Sat 28/11/20

1 Timothy 3:11-16 … THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS IS FOUND IN JESUS.

Q.1. What qualities should be evident in female and male leadership in the church? Why did Paul write these guidelines? – (1 Tim.3:11-15) =

Q.2. Where should the church’s focus be to produce true godliness? Who is the theme of our confession? – (1 Tim.3:16) =

11 Their wives likewise[a] must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

The Mystery of Godliness

14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:

He[b] was manifested in the flesh,
    vindicated[c] by the Spirit,[d]
        seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
    believed on in the world,
        taken up in glory.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What qualities should be evident in female and male leadership in the church? Why did Paul write these guidelines? – (1 Tim.3:11-15) = Apart from a growing Christ-like character, deacons and deaconesses were to display faithfulness in their marriage and family life. The use of their speech to encourage others towards godliness was also essential (1 Tim.3:11-12). Faithful servants of Christ are highly regarded by others. They encourage faith within the ones whom they are serving (1 Tim.3:13). Paul wrote – so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth (1 Tim.3:15).

Q.2. Where should the church’s focus be, in order to produce true godliness? Who is the theme of our confession? – (1 Tim.3:16) = This creedal statement and common confession of the early church was all about Jesus. It asserted that godliness comes about by keeping our focus on the person and life of Christ. This accords with Paul’s explanation to the Corinthian believers – For by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption (c.f. 1 Cor.1:30). Right from the beginning, to beyond life’s end, it is all about Jesus. The theme declared in the confession is Jesus Christ – … He who was revealed in the flesh, was vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory (1 Tim.3:16). The more we immerse ourselves in Jesus Christ, the more we will become like Him.


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@oakdenbaptist.org.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Fri 27/11/20

1 Timothy 3:11-16 … THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS IS FOUND IN JESUS.

Q.1. What qualities should be evident in female and male leadership in the church? Why did Paul write these guidelines? – (1 Tim.3:11-15) =

Q.2. Where should the church’s focus be to produce true godliness? Who is the theme of our confession? – (1 Tim.3:16) =

11 Their wives likewise[a] must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

The Mystery of Godliness

14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:

He[b] was manifested in the flesh,
    vindicated[c] by the Spirit,[d]
        seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
    believed on in the world,
        taken up in glory.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What qualities should be evident in female and male leadership in the church? Why did Paul write these guidelines? – (1 Tim.3:11-15) = Apart from a growing Christ-like character, deacons and deaconesses were to display faithfulness in their marriage and family life. The use of their speech to encourage others towards godliness was also essential (1 Tim.3:11-12). Faithful servants of Christ are highly regarded by others. They encourage faith within the ones whom they are serving (1 Tim.3:13). Paul wrote – so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth (1 Tim.3:15).

Q.2. Where should the church’s focus be, in order to produce true godliness? Who is the theme of our confession? – (1 Tim.3:16) = This creedal statement and common confession of the early church was all about Jesus. It asserted that godliness comes about by keeping our focus on the person and life of Christ. This accords with Paul’s explanation to the Corinthian believers – For by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption (c.f. 1 Cor.1:30). Right from the beginning, to beyond life’s end, it is all about Jesus. The theme declared in the confession is Jesus Christ – … He who was revealed in the flesh, was vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory (1 Tim.3:16). The more we immerse ourselves in Jesus Christ, the more we will become like Him.


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@oakdenbaptist.org.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Thurs 26/11/20

Ezekiel 20:21-49 … HOW GOD WILL DEAL WITH HIS PEOPLE NOW AND IN FUTURE.

Q.1. Why did God refuse to hear Judah’s requests and why was He forced to reward their treachery? – (Ezk.20:21-32) =

Q.2. What message did God’s treatment of unbelief in the wilderness send to the people of Ezekiel’s day? – (Ezk.20:33-38, 45-48) =

Q.3. What astounding turn-around did God foretell about the tribes of Israel? – (Ezk.20:39-44) =

21 But the children rebelled against me. They did not walk in my statutes and were not careful to obey my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live; they profaned my Sabbaths.

“Then I said I would pour out my wrath upon them and spend my anger against them in the wilderness. 22 But I withheld my hand and acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I had brought them out. 23 Moreover, I swore to them in the wilderness that I would scatter them among the nations and disperse them through the countries, 24 because they had not obeyed my rules, but had rejected my statutes and profaned my Sabbaths, and their eyes were set on their fathers’ idols. 25 Moreover, I gave them statutes that were not good and rules by which they could not have life, 26 and I defiled them through their very gifts in their offering up all their firstborn, that I might devastate them. I did it that they might know that I am the Lord.

