Friday, May 20, 2011

Bible Study 1Peter Chapter 5 Elders & Members Discussion

Additional notes from our discussion on Bible Study 1Peter Chapter 5 Elders & Members.
  1.  The model roles for Elders as Leaders not only in Church but also in Corporations and Government. 
    1. Main Job: Shepherd the People which we expanded to include the following:
      1. lead - don't get lost
      2. feed - teaching truth
      3. protect them from attacks
      4. find the lost
      5. care for the sick
      6. disciplining
      7. provide the right environment
    2. The Execution of the Job is 
      1. Not as a burden, a compulsion, to get rid off.
      2. But as a meaningful mission as God would have us.
      3. Developing the People and not for Shameful Gains.
        Leadership and power enables one to use it for selfish gains, especially for money. We discussed that of the major sins like pride, lusts, laziness etc the one on Greed is most deceptive. Most people don't see themselves as having problem with it. 
      4. Not domineering but setting the examples. Teaching without words by living rightly in their presence that they may follow; as Paul said, be imitators of me as I am of Christ. 
    3. Expect a Reward - the Crown of Glory at Christ 2nd Coming.
  2.  The Model Staff
    1. Submit to the Leaders/Elders
    2. Be Humble - submitting to one another, learning from one another, trusting God for promotion rather than fight of it in ungodly way.
    3. Cast our cares and worries to Christ. That means we don't think about it any more. We continue to do our best and leave the result to God. We do something else, even taking a break, watch TV as we trust God to handle for us.
    4. Be alert and watchful for the work of evil - the temptations, the persecutions force us to take things into our own hands rather than standing firm in our faith. 
    5. We must resist the evils with faith and trust in God.
    6. Our mindset on Time - it is a little while only and God will vindicate you - He will restore to past status, confirm your status, strengthening and establishing you --- i.e. promotion comes quickly from the Lord after the testing.
    7. Living harmoniously with one another is the final call of Peter.
  3.  Setting and Maintaining the Standards
    1. We discussed whether members should also evaluate their leaders/elders according to the standards set in the Bible.
    2. We think a member should give feedback to the leaders, following the recommendations in the Bible, of correcting those in the wrong. We have the example of Paul correcting Peter in Gal 2:11-14 Galatians 2 Validation of Paul's Gospel.
    3. Even the Chinese Classics of the Bible of Filial Piety provides for children to correct their parents and the officers to correct their King. See Understanding the Bible of Filial Piety (Xiao Jing).
    4. A healthy organization should have a system of enabling and collecting such corrective feedback and protecting such 'whistle blowers'.
    5. It is better that the organization corrects itself internally before the external and government organizations come in to take actions.
    6. Not standing against evil will result in the propagation of evil throughout as we have witnessed such happening in all the major area like business, arts, family, education, government etc. There is a call at present to take back the seven mountains of Arts & entertainment, Business, Church & Religions, Distribution Media, Education, Family and Government.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bible Study John 21 Deja Vu - Re-commissioning of Peter

Apostle John, after concluded his book on 20:31 by giving the purpose of his writing, felt led to add another chapter to close the loose-ends and to give a vision for the future. His extra chapter centered on Peter - the one who denied Jesus three times. He remembered the first calling of Peter by Jesus to be "Fisher of Man" Luke 5:1-10. It resemblance this 3rd appearing of Jesus after His resurrection (21:14) and recorded this incidence for us. Many commentators also think that this chapter provides the answers to how a church is meant to be.

