24 Jun Interactive Teaching: Jesus is the Stairway to Heaven
At Gospel Growth Ministries we believe in interactive study of the Bible. There’s joy in it. There’s hope in it. There’s power in it. Because of that, we are starting a series of interactive Bible studies for you, where we will provide a passage of Scripture, teach on it, and then ask you questions based on it. You can send this study to any of your friends and interact with them. You can also send your answers to us here at Gospel Growth Ministries by emailing them to gospelgrowthministries. We will read your answers and provide feedback to you. You can find these studies right here on this blog, and by subscribing to the blog feed at http://settingcaptivesfree.com/category/blog/.
So let’s begin.
Please study the following passage and answer the questions below:
“Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”” (Genesis 28:10–17, NIV)
Question 1. Please note everything about the stairway that is conveyed in this passage of Scripture.
What Jacob found, the world is looking for. The Rock band Led Zeppelin wrote about it:
There’s a lady who’s sure
All that glitters is gold
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.
When she gets there she knows
If the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for.
Ooh ooh and she’s buying a stairway to heaven.
The world would like to buy a stairway to heaven, but Jacob found it for free.
In fact everybody is looking for a way out of this world of darkness and poverty and sickness, a way to get to heaven where everything that glitters is gold and everything is light and rich and happy, and they would gladly give their last dime for it. And so Rock bands teach that the stairway to heaven, the stairway to happiness and bliss is drugs and sex and partying. And how many others would preach that the stairway to heaven is illicit sex, all the best food you could eat, drinking the best wine, the thrill of gambling, or a thousand other “stairways”. Sadly they hardly get two steps up on the stairway before the rungs break and the stairway comes crashing back down to earth.
Question 2. What other things can you think of that people use as “stairways to heaven”?
And of course you know that religion teaches that the stairway to heaven is to simply not do those things. Don’t do drugs, don’t have illicit sex, don’t gamble, don’t overeat or overdrink, and don’t be greedy. Religion’s stairway is one where you work your way up each rung, overcoming each sin one at a time through sheer effort and willpower. That is, until you discover you have no strength, and that you can’t hold on another minute to the stairway so you let go and come crashing to the ground.
Question 3. Why is religion, with its “do’s and don’ts” not the true stairway to heaven?
Jacob got to see a stairway to heaven in a dream. And notice that it was:
1. The stairway of connection. This stairway connected heaven and earth, it bridged the distance and connected God and man.
This is a very important teaching. Maybe you’ve noticed in your life that you are not connected to God, that there seems to be quite a distance between you and him. Maybe you’ve felt that your prayers, if you do pray, only reach the ceiling and then fall to the floor. If this is you then know that there is, today, a “Stairway to Heaven” that will connect you to God and put you in a vital and joyous relationship with Him. We will study about that in this lesson.
Question 4. Where are you at right now with God? Are you joined together with Him? Or maybe you don’t even believe in God, certainly don’t feel connected to Him. Please share your thoughts here:
2. The stairway of revelation. At this stairway God revealed Himself to Jacob for the first time. He said, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac.” This was God introducing Himself to Jacob, revealing Himself as “the Lord”, Yahweh, which means “the covenant keeping God.”
If anyone comes to know God it is because God has taken the iniative to make Himself known, to reveal Himself to someone: “And Isaiah boldly says, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”” (Romans 10:20, NIV)
“But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being.” (Galatians 1:15–16, NIV)
Yes, God takes the iniative to reveal Himself to people, and He does so through His Word and in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Question 5. Has God revealed Himself to you in His Word, in the Person of Jesus Christ? Please explain:
3. The stairway of benediction. This is the stairway of blessing. God promised Jacob the entire land he was traveling on, that his descendants would multiply to become a huge nation, that all people on earth would be blessed through him and his Descendant, and that God would be with him throughout his life. This was the stairway of blessing for Jacob.
This is what the whole world is looking for! The place of connection with God, the place where God reveals Himself to man, the place where man receives blessing after blessing from God. The collective cry of every person on earth is “where can I go to escape all these troubles? Where can I go and meet with God? Where can I experience His presence and His blessings?” And they would gladly buy this stairway to heaven if they could.
What the world is longing for, what they would give their last red cent for, is actually the Person of Jesus Christ, and God gave Him to us for free. When Jesus was talking to a person named Philip He said:
“He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”” (John 1:51, NIV)
Question 6. In Jesus’ statement that Philip would see angels of God ascending and descending on Him (calling Himself the “Son of Man”) to what passage in the Old Testament was Jesus referring?
Question 7. According to Jesus’ statement to Philip, how would Philip see heaven?
Wow! Jesus is taking Philip back to Genesis chapter 28 and telling Philip, “that stairway is Me! I am the One Who has opened heaven for you and will usher you into God’s presence.”
And all who have come to know Jesus by faith can testify that Jesus connects us with God, that Jesus reveals God fully to us, that Jesus blesses us. Indeed every spiritual blessing is in Christ, and He is the true stairway to heaven. He died for you and rose again, He intercedes for you even now, and He purchased and opened all of heaven for you. If you receive Him by faith and learn how to walk in Him daily you discover that the Stairway holds securely, it will never break or fall to the ground. You will discover that in Jesus all of heaven has been opened to you.
Question 8. In contemplating that Jesus is the “Stairway to Heaven”, what thoughts do you get just now? Please share.
Yes, Jesus is the Stairway to Heaven. The stairway where He comes to you, rescues you from your darkness, your emptiness, your loneliness, your sin and your sickness, and takes you to the Light, to the place of healing and riches and eternal joy.
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11, NIV)
Question 9. Are you experiencing this stairway to heaven daily? Are you opening your Bibles and praying, and seeking to obey all that God reveals to you? What are your thoughts?
If you’re experiencing the power of a daily relationship with Jesus, that power is carrying you up higher to the next rung every day. You’re wasting away outwardly but that power of God is renewing you inside every day. And one day that power of God, that power of His Spirit, is going to show you that heaven is indeed open to you, that Jesus has brought you all the way up, carrying you on His shoulders up each rung, and that you now get to live in unspeakable joy and eternal pleasure.
I hope you are praising the Lord with me today that God has provided a Stairway to Heaven for you—His Name is Jesus! And you can say with Jacob, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”
Question 10. As you begin these studies with us, please share how you heard about Gospel Growth Ministries. Also share any thoughts from about this first lesson.
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