27 “Therefore, son of man, speak to the house of Israel and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: In this also your fathers blasphemed me, by dealing treacherously with me. 28 For when I had brought them into the land that I swore to give them, then wherever they saw any high hill or any leafy tree, there they offered their sacrifices and there they presented the provocation of their offering; there they sent up their pleasing aromas, and there they poured out their drink offerings. 29 (I said to them, ‘What is the high place to which you go?’ So its name is called Bamah[a] to this day.)

30 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Will you defile yourselves after the manner of your fathers and go whoring after their detestable things? 31 When you present your gifts and offer up your children in fire,[b] you defile yourselves with all your idols to this day. And shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live, declares the Lord God, I will not be inquired of by you.

32 “What is in your mind shall never happen—the thought, ‘Let us be like the nations, like the tribes of the countries, and worship wood and stone.’

The Lord Will Restore Israel

33 “As I live, declares the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out I will be king over you. 34 I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out. 35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face. 36 As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you, declares the Lord God. 37 I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. 38 I will purge out the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against me. I will bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord.

39 “As for you, O house of Israel, thus says the Lord God: Go serve every one of you his idols, now and hereafter, if you will not listen to me; but my holy name you shall no more profane with your gifts and your idols.

40 “For on my holy mountain, the mountain height of Israel, declares the Lord God, there all the house of Israel, all of them, shall serve me in the land. There I will accept them, and there I will require your contributions and the choicest of your gifts, with all your sacred offerings. 41 As a pleasing aroma I will accept you, when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered. And I will manifest my holiness among you in the sight of the nations. 42 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, the country that I swore to give to your fathers. 43 And there you shall remember your ways and all your deeds with which you have defiled yourselves, and you shall loathe yourselves for all the evils that you have committed. 44 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I deal with you for my name’s sake, not according to your evil ways, nor according to your corrupt deeds, O house of Israel, declares the Lord God.”

45 [c] And the word of the Lord came to me: 46 “Son of man, set your face toward the southland;[d] preach against the south, and prophesy against the forest land in the Negeb. 47 Say to the forest of the Negeb, Hear the word of the Lord: Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I will kindle a fire in you, and it shall devour every green tree in you and every dry tree. The blazing flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from south to north shall be scorched by it. 48 All flesh shall see that I the Lord have kindled it; it shall not be quenched.” 49 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! They are saying of me, ‘Is he not a maker of parables?’”

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. Why did God refuse to hear Judah’s requests and why was He forced to reward their treachery? – (Ezk.20:21-32) = Ezekiel summarised all Israel’s infidelities against the Lord. He had given them good laws and instructions concerning the Sabbath, so that – if a man observes them, he will live (Ezk.20:21). He had shown them great patience. Yet they continually turned to other gods and profaned the Lord’s name among the nations, though God had warned them that if they did this, He would remove them from the land. They did not altogether forsake God, but added other gods ‘just in case’ – the ultimate insult. (Ezk.20:22-30). For that reason – I also gave them over to statutes and rules that were not good and could not give them life (Ezk.20:25 c.f. Rom.1:21,25, 28; 7:7). God explained that by their actions Israel proved they needed a Saviour for – When you offer your gifts and when you cause your sons to pass through the fire, you are defiling yourselves with all your idols to this day (Num.20:26). He declared … As I live, I will not be inquired of by you (Ezk.20:31). In grace, God would chastise them, and thus not allow them to fall so low as to be like the surrounding nations (Ezk.20:32-33).

Q.2. What message did God’s treatment of unbelief in the wilderness send to the people of Ezekiel’s day? – (Ezk.20:33-38, 45-48) = The people were to recognize that just as God had delivered the Hebrews from bondage in Egypt, He would once more regather the scattered nation, judge and purge them, and bring them into a covenant relationship, just as He is doing today (Ezk.20:33-38). In the meantime, Judah would be removed from the land as surely as Israel had been taken into captivity (Ezk.20:45-48). The people ignored the warning claiming that Ezekiel was speaking in riddles (Ezk.20:49).

