Tag Archives: Paul

Bible study on Romans – Chapter 4

Bible study on Romans

Bible study on Romans – Chapter 4

Dear brothers and sisters,

In this bible study on the 4rd chapter on the book of Romans we will go through the following parts:

  • Abraham justified by faith

Abraham justified by faith

This chapters shows that even the likes of Abraham could not come before God and boast on their works. No, even Abraham only come before God based on his faith. This shows that we also can only expect to get into heaven by our faith and not our works. Not even if we have the best of the works. This should make us very humble before God and make us know that no matter what we do, we can only come in heaven through our faith.

Furthermore, our works should never been seen as a gift to God, but as an obligation to God. Although it is by faith that we can enter heaven, God still expects us to fullfill our obligations towards Him. Therefore, it is very clear that just faith is not good enough. No, God makes it very clear that we also need to obey His commandments, also the ones that are in the Old Testament. How much we love the New Testament, there can be no discussion if the Old Testament is still applicable for us. It is very clear that even after Jesus died on the cross for us, we are still to obey the Old Testament as well!

Next, Paul mentions David (another great man of God). David stated that:

Blessed are the those whose transgressions are forgiven, who sins are forgiven. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord never count against them.

This shows that we need forgiveness, which we can receive by faith due to the fact that Jesus died for our sins on the cross.

It is mentioned that it was not by Abraham’s circumcission that he received the promise for him and his offspring. No, the circumcission was done after he received this promise. I believe that God wants to show us in this chapter that if even the great men of God needed faith to receive forgivenes and be granted acces to heaven, that we also need our faith to receive the same.

 

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Bible study on Romans – Chapter 3

Bible study on Romans

Bible study on Romans – Chapter 3

Dear brothers and sisters,

In this bible study on the 3rd chapter on the book of Romans we will go through the following parts:

  • God’s faithfulness
  • No one is righteous
  • Righteousness through faith

God’s faithfulness

Paul starts this chapter in discussion with the Jews in Rome. Based on chapter 2 you could indeed raise the question if it then is any advantage in being a Jew or Christian, when we still have the chance not to get into heaven even if we believe in God. Paul immediatelly lets them know that there are much advantages. Why? First of all, if we practice our faith, than we are also raised continiously with His word. And I have found out that I need His word in every situation. I used to think that I knew so much (maybe knew it all, I did not say, but I certainly acted like it), but without God I know nothing. For this reason God gave us the Bible to make sure that He teaches everything we need to know. But that He makes is available doesn’t make it automatically that we take the Bible and life by it. I wish that I had done so my whole life and lived my life accordingly, I believe that it would have saved me so much trouble. But I think that is one of the weaknesses we have as humans.

This discussion is ended by the conclusion that we should never think that because our unrighteousness shows God righteousness, that we can do evil and that good will result from it. Know in that case that your condemnation is just!

No one is righteous

Paul continious to ask them if then there is actually any advantage to being a Jew (or Christian). To me it is a bit confusing, because no he tells them not at all. I think it is both true. We already determined that there is not difference between Jews (and Christians ) and gentiles under the power of sin. Something we might want to think otherwise, but there is NO ONE under is that is righteous! When we go to heaven it only due to the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross dying for our sins.

God is determining my attention that they way that Paul is talking about the current time in which he lives, does resemble our current time as well:

10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”13 “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.”“The poison of vipers is on their lips.” 14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 ruin and misery mark their ways, 17 and the way of peace they do not know.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Does this description sound (even remotely) familiar over our current time. Don’t think that 2,000 years later we are doing it even better. Why not? Because we life in a sinful world. Even in my own life I can pinpoint enough moments that I really insult God by sinning. But the beautiful thing about God is that if we truly repent, we can always come to Him and ask (and receive) forgiveness.

Paul ends this part of the chapter with a very important conclusion: no ONE will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law, rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

Righteousness through faith

This chapter is concluded by explaining that righteousness will never come through our works, but is only given through faith and only to the ones that believe. It is beautiful to see how God makes not difference between Jews and gentiles in this matter. God is there for all of us.

But that we can only be rescued by faith does not mean that works are no longer needed or nullified. God showed us that our works will never be good enough by itself, but God truly needs us to do the works of the law, but we need to know that it requires faith to do them. God makes it very clear that being saved by faith did not and will never nullify  the law by this faith. Not at all , rather we are expected to uphold the law. So, I pray that we all study the Bible to really understand the works as well and start also doing our best to keep most of the law, because I know God already know that we will be unable that we are able to keep them all.

