Sunday, December 26, 2010

Bible Study John 12:1-19 Jesus the People's King

We are moving towards the event of the Cross. This was the Passion week. John used about 1/2 of the gospel to record this, showing its importance. It was six days before the Passover and Jesus came to Bethany at the house of Martha, Mary and Lazarus.
(A similar incidence was recorded in Mat 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9 at Bethany in the House of Simon, the unnamed lady anointed Jesus from His head. Some think that this lady was Mary and some think not).

Q1 What did Mary do and why did she do it? What was the meaning?
Martha served, Lazarus was sitting with Jesus as the table (John 12:2). Mary was preparing the perfume to anoint Jesus. The perfume cost about 1 year wage (John 12:5).  She anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair. We can only guess at Mary's intention for the act. It certainly honored Jesus (we use water to watch feet and towels to dry them) and show the love the respect that Mary had for her Lord Jesus. Jesus stated the act was for his burial.

Q2 What did learn about the character of Judah? Do you agree with his proposal of helping the poor? What can you learn from this?
John was very explicit in stating that Judas was a thief and his stealing from the money bag of offering. He also said that giving to the poor was just a plot for him to steal the money so that we need not have any doubts about his lack of intention of helping the poor.

Assuming the proposal did come from Judas, the motive is pure in helping the poor, do you agree that it was a waste of anointing Jesus with 1 year worth of wages perfume ?
Mary had the right to use the money she had saved for whatever she desired. The Holy Spirit had led Mary to it in honor for Jesus. Jesus, the Lord and Savor, deserved all our worship. This was a sign given to show forth the identity of Jesus. This money was set aside for this very purpose. Money for poor can come from other sources.

We need to discern the motivation behind the statements made by people. They are many who did evil in the name of good and even of God. Ten commandments have a specific one prohibiting us to use the Name of the Lord in vain but we had heard often from preachers who boldly preached that God told him to do this or that where in fact it could be just their own desire talking, like Judas. May we be always on our guard, listening to the Holy Spirit, to wisely discern the true intentions behind the seemingly good proposal.

Q3 Would you like to be Lazarus?
Do you wish to be Lazarus, the dead was raised by Jesus, and became the center of attraction? Will you be comfortable to be a testimony for Jesus and at the same time be the death target of the Pharisees? (John 12:10-11). The Bible recorded no spoken word from Lazarus.

Q4  Describe the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
Read Mat 21:1-11, Mark 11:8-10 to have more information about this event.
Jesus rode the older donkey out of Jerusalem to Mount Olive. He then rode on the younger colt back into Jerusalem to meet the cheering crowd. This incidence it to fulfill the prophecy and to tell all that Jesus was indeed the Messiah they were waiting and looking for. See (Zech 9:9) ​​​​​​​​Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

The raising of Lazarus had contributed much to the popularity of Jesus (12:17-18).
So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 

The increased popularity of Jesus had also increased the anxiety of the Pharisees.

We can compare the common people vs the Pharisees. When there is conflict of interests, truth could be ignored, covered up and distorted. Personal interests tend to override truth. We see it in the Judas incidence above as well. This is the greed and evil of man that we need to be delivered from.

What a contrast.
Contrasting Behaviors of People - Mary's love vs Judas' greed. Common People's honoring Jesus vs Authorities' anxiety and doing away with Him.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bible Study John 11 Raising of Lazarus

Q1 Discuss the relationships among Jesus, Lazarus, Mary and Martha.

Martha was the elder sister of Mary and Lazarus was their younger brother. Martha was well known for her diligence in serving others and at times at the expense of communication (Luke 10:38-41). Martha love language was serving and she was more task oriented. Mary was more people oriented and personal. She spent time with people to build relationship. Mary anointing of Jesus was specifically mentioned here to show her love for Jesus (Will come back to this on John 12:3. It was likely that she was the woman mentioned in Mar 14:3, Mat 26:6-7 since it happened in Bethany but could be different due to different actions recorded).

They were close friends of Jesus at Bethany. This could be seen from Jesus' feeling and action in John 11:5 Jesus loved them, 33 greatly troubled, 35 Jesus wept. This is the shortest verse in the Bible.

Q2 Explain why Jesus waited 2 days longer when he heard Lazarus was ill? What else can you learn from this?

Jesus wanted to make doubly sure that everyone then knew Lazarus was truly dead so that there would not be any argument about the raising of the death. This raising of the death is a true testimony to Jesus' claim of "I am the Resurrection and the Life".  When Jesus arrived at Bethany, Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days.

We also learned that things taking a turn for the worse, from sickness to death, may not be a bad thing in the plan of God.(John 11:15 glad that I was not there so that you may believe). This raising bring great glory to Jesus and also hasten His death.

This incident also shown Jesus had word of knowledge John 11:14 Jesus plainly told them that Lazarus was death even though the report they received was for sickness only.

When there is a call from God, danger was not an obstacle. John 11:8 the Jews were seeking to stone Him in Judea. Paul did the same, went to Jerusalem. despite the warning Act 11:21.

Q3 Compare Martha and Mary sayings to Jesus. What could we infer from that?

Both of them said the same thing “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Their concept of Jesus was just healer and not a life giver!

Jesus engaged Martha with a longer conversation. Hoping to give her greater faith that He was truly the Resurrection and Life and would raise Lazarus from the death. Martha gave the right answers with her mouth "Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” John 11:27, but not with her heart! She later prevented Jesus from taking away the stone that covered the Lazarus tomb (John 11:39).

Mary shown more respect of Jesus, she fell at his feet (John 11:34) and she just keep quiet and trust Jesus to do the right thing. She may or may not had fully understood what Jesus meant, but she just follow Him. When we are unsure, it is better to keep our mouth shut and don't speak out words of doubts.

(For a different interpretation of Martha's response see God-Inspired Delays - Martha shamed Him by saying..)

Q4 Describe how Lazarus of raised.

This incidence was a real event. The facts were:
  1. Lazarus was sick and died and buried in the tomb for 4 days.
  2. They people came to comfort Martha and Mary.
  3. They followed them to the tomb.
  4. The stone was rolled off.
  5. Jesus prayed loudly for all to hear and then cried out loudly to command Lazarus to come out.
  6. Lazarus came out, jumping with feet and hands bound. The embalm was still on him. They had to untie him.
  7. Many who witnessed this believed in Jesus John 11:45.
  8. There was no discussion about whether this incidence was true or false.  It was a real event that triggered a Council meeting to be called and the decision to killed Jesus made. (John 11:47-53)
Q5 Will Jesus shown up at the Passover in Jerusalem?
There was a discussion about whether Jesus will show up. John 11:56. We know Jesus did.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bible Study 3John 3 Types of Believers in a Church

3John is very similar to 2John. 2John was sent to a lady leader telling her how to run a successful home group. 3John as sent to a gentleman leader. John's greatest joy, should be the joy of all leaders, was to see that the people were walking in the truth - the correct doctrine and correct behavior - loving one another and loving fellow workers and strangers. (the missionaries that pass our ways). 
How can we tell the character of a person?
Observe what he did rather than his talk. But we must also discern the true reports and the malicious lies (Diotrephes' spread malicious lies about John v10).

In this short letter of 14 verses, John used 'observed behavior' five times.
  1. 3Jn 1:3 the brethen came and testified of Gaius's walk in the truth.
  2. 3Jn 1:6 the strangers (missionaries) borne witness of Gaius's charity.
  3. 3Jn 1:10 John remembered Diotrephes' deeds - reject him, said malicious words, stop others and cast them out.
  4. 3Jn 1:12 Demetrics had good report of all men.
  5. 3Jn 1:12 We also bear record.
For the evidences, we can see that there are
3 types of Believers in a Church.
  1. Type 1 Gaius -  The True Loving Leaders
    1. Walking in the truth.  (3Jn 1:3)
    2. Always give of his Best to love and support fellow workers and missionaries. (3Jn 1:5-8)
    3. Imitate good and not evil (3Jn 1:11)
    4. Gaius is our model leader. John himself was of course a model leader for us. He has much love and concern for the growth and well being of his members. He prayed for them (3John 1:2 - the famous verse that follows from Mat 6:33 wealth and success comes from righteousness) and wanting to meet them face to face. He was a very personal leader.
  2. Type 2 Diotrephes -  The Self Glorifying Leader 
    1. Likes to put himself first, and does not acknowledge higher authority even John's authority.  (3Jn 1:9)
    2. Talking wicked nonsense against others like John & brothers
    3. Refuses to welcome the brothers from John and
    4. Stops those who want to and  puts them out of the church.  (3Jn 1:10)
    5. Leaders like Diotrephes creates divisions in church - side with those for and useful for me and reject those not-for or no use to me. They are insecure and use people for their benefits.
  3. Type 3 Demetrius -  The faithful Followers - The Future Leaders
    1. a good testimony from everyone
    2. walk in the truth.
    3. John, the Elder, also add his testimony (3Jn 1:12)
    4. Faithful believers like Demetrius are to be groomed for future leaderships.
  1. What are the three types of believers in a church? 
  2. What are the qualities of a good leader? (learn from John and Gaius & Demetrius)
  3. What kind of leader or believer am I? What are the next steps for me?