Q.3. What astounding turn-around did God foretell about the tribes of Israel? – (Ezk.20:39-44) = Ezekiel foreshadowed an unbelievable event when God will gather all Israel from the nations He has sent them – For on My holy mountain, on the high mountain of Israel,” declares the Lord God, “there the whole house of Israel, all of them, will serve Me in the land; there I will accept them and there I will seek your contributions and the choicest of your gifts, with all your holy things (Ezk.20:40). God will prove Himself holy with the rebellious nation – 42 And you will know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the land which I swore to give to your forefathers. 43 There you will remember your ways and all your deeds with which you have defiled yourselves; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for all the evil things that you have done. 44 Then you will know that I am the Lord when I have dealt with you for My name’s sake, not according to your evil ways or according to your corrupt deeds, O house of Israel,” declares the Lord God (Ezk.20:42-44). What a pardoning God we have!


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@cityreach.com.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Wed 25/11/20

Psalm 112:1-10 … GOD PROMISES TO BLESS THE FAITHFUL OF ISRAEL.

Q.1. To whom were God’s promises of blessing made? How would you apply this promise today? – (Ps.112:1) =

Q.2. What promises did God make to the upright in Israel? To what degree can we claim these blessings? – (Ps.112:2-9) =

Q.3. What was God’s motive for blessing His people? – (Ps.112:10) =

The Righteous Will Never Be Moved

112 [a] Praise the Lord!
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
    who greatly delights in his commandments!
His offspring will be mighty in the land;
    the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in his house,
    and his righteousness endures forever.
Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;
    he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.
It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
    who conducts his affairs with justice.
For the righteous will never be moved;
    he will be remembered forever.
He is not afraid of bad news;
    his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.
His heart is steady;[b] he will not be afraid,
    until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor;
    his righteousness endures forever;
    his horn is exalted in honor.
10 The wicked man sees it and is angry;
    he gnashes his teeth and melts away;
    the desire of the wicked will perish!

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. To whom were God’s promises of blessing made? How would we apply this promise today? – (Ps.112:1) = Though the Psalm was written to encourage God’s people, Israel, the principle holds true to any person – who fears the Lord and … greatly delights in His commandments (Ps.112:1). God’s blessings flow to those who fear the Lord above all others. The other qualification is to have a heart that delights in (and keeps) His commandments. They are written by our Father Who knows best.

Q.2. What promises did God make to the upright in Israel? To what degree can we claim these blessings? – (Ps.112:2-9) = In line with the covenant God made with Israel, the people were promised strong families, financial freedom, generosity, and inner peace, because God – is gracious and compassionate and righteous (Ps.112:4 c.f. Ps.112:2-5; Deut.Chpts.28-29). Being connected to the living God makes all the difference as we travel through life. The righteous – 6 … will never be shaken; The righteous will be remembered forever. 7 He will not fear evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord (Ps.112:6-7).

Q.3. What was God’s motive for blessing His people? – (Ps.112:10) = Those who do not regard God, cannot avoid the evidence that the Lord is with the righteous (Ps.112:10). This will become more obvious, in the declining years of both the righteous and the godless.


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@oakdenbaptist.org.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Tues 24/11/20

Numbers 13:1-25 … TRIBAL LEADERS ARE CHOSEN TO SPY OUT THE LAND.

Q.1. On what basis were the twelve spies chosen? – (Num.13:1-16) =

Q.2. What was the brief given to the leaders chosen to spy out the land of Canaan? – (Num.13:1, 17-20) =

Q.3. Was the Promised Land a good land? – (Num.13:21-25) =

Spies Sent into Canaan

13 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel. From each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a chief among them.” So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran, according to the command of the Lord, all of them men who were heads of the people of Israel. And these were their names: From the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur; from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori; from the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh; from the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph; from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Nun; from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti the son of Raphu; 10 from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel the son of Sodi; 11 from the tribe of Joseph (that is, from the tribe of Manasseh), Gaddi the son of Susi; 12 from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gemalli; 13 from the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael; 14 from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi; 15 from the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi. 16 These were the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Joshua.

17 Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan and said to them, “Go up into the Negeb and go up into the hill country, 18 and see what the land is, and whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many, 19 and whether the land that they dwell in is good or bad, and whether the cities that they dwell in are camps or strongholds, 20 and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are trees in it or not. Be of good courage and bring some of the fruit of the land.” Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes.

