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  1. Q35. (Luke 6:27-36; Romans 12:12-21) What is the difference between ethical behavior and grace? What is so radical about Jesus' teaching about loving one's enemies? What illustrations does he use of this outrageous grace? I am not sure if there is a difference between ethical behavior and grace. If we really are ethical in our behavior wouldn't we automatically behave with grace towards others who have wronged us in some way. Ethical behavior is what we do for ourselves. We do it because it's who we are. Grace is for others, what we do for them I think. However we have this sin nature in us that causes us to resent, hate, want revenge etc. So we react in unethical ways. It's almost as if God gives us permission not to react in those ways since it is our natural bent to feel these things and we then go to the Bible for instruction on the ethical way to react, behave. I know for me I don't want to disappoint God. I want to please Him as I am sure most all who love God want to. I also know I have felt all these ungodly behaviors at one time or another, more often that I like. It is a natural reaction. Someday it will be gone this natural reaction while we are here, when we go home to glory. It's easy to love those who love you and do good to you and not so easy to love those who misuse you or maltreat you, hurt you. There needs to be consequences for ungodly behavior and let it not be in me. I suffer the consequences for the things done to me and I go to God for encouragement, love, support or correction for my own thoughts or areas of weakness in me. Because of our sin nature I wonder what kind of a God I worship whose ways are diametrically opposed to my natural way of thinking. Who among the gods is like you O, Lord, Awesome in glory, majestic in holiness, working wonders. Exodus 15:11 Who teaches us how to live in righteous ways, who encourages us, shows so much patience to us. He is an amazing God. There is none like Him. God bless! Jen Numbers 6:24-26
  2. Q29. (2 Corinthians 12:7) Why do we often feel so weak in times of sickness or affliction? Why are we tempted to stop ministering to others when we are struggling? I think it is the human condition. When all is going well it is easier to be and do what we would like to be and do. I look in the Bible and see weakness in so many of the prophets. Think of the mental and emotional drain they felt with the animosity they felt and the discouragement of seeing the downward trajectory of the people and the country. Think of Paul. He sounds like he is depressed sometimes and on the defensive. Going around as known but unknown., beaten and stoned. We may not always have the vim and vigor we would like but we do what God puts in front of us and let Him be our strength. We refresh ourselves in Him. He is our strength. I feel drained many days right now and I give myself some time to recover. Jesus understands our condition. Hard to comprehend that but as fully man He did feel what we go through so He can sympathize with us. God Bless! Jen Numbers 6:24-26
  3. Q28. (Hebrews 4:16) Why is approaching God's holy throne in prayer intimidating to some people? Why do we sometimes fear judgment and condemnation when we approach God. In what ways is God's throne the place where he dispenses "mercy and grace"? In what ways is your home a place where grace is given out? I think much has to do with overcoming what you have grown up with. If you knew love and acceptance it is easier to think of God that way. If you know fear and judgement in your family or in your town it is harder to think that He does not think that way of you. All of our negative thoughts about God are Satan's doing and we need to remember he does not want us to see God as He is but as a merciless tyrant. I think scripture memory is very important to do to combat this. His throne is where He is so that would be where he dispenses "mercy and grace". I have a neighbor who told me she always feels safe when she calls my number (to watch her kitty). I don't know why she said that but I am happy she feels that way. Right now we are watching our daughter dealing with teenagers. She is the one whose husband died in an accident. Feeling grace is sort of difficult. They are causing so much pain because of the culture and pressure from the outside and also their own expectations of what they feel should be theirs. As I prayed about it this morning I prayed for her safety. There is so much anger and sense entitlement out there. It is scary. This is the first year she is going though this. Their attitude is if you make me do something I don't want to that is child abuse. I am looking upon it as their abuse of their mother. She has been a beautiful mother always and done so much to try to be mom and dad. There is a stage where it is like insanity where they think their mother does not know anything and they know everything. I am finding it hard to feel grace somedays for one of them. But we must because He has first shown us grace and mercy. That is a lesson about Christ. Thank you Jesus for your grace and mercy shown to me, to all of us. God Bless! Jen Numbers 6:24-26
  4. Q23. (Romans 8:28-30; 1 Peter 1:1-2) I realize that this is a mystery, but how do you see God’s foreknowledge working alongside his ability to predestine? If all this is by grace, how might faith and/or good works fit into this predestination? It is a mystery and if it weren't a mystery it wouldn't be be a mystery. I can see God's foreknowledge working alongside his ability to predestine but how I don't know. He knows everything ahead of time and He works all into His plan. Nothing surprises Him. It does me but not Him. That is why He is the God He is, working wonders. My sister in law entered into eternity this morning. I never heard her talk much about the Bible except that she read it once. Do I know where she is? No. However I trust that He has answered our prayers and I believe she is with the Lord now. I trust that since He is not willing that anyone should perish that I can trust Him in this and love Him in this. As to what is foreknowledge and what is predestination I do not know right now. We are very tired and confused as often when things don't work out the way you expect or plan. I just know I have trusted Him for many years and through many tears. I believe I married into this family for a reason and I am trying right now to be comfort to my husband. To think about this other stuff is for God and for me to do what He puts in front of me. Like I said I feel confused and tired today. .God Bless! Jen "Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God" Keep on praying! He will make it clear in His time and He does hear our prayers. Praise you Jesus!!
