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What is the new normal?  Nobody knows for now. Who knows if we may return back to normal as we knew it.  However in the past months the exposure of our church and school has been significantly different.  Many things went online such as chapel, worship services, and school.  Our exposure to the community significantly changed.  Members started posting worship services on their Facebook pages and as a result new connections have been made outside of the church.  This Bible study will help us become more comfortable in understanding and sharing the word of God. The format is simple.  Each week a Bible study will be released with about a half a dozen questions.  The next week, Monday through Friday, Pastor Farnsworth will go through those questions one or two a day explaining each one.  We hope this Bible study is a blessing to you.  Please share it with others.


Week of September 27th, 2020

As we consider justification we are going to be looking at several different areas.  First we look at justification and faith, secondly we look at justification in detail, and thirdly we will ask the question, ‘Why does faith save us?’.  Finally we will look at the results of justification.  This is all important to understand, as we will next be going into the details of how to share your faith.

Part One:  Justification and Faith

There’s a lot of confusion about Faith today.  In fact I get frustrated as a pastor when I hear people on TV or on the radio and even in the church talk about trusting in their faith.  But faith demands an object.  What do I mean by this?  Faith has to cling to something.  It must have a foundation upon which it rests.

That foundation is what God has done for us in Christ.  Christ therefore is the object of faith.  We don’t trust in our faith, we trust in Christ. 

Read Romans 3:28.   Make comments in regards to justification and how it justifies the center before God. 

Part Two: Justification in Detail

   A.  All men are sinners

It is difficult to talk about sin today because many people believe there is no such thing.  My truth is different than your truth but both are valid.  So in sharing your faith it’s important to be able to identify the One who defines sin and that is God.  Read the following Bible verses and comment on how they define sin. 

Romans 3:23

Romans 3:19

    B.  Christ fully atones for all sins.  Read the following Bible verses and reflect on Christ’s work

John 3:16

1 John 2:2

2 Corinthians 5:19

Romans 4:25


Week of September 20th, 2020

As we continue to consider the importance of the atonement of Christ, especially as it refers to the purchase for our sins it will be important to make that connection to justification. Justification will help you to understand sharing your faith. Jesus understood His life was offered for sin as the Son of God. He understood He was a substitute for our sins. In order to be that substitute both God and man had to die on the cross. 

Read Matthew 20:28 and identify who Christ dies for. 

This is important to understand because many of non-Lutheran reformed churches argue for a limited atonement.  What does that mean? It means that Jesus did not die for everyone. 

According to Matthew 20:28 why are they wrong? 

How does 1 Timothy 2:6 support this idea? 

According to Ephesians 1:7, how is redemption affected? 

Read Romans 3:24 to help understand how justification or being made right with God has its foundation in Jesus Christ.


Week of September 13th, 2020 

Sacrificial Atonement continued 

We continue to look at the atonement of Christ as an important part of our salvation. The atonement is specifically located in the death of Jesus and yet we can say the atonement encompasses all of His life. Consider the following Bible verses and how they include other things than the death of Christ. Feel free to look at Isaiah 53 for help. 

Matthew 8:17 

John 1:36 

How does Jesus describe His body in the following Bible verses? 

Matthew 12:6 

Matthew 26:61

John 2:19 

It is important to understand the entitlement as a propitiatory act. As we observe the second article in the small catechism there’s an importance there and understanding the notion of a payment or redemption to explain the death of Jesus Christ. Redemption has its basic meaning as “buying back”. The Old Testament sacrifice carried with it the idea of restitution. 

Look at 1 Peter 1:18-19. Describe how this verse down plays our participation in the payment. Then describe how Jesus makes that payment. 

Look at Matthew 27:3-10. What does Judas attempt to do here that’s contrary to the 1 Peter passage? 

Christians have been purchased with a great price. Highlight the importance in the following verses: 

1 Corinthians 6:20 

Revelation 5:9 

Matthew 20:28 

We further note that the death of Jesus must be the death of God in order for it to have divine worth. If Jesus did not die as God, the payment is not sufficient.


Week of September 6th, 2020

The Old Testament Atonement:  The Heart of Worship 

As we continue to understand what God has done for us we have to focus on the sacrificial atonement of sins. We see that even before Aaron’s priesthood many lifted up sacrifices with living animals. Among those are Cain, Abel, Noah and Abraham. The height of the annual Passover celebration was the sacrifice and eating of the Paschal lamb. Identify in the next two Bible verses from Paul and his connection to Christ. 