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    Bible Study 2John Discussion

    We discussed further on Bible Study 2John Exhortation for Leaders.

    Good Leaders do the following:
    1. Practice love one for another: TRUTH=WALK-IN-LOVE=COMMANDMENT
    2. Continue in the Good Work, despite the challenging situations and people at times, to fully realize the potential and rewards that God has planned for us.
    3. Know and Discern the False Doctrines - Doctrines that does not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh (more on this later).
    4. Protect the Fellowship-Group (Cell Group, Home Group, Life Group) against deceivers who bring false doctrines to misled, divide and destroy the group. Keep them out of the group. There are also people who come to the group to cheat the members. Some come to sell their products. Don't let them make your group into a market place too.
    5. Develop personal relationship through face to face meetings. Meet often and with members of other groups. (2 John 1:13)
    What is meaning of Confessing Jesus has/coming In the Flesh?
    The following key points are to be accepted:
    1. Jesus is the WORD of Life in flesh. He was the Son of God, with the Father 1John 1:1, John1:14
    2. Virgin Birth. Born of the Will of God and not of man. John 1:10-13
    3. His death on the Cross. (John 19:30) When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
    4. His resurrection. John 19:17-22. 1 Cor 15:12-20.
    5. His coming again in the flesh. John 14:3, Acts 1:11.
    Differentiate between Seekers and Deceivers
    We are to preach and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone. But we cannot be associated with the Deceivers that preach a different Gospel. ((Gal 1:8) But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.) We must keep them out of fellowship group. Otherwise,we are just bringing confusion and evil into our group. As leaders of the group, we must welcome new members or seekers, but at the same time, we must guard against the wolves that come in to destroy our members. 

      Sunday, November 28, 2010

      Bible Study 1John 5 Identity & Overcoming Disucssion

      Our discussion on Bible Study 1John Chapter 5 Identity & Overcoming have the additional points to add.
      1. The Testimony of water, blood and the Spirit. 1Jn 5:8
        • One interpretation is that it refers to the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in Mark 1:10-11. Water is the baptism water. Blood is Jesus in manly form of flesh and blood and the Spirit appearing as the dove.
        • The testimony of God is the voice of the Father as in v11 "You are my beloved Son; with you, I am well pleased."
        • This incident was a public event witnessed by many people then.
      2.  Getting our Prayers Answered. 1Jn 5:14
        • God will only answer our request according to His character. God will not give us something that violates His character and His love for us. Hence, the Faith of Word preachers teach us to look for promises in the Bible first and that base our requests on those promises. It is not our faith that works but the faithfulness of God's words.
        • We know from the Bible that God will give us good health, wealth for us and for us to bless others but not to become our idol, and good relationships. 
        • We must also consider the time and our growth. God's answer is immediate but it takes time to see the full manifestation of the answers and there is a need for our growth in maturity. We must also know that patience can only be seen when we are put in a difficult situation for a long period of time. Peace is best seen in crisis. Love involves sacrificing our interests for others. 
      3. Loving and Praying for our Brothers 1Jn 5:16-17
        • It tells us that we should be concern and watchful over our brothers' growth and well-being in the Lord. 
        • We are to pray for them when he "is committing a sin not leading to death" and not to bother when he "is committing a sin leading to death". This is a difficult verse to understand.
        • Firstly, how do we know what sin will lead to physical death or not? I would suggest that we will pray for all who are sick and seek God for wisdom as to what specific words or corrections that need to be given.
        • We do have incidences in the Bible like Act 5:1-11 and more specifically in 1Co 5:5  "you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord".
        • It shows that sometimes, we cannot be kinder than God! Trust God no matter what.
      4. Keeping Sin Away 1 Jn 5:18-19
        • Our salvation is sure when we do not keep on sinning. We may sin, but we will be convicted and then we will repent and be forgiven. The righteous may fall but they will get up. Proverbs 24:16 NIV for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again...
        • Our assurance is Jesus keeps us safe and the evil one cannot touch us (5:19).
      5. Conclusion 1 Jn 5:20-21
        • Most are surprised by John's v21 "keep yourselves from idols..." after v20 assurance of our salvation. 
        • Maybe the following rephrase will make it clearer. 
          • Now that we know for sure that Jesus Christ is the Son of the True God and has given us eternal life then let us not have any other idols (like money, people, other religions & practices) to distract us from our devotion to Him. Let us live out the eternal life in us and waver no more.

      Saturday, November 27, 2010

      Bible Study 2John Exhortation for Leaders

      The Elder Apostle John wrote this letter to an Elect Lady and her children. He was exhorting the woman leader and her members. That should put an end to the argument that woman should not lead in church. This is also a good summary letter on "How to have a Successful Christian Fellowship Life Group".

      Grace, Mercy and Peace from God
      It begins with typical blessings of "Grace, mercy and peace of God".
      Grace is the power of God for us to do things that God call us to do. See Christianity Rediscovered: "Grace is Unmerited Favor" - This common definition is wrong.
      Mercy is our undeserved blessings and goodness from God to us. We get mercy without any of our performance. It is entirely the goodness of God. Peace of God gives us the calmness, worry-free, fear-free, harmony and joy in face of crisis. See Peace - Biblical View. When we are disturbed, troubled, depressed and fearful, please remember to get the grace, mercy and peace from our Lord Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father.

      The Key Points of the Exhortation
      1. Walk in the Truth of the Commandment of Love. (v4-6)
      2. Know the True Doctrine of Christ which includes confessing that Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh.
      3. Watch ourselves that we continue to abide in the teaching of Christ. Christianity is not a one off event but a journey with Christ beginning with our acknowledgment of Jesus as the Christ. (v8-9)
      4. Do not have fellowship with those(corrupters) that have a different doctrine of Christ. Otherwise, we will be participating in their evils.(v10-11)
      5. Meeting one another face to face that our joy may be full (v12). This point stresses the importance of fellowship in persons, not just by mail!

      The Meaning of Jesus coming in the Flesh
      1 John 4:2, John tells us how to discern the spirit of false prophets and anti-Christs -"Did the spirit confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh". Here in 2John 1:17, he uses "confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh". Jesus Christ is the key of Christianity. Remove Christ, and Christianity is gone! If Christ did not come in the flesh as man, then man sins remained. If Christ the man was not resurrected and be coming again in the resurrected form of flesh (new kind), then the promise of eternal life is also false.

      In those days, there were heretic preachings to spiritual Christ rather than accept the physical man Jesus as God, and the shameful death on the cross. To a natural human mind, God as a limited man with suffering is not easy to accept. But the essence of Christianity is the very fact that God came as man to die for man as man to show forth the great love of God for man.

      In this letter, John placed this 'Christ in the flesh' in the midst of walking in love, watching ourselves, abide in His teaching. It seems to me that he was stressing on the importance of loving the real person in the flesh as evidence for loving God.

      In Charles Brown Cartoon, Linus said, "I love mankind. It's people I can't stand!". A Leader stressed that we should not be man centered but Christ centered. Therefore, we shall emphasize relationship with Christ over caring for members. What do you think? May be the following verses can help our understanding:
      • (1John 4:20) If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 
      •  (John 13:35) By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
      Questions for Discussion & Applications
      1. Grace, Mercy, Peace from God & Christ in truth and love. What are the meaning of the different words? What do they do for and to us?
      2. What are the main teachings of this letter?
      3. What is the Doctrine of Christ? How do we treat those that do not follow the Doctrine of Christ? Is that the way to treat people?
      4. What is the relationship between John and this Elect Lady? What does it tell us about the relationships among the early believers?

      Wednesday, November 24, 2010

      Bible Study John 10 Jesus is the Door & the Shepherd

      Jesus used the things we encountered in everyday life to illustrate and tell us who He is. Story is the most effective means of communication and teaching. All of us like to listen to story. We project ourselves into it. It is hence attention getting and easy for us to remember the lessons. It is probably the reason that Jesus used many parables to teach us the deep things of God, man and truths.

      Q1 What can we learn about Jesus as the Door to the sheepfold? Make a comparison with those that came in by other way.

