Saturday, October 15, 2011

Luke 4:31-44: Miracles

We're between units in our study guide this week.  The class decided to cover the entire gospel, not just the chapters chosen by the lesson writer in the study guide.


Last week we discussed Jesus teaching in His home synagogue.  We learned Jesus' message was rejected by His own hometown folks.  People couldn't believe the boy they had watched grow into a man was the Son of God, the Messiah.

This week we see His first miracles.


A little background on people's beliefs about unclean spirits in Jesus' day...

  1. Ancient people thought world was thickly populated with unclean spirits
  2. Unclean spirits sought entry into people through food and drink
  3. Egyptians thought there were 36 parts of the body where spirits could enter
  4. Unclean spirits were thought to be the cause of any disease or condition which couldn't otherwise be explained.
Question: Most people now consider the belief in unclean spirits to be primitive yet Jesus seemed to believe in them.  How can this be? 


Here in two short verses we have another example of Jesus' healing power.  Barclay points out there are three great truths which can be found in this short passage.

  1. Jesus was always ready to serve.  Likewise we too are called to always be ready to serve those in need.  Are we or are we too busy with our own lives and issues to even see the need around us? 
  2. Jesus didn't need crowds to perform miracles.  He was at His best wherever and whenever.  Are we on our best behavior when we're out in public or are entertaining guests?  What about when we're alone with family?  Is there a difference?
  3. After being cured Simon's mother-in-law immediately got up and began to serve them. Do we use our priceless gift of health to serve others who are less fortunate?

In this last passage in chapter 4 we encounter Jesus beginning to explain the Kingdom of God.  However, before we get there we are reminded about a few other items.

  1. Jesus always sought time to be alone and pray to His Father.  He used this time to rekindle His spirit and rejuvenate Himself for the task ahead.  We too must take time to speak with God, to worship Him, to allow Him to rekindle the spirit in us.
  2. Another example of Jesus always being ready to serve.  Crowds sought Him out.  He did not push them away.  He met their needs.
  3. Jesus rebuked the unclean spirits when they recogized Him as the Son of God.  Jesus knew the time was not right for the people to know Him as the Messiah.  They wanted an earthly, revolutionary Messiah; another Moses to lead them out of bondage into the 'promised land'.  They wanted Him to overthrow the Roman rule.
  4. Jesus explained to the people that He had to go out into other towns and villages to teach people about the Kingdom of God.  What was His message regarding the Kingdom of God?  Was it about the future Kingdom in heaven, the earthly Kingdom here and now, or both?

Interpretation - A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching: Luke, Fred B. Craddock, 1990, John Knox Press

Interpretation Bible Studies: Luke, Thomas W. Walker, 2001, John Knox Press

The New Daily Study Bible: The Gospel of Luke, William Barclay, 2001, John Knox Press

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Luke: Unit 1 - The Announcement of the Birth of Jesus


We are back to using the  Interpretation Bible Studies series.  As noted in the title we are beginning a journey through the Gospel of Luke.  Last week we began with an introduction and learned the following:

  • It is commonly believed that Luke and Acts were written by the Gentile physician Luke, one of Paul's followers who is referenced in Colossians 4:14.
  • Believed that Luke / Acts were originally intended to be a "2-volume set"
  • Generally accepted that Luke was written in the latter third of the first century
  • Luke and Acts together comprise over 25% of the New Testament...more than all of Paul's letters
So with that quick recap of last weeks introduction let's begin Unit 1 - The Announcement of the Birth of Jesus.
  • Unit 1 covers Luke 1:39-56.  This section describes Mary's three month visit to her relative Elizabeth.  It also contains Mary's song.
  • However, Unit 1 bypasses a great deal of important material.  For that reason I want to expand our study to include all of Chapter 1...all 80 verses.
  • Chapter 1 can be broken out into 5 sections
    • The Dedication to Theophilus (which we covered in our introduction last week)
    • The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
    • The Birth of Jesus Foretold
    • Mary Visits Elizabeth (the lesson writer's section)
    • The Birth of John the Baptist
The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

  • John the Baptist's parents were Zechariah - a priest from the lineage of Aaron, and Elizabeth who also was from the lineage of Aaron
  • A little background about Jewish priesthood
    • It is thought there were upwards of over 20,000 priests at this time
    • Divided into 24 sections
    • Each section served one week at the temple, twice a year
    • Large numbers of priests meant that assignments were assigned by drawing lots (God's choice).  Some priests might go there entire lives and never have the privilege of performing an important temple duty
  • Zechariah and Elizabeth were advanced in their years and had not had any children
  • Being barren was seen as a tragedy - it was even valid grounds for divorce
  • Zechariah draws the lot for burning the incense in the Holy of Holies
    • While in this special place he is visited by Gabriel
    • Gabriel explains that Elizabeth will give birth to a son to be named John
    • John is shorter form of name Jehohanan - Yahwey's gift or God is gracious
    • Zechariah's disbelief causes him to be mute for the entirety of Elizabeth's pregancy
  • Important to note the righteous man of God's disbelief, similarity between this account and that of Abraham and Sara
The Birth of Jesus Foretold

  • Same angel, Gabriel appears to Mary bringing the news that she will be the mother of Jesus
  • Mary, a virgin, is betrothed to Joseph
  • A few interesting tidbits about engagements at this time in Jewish history
    • were arranged by the parents
    • typically lasted about a year before the couple were married
    • was a binding contract, required a divorce decree to back out
    • bride to be was considered a widow if groom died during the engagement
  • Undoubtedly while Elizabeth was advanced in years, Mary was very young...probably no more than 13-14.
  • Contrast Mary's response to Gabriel with that of Zechariah's
    • Zechariah educated, wise man of God - disbelief
    • Mary uneducated, young girl - "I am the Lord's servant, whatever He says, I accept."
Mary Visits Elizabeth

  • Mary visits Elizabeth during the 3rd trimester of Elizabeth's pregancy
  • Three special items to note in Elizabeth's greeting
    • Elizabeth calls Mary and her unborn child "blessed"
      • Two Greek words for blessed makarios - state of happiness, and eulogetos - invokes a blessing of God
      • By using the latter Elizabeth is proclaiming that Mary has been chosen by God
    • Elizabeth signals the identity of Mary's unborn child...calling him "Lord"
    • Elizabeth's greeting confirms the appropriate response to God's plan - hearing and obeying
  • At the sound of Mary's voice unborn John leaps in Elizabeth's womb
  • Foretells that the older will serve the younger (similar to Esau and Jacob)
  • Mary is overjoyed and breaks out in song
    • Mary's song is not unlike that of Hannah's when she finds out her barreness is gone and she is to give birth to Samuel
    • Important to note that Mary begins her song by praising God and all He has done for her
    • Song's second stanza acknowledges God's steadfast love and how God will correct all of the wrong's of this life by lifting up the poor and downtrodden
The Birth of John the Baptist
  • Elizabeth gives birth to John
  • Neighbors and relatives want to know his name
  • Elizabeth says John
  • People are confused, no one in their family has been named John, thus no precedence
  • People go to Zechariah, he writes down "His name is John"
  • Immediately he was able to speak
  • He then prophesizes about the role of his son John and the one who is to follow, the Messiah.