God bless you all!

Bible study on Romans – Chapter 2

Bible study on Romans

Bible study on Romans – Chapter 2

Dear brothers and sisters,

We will go through the 2nd chapter of the book of Romans. I pray that God will guide us through this chapter and this Bible study. As I mentioned before, first read the chapter in its entiriety (if possible more than 1), before starting to study it. Also ask the Holy Spirit to guide you, also through this bible study.

In this chapter Paul speaks on the following:

  • God’s righteous judgment
  • The Jews and the law

God’s righteous judgment

The more I study on the books written by the apostle Paul, I notice how he was truly blessed by God to teach us all to really get deep into the Gospel. I believe God wants us personally, but also in our churches to be really deeply involved and fully committed in our faith. We are not just going to church or to read the Bible to hear to beautiful stories and sermons. No, God wants us not only to read, but also understand, feel and do His word.

This part already made me very ashamed, because it showed me how easy it is to by judgmental. Through Paul, God tells us that we have NO excuse to pass judgment on someone else (I will do a more in-depth study in to this subject, because I feel I am just hitting the service here). Why not? Because we are condemning ourselves, because at that moment that you are passing judgment you are also committing (the same sin). For example I was judging that they were following a prosperity preacher (and I still believe that these are the false teachers that the Bible speaks of). But is it not up to God to use the Holy Spirit to show these people this, if it is indeed correct. And who am I to judge them? Is my own spiritual life perfect? Am I a role model? I wish I could say yes, but the fact is that I am not. As mentioned in my devoitional of the 8th of August 2017 I explained how God is really humbling me (still). I think part of this is that God doesn’t want me (or you) to spent our time to judge others, but to do some soul searching and see how our relationship with God is. Are we living a life that we would not be ashamed of, if we would be standing before God at this moment? I know my life is not at that point. I know God is working in my life and I thank Him with all my heart. Also, for having so much patience with me 🙂

So, please do not spent your time judging other, because God makes it very clear that for this He will also judge you! And don’t think you can escape his judgment, please don’t show Him that kind of contempt! Know that God is very patience and loving and is giving you continious opportunities for repentance. So, make sure that you take one of those opportunities fast!

God has told us in this chapter that He will repay each according to what they have done. To those who by persistence in doing good, seek glory, honor and immortality, He will give eternal life. But those who are self-seeking, and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. And don’t blame God, because God gave and is still giving you enough chanches to change and make the right choices. So please do what is good!

Next Paul also tells us that both Jews and gentiles there will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, than the gentile. But glory, honor and peace for everyone that does good: first for Jew and than for gentile. God does not do any favoritsm. If you are not under the law you will perish, if you are than you will be judged. So don’t think just being a good person is enough. Or accepting God is enough. No, God demands both.

The Jews and the law

I believe that with Jew, he refers to everyone that has accepted God and is living his / her life according to God’s will. If you are so sure (by learning from God, the Bible) what God is all about and what His law is, than you should also ask yourself if you are obeying all His laws. Before you tell someone not to steal, are you sure that there is nothing in your life that is also considered stealing. It could even be stomething very little, but for God there is no difference between stealing paper clips from work or money from the bank (did you have approval for taking these paper clips? Or did you take in secret? Of course, most companies won’t mind if you take some for your own use, but if you constantly taking things home without them knowing, are you also not stealing?).

It may be very harsh to hear, but we can call ourself Christians and even do some actions/rituals, but it is our heart that determines our real relationship with God.

God, I pray that you please forgive us for all our sins. For being so easy to condemn others, while not even having a perfect life ourselfs. You know me and my sins, faults. I ask you not only for forgiveness, but also that you help me to grow in my faith. To be focused on you and not on others. To learn from you, to life like you, to really let go of things that are blocking my growth in faith.

I pray the same for all of you!

Amen!

 

 

Bible study on Romans – Chapter 1

Romans

Bible study on Romans – Chapter 1

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today we will be studying the first chapter of the book of Romans (NIV).

This chapter consists out of the following parts:

  • Introduction
  • Paul’s longing to visit Rome
  • God’s wrath against sinful humanity

Introduction

In the NIV the first part of this chapter is actually named ‘introduction’, but it does serve that purpose.Pa

Romans is written by the apostle Paul, of whom is set that God set him apart for the Gospel of God. See how God has a purpose and plan for all of us. I pray that through the Holy Spirit God will show us what our purpose in His ministry is.

