Sunday, September 30, 2018

Study Questions from Acts Ch 5 on 9/30



My Sunday school class/Life Group is studying the book of Acts. Every Monday, I’ll post the questions we discussed the day before. I encourage you to jot your thoughts down.

On Wednesdays, I’ll post some of the comments from the class discussion.

If you’d like a PDF file of the questions, email me at crd.author@gmail.com

Chapter 5 - Vv17-42

What was the reason for arresting the apostles?

How long did the imprisonment last? How did it end?

How does the attitude of the Sanhedrin/soldiers change in v26?

How does this set of charges differ from the first time Peter and John were arrested in Chapter 4?

Peter and the others answer with a famous quote in v29. How can this “defense” be used correctly? How has it been abused?

Why would the Sanhedrin's reaction to the apostles’ explanation be fury?


In v34, we meet Gamaliel. 1) What is his position? 2) What motivated him? 3) What was the result of his speech?

To the Jewish leaders, the apostles were examples of “internal” insurrection. Which is worse in an organization: internal or external insurrection? Why?


In v41, the apostles demonstrate an uncommon reaction to what has just taken place. What was the reaction, and what allowed them to act like this?

We got this far this week. 

Friday, This week Expressions of Faith is Scattered.

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Expressions of Faith. Acts Ch 7-8. Living A Parallel Life – Part 3

60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
1 And Saul approved of their killing him.
Act 7:60-8:1
  
Part 2 of this series ended with this question: Would you want this parallel life?

From the world’s perspective, Stephen’s life is a tragedy.

It begins well.

He’s chosen because of his character and servant’s heart and does a great work.

Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.

Acts 6:8
It begins to unravel.
He’s arrested on false charges.
Witnesses lie.
He’s given a chance to determine his fate.
He chooses to speak the truth.

He dies a martyr’s death.

“Think what he could have accomplished,” the worldly view says.
More miracles
More grace shown to others.
Continued service to the church.

Verse 60 is an example of God’s grace in Stephen’s life.

34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Luke 23:24

He forgives those who killed him.
Almost word for word like Jesus did.

Saul, introduced in Acts 6:58, 
  • holds the coats of the stone-throwers. 
  • approves of Stephen’s death.


Is Stephen's life tragic?

His story has what the world sees as a seemingly tragic ending.

But . . .
Stephen's life is actually a compressed parallel of Jesus life in terms of grace, service, and forgiveness. 

Whose life does your life parallel?

In chapter 8 and beyond, we see the effect of Stephen’s death on the expansion of the church.


Keep your eyes open for more about Saul.


The next Expressions of Faith is  Scattered 

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Timeless Truths. Living at the Intersection… with real hope!


  3 King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. 3 So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it.

4 Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do: 5 As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. 6 Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
7 Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the nations and peoples of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
8 At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “May the king live forever! 10 Your Majesty has issued a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold,11 and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.
13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.
19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace.21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”
They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.”
25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”
30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
Daniel 3
 
While at the intersection of the Kingdom of Man (KOM) and the Kingdom of God (KOG), Daniel and the other exiles from Isreal and Judah experienced continuous tests of their faith. 
  
I. Living in perpetual conflict.
Conflict began in Eden.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Genesis 3:1-13

The war of the World Views
Today, Christianity is one of the world’s acceptable religions.
8 At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews.

The struggle of the Self-Centered
Actions of non-believers are based on self-centeredness.
5 As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.

II. Facing certain destruction.
God’s people are in jeopardy: fiery furnace, lions (Daniel 6).

The only way to go
We must look to God and continue to live for Him.
12 But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.

No way out
When it appears that there is no choice but compromise, there is only one way to go.
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand.

III. Appropriating the real hope.
Job is an example.
The real hope is God’s faithfulness.

Having faith in God
Trust God to deliver . . .
either here on Earth on in the world to come.
18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.

Living faithfully for God
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 
Romans 15:33

Special thanks to Dr. Dan Copp for the primary teachings in this post.

The next Timeless Truth is Living at the Intersection… for the True King!

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