Daily Bible Study Notes

Friday February 23, 2018

Rich Generosity

 

Friday February 24, 2018

Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-7, Philippians 4:18-19.

 

Church giving is a touchy subject that a lot of people don’t like to talk about. For some unknown reason, it’s been put on the taboo list of discussable topics. Some people leave the room when a congregational meeting turns to financial issues. Others leave a church when they are pushed to give financially.

 

The Macedonian churches didn’t mind talking about their giving. Even though they were enduring the harshest of trials and were economically deprived themselves, they “urgently pleaded” with Paul to be able to share in the blessed joy of giving. Paul recounts their true heart to the stingy Corinthians. 2 Corinthians 8:4 - they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.

 

The Macedonian churches gave as much as they were able, even beyond their ability. They gave, firstly, to the Lord and then to Paul (2 Corinthians 8:5). The Macedonian churches were filled with Joy even though they were extremely poor and suffering greatly. This joy welled up in rich generosity that went beyond their ability and their means.

 

Several principles can be drawn out from the example of the Macedonian churches. First and foremost, we see that giving to the local church to support gospel preaching, is firstly a giving to God. When we give to the church, we are giving to God. The reverse holds true as well. When we withhold our tithe from the church, we are withholding it from God.

 

Secondly, giving is not only for the rich or the well off. The Macedonian churches were suffering extreme poverty but were still able to give. God’s Word never exhorts us to wait until we have our life sorted out, before we start to give. God never tells us to tithe after the mortgage and the car are paid off. All believers are called to give/tithe through their local church.

 

Thirdly, tithing is not only for the good times. The Macedonian churches were in the midst of a severe trial. They were being persecuted. Naval gazing and wallowing in self pity were not an option for them. They earnestly pleaded with Paul to be able to support his gospel preaching, while they suffered.

 

Finally, as we consider Philippians chapter 4, our tithes are a fragrant offering with which God is greatly pleased. Our tithes and free-will offerings are an acceptable offering that we can make to God.

 

The challenge before the church today is to tithe and give our free-will offerings sacrificially and joyfully so that our local churches can thrive and blossom in the gospel work that God has called each one to be doing.

 

So how can I work out what to give each week? The mathematics is as follows. If I earn $650 per week, I set aside 1/10 of that for the Lord. 1/10th of $650 is $65.. I set aside $65 each week to give to the Lord’s work through my local church.

 

Today, giving is much easier than it was in Paul’s day. Back then, a messenger had to carry the funds from the giver to the recipient. Carriers would often help themselves to some of the funds. Bandits and robbers were also a huge problem. Today, we can set up a direct debit with our bank. We can give via eftpos or we can give cash in the plate as it goes around.

 

God has called each congregation to a mission. He has prepared good works for us to be doing. As hard as it is to say, it has to be said. Those people who refuse to give are hindering the work of God. Ultimately, they are robbing God and worshiping money more than they are worshipping God. That is not a good position to be in.

 

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore God that He is richly generous towards us, giving us the riches of Christ Jesus.

Adore God that He has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God that Christ, though He was rich, became poor for our sakes so that we might become rich through Him.

Thank God that He can provide for our every need, even more than we can provide for ourselves.

 

Supplication:

Pray that your church would be exceedingly generous in its giving and tithing.

Pray that the people in your church who don’t give to the Lord would be challenged by God to put Him first in every aspect of their lives, including their finances.

Discuss

 

1.What is your personal attitude towards giving?

2.Why should people in the local church give to their local church?

3.What scriptural mandate can you find for this?

4.How can we encourage generosity in our local churches?

 

 

Thursday February 22 2018

Self Sustaining

 

Read Acts 18:1-5.

 

We all know that Jesus sends the church on a mission to make disciples of all

nations. The way in which this happens and the way it is supported can actually differ in many details.

 

In Luke 9, Jesus sent the disciples on mission with the express command that they were to take nothing for the journey. There are many reasons why this could have been commanded. Perhaps, Jesus wanted to them to avoid appearing as though they were preaching for profit. Perhaps the mission was too short to warrant taking things along. Perhaps, because it was a training mission, Jesus wanted them to learn to trust God in all situations.

 

That the command was not considered binding on all future missionaries is seen clearly in Paul’s missionary endeavours. As Paul entered Corinth, he became acquainted with a Jew name Aquila and his wife, Priscilla. This couple had been evicted from Rome under Claudius’ eviction. Paul began his missionary endeavours in Corinth by providing for himself. He worked as a tent maker with Aquila. During his lunch breaks and after work, Paul would lecture and teach the gospel in the synagogue and later ,in the home of Titius Justus.

 

When Silas and Timothy joined Paul in Corinth, Paul left his occupation and focussed on preaching the gospel full time. It’s clear that Paul was supported by the labouring efforts of Timothy and Silas. They worked to so Paul could preach. As such, we can see that there are many ways to fund missionary endeavours.

