Preaching to Exiles in Babylon — Ezekiel 18

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32

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King James Version

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32 KJV Commentary

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New American Standard Bible

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32 NASB Commentary

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32 NASB Large Print Commentary

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New International Version

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32 NIV Commentary

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New Revised Standard Version

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32 NRSV Commentary

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Teacher Study Hints for Thinking Further

Teacher Study Hints for Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32

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Crossword Puzzle with Answer Key

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32

True and False Review Test with Answer Key

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-323

Word Search International Bible Lesson Puzzle

Ezekiel 18:1-13, 31-32
An Educational Take Home Review and Handout using Key Bible Lesson Words.

International Bible Lesson

“Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed,
and get a new heart and a new spirit.
Why will you die, people of Israel?”

(Ezekiel 18:31—NIV).

Why Will You Die?

Why Will You Die? (Large Print)

Why Will You Die? (Bulletin Size)

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Commentary and Lesson
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

When a Lamb Saved the Sheep — Isaiah 53:6

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6).

God inspired the prophet Isaiah to compare people to sheep. Sheep are prone to wander away from their shepherd and flock. They eventually get lost, get into trouble, and sometimes get eaten by predators. People often act worse than sheep. God gave us minds, laws, and abilities to make good choices, but invariably at various times all of us have deliberately gone astray. Instead of following our Shepherd, we have chosen to go our own way. We have chosen the selfish and self-centered way instead of God’s way. Everyone has meditated on sinful desires and thoughts, and sometimes we have acted on those thoughts in ways that have brought harm to others and us. Because God loves everyone, God sent someone like a sheep to save us from our iniquity, our habitual practice of sin, and the eternal consequences of our disobedience. Isaiah wrote of him, “Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth” when He was oppressed and afflicted (Isaiah 53:7). Isaiah was, of course, writing about the Messiah that God planned to send, and when the Messiah came He died as a sacrificial lamb when He died on the cross. When John went to heaven and saw Jesus, he saw “a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered” (Revelation 5:6). He explained why God sent Jesus, “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:19).

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Commentary and Lesson
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

What Predictions Did Jesus Fulfill? — Isaiah 53:11

Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge. The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities (Isaiah 53:11).

Before Jesus was born, He and the Father agreed that in order for Jesus to save believers He would need to suffer as our scapegoat. Furthermore, Jesus would need to endure the anguish of the Suffering Servant predicted by Isaiah. According to Isaiah’s prophecy, the Lord “laid on him the iniquity of us all;” similar to the priest in the Old Testament, who laid the sins of the people on the scapegoat and drove it into the wilderness (see Leviticus 16 and Isaiah 53:6). While dying, Jesus suffered anguish, because He bore our iniquities (our wickedness). When tempted, Jesus never sinned; therefore, He became “the righteous one,” who served as the scapegoat to remove the sins of all who repent and trust in Him. When the Father raised Jesus from the dead, He saw light as predicted. Jesus removes the believer’s sins “to make many righteous;” however, we need more than our sins removed. Therefore, the Lord also promises, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33). In addition, the Holy Spirit lives within Jesus’ people to empower them to live rightly according to the Scriptures. While in this world, Jesus’ followers will always be tempted to sin; therefore, “with the testing he will also provide the way out” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Because Jesus knew how much people would benefit from His sacrificial death, He experienced “satisfaction through his knowledge.” Moreover, “for the sake of the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame” (Hebrews 12:2).

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Commentary and Lesson
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Coming to Know Jesus — John 4:42

Use for the Uniform Series Commentary, Activities, and International Bible Lesson on John 4:25–42

They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world” (John 4:42)

By studying the entire story about Jesus and the Samaritan woman, we learn many things about Jesus. First, unlike both Jews and Samaritans, Jesus was not racially prejudiced. He asked to drink from a water jar touched by a Samaritan. Second, unlike many Jews of His day, Jesus was not prejudiced against women. Jesus talked with women alone or in a crowd. Third, after the woman called Jesus a prophet, He did not deny her observation but wanted her to learn more truths about Him. Fourth, when the woman said that she knew the Messiah was coming and that He would proclaim all things to them, for the first time Jesus directly proclaimed that He was the Messiah. Fifth, after Jesus talked with her specifically about her sins and shared some other truths with her, she did not become gloomy and guilt ridden. Rather, Jesus totally transformed her. She knew her sins were forgiven, she was joyful, for the first time she was free from her addiction to sin, she was no longer withdrawn, and she enjoyed “a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” Sixth, the truths Jesus taught her led her to rush back to town and tell the townspeople about Jesus, and her new life inspired the townspeople to want to meet Jesus too. Seventh, by the end of the day, many believed in Jesus because of her testimony and many more believed after they heard Jesus teach. They came to know that Jesus “is truly the Savior of the world.”

