:49). Similarly many people today think Bible study is an end in itself rather than pointing to Christ and salvation..  A veil was over the minds of these Jewish scholars (2 Cor. 3:15), and they failed to see that Jesus was the Promised Messiah and the fulfillment of the Old Testament sacrificial system, the true righteous Servant of Jehovah, the coming Prophet, the Son of Man, the Davidic King, and the promised Son of God and great High Priest. In spite of the clarity of Jesus declaration, they  refused to come to Him for life.

Only Christ can give eternal life. A person does not secure  eternal life...

�    by reading the Scripture, no matter how much he reads.

�     by knowing the Scripture, no matter how much he knows.

�     by being religious, no matter how religious he is.

�     by doing religious works, no matter how much good he does.

A person receives eternal life only by believing and giving his heart and life to the Lord Jesus Christ.

�And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house�.   Acts 16:31

Vrs. 41-44 

The Father�s representative comes in the Father�s name, not in his own; to reject a person�s representative is to reject the authority of that person himself.

How strikingly has this been verified in the history of the Jews!

From the time of the true Christ to our time, sixty-four false prophets have appeared who claimed to be Christ.  This was said by a Bible commentator some years ago.

It is sad to see the world honor each other which many times is merited, and give little honor to our God and Saviour. 

Many times the Lord honors his servants by blessing them and giving them a place of leadership and honor.

�For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted�.  Luke 14:11

Jesus calls to his defense as the Son of God the witness of Moses and his writings, the first five books of the Bible.

In the final judgment the Jews will not be able to say they never heard of Jesus because Moses and the entire Old Testament are full of prophesies concerning his coming and sacrificial death and resurrection.

In the Old Testament there are over seventy references (prophesies) to the coming of Christ, His ministry and His death and resurrection.

In the first five books of the Bible that Moses wrote there are at least seven definite prophesies concerning Christ and many other  pictures of His sacrifice, for example Genesis 22,  Exodus 12.

 

LESSON  13

Jesus Feeds 5,000 People and

Teaches About the �True Bread�

Chapter 6:1-71

 

Vrs. 1-2  After the healing of the lame man in Jerusalem Jesus left Judea and went to Galilee and crossed over the Sea of Galilee which is also known as the Sea of Tiberias.  Verse 1

A great multitude of people followed our Saviour wherever he went because of the miracles and divine healings that he had performed  Vs. 2

Vrs. 3-13  Jesus went up into a mountain and the multitude of people followed him there.  This may be where our Saviour delivered his �Sermon on the Mount� as recorded in Matthew  chapters 5-7.  Vs. 3

This miracle of the feeding of 5,000 men besides women and children is the only miracle recorded by all four Gospel     writers.

Jesus was always concerned about people and he knew that many of them had come great distances to hear him speak and teach.

According to the other Gospels it was now evening and Jesus knew that if he sent them away they would be hungry and might faint on their journey to their homes.

�And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far�  Mark 8:3

Jesus asked Philip where they could buy bread to feed the multitude.  Vs. 5

Jesus already knew what he was going to do, but wanted to see what Philip would answer.  Philip said that two hundred pennyworth (the amount a laborer would receive for a days work) would not be enough to feed all the people.  Philip was one of the first apostles called by our Saviour and is mentioned 35 times in the Bible and was a prominent leader in the book of Acts.   Vrs. 6-7

Andrew was another one of the leading apostles and is mentioned 12 times in the Bible.  Andrew was the one who brought his brother Peter to the Lord.   Vs. 8

�One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the       Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. and he brought him to Jesus�.  John 1:40-42

Andrew seems to have been an observant person and noticed that this small boy was the only one with a little food.  He said that this was not sufficient to feed the multitude.  Vs. 9

Jesus told the people to sit down.  Another Gospel tells us that they sat in groups of 50 and 100.

�And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass and they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties�.  Mark 6:39-40  Vs. 10

Jesus then told the apostles to distribute the bread and fishes to the people.  The basket that the boy gave to Jesus never ran out of food until everyone was well satisfied.  Jesus then told the disciples to collect what was left over and they filled 12 baskets with the fragments.  Vrs. 11-13

Vrs. 14-15  When the people realized the miracle that had been performed by Jesus,  they thought to make him their king in fulfillment of Deuteronomy 18:15-18.

�That Prophet� implies a prophet like Moses. In Moses� day, God had miraculously provided bread from heaven, manna. At the Passover season (John 6:4) hopes for deliverance ran high, because the Jewish people remembered how God had delivered them from their oppressors by the hand of Moses and they hoped to be delivered from the oppression of the Romans.

Jesus knew that his kingdom was not of this world and so left and went into a mountain alone, probably to pray.

�Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence�.  John 18:36

Vrs. 16-23 Jesus sent his apostles across the sea toward the town of Capernaum and remained in the mountain. Vrs. 16-17

During the voyage at night a great tempest arose and the boat was in danger of sinking.  Vs. 18

Jesus with his supernatural vision saw the danger they were in and went to them walking on the water.  When they saw Jesus they were afraid, but Jesus told them that it was he Himself and to not be afraid.  Vrs. 19-20

Jesus entered the boat and it was immediately at the shore and the disciples arrived safely at their destination.  Vs. 21

Vrs. 22-51  In this last part of the chapter Jesus taught his followers about the True Bread that God gives to his followers Vs. 32.

When the people didn�t find Christ and his apostles they took boats and crossed back over the sea of Galilee and went to Capernaum to find Jesus.  Vrs. 22-25

When the people found Christ he told them that they had not come with a true heart, but had come because of the free meal he had given to them.  Vs. 26

Jesus then told them not to labor for a meal of food that will soon perish, but rather to seek the True Bread from Heaven which was Jesus himself.  Vs. 27

In verses 28-33  The people thought about the Manna that God had provided by the hand of Moses, but Jesus plainly told them that to believe on Him in was to have life.  Vs. 29

The Manna only gave physical life, but Jesus gives real life, everlasting life, eternal life for all eternity.  Vs. 33

Vrs. 34-59  The people wanted this bread but didn�t understand that this bread was the sacrifice of our Saviour when he died for the sins of the world.  Here we have Jesus explaining that he is the Bread that came down from Heaven.  Jesus came to do the will of His heavenly Father and give his life on the cross that all who believe on Him would have everlasting life.  Vrs. 38-40

The Jews refused to believe that Jesus had come from Heaven and was God.  Vs. 41

They only thought of him as being another human being with an earthly father and mother.  Vs. 42

Jesus taught that he must die physically to pay for the sins of the world and that the only way to heaven was by partaking of his sacrifice by faith.  Verse 51

Vrs. 52-71  The Jews thought that Jesus meant that they were to literally eat the body of Christ  Vs. 52

.Jesus explained that to eat physical food like the Manna would only sustain life for a short time and then death would come. To eat (accept the sacrifice of Christ for our sins) would give true life, everlasting life. Vs. 58.

Later Jesus instituted the �Lord�s Supper� that illustrates that to partake of the �bread and fruit of the vine� is to accept by faith his death as payment for our sins.

�And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.  For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come�  1 Corinthians 11:24-26

After this teaching many of his disciples left from following him, but the Apostles remained faithful  Verse 66.

 

 

LESSON  14

Jesus at the �Feast of Tabernacles�

7:1-53

 

Vs 1  In Jesus day, Galilee and Judea were under separate    Roman jurisdictions, so that someone in trouble in one part of the country would be safer to remain in the other part. See Luke 23:6-7

Vs. 2  The Feast of Tabernacles was one of the three most important festivals of the Jewish year and was celebrated for eight days in Jerusalem. Jewish pilgrims from throughout the Roman world would gather. The people would live in booths constructed on rooftops or elsewhere, commemorating God�s faithfulness to his people when they lived in booths in the wilderness This feast was known for it�s joyous celebration.

Vrs. 3-5  From the standpoint of general ancient customs, the advice of Jesus brothers was correct. Most teachers taught in public places. Clear and open speech was considered virtuous, but teaching in secret was deceitful.  Jesus brothers still didn�t understand who he was and his mission to redeem the lost.

Vrs. 6-9  Jewish men who lived as near as Galilee were expected to go to the feast. The issue was not that he would not go, but that he would go �secretly� at first, so as not to hasten the time of his execution.  Twice Jesus said in these verses: �My time is not yet come� Vrs. 6 and 8.

Vrs. 10-13  The disciples went up first and then Jesus also went up. None of the Gospels describe Jesus appearance and this suggests that Jesus appearance may have been average enough to allow him to pass unnoticed in a crowd.  He probably had curly black hair, brown skin, perhaps a little over five feet in height.  Most Palestinian Jews in this period had full beards and hair rather full. The Jews asked: �Where is he?� Vs. 11

Vs. 14  Teaching was often done in public places, including in the temple courts. Some teachers drew large crowds there.

Vs. 15  Palestinian Jewish children would learn how to read and recite the Bible. The issue here is not that Jesus was illiterate, but that he had never formally studied Scripture with an advanced teacher, yet he taught as well as any of the scholars of his day.  Paul studied at the �feet of Gamaliel� who was a leading scholar of his day  Acts 23:3.

Vrs. 16-18  Jesus reply to the Jews was threefold. He answered all four charges, the charges that He was...

      1.   Only a good man.

      2.   A deceiver.

      3.   A man not significant enough to defend.

      4.   A man unaccredited who had never formally studied.

Jesus made the phenomenal claim: �My doctrine [teaching] is not mine, but God�s.� Note...

      1. He did not claim to be the Source of His message.

      2. He claimed to be �sent by God�, to be his Representative, the Ambassador of God. He claimed to have been in the most intimate relationship with God: in His presence, communion, and fellowship.