 

Unfortunately, many churches today are falling short of funding their missionary endeavours. Giving to the local church has plummeted in recent decades, so much so that many churches are leaderless. They simply maintain the appearance of church by having a regular Sonday service. As members age and die, the church slowly dies with it. Newcomers are driven away by the sad state of the church.

 

Many church goers today appear to antagonistic to giving to their local church, thinking that it’s not real missionary work or gospel focused. Many simply put their head down and ignore the plate or the bag as it’s passed along. But Scripturally speaking, the local church is the hub of mission in that area. Churches need to be vibrant, financially secure and able to engage with people in the local area. It takes a team of workers - some who labour to give to the church and others who labour in preaching and teaching. Without the committed support of Timothy and Silas, Paul’s gospel labours would not have been so effective and impacting.

 

Another challenge comes out of this passage. It took only two people to earn an income and to give sacrificially to allow Paul to stop working so he could focus on preaching the gospel. Today, we need to multiply that number 50 fold before a person can leave work and focus on the gospel. How inspiring and awesome would it be if our giving and gospel support were like that of Timothy and Silas?

 

The reality is that Silas an Timothy valued the gospel more than anything else. They put gospel preaching above their own careers, their comfort, their need for the latest mod cons and toys. They valued gospel preaching more than anything. They were willing to invest in kingdom work by allowing Paul to leave work and to focus on gospel preaching.

 

As more and more people in congregations today, discover the joy of gospel preaching and make it their utmost priority, individual congregations will increasingly become self sustaining and the gospel will begin to re-impact our society.

 

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore God that He is a God of provision and blessing.

Adore God that He loves His children and always does what is best for them.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God that you have the opportunity to support the gospel work of your church, financially, practically and personally.

Thank God that gospel work is a team effort and that everyone in the church has a role to play.

 

Supplication:

Pray that your church would be tithing sacrificially and that the church would be self sustaining.

Pray that your church would be generous in all things.

Discuss

 

1.What principles of mission work appear in Acts 18?

2.What does the appearance of Timothy and Silas in Corinth teach us about supporting gospel work?

3.How can we encourage generosity in our churches?

 

 

Wednesday February 21, 2018

Take Nothing

 

Read Luke 9:1-6.

 

It’s interesting to watch different schools of theology and different denominations and churches put forth their mission strategies. It’s fascinating to see which passages they call forth and which parts of the passage they adopt or leave out.

 

As we begin to put forth a mission strategy and a theology of mission, we have to be very careful which passages we use and which bits of those passages we adopt or reject. Either action must be accompanied by clear biblical warrant and by clear logic or reason.

 

Whether or not certain actions and stances by various schools of theology are biblical or not, will not be discussed in this section. What will be raised is the differences between certain actions and biblical teachings. It is not an episode in criticism but in analytical thinking.

 

Jesus’ command here in Luke 9 is absolute. Take nothing for the journey. Money is singled out both here, in the mission to the Twelve, and also in chapter 10 in the more generic mission to the 72. And yet, almost every mission agency and churches require would-be missionaries to raise funds before they are allowed onto the mission field.

 

Jesus also told the Twelve to preach the Kingdom and to heal the sick. In 10:9 Jesus said to the 72 missionaries, “Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.” In Luke 9:1, Luke tells us that Jesus sent the Twelve out to preach the Kingdom news and to heal the sick. Many churches simply preach the good news without healing the sick. If we go out into mission and do only one or the other, we must have good biblical warrant and very clear logic as to why.

 

Jesus also tells the disciples and the Twelve to rely on the generosity of those that support them on the mission field. Again, this is sometimes neglected on the mission field because of policies and practices established by agencies and/or churches. Such agencies need to have a clear line of thought as to why one part of the passage is accepted and practiced and why another part is not.

 

To date, I have never heard of any missionary or mission organisation teaching its trainee missionaries to shake the off their sandals/feet as they leave a town unwilling to repent and believe in Jesus. Such dusting was a sign of condemnation and a breaking off of any responsibility or involvement in that condemnation. Acts 13:51 shows that this dust-shaking was practiced by the early church or at least by Paul and his travelling companions.

 

Developing a theology of mission is very difficult. We have to include the words of Jesus, the practice of the early church as recorded in Acts and the teaching in the letters of the New Testament. We have to consider the issue from many angles, seeking to be biblical, faithful and consistent in all areas. In doing this, we might have to add things that we are uncomfortable with or remove things that we really liked. Our authority has to the Word of God, not what we’ve always done, not what worked years ago and not what the world tells us.

 

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore God that He is a God of provision. He provides the needs of His children and looks after them eternally.

Adore God that He is lord over all and superintends all that happens in this world.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God that He sent the Twelve out on mission and that He sends the church out today to make disciples of all nations.

Thank God that you personally have a role to play in this mission and that your church has a role to play in this mission.

 

Supplication:

Pray that the mission of MOPS and PlayPals would yield much fruit.

