Bible Fellowship Study Guide (BFSG) "The Purpose of Miracles" - Luke 4:31-44

IN A NUTSHELL - For the past four weeks we have looked at the Methods Jesus used to make disciples out of acquaintances.  He taught us to pray for the salvation of even the people we struggle to get along with, He spread a lot of seeds EVERYWHERE! He showed us through the good Samaritan that we need to listen to people's authentic needs and learn how to help them through our selfless love, and that hosting a dinner and sharing Jesus with them is simple yet effective. For the next eight weeks we are going to consider Jesus' Message.  Two sermons urging us to believe in Jesus, two messages from the sermon on the mount about "Building for Good", two sermons about dealing with Satan (our opponent), and three sermons on the "First Steps of Faith" for the young Christian.

THIS SERMON: Miracles were for establishing credibility for the messenger (His Identity as being sent by God) not necessarily focusing on the comfort for the listener, and definitely not entitlements for certain groups of people. The challenge is for people to look through their long held selfish assumptions to seek the truth, even if the truth hurts. We must come to believe in Jesus.  He died to demonstrate that he wants the best for us (period!).

Luke 4:16-44Matthew 12:39; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Acts 2:22; Hebrews 2:4; John 10:36-38



What is the purpose of fireworks? Why not just have barbecue and ice cream on July 4th?



  1. What was unique about Jesus’ teaching?
  2. Why would Jesus rebuke the demon from testifying about who Jesus was? Luke 4:33-36
  3. How did Luke summarize people’s response to Jesus miracles and teaching?  Luke 4:36-37
  4. Where did Jesus go early in the morning and why?
  5. How did this time of meditation affect Jesus’ plans for ministry? Lk. 4:43
  6. How are miracles related to our faith and to be tested? (See Mt. 24:24-25; Jn. 13:19; 1 Jn. 4:1-3)
  7. What is the difference between "a miracle," "God's providence," and "random acts of nature?"  (Consider some thoughts by David Lemmons)


  1. How does our world define "Miracle?"
  2. Reflecting on Jesus' time of meditation and change of plans, describe the last time you decided a good thing in your life had become out of balance.
  3. What were the indicators that you were out of balance? (Consider reading a good book on Sabbath to help you find a sense of balance.)
  4. What did you do to restore balance?  (Check out the "Wheel of Life.")


  1. Is it possible for exciting church activities to become unbalanced?
  2. Is it possible for a church to promote a "miracle" mindset over a discipleship conviction?  What does that look like?  Why are so many "20-Somethings" leaving church?
  3. Do you think Jesus embraced the philosophy “What you win them with, you win them to!”  Explain your answer.

Technology's Skeptics

Lightning speed communication!

The reality is that us westerners are behind the times in cell phone and internet technology.  In contrast the developing nations are exploding with internet and cell phone technology.   I have just learned about "QR codes"... (Thanks Andrew of the A-Team at Central Christian College of the Bible!)

Imagine walking into the church foyer, pointing your smart phone at the kiosk monitor to click on a "QR code" in order to download the day's bulletin and sermon listening sheet. This past Sunday Michael (my preaching intern) helped us set up a gmail account which allowed worship service participants to text in questions during the sermon.  It caught most of us by surprise.  Since I didn't spend much time elaborating on the process most people didn't register it was real time sermon interaction until the sermon was over.   I don't want our worship experience to focus on methods.  But I do want people to catch our urgency about communicating God's word in the "street language" of the day.   That tends to rub people the wrong way, but that's not new.  Did you know the church in 1645 openly condemned the Gutenberg Bible?  Today we beg people bring their Bibles to church and hope they read them everyday.  Back then they feared people would begin to learn the Bible outside the influence of the church.  That was bad for offerings and a feeding frenzy for false teachings.

"Although the printing era was welcomed by most, the Church opposed the technological revolution. Ironically, the Bible was the source of the controversy; the Church feared that the spread of theological learning in the vernacular would result in a loss of power and influence. In 1515, Pope Leo X tried to introduce a censorship and a supervision of printed books."

I remember seeing my first "QR code" and having an annoyed sensation creep into my mind.  (I don't like feeling ignorant, and technology tends to do that regularly.)  But then as soon as I saw the ease of developing a "QR code"  and considered how quickly it can communicate the story of Jesus in a language a new generation loves to use I thought of my blog title, "We see through a glass darkly..."   My darkness got a little brighter today.  I hope your's does too!

CARE Sheet 2/6/11, When a King Forgets God... 1 of 8


  • If someone was going to only tell about the BAD things you have done in your life – what would be the best thing they would have left out?
  • If someone was going to only tell about the GOOD things you have done in your life – what would a bad thing they would have left out?

Title: “Do We Deserve God’s Grace?”