Vrs. 19-24  The Jews boasted in Moses Law. Jesus attacked their self-confidence in religion. They assumed that by keeping the Law they would be righteous, but their hearts were full of evil thoughts and actions (Mark 7:6-7, 20-22; Matt. 5:21-22). Jesus knew them and that their hatred would lead to murder  Vs. 19.

The people answered our Saviour by accusing him of having a demon Vs. 20

The �one work� that Jesus referred to was His healing of the    paralytic at the pool of Bethesda, which He had performed in Jerusalem at His last visit. This started a fierce controversy  because he had healed the man on the Sabbath day. Circumcision is a religious rite that predated Moses. Abraham was circumcised as a sign of the covenant (Gen. 17:9-14). But Moses gave Israel circumcision in the sense of establishing it as part of the Levitical system. Under the Mosaic Law, �On the eighth day Jewish boys were to be circumcised� (Lev. 12:3). If that day fell on a Sabbath, circumcising a boy would seemingly violate the Sabbath Law of rest. Yet the Jews circumcised on the Sabbath. Therefore, Jesus argued, if care for one part of the body was permitted, then certainly the healing of a whole body (that of the paralytic) should be allowed on the Sabbath. Hence they had no reason to be angry with Him  Vrs 22-23.

In verse 24 Jesus asked the crowd to reason consistently why it was wrong for him to heal supernaturally on the sabbath, when circumcision was permitted on the sabbath?  Some practices at the festivals (such as killing the Passover lamb and waving palm branches at the Feast of Tabernacles) likewise took precedence over the command to do nothing on the Sabbath. 

Jesus severally condemned the Jesus leaders for their hypocritical attitude in Matthew 23 and called them �blind guides�.

�Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel�. Matthew 23:24

Vrs. 25-31  Some of the common people of Jerusalem after hearing Jesus teach thought that He was the Messiah, but they were not yet sure  Vs. 25-27.

Jesus then clearly proclaimed that He had come from Heaven and the Jewish leaders desired to take Jesus by force, but were unable to because �His hour was not yet come�  Vrs. 28-30.

Many of the people believed on Him Vs. 31

Vrs. 32-36  Jesus clearly taught that not everyone is going to Heaven.  He told them that he would return to Heaven and that they could not enter with Him  Vs. 36.  See also Matt. 7:21-23.

Vrs. 37-44  On the last day of the Feast Jesus stood and cried out the message of Salvation.  He told the people to come unto him and drink of the Living Water.  Vrs. 37-38.

He promised that all who believed on Him would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit that He would send after his resurrection when He went back to heaven. 

�Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you� John 16:7.

�But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth�.  Acts 1:8

The Holy Spirit was present during the ministry of Christ, but did not indwell believers as He does today.  See 1 Cor. 12:13.

�What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?�  1Corinthians 6:19

Vrs. 40-43  There was a division among the people of who  Jesus was.  It is the same today,  there are many teachings of who Jesus was among the religions of the world.

 Vrs. 44-53  This chapter closes with a meeting of the Priests and Pharisees who had sent Roman soldiers to apprehend     Jesus. When they came back without our Saviour they asked why they had not arrested Christ Vs. 45

The officers answered these words, �Never man spake like this man�  Vs. 46.

The Pharisees said that the people who didn�t know �the Law� were cursed, but Nicodemus defended our Saviour and His teaching  Vrs. 50-53.

Nicodemus seems to have been what some call a �secret disciple�, but this phrase is not in the Bible.  He is mentioned in three passages of scripture and each time publically showed his loyalty to Christ.  A person cannot be a secret disciple of Christ but must be willing to confess Him before men.

�Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.  But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven�.  Matthew 10:32-33

  

 

 

LESSON  15

Jesus Continues his Teaching in the Temple

Chapter 8:1-59

 

Vs. 1  After leaving the Temple Jesus and his apostles passed the night on the Mount of Olives.

Vs. 2  Early the next morning Jesus returned to the Temple and taught the people.

Vrs. 3-11  Jesus and the woman taken in adultery.  The Scribes and Pharisees found a woman in the act of adultery and brought her to Jesus to try and have something to accuse him of (Vs. 3-4).   See verse 6.

They told Jesus what Moses had said in The Law about such sins and what the punishment was.  They asked Jesus to give his opinion �What sayeth thou?�.  Vs. 5

Jesus knew that the intent of their hearts was not to condemn the woman, but to see if He would say something contrary to what was written in �The Law�. Jesus didn�t answer them but stooped down and began writing in the dust  Vs. 6

The Scribes and Pharisees continued asking Him and he answered them by saying that if there was anyone among them that had never sinned, let him cast the first stone. Jesus then continued writing    Vs. 7-8.

Everyone knew that there is not a person who doesn�t sin in some way, and so were accused by their own conscience and one by one left the scene  Vs. 9

When Jesus perceived that the Scribes and Pharisees had left, he asked the woman where her accusers were  Vs. 10.

When Jesus heard that all her accusers had left,  He also said that He would not condemn her, but told her to go, and sin no more.  When one is forgiven by the Lord, he should seek to not commit the same sin again, and learn from his experience to be a stronger Christian and resist temptation.

Someone has said that if you fall into a hole, don�t leave it there to fall into again, but fill it up so that you or no one else will fall in it the second time.

Who was this woman?  Many Bible scholars believe that it was Mary Magdalene who was the woman in this story.  Jesus had cast seven demons out of her according to Luke 8:2. Many people believe that the woman who anointed the feet of Jesus in Luke 7:36-50 was Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene was the first to see our Saviour after his resurrection and is known in the Gospels for her devotion to Christ  Mark 16:9.

Others believe that it was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus.  It was this Mary who �sat at the feet of Jesus� Luke  10:39 and later anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair  John 12:2-3. 

Vrs. 12-20  Jesus continued his teaching in the Temple and declared that He was �the Light of the world�  Vs. 12

The Pharisees continued to try and discredit Jesus by saying that what he said about himself was not true  Vrs. 13-14

Jesus said that He knew where He had come from and where He was going.  He told the people that they were accepting Him only as another man  and not as the Messiah  Vrs. 14-15.

Jesus told them that his claims were true and said that His Father also bore witness to His claims.  At Jesus baptism and transfiguration the people heard a voice from Heaven declaring that Christ was God�s beloved Son  Matthew 3:17,  Mark 9:7.  Jesus cited an Old Testament scripture �At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death� Deuteronomy 17:6. The word of two or more witnesses in a trial was to be accepted  Vrs. 16-18.

The Scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus where his Father was and he told them that they didn�t know his Heavenly Father and so didn�t recognize Him as His son.  Vrs. 19-20

Vrs. 21-31  Jesus again told the people that not everyone is  going to Heaven  Vrs. 21-24

The people again asked Jesus: �Who art thou�  Vs. 25.

Jesus foretold of his death on the cross and many believed on Him and were saved  Vrs. 28-31.

Vrs. 32-50 Jesus told the people who had believed that they had been made free from the condemnation of sin and eternal death  Vs. 32-36.   See John 5:24,  Romans 8:1.

The Jews claimed to have a right to enter Heaven because they were Abraham�s descendents and not because they had repented of their sins  Vrs. 33, 39. 

See Luke 13:3  �I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish�.

Jesus then taught that there are two fathers, two families.  Every unsaved person is a part of the family of Satan Vs. 44.

When a person is saved by accepting Christ as his personal Saviour, he becomes a child of God and is born into the family of God the Father.  John 3,  1 Peter 1:23,  1 John 2:29-3:2.

Jesus told the people to show any flaw in His life or teaching if they could  Vrs. 45-46

When Jesus told the people that they were �not of God�  Vs. 47 they accused Him of being a Samaritan and having a devil Vs. 48.

Vrs. 51-59  Jesus again astounded the Scribes and Pharisees by declaring that if a person followed His teachings, he would never die (�shall never taste of death�)  Vs. 51 

What a wonderful thought that by accepting Christ we have eternal life, everlasting life  John 3:16.   Seventeen times in the New Testament we read the promise of everlasting life to all of those who are children of God.

The people only thought of living forever physically because they told Christ that Abraham was dead and that the prophets were also dead  Vrs. 52-53.

Jesus then told how Abraham by faith had seen His death on the cross in the sacrifice of his son Isaac   Vs. 56.

�And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together�.   Genesis 22:8

From all this we see clearly that the Jews did believe that somehow Abraham, while he was still alive, had a vision of the history of Israel and the coming of the Messiah.  So when Jesus said that Abraham had seen his day, he was making a deliberate claim that he was the Messiah.  He was really saying:  �I am the Messiah that Abraham saw in his vision.�

Jesus declared again that He was God by declaring that He was living before the time of Abraham.

Vs. 57  The Jews, although they knew better, chose to take this literally.  "How," they demanded, "can you have seen Abraham when you are not yet fifty?"  Why fifty?  That was the age at which the Levites retired from their service (Numbers 4:1-3).  The Jews were saying to Jesus:  "You are a young man, still in the prime of life, not even old enough to retire from service.  How can you possibly have seen Abraham?

�before Abraham was, I am�  Vs. 58

This name, �I Am� refers to the eternal existence of God and the Trinity.

�And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you�   Exodus 3:13-14.                                            

 

 

 

  LESSON  16

Jesus Heals a Man Who Was Born Blind

Chapter 9:1-41

 

Vs. 1  Blind and crippled people have always made a living by begging, and they could make it best near the temple, where many people passed and the people would tend to think charitably.  Jesus and his disciples saw this blind man as they were leaving the temple area.

Vs. 2  Many Jewish teachers believed that suffering and physical deformities, including blindness, were often due to sin;  either of the person or the result of a parents sins.

�The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation�   Numbers 14:18.

The apostles thought that either this man had sinned in his mother�s womb or his parents had sinned.

Vs. 3  Jesus therefore answered, �Neither this man sinned, nor his parents�. Jesus meant that this man�s blindness was not caused by some specific sin. Instead the problem existed so that God could display His glory in the midst of seeming    tragedy.