21 So they went up and spied out the land from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, near Lebo-hamath. 22 They went up into the Negeb and came to Hebron. Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, were there. (Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23 And they came to the Valley of Eshcol and cut down from there a branch with a single cluster of grapes, and they carried it on a pole between two of them; they also brought some pomegranates and figs. 24 That place was called the Valley of Eshcol,[a] because of the cluster that the people of Israel cut down from there.

Report of the Spies

25 At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. On what basis were the twelve spies chosen? – (Num.13:1-16) = God instructed Moses to take representatives from all the twelve tribes that made up the nation of Israel. Each spy was to be a leader from the tribe – all of the men who were heads of the sons of Israel (Num.13:2-3). Each chosen man’s name, family, and tribe was documented (Num.13:4-16).

Q.2. What was the brief given to the leaders who were chosen to spy out the land of Canaan? – (Num.13:1, 17-20) = God told Moses to select twelve leaders to – spy out the land of Canaan which I am going to give to the sons of Israel (Num.13:1-2). Moses spelled out their brief – 18 See what the land is like, and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many. 19 How is the land in which they live, is it good or bad? And how are the cities in which they live, are they like open camps or with fortifications? 20 How is the land, is it fat or lean? Are there trees in it or not? Make an effort then to get some of the fruit of the land.” Now the time was the time of the first ripe grapes (Num.13:18-20). Since it was harvest time … it was a good time to see the Promised Land.

Q.3. Was the Promised Land a good land? – (Num.13:21-25) = The spies spent forty days in the Promised Land. It was indeed a contrast to the wilderness through which they had been trekking (Num.13:21). They took proof of the abundance of the land – … they came to the valley of Eshcol and from there cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes; and they carried it on a pole between two men, with some of the pomegranates and the figs (Num.13:23). All seemed to be going well.


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@oakdenbaptist.org.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Mon 23/11/20

Luke 18:1-17 … PARABLES BY JESUS ON LEARNING TO DEPEND ON GOD IN PRAYER.

Q.1. What does Jesus teach about responding to delays in answer to our requests? What makes persistent praying hard today? – (Lk.18:1-8) =

Q.2. How should we approach God in prayer according to the parable of the Pharisee and tax collector? – (Lk.18:9-14) =

Q.3. Why did the disciples rebuke the mothers and their babies? How does Jesus view these little ones? – (Lk.18:15-17) =

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

18 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed[a] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Let the Children Come to Me

15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What did Jesus teach about what should be our response to delays in having our prayers answered? What makes persistent praying hard today? – (Lk.18:1-8) = Jesus told this story – to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart (Lk.18:1). The widow woman in the parable was up against seemingly insurmountable odds. (i) Women were not highly regarded in the society of the day. (ii) She was a widow and had no one else to plead her case. (iii) She was dealing with a judge – who did not fear God and did not respect man (Lk.18:2). (iv) She lacked the resources for legal protection against a significant opponent. However, by her respectful persistence, she gained a positive outcome from an unrighteous judge.  By contrast, how much more will our heavenly Father – bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? (Lk.18:7). Jesus urged us to not stop praying when delays come. However, He indicated that toward the end of the age, faith in God will become rare. People of this generation can at times achieve their goals without asking God to help. This means less people live by faith.  Our faith grows stronger if we commit each day to Him, asking for His help with all we need, and with all we seek to do.
Q.2. How should we approach God in prayer according to the parable of the Pharisee and tax collector? – (Lk.18:9-14) = Jesus told another parable to those who – trusted in themselves that they were righteous and who viewed others with contempt (Lk.18:9). The Pharisee thought that his own acts of ‘righteousness’ gave him an advantage with God (Lk.18:11-12). The tax collector in the story represented those who understand that God is holy and immeasurably great … while recognizing their own utter unworthiness in God’s sight. Jesus described him as – standing some distance away, (he) was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast (Lk.18:13). He knew his place and was totally humble. The prayer Jesus placed on his lips was incredibly insightful – God, be merciful (Greek ἱλάσθητί – propitious) to me, the sinner! (Lk.18:13). The LXX (Greek translation of the O.T.) uses the word ‘propitiatory’ to describe the Mercy Seat on top of the ark. The idea behind propitiation, is that God’s deserved look of anger against the sinner is turned into a look of love and acceptance. This brilliantly conveys what is involved every time a sinner approaches God. The tax collector knew he deserved God’s anger and rejection, as do we. However, through God’s amazing grace, His anger is turned to an acceptance we could never earn or merit. Jesus unveiled the only proper heart attitude with which we should approach God in prayer. The longer we walk with God, the more we must revisit this truth – for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled (Lk.18:14).