Use for the Uniform Series Commentary, Activities, and Study Resources on John 4:25–42

The Worshipers the Father Seeks — John 4:23

For the Uniform International Bible Lesson on John 4:25–42

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him (John 4:23)

For several years ministers and parishioners have discussed worship styles and the effects of contemporary, traditional, and blended worship styles on church growth. Debates on worship styles have even been labeled “the worship wars.” Missing from some of these conversations is the question, “What does God want?” When the Samaritan woman wanted to discuss true places of worship with Jesus, Jesus changed the focus and told her that more important than places of worship are what kind of worshipers the Father wanted. Jesus revealed to her that the Father wants, and even seeks, true worshipers who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. Perhaps ministers and parishioners need to pray and ask God how they can help people best worship God in spirit, with heartfelt love for God and a deep desire to glorify God, and what they can do to promote the true spirit of worship. Perhaps they need to ask the Father what they and others need to do to worship God in truth, with a right understanding of who God is and what He requires of His children. From reading the entire New Testament, translators are also justified when translating Jesus’ words as uppercase Spirit and Truth. The Father seeks those who will worship God in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, who Jesus sends to indwell all who receive Him as Lord and Savior. Furthermore, the Father seeks those who worship God in Truth. In John 14:6 and in 17:17, Jesus proclaimed that He is the Truth and God’s Word is Truth.

For the Uniform Lesson on John 4:25–42

The Test for Truth — Acts 2:16-21 — January 31, 2021

“No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel” (Acts 2:16—NRSV).

On the Day of Pentecost, many followers of Jesus who were all in one place received the gift of the Holy Spirit that Jesus had promised them. The Holy Spirit appeared as a tongue of fire that rested on each individual believer. The Holy Spirit enabled them to speak in other tongues so Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem could understand in their own native language what the disciples said. These Jews expressed amazement that these Galilean Jews could speak in all of their different languages. Some who heard wondered what it all meant, while others sneered at the disciples and impugned their character.

Following the example of Jesus as the Holy Spirit filled and led him, the Apostle Peter boldly stood in their midst and explained what they experienced in the context of what the scriptures taught and the Prophet Joel had foretold. Peter insisted that the scriptures must be their authority for evaluating whether or not a spiritual experience was from the true God or not. Later, the Apostle John wrote, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). Jesus and the apostles taught that the scriptures, and not just people’s experiences, needed to be the basis for discerning spiritual truths from error. Later, as the good news of Jesus spread, Luke commended the Bereans for using the scriptures as the test for truth, saying, “These Jews were more receptive than those in Thessalonica, for they welcomed the message very eagerly and examined the scriptures every day to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

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Commentary and Lesson
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

How To Live in the Power of the Spirit — Luke 4:14-22

“Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country” (Luke 4:14)

Jesus and the Holy Spirit worked closely together. In chapter four of his gospel, Luke wrote that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit after He was baptized. Jesus obeyed God and followed the Holy Spirit when the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness, where Jesus was tested by the devil. After Jesus passed every test, He was filled with the power of the Spirit and began His public ministry. Jesus honored His heavenly Father by doing everything the Father wanted Him to do and by living according to every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). Jesus honored the Holy Spirit and declared that the Holy Spirit worked within Him when He preached from the prophet Isaiah and proclaimed, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me” (Luke 4:18). Jesus honored His Father, the Holy Spirit, and himself by keeping His focus on doing the will of God according to the Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit honored Jesus by working signs, miracles, and wonders through Him. At the conclusion of His public ministry, the Father honored Jesus when He raised Him from the dead. Jesus’ disciples learned from listening to Jesus and from watching Jesus work in the power of the Holy Spirit. They learned the importance of obeying and trusting in God. They obeyed the teachings of Jesus; for Jesus told them, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). However, they could not do Jesus’ work effectively until the Holy Spirit came and filled them on the Day of Pentecost.

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Commentary and Lesson
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

WHO WERE the MAGI? — Matthew 2:2

“The Magi asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him’”

Some believe that the Magi were Gentile wise men and the first Gentiles to worship Jesus. But the Magi could easily have been descendants of the Jews who did not return to Jerusalem after their seventy years of captivity in Babylon. Daniel and his three friends rose to high positions in the Babylonian court, and there is every reason to believe that they and others like them advised King Cyrus of Persia and many other subsequent rulers in the East where their descendants made their homes for the next 500 years. Some Jewish Magi probably knew to look for the Messiah and His star. The Hebrew Scriptures prophesied: “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel” (Numbers 24:17). When some of them saw the special star that announced the Messiah’s birth, they traveled perhaps 800 miles to find and worship Him. Upon their arrival in Jerusalem, King Herod, the high priests, the teachers of the law, and the people were disturbed to learn of the Magi’s expectation of finding the newborn Messiah. The chief priests told King Herod and the Magi about the prophecy that predicted the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. King Herod wanted to murder the Messiah, and we have no indication from Matthew that anyone other than these Magi sought Him to find Him to honor Him. When the star appeared again, the Magi found the house where Jesus and His family stayed. They were overjoyed, and they worshiped Him.

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Commentary and Lesson
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

GOD WITH US — Matthew 1:18-25

International Bible Lesson Commentary

(Matthew 1:18) Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.