  5. Q20. (Ephesians 2:8-9) How does the idea of earning salvation by being good enough for God distort the essential gospel? With that scenario, what is the need for the cross? How does it affect a sense of self-righteousness? Of pride? Of looking down on others rather than loving them? Why is this kind of works-righteousness so ingrained in people? How does an understanding of salvation by grace change this picture? The idea of being able to earn our own salvation makes the gospel null and void, it makes the need of the cross null and void. There is no purpose for Jesus to have come and died for our sins. Our already inflated egos get more inflated and we become proud and boastful which leads into looking down on others and also loving ourselves as being better than others. I believe this works-righteousness attitude or belief goes with our sin nature. As our sin nature is ingrained in us so is this works-righteousness attitude which says we don't need God. Understanding salvation by grace levels the playing field so that no man can boast and all give glory to God, to Jesus alone. God Bless! Jen Numbers 6:24-26
  6. Q19. (Ephesians 2:8) From what have we been rescued by God’s grace? How has God personally rescued you from your situation before Christ? What did God’s favor have to do with your salvation? We have been rescued from our life of sin and the consequences, a life of shame and God's wrath. Like others I didn't know I was lost although I felt lost sometimes. I was like a cast sheep and needed a Savior. I needed to be rescued, from what and to what I didn't know. God personally rescued me when I called out to Him while in Iran during the beginnings of the revolution and He answered my prayer and got me and my children out and gave us a place to stay. I knew Him shortly thereafter as my Savior. Why? Because He loved me as He does all of us and had mercy on me and He has had on all of us. God Bless! Jen Numbers 6:24-26
  7. Q18. (Romans 3:24; John 1:29; Mark 10:45; Isaiah 53) In what sense is Jesus a sacrifice for our sins? Why is he punished for our sins instead of us? Why is he called the Lamb of God? The penalty for sin is the shedding of blood. Jesus shed His blood for our sins on the cross at Golgotha. Isaiah 53:10 says "but it was God's good plan to crush him and cause him grief". We could not pay the price ourselves because we are the guilty party so only a (the) sinless lamb could pay the price and rise again. He is God and He came to earth for this purpose to be a suitable sacrifice for a Holy God. God Bless! Jen "Oh Lamb of God, Sweet Lamb of God I love that Holy Lamb of God Oh wash me in His precious blood My Jesus Christ the Lamb of God." Thank you Jesus!
  8. Q17. (Romans 3:24; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 Peter 1:17-19) In what sense have we been redeemed from slavery? What slavery have we been freed from? What was the price of our manumission or freedom? In what sense are we free? In what sense are we still slaves? We have been redeemed from a life of slaves to sin. We were born with a sin nature and we did what sinners know best and that is to sin. The price of out freedom was the costly price of the blood shed on a cross by the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ. We are now free from slavery to sin and now belong to God as part of His family as sons and daughters. We are rescued from the "empty way of life" and now have love and purpose from God the Father. Before we could do no good. Even if the will was there we could not perform. Now through the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross we are in the kingdom of God's light and we seek to please Him in our lives by loving His Word and obeying It regardless of the cost to ourselves. As always I have a lot of work to on myself as the Holy Spirit enables me to live the life that pleases my God and Father. God Bless! Jen Numbers 6:24-26 I love my family in Christ!
  9. Q16. (Romans 3:22-23; Romans 5:12-14; Isaiah 64:6; Jeremiah 17:9) Is humankind basically "good" because of the image of God in us? Or basically evil because of deceitful hearts and our corrupt nature ("flesh") that is "bent to sinning"? As long as we live we will have this corruption in us. However if we allow the Holy Spirit who now dwells in us through faith in JesusChrist to work His work of cleaning in us there is now given to us the power to overcome this corruption and to live as children of God (Walk before me and be holy. Genesis 17:1). There should be evidence of a change in us that comes from the work of the Holy Spirit in us to endeavor to live in a way to "glorify God and enjoy Him forever" as mans chief end. Westminster Catechism. God Bless! Jen "Lead on O King Eternal"
  10. Q15. (Luke 18:18-27) How does the story of the rich young ruler show the impossibility of salvation without a miracle of God? Why does Jesus use a rich and outwardly righteous man to make this point? Where does grace show through? The rich young ruler did not understand the whole nature of the law. To him the outward obeying of the law was keeping the law. He did not understand the heart issue that his very thoughts condemned him. He did not understand that he needed to be cleansed on the inside. He was rich, a ruler and outwardly righteous and good in men's eyes. All the things that people see but God looks at the heart. These deceitful old hearts of ours. Just looking at my own thoughts I know that I am not good and I need God's goodness, His righteousness. I get that through believing in the finished work of Jesus on the cross to pay the price for my sins not on my own merits of which there are none. I like the words of J Vernon McGee: I only know the thoughts of a righteous man and those are scary enough. God Bless! Jen "Let goods and kindred go. This mortal life also, The body they may kill, God's truth abideth still, His kingdom is forever.'