Nicholas Vujicic was Born in 1982 in Melbourne, Australia.  He came into the world with neither arms or legs. His mother was a nurse, Dushka Vujicic, and her husband was Pastor Borris Vujicic. How would their son live a normal happy life? What could he ever do or become when living with what the world would see as such a massive disability? Little did they or anyone know that this beautiful limbless baby would one day be someone who would inspire and motivate people from all walks of life, touching lives all over the world.

       In 2005 Nick was nominated for the �Young Australian of the Year� Award, which is a large honor in Australia, recognizing a young person for their excellence and service to their local community and the nation, as well as their own personal accomplishments. Nominations for this award are only given to truly inspirational people.

       Now at 25 years old this limbless young man has accomplished more than most people even twice his age. Nick recently moved from Brisbane, Australia to California, where he is the president of an international non-profit organization, and also has his own motivational speaking ministry; Attitude Is Altitude. Since his first motivational speaking engagement back when he was 19, Nick has traveled around the world, sharing his story with millions of people.  He has also told his story and been interviewed on various televised programs worldwide Nick�s speaking engagements have gone beyond purely motivational speaking as he is a Christian and has preached in many churches.  This year alone Nick is set to speak in over 20 countries.

Vrs. 4-5  Here Jesus tells us that his mission was to do the work of His Father while he was on this earth.  His reference to the night when no man can work refers to death.  What we do for our Saviour must be done while we are alive on this earth.  After death our work is finished.  The apostle Paul made reference to this in 2 Timothy 4:7 when he said his work on this earth was finished for he knew he was soon to die.

While Jesus was on this earth He was the light of the world  Vs. 5,  but now that He has gone back to heaven, we Christians are the light of the world.  See  Matthew 5:14-16

Vrs. 6-7   Jesus healed the man in a very unusual way  Vs. 6.

Jesus told him to exercise faith by going to the Pool of Siloam and washing the clay from his eyes.  He obeyed and was healed and came back to where Christ was  Vs. 7.

The pool of Siloam is located at the southeast corner of Jerusalem where Hezekiah�s tunnel channeled water inside the city walls from the Gihon Spring.

Vrs. 8-12  This former blind man gave testimony that it was Jesus who had restored his eyesight  Vs. 11. 

His neighbors were astounded to see this man who had been blind for at least 20 years now seeing and leading a normal life.

Vrs. 13-23 The people took this formally blind man to the Pharisees to see what they would say about this miracle that our Saviour had performed   Vrs13-17.  

After questioning him they didn�t believe that he had been blind and called his parents to ask them if this was their son. They told the Pharisees that this was their son but that they did not know who had healed him.  They told them to ask their son again about his marvelous healing  Vrs. 18-23.

Vrs. 24-34  The Pharisees called the formally blind man and asked him again how he had been healed.  They accused Jesus of being a sinner  Vs. 24.

The man answered the Pharisees that he didn�t know who Jesus was, but that he was formally blind, but now could see  Vs. 25.

The Pharisees asked the man to explain again how he had been healed  Vs. 26.

The man thought they might want to hear the story again so they could follow Jesus  Vs. 27.

This made the Pharisees furious and they reviled on the formally blind man and told him they didn�t know where Jesus was from or who He was  Vs. 28.

Vrs. 30-34  The formally blind man preached a little sermon to the Pharisees and this only infuriated them more and they cast out the man who had been healed  Vs. 34.

Vrs. 35-38  When a person truly comes to Christ, the Lord will never leave or forsake one of His children.  When Jesus heard how the Pharisees had treated this man, He went to find him Vs. 35.

�Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me�  Hebrews 13:5-6 

After Jesus told the man who he was, the Son of God, he believed on Him and was saved and worshiped our Saviour Vrs. 36-38.

Vrs. 39-41  Jesus said, �For judgment I have come into this world�. Jesus meant He came to pronounce judgment on the ungodly, like a judge (see 5:22, 27). The blind who come to sight are those who, admitting their helplessness and inability, trust Jesus for salvation. Those who see and become blind are those whose self-trust and pride blinds them to the wonders of Jesus. He does not condemn them by making them blind; they blind themselves by rejecting Him and Satan contributes to that blinding (2 Cor. 4:4).  Vs. 39.

Some of the Pharisees�asked, literally, �Are we blind also?�  Vs. 40. They expected a negative answer because they assumed that certainly they, of all men, possessed spiritual  perception. Sin constantly deceives people so that they live in falsehood. Jesus replied, If the Pharisees were blind to spiritual things, they might have claimed ignorance as a defense. But their claims and pretentions of spiritual insight (you claim that you can see) made them guilty. They were responsible for their sins because they sinned willfully. It is a dangerous thing to claim to be a teacher of spiritual truths and not know the Lord (See John 3:9-10; Rom. 2:19-24; James 3:1). 

Once again Jesus was rejected by the Jews  Vs. 59.

 

LESSON  17

Jesus, The Good Shepherd 

Chapter 10:1-42

 

 

This chapter about the Shepherd and his sheep has been called the Psalm 23 of the New Testament.  In the Old Testament many of Israel�s leaders were first shepherds.  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and David were all shepherds.

In this chapter we have the Shepherd of the sheep (Jesus),  the Porter (the Holy Spirit), the sheep (all born again believers}, thieves and robbers (all unsaved people trying to enter Heaven by human efforts) and the Door to the sheepfold which is Jesus himself.

Vs. 1  In the original writings there were no chapter and verse divisions. This chapter is a continuation of the previous chapter and Jesus answer to the Pharisees about true believers.  Here Jesus calls those who teach false doctrine (the Pharisees) thieves and robbers.  Here the truth is that there is only one door for entering Heaven (the sheepfold).  False teachers that teach �some other way� are condemned by our Saviour.

Sheepfolds were usually an enclosure made of stones and were large enough for several flocks to pass the night safely.  They usually had briar bushes along the top of the wall to discourage intruders from entering the enclosure.

Vs. 2  The true shepherd always entered by the only door and would lead his sheep into the sheepfold each night.

Vs. 3  The Porter.  Who is the porter who opens and closes the entrance to the sheepfold?    This is the Holy Spirit.

�No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day� John 6:44

�But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned�.  1 Cor. 2:14

A true Christian will hear the voice of the Lord and follow His leading.  Shepherds had a special connection with their own sheep and they would give names to each one.  At night in the sheepfold there might be several flocks, but each sheep knew the voice of his shepherd and would only follow him.

Vs. 4-5  He putteth forth his sheep�.  We are not to remain in the sheepfold all our lives like some churches teach (convents and monasteries), but rather to �go into all the world with the message of the Gospel�  Acts. 1:8.

He goeth before them�  Sheep are not like most animals who seek their own way.  Sheep are not aggressive, but gentle and follow the shepherd who leads them and whose voice they know. Cattle must be driven from behind but sheep follow their leader whose voice they recognize. 

Vs. 6  The Pharisees did not understand this parable that Christ spoke to them.

Vrs. 7-18  In these verses Jesus explains the parable that he had spoken to the Pharisees.

Vs. 7  Jesus declares that He is the door.  There is only one door for entering Heaven.  Most sheepfolds did not have a physical door, but the shepherd would sleep at the entrance of the sheepfold so that he was the door.  No one could go out or in without passing over the shepherd.  Jesus declared that He was the Door and the only way for entering Heaven.

Vs. 8  Here Jesus refers to many of the leaders in the Old Testament (priests, prophets and kings) who many times used their office for their personal gain, and not for the welfare of the flock (their people) who they were supposed to lead in the ways of the Lord.  He referred to those leaders of the nation who cared not for the spiritual good of the people but only for themselves.

Vs. 9  Only when one enters by way of the Door (Jesus) will they find salvation and be saved. 

�Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved�  Acts 4:12.

After we are saved the Lord expects us to find pasture in a local church and feed upon the Word of God, the Holy Bible. We are to be in the world, but not of this world.

Vs. 10  Here we have a contrast between Satan�s desire for the unsaved and Christ�s desire to bless His children with an abundant life.

Vs. 11  Jesus, the Good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep.

Vrs. 12-13  One who is hired to tend the sheep does have the same love as the shepherd and flees when danger approaches.

Vrs. 14-15  Here Jesus declares again that he is the Good Shepherd and knows who are his sheep and will lay down his life for their safety.

Vs. 16  Who are the �other sheep�?  Almost all Bible scholars agree that the other sheep are the Gentiles who turned to Christ when the Jews rejected their Messiah. 

�Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief�.  Hebrews 4:6

�Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles�.  Acts 13:46

Throughout Jesus ministry he showed his love and concern for many non Jews by healing their bodies and revealing himself to them for salvation.  Some examples are: the Syro-Phoenician woman, the Roman centurion, the Samaritan leper and the   Samaritan Traveler in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Vrs. 17-18  Jesus declares his ability and authority to �lay down his life and take it again� (his resurrection from the grave) by the authority of His Father.

Vrs. 19-21   Once again Jesus teachings were rejected by the Pharisees, but others seem to have given credit to his words.

Vs. 22    The Feast of Dedication commemorated the cleansing of the temple under Judas Maccabeus in 165 B.C. after Antiochus Epiphanes had defiled it by sacrificing a pig on the altar of burnt offering. The feast was celebrated toward the end of December. This is also the present-day Feast of Lights called Hanukkah.

Vs. 23   Solomon�s Porch was on the east side of the temple, with two rows of pillars (as on the west and north sides).

Vrs. 24-30   The Jews once again asked if Christ was the Messiah and he told them that the miracles that he performed clearly revealed his divine origin.  Vrs. 24-25

Vs. 26  Jesus tells them that they believe not because they are not His sheep .

Vs 27  True children of God hear his voice and follow his leading.

