27 October 2016

25 October 2016

BSF 2016-2017: John 4:31-54

Just after Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman at the well, the disciples returned. They were focused on meeting Jesus’ physical needs and satisfying his physical hunger. But Jesus wanted the disciples to turn their eyes to a spiritual need all around them. He wanted them to lift their eyes and look at the Samaritans coming toward them; these people were hungering and thirsting for God.

Jesus said the “food” that nourishes Him was the work God had given Him to do. Accomplishing God’s will pleased Jesus so much that He didn’t need food to nourish His body. Then Jesus used an example of a harvest to describe the world’s spiritual needs:

  • Harvest – those who come to faith in Christ
  • Fields – unbelievers around us
  • Crop – the result of a believer’s work in conjunction with Christ that produces new believers
  • Sower – a person who shares the truth about Jesus
  • Reaper – a person who helps people receive Jesus as Lord and Savior
  • Wages – joy, fulfillment, God’s approval of the believer’s work, and believers’ future treasures in heaven

Jesus explained the disciples’ mission. He sent them to go into the harvest field and reap a true harvest, which is eternal life. Even today, believers have a part in this mission. Sometimes we are sowers; sometimes we are reapers.

The Samaritans were focused on knowing more about Jesus. They first believed in Jesus based on the woman’s testimony. Then the Samaritans asked Jesus to stay with them. They listened to Him teach for two days. After this, the Samaritans knew Jesus was the Messiah and believed for themselves that He was their Savior.

After spending time with the Samaritans, Jesus returned to Galilee, His home country. He visited several towns there. A royal official from Capernaum approached Jesus while He was in Cana. He begged Jesus to heal his sick son. The official knew that Jesus was his last hope. The Galileans were focused on Jesus performing a miracle. The royal official was focused on saving his son.

Jesus rebuked the Galileans for seeking signs and miracles. But the official continued to beg Jesus to heal his son. Jesus said, “Go. Your son will live.” The official took Jesus at His word. Jesus did not give the man a sign. The man trusted that Jesus would heal his son.

The official returned home the next day. Before he reached home, his servants found him on the road and said that his son was healed. The official realized that his son was healed at the same time that Jesus spoke to the official. Then the official’s entire household believed in Jesus because of this miracle.

Things to Think About
  • Ask God to make you a coworker with the Holy Spirit and with fellow believers to work together to bring people to God.
  • Participating in God’s work is about exalting Christ not self.
  • What work does God have for you?
  • Do your actions express a real faith in Jesus?
  • You can take Jesus at His word because He is trustworthy.
  • Who in your life needs to know about Jesus?

This Week’s Memory Verse
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.” John 4:34 NIV

20 October 2016

18 October 2016

BSF 2016-2017: John 4:1-30

Jesus had a divine appointment in Samaria. Most Jewish people avoided going into Samaria because the Samaritans mixed the truth of God’s Word with false idols. At noon, Jesus met a Samaritan woman at a well. She was hiding from her fellow townspeople because she came to the well at the hottest time of the day.

Jesus He asked the woman for a drink of water. But then Jesus said He wanted to give her living water. She mistakenly thought He was talking about a physical water. But living water is eternal life and the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Then Jesus revealed her sin with kindness, grace, and truth. He did not condemn her. Now the woman looked for understanding about what was happening. She wanted to know the truth about worship. Jesus said all earthly worship points to heavenly, eternal worship. Jesus explained that true worshipers worship God in spirit and truth – God is everywhere (spirit), and we must worship the true God (truth).

The woman said that the coming Messiah will explain everything. Then Jesus revealed that He was the Messiah.

After her conversation with Jesus, the Samaritan woman left her water jug and ran to town, telling others about Jesus. She came for physical water, but she left with her spiritual thirst quenched for all eternity. Because of her testimony, the people went to meet Jesus for themselves.

Things to Think About
  • Which barriers and prejudices do you need to overcome when it comes to sharing the Gospel?
  • Are you sharing the Gospel in your home? To the people across the street? To anyone God brings into your life?
  • How much time do you spend seeking the things that temporarily satisfy you? Are you seeking God more than the things that temporarily satisfy you? Will you allow Jesus to satisfy your deepest longings?
  • Jesus valued the woman enough to sit with her, to tell her what needed to be changed in her life, and to share with her the only One who could change her life.
  • Jesus is not partial to social status, political clout, or financial portfolios. He is willing to meet us where we are. This is grace.

This Week’s Memory Verse
But whomever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. John 4:14 NIV

13 October 2016

11 October 2016

BSF 2016-2017: John 3

Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Jewish ruling council. He approached Jesus at night. Why? Perhaps he wanted an uninterrupted conversation with Jesus.

Nicodemus went to Jesus out of curiosity. Jesus knew Nicodemus’ heart. He knew that Nicodemus was coming to Him to find out if He is the Messiah. Jesus told Nicodemus that no one can see (understand) the kingdom of God unless they are born again. Nicodemus thought first of physical rebirth and how impossible that is. But Jesus was speaking of spiritual rebirth.