Pray that the Kitchen ministry would bear much fruit and that we would have ample workers for this mission field.

Pray that we would bear much fruit as we individually seek to bring the Word to bear into people’s lives.

Discuss

 

1.Why did Jesus send the Twelve on a mission?

2.Why did Jesus tell the disciples to take nothing with them on this mission?

3.Do you think that modern day missionaries should follow this command? Answer this using the entire NT as back up.

4.What principles from this passage would you apply to the modern day church as it sends out missionaries?

 

 

Tuesday February 20, 2018

The Kingdom and Healing

 

Read Luke 9:1-2.

 

Jesus sent the Twelve out to preach and to heal. In the ancient days, there was in effect only one way of spreading a message abroad - word of mouth. Newspapers did not exist; books had to be hand-written and were relatively expensive. Radio, television, the internet and social media had not even been dreamed of

 

It’s fascinating that healing and preaching the Kingdom often go hand in hand throughout the gospels. In both the gospel of Matthew and the gospel of Mark, Jesus’ call to repent and believe because the Kingdom is near is quickly followed by Jesus’ miracles of healing and exorcisms. In Luke’s gospel, Dr Luke joins the gospel message of the kingdom with healing by quoting Isaiah 61:1-2. In Luke 4:18–19 (NIV84) We read,

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,

because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners

and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”

 

If the Kingdom of Light has broken into the darkness, if the power and authority of God has come to mankind, then it would be understandable to think that this would have an effect in the material world. It would appear that Jesus was concerned for people’s bodies as well as their souls. The Kingdom of God was proclaimed in both word and deed. It was not a message concerned only with eternity. It changed the present as well. The coming of the Kingdom of God appears to have had an immediate physical effect in people’s lives as well as a “spiritual” and eternal effect.

 

The teaching of the church, often unwritten, that the things of this world do not matter, has caused much angst and harm to many believers. It has probably caused much hatred towards the church among non-believers as well. James, the brother of our Lord, rejected such a distinction between the material and the spiritual. In James 2:15-17, he writes, “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” Our word and works must go together.

 

General Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, made a similar reply when he was ridiculed for offering food and meals to poor people instead of just the simple gospel. Booth retorted quickly, “It is impossible to comfort men’s hearts with the love of God when their feet are perishing with cold.”

 

Of course, it is possible to overstress material things. But it is equally possible to neglect them. Churches have neglected the Kingdom news as they provided material blessings to the needy. But the reverse is also true. Churches have neglect physical needs as they preached the gospel to people. Kingdom preaching has to include both Word and deed. We have to be concerned for people’s physical well being, together with their spiritual well being. We have to minister to the entire person, both inside and out.

 

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore God that His love extends to our physical needs as well as our spiritual needs.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God for the generosity of people in your church that allows the church to meet the physical needs of people in the community.

Thank God that some of these people have come to repentance and faith in Jesus.

 

Supplication:

Pray that the Lord will continue to raise your church’s level of generosity so that the church can continue to minister and serve the needy, bringing many to repentance and faith in Jesus.

Pray that our Small Groups will grow in love and depth of commitment. Pray that the members of these groups will be pushed and stretched in their faith, in their knowledge of God and in their love for each other.

Pray that more and more people would be willing to join a small group.

Discuss

 

1.What did Jesus give the Twelve before He sent them out on a mission

2.What were the parameters of the mission?

3.Why does the church today so blatantly leave out “healing the sick” from its mission parameters?

4.Has your view of miracles and healings changed so far? If yes, how has it changed?

 

Small Groups

 

 

 

Spend time in adoration and praise to the Lord as you sing to Him.

 

 

Having read Luke 9:1-9, consider the following:

 

What did Jesus give the Twelve before he sent them out?

 

 

What did He send them out to do?

 

In verse 1 exorcism of demons is mentioned but it’s not mentioned in the sending out of the Twelve in v2. Neither is it mentioned in verse 6 as Luke summarises their journey. Why is this?

 

 

What prohibitions did Jesus give the Twelve on the mission?

 

 

Why did He prohibit these things?

 

Why were the Twelve told to shake the dust off their feet when they left a town?

 

Why did Jesus send the Twelve on a mission?

 

 

How does the Herod narrative fit into the flow of the story?

 

Having read Luke 9:1-9, consider the following:

 

What principles of mission can you deduce from this narrative?

 

More generally, how can you work out if a passage is binding on all

Christians in all times or not?

 

Should we shake the dust off our feet if people or villages refuse tobelive

the message of Jesus? Explain youranswer.

 

How should missions and gospel preaching be supported today? (Hint: use the entire NT to develop your answer).

 

 

 

 

What factors stop people giving to the local church today?

 

Should giving be talked about in church? Why or why not?

 

How can a church encourage its members to be more generous?

 

What does a person’s level of giving and attitude towards giving reveal about them?

