BIBLE STUDY HANDOUT FOR WEDNESDAY, MARCH 9, 2011

THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST

Jesus Christ is the human-divine Son of God born of the Virgin Mary; the great High Priest who intercedes for His people at the right hand of God as founder of the Christian church and central figure of the human race.
To understand who Jesus was and what He accomplished, students of the New Testament must study: (1) His life, (2) His teachings, (3) His person, and (4) His work.
The Life of Jesus. The twofold designation Jesus Christ combines the personal name Jesus and the title Christ, meaning “anointed” or “Messiah.” The significance of this title became clear during the scope of His life and ministry.
I. NAME. — The name Jesus signifies saviour. It is the Greek form of JEHOSHUA (Joshua). The name Christ signifies anointed. Jesus was both priest and king. Among the Jews priests were anointed, as their inauguration to their office. 1 Chron 16:22. In the New Testament the name Christ is used as equivalent to the Hebrew Messiah (anointed), John 1:41, the name given to the long-promised Prophet and King whom the Jews had been taught by their prophets to expect. Matt 11:3; Acts 19:4. The use of this name, as applied to the Lord, has always a reference to the promises of the prophets. The name of Jesus is the proper name of our Lord, and that of Christ is added to identify him with the promised Messiah. Other names are sometimes added to the names Jesus Christ, thus, “Lord,” “a king,” “King of Israel,” “Emmanuel,” “Son of David,” “chosen of God.”
(from Smith’s Bible Dictionary, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
Birth and upbringing – Jesus was born in Bethlehem, a town about ten kilometers (six miles) south of Jerusalem, toward the end of Herod the Great’s reign as king of the Jews (37 B.C. – 4 B.C.). Early in His life He was taken to Nazareth, a town of Galilee. There He was brought up by His mother, Mary, and her husband, Joseph, a carpenter by trade. Hence He was known as “Jesus of Nazareth” or, more fully, “Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1:45).
Jesus was His mother’s firstborn child; he had four brothers (James, Joses, Judas, and Simon) and an unspecified number of sisters (Mark 6:3). Joseph apparently died before Jesus began His public ministry. Mary, with the rest of the family, lived on and became a member of the church of Jerusalem after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
The only incident preserved from Jesus’ first 30 years (after his infancy) was His trip to Jerusalem with Joseph and Mary when He was 12 years old (Luke 2:41-52). Since He was known in Nazareth as “the carpenter” (Mark 6:3), He may have taken Joseph’s place as the family breadwinner at an early age.
The little village of Nazareth overlooked the main highway linking Damascus to the Mediterranean coast and Egypt. News of the world outside Galilee probably reached Nazareth quickly. During His boyhood Jesus probably heard of the revolt led by Judas the Galilean against the Roman authorities. This happened when Judea, to the south, became a Roman province in A.D. 6 and its inhabitants had to pay tribute to Caesar. Jews probably heard also of the severity with which the revolt was crushed.
Galilee, the province in which Jesus lived, was ruled by Herod Antipas, youngest son of Herod the Great. So the area where He lived was not directly involved in this revolt. But the sympathies of many Galileans were probably stirred. No doubt the boys of Nazareth discussed this issue, which they heard their elders debating. There is no indication of what Jesus thought about this event at the time. But we do know what he said about it in Jerusalem 24 years later (Mark 12:13-17).
(from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

BIBLE STUDY HANDOUT FOR WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2, 2011