Q1 Describe the events leading to breakfast with Jesus.
  1. Location: the sea of Tiberias or sea of Galilee. They went back to where Jesus started his ministry 3 years ago as instructed (Mat 28:7).
  2. The People: 7 of them. Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, John, James and 2 unnamed disciples (those On Road of Emmaus Luke 24:13-32?).
  3. They were waiting for direction from Jesus. It was natural that they want back to their old vocation - fishing.
  4. Peter took the lead and suggested going fishing. All followed him. They caught nothing that night. 21:3
  5. Time: early morning. as the day was breaking 21:4.
  6. Jesus appeared and called them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. They did not recognize Him yet.
  7. They caught a lot of fish (153 big ones v11) and yet the net did not break.
  8. It triggered John to recognize Jesus and told Peter.
  9. Peter put on his outer garment, only to get wet later by diving into the sea and swam ashore to meet Jesus.
  10. They found Jesus already prepared some breakfast for them. Where did Jesus get the charcoal, fish, and bread? Did Jesus create them as per the feeding of 5000 and 4000?
  11. Jesus asked them to bring in the freshly caught fish. Jesus already had fish prepared and yet wanted us to participate in His work and enjoy the fruit together.
Q2 Compare this incidence with that of Luke 5:1-10?
  1. Roughly the same people - Peter, John, James ...
  2. Fished all night and nothing caught.
  3. At Jesus instruction, they got a big catch.
  4. Reluctance following in Luke by Peter and just obeyed in John.
  5. Going to the deep in Luke and just near the shore (100yrds) in John. (The harvest is closer and ready!).
  6. Breaking nets (because of old nets) and strong usable net.
  7. Morale: follow Jesus and give Him our best. (new usable net vs old torn nets. Quality not number is more important).
Q3  How did Jesus re-commission Peter? What was the mission for Peter? What can we learn?

  1. When they had finished breakfast. Choose a right time when full attention can be given.
  2. Peter denied Christ 3 times. Jesus gave the opportunities for Peter to confess his love for Christ 3 times. 
  3. Jesus started with "agape-love" twice and then go down to "phileo-love" with Peter responding all times with "phileo-love".  Agape-love is total love by will without conditions. Phileo love is affectionate love between brothers. Peter loved Jesus because of relationship - my master, my brother, my friend. God loves us without condition. Even when we were yet sinners, the enemy of God and rebellious toward God, Christ loves us to die for us. Christ's death for us makes the way for us become His brothers and sisters, not before His death. We are to love people as Christ has agape-love us. Peter may not have fully grasped the meaning of Christ's commission then. Peter is to agape-love directly His sheep not indirectly because of the phileo-love Christ. But Peter eventually got it because he was martyred later.
  4. Peter's Mission is - feed, shepherd and feed His sheep. Essentially, Christ commissioned Peter to start a church - congregation of people and to lead and care for them. This leading and caring would cause Peter one day to give up his life. Peter was to fully commit his life in carrying out the mission.
  5. Peter was not fully focused on his mission. He was curious about John's mission. So he asked Jesus what about John's.
  6. Jesus essentially told Peter to mind his own business. God's call for us is unique. We don't have to copy or to compare with others. MYOB & JFOJ Mind Your Own Business and Just Focus on Jesus.
Q4 What are the lessons learned in this chapter?
  1. Must have a vision or mission. 
    1. Proverbs 29:18 Where there is NO VISION, the people perish.
    2. We become what we focus on. Prov 23:7.
    3. We must, therefore, find out about our unique calling and live it up.
  2. Focus on Our Calling.
    1. MYOB & JFOJ Mind Your Own Business and Just Focus on Jesus.
    2. There is no need and no point to compare or to copy others' callings. We are God's masterpiece created in Christ Jesus for good work.
  3. Give and Use Our Very Best to Fulfill Our Calling.
  4. Leadership is about visioning and agape-love for people. There needs to be love and there need also to be purpose and development for the people. Love without vision leads to death --- see point 1 again!
This is the end of our study on the Gospel of John. I will review it now and then and make changes to them. I prayed that by studying the Bible, you get to know Jesus deeper and live an abundant and God-glorifying life, influencing others to have Christ's kind of life as you.

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    Bible Study John 20 The Resurrection of Jesus

    The most important event of the whole history of mankind is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The birth of Jesus would be meaningless if there was no resurrection. He would be just like any other great man of the past and we would still remain in our sins. 1Co 15:17  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.

    But Jesus has been raised from the dead! In Adam, we all die but in Jesus Christ we shall all be made alive (1 Cor 15:20-22).

    Now we shall examine the evidences for the Resurrection of Jesus just from this record of John, our first hand witness.  There are many good books written about the resurrection of Jesus such as "Who Moved the Stone".