 

Going Deeper

 

 

 

 

Marcus and Milo get into a serious conversation over morning tea one Sonday morning after church. Follow the conversation and answer the questions.

 

Marcus: I hate it when the preacher goes on about giving in his sermons. I feel so guilty and down about it all. Next time, I just won’t come to church.

Milo: But, if he doesn’t preach on it, how will we know what’s biblical and what’s not. I think you feel guilty because you don’t want to part with your money.

Marcus: Well, smartie pants. The New Testament doesn’t actually say we have to tithe. It says we are to give joyfully. What I give, I give joyfully.

Milo: But do you give sacrificially?

Marcus: Well… … Yes. It’s a sacrifice I can’t spend what I earn so yes, it’s a sacrifice. It works out to about ... 3%. But it’s a lot more than most people give. It’s pretty high in dollar terms… It’s…

 

What is God’s attitude towards giving?

 

What is a biblical and healthy Christian attitude towards giving? Should the church talk about giving?

 

 

How does Luke 9:1-9 lead you to pray in terms of Adoration Confession Thanks Supplication

 

When Jesus called the Twelve to Himself, he sent them out on a training mission. This mission was preparation for their final and enduring mission that would continue unhindered until the Lord himself returns to judge the living and the dead.

While the parameters of that initial mission were contextually set for them, the actual mission has extended to all Christians and to all churches in all

times. You and I, today, are on the same mission - to make disciples of all nations.

Each church will approach that mission calling differently, as will each individual. But the basics will remain the same. The church and individual believers will all preach the same gospel message to the same lost and brokenworld.

You and I and our church needs to learn to think strategically and deliberately. Church can no longer be about doing the same old, same old. We cannot think ourselves to have completed the mission if we run just a Sonday service. God is opening doors in ways never before seen. God is giving us opportunities to speak into people’s lives in ways we could never have dreamed. The church needs to be ready and willing to seize everyopportunity.

 

Individual Christians need to learn to think deliberately and strategically. Pidgeon holing church into a Sonday thing and keeping our Christianity quiet throughout the week is no longer a viable option. What the world needs to see is believers who actually believe the gospel. The world needs to engage with Christians who are serious, well thought out and sacrificial in their living. The world needs to see Christians and churches who put God first in everything, literally everything - even above their very own lives!

 

 

Monday February 19, 2018

Coming Up this Sonday February 25, 2018 Luke 9:1-9 The Man Who Sends Us.

This week’s memory verse Luke 9:6 (NIV84) So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.

 

Power and Authority

 

Read Luke 9:1

 

As we begin this week, looking at The Man Who Sends Us, take a moment to write down your opinion or thoughts about miracles. More particularly, write down whether or not you think miracles should or should not be occurring today.

 

Jesus called the Twelve to Himself. Jesus is being very particular and deliberate. He did not call the disciples to Himself. He called the Twelve. Luke 6:13-16 is clearly in view.

13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

 

These Twelve are the Apostles who would form the pillar and foundation of the Church. They would record Scripture for us.

 

As Jesus called the Twelve to Himself, He gave them the power and the authority to drive out all demons. Context becomes a huge factor in determining whether or not God empowers all believers to do miracles. Firstly, Jesus is empowering only the Twelve Apostles to do miracles. The sending of other non-Apostles, will happen in chapter 10.

 

Secondly, several passages make it clear that the power and authority at this point were somewhat temporary. Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:8, both written by Dr Luke, tend to suggest that the power given to the Twelve here was for the short term.

 

Thirdly, Jesus particularly gave the Twelve the authority and the power to drive out all demons and to heal the sick. There is no mention, contextually, of such authority and power being given to anyone else.

 

Having finally armed them with the secrets of the Kingdom of God, Jesus now sends them out on a training mission in preparation for their final mission to make disciples of all nations.

 

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore God that He is Lord of all and that He reigns over all.

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

Thanks:

Thank God that the gospel has been sent into the world and that faithful men and women have been preaching it for centuries.

Thank God that you have the opportunity to share the gospel with people in your world.

Supplication:

Pray that your church would be gospel minded and ready to share the good news at every opportunity.

Pray that the Committee of Management would be wise and discerning as it seeks to take care of the temporal affairs of the church. Pray that they would be gospel centred and able to push the ministry of this church forward.

Pray that our gospel reach would be greatly increased through church events and ministries and through individual sharing.

 

Discuss

 

1.Why do you think Jesus called the Twelve to himself and not the entire band of disciples?

2.Why does Luke tell us that Jesus gave them both power and authority?

3.What applications does this passage have for the current day church?

 

 

Saturday February 17, 2018

All Authority

 

Saturday February 17, 2018

Read Matthew 28:18-20.

 

The church today has made evangelism and disciple-making into a huge and scary affair that only the elite few can ever achieve. It’s often relegated to those who have been to Bible college or to those who have attended the training and equipping programs. Many believers shy away from evangelism and disciple-making because it’s just too hard.