1 Corinthians 5:7 7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 

John 19:35-37 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.” 

The temple was the center of Israel’s worship and had sacrifices as its chief function. This religious concept of sacrifice was also carried over into ordinary life of the Jewish people. If you wrong someone you are required to make restitution which also included a killing of an animal. 

Identify those facts in Leviticus 24:18-21 18 Anyone who takes the life of someone’s animal must make restitution—life for life. 19 Anyone who injures their neighbor is to be injured in the same manner: 20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The one who has inflicted the injury must suffer the same injury. 21 Whoever kills an animal must make restitution, but whoever kills a human being is to be put to death. 

Review Isaiah 53 and identify which verses highlight the following concerning the suffering servant Jesus. 1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. 11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

 Bears grief’s and sorrows of Israel: 

Carries their iniquity: 

The suffering servant makes his soul an offering for sin: 

Read Hebrews 10:4 and draw its connection to the promise of Genesis 3:15 4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.

 


Week of August 30th, 2020

Understanding the Importance of the Sacrificial Death of Christ 

“For our Christian creed teaches us that the Son of God, who was made man, suffered for us, died, and redeemed us by His blood.” FC SD VIII45 

How does Paul identify the death of Jesus in the following passage? 

1 Corinthians 15:3 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 

Peter confesses Jesus to be the Christ, Son of the living God. How does Jesus describe His mission? 

Matthew 16:21 21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 

Mark 8:31 31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 

Luke 9:22 22 And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” 

Matthew 17:22-23 22 When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. 23 They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief. 

Matthew 20:18-19 18 “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19 and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” 

Mark 9:31 31 because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” 

Luke 9:44 44 “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.” 

Identify in Luke 24:26 where the requirements for the Messiah come from. 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”

 


Week of August 23rd, 2020

From the previous Bible verses we learned that man is simply the object of faith. That means that he receives faith from God and God alone. However we must understand that natural man apart from God will try to work out his salvation. List below some examples that you can think of: 

Take a look at the Bible verses below and identify that a man cannot believe apart from the Word of God. That is, man cannot work out his salvation. 

1 Corinthians 2:9 9 However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him 

1 Corinthians 2:14 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 

1 Corinthians 1:23 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 

Natural man believes that only he can work out his conversion. However, understanding the Scriptures teaching of “divine monergism” we consider the natural man to be lost and unable to save himself. Monergism can be understood as one (mono) and ergon (work). We are most familiar with synergism which is decision theology made popular by Billy Graham. 


Week of August 16th, 2020 

As we consider conversion we can observe from scriptures it is affected by God in two ways. First, by the Holy Spirit and secondly, by the Word of God 

Identify in the following Bible verses why or how the human will takes no part in conversion. 

Ephesians 2:8-9 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 

Romans 10:17 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. 

1 Corinthians 4:15 15 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 

1 Peter 1:23 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 

Despite these verses natural man will apart from God attempt to work out His salvation on His own. List some examples that you can think of.


Week of August 9th, 2020

Christendom takes a look at the cause of conversion and comes up with different conclusions. These conclusions are categorized as Pelagianism, semi-Pelagianism or synergism and monergism. Monergism is our understanding that God’s action only creates faith in our heart. Pelagianism believes that man, after the fall, can still have a totally free will and make his own decision to believe in God or not. Semi-Pelagianism or synergism is a common belief known as a decision theology. The belief is that God does a little bit and I do a little bit but making a decision for Christ and then faith exist. These two, we as Lutheran’s, deny because we believe in divine monergism. 

The next two lessons will look at Bible verses that reinforce the belief that God does it all when it comes to our conversion. 

I. Natural man is unable to save himself. 

     A. Negative aspects. Highlight the negative aspects in the following verses. 

          1. John 6:44 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 

          2. 1 Corinthians 2:14 14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 

B. Positive aspects. 

          1. Philippians 1:29 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 

          2. Ephesians 1:19-20 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 

          3. John 1:1-13 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. 9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people[c] did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 

          4. Colossians 2:12 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 

          5. 2 Corinthians 4:6 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ


Week of August 2nd, 2020

What happens when someone becomes a Christian? 

Our Lutheran confessions reflect the following definition of what goes on when one becomes a Christian. “First faith is kindled by us in conversion, by the Holy Spirit, through the hearing of the Gospel. This faith leasehold of God’s grace in Christ, by which a person is justified. Then when a person is justified, he is also renewed and sanctified by the Holy Ghost, from which renewal and sanctification, the fruits of good works follow.” Let’s look at some verses concerning conversion. Identify in each verse whether conversion is God’s action or man’s action. Law or Gospel. Also note any indication of the definition of conversion. 