Interpretation - A Bible Commentary for  Teaching and Preaching: Luke, Fred B. Craddock, 1990, John Knox Press

Interpretation Bible Studies: Luke, Thomas W. Walker, 2001, John Knox Press

The New Daily Study Bible: The Gospel of Luke, William Barclay, 2001, John Knox Press

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Finished Work of Christ - Ch. 13

Chapter 13 - Eternal Life is Forever I. Introduction A. Recap - What Have We Learned 1. Justified - By accepting Christ as our Saviour our guilt before God is gone 2. Sanctified - Because of the power of Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we have ongoing protection from the power of sin 3. Glorified - Jesus is coming again. Our bodies will be made whole. We will sin no more. B. Today's Topic - Can I Lose My Salvation? 1. In a word - NO! 2. Now as Paul Harvey would say..."and now the rest of the story." 3. Paul begins Romans and ends this section (his description of salvation) by referring to the Trinity II. Salvation Assured by the Work of the Holy Spirit A. We do not know how to pray - interesting, what do you think about that? B. Because of that the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf "with sighs too deep for words" 1. Holy Spirit also referred to as Advocate by Jesus in Gospel of John - how appropriate! 2. John 14:16-17 3. John 16: 7-11 III. Salvation Assured by God the Father A. If you have freely accepted Christ as your Savior, know God has chosen you and predestined that you will be glorified, nothing can change that. B. If you have freely accepted Christ as your Savior, know NOTHING can separate you from the love of God IV. Salvation Assured by the Work of the Son A. Jesus died that we might live for eternity but even today His work on our behalf is not done B. Jesus intercedes for us in heaven - He pleads for us on the basis of His own character and on His finished work at Calvary. V. Conclusion A. Great couple of books by Schaeffer, now what? B. How about Luke? 1. Interpretation Series 2. Study Guide 3. Commentary - $16.50 on Amazon 4. Study Guide - $11.05 5. Barclay - $10.13 BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. The Finished Work of Christ, 1998, Francis Schaeffer, Good News Pubishers, Wheaton, IL 2. The New Daily Study Bible - The Letter to the Romans, 1955, William Barclay, Westminster Press, Louisville, KY

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Finished Work of Christ - Ch. 10

Chapter 10 - The Christian's Struggle with Sin (Part II)

I. Introduction

A. Last week - Struggle with Sin Part I covered Romans Ch. 6
1. must die to sin
2. allow the Holy Spirit to fill us, draw on His strength to keep us from sin

B. This week - Struggle with Sin Part II covers Romans Ch. 7
1. my opinion...much easier to understand what Paul is saying in Ch. 7 than in Ch. 6
2. scary thought...being able to understand what Paul is saying without reading two or three commentaries!
3. Schaeffer says there has long been a debate as to whom Paul is directing this passage.
4. Schaeffer believes passage directed at both believers and unbelievers.

II. Chapter 7 can be broken out into three sections

A. 7:1-6 An Analogy from Marriage
B. 7:7-13 - The Law and Sin
C. 7:14-25 - The Inner Conflict

III. An Analogy from Marriage - Paul begins using analogy of a woman, marriage, and the Law

A. According to the law - a woman could not remarry as long as her first husband lived or she would be considered an adulteress.
B. However, if her husband died she was free to remarry.
C. Paul says when we accept Christ as savior we 'die to the law through the body of Christ' (v. 4) and the law no longer has a hold over us.
D. Schaeffer - "Two things happened when we accepted Christ as our Savior: We became dead to the law, and we became married to Christ."
E. Our first 'husband', The Law is gone and thus we no longer have to answer to it
F. Our second 'husband' is Christ and we are free to accept His love and His laws.
G. Barclay - "When that happens (accepting Christ), Christian obediance becomes not an externally imposed obediance to some written code of laws but an inner allegiance of the spirit to Jesus Christ...The motive of our lives is not law, but love; and the inspiration of love can make us able to do what the restraint of law was powerless to help us do."
H. Schaeffer reminds us of Jesus' own words - "If you abide in me, you shall bring forth much fruit." As we give ourselves up to Christ we sin less. Christ brings out the best in us if we will only let Him!

IV. The Law and Sin

A. Paul then asks a provocative question, "is the law sin"
B. No! Of course not.
C. Schaeffer says Paul recognizes that the law is good because it shows us how far short of perfection we fall.
D. Schaeffer also says Paul is saying that it is through the law that man comes to realize his guilt and therefore his need of a Savior.
E. Barclay - "The law is devine and has in it the very voice of God. It is just...It is designed for nothing other than our highest welfare."
1. God loves us - He gave us the law because He knows what we need to be happy and fulfilled.
2. If we would but trust wholly in God and follow His word the world would be a much better place.
F. Paul however says that the law is the source of sin. How can this be?
1. It defines sin
2. Forbidden things hold a strange fascination with us. They draw us in like bugs to a light.
G. Paul says sin deceived him. That is so true.
1. We are deluded as to the satisfaction to be derived from sin.
2. We are deluded as to the excuse that can be made for it.
3. We are deluded as to the probability of escaping the consequences of it.

V. The Inner Conflict

A. Paul, like all human beings wants to do what is right but finds he is often unable to do so.
B. The mind is willing but the body is weak.
C. Schaeffer - "Through Christ we have become justified before God. His Word informs, calls, corrects, and encourages us. Yet, in our body, we are still part of a fallen world."
D. Barclay calls this passage a "demonstration of inadequacies"
1. Inadequacy of knowledge - "if to know the right thing was to do it, life would be easy."
2. Inadequacy of human resolution - "to resolve to do a thing is very far from doing it."
3. Limitations of diagnosis - doctors often can accurately diagnose a disease but is powerless to prescribe a cure.

1. The Finished Work of Christ, 1998, Francis Schaeffer, Good News Pubishers, Wheaton, IL
2. The New Daily Study Bible - The Letter to the Romans, 1955, William Barclay, Westminster Press, Louisville, KY

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Finished Work of Christ - Ch. 9

Chapter 9 - The Christian's Struggle with Sin (Part I)

I. Introduction

A. Last Week - Adam and Christ
B. This Week - Our Struggle with Sin

II. Adam and Christ

A. Adam was a real person
B. Adam and Eve introduced sin into the world by directly disobeying God
C. That is what sin is...disobeying God
D. Also discussed if people 'sinned' between Adam and Moses (i.e., before the Law was given. Learned Barclay and Schaeffer disagree on this point.

III. The Christian's Struggle with Sin

A. Going to focus on key points made by Schaeffer and Barclay
B. Schaeffer and Barclay both make the point that Jesus didn't just die so that we can go to heaven some day but that we might also live a righteous life now until that day comes.
1. 1 Peter 2:24
2. 2 Corinthians 4:10-11
3. Matthew 16:24
C. Key to understanding Christian life is that it is not "some sort of gloomy struggle"
1. Must learn to live in the present as though we were already in the future
2. Primary calling as Christians is found in Matthew 22:37 - "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."
3. To truly love the Lord is to want to follow Him, to do His work.
D. Schaeffer says we must 'die daily'. Die to selfishness, self-centeredness, to self-sufficiency.
E. There has always been a lot of talk in the church about using your God given talents for the Lord's work
1. Schaeffer puts a different spin on this. He says our greatest human talent may not be our greatest usefulness to God.
2. Using that human talent can lead to pride and pride can and will drive a wedge between us and God.
3. All God wants is for us to love Him and be in fellowship with Him.

IV. Short Lesson this week as have the opportunity to hear Jack and Polly's grandson, Ben, tell us of his mission work in Africa.