If evangelism and making disciples scares you or worries you, then it’s more likely that you have missed the full gamut of Jesus’ command and promise.

There’s no denying that Jesus told the disciples, and us by extension, to make disciples of all nations. He commanded us to baptise them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. He told us to teach these new disciples to obey every Word Jesus spoke. Clearly, the command is there - Go make disciples of all nations.

But there are several things to note about this command. Firstly, the word ‘go’ is not the command. The Greek original reads something like, ‘As you are going, make disciples…’ The command is in the making of disciples. It is assumed that the going will happen.

Secondly, the command is set within a promise. The risen Jesus tells His disciples that He has been given all authority in heaven and on earth. This means that every being in the heavenly realms, except God the Father, of course, is bound to obey Jesus Christ. It means that every creature in our world and every aspect of our world, including the spiritual powers and authorities, are bound to obey Jesus. Jesus has all authority. Jesus is the commander. No one tells Him what to do.

This authority is picked up again, inadvertently, after the command is given. Jesus promises to be with us always, to the very end of the ages. Contextually, Jesus is promising to be with us as we go and make disciples of all nations. The one who has been given all authority in heaven and on earth will be with us as we make disciples of all nations.

Our evangelism, our outreach is never isolated. We never go out in our own strength. It is never just our logic, our plans and our wisdom. Jesus promises to be with us as we go into the world to make disciples. The one who has all authority in heaven and on earth promises to be with us.

The immediate implication is that we need not fear evangelism. We need not fear people’s reactions. We need not fear our ability to speak out the good news. Jesus, the one with all authority in heaven and on earth, is with us.

The corollary implication is that we must cover all evangelism and disciple making with prayer. We must seek the one who has all authority in heaven and on earth. We need to commit our efforts to Him as we ask Him to work powerfully among us and through us.

Beyond this, as we’ve said often this week, the results of our evangelism are out of our hands.We cannot determine another person’s reaction to the gospel. But, that doesn’t mean we settle for less. We know from the parable of the soils that there will be good soil that produces a crop 30, 60 and even 100 times that which was sown. We go out into the world with great anticipation, knowing and trusting that the one with all authority in heaven and on earth, is with us.

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore God that Jesus rose from the dead and that He has been given all authority in heaven and on earth.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God that Jesus has promised to be with us as we seek to make disciples of all nations.

 

Supplication:

Pray that God will be powerfully present at our service tomorrow and that He would work powerfully among us and through us.

Pray for the 5 names you listed in the Discussion questions. Pray that these people will come to receive Jesus as their Lord and Saviour as you share the good news with them.

Pray that God would raise up a spirit of generosity among us so that we can reach our budgeted level of giving this year.

Discuss

 

1.What is your attitude towards evangelism and disciple-making?

2.What does it mean for Jesus to be given all authority in heaven and on earth?

3.If Jesus is with us, should we expect to see miracles as when He walked this earth?

4.List 5 people you are seeking to evangelise?

 

 

 

Friday February 16, 2018

Reactions to Jesus

 

Friday February 16, 2018

Read Mark 4:41, 5:17, 5:18-20, Luke 8:56.

 

People today react to Jesus in many of the same ways that they reacted to Him as He walked this earth. What’s your reaction to Jesus? How do you feel when you meet Jesus and see Him for who He really is?

The disciples in the boat were, understandably, terrified when they saw Jesus calm the wind and the waves. Today, many people are terrified at hearing of Jesus and ask themselves, ‘Who is this man?” Some, like the disciples, will grow to understand the true identity of Jesus while others will run and seek to hide from Him.

The latter group are represented by the townsfolk who heard of the miracle of the exorcism of a legion of demons from the maniac who lived among the tombs. They didn’t just want Jesus to leave, they pleaded with Jesus to leave their region. Some people want nothing to do with Jesus. They want to drive Him away as far as possible from themselves.

Others, like the healed maniac, will also plead with Jesus. They’ll plead to be with Jesus, to partner with Him. Jesus told the healed maniac, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” To those who want to be with Jesus, to go where He goes, Jesus commands them to go tell others about how much He has done for them. Jesus commands them to go and testify so that others can find Jesus as well.

Others like Jairus and His wife will be astonished at Jesus. Without commenting of Jairus and his wife, some people will marvel at Jesus and His powerful works. What remains to be seen is whether or not they choose to follow Him as disciples or if they continue to simply call on Him as the perfect physician. Most Christians have met or engaged with others who want nothing to do with Christ except when aches and pains appear or when death knocks on their door.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we have to come to realise that how people react to Jesus is beyond our control. It is not our job to make them react a certain way. As much as we would love to see everyone come to saving faith in Jesus, we have to allow people to react to Jesus in any way they choose. We are not held responsible for their actions. God will hold each individual person responsible for their reaction to Jesus. We are freed completely from that burden.