    Q1 Make a list of the sequence of events about the resurrection of Jesus.
    1. On Sunday early morning, Mary Magdalene (Mar 16:1 added Mary (Mother of James) and Salome) came to the tomb. v1.
    2. She saw the stone was moved away. v1.
    3. She ran to tell Peter and John that they had taken the body of Jesus. v2.
    4. Peter and John ran to the tomb to check. v3.
    5. John reached the tomb first and peeked into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there. v4-5.
    6. Peter came and they went into the tomb. Besides the linen cloths, they saw the face cloth folded up and place by itself. v7.
    7. They believed, first ever, that Jesus had risen from dead according to the scripture. v8-9. They actually never did believe what Jesus told them earlier that Jesus will rise from dead! It is common for people to see what they want to see. But the disciples had saw something that they were not expecting.
    8. They went back to their home v10. But Mary stood outside the tomb v11 and had a special and great encounter with Jesus.
    Q2 What is the significance of John mentioning the Linen and Face cloths?
    If the body of Jesus have been taken away as Mary's belief and claim, then it would be strange to leave the linen cloths behind. Even more strange is to expect the clothes to be neatly folded and placed there. One would have taken the body with the linen clothes together. If there is any loose ends, they would be left there in a mess. The circumstantial evidence fit the resurrection model better than body-stolen model.

    Q3 Describe the encounter between Mary and Jesus. What significances do you find in what Jesus said.
    1. Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. There must have been something in the tomb that attracted her attention (light coming out from within the tomb?). She stooped in and saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and another at the feet where Jesus' body was laid. v11-12
    2. The angels even spoke and asked Mary about her weeping. v13
    3. While answering them, Mary felt someone enter the tomb and turned told him that she did not know what they took Jesus. Mary still could not believe that Jesus has risen and stick to 'stolen-body' story. v14.
    4. Jesus had to draw Mary's attention by calling out her name. It might have been a unique way that Jesus called her name because she immediately recognized that it was Jesus v16.
    5. She instinctively moved to want to touch Jesus. But Jesus stopped her.
    6. Jesus said 3 important things:
      1. He has yet to ascend to the Father (may be to receive the Holy Spirit and other things...)
      2. Go to tell 'my brothers' i.e. the disciples are now His brothers.
      3. My Father and Your Father, My God and Your God. Jesus and His believers are now one in the family of God with God as the Father!
    7. Mary did as instructed and told the disciples what Jesus had said v18.
    8. Mary is the 1st person that had seen the resurrected Christ.
    Q4 Describe the events of Jesus first appearance to His disciples.
    1. Time : Sunday evening (the same of the resurrection) v19
    2. Location: in a house with locked doors for fear of the Jews v19
    3. Who: The disciples (11 or more? Women too?) except Thomas.
    4. Jesus: 
      1. appeared in their midst (closed doors could not keep the resurrected Jesus out)
      2. He said "Peace be with you". Peace is to overcome their fear in v19.
      3. He showed them His hands(nailed to the cross) and His side (pierced) to show that He was the crucified one and not someone else. v20.
      4. His commission "As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you" v21
      5. The giving of the Holy Spirit for them to do the mission v22.
      6. The authority of the forgiveness or withholding of sins v23. This is a very powerful thing. The forgiveness of sin result in the healing of paralytic in Luke 5:24. Peter in Act 3:6 raised up lame man and preached the gospel. By proclaiming forgiveness in Jesus Christ, the believers can remove the curses of sins.
    Q5 What can we learn from the 'Doubting Thomas'?
    1. Thomas would not believe any hear-says. 
    2. He want to make sure the resurrected one is the same Jesus that was on the cross. He wanted to check the wounds. v25
    3. We can learned from Thomas the right way to think and examine the evidences. Don't just believe any prophecies but check them.
    Q6 How was Thomas convinced? What can we learned?
    1. 8 days later, this time Thomas was with the others.
    2. Their doors are still locked.
    3. Jesus appeared among them and addressed Thomas directly and asked Thomas to verify the evidences. 
    4. I do not think Jesus repute Thomas for his doubts. Jesus was just proclaiming blessings for us, who could not witness first hands, but who believe in the disciple testimonies. We should thanked Thomas because he made the evidence stronger. Doubts per se do not weaken faith but are precursor of faith. Doubts answered strength our faith.
    5. If there by any doubts, ask Jesus, and be fully satisfied and you could move forward with full faith. 
    6. See a related post "Doubts? It is good to have doubts".
    Q7 What is the purpose of John's writing this book?
    John told us that there were many more evidences and signs not written to prove the resurrection and identify of Jesus. But he considered he had written enough for us to believe that 'Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.' v 31.

    You may think that this is the end of the book. But John wrote another chapter to close the outstanding issues and disclosed to us about the future of the church.