Texts: 2 Kings 21:1-18 &  2 Chron 33:1-20


  1. Two Accounts of the King of Judah, Manasseh;  2 Kings 21:1-18 &  2 Chron 33:1-20 Two Accounts of Manasseh
  2. What does the 2 Kings text add to the story of Manasseh that the 2 Chronicles does not?
  3. What does the 2 Chronicles text add to the story of Manasseh that the 2 Kings text does not?
  4. 2 Chronicles 21:7 – Why didn’t God destroy the “House of David” when Jehoram King of Judah and done so much evil?
  5. 2 Chronicles 7:14 – When would God answer their prayers?
  6. 1 Corinthians 1:3-11 – In what ways might we say the nation of Judah and the church of Corinth were similar?
  7. What does the New Testament say a person seeking God's grace will do? (the Good News Bad News Brochure3-3-10)
  8. Are there any New Testament accounts of this happening?  Acts 2:38; 8:12-13; 8:36-39; 9:17-18; 10:47-48; 16:14-15; 16:32-33; 18:8


9. In what ways were the people of Israel similar to today’s American Christians?

10. How do you think America has fit into God’s “Big Picture?”

11. If you were asked, “How do you fit into God’s ‘Big Picture’?” What would you say?

12.  If your children were asked “How do you fit into God’s ‘Big Picture’?” What would they say?

Consider the following resources to help you with further study:


11.How would you say Timber Lake Christian Church fits into God’s “Big Picture?”

12.  Are you an active part of Timber Lake's part in that picture?


Title: “Falling in Love… with God Again.”

Text: Hosea

The prophet Hosea preached during the reigns of the following Kings.  Read Hoseah and these texts to get a complete picture of what things were like back then.

Judean Kings, Uzziah – 2 Ki 14 – 15 & 2 Chr. 26; Jotham, 2 Ki 15:5 & 2 Chr. 27:1-9;  Ahaz, 2 Ki. 15:38 & 2 Chr. 28:27;  Hezekiah, 2 Ki 16-20 & 2 Chr. 29-32

Israelite King, Jeroboam – 2 Ki 14:23-29

CARE Sheet 1/30/11, Philemon 3 of 3

ICE BREAKER What do you think about this guys advice about helping a friend and finding forgiveness?

Title: The Accountability Triangle

Text: Philemon 18-19; Colossians 4:7-9;  (Supporting texts: James 5:16; Deut. 9:13-20; Numbers 16:45-49)


How many people traveled to Colosse to deliver the letters, Colossians & Philemon which Paul wrote? Philemon 12; Colossians 4:7-9 What are their names?  And what was the expressed reason for Onesimus’ travel partner?  (Col. 4:8)

Visualize the “triangle” of relationships and emotions tied to each relationship in Philemon 17-20.

  • Philemon & Paul (relationship) _______________ (emotion) _______________
  • Philemon & Onesimus, before           (relationship) _______________ (emotion) _______________
  • Paul & Onesimus                     (relationship) _______________ (emotion) _______________
    • Philem 17-18 “So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.  If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.”
  • Philemon & Onesimus, now  (relationship) _______________ (emotion) _______________

When do we see other times when “someone” didn’t want to forgive others?  What happened? Numbers 16:45-49 Deuteronomy 9:13-19

What seems to be a common theme about restoring relationships? Num. 16:48; Deut. 9:19; Eph. 2:14-16; Rom. 5:10; Philippians 4:2-4

List as many different elements, relationships, commands, and anticipated results mentioned in James 5:16 that are related to forgiveness.


Can you recall any restored relationships in your life and a third party that supported you both and provided accountability or mediation?

Can you recall any relationships that have not been restored… Did you attempt to find someone to help with accountability or mediation?

What is the difference between litigation and mediation?

What are some key rules to Christian mediation?

10.  What are some indicators that a person has really repented and honestly wants reconciliation not just a relaxing of consequences? Forgiveness-Repentance

CONNECTING TO THE CHURCH: (Disclaimer: the following resources are directed toward Christian leaders that have fallen into sin and in need of time and accountability in their restoration.  Onesimus was not a fallen Christian leader.  He was  lost person needing Christ and needing restoration to a previously hurt Christian leader)

What are some resources available to help Christian Leaders find restoration with other Christians and with God?

a. Restoring the Fallen by Wilson, Friesen, Paulson

b. Restoration Manual: by Pedigo

c. Restoring the Soul counseling center

12.  When and how might fallen leaders be restored to Kingdom work?

Our church's Shepherding Policy

The Test of Love Tract


Title: “Do We Deserve God’s Grace? ”

Text: 2 Chr. 12:1-8; 2 Chr. 21:7; 2 Chr. 7:14

  1. What was Shemaiah’s message to the leaders of Judah?  2 Chr. 12:5-8
  2. Why did God not destroy Judah? 2 Chr. 21:7
  3. What does God look for to bring Him to forgive and heal? 2 Chr. 7:14

CARE sheet 1/23/11 Philemon 2 of 3

ICE BREAKER Describe one of the following situations:

a. a time when your attempt to reconcile with someone worked.

b. a time when your attempt to reconcile with someone didn’t work.

