Daily Bible Readings – Sunday, April 6, 2014

Prayer Psalm: 145

Prayer Point. Psalm 145 gives us a number of reasons that God is worthy of praise. Pick one or two that resonate with you and use them to worship God. Pray that these things will be remembered and passed on to our children.

John 8:46-59

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? You can use the following background to guide you.

Background. How does Jesus explain the accusations and unbelief of his hearers? Jesus’ explanation further infuriates the crowd. Remember that they believed that they were “all set” because of their status as biological descendants of Abraham. They believed that pagans like the Romans, prostitutes, and tax collectors were the real sinners. But Jesus goes after these religious and moral people and boldly says, “No, the enemy lies within.” That’s why the wild charges start flying. “You are a Samaritan [fighting words for a Jew in those days] and demon-possessed.”

How does Jesus answer the charge of being demon-possessed? What is his mission? What motivates him?

“Are you greater than our father Abraham?” That indeed is the central question. If the answer is “yes” then Jesus is indeed God and must be followed and obeyed. If your answer is “no” then Jesus was either a lunatic or a bold-faced liar. As GK Chesterton and CS Lewis pointed out, there is no middle ground. There is no possibility that he was just a nice teacher. Jesus’ life and ministry does not leave open that possibility. Does Jesus see himself greater than Abraham?

The phrase “I am” was one of the sacred names of God. What is Jesus claiming when he says, “before Abraham was, I am!”?  The penalty under the Law of Moses for blasphemy (claiming to be God when you are not is a good example) was death by stoning. How did the crowds interpret what Jesus claimed? How does Jesus get away?

Obey. The three steps of Gospel obedience

  • Walk. What is God asking me to do?
  • Repent. How have I failed to obey what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.
  • Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey what I have read?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

Romans 12:1-21

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? You can use the following background to guide you.

Background. After having spent the first eleven chapters of his letter to the Romans describing the grace and love of God the Father demonstrated through the life, death and resurrection of his Son Jesus, Paul now lays out the life we are to live in response.

Pay close attention to …

  • What we are to offer God in response to his mercy (verse 1).
  • What we are no longer to conform to and the new pattern of thinking that replaces it (verse 2).
  • How we are to view ourselves (verse 3).
  • How we are to see ourselves to relation to other followers of Jesus. The purpose of our gifts (talents, time and resources) (verses 4-8).
  • The objects of our love (verses 9-10).
  • How we respond to our own struggles (verse 12) and the struggles of others (verse 13).
  • What loving our neighbor looks likes (verses 14-21).

Obey. The three steps of Gospel obedience

  • Walk. What is God asking me to do?
  • Repent. How have I failed to obey what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.
  • Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey what I have read?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

Exodus 3:16-4:12

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? You can use the background to help guide you.

Background. What does the Lord predict about the Israelites and what does he predict about Pharaoh?

[The LORD predicts that the Israelites will listen to Moses and that Pharaoh will not.]

So Pharaoh will not let the people go.  What plans does the Lord have in store for Pharaoh?
[“So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them.  After that, he will let you go.” (Exodus 3:20 NIV)]

Moses launches yet another objection to his qualifications to do the job.  What is Moses’ complaint this time?
[“Moses answered, ‘What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, “The Lord did not appear to you”’” (Exodus 4:1NIV)]

The LORD then demonstrates (on a small scale) his power and the power he will give to Moses when he goes into Egypt to liberate the Jews.  What three demonstrations of power does the LORD show Moses?
[God made a staff turn into a serpent; he made Moses’ hand leprous and then cleansed it; he promised to turn the water in the Nile to blood.]

What is Moses’ last objection to him as a choice to do this work?
[Moses complains that he is not eloquent.  But “the Lord said to him, ‘Who gave man his mouth?  Who makes him deaf or mute?  Who gives him sight or makes him blind?  Is it not I, the Lord?  Now go; I will help you speak and will teach what to say.’” (Exodus 4:11-12 NIV)]

We will see how Moses and the Lord will come together to achieve the goal, i.e., to get the Hebrews out of Egypt.

Obey. The three steps of Gospel obedience

  • Walk. What is God asking me to do?
  • Repent. How have I failed to obey what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.
  • Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey what I have read?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

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