Paul starts this chapter by telling us about Jesus Christ and how is truly the Son of God. And that is through Him alone that we receive grace. Paul also receive the apostleship to call to all gentiles (non Jews) to come to the obedience that comes from faith for His name’s sake. Paul speaks to you directly that YOU are also amongst those gentiles. It is very amazing that God makes it very clear that He is there for all of us, not just a select few. So, never think (regardless of how your life has been so far and whatever you have done (wrong)). God is there also for you, always!

To the people in Rome he tells all that are loved by God: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Know that you are also meant as a “person from Rome”.

Paul’s longing to visit Rome

Paul starts by giving compliments to the people of Rome, by telling them that their faith is being reported over the whole world. This also tells us how important it is to continiously encourage one another. Even if we don’t feel like it, pray to God that He removes any negative thought (because the devil is eager to put those negative in your mind to stop you from being a blessing), so that we take every opportunity to encourage each other. This again shows that God wants us to be together in faith. There is no such thing that you can have a relationship alone with God and not share it with others.

Paul also shows us that he has a continious relationship with God and prays without ceasing. We also need to be in relationship with God all the time and pray to Him. He again confirms us that his ministry is to help us to mutually encourage each other in faith. If you see, that someone is going through a spiritual “storm”, than it is up to you to encourage that person.

God put it in Paul’s heart to come to Rome and even sooner than he did. We read in Acts how God took a unconventional way to make sure that this time He went. Also he tells them that his purpose of coming was to share the Gospel. We also, are here to share the Gospel. And pray that, just like Paul, you are not ashamed of the gospel, because of the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes. The devil will do his best to make you ashamed to keep your mouth shut, so we must shame him by just do that: spread the Gospel!

Why? Because in the Gospel the rightheousness of God is revealed  – a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “the righteous will live by faith”.

God’s wrath against sinful humanity

God hates sin! Pure and simple! Paul tells us that the wrath of God is being revealed against all godlesness and wickedness of people, who supress the truth by their wickedness.

God has made His invisible qualities very visible: His eternal power  and divine nature.

Here God also tells us that we as people that we knew/know God, but neither glorified nor gave thanks to Him. And that our thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. I pray to God that our thinking becomes renewed and our hearts enlightned.

Paul tells us about all impurities that we have been given over to in this world. But that we life in this world and that the devil will wants us to sin, there is no excuse, because we have a free will. So, also a free will to not sin and be with God and follow Him!

God hates all sin and will not accept it, so stop it. I pray that the Holy Spirit guides and protects us and helps us not to fall in sin!

God bless you all!

 

 

 

Bible study on Romans – Chapter 1

Romans

Bible study on Romans – Chapter 1

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today we start going through the first chapter of the book / epistle of Paul to the church of Rome. In this chapter we see the following subjects being discussed:

  • Writer / readers / greetings
  • Paul’s longing to visit Rome
  • God’s wrath against sinful humanity

This book does not just ease into it, but makes it very clear from the first chapter that God means business. I will that is also good, the Bible should not be a book full of sugar coating, but only of the hard truth. Because the truth will save us, some sugar coating may make us feel better, but certainly won’t bring us closer to God.

Writer / readers / greetings

The writer of this book is the apostle Paul, who wrote it to the new church of Christians in Rome. There is no precious account how the Roman church (not the catholic, but the real Christian Roman church) started, but it seems that it is most plausible that the ones to start it were part of the pentecost and travelled back to Rome to start there. Paul wrote this letter to reach the big community of Jews and Christians in that city.

Paul’s longing to visit Rome

It took quite some effort and hardship to bring Paul to Rome, but see how grateful he is to God for bringing him there. Don’t ever think that that road that you desire so much (and of which you know that God will give it in your life) will always come easy on your timing. But it came for Paul and read how grateful he was to God. This is truly an inspiriation for me. My myself going through so much hardship and feeling that God is really going to increase and bless my ministry, it is easy to focus on the hardship. And to my honesty I have let that happened to much that it made me mentally so tired. But I know that God is working and healing that in so many way. But also reading this about Paul helps me to focus on my desire and knowledege that God will bring me that joy of leading me to that ministry He has promised me.