Our job is to introduce people to Jesus. We are messengers. We are commissioners for the Lord Jesus Christ. As in the parable of the four soils, we will see many different reactions to Jesus. We cannot hold ourselves responsible for another person’s reaction.

We cannot blame ourselves. We cannot beat ourselves up about another’s reaction. We can not wallow in the “If-only” mud pit - If only I had shared it more clearly. If only I had used a better illustration. if only…. Such wallowing is sinful and places the responsibility of God onto our own shoulders.

There are many reactions to Jesus. What He’s interested in, is your reaction.

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore God that He is responsible for a person’s salvation or condemnation, even though they are individually responsible. If this confuses you, read Romans 9-11.

Adore God that He hardens whom He wants to harden and has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy on.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God that He is not bound by our rationale and thinking and that He does not have to do things our way.

Thank God that He has chosen you to find salvation by faith in Christ.

 

Supplication:

Pray that our youth would grow in faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Pray that they would joyously and freely share their faith with their peers and that we would see a growing of the number of youth and young adults among us.

Pray that the youth group leadership team would be able to model faith in Christ as the youth group meets on Friday nights but also in their entire lives.

Pray that God would raise up more leaders for this group.

Discuss

 

1.Discuss the reactions that you have seen personally towards Jesus?

2.If someone you love and are sharing Jesus with chooses to reject Him, what should you do?

3.If someone you love and are sharing Jesus with chooses to accept Him, what should you do?

4.What other reactions to Jesus do you see in the NT?

 

 

Thursday February 15, 2018

Waking the Dead

 

Thursday February 15, 2018

Read Luke 8:40-42, 51-56.

 

Jairus was an important man. His Greek name is the Hebrew Jair which means He [God] wakens, a rather apt name given that Jesus is about to awaken his dead daughter. Jairus is declared to be the synagogue ruler. Perhaps he was responsible for arrangements in the synagogue or perhaps he was a member of the ruling council. Either way, he was an important man with great influence in the community.

Jairus was in a predicament. His only daughter of about 12 years of age, was dying. She was gravely ill and nothing had cured her to date. Jairus was desperate and distraught. He rushed to Jesus and fell at His feet, pleading with Him to come and heal her daughter.

We are not given any details of the exchange between Jairus and Jesus apart from the plea. Jesus simply turns and begins the trek to the Jairus’ house. As they near the house of Jairus, messengers come to share the bad news. Jairus only daughter has died. The teacher does not need to come along. He can be left alone and not bothered any more. For the messengers and for the household, the situation was hopeless. The girl is dead.

Jesus was, no doubt, filled with compassion. His words to Jairus are reassuring and comforting. Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” (Luke 8:50).The word healed is literally “saved”. Luke wants his readers to see the link between belief and salvation.

At the home of Jairus, Jesus took the 3 inner disciples and the girl’s mother and father upstairs to the body. Having rebuked the wailers, Jesus simply spoke to the girl and she got up. “My child, get up,” said Jesus. The dead girl regained life and sat up. The girl’s spirit returned and life re-entered her. This is not a resurrection but rather, a resuscitation. As a sign that the miracle is real and tangible, the girl stood up and was given something to eat.

Jesus’ authority extends over nature, over demons, over the sick and over death itself. Luke, the author, paints a series of vignettes that portray the true identity of Jesus. He is the one who commands the wind and the waves. He is the one who orders demons. He is the one who heals the sick and even raises the dead and gives them life.

Luke’s vignettes show that Jesus is the Son of God, come in the flesh, to bring salvation from the Lord. Jesus is the Emmanuel, the Messiah, the Holy One of Israel.

Luke’s desire, in accord with Luke 1:1-4, is stated clearly by Jesus to Jairus in verse 50. Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” To find salvation and new life in Jesus, one simply has to believe. One has to believe in the true identity of Jesus.

When you believe in Jesus, you are believing in the one who has all authority in heaven and on earth. You are believing in the one who can change the weather, simply by speaking. You are trusting in the one who simply has to speak to force demons to obey. You are putting your faith in the one who heals the sick and who even raises the dead back to life. Only Jesus is worthy of such belief.

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore God that He is worthy of our trust and faith, especially since Jesus has been revealed to us.

Adore Jesus that He has all authority in heaven and earth.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God that He has opened your eyes to Jesus’ true identity.

Thank God that God has granted you faith to believe in Jesus.

 

Supplication:

Pray that God would grow your faith and the faith of those in your congregation. We are told that faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains, so pray that our faith would grow, even to the size of a mustard seed.

Pray that God would continue to work powerfully in our midst.

Pray that God would bless and grow the ministry of the reformed Bible college in Myanmar and the ministry of Shiloh in India.

Discuss

 

1.Why is it important in Luke’s gospel to see and know that Jesus is Lord, even over death?

2.How do you think Jairus and his wife would have felt after their only daughter was raised to life?