1. The Finished Work of Christ, 1998, Francis Schaeffer, Good News Pubishers, Wheaton, IL
2. The New Daily Study Bible - The Letter to the Romans, 1955, William Barclay, Westminster Press, Louisville, KY


Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Finished Work of Christ - Ch. 8

Chapter 8 - Dead in Adam, Alive in Christ

I. Introduction

A. Last Week: Justification results in Peace with God
B. This Week: Adam and Christ

II. Peace with God

A. God is at peace with us because we accept His gift
B. We can be at peace with God and ourselves if we...
1. acknowledge and accept that we are sinners
2. ask for forgiveness and accept God's gift of grace
3. Thank God for His gift of grace

III. Adam and Christ

A. Passage this week, Romans 5:12-21, describes our path from ruin to rescue, from one sin to one redeemer
B. Barclay - "No passage of the New Testament has had such an influence on theology as this; and no passage is more difficult for us to understand today."
1. Reading the scripture it's easy to see why he said this.
2. Especially the first half, about Adam and original sin
B. First the path to ruin - Adam and original sin
1. Many do not believe Adam and Eve were real historical figures, rather just an idea or an allegory
2. Schaeffer makes the point that Paul did believe Adam and Eve were real historical people
a. v.12 - "by one man sin entered unto the world..." clearly speaking as Adam was a real person.
b. again in 1 Corinthians 15:22, and again in 1 Timothy 2:13-14
3. Not only did Paul believe it but Christ proclaimed it, see Matthew 19:4-5
4. OK, that begs the question how did one man's sin get passed onto the rest of us?
1. Barclay says passage must be read with two basic Jewish ideas in mind
a. idea of solidarity - Jews don't think of themselves as individuals but as part of a clan, family, or a nation. Thus, as Adam did, they all did.
b. death is the direct consequence of sin. Jews believe if Adam and Eve had not sinned they would have been immortal, i.e. immune to death.
5. Schaeffer and Barclay seem to disagree on one point - did people between Adam and the giving of the Law of Moses sin?
a. Barclay - "the law did not come until the time of Moses. Now, if there is no law, there can be no breaking of the law; that is to say, there can be no sin. Therefore, the men and women who lived between Adam and Moses did in fact commit sinful actions, but they could not be counted sinners, for the law did not yet exist.
b. Schaeffer - "As we saw in 2;1, those who lived from the time of Adam until the giving of the law will not be judged by the Law of Moses, but on the basis of what they knew, apart from the law, about right and wrong...So all come under condemnation, for even before the Law of Moses all were guilty."
C. Passage has two historical acts
1. First we just discussed, Adam and original sin
2. Second, Jesus who came to fix what Adam had ruined
D. Because it has fallen, humanity is far less than God meant it to be
E. Schaeffer speaks a great deal about how we are Christ's children
1. Uses parallel of Jewish law that brother shall take his dead brother's wife as his own and have children with her such that his brother's blood line can continue.
2. Unsaved people are still in the dead blood line of Adam
3. Saved people are children of God because Christ died for us.
4. In light of this how should we live? That is the topic for the Romans Ch. 6-8, which is what we will begin studying next week.

1. The Finished Work of Christ, 1998, Francis Schaeffer, Good News Pubishers, Wheaton, IL
2. The New Daily Study Bible - The Letter to the Romans, 1955, William Barclay, Westminster Press, Louisville, KY

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Finished Work of Christ - Ch. 7

Chapter 7 - The Result of Justification: Peace with God

I. Introduction

A. Recap First 6 Chapters - Justification
B. Next 5 Chapters - Santification
1. This week - Peace with God
2. Next Week - Origins of Sin

II. Justification

A. All are sinners - our sin is a chasm which separates us from the love of God
B. Believe God - God keeps His promises, promised a saviour
C. Christ died for us. His shed blood covers all our sins
D. Barclay - justification: "change of our status"

III. Santification - The Result of Justification: Peace with God

A. Barclay - santification: "change of our state"
B. Schaeffer - "The most important aspect of this eace with God is not the peace in our own hearts but the fact that God is at peace with us."
C. Many people struggle to find peace in their hearts
1. Know God has forgiven them, but can't forgive themselves
D. Salvation takes place in three phases
1. Past - justification when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior (salvation from the guilt of our past sin
2. Present - santification, salvation from the power of sin
3. Future - glorification, in heaven, salvation from the very presence of sin
E. Santification, like justification, based on "finished work of Christ"
1. After accepting Christ, can't rely on own "works" to keep us from sin
2. Will continue to face temptation, will continue to sin
F. Schaeffer - key to finding peace with God is three part process
1. just like finding initial salvation - admit you're a sinner
2. again, just like initial salvation - "lay hold of the finished work of Christ", bring the sin under the blood of Christ.
3. Say THANK-YOU to God for your salvation. According to Schaeffer, this third "optional" part is key. As soon as you say 'thank-you', "the certainty of your forgiveness will come and you will have peace of mind."
G. Peace with God not just some introspective thing. It is a peace based on God's promise that Christ's atoning death is enough to meet all our present failures.
H. Depth of God's Love
1. God sent Jesus to die for us when we were lost, apart, and "at war" with him
2. How many would die so that their enemies could live?
3. How much more so does He love us now that we've accepted His gift and have become reconciled to Him?

1. The Finished Work of Christ, 1998, Francis Schaeffer, Good News Pubishers, Wheaton, IL
2. The New Daily Study Bible - The Letter to the Romans, 1955, William Barclay, Westminster Press, Louisville, KY

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Finished Work of Christ - Ch. 6

Chapter 6: Justification Before the Cross (Romans 3:31-4:25)

I. Introduction

A. Recap - Ch. 5 - Justification After the Cross
B. Intro. to Ch. 6

II. Recap - Ch. 5 - Justification After the Cross

A. Our sin is incurable because of whom we sinned against...GOD!
B. Because God is a moral God he can't just forgive us and move on, a price must be paid.
C. But because God loves us he sent JESUS to cover our sin.

III. Justification Before the Cross

A. Often wondered about how people came to be 'saved' before Christ died for their sins.
B. Schaeffer in Ch. 6 spells out exactly how that is possible
1. It is our believing God and having faith that He will fulfill His promises is what saves both us now (after Christ) and those before Christ.
2. It is not 'believing in God' that saves us but 'believing God'.

B. Schaeffer first shows how Abraham was declared righteous before God
1. Not because he believed in God, but rather because he believed God would fulfill the specific promise He made to Abraham. God specifically promised Abraham that he would have a son; a son from whom would spring forth a mighty nation, a son from whom would come our Lord and Saviour; the world's Messiah.
2. Abraham exhibited his faith and belief in God's specific promise throughout his life.
a. Even though he and Sarah were not physically capable of producing a child, he continued to believe.
b. Even though God told him to offer his son as a sacrifice, he continued to believe God's promise; from him would grow a great and mighty nation.

C. Schaeffer then shows how Moses understood about faith
1. "Moses himself, the giver of the law, also understood that salvation is by grace through faith."
2. Schaeffer points out that Paul quotes Moses in Deuteronomy 30:14. Life comes to those who believe God, keep His commandments.
3. Moses in Exodus gives people the ten commandments and knowing they can't possibly keep them he commands them to build an alter, an alter of unhewn stone, upon which they would make blood sacrifices. The covenant between God and His people was sealed by the shedding of blood.

D. Schaeffer then shows how David understood about faith
1. Bible makes clear that David understood the plan of salvation
a. Peter on the day of Pentecost explains that David understood (read Acts 2:25-33)
b. David understood the basis of faith was the death and resurrection of the coming Messiah.

E. In Ch. 6 Schaeffer also explains need for salvation.
1. Before the fall (Adam and Eve) no need for salvation. They were without sin and thus were righteous because of their 'works' i.e. their belief in and following of God's 'law'
2. Immediately after the fall, God, because He loves us, gave us the covenent of grace.
a. differences in how God dealt with us before and after the cross but the covenant was the same.
b. Covenant of grace is based a covenant of works perfectly kept by Christ.
c. Schaeffer explains people on both sides of the cross are saved on the same basis: Christ's finished work on the cross.
d. Common element before and after the cross is BELIEVING GOD.
e. BELIEVING GOD will deliver on His promises is the ultimate meaning of faith.

F. Salvation

1. Only comes to those who FIRST recognize they are sinners and are in need of a Saviour.
2. Then recognizing and believing God's promise that Jesus' shed blood is the only way to cover the penalty for those sins.
3. Many so called Christians may be sorely disappointed at Christ's second coming.
a. Can't just say I believe in Jesus and God and show up in church on Sunday
b. Must genuinely believe they have sinned and need Jesus' shed blood to cover that sin.