God’s wrath against sinful humanity

This part of chapter 1 makes is first very clear that we have reiceved a gift from God and tha tis a free will. It is up to us to us it as a gift or us it as a curse. God brings so much in our life (church, Bible, Christians, Himself and so on) to educatie you and to make sure that you don’t go into sin or accepting sin like injustice, anger (I must admit I have quite some anger in me that I want to to get rid of, it does not result in physical harm, but just feeling angry, so prayer is much appreciated)., but also greed, envious, murder and so much more.

But know that although God has given us a free will, don’t you ever assume that you will get away with doing bad things, becasuse God ‘s wrath is always sinful huminaty.

I feel that this Bible study is going to be very educational, inspiring, but also confronting. Thank you Lord!

I really want to ask you all to start discussing these Bible studies or my other post, so we can really start to grow in our faith. Just this past week I placed a daily inspiraitonal about it. God wants us to educate/challange entc. each other.

 

 

 

 

Bible study on the Epistle to the Romans – Introduction

Romans.jpg

Bible study on the Epistle to the Romans – Introduction

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today I am starting the Bible study on the Epistle to the Romans

My introduction

I feel very blessed that God has asked me to go through the Bible book by book and that together we have already come to the book of Romans. I pray that God will truly guide us through this book and teach us all that He wants to teach us.

Background and setting

This epistle was written by Paul. On the internet you will find that there is supposed to be some controversy on the writer of this book, but I see the Bible as the only source on this and the Bible makes it very clear that it was Paul that wrote this book.

He wrote this epistle to the Christians living in city of Rome. At that moment of time Rome was the center of the Roman empire and was very etnically diverse. It was estimated that around 1 million people were living there of which approximately 40-50 thousand were Jews.

It is expected that the Roman church started by Christians/Jews that were present at Pentecost and at some point found their way to Rome.

Audience

The apostle identifies his recipients in 1:7 by saying: To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints. His intent was for the Christians in all of Rome to read the epistle. It also seems that there were multiple churches in the Empire’s capital because there is made mention of an additional church in the home of Priscilla and Aquila (Rom 16:5).

Purpose

Paul wrote this epistle so that they would know the gospel of Christ. He also wanted to inform the church regarding his future plans because those plans would involve them. At the time of writing the epistle, Paul was about to take the offering that he had collected from various churches to the poverty stricken church in Jerusalem. After that, he intended on going to visit the Roman church for a time to preach the Gospel to them.

God bless you all!

Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 28

acts

Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 28

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the Bible study on the 28th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles I will discuss:

  • Paul ashore on Malta
  • Paul’s arrival at Rome
  • Paul preaches at Rome under guard

Paul ashore on Malta

God was protecting Paul through this whole journey. Now arrived on the shores of Malta, God made sure that the islanders showed unusual kindness. Paul gathered brushwood for a fire and from that wood came a viper that god hold of his hand. The inlanders thought that this meant that Paul was a murderer and justice was coming after him. But as always God protected him and Paul put them to shame by just shaking the snake off.

On the island he was welcomed into the estate of Publius, the chief official of the island. His father was sick in bed. And again God allowed Paul through prayer to heal someone. Even in times that people are trying to get us down, God can and will still use us to do His work. Never think that your situation means that you are not expected to be there to your work for God!

Paul’s arrival at Rome

After some months the travel to Rome was complete and God allowed Paul to live there in freedom in the meanwhile. He was sent their to be put to trial, but still God ensured that he was treated properly! God is good!

Paul preaches at Rome under guard

He came to the Jews in Rome and explained the whole reason for him being here. See how the Jews in Jerusalem did not even do any trouble to reach the Jews in Rome. And yet they considered Paul to be such a treat. These Jews openly listened and also were divided, but allowed him to live in peace in al those years and to spread the gospel.

That we might not fully agree on everything, does not mean that we should try and kill each other. Love each other, we are all children from God!

Thank you for growing with me through the Bible study on Acts! Amen!

Daily devotional for 26 July 2017 – Hebrews 13:15-16

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Daily devotional for 26 July 2017 – Hebrews 13:15-16

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today I want to encourage you with the words from Hebrews 13:15-16 (NIV):

15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

The writer of Hebrews (Paul) makes is clear (and rightfully so, to my humble opinion) that believing in God is not a one way street where God is there for us. No, we are here to serve Him and not the other way around. This is also one of the things that is very wrong with the Word of faith movement (aka “prosperity” teachers), because they make us believe that God is there to work for us. If we want something than God will give it. Yes, He has told us to pray and receive, but with the clear addition that we have to ask for something according to His will. And we will only start asking and praying for the things we need as soon as we start becoming more serious in our faith.