      Jesus as the Door: 
      1. Through Jesus, we will be saved 10:9 and have eternal life v28
      2. We have freedom (go in and out v9)
      3. Have abundant life (find pasture v9) and they may have it more abundantly v10
      Thief come in illegally and by stealth (we may not know or may be deceived or may by ignorance and negligence, let the thief in). They do the opposite of what Jesus does.
      1. steal (vs freedom) - take away what you have: of your heart - freedom, joy, peace, etc; of your mind - wisdom, clarity; of your body - health; of your possession - house, business, savings.
      2. kill (vs Salvation) - take away your abundant life, and even bring death to you, your family, your friends etc.
      3. destroy (vs abundance) - to break apart good things like relationships, successful businesses etc. They put fear, depression, hopelessness, hatred, revenge, lusts, immorality, dirt in you.
      Q2 What can we learn about Jesus as the Good Shepherd? Make a comparison with the hired hands.
      1. Call his own by name and know them (v3,14). Knowing by name implies truly knowing you as a person and your character. When Jesus wants us to believe in His name for our salvation, he also means that we know not just His Name but who He is.
      2. Leads them out (v3). Jesus will lead us and guide us. If we don't know what to do, we need to stand on this promise and ask God for guidance.
      3. He goes before them (v4). This verse is an emphasis that Jesus is not leading us from the back like a commandment in war asking his men to charge forward when he stays at the back. Jesus leads by going first. He opens out the path and make the way that we can easily recognize and walk on it. We need not be fearful of the present or the future. We need not be worried about the uncertainties of life, weathers, wars, famines, sicknesses etc (Read Ps 91 and see the protection of God for you). Put our faith in Jesus as our Good Shepherd.
      4. Lays down His life for the sheep (v11,15). Heavenly Father loves Jesus for that (v17) showing that our Heavenly Father loves us even more that He gave Jesus for us!
      5. Go to look for other sheep not in the fold yet (v16). There is only one fold with Jesus as the Shepherd.
      6. No one is greater than Jesus to take Jesus' life. He laid it willingly to save us (v18) and is able to take it up with resurrection power to bring us along with Him.
      Hired hands will run away by themselves first on the first sign and danger and leave the sheep to be exposed to the attacking wolves. When we face crisis, those who stay to help us and those who left us, enables us to know who are our true friends.

      Q3 What are the people's reactions to Jesus' saying? Who were they? What about you, what do you think of Jesus?

      In Jerusalem, we found two groups. One thought Jesus as mad or demon possessed(v19) They were blind to the evidence and took up stones to stone Jesus(v31) when Jesus made it plain to them that He was from God (v37-38). But John quickly pointed out another group that believe in Jesus and cited evidence (opening the eyes of blind - Chapter 9) to refute the first group as wrong.

      (Additional explanation: Can devils heal too? Yes if the sickness is caused by another lower ranking demons. But devil cannot heal a sickness that has a natural cause. e.g. the man born blind. A sickness caused by demon can be found in Luke 13:16).

      Many of those that lived beyond River Jordan believed Jesus because of John the Baptist prophecy and Jesus actual fulfillment of the prophecy by His works, most definitely, miracles (v41-42).

      Jesus never asked us to believe Him without evidences. He proclaim a truth and have evidences to support His words. Chinese wise man taught us to know a person by hearing his talk and then observing his behavior before making a conclusion about the person.

      Q4 How can we be sure that we are true believers? What assurance have Jesus gave us?
      John 10:4 the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. v5 they flee from strangers.
      10:27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

      There are a few things that we must be doing to know we are true believers:
      1. Know His voice. We know His voice by studying His words - the Bible. Jesus will speak according to and confirming the Bible teaching. Simply, Jesus talk like the Bible. When we heard a speech, and it contradicts the Bible, then we know it is not from Jesus. Jesus does not speak against the Bible.
      2. We seek to hear(v27) from Jesus our Shepherd. We spend time to talk to Jesus and to listen to His guidance, comfort and other words of love. 
      3. We follow(v27) and obey His words and then truly know and experience, or taste, the good words of Jesus.
      4. We stay away from the strangers - people that talk and behavior against the teachings of the Bible.
      The Assurance from Jesus: (v27-30)
      1. Jesus knows us (those that hear and follow Jesus v27)
      2. Jesus gives us eternal life and we shall never perish.
      3. NO one is able to snatch them out of His hand.
      4. Because His Father is greatest than all. (no one is able to snatch us away from His Father's hand - repeated for our assurance)
      5. Jesus and Father are ONE. We are in Jesus and His Father's strong hand and no one can snatch us away.

      Many believers are worry that they could loose their salvation. This is unnecessary worry. Once we truly believe and entrust our lives to Jesus, then it is Jesus (and Father) who is responsible for our lives and not us. It is not us holding on His hand but His hand is holding unto us. Stop worrying about whether you are loosing your salvation and live rightly as the eternally secured child of God and behavior like one, showing forth the glory of our Heavenly Father by our works of faith and labor of love, attracting others to Jesus and our Father.

      Friday, November 5, 2010

      Bible Study 1 John 4 Discernment & Love Discussion

      We discussed on Bible Study 1 John Chapter 4 Discernment & True Love.

      Discernment First - Don't be Deceived by those that come using Jesus Name.
      There are many false prophets in this world and want to push their teachings to us. Many come in the name of Jesus, Bible, and God. John gave us the key test - Jesus Christ, the Son of God  coming in the flesh of man to die for us. There are doctrines that preached that Jesus was only a man or Jesus as man was symbolic only. Christianity is built on Jesus. Remove Jesus and there is no Christianity. Not believing in Jesus as coming from God the Father, as a man to die for our sins and resurrected to give us new life also make Christianity belief void (1 Cor 15:13-19).

      We discussed that there were 3 groups for people - the believers, the anti-Christ, and the undecided. The anti-Christ will try to deceive believers and others away from following Christ. Believers has the Holy Spirit inside that is greater than them in the world. So, believers should not be afraid of the challenges in the world and from the anti-Christ spirit working through men.

      True Love - Exemplified by God and Working in Us & Empower Us to Reach out.
      We are empowered to love others because God first loved us and sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die for us. Our love show that are in God and God in us 1John4:16. Love is perfected, showing a growing degree of love, through our practices of love for one another. True love is unconditional, proactive, sacrificial, others-centric, and build upon the foundation of Jesus' love for us. Counterfeit love is performance and self-benefits based. I love you because I gain good things from you such as beauty, service, respect, money, etc. Once you are doing what I want, I withdraw my love. Such is counterfeit love.

      True love cast out fear - fear of punishment.
      True love provides the environment for openness, transparency and trust. There is no fear of punishment. Fear of punishment creates cover-up, lies, distance. We compare discipline vs punishment. Discipline is firstly concern about you, your benefits, character molding and growth. It is future oriented. Discipline may be painful in the short-term. But the person being disciplined must understand its purpose and know it is for him. Discipline is done in private. Punishment is about past wrongful acts being committed. It is more concern about the rules being violated than the person committing the wrongful act. It is meant to be a warning, of fear, to all others as well. It is to make sure all follow the rules. It is enforcing a behavior. Discipline is about internalizing a good value. I don't steal because stealing is bad not because it will be punished.

      Let's Be Real - Don't Kid Yourself - Loving God includes loving His People
      John is brutally frank about love. 1 John 4:20 If you hate a brother than you are a liar if you said you love God. He who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. There are people who tell you should put God and ignore the people.  That's sound great but is misleading. Loving God also means loving the people that God gave His Son Jesus Christ for. He who cannot be concern about his brothers or sisters cannot love God who he cannot see.

      For an exposition on True Love, see here.

      Thursday, November 4, 2010

      Bible Study John 9 Man born Blind vs the True Blinds

      I like this chapter. It is a detailed descriptions of events that have many lessons for us and yet there are much humor in it. Our hero does not have a name and is recognized as the "Man born Blind".

      Q1 Why was the man born blind? Whose fault is it? (John 9:1-7)
      1. Man can tell what is abnormal or bad.
        Blindness is bad. Sin is bad. Some how we have this believe, irrespective of religions or cultures, that doing good bring good outcome and bad outcome is due to some wrong did in the past (this or earlier ancestors). This is a moral argument for the existence of God. We can trace our sins and wrongs back to Adam. But there is little we or even Adam can do about our past, and only God can undo or do better than that. The better than is done by Jesus Christ. Adam was born from the earth. Believers are rebirth with the Holy Spirit of God through Jesus! We part-take the nature of God and become children of God! The people who hurt us and caused problems for us are the ones least concern and able to correct the hurts and fix the problems. Don't wait for them to do something about it. Do something about it ourselves - forgive, fix and go on with our own life. Accepting and embracing our good and the bad is the beginning of a abundant life. Accept ourselves because Jesus has accepted and love us. Jesus does more to transform and empower us with His grace. Believe and trust Him.
      2. What we are born with does not mean it is normal.
        Blind is abnormal even though the man was born with it. Accept the weaknesses we are born with. Face them upfront and fix them. We are also born strengths. Discover them too. Develop our strengths and manage our weaknesses are key to abundant life of champions. However, if we don't admit our weaknesses or sins, and instead give accuses for them, then we will never break out of them. Confession of our sins to God is not about God's forgiveness (for God has already forgiven all our sins in Jesus' cross two thousands year ago) but about our deliverance from its bondage in this life. God does not want us to be in sin's bondage.
      3. From past oriented thinking to future oriented thinking.
        "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him". Jesus shifted the whole attention from past-oriented blame focus to future oriented for good thinking. God can make a seemingly hopeless situation into one that bring glory to God and joy to the people. Ask God for a miracle for your present crisis. Listen carefully to His analysis and guidance. Our present problem is the result of past pattern of decision making and behavior. Unless we change our thinking pattern and behavior, we will always end up in the same crisis again even if God bail us out. God will tell us what to change so that we don't have to live in miracle after miracle. Life in the promise land is better than the life in the desert of miracles (manna, water, cloud by day and fire at night).
      4. Get up and Do as per instruction of God.
        1. Jesus made spit and made mud and than put it on the man's eyes. Jesus have many ways to heal people. Each according to the need of the situation. Don't put God into a box and don't make a doctrine out of a method of healing. It is just a method for the particular situation. It can be repeated but don't make it the ONLY way!
        2. Do as Jesus said and go to pool of Siloam to wash. The man could not have gain his sight if all he did is to wipe off the mud. He had to follow Jesus' instruction exactly as sign of trust. Sometimes we ask God for help but we want to do them in our own terms and then blame God for not helping us! Be like Naaman. He listened to his servant and humbled himself to wash seven times at the Jordan River as per instructed by the prophet Elisha (2 King 5).