1. The Finished Work of Christ, 1998, Francis Schaeffer, Good News Pubishers, Wheaton, IL
2. The New Daily Study Bible - The Letter to the Romans, 1955, William Barclay, Westminster Press, Louisville, KY

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sunday, June 5th - Lesson


In preparing for the lesson this week I originally had planned to cover both Chapter 5, which we didn't get to last week, and Chapter 6. However, in reviewing the material found in Chapter 6, I have come to the conclusion there is no way to cover both chapters in one lesson. Thus, tomorrow we will cover Chapter 5 - Justification After the Cross. Chapter 5 discusses Romans 3:21-30.

Also, please remember we will not have a lesson on June 12th. We will be enjoying the youth's pancake breakfast. Therefore we will cover Chapter 6 on June 19th.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Finished Work of Christ - Ch. 4 & 5

All, going out on a limb today. Chapter 4 is relatively short so I'm going to prepare for and hopefully get through both chapter 4 AND chapter 5 tomorrow.

I. Introduction

A. Recap of chapter 3
B. Chapter 4 - The Whole World Guilty
C. Chapter 5 - Justification After the Cross

II. Recap of Chapter 3 - The Person with the Bible - Guilty

A. Thank-you Charlie for leading us through chapter 3
B. Bottom line - person with the law just as guilty as person without the law
C. Jews in Paul's time, Christians of today both are guilty of breaking the law
D. Leads us into first half of lesson today - conclusion of Paul's almost three full chapters of why we are guilty.

III. Chapter 4 - The Whole World Guilty

A. Paul reminds us that we're all EQUALLY guilty
1. Schaeffer says he was often asked "do you mean a member of the Christian church is just as guilty as a Communist?"
2. Let's update that by 40-50 years - "do you mean a member of the Christian church is just as guilty as a Muslim jihadist, a terrorist?"
3. Either way the answer is an undeniable YES!

B. All are Sinners - none are righteous
1. Paul quotes old testament - several passages from Psalms and Isaiah
2. Read Isaiah 53:6
3. Moral corruption is the result of individual immoral desires

C. Paul's indictment (ch 3:13-18)
1. Shows just how bad we are!
2. Barclay references C.J. Vaughn who said this indictment pointed out three types of short-comings (sin)
a. Character flaws - ignorance, indifference, crookedness, and unprofitableness
b. Tongue - destructive, deceiptful
c. Conduct - oppression, injury, and greed

D. Schaeffer then destroys arguement of existentialists
1. Existentialists believe man is pathetic, hopelessly damned.
2. Schaeffer points out man is not pathetic, he's a rebel. Man chooses between right and wrong.
3. We must accept responsibility for who and what we are.

IV. Chapter 5 - Justification After the Cross

A. Our sin in incurable because of whom we have sinned against.
1. Sinned against a holy God.
2. This chapter, for me, paints the whole picture of who we are, who God is, and why we need Jesus!
3. God is infinitely holy.
4. Just one sin and we stand before him condemmed.
5. People need salvation because they are totally under the wrath of a holy God.

B. God can't just forgive our sins, for every wrong a price must be paid
1. There is a moral absolute, right vs. wrong
2. God can't just wink and say it's OK, because that would not be moral.

C. God understood this and provided the answer - JESUS!
1. Paul, in ch. 3:21-30 explains how we can claim that salvation
2. Can't earn it!
3. Can't just 'believe in God'

D. Justification
1. Comes only from God declaring that the price of our guilt has been paid by the finished work of Jesus, the Christ.
2. However, not all are justified.
3. Only those who come to believe and accept can be justified.
4. Christ's death doesn't cover all sin, only sins of those who believe

E. God's Love
1. Lot's of people can't understand how God can be a loving God but still condemn us for our sin, show wrath to unbelievers.
2. Once again Schaeffer explains it in a way we can understand
a. Because we live in a moral universe, God can't forgive sin
b. But he can provide a way to cover our sins. JESUS.
3. God sent Jesus to pay the price and cover the sins of all who come to believe
4. John 3:16
5. It is because Jesus was perfect (without sin) that this is possible

F. Conclusion - Two Factors in Salvation
1. Basis
a. The Finished Work of Jesus
b. Basis of our Salvation is His death on the cross
2. Instrument
a. Our Faith
b. Faith that accepts the gift of salvation, God's grace.
c. Works of faith will not save us.

G. Next Week - Chapter 6, Justification Before the Cross

1. The Finished Work of Christ, 1998, Francis Schaeffer, Good News Pubishers, Wheaton, IL
2. The New Daily Study Bible - The Letter to the Romans, 1955, William Barclay, Westminster Press, Louisville, KY

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Finished Work of Christ - Ch. 2

Chapter 2 - The Person Without the Bible: Guilty

I. Introduction

A. Review last week - Romans 1:1-17
B. This week - Romans 1:18-2:16
C. Where Paul is going

1. Gentiles Need for Salvation
2. Jews Need for Salvation
3. All Humanities Need for Salvation
4. How to Attain It

II. Last Week - Romans 1:1-17

A. Introduction - desire to come meet them, desire to share the gospel with them
B. Theme - the power of the gospel (re-read 1:16-17)

III. This Week - Romans 1:18-2:16 (Gentiles Need for Salvation)

A. Impossible to get through this lesson in 45 minutes going verse by verse. Thus, will try to cover it all but in themes or groupings of thought.

B. Why Do I Need Salvation?

1. Because You Are Under the Wrath of God
2. Why Am I Under the Wrath of God
3. Because You are Guilty
4. Guilty of What
5. Guilty of Knowing Right from Wrong and Choosing Wrong
6. Guilty of Knowing God and Turning Away

C. Guilty of Knowing Right from Wrong and Choosing Wrong

1. Everyone has a conscience
2. God gave us the ability to discern right from wrong
3. You are not a machine, or an animal

D. Guilty of Knowing God and Turning Away

1. God is the Creator
2. We live in His creation
3. All we have to do is look around and we can not fail to see the work of His hand
4. He created that our every need may be satisfied.
a. We need water to survive...God created rain
b. We need food...God gave us dominion over all the plants and animals in His creation
c. We need Salvation...God gave us His only Son, Jesus
5. Our biggest sin is our vanity
a. "It is the vanity of the creature not willing to be the creature, but wanting rather to be the creator at the center of the universe."
b. We think we know best, so we turn away from God
c. We want the world to revolve around us, instead of us putting God at the center of His world and our lives

E. When We Turn Away from the Creator We Replace Him with the Created
1. "Having been made in the image of God (Gen 1:26) men and women rebel and wanting to be the center of the universe, they deliberately reverse the process and make God in their image!"
2. God's response is to give us up to our "lusts of the heart and impurities"
3. God has given us free-will but we must accept the consequences of our actions
a. This comes in two forms - the immediate result of violating God's natural laws, and
b. The future judgement

F. The Righteous Judgement of God
1. God shows no partiality
a. God will judge both the Jew and the Gentile
b. Those who had access to His Word and those who didn't
c. "Each human being has a moral imperative within. Each human being 'knows the judgement of God' (1:32). "As soon as a child feels the pang of conscience, struggles against it, and sins, he has acknowledged that there is a meaningful moral law in the universe." God's law!
d. All people stand before God condemmend by what they do know - those without God's word are condemmned on the basis of their moral judgement of others.
e. Those with God's word stand condemmned on the basis of not following it.

