Theme for 2019, Answers: What God has said about important life questions
STUDY GUIDE, WEEK 9, 3.10.19
PART 1. WHAT IS THE BIBLE ABOUT AND WHY I SHOULD TRUST IT? 9. Gospel/Acts
Opener/Question: You can start by having someone in your group summarize the OT’s story up to this point. The OT ends with God’s people being taken off into captivity… is God done with them for good?
Answers: NO! Ezekiel is told of a future when God will give them new hearts… He will dwell again with His people. But it will not be when they return from Exile (70 years later, in the second temple)…it will be a few hundred years later when the Messiah comes.
Remember: The Bible is a single narrative with multiple sub-plots all leading to Jesus. The central figure in the story is Jesus. To miss Him, then, is to miss the point entirely, the point of the Bible, and the point of history.
All through the Bible…the entire OT to the gospels the story of humanity can be summarized by God’s word spoken through Jeremiah. “12 Be appalled at this, O heavens, and shudder with great horror,” declares the LORD. 13 “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Jer. 2:12-13
This is the story of humanity…the story of digging empty wells to quench the thirst in our souls…to take away the pain of thirst.
Transition: In between the Old and New Testaments here are hundreds years of silence (in terms of the Bible being written)… then suddenly the story picks up again. This brings us to the next major block of material in the Bible: the New Testament, 27 books that pick up the story of the first 39 books.
Summary Statement: Start your time together by reminding your group of our purpose for the first quarter of the year: Confidence in the Scriptures. The Scriptures tell a single story—God’s action and involvement in restoring and fixing humanity’s broken relationship with Him. We’ve finished the O.T. and are now moving into the N.T. We are going to look at the Gospels by focusing on Luke and its companion book… Acts.
Questions: What does the word “testament” mean? What are the Gospels and how would you describe them? Why are they considered good news?
Answers: 1. Covenant, like a marriage vow. 2. The Gospels are historical narratives of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus – they are “living biographies.” But they are not merely historical narratives, they are “good news” stories…they have much more application and importance than any other biography ever written. 3. They are good news because, they demonstrate that Jesus is God became man…He is alive still and you can, through faith…experience His Spirit in you…you can have relationship with Him. He is the greatest celebrity in history and the only one that not just a few can know…but all people, everywhere can know and love…and be known and loved by Him.
Question: Who is Luke?
Answer: Luke was a doctor who did a careful investigation of the eyewitnesses of the life of Jesus…then wrote it down to help a friend named “Theophilus”… and it turns out to help us.
Read: Luke 3:22 “As he is praying “The heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved son, and in you I will well-pleased”
Question: Why is passage significant and how does it continue the OT story line?
Answer: The passage does so in several ways… 1. The words from Heaven are from Psalms and Isaiah…Jesus’s story is and will continue to be connected to the story outlined in the OT. Because it is all His story. 2. Remember when Ezekiel saw the presence of God leaving the Temple and His people…well, it’s back! But it’s not back in the Temple (which is now called Herod’s temple), it’s not because of all Herod’s remodel projects, it’s back because Jesus is here.
Key point: Jesus is the new Temple…and the new Tabernacle. The presence of God that came on the Tabernacle and the Temple…was back…Jesus was here…the Spirit of God fell on Him. Jesus is carrying Israel’s story forward…He is the Promised One.
Read: Luke 4:18-21 Jesus opens Isaiah and reads… “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21 and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Question: What was Jesus doing and what was He saying in reading this passage?
Answer: Jesus was saying, “Isaiah was talking about me.” Jesus was crazy or Jesus was the Messiah…there is
no other real option.
Read: Acts 2:1 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
Question: How does this passage connect with the story line? What is happening here?
Answer: Here is the connection: God’s presence in the fire on Sinai, then on the tabernacle, then the Temple, then it left the Temple, then descended on Jesus, and now on the church—not one big pillar—but many little flames on each of the believers!
Key Point: Listen to what Paul said about the church…the people of God.
1Cor. 6:19 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
Application / Personalize it:
Now think back to Terry’s opining about digging broken wells… the sad story of the wealthy, and empty man….it is truly the story of humanity…forsaking life…digging dry wells.
Jeremiah said we have forsaken the well of living water for our own broken wells. Repentance is to continually forsake the broken wells and turn to the source of living water.
Read: John 4:4. And think about the ways, the woman had been digging empty and broken wells.
Now think about your own life, how are you doing the same thing? What broken well is at the bottom of your
demands for a pain free life?
What was Jesus’ answer to her?
Life is found in Christ! John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this
world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Do you understand how much this demand drives your life and do you understand how the gospel can impact every single area of your life?
1 Cor. 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
This is the gospel…starting in your heart when God dwells…and moving out into every aspect of your life…your body…mind, words, choices.