Tag Archives: Bible study lesson

The Response of Nehemiah

In Nehemiah 1, we read about a report that Nehemiah receives from Jerusalem. When he hears about what is happening to God’s people and to the state of Jerusalem, he weeps. Not only does he mourn for days, but he fasts and prays continuously. He is more than a little upset. He is unsettled. He is grieved.

When I read about this grief, this mourning by Nehemiah, I cannot help but wonder if we ever grieve like that because of the spiritual state of others. Are we uncomfortable because God is not honored, when we know He alone deserves all honor, glory and praise? Is it upsetting when we see something that once glorified God, now broken and in disarray? When we see brokenness, do we seek out God to heal, restore, and redeem?

Today we are not looking to rebuild a wall. Nehemiah took care of that great work. But God has put a vision in your heart. He wants to do great things through you to glorify Him. Seek Him. Ask Him to reveal this great work. Ask Him to strengthen your feet. Ask Him to help you speak boldly. Press forward and watch Him move in mighty ways.

“When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” – Nehemiah 1:4 [NASB]

 

 

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Ephesians Study: Love of Christ

 

[Ephesians 3:14-19]

“And I ask Him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God” 17-19 [MSG]

 

17 –          Rooted deep in love… founded securely on love

18-19 –    Strength to comprehend…

BREADTH – extends to all

John 3:16 – For God so LOVED THE WORLD

LENGTH – everlasting duration

Romans 8:37-39 – Nothing can separate you from LOVE of GOD

DEPTH – Christ’s humility saves those from pit of sin

Ephesians 2:4-5 – When dead in trespasses made alive

Romans 5:8 – While still sinners, Christ died for us

HEIGHT – raises to glory

Ephesians 2:6 – Raised & seated with God because united with Jesus

2 Corinthians 4:14 – Raises us with Jesus and brings us into His presence

Know the Love of Christ that…

Surpasses Knowledge

Fills you with all the fullness of God

 

“We should be astonished at the goodness of God, stunned that He should bother to call us by name, our mouths wide open at His love, bewildered that at this very moment we are standing on holy ground.” – Brennan Manning

Bible Study Questions:

  1. We usually gauge the depth of someone’s love for us by the cost of that love. Many times we look at the sacrifices, the money, the time we give as a way to measure the love. How can we measure Christ’s love by what it cost Him?

 

  1. We can gauge the depth of someone’s love for us by how much we actually deserve the love. If we are not so nice to someone and they love us compared to someone who loves us when we treat them well, there is a difference. It’s more difficult to love some people. How can we measure Christ’s love by how much we deserve it?

 

  1. We can gauge the depth of someone’s love for us by the greatness of the benefits we receive from being loved. What are the benefits we receive from Christ’s love?

 

  1. We can gauge the depth of someone’s love by the freedom with which they love us, meaning that the person isn’t doing something because they are made to do so, but because they choose, they so desire. How free is the love of Christ?

 

  1. What gets in the way from you accepting the love of Christ? What gets in the way from you showing the love of Christ to the body of Christ (the Church)?

 

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:

1- Sons and Daughters

2- Immeasurable Greatness

3- God’s Workmanship

4- Our Cornerstone

5- Least of the Saints

6- Love of Christ

7- Abundantly More

8- Unity of the Body

9- Anger Management

10- Exposed by the Light

11- Submission

12- Prepared for Battle

Ephesians Study: Immeasurable Greatness

[Ephesians 1:15-23]

The Power of God – Omnipotence (all-powerful)

  • Parted the Red Sea & the Jordan River
  • Reattached the ear of the soldier
  • Raised the dead – Resurrection Power!

God’s power is GREAT – God’s power is UNABLE TO BE MEASURED

  1. 19 “And what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.” [ESV]
  2. 21-22 “Now He is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else–not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church.” [NLT]

All things under the feet of Jesus

He is above

  • All authorities
  • All powers
  • All dominions
  • Every name named in this age & the age to come
  • The Church

 

  • God raised Jesus – defeated death / broke the power of death (v. 20a)
  • God seated Jesus at His right hand – and we are seated with Him! (v. 20b)
  • God set Jesus over all demonic powers (v. 21)
  • God gave Jesus as head over all things to the Church (v. 22)
  • Where God rules, we believers rule (v. 23)

The Apostle Paul is praying in this passage. He wants us to know three things:

  • The hope to which He has called you
  • The riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints
  • The immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe

Paul is saying…

  • You have the calling
  • You are heirs – you have an inheritance
  • You have the power of God

He is praying that you may KNOW – that you would know this power toward us

Bible Study Questions:

How would you describe the power of God?