G. Jesus is not only our Saviour, He is also our Judge
1. On judgement day we will stand before Jesus and be judged
2. All will be judged guilty
3. Those who accepted God's grace freely given through His Son Jesus, the Christ will be forgiven
4. Those who did not are lost.
5. John 14:6

1. The Finished Work of Christ, 1998, Francis Schaeffer, Good News Pubishers, Wheaton, IL
2. The New Daily Study Bible - The Letter to the Romans, 1955, William Barclay, Westminster Press, Louisville, KY

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Finished Work of Christ - Ch. 1

The Finished Work of Christ - Chapter 1 - Introduction and Theme

Fellow Journeyers,

We are embarking on a new and exciting study of Romans Chapters 1-8. Our primary study guide will be The Finished Work of Christ by Francis Schaeffer. I will supplement this with occasional thoughts from William Barclay and his commentary on Romans.

Let's jump right in...

I. Introduction

A. Introduction to The Finished Work of Christ
B. Chapter 1 - Introduction and Theme

II. Introduction to The Finished Work of Christ

A. Book, while published in 1998, is actually the result of some of the earliest systematic studies by Dr. Schaeffer.
B. Book derived from tapes recording a bible study led by Dr. Schaeffer in the 1960s in Lausanne, Switzerland.
C. Book covers first eight chapters of Romans. This is a sermon by Paul covering his most basic and fundamental beliefs. Barclay classifies the first eight chapters as 'dealing with the problem of righteousness'.
D. Dr. Schaeffer's book will walk us through these first eight chapters verse by verse.
E. A little introduction to the book of Romans
1. Believed to have been written by Paul around 58 AD as he was wrapping up his stay in Corinth and preparing for his trip to Jerusalem.
2. Letter was written to a congregation he had never met. Thus, no personal callout greetings, no references to specific problems that congregation was experiencing.
3. Letter served as an introduction of who Paul was and what he believed.
a. He wanted to eventually visit the church at Rome
b. Wanted them to be well grounded on the principles of their faith in Jesus

III. Chapter 1 - Introduction and Theme

A. Covers first 17 verses of chapter 1 in Romans

B. Romans 1:1 - Paul identifies himself as "servant" or "slave" of Christ
1. Schaeffer points out Paul is not a slave to Christ because he has to be but because he wants to be. He wants to be because of what Christ has done for him.
2. Schaeffer says we too must adopt this attitude if we are fruitful in the things of God.
3. As Christ's servant Paul is "separated unto the Gospel"
1. Schaeffer says this is separation from and separation to, "Many things can keep us away from God, and it is not possilbe to be separated to God unless we are separated from such things.
2. Hmmm...reminds me of the saying "being in the world but not of the world"

C. Romans 1:2 - "promised afore by his prophets"
1. Schaeffer says despite this verse being parenthetical it is a very important verse.
2. It emphasizes the continuity of the Old Testament and the New Testament
a. Schaeffer points out that God had a plan for our salvation immediately after the Fall in the Garden of Eden. He promised the Messiah.
b. Read Genesis 3:15

D. Romans 1:3-4 - "made of the seed of David..."
1. Paul declares both human and divine side of Christ
a. Human - made of the seed of David (both Mary and Joseph)
b. Divine - having been resurrected from the dead shows Christ's divinity
2. "according to the spirit of holiness"
a. Paul is referring to Christ's relationship with the Holy Spirit

E. Romans 1:5-6 - "By whom we have received grace and apostleship..."
1. "among all nations" - all who believe, Jews and Gentiles alike, can receive God's grace
2. Including the people of Rome

F. Romans 1:7 - "called Saints"
1. Schaeffer says, "As soon as we accept Christ as our Savior we are saints in God's sight.
a. Based on Christ's passive obedience - taking the punishment (death) for our sins
b. Also based on His active obedience - of keeping the law for us while he was among on earth.
2. When we accept Christ as our saviour, because Christ was without sin, we put on the righteousness of Christ. In God's eyes' we are without sin.
3. Christ has taken your guilt and you are clothed in His perfection.

G. Romans 1:7b-8 - "thank God for you"
1. He has heard of the faithfulness of the Christians in Rome and gives thanks to God for them.

H. Romans 1:9-10 - "make mention of you always in my prayers"
1. thanks God for them
2. prays on their behalf
3. prays that he might be able to visit them

I. Romans 1:11-12 - "may impart unto you some spiritual gift"

J. Romans 1:13a - Wants to bless them more "but was let hitherto..."
1. "let" means hindered.
2. Wants to come visit them but thus far has been hindered from doing so.

K. Romans 1:14 - "debtor both to Greeks and Barbarians, both to the wise and unwise"
1. Rather than feeling he is doing something special for them by telling them of the Gospel, he feels indebted to preach the Gospel to everyone.

L. Romans 1:15 - "ready to preach the Gospel to you..."
1. Ready and excited to come to Rome to teach them, regardless of the cost (his life)

M. Romans 1:16-17 - "the Gospel of the power of God unto salvation..."
1. Schaeffer states key to understanding first 8 chapters of Romans can be found in v. 16-17
2. Barclay echos this sentiment by saying, "There are only two verses here, but they contain so much of the very essence of Paul's gospel..."
3. When we accept Christ as our Saviour we are justified, our guilt is gone
4. Schaeffer says, "...God declares that are guilt is gone on the basis of the finished work of Jesus Christ"
5. Goes on to say our salvation is much wider than just justification. Three tenses:
a. Past - past act of salvation for the Christian, which is justification
b. Present - santification
c. Future - glorification
6. Salvation to everyone (Jew and Gentile alike) who believes
7. Just shall live by faith - we are to live by faith now.

1. The Finished Work of Christ, 1998, Francis Schaeffer, Good News Pubishers, Wheaton, IL
2. The New Daily Study Bible - The Letter to the Romans, 1955, William Barclay, Westminster Press, Louisville, KY

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History - Ch. 11

Chapter 11 - The Cities of Refuge

I. Introduction

A. Next Study - Options
B. Recap Last Week - East and West of Jordan
C. This Week - The Cities of Refuge

II. Next Study - Options

A. Other Studies by Francis Schaeffer

1. Genesis in Space and Time - covers first 11 chapters ($11.25 + tax/shipping)
2. The Finished Work of Christ - covers first 8 chapters of Romans ($18.99 +)

B. Revelation - did this many years ago, try again?
C. Lost Christianities: Christian Scriptures and the Battles over Authentication

1. 24 lessons via audio/video
2. 30 minutes per lecture
3. Would be followed by discussion

III. Recap Last Week - East and West of the Jordan

A. Most everone got their land
B. Determined by lot - God had a hand in who got what
C. Joseph's descendants got two areas (Manassah and Ephraim)
D. Levites and tribe of Simeon left out because of previous sin

IV. The Cities of Refuge

A. Levite cities - all part of God's plan

1. 48 cities - split amongst descendant of Levi's three sons
a. Gershon - 13 cities
b. Kohath - 23 cities (13 for the priests, 10 for remainder of family)
c. Merari - 12 cities
2. Six cities of the 48 were designated cities of refuge
a. 3 on either side of the Jordan
b. Purpose of cities described in Joshua 20:1-6,9)
c. Definition of murder described in Deuteronomy 19:1-13
d. How long was to work described in Numbers 35:4-5,15-30

B. Christ and the Cities of Refuge

1. Five similarities
a. Christ is easy to reach - OT cities of refuge had to be easily accessible (i.e, good, well marked, easy to travel roads leading to the city of refuge)
b. Christ is open to all - OT cities of refuge were open to Jew and Gentile alike
c. Christ never locks his gates - OT cities of refuge did not close their gates
d. Christ is a totally sufficient refuge - OT cities of refuge were capable of meeting refugee's every need (food, water, shelter)
e. No help for us if we do not flee (accept) to the refuge of Christ - OT if accused did not make it to the city of refuge there was no recourse

2 Two big differences
a. Christ protects ALL who believe and accept him, guilty and innocent alike - OT cities of refuge protected only the innocent (wrongly accused)
b. Christ is nearer than any city of refuge, all we have to do is call on him, even on our death bed - OT cities of refuge, you had to travel to get there, took time, if avenger wass faster or stronger than you, too bad, so sad.