Q.3. Why did the disciples rebuke the mothers and their babies? How did Jesus view these little ones? – (Lk.18:15-17) = The disciples had misunderstood the heart of Jesus, when they rebuked those bringing their babies to Him (Lk.18:15). Jesus corrected His disciples and – … called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these (Lk.18:16). Ministry to women and children, was very much part of what Jesus’ kingdom was all about. He warned them – Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all (Lk.18:17 c.f. Lk.17:1-2).


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@oakdenbaptist.org.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Sat 21/11/20

1 Timothy 3:1-10 … GUIDELINES FOR THE CHURCH’S LEADERSHIP.

Q.1. What is the blessing of aspiring to leadership in the church? What does it take to be a leader? – (1 Tim.3:1-10) =

Q.2. What part should family and business life have in a leader’s life? Why is a sound family crucial to leadership in the church? – (1 Tim.3:2-5) =

Q.3. Why should we take time before appointing a new leader? – (1 Tim.3:6, 9-10) =

Qualifications for Overseers

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer[a] must be above reproach, the husband of one wife,[b] sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

Qualifications for Deacons

Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued,[c] not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What is the blessing connected with aspiring to leadership in the church? What does it take to be a leader? – (1 Tim.3:1-10) = Anyone who has wholeheartedly taken up the mantel of leadership knows that it is preceded by much soul searching, and also the scrutiny of others. The Bible is not silent about what such a role requires. It is interesting that little is mentioned about the functions of leaders, meaning there is little detail of the day to day responsibilities (perhaps – he should be apt or able to teach – 1 Tim.3:2). Nearly every reference to leadership focuses on character qualities – 2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money (1 Tim.3:2-3 c.f. 1 Tim.3:8-10). He must be a godly leader of his family, and stand out from the culture in terms of wine drinking – Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine … verse 8. Both elders and deacons must have a good reputation in business and be – free from the love of money … and not – fond of sordid gain (1 Tim.3:3 & 8). Leaders must bear a consistent testimony within the church – he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil (1 Tim.3:7).

Q.2. What part should family and business life have in a leader’s life? Why is a sound family crucial to leadership in the church? – (1 Tim.3:2-5) = Paul spelled out the need for our faith to begin at home – 4 He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God? (1 Tim.3:4-5). This reminds us that our ministry must never be at the expense of our wife or children. The church needs to ensure that they elect members of the leadership team who are above legitimate criticism. They also should ensure that excessive demands are not placed on them at the expense of their families.

Q.3. Why should we take time before appointing a new leader? – (1 Tim.3:6, 9-10) = We should not install a new convert to leadership, because of the risk of bringing the leader down through pride. Also – These men must also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach (1 Tim.3:10). Leadership should only be extended to those who have a good working understanding of the Bible. Paul warned – Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin (1 Tim.5:22). The history of God’s people bears out the prophecy of the apostacy of the early church (c.f. Rev.2:6, 14-15, 20).


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.) If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Community Group leader or email paulh@cityreach.com.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Fri 20/11/20

Ezekiel 19:1-14 & Ezekiel 20:1-20 … HOW GOD RESPONDED TO THE DECLINE OF HIS PEOPLE.

Q.1. Why did God lament over the destruction and removal of Israel from the land? – (Ezk.19:1-14) =

Q.2. What made God refuse to respond to the inquiries of the elders of His covenant people? – (Ezk.20:1-20) =

A Lament for the Princes of Israel

19 And you, take up a lamentation for the princes of Israel, and say:

What was your mother? A lioness!
    Among lions she crouched;
in the midst of young lions
    she reared her cubs.
And she brought up one of her cubs;
    he became a young lion,
and he learned to catch prey;
    he devoured men.
The nations heard about him;
    he was caught in their pit,
and they brought him with hooks
    to the land of Egypt.
When she saw that she waited in vain,
    that her hope was lost,
she took another of her cubs
    and made him a young lion.
He prowled among the lions;
    he became a young lion,
and he learned to catch prey;
    he devoured men,
and seized[a] their widows.
    He laid waste their cities,
and the land was appalled and all who were in it
    at the sound of his roaring.
Then the nations set against him
    from provinces on every side;
they spread their net over him;
    he was taken in their pit.
With hooks they put him in a cage[b]
    and brought him to the king of Babylon;
    they brought him into custody,
that his voice should no more be heard
    on the mountains of Israel.