Vrs. 28-29  The reward for following Christ is that his sheep have eternal life and no man is able to take this from them   because they are in the Father�s hand.  Our salvation is eternal.

Vs. 30  Jesus again declared that He and the Father were one.

Vrs. 32-33  Once again the Jews took up stones to stone Him because he claimed to be God.  .

Vrs. 34-38  In the Old Testament in Psalm 82 the judges of Israel were called gods.

Vrs. 39-42  Once again Jesus escaped the stoning by the Jews and went to the area where John the Baptist had ministered and

abode there for a time.  Many people came to hear him teach and were saved  after believing on Him.  

 

 

LESSON  18

The Raising of Lazarus From the Grave

Chapter 11:1-57

 

Vs. 1   Who was Lazarus?  He was the brother of Mary and Martha and lived in the town of  Bethany.  Martha seems to have been the owner of the house (Luke 10:38) and Jesus and his apostles often visited this home and Jesus loved this family dearly (verse 5). 

Bethany was close to Jerusalem (about two miles) Vs. 18.   Jesus again gave another sign to the Judean Jews that he was the promised Messiah of the Old Testament.  Matthew, Mark and  Luke did not record this miracle in their Gospels.

Lazarus was quite sick and soon passed away (Vs. 14).

Vs. 2  This verse tells us who Mary was since there are at least eight women by the name Mary in the New Testament.  She later anointed Jesus feet (12:3) as a sign of her love for our Saviour.  Some people believe that this Mary was the woman taken in adultery whose sins Jesus forgave.

Vs. 3-5  The sisters assumed, because of the Lord�s ability and His love for Lazarus, that He would immediately respond to their plea about Lazarus illness and come to heal him.  Jesus told his followers that this sickness was to bring glory and   reveal in a miraculous way His divinity Vs. 4.

Vrs. 6-10  After the messengers told Jesus of Lazarus sickness he stayed two more days where he was.  Then Jesus told his apostles that they would go to Judea where the Jews had tried to stone him for his claiming to be God. 

Vrs. 11-14  Jesus told his apostles that Lazarus was sleeping in death, but they thought that Jesus meant that he was resting Vs. 11.  In verse 14 Jesus told them plainly that Lazarus had died.

Vrs. 15-16  Notice the phrase, �to the intent ye may believe�.  Even the apostles needed this miracle to strengthen their faith.  In verse 16 we have Thomas mentioned.  Thomas seems to have been one of the leading apostles along with Peter, James and John.  He is mentioned twelve times in the Bible and was in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost.

Vrs. 17-19  It was a two day trip from where Jesus was to Bethany and when Jesus arrived he found that Lazarus had been buried for four days. Bethany was just two miles from Jerusalem.  Many of the family�s friends came to comfort them.

Vrs. 20-28   When Martha heard that Jesus was approaching the city, she went to meet him.  In verse 23 Jesus told her that her brother would rise again.  She thought he meant that Lazarus would rise again in the final resurrection, but Jesus told her that he was the Resurrection and the Life  Vs. 25.  Martha left Jesus and returned to her house and told Mary that Christ was calling for her Vs. 28.

Vrs. 29-37  Mary went to where our Saviour was and said that if Christ had come sooner her brother would not have died Vs. 32. After seeing the grief or Mary and the other Jews he was profoundly moved in his spirit and wept Vs. 35.

Vrs. 38-45  Jesus asked to see the grave where Lazarus was buried  Vs. 38.  The grave was a cave with a large stone covering the mouth of it. 

Jesus told the people to remove the stone and Martha said that the body was already in decomposition since he had been    buried for four days Vs. 39.

After the stone was removed, Jesus lifted up his eyes to heaven and prayed, and then with a loud voice told Lazarus to come forth Vrs. 41-43.

A miracle took place and Lazarus came walking out of the grave and lived a normal life and many were saved when they saw this miracle Vrs. 44-45.

Vrs. 46-53  Some of the unbelieving people went to Jerusalem and told the Pharisees what had taken place  Vs. 46

After hearing of still another miracle performed by our Saviour, the Jewish leaders became alarmed and called for a counsel meeting  Vs. 47-48.

This Sanhedrin Counsel was composed of both Pharisees and Sadducees and had seventy members. Vs. 47. 

�But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question�  Acts 23:6.

The priests were always Sadducees.

�Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, which is the sect of the Sadducees, and were filled with indignation�  Acts 5:17.

The Sadducees were intensely political.  They were the wealthy and aristocratic party.  They collaborated with Rome and were allowed to retain their wealth, comfort and position of authority, and were content to serve the Romans.  It was the priests who dominated this meeting of the Sanhedrin Counsel. 

What the Jews feared was that Jesus might gain a following and raise a disturbance against the government. Rome was essentially tolerant, but, with such a vast empire to govern, it could never afford civil disorder, and always quelled it with a firm and merciless hand.  If Jesus was the cause of civil disorder, Rome would descend in all her power, and, beyond a doubt the Sadducees would be dismissed from their positions of authority  Vrs. 47-48.

The High Priest who was presiding over the meeting was Caiaphas and he seems to have been a believer as was Nicodemus who on another occasion stood up to defend our Saviour (John 7:50-51). 

Caiaphas prophesied that it was expedient that one person should die for the nation so that the whole nation would not perish Vs. 50-51.   

He also prophesied that the death of our Saviour would bring together both Jews and gentiles they would be one people  Vs. 52.

�For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus   Galatians 3:28.

Vrs. 55-57  The Jewish Passover Feast was near and many  people went up to Jerusalem ahead of time to dedicate themselves to the Lord  Vs 55

The people spoke among themselves whether Christ would come to this Passover Feast as the Jewish leaders now wanted to kill our Saviour  Vs. 56.

The Chief Priest and the Pharisees commanded the people that if anyone saw Jesus to tell them where he was so they could apprehend him  Vs. 57.

 

Mary�s in the Bible

 

Mary, the mother of Jesus  -  Matthew 1:16

Mary Magdalene  -  Luke 8:2

Mary of Bethany  -  John 11:1

Mary, the mother Joses  -  Mark 15:47

Mary, the mother of James  -  Mark 16:1

Mary, the wife of Cleophas  -  John 19:25

Mary, the mother of John Mark  -  Acts 12:12

Mary, who lived in Rome  -  Romans 16:6

 

 

LESSON  19

Jesus Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

Chapter 12:1-50

 

Vrs. 1-9  In these verses we have Jesus coming to Bethany six days before the Passover Feast in Jerusalem.  This Feast was always on the 14th day of the Jewish month Abib (Exodus 12:6, 18; 13:4).  Like Christmas it could fall on any day of the week.  The month Abib corresponds to about March 15th to April 15th. And was the first month of the year (Exodus 12:2). The Jewish calendar was based on the phrases of the Moon and for that reason is much less accurate than our calendar that is based on the movement of the earth around the Sun and has 365 and 1/4 days each year.

Vs. 2 tells us that Martha made a supper for Jesus and his apostles and Lazarus sat at the table with them. 

Vs. 3.  When the meal was finished Mary came and anointed the feet of Jesus with a very costly perfume and wiped his feet with her hair.

Vrs. 4-6  Judas Iscariot questioned that this was a waste of money, but his real motive was that he was the treasurer for the apostles and stole from the money he was entrusted to use honestly for food and other needs of our Saviour.

Vrs. 7-8  Jesus rebuked Judas and said that Mary had done this in a prophetic act picturing his soon coming death. He would be gone but he told them that there would always be poor   people that needed help.

Vs. 9  Since Bethany was close to Jerusalem many people came to see Lazarus who Jesus had raised from the dead. 

Vrs. 10-11  Because of this miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead many of the people believed on Christ, and so the priests sought to kill Lazarus also.

Vrs. 12-19  When word got back to the people in Jerusalem that Jesus was coming to the Passover Feast many of them went out to meet him.  They cut branches from the Palm trees and put them on the road while others spread their garments on the road Matthew 21:8. 

These actions had been prophesied in the Old Testament by the prophet Zachariah.

�Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass�   Zechariah 9:9.

Military heroes rode on horses or in chariots; but Jesus came as a meek, nonmilitary official as prophesied.  He was called a King even though his kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36).

Vs. 16  The disciples didn�t comprehend the meaning of this event, but after his resurrection they understood the prophesies of the Old Testament regarding his death.

Vrs. 17-19  The people who had been at Bethany when Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave told the others in Jerusalem and so they also participated in this Triumphal Entry into the city.  This alarmed the Pharisees and they said: �the world is gone after Him�.

Vrs. 20-36    Vrs. 20-22 The Jews harbored a hostility for the Greeks as they did for all gentiles (non Jews). 

None of the other gospels record this incident, but it is very fitting to find it in this Gospel.  The Fourth Gospel was the one written to present the truth of Christianity in a way that the Greeks (representing all gentiles)  could appreciate and understand; and it is natural that the first Greeks to come to Jesus should be received by our Saviour.

It was not strange to find Greeks in Jerusalem at the Passover time.  The Greeks were known for their travels and their desire to find out new things.  Paul found this out at Mars Hill in  Athens, Greece   Acts 17  See verse 21.

�For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing�.   Acts 17:21

They came first to Philip because he had a Greek name and was from Bethsaida, a city on the outskirts of Israel.   Vs. 21              

Jesus answered the Greeks and the other Jews who had gathered to hear him teach.  Jesus began by telling them that the hour of his death was nearing  (The Hour is come) Vs. 23.

Jesus used an illustration from nature to reveal his purpose in dying.  A seed must be buried and die in the earth, but from this event a plant grows and produces much fruit  Vs. 24

Jesus willingly laid down his life (John 10:18) just as his followers should be willing to do also.  Jesus said that the    Father would honour those who serve him  Vs. 26

Vs. 27  Jesus told the people that his soul was troubled as he thought about the terrible death that he would meet, but that this is why he was born, to die for the sins of all mankind.