3. When do we enter this refuge? Schaeffer suggests three times
a. One - when we accept Christ as our savior
b. Second - every time we sin
c. Three - final moment when we die or Christ returns (whichever comes first)


(1) Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History, Frances Schaeffer, InterVarsity Press 1975

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History - Ch. 10

Chapter 10 - East and West of Jordan

I. Introduction

A. Recap last week - Caleb
B. The lesson this week - Dividing up the promised land

II. Caleb's Faithfulness

A. Believed in God throughout his life
B. God rewarded him for his faithfulness

III. East and West of Jordan

A. Land divied up on three separate occasions

1. First - East of the Jordan by Moses
2. Second - West of the Jordan by Joshua at Gilgal
3. Third - West of the Jordan by Joshua at Shiloh

B. East of the Jordan by Moses

1. Read Deuteronomy 3:8-22
2. This is recapped in Joshua 13:15-31
3. Interesting to note Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh's men of warrior age crossed over the Jordan with the other tribes, leaving behind their women, flocks, and old men to occupy their new territory.
4. Fought alongside their brethren for seven years before returning to their own land!

C. West of the Jordan by Joshua at Gilgal

1. Judah, Ephraim, and other half of Manasseh awarded land by lot at Gilgal
2. 'By lot' implies man did decide allocation of land, God did.
3. All of this described in detail in Joshua ch. 14-17
4. Read Joshua 14:1-5

D. West of the Jordan by Joshua at Shiloh

1. Remaining seven tribal lands distributed
2. Described in Joshua ch. 18-19
3. Read Joshua 18:1-10

E. Why Joseph's descendents receive two parcels of land

1. Ephraim and Manasseh not son's of Jacob but rather of Joseph
2. How did this happen?
3. Read Genesis 48

F. Author shows how Jacob's 'blessing' back in Genesis is actually a prophecy

1. Jacob's prophecy in Genesis 49 is fulfilled in the drawing of the lots
2. Read Genesis 49
3. Fulfillment of Jacob's prophecy is actually part of God's plan
a. Reuben defiled his father's bed - thus his ancestors will not draw the first lot. End up east of the Jordan.
b. Simeon and Levi strategized and conceived a plot to kill Shechem's people (Genesis 34)
c. As a result they were not to receive a whole body of land but rather would be dispursed in cities throughout everyone else's land.
d. This leaves Judah as the next in line destined to draw the first lot.
e. Zebulun called out by Jacob to be sailors and thus receive land by the sea.

IV. Conclusion - Lesson emphasizes two points

A. Continuity of prophecy in the flow of history
B. Importance of right action among the people of God


(1) Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History, Frances Schaeffer, InterVarsity Press 1975

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History - Ch. 9

Chapter 9 - Caleb's Faithfulness

I. Introduction

A. Review - last week

1. Gibeonites deception (didn't call on the Lord)
2. Israelites defeat southern kingdoms

B. This week

1. Defeat of the northern kingdoms
2. Caleb's faithfulness and his reward
3. Israelites failure to follow through
4. How we mimic the Israelites

II. Defeat of the Northern Kingdoms

A. Joshua continues to follow God
B. Israelite armies conquer 5 allied kings of the northern territory

III. Caleb's Faithfulness and his Reward

A. Recall Caleb and Joshua were only two who originally said they could conquer the land (40 years prior)
B. God promised Caleb land for his steadfast faith (Numbers 14:24)
C. Caleb was 40 when he was sent in to spy out the land
D Israelites wandered for 38 years
E. Caleb now 85, thus it has taken them 7 years to conquer the land
F. Caleb again does as God commands, takes the land and wholly destroys the people
G. Caleb asks Joshua for land of Hebron. Joshua grants his request (Joshua 14: 6-15).

IV. Israelites Fail to Follow Through

A. God has commanded they drive out the current inhabitants of the land
B. Israelites instead let the people stay

1. Israelites wanted peace
2. Israelites wanted riches (defeated to pay tribute) (Joshua 16:10, 17:12-13)

C. Israelites stopped short of what they were called to do.

1. Had opportunity to fully participate in God's gifts, but instead chose the easy way
2. Based on the conditional portion of the covenant (which we've discussed before) the blessings stopped. Had received the unconditional gift of the land, but failed to follow through and get 'the whole enchilada'!
3. Read Deuteronomy 12:2-4,28

V. How We Mimic the Israelites

A. We, too fail to follow through on God's promises
B. We accept the unconditional portion of the covenent (eternal life simply by believing and accepting God's grace found in the redemption of Jesus the Christ)
C. Fail in accepting the conditional portion of the covenant
D. Like the Israelites all we want is earthly peace and earthly wealth
E. Holy Spirit lives in us, however we fail to seek the fruits of His presence

1. Read John 14:18
2. Read Galations 5:22-25
3. Read Luke 8:14-15


(1) Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History, Frances Schaeffer, InterVarsity Press 1975

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History - Ch. 8

Chapter 8 - The Gibeonites

I. Introduction

A. Recap - last week
B. The conquest continues

II. Recap - last week

A. Ch. 7 - Mt. Ebal & Gerizim
B. Blessings and Curses

III. The Conquest Continues

A. Lesson this week focuses on events found in Joshua Ch. 9 and 10.
B. Tale of alliances, deception, and oathes
C. 5 city-state kings unite in attempt to defeat Israelites
D. Gibeonites employ different strategy
1. realize God is on the side of the Israelites and they won't be defeated
2. deceive Israelites and get them to enter an Alliance
3. Israelites don't consult God and take an oath on His name
E. 5 city-state kings jointly attack Gibeonites
1. Gibeonites appeal to their Israelite allies
2. Joshua responds despite protests from the people
3. Save Gibeon but Gibeonites are forced into slavery serving the Israelites
F. 5 kings run away and hide in cave
1. Joshua commands his generals to trap the kings inside the cave
2. Joshua then commands them to attack city states
3. Each is destroyed
4. 5 kings then removed from the cave and killed
G. Life lessons
1. Not much to gather from this chapter
2. Author compares Rahab and Gibeonites
a. they came to believe in the Israelite God and struck bargains with the Israelites to avoid destruction
b. both integrated into the Israelite community


(1) Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History, Frances Schaeffer, InterVarsity Press 1975

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History - Ch. 7

Chapter 7 - Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim

I. Introduction

A. Last week covered battles of Jericho and Ai
B. This week Israelites are on the move again, north to Shechem
C. Lesson this week revisits a theme we discussed a couple of weeks ago, the Unconditional Promise and Conditional Promise

II. Short Geography Lesson

A. Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim about 20 miles northwest of Ai
B. Town of Shechem lies between the two mountains
C. Mt. Ebal is north of Mt. Gerizim
D. Only about 500 yards separate the two mountains at their bases
E. Mt. Ebal is 3,007 ft. high, Mt. Gerizim is 2,895 ft. high
F. Later in Jesus' time this is the land of the Samaritans
G. Today it is in the "Left Bank" and home to the Palestinians

III. The Altar on Mount Ebal

A. Read Deuteronomy 27:4-7,11-26
B. Read Joshua 8:33-35
C. God commanded Mt. Gerizim to be marked mountain of blessing and Mt. Ebal mountain of warning (place of the curse)
D. Altar built on Mt. Ebal - symbolized that people would sin and need to come to God's altar for forgiveness
E. Altar was built from uncut stones (world's first "green" construction project)
F. Rough, uncut stones were to remind Israelites that nothing they could do would justify them before God
G. Paul, in Romans, teaches that the Jews tradegies occurred because they kept trying to come to God through the works of the law (represented by Mt. Gerizim) rather than through the altar on Mt. Ebal
H. Read Romans 9:31-10:4

IV. Keeping God's Commands

A. Altar was on mount of cursing because salvation can not come by man's keeping the law.
B. Unconditional promise is represented by the altar on Mt. Ebal
C. By going (accepting) to the altar (Jesus) we receive benefit of God's grace. We can do nothing to earn it, must only be willing to acknowledge we are sinner's, repent at the altar, and accept God's limitless gift of grace.
D. Conditional promise is based on adherence to God's laws. To truly receive God's blessing we must not only accept his unconditional gift of grace but also commit to following His laws. In keeping His laws we are blessed.
E. Read Matthew 7:24-27


(1) Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History, Frances Schaeffer, InterVarsity Press 1975

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History - Ch. 6

I'm back from my one week sabbatical. I'm sure everyone enjoyed the change of pace with Charlie leading you through Ch. 5 and its discussion on the two kinds of memorials. Jack is going to love the lesson this week, it's all about the battles of Jericho and Ai.