Acts 11:21 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. 

Ephesians 2:12 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 

Ephesians 2:13 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 

Concerning the last two verses what is the starting point of conversion and what is the goal. 

True or False:

1) Conversion consists of the moral improvement of life. 

2) Conversion is an ethical active man.


Week of July 19th, 2020

The Importance of Law and Gospel 

From your catechetical studies as a child you should have learned the two great doctrines of the Bible are Law and Gospel. From Luther’s small catechism we learn “the law is that doctrine in the Bible to which God tells us how we are to be and what we are to do and not to do.” (LSC 1943. P. 42) We also see from Luther’s Small Catechism the definition of Gospel, “the Gospel is that doctrine of the Bible in which God tells us the good news of our salvation in Jesus Christ.” (LSC p. 43) 

Below are several Bible verses. Identify them as Law or Gospel, highlighting key phrases. 

1. Romans 1:16 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 

2. Exodus 34:11 11 “Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 

3. Leviticus 19:2 2 “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, you shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. 

4. John 3:16 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 

5. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 

6. 1 John 4:9 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.


Week of July 26th, 2020

What’s important about these two laws is that they’re the basis for sharing our faith. The problem is significant to us as human beings because we are sinners. God established the law and we have broken the law. As a result we have sinned against God and our fellow man. The problem today is that many people think that they don’t sin. Let’s identify the three functions of the law which helps us get to the heart of the matter of why we evangelize.

The law has a threefold purpose:

1. A curb—the Lord checks, to some extent, the course outburst of sin and “thereby helps us to keep order in the world.” (LSC, page 85) Review the following Bible verses and identify how the law is a curb.

Romans 2:14-15  14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them

1 Timothy 1:9  9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers

2. A mirror—the law shows us our sin. (LSC, page 86)

Romans 3:20  20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

Romans 7:7  7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”

3. A rule—the law teaches Christians which works we must do to lead a God pleasing life.

Psalm 119:9  9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.

Luke 10:27  27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.


Week of June 21st, 2020

We begin by looking at a text that is very timely because it shows up in the lectionary this Sunday, June 21st.  This text identifies fears that come and interfere with the mission of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Please read through the text below and the answer the questions that follow.

Matthew 10:24-33

24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.

25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.

26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.

27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.

28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.

30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.

31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,

33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

Questions:

1. Reading over the text can you identify three separate fears Jesus disciples faced?

2. Identify the first fear found in the text and explain the solution Matthew shares with us.

3. Identify the second fear in the text and explain the solution Matthew shares with us.

4. Identify the third fear in the text and explain the solution Matthew shares with us.

5. How do these solutions empower the disciples in their proclamation of the gospel? How do they empower you?

6. Make two lists:

  • First: List 3 ways we could share the gospel in the community around us before corona virus 19.
  • Secondly: List 3 ways we could share the gospel in the community during corona virus 19.

Please send your lists to Pastor Farnsworth at:  farns08@yahoo.com


 Week of June 28th, 2020

When considering sharing your faith, many roadblocks seem to be in the way. Perhaps the first is how do I start? Many can observe a common sign in many communities, “Jesus saves“. One might put themselves in the mind of a un-churched person or an unbeliever and ask this question; “saves from what?”  The fact is that people don’t see a need for a savior. They don’t see a need for a savior because they don’t believe they are sinful. Sometimes it’s arrogant to think that this is a modern problem that those of the past didn’t have to deal with. That is a clear mistake.

Let’s consider one encounter of Jesus in Mark 10:17-22. 

17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  

18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.  

19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’”  

20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 

21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”  

22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. 

After reading this scripture answer the following questions:

1.  Is Jesus impressed with the man falling at his feet?    

2.  What was the man convinced of in regards to the 10 Commandments?    

3.  What do you believe was instrumental in that conviction?  

4.  The man asks, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”   What is wrong with that question?   

5.  Why does Jesus answer the question in a way that seems to support works righteousness?    

6.  After confessing to Jesus His keeping of the 10 Commandments Jesus states that he lacks one thing. What is that one thing?    

7.  What does that one thing indicate about this man’s life?  

8.  In this Discourse between the man and Jesus, what is Jesus teaching us about sin?  

 

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