Sunday, March 16, 2014

Filled with devils

And, though this world with devils filled should threaten to undo us, we will not fear, for God has willed his truth to triumph through us. The Prince of Darkness grim — we tremble not for him! His rage we can endure, for look! his doom is sure: One little word shall fell him! That word, above all earthly powers, (no thanks to them) abideth. The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him who with us sideth. Let goods and kindred go — this mortal life also. The body they may kill; God’s truth abideth still. His kingdom is forever!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wisdom’s invitation

This is the lesson for March 9, 2014. I'm setting this to be on the blog some time during the week after, so I have no idea yet how it went or how much of it I got through.

“Wisdom is deep insight into how things work.” — Greg Koukl


Solomon, when he wrote the proverbs, was soaked in the scriptures he had available at the time. Remember the command in Deuteronomy 17: The king had to make a copy of (at least) Deuteronomy — perhaps the entire pentateuch — in his own hand.

First call of wisdom: 1:20–28

  • READ 1:20–22
  • Wisdom
    • is available
    • wants to be heard
  • Different kinds of people who don’t have wisdom
    • Simple: Directionless, easily swayed
    • Fool: Rejects wisdom
    • Scoffer: Makes fun of wisdom
  • READ 1:23
  • ASK What is the benefit of listening to wise warnings?
  • READ 1:24–28
  • ASK What is the cost of ignoring wise warnings? (It will be too late.)

Second call of wisdom: 2:1–8

  • READ 2:1–4
  • READ 2:5–8
  • ASK What is our part in obtaining wisdom?
    • Pay attention (v.1)
    • Remember (v.1)
    • Incline your heart (OT: heart is the equivalent of modern brain) (v.2)
    • Ask God for it (v.3)
    • Consider it a treasure (v.4)
  • ASK What is the immediate result of seeking wisdom?
    • “Fear of the Lord”
    • the knowledge of God
    • ASK Are these 2 different things?
    • SAY Dan Phillips says that the “fear of the Lord” in the OT is equivalent to “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ” in the NT
  • ASK What is God’s part in our obtaining wisdom?
    • He gives it.
    • His word is wisdom.
    • ASK Do we get it by deserving it? (No)
    • It’s like your salvation: It’s yours because God gave it to you.

Trust in the Lord

  • READ 3:1–4
  • Sounds just like Joshua 1:8. (Maybe by Solomon had to copy Joshua and Judges as well.)
  • Where else do we hear the phrase “in the sight of God and man”? (Luke 2:52, where Jesus, as a boy, had been demonstrating his wisdom to the teachers in the temple)

A command and a promise and a way to interpret (some) hardship

  • SAY Generally, Proverbs is a book of insight and principle, not promises. But here we have a command, and obeying this command brings something that looks like a promise.
  • READ 3:5–6
  • Our hearts warm with verses like 5 & 6. But remember about “heart”: it means “brain” or “mind”.
  • How easy would it be to just say “I’m trusting God for everything” and then turn around and be passive about knowing him, about acquiring wisdom? But that would be the exact opposite of what the whole book of Proverbs is about.
  • How much do we hear verse 7?
  • READ 3:7–10
  • These sound like promises of health and wealth. Are they?
  • READ 3:11–12
  • This is quoted in Hebrews 12. God’s promise there and in, e.g., Romans 8:28, is that our hardship is for our good.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Fish & forgiveness

This is the lesson from February 23. Amazingly, I think I remember getting through all of it.


  • SAY Peter decided to go fishing, and 6 other disciples went with him.
  • READ 21:4–5
  • READ 21:6–7
  • ASK Why didn’t they catch any fish all night, and then caught almost more than they could handle?
  • ASK How did John recognize Jesus? (He remembered the experience in Luke 5:1–11, when Peter fell at Jesus’s knees and said, “Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man!”)
  • SAY They pulled the fish up on the shore, and Jesus had breakfast ready for them.
  • READ 21:12b–13
  • What did this remind them of? (Feeding of the 5,000)


  • READ 21:15
  • ASK What did Jesus mean by “more than these”?
    • More than the other disciples?
    • More than the living he could make fishing?
  • READ 21:16
  • READ 21:17
  • READ 21:18
  • Some people think there’s something in the way the differentiation of the Greek words for “love,” others think there’s no essential difference in the way John uses these words when he writes.
    • We use love to mean different things as well:
      • “We say we love Coca-Cola, and we love mother’s hot apple pie. We say we love Captain Kangaroo — we say we do, but we lie!”
  • It’s also not much use to try to differentiate between Jesus saying “sheep” & “lambs” or “tend” and “feed”.
    • SAY The point is to match up forgiveness for Peter with Peter’s denial of Jesus: 3 times around a charcoal fire.
    • Also, Peter took this as Jesus giving him advice for pastoring. And he passed this along to the pastors who came after him. READ 1 Peter 5:1–4
  • SAY We sin. If you have sinned, and you think or feel you’re up against the limit of what God is willing to forgive, remember Peter. Jesus took forgiveness to Peter in a way he couldn’t mistake, and he has the same forgiveness for you and me when we sin.

Oh! to grace how great a debtor
daily I’m constrained to be.
Let thy goodness like a fetter
bind my wand’ring heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it —
Prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart. Oh, take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.