Because we are here to serve God, God is entitled to receive sacrifices and praise from us. And God wants it also be that we not only praise Him directly, but also by sacrificing ourselves by doing good unto others.

Love growing in faith!

Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 27

acts

Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 27

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the Bible study on the 27th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles I will discuss:

  • Paul sails for Rome
  • The storm
  • The shipwreck

Paul sails for Rome

Paul (and other prisoners) were now put on a boat (under the guidance of a centurion called Julius) to sail to Rome. Along the way they stopped Sidon, where we see how God touched Julius heart by allowing Paul to go to friends there and let them provide for him. Even in times of difficulties we will see that God has not forgotten us and is providing for us. Without God in Paul’s life I don’t believe that Julius would have allowed this. So I urge you even in your hardest times to trust on God to provide for you!

At some point they arrived at Myra in Lycia where they found an Alexandrian ship that was going to Rome. During this voyage they had already lost a lot of time due to the wind working against them. And Paul knew because the Day of Atonement was coming close that it became more dangerous, therefore he warned all of them the voyage would be disastrous and that great losses would come to both the ship and the men. God will always warn us if danger is coming, so that we can let God guide us away from that danger. Listen to the Holy Spirit and don’t think you should not listen, because if the Holy Spirit speaks than He does so for a reason!

Unfortunately they did not listen and they continued their journey to Rome.

The storm

We now see that the storm indeed came and all the predicted losses indeed happened. In our lives we will not be exempt from storms, but God will warn, guide and protect us. After a certain moment Paul told them about his warnings, but also that from now on they should not lose their courage and continue and know that no more losses would be incurred (through God). He told them that an angel appeared to him and told him not to be afraid as he will stand trial in Rome. And that God has graciously given him the lives of himself and the lives of all that sailed with him. God is so good! Then he warns them that although nothing would happen to their lives they should know that they would run aground.

The shipwreck

When the men feared that a shipwreck was imminent they were trying to leave the ship, but Paul told them to stay on the ship and know that they will keep their lives. Through the Holy Spirit all of them listened and stayed. Then he told them to eat again, because the last 14 days they barely ate anything. And the next morning they reached land without any lose of life. Their some of the guards were planning to kill all the prisoners, but God intervened on Paul’s behalf and touched Julius’ heart and all lives were spared.

Know that God is continuously with you and will protect you!

 

Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 24

acts

Bible study on Acts of the Apostles – Chapter 24

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the Bible study on the 24th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles I will discuss:

  • Paul’s trial before Felix

Paul’s trial before Felix

5 days later the high priest Ananias went down to Caesarea with some elders and a lawyer, named Tertullus. See how determined enemies of God are to try and take down true believers. Luckily we can rely on the protection of God!

When Paul was brought before Felix, it was the lawyer that opened his statement. Here we can see how he tries to flatter Felix so much to get him on their site. People that are in a trial against believers will use others means like flattering or lies to get the believer to be convicted, because they know based on the facts they have no chance. Also for this reason it is important to continuously rely on the Holy Spirit.

After the flattering they immediately started their lies about Paul that he was nothing but a troublemaker, while during his whole ministry he himself did not cause any trouble at all. In fact, it were always his enemies (with their hearts hardened by the devil) that made trouble against him.

See how Paul silently waited his turn and did not interrupt until Felix allowed him to speak and he thanked Felix to allow him to defend himself. He uses the truth as his defense telling that the only reason that he came to Jerusalem was to worship and that he did not make any trouble and that he has more than enough witnesses to that fact. He also was lead by the Holy Spirit by telling that his accusers had no prove for all their (false) accusations against him. He did admit that they way that he follows God, is considered by the elders as a sect, but that he also holds the law and believes in all that the prophets have foretold. Also that he has the same hope of the resurrection of both the righteous and wicked.

He came to Jerusalem after years of absence and clean and was only bringing offering for the poor. See how Paul does not fear the attacks of his enemies. We also need to put our faith on God to know even in time of attacks that God is always with us. Also he confronted the elders to bring those accusers from Asia if they have proof.

We see however that although this Felix was part of the rulers of the land (as a Roman) he did not dare to make a decision and stopped the hearing and to appease the elders he let Paul stay in jail for 2 years when he was replaced by Porcius Festus. That we are in fact right doesn’t mean that all people will do what is considered to be the right thing. Bug even in those time God is always with us, so don’t despair.