Title: Reconciliation at its Most Difficult Hour” -

Text: Philemon 15-16; Matt. 6:12-15; 18:15-35; 2 Cor. 2:5-11;


Jesus on Forgiveness/Reconciliation…

  • Matt. 6:12-15 – Does God’s forgiveness appear to be conditional?
  • Matt. 18:15-35 – What does it mean to “forgive someone from your heart?”(vs. 35).  What process did Jesus outline to help us through the forgiving/reconciling command?
  • What question asked by Peter (vss. 21,22) prompted the parable of the unforgiving servant?

God on Forgiveness/Reconciliation…

  • Read Psalm 103:6-14.  Since God’s nature is our standard of and motivation for obedience what do these verses tell us about how and why God forgives us?

Paul on Forgiveness/Reconciliation…

  • What is the intended result of God’s mercy and forgiveness (“kindness”)?  Rom. 2:4
  • Read Rom. 12:17-21.  If the goal of forgiveness is to “overcome evil with good” then how can our kindness mixed with God’s wrath cooperate to bring people to repentance? (Consider Num. 16:45-49 as an illustration of Moses’ and Aaron’s mixture of passion for the people and for God’s Holiness along with God’s wrath and willingness to forgive.)
  • Read 2 Cor. 2:5-11.  If Satan’s goal is to kill and destroy then how might we “play into his hands” when we refuse to forgive someone that is trying to repent?


  1. Can you imagine trying to forgive your dad which forced you to have an abortion, people who had chopped up your brother, or a father that had repeatedly molested your sister?
  2. Which of these passages of Scripture would be a good memory verse to help you forgive someone that you feel may be unforgivable?
  3. How can a person know if someone that has hurt them really wants to repent and be forgiven or just free from consequences?  (Forgiveness-Repentance)
  4. Check out some books on forgiveness/repentance/reconciliation  worth reading: Steering Clear by Earl Wilson; Rebuilding Your Broken World by Gordon McDonald; How to Save Your Marriage Alone by Dr. Ed Wheat; When Your Mate Wants Out ; When Your Child Breaks Your Heart; Forgiving the Unforgivable


  1. How does Timber Lake Christian Church try to help people find reconciliation with God and others? (church shepherding policy (3); A Test of Love tract tract)


Title: The Accountability Triangle

Text: Philemon 18-22

1. How was Philemon’s relationship with Onesimus affected Paul?

2. How was Paul’s relationship with Philemon affected by Onesimus?

3. How was Onesimus’ relationship with Paul affected by Philemon?

4. How were these men’s relationships with God affected by this life challenge?


UPDATED RESOURCES:  It appears this topic is really hitting a nerve in families and in the church.  I have found and would recommend the following resources to be considered by parents and youth/children's ministers.

  1. The Entitlement-Free Child by Karen Deerwester
  2. Give Me, Get, Me, Buy Me by Donna Corwin can be reviewed at
  3. Generation Me by Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D. focuses more on teens and twenties.
  4. Is It A Lost Cause? by Marva J. Dawn helps church parents and church leaders to evaluate their youth in light of church programming.  How do parents and churches cooperate to support their youth growing up in a Post-modern culture.
  5. Parenting Beyond your Capacity by Reggie Joiner & Carey Nieuwhof describes an expanded curriculum called "Orange" to help parents and Church leaders to create synergy for raising up the next generation in faith.


This picture and a book I got for Christmas  “THE POOR WILL BE GLAD – Joining the revolution to lift the world out of poverty”  has once again stirred up a long standing string of thoughts I have had over the past year.  What is a “sense of entitlement?”  How do you recognize it?  Do I have one?  Do I promote one? What does Jesus think about a sense of entitlement?  These are more questions than I can answer here, but I can point you to some good food for thought:

A self-analysis of Entitlement Syndrome with some Scriptures for reflection. IDENTIFYING A PERSON WITH ENTITLEMENT SYNDROME

An insightful story from an excerpt of the book “THE POOR WILL BE GLAD

A book many of our church leaders are using to guide them in benevolence counseling: "When Helping Hurts" by Steve Corbett and  Brian Fikkert

If you are brave enough to think about how the entitlement syndrome is effecting our government you might consider looking here.

I have decided that I do struggle somewhat with a sense of entitlement.  I’m not sure how you can be an American, have a good work ethic and not struggle with this at least a little.   I think people that have played more than they have worked have a very deep sense of entitlement and can’t/ won’t/ refuse to see it.   A low self image kicks in overdrive a video tape that plays over and over in their minds – I can’t take responsibility for my needs.  Jesus is ready to say to anyone that is honest, “You are right, but stop being a wicked lazy servant and try.  I will take care of the rest!”  (Consider John 15:4 and Matthew 25:14 – 30)

This study has also revealed in me a very low tolerance for those who live day to day by working their sense of entitlement.   I must keep reminding myself that people who don’t KNOW JESUS can’t deal wisely with the concept of entitlement (2 Corinthians 3:14-16).  It is a deception from Satan that started with Eve and Adam (Genesis 3:4-7).  My best hope for helping those buried beneath a sense of entitlement is to demonstrate for them how Jesus has helped me deal with my sense of entitlement.  That takes away the arrogance and capitalizes on the Grace that teaches us to say no to ungodliness (1 Peter 3:15 and Titus 2:11-14).    Lord help us all! – And He will!!!