Q52 Week 26

Dealing With Doubt

If you are doubting today, don’t sweat it, it’s normal. Take these steps and see where faith takes you.

MONDAY, JUNE 27

Connect: Matthew 12

DISCOVER:

  • What blasphemy did Jesus say would not be forgiven in contrast to that which would be forgiven? 12:31-32.
  • What constitutes blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Why would it not be forgiven?
  • What is the point of the illustration of the tree and its fruit – 12:33? What application did this have to the Pharisees – 12:34?

RESPOND:

  • If the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, then is this not the one transgression that can make Chrisitans lose salvation? How do we know whether or not we have committed this sin? Because blasphemy of the Spirit is a willful suppression of the truth about Christ, theologians agree that Christians who worry if they have committed this sin likely have not done so. Those who willfully deny the truth would have no concern for the state of their souls, for they have chosen consciously not to affirm what they know to be real. Pray today that you would never suppress God’s truth and ask him to reveal himself to you through his Word

TUESDAY, JUNE 28

Connect: Jonah 1 & 2

DISCOVER:

  • What command did God give Jonah in 1:2? What reason did God give?
  • How did Jonah respond to God’s command – 1:3? Where is Tarshish?
  • What reason is given for the way Jonah responded?

RESPOND:

  • We might be tempted to look down on Jonah for fleeing to Tarshish. However, when we remember how many times we ignore God’s call, we realize that we are no better than the prophet. When Jesus commands us to do something, we need to heed his words immediately or repent when we fail to do so. Are you putting off or ignoring the call of Christ? Repent of that today, and begin to fulfill what the Lord wants you to do

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29

Connect: Jonah 3 & 4

DISCOVER:

  • What instruction did God once again give to Jonah – 3:1,2?
  • What can we learn from this about the responsibility of preachers and all who are called to share the gospel?
  • How did the people of Nineveh respond to Jonah’s message

RESPOND:

  • God’s word always achieves the purpose for which is ultimately intended (Isa. 55:10-11). Sometimes his promise of judgment prompts people to repent, as it did when Jonah preached to Nineveh. Sometimes it makes people harden their hearts against the Lord, as it did when Moses spoke to Pharaoh. In both cases, however, it did what it was supposed to do. We can likewise be confident that his word will achieve his purposes when we faithfully share his gospel.

THURSDAY, JUNE 30

Connect: Hebrews 6 and Matthew 12:22-45

DISCOVER:

  • What subject is discussed in 6:4-8? Why did the Hebrews need to consider this?
  • What are the characteristics of the people discussed in verses 4 and 5?

RESPOND:

  • Have you ever doubted your salvation?
  • Have you ever put up an intellectual smoke screen – a difficult question or apparent contradiction in the Bible – as an excuse for unbelief? Have you had a friend do that as you were sharing your faith?
  • The Pharisees had a hidden motive for not believing in Jesus. What are some of the hidden motives that have kept your friends or family away from faith? Why did Jesus make his own resurrection the focal point of faith? Why is it such a big deal?
  • Since you want to believe, you have not blasphemed the Holy Spirit, but what are some of the ways you have resisted his promptings to become more obedient to Jesus?

FRIDAY, JULY 1

Connect: Hebrews 10

DISCOVER:

  • What was the relationship between the law and the things of the New Testament 
  • What could Old Testament sacrifices not do?
  • What reason is given to prove those sacrifices could not perfect people?

RESPOND:

  • God instituted the old covenant sacrifices to show his people their need for atonement. But they, like the new covenant saints, only enjoy forgiveness because of the atonement of Christ accomplished by the shedding of his perfect blood. When you celebrate the Lord’s Supper, remember to thank Christ for his blood shed for you.

SATURDAY, JULY 2

Connect: 1 John 5

DISCOVER:

  • Who is begotten (born) of God?
  • What does this begetting (birth) mean regarding love?
  • What does it mean to love God?

RESPOND:

  • While it is certainly true that the new birth is central to salvation, many evangelicals do not understand that it occurs prior to our profession of faith. The new birth is not something that comes as a result of a work between the Spirit and our faith; rather it is the work of the Spirit alone that changes our hearts, and as a result, we have faith. Today’s passage clearly informs us that our act of believing in his name is the result of our being first born of God.

SUNDAY, JULY 3

Connect: Proverbs 1

DISCOVER:

  • How do you define “wisdom,” “instruction,” and “understanding.”?
  • What is the source of true wisdom?
  • What are some methods that evil people use to entice others to participate with them in sin?

RESPOND:

  • Biblical faith is not believing in something without reason, it is believing the Lord because Scripture gives us every reason for trusting in him. Faith is not antithetical to reason, for true rationality upholds an allegiance to the Lord Jesus. Take some time to consider how you would respond to the question: “Why are you a Christian?” Seek to be equipped to give reasons for the hope that is within you.

Q52 Week 25

One man’s opinions on opinions

I have a lot of things that I will argue against. Some divisive, some not. Here are five.