Vrs. 28-30   The Father then spoke from heaven in a thunderous voice, confirming His working in Jesus both in the past and in the future. The voice was audible but not all understood it.

The voice from heaven confirmed faith in the spiritually minded, but to the unspiritual it was only a noise (1 Cor. 2:14).

Vrs. 31-36  Jesus death on the cross was a judgment on the world. Evil and sin were atoned for. Jesus said: �It is finished�.

Vrs. 31 The world�s goals, standards, and religions were shown to be folly. The Cross was also the means of Satan�s defeat (Rev. 12:10). The prince of this world, Satan; (John 14:30; 16:11), will be driven out. His power over people by sin and death was defeated and they can now be delivered out of his domain of spiritual darkness and the slavery to sin.

�Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us�.  Colossians 1:10

Vrs. 32-33  Jesus words, �If I am lifted up from the earth�,  refer not to His Ascension but to His crucifixion (3:14; 8:28). He knew how He would die�by being �lifted up� on a cross. Jews, however, normally stoned those they considered worthy of death (Stephen�s death, Acts 7:58-60).

Jesus said that at the cross He would draw all men to Himself. He did not mean everybody will be saved for He made it clear that some will be lost (John 5:28-29). If the drawing by the Son is the same as that of the Father (6:44), it means He will draw indiscriminately. Those saved will include not only Jews, but also those from every tribe, language, people, and nation (Rev. 5:9;  John 10:16; 11:52).

Vrs. 34-36  The people still did not understand that Jesus must die, and that in dying he would bring eternal life to all who  believe.  Jesus told them to believe in the Light while he was here on earth.  Jesus in the Light of the world John 8:12,  9:5.

Vrs. 37-41  Even after three and a half years of  teaching and working miracles, the leaders and the majority of the people still did not believe that he was the promised Messiah.  The same sun that hardens the brick softens the butter  Vs. 40

Vrs. 42-50  These verses end Christ public ministry to the people. 

Vrs. 42-43  Many of the rulers believed on Christ, but feared to confess Christ publically.  .

Vrs.47-48. Christ�s words will be the basis of the final judgment. 

The rest of the book records Christ ministering privately to his apostles in the Upper Room;  the crucifixion and the resurrection of our Saviour.

 

 

LESSON  20

Jesus Lesson on Humility, Submission

 Chapter 13:1-38

 

In this chapter and until chapter 17 we have Jesus celebrating the Passover privately with his apostles in the Upper Room and his final words to them before being crucified.

Vrs. 1-17  Verse 1 tells us that this meal was eaten the day   before the Passover meal on the 15th. The Passover Lamb would be killed on the 14th but eaten the following night.

Vrs. 1-3  Jesus now knew that �his hour was come� and that he would soon die on the cross and then go back to Heaven, �depart out of this world�.  The Jewish leaders had tried before to apprehend Christ, but his hour had not yet come (John 7:30, 8:20).

Vrs. 4-17  Here we have Jesus washing the disciples feet.  Some churches teach that it is an ordinance like Baptism and the Lord�s Supper.  The Bible teaches that it was a lesson in humility and submission to do whatever the Lord directs us to do. No where else in the Bible do we find this mentioned or being practiced by the early church.

Jesus told Peter in verse 7 �What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter�.  Peter knew that Jesus was washing his feet, but later understood the real meaning of     humility and our service for the Saviour.

In Bible days there were few paved streets or roads and people wore sandals and while traveling their feet would become soiled from the dust of the road.  It was a custom that near the door of the house there would be a basin of water to wash the feet of the those entering the house. This was usually done by a servant.  In this incident we have: 

He, who was the King of kings and Lord of lords, he who was the God of gods, laying His clothing (divinity) aside and washing the feet of men. 

�     He who was the Master became the slave.

�     He who was he Lord took on the ministry of a servant.

�     He who was the Highest took the place of the lowest.

�     He who was the King became the subject.

Jesus is our supreme example of humility.  �But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross�.  Philippians 2:8

Vrs. 9-10  Another lesson in this story is that when one is saved (�washed�) he is clean from the penalty of sin but not the daily contamination of sin as long as we are in this world.  We should daily cleans our spiritual feet from the contamination of this world (�wash his feet�).  Read 1 John 1:9

�Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself�.  Hebrews 7:27

Vrs. 18-30  In these verses we have our Saviour revealing the identity of the one who would betray him to the priests.

Vs. 18  Jesus said that his betrayal by Judas was the fulfillment of an Old Testament scripture.

�Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me�. Psalm 41:9

Vrs. 21-27   Jesus tells the apostles that one of them will betray him and they began to wonder who it was.  Vs. 21-22

John, the beloved apostle was sitting near our Saviour and Peter motioned for him to ask Jesus who it was  Vrs. 23-25.

Jesus told John that the one he would give a piece of bread too was the one who would betray him  Vs. 26. 

After our Saviour gave the bread to Judas, Satan entered into him  Vs. 27.  (This is one reason we know Judas was not saved.  Satan cannot enter into the body of a Christian).

Vrs. 28-30  Jesus told Judas to do what he was going to do quickly.  Some of the apostles thought he told him to buy food for the Passover Meal or to give something to the poor.  This shows that this was not the Passover Meal that they ate.

Vrs. 31-35  Vrs. 31-32  The words glorified and glorify occur five times in these two verses.   Jesus� unique glory was revealed in His death. The Father was also glorified in Jesus� death because God�s love, His condescension, and His righteousness were made known (cf. John 1:14; Rom. 3:21-26). The words God� will glorify Him at once (straightway)  looked ahead to the Resurrection and the Ascension.  The word glorify means to exalt and honor. The apostle Paul clearly tells us of this exaltation in the book of Philippians.

�Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father�.  Philippians 2:9-11

In Jesus discourses with the apostles in the Upper Room He was giving them his last words and preparing them for his departure from them  Vs. 33.

A new commandment�  Vrs. 34-35. The Old Testament had commanded love (Leviticus 19:18); what makes Jesus� commandment new is the new standard and example of love � �as I have loved you�� in the context, to the point of laying down one�s life for others.

The 11 disciples would survive in His absence by obeying His example of love. The command is new in that it is a special love for other believers based on the sacrificial love of Jesus: As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  Christians� love and support for one another enables them to survive in a hostile world. As Jesus was the embodiment of God�s love, so now each disciple should embody Christ�s love. This love is a sign to the world as well as to every believer.

�We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death�  1 John 3:14.

�Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him�.  1 John 2:7-9

Vrs. 36-38  Peter, who was quick to speak, picked up on what Jesus had said about going away (v. 33). He wanted to know where Jesus was going (Thomas made a similar request; 14:5). Peter�s love was such that he wanted to be with Jesus. But Jesus replied that it was not possible right then for Peter to be with Him. Peter could not conceive of any situation that would make Jesus words necessary. He was certain that his love and courage were up to any challenge, including death. �I will lay down my life for You�, he affirmed. But Peter did not know himself as well as he thought, nor did he know the satanic power at work against him (see Luke 22:31-32). Jesus prediction of Peter�s defection (you will disown Me three times) must have completely shocked the other disciples. They may have wondered if Peter was the traitor (John 13:21-25).

Peter said in verse 37, �I will lay down my life for thy sake� and yet a few hours later he was denying his Saviour in a moment of weakness.

What was the difference between Peter and Judas?  Judas betrayed Jesus, and Peter, in his hour of need, denied him. The difference is this:  Judas's betrayal of Jesus was deliberate; it was carried out in cold blood; but there was never anything less deliberate than Peter's denial of Jesus.  He never meant to do it; he was swept away by a moment of weakness.  For the moment, his will was too weak, but his heart was always right. 

�Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak�.  Mark 14:38

 

  

LESSON  22

The Vine and the Branches

Chapter 15:1-27

 

Vs. 1  I am the true Vine. This is the last of the seven great �I Am� statements in John�s Gospel. Israel was God�s choice vine on which he lavished care and attention (Psalm 80:8-11; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 2:21; 6:9; Ezekiel 15; 17:5-10; 19:10-14; Hosea 10:1). He longed for fruit, but the vine (Israel) became degenerate and produced rotten fruit. Therefore Jesus, as �the true Vine,� fulfills what God had intended for Israel. The Father is the Gardener (husbandman) who cultivates and protects the Vine.

Vs. 2  He (the Gardener, the Father) desires fruit, which is mentioned seven times in this chapter: Vs. 2 three times, Vs. 4  once,  Vs. 5 once, Vs. 8 once and in Vs.16 two times. A progression is seen: fruit (Vs. 2), more fruitful (Vs. 2), and much fruit Vs. 5, 8). The fruit which God desired from Israel was loving obedience, righteousness, and justice (Isaiah 5:1-7; Luke 3:8). Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He cuts off. The phrase �in Me� does not mean the same thing as Paul�s words �in Christ.� Here it is part of the figure of the Vine and means, �every person who professes to be My disciple (a �branch�) is not necessarily a true follower.� A branch that bears no fruit is obviously dead. Therefore, like Judas, it is cut off.  Every year in Palestine gardeners prune their vines. They cut off the dead wood which has no life in it and trim the living branches so that their yield will be greater.

Vs. 3  The disciples had been cleansed by Jesus and His message.  True cleansing from sin comes from our spiritual washing by the Word of God.  

�Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word�.  Ephesians 5:25-26

Vs. 4  Fruitfulness is the result of the Son�s life being reproduced in a disciple The disciple�s part is to abide. The word abide, is a key word in John�s teaching, and occurs 11 times in this chapter, 40 times in the entire Gospel, and 27 times in John�s epistles. What does it mean to abide? It means: first, to accept Jesus as your Savior John 1:12. Second, it means to continue or persevere in believing 8:31; 1 John 2:19, 24). Third, it means loving obedience John 15:9-10).  Without faith in the promises of God, no real life can come to a person.

