Monday, 31 March 2014
Doing Good and Healing--Characteristics of Jesus' Work
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Why are doing good and healing the demonized notable aspects of Jesus’ work (Acts 10:38)?  To what extent do you believe they are part of your work?  Why do you think this?

Only God gives life.  He made us and only He can truly heal us.  There is a cosmic struggle going on.  It is manifested here on earth.  Only God can give life and being.  When things go wrong only He can make them right.  He is sovereign over everything, the power behind everything.  When Jesus did these things He showed who He was; only God can do these things.  When we do good and help heal others in Jesus’ name we are witnessing to His presence and His power.

Acts 10:38

38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

Ephesians 6:10-13

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Exodus 2:24

24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.

 

John 10:10, 20

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full…..20 Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?” 21 But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

Isaiah 40:11

11 He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.

Isaiah 42:3

3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;

Isaiah 53:4

4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.

Matthew 9:36

36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 14:14

14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Matthew 20:34

34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

Mark 6:34

34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

Luke 7:11-18

11 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” 14 Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. 16 They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.

Luke 19:42

42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.

2 Corinthians 8:9

9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

Hebrews 4:15

15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet 

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Posted on 03/31/2014 8:14 AM by Larry G
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Saturday, 22 March 2014
A Model for Explaining the Gospel
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How is Acts 10:34-43 a model for a way you can explain the gospel to people you encounter?

Acts 10:34-43

34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached—38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. 39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

The gospel is for everyone, from every background, nation, occupation, race, economic level, etc.  God does not show favorites, or in other words, none of us is better than anyone else.  But He accepts anyone who fears him, wants to do right and those who call on Him.  He sent Jesus, His Son, to die for our sins.  Jesus was in fact, crucified and did, in fact, die for our sins and He did, in fact, rise again after three days, just like the prophets of Israel had foretold.  Now anyone who will trust in will be saved.

Why was each aspect of Peter’s sermon important for the Gentiles to grasp if they were to have a good understanding of Jesus?  (Also, how is each aspect important to you?)

It’s important that we realize that the good news about God is for everyone.  That levels the playing field.  It shows us that God really loves the whole world.  It speaks to the peace, the “Shalom” that we as individuals and as a world actually need.  It puts everything on the table; it helps us understand the historical and physical world around us and ties it all together.  It warns us that we are going to be judged and that it isn’t going to be something arbitrary.  At some point it comes down to a yes/no situation.  We run around like wild sheep, chaotic, fighting, murdering, arguing, absolutely without peace.  God is calling us to trust Him and thereby have peace or Shalom.  We will come to a point where we decide to either accept His offer of peace or we’ll reject Him and stay on our same course toward destruction.  If we reject, we will remain worthless throughout eternity.  Even though people down through history have hated the Jews, it cannot be denied that they are a special people.  They are a sign to the world.  Their very continued existence is a sign that verifies the truth of what their prophets said.  Wow!!

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Posted on 03/22/2014 8:46 PM by Larry G
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Friday, 21 March 2014
Why do we need Jesus?
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If Cornelius already feared God and did right then why did he need Jesus?

Isaiah 64:6-7

6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. 7 No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and made us waste away because of our sins.

Romans 3:23-27

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. 27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith.

Romans 3:23

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 7:21-25

21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

Ephesians 2:8-9

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Luke 18:9-14

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Cornelius was a sinner.  As a soldier he had probably seen and done more than his share of sins.  He knew that he had done wrong and probably was still doing wrong.  He was trying to reconcile himself to God but he did not know how this could be done.  He didn’t know God; but he wanted to.  He realized that he would be held accountable.  But he needed to know that God actually loved him.  He needed to know that God loved him so much that he actually had paid for his (Cornelius’) sins.  He needed to know about Jesus because he needed to know that God loved him, heard him and had saved him.  Even though, in the eyes of many Cornelius was considered righteous, in the eyes of God who sees everything, his righteousness was actually imperfect and paltry.  Our righteousness is actually small, inconsistent, imperfect and mostly self-serving.

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Posted on 03/21/2014 8:36 PM by Larry G
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Thursday, 20 March 2014
How did Cornelius show that he feared God?
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How did Cornelius show that he feared God and did what was right (10:35; see also 10:1-8, 30-33)?

Acts 10:34-35

34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.

