"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
Sunday School Lesson for 6/17/18:
Returning To God’s Way
A. The History
1 John 1:9 (KJV)
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Ezra 9:1-10:20 (KJV)
9 Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.
2 For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass.
3 And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied.
4 Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice.
5 And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God,
6 And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.
7 Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day.
8 And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage.
9 For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.
10 And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments,
11 Which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness.
12 Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever.
13 And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this;
14 Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping?
15 O Lord God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.
10 Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore.
2 And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra, We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the land: yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing.
3 Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.
4 Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee: we also will be with thee: be of good courage, and do it.
5 Then arose Ezra, and made the chief priests, the Levites, and all Israel, to swear that they should do according to this word. And they sware.
6 Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Johanan the son of Eliashib: and when he came thither, he did eat no bread, nor drink water: for he mourned because of the transgression of them that had been carried away.
7 And they made proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem unto all the children of the captivity, that they should gather themselves together unto Jerusalem;
8 And that whosoever would not come within three days, according to the counsel of the princes and the elders, all his substance should be forfeited, and himself separated from the congregation of those that had been carried away.
9 Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered themselves together unto Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month; and all the people sat in the street of the house of God, trembling because of this matter, and for the great rain.
10 And Ezra the priest stood up, and said unto them, Ye have transgressed, and have taken strange wives, to increase the trespass of Israel.
11 Now therefore make confession unto the Lord God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives.
12 Then all the congregation answered and said with a loud voice, As thou hast said, so must we do.
13 But the people are many, and it is a time of much rain, and we are not able to stand without, neither is this a work of one day or two: for we are many that have transgressed in this thing.
14 Let now our rulers of all the congregation stand, and let all them which have taken strange wives in our cities come at appointed times, and with them the elders of every city, and the judges thereof, until the fierce wrath of our God for this matter be turned from us.
15 Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahaziah the son of Tikvah were employed about this matter: and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite helped them.
16 And the children of the captivity did so. And Ezra the priest, with certain chief of the fathers, after the house of their fathers, and all of them by their names, were separated, and sat down in the first day of the tenth month to examine the matter.
17 And they made an end with all the men that had taken strange wives by the first day of the first month.
18 And among the sons of the priests there were found that had taken strange wives: namely, of the sons of Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren; Maaseiah, and Eliezer, and Jarib, and Gedaliah.
19 And they gave their hands that they would put away their wives; and being guilty, they offered a ram of the flock for their trespass.
B. The Situation
“When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.4 For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.
C. Ezra and Judah’s Response
The Gospel of John
John 1:1-5 (KJV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
Immediately in the first couple of verses, John makes it clear who Christ is, His eternal nature, and His divine nature. He has no beginning and no end just like the Father.
He is the incarnate Word of God, “made flesh to dwell among men”, destined to die and be resurrected for our sins. He was both God and man and now dwells at the right hand of the Father, interceding for you and me.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.”
“All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
“In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
Introduction To The Gospel of John
“The disciple whom Jesus loved”
The book of John could be explained or described as having two main purposes. These purposes can also be found in John 20:31, which are to highlight Christ by His teachings and miracles and to show who Christ was. Secondly, it was to encourage mankind to accept eternal life because of their “faith in Him.” John was also a family business man and fisherman by trade.
There is a consistent pattern of numbers and key phrases found throughout the book. The numbers eight and seven appear either directly or are represented in number. There appear to be eight key words, eight signs of Jesus’ power, and eight “I AM” statements made by Jesus in this gospel. John never seems to mention himself by name, however due to the wording, timing of the writings, phrases he uses, and events he remembers about Jesus in great detail; it is obvious who the author of John is. He chooses to refer to himself in terms such as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Greater than any man’s name could ever be, is the love that the one true Christ could have for such a person as John.
8 Key Words of John
“Believe”or a similar form is found around 38 times and “life” is found around 36 times.
John seems to prefer “belief” over “faith” due to its consistent activity. Continuing to believe is to continue having life. To John, “believing” is the same as any essential element to life and expresses this in his gospel. It is the same as eating (6:35,51), drinking (4:41), or even walking (8:12).
The word “love is also used 80 times in John and the Epistles. Signs, which is used 17 times to emphasize the eight miracles of Jesus in this gospel, are heavily emphasized. This is to bring attention not only to Christ’s deity and authority, but also his compassion and grace. The Septuigint uses this word to express the idea of a heavenly symbol (Gen. 1:14), a pledge (Gen. 17:11), a protective mark (Gen 4:15). It is even used to express a miracle, memorial, sample of divine power (7:11) and a signal.
8 Signs of Jesus’ Power
Another significant word John uses in this gospel is “witness” John intends this book to be viewed as actually historical fact. In order for this to happen, according to Jewish law and tradition, he must have evidence from at least 2-3 witnesses for matters to be confirmed as seen in Deuteronomy 19:15.
8 Signs of Jesus’ Power
John was very observant of Jesus. He recorded many events, actions, and emotions in great detail. Out of 879, something like 237 of the verses covers the last day (24 hour period) with Jesus.
“Father, the Father, or My Father” is used 80 times. It is significant as it signifies the relationship and coexistence with God the Father.
John was also very selective in his wirings, emphasizing Christ’s deity. He excluded the birth, baptism, and temptations of Jesus, most likely due to their coverage in other writings at the time being that many believe John wrote his gospel 60 years after the events of Jesus death, burial, and resurrection. It may also be due to the emphasis he wished to place on Christ. The gospel of John is the only gospel that includes Jesus involved in active ministry prior to John the Baptist’s imprisonment. Five of the seven key miracles are unique to this gospel. Even though there were some events omitted by John, this gospel includes a lot of narrative detail such as when Jesus was with Nicodemus.
Even though the book may have been written 60 years later, John remembered events in great detail such as the times and numbers of certain events. Th8ings such as in 1:39 where he says he met Jesus at 4 p.m. and the Samaritan woman leaving her water pot at the well. He also remembered there were 6 water pots at the wedding in Cana (2:6).
Above all these small characteristics regarding the gospel of John, we must remember that John wrote selectively under the influence of inspiration from God. God is the author of the book of John, while John himself is a mere penman.