      Lesson: Rather than argue about whose fault is it, ask what good can come out or be done about it. Then do it.

      Q2 How to witness for God? (John 9:11)
      The best form of witnessing is our own real life story. An real experience cannot be explained away as we shall see in this passage. Some of us may not have dramatic conversion experience like sickness to health, addiction to freedom, criminals to pastors, but our own story is real and it is likely to be more common. Don't undervalue your experience of conversion just because it is 'normal' or 'common'.  Is Jesus still relevant to 'normal' people like us? If we want a template of witnessing, a framework for story telling, let take the man version. John 9:10-11
      1. Before: I was born blind. (They asked him how he got well).
      2. The Source: Jesus. 
      3. What Jesus did? He made mud, anointed my eyes, tell me to go to Siloam and wash.
      4. What did I do? I went as told.
      5. What the outcome? I got my sight.
      6. What about you? Do you want to know Jesus? (8:35-38)
      Q3 What are things forbidden in Sabbath according to the Pharisees?
      1. Doing work like making mud and opening eyes (healing).
      Q4 What was the mindset of the Pharisees? Why can't they accept Jesus?
      1. Good man follows the Rules of the Sabbath (actually our man enhanced rules).
      2. Those that break the Rules could not be good man and definitely not from God.
      3. Such Sabbath-Rules breaking man could not have performed a healing miracle.
      4. The healing miracle could not be true. 
      5. If he is seeing now, he could not have been born blind.
      6. My belief is Sabbath Rules is bigger than facts. I reject such facts as lies. 
      7. Such Sabbath-Rule Breaking people are misleading the people and should be put to death.
      Prejudice and biased are sticking to own mindset irrespective of the truth and facts. Sometimes there could be an error in our observation, an illusion, like the acts of the magicians. We know it could not have happened as what we are seeing. We just don't know the trick behind it. That was what the Pharisees thought and they continue to pursue the case hoping to discover the tricks! They checked with his parents and despite the pressures, the parents reported the fact that he was truly born blind. They tried to get him to change his testimony but failed.

      Q5 What is the truth? What it revealed about Jesus?
      To the prejudiced, the real world is confusing and puzzling. The man gave the simple, clear and logical argument that silenced the 'brilliant' mind of the Pharisees. John 8:30-33.
      1. This is an amazing thing! 
      2. Yet, you do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 
      3. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but God listens to those who worship and do His will. 
      4. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 
      5. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing. i.e. Since he healed me, He must be of God.
      Lesson: Mind without prejudices is able to see thing clearly and logically.
      Check our assumptions behind our beliefs.

      Q6 Who is truly blind? What is the consequence?
      The Pharisees who stick to their prejudices and refused to see the truth about Jesus remained in their blindness and sins (John 8:41). If only they acknowledged their blindness, and see Jesus as He is, they would be saved.

      Q7 What about you? What do you say about Jesus?

      Tuesday, November 2, 2010

      Bible Study John 8:31-59 Attempt to Stone Jesus

      Telling the truth and exposing a cover-up could get you into big trouble as Jesus did. In the normal case, truth has to be first packaged in love. The order is grace and then truth. (See Ephesians Chapter 4 & 5 Walk in the New Life Part 2 ...Exposing and Correcting need to be done in love and with care. We must be able to gain the trust first else any correction will be seen as an attack and will not result in true repentance and change.) In this instant, Jesus exposed the truth of the true power behind all the attacks against him --- it is the devil. Jesus could not deny the truth in face of attacks and danger to His life.

      Q1 On what grounds that Jesus claimed that the Pharisees' father is the devil?
      1. We do what we have heard from our father (8:38b). 
      2. Jesus acknowledged that physically the Pharisees were offspring of Abraham (8:37) but in terms of behavior, they acted according to the wishes of the devil (8:44,47b). The devil was a murderer and they wanted to kill Jesus too (8:59)
      3. If they were true children of Abraham, they would follow what Abraham did, and it would be to receive Jesus, the Son of the Father God. (8:39-43,47)
      4. Jesus' claim of His identity was not without support and evidence. He challenged them in 8:46 " Which one of you convicts me of sin?" vs they knew they had sinned. (see 8:7).
      Q2 What the Devil is like? (8:44)
      1. He was a murderer from the beginning, 
      2. He is a liar and the father of lies. There is no truth in him.
      Q3 How can we tell Jesus has not demon in him? (8:48)
      1. "I honor my Father (God)" 8:49
      2. "I do not seek my own glory". The Father, the Judge seeks it(Jesus' glory). 8:50
      3. "If anyone keep my word, he will never see death" 8:51-52. This is repeated twice. Who can give life and conquer death except the One that is God the life-giver. Jesus in this discourse had repeatedly said that He is the Son of God. His insistence on telling the very truth resulted in his rejection and eventual death on the cross by the small grow of religious leaders.
      4. If I were to say I do not know the Father(God), I would be a liar like you" 8:55
      5. "Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad" 8:56
      6.  “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”  8:58 . This is actually saying explicitly that he is God. Hence, the people, those who did not believed in him, were angry and picked up stones to throw at him.

      Bible Study John 8:12-36 Light & Truth

      Q1 Jesus said he is the light of the world. What does it mean?
      Light could mean many things. But as a good Bible Study student, we will need to stay in the context to understand the meaning. The verse is:
       “I am the light of the world.
      Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
      1. Light of the World: not just one person but for everyone who want it - whoever.
      2. Follows Jesus (the Light): We can see the light only by following it. The light is our focus. It points the way. 
      3. Walk: following is walking after Him. Believe and obey His commandments. This light leads to the truth later in vs 32.
      4. Darkness vs Light: In darkness, we see not. We don't know what is right or wrong. There is no direction. We can fall into traps and holes easily. Light shows us the safe way and also let us know where are the holes and dangers. 
      5. Light of Life: This light is about the issues of life and not the street lights. It shows us how to live this life in freedom(John 8:32), abundance(John 10:10), peace and success (John 14:27,16:33,20:19,21,26)
      Q2 How can we know Jesus' testimony is true?
      (see also Bible Study John 7 Jesus' Defense & The Reception Q3 Jesus Defense) 

      Pharisees: You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.

      1. my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. (Details are in Q3).
      2. You judge according to the flesh(external, appearance); I judge no one (by external appearance).
      3. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. (My Father God knows the inside intention of man and hence a true judge)
      4. In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me. (My Father and I are the needed two witnesses)
      Pharisees: “Where is your Father?”(It is natural to ask to see the Father than Jesus' claim is His 2nd witness).

      Jesus: “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.

      This is the tough part that upset people because one can only know the Father through Jesus. The key then is to know Jesus better. What evidences were there to show Jesus was not normal human beings but Son of God? Jesus words and deeds were recorded throughout and Jesus was not asking us just to believe His words only (John 10:38b believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father).

      Q3 Where did Jesus come from? How can you know? What was the reaction to His claims?
      Jesus claimed He was from ABOVE whereas we were from this World below.
      We cannot go to Him ABOVE and die in our sins, unless we believe that He is of God.
      We can know by lifting up Jesus -the Son of Man and through Him know His Father 8:28.
      Lifting up Jesus is about believing and following Him. Saying nice things about Jesus and not following Him is of no good and it is actually an insult to Jesus.
      v30 recorded for us that many believed in Him.

      Q4 How to know the Truth? How will the Truth set us free?
      v31 and v32 shows the sequence of freedom:
      1. Abide in Jesus' Word, then
      2. We are truly Jesus' disciples, then
      3. We will know the Truth, then
      4. The Truth will set us free.
      The truth is found in Jesus' Words but we won't know the truth truly until we abide, live in, follow, and experience it to know it fully. By following, walking in the light of the truth, then we make an external objective truth into an internal subjective and personal truth that show forth its power to deliver us from any bondage (of sins, wrong beliefs, weaknesses, confusion ...) and into the live of abundance and freedom.

      Freedom is about freed from en-slavery of any sort, and a cleansed and purified conscience to enjoy the right and good God and all His providence. Freedom is about the ability to grow up, move forward to the higher planes in life without restraining baggage.

      Knowing the truth the beginning and practicing the truth gives us the true victory, progress and the joy of life freedom. Grace is not freedom to sin but freedom to enjoy and do more good.

