GET ACQUAINTED - Explain a theological perspective you once held and how it has changed.

List some phrases that associate Jesus with truth.
You have heard it said, but I say to you; the true light which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world; full of grace and truth; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ; true bread from heaven; true vine; I am the way, the truth and the life; I tell you the truth; truly truly I say to you; I have come into the world to bear witness to the truth

Just as difficulties and problems in life have a negative effect upon one's outlook, so the passage of time has a dulling and dampening effect upon our faith.  Doubts formulate and accumulate when our expectations are not met.  It happened to John the baptizer who proclaimed Jesus to be "the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."  He eventually sent word to Jesus from prison asking whether Jesus really was the long awaited promised one.  How did Jesus answer him and why (Mt.11:2-5)?

He directed John's attention to what was going on - the miracles and the preaching of the good news.  Jesus expected that John would recognize the fulfillment of the Old Testament pictures of Messiah's coming.

Why did Jesus heal the paralytic and how did it affect the people (Mk.2:1-12)?
To confirm His authority on earth to forgive sins, people were amazed.

How did people respond to Jesus' teaching and why (Mt.7:28-29)?    People were astonished at His teaching because He taught with authority. [see “But I say unto You”]

Why did people consider what He taught to be "new" (Mk.1:26-28)?
The content of Jesus' teaching was radically different from the way they had come to understand the Old Testament.

What amazed people about Jesus (Mk.10:23-26?    Not only His confident authority and power to perform miracles, they were amazed by what He taught.

How did the crowd respond to hearing foreign languages as their own language (Acts 2:6-7, 12)?    Bewildered, amazed and perplexed

What was being spoken of at the time?    "The mighty works of God" (Acts 2:11)

How did the people react to the healing of a lame beggar (Acts 3:1-11)?
People were filled with wonder and amazement

What did Peter do?    He directed them to the source of the miracle, put it in context along with the Gospel, and called them to repentance.

What was it about Peter and John that astounded the members of the Sanhedrin in Acts 4?    Their courage and well-crafted argument delivered with confidence that it was true.

What connection did the highly educated and sophisticated members of the Sanhedrin make?    They recognized that the disciples were uneducated ordinary men who had been in the company of Jesus (4:13).

Explain more fully why they were astonished.
The disciples had been transformed.  They were acting and teaching with confidence and without fear like Jesus.  (see Acts 9:20-21, Paul changed)

What did the Christians do when Saul began persecuting the church(Acts 8:1, 4-5)?
Scattered & preached the word throughout Judea and Samaria.

What was the effect of the miraculous signs that Philip did in Acts 8:5-8?
They caused the people to pay close attention to the message.

Summarize the events in Acts 13:4-12.    Barnabas and Paul are summoned by the chief political officer at Paphos (described as a man of intelligence) who wants to hear the word of God (v.7).  They encounter opposition from a magician and false prophet.  The spirit through Paul blinds the magician and the proconsul believes the Gospel.

What does the passage emphasize about the officer's belief?
"He is astonished at the teaching of the Lord."

Acts 19:11-12, describes some details of Paul's lengthy stay at Ephesus noting that God performed "extraordinary miracles" there.  Read v.13-20 and explain v.20.
Fear of the Lord, genuine belief and true repentance defines how ["so, in this way"] the truth increased (grew in acceptance, spread to others) and prevailed (exhibited effective power) [the language of conquest and dominance].  (see Acts 6:7 and 12:24)

Describe what "the word" was, not the specifics of what was taught.
A reasoned explanation of current events (facts) arising from correct interpretation of historic (Old Testament) teachings and situations containing elements of the obvious and common sense.  It dealt with what happened consequent to the advent of Jesus as related to what was prophesied [subsequent], why it had to be and what it meant.

What conclusions do you draw from this lesson concerning what was going on?
As the word was taught, people were struck with wonder.  The miracles certainly amazed, astonished, astounded, awed and confounded people, but the emphasis was on the truth.  Miracles supported and verified that the messenger and his message were from God.  The miracles were waking people up to listen to the explanations and reasoning.  Propositional truth was opening their eyes.

Do you need to see miracles to cause you to focus on God's word?
Have you lost that astonishment at His revelation (uncovering of the reality)?

Do the teachings of the Bible seem to conflict with your experiences or understanding of life?  Explain.    No, rather it interprets them.  It often does conflict with our understanding of our experiences.]   

What was it (is it) Christians did (continue to do) to stir people up?
Teach and proclaim the particulars of the Christian faith (word of God)

Why does the Christian message have this effect?    The truth exposes lies, reveals the evil in men's hearts and claims total authority over the affairs of men.

What is the parable of the sower (Mt.13) about?
The seeds, teachings about God's kingdom and responses.

Write and interpret the phrases in the parable of the sower concerning the word.
Sown = distributed by speaking; requires understanding; resides in the hearts of men to embrace or not (word has no root).  Embracing or occupying ourselves with anything else [competition for our heart] is detrimental (choke the word) to God's work in us and in the world (bearing fruit to God).

How does the word of God impart life to those who receive it (1Pt.1:23-25)?
"Since you have been born again…of imperishable seed, through the living and abiding word of God[which] remains forever…the good news that was preached to you."  The word is eternal and so are we because it lives in our hearts.

{"…Keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world…Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth." Jn.17:15-17  "If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth [about redemption] and the truth will set you free [from slavery to sin, v.34]." Jn.8:31b-32}

How does the word cleanse us (Eph.5:25b-27)?    "Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word [regeneration], so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish."

{"He brought us forth of His own will by the word of truth," Jas.1:18a}

What are we to do with the word of God (Heb.4:11-13)?
"Let us therefore strive to enter that rest [v.6a, by taking in His words, v.7b] so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience [v.6b].  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."  Interact, wrestle, and struggle with what it reveals in our hearts - submission to God and His revealed will.

Explain the illustration of the two houses, Lk.6:46-49.
"Why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you?"  The two builders are people whose lives, represented by their houses, appear very similar until tested by God's judgment, a flood which totally destroys the man and all he has because he has failed to heed Christ's words, the only foundation that will withstand judgment.

Comment on how Jesus accompanies and helps us after He has left the Earth.
Jn.14:15-18, Jesus comes to us through another Helper, the Spirit of truth, whom the Father gave us to dwell with us and be in us forever.

15:26, Christ sent the Helper, the Spirit of truth, who bears witness about Him in our hearts and minds.

16:12-15, The Spirit of truth came and guides us into all the truth and to glorify Christ.

What is true worship (Jn.4:23-24)?    It is in contrast to temple and ceremonial forms of worship which were temporary and provisional, and may be superficial or misdirected.  True worship of the living God is in keeping with the only true God's essence as spirit.  It comes from a purified heart and cannot be insincere.

Further Study
Recommended - cassette - "Antidote to Error" by Glen Riexinger

Look up the following passages: The truth of the Gospel (Gal.2:5, 14), the word of truth, the Gospel (Col.1:5), the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation (Eph.1:13), for those who are perishing because they refused to love the truth and so be saved (2 Thes.2:10), He brought us forth by the word of truth (Jas.1:18)