Acts 10:1-8, 30-33

1 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” 4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. 6 He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.” 7 When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. 8 He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa. ….30 Cornelius answered: “Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. 32 Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”

The prayers which he had put up in faith, for himself and family, and the charitable actions he had performed from a principle of love, were like sacrifices upon the altar, which ascended to God with acceptance; so these sacrifices of prayer and beneficence came up with acceptance from off that altar which sanctifies the gift, or were acceptable to God, through Jesus Christ; these were taken notice of, approved by God, and remembered by him, and the fruits and effects he was shortly to enjoy; for that Cornelius was a believer, need not be questioned; since he was not only a devout and religious person, but one that feared God, which includes the whole of religion, internal and external; and so faith in Christ, without which he could not pray aright: there is no doubt of it, but he had read the prophecies of the Old Testament, attended the synagogues of the Jews, and believed in the Messiah to come, though he did not know that he was come, and that Jesus of Nazareth was he; so that his faith was of the same kind with that of the saints before the coming of Christ; and in this faith he did all the good works he did, which became acceptable to God through Christ, and without which it is impossible to please him.  (Matthew Henry)

Also see Matthew 12:6-7 

6 I tell you that one greater than the temple is here. 7 If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.

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Posted on 03/20/2014 8:27 PM by Larry G
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Sunday, 16 March 2014
God's Blessing to All the World
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Peter’s speech to this Gentile household differed in several ways from what he said to Jewish audiences.  What key points did he make in this instance (Acts 10:36-43)?

36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. 39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

  • He reminded them of the message that God had sent to Israel regarding the good news of peace through Jesus the Messiah ( You know what the message was)
  • You know what happened throughout the land; you’ve heard about the events
  • We are witnesses of everything that happened, everything that Jesus did
  • You know that He was crucified, but He has risen
  • What the prophets promised also applies to you

He relates what they have seen, heard and know about the real world to Jesus and he supplies a meaning to it all.  He doesn’t use references to the Torah/Tanakh; he uses events.  His only reference to scripture is that it applies to everyone including them.

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Posted on 03/16/2014 9:25 AM by Larry G
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Saturday, 15 March 2014
Fearing God and Doing what is Right
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Peter said God was willing to accept all those “who fear him and do what is right” (10:35).  Did this mean that Cornelius’ good deeds had earned him salvation?  Why or why not, in light of the whole context of the story (especially 10:22, 33, 43-48)?

Acts 10:22, 33, 43-48

22 The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.”…. 33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”…… 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” 44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, 47 “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

Here was an individual who actually feared God.  He feared Him and yet he wanted to know Him, to understand Him.  His works did not save him; maybe they just indicated a heart that wanted to know God and His forgiveness.  Also remember that Cornelius was a professional soldier and that his current duty assignment showed that he was experienced and hardened.  He had seen a lot and had probably done a lot.  Consequently, here was an individual who knew he needed salvation but didn’t know how it was available.

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Posted on 03/15/2014 9:17 AM by Larry G
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Friday, 14 March 2014
Good News for all the Families of the Earth
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When Peter observed Cornelius’ manner and heard his account of the angels message, what did Peter realize (10:34-35)?

Acts 10:34-35

34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.

Peter realized that Cornelius was a gentile who feared God and who was actually seeking Him.  He realized that Cornelius was a man who actually was doing what God wanted.

In what sense does God “not show favoritism” (Acts 10:34)?  From this story, what kinds of things don’t influence God to love a person?

  • What they eat
  • Their ethnic group
  • How they dress
  • What they do for a job
  • Male or female
  • Their race

 

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Posted on 03/14/2014 9:14 AM by Larry G
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Thursday, 13 March 2014
Did God Cheat Esau?
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Did God or Jacob cheat Esau out of an inheritance he deserved?

Genesis 12:2-3

2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." 

Isaiah 53:11

11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.

John 3:16

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Acts 1:8

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

The end result is that the Messiah would come through Abraham’s son, Isaac; and the blessing that He would provide would be for ALL the families on the earth; it would be a blessing for the entire world and that---includes the descendants of Esau.

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Posted on 03/13/2014 9:46 AM by Larry G
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Thursday, 13 March 2014
The Gospel is for Everyone
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After the messengers from Cornelius came and reported the angelic appearance, what further application of the vision was apparent to Peter (10:23-29)?

Acts 10:23-29

23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests. The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went along. 24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.” 27 Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28 He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?”

God is the one who determines whether a man is impure or unclean.

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Posted on 03/13/2014 9:10 AM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 12 March 2014
What God Has Made Clean
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What was the immediate lesson of Peter’s trance vision in 10:9-16?

Acts 10:9-16

9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” 14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” 15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” 16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.

All food is provided by God and He is the one who considers it clean and acceptable.  We can extend this to also mean that “whatever God says is good or clean--is exactly that--good and clean.  It is also interesting that we are told repeatedly that God is the one who cleanses us.  Consider the 23rd Psalm-- “He restores my soul…”  God is the one who declares that we are "clean"!