We have the power of God within us. Why does it sometimes seem otherwise? What gets in the way of this power?

What helps us to know the power of God?

How can we use this power within us?

Read 1 Peter 4:11. Why do we want to live our lives with this power?

When you have seen the power of God at work?

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:

1- Sons and Daughters

2- Immeasurable Greatness

3- God’s Workmanship

4- Our Cornerstone

5- Least of the Saints

6- Love of Christ

7- Abundantly More

8- Unity of the Body

9- Anger Management

10- Exposed by the Light

11- Submission

12- Prepared for Battle

Colossians Study: Worship Works

[Colossians 3:22-25]

“What you think about you care about

What you care about you chase”

“Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.” (v. 22-25 MSG)

  • Do your best
  • Work from the heart
  • Remember Who you serve

“Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.” – Romans 12:11 [NLT]

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

– 1 Corinthians 10:31 [NASB]

Anything you do can be an ACT OF WORSHIP

“The Lord is pleased with those who worship Him and trust His love

– Psalm 147:11 [CEV]

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” – Romans 12:1-2 [MSG]

Bible Study Questions:

1) The passage speaks about working from the heart. This phrase “from the heart” translates in the Greek as “the soul” or “life” or “self” – “the breath of life.” What does that mean for us?

2) What is the difference between working for men and working for God?

3) Romans 12:11 says we should not be lazy. Instead we should work enthusiastically. What should we do if we find ourselves not working with enthusiasm?

4) The Bible says we should serve with joy (Psalm 100:2). What can we do if we find ourselves serving but not with joy? If we are not serving with joy, with what are we serving?

5) What does it mean when Paul says “do your best”? What is your best? How do you know it is your best?

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:

Gospel Truth
Will of God
Lord of All
Ministry to Maturity
Foolish Philosophies
Men of Rules
Realities of Heaven
Taking Responsibility
Godly Living
Worship Work
Good Words
True Forgiveness

More Than a Story: Kingdom-Focused

[Matthew 13]

Contains EIGHT parables!! All of these parables speak about the kingdom of heaven.

  • Parable of the Sower
    • Readiness to hear and receive the Message of the kingdom of heaven.
  • Three parables about growth: Weeds, Mustard Seed, Yeast/Leaven
    • Parable of the Weeds – weeds among good seed, test between true disciples and others.
    • Parable of the Mustard Seed – seed into large tree
    • Parable of the Yeast – hidden in the flour till all leavened
    • Mustard Seed & Yeast speak about small beginnings. God’s work may appear unimpressive at first but appearances are deceptive. BE PATIENT. Little equals big when God is at work.
  • Three more parables: Hidden Treasure, Pearl of Great Value, Net
    • Parable of the Hidden Treasure shows wholehearted response to Kingdom of heaven—no sacrifice is too large and equals joy and fulfillment
    • The Parable of the Pearl of Great Value – when found sold all had and – similar to Hidden Treasure
    • The Parable of the Net – fish of every kind, sorted good in containers and threw out the bad
    • The Net is similar to the Weeds – sorting good & bad. The church will always be mixed until the final judgment.
  • Parable of the Householder / Master of the House – speaks of new treasures (the teaching of Jesus Christ) and old truths

Readiness

  • ready to hear and receive the Message (Parable of the Sower)
  • ready to give Jesus first place (Parable of the Hidden Treasure, Parable of the Pearl of Great Value)
  • ready for testing (Parable of the Weeds, Parable of the Net)

Faithfulness

  • faith to allow God to grow you into who He made you to be for greater things (Parable of the Mustard Seed, Parable of the Yeast)
  • faith to follow God’s leading and to adhere to God’s timing (Parable of the Mustard Seed, Parable of the Yeast)
  • faith to speak the Truth (Parable of the householder)

Bible Study Questions:

1) Looking at the Parable of the Weeds, why did the master want to wait for the harvest time to gather the weeds? What does this mean for us?

2) Let us consider leaven. In the Parable of the Leaven, the passage says that the woman puts a little leaven in the flour and then it all was leavened. She added some leaven and all was impacted. What does this mean for us?

3) The Parable of the Leaven speaks about inner growth, while the Parable of the Mustard Seed focuses on outside growth. Do you think one is more important than the other? Do you think they are related?

4) The Parable of the Hidden Treasure and the Parable of the Pearl of Great Value both talk about selling all that was owned for the field containing the treasure and the pearl. What is the risk in selling all you have? What might slow you down or keep you from doing this? What does this mean for us?

5) The Parable of the Net speaks about gathering fish of every kind. It also speaks about the net being full. What is the takeaway when looking at the gathering of the diverse fish? What are your thoughts on the net being full?