I. Ch. 6 - Jericho, Achan, and Ai (a story within a story)

A. Theme 1 - Military history and strategy
B. Theme 2 - God's Judgment

II. Military history and strategy

A. Schaeffer does good job of explaining topography of land
B. Explains similarity between God's strategy and strategy subsequent strategy employed by others through the ages.
C. Hills lie immediately west of Jordan river valley
D. Jericho strategic stronghold at base of hills
E. Ai was high in the hills and would allow Israelites to control surrounding area
F. Also focused on Israelites core strength - light infantry and negated Canaanite strength in chariots.
E. Three Phases to overall strategy

1. Establish bridge-head west of the Jordan
2. Gain a foothold in the mountains west of the river valley
3. Spread out from the secured base on the central ridge to widen the area of occupation for permanent settlement

III. Taking of Jericho

A. God's plan

1. Walk silently around city once each day for 6 days
2. City was small probably only covered about 7 acres
3. Front of the army would probably meet the back of the army as they completed their circuit (i.e, they would have the city surrounded)
4. On seventh day walk around seven times and shout at the sound of the trumpet at the conclusion of the seventh circuit
5. Walls would then fall down and the city would be violently overthrown

B. "Battles of the Bible Explanation"

1. After seeing Israelites walking around city once each day for 6 consectutive days Canaanites would become complacent
2. By seventh day they would be lulled into believing nothing was going to happen, then the Israelites would attack while the Canaanites' guard was down

IV. Battle for City of Ai

A. Did Israelites get cocky or did they have a flawed plan?
B. Battles of the Bible says it was probably both
1. Israelite scouting reports were overly optimistic - only need 3,000 men
2. Underestimated great strength inherent in ruins prepared as defensive positions
C. We'll find out in second half of the lesson the real reason the Israelites failed in their initial attempt to capture Ai
D. Israelites were routed, chased back down the hills, and lost 36 men

V. The Other Story - God's Judgment

A. The city shall be accursed (Joshua 6:17)
1. Hebrew word used means both "accursed" and "devoted" (i.e., given to God)
2. Joshua told to spare Rahab and her family but burn everything else to the ground
3. Nothing was to be taken, no food, no gold, no silver, nothing. The "first fruits" of their victory over the Canaanites was to go to God (Joshua 6:19)
B. Achan's Sin
1. One man from tribe of Judah, Achan disobeyed decree took gold, silver, and Babylonian garment
2. Easy to understand why Achan was tempted to take gold and silver, but why the Babylonian garment - in a word, prestige. Anything Babylonian stood for success and power, it was chic.
3. Achan's sin had two parts, simple theft and pride
4. However, he didn't just steal from anyone. He stole from God!

VI. The Principle of Judgment

A. Four steps
1. When we sin God knows - can't hide it
2. When we sin the blessing stops or slows
3. Judgment will follow - all sin has consequences
4. Turning from sin (repentence) leads to a resumption in the blessing
B. Principle is seen time and time again throughout Bible and our lives today
C. One individuals sin can impact blessing of entire community
1. Achan sinned - Israelites suffered defeat at Ai
2. Not sure its because God punishes all for sins of one but because sin can have unintended consequences. There can and will be "collateral damage".

VII. Other Tidbits from the Lesson

A. Sin always begins in the mind
1. Interestingly Schaeffer points out that the 10th and last commandment is "Do not covet"
2. However, coveting precedes every other sin. "Before we break any of the other nine, we have coveted internally something either of God's or of another person's."
B. Achan's theft of the Babylonian garment
1. Does it teach us to beware of grasping for affluence, for prestige, of trying to be a VIP?
2. When we serve the Lord what is our motive?
a. Do we do it out of love and generosity, wanting to give back in a small way to our God?
b. Or, do we sometimes do it for the recognition, or to stroke our ego?


(1) Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History, Frances Schaeffer, InterVarsity Press 1975
(2) Battles of the Bible, Caim Herzog & Mordechan Gichon, Barnes & Noble Publishing 2006

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History - Ch. 4

Chapter 4 - Rahab

I. Introduction

A. Recap last week - The Continuity of the Covenant
B. Rahab

II. Recap - The Continuity of the Covenant

A. Focused on the Israelite National Covenant
B. National Covenant comprised of two parts

1. National blessing - I will make thee a great nation
2. Land - give Israelites all of the land from the Euphrates to the great sea

C. Also spoke of the Spiritual Covenant or "blessing" - all the world would be blessed through Abraham

III. Rahab - It's all about Faith and Demonstrating Your Faith through Works

A. The Spies Perspective

1. Read Joshua 2:1
2. Why did the spies go to Rahab's house? Easy to get "lost" there.
3. What did the spies get from Rahab?
a. Shelter - a place to stay
b. Priceless information - Rahab told spies citizens of Jericho feared the Israelites (read Joshua 2:9-11)
3. How did the spies exhibit Faith?
a. Read Joshua 2:14
b. Told Rahab she would be spared when the Lord gave them the land, not if, but "when".

B. Rahab's Perspective

1. Read Joshua 2:12-21
2. Without a doubt Rahab was a harlot in a heathen land
3. That fact is central to lesson today.
4. Because of what she had heard and seen she came to believe in the one true God
a. Heard about Israelites crossing Red Sea, winning victories over Sihon and Og
b. Seen first-hand faith of the two spies - weren't tempted while in Rahab's house
5. Rahab was one of the first non-Jew recipients of the spiritual blessing.
6. Read Hebrews 11:31

C. The Scarlet Cord

1. Closely parallels the blood of the Passover lamb
2. Those within her house would not be harmed

D. Faith in Action

1. Bible expressly states Rahab expressed her faith through action
2. She did not leave Jericho with the spies. She stayed behind in Jericho, placing herself in great peril. Had to have had faith and believed that her new, true God would keep her safe.
3. This faith recognized by James (read James 2:21,25)
4. Rahab gives us a powerful example of how to live in faith surrounded by heathens
a. Schaeffer - "Though you and I have stepped from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son, we are still surrounded by a culture controlled by God's great enemy, Satan."
b. Schaeffer - "It is just plain stupid for a Christian not to expect spiritual warfare while he lives in enemy territory."