MONDAY, JUNE 20

Connect: John 9

DISCOVER:

  • On what day did the healing of the lame man by the pool occur? Why did some Jews object?
  • How did the Jewish leaders treat Jesus as a result?
  • How did Jesus answer their charges?

RESPOND:

  • In verse 17 Jesus answers the Jewish leaders by saying “My Father is always at his work and I, too, am working.” Essentially, he elaborates on the nature of his relationship with the Father. Jesus claims that everything the Son does he is able to do because he saw the Father do it first. Jesus identifies his work with that of the Father. God’s work did not cease at creation. He continues to be active and Jesus co-labors with his Father. But how does this relate to Jesus’ healing of a man on the Sabbath? The answer is, the one who created the Sabbath has authority over it. He determines its purpose, its use, and its limitations. This is the tragedy John detects in those who opposed Jesus’ earthly ministry. In their zeal for obedience to the law, they missed the one who is the lawgiver. In their concern for adherence to Scripture, they missed the coming of the one of whom Scripture spoke. Let us not fall into this trap.

TUESDAY, JUNE 21

Connect: 2 Samuel 22

DISCOVER:

  • How did David use the metaphor of darkness and light to refer to God’s saving work? Where else do we find this poem?
  • How did David respond when he faced these difficulties? What should we do when we face troubles?
  • Were these actual waters David was sinking in? What might they represent? Vs 17-20.

RESPOND:

  • Are you building your house on the solid rock of Christ or are you building your house on the constantly shifting sands of money, materials, or pleasure?
  • What is your refuge? Who or what will you turn to when things get difficult?
  • Are you quick to repent when you sin? Are you willing to humble yourself and confess verbally to the people around you and to God?

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22

Connect: 2 Corinthians 4

DISCOVER:

  • How do some false teachers cunningly tamper with God’s word?
  • VS 3-4: In what way was their gospel veiled?
  • VS 5-6: What have you learned in this passage about evangelism?

RESPOND:

  • What are some disgraceful things some preachers of the gospel do? Why do they do these things?
  • How did God shine the light into your hearts? (Share your testimony of when you first saw the light.)
  • How has your perspective changed after seeing the light?

THURSDAY, JUNE 23

Connect: Matthew 15 and John 9:1-41

DISCOVER:

  • What was the Pharisees goal in pointing out that the disciples did not wash their hands first? What problem in their own attitudes did Jesus strive to point out?
  • What can we learn about this woman from verse 22? What can we learn about her attitude toward Jesus? Why did Jesus not reply to her? What did His disciples want Jesus to do? Why do you think Jesus did not send her away, but instead engaged with her in conversation? 
  • How is the feeding of the 4000 story similar to the feeding of the five thousand? How is it different? Are there any additional insights/lessons you can learn from it?

RESPOND:

  • How is darkness portrayed in movies and other popular media? What does it represent?
  • What was the darkest day of your life? The brightest day of your life?
  • Do people in the dark know they are in the dark? Why do people in the dark think people in the light are blind? Extra credit: Read the allegory of the cave in Plato’s Republic.
  • Do you know of areas of your life where you don’t think or see clearly? How does spiritual arrogance cause blindness?

FRIDAY, JUNE 24

Connect: Ephesians 1

DISCOVER:

  • What attitude does Paul show in verses 15-16? (Gratitude) Who is he grateful to? Why was Paul thankful to God for their good deeds?
  • Paul says that he made mention of them in his prayers. What was he asking?
  • In what three ways did Paul pray they would be enlightened?

RESPOND:

  • Note the type of prayers Paul prays for the Ephesians. They are rich and powerful. He prays predominantly for their spiritual knowledge and growth. What exactly does he pray for?
  • What is the main content of your prayers? What do you pray for yourself and others?

SATURDAY, JUNE 25

Connect: Revelation 3

DISCOVER:

  • Why was it important for the church of Laodicea to know that Jesus knows their works? What is Jesus’ criticism toward this church?
  • Why do you think He doesn’t offer any encouragement or commendation at all? Do you think they are real believers or not? Why?
  • What does He mean that they are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot? What was their true spiritual condition?

RESPOND:

  • What important principles can you learn from Jesus’ criticism?
  • What application can you make? God calls us to be useful. He has designed us for a purpose. Are you fulfilling your purpose?

SUNDAY, JUNE 26

Connect: Matthew 12

DISCOVER:

  • What accusation did the Pharisees level at Jesus’ disciples? Were they accurate in saying that the disciples were breaking the Sabbath? What was Jesus’ reply? Does He defend the disciples or agree with them?
  • What is the “that place” which Jesus withdrew from? Why did he warn them not to tell who he was?
  • What is the meaning of the words in verse 20 that a “bruised reed he will not break and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out?”

RESPOND:

  • Ask someone who knows you well and whom you trust as wise (whether Chrisian or not) what your blind spots might be.
  • What is the difference between God’s intention for the Sabbath and how man kept it?
  • Jesus is patient and kind and long-suffering. He doesn’t quickly snuff out or judge the spiritually immature, but instead seeks to rekindle the flame again. How can you apply Jesus’ character to your life?

Q52 Week 24

Yes or No?