      Tuesday, October 26, 2010

      Bible Study John 8:1-11 Woman Caught in Adultery & Wisdom+Love of Jesus

      John 8 is a relative long chapter with 3 powerful teachings. So we will break it into 3 posts. The first part 8:1-11 is the famous story of "Woman Caught in Adultery". But the real issue was not the woman but the wisdom and the love of Jesus.

      Water to Light
      This incidence was a detour of Jesus as "the Giver of Living Water" in John 7:37 and "Light of the World" in 8:12. But in deeper consideration, it is about the living water washing away the sin and the light to lead the way for right living as in 8:11 "I forgive you, go and sin no more".

      Quiet Time of Jesus
      v1 tell us that Jesus spent his quiet time alone in the Mt of Olives. v2 tells us he went to temple to teach early in the morning. No mention of the disciples with Him but may be John was told to be with Him in the early morning and recorded the incidence for us. The temple was filled with people (v3 All the people came to him).

      Q1. How can we tell the incident was a planned attack on Jesus?
      • It says so in verse 6. Always try to find the obvious answer in the Bible first. Intention is of the heart and can only be inferred, but never absolutely sure, from the outward actions. Now that it was declared in the Bible under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we can then claim it is the truth. The outward signs are:
      • Scribes and Pharisees came together. They disagreed on their doctrine but they can unite to get rid their common enemy - Jesus. Jesus telling the truth and demonstrating His power and identity as Son of God, was making them very uncomfortable.
      • Woman only, where was the man? Most commentaries see the man as a paid agent for the job of trapping the woman. He got his rewards and left.
      • Whatever the answer, it is bad for Jesus.  
        • Yes to stone -> Jesus condemned the woman;against His mission. He was supposed to help the sinners, poor, outcast of the society. 
        • No - Jesus broke the Laws of Moses.
      • Additional Notes from the Old Testaments:
        • Deu 22:23  If a girl who is a virgin is engaged to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her, 24  then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them with stones that they die; the girl because she did not cry out in the city(she did not ask for help implying willingness to commit the adultery) , and the man because he has humbled his neighbor's wife. So you shall put away evil from among you. 
        • Lev 24:14  Bring forth the despiser outside the camp. And let all that heard lay their hands on his head. Let all the congregation stone him.
          Deu 17:7  The hands of the witnesses shall be first on him to put him to death, and afterwards the hands of all the people.
          The first to cast the stones are the witnesses who heard the disobedience acts. The elders were probably not the witnesses and also they did not bring the man and hence could not cast the first stones without breaking the Laws then.
      Q2. What can we learn from Jesus in handling a heated accusation or arguments?
      • Stay calm and keep quiet for relative long period of time for the emotions to cool down so that attention be drawn to right issue.
        • v6 tells us Jesus just bent down, ignoring their commotions, and write on the ground. This is a difficult act for me to follow. When accuse, I will want to immediately defend, often even before the accuser complete his accusation. Learn to keep quiet and if unable, do something to distract the boiling emotions inside!
        • v7 tells us they continue to ask him. We don't have a multimedia Bible to tell us the emotions behind their speech. At this time, I can also guess that the emotion of the crowd has died down quite a bit and they while insistent on demanding an answer was able to hear and understand better. 
        • Jesus stood up, after they are ready to hear well, and give them the shocking challenge - only he who has no sin can stone her first!
        • I believe that if they have not calmed now first and could not reflect on their life, they would claim that they have no sin and stone the woman.
      • Jesus once again bent down and write on the ground. Many commentators believed that Jesus now write the sins of the ones in front of him, beginning from the oldest. We do not know but it is a reasonable fill in. What did Jesus write is a good game to play. But is not essential to the main teaching of this incidence. The main teaching is in v11 "I forgive and sin no more".
      • The woman has been judged and offered forgiveness. Jesus had actually provided the woman a way out to freedom. She would not be stoned again. 
      Q3 How can we be as wise as Jesus?
      A simple answer is to ask God for wisdom (James 1:5).

      The other is to know the truth.
      • Jesus' statement is actually a reflection and a practice of the truth. Telling the truth is easy. Just the tell the truth. 
      • Telling lies are difficult. You have to concoct out the stories to suite different people and different times. You need to remember the various versions of the lies that you told to different people and always trying hard to be consistent. It is stressful and there will be inconsistencies and will be found out. Knowing and telling the truth will set us free and give us peace. This comes in later part of Chapter 8 in v31.
        Q4 If you are the woman, how would you feel? What you would do?
        If one's feeling is 'I'm so stupid. I should not have been tricked. I got a lucky break this time. Better be careful next time'. Then I'm afraid one has not repented. The sin remained.

        On the other hand, she went back to her husband and seek forgiveness and lived the decision of husband, forgave and stayed or divorced, she would be truly repentant.

        We must know that while God forgave our sins, the society and friends may not. The damages and other consequences of our sinful acts remain and need God and us to put them right.

        Q5 What we sin, do we leave God out of shamefulness or come back to God to seek restoration?
        Don't ever fall into the traps of the devil's accusation and condemnation and leave God. Don't focus on self and your failure. Focus on the Jesus that paid for your sins and the Father God that love you. He sees your pains and desire to be well again. He is waiting for you to return with open arms. Go back to His love for you. Heb 4:14-16.

        Friday, October 22, 2010

        Bible Study 1 John 3 Discussion

        Discussion:on Bible Study 1 John Chapter 3 Believers Behave Like...

        Key Point:

        1. We are born of Father God.
        2. We naturally will behave like our Father, God.- :Pure and Sin Not.
        3. When we focus, put our hope on God, we will not sin. That is the best way to stay pure and keep away from sin.
        4. He who is born of God will not continue in sin. Anyone continuing in sin is of the devil.
        5. The greatest commandment is to know and believe in Jesus as Son of God and love others with the love of Jesus. The OT loving God is refined to be believing in Jesus as Son of God and then externalize it through loving others as Jesus has loved us.
        6. Love is not a theoretical concept but must love in deeds. When we see the need and has the ability, we should help. God does not expect us to help when we can't. A person who can't swim is not expected to jump into the water to save another that is drowning. Just shout for help. 
        7. Helping must be done with wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit in these times of deception and cheating. We don't want to give money to support someone alcoholic, drug or gambling addictions. It may be better to help in kinds to the family members. Sometime, help need to come in teaching and wisdom of restructuring the finance and management of finance. Unless the behavior is changed, putting in new money will be ended in loss again. Don't put good money in unchanged bad behavior.
        8. Failures is part of the growing up process. God is not unhappy with us when we fail. God's love for us does not change, more or less, depending on our  behavior. God in fact is please that we try even though we fail. Parents do not scold or stop their children from trying to walk and the falling again. Falling is part of the growing process of learning to walk.
        9. All of us start on the staring line of 'passed already' because of Jesus Christ. But God has different and unique calling for each of us after our passing that we may move towards our high calling from God. Eph 2:8-10 tells us to walk in the  "masterpiece" of God. 2Pet 2:9 is even clearer; (ALT)  you* [are] a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people [for God's own] possession, in order that you* shall proclaim the excellencies of the One having called you* out of darkness into His marvelous light,

        Wednesday, October 20, 2010

        Bible Study John 7 Jesus' Defense & The Reception

        The Galilean Ministry of Jesus started well with many people, after the miracle feeding of five thousands, pursuing Him. However, it ended sadly with Joh 6:66  After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. We had a different result in this Judean Ministry as we shall see.

        John 7:1-10 The Decision Making Method of Jesus

        Q1. How did Jesus make his decision to go to Jerusalem?
        We can learn the following three things about the decision making of Jesus.
        1. He asked God.
          He recognized the need to ask and be led by God. John 7:6,8 My time has not yet come.
        2. He did not succumb to the pressure by the people,
          not even his brothers. John 7:3-5
        3. He acted on God's guidance and timing immediately despite the danger.
          He put his life and trust in God's hands. He did it with wisdom John 7:10b then he also went up, not publicly but in private.
        Q2 What were the reactions of people to Jesus' message? How many groupings can we find?
        1. Those who believe in Him.
          1. John 7:31 many of the people believed in him. They said, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?”. 
          2. John 7:40  When they heard these words, some of the people said, "This really is the Prophet." John 7:41a  Others said, "This is the Christ."
          3. The officers of the Pharisees! Johm 7:46  The officers answered, "No one ever spoke like this man!"
          4. Nicodemus John 7:50-51
        2. Those who are against Him.
          1.  the chief priests and Pharisees John 7:32 ... sent officers to arrest him.Joh 7:48  Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?

        3. Those who are not sure.
          1. John 7:25  Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, "Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? 
          2. Joh 7:41b But some said, "Is the Christ to come from Galilee?"
          3. Joh 7:43  So there was a division among the people over him. 
        Q3 List down the points of Jesus' defense. What can you learn in your defense?
        1. My Claims - Joh 7:16  "My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.
        2. You can verify for yourself - My teaching follow the Scriptures (Moses et al) John 7:17 do it and see.
        3. I seek not my own benefits or interests but the Father God who sent me. There is no hidden agenda. It is truth. John 7:18
        4. I knew you wanted to kill me because I healed a man on Sabbath. John 7:19.
        5. The Purpose of Sabbath is for Man as Circumcision can be done on Sabbath. John 7:21-23
        6. Judge rightly and not by appearance only.
          1. Appearance are physical outward signs only. John 7:28
          2. The truth is my claims, your verification, my accurate prediction which you can verify later. John 7:28-34
        7. I am the giver of living waters that is eternal. John 7:37-38

        Tuesday, October 12, 2010

        Bible Study John 6b Bread of Life & How to Eat it

        John 6:22-71. After the miracle feeding, people came to look for Jesus, and even crossed the sea to Capernaum. Here we have some of the most profound teaching of Jesus.