3.Why do you think Luke put the miracle of raising the dead last in his miracle vignettes?

 

 

 

Wednesday February 14, 2018

Untreatable?

 

Wednesday February 14, 2018

Read Luke 8:42b-48.

 

Intertwined within the narrative of the healing of Jairus’ daughter is a short narrative about a woman who was classed as untreatable. In fact, the doctors had taken all her money, treated her without any results and had watched as she steadily grew worse (Mark 5:24b-36). Luke simply tells us that she had suffered with bleeding for 12 years and could not be healed. Perhaps Luke the doctor (see Col 4:14) does not want to slander his own profession.

Eusebius (AD 260-340), the early historian, comments on Luke. “Luke, who was by race an Antiochian and a physician by profession, was long a companion of Paul, and had careful conversation with the other Apostles, and in two books left us examples of the medicine for the souls which he had gained from them” (Eccl. Hist. 3.4.6; LCL 1:197). It must have been awe-inspiring and “mind-blowing” for a physician to see someone healing the unhealable. Doctors treat people and work with remedies and cures. Jesus simply speaks and heals people. Dr Luke must have been astounded.

As Jesus mulled through the crowd, the suffering woman came and touched Him. For the last 12 years, her bleeding had made her ceremonially unclean. She was, effectively, a leper. She was an outcast. Worshipping God in the temple area was impossible. Bringing sacrifices to God was impossible because she was permanently unclean. But she had come to believe that Jesus could heal her. In faith, she reached out and touched the edge of Jesus’ cloak. Immediately, she felt within herself that her bleeding had stopped.

Jesus, having been touched by the woman, felt that the power had gone out of him. He turned and asked, ‘Who touched me?’ The disciples were incredulous. “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’” But Jesus persisted. The healed woman came with fear and trembling. She knelt down before Jesus and admitted her act. She explained, probably more for the crowd than for Jesus, why she had touched Him and how she had been healed.

One wonders why the woman was filled with fear and trembling. Being ceremonially unclean, her touch would have made another person similarly unclean. (Leviticus 15:19-27, Ezekiel 36:17). A sharp rebuke or punishment could easily follow such a careless act. Perhaps, in being healed, she was filled with a deeper awe of the majesty and power of God’s one and only Son.

And yet, Jesus was not angry or annoyed with the woman. He did not scold her or rebuke her. He did not speak harshly to her. He spoke words of comfort to her. “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” Jesus put the woman’s fears at rest by calling her daughter. This term of endearment speaks of love, of acceptance and of familial bonding.

Touching Jesus, in and of itself, did not heal the woman. As verse 45 makes clear, there were many people crowding around Jesus and touching Him. None of these that touched Jesus caused the power to go out from Him. Only when the touch was combined with faith, did the healing occur. Faith is the key ingredient in this healing equation.

Jesus has shown his identity time and time again. Here in Luke’s gospel, we see Jesus healing the unhealable. Who is this man who can heal the unhealable?

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore God that He is worthy of our trust and faith, especially since Jesus has been revealed to us.

Adore Jesus that He has all authority in heaven and earth.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God that He has opened your eyes to Jesus’ true identity.

Thank God that He has granted you faith to believe in Jesus.

 

Supplication:

Pray that God would grow your faith and the faith of those in your congregation. We are told that faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains, so pray that our faith would grow, even to the size of a mustard seed.

Pray that God would continue to work powerfully in our midst.

Pray that God would bless and grow the ministry of the reformed Bible college in Myanmar and the ministry of Shiloh in India.

Discuss

 

1.Why did Luke include this healing in the middle of the Jairus vignette, rather than treating it separately?

2.How would you describe the woman who touched Jesus?

3.How would you describe Jesus’ reaction to the woman?

4.How does this passage apply to us today?

 

 

Tuesday February 13, 2018

Maniac

 

Read Luke 8:26-39.

 

Maniac. That’s the only way this man could be described. He was butt naked and lived in the cemetery among the tombs. He would often slash himself and cry out. For hours and hours he would cry out in agony and pain. To top it off, he seemed to have super-human strength. The chains the villagers bound him with were snapped like twigs.

When this maniac saw Jesus, he ran to Jesus and fell at his feet. He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” The contrast is stark and flabbergasting. The disciples just witnessed a great miracle and they cried out, “Who is this man?” The maniac in the tombs, who saw no miracle, beheld Jesus and cried out that this is the Son of the Most High God.

There are many scholars and believers who rule out miracles a priori, and even more so demon possession. Such ‘scholars’ seek to find a rationale and logical explanation. Some argue that all of the elements of demon possession are simply undiagnosed conditions, such as epilepsy, that we know of today. Demon possession was just a wives’ tale way of explaining the unexplainable.

Apart from being non-sensical, such interpreters need to explain how such medical conditions can speak. Jesus often spoke to demons and they often responded to Him. Epilepsy cannot be spoken to and cannot reply. Even more so, when the pigs rushed down the bank and drowned, such interpreters need to explain how medical conditions can be passed so quickly and how they can incubate and be active so instantaneously.