  11. Q13. (Luke 15:11-31) What does the Parable of the Prodigal Son teach us about God? About repentance? About grace? While thinking about this I started thinking about the pain the father in this story felt as a flesh and blood father and then I thought about our Heavenly Father and wondered how much pain we cause Him by rejecting His gifts, His love, His warnings etc. All the good things He gives us and gets no thanks just rejection. Sometimes I am painfully reminded about how much have to learn and how my children have taught me many times about how God feels. My youngest daughter is now apologizing to me for the grief she caused me because she is learning from her kids. She is a lovely devoted mother and now she is learning from her own teenagers and we can learn from our children about God's feelings for His own children. In spite of the pain we cause Him He runs toward His prodigals, holds no resentment and has a big celebration because the wayward son has returned and He is filled with joy. We need to be sorry for the pain we have caused Him and express our sadness and regret for our sins. It has been ( not sure of the word) comforting to hear my daughter express her regrets and also to hear her say "I am in this stage now with my kids (teenagers ) and I don't like it" . And now I can comfort her. An aside about my daughter, her husband went to the store for diapers when her youngest was four days old and was in an accident and lived on life support for 10 days before he died. She would go to the hospital and put the baby in his arms as he lay there and spend time with Him. They had no insurance and God in His grace had her working in a company that did remarkable things to provide for her. Remarkable! Only God! It is by God's grace which He demonstrated in the parable that we can extend the same grace to our prodigals. We forgive and love them home again and we thank God for it all. "Through it all, through it all I learned to trust in Jesus I've learned to trust in God." Andrea Crouch I love this parable also Pastor Ralph! God Bless! Jen Numbers 6:24-26
  12. Q12. (Matthew 18:21-35) In what way does the king show grace in this parable. How does the forgiven servant withhold grace? Can we call ourselves Jesus' disciples if we withhold grace according to Matthew 18:35 and Matthew 6:12-15? The king forgives the debt of the servant which was so large that he would never have been able to repay. I don't know if there was interest in those days but that would have compounded the amount to an astonishing figure. The king showed mercy to the servant. The servant did not show mercy to a man who owed him a small amount and put him in jail until he could pay him back which couldn't happen because he was in jail and couldn't work unless there were loan companies in those days and then he would have had to have collateral to obtain a loan. Our King of kings and Lord of lords forgave us an amount that was much more than the richest person on earth could pay, because of His great mercy. Even we combined all the wealth of everyone we still could not pay what we owe Him. We can never pay Him what we owe Him. Someone owes us a pittance and we cannot forgive? I think forgiving sometimes is hard but we must and in that way we show the grace of God in us as His child. It is not a matter of feeling, forgiving is a matter of the will. God bless! Jen Ephesians 4:32
  13. Q11. (Luke 10:25-37) Why do you think Jesus sets up the hero of the parable as a Samaritan? How does the Samaritan show undeserved favor? In your community, who are the “neighbors” that are resented? In what ways can you and/or your Christian community show God’s grace to them? I don't know if this is the right answer however my thought is if God had chosen the Jews as the heroes it would have fueled the already inflated egos of the Jewish nation as the chosen people which they are and that salvation is only for them which it is not and that they are above everyone else which they are not although they are the nation through whom the Messiah was to come. Not all of them but many I believe felt that way. The good Samaritan tended to the man right then and there and then got him to where he could be helped until well and paid for current and future care. God Bless! Jen Numbers 6:24-26
  14. Q10. (John 3:16) How does John 3:16 display “favor that is neither earned or deserved” without using the word ‘grace’? What is the relationship between grace and giving? What motivates the gift in this verse? How does this relate to grace? 1) God loved the unlovable 2) He gave His son 3) His one and only Son 4)He gave Him freely 5)for whosoever believes in Him 6) saved us from perishing 7)gave us eternal life with Him There is a saying you can give without loving but you cannot love without giving. It is God's love for the world that motivates HIs giving Grace is God's favor, lovingkindness and mercy and I see all in this verse. God Bless! Jen Numbers 6:24-26
  15. Q6. (Romans 5:6-8) What do verses 6-8 say about humankind’s situation? What is so remarkable about Christ’s death for us? What motivates that sacrifice? Jeremiah 17:9 says The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it. Our situation is beyond hope. Christ didn't just come and take a bullet for us. That would have been inexplicable enough but was stripped, scourged, mocked spit upon, and nails pounded through his hands and feet and hung upon a cross for a slow death. What is so remarkable about His death for us? There is nothing nice or beautiful in us that we are or were in anyway appealing to a pure and holy God. Apart from Christ we were and are totally repulsive. What motivates that sacrifice? Love an attribute of God and part of His character alone motivates that sacrifice. Totally inexplicable! God Bless! Jen Numbers 6: 24-26
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