Jesus said that no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of the water and of the Spirit. To be born of the water is to be born of the Word of God (it cleanses you). To be born of the Spirit refers to the Holy Spirit.

Everyone is born spiritually dead and separated from God because we are born into sin. Regeneration is the Holy Spirit’s work in a person, resulting in being born again spiritually. The Holy Spirit puts eternal life into the believing person. Regeneration happens once, in an instant. Regeneration brings people into God’s family and into His glorious inheritance.

Nicodemus asked how he can be born again. Nicodemus knew the truth of the Old Testament and the prophecies of the promised Messiah. But he didn’t realize that the promised Messiah was standing in front of him. Jesus pointed to an Old Testament story to prove that He was the Messiah and that He would die for our sins. When the Israelites were wandering in the desert, they became impatient and complained to Moses that there was no water or food. So God punished them by sending venomous snakes. The people realized they had sinned by complaining to God and Moses. Then they repented of their sins. God instructed Moses to construct a bronze snake and place it on a pole. Anyone who looked at the bronze snake was healed and lived (Numbers 21:4-9). The bronze snake is an early symbol that pointed to Jesus’ death on the cross.

After the conversation with Nicodemus ended, John includes his own commentary about the subject of regeneration. This helps us understand what Jesus was teaching Nicodemus. John tells us that believers are not afraid to be in the light. Unbelievers do not want to go into the light because their sin is exposed there. Regeneration results in God-honoring desires.

Now we move to a new scene. John the Baptist’s disciples were upset that Jesus’ disciples were baptizing more people. But John realized that his ministry was short term and that God was raising up Jesus to fulfill His ministry on earth. John continued to point others to Jesus instead of himself.

And here is a beautiful description of John 3:16:
For God – the greatest Lover
so loved – the greatest degree
the world – the greatest company
that he gave – the greatest act
his one and only Son, – the greatest gift
that whoever – the greatest opportunity
believes in him – the greatest simplicity
shall not perish – the greatest promise
but – the greatest difference
have – the greatest certainty
eternal life – the greatest possession

Things to Think About
  • Belief in Christ produces a new life, a new way of life, and a new purpose in life.
  • Have you been born again?
  • Has your new life in Christ changed your thinking? Has your new life in Christ changed the way that you live?
  • Believers have a new way of living – living according to God’s Word.
  • The longer we believe in Jesus, the more we should look like Him. As we grow in spiritual maturity, there should be evidence of a changed life.

This Week’s Memory Verse
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 NIV

06 October 2016

04 October 2016

BSF 2016-2017: John 2:1-25

This week’s lesson starts with Jesus, His (five or six) disciples, and Mary (Jesus’ mother) attending a wedding in Cana.

What were Jewish weddings like? The wedding festival lasted seven days, and the entire community was invited to attend. The bridegroom’s family was responsible for serving the guests for the entire week. To run out of food or wine would have brought embarrassment upon the entire family.

Mary was very concerned when this wedding celebration suddenly ran out of wine. She immediately went to Jesus to ask for His help. Mary knew that Jesus had the power to do anything. So she instructed the servants to obey whatever Jesus told them. Jesus told them to fill up six stone water jars. The servants obeyed. Then Jesus told the servants to draw some water out of the jars and take it to the master of the banquet. The servants obeyed. The master praised the bridegroom for saving the best wine for last.

This sign pointed to Jesus’ glory, deity, compassion, and grace. He also demonstrated His power over nature. He is the sovereign Lord – He is in control of all things. He has absolute authority and rule. Nothing is outside of His rule, and nothing is beyond His reach. Trusting in God’s sovereignty gives us a new perspective. We see every life event knowing it is subject to God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will. This allows us to be joyful in all circumstances.

Jesus didn’t have to perform this miracle. But He showed that He cared about the details of people’s lives. And He still cares enough for us to do the same.

After this wedding, Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. This festival was a celebration and a reminder that God freed His people from Egyptian slavery.

When He entered the temple courts, Jesus found tables full of moneychangers and vendors selling animals for the required sacrifices. Jesus saw His Father’s house turned into a market. The house of worship was turned into a place of business. Jesus made a whip to drive out the animals and the people. He overturned the tables.

Jesus demonstrated a righteous anger. He was filled with indignation over the wickedness and injustice against God. Righteous anger reveals an intolerance for sin.

The Jews questioned Jesus’ authority. Jesus referred to His coming death, burial, and resurrection when He said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” The Jews did not understand that Jesus was not talking about the physical temple but about His body.

This is when we see that many people began to follow Jesus because of His miracles and signs. But they eventually fall away because they do not like Jesus’ teachings.

Things to Think About
  • Mary went to Jesus with the problem not the solution. True faith takes our problem to God and expects Him to do something.
  • The servants at the wedding took Jesus at His Word. Do you take Jesus at His Word?
  • Jesus is sovereign over time, people, nature, life, and death. He is able to handle anything in our lives.

This Week’s Memory Verse
Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” John 2:19 NIV