I like to think of myself as an opportunistic human. We all love to view ourselves that way right? People who see the opportunity, who love to be people of action, and are daring to be more. In the glorified version of ourselves - when something is pressed upon us, we like to think we swing into action like a pirate swinging from a mast to take on another ship with amazing music playing behind us.

MONDAY, JUNE 13

Connect: John 5

DISCOVER:

  • On what day did the healing of the lame man by the pool occur? Why did some Jews object?
  • How did the Jewish leaders treat Jesus as a result?
  • How did Jesus answer their charges?

RESPOND:

  • In verse 17 Jesus answers the Jewish leaders by saying “My Father is always at his work and I, too, am working.” Essentially, he elaborates on the nature of his relationship with the Father. Jesus claims that everything the Son does he is able to do because he saw the Father do it first. Jesus identifies his work with that of the Father. God’s work did not cease at creation. He continues to be active and Jesus co-labors with his Father. But how does this relate to Jesus’ healing of a man on the Sabbath? The answer is, the one who created the Sabbath has authority over it. He determines its purpose, its use, and its limitations. This is the tragedy John detects in those who opposed Jesus’ earthly ministry. In their zeal for obedience to the law, they missed the one who is the lawgiver. In their concern for adherence to Scripture, they missed the coming of the one of whom Scripture spoke. Let us not fall into this trap.

TUESDAY, JUNE 14

Connect: 1 Samuel 18

DISCOVER:

  • How did Saul react to David’s fame and success?
  • Why was Saul afraid of David?
  • How did Saul attempt to rid himself of David?

RESPOND:

  • Matthew Henry comments “Proud men cannot endure to hear any praised but themselves, and think all their honor lost that goes by themselves”. Saul continually set himself against David. This shows us the extreme hardness of Saul’s heart because we read that Saul knew God was with David. Only those given over to sin are foolish enough to continue resisting the Lordwhen they know he is not on their side – or better, that they are not on God’s side. Of course, all such resistance is finally futile. God will give victory even over death itself to all who are on his side.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15

Connect: 1 Samuel 19

DISCOVER:

  • What happened when Saul sent messengers to capture David?
  • What happened to Saul when he went to capture David himself?

RESPOND:

  • Matthew Henry sees today’s passage as confirming that serving in ministry is in itself no proof of conversion. He writes, “Many have great gifts and yet no grace, prophesy in Christ’s name and yet are disowned by him.” Saul prophesied, though his heart was set against the Lord. It is possible to do great things for the church and yet be unconverted. We must trust in Christ for salvation, not in what we do in his name.

THURSDAY, JUNE 16

Connect: 1 Samuel 20 and John 5:1-18

DISCOVER:

  • What complaint did David raise to Jonathan? How did Jonathan respond?
  • What covenant did Jonathan request?
  • What sign would Jonathan use to tell David Saul’s attitude?

RESPOND:

  • Have you ever been used by someone as a means to an end? How did that feel?
  • What comes to mind when you think of the word loyalty? Who is the most loyal person you know?
  • To whom are you the most loyal? How do you demonstrate loyalty?
  • Do you seek Jesus for who he is or for what you can get from him? Are there areas of your spiritual life where you are focused more on yourself than on God?

FRIDAY, JUNE 17

Connect: Romans 4

DISCOVER:

  • Whose justification is discussed in chap. 4? 
  • Why would Paul discuss this man’s case?
  • What would be true if Abraham was justified by works? 
  • By what kind of works was Abraham not justified?
  • If one is saved on the basis of works, what does that mean about grace and debt?

 

RESPOND:

  • Again and again the New Testament warns us that our works cannot add anything to our justification. Neither can sin take away the right status of all those truly justified, though it may disrupt our fellowship with God. Have you done something that, deep down, you consider unforgivable? If you have repented of your sin and trusted in Christ, then you need not fear the Lord’s wrath. Ask God to make his forgiveness real to you today.

SATURDAY, JUNE 18

Connect: Colossians 1

DISCOVER:

  • What motivated Paul to pray for the Colossians?
  • What effect did the gospel have according to 1:6? 
  • What can we learn about how people can receive a proper understanding of God’s grace?
  • What request did Paul make on behalf of the Colossians in 1:10?

RESPOND:

  • It is all too easy for us to think that once we know the basics of the gospel we must then move beyond them for true spiritual growth. Yet it is not extra biblical revelations and methods that mature us, nor is it the search for esoteric meanings and codes in Scripture. Instead, it is the continual attempt to plumb the depths of the gospel message and its application to all of life, which is, in fact, the story of the Bible.

SUNDAY, JUNE 19

Connect: John 9

DISCOVER:

  • What ailment did this man have? How long had the man suffered?
  • What did the disciples think had caused the problem
  • What illustration did Jesus use in 9:5? What did it have to do with the situation?

RESPOND:

  • Over the course of John 9, the man born blind goes from knowing Jesus’ name to calling him a prophet to confessing him as Lord. This progression indicates a growth in the man’s understanding and faith. We should see the same growth in ourselves. The longer we follow Jesus, the more we should know him and the more committed we should be to him as our Lord.