E. Rahab: Ancestor of Christ

1. Read Joshua 6:25
2. Rahab lived with the Jews for the rest of her life
3. She married a prince's son from the tribe of Judah
a. Read Numbers 7:12
b. Read Ruth 4:18-22
c. Read Matthew 1:4-6

F. Conclusion - may we have the Faith of Rahab as we live in a heathen land.


(1) Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History, Frances Schaeffer, InterVarsity Press 1975

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History - Ch. 3

Ch. 3 - The Continuity of the Covenant

I. Introduction

A. Recap Ch. 2 - The Three Changeless Factors
B. Ch. 3 - The Continuity of the Covenant

II. Ch. 2 - The Three Changeless Factors

A. The Written Book
B. The Power of God
C. The Supernatural Leader

III. Ch. 3 - The Continuity of the Convenant

A. Recalling the Abrahamic Covenant

1. Abrahamic Covenant first given in Genesis 12:1-3
2. Author then goes on to say that to fully understand this convenant we need to go back further to Adam & Eve.
a. Covenant of Grace first given after Adam & Eve rebel
b. Prior to rebellion Convenant was based on works, they were without sin so grace was not needed.
c. Read Genesis 3:15. Very confusing scripture and controversial scripture
i. Some including our author, claim "seed of woman" referenced in scripture is Jesus
ii. Others say 'hogwash', no messianic prophecy was intended.
iii. Bibliography contains one view of each.
d. Covenant of grace limited to believers (Seth, Shem, down to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob)
e. Non-believers, no covenant (Cain, Ham, Esau)
f. Specific Covenant God made to Abraham had two parts
i. First was a spiritual blessing - all the world would be blessed through Abraham (Jesus was Jewish by birth, Abraham was the first Jew)
ii. Second was a national blessing with two parts
- Make Israel a great nation
- A promise of land

B. The Spiritual Portion

1. Read Acts 3:22, 24-26. Peter addressing Jews - their covenant with God has two parts. Spiritual one must be accepted and can only be obtained by believing in Jesus, the Christ (Messiah).
2. Read Romans 4:16-17. Spiritual covenant conveys to all, Jew and Gentile alike.

C. The National Portion

1. Read I Chronicles 16:15-18.
2. Read Genesis 15:5-18
3. Read Genesis 17:2-8

D. The Promises Repeated

1. Get the sense God's chosen people needed constant reminding (not unlike ourselves today)

E. Was God Unjust

1. Read Deuteronomy 9:4-5.
2. God clearly indicating timing of his gift of land dependent upon judgement upon Canaanites.
3. Author points to several other examples of God's patience finally giving way to judgement.
i. Proverbial straw that broke the camel's back
ii. Or author's visual is a full cup of water finally spilling over with the addition of just one more drop.
4. Author's point is that we won't receive our spiritual blessing until God's cup of patience is spilled.
i. Read Luke 18:8.
ii. Read Romans 11:26-27.
iii. Read Luke 17:26-30.


(1) Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History, Frances Schaeffer, InterVarsity Press 1975

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History - Ch. 2

I. Introduction

A. Recap Last Week - Joshua's Preparation
B. This Week - Three Changless Factors

II. Recap - Joshua's Preparation

A. God had a plan - Joshua was the heir apparent
B. In Israel's 40 years of wandering Joshua learned many things about both leading and about his God, Yahweh

1. God does not tolerate rebellion
2. True power comes from God
3. God is always immediately present
3. Sin amongst God's people is terrible
4. Merely using the name of God is not sufficient
5. God can and will guide
6. God's glory must come first
7. God doesn't follow man-made rules
8. A man of God must stand and trust God
9. God keeps His promises
10. True spiritual leadership comes from God
11. No one is indispensable, yet each person is unique and important

III. Three Changless Factors

A. One - The Written Book

1. Pentateuch - God directs Moses to write down the law
2. Read Deuteronomy 31:9
3. Schaeffer calls it "propositional, verbalized communication from God to man"
4. Book was to be accessible by the people - read Deuteronomy 31:9-13
5. God commands Joshua to read, talk, know, and follow the Book - read Joshua 1:1-8
a. "law not to depart from Joshua's mouth" - talk about the Word
b. "meditate on it day and night" - cognitive activity, think about it.
c. "observe to do all that is written therein" - follow it, do it!
6. Joshua's acceptance of the Book was the beginning of the Canon
7. Joshua, as he lead the people, had an objective standard - The Book
8. Today, we too, have an objective standard to follow - The Bible (it is changeless)

B. Two - The Power of God

1. Read Joshua 3:7-17, 4:14-18
2. God again demonstrates His power - power of God upon Moses now associated with Joshua
3. God also emphasized this point during the battle with the Amalakites
a. Moses held his staff high - Israelites prevailed
b. Moses grew tired and lowered staff - Amalakites prevailed
4. God is in charge, He has the power; yesterday, today, and tomorrow

C. Three - The Supernatural Leader

1. God is a being - alpha and the omega, without end
2. Continuity of a Person - Read Joshua 5:13-17; 6:2
3. At end of his life Moses spoke about this continuity - read Deuteronomy 31:2-8

D. Three Changless Factors Today

1. Continuity of authority in the Book - read 2 Peter 1:19-21, Revelation 22:18-19
2. Continuity of the power of God - read Matthew 28:18. God has been, is, and always will be in charge
3. Continuity in the Supernatural Leader - read Matthew 28:20
4. Conclusion - Schaeffer says "Each of the three great changeless factors that stood at such a crucial time as Joshua's, at the change from the Pentateuhal to the post-Pentateuhal period, continues unbroken. There are changes in history, but these three things go on without changing. We in our battles in this century have the same book, the same power, and the same leader."


(1) Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History, Frances A. Schaeffer, InterVarsity Press 1975

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Joshua's Preparation


Finally our books have arrived and we're able to begin our new study on the Book of Joshua. After reading the first chapter I think I'm going to like this new book. The author's writing style is very readable and holds your attention. So let's dig right in and see what this all about.

I. Introduction

A. Surprise! Chapter 1 - mainly based on events found in books of the Pentateuch

1. Exodus
2. Deuteronomy
3. Numbers

B. Theme of Chapter 1 - God preparing Joshua to lead the Israelites

II. Joshua references before the Book of Joshua

A. Exodus Ch.17 v9 (Going out to fight the Amalekites)
B. Exodus Ch.24 v13 (On Mount Sinai)
C. Exodus Ch.32 (The Golden Calf)
D. Exodus Ch.33 (In the Tabernacle)
E. Numbers Ch.11 v24-29 (Prophesying in the Camp)
F. Numbers Ch.13-14 (Spying out the Land)
G. Numbers Ch.26 v65 (Joshua's Ordination)
H. Deuteronomy Ch.31 v2-8 (Moses Final Address)

III. Joshua's "Internship" - What did he learn?

A. God is not far off. He is immediately present
B. Sin is terrible, especially among the people of God
C. Merely using the name of God is not sufficient
D. God can and will guide
E. God's glory is to come first
F. God makes the rules, and more importantly God doesn't follow our rules
G. A man of God must stand and trust God
H. God keeps his promises and distinguishes among people
I. True spiritual leadership comes from God, not man.
J. No one is indispensable, yet each person is important and unique


(1) Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History, Francis A. Schaeffer, Inter Varsity Press 1975

Saturday, January 8, 2011

An Introduction to Joshua

This week we begin our study of Joshua. I'm excited about our return to the Old Testament. Here we will learn not only about the word of the Lord but also about ancient history and the timeless shortcomings of man.

Without further ado let's start our study with an overview of the book.

I. Who is the book about?

A. Book is about God's chosen people, the Israelites
B. Book is also about their second leader, Joshua, who succeeded Moses

II. What is the book about?

A. Book is about Israelites transition from a tribal community to a nation-state
B. Book is about God's delivery of his people into the promised land
B. Book contains three major sections
1. Israelites invasion (claiming) of the land west of the Jordan
2. Israelites subjection (conquering) of the land
3. Israelites distribution (colonization) of the land amongst the 12 tribes

III. What is the timeframe covered in the book?

A. Book picks up after the death of Moses and the succession of Joshua, chosen by Moses to lead the Israelites across the Jordan into the promised land.
B. Chronologically and relative to its placement in the Bible it immediately follows Deuteronomy and precedes Judges.
C. Some estimate time was around 1406 B.C. to 1399 B.C.
D. Others estimate it at 1456 B.C. to 1426 B.C.
E. Not going to quibble, it was "a long time ago, in a land far away"


(1) The HarperCollins Study Bible
(2) Willmington's Guide to the Bible, Tyndale Press, 1981
(3) A Chronological Bible Timeline:
(4) Old Testament Timeline: