Category Archives: Bible Study

Bible Study for Christian Discipleship

In Context: Living as a Gentile “In Christ”


I am truly frustrated! Fortunately, it drives me to learn more. Perhaps it comes from my background, my family history, and the supreme stubborn streak that my husband, family and friends know about me. The thing I am frustrated about is what I hear in the Christian community as I seek to understand what both Jews and Gentiles think of the term “in Christ”.  Having recently developed an “ear” that now hears the various made up doctrines of those who believe they are “in Christ,” I am at a loss as to where to start to help people understand that they are lost, as a friend of mine says, “as a ball in high weeds!” Unfortunately, those who are lost are seeking to “save” those who really know what is going on.  How do you talk to a person who has no clue but thinks they do?

I was at a Bible study last night, and not to denigrate the people in the study, the things they were talking about were nice, but completely not connected to Messiah. They thought they were talking about Jesus, but frankly, He would shudder at the conversation. Why? It was totally devoid of His people, His culture, and His worldview. In fact, it was espousing His Word through a worldview that His people despised and vehemently fought. However, the people in this study were clueless that their view of Jesus was not the Jesus of the Bible.

So again, frustration! I kept silent for the most part. Where could I begin? How do you talk to people who, while using the same words, have no understanding of the meaning. I have turned to my Jewish friends for answers. It is ironic that although my Jewish friends do not accept the version of Jesus that has come as a result of Christian Anti-Semitism over the last 2,000 years, they do relate to what I am saying when I talk to them about Messiah! Funny! Isn’t that what Jesus said He was?

My calling, as I see it currently, is to try to translate to the lost (who don’t think they are lost) what it means to be a Jesus follower; not the pagan Jesus, the Jewish one.

I see a need for shalom between Jew and Gentile.  As the Apostle Paul vehemently espoused, God has not put Israel aside (Romans 11).  God is actively working in His Messianic Community (Church is a word coined many years after the death of the Apostles and not at all related to the Greek word ecclessia) to join Jew and Gentile in ONE community that works together.  Christians need to heed the warning of Romans 11, as for 2,000 years we have slowly detached ourselves from the root.

Scholarship for the last 50 years or more, my entire lifetime, has shown this. However, the church, in general has paid lip service to acknowledging their connection to Israel; or worse, has tried to reconstruct the idea of Israel making Israel the “nations” and the Church Israel. This is done through doctrine that frankly most Christians don’t understand. Couple that with the anti-intellectualism generated in the American church and there is left a really lost group of people.

Pray for me please…I need strength to learn, to talk, and to reach those who do not understand.  As God leads, I will follow, and as Esther said, “if I perish, I perish”. What drives me is Mordecai’s words in Esther 4:14; “who knows, it may just be that you were born for such a time as this”….hmmm maybe that’s why I love Hammentaschen….

See Ya Next Time

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Bible Study, Discipleship, relationships

A Public Relations Debacle

 
 

A Public Relations Debacle

John 7:25-52

 
 

Last week, we left the Pharisees in a quandary. Here they were top dog religious people and they couldn’t say anything to stop this threatening young upstart. To be fair, they didn’t know that it was God Himself. They really didn’t have an ice cube’s chance in the desert to challenge His knowledge of Scripture; after all, He wrote it.

 
 

However, what they didn’t expect was that people around them would start to wonder if in fact Jesus was exactly who He said He was because they saw the chagrinned countenances of their religious leaders. This bothered them so much that the Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus.

 
 

In verse 25, the people start to wonder if, in fact, the Pharisees know that Jesus is the Messiah. Here Jesus was proclaiming that He was just that, and the Pharisees were seemingly helpless to do anything about it.

 
 

The Pharisees started wondering about what Jesus said. They did not believe He was the Messiah and so they wondered where Jesus was going that they could not follow. They were puzzled by His riddles, and yet, they hated Him all the more.

 
 

He was causing the most vexing public relations problems for them. If they did not condemn Him, they were going to lose their political power; however, if they condemned Him and He was who He said He was, the fate would be much, much worse.

 
 

The uproar caused the Pharisees to power posture. They accused the people of being deceived. They asked the people if they had seen any of them fall for this deception. Sounds like politics today, huh?

 
 

Finally, the voice of reason! Nicodemus, who secretly believed Christ was something really special, brought up legal precedent. Just like a lawyer, let’s go to trial! “To be fair,” said Nicodemus, “we need to give Him a fair trial.” With that, the enraged Pharisees turned on him. What?! Is he from Galilee, too? They had gone over the edge. Soon they would crucify even God.

 
 

See Ya Next Time

 

You are free to use this study on your website or blog as long as you include the following:

Rev Dr. Cheryl A Durham, Biblical Counselor, Discipleship Coach, Above and Beyond Discipleship Ministries,

provides services for individuals and groups online and via teleconference. www.abovenbeyonddiscipleship.com

 

Questions: Read John 7:25-52

 
 

In verses 25-31

1. What were some of the arguments that the people were bringing up?

2. How did the Pharisees reaction to Jesus affect the people?

3. Was what Jesus was teaching clear?

4. Why couldn’t the officers arrest Him?

5 . What was the response of some people? Why?

 
 

In verses32-39

6 .What were the Pharisees confused about?