        Q1 Jesus uses the metaphor of 'Bread' to explain spiritual things to the people and revealing his purpose. Please go into the details to discover spiritual lessons.

        The people had been fed and came looking for more bread (6:26). It is naturally that Jesus use it to illustrate spiritual truths.
        • People work to get bread.
        • They eat bread, daily, to maintain physical life on earth.
        • They eventually died.
        • Bread only sustains physical life for awhile.
        In Contrast,
        • Jesus the Spiritual Bread
          • Joh 6:35  Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will not be hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. 
          • Joh 6:48  I am the bread of life. 
        • It gives eternal life. They who eat shall not die (spiritually)
          • Joh 6:50  This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, that anyone may eat of it and not die
          • Joh 6:51  I am the living bread which came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever
        • Must eat His flesh and drink His blood to have true spiritual life. 
          • Joh 6:53 unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you don't have life in yourselves. 
          • Joh 6:54  He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day
          • Joh 6:56  He who eats & drink me lives in me, and I in him. (i.e. abide)
            Joh 6:57  As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father; so he who feeds on me, he will also live because of me.
          • Joh 6:58 He who eats this bread will live forever.
          • This eating and drinking of Him is later institutionalized as the Holy Communion.
        What is the meaning of 'eating Jesus flesh (bread of life) and drink Jesus' blood?

        In John 3 that we studied earlier, Jesus pointed out to Nicodemus that a man's life had a spiritual dimension besides the familiar physical dimension. Man needs a rebirth in the spirit in order to see the Kingdom of God. So we know Jesus is referring to the spiritual dimension again here.

        The cue is given in Joh 6:63  It is the spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and are life.

        The way to eat spiritual bread of Jesus is to listen to His words daily as we eat bread daily for our physical life.

        Two chapter earlier, Jesus is even more specific about how eat. Joh 4:34  Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

        In the temptation of Jesus, Mat 4:4  But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

        As we digest the bread, we should also digest His words - by understanding with the heart and putting them into obedient action as the good soils of the Parable of the Sower.

        We can then summarized that eating spiritual bread is actually listening and obeying Jesus. Eating the spiritual bread of Jesus, we develop our rebirthed spirit so that we grow into maturity, bearing the fruit of the Spirit Gal 5:23-24 and consummating into the full glorification of Eternal ZOE life of God at Christ's return Rom 8:30.

        We can find further support for this interpretation in:
        • Joh 15:7  If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ...
        • Joh 15:10  If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love.
        • 1Jn 2:3  And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 
        See also Five Habits for Effective Christian Living

          Q2 "Familiarity Breeds Contempt".  Do you agree? What shall we do?
          In verse John 6:42  They said, "Isn't this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How then does he say, 'I have come down out of heaven?' "
          Sharing the Gospel and bearing witnesses to our own family members seem to be the most difficult things to do. Preachers can travel overseas for great mission trips where their own home, family, neighborhood, and friends are not reached! By the power of God, we shall be a shining light wherever we are.

          Q3 What does "Joh 6:44  No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him" mean?
          There are some who uses verses like these (see also Joh 15:16  Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you) to argue that only selected people are meant to be saved. But the Bible tell us that
          • 2Pe 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 
          • 1Jn 2:2  And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
          The Father and Jesus chose everyone but not everyone want to respond and accept the invitation. He chose all but some do not want to chose Him. 

          Q4 We tend to be very carnal like the people. What shall we do?
          Just like Nicodemus, people still see things physically and take offense that Jesus ask them to eat his flesh and drink his blood. (6:52 How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 60 hard teaching, 66 they left Him.) Nicodemus eventually got it. Hopefully, some of the people did too. (John 7:40 Many of the multitude therefore, when they heard these words, said, "This is truly the prophet.")

          We need to be reminded often:
          • By Jesus: Joh 6:27  Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you
          • By Paul: 
            • 1Co 15:1  Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand
            • Col 3:2  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
            • Rom 15:15  But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God 
          • By Sending Another
            • Timothy: 
              • 1Co 4:17  That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.
              • 2Ti 2:14  Remind them of these things
            • Titus: Tit 3:1  Remind them ....
          While we need to have daily fellowship with Jesus and also need a fellowship group for our spiritual growth.

          See also What is the meaning of Yielding to the Spirit?
          Christianity Rediscovered: We can do Nothing apart from Jesus

          Tuesday, October 5, 2010

          Bible Study John 6 Feeding of Five Thousands

          Q1 Read the same miracle recorded in other gospels. Compare them and see what we can learn about the incident and the characteristics of the author.

          This miracle can be found in all the four Gospels. Mat 14:13-21, Mar 6:30-44, Luk 9:10-17 and Joh 6:1-13. By reading through all of them at the same time, we can get a more complete picture. By seeing what was written and what was missed out, we can see the intention of the author better. 

          Luke 9:10 tells us that the incidence happened near the town of Bethsaida. John said it was "the other side of the Sea of Galilee". Jesus and His disciples were supposed to go to the other to get away from the crowd for a rest.

          It took place on a mountain. The time was the Passover, the feast of the Jews.

          Matthew and Luke recorded that Jesus had compassion on the people and healed all who had need of healing.

          Mark specifically pointed out 6:34 "they were like sheep without a shepherd and He began to teach them many things". The teaching occurred late into the evening (Mark 6:35).

          The monetary amount of food needed to feed the crowd was estimated in Mark 6:37 as 200 demarii or 200 day-wages. John specifically pointed out that his number was given by Philip. In John's account, the names were mentioned. It was Jesus asked Philip to feed them. It was Andrew who found the boy with 5 barley loaves and 2 fish. John was giving first hand account and very specific about people and less so on the numbers (in group of fifty was not mentioned).

          Matthew 14:21 tells us that the 5 thousand men did not include the women and children. So the number of people fed that day could be 10 thousand or more.

          While the instruction given by Jesus in Luke 9:14 was to be in group of fifties. Mark 6:40 tell us they actually sat in groups by the hundreds and fifties.

          John 6:14-15 give us the a specific reason "the crowd wanted to take him by force to be king", that Jesus withdrew to the mountain by himself. Mat & Mar just recorded that Jesus asked his disciples to go off first and then he went up to the mountain to pray.

          All recorded the key facts of the event:
          1. The source of food: 5 loaves 2 fish 
          2. 5 thousand men
          3. Jesus gave thanks and distribute the food to the disciples.
          4  The disciples then gave to the people seated in groups.
          5. 12 baskets of fragments were collected after they have eaten.

          Q2 What can learn about Jesus from the incidence?
          1. It is recorded clearly in John 6:14 "This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!". Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior of the world.  No normal human being can multiply food instantly. It takes the true Creator to create things.
          2. Jesus as the good coach or teacher. Teaching by focusing with a question and then explanation and demonstration. 
          3. Jesus as a good organizer. Dividing the crowd into groups for easier distribution of food and ensuring no one was left out.
          4. Jesus as the environmental protection. There is no waste of food and keeping the place clean. The left over fragments were collected back in 12 baskets. This is a good start and a good ending. In a typical celebration, the place will be full of litters after the crowd dispensed.
          5. Jesus provide more than enough. God gives in abundance.
          Q3 Who witnessed the Multiplication of Food?
          It was the disciples who serve the food from Jesus to the people. It is in participation that we get to experience more. Some of the people may not know where did the food come from. They may get the answer later. Be the group that create and initiate the impact. Don't be just the spectators. Definitely don't be the ones that don't know what was going on.

          Q4 How can we apply what we learned here?
          1. We have a God that had compassion on us. The Shepherd that will care, lead and provide for us. We just commit our needs to Him and trust Him to deliver.
          2. He will provide us "more than enough".
          3. We can learn from His way of handling things. Have a proper beginning and a good ending. We complete what we start.
          4. We learn to organize things - divide and care for better. No waste. Save the leftovers for future use and keep the place clean.

          Saturday, September 25, 2010

          Bible Study John 5 Jesus the Son of God & the Proofs

          Q1. Describe the event of the Healing of the Paralyzed at Pool of Bethesda. John 5:1-17
          What can be learned about Jesus, getting healed, and the consequence of sin?