10 Your mother was like a vine in a vineyard[c]
    planted by the water,
fruitful and full of branches
    by reason of abundant water.
11 Its strong stems became
    rulers’ scepters;
it towered aloft
    among the thick boughs;[d]
it was seen in its height
    with the mass of its branches.
12 But the vine was plucked up in fury,
    cast down to the ground;
the east wind dried up its fruit;
    they were stripped off and withered.
As for its strong stem,
    fire consumed it.
13 Now it is planted in the wilderness,
    in a dry and thirsty land.
14 And fire has gone out from the stem of its shoots,
    has consumed its fruit,
so that there remains in it no strong stem,
    no scepter for ruling.

This is a lamentation and has become a lamentation.

Israel’s Continuing Rebellion

20 In the seventh year, in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month, certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the Lord, and sat before me. And the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God, Is it to inquire of me that you come? As I live, declares the Lord God, I will not be inquired of by you. Will you judge them, son of man, will you judge them? Let them know the abominations of their fathers, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: On the day when I chose Israel, I swore[e] to the offspring of the house of Jacob, making myself known to them in the land of Egypt; I swore to them, saying, I am the Lord your God. On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands. And I said to them, ‘Cast away the detestable things your eyes feast on, every one of you, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.’ But they rebelled against me and were not willing to listen to me. None of them cast away the detestable things their eyes feasted on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt.

“Then I said I would pour out my wrath upon them and spend my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, in whose sight I made myself known to them in bringing them out of the land of Egypt. 10 So I led them out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. 11 I gave them my statutes and made known to them my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live. 12 Moreover, I gave them my Sabbaths, as a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them. 13 But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness. They did not walk in my statutes but rejected my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live; and my Sabbaths they greatly profaned.

“Then I said I would pour out my wrath upon them in the wilderness, to make a full end of them. 14 But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I had brought them out. 15 Moreover, I swore to them in the wilderness that I would not bring them into the land that I had given them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands, 16 because they rejected my rules and did not walk in my statutes, and profaned my Sabbaths; for their heart went after their idols. 17 Nevertheless, my eye spared them, and I did not destroy them or make a full end of them in the wilderness.

18 “And I said to their children in the wilderness, ‘Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers, nor keep their rules, nor defile yourselves with their idols. 19 I am the Lord your God; walk in my statutes, and be careful to obey my rules, 20 and keep my Sabbaths holy that they may be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.’

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. Why did God lament over the destruction and removal of Israel from the land? – (Ezk.19:1-14) = This is Ezekiel’s lament, picturing Judah’s fate.  He pictured Judah as a captured lioness losing two cubs – they brought him to the king of Babylon; they brought him in hunting nets so that his voice would be heard no more on the mountains of Israel (Ezk.19:9 c.f. Ezk.19:1-9). He also described the demise of a vine – planted by the waters; it was fruitful and full of branches because of abundant waters. It had strong branches fit for scepters of rulers … but it was plucked up in fury … (Ezk.19:1-12). The destruction of God’s people broke His heart – … This cry has become a lamentation (Ezk.19:14).

Q.2. What made God refuse to respond to the inquiries of the elders of His covenant people? – (Ezk.20:1-20) = The visit by the elders to Ezekiel asking him ‘to inquire of the Lord’ was an insult, because they had repeatedly rejected the Lord’s warnings (Ezk.20:1). God had told Ezekiel – Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel and say to them, `Thus says the Lord God’, Do you come to inquire of Me? As I live, declares the Lord God, I will not be inquired of by you (Ezk.20:3). God had chosen Israel, revealed Himself to them, located them in the best of lands, given them life-giving rules, and had spared them time and again – but they had repeatedly rebelled (Ezk.20:5-13). He poured His grace on them and – I acted for the sake of My name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, before whose sight I had brought them out … My eye spared them rather than destroying them … (Ezk.20:14 & 17). He continually appealed to the nation saying – I am the Lord your God; Walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and observe them (Ezk.20:19). Each succeeding generation acted treacherously until there was no remedy (Ezk.20:27-32).


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@cityreach.com.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Thurs 19/11/20

Psalm 110:1-7 & Psalm 111:1-10 … THE DEPENDABILITY OF GOD IN TIME AND ETERNITY.