Moving beyond such chronologically chauvinistic interpretations, we see that Jesus commanded the many demons to vacate the man they had possessed. The demons begged Jesus not to send them into the Abyss. Such a statement would suggest that demons are fully aware that the judgement day, and hence, their doom, is coming. The demons are given permission to enter a herd of pigs. They oblige and the entire herd rushes to the cliff and drowns as they fall into the water. Demons by their very nature are destructive and hostile.

Jesus does not enter into a show-down with the demons. He does not fight with them. Jesus’ authority is so great that the demons recognise it and submit to it. They have to ask Jesus for permission to do anything. Jesus simply speaks and the demons obey.

The maniac, for his part, was cured of demon possession. He was found by the townsfolk dressed (nice change, huh?), in his right mind and sitting at Jesus’ feet. He was submissive to Jesus. The anger, the angst, the hatred and the violence were all gone. The maniac has been transformed into a real man.

Who is this man?

Prayer:

Adoration:

Adore Jesus that His authority extends even over the demons.

Adore Jesus that His authority is so great that He simply has to speak and the demons obey Him.

 

Confession:

Take time to confess your sins to the Lord and to ask for His forgiveness.

 

Thanks:

Thank God that Jesus has saved you and washed you clean.

Thank God that the Holy Spirit dwells in you.

Praise God that the Holy Spirit is the greater man who comes into the house and ties up and drives out the previous occupants.

 

Supplication:

Pray that God would grant each member of your congregation a growing confidence in Jesus as they take Him to work, to play, to social events and even to Facebook and twitter.

Pray that God would continue to reveal to everyone in your church how much authority and power Jesus actually has.

Pray that people in your congregation would increasingly grow in their knowledge of who they are in Christ Jesus.

Discuss

 

1.How would you describe the maniac of Luke 8:26-39 before and after the demons left him?

2.Why do you think Luke put the story of the demoniac after the calming of the storm?

3.Why did Jesus allow the demons to go into the pigs, given that the pigs were someone’s livelihood?

4.What is the point of the narrative?

 

 

Small Groups

Read Luke 8:22-56.

 

 

Spend time in adoration and praise as you sing to God.

 

 

 

Having read Luke 8:22-56, consider the following: Recount each miracle that Jesus does in this section.

 

 

What reactions do you see to Jesus in each miracle?

 

 

 

 

Why does Luke gives us examples of different kinds of miracles? Consider Luke 1:1-4 in your answer.

 

 

 

 

Should we look for rational explanations for these miracles? Why or why not?

Having read Luke 8:22-56, consider the following:

 

What do these miracles tell you about Jesus?

 

What do they tell you about humanity?

 

 

List the positive reactions to Jesus.

 

 

 

List the negative reactions to Jesus.

 

 

Why would people react negatively to Jesus?

 

 

What is your reaction to Jesus?

There is much debate in both the Christian scholarly world and in churches, regarding the presence of modern day miracles. Some are for miracles and some are against.

 

Should the church see miracles today?

 

Are miracles needed to bring people to faith in Jesus? Explain your answer carefully.

 

How would your church react if God started doing miracles in it?

Going deeper

How would your church react if miracles were not happening, for example, when healing is prayed for?

Jarred is gravely ill. His parents have asked the church to visit him in hospital and to pray for a miraculous healing to be granted to Jarred.

The eldership discuss the issue. Marcus is a cessationist, arguing that all healings and miracles ceased when the Scripture was completed.

 

Should the elders pray for healing? Why or why not? What should the church do if Jarred is healed?

What should the church NOT do if Jarred is healed? What should the church do if Jarred is not healed? What should the church avoid if Jarred is not healed?

 

 

 

 

 

 

How does Luke 8:22-56 lead you to pray in terms of Adoration Confession Thanks Supplication

 

Many people in the church are antagonistic to miracles and healings. This cessationist view stems from a particular reading of the Bible that believes that when Scripture was complete, all miracles and supernatural events stopped. Some have even argued that a faith that springs up from seeing miracles is probably going to be a spurious faith. Others want nothing to do with the supernatural.

 

At the other extreme, there are those who argue that miracles should be common place in the church. Some even declare that they would not evangelise without miracles being performed. Some blame the absence of miracles on the lack of faith in others.

 

Each person needs to make up their own mind, being convicted by Scripture of their stance. Whatever stance one takes, it should never be an arrogant stance that looks condemningly at the other side. It should never be at the expense of relationship with those who think differently - unless of course, they are actually perverting the gospel.

 

Christian love, especially between different denominations or different groups, goes a long way in showing the world that we are Jesus’ disciples. As we love and accept those with a different stance to ours, and as we worship Christ together, the world will see that we truly are Christ’s disciples.

{tag_blogposttitle_nolink}