          The Event:
          1. The Healing Pool of Bethesda. The first (few?) who step in when the water is stirred got healed. 5:7
          2. The invalid man was paralyzed for 38 years!
          3. Jesus saw him and knew his long wait.
          4. Jesus asked him "Do you want to be healed?". Why did Jesus asked this question? To ensure that he was the one who wanted his healing. He was there by his own will and not some one else who brought him there and wanted him to be healed. We need ask first.
          5. He was not totally paralyzed. He could move slowly, may be he suffered a stroke, because in v7 he said while he was going another steps down before him. 
          6. Jesus gave the command,"Get up, take up your bed and walk". In healing ministry, we should do the same. After prayer of healing, must ask the person to do the thing he could not formerly do. This sound like a contradiction but that is the miracle that is needed. The faith of action will bring forth the healing.
          7. He followed Jesus' instructions and did exactly that and realized the healing.
          8. The healing took place in Sabbath - the Day of Rest and no activity for the Jews. The Jews were upset because Jesus healed on Sabbath! Man tend to put rules ahead of the real need of people. Are we like this too? Whenever we say you can't because the rule say so, let's examine the spirit and original purpose of the rule. It is still applicable? Is treating everybody alike means fairness? Do we have the authority to change the man-made rule?
          9. He was so excited about walking that he lost Jesus and was picked by the Jews who saw him doing something religiously illegal on Sabbath - carrying his bed.
          10. Jesus found him in the temple. It was not sure whether he was brought there for questioning by the Jews or he was there to give thanks to God for his healing. Or, as in customary then, to verify that his healing was true?
          11. Jesus told him to sin no more (v14) implying that his sickness was due to his sin. 
          12. He went and told the Jews that it was Jesus who healed him. 
          13. The reaction of the Jews was ridiculous by our layman view point. We will seek out Jesus and honor him. Asking him to do more healing. But no, they made up their mind to persecute the rule-violator! Blindness and prejudice cause one to make wrong decisions!
          14. Jesus answered them that He is doing what His Father God is doing - healing and other things even on Sabbath because original purpose Sabbath is for the benefits of man. For man to rest and get well. Healing serves the very purpose of Sabbath rest.
          Q2. What can we know about Jesus and God from Jesus' discourse in John 5:19-47 ?
          1. Jesus only follows His Father will and do nothing of His own.John5:19  ref John 15:5
          2. Father loves the Son and show him all that He is doing v20  
          3. John 5:21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. v24
          4. Jesus is the Judge appointed by the Father. all may honor Jesus. v22-23, John 5:27
          5. Jesus represent the Father. v23 Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
          6. Jesus the Savior and Giver of Life John 5:24-26
          7. Jesus will be the Judge because He is the Son of Man v27 - He knows about man being himself a man. There is the Future Judgment of all people according to the good or evil done v28-29
          8. Jesus' judgment is fair because he has not motive for himself. John 5:30-32
          9. Evidence based faith
            John the Baptist born witness of Jesus.
            The works that Jesus did (eg the Healing) testified Jesus' power and authority - Sent from God the Father. John 5:36. Jesus was telling them to believe His words from the miracles and work He did. Christianity requires faith to believe but not blind faith. It is evidence based faith.
          10. The Bible OT bear witness about Jesus John 5:39 
          11. Man are strange. They glorify one another and believe one another rather than the testimony of Jesus, the One from God John 5:44
          12. Moses bear witness to Jesus John 5:46-47. Moses will rise up as at the Judgment Day to testify against those who reject Christ because he had specifically told them already. Men are without excuse when they face God.
          Q3 Replace 'Jesus' with 'I' and 'Father' with 'Jesus' in John 5:19-24 and reread 

          Saturday, September 18, 2010

          Bible Study 1 John 1 Walking in the Light Discussion

          Here are the additional points brought up in the discussion on

          Bible Study 1 John Chapter 1 Walk in Fellowship with Jesus
          1. 1 John does not just talk about Love but also about Light - walking in the light and then have fellowship with God and with one another.
          2. God's plan for us is not just a relationship between God and me but also God and me and us. John specifically pointed out that addition of more people into the fellowship with God and them make their joy complete. A true believer does not just live a solo relationship between himself and God. Christianity is the the Church, the many of us, with one other united in Jesus as the head and the church as the body.
          3. Light will expose the darkness or the darkness cannot stand the light. Our sin breaks fellowship with God and the only way to mend the fellowship is to confess the sin and seek forgiveness and thereby gaining the fellowship and trust back. We discover a better term "Transparency" as a description of walking in the light. To have good fellowship, we have to be transparent and open to one another. 
          4. God transcends time. When Jesus died on the cross, He paid for all our sins - past, present and future. However that does not mean we could forget about confessing our sins. Sins break relationship and unconfessed sins cause us to hide from God and bind us to the sin. Only through facing our sins directly and bringing them to God can we be fully delivered. We cannot over-extend the meaning of forgiveness of God as if there be no consequences for our sins. We consider the example of David, 2 Sam 12:13-14 Nathan told David that God has put away his sin and he did not die (even before his confession, else David would be dead long before) but there are consequences he must suffered for it... the dead of the baby, the historical record of these sins all through history, the murder, rebellion within his family etc. If God forgiveness is to remove all consequences, we will probably not learn anything from it. But the consequences will be different from different people. We don't fully understand but trust God to be the wise and just and Judge. Some convicted murderers were hung after they were saved and some were set free. While we are forgiven for our sins, God also promise to be with us through the consequences.
          5. Sharing: A member shared she was trapped in darkness for a few days because of her working environment and the closure of 1.5 year project. She was unhappy because looking back she found there are many things that could be improved. However after reading Phil 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always..., she was enlightened and see the light - the burden was lifted. On hindsight, anyone can always find improvement to past work. We should leave the work at that, we contented that we have given our best then and carry on with new things. We should not be complacent on the other hand. We should not live life passively and in a give-up mode. We should have hope and go after new thing with vitality of life.

          6. What can we do to have closer fellowship with Jesus?
            The Principle is Walk in the Light.
            In practical terms:
            •  Walk transparently with God. No hiding from God. Tell God - our struggles, disappointments, sins, and hope.
            • Bible Study - for guidance and reflection. Bible is a mirror for us to look at ourselves too.
            • Prayer to dialogue with God.
            • Have the presence of God in our heart and other activities, watching movies, tvs, sports, social work, work place etc will be channels for God to speak to us and for us to shine for Him. Have the presence of God in all our daily activities. Liat shared of how God spoke to him and how he made his life time commitment to God, not to forget God when one is successful,  from watch a movie called "The Valley of Dolls".

          Friday, September 10, 2010

          Bible Study John 4 Woman at the Well of Samaria

          This chapter begins with Jesus making a withdrawal from drawing too much attention of the Pharisees and move back from Judea to Galilee. This incidence with the Woman at the Well is used often as a teaching of how to witness. We will begin this study with this question too.

          Q1. What can we learn about witnessing for Christ from this incident?
          1. Listen to God's leading
          2. Make a special trip - just to Sychar well and waited at noon. Against social bias then (Jew don't talk to Samaritans).
          3. Use questions to lead.
          4. Make the gospels relevant to the need- ask Holy Spirit to reveal and to help.
            Well-> Water -> Living Water -> Eternal Life.
          5. Give the firm and correct answer.
            The woman asked other questions to seek clarifications.
            Some commentator felt that she was trying to change the topic. I think not.  She has some bondage that need to be clarified. Do I have to worship at Jerusalem? We face similar kinds of issue now - Do I have to abandon my idols? Do I have to stop taking food offered to idols? Do I have to stop dancing? Do I have to go to Church? .
            Don't be upset. Thank them for the sincere seeking. Give the relevant and specific answer. It tends to be physical vs spiritual dimensions. It is deeper rather than superficial issues. "We know God, worship God in spirit and truth. It is a matter of the heart and not outward actions or physical place of worship".
          6. Get A Commitment - Praying the Sinner's prayer is not the only way. Ask to do something that show her understanding and commitment. In this special case, "Call your husband". Her very action shows that she believe in Jesus. She confessed the truth of her sin. She dropped the jar and told the town to come and met Jesus the Messiah; from fetching water to bringing people.
          Q2. What is the purpose of Jesus' life on earth? What about yours?
          1. The purpose of Life is to do the will of the One who sent me and to accomplish his work John 4:34.
          2. The opportunity to do His will is now.
          3. Some are sowers and some are reapers. Both work together and share in the joy and both will be rewarded.
          4. Don't fall in the trap of wanting others to be like you or you wanting to be like others and then attacking those who are different. Unity is not uniformity but differences sharing a common mission.
          Q3. What is the end result that you seek for your witnessing?
          That they may believe Jesus for themselves. John 4:42

          Q4. What faith lesson can we learned from the Ruler at Capernaum?
          1. Heard about Jesus v47
          2. Go and Ask Jesus v48
          3. Believe Jesus 49 Come before my son dies is a statement of believe.
          4. Act accordingly, go back- He did not know his son was healed until later. He just believe and make his way home.  50
          5. Verified . keep a record of prayers and match with incidents.v53

          Tuesday, September 7, 2010

          Bible Study John 3:22-34 Joy of Life is Accepting Your Calling & Accomplish It

          The common title for this paragraph are  "John the Baptist Exalts Christ", "Testimony of Jesus by John the Baptist", "The witness and doctrine of John concerning Christ".