�But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him�.  Hebrews 11:6

 Without the life of God, no real fruit can be produced: Neither can you bear fruit unless you �abide� remain in Me.

Vs. 5  Jesus calls himself the true vine.  The meaning of the word  true is: real, genuine, authentic.  It is an interesting fact that the symbol of the vine is never used in the Old Testament apart from the idea of degeneration.  The point of Isaiah's picture is that the vineyard has run wild.  Jeremiah complains that the nation has turned into "a degenerate and wild vine."  It is as if Jesus said:  "You think that because you belong to the nation of Israel you are a branch of the true vine of God.  But the nation is a degenerate vine, as all your prophets saw.  It is I who am the true vine.  The fact that you are a Jew (or a church member) will not save you.

The vine is the trunk of the grape vine that grows from the root and produces branches upon which the fruit (grapes) grow.  Just as a branch that is cutoff from the vine will die and wither and be useless to produce grapes, so is any person that is not connected to the vine.  Without being connected to Christ there is no hope of salvation.   See Acts 4:12,  1 Timothy 2:5.

Being connected to Christ the branches will produce several kinds of fruit:  A tree of life (salvation) Proverbs 11:30.  In Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, and peace are mentioned as the fruit of the Spirit and 2 Peter 1:5-8 more fruit  of the Christian is mentioned.

Vs. 6  This verse is in contrast to verse 5.  The nation of Israel  rejected the warning of their prophets and has been cast into the fire of persecution ever since.  Any person who does not believe faces disaster. A branch without life is dead and cut off (v. 2). It is worthless and therefore is thrown into the fire (hell) and burned.

What did Jesus mean by these symbolic words about the branches being burned?  Can a person lose his salvation as some churches teach?  The �burned� branches refer to professing Christians who, like Judas, are not genuinely saved and therefore are judged. Like a dead branch, a person without Christ is spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1,5; Colossians 2:13) and therefore will be punished in  the eternal fire (Matthew 13:50).  Judas was with Jesus; he seemed like a �branch.�, but he did not have God�s life in him; therefore he departed; his destiny was like that of a dead branch, burned and lost forever.

Vrs. 7-8  In contrast with verse 6, the emphasis in these verses is positive: Abide with Jesus and you will bear much fruit. Effective prayer is based on faith in Christ and on His words remaining in believers. Christ�s words condition and control such a believer�s mind so that his prayers conform to the Father�s will. Since his prayer is in accord with God�s will, the results are     certain� �it shall be done unto you� (1 John 5:14-15). Fulfilled prayers bring glory to the Father.

Vrs. 9-15  In these verses Christ is encouraging the apostles to demonstrate their faith by loving each other as He has loved them.  The true demonstration of our love is to be willing to lay down our life for another Vs. 13.  Jesus tells the disciples that they are His friends if they do whatsoever he has commanded them to do, showing their love to one another in a practical way Vs. 14.

There are different kinds and levels of friendship. Friendship can involve political or military alliances and is often pursued in self-interest.  The main ideals of friendship in ancient literature       included loyalty (sometimes to the death), equality and mutual sharing of all possessions, and an intimacy in which a friend could share everything in confidence. Jesus especially emphasizes the last point in John 15:15, where he distinguishes a friend from a servant, who might also be loyal but would not share intimate  secrets.

In the Old Testament two people are called �friends of God�: Abraham and Moses  (James 2:23, Exodus 33:11).

Vrs. 16-17  In these verses Jesus emphasizes the need for his   followers to bring forth fruit and gives them the promise to supply what they need.  The command is to �love one another�, and so demonstrate to the world their true faith.

Vrs. 18-21   Friendship with God results in enduring the world�s hatred. Conversely, being friends with the world is to be God�s enemy (James 4:4). Jesus alerted His disciples to the fact of the world�s hatred. The world in John�s Gospel is the system of organized society hostile to God, which is under Satan�s power (John 14:30). Believers might be surprised by this hostility (1 Peter 4:12-13), but they should remember that Jesus was hated from His birth (when Herod the Great sought to kill Him) until His death on the cross.

A fundamental reason for the world�s hatred of a Christian lies in their differences. A believer, having left the kingdom of darkness and having been transferred into the kingdom of God�s Son, has a different joy, purpose, hope, and love. The root cause of the world�s hatred against the disciples is their identification with Jesus. They hate Jesus because they are ignorant of God, the One who sent Him.  See Romans 10:3-4.

Vrs. 22-27  Jesus came as the Revelation of God. If Jesus had not come, their sin would not be so great. Before Jesus coming people might have pleaded ignorance as an excuse for sin (Acts 17:30). But now that the Light has come, those who willfully reject it have no excuse. The revelation in Jesus and by Jesus is so tied to the Father that to hate Jesus is to hate God.

Vrs. 26-27  Jesus told the disciples that he would send the Holy Spirit to testify of Him after he left this world and that they too should be witnesses of what they had seen and heard after being with our Saviour for three and a half years. See Matthew 28:19-20

  

 

LESSON  23

Jesus Announces His Return to the Father

Chapter 16:1-33

 

Vrs. 16:1-2   Jesus continues to warn his disciples about the world�s hatred and persecution and that the disciples would face excommunication and even death by their fellow Jews. Remembering that Jesus was ostracized and martyred and that He had predicted the same for His followers would help fortify them. Most of the earliest Christians were Jews Acts 2:11, 14, 22, but quite soon after the church began to grow and spread, multitudes of non Jews became part of the church and it was quickly thrust outside the synagogue Acts 19:8-10. Persecution unto death occurred in the case of Stephen Acts 7:59, James Acts 12:2, and others Acts 9:1-4. Many people throughout church history have been motivated to persecute believers because of a misguided zeal for God. They think they are offering a service to God   Rom. 10:2.

Vrs. 16:3-4 Jesus told his disciples that the world will persecute them because they have not known the Father or Me. They did not see the Father at work in the words and deeds of Jesus. The Jewish people had a certain knowledge of God through the Law, but that knowledge was not a saving knowledge for God said: �their hearts go astray and they have not known My ways�  Psalm 95:8-10.   

Jesus gave this warning to His disciples about coming persecution in order to strengthen their faith. By recognizing His knowledge of the future they would grow in their confidence in Him. Jesus did not give them this warning before because the world�s hatred was directed against Him. He shielded them with His personal presence, but now they would be His body on earth  Eph. 1:22-23.

Vrs. 5-11  Jesus again tells the disciples that He is going away.  They were sorrowful at the aspect of losing their leader.   Jesus tells his followers that it was �expedient� (necessary) that He go away so that He could send the Holy Spirit and then tells them what the work of the Holy Spirit will be.

Vrs. 8  One of the Spirit�s ministries is to  reprove (convict and convince) the world of guilt in regard to sin, righteousness and judgment. Conviction is not the same as conversion but is necessary to it. The word �reprove�, refers to the work of a lawyer or prosecutor, one who presents the facts to reveal the truth and convince the judge or jury. The Spirit works on the minds of the unsaved to show them their guilt and need of salvation..

Vs. 9  Sin is rebellion against God and this rebellion reached it�s climax in the crucifixion of Jesus. Today the greatest sin is the failure to believe in Jesus.  Most people do not readily admit to being guilty of sin. They will admit to failures or vices or even crimes. However, they do not readily admit their sin is against God, The mighty working of the Holy Spirit is necessary to convince and convict people of their desperate plight and lost condition.

Vs. 10  Righteousness  In crucifying Jesus, the Jewish people showed that they thought He was unrighteous, that only a wicked person would be hanged on a tree and thus be under God�s curse Deut. 21:23; Gal. 3:13. But the Resurrection and the Ascension vindicated Jesus as God�s righteous Servant Acts 3:14-15; Isaiah 53:11. The Spirit convicts men of their faulty views of Jesus when the gospel is proclaimed 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.

Vs. 11  Judgment  The third area of the Holy Spirit�s convicting work concerns judgment. The death and resurrection of Jesus were a condemnation of Satan 12:31; Colossians 2:15, who is the prince of this world John 14:30. By Jesus death, He defeated the devil who held �the power of death� Hebrews 2:14. (Though defeated at the Cross, Satan is still active 1 Peter 5:8. But, like a condemned criminal, his �execution� is coming   Revelation 20:2, 7-10.

People in rebellion should take note of Satan�s defeat and fear the Lord who holds the power to judge and cast into hell. As the fact of coming judgment (both Satan�s and man�s) is proclaimed, the Spirit�s work is to convict people of their sin and bring them to Christ for salvation  Acts 17:30-31.

Vrs. 12-15 The disciples were not able to receive any more spiritual truth at that time. Their hearts were heavy because Jesus told them he was leaving. The Spirit of Truth would come after Jesus death to lead the apostles into the truth about Jesus and His continuing work.

The Spirit, Jesus said, would teach only what He hears from the Father. Also the Spirit would teach what is yet to come. This statement helps one understand the promise, He will guide you into all truth. This was a promise to the apostles that their partial understanding of the person and work of Jesus as the Messiah would be completed as the Spirit taught them.  The New Testament books are the fulfillment of this teaching    ministry of the Spirit.

Vs. 16-22  �A little while� (Vs. 16)  Jesus told his apostles that for a little while they would not see him (his three days in the grave).  Then he said they would see him again (after his resurrection for 40 days). 

Vrs. 17-22  They didn�t understand what he meant and then our Saviour explained what he meant by �the little while�.  Jesus illustrated his being gone for �a little while� by comparing it to the birth of a child.  Women often experience great pain in childbirth and sometimes would die. The prophets commonly used birth pangs as an image of suffering Isaiah 13:8; Isaiah 21:3; Isaiah 26:17.  After his suffering and resurrection, Jesus would return to the disciples to impart life and through the gift of  the Holy Spirit he would remain with them forever  John 20:19-23.