7. Why didn’t they understand?

8. What was Jesus really telling them?

9.  Do you think Jesus wanted them to understand?

10. Why or why not?

 
 

In verses 40-52

 
 

11. Describe the public relations problem?

12. Discuss the Pharisees’ handling of this problem. How could it have been different?

You are free to use this study on your website or blog as long as you include the following:

Rev Dr. Cheryl A Durham, Biblical Counselor, Discipleship Coach, Above and Beyond Discipleship Ministries, provides services for individuals and groups online and via teleconference. www.abovenbeyonddiscipleship.com

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible Study

A Daring Dilemma

 

A Daring Dilemma

 

John 7:1-24

 
 

 
 

It would be an understatement to say that Jesus was a brave man. After all, He took the punishment for the sin of the whole world! However, as I look at this chapter, there are places where I see that Jesus had to be brave and “suck it up” at so many points in His life. There is no wonder they call Him the “Man of Sorrows,” and even though He had to be in constant emotional pain, He was able to keep it together to accomplish the Father’s Will. WOW!

 
 

One of the first things I notice in John Chapter 7 is even Jesus’ brothers really didn’t believe that Jesus was who He claimed to be. During the Feast of Booths, they wanted Him to go to Galilee with a dog and pony show to prove to those people He could perform miracles. You can almost hear an audible sigh when He sent them on their way, but Jesus did have a plan. It just didn’t include his family.

 
 

Once the brothers were gone, Jesus went up to Galilee to hear what was being said and to teach in the synagogue. His idea was not to put on a show but rather to educate His people.

 
 

Knowing that the Pharisees were out to kill Him, He had to be careful. Whatever He said had to be accurate and to the heart. Jesus is so good at that, isn’t He?

 
 

When He got there, He saw that the Jews were looking for Him. He heard various comments in the crowd about who people thought He was and what He was doing. There were people who were for Him and against Him, but He was certainly part of the gossip rag that day.

 
 

When He went to the temple, the people were amazed at His teaching; for they knew, He had no formal training. They probed Him for information about how He knew what He knew. That sure was the wrong thing to ask…there He goes again, saying what He says only comes from the Father. Who did He think He was? God? Yes, that is exactly what He was saying. In addition, He was challenging the big-guys on how they practiced their religion. He was reprimanding them on their Sabbath rules. The nerve of Him! What Chutzpah! Amazingly, the Pharisees did not challenge Him! They were in a pickle! What could they do to stop this man?

 
 

The astounding thing was that public opinion started to change. Not because of what Jesus was saying, but rather, because of what the Pharisees were not saying. Next week, we’ll see what that was.

 
 

See Ya Next Time!

 

 You are free to use this study on your website or blog as long as you include the following:

Rev Dr. Cheryl A Durham, Biblical Counselor, Discipleship Coach, Above and Beyond Discipleship Ministries, provides services for individuals and groups online and via teleconference. www.abovenbeyonddiscipleship.com

 

 
 

 
 

  
 

Questions: Read John 7:1-24

 
 

In verses 1-9

 
 

1. What was Jesus’ brothers’ agenda?

2. Why did they think that Jesus needed to market His miracles?

3. Why do you think they took that approach?

4. How did Jesus respond to them?

5. Discuss why He remained in Galilee?

 
 

In verses 10-13

6. Why do you think Jesus wanted to go “in private”?

7. Why were the Pharisees looking for Jesus?

8. What were the various opinions of Jesus?

9. Discuss how these people were just like us today.

10. Why do you think people were afraid to speak out?

11. Is it like that today? Why or Why not?

 
 

In verses 14-24

12. Discuss the themes of denial, pride, right and wrong judgment that you find in these passages.

 

 

You are free to use this study on your website or blog as long as you include the following:

Rev Dr. Cheryl A Durham, Biblical Counselor, Discipleship Coach, Above and Beyond Discipleship Ministries, provides services for individuals and groups online and via teleconference. www.abovenbeyonddiscipleship.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible Study, Discipleship

Psalms 36: The Shrinking Power of Sin

Psalms 36: The Shrinking Power of Sin

 Have you ever met a person, who was drunk with his/her own delusions? No one else appears to see their situation the way they see it. Puffed up with their pride, they feel as if they are invincible. They believe they are untouchable, even by God. In order to believe their own lie, they must convince themselves that they are superior. Their self-flattery and manipulations are sickening. They are the type of people David refers to in verses 1-4 of Psalms 36. The person David describes is the epitome of evil. His sin of pride is the core of all sin. However, look what it does for him.

 

He must convince himself. He must hide what he knows from others. He must manipulate other people to go along with his schemes. His world narrows to a small circle of friends. His blatant pride pushes people away! He is caught in his own trap. In verses 5-8, David contrasts the small and shrinking power of sin, with the ever-expanding love of God.

 

In verse 5, David talks about God’s “steadfast love extending to the heavens.” In verse 6, God’s righteousness is compared to mountains, and His judgments to the depths of the oceans. In verses 7-8, we all see that God’s love is so big that the people of the Earth find refuge in it, and feast upon His abundant resources.

 

Verse 9-10 David extols God’s character and exclaims that everyone needs God to live, but God is generous to those who respect Him. In verses 11-12, David throws himself on the mercy of the Lord and asks God to protect him from the oppression of the arrogant, the hand of the wicked, and the fate of all those who do evil. The shrinking power of evil in the hand of a mighty all-loving God doesn’t stand a chance.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible Study, Culture and Society, Discipleship, relationships