          Q1 What is the earthly value system revealed in this comparison of baptizing?
          This discussion about purification led to John's disciples reporting to him that the Jesus he baptized earlier was now drawing more people. The value system we can see here is "I always want to have more no matter what". Our group must have more. The center is me and the measurement is more. John 25-26.

          Q2 What is John the Baptist response? What does it mean?
          John did not go by the worldly "My One-up-man-ship". He went by the will of God v27. He knew his calling of life as follows :.
          • I am not the Christ but was sent before Him v28
          • He is the bridegroom who has the bride (the believers) v29
          • I am the friend of the Bridegroom who rejoices greatly v29
           Hence, he can be joyful as:
          • My joy is complete v29
          • He must increase and I must decrease v30
          We, the created beings of God, do not decide what are created for. We should ask our Creator God as John the Baptist who know his purpose of life well. We learn about our calling and learn to accept it. Our lives should be forced by the world or others or even ourselves. We should discover and accept our calling of life and then we will find true joy and satisfaction. We will not be envious of others who have a different calling and are, in the eyes of the world, have greater power, wealth and honor than us. We shall be judged only by what we do with the calling and talent that God has given to us. Complaining and blaming God for not giving us more, like the man with the one talent, will cause us to lead a miserable life now and even later. Mat 25:14-30.

          Q3 What did John say about Jesus?
          If we don't believe the claims of Jesus of himself, even from his works, we may perhaps accept the testimony of someone we can trust about Jesus. In a way, believers are like John the Baptist, telling others about Jesus. Here is Baptist John's testimony about Jesus:
          1. He comes from Heaven above. v31
          2. He is above all.
          3. He came to tell us about what he has seen and heard in Heaven (even though man does not receive his testimony - this is similar to John 1.
          4. Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this that God is true.
          5. He gives the Spirit without measures.
          6. The Father God loves the Son Jesus and had given all things to Him. (see John 5:22,17:2)
          7. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life (John 3:16 again)
          8. Whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life and the wrath remains on him. (see 3:18)
          You can see that John the Baptist testimony is clearly what Jesus Himself had said.

          Q4 What about you? Do you know your calling? Are you envious of others? What are you doing about fulfilling your calling of life?
          Our calling is not just an end-point. It is a journey of life. God will lead us and mold us. Know and engage God first. As we leave this world, we can contently said "My mission is accomplished!". Or, in the words of Paul,
          2Tim 4:7) I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8) Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
          We spend our lives in building this crown of righteousness here and now.

          Monday, September 6, 2010

          Bible Study John 3:1-21 Night Visit & Greatest Truth - Love & Rebirth

          Q1. Describe the visit of Nicodemus and its significance or contribution?
          • Nicodemus is a Pharisee (Religious elite) and high standing, a ruler of the Jews.
          • He came to Jesus at night, under the cover of darkness, so that people may not know about his visit to Jesus.
          • While some may criticize his lack of courage, I want to commend his true courage and wisdom. 
          • He has a thirst for the truth. He recognized the the authority of Jesus from the signs he did. (Other Pharisees said Jesus was doing under the influence of the devils). He said Jesus was a a teacher from God. He want to know more this man of God.
          • He had the courage to go and visit Jesus even though he knew that if his friends found out he would be in trouble. 
          • He took the wise step of doing it secretly instead of being found out and spoil his mission of knowing Jesus more. Bravery is not rashness. Bravery is control risks taking and management. We want to achieve the mission and come back alive. People think entrepreneurs are risks takers. Yes they are, they choose the path that minimize the total risks. They take small steps to find out more information and access the risks instead of one giant step into the unknown and depend on 'luck'. That is not faith but blind foolishness. People who come to Jesus, the woman with the issue blood, the centurion, first found out about Jesus and then took the courage, the step of faith, to approach Jesus. God does not condemn our sincere desire to find out more before believing. Zechariah asked for sign and he got to be mute until his son John was born. Mary asked how could it be since she was not married. She got an explanation that she was satisfied. God gave her further assurance when she visited her cousin Elizabeth.
          • From this visit, we have the most famous verse of the Bible of John 3:16 and the most important concept of Salvation - The Rebirth. We could say that the purpose of entire Bible is summarized in God so love the world that He gave His Son Jesus to us to believe so that we may be rebirth to become His children.
          • We have to say "Thank you Nicodemus for your courage to visit Jesus and got this great truth of Love and Rebirth out for all to benefit".
          Q2. How to be saved? What is 'born again' and how do we get it?
          The criterion to tell whether one is saved or not is very simply whether one is born again in the spirit John 3:5-8. Paul called it a New Creation 2 Cor 5:17.

          Nicodemus thought in usual human sense of physical. Jesus introduced him to another dimension of the spiritual. While we cannot understand the spiritual fully like the wind, yet we can see its effects. We can't control the Spirit but we can surely enjoy its working. John 3:8.

          Jesus clearly told Nicodemus His identity in John 3:11-15, in particular 14-15, that He is the Son of Man descended from Heaven and to give eternal life to all who believes in Him. He also foretold how He was to die - as on the cross for all the world to see.

          The only criterion to be saved, born again, is to believe in Jesus. What constitutes believe in Jesus? Simply said, it is believe and accepting what Jesus said and follow what He said. It is believe in the heart and not in the head. Believing in the heart, a commitment, will have evidence in its behavior. A very summarized list is Rom 10:9-10.
          9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 
          There are more details in The Gospel According to Jesus.

          Q3 Why the world does not receive Jesus easily?
          The world without God, cast out of Eden, is in darkness. 3:18 whoever does not believe is condemned already. Adam started with the Light but choose to leave it into darkness. We started in darkness, condemned state, and is given a path, through Jesus, to go back to the light. Paul described it as 2 Cor 4:4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. We who are in the light, should let the light shine in the darkness that men may see the light and believe in Jesus.

          Saturday, September 4, 2010

          Bible Study - James 5 Brotherhood Discussion

          We discuss this BIble Study - James 5 Brotherhood.
          Key Points:
          1. Use Wealth to Bless Others rather than to indulge in oneself only; Not to bully, cheating and be unfair to others. Use wealth to build treasure on in heaven rather than on earth.
            We spend much time on the teaching of Luke 16:8 Parable for the Dishonest Steward. The teaching are:

            1. Commendation is for the Wisdom and not the dishonesty.
            2. Sons of Light should be wise in the things of God. Jesus gave some principles in the following verses.
            3. Use wealth to make friends and for eternal life. i.e.. use wealth for expanding the Kingdom of God.
            4. Andrew will provide additional articles to shed more light on this parable.
          2. Be Mature first - Personal Conduct -

            1. Patient
            2. Steadfast in our hearts - trusting in God
            3. No grumbling against others.
            4. No swearing or over-committing. Under delivering and breaking promises incurred condemnations.
          3. Then Caring for Others

            1.   comfort the suffering
            2.   celebrate with the cheerful
            3.   pray and heal the sick
            4.   sharing problems with one another
            5.   pray for one another
            6.   bring back those that wandered away from the truth and fellowship.
          Biblical Definition of Worldliness
          note: common words used in speeches have at least two scope of meanings. One is the layman or loose definition of the word. The other is the higly technical definition of the word or term.  The lay and subject matter expert definitions for the same word could mean very differently. When we communicate, we need to be careful which version is used. In the discussion below, we must differentiate worldliness used in the loose sense to mean things that are in or related to the world and the Biblical technical definition of Worldliness.
          The present definition is:(The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000)
          world·ly  adj. world·li·er, world·li·est
          1. Of, relating to, or devoted to the temporal world.
          2. Experienced in human affairs; sophisticated or worldly-wise:
          worldli·ness n.
          Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary of American EnglishWORLDLINESS, n. [from world.] A predominant passion for obtaining the good things of this life; covetousness; addictedness to gain and temporal enjoyments.
          Andrew cited temptations of Jesus as reference to worldliness - power, lust, wealth.
          The definition of worldliness can be found in James 3:14-15 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.
          Jas 4:4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? 
          We can perhaps define worldliness as putting worldly things(e.g. money, pleasure, power etc) more important than God.
          1John2:15-16 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world--the desires of the flesh (Lusts) and the desires of the eyes(Seeing & Wanting) and pride in possessions(Power+Money)--is not from the Father but is from the world.
          In Gal 5:17-21 using Flesh as worldly desire vs Spirit, we can find a list of things that is similar to Jame 3:14-15. Gal 5:22-23 similar to the Wisdom from Above of James 3:17-18.

          I think a short definition of worldliness if the value system or philosophy of teaching that values the things of the world is more important and desirable, more trust worthy than God or Biblical Teachings.

          Worldliness is not countered by keeping distant from the world but by letting the mind/attitude of Christ - a heart in love with God - shape our attitudes and mindset. "Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds" (Romans 12:2).
          Worldliness is trivialized when it is reduced to a laundry list of do's and don'ts. Worldliness is completely misunderstood when fear of it is used as a reason to separate from the world. True godliness is living out the loving heart of God in the midst of the world for the sake of the world at the expense of one's own welfare. It is to live like Jesus whose self-denial, self-giving, and humility demonstrated God's love for the world.

          May it is easier to understand Worldliness by defining it as Ungodliness!