Vrs. 23-33  Vs. 23-24 The phrase �in that day� refers to the time after His ascension into Heaven where he is now seated at the right hand of His Father.  Jesus is not now physically here on earth and our communication with Him is through prayer.

Vs. 25  Jesus was a Master Teacher and taught His disciples for three years by example and word using proverbs and parables, yet their perception of His ministry remained limited.

Vrs. 26-28  Jesus now tells them that he came from Heaven and will return to His heavenly Father. 

Vrs. 29-30  The disciples now told Jesus that they understood what his mission of salvation was and that they knew He had come from God and was returning to Him.

Vs. 31-32  Jesus now tells the disciples that they will leave him in His hour of suffering when he is arrested and put on trial by the Jews and condemned do die on the cross.  Even though no one would remain with him, He told them that His Father would be with him in his suffering.

�Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones�. Zechariah 13:7

Vs. 33  Jesus tells his disciples that they would have an inward peace that the world knows nothing about.  �In me

�Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid�.  John 14:27

�And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus�.  Philippians 4:7.

Jesus closes his words by warning the disciples that in this world they would have trials and tribulations.  Many times Christians face difficulties in this world,  but Christ told them that he has overcome this world and in the end we will live  forever with our Saviour in heaven.

�Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution�.  2 Timothy 3:12

 

LESSON  24

Christ�s Prayer for the Disciples

Chapter 17:1-26

 

Jesus ended His teaching of the disciples with a shout of victory: �I have overcome the world� 16:33. This was in anticipation of His work on the cross. Throughout His ministry Jesus work was done in obedience to the Father�s will  (Luke 4:42; 6:12; 11:1; Matt. 26:36). As He turned again to His  Father, He prayed first for Himself  Vrs. 1-5, then for His apostles 6-19 and finally for all future believers 20-26.

Vs. 1  Lifting one�s eyes to heaven was a common posture of prayer Psalm 121:1;  Psalm 123:1.

Jesus final words in the Upper Room before going to the    Garden of Gethsemane were a prayer that He might be glorified and that His Father would be glorified.  Jesus could approach God in prayer because of their Father-Son relationship. He began His prayer with the word Father (Matthew 6:9) and used that word three other times in this prayer Vrs. 5, 21, 24 as well as �Holy Father� Vs. 11 and �Righteous Father� Vs. 25. The time, Jesus said, had come. The divine plan of redemption was at God�s appointed time (Galatians 4:4).   Several times before this Jesus time had not yet come (2:4; 7:6, 8, 30; 8:20). But now it had arrived (12:23; 13:1).

Again and again in history a martyr's majesty has appeared in death.  It was so with Jesus, for even the centurion at the foot of the Cross was amazed saying: "Truly this was the Son of God"     Matthew 27:54.

Vs. 2  Jesus who is one with God the Father has all power (Matthew 28:18) and gives eternal life to all who call upon His name for salvation (Romans 10:13,  John 1:12).

Vs. 3  In this world there are many gods, but only one True God.  In this verse Jesus uses his full name �Jesus Christ�.  True life is only found in Christ  (John 14:6,  Acts 4:12,  1 Timothy 2:5)

Vrs. 4-5  Jesus always gave His Father the glory for the work he did while here on earth.  Jesus says that �I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do�.  His death was yet to come, but he considered it a finished work (Revelation 13:8).  All Christians have a work to do and finish, but many fail to complete what the Lord has for them to do like Demas (2 Timothy 4:10.

Vrs. 6-19  In these verses we have Jesus praying for His apostles.  This passage addresses the inevitable conflict between Jesus followers and the world.  When Israel failed to follow their God they were set aside by the Lord (Romans 11:21).   Today the church is to carry the message of salvation to this world (Matthew 28:19-20).

Vrs. 6-8  All true believers have come out of the world even though we are still in the world (Vs. 15), but not part of this world system.  True believers have the words of Jesus and  recognize that He came from God.

Vrs. 9-11  Jesus tells his disciples that he is praying for them.  Jesus doesn�t pray or intercede for the lost,  this is the work of all believers to pray for those who are unsaved.

�Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved�  Romans 10:1.

Vs. 12  Christians are kept (eternally saved) by the Word of God but the unsaved will be sent to an everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:46) just as Judas was because he was the �son of perdition� and not a �son of God� (John 1:12).

Vs. 13  The joy that we have as Christians comes from the Lord.  Jesus had joy and  He gives it to His followers.  There is strength in the joy of the Lord.

�Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength� Nehemiah 8:10.

Vrs. 14-19  Jesus tells the disciples that the world will hate them because of His words,  the written message of God, the Holy Bible Vs. 17.  Christians are to be �sanctified� by the Word of God.  The word sanctify means to be �set apart� from the ways and customs of this world system Vrs. 15, 19.

Vrs. 20-26   The final portion of Jesus prayer was for future believers who would come to Him through the message of the apostles, �through their word� (by the books they wrote, the New Testament). In the Church Age all Christians have come to Christ directly or indirectly through the apostles writings. Jesus knew His mission would succeed. He would die and be raised, He would send forth the Spirit, the apostles would preach, people would be converted, and the church would be established and built upon the doctrine of the apostles and teachings of Jesus  (Ephesians 2:20).

Vs. 21 �That they all may be one�.  Jesus requested unity for future believers (Vrs. 11, 22). This verse is a favorite of the promoters of the present day ecumenical movement. Admittedly the divided church is in many ways a dishonor to its founder. The cure, however, is not institutional union. Jesus was not praying for the unity of a single, worldwide, ecumenical church in which doctrinal heresy would be maintained along with the Truth. Instead, He was praying for a unity of love, a unity of obedience to God and His Word, and a united commitment to do His will. There are great differences between uniformity, union, and unity.

All true believers belong to the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13) and their spiritual unity is to be manifest in the way they live. The unity Christ desires for His church is the same kind of unity the Son has with the Father: �just as You are in Me and I am in You�.  The Father did His works through the Son and the Son always did what pleased the Father. This spiritual unity is to be patterned in the church. Without union with Jesus and the Father, Christians can do nothing (15:5). The goal of  every Christian ought to be to do the Father�s will according to the teachings of the Bible  Vs. 22. 

Vrs. 22-23  All true Christians who strive for the �unity of the faith� will one day have their desire fulfilled when our Saviour returns and we are united with Him in heaven.

�Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ�  Ephesians 4:13

Vrs. 24-26   Jesus closes his prayer by asking that those who the Father has given to him may be with Him where He is going, to Heaven.  

It is a wonderful thought to know that our Saviour continues interceding for us until that day when we shall see Him face to face in eternity.

�Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us�  Romans 8:34

�Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them�.  Hebrews 7:25

LESSON  25

Jesus Betrayed by Judas,  Sentenced to Death by Pilate

Chapter 18:1-19:16

 

Vs. 1  After eating the Last Supper with his disciples and  giving them his final words in chapters 14 thru 17, and singing a hymn (Matthew 26:30), they all leave and go to the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36).  Here he told Peter, James and John to accompany him while he prayed (Matthew 26:37-38).  This would have been around 10 o�clock at night.

Vrs. 2-11  In these verses Judas comes with a band of men and officers from the chief priests to betray our Saviour and deliver him into their hands to be crucified.

Judas knew very well the place where our Saviour would be as Jesus  often went there to pray Vs. 2.

Jesus now knew that the time for his sacrificial death had arrived and He asked the crowd who they were seekingVs.3-4.

After telling them that he was Jesus of Nazareth twice, he then asked them to let his disciples to go away  Vs.5-9.

Peter seeking to defend our Saviour, drew a sword and cut off the ear of Malchus, a servant of the high priest Vs.10-11.

From Luke�s Gospel we learn that Jesus immediately healed the servant�s ear. 

�And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him�.  (Luke 22:51).

Vrs. 12-14  Who was Annas? He was the first to see Jesus after his arrest.  Annas was the power behind the office of the High Priest in Jerusalem.  He himself had been High Priest from A.D. 6 to 15.  Four of his sons had also held the high priesthood and Caiaphas was his son-in-law.  There had been a time when the Jews were free, when the High Priest had held his office for life according to the Old Testament; but when the Roman governors came and appointed the high priest, the office became a matter for contention and intrigue and bribery and corruption. The family of Annas was immensely rich and one by one they had bribed their way into the office, while  Annas remained the power behind it all.

After interviewing Jesus, he then sent him to Caiaphas the High Priest Vs. 24

Vrs. 15-18  In these verses we have Peter�s first and second denial of Jesus as the Saviour had predicted in Matthew 26:34.

Vrs. 19-24  Jesus was questioned by the High Priest Caiaphas.

Vrs. 25-27  Peter denies our Saviour for the third time.

�One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him?  Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew�. John 18:26-27

Jesus had told Peter that he would deny him three times.

�Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice�  Matthew 26:34

Vrs. 28-32  After  his appearance before Caiaphas, he was then sent to Pilate in the Civil Judgment Hall.  This was very early in the morning.  Pilate talked to Jesus but could find no fault in him worthy of death and tried to release him (Pilate was the Roman Ruler in charge of Jerusalem). 

When Pilate heard the crowd of angry men say that Jesus was from Galilee, the northern province of Palestine where Herod was the ruler, Pilate sent Jesus to him to be judged (Luke 23:5-11). Herod was in Jerusalem visiting and after examining Jesus he didn�t want to condemn him to death and sent him back to Pilate Vs. 11).

Vrs. 33-40  Once again Pilate entered into the Judgment Hall and called for Jesus.  After talking to our Saviour and questioning him about his kingdom and kingship he still could find no fault in him worthy of death. 