PREDESTINATION AND SANCTIFICATION


PREDESTINATION
Predestination is the biblical teaching that declares the sovereignty of God over man in such a way that the freedom of the human will is also preserved.
Two major concepts are involved in the biblical meaning of predestination. First, God, who is all powerful in the universe, has foreknown and predestined the course of human history and the lives of individuals. If He were not in complete control of human events, He would not be sovereign and, thus, would not be God.
Second, God’s predestination of human events does not eliminate human choice. A thorough understanding of how God can maintain His sovereignty and still allow human freedom seems to be reserved for His infinite mind alone. Great minds have struggled with this problem for centuries.
Two views of predestination are prominent among church groups today. One view, known as Calvinism, holds that God offers irresistible grace to those whom he elects to save. The other view, known as Arminianism, insists that God’s grace is the source of redemption but that it can be resisted by man through his free choice. In Calvinism, God chooses the believer; in Arminianism, the believer chooses God.
Although the term predestination is not used in the Bible, the apostle Paul alludes to it in Eph 1:11: “We have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.”
All Christians agree that creation is moving within the purpose of God. This purpose is to bring the world into complete conformity to His will (Rom 8:28). From the very beginning of time, God predestined to save humankind by sending His Son to accomplish salvation. Thus, “God would have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4).
The doctrine of predestination does not mean that God is unjust, deciding that some people will be saved and that others will be lost. Mankind, because of Adam’s FALL in the Garden of Eden, sinned by free choice. Thus, no person deserves salvation. But God’s grace is universal. His salvation is for “everyone who believes” (Rom 1:16).
Paul also declared that he was a debtor under obligation to take the message of the gospel to other people (Rom 1:14) so they might hear and obey. Paul clearly meant that no one is saved apart from the will of God and no one is lost apart from the will of God. But the will of God functions within an order which God Himself has established.
Predestination is a profound and mysterious biblical teaching. It focuses our thinking on man’s freedom and responsibility as well as God’s sovereignty.
SANCTIFICATION
Sanctification is the process of God’s grace by which the believer is separated from sin and becomes dedicated to God’s righteousness. Accomplished by the Word of God (John 17:7) and the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:3-4), sanctification results in holiness, or purification from the guilt and power of sin.
Sanctification as separation from the world and setting apart for God’s service is a concept found throughout the Bible. Spoken of as “holy” or “set apart” in the Old Testament were the land of Canaan, the city of Jerusalem, the tabernacle, the Temple, the Sabbath, the feasts, the prophets, the priests, and the garments of the priests. God is sanctified by the witness of believers (1 Peter 3:15) and by His judgments upon sin (Ezek 38:16). Jesus also was “sanctified and sent into the world” (John 10:36)
Sanctification in the Atonement. As the process by which God purifies the believer, sanctification is based on the sacrificial death of Christ. In his letters to the churches, the apostle Paul noted that God has “chosen” and “reconciled” us to Himself in Christ for the purpose of sanctification (Eph 1:4; 5:25-27; Titus 2:14).
Old Testament sacrifices did not take away sin, but they were able to sanctify “for the purifying of the flesh” (Heb 9:13). The blood of the new covenant (Heb 10:29), however, goes far beyond this ritual purification of the body. The offering of Christ’s body (Heb 10:10) and blood (Heb 13:12) serves to purge our conscience from “dead works to serve the living God” (Heb 9:14). Because our cleansing from sin is made possible only by Christ’s death and resurrection, we are “sanctified in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor 1:2; Acts 20:32; 1 Cor 1:30; 6:11).
Sanctification: God’s Work. We are sanctified by God the Father (Jude), God the Son (Heb 2:11), and God the Holy Spirit (2 Thess 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2). Perfect holiness is God’s command (1 Thess 4:7) and purpose. As Paul prayed, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely” (1 Thess 5:23). Sanctification is a process that continues during our lives as believers (Heb 10:14). Only after death are the saints referred to as “perfect” (Heb 12:23).
Sanctification: The Believer’s Work. Numerous commands in the Bible imply that believers also have a responsibility in the process of sanctification. We are commanded to “be holy” (Lev 11:44; 1 Peter 1:15-16); to “be perfect” (Matt 5:48); and to “present your members as slaves of righeousness for holiness” (Rom 6:19). Writing to the church of the Thessalonians, the apostle Paul made a strong plea for purity: “This is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God” (1 Thess 4:3-5).
These commands imply effort on our part. We must believe in Jesus, since we are “sanctified by faith in Him” (Acts 26:18). Through the Holy Spirit we must also “put to death the evil deeds of the body” (Rom 8:13). Paul itemized the many “works of the flesh” from which we must separate ourselves (Gal 5:19-21). Finally, we must walk in the Spirit in order to display the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-24).
(from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)_