Q.1. Why should we look for Christ in all the scriptures? What does David write about the divinity and permanent priesthood of Christ? – (Ps.110:1-6) =

Q.2. Why is the promise of an everlasting covenant so remarkable? Why does God deal so graciously with sinners? – (Ps.111:4-9) =

Q.3. Fear influences all our responses in life. Why does the fear of the Lord help us to make wise choices in life? – (Ps.111:1-3,10) =

Sit at My Right Hand

A Psalm of David.

110 The Lord says to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”

The Lord sends forth from Zion
    your mighty scepter.
    Rule in the midst of your enemies!
Your people will offer themselves freely
    on the day of your power,[a]
    in holy garments;[b]
from the womb of the morning,
    the dew of your youth will be yours.[c]
The Lord has sworn
    and will not change his mind,
“You are a priest forever
    after the order of Melchizedek.”

The Lord is at your right hand;
    he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
He will execute judgment among the nations,
    filling them with corpses;
he will shatter chiefs[d]
    over the wide earth.
He will drink from the brook by the way;
    therefore he will lift up his head.

Great Are the Lord‘s Works

111 [e] Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
    in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord,
    studied by all who delight in them.
Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
    and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
    the Lord is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him;
    he remembers his covenant forever.
He has shown his people the power of his works,
    in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
    all his precepts are trustworthy;
they are established forever and ever,
    to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people;
    he has commanded his covenant forever.
    Holy and awesome is his name!
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
    all those who practice it have a good understanding.
    His praise endures forever!

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. Why should we look for Christ in all the Scriptures? What did David write about the divinity and permanent priesthood of Christ? – (Ps.110:1-6) = This song gives dominion to the king, and to the King of all kings (Ps.110:1-3, 5-6). To make sense of the Scriptures, we must be looking for Christ all through them, because they were written about Him (c.f. Lk.24:44-45). To prove to the Scribes and Pharisees that He was Lord on the same level as God, Jesus quoted from Psalm 110:1 in Matthew 22:41-45. The N.T. writers also quoted Psalm 110:4 when referring to Christ, not just concerning His Kingship, but also His permanent role as Priest … not of Levi’s line, but of the new/ancient order of Melchizedek (Heb.5:5-10 c.f. Gen.14:18-20). None of these references could apply to David who wrote the Psalm. The Psalm hardly makes sense if we don’t see it as a prophecy about Christ.

Q.2. Why is the promise of an everlasting covenant so remarkable? Why does God deal so graciously with sinners? – (Ps.111:4-9) = This Psalm described God’s covenant with His people as everlasting, so therefore unbreakable – … He will remember His covenant forever … He has sent redemption to His people; He has ordained His covenant forever; Holy and awesome is His name (Ps.111:5 & 9). This is remarkable, because the covenant was made firstly with Abraham who was a flawed sinner, like all others after him. In other words, God never made a covenant with anyone other than sinners … and yet it is forever. God did not enter into an everlasting covenant because it was either deserved, or because it is possible for sinners to keep their side of the bargain. He entered into this covenant entirely because it is an expression of His nature. That is why all the focus is upon the excellence of the Lord – 4 … The Lord is gracious and compassionate … 7 The works of His hands are truth and justice; All His precepts are sure. 8 They are upheld forever and ever; They are performed in truth and uprightness (Ps.111:4, 7-8). This is wonderful news for redeemed people.

Q.3. Fear influences all our responses in life. Why does the fear of the Lord help us to make wise choices in life? – (Ps.111:1-3,10) = The songwriter delighted in the Lord (Ps.111:1-3). We are all defined by whom we fear – The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted (c.f. Prov.29:25). To get the right perspective on life, we must learn to consider and value life from God’s point of view – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever (Ps.111:10). Fearing what people think of us will lead to compromise. In contrast, fearing God will help us to stand true, regardless of the cost.


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@oakdenbaptist.org.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009

Wed 18/11/20

2 Kings 16:1-20 … JUDAH SUFFERS UNDER AN APOSTATE KING AND PRIEST.

Q.1. What did Ahaz do to turn against the ways of the Lord? How does this story warn us against cultivating wrong relationships? – (2 Kgs.16:1-10) =

Q.2. What evil did Urijah, the priest introduce to God’s people? What would have happened if Urijah had defied his king? How does acknowledging the rightful King protect you against displeasing God? – (2 Kgs.16:10-18) =

Ahaz Reigns in Judah

16 In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, Ahaz the son of Jotham, king of Judah, began to reign. Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God, as his father David had done, but he walked in the way of the kings of Israel. He even burned his son as an offering,[a] according to the despicable practices of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel. And he sacrificed and made offerings on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree.

Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, came up to wage war on Jerusalem, and they besieged Ahaz but could not conquer him. At that time Rezin the king of Syria recovered Elath for Syria and drove the men of Judah from Elath, and the Edomites came to Elath, where they dwell to this day. So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, saying, “I am your servant and your son. Come up and rescue me from the hand of the king of Syria and from the hand of the king of Israel, who are attacking me.” Ahaz also took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the Lord and in the treasures of the king’s house and sent a present to the king of Assyria. And the king of Assyria listened to him. The king of Assyria marched up against Damascus and took it, carrying its people captive to Kir, and he killed Rezin.

10 When King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, he saw the altar that was at Damascus. And King Ahaz sent to Uriah the priest a model of the altar, and its pattern, exact in all its details. 11 And Uriah the priest built the altar; in accordance with all that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus, so Uriah the priest made it, before King Ahaz arrived from Damascus. 12 And when the king came from Damascus, the king viewed the altar. Then the king drew near to the altar and went up on it 13 and burned his burnt offering and his grain offering and poured his drink offering and threw the blood of his peace offerings on the altar. 14 And the bronze altar that was before the Lord he removed from the front of the house, from the place between his altar and the house of the Lord, and put it on the north side of his altar. 15 And King Ahaz commanded Uriah the priest, saying, “On the great altar burn the morning burnt offering and the evening grain offering and the king’s burnt offering and his grain offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their grain offering and their drink offering. And throw on it all the blood of the burnt offering and all the blood of the sacrifice, but the bronze altar shall be for me to inquire by.” 16 Uriah the priest did all this, as King Ahaz commanded.

17 And King Ahaz cut off the frames of the stands and removed the basin from them, and he took down the sea[b] from off the bronze oxen that were under it and put it on a stone pedestal. 18 And the covered way for the Sabbath that had been built inside the house and the outer entrance for the king he caused to go around the house of the Lord, because of the king of Assyria. 19 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaz that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 20 And Ahaz slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David, and Hezekiah his son reigned in his place.

Suggested Answers:

Q.1. What did Ahaz do to turn against the ways of the Lord? How does this story warn us against cultivating wrong relationships? – (2 Kgs.16:1-10) = Most of the kings of Judah had been God-fearing, although many had tolerated the worship of other gods on the high places – (2 Kgs.12:3; 14:4; 15:4). Ahaz was very religious, and demeaned God by worshiping every conceivable god – 3 He walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and even made his son pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had driven out from before the sons of Israel. 4 He sacrificed and burned incense on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree (2 Kgs.16:3-4). He himself participated in all the evil practices associated with idolatry, even to the point of maiming and killing his own children. He also distorted the worship at Jerusalem, by changing the sacred objects in the temple worship. His great sin was to embrace the sins for which God had dispossessed the Canaanites (2 Kgs.16:10). To be religious is not enough. We need to love and worship the One True God, and be in relationship with Him.

Q.2. What evil did Urijah, the priest introduce to God’s people? What would have happened if Urijah had defied his king? How does acknowledging the rightful King protect you against displeasing God? – (2 Kgs.16:10-18) = Urijah was the chief priest anointed to serve the temple worship at Jerusalem. The priesthood had specific instructions on how to make atonement for the people in the temple at Jerusalem. However, Urijah departed from the true worship at the command of King Ahaz. He built a foreign altar, and along with the king, changed the order of the sacred objects. He then made sacrifices at this foreign altar, and used it for the daily offerings (2 Kgs.16:11-16). They even redesigned and removed the objects approved by God – because of the king of Assyria (2 Kgs.16:18). Urijah  departed from His God-directed role as priest – So Urijah the priest did according to all that King Ahaz commanded (2 Kgs.16:16). Urijah protected his own safety, but led the nation astray because he did not acknowledge and obey the Lord as the One True King (2 Kgs.16:7-10 c.f. 2 Chron.24:20-21).


(Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

If you have any queries about your readings, check Bible Commentary via sonic light.com  or discuss it with your Real Life Group leader or email paulh@cityreach.com.au

©PaulHoogenraad2009