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

More Than a Story: Faithfulness

[The Loaned Money: Matthew 25:14-30]

  • Also known as the Parable of the Talents
  • A talent is a monetary unit worth about 20 years’ worth of wages.
  • Talent is useless if it is not used.
  • No one is without talent.
  • Talents given according to ability – 5, 2, 1

Responsibility – Faithful over little, set you over much – Action is required

Time – Talent – Treasure

 

  • We are to be RESPONSIBLE and CREATIVE
  • We are all different but His expectations are always appropriate.
  • Talents (Resources from God) + Action for God + Time (Gift from God)

                                                                                   = Profit for Kingdom

The third servant – the evil, lazy servant…

  • Hid the talent because he was concerned with safety more than service
  • To avoid not doing anything wrong, he ended up not doing anything right.

To be faithful, one must be:

  • Focused on Jesus – All about Jesus, growing His Kingdom (Colossians 3:17)
  • Founded in Jesus – Abide in Him (John 15)
  • Fearless for Jesus – Hope in Jesus = Boldness/Courage (2 Corinthians 3:12)

Bible Study Questions:

1) What was the Master’s commendations for the two successful servants?

2) What did the Master do for the successful servants?

3) The unfaithful servant was described as three words. How was he described?

4) What happened to the unfaithful servant when the Master returned?

5) How do we bury the talents God has given us?

6) How can we discover our talents? How can we use them for God’s glory?

7) How can we encourage others with their talents?

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

More Than a Story: Compassion

[The Good Samaritan: Luke 10:25-37]

Compassion – Deep awareness of the sufferings or misfortunes of another with a desire to relieve it.

Verse 37 – And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” [NASB]

Mercyeleos (el’-eh-os) – pity, mercy, compassion, tender mercy, kindness

Samehomoiós (hom-oy’-oce) – In like manner, similarly, in the same way, equally

Psalm 86:15“But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.” [NLT]

CompassionRachum – (rakh-oom’) – compassionate, full of compassion

Jesus expressed compassion to:

  • Weary (Matthew 11)
  • Tempted (Hebrews 2)
  • Helpless (Mark 9)
  • Sorrowful (Luke 7)
  • Multitudes (Matthew 15)

 Zechariah 7:9“Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another.” [ESV]

Colossians 3:12 – “Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” [HCSB]

“Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.” – Albert Schweitzer

Bible Study Questions:

1) Before the Parable was told, Jesus was tested by a lawyer. The lawyer answered correctly about the Law (v. 27). He knew what God’s Word said. Jesus said, “Do this, and you will live.” What was the “do this”?

2) The lawyer intended to justify himself and asked, “Who is my neighbor”? In the last verse of the passage, Jesus asks him who was his neighbor. Which fellow from the Parable was the neighbor? What did he do for the man?

3) What did the compassionate fellow do for the man that can remind us of the unfailing, unending compassion of our God? (See verse 35)

4) What do you think it means to be compassionate toward someone? Was there a time in your life when you did this to another? Was there a time when someone showed compassion to you?

5) Jesus showed compassion to all people, and these people each lived in various circumstances. How can we show compassion to the

  • Weary –
  • Tempted –
  • Helpless –
  • Sorrowful –
  • Multitudes –

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

More Than A Story: Obedience

[The Vineyard Workers: Matthew 20:1-16]

Isaiah 1:19 – “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land.” [HCSB]

God uses EVERYONE obedient to Him – Peter asks “WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME”?

“Then Peter chimed in, ‘We left everything and followed you. What do we get out of it?’ Jesus replied, ‘Yes, you have followed me. In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously, you who have followed me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel. And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life. This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.’” – Matthew 19:27-30 [MSG]

“Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous? So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”- Matthew 20:15-16 [NIV]

1) This parable is not about salvation or eternal life

Salvation is not earned by works

Ephesians 2:8-9“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” [NASB]

Titus 3:5-6He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.” [NLT]

2) This parable is not about rewards for service

God rewards differently

1 Corinthians 3:8 – “He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.” [ESV]

LABORERS WHO BEGAN AT 6AM FAILED TO BE THANKFUL – SELF-SERVING ATTITUDE

We all will receive great rewards for following Jesus (see Revelation 22:12)

OBEDIENCE – act of obeying, words or actions denoting submission to authority, dutifulness

  • Obedience expresses faith in His wisdom and love. (Hebrew 11:6)
  • Obedience expresses hope in a future blessing. (Mark 10:29-30)
  • Obedience expresses love (John 14:15, 2 John 1:6)
  • Obedience glorifies God (Matthew 5:16)

Bible Study Questions:

1) In this parable, we read about a Landowner, Laborers, a work day, a Vineyard, and the end of the work day. What do you think these people/things represent?