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Posted on 03/12/2014 9:05 AM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 12 March 2014
The Character of Esau
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Describe Esau’s character and values from the following passages:

Genesis 25:27, 29-34

27 When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents….. 29 Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30And Esau said to Jacob, "Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!" (Therefore his name was called Edom.) 31 Jacob said, "Sell me your birthright now." 32 Esau said, "I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?" 33 Jacob said, "Swear to me now." So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

Philippians 3:18-19

18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20

Hebrews 12:16-17

16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.

Genesis 26:34-35

34 When Esau was forty years old, he took Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite to be his wife, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite, 35 and they made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah.

Genesis 28:6-9

6 Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram to take a wife from there, and that as he blessed him he directed him, "You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women," 7 and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and gone to Paddan-aram. 8 So when Esau saw that the Canaanite women did not please Isaac his father, 9 Esau went to Ishmael and took as his wife, besides the wives he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son, the sister of Nebaioth.

From these passages, it would appear that Esau is a rough and tumble kind of guy; he liked being outside; he was a hunter.  He apparently wasn’t much of a thinker, but rather he was impulse-driven.  As can be seen by his taking multiple wives whom his parents object to, he seems to be a man with a voracious sexual appetite.  In taking Canaanite wives we also see that this individual doesn’t have a problem with immorality in others or himself.  Because he was impulse-driven, he only chose to think about those things that he understood instinctively, like hunger, anger or his sexual urges.  He is absolutely obsessed with gratifying himself and he is oblivious to what others around think.  We will also see that this man carried a grudge and could hate; he was also capable of passing this on to his descendants.

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Posted on 03/12/2014 11:26 AM by Larry G
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Tuesday, 11 March 2014
Understanding who is in charge
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According to the Apostle Paul, what does the case of Jacob and Esau reveal about God (Romans 9:10-16)?

Romans 9:10-16

10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad--in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls-12 she was told,"The older will serve the younger." 13 As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." 14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 

The bottom line is that God is sovereign; He is the final authority.  His purposes will stand

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Posted on 03/11/2014 11:23 AM by Larry G
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Monday, 10 March 2014
God's Plan for Rebekah's children
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God told Rebekah His plan for her children (Genesis 25:22-23).  What was it?

Genesis 25:22-23

22The children struggled together within her, and she said, "If it is thus, why is this happening to me?" So she went to inquire of the LORD. 23 And the LORD said to her, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger."

Rebekah is told that she will have two babies, two sons.  They will be the beginning of two separate nations and they will always be in conflict.  He also tells her that the younger of the two will be the stronger and the older child will serve the younger.

 

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Posted on 03/10/2014 11:20 AM by Larry G
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Sunday, 9 March 2014
About God
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What does Genesis 26:1-33 show about God?

It’s obvious that God is faithful to us, even when we aren’t faithful to Him.  This passage shows that when God makes a promise we can take it to the bank.  What He say is going to happen--will happen.  He controls all circumstances and everything will work out for the best.

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Posted on 03/09/2014 11:17 AM by Larry G
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Sunday, 9 March 2014
Growing in the Knowledge of the LORD
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What one insight from Acts 9:1-31 and 11:19-30 should apply to our lives?

The one thing that keeps coming up in my mind is that Jesus is God the Son.  He is the intermediary for us to God the Father.  He created all things, not randomly but with a design and purpose.  We can trust that He is in control of all things.  One thing that comes out from all of this is that what He says is going to happen-- happens.  I guess the one insight that I get is that He is in control and that I need to trust Him.  Now what does that mean for me on a day to day, moment by moment basis?  I think just praying and asking to see things through His eyes and being able to understand by having His mind.  How would I apply this?  That becomes clearer on a moment by moment basis as I come to understand what’s going on.

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Posted on 03/09/2014 8:46 AM by Larry G
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Saturday, 8 March 2014
God Remembers Isaac
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Despite Isaac’s lack of trust, how did God continue to treat him (Genesis 26:12-33)?

Genesis 26:12-33

13 and the man became rich, and gained more and more until he became very wealthy. 14 He had possessions of flocks and herds and many servants, so that the Philistines envied him. 15 (Now the Philistines had stopped and filled with earth all the wells that his father's servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father.) 16 And Abimelech said to Isaac, "Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we." 17 So Isaac departed from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there. 18 And Isaac dug again the wells of water that had been dug in the days of Abraham his father, which the Philistines had stopped after the death of Abraham. And he gave them the names that his father had given them. 19 But when Isaac's servants dug in the valley and found there a well of spring water, 20 the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac's herdsmen, saying, "The water is ours." So he called the name of the well Esek, because they contended with him. 21 Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that also, so he called its name Sitnah. 22 And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, saying, "For now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land." 23 From there he went up to Beersheba. 24 And the LORD appeared to him the same night and said, "I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham's sake." 25So he built an altar there and called upon the name of the LORD and pitched his tent there. And there Isaac's servants dug a well. 26 When Abimelech went to him from Gerar with Ahuzzath his adviser and Phicol the commander of his army, 27 Isaac said to them, "Why have you come to me, seeing that you hate me and have sent me away from you?" 28 They said, "We see plainly that the LORD has been with you. So we said, let there be a sworn pact between us, between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you, 29 that you will do us no harm, just as we have not touched you and have done to you nothing but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the LORD.30 So he made them a feast, and they ate and drank. 31 In the morning they rose early and exchanged oaths. And Isaac sent them on their way, and they departed from him in peace32 That same day Isaac's servants came and told him about the well that they had dug and said to him, "We have found water." 33 He called it Shibah; therefore the name of the city is Beersheba to this day. 

God prospers Isaac just as He promised Abraham.  When conflict between the Philistines and Isaac’s family arises, God protects him.  When tensions arise because of the use of water wells, God provides additional wells for Isaac and his family and causes the Philistines to cease their objections to sharing the land with Isaac.  It is also important to realize that God also makes a specific appearance to reassure Isaac.  Now the promise isn’t just something Isaac heard about from his father, now he personally hears God make the same promise to him.

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Posted on 03/08/2014 11:12 AM by Larry G
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Saturday, 8 March 2014
The Appearance of True Christian Behavior
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What does the behavior of Paul and Barnabas tell you about Christian fellowship/partnership/sharing?

People who are in fellowship will exhibit the traits that the early believing churches exhibited.  We must also consider Galatians 5 when we are examining our local church and its members to determine if we, in fact are being led by the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:16-25

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness,self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

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Posted on 03/08/2014 8:40 AM by Larry G
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Friday, 7 March 2014
Isaac's Faith and Character
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What does Isaac’s response to God’s promises tell you about him? (Compare Genesis 12:4, 10-13; Genesis 20:1-2)

Genesis 12:4, 10-13

4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran….. 10 Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. 11 When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, "I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, 12 and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake." 

Genesis 20:1-2

1 From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar. 2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, "She is my sister." And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. 

Isaac does the exact same thing as his father did.  This is interesting since he is dealing with the same person his father did, that is Abimelech the Philistine king, in the same place, Gerar.  We see that Isaac, like his father before him, is not exactly a giant of faith.  Like his father, his actions to protect himself, place his wife, Rebekah, in harms way; he basically kicks her to the curb to protect himself.  We might also say that this could also be seen as a roadblock to prevent the coming of the Messiah through his son Jacob, who had not been born yet to Rebekah.  But as God protected Sarah, He protects Rebekah and ensures that Jacob will be born and removes another obstacle to the arrival of the promised Messiah.

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Posted on 03/07/2014 11:06 AM by Larry G
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Friday, 7 March 2014
Traits of the Early Church
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What laudable traits do Barnabas and the Christians in Antioch show in Acts 11:19-30?

Acts 11:19-30

19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. 22 News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. 25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. 27 During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) 29 The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea. 30 This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.

  • They spoke about the good news about the Lord Jesus
  • They were discerning, they paid attention to the evidence of what God was doing, his grace.
  • They encouraged each other
  • They met together and taught each other
  • They helped each other in a realistic manner
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Posted on 03/07/2014 8:29 AM by Larry G
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Thursday, 6 March 2014
Isaac responds to God's commands and promises
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How did Isaac respond to God’s commands and promises?

Genesis 26:6-7

6 So Isaac settled in Gerar. 7 When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, "She is my sister," for he feared to say, "My wife," thinking, "lest the men of the place should kill me because of Rebekah," because she was attractive in appearance.

God tells Isaac to not go down to Egypt but to stay in Gerar.  Isaac does what God tells him to do and he stays in the land of the Philistines.  God has told him that He is going to take care of him which also implies that the LORD will take care of his family.  But once Isaac settles in Gerar, he becomes fearful that the Philistines will see that he has a good-looking wife and kill him to get her.  Isaac seems to have forgotten that God has promised that He would take care of him and his family; so he starts conniving and scheming to protect himself.

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Posted on 03/06/2014 11:02 AM by Larry G
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