There was a Roman custom that at the Passover Season each year a prisoner would be released.  This was a political act by the Roman governor to keep the Jews happy and from rebelling against their rule over Palestine.  Pilate used this custom to try and release Jesus, but the people said they would rather have Barabbas, a condemned robber and murderer, one who had led a rebellion against the Roman rule to be released  Vrs. 39-40.

Chapter 19:1-16   When Pilate saw that the people would not agree to have Jesus released,  he scourged him hoping to find some fault in him so he could condemn Jesus, but he found none  Vs. 1, 4.

The soldiers guarding Jesus mocked him for saying he was a king by placing a crown of thorns on his head and a purple robe  Vrs. 2-3.

Pilate then brought forth our Saviour hoping to convince the crowd to release him,  but they continued crying out �crucify him�  Vs. 4-6.

When Pilate heard the crowd say that Jesus claimed be the �Son of God�,  he became more afraid and sought to release Jesus  Vrs. 7-12.

There was a place outside the Judgment Hall where the Roman Ruler would publically give judgment on certain occasions and deliver discourses  Vs. 13.  See Acts 12:21-23

�And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.  And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost�  Acts 12:21-23.

It was now six o�clock in the morning Vs. 14

Unable to persuade the multitude to release Jesus,  Pilate now gives the death sentence and delivers Jesus into the hands of the Jews to be crucified by Roman soldiers  Vrs. 15-16.

Pilate not wanting innocent blood to be on his hands,  called for a basin of water and washed his hands in front of the Jews.

�When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it�  Matthew 27:24.

Tradition says that Pilate went insane a few months before his death and kept wringing his hands saying he was innocent of Jesus blood.

The Jews then took Jesus away by authority of the Romans and took him to a place outside the city to be crucified. Vs. 16

�Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate�  Hebrews 13:12.

_____________________________

During the night Jesus was led before five different rulers before being condemned to die by the Roman governor Pilate.

Religious Trials

Before Annas                          John 18:12-14

Before Caiaphas                      John 18:19-24, Matthew 26:57-68

Before the Sanhedrin              Matthew 27:1-2

Civil Trials

Before Pilate                                       John 18:28-40

Before Herod                          Luke 23:6-12

Second time Before Pilate     Luke 23:11, John 19:1-16.

 

LESSON  26

Jesus Crucifixion and Burial

Chapter 19:16-42

 

Vs. 16   Here we have the sentence of death given by Pilate to allow the Jews to put Jesus to death.

Vs. 17  Prisoners who had been sentenced to death were made to carry their own cross (cross-beam) to the place of crucifixion.  The probable site of Golgotha was outside the city wall and not far from Herod�s palace. Roman custom dictated the place of crucifixions and Jewish custom always located stonings outside of towns.  Leviticus 24:14, 23; Numbers 15:35-36; Deut. 17:5; Deut. 21:19-21; Deut. 22:24; in the New Testament, cf. Luke 4:29; Acts 7:58.

Carrying His own cross, Jesus went out. These words fulfill two Old Testament symbols or types. Isaac who carried his own wood for the sacrifice (Gen. 22:1-6) and the sin offering used to be taken outside the camp or city (Heb. 13:11-13).   Jesus was made sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21). Golgotha in Aramaic (The place of the skull) was probably called this because the hill with its stony barren top looked like a skull from a        distance.

Vs. 18   They crucified him.  Several stakes, at most about ten feet high, stood in Golgotha ready to be reused whenever executions occurred. On the top of the stake or slightly below the top was a groove into which the horizontal beam of the cross would be inserted after the prisoner had been fastened to it with ropes or nails.

There were two men crucified that day with Jesus. Our Saviour was on the middle cross.

Vs. 19-22  Condemned men were often required to carry a sign stating the reason for their crucifixion.  Pilate had written in three of the most common languages of Palestine: Hebrew, Greek and Latin �JESUS OF NAZARETH, KING OF THE JEWS�  Vrs. 19-20.   

The place where Christ was crucified �was nigh to the city�, not in the city as the Catholic church claims.  The sacrificial Red Heifer was slain outside the camp  Numbers 19:2-3.

Vrs. 23-24  The Roman soldiers were required to stay near the place of crucifixion until the condemned had died.  While they waited they divided the clothes they had removed from our Saviour and divided them in four parts,  probably the number of Roman soldiers present.  Jesus coat was a woven garment without seams and so the soldiers decided to cast lots to see who would get it in fulfillment of Psalm 22:18.

Vrs. 25-27  Near the cross of Christ four women stood watching.  The four women were: The sister of Jesus mother Mary whose name is not found in the Bible,  Jesus mother Mary, Mary the wife of Cleophas and Mary Magdalene who is mentioned 12 times in the Gospels.

When Jesus saw his mother and John the apostle also nearby he commended the care of his mother to John who took her into his own home to live.

Vrs. 28-30  In verse 28 Jesus had finished his work on the cross and fulfilled all the Old Testament prophesies regarding his life and work on this earth.  Even though Jesus was God, he still lived in a human body for 33 1/2 years.  He said: �I thirst�.

The soldiers moistened a sponge and lifted it to Jesus lips.

Persons on the cross were often given something to ease their pain. Stalks of hyssop were numerous in Palestine, and were well-suited for use as a "brush or sponge" and were used to dab the lintels of Israelite homes with the blood of the Passover lambs (Exodus 12:22). The associations of hyssop with the events of the Exodus perhaps led to its use in other rites, the cleansing of lepers (Lev. 14:4,6,49,51-52) and the cleansing of those unclean from contact with a corpse (Num. 19:6,18). Psalm 51:7 applies the well-known image of  hyssop to spiritual cleansing from sin.

After tasting the drink, Jesus bowed his head and said: �It is finished�. 

 The last word that Jesus spoke from the cross was the single Greek word �tetelestai� which means �It is finished�. Papyrus  receipts for taxes have been recovered with the word tetelestai written across them, meaning �paid in full.� This word on    Jesus lips was significant. When He said, �It is finished� (not �I am finished�), He meant that His redemptive work was completed. He had been made sin for people (2 Corinthians5:21) and had suffered the penalty of God�s justice which sin deserved. Even in the moment of His death, Jesus remained the One who gave up His life (John 10:11, 14,17-18). He bowed His head saying, �Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit� [Luke 23:46]) and then dismissed His spirit. This differs from the  normal process in death by crucifixion in which the life would ebb away and then the head would slump forward.

Vrs. 31-37  Those being crucified often survived on the cross several days. The dying man could rest himself on a wooden support in the middle of the cross. This support allowed him to breathe�and prolonged the agony of his death. When the soldiers needed to hasten death by asphyxiation, they would break the legs of the victims with iron clubs so they could no longer push themselves up and would soon die.  Romans would have allowed the bodies to rot on the cross, but Deut. 21:23 and Jewish respect for the Sabbath required that these executions be speeded up, and the Romans accommodated Jewish wishes particularly during the crowded festivals. (Josephus declares that Jewish people always buried crucified victims before sunset.)

The Jewish Passover was the next day so the Jewish leaders asked Pilate to hasten the death of those on the crosses.  Jewish tradition required certification that a person was dead before the person could be treated as dead, and Jewish observers would not treat the body as disrespectfully as this Roman did.

When the soldier came to Jesus he saw that he was already dead. A soldier armed with a spear; which was probably of light wood with an iron head, pierced Jesus side to be sure he was already dead. Such a lance could easily penetrate the pericardial sac which surrounds and protects the heart and contains a watery fluid. This was in fulfillment of an Old Testament prophesy.

�In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof�  Exodus 12:46.

Vrs. 36-37 tells us that all the prophesies in Psalm 22 were   fulfilled exactly as they were prophesied.

Vrs. 38-42 Here we have the burial of Jesus. Crucifixion     victims were usually thrown into a common grave for criminals and were not to be mourned publicly after their death. If the Romans had their way, the corpses would not have been buried at all. But exceptions were made at times if the family or powerful patrons interceded for the body. Burying the dead was a crucial and pious duty in Judaism, and an important act of love.  To accomplish his task before sundown and the beginning of the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea had to hurry.  Nicodemus also came to help with the burial and brought a mixture of aloes and myrrh which weighed about 70 of our pounds which would have had great value.  They wrapped Jesus body in linen clothes with the spices according to Jewish burial customs.

Verse 41 tells us that there was a garden nearby with a new sepulcher,  possibly that of Joseph or Nicodemus.  Here they buried Jesus rapidly as the Jewish Sabbath began at six in the afternoon and after that the Jews were not permitted to do any kind of manual labor. 

 

LESSON  27

Jesus Resurrection and Appearances

Chapter 20:1-31

To fully understand the resurrection of our Saviour and the events that followed while he stayed on this earth for forty days we need to read the story in all four Gospels.

�To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God�   Acts 1:3

All four Gospels tell us that it was Mary Magdalene who first came to the sepulcher.  From a careful reading it would seem that she came on our Saturday afternoon after the Jewish Sabbath ended at six o�clock and Jewish Sunday had begun..

�In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher�  Matthew 28:1

Vs 1  When Mary arrived at the tomb the stone was already rolled away and the entrance open.

Vs. 2  Mary was very moved when she saw the empty tomb and that the body of Christ was not there.  She ran back to tell Peter and John what she had seen.

Vrs. 3-5  Peter and John both ran to see for themselves the empty tomb.  John was much younger than Peter and arrived at the tomb first but waited outside for Peter to arrive.

Vrs. 6-7 When Peter arrived he immediately entered in to see more clearly that our Saviour was not there.  The burial clothes of Jesus were still there with the napkin that was about his head was in a separate place folded up.

Vrs. 8-10  After Peter saw that the body of Christ was gone John entered into the tomb and saw also that Jesus was not there.  They were puzzled and still did not understand the promise that Christ had given to them that he would rise again from the dead after