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!