Matthew’s gospel includes a short summary of facts about the birth of Jesus that highlighted important truths: the Messiah was to be named “Jesus;” He was born of a virgin named Mary; He was conceived by the Holy Spirit (not Joseph, who was only engaged to her at that time). Joseph was not Jesus’ biological father, but Joseph took Mary as his wife and adopted her Son as his own son. Jesus was sent by God to save His people from their sins. Mary must have told Joseph about the angel’s appearance to her; perhaps after she had visited Elizabeth (as recorded by Luke).

(Matthew 1:19) Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.

Though Joseph and Mary were engaged to be married and were not living together, the community considered their engagement as binding as a marriage. Perhaps Joseph felt unworthy to become the adopted father of the Messiah and wanted to dismiss her quietly so God could do what was best for Mary and His Son. Perhaps he was afraid (see Matthew 1:20) he would offend God if he went ahead and took Mary as his wife if God had other plans. Perhaps he wanted to open the way for God to care for His Son in the way God wanted without being a hindrance to God.

(Matthew 1:20) But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

Joseph had Mary’s testimony to him as one fact to consider with regard to how he should proceed. As a righteous man, Joseph lived by faith, prayer, and true love for God and others; therefore, he probably thought he had made the right decision according to the law of God. In this verse, Matthew reaffirmed through the words of the angel that the adopted father of Jesus was of the line of David. The angel told Joseph that what Mary had told him was accurate and no delusion. Truly, Jesus really had been conceived by the Holy Spirit; and Mary and Jesus were both were also wholly within the will of God. Joseph should not be afraid to take Mary as his wife, because God the Father wanted him to raise the Son of God as his and Mary’s son. Knowing that Jesus was adopted by Joseph should encourage all who are adopted, and in the Bible all of Jesus’ true followers are called adopted children of God.

(Matthew 1:21) She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

The angel said specifically that Mary would give birth to a male child. When Joseph took Him as his son, he was to name him “Jesus,” which means “God is salvation.” When the Messiah came, His primary purpose was to save God’s people from their sins (not overthrow the Roman Empire).  Jesus would save God’s people not only from the eternal consequences of their sins but also free them from slavery to sin and empower them to love and obey God according to the Bible’s teachings.

(Matthew 1:22) All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

 What the angel told Joseph would take place had been planned and prophesied for centuries before God scheduled Jesus to be born. Jesus came and throughout His life He fulfilled various prophecies, and He said that He had come to fulfill the law and the prophets. Jesus did what the Scriptures said the Messiah would do, and more remains for Him to do as priest and king in heaven between now and after He returns.

(Matthew 1:23) “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”

Mary was more than just a young woman. In fulfillment of the Bible’s prophecies, she had never done anything toward the physical conception of a child before the Holy Spirit overshadowed her as the angel told her and she conceived Jesus. Her Son would be “Emmanuel.” From what Jesus said about himself and did, He convinced people that He was God with them, the Son of God. When God the Father raised Jesus from the dead, God affirmed and endorsed all that Jesus said about himself and did. Jesus, God with us, humbled himself, came to serve us, and saves believers from their sins.

(Matthew 1:24) When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife,

Joseph believed what the angel told him. He acted in faith when he did what the angel told him to do. Joseph showed that he was a righteous man when he obeyed God. Joseph did not act only on the basis of what the angel said. The angel referred Joseph to what the Bible said through the prophets and the promises of God. So, Joseph had not only the words of the angel and Mary before he acted in faith; Joseph also had the words of God’s prophets. Joseph believed the Bible, the Word of God written, and the Bible confirmed what the angel told him; then, he acted in faith.

(Matthew 1:25) but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

As a righteous man, Joseph did not do anything that might hurt Mary or compromise the birth of the Son of God. The Bible certainly implies that Joseph and Mary maintained a normal, healthy marriage after Jesus was born, and they raised Jesus as devoted parents. Joseph named their Son “Jesus” as the angel commanded, and they raised Him in a devout home (for example, taking Jesus to the temple when He was 12).

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International Bible Study
Commentary and Lesson
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Consequences for Loving Money — Acts 4:32-5:11

‘Ananias,’ Peter asked, ‘why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land?’” (Acts 5:3).

Not everyone who claims to be a Christian is a Christian. Ananias appeared to be a Christian. He went to church with the Apostle Peter, and he even gave some of the proceeds from a land sale to the church, but he sold the land for more than he said and kept the difference. Peter then explained that personal property and money belong to Christians to save, spend, or share as they choose. No Christian is under compulsion to give any of his money or property to the church. Ananias and Sapphira lied and gave because they wanted people’s praise for their giving, but Jesus taught that the best giving is done secretly (Matthew 6:3-4). Ananias committed a great sin by lying to the Holy Spirit and to the church, but why did Satan fill his heart to lie? Jesus taught, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24). Ananias loved money; so he came to hate and despise God just as Jesus warned. Therefore, Satan filled his heart and left no room for the love of God. Ananias became similar to Judas. Because Judas loved money he came to hate and despise Jesus; therefore, Satan entered him (John 13:27). Both proved that “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:10).

International Bible Lesson Commentary
Acts 4:32-5:11 Archive

for November 22, 2020
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