Landowner –

Laborers –

Vineyard –

Day of work –

End of the work day –

2) Those who were hired last were unworthy of what they received. They were receiving a day’s wage despite working less than a day’s work. They were paid first. They were treated equally.

How does this resemble God’s grace?

What reminds us of our unworthiness?

3) Those who were hired first were paid last. It was their opinion that they were treated unfairly though they were paid an equal amount and given exactly what was agreed upon.

Why was it difficult for these workers to accept God’s grace towards others?

What made this an unfair transaction (from their vantage point)?

4) Before this parable, Peter asks what the disciples will gain for leaving everything behind. Jesus twice speaks of the Great Reversal. Those who are first will be last; those who are last will be first. It wasn’t about the difference of the reward. We should all be thankful.

How can we obey with an attitude of gratitude? What does this look like?

What should be our motivation of service?

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

More Than a Story: Forgiveness

More Than a Story is a 12 week study of the parables of Jesus. This is the second week: FORGIVENESS.

[The Unforgiving Debtor: Matthew 18:21-35]

Unforgiveness is the POISON we drink hoping another will die

When you hold tight to an unforgiving spirit you slowly die to TRUTH and RIGHTEOUSNESS – PRISONER

Peter came and asked “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” (v. 21b ESV)

He thought he was being extra generous with his forgiveness because Jewish law said to forgive a person three times.

Jesus answered “Seventy-seven times.”

“And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?” (Matthew 18:33 ESV)

Mercyeleeó (el-eh-eh’-o) – pity, have mercy on, show mercy, have compassion

These people begged for mercy:

  1. 26 says “the servant fell on his knees, imploring” the king
  2. 29 says “his servant fell down and pleaded with” the forgiven servant

Each of us is forgiven because of Jesus. Jesus paid the debt.

“But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.”                – Matthew 6:15 [HCSB]

  • Remember how much you’ve been forgiven (Ephesians 4:32)
  • Don’t try to get even (Romans 12:19)
  • Respond to evil with good (Luke 6:27)
  • Pray for those who persecute you (Luke 6:28)

“Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” – Romans 12:18 [NLT]

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

1) In Matthew 18:21-22, we read about Peter approaching Jesus with the question – “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive Him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answers, “Seventy-seven times.” What does that mean?

 2) Read Luke 17:3-4. This passage mentions something happening before the forgiveness happens. What does it mention? Should this be required to forgive something?

3) The passage from Matthew 18 says we must continue to forgive. What is hard about forgiving someone again and again?

 4) From where are we to forgive from? How can we do this?

5) Read Ephesians 4:32. How are we to forgive?

6) Share an example from your life when you needed to forgive.

            Were you able to easily forgive?

            What made it easier/difficult?

            How did you feel after you forgave the person/people?

 

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

Feeding the Five Thousand Lesson

Feeding the Five Thousand

[Matthew 14:15-21, Mark 6:35-44, Luke 9:12-17, John 6:4-13]

Beyond the Text

  • What fish did Jesus feed to the people?
    • The Bible doesn’t say and scholars don’t know. Legend has it that the fish was Tilapia, also known as “St. Peter’s Fish.”
  • What about the Feeding of Four Thousand? Is it the same?
    • Matthew 15:32-38 and Mark 8:1-9 contains a story of the Feeding the Four Thousand in Decapolis. Though some people believe this is another account of the Feeding the Five Thousand, most agree it is a different event. This event describes seven loaves of bread and two fish.
  • The Feeding the Five Thousand is the only miracle to appear in all four Gospels besides the Resurrection.
  • The Bible says there were 5,000 men. This number does not include the women and children. Most scholars believe there was likely 15,000 people fed during this miracle.
  • What was eight months of a man’s wages?
    • The eight months of a man’s wages is about two hundred denarii. A denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer.

Discussion

When it was getting late, what did the disciples want to do with the crowds?

What was Jesus’ response to the disciples?

When Jesus told the disciples “You give them something to eat,” what was the response from the disciples?

The boy provided five loaves and two fish. What did Jesus do? What did the disciples do?

When you have a need, do you try to meet the need? Do you trust God to meet the need? Do you trust God to do the impossible?

This event shows us Jesus provides to the disciples and then they provide to the crowd. How is that similar to what we do as good stewards? As ministers of the Good News? How is this similar for both physical needs and spiritual needs?

The disciples wanted to send the people away but Jesus wanted to take care of their needs. The passage before the Feeding of Five Thousand speaks about something Jesus had for the people. What was this trait? How does it help us to meet the needs of others?

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